Farmer Friday: Mapleview Dairy
Madrid, New York
This week’s Farmer Friday blog takes us to Madrid, NY, located in beautiful Saint Lawrence County and part of the state’s ‘North Country’. The area is home to many of the 650 New York dairy farm families in our Co-operative. It is also among the most active in getting their young people involved in dairy farming. The county offers many opportunities to get involved through their outstanding Dairy Princess Program, Future Farmers of America and 4H Clubs.
Mapleview Dairy is among the most exceptional farms you will find in the North Country. The farm is run by David Fisher and his sister LouAnne King, whose grandparents Floyd and Millie Fisher started the farm in 1946 with 42 cows. David and LouAnne’s parents, Max and Barbara owned and operated Mapleview Dairy as the 2nd generation. Max passed away in 2014, but their mom, Barbie and their Uncle Jerry are still very involved on the farm.
Today, Mapleview Dairy is among the largest farms in our Co-operative, milking over 2,000 cows and cropping 4,500 acres. They have expanded over the years to accommodate their growing families. David and his wife Patty have two sons, Jordan and Jacob. LouAnne and her husband David have four daughters: Jennifer, Sara, Laurie and Kristen. There are also a couple in-laws and several longtime employees who are part of the team and take part in the day-to-day operation of the farm. Each of the family members lives within 6 miles of the farm and they all take great joy and pride in farming and working closely with family.
Mapleview Dairy is renowned for their milk quality, extraordinary farm management, involvement in the dairy community and their cows. In 2013, the farm was awarded the New York State Agricultural Society Farm Safety Award. They offer their employees sick time and personal days, vacation and retirement packages. They show cows at fairs and their girls have taken home many ribbons over the years.
The future looks bright, with the 4th generation showing a strong interest in the farm. Brothers Jordan and Jacob each returned after completing their studies at Cornell and are actively continuing in the family tradition. One of their cousins, Jennifer, is currently in her first year at Cornell – a family tradition almost as strong as dairy farming – and she is studying Animal Science.
Jennifer has already shown strong passion for dairy farming, helping out on the farm, participating in FFA, showing cows and representing St. Lawrence County as Dairy Princess. That was in addition to being her high school class secretary, a member of the National Honor Society and very involved in Drama Club, Gardening Club, Volleyball, Basketball and Track.
This week we thank the mother-daughter team of Jennifer LouAnne, for taking the time to answer a few of our Farmer Friday questions:
What is your favorite thing about being a dairy farm family?
Jennifer: My favorite thing about being a dairy farm family is that I get to see my cows and calves every day, whenever I want. Whenever I was upset when I was young I would go out and pet the calves and somehow they would soothe me. Living on a dairy farm also allows me to get away from everyone and clear my head. I love to work with the cows because it is just me, them, and the quiet which I love.
LouAnne: I am happy to know that I can see my family every day, while I am working. For me it is a bit different than for some families, I partner with my brother, his 2 sons, a brother-in-law, and my mom and uncle are both present also. As part of the “senior generation” I am enjoying the development of the younger generation of managers! Feeling that you can help while keeping an open mind to a new way of facing challenges is quite rewarding. The positive attitude and optimism that is brought to a family business with the interest of a new generation is contagious, and it is great!
What is your least favorite farm chore?
Jennifer: Most people think that driving the huge tractors would be the best thing about being on the farm. I would personally disagree. I have never really liked driving the tractors all day because then I miss out on seeing the cows. The cows are my absolute favorite part of the farm, they are so friendly and those sweet faces always warm my heart.
LouAnne: Book work! Filing paid bills, organizing and sorting papers in the office is important but not very much fun. Different than my daughter, however, I really enjoyed planting corn and driving dump truck in the past. And similar to Jennifer the most therapeutic time of my day was when I was milking cows or feeding baby calves.
What is your favorite time of year on the farm?
Jennifer: The best time of the year on the farm is around show time. That would be in the summer, which means you can smell the fresh cut hay and everything growing. I love the excitement and anxiety of showing our dairy cattle. Nothing can replace the feeling you get when the judge places you in first, it’s exhilarating.
LouAnne: My favorite part of farming in the NE is that you get to enjoy all 4 seasons, but if I had to pick, I would say my favorite is autumn. There is so much to enjoy in the sights around you, the sense of accomplishment that comes with those final days of harvest, and the cattle starting to get their winter coats.