Mapleview Dairy Madrid, NY
Floyd and Millie Fisher started their farm back in 1946 with 42 cows. “That was a lot back then,” says their granddaughter LouAnne King, who now works closely with her brother, David Fisher, to run the family operation that milks about 2,200, primarily Holsteins, and crops more than 4,500 acres. Their dad, Max, passed away a few years ago but their mom, Barbie, still plants the flowers and “generally keeps things looking spiffy,” LouAnne says, “and our Uncle Jerry still works every day.”
“Even though I’m in the office a lot, I’ve always identified myself as a farmer,” says LouAnne, “I guess it’s just hard work, dedication and a sense, for all of us, of using the land and the resources to not only provide for our own families but also the 35 families of our employees.” Her brother, David, concurs that the rewards are great. “I really enjoy the feeling of accomplishment,” he says, “of planting seeds, watching crops grow and harvesting them, of seeing calves born and raising them. And it’s just as rewarding to see employees grow and learn and have a sense of accomplishment, too.”
David’s brother-in-law Dan Davis works on the farm and another brother-in-law, John Kingston, became a partner on the farm after he folded his own family’s farm into Mapleview. Now the next generation is on board in the form of David’s two sons, Jordan and Jacob, both Cornell graduates, another long family tradition. “We all live within six miles of the farmhouse,” LouAnne explains. The old stone house is just the farm’s central office these days, she says: “It would be like living in a fish bowl!”
Seeing his two sons come back to farm has been a reward in and of itself, David says. “You always hope for that but there was never any expectation. Really we wanted them to find something they enjoyed,” he says. “Jordan, the older one—we never thought he’d come back. The younger one, Jacob, always liked grease and green paint. He was a tractor guy from the beginning.”
Jordan, now in his mid-20s, admits that even into his senior year of college, he wasn’t sure he was going to come home. But, he says, “I knew it was a place I could fit in, a place I could be helpful. They’ve given me room to grow and the support to make decisions.” The challenge, Jordan says with straightforward honesty, is that he has also had ample opportunity to “screw up and have to admit it.” How often does that happen? “Oh, just about every day,” he says with a good-natured chuckle.