Right before we pulled the trigger on the loan and this construction project [to focus on dairy farming], I had a ‘why am I doing this?’ moment. My wife and I definitely sat down and said, “Should we be doing this?”
No turning back now, I guess.
We’re adding a winter feeding area for the cows; we added some holding facilities for the barns. We finished off the milking parlor with equipment, and automated some of the processes to make our days a little quicker.
We will still be pasture-based. We don’t get a price premium as [certified] organic, but we value that as a method of management regardless of whether or not that’s the most profitable way to pursue things.
I graduated from college in 2009, so job prospects weren’t numerous by any means. I went to graduate school in the UK. While I was there, my mom called. She said my uncle, who had stopped farming a few years earlier, was looking to sell it.
The farm was just sitting there, falling into disrepair. At first I was supportive of the idea, but then I started thinking about it, and I thought it would be a real tragedy if that happened. I’d grown up on that farm.
Farming is worth it to me because I like working with the livestock, and I like watching the farm turn into something it wasn’t when I got here.
Summertime, making-hay season — that’s what I like about farming: the community aspect. I like making hay, and I have friends and family who help out. It does feel nice to have that cooperation where you’re all working together for a common goal.
Maybe I’m a glutton for punishment, I don’t know. I certainly would be better off financially if I weren’t doing it. I guess I really like it. That’s my best answer.
– Mark Hostetler, Rosewater Farm and Dairy
This summer, we're taking a look at some of the small farms and urban gardens you'll only find in Goshen! More stories to come through September.
Written and edited by Wendy Wilson
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