Pine Island Farm is a third generation dairy farm located at 1474 Hewins St. in Sheffield, MA. The Aragi family has been farming at this location since 1964. Thomas Aragi, Louis Sr.’s father, purchased the original parcel of 179 acres. Today the farm consists of over 1594 acres. The dairy operation is a partnership jointly owned by Louis Aragi Sr. and Louis Aragi Jr. Pine Island Farm houses approximately 1500 head of dairy cattle. The farm generates approximately 20,000,000 pounds of milk annually. All of the farm’s acreage used, is solely for the dairy operation and the needs of the Aragi family. The Aragi’s also rent tillable cropland to provide sufficient feed for the dairy cattle.
Running a successful dairy operation is a challenge. Through thoughtful and creative planning and making solid business decisions, the farm has developed a dairy operation that relies heavily on the farm’s natural resources (landmass and field crops).
The Aragi’s have refined how to manage effectively the significant number of cattle at the farm so production at the farm is well organized. The Aragi’s have hired a very reliable group of employees for the farm to ensure that the farm functions efficiently. Employees have specific responsibilities that are geared toward cow comfort, cow health, crop management, maintenance of equipment/infrastructure, etc. The Aragi’s have assembled a team of off-farm specialists- nutritionist, veterinarians who provide specialized services and guidance as well as other farm sources to keep abreast of changes and current trends in the dairy business.
The Aragi’s have set their sights on developing an operation that is successful and will support future generations of the Aragi family. They look at opportunities for the farm from all angles and think outside the box in order to take maximum advantage of their available resources and implement those things that will benefit the farm-labor efficiencies, cost savings, and increased profitability. One such opportunity was in 2011 with the installation of a methane digester at the farm both owned and operated by the Aragi’s, that has addressed environmental issues, and created by-products that have been used at the farm reducing operating costs – diversifying the farm product mix and assisting in the sustainability of the farm. The Aragi’s prime focus has been to “mine the farm waste” for conversion into beneficial by-products and effectively use those digested by-products. Investing in this technology and gaining experience with it; and the diversification of the by-products, all have positioned the farm for future benefits ranging from additional revenue streams and labor savings. All of which have laid a foundation for sustainability of the Aragi family farm.