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2011 Massachusetts Outstanding Dairy Farm

Chase Hill Farm
Mark and Jeannette Fellows
74 Chase Hill, Warwick, MA 01378

Chase Hill Farm, which is owned and operated by Mark and Jeannette Fellows, was established by Mark’s parents, Oliver and Virginia in 1957. After purchasing 200 acres from Oliver’s mother, his parents built the house and barn on the property. They fed their small herd of Holstein cows with continuous grazing and hay and sold the milk to Snows Dairy, H. P. Hood, and then to Garelick Farms. In the late 1970’s their oldest son Steven returned to the farm. With Steven’s help they intensified the management, fed more haylage and corn silage and raised production levels.

Mark and Jeannette assumed management of the farm in 1984 after graduating from college. Steven moved on to another career and Oliver retired. Mark and Jeannette started rotationally grazing the herd and that led to the farm’s success today. In 1991 they purchased the farm from Mark’s parents and switched the herd to seasonal production. Making all their milk during the green season compounds the benefits of grazing and made the farm more financially secure as well as giving Mark and Jeannette much needed time off from the daily grind. In an effort to have more control of their milk price Mark and Jeannette helped found the Our Family Farms milk marketing coop. This initial step into marketing led Mark and Jeannette to create a business plan and begin processing their own milk. Currently all of the Chase Hill Farm milk is sold either as raw milk on the farm or crafted into cheese. The cheese is marketed in local stores and at farmers markets. They built their cheese plant in 2001 and switched to organic production in 2002. In 2001 Mark and Jeannette sold an APR restriction on their farm to the State and used that money to purchase a neighboring farm of 75 acres that is also now protected from development.

Currently the cow herd of Chase Hill Farm consists of 40 Normande cows and young stock. Not only the raw milk and cheeses from the dual purpose Normande cows is marketed but the beef from the cull cows and whey fed pastured pork is sold as well. The cows get all of their feed from the diverse pastures and hay fields. They are fed no grain or silage. Mark and Jeannette also use 3 draft horses to do an increasing amount of their field work, manure spreading, hay making, logging, and hopefully some day, to power the milking system with a horse treadmill. In 2010 they installed an 8.5 Kw photovoltaic system on the barn which supplies 55%-60% of their electrical needs. They are currently considering a wind mill to meet the rest of their electrical needs.