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2018 Massachusetts Outstanding Dairy Farm

Rogers Farm
Rogers Farm
2301 Southbridge Rd, Brimfield, MA 01010

Rogers Farm is a story of determination, perseverance, and the effort to remain viable as a small farm in an increasingly centralized, commodity driven age.

Growing up on my father’s and uncle’s farm, Earl and Wesley Rogers in Mendon, MA taught me the virtues of hard work, and making do.  Losing both of them within a year while attending Stockbridge School of Agriculture, UMass forced me to drop out and put that mentorship to work running the farm until liquidation. 

The opportunity arose to rent both the barn and the few remaining acres and I was able to bring a herd of 47 Holsteins acquired from a previous green pasture award winner, Richard and Shirley Downs in 1988.

In 1993 the herd moved to former Ray Vaill Farm in Warren, MA which at that time was running the highest herd average for years. After custom corn harvester ceased operating, the high cost of inputs and herd health issues were greatly diminished with the transition to rotational grazing.

Today, Rogers Farm has grown into 140 acres land of which 40 acres is in pasture, 20 acres corn silage, 70 acres hay field, and 10 acres alfalfa. The farm has 65 milking cows of which 50 Holstein, 10 Brown Swiss-Holstein cross, 3 Normandy, and 2 Swedish red. Other animals include 70 calves and heifers and 20 beef cattle.

Observing the symbiotic relationship between the cows and rotational grazing, sparked my interest in the biology aspect of soil and crop growing. Learning about regenerative agriculture, a no-till drill, roller crimper and no-till corn planter where purchased which allowed for the elimination of tillage. This process also helped growth and the retention of the nutrients. This process allowed for the use of cover crops to reduce, if not eradicate herbicide usage. I have also found that I can utilize a mixture of summer and winter annuals into existing perennial grass to complement pastures in times of drought and to store for winter feed in the form of baelage.

With many trials over the past several years with this equipment, I am increasing soil health that provides the feed for our retail raw milk and beef.

This experience has been a steep learning curve, through trial and error I have found it the only way to learn. My goal being to use today’s sunlight versus ancient sunlight in the form of fossil fuel products. This allows for the good of our soil and food production with less cost. Working for the benefit of the land, crops and animals while mimicking nature allows us to provide real food. All this is done in the hopes of preserving our small farm and strengthening our community relations which is more important for the small farmer now than ever before.