What Matters Most

I recently had an article published in Progressive Dairyman. Below is a preview. You may also click on the link at the bottom to view the full article.

In today’s world, it seems that we are always asked to describe ourselves in two or three sentences, whether it is in the “About” section on our social media profile pages or the quick introduction we give to someone we meet.

In my case, it normally goes something like this, “Hi, I’m Raechel. We have a dairy farm, and I love agriculture.”

Anyone that knows me realizes I say that in about five sentences more than what I’ve written here, with a few more details, but you get the point. Continue reading…

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It’s Not Our Grandparents’ Farm Anymore

I recently had an article published in Dairy Herd Management. Below is a preview. You may also click on the link at the bottom to view the full article.

For many dairy producers, there is much sentimental value in continuing the family tradition. This is true in our own family, where my husband and his brother are the third generation on the family farm. It is hard to ignore the pride that comes from building on what generations before us have done. But while the land that we farm might be the same, and historic buildings are still standing, today’s dairy farms operate much different than the farms operated by our grandparents and even our parents.

One key difference is the awareness of young and beginning farmers to run their operation as a business. Continue reading…

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Get Out of the Barn and Share Your Story

I recently had an article published in Progressive Dairyman. Below is a preview. You may also click on the link at the bottom to view the full article.

Promoting the dairy industry has always been important to me. I was a dairy princess at heart long before I ever put on a crown and sash.

Even though those years as dairy royalty are long over, I still feel the need to tell our story about agriculture. After all, if we don’t tell our story, who will?

However, I know not all dairy farmers are as excited about talking to the general public as I am, including my husband, Doug. Let’s just say that in our relationship, I am the talker, but Doug does a great job speaking whenever he is in front of a crowd.

He just doesn’t like to go out of his way to put himself in those situations. That’s where I help with a gentle nudge … or he would claim that my nagging is a bit more like a cow kick.

Continue reading…

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An Exciting New Adventure

For those of you that haven’t heard…..my family has some exciting news to share! We’ve recently started into a venture of raising steers for beef to sell retail.

McCalls Ferry Farm, my family farm, is located on the banks of the Susquehanna River in York County, Pennsylvania. I’ve written many posts about how special I think our farm in Airville is (Farm Life Blessing #2 & Farm Life Blessing #12), so I’m sure that you agree with me, too.

McCalls Ferry Farm

Steers in our pasture.

About a year ago, our family started having some discussions about how we might be able to make the farm more of a family venture. For many years, our farm was a dairy farm, but more recently my dad had just been raising some dairy steers for beef. We saw great opportunity with expanding that operation and taking advantage of increased interest in consumers wanting to know where their food comes from. Plus, with my sister living in Fairfax County, Virginia, it seemed like a great fit!

And so we’ve started the endeavor! There was lots of planning and preparation, and we officially set up a stand at our first farmer’s market last Thursday. Additionally, we plan to sell beef locally in southcentral Pennsylvania.

McCalls Ferry Farm - at market

My mom, Pam, with our farm market stand last week.

Although we are still new in this business, I feel that we’ve had some great success so far, and I’d like to offer a few key points that have helped to build a strong foundation:

  • Take the time to plan. I can’t tell you how many hours my sister and I spent putting together a rather comprehensive business plan for the operation. We carefully considered all aspects of the retail beef industry and the market. Selling at farmer’s markets is just the beginning….we have big plans for McCalls Ferry Farm!
  • Understand family members’ strengths. Our family is very lucky to have family members with diverse skillsets. Between the five of us, we cover everything from farm operations and finance to marketing and sales. However, we recognize that one person cannot have 100% of the responsibility for one area, and sharing responsibility is a strength.
  • Have passion. This new enterprise has been very exciting for our family. We’re thrilled to tell our story with consumers so that they can have a greater appreciation for where their food comes from. Although we might only be selling beef right now, we’re even considering expanding into other products. Isn’t that exciting?!

Thanks to all of our friends and family for your support of this new endeavor. We’re excited with what is ahead for McCalls Ferry Farm!

Be sure to check out our website at www.mccallsferryfarm.com and like us on Facebook (www.facebook.com/mccallsferryfarm) and follow us on Twitter (www.twitter.com/mccallsferry)!

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