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Young dairy farmer shares passion for raising cattle

Despite industry struggles, Dan Lyness is committed to making a go as a dairy farmer in New Jersey.

Editor’s Note: Listen to Dan Lyness explain more about his farm and his thoughts on being a first-generation farmer in New Jersey in our American Agriculturist Young Farmer Podcast.

In the 2017 Ag Census, only 109 dairy farms were counted in New Jersey. In 1992, there were 450 dairy farms in the Garden State.

Working with cattle and growing crops are passions for 30-year-old Dan Lyness. Dairy farming, he says, provides the best of both worlds.

“It’s a good combination of cattle work, plus growing crops, growing food, feeding them to the cows,” he says.

Lyness owns Spring Run Dairy LLC and is a first-generation dairy farmer in Hunterdon County. The Delaware Valley University 2011 graduate says he wanted to focus more on cattle when he graduated from college. He grew up on his father’s beef operation and worked weekends on the farm while at school.

Being a farmer wasn’t always his goal. He was an athlete in school, so when he wasn’t competing in a wrestling meet, he raced motocross.

Having that experience off the farm, he says, helped him to appreciate and re-discover what he was missing in farming. In high school, he decided that he wanted to enroll in college and earn a dairy science degree.

After graduating from DelVal in 2011, he slowly started building up his own cow herd before building a tie-stall barn in 2013. He raises 50 head of cattle — a mixed herd of Holsteins and Jerseys.

Chris TorresDan Lyness stands with calves outside at Spring Run Dairy LLC

PASSION FOR ANIMALS: Having grown up on a beef cattle operation, Lyness has always had a passion for working with cattle. It’s one reason he became a dairy farmer after graduating from college in 2011.

“It’s a really nice balance and it combines two things I really enjoy doing,” he says.

The farm is located a mere 90 minutes from Manhattan, on the outskirts of the New York City metro area. There are pluses and minuses being located so close to millions of people, but Lyness says he’s committed to dairy farming and has a plan to keep the business going well into the future.

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