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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.

Chris Torres

March 6, 2020

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.

0302F-3719B-1540x1027.jpgPASSION 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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About the Author(s)

Chris Torres

Editor, American Agriculturist

Chris Torres, editor of American Agriculturist, previously worked at Lancaster Farming, where he started in 2006 as a staff writer and later became regional editor. Torres is a seven-time winner of the Keystone Press Awards, handed out by the Pennsylvania Press Association, and he is a Pennsylvania State University graduate.

Torres says he wants American Agriculturist to be farmers' "go-to product, continuing the legacy and high standard (former American Agriculturist editor) John Vogel has set." Torres succeeds Vogel, who retired after 47 years with Farm Progress and its related publications.

"The news business is a challenging job," Torres says. "It makes you think outside your small box, and you have to formulate what the reader wants to see from the overall product. It's rewarding to see a nice product in the end."

Torres' family is based in Lebanon County, Pa. His wife grew up on a small farm in Berks County, Pa., where they raised corn, soybeans, feeder cattle and more. Torres and his wife are parents to three young boys.

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