August 30, 2022
Editor’s note: Each year, the New England Green Pastures Award honors an outstanding dairy family from each New England state for its production and financial management, as well as its contribution to the local community. The award winners will be honored next month at the Eastern States Exposition (Big E) in West Springfield, Mass. Today’s feature is from Connecticut.
As the demand for more locally grown food continues to grow in Connecticut, Hyde’s Dairy Farm in North Franklin is changing its operations.
The farm was recently named 2022 Connecticut Outstanding Dairy Farm. Owner David Hyde and his team will be recognized at the New England Green Pastures Award ceremony at the Eastern States Exposition next month. The team includes David; his father, Harry, who helps whenever he’s needed; Samantha Hoffman, herdsman; and three part-time employees.
David Hyde and his father purchased the farm in 2006 and converted an old barn into a step-in parlor with six units and automatic takeoffs. They are currently milking 55 cows and are producing 4,000 pounds of milk per day, with an average of 4.0% butterfat and 3.2% protein. Their somatic cell count is under 100,000, an indication of high-quality milk.
Most of their milk gets marketed through Dairy Farmers of America, but they keep 10% of the milk for their own bottling operation. The Hydes started bottling milk last year because of consumer interest in locally grown. Milk is bottled at Terra Firma Farm Creamery in North Stonington, an on-farm state certified milk processing plant.
A variety of flavors are offered, including chocolate, coffee, strawberry, orange cream and caramel. Hyde’s Dairy also produces yogurts — plain, vanilla and five flavors fruit on the bottom — and seasonal eggnog. Products are sold at 13 local farmers markets and stores. The farm also offers online ordering through Barn2Door to deliver milk, meat and other products direct to consumers at home. Their tagline is #milkoneverydoorstep.
“Bottling our own milk has given us the ability to donate chocolate milks to many community events and our local 4-H group,” David Hyde says. “We also supply milk for the Terra Firma Farm Give Gallons program, which purchases milk from local farms, pasteurizes and bottles, and then donates to the local soup kitchen. As a FFA alumni, I truly believe in the future of farming and have given calves and cows to 4-H’ers whenever possible.”
Cow comfort is very important on the farm. The Hydes have a bedded pack barn with an open-side feed alley, three giant fans and cow brushes for scratching. The farm is feeding a ration that includes alfalfa, silage, beet pulp and straw.
The herd started with Holsteins, but David has added other breeds since starting the milk bottling. These include Brown Swiss, Jerseys, Linebacks and Guernseys.
The Hydes keep their registered, higher genetic calves to raise and sell as heifers to local farms.
Hyde’s Dairy Farm has 130 acres. Of these, 70 are tillable. The Hydes also rent an additional 30 acres for corn. The farm uses no-till seeding and custom silage harvesting.
David Hyde also owns and operates a livestock transportation company, something he’s done for the past 20 years. He has four trucks that move cattle to market in the Northeast. He works with other farms in Connecticut to pick up, haul and broker livestock.
Source: UConn Cooperative Extension, which is solely responsible for the information provided and is wholly owned by the source. Informa Business Media and all its subsidiaries are not responsible for any of the content contained in this information asset.
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