WALDO, Maine — The Lowell Family Farm of Buckfield, Maine has won the Dairy Farm of the Year and Green Pastures award for 2020. The Lowell family has a rich history in Buckfield, but has only been shipping milk since 2007. The farm started in a rented facility before moving to the farm on North Hill in 2010. Working out of a composted bedded pack barn that was converted from a riding arena, Dana and Seri, their two children Maren and Wheeler, along with long time employee Josh Fournier, have created a farm business focused on cow comfort, quality milk, and exceptional quality forages.
Milking 50 Jersey cows, many from a herd originally owned by Peter Young, the Lowell’s ship their quality milk to Agrimark with an average somatic cell count of 120,000. The family harvests hay and haylage from about 200 acres, much of which was land that they have leased and improved over time. Additionally, they grow 83 acres of no-till corn, and utilize cover crops to improve soil health and protect the fields from nutrient losses.
The Lowells were one of the first dairy farms to construct a bedded pack barn in Maine. “The facility that they constructed and manage provides exceptional cow comfort” says Rick Kersbergen from the University of Maine Cooperative Extension.
Forage quality on the farm is truly exceptional, with haylage analysis that provides energy levels that match corn silage samples! Using multiple mowers and wide swath techniques, the farm can harvest forages quickly, providing top quality feed for their cows and young stock. “The Lowell’s focus on cutting their grass crops every 30 days for optimum quality” says Michele Bennett from Goldstar Feeds. “They focus on feeding the best quality forages possible”.
Dana and Seri credit a lot of their success to their children, Maren and Wheeler, who were both home schooled, help with chores and are a key part of the forage harvest crew. Maren recently graduated from UMaine Farmington; Wheeler is working towards a degree in Biology, also from UMaine Farmington. The Lowell family is also quick to recognize Josh Fournier as a critical part of the operation from the beginning.
–University of Maine Cooperative Extension
For more articles out of New England, click here.