It’s hard not to think about the here-and-now when you’re a dairy farmer: the weather, the herd, and the chores require your immediate attention, with little time to think beyond the next milking. For Matt and Christine Peckham, however, the future is now, and Elm Farm in Woodstock, CT is an investment in the next generation of Peckham dairy farmers. I’m working hard to make this a business my children will want to take over someday,” says Matt, a 6th generation dairyman who took over the 140-acre family farm in 2005. At that time, the farm was struggling, but with hard work and a talent for innovation, Matt has seen Elm Farm grow from 86 cows to a healthy 140-cow milking herd.
Helping Matt and Christine oversee management of Elm Farm are three full-time employees as well as two new additions: the oldest of their four children, 8-year old Grace and 11-year-old Caleb. This past summer, both rose at 6:30 each morning to round up the cows and hoe-out the stalls. (Christine recalls Grace crowing after an encounter with one of her favorite cows, “Ed gave me the biggest kiss today, right across my face!”) The sight of the children doing daily chores provided the Peckhams with a reassuring glimpse of a 7th generation of dairy farmers in the making. It’s heartwarming confirmation that no matter what the future brings, the Peckhams will always be a farm family.