A job’s always easier when you can share the load – just ask the Ingrahams of Gold Top Farm in Knox, Maine. The farm is owned by John and Beverly Ingraham, Michael and Jackie Ingraham and Gregory and Shirley Ingraham. Michael, Jackie, Gregg and Shirley oversee its management, and as Jackie explains, everyone has their assignment. Her brother-in-law Greg is in charge of the milking barns and breeding cows, her husband Michael works with the fresh cows (those are cows who have recently calved) and she works with the calves and heifers. Shirley is the bookkeeper.
“We all have our own sections and our own responsibilities,” says Jackie, “and it works very well.” With an operation as large as this one – there are 11-year round employees as well as part-time and seasonal employees – there’s plenty of work to go around. The farm is not only a dairy farm, but also includes 420 acres of corn silage and 600 acres of grass raised for silage and hay. Soybeans have been raised on the farm as a protein source for the past six years.
The use of technology belies the long history of Gold Top Farm, which was founded by George and Betsy Ingraham back in 1876 with the purchase of 150 acres (the parcel has its own history, having been given to General Henry Knox as payment for his service in the Revolutionary War). Throughout that history the Ingraham family has maintained one of Maine’s premier farms, and all signs point to this family tradition continuing. Meanwhile, there’s not much time to look back on family history – there’s work to be done.