Hall Farms, LLC in East Dixfield, Maine is a 2016 Green Pastures Award winner and the Maine Dairy Farm of the Year. The farm is operated by brothers Rodney and Randy Hall, who took over management from their father, Dick. The farm was originally settled in 1816—making Rodney and Randy 8th generation farmers, with son Caleb soon to be the 9th generation working this large swatch of Maine farmland and forest.
At their father’s instance, the Hall brothers both went to college before settling down on the farm. For Randy, it’s breeding world-class Belted Galloways that have offspring all over the U.S. and in South America. Rodney runs a maple sugaring operation that produces 1,400 gallons of maple syrup a year, and he plans to increase the number of trees tapped from 7,500 to 10,000.
The dairy operation boasts equally impressive productivity. Major enhancements in the past few years include a double-six swing parlor, a pack barn for 60 cows, a heifer barn (for animals younger than two years old) and additional feed storage.
The farm has been home to registered Holsteins since 1945, and the operation converted to organic in 2002. Today, the milking herd of 55 certified organic cows — which produce milk for the Organic Valley brand – graze on 75 acres of pasture land, with more than 300 additional acres dedicated to growing feed crops.
The farm is massive, and land not used for dairying offers lumber: 850 acres of woodland produces 300 to 400 cords of wood annually harvested for the local paper mill and stove wood customers.
The Halls are aware of the need to showcase their farm and their industry. Situated in the heavily traveled Route 2 east-west corridor, Hall Farms gets more than its share of passers-by delighted by the tranquil scene of grazing cows and a bustling farm.
“We’re a farm that keeps our lawns mowed, our flowers planted, our buildings painted,” explains Rodney. “We decorate with the seasons, and pretty soon we’ll be putting out the pumpkins and cornstalks.” As his partner, Joanne, reminds him, “When people drive by our farm, they’re deciding whether to drink that glass of milk.”