Visit Taylor Farm in Meriden, and there’s no doubt it’s a family operation. Father Steve Taylor – who spent 25 years as New Hampshire’s commissioner of agriculture – may meander past you on the way to the milking barn. And there’s Rob, who’s taken on almost full-time management of the place. Joining in when they can are brothers Jim and Bill, who are employed off the farm, to help make ends meet. The Taylor Farm is a dairy farm, but started with a sheep herd, when Stephen and Gretchen Taylor bought 18 acres and started farming. The sheep were ultimately replaced by cows, and by 1976, the Taylors began shipping milk.
It’s always been a family operation. Sons Jim, Bill and Rob all graduated from the University of New Hampshire with degrees in some form of agriculture, and took over operation of the farm. Still, with the challenges facing many dairy farmers, two of the brothers work day jobs, and farm part-time, helping out youngest brother Rob, who works full-time on this patch of land just below Lebanon. The work is divided among them. Jim manages the farm books and the herd reproduction, while Bill takes care of all the farm equipment. Rob and his wife, Cindi, operate the creamery and the syrup business, and he also manages the herd, crops and employees. He’ll admit he worked “a corporate job” after leaving UNH, but returned to the farm and the family tradition of dairy farming. The herd size now numbers 60 cows, the land totals 145 acres and a sugar house with a retail store and a small creamery occupy most of Rob’s time.
“We were pretty excited to be nominated for the Green Pasture Award and very excited to win,” says Rob. “We work hard, and it can be a tough industry, but you could say this award is a real feather in our cap.”