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ACCORD, NEW YORK
Domino Farm has been a family dairy farm since 1955. Started by Gerald and Eleanor DeWitt with Holsteins, the farm began a slow but dramatic transformation when Eleanor bought a Jersey calf for their daughter Margaret as a 4-H project, reasoning that a small Jersey calf would be easier for a 9-year-old to handle. As is the case with so many 4-H projects, a small idea grew into a large one, and the farm now consists of 100% registered purebred Jerseys, all homebred for more than 30 years.
Margaret assumed the management of the farm when she graduated from Cornell. Her passion for Jerseys is based on her love of a breed that, as she says, has “personality, protein and productivity.” Domino Farm’s Jerseys are bred for productivity and type. As Margaret says, “Life’s too short to milk ugly cows.” For the past several years, the American Jersey Cattle Association has ranked Domino Farm in the top 10 herds, either of their size or of any size, in the nation for the amount of milk, fat, and protein.
Margaret’s niece, Katherine, shares her passion for the Jersey breed. Past Ulster County Dairy Princess and Ambassador, Katherine helps out at the farm and is currently a freshman at Cornell University, majoring in Animal Science. Katherine enjoys speaking with the public about agriculture and about the Jersey breed in particular, and has especially loved showing the farm’s Jerseys at fairs, including Ulster and Dutchess County Fairs and New York State Fair. Three of her cows have won National Junior Production Awards from the AJCA. “So many people at fairs ask where they can get our milk,” Katherine says. “It will be so nice now to have a locally available product we can tell people about.”
In spring, summer, and fall, cows are out on pasture when they are not being milked, weather permitting. Margaret’s brother, Meade, supplies the forages for the farm’s cows, growing hay and corn for silage on the farm’s 150 acres and nearby rented land. Katherine’s mother, Janet, manages the calves at the farm.
“Farming is a difficult way of life, ” Margaret says. “But milking cows that are productive and beautiful to look at makes it easier. Being part of a cooperative that makes a great product will also make it easier as well.”