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Triple Creek Dairy

“We believe that quality brings you a good investment on your return, it’s good for overall herd health and it’s good for the bottom line. It’s good for making money. Quality is number one around here. We keep our standards high, we keep our barns clean, our cows clean, and we also believe in cow comfort.” – Richard Skoda

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TAGHKANIC, NEW YORK

Triple Creek Farm is now in its fourth generation, starting in 1922 when Richard’s grandfather, John Skoda bought 40 acres of land here in Taghkanic, New York in southern Columbian County and began milking almost two dozen cows by hand.

“This is very much a family farm,” says Richard. “I’m the overall manager and have been working here my whole life since I was ten years old feeding the calves.” Today the Skoda family manages over 750 acres, 500 acres of which they own themselves, and grows three hundred acres of corn, two hundred acres of soybeans, and hay which they feed their herd of registered Holsteins.

The family faced hard times when their barn was destroyed in a fire in 2006 and they lost their herd of 90 cattle. Never being ones to quit, the Skodas quickly rebuilt and by March 2008 were back in action with a brand new modernized barn and state of the art milking parlor, where Richard’s wife, Melissa, manages the day to day operations and helps to milk the cows. Their three sons, Joshua, Ryan and Alexander all work at Triple Creek. Josh joined his father right out of high school and today is the equipment and field manager. Ryan, the herd manager, graduated from SUNY Cobleskill with a degree in dairy science. Alex graduated from SUNY Cobleskill, with a degree in culinary arts. He now works at the Boice Processing plant, bottling Hudson Valley Fresh milk.

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For the past several years in a row, Triple Creek Farm has received several quality milk awards, from both Agri-Mark and the National Dairy Herd Information Association. Triple Creek Farm is known for its high quality standards and the Skodas are very particular about keeping their cows clean, comfortable and happy. For instance, they are big believers in the use of sand as bedding, rather than hay or wood shavings, as it is non-organic and does not breed bacteria. And that keeps the cows’ somatic cell counts low which means cleaner milk. It also provides excellent footing for the cows and increases their ease of mobility.

“It costs a bit more and we have to replenish the sand once a month because the cows work it out,” says Richard. “But we believe we have better cow longevity because of it.”

Triple Creek Farm is only one of two surviving dairy farms in Taghkanic, New York today. Back in 1950 there were 40 farms – the rest has been sold for development. The Skodas have a strong belief in giving back to their community and celebrate the family farm’s continued success with an Octoberfest event on their farm every fall, offering the public an opportunity to see where the milk comes from and to try milking a cow for themselves.

“Agriculture is still New York State’s number one revenue generating business. We want people to remember that.”

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