I (Dann Finn) grew up in Bovina, New York, on a small non active farm, in which my parents encouraged me to follow my agriculture interests and raise animals on a small scale. Pigs chickens and cows were the mainstay of those years and helped me as a teenager to have spending money and maybe save a little for college. I was discouraged from pursuing an agriculture career, as farming was a real tough business in the early '80s.
Instead, I moved to New York City and worked in the film industry for 15 years as a grip. At some point I bought an old run down farm and began the dream of rebuilding it and trying to make a living off the land. In 2002, I moved full time to the farm and began implementing my plan. I started with beef cattle, then by 2012, made the transition to a 30 cow organic dairy. Cheese making was always a priority in the dairy transition and by 2015 we were able to complete an on farm creamery and aging cave.
Alderney cheese is the main product that the farm produces, but I also raise pork, chicken and beef on a smaller scale. Maple syrup is also produced on the farm. As the new creamery gets underway, we will look to make other varieties of cheese.
The biggest challenge for farmers is financial. It is very hard for a small scale producer to compete against the factory farms.
Luckily, there are many people who are willing to pay for food that costs more to produce. With the trade off being that it is of a better quality, more humanely produced, and comes with far less ecological consequences. Without these well educated customers, like yourselves, a farm like my own, would be impossible to operate.