Passing on the Farm

There comes a time when the farm has the chance to pass on to the next generation. Our case is no different. Back in the 1920 John Christian Myers started milking Guernseys on our farm. It wasn’t called Dogwood Lane Farm back then and in fact we didn’t even own it. John Christian was renting it. There had been cows on the farm, but the owner was killed by a bull, and his widow moved off and back with family about 8-10 years prior. The farm was eventually purchased into our family and horses were used to plow and harvest the fields. We also raised turkeys, ducks and chickens. These things were sold by direct market to customers both local and as far as Baltimore.

John Christian Myers filling silage with his grand son John Henry Jr. about 1964.
John Henry Myers in the 1940’s. His mom stopped him while doing chores to snap this picture. He told me as he looked back at this picture and said “I had things to do, but mom wanted a picture”.

John Henry Myers Sr. was the next generation. Into the 1950’s our neighbors were selling out their Guernseys and replacing them with Holsteins. We stayed true to the Guernseys, and still do today. Over time the horses were replaced with tractors. They were not sold, but just retired. I do believe the last one was named Earl, and passed on about 1960.

John H Myers Jr. while in high school help to buy out the aunts, and the farm went into its 3rd generation. Numbers of cows increased, and goose hunting became a second source of income. We no longer raised turkeys, ducks, or chickens. The ever changing times and ideas changed the direction of the farm. John Henry Jr. named the farm Dogwood Lane Farm and lined the lane with Dogwood trees. He brought the Guernsey herd back threw genetic recovery, so it became a registered Guernsey herd. Dogwood Lane became our prefix.

The next generationare becoming adults. The dairy industry is struggling and there is a need to diversify. We find ourselves direct marketing again as we sell our cheese and butter made from the milk off our farm. We have almost come full circle to the first generation. We also have chickens, but for the eggs, adding them to the direct market.

The video above was the last time John Henry Sr. got up in a tractor and worked ground. He out lived two wives many childhood friends and family and had battled cancer. He spoke about this day for weeks. My husband made this possible. We worried about him and thought of all the things that could happen. We said a prayer. Its hard to let go and pass things on, but I think it is just as hard to know this was probably going to be his last ride. It was. He doesn’t drive any more, and has passed his share on to his grandsons. However John Henry did more than that, he also passed on the love of Guernseys, farming and love for the earth. Respect of Mother Nature, and how to adapt quickly, quietly while saying a prayer. We owe a lot to the generation before us. We may not agree with the things they did or how they did it, but they didn’t just pass on the farm, they passed on a way of life.

Make time and love those around you, tomorrow isn’t promised.

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