Value-added dairy production beginning

Grazing cows at Stonewall Farm.

Stonewall Farm Pivots to Dairy Production at Farm Creamery. Hires
Dairy Manager

Keene, NH — The pandemic has touched virtually every sector of the economy and dairy farming is no exception. Dairy farms across the country have seen big changes in commodity demand and pricing for raw milk. Spurred by new economic realities, Stonewall Farm has announced that it will make use of its creamery facility to process its own raw milk and create “value-added” products, such as cheese, butter, cream, and milk, for sale to consumers.

Stonewall Farm is a non-profit agricultural education center founded in 1994 whose mission is to demonstrate and teach regenerative farming to people of all ages to ensure food security, vibrant communities, and a healthy planet. They implement their mission through 3 key strategies including Innovating & Demonstrating, Teaching & Learning, and Engagement & Advocacy. The dairy has been central to its farming demonstration and education long before the establishment of the organization.

There have been dairy cows at Stonewall Farm for over 150 years,” said Julie Davenson, executive director of Stonewall Farm. The land at Stonewall Farm has been in continuous use as a dairy farm since the mid-1800s and is the only remaining dairy farm in Keene, NH. “Creating our own value-added dairy products at the farm creamery will help assure the long-term sustainability of Stonewall Farm and its historic dairy operation,” Davenson added that the move is part of Stonewall Farm’s long-term strategic plan, created several years ago.

Making its strategic plan a reality, Stonewall Farm recently hired Robin Anderson as the farm’s new dairy manager. Anderson was born and raised on a dairy and beef cattle farm in the center of Zimbabwe, in southern Africa. Her family farm currently runs a herd of 300 Holstein cows crossed with Scandinavian Red breeds, along with a few pure Jerseys.

She earned a BS in Animal Science in South Africa and managed the family dairy, including assisting with the on-farm cheese operation. Anderson managed the lab of a major local milk processing facility, which produces butter, yogurt, long-life milk, cream, sour milk, and ice cream. In addition, Anderson is a certified Cheese Maker.

In 2018 Anderson moved to the U.S. to earn a Master of Agriculture, Animal Science degree at Texas A&M University. “During my studies, I was exposed to some very large cattle operations,” said Anderson. “I became convinced that there must be a better way to manage and run livestock, which results in a more sustainable food chain that benefits the environment, the community, and is economically viable too.”

Anderson will be heading up Stonewall Farm’s value-added dairy operation as well as managing herd health, and the breeding program. The opportunity to work and grow professionally at Stonewall Farm excites Anderson. “I am so keen to begin turning our organic, regeneratively produced milk into tasty, nutritious dairy products for the surrounding community,” said Anderson. “And I really look forward to meeting the people of Keene, New Hampshire, and New England!”

In 2018, Stonewall Farm became the first HUB in the Savory Institute’s Global HUB Network. The Savory Institute is one of the world’s top ten organizations working to promote regenerative agriculture as a solution to climate change. As a business Savory HUB for New England, our role is to provide holistic management training and Ecological Outcome Monitoring for farms in the Region. Robin has also been joining Executive Director, Julie Davenson in this training. They will offer training and monitoring services for farmers wishing to be part of the Savory Institute’s Land to Market program that recent national brands have joined including Ugg, Timberland, and Eileen Fisher. It is our hope to offer dairy products under the Land to Market certification program.

As Davenson notes, “Dairy farming is so deeply rooted here at the farm and in the region — I look forward to having the “Dancing of the Ladies” every spring at Stonewall Farm for the next 100 years!”

For more information, contact:
Julie Davenson, Executive Director Stonewall Farm
[email protected]