Video project showcases New York family dairy farm

Proud to Dairy member Patrick Smithgall recently posted a link to a video of his family’s operation in Perry, New York. Click here to view it.

The video features everyday activity on the farm, including milking, hoof trimming, spreading manure and harvesting and storing feed. We asked him to tell us more about his farm and the creation of the video.

Q. What’s the history of your farm?

Old Acres Farm was started in 1950 by Frank Smithgall and his son Robert Smithgall. At that time, the herd consisted of 60 Guernsey cows. It wasn’t until 1980 that we made the transition to milking Holsteins with a herd size of 180. Today, we are currently milking 900 cows, averaging 27,319 milk, 1,003 fat and 827 protein – all farmed on 2,500 acres of land.

Q. How did you produce the video?

The video was actually produced and edited by a friend I went to school with. For him, filmmaking is simply a hobby of his and, fortunately enough, he was willing to use this talent of his to create a video of our dairy operation.

Q. How long did it take to create?

The video was shot over the course of three days during the summer. Each day we spent approximately two hours collecting footage of everyday activities involved with our business. The editing took about a week, given the amount of footage we were able to collect over the course of those three days.

Of the 24 full-time and part-time employees involved with our business, about half of them are seen at some point throughout the video. Unfortunately, we were not able to include everyone employed with our business, even though each one plays a crucial role in its success.

Q. Why did you want to create this video?

This past summer, I left the farm in order to pursue a career in law enforcement, which was one of the hardest decisions I have ever had to make. For those of us that were fortunate enough to have grown up on a dairy farm, such as myself, you will never forget the opportunities provided and the role it has played in shaping the people we are today.

There are few businesses in this world where you are afforded the opportunity to wake up every day before the sun rises and work side-by-side with those you love the most. For me, my childhood is something I will never forget.

To show my family my appreciation, I wanted to put together something that highlighted the correlation that family and farming have together. It was also a means to educate the public outside of the dairy industry of the work involved with running such an operation.

Q. Why did you choose the song, “Nickel Sized Hail” by Sunny Ledfurd?

We wanted to incorporate something that emphasized “toughness.”

As most people know, farming is a tough life style – long hours with little pay.

As my father has always said: “It takes a special breed to be a dairy farmer.” This specific song does an excellent job conveying that message.

Q. What are your future plans for the video?

Our hopes are that it will continue to circulate amongst the dairy industry and the public in general.

In addition, we hope to create another video given the amount of popularity and positive feedback this one has generated.  PTD

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