A Farm Fund for Jesse & Sam

Our names are Jesse and Sam Galbraith, we’re brothers aged 19 and 17, and we’ve had a passion for farming, animals, and the land since we were kids.

We want to start our own dairy farm. As first generation farmers, we know how hard this will be. So many people have told us not to do it, that there’s no money in it. Others have suggested that we are crazy, and others say we will fail.

We know what we’re getting into. We embrace hard work because we’ve never known any different. We worked all through high school on other people’s farms to buy our own trucks, to pay our own insurance, cell phone bills, and to buy calves and old equipment toward our dream of eventually owning our own dairy farm.

Here are the things we know: Milking cows means never taking a vacation. It’s a job that begins at 5 a.m. and ends well past sundown, or whenever the last cow is milked and fed at night. That means seven day a week, 365 days a year.

Farming is in our blood.

Over the years, we have worked hard to save our own money. A couple years ago we pooled our funds and began to buy calves that would form the beginnings of our dairy herd. Now those calves are grown heifers and in the fall they will have their first babies and we will begin to milk them.

We took on calves that were sickly and nursed them back to health. We bought calves that the bigger farms didn’t want to spend time tending. We took a chance on these babies. We bottle-fed and cared for them, and ensured they grew up in a safe and happy place. This is what we want for all our animals. Calves are the future of any successful dairy farm and happy cows make more milk.

We are incredibly lucky to live in an area where the local farm community is strong. Other farmers have embraced us and supported us. They have donated bags of corn for us to plant, small plots of land to plant it on, and sold us equipment at reasonable prices. Their encouragement to keep going has meant everything because dairy farming isn’t a business most teenagers choose to enter into.

The mission for our farm – Promised Land Farms – is simple: To raise happy cows that produce high quality, delicious milk.

Our community has witnessed our hard work and rewarded us with their trust and generosity. This is what the farming community does. They plant seeds. They care for their animals. They cultivate the land. They help things grow.

We have chosen not to go to college because the burden of student loan debt is too great. And the biggest killer of any small farm is debt.

Our goal is to know our cows by their names because they each have individual personalities, much like our family dogs. We’d like to be able to grow our herd to 60-70 cows in the next five years. Eventually we’d like to own our own farm.

With  this money we can buy healthy cows and feed them with purchased hay and corn until we can grow our own. This funding would give us a head start on paying for rent and electricity in the barn. It will help defray the costs of vet bills and feed. It will allow us to slowly grow our herd, ensure their health and happiness, find a reputable milk distributor, and buy some small pieces of equipment. Nothing new, we can’t afford shiny new equipment now and that’s OK.

We want to eventually raise our families in the same way we were raised: With open space, access to happy animals, and the beauty of a life surrounded by tenderness. This is a community that has shown us how kindness can bear fruit.

We are committed to remaining in Cambridge, NY and being vital, profitable contributors to this thriving farming community. Finally, we hope to pay these kindnesses forward to benefit the next generation of farmers, who might just be our own children.

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Megan Culhane Galbraith 
Valley Falls, NY