The 5 Love Languages
In honor of the upcoming V-Day holiday, this newsletter is dedicated to the 5 Love Languages that you might find in a healthy relationship, or on a multi-generational dairy farm like ours!
Love Language #1 – Words of Affirmation
We have the special opportunity to work with our family members daily here on the farm. While we make time for fun and traditions together, we also have the challenge of running a cohesive business. The Barstow family meets every other week for a business meeting to examine our business, express problems, and make decisions as a team. Communication is a powerful tool and carving out time for these multi-generational meetings matters to our 217 year-old business.
Love Language #2 – Acts of Service
The Acts of Service Love Language requires time, thought, and effort. This is something that we are no stranger to: each and every day, decision, and dollar is dedicated to the thoughtful care of our productive dairy herd. Our animals’ health, comfort, safety, and nutrition is our top priority on the farm. Animal husbandry is in our blood; it is how we’ve operated our dairy farm from the beginning. And every dairy farmer also knows that a well-cared for animal will provide higher quality milk, a greater volume of milk, and be easier to care for (fewer vet bills, fewer sleepless nights worried about x y or z). Not a day goes by without “acts of service” to our herd, even on a -10degree day.
Love Language #3 – Quality Time
This Love Language is all about our undivided attention. This is how we care for all of the technology, equipment, and vehicles on our dairy farm. Preventative maintenance takes up a good portion of our day each and every day. For example, we rely on our robotic milkers to milk our herd, be comfortable and safe, and be clean and handle milk correctly. For that reason, we do a full maintenance check and exterior clean at least twice per day and an automated internal clean of the system at minimum three times each day. And that’s just the robot milkers! The list goes on. Taking care of our equipment makes us more efficient, saves us money, and in the long run, saves us time!
Love Language #4 – Receiving Gifts
The Pioneer Valley has some of the best quality soil in the world! We’re truly honored to farm 450 acres of land to feed our herd, sustain our family, and maintain this precious resource for our community. Here at Barstow’s Longview Farm we have an anaerobic digester, a system that takes the methane out of cow manure and food waste and turns it into green electricity. A byproduct of this process is something that is actually intensely useful: a chemical-free fertilizer. After going through this unique digestion process, we are left with a superior soil amendment. Applying this fertilizer to our land has enhanced soil health, increased crop yield, and decreased our chemical fertilizer usage on the farm by ~90%.
If you’d like to learn more, you and/or your elementary aged children might love Cabot’s latest offering: The Cabot Farmer Pen Pal Program which recently featured Barstow’s Longview Farm’s anaerobic digester.
Love Language #5 – Physical Touch
Dairy farmers are stewards of the land, maintaining 113,600 acres of open space in Massachusetts. How we tread on that land matters to how we leave it for the next generation, and what it can accomplish in terms of climate resilience right now. Barstow’s Longview Farm is proud to use no-till farming practices on 100% of our farmable acreage. Tillage is the act of turning the soil over each spring. It makes it easy to plant in, but is problematic for the soil ecosystem and releases the tons of carbon that had been captured in the ground. No-till farming takes a lighter touch to the Earth which contributes to reduced soil erosion, increased soil biological activity, enhanced soil organic matter, and a greater sequestration of carbon. Coupled with no-till cover crops to keep the soil in place over the windy, wet winter, these practices show our love to our soils and our landscape.