The AgriMark Cabot Creamery Cooperative holds the Young Cooperators (YC) Leadership Conference for the next generation annually.
The conference is meant to build leaders in the Cooperative, grow connection to our amazing brand, and network with fellow farmers. It’s one of my favorite weeks of the summer!
This year, the conference was hosted right here in the Pioneer Valley. Cabot AgriMark’s largest milk processing plant is in West Springfield, MA – and while there isn’t any Cabot cheese coming out that plant (the cheese processing plants are up in Vermont!), there is boat loads of premium butter, Greek yogurt, milk and other nutritious goodies being made right in our backyard.
Much of the milk raised here at Barstow’s Longview Farm is trucked to the West Springfield plant (23 miles away) or the processing plant over in Franklin, MA (80 miles away). So whoever said milk wasn’t local hasn’t had dairy in New England!
The highlight of the YC Conference this year for me was when the 84 young farmers from New England and New York visited my family farm.
In the banquet hall, seated around round tables with white linen, the farmers are quiet and attentive. In the barn – we are home. It wasn’t long before this group of dairy farmers was moving around the barn, chatting with the owners, and comparing methods between this farm and their own. At one point two farmers moved into the free-stall barn to carry on a conversation about types of bedding used for the herd as the cows just walked around the new visitors.
After a fun farm tour, the young farmers were treated to a supper of Barstow’s farm raised burgers, Cabot cheese, hand cut french fries, a selection of Shannon’s homemade picnic salads, pints of McCray’s milk, and Maple Valley Creamery ice cream to finish the night.