Richmond Farms Dairy
The Richmond Farms Dairy of North Collins, NY is a 7th generation family owned dairy! Yes, you read that correctly SEVEN generations. The farm was founded in 1837 by Nathaniel Richmond.
The Richmond family is currently farming 720 acres and milking 200 head of cattle in Erie County. The farm is owned by brothers, Charles Richmond Jr. and John Richmond. Charles Jr., John, and their families have carried on the family trade for almost 200 years. The Richmond family continues to teach their children and grandchildren the ways of life and values of owning and operating a dairy farm.
At this time, multiple family members work on the dairy; John is the farm’s crop and equipment manager, Charles Jr. is the farm’s herdsman, Charles Jr.’s daughter, Magdalene, works part time on the farm, Charles Jr.’s son-in-law, Anthony, works closely with John on the crop side of the farm, and Charles Jr.’s daughter, Leila, works full-time on the farm focusing on the care of the young stock.
Working with family has so many benefits, but it doesn’t come without challenges. Charles Jr’s daughter, Leila, is the seventh generation on their farm and the first full-time female family member to work on the farm!
When asked what it is like to work with her family on the farm she answered, “my family is everything to me… being able to work with them on a day to day basis and spend so much time with them is awesome.” Leila also mentioned the joys of having her nieces and nephews on the farm to spend quality time with and teach about their dairy.
Growing up on a dairy farm and being surrounded by agriculture led Leila to become an advocate for dairy at a young age. She was a dairy princess which meant she promoted dairy and farming through public speaking engagements and volunteering at local dairy events. After high school, Leila pursued her education further, focusing on her passions, dairy farming. She graduated from SUNY Morrisville with her associate degree in Dairy Science. Following her time at Morrisville, Leila returned to her home farm where she resumed the responsibility of helping out on the farm and caring for the herd’s calves.
Leila has worked hard alongside her father, uncle, older sister, and brother-in-law, since returning home to make improvements on the farm. Like most farmers, the Richmond family is always looking for ways to increase herd health, increase crop yields, and produce healthy milk in more efficient ways. Leila says that she is most proud of the improvements seen in the calf health and viability on the dairy. “I am proud of the decrease in calf mortality rates… (they) were higher than we wanted and there was no set person to feed calves before I came home. Since taking over two years ago I haven’t lost any calves,” said Leila. That accomplishment is very exciting for the Richmond family farm and has motivated Leila to continue to seek out opportunities to improve as a modern-day dairy farmer.
Additionally, the Richmond Farms Dairy is active on social media. The social media pages are run by Leila, the founder of the farm’s great, great, great, great granddaughter.
Leila, @wnyfarm_her and her family members on the farm feel strongly about advocating for the dairy industry. Leila started to document life at Richmond Farm Dairy to educate people about life on a dairy farm and to promote positive messages about dairy farming and dairy products.
When asked what the next generation can do to advocate for animal agriculture, Leila replied, “promote positive messages. Don’t fight fire with fire.” She feels strongly that the next generation of producers and consumers can learn a lot from fellow farmers sharing their stories and knowledge on social media. Her social media account, along with so many others, provides consumers and fellow producers alike with a factual place to look for answers to questions regarding farm life, dairy product production, as well as articles and data that supports dairy as a healthy part of a balanced diet.
Leila really wants consumers to understand that the livelihood of farmers, “depend on making sure our cow’s lives are happy and not stressed with great food and great care.”