Johnk Family Farm
Becky (Ross) Johnk and her husband, Alex, live in Greenville with their daughter, Lorraine. Together the family has grown their hobby farm into a lucrative and sustainable family business, Johnk Family Farm.
Seven years ago, after many different farming experiences, Alex and Becky began pig farming on their own. Since then, the farm has “snowballed,” according to Alex with the addition of a small milking herd and other livestock. The farm and farm stand are currently located on twenty-two acres along Route 81 in Greenville where they have been farming for five and a half years.
At the start, the couple was milking their Guernsey cattle but decided that milking cows wasn’t the most efficient use of their time and resources, so they have transitioned their herd of cattle from dairy to beef. On their pasture ground they are raising crossbred beef cows using a registered Hereford bull to breed their brood cows this season. The herd transitions through 4 paddocks to help keep the pasture lush and nutritious.
Johnk Family Farm is also well known for their delicious beef and pork. Alex is very passionate about the meats and products they are producing and selling to their neighbors and NYC weekenders that visit their farm stand. He explained that they raise Berkshire hogs which is a breed of pigs that tends to have smaller litter sizes and grow at a slower rate; however, the quality of the pork is worth it according to Johnk.
The Johnk Family Farm is a popular stop for the population of NYC that travels to the countryside over the weekends or holiday vacations. Just an hour north of the city, the Johnk family has captured the attention of many with their high-quality beef and pork that is sold from their quaint roadside stand.
The family farm is home to a herd of 29 beef cattle and 40 Berkshire pigs.
The farm sells beef and pork for their farm stand but the farmscape has a much greater diversity of animals! Besides their two awesome farm dogs, Leela and Duke, the Johnk family also raises registered Pygmy goats. These are a fun and relatively unique breed of goats in this region. Currently the farm has 10 mature female goats, called does, 5 yearlings, and 2 mature male goats, called bucks.
Becky shared that the goats are primarily sold as pets and 4-H projects for local kids. “These goats are perfect for small children,” says Becky. “They are a smaller breed of goats with lots of energy and fun personalities.”
With a young daughter, the Johnks wanted to raise animals that they knew had a calm disposition for her safety and even their own. Lorraine, just 3 years old, plays with the goats who are about her size, helps her parents with chores, and already has her favorite barnyard friends that eagerly wait for her scratches!
This is also a key trait when selecting breeding animals for their herd. Their breeding bull on site is as docile as they come. Not to say they don’t always use caution when working with him or the rest of the herd, but they definitely have formed a rapport with him that allows them to work closely with their beef animals. Alex and Becky both work with their livestock daily. They also face some obstacles that other farmers in different regions of the state may not face. For example, because the amount of agriculture in this region of NY isn’t as high as others, there are limited veterinarians, with the closest being more than an hour drive from the Johnk’s Farm. Alex said that they have an annual herd check by a veterinarian but do the majority of their vet work themselves. They have a few tools that allow them to take on this task and one of the coolest ones was a pregnancy detector. This “scanner” allows Alex or Becky to easily detect if their sows, mother pigs, are pregnant or not.