For the next 12 months, we will feature a New York State farm family each month allowing you to learn about what farmers are doing on their farms and why they are making the decisions they are making. Today is your chance to meet Dave and Donna Gaige, along with their children Jessica, Allison and her husband Vinny and Greg Gaige. 

Gaige Farm is a family farm located in the town of Knox in on the Albany and Schoharie county line. Farming has been part of the Gaige family for

over 200 years including crops, custom harvesting, logging and sawmills but today as a dairy farm in their current location, the family milks 55 cows and produces crops on more than 400 acres including corn, grain, hay, and oats. As a multi-generation farm, a recent accomplishment was being named as a New York Master Breeder herd.

Why do you farm every day?

As a multi-generation farm, the Gaige family is committed to continuing the family farm into the future. Photo courtesy of Lancaster Farmer

I (Dave Gaige) grew up on a family farm and always wanted to farm because I love all aspects of farming especially the desire to care for my animals. As a farmer I also enjoy working with machinery and growing and harvesting crops. Farming also allows me to be involved in agriculture organizations and provides a great place to raise a family.

What are you doing on your farm that leaves a positive impact?

The focus on our farm is to breed top notch registered Holsteins which allows our farm to be more productive. This provides the opportunity to merchandise our cattle for additional income and other farms to improve their herd with our genetics.

Can you explain a few things that you put into practice on your farm that impacts the future of the industry?

We have implemented a crop rotation program to reduce fertilizer, chemical, and pesticide use which results in increased yields and reduced crop expenses. By following proper milking procedures and applying good sanitation requirements into our daily routines, we produce quality milk and are proud to be transparent about our farm, animals and our family.

What is the biggest challenge you face in dairy farming?

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Dairy farming includes more than milking cows. Being an environmentalist, scouting crops, a mechanic and so much more are part of the daily routine on a dairy farm.

Currently, the biggest challenge we face is the price of milk compared to the cost of production. The price of milk is less than the cost of production and it’s very difficult to continue to make improvements on the farm.

What do you see as the biggest opportunity you foresee being part of the future on your dairy farm?

The best opportunity on our dairy farm is to be able to work alongside family members and being able to pass on what I have learned by teaching respect, honestly and enjoying others while farming. In our family and on our farm we encourage modern practices while taking care of the farm, land, animals and environment all while learning many life lessons and valuable qualities.

If you could tell consumers one thing about what you do on your farm, what would it be?

As farmers, we are producing quality products that are safe for you and your family. We are using practices on the farm that are not harmful to the farmer, consumer or the environment.