Will-O-Crest Farm is a family owned and operated farm that began in 1976 with 100 cows and 160 acres. Bill and Barb Young have grown their farm to the current size of 1,500 cows and 3,500 acres and are proud to work alongside their children, Matthew, Steven, Hannah and son-in-law Matthew Worden. Will-O-Crest Farm prides itself in taking good care of their cows, people, land, and community because they believe that it takes all of those pieces to sustain the farm for generations to come.
Today we have the chance to hear from Matt & Hannah Worden about their dairy farm as we welcome them as one Dairy Cow Birthing Center host farms at the 2017 New York State Fair. Be sure to check them out on social media:
Facebook: Will-O-Crest Farm, Twitter: ModernDairyMom (Hannah), and Instagram: willocrestfarm
Why do you farm every day?
Matt: It’s the love of being able to see things grow, develop and prosper. Whether it’s the crops in the fields, the calves in the hutches, or a new employee learning a skill and sharing in our passion, there is never a shortage of change and hope for the future.
Hannah: Farmers don’t farm to make money (there are much easier ways to make money!). They farm because they have a passion for the land and their livestock, and it’s no different for me. Growing up I learned that I needed to have a job that allowed me to be in the barn with cows because there’s just something about being around them that I love. It’s a feeling that is really hard to explain.
Why did you choose to be part of the Dairy Cow Birthing Center?
Hannah: I love sharing my enthusiasm for cows with other people and since I can’t bring everyone to my farm, bringing our farm (or at least part of it) to the fair is the next best thing. As a consumer, I know it’s difficult to figure out what to believe with some many contradicting stories on the internet so I hope that the Birthing Center helps the public see firsthand the care and love we have for our cows.
What are you looking forward to as a host farm the Dairy Cow Birthing Center?
Matt: I look forward to the public being able to witness a small piece of what I get to do every day, and being able to share with them my passion for the animals.
Hannah: I am looking forward to talking with everyone!
What are you doing on your farm that leaves a positive impact?
Hannah: We are doing lots of things on our farm to leave a positive impact! We are providing meaningful jobs for people in the community, we are caring for the land in order to preserve the environment, and we are always treating our cows with love and respect.
Matt: Raising the public awareness of what we do and why we do it is our biggest challenge. This includes everything from teaching the public about the nutritional and health benefits of dairy products to bringing new passionate young people into the industry. With less than 2% of the total population being involved in the ag industry and a steady decrease in the amount dairy products being consumed, raising public awareness about why we do what we do has never been more important.
Hannah: One of the top priorities on our farm is sustainability however consumer pressure keeps limiting the technology we can use which has been designed to aid sustainability. For example, GMO crops require far fewer resources (land, water, fuel) to grow than their conventional counterparts but consumers have started to reject this technology even though it’s been deemed safe and helps us to be sustainable for generations to come. It’s challenging to show the big picture to everyone so they can have a full understanding of the benefits before making decisions to reject something like GMO crops.