Kenyon Hill Farm
Kenyon Hill Farm’s 400 acres lie just west of the Green Mountain National Forest in Cambridge, New York, approximately one hour north of Albany. There, the Nolan family tends to the land and more than 700 head of cattle. Those pure bred Holsteins and the first rate milk they produce are the top priority for the farm, which has been a member of Agri-Mark since 1980.
“Kenyon Hill Farm is named after my father’s first farm, located on Kenyon Hill Road, which he purchased in 1980,” says Shane Nolan. “In 1990, we bought Kenyon Hill Farm (current location), and have been increasing our herd size ever since.”
When Shane’s father, Michael, purchased their first farm, he started with 40 cows, then increased the herd to 150 after the move to Kenyon Hill Farm. Once Shane and Curtis started working on the farm full-time in 2005, they increased the herd significantly. The Nolan family now farms more than 1,000 acres, including about 600 acres of corn for silage, 300 acres for haylage and 100 acres of dry hay, all of which goes to feeding and taking care of their herd of 350 milking Holsteins and 350 young stock.
“Our farm is a medium-sized operation and a family affair,” remarks Shane. “My brother, Curtis, my parents, Michael and Donna, and I are partners and owners.” Shane and his father handle the crops; Curtis is the herd manager – with Shane helping out when he’s not involved with crops; and his mother helps raise the young stock and does the bookkeeping. “I guess you can say she has the most important job,” jokes Shane.
After the harvest season, younger brother Ryan, who runs a combine in Nebraska for most of the year, also puts in time on the farm and sister Courtney helps out with yard work and pitches in during the county fair. Supporting Shane and Curtis are their wives: Shane’s wife, Jocelyn, is a school psychologist, and Curtis’ wife, Jackie, is a schoolteacher. Curtis and Jackie have two young sons and future farmers named Lucas and Landon.
The Nolan family has won numerous awards from Agri-Mark for high-quality milk. Their registered cows are classified by Holstein Association USA, with 6 receiving 90+ (excellent) scores to date. “We strive to breed good all-around cows that look great and perform well in the parlor,” notes Shane. “We want to be known for having a good solid herd.
In 2009, the Nolans built a state-of-the-art barn designed to maximize cow comfort and provide a stress-free environment for their milking herd. Shane explains, “We go to great lengths to ensure their comfort, because reducing stress gives you great milk.”
The Nolans are also active within the community and the cooperative. Michael serves on the town board and is active in Agri-Mark, Shane was recently elected to the Agri-Mark Young Cooperator Board and Curtis is presently serving as a director of the Tri-County Holstein Club. “We enjoy being part of the cooperative and want to do what we can to help out,” notes Shane. “Besides producing some really good milk, of course.”
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