This story is from the June issue of Lancaster Farming. Dana
HARTFORD, N.Y. — Wayne Foote kept getting asked the same question for several years after buying his farm.
“How come you don’t have any cows?” his neighbors would ask.
Foote always answered the same way.
“I haven’t lost my mind yet.”
Today, he and his wife, Betsy, have a 57-head herd of Guernseys on their dairy farm in Washington County, New York.
The Footes and their adult children — Wayne Jr., Mary and Suzanne — are chairing the National Guernsey Convention scheduled for June 26-July 1 in Saratoga Springs.
More than 350 people from throughout the U.S. are expected at the convention, based in neighboring Saratoga County, where Wayne Sr. and Betsy are from.
Both grew up surrounded by Guernseys at Welcome Stock Farm, owned by Betsy Foote’s father, Bill Peck, who is renowned in the dairy industry for his work with genetics. Wayne Foote Sr. worked there and eventually married Betsy.
The couple bought their current farm in Hartford, Washington County.
While Welcome Stock Farm has a large Holstein herd numbering in the hundreds, the Footes have stayed true to their dairy roots. Wayne Foote Sr. is president of the New York Guernsey Breeders Association.
Things got started when his daughter, Mary Foote, bought Welcome Stock Farm’s last Guernsey, named Apple, from her grandfather, Bill Peck, for a dollar.
Before long, Wayne Sr. and Betsy Foote went to a Guernsey auction in Vermont and came home with another cow, named Jessica.
“The bids kept getting higher and finally got up to $1,650,” Wayne Foote Sr. said. “My wife said, ‘We can’t afford that!’ But I said, ‘Listen, today’s Saturday. I’ve been doing a lot of work for people who owe me money.’ So by Monday I had the money.
“Everything’s got a story behind it,” he added.
In 2005, Jessica won grand champion female at the New York State Fair and was named honorable mention junior All-American 5-year-old. Two other cows, Jessie and June, won top honors at the New York State Fair in 2009 and 2013. These and other cows from the farm have won many prizes at the annual Washington County Fair, New York’s third-largest county fair.
The Footes’ farm is known as Welcome Stock Guernseys and they do a great deal to promote the breed at the local, state and national levels.
Betsy Foote is an agricultural science teacher at Greenwich High School. Students in the 4-H program lease cows from Welcome Stock Guernseys to raise and care for, and then show at fair time in late August.
“A lot of kids want to do this,” she said. “They come up here and work with their cow during the summer. They might not become dairy farmers, but they’re getting a connection to agriculture, which is so important.”
This month’s convention has a “Turning Point” theme because the 1777 Battles of Saratoga, 240 years ago, marked the turning point of the American Revolution, when Patriots defeated General John Burgoyne’s highly superior British army.
Likewise, the Footes see the convention as a kind of turning point for promoting the Guernsey breed in upstate New York and New England. Guernseys now comprise less than 1 percent of America’s dairy cow population, as the industry has trended toward Holsteins, which are stronger and produce greater volumes of milk.
However, Guernsey milk is famous for its rich flavor, high protein and butterfat content, and health benefits related to the A2A2 protein.
“This was a dominant breed before refrigeration,” Betsy Foote said. “This breed had the milk with the highest butterfat. Protein was excellent for cheese making. Then refrigeration happened, so they didn’t have to turn the milk into cheese right away. So Holstein became the breed of choice because of their quantity of milk
“Today, people are recognizing the value of the Guernsey milk because of the value of the A2A2 protein that lactose-intolerant people can drink with a problem,” she said.
Guernseys have a distinct orange/red-and-white color.
“They’re beautiful animals; they’re very docile and calm,” Wayne Foote Sr. said. “They like human contact. At a large farm, cows are numbered. Here, everybody has a name.”
The breed originated on the Island of Guernsey, a small island near the coast of Normandy, where Allied forces stormed ashore 73 years ago this week on D-Day — June 6, 1944.
From the 1950s to the early 1970s, Golden Guernsey trademark milk was sold in the U.S. and Canada as a premium product. Its light yellow or golden color is from its high beta carotene content, a source of vitamin A.
The high protein and butterfat content nets a slightly higher price, about $1.50 to $2 more per hundredweight than Holstein milk, Wayne Foote Sr. said.
The couple’s only lament is that customers don’t get to experience their milk’s unique flavor because it’s blended with other milk during regular pickups. They simply don’t produce enough to warrant separate pickups, sales and marketing.
“We have this awesome quality milk and its going in with all the other milk,” Betsy Foote said. “I would love to be able to turn it into cheese or bottle it as Guernsey milk and offer it locally. Right now, locally, that’s not an option.”
So for the time being, the family is content knowing they’re keeping an important part of dairy history and heritage alive while contributing greatly to its economic well-being.
“It’s a lot of fun,” Betsy Foote said.
Paul Post is a freelance writer in eastern New York. He can be reached at [email protected].
Congratulations to Hartford’s Stan Pritzker! This appears in the Post Star newspaper.
PS Column: Pritzker sworn in.
Local state Supreme Court Justice Stan Pritzker officially became an Appellate Division justice on Wednesday.
Pritzker, a Hartford resident, was sworn in during a ceremony in Albany attended by numerous local judges and dignitaries.
Pritzker, a former Washington County Family Court judge, was chosen to fill an opening on the appeals court, the second highest court in the state, late last month.
— Don Lehman
Hartford’s new Youth Commission field project took a big step fwd yesterday. Thanks to a grant the Town secured from Washington County Soil and Water Conservation District, we were able to purchase quality top soil and hydroseed the 2 acre field. This will become the future site for a baseball diamond and soccer field. This field is on school property and is just west of the Varsity soccer field. A big thank you to Washington County DPW and Washington & Warren County Soil and Water Conservation Districts who operated Washington County’s hydro seeder using 8,000 gallons of water. hydroseeder.
Update from NYS DOT regarding the upcoming start of work – rehabilitation of Baldwin Corners Road Bridge over Champlain Canal in the Towns of Hartford and Kingsbury.
Work on this bridge is scheduled to begin on Monday, May 8, 2017 with installation of a temporary signal system at either end of the work area. There will be alternating one-way traffic on the bridge until Monday, June 26, 2017, at which time the bridge will be closed to all traffic until Monday, September 4, 2017.
Area residents/property owners will receive full closure mailings and a detour route map in mid-June.
The Town will update this post if any new information becomes available.
Notice is hereby given that the fiscal affairs of the Town of Hartford for the period beginning on January 1, 2015 and ending on July 31, 2016 have been examined by the Office of the State Comptroller and that the Report of Examination prepared by the Office of the State Comptroller has been filed in my office where it is available as a public record for inspection by all interested persons.
Pursuant to Section Thirty-Five of the General Municipal Law, the Governing Board of the Town of Hartford may, in its discretion, prepare a written response to the Report of Examination prepared by the Office of the State Comptroller and file any such response in my office as a public record for inspection by all interested persons not later than May 25, 2017.
Denise Petteys, RMC
I am asking your help to get Google Maps to correct its Hartford Map.
Hartford Main Street still appears as County Route 23.
I have contacted Google several times to correct this but they keep ignoring me.
Perhaps if we use strength in numbers and more people contact them they will pay attention and edit their map.
Please use the link below to pull up the map.
In the bottom right hand corner click on “send feedback”.
Then click on “edit the map” and leave a note saying that County Route 23 in the Town of Hartford has had a change of name. It is no longer County Route 23. It is now Hartford Main Street.
Update for this post: This dog’s name is Owen and he has been reunited with his owner. Thank you Michele for tending to him until his owner was found.
Hartford friends please share. Hartford found dog alert. Michele Brucculeri found this male black and white dog this morning wandering along Hartford Main Street. Collar but no tags. He is now safe at Michele’s house 62 Christian Hill Rd. If you have any info please let me know or call Michele at 518-502-3622 or email her [email protected] Dana
BENEFIT FOR THE HARTFORD
SATURDAY, FEBRUARY 11
4:00 to 6:30 PM
AT: United Methodist Church
47 Hartford Main St., Hartford NY
$3Children 12 – 5
Free Children under 5
Menu: HOMEMADE variety of soups, bread, crackers, beverage, ice cream sundaes
*TAKE OUTS AVAILABLE
The Hartford United Methodist Church The Hartford Yoked Parish
Dear Hartford Taxpayer,
You should have already received your 2017 Town and County Property Tax bill. This bill is made up of three different property tax levies. These three levies are; County levy, Hartford Town levy, and the Hartford Fire Protection levy.
On the reverse side of this letter is a graph showing the recent history of the Hartford Town Tax Levy. A picture is worth a thousand words, or in this case a graph is worth a thousand words. My first budget as Supervisor, for the fiscal year 2011, the Board and I reduced the levy by 15% and have managed to keep it fairly flat since then.
Here are some items of information as a sort of ‘Year in Review’;
• Last year, the Town and School entered into an Intermunicipal Agreement whereas the payment of School tax is now made at the Town Hall. This past fall was the first year for this and hopefully a majority of you felt that this was more convenient for you.
• The Town was awarded a $50,000 grant with the help of Assemblywoman Woerner to assist with the rehabilitation of the Civil War Enlistment Center and Museum. The foundations and structural members of these buildings are crumbling away and this will help us to preserve the only remaining Civil War Enlistment Center in all of New York State. The money has yet to show up, and there is a lot of continuing paperwork attached to it, but hopefully we will be able to do this work in 2017.
• The Town was awarded a $6,000 grant from Washington County Soil and Water Conservation District to provide hydro-seeding of the Youth Commission’s upper recreation field at the school. This seeding will be done this coming spring and then the construction of a youth soccer field and youth baseball diamond will be done. To date a tremendous amount of volunteer work has been performed there. Hartford’s Youth Commission Programs are vibrant and healthy while at the same time many surrounding towns are withering on the vine.
• Broadband: The Verizon 4G Cell Tower will be constructed this year on the west side of Dick Hill Rd. On Shine Hill Rd, the Hudson Valley Wireless Internet Tower is almost complete. Both of these projects will greatly enhance the quality of life in Hartford.
• Town Website: Our website www.hartfordny.com was recently upgraded to become more modern and user friendly. Please go to it, navigate around and provide me your feedback. I feel we have the best and most informative town website of anyone around.
• The Town Barn is now heated in the winter with a wood boiler while using the old oil heat as a back up. The Highway Department now harvests all of the wood from the 50 miles of Town maintained roads. Because of this, the Town has not had to purchase any heating oil since the Fall of 2015. This savings in heating costs has really helped our finances.
As always, please call me at 632-9178 or email me at [email protected] if I may be of any assistance to you. If you wish to be included in my “Hartford Group” email list for periodic Hartford type news, please let me know.