Susan and Terry are planning to manufacture fresh cheese spreads as well as aged cheeses using milk produced solely on the farm. They are constructing a building for cheese production and are considering transitioning the herd from all Holsteins to partially Jerseys, as the added butterfat would yield more cheese for the same amount of milk.
At some point, Susan and Terry may also transition to organic production, restructuring their feed and forage programs. Other opportunities include: agri-tourism, whey-fed pork or beef, whey-fed poultry and egg production. Potential markets include Linville Caverns, which is across the road from the farm.
Diversification is crucial for the viability of this 3rd generation farm, where the English family has milked cows commercially since 1927. The 75-cow dairy is the only one left in their valley north of Marion, which is at the foot of Linville Mountain on US 221 North. The family currently sells milk to Dairy Farmers of America, and the price of milk has been “unpredictable at best,” Susan said. “We have struggled to maintain the family farm.”
Grant expenses include: a pasteurizer, cheese vat, brine tank, drain tables, packaging equipment, cheese press, molds and coolers.