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GREENE, NY

Antique Valley Farm

At Antique Valley Farm, Keith Campbell and Janet Pfromm have a passion for organic dairy farming. They also have a shared commitment to inspire young people to learn why “where it comes from matters.” Near the sparkling waters of the upper Chenango River in Greene, NY, you’ll find Antique Valley Farm, a small 50-acre organic dairy farm owned and operated by Keith Campbell and Janet Pfromm. Keith and Janet have been farming together for 23 years and enjoy the advantages of running a smaller farm. “We try to work with nature,” says Keith, “we don’t have a big land base so we let the cows do their own harvesting in the pastures.”

With a small herd of 55 cows, mostly Jerseys with a half dozen Short-horns, things get pretty personal at Antique Valley. “All of our cows have names,” says Keith, “and they’re our babies. Mom (Janet) does a great job raising the calves and an even better job of spoiling them. They follow her everywhere.” The cows at Antique Valley are a friendly bunch that will come up to you and lick you, they love being around people whether that’s Keith and Janet, a local 4-H group or the neighborhood kids.

“I like watching the calves and heifers grow up into great cows,” says Keith, “We just love fancy cows. We used to do a lot of shows and had many champions. But, we don’t show anymore, it’s time for the next generation to get the ribbons.”

Part of a close-knit local community, Keith and Janet have perfected the art of farm babysitting. Neighbors will often drop off their kids dressed in barn clothes and ready to help with chores around the farm. The kids love it and so do Keith and Janet. “We don’t teach our children enough about agriculture anymore, people are so removed from it nowadays.” says Keith, “When you can show a youngster how the milk gets from the cow to the bottle, they’re just fascinated. I think it gives them more respect for the land and where their food comes from. When you combine that with some small chores around the farm, they get a feeling of responsibility that they’re contributing to the process, it’s a really great experience for the kids.”

For Keith and Janet, that commitment to our youth goes well beyond the neighboring kids. They work with young people to connect them with agriculture. Local area schools and youth organizations such as the 4-H and Future Farmers of America (FFA) in Newark Valley often visit Antique Valley via field trips to learn more about dairy farming and agriculture. Janet is the 4-H coordinator for Chenango County and has been involved in the program for the past 12 years. “When I run the Animal Science and Dairy Farm programming,” says Janet, “I teach using a hands-on approach to both dairy farm and non-dairy farm kids, educating them on what they need to know about being successful at raising and caring for animals. I continually challenge them to deepen their understanding by making the education programming more exciting and complex. I like to take them on field trips and take them out of the county so they can see what the world is like outside of Chenango County. It’s really gratifying to see my students grow into successful young adults who are going onto college or starting their careers.”

Keith and Janet originally connected with the Byrne family through a long-time friend in the dairy business who was also a Byrne employee. They started working together within a matter of days. “I’m always very impressed with Byrne as a company.” says Keith, “Their word is good. Their drivers are excellent. All their employees are great. They really go out of their way to help you no matter who it is within the organization. Our Byrne driver, Jason, is a super guy and you can set your watch by when he’s going to be here for a pick-up. They’re all just really great people.”

Recognized for outstanding milk quality with the prestigious “Super Milk” award for 23 years running, Keith and Janet have a simple formula for success: “If I won’t drink it, I won’t send it.” says Keith. The secret to their success is hard work and special attention to keeping their cows clean, healthy and happy. “We’re a small organic farm so our focus isn’t on quantity. We work hard to deliver the highest possible quality. That’s one thing I definitely take my hat off to the Byrne family for,” says Keith, “they choose to support the smaller farms because they know that’s what makes a strong farm community and a high-quality product.” And there’s a special appreciation for working with a local company to feed local families. “It makes me feel really good that it’s all made right here,” adds Janet, “We have the neighborhood hooked on Byrne Dairy chocolate milk.”

Keith and Janet work hard to deliver the best milk but it’s clear that they love every minute of it. “There’s nothing better than watching a calf being born and then maturing into a beautiful cow. Or being able to walk the pastures and move the cows.” says Keith, “The other night we watched an 8-point buck and got within 100 feet of him – he wasn’t scared or afraid at all because he sees me almost every night moving fence. That’s what’s fantastic about farming, being outside in nature, seeing the wildlife, changes in seasons. We have to be in the country, it’s just who we are.”