Silver Spring Farm
You can’t help but notice the cheery yellow barns and home at Silver Spring Farm down a quiet road in upstate New York. Even from up in the sky, where a professional photographer on another assignment once directed a pilot to turn around so he could get a photo of the farmstead, Silver Spring Farm exudes a simple beauty that shows the pride of the Luchsinger family. It’s that pride, and a dedication to farming that has kept this farm running successfully for about 95 years.
“My grandfather has had Jerseys from the start,” says Chuck Luchsinger, leaning into the side of one of his Jersey cows. Though they are a smaller breed, Jerseys yield a higher fat and protein content, which Chuck Luchsinger is proud to deliver to Byrne. Their 120 Jerseys are registered and the family often shows them at competitions.
Silver Spring is run by Chuck, his wife, Susan, and their oldest son, Charlie. Their two daughters grew up helping on the farm as well. One of their daughters is in Indiana, with a small farm of her own, working with her father a bit to show cows. The Luchsingers have a couple of farm hands, but it is purely a family-owned operation, in motion from before dawn till after dusk.
Every day of the year, the Luchsingers are up with the cows, tending to calves and milking, getting the milk tank filled with fresh, high-quality milk to be picked up by an ever-dependable Byrne driver. It’s a life Chuck clearly loves. It’s hard work, but rewarding, and as one of the Byrne farms, it is a good, dependable income. “I like that we’re shipping to a place that has a good image in the community,” Luchsinger says. On many occasions people will ask where he ships his milk, and he enjoys saying it goes right down the road to Byrne. “It’s a good company on solid ground,” Luchsinger says.
There also is a sense of independence when working with Byrne that appeals to Luchsinger. Each Byrne farmer works without a contract. Their contract is bonded by a firm handshake and their word that they will stay competitive with their program. Should there need to be a change in the agreement, Byrne is required to notify a farm within 30-days. Over time, during which Luchsinger has consistently delivered a high quality product, and Byrne has maintained its promises, the working relationship between Byrne and the Luchsinger family has become a strong one.
To be a productive farmer in upstate New York, you must have good business sense. When Luchsinger signed on with Byrne in 2000 he had shopped around for the best deal, and he was impressed with the high standard of quality that Byrne insists on maintaining. Luchsinger says a Byrne farm is going to be a high-quality, clean, well-run farm. Inspectors from Byrne check the farm, the cows and the product, and help to maintain a good relationship with the farmers. “We have an excellent rapport with them,” Luchsinger says of the inspectors. “If there is ever a problem, they say ‘okay, this is what you need to do.’ It’s very straightforward.” Luchsinger says that when Byrne asked farmers to refrain from using any growth-hormones in their cows, he had no problem making that promise, because he knows Byrne customers come first. Being held to a high standard is something Chuck Luchsinger is very comfortable with. He likes that when people drive by his farm and see the sign that shows they are a Byrne farm, they can look at his attractive, modern farm, and know right where their milk comes from.
The Luchsinger family is a busy one, and looks to stay that way. Last year, two of their children got married, and this summer the couple is co-chairmen of the American Jersey Cattle Association Annual Meeting, to be held in Syracuse. The family will host a luncheon, tours and other activities at Silver Spring Farm during the Annual Meeting. Chuck smiles when asked if he is proud of his family, and being in charge of such a meeting.
Then it’s off to work, to the cows, the calves and the farm life that is home.