Essex farm, New York
Deck Family Farm
south willamette chapter
After Rogue Farm Corps she did the FIELD program up in Washington and is now working at Essex Farm in NY as an intern (whole-diet CSA program)
Alex is currently working within the realm of food production at Essex Farm in New York. Essex Farm is unique in that it offers an all you can eat full-diet CSA. She works on the livestock side of things, as well as helps with vegetable work, maple sugaring, food preservation, and butchering. At Essex, she is managing their two flocks of laying hens, totaling about 650 hens, and working with roughly 50 pastured beef cattle (they are in the process of transitioning herds so it is pretty small right now), 80 feeder hogs plus 13 breedstock, 7500 broiler chickens over the season, about 100 sheep, 7 draft horses, two ponies, and a Jersey herd. She also works regularly in the dairy where they milk 20 Jersey cows and raise their own replacement heifers.
Reflecting back on her time as an RFC Intern, Alex writes, “during RFC, I was at a diversified livestock farm that raised all of the animal groups that Essex does and also operated a raw milk dairy. This provided the perfect opportunity to learn about multi-species grazing, management intensive grazing, milking, milling feed, and a whole host of other skills that are pertinent to my work at Essex. My independent project, working on a raw milk certification, allowed me to learn a lot about milk testing, record keeping, artificial insemination, and best management practices and gave me a great understanding of how to operate a raw milk dairy. This is super relevant to Essex as I am taking a larger management role in the dairy. RFC was also really comprehensive, giving me exposure to other types of operations such as vegetable and fruit production, various scales and marketing strategies, as well as farms in the non-profit sector. Through getting this experience, I am better able to help out in other areas of the farm as needed and have a more rounded perspective and understanding of many different agricultural methods. One element of RFC that is potentially under recognized, but possibly one of the most important benefits of the program, is the community that you build. An understanding of how invaluable this community of fellow farmers, extension agents, investors, and eaters is, is something precious and applicable to a future in farming, no matter where an RFC graduate may end up!”