By Breanna Fulper
From waking up to milk cows at 4:30 a.m. to stacking hay at night, my siblings and I grew up in an environment where a strong work ethic is expected and praised.
As the fifth generation of our family’s 104-year old dairy farm, we are much different than our peers, classmates and neighbors. In fact, we were the only full-time farm kids in our entire high school.
My grandfather, Bob Fulper, recalls six out of nine kids in his elementary class to be farmers. When he was a child, he can remember 11 farms located on our road, which is about 5 miles long, and, now, we are the only true full-time farmers.
The idea of a farmer who solely milks his cows, plows the fields, and maintains his equipment is outdated. The farmer of today must evolve with a new demand — connecting with the consumer.
When my great-, great-grandparents farmed, so did all of their neighbors. When my grandparents farmed, although a smaller percentage of the neighbors were farmers, the community trusted them and respected their agricultural expertise on animal husbandry and land stewardship.
Today, 104 years later, we continue to produce high-quality crops for our cattle and, consequently, produce high quality milk, because of our long-standing sustainable farming practices, land conservation methods and technological advancements. However, less of our neighbors trust our 104-years of expertise than ever before.
Because consumers are now so far removed from their agricultural roots, they crave more information about where their food comes from. We could not be more excited to share our generations of knowledge to consumers. The face of farming has evolved and agricultural educational for consumers is a key component of that.
For years, milk has been reputably known as one of “nature’s most nearly perfect foods.” This truth is blurred with deceptive news headlines, misconceptions of how dairy cattle are raised and treated, and misleading dairy food labels, which instill less trust from our neighbors and consumers.
At a young age, I recognized this and how crucial it was to become a strong advocate and educator for the dairy industry to communicate a clear message of how we consistently produce a safe, wholesome, and nutritious product each day: milk.
As the oldest of the farm’s fifth generation, I quickly developed an entrepreneurial plan to educate children and consumers for the sake of the dairy industry’s survival, an industry that is extremely important for so many families around the world. My drive to educate fueled my agritourism ventures eight years ago when I launched family farm tours and on-farm birthday party programs.
Six years ago, I created a summer camp program to offer an unforgettable week experience on the farm for children. We are bringing our local community closer to the source of their food. We are educating consumers about where their milk and other dairy products come from.
Now, we are diligently working on producing yogurts, cheeses and butters featuring the milk from our famous cow, Claudia.
Breanna Fulper is fifth-generation working her family’s dairy farm in West Amwell, Hunterdon County. She is a graduate of Cornell University and also works as a financial planner. She can be reached at 315-406-0731 or firstname.lastname@example.org.