“I am lucky,” said Clint Harris, co-owner of Harris Farm in Dayton Maine, talking about his son, Jake who graduated college last spring with a degree in Agriculture Integration and came back to work on the farm. “He’s wanted to be a farmer since he was just about six weeks old.” chuckled Clint, “It’s all he’s ever wanted.” And it is all Clint Harris has ever wanted too. Clint grew up on Harris Farm. It was started by his grandfather and has been run by the following generations. Clint’s father and mother still run the sweet corn operation of the business and Clint’s wife Rachel started working on the farm and came on as co-owner after their second child was born in 1996.
Harris farm features dairy products, vegetables, sweet corn, pick your own pumpkins, cross country skiing, and maple syrup. The largest part of their business is their milk products, which includes fun flavors like coffee, banana and eggnog. Their milk is sold at the farm and home delivered by a milkman named Jimmy. The beef on their farm is grass fed through rotational grazing, which means they are moved every day to graze on a new field. Cows traditionally ate grass not grain. Their digestive systems have the ability to convert grasses and plants into protein. Overall it is better for the animals and for the quality and taste of the beef.
“I love the changing of the seasons,” said Clint. “Because our farm is so diverse, each season brings something new. We are always excited after the harvest because it slows down, but my favorite season is spring. I love the whole regeneration of everything–how everything starts over like the tiny sprouts of crops emerging from the hard ground. Dairy cows calve throughout the year. I’ve birthed thousands of calves in my life. It’s an amazing experience.”
“What’s hard is the grind. Farming doesn’t stop at 5pm. When the cows get out, you have to go get them, no matter what time of night, or what type of weather. I laugh when I hear people talk about taking a day off at home. We can’t do that here. There is always something to do. But at least I love what I do. My work is my hobby and my hobby is my work.”
Clint is a member of the Maine Farm Bureau because he believes having a voice on the legislation that affects agriculture is critical. “There are over 200 bills each year that impact farmers. It would be impossible for one person to take action and understand the impacts fully, but as a collective group we can do that. And the outcome of this work benefits all the farmers in the state. That is really important to me.”