About the Dairy Farm of the Year
It all began in 1947 with the following, “I challenge the other New England States to produce better pastures than New Hampshire and I bet a hat that they can’t do it”. That was the beginning of what turned out to be one of the most successful regional programs in New England when Governor Charles Dale, then Governor of New Hampshire, challenged the other New England States to produce better pastures. This challenge by the New Hampshire Governor to his fellow New England Governors started a tradition which has involved hundreds of dedicated farmers, farm families and agri-business leaders over more than 30 years.
As the New England dairy industry has changed over the years, so have the objectives of the New England Green Pastures program. It has evolved from one of promoting pastures and forage management to its present objective of honoring an outstanding dairy family from each of the six New England States for total management (both production and financial) of the operating farm, considering the farm family’s contribution to the agricultural community.
Originally, each of the six New England Governors made the presentation to the outstanding dairyman in the individual states. Today, this function is carried out by the Commissioners of Agriculture. Except for the “Governors’ Trophies”, paid for by the Governors, New England dairy farmers and agri-businesses have contributed the entire budgets on which the New England Green Pastures program has operated over these many years.
The New England Green Pastures program continues to emphasize the importance of a viable dairy industry in New England. Three activities are supported by a very modest budget. First, the program honors the “Outstanding Dairy Farm of the Year” from each of the six New England states; this includes a trip to Eastern States Exposition where a banquet and evening program center around these outstanding farm families. Second, through the “Salute to Agriculture”, the New England dairy story is told to the largest assembled group of consumers in New England – namely, at the “Big E”. Finally, with the help of the Green Pastures program, prominent teachers and research personnel are brought to New England to conduct special in-service training sessions for Extension, agri-business and dairy leaders on problems facing the dairy industry.