Jeff Jordan of Chichester was a good friend and a fellow farmer. It seemed like one day he was helping me load lambs into our trailer, and the next he was diagnosed with cancer. He died a few weeks later at age 66.
Jeff worked his entire life to build a quality flock of sheep. He was a hog expert, too. Jeff would judge for both species at the Deerfield Fair. You might have walked through the “Jeff Jordan Sheep Barn” at the Hopkinton Fair; so-named in honor of his faithful support of 4H and the Fair. Jeff was a good man, a talented herdsman and skilled shearer, and now he's gone.
Losing a man like Jeff is extra painful for us New Hampshire farmers. Our numbers are small and getting smaller; most of us are over 55 and not getting any younger. How can we replenish our diminishing ranks with new farmers? Certainly not by promising them riches. It's a truism that the way to make a million dollars in farming is to start with $10 million...a grim joke.
Farming is not glamorous, but it's necessary if we want to eat. For people like me, it's the only way to live – as a fully participating, hands-on producer - carrying on an age-old tradition and working under the sky with no boss except Mother Nature.
To recruit young farmers, each year in early October, Learning Networks Foundation (the nonprofit aspect of Miles Smith Farm) hosts FARM DAY. Our 2018 FARM DAY takes place on Saturday, October 6th from 10 am to 3 pm. That's when young and old can get up-close and personal with our farm animals. Visitors get to pet a rabbit, brush a heifer, take a hayride, and even ride a cow!
This year we'll also have two friendly lambs and a donkey named Eleanor; winsome creatures that we bought from Jeff Jordan's estate. In addition to visiting the animals at FARM DAY, there will be three workshops – one on raising goats, another on vegetable and herb gardening, and a third on training yoked cattle to pull heavy loads...my special joy.
Yes, we mourn Jeff's passing but let's also celebrate his life and protect his legacy by inviting young people to come and learn about agriculture. We're raising cattle and hogs at Miles Smith Farm, but we're also cultivating our next generation of farmers!
Find out more about FARM DAY on our website at FARMDAY.