David Mills had been a dairy farmer for about 25 years. But he was tired of the way things were going with the dairy. His explanation echoes that of many family farmers: “It is hard to survive unless you’re a big operation.” Even with the long hours David put into his dairy each week, he didn’t see a future.
In response to the growing market for safe, natural beef, David traded in his dairy operation to raise beef cattle on pasture. Now, a year and a half later, David raises about 300 grass-fed cattle on his farm, Millbrand Farm, in Vermont. In the summer, his cattle are rotationally grazed on about 1,000 acres. In the winter, hardy cattle find shelter in the woods and others keep warm in the barn, feeding on the hay David raises, cuts, and bales throughout the summer. David hopes that his two sons, aged three years and three weeks, will see a bright future for themselves on the farm. As for his own future, David sees more time with his family and an increased demand for the healthful, delicious beef his hard work produces.