Farm Tour Highlights NRCS Programs
The Hillsborough County Conservation District hosted a tour of the Connolly Brothers Dairy Farm in Temple, NH on June 27th. Some of the attendees were: Collin Lever of Congresswoman Kuster's office, Pam Slack of Senator Shaheen's office, Simon Thomson of Senator Ayotte's office, NH State Representative Bob Haefner of Hudson, Rick Ellsmore, State Conservationist of the NH NRCS, Roger Noonan, President of the New Hampshire Association of Conservation Districts and President of the NE Farmers Union, the University of New Hampshire Cooperative Extension, the Russell Foundation, and Brian Hotz of the Society for the Protection of New Hampshire's Forests. After a short presentation on the history of the farm, the tour of the 400-acre operation, via the Connolly's tractor, highlighted conservation practices implemented with help from the NRCS including: fencing, forest access roads, watering system for cows, a heavy use area, manure pit, seasonal high tunnel, and a pan preheater for maple sugaring. In addition to the previously-listed conservation practices, the Connolly farm participates in the NRCS Conservation Stewardship Program to improve their grass-based forage system and reduce their reliance on off-farm nutrient sources (commercial fertilizer). Also featured was information about applying for an NRCS Farm and Ranch Lands Protection Program conservation easement. And, to top it off, the Connolly’s served ice cream sundaes with vanilla ice cream manufactured on site from milk from their dairy cows.
Mike, Chris and Pat Connolly
A 1978 USDA report on agriculture in New Hampshire noted that there were over 390 farms in Hillsborough County, with dairy being the most common. Today there are only seven commercial dairy barns in the county. The property, owned by the Connollys since 1967, is a second generation farm. Recently, the farming operation has transitioned from the parents to their three sons: Chris, Mike, Pat, and their families. Although the NH dairy industry has been in decline over the years, the Connollys have diversified their business, solidifying their operation for years to come. The Connollys produce their own raw milk, ice cream, maple syrup, beef, chickens, manure and hay. They have 95 head of cattle comprised of 30 Jersey cows for milk production and 65 Hereford cows for beef. Martin Connolly, the father, is a NH certified Falconer and runs a Falcon and Raptor rehabilitation facility on their property.