Pharsalia Farm celebrates 200th anniversary

PHARSALIA – If people paid as much attention to what they ate as dairy farmer Brian Newton pays attention to what he feeds his award-winning dairy herd, perhaps everybody would be more healthy.

And that special mixture of hay, grain and silage (fermented corn or grass) takes this sixth generation agribusinessman between two and three hours every morning to concoct – every cow’s 100 pounds of daily feed is carefully considered.

“Our cows are pampered,” said Newton of Balsam View Dairy Farm. “They sleep on rubber beds, have fans, sprinklers when they want to take a shower, good nutrition, clean water, fresh air, a good vaccination program and basically lounge around in their comfortable environment.”

And a stress-free life is what helps cows produce a high caliber product, he said. Balsam View’s 200 dairy cows produce milk that has been recognized at the state, local and national level for being of the highest quality for more than a quarter of a century.

In fact, Balsam View is currently recognized for innovation and efficiency throughout the dairy industry worldwide. They have adopted practices such as intensive grazing which is a New Zealand-based system of reduced equipment costs, optimized grassland management and low carbon footprint. The farm is also energy efficient and recognized for conservation practices of both land and water.

Among its many achievements over the years, Balsam View helped to in advance the nation’s telecommunications system back in the late 1950s when Mrs. Orton (Orah) Newton controlled a radio signal from the farm for Bell Telephone Laboratories. The signal helped researchers understand more about over-the-horizon radio relay.

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