New England Green Pastures Connecticut Dairy Farm of the Year 2021
We are delighted to announce that Katlyn and Tim Kinsella of Birch Mill Farm have been selected as the 2021 New England Green Pastures Connecticut Outstanding Farm. Birch Mill Farm is located in Falls Village in the bucolic northwest corner of Connecticut. They are proud first generation dairy farmers and along with their young family, Emma and Henry, they milk 45 cows made up of Brown Swiss, Ayrshire and Holsteins. Tim and Kate grew up in the agriculture community, both their grandparents are retired farmers and as kids they raised and showed purebred dairy cows and were very active in 4-H and FFA. After high school Tim went to work full time on a local dairy farm and Kate worked as a DHIA milk tester. In 2009 when a good friend and long time farmer decided to retire, Tim and Kate were given the opportunity to rent the farm and purchase his 28 young stock. Those young stock along with the 5 milk cows they already owned became the foundation for their now, herd of 100 head consisting of 50 mature cows and young stock.
They maintain a 22,500 rolling herd average and they are proud of the latest DHI test of 82 pounds of milk per cow. They maintain high quality milk with average SCC far below 100,00- cells/mL. They have bred several Excellent Brown Swiss cows and are particularly proud of a favorite Brown Swiss cow who’s daughter has ranked in the top 100 for Heifer G-PPR. The secrets to their success is their commitment to high quality forage, cow comfort with the installations of water beds in their tie stalls, and a strong focus on hygiene in housing and milking time routines.
They are farming at a rented facility with 25 acres and rent an additional 500 acres. This additional land base supports a secondary hay business. Their forages consist of 100% BMR corn, grass and alfalfa. They use cover crops and have recently explored the feeding potential of this crop.
They have a strong commitment to the dairy industry and support local school activities and are involved in the local FFA and 4-H programs. They have leased calves to 4-H youth and Kate just became co-chair of the Goshen Fair Dairy Committee.
Over the last 12 years, they have focused on updating facilities to ensure cow comfort, hygiene and high quality milk, along with making high quality forages. The Kinsella’s consider themselves to be relatively ‘risk adverse’ and they make sure that all new investments will be economically sound. They are positive and resilient and maintain a can-do attitude that shows in all aspects of the farm. They look forward to moving their farm to the next level and they are great representatives of the sustainability of dairy farming in Connecticut. We congratulate Kate and Tim Kinsella on their achievements.
Respectively Submitted by, Sheila M. Andrew, Ph.D., Professor and Extension Dairy specialist, University of Connecticut