Living sandwiched between two fields my whole life, at least two barns visible from our front porch, farm life has always been just steps away. The smell of manure doesn’t phase me. And although my friends and family can tell you I’m anything but outdoors-y, touring local farms to see all of the hard work it takes to bring fresh meat, dairy, and produce to our communities is so interesting!
Walking through a farm with the owners themselves provides a glimpse you can’t get from driving by. You’ll learn how many generations the farm has been in the family, who helps run it, where their bounty goes, and so much more. Genesee County has all different kinds of farms—dairy, alpaca, goat, and elk. Just be sure to call before and wear some old clothes when you visit!
It’s a great time to visit alpaca farms—they usually get sheared in the spring, so if you visit soon, you may still catch them in all their furry glory. We have six in Genesee County! All are open to visitors, but it’s recommended to call first to make sure the owners are home to get the full farm experience. You’ll get a chance to pet them, feed them, and maybe even walk them around the property! They’re a very curious and gentle creature, great for children and older family members.
Duffy Fainting Goat Farm not only has fainting (Myotonic) goats, they have Great Pyrenees dogs and Nigerian Dwarf goats, as well. The Myotonic goats, if startled or surprised, will stiffen up and fall over! After about 10 seconds, they’ll be right back up on all fours. YouTube-ing this is great for laughs, but seeing it in person is way better. The Nigerian Dwarf goats don’t faint, but they are super lovey creatures! The Great Pyrenees dogs might as well be small horses … males get up to at least 120 pounds and stand almost three feet tall!. A gentle and affectionate breed, you may find all 120 pounds trying to climb onto your lap!
Lamb Farms, Inc. offers a great chance to see a dairy farm in working action! Stop by yourself and follow the signs for visitors to be led to an observation area—where you can watch the cows get milked at 7 a.m., 3 p.m., or 11 p.m. If you would like a guided tour, they of course have those, too. You’ll get to learn how Lamb Farms is a leader in quality milk and an innovator in the agricultural industry. When I was little, my parents would stop by the farm just up the road for a few minutes to let us pet the calves. I remember begging on our way back from my grandma’s if we could stop for just a second! It became a sort of tradition with my brother and our cousins. Now, my parents stop by with my niece and nephew, who are just as excited as we used to be.
It is these experiences that shape our youth. Real, hands-on, getting-dirt-on-your-clothes, fun. No technology can replace hearing a cow “moo” at you, several feet away. Or the feeling of how soft an alpaca’s fleece is. Visiting a farm is a wonderful way to experience the agriculture that is all around us in Genesee County and to build memories that will never be forgotten.