Lawnel Farms, New York

Diary cows eating silage in barn

Explore This New York Dairy of Distinction

Starting with one borrowed cow in 1945, this award-winning New York dairy farm has grown into a 25-person team with 3,500 cows and 3,000 acres of silage crops to feed them. See how the Smith family works with their Pioneer team to run and grow their operation.

The Lawnel Farm Story

Nelson Smith purchased the 176-acre Arthur Donnan Farm in fall 1944. Four generations later, the Smith family is still farming strong.

“It’s been a long, long row to hoe. I’ve obviously only seen, you know, 32 years of it,” explains Amos Smith, Nelson’s great-grandson. “We’ve grown from one borrowed cow up to about 1,600 milking and roughly 3,500 total.”

Over the years, the Smiths purchased the farms of neighbors and friends who wanted to retire or get out of farming.

Nelson’s son Larry, however, doesn’t want to say goodbye just yet. “He’s 84 years old and he’s still here on the farm,” says Amos. “He’s actually a Ph.D. in ag economics, so he’s been one of our main drivers in keeping our business financially successful.”

“This farm is one that impresses you right away,” says Kevin Putnam, Pioneer dairy account manager. “From the cows to the cropping operations to the bunk, every ‘t’ is crossed and 'i' s dotted, and it stands out.”

Putnam isn’t the only one who noticed the farm’s high standards. A few years ago, the state of New York awarded Lawnel Farms the coveted Dairy of Distinction title.

“We really pride ourselves on being a Dairy of Distinction. This is where we live, this is what we do, this is what we love.”-Amos Smith

But awards and accolades aren’t the only things that drive this farm. Amos feels fortunate that he can work with his parents and siblings every day.

“My passion, my pride really comes from my family,” he says. “I think that’s why we work so hard to be a successful family. It’s nice to know that you’ve got good people around you. I think that’s the reason for the success story.”


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