Joe and Emily Donegan , and their two sons, Patrick and Frankie live and farm in Charlotte, VT. They milk 30 cows seasonally and are renting a 90 acre farm with additional rented hayland nearby. They are in the process of purchasing their farm if all the financing can be put into place. Their apartment is one of three in an old farmhouse on the farm which allows them to live and work at the farm at the same time.
Joe was a public and community service major in college. As he learned about the non profit world he decided that the best thing he could do for the world was to raise his family on a farm. Joe’s mother grew up on a farm and Joe grew up close to farms. In Emily’s words, he was close enough to them to be intrigued and far enough away from the day to day routine to be unaware of the amount of work they entailed. Joe wrote a business plan for a farm as his final project in college, interned for a winter on Teddy Yandow’s farm in Northern Vermont and then started his own operation with four bred heifers and a group of calves. After two years, Joe and Emily were ready to start shipping organic milk and joined Organic Valley in May 2008. Emily did not come from a farming background but says that Joe’s vision spoke to her and she feels she brings complimentary talents to their farm operation.
John Cleary speaks highly of Joe and Emily as hard working, smart farmers who didn’t have preconceived notions of how farming should be done and who have utilized resources and do a very good job around herd health and grazing. They look forward to participating in Have a Cow and will be a real asset to the program.