Farm Profile: Hager Brothers Farm
Massachusetts is home to 149 dairy farms, 42% of which are in Franklin, Hampden, and Hampshire Counties. Dairy farms represent only about two percent of the farms in the Pioneer Valley, but they steward 18% of all farmed land in the region and account for 14% of the region’s farm product sales.
Hager Brothers Farm in Colrain is a modern Massachusetts dairy farm. Their 60 cow herd is at the core of their operation, which is managed by the third and fourth generations of the Hager family. Milk produced on the farm is sold in bulk to Agri-Mark, a dairy processing cooperative that produces Cabot cheese as well as other dairy products. The dairy has been integral to the farm since the beginning and still accounts for the majority of the farm’s income, but 100 years of agriculture have brought changes and new ideas to the farm as well.
In addition to their daily milking responsibilities, the family taps 13,000 maple trees each spring and raises a small herd of beef cattle. Since 2009, they have also operated Hager’s Farm Market, a small store and restaurant on Route 2 in Shelburne. The market enables Hager Brothers to sell its own fruit, produce, maple syrup, and beef directly to customers, along with products from dozens of other local farms. Together, all of these operations enable the farm to support two generations and keep 900 acres of land in agriculture.