Carolyn N. Moyer
Northern Pa. Correspondent
COGAN STATION, Pa. — “I see a real future with agriculture with all the people we’ve got to feed and the world wants our quality ag products,” said Bruce Bartley, who farms with his wife, Teresa and son, Brandon, in Lycoming County.
“We’re feeding the world not just people in our communities. We need to put on a good example,” said Bruce. “There’s a little bit of pride in it too.”
Their positive outlook extends from global agriculture right back to their doorstep as they strive to keep the farm neat, placing a positive face on local agriculture.
“It’s our duty as dairy farmers to keep a clean face,” said Bruce, “The consumer is always in the watch.”
Bruce and Teresa took over the operation of the farm in 1980 from his father, converting it from a beef and hog operation to a dairy in order to support the family. At that time they milked 14 cows. In 2000, they assumed ownership of the farm.
“Going in we just wanted to make a good living dairy farming,” said Bruce. “It wasn’t about getting rich.”
The Bartleys earned the Dairy of Distinction Award this spring and currently have 65 cows and nearly 30 young animals. They milk 50 cows in the tie stall barn, but are considering changes as they work to bring another generation into the farming operation.
“We’re in the thinking stages now,” said Teresa. “You can’t make those decisions overnight. We know what we want to do we just have to sit down and do it.”
With open communication and open minds, the Bartleys are considering many options. They already have a diversified operation farming 350 acres and taking advantage of their road-side location to market sweet corn and pumpkins. Raising and selling soybeans and field corn and operating a lime spreading business further supplements the farm income. The diversification helps even out the peaks and valleys of an unpredictable milk market. Bruce also serves as a director for Dairy Farmers of America and serves on the Pennsylvania Dairy Promotion Board. Where they go from here is yet to be determined, but they are actively looking at options.
“I’ve got to be patient waiting for things to develop and building the herd,” said Brandon who graduated from Penn State in 2012 with a degree in agriculture business management.
The Bartleys also believe in maintaining what they have.
“If you don’t maintain the equipment, you’ll wake up one morning and have a bunch of old equipment,” said Bruce.
With a global economy and all the challenges of a farm, the Bartleys still keep their positive outlook.
“It’s a good life <\h>— a really challenging life,” said Bruce. “Every day, every growing season, there are challenges in the barn and the weather is such a factor,” said Bruce.
Yet, when the year is over, the Bartleys can sit back and look at the year and have a calm sense of satisfaction that they are doing what they love to do.
“Like one of our neighbors said, we all eat Christmas dinner the same day,” said Brandon.
“I know one thing” said Bruce, “There’s nothing better than working with your son. You can’t beat it!”