Carolyn N. Moyer
Northern Pa. Correspondent
<.000>MILLERTON, Pa. — If there is one thing that Barry and Jane Hultz have learned from their years of farming it’s that when God closes a door another one is opened — the hard part is trusting in God and following His plan.
Both Barry and Jane Hultz grew up on dairy farms. Barry’s parents, Walter and Gertrude Hultz, farmed just up the road from today’s Hultz Haven Farm.
Jane’s parents, Gerald (Buzz) and Helen Parker were well-known for their registered Holstein herd housed on Parkmont Farms near Liberty, Pa.
Barry and Jane Hultz met at the Tioga County Fair while showing their 4-H Holsteins and fell in love, but before Barry proposed to Jane, he had to earn her father’s blessing.
“He tried to talk you out of farming,” said Jane Hultz. “It was a tradition in the Parker family that you ask my father permission to get married.”
“It was a serious talk,” remembers Barry Hultz.
Jane, too, had a rule: No chickens.
“We had 18,000 at home,” said Jane. “They were a lot of work too. I remember unloading them and putting them in. That was a job. We could try other things and see if it works, but I said no chickens.”
Barry Hultz farmed with his parents and after he and Jane were married, rented his parents’ place. The couple intended to purchase the farm, but they were turned down for the loan.
“We were just devastated,” said Barry Hultz.
In 1984, another opportunity was presented to Barry and Jane. A farm just a few miles from his home farm was placed on the market and this time, everything fell in place.
“We had bought my dad’s cows and equipment,” said Barry Hultz, “Her dad gave us 20 cows.”
“We liked this farm a little better. The land lays nicer and it was a little cheaper,” said Barry Hultz.
The property also came with a bigger house for their growing family.
After renovating the property, fixing stalls, siding the barn, adding a calf barn, and equipment sheds, the Hultz family decided it was time to apply for the Dairy of Distinction award. They also added a porch on the house and did some remodeling inside.
“We still have projects we want to get done,” said Jane Hultz. “You don’t get them all done at once.”
One project was spurred by necessity. When they started farming, the calves were raised in the barn. They then went to individual calf hutches and later built a calf condominium. Wind, according to the family, is never in short supply and they had trouble keeping the hutches in place and had the same trouble with the condominium. The third time the condominium blew over, it was demolished.
“I said I’m going to build something that won’t blow over,” said Barry Hultz. “Then we built the calf barn.”
They firmly believe that the outward appearance of the farm speaks to the care that is taken with the entire farm.
“It’s kind of a poor advertisement for a farmer if his place isn’t kept up, I think,” said Barry Hultz.
“We were both raised that way,” said Jane Hultz. “His mom and dad took care of his farm and always had it looking the best we could and down home mom and dad always took care of the farm. Mom’s flowers were known all over.”
Farming is in the Hultz family blood. After 40 years of marriage, Barry and Jane are still happily married and still farming and they have passed the love of the farm on to countless other individuals.
Their son, Daryl Hultz, who always took a great interest in the cows, has been farming with Barry and Jane for several years. He and his wife, Denise, have three boys, Nick, Josh and Joel, who spend many days on the farm.
Barry and Jane’s other son, Aaron Hultz, worked as a mechanic before recently returning to the family farm with his wife, Kaitlynn. Aaron and Kaitlynn are expecting their first child this fall. A daughter, Jolene and her husband, Mike, live close to the farm with their three children, Emma, Olivia and Jake.
The Hultz family has also encouraged others to follow their dreams, even if it isn’t the most lucrative deal. Two of their nephews spent many hours on the Hultz farm and now have farms of their own. One of their former hired workers is also farming on his own. They also supplied neighbor children with calves to show in 4-H.
Today they are milking between 75 and 80 cows and grow corn and hay on their farm which encompasses just shy of 400 acres. Daryl Hultz milks in the morning and Aaron Hultz milks at night. Barry Hultz does all of the feeding and Jane tends to the calves.
Now that both boys are back on the farm, everyone has an opportunity to take a break from the daily farm chores. But, the commitment to spend your life in this profession can’t be taken lightly.
“They have to realize that it is a lot of work and isn’t the highest pay,” said Barry Hultz. “I think that was what Buzz was trying to drill into me kind-of, was that you could make more money doing something else. I guess I put doing what I enjoy over making a lot of money.”
Jane Hultz agrees that there is a huge commitment in farming but is willing to work with her sons if they want to take over the farm.
“We’re leaving it open that if the boys really want to take over we will work with them as much as possible,” said Jane Hultz. “To go buy a place is just way too much.”
“We had to go and borrow everything” said Barry Hultz.
“We feel it’s maybe time for us to slow down a little bit,” said Jane. “We’re trying to keep the farm in the family. They (the boys) seem to be interested in it and want to keep it going.”
Daryl Hultz tends to focus more on the cows and Aaron Hultz gravitates toward the mechanical side of farming.
Daryl Hultz always liked the cows and enjoyed showing them. His intention was to go to vet school, but after four years of college, decided he wanted to farm. He has started to increase his herd of Red and White Holsteins.
Aaron Hultz is still working as a mechanic, this time, for the farm.
“We had a major tractor break down this year and had to work on the motor,” said Jane Hultz. “Usually we would have to take it to the shop which is very expensive, but Aaron was very knowledgeable and he got it figured out and switched the motor and everything.”
When they aren’t farming, Barry and Jane Hultz fill their hours with their collection of John Deere and Minneapolis Moline tractors, furniture restoration and driving school busses as owner/operators. They are also active members of the Millerton Wesleyan Church.
“He has his Dad’s first Minneapolis Moline tractor,” said Jane Hultz. “He was fortunate to get that. He always wanted to get it restored before his dad died, but we didn’t quite get it done. But he knew that we had it and we have a picture of four generations with the tractor.”
Last year, Barry and Jane Hultz took their first real vacation since their three-day June honeymoon when they had to get back to the farm to finish the fieldwork.
“Last year (my sister-in-law) called up two days before and said, we’re going to Branson, do you want to come with us?’ Jane Hultz asked me thinking that I wouldn’t want to go, and I said yes, I do want to go!’ She about tipped over!”
They were gone eight days — the longest they had ever been away from the farm.
“We were glad to come home,” said Jane.
Looking back over the years and seeing the future in the work of their children and grandchildren has been amazing for Barry and Jane Hultz.
“All of this has been possible through a lot of our prayers and the prayers of our friends. It’s all in His plan,” said Barry Hultz.