PROVIDENCE –Portsmouth-based Escobar Farm has been named Rhode Island’s 2012 Outstanding Dairy Farm of the Year by the Rhode Island Green Pastures Committee, the R.I. Department of Environmental Management announced Thursday.
Winning dairy farmers from each state in New England will be honored at an awards banquet in September at the Eastern States Exposition in West Springfield, Mass.
According to a release, the Green Pastures Committee chose Escobar Farm because of its “outstanding relationship with the community, use of good management practices – both production and financial – and commitment to ensuring a viable agricultural industry on Aquidneck Island.”
Escobar Farm, owned by Louie and Jane Escobar, was started by the Escobar family in 1937. Today, the 98-acre farm milks 95 cows and raises another 80 young stock that will enter the milking herd when they reach 2 years of age.
In addition to the farm, the couple owns an artificial insemination company serving dairy farms in Rhode Island’s East Bay area as well as Southeastern Massachusetts.
The family is an active member of Agri-Mark, the dairy cooperative that owns the Cabot brand and part of the Escobar milk supply is sold locally under the Rhody Fresh brand in conjunction with seven other local farms.
Louie Escobar, a founding member of Rhody Fresh Milk, put his farm up for collateral so the cooperative could borrow $125,000 at its inception. He is currently the group’s president.
“We’re truly honored to win this award, knowing the history of Green Pastures Award and the many great farms that have won the award before us,” Louie Escobar said in a statement. “We’ve always tried to do the best that we could with our land and our animals. One of the benefits of farming in suburbia is that we have been able to reach out and touch so many people in our local community and put them in direct touch with agriculture and dairy farming.”
“It’s real important if you are in dairy farming that you do it for the love of what you do, because sometimes it is not as financially rewarding as people think,” added Escobar. “It’s a challenge to take care of your animals every day, feed them, milk them and make a profit. But there are other parts of farming on which you cannot put a dollar value. I guess it’s the pleasure and love for our animals, our family and for what we are doing that keeps us going even through the toughest times.”
Escobar Farm, which previously won the Green Pastures award in 2001, is one of only 16 remaining Rhode Island dairy farms.