Eastern Connecticut Conservation District
Lucas Young is a tenth-generation farmer in Woodstock, Conn., on a 750-acre dairy farm of 220 Holstein milking cows. Young’s family has been on that land since it was first deeded by the King of England in the early 1700s, and with that comes a sense of pride as well as great responsibility to take care of the land for the next generation. As a family operation, everyone’s involved, including Young’s wife Angela, his children, his father Tim, and even his grandfather Dexter, who still helps where he can. Young credits the farm’s success to the mutual respect and steady communication between the generations.
Young says their family history on the land drives their future. They continue to look for new technologies and ideas to keep their dairy sustainable and moving forward. Valleyside Farm is part of the Cabot Farm Co-op, which is an 800-family farm cooperative in the New York and New England region. Young is also an active member of his community through his local conservation district. Partnering with the Eastern Connecticut Conservation District, Young hosts soil health workshops, holds demonstrations on the farm, and conducts research, , sharing with other farmers and the broader community about his efforts in sustainable farming and the new technologies available.
With Young’s leadership, Valleyside Farm has implemented no-till farming and is using a diverse cover crop mixture. In 2017, with the assistance of the Connecticut Department of Energy & Environmental Protection (CT DEEP) through Section 319 of the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA)’s Clean Water Act, Valleyside Farm was able to purchase precision planting equipment, which allows the cover crops to stay in the ground longer, naturally feeding the next crop. Young now shares this technology with others at field day events and demonstrations.
In Young’s pursuit of leaving a family legacy through Valleyside Farm and moving toward a more sustainable operation with healthy soils, he is also reporting economic benefits that will be passed down through future generations. In the end, Young sees this investment in the future to be all worthwhile. “There’s no greater reward and peace than from seeing all that hard work pay off,” he said.
Posted May 2019