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Dairy, Diversity, Education Are Heart Of Friendship Farms
Co.) Friendship Farms in Mey
ersdale, owned by Jim and Doris
Stutzman, duives on diversity,
according to Jim.
Actually operating on two
farms, the Stutzman family has its
hands in several pots.
Besides milking some S 8 head
of Holsteins, they raise a few beef
cattle (20 Angus calves, heifers
and bulls), and com, oats, rye and
Most years, maple syryp also
joins the commodities. Everything
the farm doesn't need is sold.
“We diversified because prices
run in cycles,” Jim said. “You try
to hit the high sides. When the
price of crops is off, you can run
them through the animals.
“We don’t use any no-till. We
use some rotational grazing, but
not with paddocks. Most of ours
are pastures that are non-tillable,
but have water sources,” he said.
A hundred acres are sown with
com. Oats and rye each claim 60 to
70 acres. Hay covers the rest of the
land that isn’t wooded or otherwise
unfit for cultivation.
The two properties trace back
through Doris’s side of the
family the Millers for
about 200 years.
One of the farms was sold years
ago. However, 20 years ago, Jim
and Doris purchased the adjacent
farm to get it back within family
It’s a decision they’ve never
regretted, they said, especially
since Doris’s father, Ernest “Pap”
Miller, died unexpectedly last
October. His lifelong wish, Doris
said, was to keep both farms within
The Stutzmans have two child
ren Becky, 23, and Marty, 19, who
represent the eighth generation on
Diversity has enabled the Stutz
mans to keep the operation going
and the family on the farm.
In addition to doing farm work.
Jim Stutzman shows how he mixes com silage and hayl
age, with silos built adjacently and emptying onto a
iturday, July 1, IMS
Jim has been a junior high school
science teacher for 20 years.
For most of his additional farm
labor, he has had students from the
high school work during summers,
helping with haying, and chores.
“They (the students) juggle with
other employment and school
sports,” Jim said. “We’ve used
school kids for years. As the
seniors move (Hi, younger ones
take their place, but (the seniors)
teach the younger ones (the job)
before moving on.”
Jim said he doesn’t mind that the
work he offers is transitional for
the youth, adding that he and Doris
want the youth to move on to other
experiences after getting their
experience with farm work.
For some of the youth, working
for the Stutzmans has become a
sort of pre-season football
In fact, some of the football
playing students expanded the
farm name to “Friendship Farms
Training Camp,” because of the
physical labor involved.
Two different crews of high
school football players working at
two different sites to stack hay has
resulted in some friendly competi
tion of strength and endurance to
see who finishes Erst.
According to Marty, who went
to school with some of die help, the
other incentive was that the faster
the hay was stacked, the longer
respite before the next wagon load
came in from the field.
“The quicker they go it off (the
wagon), the longer break they
got,” Marty said, grinning.
“They worked hard, and I think
it got them ready for football,” Jim
said. “They also learned punctuali
ty and reliability. It helped us and
gave them some spending cash,”
According to Jim’s calculations,
in good years, if he got three cut
tings of hay, the summer help
would stack 20,000 bales.
However, the Stutzmans cut
back on the number of acres they
farm. They no longer lease 300
acres in addition to their own 500.
The Stutzman family stands in the lawn in front of their barn at Friendship Farms.
From the left are Doris, Becky, Jim and Marty Stutzman.
While Jim said the leased land was
sold to someone who farms it, Dor
is said she had a different notion
about why the matter.
“Old age. It was old age,” she
Doris held off-farm jobs before
they had children, but has since
focused on raising them and taking
care of the household, in addition
to helping around the farm.
“I get to do the dishes in the
bam, too,” she said, “and drive
tractor if they are desperate.” She
said she dislikes any machine big
ger than she.
Jim has been on sabatical, which
ends this fall. He’s been to Mis
souri to visit and to eastern Pen
nsylvania for the National Science
The time off has helped greatly
after losing Ernest, they said.
Even though on sabatical, edu
cation continues to be important
for the family.
Becky graduated from Frost
burg State University on May 13
with a degree in health and physi
cal education, and has been job
Marty completed his freshman
year at Garrett Community Col
lege, in McHenry, Md., where he’s
pursuing a degree in agricultural
Jim has been taking classes too.
Earning 12 credits through the
Gannon University outreach clas
ses, Jim said, “I found out I’d
rather be the teacher than the
On the farm, Jim and Marty
makes decisions together after dis
ucssion, but Jim said Marty man
ages the dairy.
The cows are fed a totally mixed
ration, and test forages about every
two weeks. Each month a veterina
rian conducts a herd health check.
According to Jim, they haven’t
had a serious cow health problem
for a long time, though he said that
weather has been frustrating.
“It’s been difficult weather to
raise calves,” he said. ‘The undu
lating temperatures ... is hard on
They market their milk through
the Maryland Virginia
Jim and Doris are involved with
other activities also.
In February, Jim became presi
dent of the Pennsylvania Young
Farmers Association, succeeding
James Berry of Brookville. hi the
ytutzman asi jl teacher and farmer. _r milk
ing, here he goes over material he may include In lesson
association, the past president is an
active member who assists the
“We try to share a lot of respon
sibility on the executive board to
cut down expenses,” Jim said.
They’ve been working to pre
pare for the next winter conven
tion, set for February 1996, with
Somerset County to serve as host
There are three YF chapters in the
IT DOES A
Stutzman also said he really
believes in the organization
because it is about learning. He
said he would like to see more peo
ple involved, men and women. He
said they would enjoy the conven
tions, the learning, the sharing of
experiences and knowledge, and
“(The convention) is like a class
reunion,” he said.