RANDOLPH - Tom and Margie Andrews have a new sign to hang by their farm.
The Andrews' farm is the newest winner of the Dairy of Distinction award and the only first-time winner of the award in the Erie, Chautauqua and Cattaraugus County region in 2012.
In winning the award, Pine Hill Cattle Co. has become a member of the most prestigious group of dairy farmers in the state.
Tom and Margie Andrews are pictured with their sons Jackson, Jeff and Joe with their recently-awarded Dairy of Distinction sign.
"We had a family farm with my brothers before this," said Tom Andrews. "When that sort of fell apart, we purchased (Pine Hill Cattle Co.). When we first purchased the farm, it was a little run down and needed some work. We've always wanted to raise our kids on a farm and, of course, we wanted to raise them on the best farm we could. We started out by doing little things like keeping the lawn well groomed, we put new fences up and generally just improved the conditions of the farm."
After starting with only one cow in 2007, the Andrews now milk 45 cows, rotationally graze all 56 acres they own, grow 40 acres of corn and store as many as 7000 bales of hay.
The Andrews now milk twice a day. In the summertime, they feed their cows nothing but the grass in the pasture and some grain in the parlor. They feed a mix of stored baled hay, haylages from an AG BAG and corn silage that is also stored in an AG BAG to the cows in the winter. The Andrews raise their bull calves as steers and keep all their heifers as replacements.
"I'm a firm believer that you need to ship good milk and need a nice place for people to look at," Andrews said. "People need to see that the milk is coming from a good farm and to do so takes a lot of hard work."
Though Pine Hill Cattle Co. was the only first-time winner of the award in 2012, several other farms in the area celebrated Dairy of Distinction anniversaries. These farms include:
10 year winners: Dunkleman Farms of Cattaraugus, Bill and Anne Weicht and Family of Clymer, Tim and Mary Rhinehart and Family of Kennedy, and John and Laura Knight of Jamestown;
15 year winners: Sluga's Dairy Farm of Randolph;
20 year winners: Ron and David Adams and Family of Randolph;
25 year winners: Schwab Dairy Farm of Delevan, Willink Farms LLC of Clymer, and Balcom-Flats Farm of South Dayton.
All winners of the Dairy of Distinction award receive a new red, yellow and white Dairy of Distinction sign marked with the number of years they have maintained their award, which is to be placed at their farmstead along the roadside. Once the award is given, participating farms must maintain the standard of quality which allowed them to win the award, otherwise their Dairy of Distinction sign and distinction will be revoked.