You could say that dairying is in Peter Mahaffy’s blood.
He studied horticulture in college, thinking that he might try planting fruit trees on the Coos County, Ore. dairy farm that had been in his family since the 1930s, but soon realized that it wasn’t for him. Mahaffy began taking more animal science classes and eventually met Jon Bansen, a dairy farmer who had just joined Organic Valley.
After graduating from college, Peter took a job with Bansen. Two years later, he decided to go back to the farm and dedicate himself to the organic dairying practices he had learned on Bansen’s farm.
In 2003, with 60 cows he bought from Bansen, Peter and his wife, Kelly, moved back to the family farm in Coos County, Ore. His grandfather had milked cows on the farm in the early days, and there were buildings still standing that could be converted for dairying. And the transition to organic farming wasn’t difficult, because Peter’s father hadn’t done much spraying after he took over the dairy from Peter’s grandfather or when he raised beef cattle on the farm after milk prices plummeted in the mid-’90s.
His focus now is making sure the farm is successful so that his three young daughters can continue to farm if they want to. “I’m trying to make it fun for the next generation to come back to the farm, because I was very close to not coming back,” he said.
And he still loves a fresh glass of milk.
“I grew up on it. I think it just tastes absolutely fabulous,” he said. “A cool glass of milk on a hot day—you can’t beat it!”
Find out more about the Mahaffys here!