Joyce H

Experienced, capable and collaborative parent child farming team seeking to diversify and grow our farm business for the second generation.

Preferred counties/regions

  • Capital Region
  • Albany County
  • Columbia County
  • Greene County
  • Rensselaer County
  • Saratoga County
  • Schenectady County
  • Washington County
  • Hudson Valley
  • Dutchess County
  • Ulster County
  • Sullivan County
  • Orange County
  • Putnam County
  • Schoharie County
  • Otsego County
  • Herkimer County
  • Oneida County
  • Central
  • Cortland County
  • Madison County
  • Onondaga County
  • Oswego County
  • Cayuga County
  • Finger Lakes
  • Livingston County
  • Monroe County
  • Ontario County
  • Seneca County
  • Wayne County
  • Yates County
  • Chenango County
  • Delaware County
  • Schuyler County
  • Tompkins County

Desired acreage

  • 6-10
  • 11-20
  • 21-50
  • 51-100
  • >100

Farming Status

Established farmer: Over 10 years of farm management experience or ownership

Currently farming full-time

Primary reason for farming

Farm will generate the majority of my income

Farming status, plans, and practices

Until May 2022, we were farming full time and producing cheese while searching for a new location for our business that would allow for diversification of our farm enterprises. An unexpected regulatory change made resuming cheese production impossible after we made a move in late April of 2022. We are once again seeking a new location that will allow us to re-imagine and diversity our farm enterprises.

I have been producing artisan farmstead cheeses using homegrown goat milk for nearly 20 years. My LGBTQ kiddo would like to be the second generation to own the business. To continue our farm, and facilitate their movement into ownership of the business. If the required infrastructure becomes available we would expand our dairy product line, as well as developing a raw milk market and/or frozen desserts. Additional diversification into flowers, medicinal herbs, and specialty veggies are other possibilities we are considering.  For the past several years our sales have been a blend of regional wholesale and farmers markets and festivals as well as on farm workshops and events. In 2020 we pivoted to more online sales and a cheese CSA to help feed our neighbors during the Covid-19 pandemic.

We are an experienced, capable and collaborative team interested in caring for the land. We are seeking a secure employment or tenure arrangement that will allow us to re-imagine and diversify the farm.

Farm Experience & Education

  • Farm owner

I have owned and operated the farm since 2003. We accomplished steady growth since 2007 and after overcoming difficult hurdles in 2015 increased production by buying in additional milk and began a search for a new location that would accommodate scaling up. A move to a larger location in 2019 allowed for scaling up wholesale and then the pandemic changed everything.

I have completed FDA compliant FSPCA Preventative Controls for Human Food training. Acorn Hill Farm has been a NOFA-NY Farmers Pledge farm. I have also presented workshops at NOFA-NY winter conferences and on-farm field days for those interested in dairy goats and value added production. More recently, Acorn Hill Farm spent a day with a team from the Cornell Small Farms Program filming a segment for an updated series of videos for Voices of Experience and I presented a webinar for the Cornell Beginning Farmers program. We have also participated in organic potato variety trials for a NOFA-NY program. Prior to farming I worked in both clinical and administrative positions in healthcare. 

Generation 2 grew up on the farm. They have taken on the role of herd manager as well as learning cheese production. They have a strong desire to diversify the farm and they have sought out advice from established farmers in the region on organic, certified naturally grown, low till and no till methods as well as season extension. We are currently participating in the Cornell Farm Financial Learning Circles program to sharpen our business side skills and give gen 2 the tools needed to run the business. We also participated in a Cornell study on forage and feed in dairy production in summer 2022.

Farming Plans and Practices

Farming method or practice

  • Organic (not certified)
  • Regenerative/Sustainable

Primary crops

  • black outline of a carrot Vegetables
  • black outline apple icon Fruits
  • black outline of a flower Flowers or Ornamentals
  • black outline other crops icon Other Crops

Primary livestock

  • Black outline of a sheep Goats/Sheep

Goats: We have a herd of dairy goats. We use their milk for value added production of cheese, yogurt, fudge, and other products. 

Ducks: Duck eggs

Vegetables and Fruit: We have historically grown a market garden including herbs used in cheeses, berries and a few fruit trees. We have experience with value added farm products such as jams, baked goods, and pickles. We would like to renew this aspect of our business. 

Marketing Method

Since 2004, we have marketed at farmers markets, wineries, festivals, and wholesale distribution. Over the past couple of years we pandemic-pivoted by developing a cheese CSA and expanding our online sales. We also offer cheesemaking workshops, kid cuddling sessions, and farm tours to share the farm with the community.

Farm business plan or farm resume

My business plan or farm resume is in progress

Farmland Needs

Infrastructure required

  • black outline barn icon Barns - Equipment Storage
  • black outline electrical icon Electrical access
  • black outline house icon Farmer housing
  • Black outline of a fence Fencing
  • Black outline of a water drop Water access

Cheese production requires two rooms with floor drains, hot and cold water, and washable walls. Electricity to run refrigeration is also needed. These conditions can be met in a ready to use facility or via creative re-use of existing infrastructure. For example, shower stalls in a horse barn can be modified to meet the requirements or older dairy barns often have the needed spaces with some modifications/updates. The goats also require a barn for shelter from rain and harsh winter weather. Fencing for goats can be installed by us. 

Access to a greenhouse or high tunnel is desirable. This would allow us to immediately develop a market garden component to the business.

Desired Tenure

Tenure options desired

  • For Lease
  • Business Partnership
  • Farm Management
  • Cooperative Model
  • Other Tenure Agreement

We are flexible and we are interested in working with folks who understand farming to some extent. We are open to collaborative arrangements, employment or farm management opportunities, as well as leasing arrangements that can accommodate our existing dairy goat operation in some version and, ideally, allow us to add a vegetable and fruit components to the business. This had been done at our original location through a market garden along with some tree fruit and berry production. The fruits were used in low sugar jams and the herbs were used in our cheeses. All growing was done using organic methods. 

Will this operation qualify an eligible landowner for an Agricultural Assessment?

Yes

Ag Updates

Dairy Cows eating silage in the barn.

Application Open for Dairy Runway Program

Through Dairy Runway, food entrepreneurs and dairy innovators with early-stage ideas for value-added dairy products using New York State cow milk participate in a FREE, virtual Cornell-hosted entrepreneurship course that introduces them to the business model canvas and customer discovery process. Applications due by 5pm on June 5th!

Learn More Apply Now

Leslie Hamilton, Triple H Farms, Geneseo, NY October 15 2018Photo essay for the American Farmland Trust and Great Lakes Protection Fund illustrating farms and landowners working together to conserve the land and resources.

The Farmland Owner Hub is here!

Are you a landowner looking to support farmland preservation by making your land available to farmers? Maybe you want to learn more about how you can steward your farmland with sustainable practices in mind? Or maybe you have goals you’d like to achieve that ensures the future of your farm? Check out the Farmland Owner Hub to explore various topics.

Visit the Hub 

Cornelle Cooperative Extension NY Logo

2024 New York Cash Rent Survey

We get asked all the time what average rental rates are for a county or region! Cornell Cooperative Extension is working to survey farmers, farmland landowners, and agribusiness professionals to create an up-to-date snapshot of farmland rental rates and custom harvest fees. Your response to this survey will help us to provide the most accurate information! 

Survey Information Online Survey Link

Sam in field

Looking for an on farm job or have a farm job you are hiring for?

Are you looking for a farm job? Are you a farm looking to hire help? Check out the 'Find a Farm Job' page on the New York Farmland Finder website! 

Post a Job  Browse Job Listings