Last Ira dairy farm for sale; priced at $1.6MBy Lucia Suarez
Staff Writer | August 07,2012IRA — Sitting on her small kitchen table, Mary Clark could not help but tear up at the thought of possibility having to close the family’s dairy farm.
“In the end people have to sell and we don’t want to. We are going to figure it out,” she said recently. “It’s so unfair that there are small farms struggling. ... It just breaks your heart.”
Many dairy farmers across Vermont are struggling to keep afloat as the price of milk plummets and the price of grain and corn rises. For Bob and Mary Clark and their son Rob, the family’s Milky Way Farm in the small town of Ira is no exception.
The 150-acre dairy farm on Route 133 is up for sale. It is the last milking farm left in Ira.
“My son thinks one day it’s great and then things go bad and thinks closing would be the way. I have a panic attack,” Mary Clark said about closing. “(My husband) he does not want to lose his animals. ... These animals are like our pets.”
The Clark family purchased the dairy farm in 1984, but after several years sold it because it was too difficult to maintain. In 2003, Rob Clark, then 17 years old, decided he wanted to buy it back with a $170,000 loan and reopen the farm with the support of his parents.
“It was something that he wanted to do,” his mother said. “He was never a farm kid. I think most of his motivation was that he liked the outdoors. He is very independent and liked the idea of being his own boss.”
Rob’s father was not as supportive saying he knew how it was going to be as they had already lived it once. He eventually supported his son and now works side-by-side with him.
“I guess I was nuts,” Rob Clark, 25, said. “Most days are good.”
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