It’s Friday, November 21, but Rochelle Newton Hulton has not seen a milk truck since last Sunday, November, 16. Luckily, Hulton said, they are at a low point in production, milking just 34 cows on their farm which sometimes milks up to 45.
Their farm is in Arcade, N.Y., 35 miles south of Buffalo. Their milk should have been picked up Tuesday, and was hoping to be picked up Thursday, but that never happened, and they dumped 7 milkings before putting Thursday night's production into their 700 gallon tank.
But, despite dumping milk, Hulton feels lucky, and for good reason “We are lucky to have this (dumping of milk) be our biggest hardship. Other areas have from 6+ feet of snow, with more falling yesterday, but we only got 8 inches.”
After dumping their milk, they hoped they could make it to their next scheduled pickup, on November 22.
Many spots luckier than others
Not far from the Hultons is Breezyhill Dairy, LLC, a 6th generation farm milking 800 cows in Strykersville, N.Y. About 20 minutes north of Arcade, Strykersville netted 4 to 5 feet, but the majority of it came Thursday, according to Breezyhill owner, Brad Almeter. There, they sustained nearly 4 inches per hour for 12 hours.
The worst part of the snow band was north of the farm for 30 miles, “And another 30 miles north of that there is green grass,” Almeter said in a phone interview on Friday, while he simultaneously was clearing the snow from a barn roof.
“I blew out the driveway at 6 p.m., and came back at 10 p.m. when it quit, and there were another 6 inches in the driveway,” Almeter explained.
But, for Breezyhill, this isn’t the worst they’ve ever seen. Brad remembers a bad storm in 1998 when it was far worse, “That was five to six feet of snow, and it wasn’t in November.” Also, that time the city was not hit, so the general media did not cover the storm. He was quick to mention that for other areas, it may have been the worst storm ever.
Milk from Breezyhill continued to get picked up, but others around him weren’t so lucky. Several neighbors dumped milk due to their trucks being stranded on the freeway, which is north of them about 30 minutes in the thick of the worst snow.
“We’ve got good neighbors,” Brad said of their good fortune making it through the storm. With schools cancelled, they actually had extra help in clearing barn roofs from the feet of snow and getting tasks done on the farm.“And we didn’t have the driving bans, so workers were able to make it.”
Further, a decision made long ago really helped their situation, and it’s their farm’s namesake, Brad explained, “We’re on top of a hill, so that helps, too.”