Daniel Fortin looking at his heifers before auction

Dairy Farm Auction at Carman Brook Farm

auction attendees waiting for Carman Brook Farm dairy auction to beginA dairy farm auction was held on May 2, 2018 at the Carman Brook Farm.  We decided last fall that we would be changing the way we do business and dispersing of our cattle and dairy equipment.  This allows us to focus on our maple operation and start enjoying some down time.

RetirementFarmhouse where Daniel has lived his whole life.

Daniel has been living and working on the farm all his life. The farmhouse where we reside was his first home.  Last fall he announced that by spring he would be ready to retire from dairy farming. He wanted to start enjoying other activities and travel.

Dairy Farm Auction

Daniel Fortin looking at his heifers before auctionAfter looking at all the available options to disperse the herd and equipment, we decided to have a dairy farm auction.  Daniel and I hired Wright’s Auction to facilitate our dairy auction.  Immediately, we began preparing for the auction with Ron Wright and his very competent and helpful crew.  Everyone worked together to get the cattle ready and display the equipment in the yard.  The area where we collected the equipment for display was affectionately renamed “the Boneyard”.  We had a lot of equipment and you can see some of it in the photo gallery following this post.

Our veterinarian completed the final herd health clinic and the auctioneer finalized the auction booklet.  All the cattle were inoculated for shipping fever ensuring she would arrive at her new home healthy.

One of the jobs Daniel most enjoyed throughout his lifelong career as a dairy farmer was working with his cattle, particularly the young stock.  He had a nice group of heifers year after year and this year was no exception. One selling point our auctioneer said several times was “Dan has managed this herd right up to the end like he’s going to continue dairy farming”.  He never let the details of caring for the animals slip after he decided to have an auction.

Six weeks of preparations went into the big day.  Farmers traveled to our dairy farm auction to bid on advertised farm items in the Boneyard, make cattle purchases and to spend the day socializing with friends and peers.  Some even attend dairy farm auctions for the hamburger and french fry wagon. Whatever the reason, we had a beautiful blue sky day and good attendance.

Post Dairy Farm Auction

I’m regularly asked how I feel about being retired.  Not much has changed for me. I’m working full-time in the sugarhouse.  Producing and shipping maple syrup and products, doing the paperwork and setting up the Farm Fresh News calendar.  The dairy farm auction really wasn’t about me.

Daniel, on the other hand, is enjoying activities that aren’t driven by time to complete.  He keeps busy every day doing maintenance or facilitating some project.  A first before snow flies, the wood is stacked in the woodshed.  He’s been cleaning and organizing his workbenches in the tool shop.  It turns out we have a lot of tools we didn’t know we owned.  We cleaned out the barn closet  and renamed it the “Activities Closet”. Gear for sailing, kayaking, hiking, and picknicking replaces barn and work attire.

New AdventuresDaniel and I sailing in our new sailboat on Missisquoi Bay

One new hobby Daniel has discovered he enjoys is learning how to sail. We bought a second hand sailboat and a couple of sailing books.  We’ve been out on the Missisquoi Bay twice as of this writing.  Granted it was only in a mild wind, but we know quite a bit more about sailing.

We look forward to many adventures sailing around beautiful Lake Champlain.

Dairy Farm Auction Photo Gallery




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  1. We’ve loved visiting each year to tour the farm and buy syrup. We met you first the weekend after your barn burned. The helpful response of your neighbors became a sermon topic at church! Glad to hear you’ll still be around! We sail off of Point of Tongue. Have fun!

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      Thank you, Judy and Palmer. I remember that day you came to buy syrup for the first time. We were all in the shock from the fire less than a day after. I am so moved that you used that experience to share with the congregation, it just warms my heart. Have a great trip!

  2. Enjoy your retirement.. I have found that I am more busy now then ever.. we may not be out on the water sailing but we are in the gardens! enjoy “tired” life.. always Lynn Montgomery (Jack Sykas sister)

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  3. We have bought from others and they did not have the quality you folks have. We’ll be back. On “Market to Market” a PBS show about agriculture, we hear milk price are to low to be in the business. Did this prompt some of your thinking to sell?

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      Sadly, Carl, the milk price factored into our decision. We really didn’t want to commit to dairy farming another 10 years to recover and it isn’t look good for the ones that are sticking it out. Thank you for the kind words about our syrup.

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