Three generations at Roll-N-View Farm: top: Todd Galton (left), Gary Galton; bottom: Todd's son Cooper (left) and nephew Austin.
Nunda dairy earns national honors
Nunda dairy farmer Todd Galton has been named as the 2012 National Dairy Shrine Progressive Producer in the large herd division.
The prestigious award “recognizes dairy producers 21-to-45 years of age who have introduced and applied effective management and business practices that helped to achieve a more profitable dairy business. By creating awareness of these successes, National Dairy Shrine hopes this award will motivate and encourage other dairy producers to achieve similar goals.”
The Roll-N-View Farm was settled in Nunda on Picket Line Road in 1945 by Todd’s grandfather, Malcolm Galton.
Todd’s father Gary joined his father Malcolm in the business in 1975 after a spell in the U.S. military and a period as a construction worker in Rochester.
When Todd returned home after graduating from Morristown College in 1990, he accepted his father’s offer of a full partnership. Meanwhile, Malcolm stayed active in semi-retirement, working the farm right up until his death at age 95.
As a father-son team Gary and Todd reformed Roll-N-View as an LLC and started growing the business. Today the 60 cow herd of 1990 has grown twentyfold to about 1,100 milkers, while nearly 3,700 acres are worked. The farm also grows 100 percent of its corn.
There is some crop farming as well — including 138 acres of peas this year.
“Dad and I had the same kind of vision,” Todd explained. “We wanted to be larger and profitable, getting into a parlor-type setup.”
Todd’s son Cooper, who will be a junior this year at Keshequa, represents a potential fourth Roll-N-View generation.
But the dairy industry of today is markedly different from the small herd farming of yesteryear. Todd explains:
“When I was Cooper’s age I was working right with my dad and granpa. These days, because the farm is so big, we have employees who only milk cows, those who only feed calves and those who are restricted to other specialized work. No single employee can have the appreciation for the overall operation that I had as a kid.”
Cooper is involved with sports — he is a second baseman on the baseball team and currently attending varsity soccer camp at St. Lawrence — but also has serious leanings toward agriculture. He is raising registered calves for show and last week worked as a fitter-preparer for the dairy show at the Lewis County Fair in Lowville. Cooper is giving consideration to taking the agricultural program at Cornell for his college studies.
Todd and his wife Meg, a fifth grade teacher at Keshequa, also have a nine-year-old daughter.
The entire Galton family will be traveling to Madison, Wisconsin in early October, for a National Dairy Shrine event where they will be showing cattle and receiving the award.
Alfred State partnership
Janice Barrett of Avon, long time writer and editor for the dairy journal ‘Holstein World,’ nominated Todd Galton for the recognition.
“I knew Todd as a kid, when he was showing dairy cattle in 4-H,” Barrett said. “He has taken over from his dad and done a great job with the family dairy and now he has kids of his own who are active in 4-H.”
“So lately I’ve been in contact with Meg and Todd again through their kids.”
Furthermore, as a member of Dairy Shrine, Barrett is always on the lookout for deserving people to nominate for the annual awards, “…especialy from New York,” Barrett adds, “because we are such a great dairy state. You just want to make sure that the people here who are outstanding get the recognition they deserve.”
Barrett noted that, beyond tending the growth and development of his own dairy, Todd assists in the education of the state’s future dairy farmers through his unique partnership with Alfred State College.
“Todd opens his farm up as if it were a classroom,” Barrett said. “He is a very humble person and never mentioned it to me, but I happened to meet the Dean at Alfred State in a coffee shop in Ithaca and overheard him mentioning Mount Morris.”
Upon inquiry, Barrett learned that, when New York State discontinued its prison-connected farming operations, the farmland was turned over to the nearest state agricultural college.
Alfred State, which received the farmland formerly worked by the prisoners in Groveland, was glad to have the rich bottomland along the Canaseraga flats, which contrasts greatly, in terms of fertility and workability, with the rocky soil in the Allegany County hills around Alfred.
Todd works the former prison land under an arrangement with the state which brings the Alfred students to this acreage to do soil testing, yield estimates and other crop farming experiences which wouldn’t be possible around Alfred. He even shares his business records with the students, Barrett reported.