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Follow organic dairy farmer Jonathan Gates as he reports weekly from his Vermont family farm. Howmars Farm is a certified organic dairy farm, one of many Organic Valley/CROPP Cooperative farmer members who supply the milk that goes into making Stonyfield's yogurts and smoothies. The entire family pitches in on this third-generation farm. Check out some of the happenings on his farm and post your comments. Jonathan loves to get feedback from readers.

Son Ben takes on more responsibilities

Yesterday Ben hooked on to the rotovator with the tractor and tilled the garden to prepare it for planting. I can remember when Ben was younger and would ask me when he would be old enough to do that job and now, all of a sudden, he is able to do it all himself. He probably started just driving the riding lawn tractor when he was 5 or 6 years old, and by the time he was 9 or 10 he was driving the farm tractors by himself. I think children who grow up on a farm are given responsibilities at a younger age than most children. If done in the right way, this is a wonderful gift for them that will serve them well the rest of their lives. Ben has had some close calls and has had a trip to the emergency room at the hospital, but he is a very mature, responsible 15-year-old that has been my right-hand man the last two months.

--Jonathan, Howmars Farm
Franklin, Vermont


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