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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.

A family farm is just that--run by the whole family!

MapleSyrupTheGang0305NoahCarrots We're celebrating 5 years of The Bovine Bugle with a look back on the stories farmer Jonathan Gates has sent us over those 5 years.  Every now and then, Jonathan reminds us that his farm is a family operation.  Everyone pitches in in whatever ways they can.  Back in 2004, he was lamenting how now all his boys were in school--the youngest one off to kindergarten, so when back to school time arrived, he was finding himself short-handed.

Every now and then, Jonathan's sister--Aunt Patty--comes by and takes the kids under her wing for a special project. When it's time to hang 425 sap buckets during maple sugaring season, extended family gets involved for a day of fun and hard work.


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Wife Karen takes pride in the vegetable garden on Howmars Farm and son Noah gets to pick them, even when they're nearly as big as he is.

Jonathan remembers when his oldest son, Ben, wanted to drive the tractor and couldn't. Now he's in college and still a big help when he's home.  Feeding the new calves was, for a time, the job for middle son, Justin, who thought there were just a few too many mouths to feed during a particularly busy calving season. Loyal black lab, Yukon, is always nearby watching everyone going on at the farm and one night he served as the alarm system when some of the heifers decided to go for a midnight stroll.

Howmars Farm, an organic dairy farm that supplies Stonyfield Farm with milk for its yogurt, is named for Howard and Mary--Jonathan's parents--who are still active in farm work.

Got a question for Farmer Jonathan? Or want to just send him a note on his 5-year anniversary? Click onto "Comments" just below and follow the instructions.


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Hi, Jonathan,
This is Jean down here in sunny Florida where we are praying for rain. I have enjoyed all the past news in celebration of your five-year anniversary with the Bovine Bugle. I copy your pictures to a picture album on my computer and I can see a slide show whenever I want to visit Howmar's Farm. I am trying to figure out how I can add your words to the pictures which would make my album complete. I am still planning a trip north one of these days and I hope to be able to include a trip to your farm while visiting in NH. I have already logged the distance from Plant City to Nottingham, NH and then the day trip to Franklin, VT. Thank you so much for sharing all of your news of life on the farm through all the seasons and all the happenings.

Thank you so much for your blog. It is my favorite thing to read. I wish I was lucky enough to work with those lovely ladies each day. You have the best looking and happiest looking cows I have ever seen. I watch the running of the ladies ...like ...everyday!!!

Hello Jonathan, I am doing a project on organic milk for school and am hoping you can help me out. I know that in order to produce milk a cow has to become pregnant, what happens to the calves? Also, how often are the cows milked and in what manner? I would love to have a telephone interview with you, and if that would be at all possible please let me know.

Congratulations on five years of blogging, and thanks for taking the extra time to keep us all informed of the goings-on at Howmars—I know you have more than enough to do just farming, and hope you enjoy taking the photos and videos and writing the articles we so much appreciate! I really love my virtual visits to Vermont; I haven't been there in person in many years, and then only as a skiing tourist; it is wonderful to get an "insider's look" at such a beautiful area—a great escape from the New Jersey suburbs of New York City where I am located.

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