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Producing Excellence

Joe and Steve Paxton

Grove City, PA

Irishtown Acres

Products Raised or Grown: Jersey cows

Size of Operation: 800 acres, 500 cows and 450 replacement heifers

In Business Since: 1812

Farm Credit Partner: AgChoice Farm Credit

Working with Farm Credit Since: before 1972

For more than 200 years, the Paxton family has called farming their way of life. This thriving dairy operation was founded in 1809 with 100 acres of land. The original $400 investment is now in the hands of the fifth generation, with the sixth generation set to join the family tradition.

Throughout the 1800s to mid 1900s, the Paxton farm remained relatively small in size as it was handed from generation to generation. Since 1970, the farm has grown to 800 acres of owned land supporting 500 Jersey cows and 450 replacement heifers. This growth was initiated when brothers Joe and Steve Paxton joined their father on the farm in the 1970s. They needed to generate additional income, so they purchased some cattle and added feed storage and a barn to house them. Since then, though, their dramatic expansion has been largely unplanned – as their herd has taken off, they’ve had to add acreage and facilities.

“We have to give a lot of credit to the Jersey breed,” says Joe. “They’re very prolific and have good longevity. When you don’t have to replace cows and you have a good heifer supply, then you have cattle available for sale to other dairy farms.” Steve and Joe have sold more than 700 head of breeding stock since they joined the family farm. “Now we’re really selling out of necessity to stay inside the barns,” Joe says. “And, of course, being able to sell these extra cattle has a tremendous effect on our cash flow.”

AgChoice Farm Credit has worked closely with Steve and Joe as their business has grown. “We’ve always been fortunate to have a very knowledgeable and experienced loan officer,” Joe says. “They know our operation and what we need and have always provided service and advice that has been top notch.”

Even with 200 years behind them, the Paxton family still works to continually improve their operation. They’re currently focused on improving the quality of their feed in order to increase milk production and are looking into more cash crops to mitigate recent grain prices. “Over the years, our primary goal has been to identify our weakest point and then turn it into our greatest strength,” said Joe. “If you can do that on a regular basis, you can make huge improvements in cash flow and profitability.”

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