Thea Digiammerino

Well-Known Durham Dairy Farm Closing Down

After centuries in the farming business the Greenbacker family in Durham is preparing to shut down for good.

“It’s a shame what’s happening,” said Jeanette Bunnell, a Durham resident.

Joe Greenbacker’s family has been farming since the 1700s. They've been milking cows at Brookfield Farm in Durham for more than 30 years. Thursday will be the end of an era.

“The price of milk has been too low for too long and there’s not much prospect of it getting much better anytime soon,” Greenbacker said. “Rather than continue to go backwards financially we figured we better sell out now while we still have some equity in the business.”

The price of milk is set nationally. Greenbacker said dairy farms in New England have been declining for years because it’s tough to compete with larger farms out west.

“The areas there have lower cost, lower property taxes lower labor cost lower energy cost,” he explained.

The Greenbackers will walk the cows down this feeding alley for the very last time and auction them off one by one.

Joe’s daughter Melissa Dziurgot has worked on the farm all her life.

“It will be difficult to see hard work of raising them to be auctioned off,” Dziurgot said. “But I trust that they’re going to good farms and that the new owners will milk them and take care of them just as I did.”

In the past few weeks people have been leaving these little American flags by the Brookfield sign. A sign of the times for this American family.

“We work hard to take a care of this land, and take care of the cows people enjoy driving by and seeing the cows in the pasture,” Dziurgot said. “It means a lot to us that the community is heartbroken about this too.”

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