Flying Cow was started in 2013 by two friends, Selma Bjarnadottir and Keith Fagernes. Selma is in charge of the Creamery and Keith is in charge of the Dairy.
Selma also runs a small farm three miles from the dairy. Since 2000, she has raised Icelandic sheep, Scottish Highland cattle, pigs, chickens and bees. Selma sells directly to consumers. She has a website, www.bonedryridgefarm.com, and is currently on various “eat local” sites. Selma and Keith both share the view that happy, healthy animals give a very high quality product.
Keith is a third generation dairy farmer, on the same land his grandmother, Selma, purchased at the turn of the last century. Keith has for many years been improving the conditions for his cows and also has a breeding program envied by many dairy farmers. He has a “closed herd,” which means he raises his own replacement heifers, does artificial inseminations and never brings a new cow to his farm. This system prevents diseases from entering his herd. He believes that if cows are happy and healthy they will give good milk. He has won numerous awards for his high quality milk and has won every competition he has entered to date. Keith has been slowly purchasing back the portion of the original farmland that was sold off and now has 110 acres. He also leases 150 acres for making hay and produces all his own hay. Presently he is milking around 50 cows. That is a size he likes, and hopes to stay at for the foreseeable future.
Keith is considered a conventional farmer, although there is nothing very conventional about him. He is a dairy farmer who has never wanted to expand and become big. He has always felt that one person should be in charge of the animals, so any change in an animal’s behavior can be noticed before it becomes a problem. Even though he is stuck with the conventional farming label, he follows most of the organic standards, but finds the standards harsh when it comes to animal health and medical intervention. He is not against modern medicine, but he has never overused or abused any of the miraculous modern drugs. In fact, if he needs to use medicine, he always doubles the withdrawal period. Keith’s animals are very healthy, so medical intervention is not needed very often.
Keith does not do all the work by himself. His brother Howard is in charge of haying and fixing machinery. Howard’s son Andrew is Keith’s right hand man in the care giving of the animals.