June is National Dairy Month, and the purpose of the Tompkins County Dairy Princess program is to promote the wonderful benefits of the dairy industry all year long.
Megan Carey of Carey Farms in Groton wore that princess crown in 2007 and 2008, and though many more Tompkins County girls have been a part of the TC Dairy Court since then, none have been from Groton until now.
As of this June, Groton Jr./Sr. High School’s 12-year-old Addie Clore has been appointed to the court as a Tompkins County dairy ambassador.
Clore is also a charter member of Groton’s FFA (Future Farmers of America) that was brought back to life in August 2019 after its hiatus since 1972 and serves as secretary for the chapter.
The primary criterion for becoming a part of the Dairy Court is to have a connection to a dairy farm in Tompkins County, and Clore’s connection is Groton’s Millbrook Farms because her mom, Callan Space, and her dad, Jason Clore, help oversee the farm alongside Callan’s parents, Ivy and Ron Space Jr.
Millbrook Farms has been owned by the Space family since 1806 when it originated in Dryden. Callan’s grandfather, Ron Space Sr., moved the farm to its current Groton location at Smith and Stevens Road in the mid-1960s, and Callan’s father took it over in the early 1980s.
For the curious, the original farm on McClintock Road in Dryden had a grain mill on a brook. Thus, that is why it is called “Millbrook Farms” instead of “Space Farms.”
Callan said she grew up feeding calves, showing cows in contests, and “mowing a lot of lawn.” She was the dairy princess herself in 2004 and 2005, which served as Addie’s inspiration to want to hold that title someday.
Just like Callan, Addie’s favorite thing to do on the farm is feeding the calves, and she would someday like to become a veterinarian.
That was also Callan’s career goal when she graduated from high school in 2005 and headed off to Cornell University to study animal science. She found that she was more interested in the business end of things after all and left Groton after her graduation from Cornell for Dulles, Virginia, to become the finance manager for East Coast Data Center Operations at Amazon.com.
It was there at Amazon that Callan met her now-husband, Jason. While both enjoyed their life in Virginia, they longed to be closer to the farm and the family and moved back to Groton in 2017, just in time for Addie to begin fourth grade.
Callan was delighted that Dick Brecht, the husband of her own senior class advisor from high school, Heather Brecht, was Addie’s first teacher at Groton Elementary. Ironically, Dick worked on Millbrook Farms in his own youth.
Both Callan and Jason retained their jobs at Amazon, working remotely from here, though Jason switched to working for Oracle in 2018. Other than that, nearly all their spare time is spent helping to oversee the farm, which they love.
Addie and her parents make their home in Summerhill, which is part of the town of Groton, and is also part of Millbrook Farms. While the main site at Smith and Stevens is the location of the dairy farm, the Space family owns 1600 acres of cropland that spans from Peruville Road to Route 90, where corn and alfalfa are grown.
Addie said she has “pretty much picked corn every summer” since she moved here, started right in on feeding calves at the dairy and helps cover the bunker silo with old tires to keep the plastic down.
For those who may not know, a bunker silo is for bulk feed storage for the cows, covered with a special forage plastic to keep the feed preserved until it is needed.
Watching Addie interacting with the babies in the calf barn, I asked if she has ever milked a cow. She had not. Callan explained how all the milking is automated in what is called a “double-10 herringbone style” and that the dairy has gone from around 125-150 Holstein heifers in the early 1980s to 800 in the barns today.
Callan is very proud that Millbrook Farms was the first farm in Tompkins County to be acknowledged as a “dairy of distinction” in 1984.
The New York Dairy of Distinction program recognizes the hard work and dedication of state dairy farmers who operate and maintain attractive, well-kept dairy operations. The program is based on the concept that attractive farmsteads send a positive message to the consumer and help to bolster consumer confidence in the dairy industry and related dairy products.
Another requirement to become the dairy princess is to be 16 years old, so Addie has four years ahead of her to work toward attaining that crown.
Addie is already well on her way to proving herself in the promotion of the dairy industry. She already promotes agriculture in the classroom via her commitment to the FFA chapter, known as an active recruiter of other members and the “most organized.”
She helped organize the fundraiser for the FFA, “Ag Trivia Night” and many more projects too numerous to name. She said she loves school and loves to learn so will be very sad if school is not “back to normal” this fall.
Addie would like everyone to know that “nothing is better than milk. It has all your essential vitamins and minerals to build strong muscles and bones.”
Groton on the Inside appears weekly. Submit news ideas to Linda Competillo, firstname.lastname@example.org or 607-227-4922.
Chicken at the Legion
The Groton American Legion Post 800, 307 Main St., is planning another of its renowned chicken barbecues beginning at 10 a.m. until gone, Saturday, June 20. Full dinners will be available for $10 or half-chicken only for $8.
Recommended for you