Mineral Spring Farm
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Name:        Charles, Carol, and Chuck Hall

                   Mineral Spring Farm

Location:    110 Lotts Drive

                    Windham, Maine 04062

Phone:         207-892-4986

Products and Services:

-sells milk to Oakhurst Dairy

Why is Mineral Spring Farm Unique?

Unique Maine Farms had the opportunity to

visit Mineral Spring Farm with a group of teachers this past July who were enrolled in a

Maine Agriculture in the Classroom course.  The amazing work ethic that was exhibited by the Hall family left quite an impression.  After seeing how hard they have worked and how well they treat their animals, there was no question that they were great candidates for inclusion in the Unique Maine Farms’ project.

Charles Hall has been involved with farming since he was a young boy.  His father, John Hall, who was Road Commissioner in Windham, raised a few cows.  He was shipping his milk to Oakhurst in cans at that time!  While growing up, Charles’ life revolved around 4-H, agricultural events, Eastern States, and Future Farmers of America. He was buying registered Holsteins when he attended Windham High School. By the time he graduated high school in 1952,  he had already purchased a neighboring twenty-five acre farm from Emma Smith, a retired teacher who lived with her brother, Orville Haskell. 

In 1960, Charles built a new barn on his property. This barn serves as the dairy barn for Mineral Spring Farm.  He added land to the farm to include almost two hundred acres and he and Carol and his son, Chuck, usually milk around fifty registered Holsteins and raise an additional fifty young cows each year.

No doubt about it, seventy-nine-year-old Charles Hall is a worker.  He chose to be a full-time farmer fifty-six years ago, and he wouldn’t have it any other way.  When the teachers visited Mineral Spring Farm in July, he commented that “We have done well with the farm and we have had the opportunity to live a good life.” 

The situation for many dairy farmers in Maine certainly doesn’t paint such a rosy picture.  In a

2009 report issued by the Governor’s Task Force on the Sustainability of the Dairy Industry in Maine, it was stated that there was a loss of 106 dairy farms in Maine between 2000-2004.

When asked why he thought his dairy farm was able to succeed when so many others had been forced to close, Charles responded with “We have never bought anything that we could not pay for outright.” The Halls do not owe for any of their equipment. Carol Hall explained that they live differently than most people.  They don’t travel and they don’t buy things they don’t need.

The Halls are satisfied with devoting all their time and efforts to their farm.  They awaken each morning at four o’clock and rinse the milk pipelines, clean out the barn, and feed the calves.  They head into the house around 5:15 a.m. for some coffee and a donut and then travel back to the barn to begin milking around 5:45 a.m.  The milking is usually completed by around 7:30 a.m.

Carol explained that the cows are fed all that they can eat several times a day.  The pipelines are cleaned out again and the milking starts all over again at 4:30 p.m.  There are countless other chores that need tending whether it’s fixing machinery, fertilizing fields, haying, breeding,

assisting with deliveries, maintaining the buildings, completing the paperwork, checking on the health of the animals, cleaning the stalls, ordering the grain and supplies, etc., etc.

If you calculate the number of morning and evening milkings that have taken place in the last fifty-six years, the total comes to approximately 41,000.  When you think that Charles Hall has been a participant in the good part of 41,000 sessions of  milking cows it is truly mind-boggling.  When asked about vacations, Charles spoke about a camp that the family owned in Avon, but visits up that way happen very infrequently. They used to enjoy snowmobiling on occasion, but they haven’t had the opportunity to do that for a few years. Charles explained that there is nothing that he would rather be doing than farming. A visit to the Tractor Supply Store can provide a highlight of his day and it is sufficient to qualify as “an enjoyable outing!”

Despite enduring the loss of his leg in 1971, due to a farm accident, and undergoing two hip operations,  Charles manages to keep up the farm. His wife, Carol, has battled  arthritis for many years.  The doctor has recommended the use of a cane and knee replacement on more than one occasion, but Carol stated that “she is just fine.” Despite the challenge of navigating parts of the barn, visitors to Mineral Spring Farm will see her helping out at every milking. Although Carol grew up around animals, she never used a milking machine before she ended up helping at the farm in 1971.

Chuck Hall, the son of Charles, has proven instrumental in keeping the operation of the farm going.  He joined the farm operation in 1971, when his Dad lost his leg and he has proven vital to the success of Mineral Spring Farm.  He grew up around animals and participated in 4-H.

Mineral Spring Farm has had a solid relationship with Oakhurst Dairy for the fifty-six year since Charles began selling his milk.  He explained that they have been great to work with.  A commitment to consistently producing quality milk is at the forefront of the Hall’s farm operation.  Although they have chosen not to embrace computer technology or email, they have managed to hold their own in a dairy industry world which relies heavily on  technology.

Anne Harrington, a field technician from Dairy One, was conducting her monthly visit to Mineral Spring Farm when Unique Maine Farms visited for the second time.  Anne has worked as a milk inspector with Dairy One for the past twenty-five years.  It is a farmer-owned cooperative based in Ithaca, New York.  They provide farmers in New England and parts of Maryland and New York with information that helps with record-keeping of the dairy herd. 

Anne visits Mineral Spring Farm each month and takes milk samples from each cow.  She helps with gathering information about animal identification, cavlings, pregnancy checks, breedings, dry offs, and milk weights.  She forwards the data that she collects to a processing center.  The center, in turns, sends reports to Mineral Spring Farm that can be used to calculate genetic evaluations.

Mineral Spring Farm is located on Lotts Drive,

which is set back from busy Route 302 in Windham.  There are several buildings on the farm property including the new airy heifer barn which was just constructed two years ago.  The Halls are fans of Kuhn farm equipment that was originally manufactured in France.  They have several Kuhn farm machines (fertilizer spreader, mower conditioner, rake, tedder, and bale wrapper) that they have purchased over the years.

Mineral Spring Farm is a peaceful property

that is home to the cows, a horse, and some chickens.  Jack and Jill, two young border collie

pups, can be seen freely running about.  Jill always draws a laugh for her habit of jumping skyward and dramatically pouncing on any insect hovering in the grass.  When they mature, Jack and Jill will be expected to round up the cows from the field.

Spring is round the corner for Mineral Spring

Farm.  Outdoor chores will increase as there will

be additional responsibilities in the fields and

around the farm. Inevitably some piece of equipment will need repair or a certain cow will need special attention. Charles, Carol, and Chuck Hall never know what unexpected situation will arise each new day.  They do know, however, that come 5:45 each morning and 4:30 each evening that there will be fifty cows waiting to be fed and milked and fifty additional cows waiting for their dinner.  Time moves on and things change, but milking cows each day on schedule is a sure bet at Mineral Spring Farm.  Charles Hall has been

milking the cows for fifty-six years and he has

no plans on changing that any time soon.

The FarmMineral_Spring_Around_the_Farm.html

Charles Hall has been a dairy farmer for the past fifty-six years.

Carol Hall has been milking cows since 1971.

Chuck Hall has proven vital to the success of Mineral Spring Farm.

Jack and Jill, two lovable border collie pups, rarely stay in the same place for more than a minute!

From left: Charles Hall, Carol Hall, Anne Harrington

Anne Harrington is the field technician from Dairy One that visits Mineral Spring Farm each month.

A rare moment of reflection for father and son.

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