Collins Farm and Creamery, located in Rome, NY, is a dairy farm that is not only dedicated to their customers, but also to their animals. Owners Sammi and John Collins purchased the farm back in 2010 and have been expanding ever since.

Although they are considered a first-generation farm, John grew up on a farm, worked on many others growing up and knew he always wanted to have his own.

As Sammi explained, “We’re first generation on this farm, but John obviously came on in with a pretty extensive experience.” She mentioned how it was helpful for John to “see how different farms operate and [use] that knowledge on his own farm today.”

Sammi and John are cropping over 900 acres. They have approximately 155 to 165 milking dairy cattle (mostly Holstein but also some Jerseys) as well as some dry cows. They also have some additional farm animals that are not used for production, such as chickens and “a free-range goat that likes to greet everybody,” Sammi said.

They sell a wide variety of dairy products including chocolate milk, maple milk, eggnog, fresh cheese curds (plain and flavored) and their most popular item, creamline whole milk. They also grow their own corn and soybeans and have over 30 wholesale accounts with other small businesses in the area. John noted they are working on some new products to add to their market, including new flavors.

Besides John and Sammi, there are three full-time workers on the farm that mostly focus on animal care. These farmworkers are essential to the business, as Sammi guaranteed that she and John “absolutely could not do it without them… we could not do what we do without having them on staff.”

In addition to their three full-time employees, they hire part-timers as needed, and they get help from their two young boys, Cody and Charlie. Sammi said, “Because we’re here on the farm, they’re always involved in whatever it is that we’re doing.”

The couple hope that from growing up on the farm, their boys will not only learn work ethic, but that “hard work pays off and things aren’t always given to you,” Sammi said.

Collins Farm & Creamery: A first generation operation

Sammi and John Collins are the first generation on their dairy farm but they’re hoping their children, Cody (front) and Charlie will learn to love the farm life too. Photo courtesy of Jennifer Phillips

A lot can change over 14 years, and that’s no exception for Collins Farm & Creamery. The barn was originally all tie-stalls when they started the farm in 2010. Since then, they have added a free-stall barn and a calf barn.

Production-wise, the farm completely shifted when COVID struck. Initially, Sammi and John shipped out 100% of their milk through the DFA. Once the pandemic hit, their co-op was only able to pay for 85% of what their cows produced. Sammi mentioned that as a couple trying to pay a mortgage and raise their kids, “it [was] not an option for us to ship milk and not get paid for it.”

They started to process the 15% of their milk the DFA wouldn’t pay them for, utilizing a co-packer for the first two years, and building their own processing facility by October 2022. Although they’re happy to do their own processing at their farm, Sammi mentioned how initially using the co-packer was great for them. “It allowed us to see what consumers wanted, what direct-to-consumer selling was all about as far as dairy and just a lot of time to get our feet wet without having a huge initial investment,” she said.

One thing that Sammi and John are passionate about is making their farm process transparent and understood by their customers. People value feeling connected to their farm and are interested in knowing where their food comes from. At the end of the day, Sammi feels that “the milk, the cows and our lifestyle are all one.” They currently host occasional school tours and work with some FFA chapters in their area, and they are hoping to host more educational events at the farm in the future.

Collins Farm & Creamery has learned to adjust with the times and find ways to bounce back when push comes to shove. They are also in a unique position where they’re considered a family farm, but John explained, “We do have employees that we couldn’t do without either.”

John and Sammi are passionate about what they do – they want more people to get involved in agriculture. Sammi said, “We’re no different than anybody else. Anybody could do what we’re doing if they wanted it bad enough.”

She concluded that at the end of the day, “there’s 2% of us that are feeding the other 98% … You are important and we need every single one of you.”

To visit Collins Farm & Creamery, and learn more about their business, visit

by Kelsi Devolve