by Edith Tucker
CONWAY, NH – Naughtaveel Farm, owned by Julie and Justin Hussey, has been recognized as the 2020 winner of the New Hampshire Dairy Farm of the Year in the six-state New England Green Pastures program.
The couple’s two young teenagers – Allie, 14, and Sawyer, 13, – are an integral part of the farm, which the Husseys established in 2003 at another location.
The family operates a commercial dairy farm milking 185 cows – nearly all Holsteins plus a couple of Brown Swiss – with 175 heifers. The milk is shipped to the Cabot Creamery. Their herd’s rolling average is 24,000 pounds of milk with 1,000 pounds of fat and 715 pounds of protein.
Naughtaveel Farm is the last surviving dairy farm in Carroll County, one of the Granite State’s 10 counties.
The award citation outlines the unusual story of how it came about that this enterprising family ended up on the West Side Drive farm owned for many years by Justin’s grandfather.
Owning and operating a dairy farm was the dream they shared when Julie and Justin dated as students at the University of New Hampshire. Both ended up majoring in the dairy program. When they graduated in 2001 and were married, the farm in Justin’s family was not available.
Julie went to work with her brother, Mike Tanguay, in Vermont. Justin began working for Northeast Agricultural Sales in Lyndonville, VT, and he became a certified pesticide spray applicator.
Then, after a custom heifer raiser closed down, they started raising heifers at one of Justin’s grandfather’s farms in North Conway. They began with only 13 calves and 20 acres in 2003.
Five years later, Al Sherman of Sherman’s Farm in East Conway asked them to consider buying his herd. Julie suggested, however, that they not only buy the cows but also rent the facilities. Everyone agreed to her idea. The Shermans had already established a retail glass milk bottle business. They hauled their milk to Maine, assisted with the bottling process, and then brought back the bottled milk.
Julie and Justin continued this routine for half a decade, until in 2013 Justin’s grandfather’s farm at the other end of town became available. The couple fulfilled their dream and bought it from his uncle, Brian Hussey.
The farm buildings had been used as storage facilities for some time, and they had to clean things up, add free-stalls and recondition the milking parlor. In honor of Jason’s grandfather, they’ve not painted over his name and that of his farm that are stenciled near the top of a pair of Harvestore silos: E.R. Hussey – Eastern Slope Farm.
Veterinarian Eugene R. Hussey, who opened Hussey’s Veterinary Hospital in 1952 in North Conway and started the farm in 1965, died at age 85 in 2006. He began buying Percheron show horses in 1977, Justin recalled, noting that that was the year he was born. A draft horse’s oversized shoe is embedded in the cement entrance to the horse barn his grandfather built.
Justin and Julie revived the family tradition and have a string of 19 Percheron draft show horses (and a couple of colts) that they, as well as Allie and Sawyer, show competitively in six-horse hitches at fairs and Grange events around the country, from Maine to Colorado.
The Husseys own over 500 acres of farmland in the Saco River Valley. They lease another 150 acres and have unique and mutually advantageous agreements with both a nearby golf course and local water precinct. They raise 260 acres of corn and mow another 350 acres for haylage.
Naughtaveel Farm employs three full-time employees. They also operate a farm stand at which they sell frozen beef and pork and sell raw milk by the half-gallon and gallon.
Julie explained that they named their farm “Naughtaveel” because back when they were only raising calves, a disgruntled neighbor accused them of raising veal calves, which wasn’t the case. Justin combatted this falsehood by writing on their then-handwritten invoices: “Not a veal farm.” Julie played around with the letters and came up with a very distinctive name.
The Husseys will receive their prestigious award remotely, because the 2020 Big E in West Springfield, MA, had to be canceled.
After that, this hard working family will hang up its new sign: “Green Pasture Winner, Dairy of Distinction.”