We love our farmers! They work so hard each day to take care of their cattle, crops and most of all their family. This page highlights Guernsey farms around America so that you can get to know their family, farm and what they live by.
What is today Ripley Farms was first built by Elijah Eaton, Roland Ripley's great-great-grandfather in 1892. Elijah Eaton was a land owner and inspector of the Common School. His son, Charles Eaton, purchased the farm from his father and continued to raise dairy cattle. It was Charles Eaton's daughter and son-in-law, Charles and Sarah (Eaton) Ripley, who bought the farm from Sarah's father. They purchased their first Guernsey cow from the Harris family after Charles Ripley decided there must be a better way than to force strip each of his 20-30 Holstein cows to get a high enough test to ship milk. Many other Guernsey cows have passed through the barn doors since that day in 1945
The present owner, Roland Ripley, purchased the farm in 1960 from his mother, Sarah Ripley Knickerbocker three years after his marriage to Patricia Darling.
In 1955 Roland's father was killed in a car accident and the high school sophomore was left with a farm to run. Roland's mother remarried in 1960 to Frank Knickerbocker. Times were hard then and the farm almost ended in bankruptcy. It was difficult for 16-year-old Roland to continue to go to school, work on the farm, and carry a tremendous debt load.
When both Roland's sons said they wanted to farm Roland chose to expand the farm in 1985. Since then the farm has gone through many more expansions of a new parlor, free stall barn, heifer barns and land to harvest. Currently, Ripley Farms has about 500 adult cows, 500 heifers and 1400 acres of land for crops.
In 2016 the farm purchased Hillcrest Dairy in Moravia, NY so they could bottle their own milk, butter, and cheese. They began under the current product line, Hillcrest Dairy, and have now added their own product line, Ripley Family Farm, in November 2017 selling 100% A2 Guernsey milk.
The Ripley children have followed in Roland's footsteps in the Guernsey arena:
Christel showed the first National Grand Champion of the Junior Show from the Ripley Farm in 1975 – Wyomings Darimost Mirage. She was also the Cortland County Fair Queen in 1975, New York State Guernsey Princess and National Guernsey Princess in 1977, National Runner-up Outstanding Guernsey Youth in 1978, and a 4-H Citizenship winner. Christel judged at the National Judging Contest as a member of the New York State Dairy Judging Team in 1975, where she met her husband, Joe Axtell. They married in 1979. They have five children, Rachel, Andrew, Joshua, Caylie, and Benjamin. Joe served as Pastor of Sherman Bible Chapel in Sherman, Pa.
Susan was the Cortland County Dairy Princess Alternate and the New York State Guernsey Princess in 1977, and also a 4-H Citizenship winner. She married Charles Grant in 1981 and they have four children: Andrea, Janelle, Matthew, and Kaitlyn. Chuck works for AMR of Central New York. They reside in Auburn, NY.
Cheryl was a Cortland County Dairy Princess Alternate in 1980 and a New York State Guernsey Princess in 1982. She married Norman MacKenzie in 1983 and they have three children: Noah, Kristin, and Alex. Norm and Cherie are the executive directors at New Life Island Camp in Upper Black Eddy, Pa.
The first Ripley son, David, was killed in 1966 in an accident, but a double blessing followed with the addition of two sons; Thomas and Daniel. Both Tom and Dan have been named New York State Outstanding Guernsey Youth. In 1987, Tom was named National Runner-up Outstanding Guernsey Youth and in 1988, he received the top award. Tom was also named FFA State Star Farmer in 1987, thirty years after his father received the same award. Tom was married in 1987 to Crystle Sautter, and they have four children: Seth, Kyle, Esther, and Evelyn. Tom and Dan were also the first Junior Progressive Guernsey Breeder Award winners in 1987, and Dan received the Farm Bureau Citizenship Award in 1988. Dan married Shari McElwain in 1998, and they have eight children: Daniel, Elizabeth, Abigail, Marah, Samuel, Keziah, Jonah, and Nathaniel. Tom and Dan were also selected as National Outstanding Farmer in 1999.