Originally published in Four Legs & A Tail
I love shining a light on all the farmers and producers who provide a bounty of local food and other locally made products to our community. In this article, however, I move the spotlight over and down, from the business person to their four-legged friends — the working dogs, cats, and other animals who also make these local products possible.
Our next Four-Legged Farm Friend article highlights Red, an eleven-year-old Border Collie at Brookfield Farm in Walpole, NH. Farmers Holly and Christian Gowdy operate a certified organic dairy farm. They sell grass-fed beef, organic hay/baleage, and garden compost. While Red has retired from working at Brookfield Farm, he still holds a very special and central position at the farm – as the star of the farm’s marketing materials. Last year, Brookfield Farm received a Monadnock Food Co-op Farm Fund grant to develop a new logo. We’re thrilled to see Red on their product logo now.
“My son George snapped a picture of Red looking over our farm about ten years ago for a 4-H project,” remembered Holly. “We love this picture very much. It is the masthead for our website, as well as our farm’s Facebook page.”
Before retirement, Red herded goats to help clear forested land for pasture. “He loved to work,” shared Holly. “His other favorite job was just simply keeping watch, making sure that everything was in order around here.”
Red was born at Wellscroft Farm in Harrisville, one of the biggest working sheep farms in New England. With sheep farming comes Border Collies, well-known for their herding abilities. Wellscroft Farm has bred Border Collies and placed their dogs in working farms throughout New England for over 35 years. “Red is not the first Border Collie we have had here; he won’t be the last,” Holly stated. “We love these dogs for their intelligence and instinct. They are just comfortable to have around livestock on a working farm. I cannot imagine my life without a dog.”
Holly shared her favorite story about Red when a little piggy escaped and Red saved the day (Fans of the movie “Babe” will like this story, too.): Herding pigs is super challenging for Border Collies, especially if they are not accustomed to pigs. Red was not. It was a very, very warm day in August and a pig escaped his pen. We all tried to herd the pig back but had no luck. With the heat, our concern was stressing out the animals. Finally, I noticed that the pig was watching Red, so I had Red head to a cool shady spot and ‘get down’ — sure enough, the pig followed and lay down beside Red. While Red stayed down, we quickly fenced them in together with some netting and got Red out and electrified the fence… there the pig stayed. Amazing!
Learn more about Brookfield Farm. Also, be sure to pick up a package of Brookfield Farm’s certified organic grass-fed beef the next time you visit the co-op.
Know of a farm animal I should highlight in a future article? We want to hear from you! Please email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.