Bike Maine: Family farm innovates to keep town's agriculture alive

Final day of Bike Maine

FARMINGTON, Maine (NEWS CENTER) – Bikers made the 51 mile journey from Hartford to Farmington Friday—the last stop on their tour before heading back to Skowhegan.

The tour made stops in six communities in the western part of the state. Each town offering something new for riders to experience.  

“I didn’t even know some of these towns existed,” one rider said.

If Farmington, our NEWS CENTER team set out to see what was behind a name...and it brought us to a farm (of course).

"Well there's farms and Farmington. That's for sure!,” Bussie York said.

York and his family have owned Sandy River Farms for more than half a century.

The family farm sits on more that 1400 acres. 600 of those acres are actively used for farming today.

"My wife and I took over in 1964,” York said.

The crops are planted in the same rich soil along the river that's been used for agriculture since before the town was even on the map.

York said his whole family keeps it running.

"We have a big family yeah,” he said. "Everyone in the family is involved."

Even his 10-year-old granddaughter Mariah plays a role tending to the calves.

She said she was even recently crowned “Dairy Princess” in the 4H organization.

York and his granddaughter took us on a tour of their farm, including the cow barn and their vast corn field.

The corn, however, is being used in more ways than one these days. The family has been preparing for their annual corn maze to open in October.

"We entertain four to five thousand people coming to the maze each year,” York said. “It's a great personal to hear the comments from the people that have the opportunity to come to the farm."

As fast as the corn grows, the farm itself is even growing too. York said they even have plans to  including plans construct a massive solar farm on unused land.

"We've just been expanding and trying to keep it simple but trying to be productive,” he said.

For York it has been about being able to keep up and reinvent yourself while still being true to the most important thing: the land.

"As long as people need to eat there is still a future in agriculture. It's just where it's positioned is probably the most important thing and Maine is kind of on the outskirts of that position,” he said.

The entire family working hard to keep the agriculture business alive for generations in the town of Farmington.

"We couldn't run it without the family,” York said.

As for the Bike Maine tour, the group wraps up their week-long trek through the Western Foothills traveling Farmington back to Skowhegan on Saturday.

© 2017 WCSH-TV


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