When the Cows Come Home

We were honored to have Donna Cronk contact us and write a story about our family farm. She gave me permission to share it with you.

When the cows come home

By DONNA CRONK - dcronk@thecouriertimes.com

CAMBRIDGE CITY — Matt Fagan grew up on a family farm in the Jacksonburg area of Wayne County. He loved working with his father and grandfather on the farm his grandparents, Betty and Gene Fagan, and great-grandparents called home. In 2004, he and wife Jamie were able to realize his dream of buying the property.

It’s there that they are raising and Jamie is homeschooling their six
children: Hannah, 16; Andrew, 15; Lydia, 13, Isaac, 10; David, 14, and
Caleb, 2.

It’s also there that the entire family embraces farm life. There, the children raise and care for their 4-H animals, and the family started a
herd-share program where people can buy into the herd and therefore have
access to fresh, raw milk.

Indiana law prohibits the sale of unpasteurized milk to the consumer but those who own the cow can legally access the milk.

Jamie says some research shows that the pure form of the product is better for the consumer. 

“Raw milk is rich in natural vitamins, it is easier to digest, and it can
help with allergies, skin conditions, and it boosts the immune system,” reports Jamie. “Studies showed that children drinking raw milk had greater resistance to disease, better growth, and overall better health. Pasteurized milk reduces the nutritional quality and taste. Raw milk has superior flavor. It is fresh, creamy and full of flavor.”

The Fagans care for the herd, making sure that the Jersey cows are healthy and the equipment and bottling processes are clean and well-washed. They also have the milk tested to make sure it is safe.

Right now, two Jersey cows provide herd shares for 20 families who have signed on as herd owners. Together, at each milking, the two cows combined produce about eight gallons of milk. They are milked twice a day by abucket milker.

More cows are being raised to replace the current cows’ efforts or add to them as the milking operation grows.

The family also raises beef cattle and raises crops. The children have 4-H sheep and hogs.

Says Matt, “I’ve grown up doing it (farming) and I just love doing it.” 

Matt’s parents are Teresa Fagan, now of Connersville, and the late DaveFagan. Jamie’s parents are Jim and Pam Morford, formerly of Connersville and now of Cambridge City.

In addition to farming, Matt is a mail carrier and part-time preacher at
the Greens Fork Christian. He says the kids love farm life and he quips, “They’re my hay crew.”

Connersville native Jamie says she likes being able to provide local food and help out families “and it’s a good place to raise our kids.”

When asked about what he enjoys about farm life, oldest son Andrew says, “There’s a lot to like. I don’t want to do anything else.”

Oldest daughter Hannah is also taking classes at Ivy Tech and enjoys
working with an area farmer with his hogs and enjoys that.

Says Jamie, “All of us, we like being able to work together.”

Matt adds, “Those are my best memories, working with Dad and Grandpa.”

For information on the herd-share program, contact the Fagans at
mjfagan1@hotmail.com, call 765-277-1377 or friend the Facebook page atFagan Family Farm Herd Shares or visit www.faganfamilyfarm.com.

Article and photos by Donna Cronk of the New Castle Courier-Times. Used with permission.

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