Programs Grants & Awards
Pine Island Farm named MA Dairy Farm of the Year
September 26, 2017 by Press release
September 26, 2017, Springfield, MA — The winners of the 2017 New England Green Pastures Award were recognized at the Eastern States Exposition on Sept. 15. Honored as Massachusetts Outstanding Dairy Farm of the Year was Pine Island Farm of Sheffield, MA, managed by the Aragi family.
Pine Island Farm is a third-generation dairy farm operated by the Aragi family since 1964. Thomas Aragi – Louis Sr.’s father – purchased the original parcel of 179 acres. Today, the farm consists of more than 1,594 acres. The dairy operation is a partnership jointly owned by Louis Aragi Sr. and Louis Aragi Jr. Pine Island Farm houses approximately 1,500 head of dairy cattle. The farm generates approximately 20 million pounds of milk annually. All of the farm’s acreage used is solely for the dairy operation and the needs of the Aragi family. The Aragi’s also rent tillable cropland to provide sufficient feed for the dairy cattle.
Running a successful dairy operation is a challenge. Through thoughtful and creative planning and making solid business decisions, the farm has developed a dairy operation that relies heavily on the farm’s natural resources (landmass and field crops).
The Aragi’s have set their sights on developing an operation that is successful and will support future generations of the Aragi family. They look at opportunities for the farm from all angles and think outside the box in order to take maximum advantage of their available resources and implement those things that will benefit the farm-labor efficiencies, cost savings, and increased profitability. One such opportunity was in 2011 with the installation of a methane digester at the farm both owned and operated by the Aragi’s, that has addressed environmental issues, and created by-products that have been used at the farm reducing operating costs – diversifying the farm product mix and assisting in the sustainability of the farm. The Aragi’s prime focus has been to “mine the farm waste” for conversion into beneficial by-products and effectively use those digested by-products. Investing in this technology and gaining experience with it; and the diversification of the by-products, all have positioned the farm for future benefits ranging from additional revenue streams and labor savings. All of which have laid a foundation for sustainability of the Aragi family farm.
The Green Pasture Award is given every year to one outstanding dairy farm in each of the New England states, with winners evaluated on production records; herd, pasture and crop management; environmental practices; contributions to agriculture and the local community; and overall excellence in dairying.