Donny and Sherry Bartch are dairy farmers in Loysville, Pensylvania.
While the COVID-19 pandemic has created challenges for the Bartches, they are confident that they want to push ahead.
A business across the generations
Sherry and Donny have been raising dairy cattle in Loysville for fifteen years. Sherry is the fourth generation of the Martin family farming in the area, and in 1976 the Martins moved the operation to its present location.
Back at the beginning, Merrimart Farms was comprised of about 50 cows and just over 100 acres. Over the years, the farm business has grown significantly. Today, Merrimart Farms has nearly 260 cows and spans over 1,000 acres.
A strong partner in Farm Credit
For Donny, constantly learning is crucial to the success of his business and his professional development. He continues to seek ways to increase his knowledge, not only about farming, but also about how to run the family’s business. And to do this, Donny relies on AgChoice.
“Education has been a key for me. I have found that I needed to have partners like AgChoice to help me on the leadership, financial and management side of the business,” he said.
Accustomed to working with AgChoice to learn how to handle new situations and management conundrums, it was natural for Donny to turn to his partners at AgChoice in the face of the COVID-19 pandemic. “AgChoice helps us work through adversities, such as the pandemic, and helps us come through them even better than before,” he said.
Speed when it mattered most
School closures across the country, as well as event cancelations and restaurant shutdowns, drastically altered the dairy market, causing challenges for farmers like Donny. During those crucial months when time really was money, AgChoice was there to support Donny and Sherry.
“I cannot say enough about what AgChoice did during that period and how quickly they worked. They were looking out for us and our wellbeing,” Donny said. “And knowing that we had AgChoice behind us, doing the work for us, was very reassuring.”
With his eye on the future, Donny feels optimistic.
“I’m not sure what the future’s going to hold, but I know just with the tenacity of myself and my family, we definitely want to push on and continue what was started four generations ago,” he said.
Despite the challenges and uncertainties that lie ahead, Donny is confident that he’s found his passion in life.
“These chances don’t come by but one in a million – to own your own business and to live this lifestyle,” Donny said. “It is all consuming and it is stressful, but at the end of the day, we wouldn’t want to raise our family anywhere else.”