Abbie Corse never planned on becoming a dairy farmer.
The Corse Farm, an organic dairy that’s been in her family since 1868, is located in Whitingham, a small town in Windham County. While growing up on the farm, Corse couldn’t wait to leave and do something entirely different with her life.
“I resented (farming) so much as a kid, and wanted nothing more than to get away,” Corse says. “That was my goal—to just get away from here. And never come back.”
After graduating from St. Michael’s College, where she studied journalism, Corse worked for arts organizations in Vermont, Colorado, and Massachusetts.
But after a series of events—including a fire at her family’s farm in 2007—Corse found herself back in Whitingham, helping her parents at the farm and raising her two sons. In a few years, she’ll manage the dairy once her father retires.
“The reality of farm life is that it takes everything you’ll give it,” she says. “Especially when you’re dealing with a dairy—it doesn’t matter if it’s a holiday or there’s a soccer game or anything else. The cows have to be milked, and the work has to be done.”
She says her parents, Leon and Linda Corse, always encouraged their children to pursue a career path that made them happy—even if that meant the end of the family business. When Leon and Linda asked their three children if anyone had an interest in returning to the farm and eventually taking over the dairy’s operations, their sons declined the offer. But their daughter found herself unable to say no.
“The idea of not being able to drive up this road and know that…the connection to this land would be lost. That was something I really didn’t know how to handle,” Corse says. “So, I told them I didn’t know when or what it would look like, but I couldn’t tell them I wasn’t coming back.”
HAPPY VERMONT PODCAST
In Episode 6 of Happy Vermont, Abbie Corse talks about returning to Whitingham, the challenges and rewards of dairy farming, and why she’s proud to call Vermont home.
I would love to hear from you! Please email ideas or feedback to email@example.com. Thanks so much for listening.
Special thanks to Pluck design studio for editing and post-production.
Photo credit: Amy Overstreet.