Amy Richardson: Life, Love, and Loss on a Vermont Dairy Farm
December 22, 2020
Amy Richardson didn’t exactly know what she was getting into when she married a dairy farmer.
But for more than 25 years, she’s embraced moments big and small on the farm. After meeting Scott Richardson at the University of Vermont, the couple married in 1994. They settled down at the Richardson Farm, where they raised their three sons, Ezra, Emory, and Elliott.
“When we were engaged, I felt strongly that I wanted to work here, to be here. It was not a background that I had come from. I loved horses, and I didn’t know much about cows,” says Richardson, who grew up in Northfield. “I was very keen on learning about the dairy business—milking cows—when I joined this family.”
Over the years, she has made a name for herself. Richardson is a go-to resource in the Vermont agricultural community. She’s also built a solid social media following and created connections with farmers around the world.
A Place to Call Home
The dairy farm, which has been in the Richardson family for more than 100 years, consists of about 450 hilly acres in Hartland, a small town located near Woodstock in Windsor County.
“A lot of the little unknown things about the farm are what make it a good, happy place,” Richardson says. “Whether it’s blackberries, or watching my dog go in the brook when it’s 95 degrees out, or the cows coming to me in the pasture and licking me. Those are all good things.”
The year has been a challenging one for Richardson, whose father died in May. Her father, Barry Mynter, was a retired Norwich University football coach who spent much of his free time at the farm with his grandsons.
“He loved the farm. I’m really glad now that he had that in his life for 25 years or more,” she says. The farm “really became something he dove into as a late-in-life interest. He loved sugaring…and the grandkids too, of course.”
As for the future of the Richardson Farm, the land will remain in agriculture, thanks to a land trust agreement. But whether it will eventually be taken over by the youngest generation of Richardsons remains to be seen. That’s a decision that Richardson says her sons will need to come to on their own, just as she did.
“It’s been long enough now that I can say, no, I really didn’t know what I was getting into back then. I raised my hand right away and said, ‘Yes, I want to learn how to milk the cows. I want to learn how to take care of the calves,’” she says. “And here I am. It’s been about 27 years now of milking cows every day that I can, every day that I’m here. And that’s good, and I love it.”
-Amy Richardson’s father, Barry Mynter, taught her sons how to hunt on the farm’s property. Mynter passed away earlier this year. (Photo by Erica Houskeeper for Vermont Farm to Plate, 2016)
Happy Vermont Podcast
In this episode, “Love, Loss, and Cows on a Vermont Dairy Farm,” Amy Richardson talks about balancing work and family, losing a parent, and everyday things that bring her joy.