Gold Top Farm in Knox, Maine, is the 2012 Green Pastures winner for Maine. This farm has been one of the premier Maine farms for generations. The farm is currently owned and operated by John W. Ingraham & Sons. Gold Top has raised registered holsteins since 1932.
George and Betsy Ingraham purchased the original farm of 150 acres in 1876. This land was purchased from General Henry Knox who was given the land for payment of services in the revolutionary war from 1775-1783. Today, the farm is owned by John, Beverly, Michael, Jackie, Gregory, and Shirley Ingraham.
Michael, Jackie, Gregg, and Shirley do the day-to-day management of the farm along with 11 year-round employees as well as part-time and seasonal employees. At present, Gold Top has a milking herd that averages 425 milking cows and 400 replacement heifers and calves.
The current milking barn holds 450 milking cows. It features a slatted floor for manure collection beneath the slats moved to a large lagoon below the barn. Cows are fed a total mixed ration that includes long hay.
The milking barn is computerized and has a double twelve parallel parlor with milk meters. All cow data is fed electronically to the computer during each milking. Herd production is 21,681 lbs. milk per cow and 863 lbs. fat.
Cows are calved in the old barn across the street and milked there until ready to enter the milking herd. A surveillance camera monitors the calving pen. Calves are raised in a series of group housing pens in a large airy barn. Close to 100 heifers are pastured each year.
The Ingraham produces forage to feed their large herd with 420 acres of corn silage and 600 acres of grass raised for silage and hay. In addition, soybeans have been raised on the farm as a protein source for the past six years. Equipment maintenance is done in their large well-equipped machinery shop. Large equipment can be brought into the heated facility for work during the winter.
The Ingraham family has been involved with the agricultural community for generations. John is active in the agricultural community, especially with the State Grange and local Freedom Grange. In addition, he has served as a director for Eastern States Exposition, co-founder of the Waldo County Quality Dairy Sales, selectman for the Town of Knox, and SAD 3 School Board Director.
Beverly also is active with Grange activities and a willing supporter of the many activities of the farm. Michael served as a board member for the Farm Service Agency and a Selectman for the town of Knox. Jackie served as supervisor for the Soil and Water Conservation District for several years and a School Board member for nine years. In addition, Jackie and Mike were 4-H leaders for several years.