How do farm owners come up with the name for their farm?
When driving through the countryside you may from time to time see signs in front of farms identifying the farm. Many times it’s easy to figure out who owns the farm just by looking at the name. For example Smith Dairy, which is owned by Bob Smith, makes it pretty easy to figure out. Decades ago it was common to add the suffix view, crest, or dale to a farm. So, for instance, the Smith farm might have added dale to their farm making it now Smithdale. Crest representing the family name (like the family crest), view if you had a nice view of something, and dale could mean that the farm was located in the valley; think of the term “hill and dale.”
A farm could be named after the road it’s on or something that is extremely personal for the family. I asked Ron Herbert, whose farm is located in Copenhagen, where his family got their farm name “Queen’s View.” He stated that it was because the farm had a view of the (former) Queens Farm Milk Plant located across the river from his farm. He also explained that when they started registering their pure bred herd, they had to have a farm name for the prefix of their registered animals. Joe and Sue Shultz who farm in Lowville have their farm name as Araku Farm. Joe explained how his parents came up with the name. His parents were originally from Delaware County and Ara is the road they lived on and Ku is Arabic for cow. Homestead Fields Farm, located in LaFargeville, is owned by Ed and Anne Walldroff. Their farm name was named by Ed’s parents and it represents the original homestead of the farm. Garden of Eden Farm located in Philadelphia, NY, is owned by Mike Kiechle; the farm was named after the road the farm is located on.
As farms are sold quite often the farm name goes with whoever buys the farm, keeping the farm name even if it’s bought by a neighboring farm. To the new owners, it usually will always be identified as the “Smith Farm” even though it is now part of another farm business.
By Peggy Murray, Farm Business Educator, Cornell Cooperative Extensions of Lewis and Jefferson Counties
Last updated April 17, 2017