Naughtaveel Farm
Conway, NH

Naughtaveel Farm

The name game is in keeping with the Hussey family’s approach to living and working on their farm. Sure, it’s hard work, sure there are easier ways to earn a living, but would they be as much fun? We’re guessing not.

Most dairy farmers likely can relate to Julie and Justin Hussey’s feelings about working their own dairy farm.

“Most of the time, we’re very grateful to be where we are,” she says, but adds with a laugh, “and sometimes, I think we’re crazy for not doing something a lot easier!”

She’s kidding, of course, but considering she made the comment during a phone interview while out in the field, cutting corn with her husband, there surely are easier ways to earn a living.

Julie and Justin are proud owners of Naughtaveel Farm in North Conway, this year’s New Hampshire Dairy Farm of the Year, the title earned as recipient of the Green Pasture Award.

The farm is the culmination of a dream the couple shared as undergraduates at the University of New Hampshire. She was an unhappy marine biology major, he was a frustrated engineering major, and both made the switch to dairy sciences. They met in a lecture hall and have been together ever since, working toward the dream of owning their own farm.

Now married with two children, the Husseys’ journey to farm ownership had more than a few twists and turns. They moved to Vermont after graduation, with Julie working with her brother on his farm, and Justin working for Northeast Agricultural Sales and becoming a certified pesticide spray applicator. After a custom heifer raiser closed, the couple started raising heifers at one of Justin’s grandfather’s farms in North Conway, later buying a local dairy farmer’s herd.

Fast forward a few years, and the Husseys finally bought Justin’s grandfather’s farm. It was the ultimate fixer-upper, says Julie, since it had been vacant for many years and used for storage, so they did a general clean-up, added free-stalls, and reconditioned the milking parlor.

Their commercial dairy farm now includes 250 acres of corn and 250 acres of hay crop, with  a 185-cow milking herd of mostly Holsteins and 175 head of heifers. The milked is shipped to Agri-Mark, and helping the operation are three employees, along with Justin and Julie, and children Allie and Sawyer.

In addition to the dairy operation, the family has 19 Percheron show horses which compete in shows from Maine to Colorado. In 2017, their six-horse hitch team earned the national championship at the Iowa State Fair, with another win at the Indiana State Fair, and the Husseys continue to travel the country to fair and shows, which Julie prizes as cherished family time.

Being the only dairy farm in the area, the Hussey Farm does a lot of agricultural education, and they and their children enjoy teaching local residents about what happens on their family’s farm.

And about that farm name…No, Naughtaveel is not an ancestral Welsh name or a mighty Indigenous chief.  It refers to a local resident who was convinced there were some nefarious doings at the farm, since she had spotted numerous calves housed in individual plastic hutches, a common sight on most dairy farms. Seems the local suspected the Husseys were raising veal, so one of their friends joked about their “not a veal farm.” Julie did a little wordplay and came up with a word that was so pronounced: Naughtaveel Farm.

The name game is in keeping with the Hussey family’s approach to living and working on their farm. Sure, it’s hard work, sure there are easier ways to earn a living, but would they be as much fun? We’re guessing not.

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