DURHAM, Conn. (WTNH) — The Greenbacker family has farming roots that go back to the 1700s, and the Brookfield Farm in Durham has been in the family for nearly 40 years.
A few years ago was a very emotional time for the family when it sold most of its 350 cows — 220 during an auction in 2018 alone. The family kept some of the cows for personal reasons, but it shut down its major dairy farm operation.
“The decision to sell the cows was forced by economic conditions in the dairy industry,” Joe Greenbacker said.
That same year, Greenbacker talked about the struggles of dairy farming when Farm Aid 2018 came to Connecticut.
“I keep telling people one of the highlights of my life is shaking hands with Willie Nelson,” he said.
The Greenbacker family has had to make another difficult decision. They are selling the 415-acre farm, including seven houses, several barns, an equestrian center with an indoor arena, and a pond on the property. The property is listed for just under $5 million.
Greenbacker, who is in his 70s, runs the farm right now with his brother, Dave. With little interest in farming from the younger generation of Greenbackers, except for his daughter and her husband, who own the cows, they decided it was time to sell.
“I’m at the age where I’m ready to have a lot less to do,” Greenbacker said. “I’m sure I’ll be sad to see it go, but on the other hand, I think somebody else can do a better job of maintaining it and preserving it into the future.”
Whoever buys the property doesn’t necessarily have to run it as a farm, but because it is part of a preservation program with the state, it would have to be used for an agricultural purpose or kept as open space.