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Agriculture / Conservation News
Connecticut State Grange names Avery as farmer of the year

By Phyllis Royx, Reminder News (11/6/07)

  NOVEMBER 2007 --

King George the III of England gave Isaac Avery a land grant in 1772," said Myron Avery Sr., 70. Three centuries and several generations later, the land has passed to Myron Avery who, like the father for whom he is named, is raising Registered Polled Hereford cattle he sells on the hoof. His herd currently numbers 48.

The Connecticut State Grange named Avery Outstanding Farmer of the Year in an Oct. 17 ceremony at the Crowne Plaza Hotel in Cromwell, Conn. The award was in recognition of Avery's commitment to environmentally-friendly farming methods and his dedication to preserving the family farm.

The Avery residence in Stafford sits right at the Stafford/Somers line on Route 190. The barns, outbuildings and most of the farm acreage is in Somers. Avery said that it has been somewhat of a struggle to hang on when market forces nationwide have driven small farmers out of business. "You do it for love of the farm," Avery said. "Right now, production of ethanol is driving up the price of cattle feed."

Sons Joseph and Roger are involved with the farm, and son Myron has a few head of his own on Buckley Highway in Stafford. "My daughter, Barbara, used to do a lot of farm work and was in 4-H ," said Avery. Avery's daughter Arlene is a workshare farmer at the CSA farm in Stafford.

Air Force training enabled Avery to make a living while working the farm. "I was a sheet metal technician at Kaman for 23 years," he said. He retired at age 62 from Kaman's Signature Flight Support Division.

"Farming is a 24/7 occupation. Calves are born at all hours of the day and night, fences break, and cows get loose," said Arlene, eldest of the five Avery children. "Sudden storms pop up while you're bringing in the hay. My dad ran the family farm with my retired grandfather while holding down a full-time job at Kaman. He would get up early to do morning chores, work a full day and sometimes more at Kaman and then come home, have supper and do evening chores."

Avery met his wife, Masako, while serving in the Air Force from 1954-58 . They married in Japan in 1958. Masako is from Moji, Japan. As Arlene states, her mother has been very supportive of her husband.

"Since my father's time was nearly all consumed by his full-time day job and the farm, much of the responsibility of raising and caring for the five children fell to my mother," Arlene said. "We farm kids had huge appetites, and when we had extra workers helping to bring in silage and hay, she cooked for them also. There was an endless cycle of laundry; besides our regular clothing we had ‘barn clothes' that became quickly soiled from doing farm work."

Avery's sister, Doris Murray, said, "My other brothers weren't interested in running the farm, although Daniel was herdsman at the University of Connecticut . I hope the farm stays in the family."

Avery is a past president at Tolland County Agricultural Center and has served on the organization's Board of Trustees. Presently, he is a vice president of the Tolland County Farm Bureau and a Tolland County State Farm Bureau representative.

Stafford Grange Master Milo Bradway said, "He's overseer at Stafford Grange. That's like being vice president . You take over when the master can't be there." Avery is a longtime member.

Avery's U.S. family history dates back to Sea Captain James Avery, a 17th century New London settler for whom Avery Point in Groton is named.


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