A Simply Natural Approach to Dairy
Neil Moye grew up in Greene County, North Carolina. He began farming directly out of high school in 1986 with an $80,000 loan from a local bank cosigned by his father, who ran the local grocery store in Ayden. Neil began as a traditional tobacco and row crop farmer, but diversified in 2004 with antibiotic-free hogs and, later in 2007, with turkeys.
In 2009, the Moyes moved into dairy production. Neil and his wife, Jackie, already owned two Jersey cows, and knew that was the breed they wanted their new herd to be. Jerseys are known for their gentleness and ease of maintenance. The heifers also produce a high quantity of flavorful milk while grazing efficiently.
Role of NCIFThe Moyes took their plans to Chatham County Cooperative Extension to discuss. The agent, specializing in dairy operations, understood the capital requirements such a project entailed, and referred Neil to Natural Capital Investment Fund. Paired with Neil’s tobacco settlement payouts from the North Carolina Tobacco Trust Fund Commission, NCIF’s loan funded the purchase of Jersey milking cows, milking equipment, fencing, and start-up working capital.
Today, Moye farms more than 500 acres of land and 180 Jersey cattle, which produce more than 338,000 gallons of milk per year, enough to fill 110 tanker trucks. In 2014, the Moyes took their enterprise one step further by opening Simply Natural Creamery. The Creamery processes roughlyhalf of the milk produced by the Jersey herd into ice cream, whole, and lowfat milk, chocolate milk, butter and other dairy products. The Dairy sells the remainder as raw milk to a local co-op.
Why This Project MattersSimply Natural Jersey Farm and Creamery has become a popular source of locally produced milk that is free of antibiotics and growth hormones. Moye‘s organic grain production eliminates the use of herbicides and more than 50,000 pounds of synthetic fertilizer annually. Together the Creamery and Dairy employ 43 local residents (22 full-time and 21 part-time) and supply retail establishments across eastern NC. Just as importantly the farm and creamery have become a valuable agrotourism destination. Over 30,000 individuals took farm tours last year, and an estimated 75,000 visited the Creamery store.
Simply Natural Jersey Farm and Creamery is located at 1265 Carson Edwards Road in Ayden, NC. To see store hours or learn more about their products, visit their website at www.simplynaturalcreamery.com. Also, be sure to 'like' Simply Natural on Facebook.