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These are tough times for Maine dairy farmers—but this farm has seen worse

“If you take care of the cow, the cow will take care of you”

PORTLAND, Maine — There are plenty of businesses in Maine that have been around a long time, decades in many cases, more than a century in others. And then there in Brigeen Farms. Don’t bother getting into a longevity contest with Brigeen. You’ll lose.

The farm has been owned and operated by the same family since 1777. That is not a typo. 1777. It’s older than Maine, older than the U.S. Constitution. Ten generations have run the farm, which sits on some 800 acres in Turner, home to more than one thousand cows. Long before sustainable became a buzzword, it was a way of life at this operation. They live by a simple adage: “If you take care of the cow, she will take care of you.”

Steve and Mary Briggs and Bill and Betsy Bullard are the ninth and tenth generations at Brigeen, and we talked with Betsy to see how things are going. The farm has survived the American Revolution, the War of 1812, the Civil War, two world wars, the Great Depression, uncounted recessions and financial panics and stock market dives, the Spanish flu epidemic, and all manner of challenges and setbacks—but it’s never been through anything like our current pandemic.

So how is Brigeen holding up? Watch our conversation with Betsy to find out. And keep in mind this reassuring thought: If you think times are tough now, you can be sure that Brigeen has endured worse.

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