Gold Top Farm in Knox, Maine is the 2012 Green Pastures winner for Maine. This farm has been one of the premier Maine farms for generations. The farm is currently owned and operated by John W. Ingraham & Sons. Gold Top has raised registered holsteins since 1932. The original farm of one hundred and fifty acres was purchased by George and Betsy Ingraham in 1876; this parcel of land was purchased from General Henry Knox who was given the land for payment of services in the revolutionary war from 1775 to 1783.
Today, the farm is owned by John and Beverly Ingraham, Michael and Jackie Ingraham and Gregory and Shirley Ingraham. Michael, Jackie, Gregg and Shirley do the day to day management of the farm along with 11 year round employees as well as part-time and seasonal employees. At the present time, Gold Top has a milking herd that averages n 425 milking cows as well as 400 replacement heifers and calves.
The current milking barn holds 450 milking cows. It features a slatted floor for manure collection beneath the slats that are moved to a large lagoon below the barn. Cows are fed a total mixed ration that includes long hay. The milking barn is computerized and has a double twelve parallel parlor with milk meters. All cow data is fed electronically to the computer during each milking. Herd production is 21,681 lbs milk per cow 863 lbs fat.
Cows are calved in the old barn across the street and milked there until ready to enter the milking herd. Calving pen is monitored by surveillance camera. Calves are raised in group pens. Calves are raised in a series of group housing pens in a large airy barn. Close to 100 heifers are pastured each year.
Forage is produced by the Ingraham to feed their large herd with 420 acres of corn silage and 600 acres of grass raised for silage and hay. Soybeans have been raised on the farm as a protein source for the past six years.
Equipment maintenance is done in their large well equipped machinery shop; large equipment can be brought into the heated facility for work during the winter.
The Ingrahams have been involved with the agricultural community for generations. John Ingraham has been very active in the agricultural community especially with the State Grange and local Freedom Grange. John has served as a director for Eastern States Exposition, was co-founder of the Waldo County Quality Dairy Sales, served as selectman for the Town of Knox and was SAD3 School Board Director. Beverly also is very active with grange activities and served as a willing supporter of the many activities of the farm. Michael has served as board member for the Farm Service Agency and also as Selectman for the town of Knox. Jackie served as supervisor for the Soil and Water Conservation District for several years as well as a School Board member for 9 years. Jackie and Mike served as 4-H leaders for several years.