February 15th, 2019
Topher Sabot ’99 gave a Log Lunch talk on Friday about his dairy farm, Cricket Creek. He brought along three of his cheeses for the crowd to try, a special treat for a rapt audience.
Topher spoke about his roots as the son of an Economics professor, and his introduction to farming when his parents bought the farm next to their house. He didn’t think he would go from a Williams degree in Economics to farming. “Economics isn’t bad,” he admitted, “and it was a lot different back then. I didn’t learn about artificial insemination,” he said jokingly. However, Topher says that Williams taught him something he uses every day in farming: critical thinking. “I don’t know if I would have learned that even in agriculture school,” he said.
Topher loves running Cricket Creek farm with his wife and children. “I get to bring my kids to work every day,” he said happily.
But farming isn’t as picturesque as it is often depicted in popular culture. Topher talked about the steep learning curve he was met with when he began farming, and the fact that he and his family can’t really afford to be away from the farm for more than a week or two per year.
There are also lots of ethical questions that come up with dairy farming, beginning with the current reality that dairy farmers are being driven out of business by a decrease in demand. There is a popular misconception that dairy faming is bad for the environment–but farms like Cricket Creek only till minimally, causing much less destruction to soil.
—Jane Tekin ’19