Three University of New Hampshire (UNH) Thompson School graduates are soon-to-be TV famous, with them and their dairy farm of 200 cows featured on the History Channel’s “The American Farm.” The show premieres the night of April 4 (the night of this printing)
The Thompson School graduates are Si, Nate and Bram Robertson, whom all graduated in the last five years. They are the fifth generation working Bohanan Farm in Contoocook, New Hampshire, about an hour west of UNH’s Durham campus, and the fourth generation to graduate from UNH. Bohanon Farm’s creamery, Contoocook Creamery, produces bottled milk and cheese, with products as varied as Maplewood smoked cheddar cheese and blueberry milk.
Operating the various components of the farm and creamery is split amongst the brothers and their parents. As Nate explained, he “manage[s] the herd and the health of the cows,” while Si focuses on the crops for feeding the cows, “[managing] what mixes go where for fields, [doing] soil testing, and making sure that we’re doing everything we can to stay on top of that.”
Bram “works on the creamery side in the bottling…and distribution.” Si said. Their mother does “most of the financial work….and manages the calves,” and their father coordinates all parts of the farm.
Their family has been running Bohanan Farm, currently 440 acres, since 1907, when it was originally a 100-acre subsistence farm, meant to feed only the family working the farm. Si described the farm’s history: “My great-great-grandfather…had a farm to feed his family and then had a little bit left over to sell at the market, and when his sons came back in the ‘30s…they really transformed it into a commercial dairy farm.”
Those sons were “pretty progressive farmers,” Si continued, describing new technology the sons and the next generation installed. “In the late ‘80s early ‘90s our mum and dad came back to the farm, and we’ve continued that progressive streak, staying up with modern technology in dairy farming.”
“With each generation we kept adding on more and more land, more and more cows, growing the operation so that we can bring the next generation back,” Bram added.
In 2018, the brothers heard that a new show focusing on U.S. farming was in the works, and applied to be part of it. After an interview process, they, along with five other families from as far away as Alaska, were selected to be the focus of “The American Farm.” The show intends to “give everybody a picture of what we as American farmers do every day,” Si said. The timeline of the series “starts in the springtime and goes through [un]til the fall,” focusing on “how our days change.”
The brothers are eager for the premiere. “We’re really excited for the show to come out.” Si said. “Definitely nervous too, but mostly excited, and we’re really excited to try and let people know what we’re doing out here every day.”
The show premieres in Cole Hall at 10:00 p.m. preceded by a reception and question-and-answer session with the Robertson family beginning at 8:30 p.m. All events are free, but registration is required: https://www.eventbrite.com/e/history-channel-premiere-of-the-american-farm-featuring-contoocook-creamery-tickets-59382214803.