The Farm Connection Story


Family History

In 1851, David and Magdalena Jegerlehner (the Swiss spelling) and their children left their home in Switzerland to travel to America.  Initially, they settled in Holmes
County, Ohio.  A few years later, they purchased 104 acres of land in Clay City, Indiana.

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The family dairy farm was begun in 1950 by
Alan's parents, Kenneth (the 5th generation) and Mary Lois. Seven
generations from when David first settled it, this land still remains a
part of the current farm today.  It has been home to many hard-working
family members over the years, as well as cows, pigs, chickens, and some
horses and donkeys!  Alan and his father Kenneth also grew grain crops
for several years.  Beginning in the 1970's they sought to manage their farm
sustainably, using alternative tillage and conservation practices.  The
dairy, however, continued to be managed for many years as a confinement
operation.  In the early 1990's Alan learned about seasonal dairying and
rotational grazing, which was the beginning of a new era for everyone involved. 
By the end of the decade, the grain crops were phased out, and the rotationally grazing dairy herd became the sole farm enterprise. It became evident that selling milk on the commercial market would not be profitable enough to keep the farm in business for long. Soon we would enter the realm where the gap is closed between the farmer and the consumer (a.k.a. co-producer).

The Dream

Alan, Mary and their children Kate, Luke, and Jess were fortunate enough to
travel to Switzerland in 1996, and were blessed with the opportunity to meet many of their Swiss relatives.  While visiting, they witnessed cheese making in their relatives' small village of Bleienbach.  After this experience, Alan developed a dream of making cheese one day back at his own farm.  In the summer of 2000, Alan's dream became a reality with the first batch of cheese, and over Labor Day weekend, he and his
family celebrated the grand opening of the on-farm store.

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100% Grass-fed Dairy and Meat Products

Over 150 years and six generations after David and Magdalena and their family settled here, we now manage the dairy as a 100% grass-fed operation, creating artisanal raw cheeses from the rich golden milk of our pasture-fed cows since 2000. We also have a flock of pastured laying hens, and each year we purchase a few feeder pigs to consume the whey and skim milk by-products we generate through cheese and butter making.

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The Farm Connection is nestled northeast of the small town of Clay City, Indiana (known as "Mayberry of the Midwest"), about an hour's drive from the Indianapolis airport.  Visitors to the farm can see the cows grazing, the milking barn, and even watch the cheesemaking process on the days when cheese is being made.

In addition to being 100% grass-fed, our cows are raised without using hormones, antibiotics, or pesticides.  We always strive to improve the soil life and the plants which capture solar energy in order to nourish the animals and people who depend on them. So although our cheeses, beef, and pet products are not certified organic, we are confident they're even better!  It is a privilege to be taking care of a part of creation, which in turn allows us to be a part of meeting the needs of the people whose paths we cross. 

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