NEW VIENNA, Ohio – New Horizon Farm and Dairy almost called it quits, but thanks to the family's teenage daughter, business is better than ever.
"Not a lot of people do dairy farming anymore. For me, it's the quickest way to see the product of your labor because it's instant almost," Maggie Mathews said.
Mathews, now 19 years old, is the third generation to work at the farm, continuing a 60-year tradition.
Her stepfather, Donald Bickel, owns and operates the business along with Mathew's mother, Jackie Bickel.
"You've got to want to do it and you've got to love it or else it gets pretty boring just milking cows every single day," Donald Bickel said.
The dairy industry is shrinking.
According to the United States Department of Agriculture, 1,620 dairy farms operated throughout Ohio in 2021. Ten years ago, 3,170 were in operation.
Jackie Bickell said the dairy industry took a turn for the worse in 2015.
"My husband and I stuck it out for about a year and a half and we were seriously considering an exit strategy," she said.
Mathews, however, birthed an idea that would later change the direction of their farm.
"We had a class project where we had to come up with a business plan in ag[riculture] class and we had recently visited Swallow Hill farms so my idea for the project was to have my own bottling plant," she said.
The idea worked.
Happy Cows Creamery now sells direct through its on-site farm store and online through Market Wagon.
"The farm is much more sustainable and financially healthy than it was five years ago. We still have a little ways to go, but definitely, we see growth and expansion every year," Jackie said.