Dairy farmer Greg Porter of Porterdale Farms laughs when he tells the story of giving his daughter, Casey Porter Aubin, a Jersey calf for a 4-H project when she was in elementary school.

Both father and daughter agree this gift started the great of love of cows that Casey continues to foster well into her career as a dairy farmer.

The Porters farm together on the family dairy in Adams Center, New York. The farm was started in 1938 by Greg’s grandfather.

Today, the family has about 2,000 cows and farms about 4,500 acres of crops.

Casey, who graduated from Cornell University just like her mother and father, says she was driven to dairy farming because of her love for animals and love for her family.

“It made sense for me to come home. Not only do we have the opportunity to produce nature’s most perfect food with 13 essential vitamins and minerals, we also are responsible for taking care of the land to the best of our ability,” Casey says.

Porterdale Farms prioritizes conservation efforts. The farm has invested in a concrete storage structure to store manure so application to the fields can be made at optimum times of the year. The farm utilizes cover crops to reduce erosion, which protects local waterways. They’ve also partnered with their local soil and water district to plant trees along the banks of the Sandy Creek Watershed, which runs through the farm.

“For me, dairy farming is the opportunity to work with God’s creation – the land and the animals. It is a great lifestyle to watch your family grow up, along with the generations of different cattle that we raise,” Greg says. “You live by faith that the rains are going to come, and the sun is going to shine. Farming is who I am, and it’s in my blood.”

The family is grateful for the miracles that they witness on the farm every day, like the first breath of a newborn calf or watching corn stalks sprout from seeds in their fields.

But Casey says it was the miracle of her father recovering from a life-threatening farm accident in 2013 that was the biggest and best-answered prayer.

Greg says he leaned on his faith and help from family and friends to learn how to walk again and get back to the farm.

“I really feel like my upbringing on the farm, playing sports in high school and my faith helped me,” Greg says. “Everybody pitched in, and it was my job to recover. I got a taste of early retirement, and I didn’t like it.”

Casey says that she looks back on the time she spent with her dad, driving him to physical therapy or just eating slices of pie together after school, as a gift.

“Obviously, I knew my dad, but I never got the chance to really know him as an adult. During that time, we were able to talk about life. We talked about farming. That was when I realized that dairy farming is in my blood, too,” she says.

Now, this dad and daughter duo work side by side every day. Greg shares his expertise with Casey, taking care of the herd together.

“That time that I spent with my father in my senior year of high school, there was a definite shift from a very strict father-daughter relationship to being like friends. And that has certainly carried over to me being home now, working on the farm.”

“I think it’s kind of neat. My dad is my favorite work friend, and I don’t think a lot of people can say that,” Casey says.

Hear more stories from Greg Porter and Casey Porter Aubin by watching the “Motivated by Miracles” episode of This American Dairy Farmer below.