Melissa Griffin is a dairy farmer based in Buckland, Massachusetts. Growing up on her family farm, Clessons River Farm, Griffin is the fifth generation to be working there. Griffin left the farm temporarily to earn her master’s degree in trumpet performance. After a successful time away and achieving her degree, Griffin went back to the farm.
She now works alongside her father, Paul Willis, on the farm full-time. Clessons River Farm is 330 acres and they look after approximately 125 animals, which includes 60 cows, which are predominantly registered Holsteins. Not only does Griffin care for the animal's welfare, but she also provides them with entertainment!
Griffin stands in the middle of the barn, surrounded by cows, and plays the trumpet. Her music stand is in front of her, cemented in the mud. As she plays Louis Armstrong’s ‘What A Wonderful World’, the cows in the field, which were originally spread apart, close in nearer to her. Towards the end of the performance, one of the cows nudges its head into the base of the trumpet and begins to lick the end.
Despite her passion for playing the trumpet, Griffin says that she has always imagined herself back on the farm. Griffin has followed in the footsteps of her father, as they were both involved in the Young Cooperators Programme. In 2017, Melissa and her husband Adam became the 2017 Young Cooperator Chaircouple.
Despite holding full-time jobs elsewhere, Griffin’s mother Judy, and Adam, also help out on the farm caring for the animals, especially in the summer months, when the work is more demanding.
As well as being a dedicated dairy farmer, Griffin also ensures that she sets aside time for herself to continue with her music. Griffin efficiently manages her performances across southern New England. She plays the trumpet a majority of the week, sometimes as many as 4 nights, in several groups in her area, including one of the oldest community bands in the USA.
She combines her two passions, farming and music, and brings pleasure to not only the people around her but the animals too! Learn more about this article by going to New England Dairy’s YouTube channel.