Eildon Tweed Farm in West Charlton was recently recognized as a Bicentennial Farm by the New York State Agricultural Society.
Bicentennial farms are those that have been in the same family continuously for 200 years. Today, Eildon Tweed is operated by David and Connie Wood.
Robert and William Bunyan, who were ancestors of Connie Wood, purchased the land on what is now Eastern Avenue in 1794, as the West Charlton area was being settled by Scottish immigrants.
Today, Eildon Tweed — named by the Woods for two rivers in England — works more than 2,400 acres of cropland to supply a milking herd of 1,100 cows, plus 1,000 head of young stock.
“We’re trying to increase the quality of the herd all the time and it gives me great pleasure to have a good operation,” David Wood said.
The current operation began to take shape in 1985, when the Woods purchased an adjoining farm from two of Connie Wood’s cousins, Ray and Jimmy Nelson, and began farming with 65 cows. That purchase reunited parts of the original farm that had been separated in an earlier generation.
David Wood was also a Cornell Cooperative Extension agent in Saratoga County from 1963 until the 1980s. The farm had been in his wife’s family, the Arnolds, and passed down through a female descendant three different times, according to a farm history.
In developing their herd, the Woods have used embryo transfer technology, genetic testing and in-vitro fertilization to upgrade herd quality, as well as purchasing several bulls through a national sire service.
The business was also rebuilt after a fire destroyed the barns in 1988. Since then, the herd has been expanded by as much as 20 percent per year.
Today, the farm’s milk is marketed through a small seven-farm cooperative of which David Wood is president. The farm produces about 80,000 pounds of milk per day.
The Woods have also been active in local rural preservation efforts, municipal planning and agricultural economic development efforts. Connie Wood is a member of the Saratoga County Planning Board and involved in the annual Sundae on the Farm program, which Eildon Tweed has twice hosted.
David Wood is a member of the Saratoga County Prosperity Partnership, the county’s new economic development organization.
The bicentennial farm recognition, at a state Agriculture Society event in Syracuse earlier this month, included a proclamation signed by Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo and a sign to be installed at the farm.