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YORK, Pa. -- The Rutters family, operator of about 50 convenience stores in Pennsylvania and Maryland, will expand its Manchester Township, Pa., dairy processing business to include a new refrigerated warehouse and farm education center for tours, but the more than 250-year-old farm will have to sell off its own small herd to make room for the buildings, reported the York (Pa.) Daily Record.
"As a family associated with milking cows for generations, this has been a very difficult decision," said Todd Rutter, president of Rutter's Dairy. "But we have concluded that we need to have the ability to expand our dairy processing operation, and there is just not enough space to do both."
In 1995, the Rutters were recognized by a national farming magazine for having the oldest continuously operating farm in the United States. Rutter said he expects that the dairy will still be able to make that claim because whatever land remains on the 130-acre farm after the expansion will be used to raise crops and some non-milking cows. The farm began operating in 1747, and the dairy barns were built in the 1800s.
Rutter's has already sold half of its 65-cow milking herd, which produces only 2 percent of the milk processed by the dairy. The rest -- about $11 million worth a year -- is purchased from local dairy farmers. To make up for the loss of the Rutter cows, the company will have to add to its local suppliers.