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Young farmer, 24, working to secure Curly Hill Farm’s future


Aaron Worthington, 24, is the seventh generation to farm his family’s 132-acre dairy property in Plumstead. A 2021 graduate of Delaware Valley University (B.S., Dairy Science), he is a 2023 awardee of Bucks County Farm Bureau’s Jerry Harris & Paul Hockman Young Ag Professionals grant. He’ll be using the grant to improve the farm’s calf housing.

One might think that after seven generations there wouldn’t be much left to improve on a dairy farm. But Aaron is embracing new methods to keep the farm a thriving business into the future.

Curly Hill Farm, on the eponymous Worthington Road, dates to 1861 — the year incised on the fieldstone springhouse. A sycamore tree mentioned in the old sheepskin deed anchors the front yard. In 2001, Aaron’s grandparents — Kenneth and Patricia Worthington — preserved the farm with Bucks County. His parents — Steve and Annette Worthington — took over ownership a few years ago.

When Aaron and his wife Kait were married in April 2023, their wedding photos included the springhouse and sycamore: connecting family and land, past and future.

There are about 100 dairy cows on the farm, half of which are milked. The milk is sold to the Land O’Lakes cooperative. Aaron and his father, both full-time farmers, do most of the work in the barn and fields.

Growing up, Aaron recalls, “I enjoyed riding tractors and working with cows. I always took the calves to Newtown Grange Fair to show.”

On the farm, Aaron learned everything about dairying that his father had learned from his father. At DelVal, though, “I would never have thought there was so much to learn about cows, especially about feeding and nutrition.”

The Worthingtons grow most of their feed (hay and silage), primarily on the farm and also on local rented fields. Aaron brought home from college a “big change” in the feeding regime. To replace traditional component feeding (where each forage, grain and supplement is fed separately), he introduced TMR (total mixed ration), which combines all components.

The aim is to optimize the rate at which the cow digests her food, improving its nutritive value, which increases milk production and quality.

Aaron will use the $2,500-grant to replace stone floors in the calf stalls with concrete.

“The concrete will keep the calves cleaner, so they’ll be healthier,” he said.

That project is one piece of a bigger plan, for which the Worthingtons are working with funding agencies, to build a new barn and a manure storage facility.

“It would be a pretty big impact on us, giving us room to expand, and healthier cows because they’ll be able to spend time outside their stalls,” Aaron said.

Healthier cows should produce more — and better — milk.

“Having a higher quality milk would be important because we would be getting paid more and therefore we would be more profitable,” Aaron said.

For small dairy farmers, increasing profitability is key to long-term sustainability, enabling the farmer to reinvest in equipment and structures while still supporting the family.

Rooted in tradition, animated by new ideas, Aaron Worthington is securing the future for a historic farm.

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