Bestyet is very much a family venture

Winifred, Martha and Miriam are the main “cow people” on our farm.  Winifred is the one you’ll usually reach by phone or e-mail, having been involved in this breeding herd for 37 years.  Martha and Miriam take a lot of responsibility for working with the cows day to day. For example, Martha does most of the artificial insemination, while Miriam specializes in training the calves to lead.  Paul is the head farmer on the place, providing feed for the cow herd as part of his organic crop rotation. He’s our machinery guy, and his son seems determined to follow in his footsteps. His wife Trisha loves the cows, too, and their growing flock of hair sheep, while her daughter is her faithful sidekick taking care of lambs.  Ben helps part time on the farm, especially when Paul needs a tractor driver “who really knows what he’s doing”.  Seth, a structural engineer, is our technical consultant. Kate and Shawna stay home raising their little ones and are fully supportive of the family farm. The youngest family members, the 6th generation here, all enjoy being involved in the farm, naming and taming the baby animals and playing in the dirt.

We sell breeding stock and semen to dairy producers, homesteaders, and micro-dairies.  We are also happy to answer questions about our breeds and grass management.

Here’s Winifred:

My late husband, Kenneth Hoffman, grew up on this prairie farm in northern Illinois.  His family raised Milking Shorthorns continuously since 1936, and when I joined the family in 1981, he was beginning to breed Dutch Belted dairy cattle also.  He was a visionary and persevering breeder, delving deeply into the history and theory of genetics while working tirelessly to develop and maintain a sustainable and practical type of cow for low-input grass-based dairying.  The kids and I have carried on since his passing in 2005.  As my mother-in-law used to say, “We’re just plain folks.”  We like our cows, and we enjoy sharing the genetics we’ve developed and proven on our farm for over 80 years.

Let me introduce my family in the above picture—

Back row (left to right): Ben (son), Martha (daughter), Paul (son), Miriam (daughter), Seth (son).

Front row (left to right): Kate (Ben’s wife) holding their son, Trisha (Paul’s wife) holding their son, myself holding daughter of Paul and Trisha, Shawna (Seth’s wife) holding their daughter.