E-I-E-I-O! It's off to work we go!!!
As seen on: The TODAY show & "Dirty Jobs" (Discovery Channel)
Arlin Benner began farming at the ripe old age of four on the dairy farm that has been in his family for four generations. "As soon as my feet could touch the peddle, I was driving tractor," says Arlin. He would rise at 5am every morning, feed the cows, come in for breakfast, go to school, come home from school, work until dark, eat dinner, and go to bed. Saturdays included a full day of work, but on Sundays, they had mid morning off to go to church. Such was the life of a dairy farmer and his family. Cows don't take off weekends or holidays!
But, the hard work paid off, and in 1990 Arlin bought out his father's business and began running the farm solo. At the time, he was milking 150 cows and farming 300 acres. Six years later, life changed dramatically for Arlin when he had a chance meeting with his Aunt's tenant, Deborah. She was a working television, print, and stage actress from New York City who had been cast in a show in Lancaster, PA.
Two weeks after they met, without having had a date, Arlin proposed. They were married three months later. That's the short version! Their lives together in the beginning mirrored the 1960's television sitcom, "Green Acres," where the New York City wife comes to live on a farm, fluffy pink slippers and all. Arlin, having been raised a conservative Mennonite Dairyman without television, to date, has never seen the show. Perhaps that's a good thing.
Within two years of their marriage, Arlin asked Deborah to leave her acting career and come to work on the farm full-time with him. "No, New York is where I'd rather be" she sang. But, as life would have it, Deborah agreed and so began her tranformation and career as a dairy farmer.
Six short months later, they purchased the neighbor's dairy which began the "Yippee! Farm" legend. They were now up to their elbows in cows, manure, and work... lots and lots of work. Arlin added acreage to his cropping and cows to the barn. He envisioned even more expansion as another neighboring dairyman was going out of business. Deborah cringed at the idea of more work, but soon "bit the bullet" and prayed for more hours in a day in the true spirit of a dairywoman.
With all three dairies up and running, they are currently milking over 600 cows, with over 500 heifer replacements spread out over seven farms, farming 700 acres, and employing up to 18 employees. Quite an endeavor for a quiet guy and a former NYC actress, did we mention she's Italian? The mix proves to be colorful and a constant source of entertainment for the animals, employees, and tourists on the farm!
A major attraction of the farm is the Rocky Acre Bed and Breakfast owned and operated by Arlin's parents. It boasts a "country-style experience" in the 10-bedroom farm house built in the early 1800's and part of the underground railroad. Guests enjoy tours of the dairy, feeding calves, milking cows, tractor rides, hay rides, and as a reminder of their visit, they can purchase Yippee! Farms and Rocky Acre merchandise.
Welcome to the Yippee! Farm adventure where hopefully you will enjoy a piece of our lives down on the farm!