Our vision at Spring-Rock Farm is to create superior Wagyu genetics and breed stock, and to work with other farmers, breeders, the culinary world, and the community at large to build a strong and vibrant U.S. Wagyu herd. We go about our business with deep respect for the roots we have in the community by utilizing local talents and resources. With that in mind, our Spring-Rock Farm family ties together a dynamic combination of expertise in genetic science, top quality animal care, embryo transfer technology, and marketing savvy.
The Spring-Rock Family
Dr. Sheila Patinkin, M.D. – The owner and visionary behind Spring-Rock Farm tells the story of how a pediatrician from Chicago became an artisan beef cattle farmer in Vermont.
Sheila earned a degree in Economics from the University of Chicago in 1975, and began her career as a market researcher for Quaker Oats, before graduating from Northwestern University Medical School in 1996. This background, though nontraditional for the cattle farming community, serves her well as the driving force behind Spring Rock Farm.
“My research background has all been in the field of genetics. The passion for that subject and the pediatrician in me drew me to these baby cows. It’s certainly why I am making it a priority at Spring-Rock Farm to breed good parenting skills into our mamas. First, these skills are a sign of a strong genetic foundation, but good mamas also play an important role in the herd’s healthy, long-term relationship with the environment."
"Our animals are well cared for in every way. By investing heavily in both the nature and nurture ends of artisan cattle breeding, we are blessed with healthy, good tempered, manageable animals that yield an economically sustainable, highly marketable, super-prime product."
“The Wagyu are beautiful, wonderful animals. They are considered a national treasure in their home country of Japan, and it’s exciting to be building a herd that could one day be worthy of consideration as a national treasure here in the United States. But, we need to do this right -- by the Wagyu, by the land, and by our local community. I’m confident that we’ve taken our first steps in the right direction, and I hope lots more farmers, cattle breeders and lovers of our natural environment will join us in the journey.”
Philip Ranney - Phil is an example of how a local dairy farmer, following a seventh generation tradition as a cow handler, becomes the Herd Manager at Spring-Rock Farm.
Phil grew up in nearby Westminster West, Vermont, on the Ranney dairy farm run by his father. When the family sold their milking herd of Jerseys, Phil moved on to join our team at Spring-Rock. He recognized an opportunity to work with a noble breed of cows that generate a unique and wonderful product.
"Sheila’s done a great job investigating the bloodlines and has picked out the strongest genetic stock possible for the Spring-Rock herd. I’m mainly concerned with getting the most out of the cows, maintaining their good health as well as the health of the land and pastures. We’re doing just about everything you can to raise them in a fashion that would satisfy organic certification and without using antibiotics except in humane cases. We don’t use any pesticides on the farm, and we’re managing the health of fields through natural methods such as rotational grazing. The small herd size (our target number is just 70 head) allows us to spend a lot of time with each individual cow. They all have names. We love naming them. It’s a natural and social environment that allows us to create a very gentle animal that’s easy to handle and easy to do things with. We take good care of them.”
Dr. Roy W. Homan, VMD – Roy Homan is a cutting edge cattleman, through and through. He received his Doctorate of Veterinary Medicine from the University of Pennsylvania as a member of the Phi Zeta Honor Society in 1967 and now brings over forty years experience to the process of embryo transplant science.
Roy’s resume is unsurpassed, both academically and in the field. He currently owns and operates his own full service embryo transfer service, Connvet, Inc., as well as manages an 800 head commercial dairy farm in Chester, Vermont. His friendship and partnership with Spring-Rock farm has been a source of joy, as well as a tremendous resource.
Spring-Rock Farm – The landscape we work -- rolling hills of Vermont overlooking the Connecticut River and New Hampshire beyond -- is a very special place. We think of it as a member of our family.
The farm covers 100 acres in total, straddling the Vermont towns of Springfield and Rockingham (hence the name!), and is a perfect place for this project. It’s small, just five and ten acre pastures with natural features that protect the animals from harsh wind and snowdrifts.
Spring-Rock Farm is listed on the National Register of Historical Places as part of the Parker Hill District historical site. The main buildings on the farm are original post and beam construction and date back to the late 1700’s, including the The Big Barn, a secondary barn and a tool shed. The farmhouse itself was built in 1790 by the Fletcher family.
We’re blessed to be living and working is such an idyllic setting. Spring-Rock Farm offers not just a stunning panorama of the river and mountains, but also penetrating views into our past that inspire us to write a new and promising chapter for our future.