James Oldick, November 5, 2023


James Oldick, November 5, 2023
James Oldick
Milleta Andela
Bus Driving
Day on Farm
Farming Concerns
Farm’s Future
Farm’s Land
Farm Life
Farm Origins
Foster Parents
Generational Farming
Neighboring Farms
Organic Farming
Organic Valley
Richfield Springs
James Oldick is an organic dairy farmer who lives on his family farm in Richfield Springs, NY. Born and raised on the farm since 1965, James is still one of the main farmers who operates the business. Through the help of neighbors and relatives, the 550-acre farm produces grain, millet, and milk through the company Organic Valley. Starting as a conventional farm in the early 1960s, the farm turned organic in 2011. The change to organic is a meticulous process with a trial period of three years. After hard work of changing crops, fertilizer, organic medicines, and cow care, in 2013 the farm was successfully transitioned to organic. Becoming organic brought on a new age of positive revenue from organic milk prices and the health of the cows improved.

In 1986 James met Sheila Fahey and by 1990 they were married. Together they had Mike and Milleta (the interviewer), as well as Crystal and Tiffany through Sheila’s previous marriage. In 2001, James and Sheila became foster parents through Otsego County. Throughout the years, James and Sheila have hosted over seventy-six foster kids in their home. Their kindness and generosity led them to be Otsego Foster Parents of the Year in 2006. Throughout foster care, they have adopted five children into their family including David, Nick, Hunter, Layla, and Landon.

James's recollections range from him growing up on the family farm to his added job as a bus driver for Owen D. Young Central School. Throughout the years, James has seen generations of family climbing on and off his bus, including his own children. James drives the Amish children to their school in Springfield, NY and has become known and liked in the Amish community as “Bus Driver Jim.”

I interviewed James at Springfield Center, NY after he had come home from his afternoon barn chores. He had just finished feeding and laying hay for the cows and as a result, farming was a main source of topic. Throughout the interview James reflects on the day-to-day requirements for an organic dairy farmer, bus driver, and dad.
Time Summary
Track 1, 4:47 - Farm Duties
Track 1, 12:20 - Milking
Track 1, 28:58 - Organic Farming
Track 2, 4:05 - Farming Concerns
Track 2, 6:50 - Meeting Sheila Oldick
Track 2, 9:11 - Becoming Foster Parents
Track 2, 11:17 - Bus Driving
Milleta Andela
Cooperstown Graduate Program, State University of New York at Oneonta
Cooperstown Graduate Association, Cooperstown, NY