Media Archive

Sebec's Cole family honored with agricultural award

Article from The Piscataquis Observer, Vol. 165, No. 34, August 20, 2003

By Jessica Lee
Staff Writer

Emery and Carol Cole family honored as 2003 Outstanding Agricultural Family of the Year

Contributed Photo
ON THE FARM Emery Cole of Sebec stands proud with two of his oxen, Bandit and Smokey. Emery and his wife, Carol, have made significant contributions to the agricultural community and their towns and have been named the2003 Outstanding Agricultural Family of the Year by the Piscataquis Valley Fair Association.

SEBEC Hard work and honest sweat are the building blocks of a person's character.

Farming nurtures the close family tie that make life rich in ways money can't buy.

Farming provides education for life.

These are but a few of the lines that come from "The Farmer's Creed," a creed which has shaped the lives of Emery and Carol Cole of Sebec, along with their extended family.

The Coles are the 2003 Outstanding Agricultural Family of the Year, named so by the Piscataquis Valley Fair Association. They come by the title rightly, after almost 25 years of farming: raising dairy cows at their home and farm, Rainbow Acres, in Sebec, and haying the acreage at a farm in Atkinson. Both farms are not far apart on the Stagecoach Road.

Farming has roots in their souls.

Carol grew up on a potato farm in Atkinson, the daughter of Lewin and Hope Rideout; Emery, son of Edna and Ormand Cole, grew up on a dairy farm in Atkinson. In 1979, they bought the farm in Sebec, and started raising dairy cows together.

A few years later, they purchased farmland in Atkinson, which is now mowed annually for hay.

According to Carol, the farm's operations have depended on family support. Parents and children and grandchildren work side by side, sun up to down, to complete the work that needs to be done.

Their children, Beverly and Cindy, pitched in as they grew up. Cindy Brown now lives in a home on property adjacent the farm, and she and her children Emery and Carol's grandchildren do their part.

Carol joked that the youngsters have been working on the farm "since day one" as their mother, Cindy, would make sure to milk the cows before going to the hospital for each delivery.

"They started off riding in the grain cart," Carol said. "When they were 3 or 4 years old, they'd feed the baby cows with bottles."

Randy, now 16, helps his grandfather in the fields, and working on the farm machinery. Nikki and K.C., 14 and 11 respectively, help mow the lawn, tend to the 54 cows and heifers. Randy also helps his grandfather, Emery, show his oxen, a pair of Herefords named Bright and Lion, who together weigh in at 4,520 pounds.

They will show the oxen, who wear brass and beaded head yokes that come from Nova Scotia, at the Piscataquis Valley Fair next week.

According to Carol, each of the cows that are on the farm today had been bom and raised there. "We raise our own," she said. And the family does not use artificial growth hormones to augment the cows' production.

When not working on the farm, Carol and Emery put in numerous hours of service for the town of Sebec. Carol has been tax collector and treasurer for more than a decade and, at August town meeting was named town clerk. Emery spent 16 years as road commissioner, and four as a town selectman, Carol said, and he continues to work in construction.

This is the first time the Cole family has been chosen by the Piscataquis Valley Fair Association as 2003 Outstanding Agricultural Family of the Year.

The family was selected based on its contributions to the fieldof agriculture, as well as to the community.

"We're proud" of the honor, said Carol. "That sums it all up, I think.''

NOTE - This article reflects the views of the author and not necessarily those of the TRC Alliance Team.