OUR MOTHER, CHASE TANNER
Sequestering Carbon: Celebrating Cattle
Our parents, Bob Miller and Chase Tanner, moved our family dairy from Bordentown, New Jersey to American Corner, Maryland in 1989. They wanted to expand our acreage in order to more instensively graze our herd and produce a superior quality milk. Our 201 acre dairy farm has 120 acres of permanent pasture, 60 acres of woods, and 20 acres of buildings, barns, and houses.
Our parents have always believed in the importance of a pastured diet for the optimal health of our cows. We use a rotational grazing system. We plant seasonal grasses in our annual pastures and maintain our perennial pastures. The cows rotate between pastures each day to optimize their foraging and nutrition. Because of our farming practices, our dairy sequesters carbon. Our soil is rich in organic matter and we have one of the healthiest dung beetle populations on Maryland's Eastern Shore. Nice Farms was chosen by Salisbury University's Biology Department in 2013 for graduate student research on dung beetles and their importance to organic farming.
Dairying, however, is a tough industry and years of low milk prices and high production costs threatened the sustainability of the dairy farm.
"What if we sold our own milk?"
PHOTO CREDITS: DAVE HARP
It was while serving as an officer in the US Army on his second tour that oldest son, Bob Miller, had this crazy idea: what if the farm could sell their own milk? Serving overseas had given him the opportunity to see how family farms could be completely self sustaining. With no large corporations or cooperatives contracted to purchase their products, as is often the standard in American Agriculture, these family farms sold their own to the public and were not reliant on others to earn their living. The idea for Nice Farms Creamery was born.
Upon his return, Bob took his idea to his parents. While they were supportive, banks were not. The idea of an on-farm creamery was laughed out of FOUR banks. Bob refused to give up and in 2009 resigned his commission, invested his own personal savings, and broke ground on the creamery. The design, foundation, block, and building were all built by our own hands- no contractors.
Our beginnings were humble: we started with one 35 gallon pasteurizer, a four gallon bottler, pump, and chiller. We began producing Creamline Whole Milk, Chocolate Milk, and yogurt that October and have grown to include skim milk, butter, ice cream, egg nog, and sorbetto!
In the winter of 2020, our ultimate dreams came true and we were able to buy out the dairy farm from our parents and send them off into retirement! Our days are filled with much more than just farmers markets, these days, as we fill the shoes of our parents and put into action the practices they've taught us all these years.
Today, we teach our own children as our parents taught us while we celebrate over ten years of providing local, sustainable, and wholesome dairy products to the community! We participate in five Farmers Markets, various county fairs, events, and steam shows, and our products are stocked in many local coffee shops, restaurants, grocers, organic stores, and farmstands across Delmarva. We love the connections we continually build through our amazing dairy products- bringing local, pasture fed, wholesome dairy back to the community!