GEM Buffalo Farm
Address: 1333 Van Hoesen Rd Castleton, NY, 12033
Email Address:
Phone: 518-732-7452
About Us
George Mesick, the great, great grandson of 1793 immigrant Fritz Mesick, purchased the family dairy farm in 1960 from his father, George E. Mesick, Sr. George and his wife Gerry, both graduates of Cornell University, continued to work and expand the farm to over 600 acres. Through the years, they had five children, two sons and three daughters. Their son, David, is an active partner with them in the family farming business. Dave's son Sam is carrying on the tradition, making it a 10th generation family farm. People often ask George and Gerry how they got started raising buffalo, to which Gerry replies, After our children were nearly grown, we thought it would be fun to have a couple of buffalo on our farm. We had been raising dairy cattle for years and couldn't imagine that buffalo would be that different from dairy cows. There were no buffalo in the South Schodack area, and in fact, there had not been any buffalo in the South Schodack area in over two hundred years. So, in 1973, we decided to purchase our first buffalo - an American Bison bull, cow and calf. George adds, I was first introduced to buffalo in 1939 when my father took me to Hoosick Falls, NY to see the only herd of buffalo in the area. I was very impressed by the size of the animals and by the serenity of the herd. They did not act at all like the wild herds described in the history books I had read. George and Gerry planned on starting a small herd by artificially inseminating the bison cow - after all, they had done this many times before with their dairy cows. How does the story go? The greatest plans of mice and men.... Anyway, it did not take long for George and Gerry to learn that handling bison is entirely different than handling dairy cattle. Despite their serene appearance, Bison are wild animals. So wild that the neighbors still like to talk about the Great Escape when a bull and cow managed to jump a five-foot fence back in 1976. Good fencing is one of the farms higher priorities nowadays. Gem Farms Buffalo now consists of over 100 buffalo, give or take a few horns.
Our buffalo are not fed any grain as such, but in the winter months, along with hay, they get our corn silage, which is chopped corn with cob and corn stalk, mainly for the extra calories roughage it provides to help keep them warm from the inside out. Once the pasture grows in warmer months, they have only grass and free choice hay. During our sweet corn season, the herd is treated to the left overs, corn/cob/husk. They do love it, but it does not contribute a great deal to their overall diet. George believes that adding significant grain to their diet would change the nutritional value of the meat, so prefers to feed them as close to their natural diet as possible.