1999 Ainslie Farm

"Ainslie" is a Scottish name meaning "In the Meadow"

Rob Ainslie's grandfather, James (J. Stuart) Ainslie Sr., came to Tompkins County to farm in 1929 with his wife Elizabeth and two children, James Jr. and Elizabeth. The Ainslie's had been Land Grant farmers in Canada until the Dust Bowl at the start of the Great Depression. J. Stuart's maternal grandfather and great grandfather were already farming in this area, and he bought the farm next to his family's: the 245 Hayts Road farm Rob Ainslie currently operates.

James (Jim) Ainslie Jr. grew up, married Shirley Hughes, a "city girl" he met while attending Cornell University, and returned to the farm. At that time Ainslie farm was a small, diversified operation. J. Stuart raised Hampshire sows, sheep and feeder lambs, and also had a small herd of Angus cattle, as well as peach and apple orchards. Jim turned to dairy farming and built a 70-cow herd. He was one of the first farmers in the area to move from stanchions to loose housing, a bit of a revolutionary concept at the time. The Ainslie's raised four children, Susan, Mary, Jim Jr., and Rob. While Jim ran the farm, Shirley kept the farm books and was the School Lunch Director for the Ithaca City School District.

Rob Ainslie followed his father's example, attending Cornell University to study Agribusiness and returning to the farm. Ownership of the farm was transferred from Jim to Rob in 1995. Rob also married a "city girl," Judy Singer, who works in Plant Breeding at Cornell.

Ainslie Farm milked 150 cows, producing over 900 gallons of milk a day, and received the Dairy of Distinction award. The farm, overlooking beautiful Cayuga Lake, grew timothy hay and alfalfa, corn and soybeans on 500 acres, 250 owned and 250 rented. Rob contracted with George and Julie Holmes, who have a 1,400-acre farm just outside of Trumansburg, to handle Ainslie Farm's cropping. Calves born on Ainslie Farm went to the Holmes' farm at about 6 months of age and return just prior to freshening, when the cow, referred to as a heifer, is about to give birth to her own calf. Ainslie Farm also provided employment for three people.

Last updated September 25, 2015