Charles F. Howlett began farming in 1880, in Monroe County, New York. Charles provided for his family by raising 13 acres of crops and milking two cows. For over 135 years Howlett Farms has continued to grow in the Western New York region, gradually moving their operations south, as the City of Rochester grew and sprawling suburbs developed farmland into housing.
Through five generations Howlett Farms has responded to market drivers, and evolved from a subsistence farm, providing for a family, to partnering with end-users and neighboring farms to deliver high-yields and increased productivity.
With their main operation located in Avon, New York, the Howlett’s still farm several hundred acres in Monroe County. The majority of their acreage, and by far their most productive land, however, is the fertile “river-bottom” that winds along the banks of the Genesee River through Livingston County.
A shift from vegetables to grain farming occurred in the mid-90’s, spurring the development of storage and trucking enterprises. The opening of the Sunoco Ethanol Plant in Fulton, New York allowed Howlett Farms to expand their acreage, and diversify their operations to grain handling and supply chain management.
The Howlett’s place the utmost care and focus on a commitment to sustainable farming practices. “Our family has been farming for five-generations, and we plan to be farming for many more generations. Land along the river is rich in nutrients, and can consistently produce some of the best yields in the state. We need to make sure this soil is productive for another 100+ years. We love the land, and show it respect.” says Michael Howlett (fifth-generation).
“We get up every morning and work hard, long hours. Sometimes the pay isn’t great. But there’s people that rely on us, and we have an unwritten, unwavering commitment to produce. So that’s what we do.”