From Dairy to Discipleship: After shuttering his family’s dairy, Georgia patriarch embraces a new journey
A county in Georgia that was once home to 42 dairy farms has now lost its last remaining operation. The Farm Monitor Brings us the story.
Donacin Dairy Farms was once a thriving dairy here in Macon-Bibb County, Georgia, that echoed with sounds of life. Now stands an empty barn—a testament to the changing times. The Farm Monitor‘s Ray D’Alessio explores the poignant legacy of local business and the reluctant transition undertaken by its owners, the Newberry Family.
“There’s parts of it that you are glad you don’t have to deal with anymore, but there’s a lot of it that you come and you see an empty barn and an empty pasture — It’s a tough pill to swallow sometimes, said Benjamin Newberry, the patriarch of the family at the helm of this narrative.
Newberry gazed over his once-active milking stations, grappling with an identity he had known his entire life. Like many small dairy farms in the last few decades, the Newberry’s farm was a labor of love that transformed into a struggle for survival.
“It was part of my identity; it was part of who I was,” Newberry continued. “I grew up on the farm. I stayed on the farm. I raised my kids on the farm; and just had a reluctance to break from it—but knew that it was the right decision from a business standpoint. But also because God said it was time.”
Despite the silence that now envelops Donacin Dairy, its legacy will endure in the hearts of the Newberry family, who hold inside themselves the spirit of the many before who once worked the land with love and devotion.
Now serving as the pastor of Calvary Baptist Church, Newberry expressed gratitude for what truly matters: family and faith.
“There were 42 dairies in this county in the early 70s — and we were the last of them to survive,” he said proudly. “And, you don’t realize how many people you affect in life until you experience a life-changing moment.”
As the community of Bibb County rallies around his family in support, Newberry reflects on the positive aspects of his life post-dairy. Expecting his first grandchild at Christmas, he finds solace in continuing to shepherd the congregation at Calvary Baptist Church and embracing a new chapter of his family’s legacy within their community.