Oechsner Farms is really about the people who work, live and sweat here. They give us joy most days and it's our privilege to get to spend our long days farming with them. 

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Thor Oechsner

Founder and owner of Oechsner Farms, Thor grew up in the suburbs of New York City in Croton-On-Hudson. Through summer trips to his uncle’s dairy farm in Pennsylvania, he became completely fascinated with agriculture. Eventually, he plowed his parents’ lawn and planted corn. Since he wasn’t born into farming, Thor built his farm bit by bit, scouting for abandoned fields to rent and restore to cropping. In 1991, Thor purchased his 15-acre home farm. In 1998, he started Oechsner Farms on 44 acres of rented ground. As Thor gained experience and equipment, he steadily added acreage until he could support himself exclusively by farming. In the meantime, he ran a Volkswagen shop and taught diesel mechanics at BOCES. By 2005, he had 400 acres in production, primarily for the organic dairy feed industry. Today, Oechsner Farms manages 1,200 acres, primarily for organic food-grade and craft beverage markets. The grandson of a German-born pastry chef, he is also one of Farmer Ground Flour’s three business partners.

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Dan Gladstone

Dan Gladstone, Production Manager at Oechsner Farms, is another New York native who grew up near Canandaigua. After raising a few replacement heifers as 4-H projects, Dan worked on several conventional dairies through high school and college. Other than a brief moonlight as a welder, he has been wrenching on and operating farm equipment for the last 12 years. He started at Thor's farm in 2010, working part time while wrapping up his senior year of Ag Science at Cornell. Dan has become a vital part of the team, and key to keeping the farm growing and grain flowing. In 2012, he started his own certified organic operation and farms 50 rented acres in Enfield. In his spare time, he dotes over a pair of milk goats and defends his title as world's worst fly fisherman.

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Kevin Hodges

A former dairy and poultry farmer, Kevin has over 40 years of farming experience. He is known for his uncanny ability to start his day with a clean, white t-shirt and end the day with a clean, white t-shirt, an achievement no one else on the farm has been able to accomplish. After hours, he can also be found dancing his heart out on numerous venues around the Finger Lakes.

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Brendan McMullan

The newest member of the Oechsner Farms team, Brendan was born and raised in northeastern Connecticut by two rebellious, homeschooling, catholic hippies. He has five brothers, no sisters. He was homeschooled until he went to community college, after which he worked in the service industry until his late twenties. Then he enrolled at Brooklyn College as a journalism student, decided he didn't like it, graduated and started farming. Since then, he has homesteaded, worked at Quail Hill Farm, and Pie Ranch, and in 2016 he managed a small farm project in Sagaponack, NY, called Stone's Throw Farm. He's coming to Oechsner Farms with a passion for agriculture and a desire to be of service to the humans he feels lucky to share this planet with. He'll also bring a loud laugh and bit of singing, and his lovely cat Allis Chalmers.

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Rachel Lodder

Last but not least, Rachel does like to stay in the background. She grew up in Trumansburg, NY, traveled a lot, and lived overseas for 15 years, and returned to the area, where she has lived for the past 17 years. She believes in the environmental benefits of organic farming, believes in producing and eating good food and the positive impacts this has on individuals and the community. She is a passionate endurance rider, and competes in 50-100 mile events with her horses. Like Brendan, and Thor, she laughs a lot, and pretty loudly, too!

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