Local News

Real Life "Field of Dreams" on Wake Forest Farm

Posted May 31, 1997 12:00 a.m. EDT

— When you buy milk, you probably don't give much thought to where it comes from-- just what it costs. But the industry is changing like the end of an era. Large dairies are driving smaller farmers out of business.

At Brevofield Farm, the routine starts at 4:00 a.m.

Mike Brevoort has been working on his dad's dairy farm since he was 13. Now he's 40. He gets up before the sun does every morning to hook up the milking machine. His cows produce 400 gallons everyday.

Mike laughs as he gets the black and white bovine ready to milk. "Each one has a different personality," he says. "They're just like people."

If cows are like people, maybe they sense something is wrong. Dairy farming just isn't the same as it was when Mike's dad, Earl, started his farm with his father almost 50 years ago.

Earl Brevoort says he has to be realistic. Wake County used to be the home to 150 dairies. Now there are two. By the end of the year, there may be none. It is a dying business.

The reason? Stiff competition. Milk prices in the grocery store are up 12 percent from last year. But dairy farmers aren't seeing that money. Their incomes actually dropped by more than 25 percent. The dairy industry is no longer regulated by the federal government, which means giant dairies can drive up prices while forcing dairy farmers to sell their milk at lower prices.

But at Brevofield Farms, a big change is underway. From farm ways to fairways; From heifers to hackers. Brevofield Farm is transforming into Brevofield Golf Links.

Being an old cow pasture, these 18 holes won't be confused for Augusta National any time soon. But the Brevoort's are working on it.

The strong point on this course right now is its greens. Earl plans to keep draining profits to reinvest in course upkeep. The whole family admits there's something sad about closing a chapter on rural Wake County living.

But not for long, the Brevoort's are trying a different course so they can continue to live off the land. It won't be easy. Earl Brevoort admits he'll miss the cows. But it's time to give up the non-profit organization.

The Brevoorts will probably complete the transition from dairy farm to golf course full-time by the end of the year. Right now, the Brevofield golf links are doing well, and more people are finding them. The motto on the scorecards says it all-- "The best kept secret in Wake County"

Bret Baier reporting