I'm Kendy Sawyer from the Appalachian mountains of Virginia. Husband Bob is a retired and disabled Marine Corp veteran. We raise Milking Devon Cattle in Southwest Virginia.
Milking Devons are the basis of our cow-centered farm because of their consistent ability to thrive under less than ideal circumstances, and the belief that animals that have been so important to the founding and growth of our country deserve a good future. The Milking Devon is representative of some of the cattle brought by the first English to colonize North America. They were the oxen of choice to pull settler’s wagons on the Oregon Trail. And now they are nearly extinct.
Through rotational grazing, mechanical management of invasive plants, careful planting and the cows’ wonderful ability to cycle nutrients through the environment we are restoring health to the soil and the air and water that leave it. Milking Devons finish without capital-intensive grain feeding or labor-intensive daily rotations.
Being good stewards of a rare breed means more than breeding more cows to decorate the lawn. They need to be passed to the next generation of breeders. We have trained some of our Devons to work and take them to gatherings to raise awareness. We share grass-based milk, cheese, and beef with members of our community.
The mission of saving Milking Devons has given a purpose to our lives, and a real reason to get up every morning. Through the Livestock Conservancy, and especially their Service to Stewardship program we have become aware we need to help people with an interest in agriculture become prepared to be the next generation of stewards for these cows.
Bob Hines, USMC retired, is 100% disabled with combat-related Post Traumatic Stress Disorder.
We moved to the farm to find a quiet, healthy, relaxing lifestyle hoping to ease Bob's stress symptoms. We learned quickly that leasing out our pasture was causing damage to the soil and water, and breeding large numbers of flies; causing more stress than we wanted.
We decided that we could provide better care for our surroundings than what we saw around us. The HineSite name is a reference to Bob’s last name; but more importantly, represents that we are willing to learn from the past. Being experiential learners means making mistakes. We’re okay with making mistakes, but not with repeating the same ones.
Meet the Team
Cole and Cannon
There are no black Devons, this team is Kerries.
The boys are still bulls at two years old and demonstrate exceptionally good dispositions. They are used lightly for breeding and also as saddle cattle.
Cole and Cannon have appeared at Exchange Place Museum, Matthews Living History Farm, Rockbridge County Fair and Expo, Service to Stewardship 2017, and George Washington's Birthplace
Lark is the first cow bred at HineSite. She has made the journey from pasture ornament to dairy cow.
If I list all the things that farmers do. who would buy a cow?
Plan a visit to Southwest Virginia or plan to visit with the HineSite Cows at a fair, festival or living history demonstration. I think potential stewards should have a chance to meet these cows, it's not enough to like them on paper, it's important to fall in love with the breed. Company is always welcome, please call first.