The Finnerty Family Farm

My first time visiting the Finnerty family farm I met with Dale Finnerty, as I watched him execute his morning routine of feeding his calves he fed me some interesting history on the development of the farm. Dale inherited the farm from his father, who is currently 80 years old and still actively working on the farm.

“Sometimes I think I’ll have to tie him to a chair just to get him to sit still for a few minutes.” Dale says when telling me how his father is still working hard despite his age. I’m sure it’s that same hard working Finnerty spirit that has kept the farm up and running, and always family owned,  for the past 75 years. The Finnerty’s land consist of 1280 acres and spreads out an entire square mile. They have a beautiful park near the center of the farm filled with charming farm antiques and family memorabilia as well as a gazebo and bridge built by Dale and his brothers (the family celebrated their farm’s 75th anniversary in this very park with family and friends this past July).  The farm began as a dairy farm, and was also a rabbit farm for a short amount of time a few decades ago, and has progressed to a successful cattle farm that currently houses approximately 700 head of cattle. Dale, his father and his nephew  take on the daily tasks of the farm, with occasional help from Dale’s children.

Natalie Finnerty fixes a leaning fence on her family’s farm in Beal City, Mich. on September 23, 2016.

Dale and his wife Jane, who works at a local hospital, live in the same farm house Dale himself was raised in. Together they have raised five children, Joseph, Amy, Ashley, Natalie and Robert. Three of their children have moved out and Natalie, 18, & Robert, 14, still live at home with their parents.

Jane Finnerty, left, laughs with her daughters, Ashley, middle, and Natalie, right, in the kitchen of their home in Beal City, Mich. September 24, 2016.
Robert Finnerty, right, tries on his suit for his first high school Homecoming dance as his mother, Jane , helps him adjust his dress slacks in their home in Beal City, Mich. September 27, 2016.
After helping his children with their homework Dale Finnerty, left, and his son Robert, middle, watch as Natalie,right, works out a math problem on the chalkboard in their home in Beal City, Mich. September 27, 2016.

Spending time with the Finnerty family was a heart warming experience. I expected to feel out of place and awkward intruding on a family’s quality time together but I was completely wrong. They were all so welcoming and sweet even though I was only there a few days and they barely knew me they accepted me genuinely. Just watching them interact with each other was like watching one of those cheesy family sitcoms, but in the best way. They were the most perfect family I’d ever met, their home was perfect and they were all so close and family oriented. I didn’t know families like that existed anymore. I cherish the moments I spent with them and feel so lucky to have met such an amazing and successful family, and I wish them another 75 years of continuous growth, love and happiness.

Natalie Finnerty grooms her ponies Maggie and Mog in her backyard in Beal City, Mich. September 23, 2016.
Natalie Finnerty, right, shoots a compound bow in her family’s calf barn as her cousin Nathan Finnerty, left, and friend Kenny Meyers, middle, look on awaiting their turn, Beal City, Mich., September 23, 2017.
The Finnerty family plays the board game, Life on the Farm, in the living room of their home in Beal City, Mich. September 27, 2016.

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