A Closer Look: Hickory Hill Milk

Written by Christine Bush
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Watson Dorn and his wife, Lisa, are the third generation to work the family farm, Hickory Hill Milk, in Edgefield, S.C. The family runs the 250-cow operation with eight full-time employees. Watson’s father, Jim, is retired from the farm, but stays involved with the operation.


The year Watson Dorn’s ancestors came to the United States from Germany. In 1764, they purchased the land where the family dairies today.

“It’s quite an honor to farm on this land. It’s been in our family for over 200 years. It’s an honor to farm land that my ancestors started working so long ago.” 


The number of generations working the farm.

“The dairy has been here for three generations. My son represents the fourth generation. He’s a sophomore at Clemson. He’s planning on coming back, but this is something you can’t talk a child into doing, it has to be their decision. I’m proud that we have established an operation for him to come back to.“


The number of days per year the herd grazes.

“We have always grazed our cows. It helps lower feed costs and the cost of production. I think you have a healthier cow on grass. The cows graze on 60 acres of alfalfa in the warm weather and 60 acres of rye and clover in the winter time.”


How many years ago Dorn added a dry cow barn.

“We used to have fresh cow issues. We really don’t see those anymore with the changes we made. Because they are getting proper nutrition and they are in a dry pen and getting cooling, it’s eliminated any kind of post calving problems.”