A LEGACY OF EDUCATION
FOUR GENERATIONS OF WILLIAMS HAVE LIVED ON THE LAND.
In 1940, Bill Williams graduated from the Stockbridge School of Agriculture with a degree in animal husbandry and moved to Rutland to start a dairy farm. He acquired just under 400 acres and began clearing the land and raising cows at Overlook Farm. Over the years, small-scale dairy farming in Massachusetts became a more difficult prospect and, by the late 1970s, all of Bill’s herd had been sold. Some of his land had been given to his children to build homes on, but he still had roughly 300 acres of pastured and wooded agricultural land.
In the early 1980s, he offered Overlook Farm to Heifer so it could be preserved and used for agricultural, educational, and hunger relief use for the foreseeable future. Beginning in 1983, the Heifer Farm served first as a holding place for animals being shipped overseas then transitioned into the educational model it operated as until its closure. In December 2017 Heifer ceased operations at Heifer Farm and announced their intention to sell the property.
After a lot of thought and family discussions, some of the Williams family (a portion of Bill’s children and grandchildren, plus great grandchildren, all of whom live on family farm property) have decided to embrace the challenge and opportunity presented by Heifer’s departure, creating the new Overlook FARM organization to continue providing education to the community.