Belties at home at Brookside Stock Farm

Here in Vermont they look like choice Nabisco Oreo cookies amid fields of ubiquitous Rorshach-splotched Holstein cows. This unusual breed of Scottish cattle, called the Belted Galloway, made its Vermont debut Aug. 7 at the Inn at Brooksides stock farm, located along Route 22A in Orwell. Brookside Stock Farm, as it was originally known, has roots that go back to 1789 when Vermont was an independent republic that minted its own currency and dispatched ambassadors to European nations.

Black at both ends with a white belt in between, the Belted Galloway breed originated as a cross between Scottish black polled cattle and imported Dutch belties.

According to Olga Sandy Sears of Brookside, Galloways are primarily raised for beef. Occasionally they are purchased to adorn pastures due to their eye-catching appearance.

Belted Galloways, also called Belties, are listed with the American Livestock Breeds Conservancy. There are fewer than 2,500 annual registrations in the United States with a total population of under 10,000, according to the Belted Galloway Society (BGS).

Sears and Tench Muray-Robertson decided to bring the Belties to the historic Orwell farm as breeding stock.

While were in the midst of restoring the 1842 Greek Revival Inn at Brookside building, said Sears, were also busy rebuilding the heritage of the Brookside Stock Farm. We are reviving the farms original name. The Belties will be a centerpiece on the famous farm, according to Sears.

In its heyday during the mid 19th century, Brookside was known internationally for its Morgan horses, dairy cows, and Merino sheep. In fact, the foundation of Australias sheep industry began with Merino sheep exported from Brookside to a Down Under ranch.

Sears said the farms Belties were purchased from the Aldermere Heritage Farm in Rockport, Maine. The breed, mostly seen on select New England and Midwestern ranches, didnt arrive in the United States from Scotland until the 1930s.

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