About Hope Refuge Farm

Hope Refuge Farm is a small family farm, nestled in the Appalachian Mountains of southeast Kentucky.  We’re breeding and raising Irish Dexter cattle, with a goal to produce high quality, truly dual-purpose, purebred Dexter breeding stock, and to raise and train small family milk cows.

Newswanger family (L to R): Brenton, Hannah, (behind her) “adopted” wanderer Nick, Joel, Jeff, faithful doggy-friend Bandit, and Kim.

Our family – Jeff, Kim, sons Brenton & Joel and daughter Hannah – have always loved the country life. We’ve spent years gardening organically, raising chickens for our own meat & eggs, and enjoying our Kentucky Mountain Saddle Horses.  Then we decided we needed a mini-sized family milk cow to produce our own “junk”-free milk & dairy products.  When we learned about Dexters, we decided that was the breed for us, but when we realized how difficult it is to find said Dexter milk cow, we decided to develop a breeding program to help provide family milk cows for others with the same interest.  We tried adding some Mini Jersey to our breeding for a while, but have ended up focused back on the Dexters, because we just like them better.  They’re also more available and not as expensive as the Mini Jersey, and there’s a well-established network through the Dexter associations.  As well as milking our cows, we also raise most of our Dexter bull calves as beef steers for our own all-natural, grass-fed beef, to share with friends & family.

What’s in a Name?

Hope Refuge:  This expresses the ultimate purpose of our family farm.  Our lives have become filled with other people who are in need of a place of security, an emotionally safe home, a stable family…who need hope in their lives.  The guest wing of our house enables us to take in such “wandering souls”, as we’ve come to call them, and give them the family support they need to get some firm footing & direction for their lives.

NewHope:  Our herd-name expresses our desire for our breeding program.  It is a combined abbreviation, New from Newswanger and Hope from Hope Refuge, however we do want our cows to be a source of new hope in certain ways.  As more people become aware of the atrocities in our industrial food supply and begin to raise more of their own food, we believe that a small-sized, truly dual-purpose cow can give them hope in their effort to be self-sufficient and provide healthy food for their family.  We also believe that these environmentally-friendly, small, family farms are our only hope of a cleaner, healthier world.

Our breeding program goal is to produce high quality, functional cattle true to their breed’s original form & purpose.  Since there are quite a few Dexters out there who don’t quite measure up to what they were originally intended to be, we want our animals to help restore the credibility that the breed deserves.  We want people to know that there is hope for these cows to be more than expensive, cute lawn ornaments.

So, Welcome to Hope Refuge Farm!  Make yourself at home!