Dodson Farm was in the center of what once was considered the Dairy Capitol of the South. Established in 1943, with the addition of a Grade A dairy barn in 1952, Dodson Farm helped drive the family owned dairy industry in Oktibbeha County. By 1958 there were more than 123 family run dairy farms dairies in Oktibbeha County with the Oktoc community being the most concentrated area.
In the early 1900’s Great Grandfather John White acquired 2500 acres of land in southern Oktibbeha County. Over the years he developed a number of Dairy farms in and around the area and operated them jointly with tenant dairymen, who looked after and milked the cows with White furnishing the capital, feed and expenses. In due time, the land was divided equally between eight children, including Grandmother Mary Alice White…. whom had married Grandfather Elder Dodson (“Boogar”). In the early 40s at age 34, Boogar Dodson developed their portion of the land into an agriculture farm. They raised cows, chickens and anything else you would see on the modern farm. In 1952 he expanded to the dairy business with construction of a dairy barn to go along with a 2 story hay barn and several other outposts. The 1950s was roaring in the dairy business with more than 1000 dairies in Oktibbeha County. Every hill in and around the area consisted of a dairy barn. The town of Starkville was home to the Cooperative Creamery, the Cotton Mill, and the Borden Milk Plant, which was the largest facility of its kind in the south. As residents watched their community grow, they would proudly boast Starkville as the “dairy capital of the South”. The dairy business peeked in 1958 and the economy was robust. Over the years though the local dairy farm industry eventually dwindled away and dairy barns no longer served their original purpose. Some still stand abandoned while others were torn down for developmental purposes. The last operating family owned dairy farm in the County closed its doors in 2016. The dairy business helped Mississippi A&M become the University that it is today with its agricultural science and veterinary school and mechanical schools.
Elder and Mary Alice raised two children, Donald and Cornelia Dodson Page. Cornelia’s children, Alan, Jason and Kelly acquired Dodson Farm after the passing of their grandmother Mary Alice in 2013. Elder had passed in 1995 and very little maintenance and upkeep had taken place in the years since his death. The grandchildren were not certain what to do with the farm, but the idea of selling out was never considered. And so, the work began. The first several years consisted of simply clearing fences, cleaning up pastures, demolishing structures and expanding the old fish pond. The old farm house, now known as Page Place at Dodson Farm, had become unlivable. The foundation had faltered, roof leaked, and plumbing, electrical and HV/AC were not usable. The renovation began in Oct 2016 with a complete “to the studs” makeover that included adding a master suite, wrap around porch and upstairs addition. This was completed a year later, just in time for the White Family Thanksgiving reunion.
The other remaining structure was the old cinder block grade “A” dairy barn. It was decided at that point that we would start the process of converting the Dairy Barn into an events venue. This was a monumental task that required tremendous vision. The barn had been used for storage for many years and had fallen into disrepair. The first task was to evict the buzzards that had taken up long term residency in the loft. A pesky chicken snake was also relocated, although he didn’t seem too happy about it. Once the barn was cleared out, a new roof was added and new concrete flooring poured as well as an extended terrace facing the lake. This process continued for the next year, adding electricity, plumbing, and air conditioning (a top priority of potential brides). The venue was finally completed in September of 2018, in time for our first wedding, October 12th, 2018.
We are excited to offer “Page Place” and “The Venue” at Dodson Farm for Weddings and Special Events. We look forward to hosting your next event. If you are a new bride we want to make your day special, because it is more than just an event, it is the moment your journey begins. Dodson Farm is a full service venue and we can handle all of your catering, florist and entertainment needs. For more information or to make an appointment, contact us today!