Syrotiak Breaks from Herd with Unrivaled Passion



A young Danni Syrotiak poses with one of her baby goats.

Jason Suess, Ag/FFA Reporter

BETHLEHEM — Since the age of 5, Danni Syrotiak, a senior at Nonnewaug, has raised a herd of dairy goats on her family farm in Bethlehem. What started out as a hobby with two goats quickly developed into a mini-homestead when she learned that one of the goats they received was pregnant and due to give birth within two months of arrival. 

“I was really excited about having a new pet,” said Syrotiak.

Quickly, her family had to learn the ropes of raising dairy goats and how to safely deliver the babies that would soon be entering the world. Farming didn’t start out easy for the Syrotiaks. The goat lost one of the babies during delivery, and the other two did not come out smoothly.

This kidding, the process of birthing goats, revealed to Syrotiak that farming was not going to be an easy task, but it would be worth it in the long run.

“My herd grew from 2 to 16 and it’s worth it because every spring I can spend time with animals and raise baby goats,” Syrotiak said.

After years of experience, kidding season became a breeze.

Danni Syrotiak has been raising goats since she was 5. (contributed)

“Everything is very unpredictable, and I wish I knew it was never going to be easy,” Syrotiak said of a process that’s never routine.

Healthy babies sprung up every spring and bounced around the farm. Her family named the farm Cabin Acres Farm and began selling homemade goat milk soap in all varieties. 

“We had a lot of leftover milk and did not want to waste any of the milk, so we decided to start making goat soap,” Syrotiak said.

When she’s not creating soaps, Syrotiak spends most of her time with her animals. Whether it’s in the show ring at various competitions, morning and night milking shifts, or learning the process of making homemade cheese and other products, Syrotiak savors every moment with her animals. 

“I am planning on going to college for national resources wildlife rehabilitation, so even though I am not sticking with farm animals, I am still working with animals,” Syrotiak said.

Syrotiak’s passion instilled at her family farm has translated into success at Nonnewaug, as she served as sophomore block vice president and chapter president in the Woodbury FFA, and she’s the incumbent Connecticut FFA state reporter. 

“Needing leadership and responsibility introduced me to what leadership and responsibility I needed in the FFA,” Syrotiak said.

As well as working on her family farm, she works at the Bent of the River Audubon Center. One of Syrotiak’s friends and fellow employee at the Audubon, Joe Velky, had nothing but good things to say.

“She is very passionate about the FFA and wants all students to be successful and thrive,” said Velky, a fellow state FFA officer. “Some of the qualities Danni has [are] determination, good work ethic, and care about the FFA.”

Tom DiMarco, an agriscience teacher at Nonnewaug, has known Syrotiak for four years. Through those years, he has seen Syrotiak go through three different officer teams, all with great success.

“Danni has multiple qualities that make her a good officer and member of the FFA,” said DiMarco. “Some of her qualities are her determination, and her leadership skills, and she is really caring for every FFA member both in our school and the state of Connecticut.”

With everything Syrotiak has done between being a officer in the FFA or working on her family farm, she has made a impression on both staff and students alike.