Over the years the Mission has gradually evolved into a farm home for destitute and sometimes unwanted children. The Mission attempts to be as self-supporting as possible, growing their own crops, planting fruit orchards, establishing a dairy and fish ponds, as well as creating a bio gas plant for cooking.
When Maxton’s daughter, Maxine, had grown up, she fostered seven small children, more or less adopting them as her own. Over time, local people began asking for help with other unwanted children. The need for a nursery was great, so in 1973, Strong Farm built a small nursery with about six babies in mind. Before it was finished, however, there were twelve small children on the waiting list! The Mission took in kids of any age, even as young as one day old. Many children, though fairly healthy themselves, came from leprosy affected families, and were at risk of contracting the disease if left in that environment. Initially, informal attempts were made to give the children some basic education, but there was no proper school. Instead, the first farm kids learned practical skills, like cooking, housework, childcare, farm work, and some mechanics.
In 1976 a young agricultural volunteer with an aid agency, Warwick Shipway, (more commonly known as Rick), brought a plane load of high milk-yielding cattle to India from Australia as part of a cross-breeding program. Twenty-five of these cattle were destined for The Good Shepherd Agricultural Mission’s dairy. Rick landed in Calcutta with the cattle where they were brought up to the Mission by train. When he arrived he saw the need for someone with his wide range of skills and so he stayed on to help upgrade the buildings of the dairy, and thus became part of the big family. Rick ended up staying at the Farm for ten more years.