Three dairy farm families received American Dairy Association North East’s Dairying for Tomorrow Awards – Mercer Vu Farms Inc., Mercersburg, Pennsylvania; Dry Creek Farm, Martinsburg, Pennsylvania; and Hun-Val Farm, Ringoes, New Jersey. The awards recognize local dairy farmers and showcase on-farm practices that will help sustain the dairy industry now and into the future, and are given in three categories: animal care, community and consumer outreach and environmental stewardship.
“All dairy farmers are committed to caring for their cattle and their land to ensure a quality product and a sustainable environment not only for consumers, but for their own families,” said American Dairy Association North East CEO Rick Naczi. “The Dairying for Tomorrow award recognizes farmers in the ADA North East territory for their dedication to the industry and to their communities.”
The Hissong family of Mercer Vu Farms and the Smith family of Dry Creek Farm accepted their awards at Ag Progress Days in Rock Springs, Pennsylvania, on Thursday, Aug. 16.
Mercer Vu Farms Inc., was the overall winner for environmental stewardship. Mercer Vu Farms Inc. was started by Glenn and Mae Hissong in 1949, and the farm business is now managed by the third generation, Rod and Rick Hissong. Together with their team of 46 employees they care for 2,800 milking cows on two locations. Along with cow care, environmental stewardship has always been a top priority. All of their acreage has approved nutrient management plans, and they employ many conservation tools such as cover crops, soil sampling, sand separation, and recycled water for barn flushing. The Hissongs also use the latest technologies in variable rate applications/planting and satellite imagery.
The Honorable Mention environmental stewardship winner was Conrad Family Farms from Warriors Mark, Pennsylvania.
Dry Creek Farm was named the overall winner for animal care. Dry Creek Farm is a multi-generation dairy farm operated by Doug Smith with his children Caroline Zimmerman and Brandon Smith. Cow care is at the forefront at Dry Creek Farm, and during the last five years, they have made constant improvements to further improve cow care. The Smiths have incorporated new calf raising standard operating procedures, a new free stall barn with cow brushes, and work closely with their veterinarian to make to create cost saving efforts that also benefit cow comfort.
Meadow Vista Dairy. LLC, Bainbridge, Pennsylvania, was the Honorable Mention animal care winner, and Cotton Spring Farm, Alverton, Pennsylvania, was the regional winner from southwest and central Pennsylvania.
Hun-Val Farm was named the community and consumer outreach award winner. A first-generation farm owned and operated by Jared and Treacy Weeks, Hun-Val Farm was started by Jared in 2008 just after high school. The business has grown, and the couple now produces their own ice cream and farm label milk that is sold in their ice cream stand, along with other local products. They plan to start processing their own milk on-site in the near future. The ice cream stand has allowed the Weeks to interact and share the dairy story with people in their community.
Honorable Mention community and consumer outreach went to South Mountain Creamery, Middletown, Maryland. Northern Pennsylvania regional winner was Paul Dotterer and Sons, Inc., Mill Hall, Pennsylvania, and Kenny Jersey Farm, Enon Valley, Pennsylvania, was the southwest and central Pennsylvania regional winner.
Dairy farms in the ADA North East region of New York, Pennsylvania, New Jersey, Maryland, Delaware and northern Virginia were eligible for nomination. Along with recognizing farmers with the awards, ADA North East will share their stories with consumer media to showcase unique actions farmers take, on and off the farm, to help support and sustain their local communities.
The overall award winners in each category receive a farm video and photo shoot. Also, the farms will receive $1,000 donation in the farm’s name to their local school to help implement a dairy smoothie program in the cafeteria.
About American Dairy Association North East
American Dairy Association North East (ADA North East) is the dairy farmer-funded organization funded by participating dairy farmer’s checkoff investment to build demand and sales for milk and dairy foods throughout the local region. Representing nearly 12,000 dairy farm families in Pennsylvania, Maryland, Delaware, New York, New Jersey and northern Virginia, ADANE develops and implements local programs to drive milk and dairy sales at retail outlets and in schools. The organization also conducts consumer education about dairy through events, traditional and social media, and in collaboration with health professionals through National Dairy Council®. ADA North East works closely with Dairy Management Inc.™, the national dairy checkoff organization, to support nutrition research, national partnerships and developing export markets for dairy to bring a fully integrated promotion program to the region. For more information, visit www.AmericanDairy.com.