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Maryland and Virginia Milk Producers Cooperative honored member Shannon Kane and his family as its District 1 Producer of the Year during the co-op’s virtual District Meeting. Shannon prides his operation for its strong animal care and comfort practices. The District Producer of the Year award recognizes a cooperative member for outstanding farm management practices and environmental sustainability in each district.

“Animal care and sustainability go hand in hand with the Godly legacy I want to leave for my children,” Shannon said. “More than just making a living, I want my kids to look back and be proud of how I took care of the cows and the land that my father left to me.”

Shannon and his brother Sam run the farm, located in Pleasant Hall, Pennsylvania, with the help of their mother and Shannon’s sons. Shannon began working alongside his late father in the 1990’s, farming 500 acres. In addition to a herd of more than 200, the family produces alfalfa, corn, wheat and soybeans.

The Kane’s farm features plenty of cow comforts for their herd, which results in high quality milk. Their freestall barn has deep bedded sand stalls and plenty of fans and sprinklers to keep cows comfortable. Changes to calf management such as increasing the amount of milk fed to calves has resulted in better growth in calves resulting in healthier replacements entering the milking herd.

In addition to care for animals, the Kanes care for the land on which they farm. The family has a Nutrient Management Plan, uses no-till farming practices and have been awarded the Franklin County Conservation Excellence award in the past. They recycle the lime used in the stalls across other parts of the farm to help better conserve resources and maintain costs. Additionally, the Kanes work to educate themselves about a wide range of best practices. The mindset of continuous learning and improvement is alive and well on this farm.

Shannon also devotes time to educate others about dairy, hosting school tours and visiting with school students to explain dairy farming and tout dairy products’ benefits. He says it all plays a part in the enjoyment of his work. “The thing I enjoy the most is the diversity that comes with farming,” Shannon said. “Working with the cows, as well as working the land and growing crops, and managing the financial side of things -- You need to be skillful in many different areas to be successful and that makes it very rewarding.”

"Congratulations to Shannon and his family farm for their recognition as District 1 Producer of the Year,” Maryland & Virginia Milk Producers Cooperative CEO, Jay Bryant said. “The care that Shannon and his brother Sam put into running an operation that produces high-quality milk is evident at every step of the way in the way they care for both their animals and their land.”