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Maryland & Virginia Young Cooperators (YCs) pause for a photo while at Pheasant Echo’s Farm during the annual YC Summer Break event on July 28, 2022.
Maryland & Virginia Milk Producers Cooperative Association (MDVA) showcased a few of their best Maryland-based farms last week as part of its 20th Annual Young Cooperator (YCs) Summer Break. More than 22 farm families traveled from five states to tour the featured farms and share farm management experiences.

“Maryland & Virginia’s Young Cooperator Summer Break gives young producers like me an opportunity to see new ideas and different ways of dairy farming, while also becoming more familiar with our cooperative business,” said first-time event participant and member Matt Strong of Barton, New York. “I am grateful to be a part of the Young Cooperator group and a proud member-owner of Maryland & Virginia Milk Producers,” he added.

The Stup family of Teabow Farms, Walkersville, Maryland, kicked off the event with a welcome dinner and farm tour on July 27. The farm encompasses 900 acres, and the family milks 1,110 cows and raises their own replacements. During the farm tour, YCs also heard an update on the FARM Animal Care Program from Dr. Richard Doak, DVM with Mid-Maryland Vets.

YCs started off the day on July 28 with a tour of Peace and Plenty Farm owned by the Schwartzbeck family. The family milks 245 registered Holsteins and farms 1,100 acres on their Union Bridge farm. YCs learned about the farm’s solids separator and use of recycled bedding. The group also had the chance to view the farm’s new calf barn.

The group also toured a new 50-cow barn at the farm of Elam Fisher in Hampstead and Pheasant Echo’s Farm in Westminster. Pheasant Echo’s, owned by the Stambaugh family, was recently featured on the cover of Costco’s magazine, Costco Connection.

“The Young Cooperator Program is our way of providing professional development opportunities to the next generation of our members,” said Lindsay Reames, Executive Vice President of Sustainability and External Relations. “Providing these young people with the opportunity and inspiration to expand their dairy knowledge and improve their individual farms is exactly why we hold events like our Summer Break.”

Maryland & Virginia Milk Producers Cooperative’s YC program provides professional development opportunities for members ages 18-45. The cooperative holds two annual YC events, a formal leadership conference each winter and a family-focused summer event. The program provides a place for YCs to interact with cooperative management, connect with their peers to share triumphs and lessons learned, and to return home inspired and recharged. To learn more about MDVA’s YC Program, visit