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Maryland & Virginia Milk Producers Cooperative Association (MDVA) honored Valley Ho Farm of Middletown, Maryland as its District 2 Producer of the Year during the co-op’s recent District Meeting in Boonsboro, Maryland. The farm is owned and operated by Chris and Jamie Derr. The District Producer of the Year award recognizes a cooperative member for outstanding farm management, animal care, and environmental stewardship in each district.

“The Derr Family has gone above and beyond this past year and were an easy selection for this honor,” said MDVA Executive Vice President for Sustainability and External Relations Lindsay Reames. “Not only is their milk of top quality, but they serve our broader dairy community by serving as spokespeople for our cooperative with overseas customers. Their willingness to share dairy’s sustainability story is appreciated by the cooperative and their dairy farmer peers.”

“We take the responsibility of producing a high-quality product very near to our hearts,” said Jamie Derr. “It’s important to us that anyone buying our milk knows that we care in how we’re doing it.”

Operated on the same land since 1962, Chris and Jamie made an investment to update the facilities in 2013 when they took over the operation. With cow comfort in mind, they built a freestall barn for their 70 cows and added a holding area by the milking parlor. Sustainability is also top-of-mind for the Derr family. They have nutrient management plans in place, utilize no-till and cover cropping, and work closely with the local soil conservation districts. The family has fenced off streams to help protect the Chesapeake Bay, which lies downstream.

“Part of our desire is not just to have an occupation,” said Chris. “It’s about providing food and nutrients to the rest of the world. That’s our calling as farmers.”