Herndon, Virginia – Maryland & Virginia Milk Producers Cooperative Association (MDVA) is pleased to announce its 2023 scholarship winners. The cooperative awarded $8,750 in scholarships from the MDVA Fund to a promising crop of 15 students pursuing careers in the dairy industry.

Scholarships from the MDVA Fund will help to offset college expenses for the 2023-2024 academic year. The recipients were selected based on their resume and cover letter, answers to dairy industry questions, academic achievements, and career ambitions.

“Since our scholarship program’s inception, Maryland & Virginia has been proud to invest over $100,000 in scholarships to benefit more than 100 future dairy leaders over the past two decades,” said Lindsay Reames, Executive Vice President of Sustainability and External Relations. “Maryland & Virginia’s scholarship program is a great way for the organization to support the children of our farmers and employees as well as illustrate the dairy industry’s commitment to giving back to our communities. We are thrilled to have these fifteen students represent our cooperative and the industry.”

A few of the winners are spotlighted below:

Regan Jackson of Boyce, Virginia is the daughter of Kevin and Laura Jackson, who is an MDVA employee. Regan will be a sophomore this fall at Louisiana State University, where she is studying Nutrition and Food Science with a minor in Biology and hopes to attend medical school after completion of her bachelor’s. She has been active in dairy cattle showing, 4-H, and FFA. Regan is an active member of the Virginia Junior Holstein Association and The Virginia Jersey Cattle Club. According to Regan, “Once a practicing medical doctor, I plan to use my respected status and advocate for production agriculture, especially the dairy industry, which is such a big passion of mine. I hope to influence and help educate other doctors and earn the trust of parents and adolescents. I want to ensure all that real milk is safe and provides thirteen essential nutrients.”

William Coltrane from Pleasant Garden, North Carolina is the fourth generation at Coltrane Dairy, LLC. William is the son of David and Amy Coltrane and is double majoring in Agribusiness and Animal Science at the University of Mount Olive. William earned an associate degree in the Science of Agriculture while a senior in high school. He was active in FFA, 4-H, and the North Carolina Junior Holstein Association where he held leadership roles. He is a member of the Young Farmers and Ranchers Club and the Animal Science Club at The University of Mount Olive. “By earning a degree in the agriculture field, my goal is to return to the family farm with improved technology to make our business more efficient. Although the future looks bleak for dairy, young farmers like me will need to ensure that there will always be a market for milk. I plan to do my best to make this happen,” said William.

Alex Empet from Kingsley, Pennsylvania is the son of Richard and Dana Empet of Empet Farm. He is planning to obtain a degree in Dairy Production and Management. Alex has been active in his local 4-H program, the Junior Holstein Association, and has attained the rank of Eagle Scout with the Boy Scouts of America. He hopes to be an advocate for animal agriculture and a positive image of the dairy industry in his community, “My long-term goal would be to take over my family’s dairy farm and to continue to be a steward of the land by developing and expanding conservation practices implemented by my father and grandfather to protect the Chesapeake Bay Watershed.” said Alex.

Zackary ‘Jalen’ Brooks from Greensboro, North Carolina will be a Senior next fall at North Carolina Agricultural & Technical State University (N.C. A&T) majoring in Animal Science. Upon graduation, he plans to attend veterinary school to become a Doctor of Veterinary Medicine. Jalen is a student milker at the university’s dairy farm, who is a proud member of MDVA. Jalen currently serves as the President of the newly chartered Dairy Science organization and the Poultry Sciences Club. According to Jalen, “I want to become a livestock veterinarian and focus on dairy cattle to ensure that dairies have healthy cows that produce milk efficiently and that dairies maintain healthy herd care habits.” Jalen was one of two scholarship recipients from N.C. A&T. The University is one of just over 100 higher education institutions in the United States that identifies as a Historically Black College and University (HBCU). A member of MDVA since 2006, our cooperative is proud to engage students and farm employees in various leadership opportunities. You can read more about the N.C. A&T farm here.

Other winners include:

  • Abigail Stoltzfus from Berlin, Pennsylvania
  • Charles Patterson of Chestertown, Maryland
  • Chloe Phillips from Staunton, Virginia
  • David Smith III from Lexington, North Carolina
  • Emory Bewley of Susquehanna, Pennsylvania
  • Joseph Coltrane from Pleasant Garden, North Carolina
  • Keegan Stuver of Frederick, Maryland
  • Laurel Gray from Stony Point, North Carolina
  • Lemuel Coltrane from Pleasant Garden, North Carolina
  • Lilly Leadingham of Sharpsburg, Maryland
  • Nyla Wooten from Knightdale, North Carolina

To be eligible for a Maryland & Virginia Milk Producers scholarship, students must be the son, daughter or employee of a current co-op member or the son or daughter of a Maryland & Virginia employee and attending an accredited college or university. For more information about the cooperative’s scholarship program, visit the Maryland & Virginia scholarship page.

The scholarships are awarded through Maryland & Virginia’s MDVA Fund. The MDVA Fund goes beyond scholarships to include sponsorships and product donations for dairy industry events, programs and organizations that share Maryland & Virginia’s mission of supporting our local communities. Visit the MDVA Fund page to learn more.

Maryland & Virginia Milk Producers Cooperative is a community of more than 900 dairy farm families in 10 states passionate about cultivating dairy goodness and bottling fresh Maola brand milk and dairy products. Our farmer-owned cooperative owns five dairy processing plants that process more than three billion pounds of milk annually. Our diverse portfolio of dairy products are then distributed to consumers in the United States and ingredients customers worldwide. Our cooperative is a leader in sustainability, partnering across the supply chain to deliver sustainable solutions to our member farms. We take pride in supporting the educational and nutritional needs of the communities in our milkshed through our MDVA Fund. For more information about Maryland & Virginia, visit: www.mdvamilk.com.