Cooperative Honors Milk Producers, Longtime Members

4/6/2013 7:00 AM
By Laurie Savage Maryland Correspondent

GETTYSBURG, Pa. — The Maryland and Virginia Milk Producers Cooperative Association celebrated its longevity during the 93rd annual meeting and member recognition lunch Thursday, March 28, at the Wyndham Gettysburg.

Steve and Harold Burton of Wainbur Farm LLC, Midland, Va., were recognized as 75-year members of the cooperative. The brothers have 114 Holsteins on 800 acres and do the majority of the milking themselves.

“It’s quite a pleasure to honor them for 75 years with Maryland and Virginia,” said First Vice President Steven Graybeal.

Andrew and Nicole Jamison of Callaway, Va., were the new Outstanding Young Cooperators.

Quality producer awards were presented to David Graybill of Mifflintown, Pa.; Richard Bowman of Bowman Brothers in New Enterprise, Pa.; Ha-Ho Farms of Harmony, N.C.; and Four Pines Farm Ltd. of Sugar Creek, Ohio.

“I like producing quality milk because it’s fun and a challenge to maintain the level we do,” Graybill said.

When he took over the farm, he inherited high somatic cell and bacteria counts but was able to bring them under control by seeking advice from Extension, his veterinarian and an old Hoard’s Dairyman book, he said.

Neal Grose of Ha-Ho Farm said their operation focuses on freshening cows with little stress, developing cows with good feet and legs, and providing plenty of opportunity for the cows to go out on pasture and lay in a clean area.

Katie Frazier of the Virginia Agribusiness Council presented Maryland and Virginia Milk Producers Cooperative with the Agribusiness of the Year Award for outstanding contributions within Virginia and beyond, particularly for its efforts in engaging in legislative issues.

Also during the luncheon, Patty Purcell, CEO of the Mid-Atlantic Dairy Association, gave an update on the organization’s dairy promotion activities.

She said about $10 million is spent on dairy promotion in the area, with an emphasis on placing plastic bottles of milk in schools and increasing school breakfast opportunities.

“Kids go out of the house, and they don’t have breakfast,” she said.

MDA is looking to place 400 insulated bags in Prince George’s County to be used to serve breakfast from the cafeteria to students in the classroom, she said. The bag program also provides the opportunity to serve other dairy foods, such as yogurt and string cheese.

MDA, which has expertise in placing breakfast in schools, is partnering with the Share Our Strength organization to help fund the effort.

MDA relies on many partnerships to help stretch dairy farmer dollars, and a new effort is being launched with oatmeal to serve it more often with milk, she said.

Does milk have a lot of untapped potential in today’s competitive beverage market?

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