April 6, 2016
Contact: Amber Sheridan, 804-370-8061, email@example.com
RESTON, VIRGINIA – Three farm families achieved 75 years of cooperative membership with Maryland & Virginia Milk Producers Cooperative Association, Inc. (Maryland & Virginia) this spring. The cooperative honored these outstanding members and for their 75-year milestone at the organization’s 97th Annual Meeting held in Gettysburg, Pennsylvania.
The honorees include:
Graywood Farms LLC, Peach Bottom, Pennsylvania, owned and operated by the Father-son-daughter Graybeal family.
Potomac View Farm LLC, Knoxville, Maryland, owned and operated by the Father and son Shafer family.
Rocky Glade Farms Partners, Woodsboro, Maryland, owned and operated by the Hildebrand brothers.
Steve Graybeal is a member partner in Graywood Farms, LLC with his adult children, son Byron and daughter Lisa. They first shipped milk to the Maryland & Virginia Cooperative in 1942 and today they work together to keep the farm producing top-quality milk. Graywood Farms is a 1200-acre, 700-cow dairy farm that also raises all of their own replacements. Steve has also been very active in Maryland & Virginia, serving as a Director for the past 28 years. “We have learned to get through good and bad times together and we achieve goals together and that is a very satisfying thing,” said Lisa. The Graybeals are now raising the next generation of children who they hope will continue the dairy farming tradition. “My children are now growing up on this farm,” said Byron, “to have them here is very rewarding, there’s no better way to raise children.”
Potomac View Farm faces Keys Gap, where the Shenandoah meets the Potomac River. Father John and son Wes Shafer are at the helm of the operation, and they milk 175 registered Holsteins and raise 100 replacement heifers. They not only farm their 275 owned and 600 rented acres; they also operate a custom harvesting business. John traces his farm’s roots back to his great, great-grandparents who bought the land after the Civil War. “I enjoy that I get to work at home and I get to set my own hours,” said John. John also credits his wife of 49 years, Jane, a high school math teacher, for the family’s longevity in the dairy business. Wes Shafer said, “We have a lot of short-term goals, a lot of which
depend on the milk market and we are looking to expand our herd,” said Wes. The Shafers recently built a dry cow and bred heifer building with covered manure storage and have fenced in all of their streams and installed stream crossings. Their attention to detail and dedication to their farm paid off as they received the 2016 Dairy of Distinction award.
Rocky Glade Family Farm is a 600-acre farm with over 240 cows and 150 replacement heifers. There have been many upgrades to the farm that was started by their great-grandfather and grandfather in 1925. Brothers Nevin and Marlin Hildebrand now run the farm in a partnership that included their father, who retired in 1995. Between the two of them, they oversee the gargantuan daily task of machine and equipment maintenance, crops, feeding the a
nimals, milking, and record/bookkeeping. “We’ve been motivated to stay in the dairy business because our parents, and grandparents, and great-grandparents were dairy farmers. Of course, years ago they didn’t milk as many cows, but as you milk more cows you make things better for the farm. … It’s something that is in your blood,” said Nevin.
During the recognition luncheon, First Vice President Kevin Satterwhite, said “Maryland & Virginia’s greatest asset is our membership. Our farmers are persistent, ingenious and brave. They are the reason why Maryland & Virginia has embraced innovation, evolved its business model and invested in its operations. Last fall, we recognized 25 farm families for achieving 25 years of cooperative membership, and today we are proud to honor these three families for marking 75 years with the co-op.”
Additional photos available upon request.
Owned and operated by 1,500 dairy farm families from Pennsylvania to Florida, Maryland & Virginia is a milk marketing and processing cooperative providing consumers throughout the Mid-Atlantic and Southeastern U.S. with fresh milk and dairy products. Maryland & Virginia owns and operates two fluid processing plants; Marva Maid of Newport News, Virginia and Marva Maid of Landover, Maryland; and two manufacturing plants, one in Laurel, Maryland and Valley Milk in Strasburg, Virginia.