RESTON, Va. – Maryland and Virginia Milk Producers Cooperative Association (MDVA) honored Peace & Plenty Farm of Union Bridge, Md. as its District 2 Producer of the Year during the co-op’s recent District Meeting in New Midway, Md. The District Producer of the Year award recognizes a cooperative member for outstanding farm management, animal care, and environmental stewardship in each district.
“Congratulations to the Schwartzbeck Family for achieving the honor of District 2 Producer of the Year,” MDVA CEO Jay Bryant said. “For more than 30 years, Peace & Plenty Farms has been producing top-quality milk for our cooperative and the local communities we serve. We are thrilled to recognize Peace & Plenty Farm for being outstanding stewards to the environment, to their animals, and to their local community.”
Peace & Plenty Farm relocated in 1968 when Joe and Nona Schwartzbeck moved to Union Bridge, Maryland from Montgomery County, Maryland where Joe’s family had been for generations. The family milks 245 registered Holsteins and farms 1,100 acres. They focus on breeding for the complete cow that will have longevity in the herd. The family also strives to provide top-notch feed to their animals to maximize milk production as well as milk fat and protein in the milk.
Today, Joe and Nona’s sons, Gus and Shane and their families all play an important role in running the farm. Gus and his wife, Lisa, have three grown children, Davis, Aubrey and Austin and multiple grandchildren. Shane and his wife, Lisa, have two children, Sadie and Taylor. The family also enjoys working alongside David Miller, who has been with the farm for over 20 years. David’s daughter, Amelia, has now joined the farm workforce.
“It is wonderful to work with family and everyone gets along,” said Nona. “I just love that I can see our sons, our grandkids and great-grandkids every day.”
At Peace & Plenty, the wellbeing of the cows is very important. “We make animal care the number one priority on the farm, we treat them with the best care,” Nona said. The cows are housed in a freestall barn with mattresses. They also have a newer loose housing barn for the dry cows. Fresh cows and the show cows are also kept in a special barn to receive extra attention. “We even have large brushes installed, for the cows to rub and scratch whenever they want. They love these brushes,” Nona said.
On the environmental side, the farm closely follows their nutrient management plan. They recycle the manure from the cows and use a special machine to separate the solids. The dried material is then used as recycled bedding for the cows. For the 1,100 acres of crops consisting of corn, alfalfa hay, timothy hay, soybeans and wheat, much of the land is no- tilled to preserve the soil.
As recognition for their environmental stewardship, Peace & Plenty received the 2006 Carroll County Soil Conservation District Cooperator of the Year. The farm was also an active participant in the Double Pipe Creek Rural Clean Water Project and was recognized for their outstanding conservation achievements as part of the project.
The family is active in the Carroll County and Maryland Holstein Associations and show their animals at local, state and national shows. The farm has received Maryland & Virginia’s milk quality award and has been named a 2010 Dairy of Distinction as well as being named Master Farmer.
With the multiple generations involved at Peace & Plenty, the family works hard to make sure that the farm can be viable for the younger generations. “It does my heart good to know that we are headed in the same direction and toward the same goals,” said Nona.
About the District Produce of the Year Awards
Maryland & Virginia Milk Producers Cooperative presents the District Producer of the Year award to a member farm in each of its three regional districts. Started in 2019, the District Producer of the Year Award is presented to members who not only achieve high quality milk, but who go above and beyond to demonstrate outstanding overall farm management, animal care, environmental stewardship, and community engagement. All three farms will be considered for the cooperative’s top honor, Producer of the Year, at the cooperative’s annual meeting in March 2022.
Photo Caption: The Schwartzbeck Family won the Premier Exhibitor Holstein and Premier Breeder Holstein at the 2021 Maryland State Fair; Photo Credit: Cowsmopolitan, Inc.
Contact: Amanda Culp, Director of Communications & Member Relations