RESTON, Va. – Maryland and Virginia Milk Producers Cooperative Association (MDVA) honored member Alson Zimmerman as its District 1 Producer of the Year during the co-op’s recent District Meeting in Chambersburg, Pa. 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 Alson and his family farm for achieving the honor of District 1 Producer of the Year,” Maryland & Virginia Milk Producers Cooperative CEO Jay Bryant said. “Alson has been farming with us for almost 20 years, serves on our Leadership Council, and produces top-quality milk. He is a dairyman committed to sustainability in every sense of the word.”
As a third-generation dairy farmer, Alson Zimmerman has focused his work around doing the right thing, not only for his animals, but for the environment and his community. He milks 65 cows in a tie-stall barn in Roaring Spring, Pennsylvania with the help of his wife, Mary Louise, and their son and four daughters.
“I’m thankful for the opportunity to be a dairy farmer and raise my family on my farm. There are a lot of good days and it’s a good way to have the chance to work one on one with my children,” Alson said.
Alson works closely with his veterinarian and implements a comprehensive vaccination program for his herd. The Zimmerman’s cows are turned out in an exercise lot as the weather allows. Older heifers and dry cows have access to pasture and younger heifers are raised in a slope barn. The Zimmermans routinely ship excellent quality milk and received Maryland & Virginia’s top honor in 2011 as the Quality Producer of the Year.
Alson uses no-till on his 110 acres of cropland. He also plants cover crops and has a Nutrient Management Plan. To help reduce sediment run-off and improve water quality, he has an Erosion and Sediment Control Plan because part of Alson’s dry cow pasture is next to a high-quality trout stream. Several years ago, with the help of the Blair County Soil Conservation District, he installed a 30-foot buffer along the stream in the heavy-use area. Alson put in fencing along the stream bank and piped off all run-off water from the farm buildings as well. “I’m really happy with the project. This was good for my farm, but also for the environment and water quality,” Alson said.
Off the farm, Alson has been an active member of Maryland & Virginia’s Leadership Council. He and his family have opened up their farm to fellow dairy farmers and hosted the MDVA Young Cooperators group during a YC Summer Break.
“Dairy farming has been my life’s work. If you aren’t inspired by what you do, you won’t do a good job. I try to do the right thing and be good steward with what I’ve been given,” Alson said.
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 Alson Zimmerman farm from the air.
Contact: Amanda Culp, Director of Communications & Member Relations