The end of year offers us the chance to pause and honor those who went above and beyond over the course of 2021. You see this in our District Producer of the Year winners honored at each district meeting.
Our dairy checkoff partners at the American Dairy Association North East do the same thing within their milkshed. The Dairying for Tomorrow awards are a chance to honor farms that display a passion for dairying. Many of the practices these farms use will help lead their dairy, and our industry, into the future.
This year, Maryland & Virginia had three farms featured as Dairying for Tomorrow honorees.
The top honor in the Animal Care category went to Zimmerman’s Hilltop Dairy in Pennsylvania. Owners Merle & Nevin Zimmerman use the latest technology and extra cow comforts to take care of their herd.The Zimmerman family milks around 330 cows. The cows live in a freestall barn that uses mattresses and sawdust for bedding and comfort.
At Zimmerman’s Hilltop Dairy, cows get amenities like cow brushes, water misters, fans and automated barn curtains. Individual trackers help Merle and Nevin look at all the data and make individualized decisions for each cow.
In 2020, the Zimmermans added solar panels to the barn to assist with energy requirements. They are also open to hosting tours on the farm to connect with the community.
Community outreach is what our second winner won recognition for. Rocky Point Farm and Creamery in Tuscarora, Md. and owners Chuck Fry and Emily Snyder earned Honorable Mention in the Community Outreach category.
Rocky Point is well known in the Tuscarora community – but it has an even further reach too. As part of the Washington, D.C. metropolitan area, Rocky Point is in the unique position to reach potentially millions of consumers. One of these instanceshappened this summer as a local TV station visited the farm. Chuck walked viewers through the milking process. Emily showed viewers how ice cream is made at Rocky Point’s on-farm creamery.
When the farm got new milking robots, Chuck made sure to include a window so visitors could see the units in action. Rocky Point always welcomes visitors with a nature trail and puzzle path on-farm.
Our final honoree earned the recognition in the Environmental Stewardship category. Stronghaven Farm earned Honorable Mention accolades in the environmental stewardship category. The farm is owned by the Strong family.
The farm is located within the Chesapeake Bay watershed and near many water sources . The family works closely with their local Soil & Water Conservation district.
The farm is a 100% no-till operation. The Strongs use manure injection and draglines on their fields. With these practices in place, the family is able to reduce runoff, cut down odor, and reduce soil erosion and compaction.
All three of these winners are tremendous advocates for our industry. We congratulate them on the honors. We look forward to seeing what these winners and our entire membership can do next.