Maryland & Virginia celebrated its fourth year of partnership with the Alliance for the Chesapeake Bay in 2021. Our budding relationship with the Alliance has led to two notable partnerships with Giant and Turkey Hill.
Now our brand, Maola Milk, is jumping in on sustainability with the Alliance. In October, more than 20 MDVA staffers joined with Alliance team members to plant more than 600 trees on a member farm. The trees filled more than two acres on the farm in Lancaster County, Pa. and was promoted as a Maola tree planting event.
“This tree planting is just a single example out of many on-farm sustainability project,” said Mauricio Rosales, the Agriculture Projects Manager for the Alliance. “The public sometimes doesn’t realize that farmers are great stewards and they’re trying to do their best. Many of these farmers have been implementing practices that are already helping the environment, helping the ecosystems and the soil health.”
The buffer is just one of the projects that the member has undertaken. Our partnership with the Alliance has also helped the farm update his manure storage capabilities, which now provides six months of storage.
“Before he was spraying manure almost weekly, regardless of the weather,” Rosales said. “Now he will have the time to store that manure and spread it during the appropriate time.”
The corporate connection between MDVA and the Alliance has been overwhelmingly positive. The projects have come to be good for the environment – but also the members themselves too.
“A lot these projects have really improved the quality of life for the farmer,” said Janae Klingler, MDVA’s Manager of Animal Care & Sustainability. “These projects have allowed them to apply those nutrients to the fields in a timely manner and reduce their daily workload so that they can focus on other things like their crops, their animals, and most importantly their families.”
The farm’s location at a high-traffic intersection presented a different challenge as well. Runoff from a nearby road helped add to an unstabilized barnyard. Now with the manure storage and riparian buffer set to help prevent some of those nutrients from escaping, even the smallest of creatures is set to benefit.
“All the trees that we planted, all those leaves will fall, of course,” said Ryan Davis, the Pennsylvania Forest Projects Manager at the Alliance. “But what happens is when they fall in the creek, insects will start to move in that can eat those leaves. Once those insects move in, they actually start filtering the water for us as well.”
Each little step towards cleaner tributaries will lead to a cleaner Chesapeake Bay overall.
“By having a project here, we’re going to be improving water quality in local streams and eventually that water quality is going to translate to a healthier Chesapeake Bay,” said Rosales.
For members, sustainability oftentimes can have a double meaning. While many of our members hope to leave their mark on the environment, just as much they are thinking about the future of their farm. But in the case of many of the projects between MDVA and the Alliance, the two fuse together.
“These projects help the longevity of the farms,” Klingler said. “The younger generations see the older generation and the cooperative putting these efforts into the farms, and hopefully they’re around for 50, 75 and 100 more years.”