Maryland & Virginia Milk Producers Cooperative Celebrates 75-Year Member Palmyra Farm of Hagerstown, Md.

Reston, Virginia – Palmyra Farm of Hagerstown, Maryland, celebrated its 75th year of membership with Maryland & Virginia Milk Producers Cooperative Association (MDVA) at the cooperative’s 102nd Annual Meeting held earlier this week.

“Congratulations to Palmyra Farm for 75 years of contributions to our cooperative, and the U.S. dairy industry,” said David Pool, MDVA’s First Vice-President during the meeting. “The care you provide to your animals and your generational approach to farming will set you up for success for years to come.”

Ralph Shank and his sister Mary Creek are the third generation on their family’s dairy operation. The farm was started by their grandparents in 1942. Three years after their start, they began shipping milk to Maryland & Virginia. The entire family works to make the farm successful, including Ralph’s wife Terri and Mary’s husband Mike.

“Everybody is involved with the operation,” said Ralph Shank. “We all milk. We all feed calves and do the work that needs to be done – together.” The family are dedicated Ayrshire breeders and have exhibited cattle the local, state and national level. Today they’re milking 100 Ayrshires and Holsteins and farm 300 acres. In total, the herd nears 230 animals, including replacement heifers. The family milks in a double-seven herringbone parlor that has been renovated since the original farm milking parlor was built. The families have donated countless hours to supporting dairy youth programs for generations and are active in their community and breed organizations. In 2009, they diversified and began Palmyra Cheese where they direct market to consumers. The family is known across the country for their unique intern program for high school and college students.“We’ve had college interns for 15 years from ten different universities,” Ralph said. “The interns learn alongside our family in all facets of the business to better understand the inner workings of an operational dairy farm.” In addition to the Shank-Creek family, MDVA honored two other families celebrating anniversaries with the cooperative. The co-op’s Producer of the Year was also honored during the Annual Meeting. Learn more about those honors here.
Photo Caption: The farm sign at Palmyra Farm in Hagerstown, Maryland showcases the farm’s unique dairy breed in the area: The Ayrshire