– Maryland & Virginia Milk Producers Cooperative Association (MDVA) honored Harvue Farms of Berryville, Va. as the Producer of the Year at its 2022 Annual Meeting held at the Turf Valley Resort in Ellicott City, Md. this week.
“Producer of the Year is Maryland & Virginia’s way of recognizing our members who look beyond quality milk and achieve outstanding farm management, care for the environment, and are contributors to their local community,” said Kevin Satterwhite, President of MDVA. “We are thrilled to honor Harvue Farms and the Hardesty family as the symbol of excellence for our cooperative in 2022.”
Harvue Farms is owned and operated by the third and fourth generation of the Hardesty family. David Hardesty runs the family farm in its day-to-day operations alongside his wife, Debbie, and his son, Matt, as well as Matt’s wife, Ashley. A fifth generation on the farm is represented by Matt and Ashley’s children James and Lilly.
The family employs four full-time employees to help milk 260 registered Holsteins in a double-eight herringbone parlor. The family farms on more than 750 acres and raises corn, triticale, rye grass and hay.
“Being recognized as Producer of the Year is truly an honor,” said David Hardesty. “We have farmed with Maryland & Virginia since our start in 1950. Our family farm has grown with this cooperative and our growth is attributed to the hard work of our family and valued employees to care for our cows, our land, and our community.”
The family puts high value on animal care and has been adhering to standards above and beyond national guidelines for many years. Cows are tracked meticulously for their health to make sure the family is making the best decisions possible for each animals’ health. The herd at Harvue is known for being older than the national average due to the tremendous care the Hardestys provide. The free-stall barn at Harvue has sprinklers attached to fans and features an open-barn concept to allow the family to keep cows cool or warm based on the Virginia weather in any given month.
The Hardestys have previously been honored as the Elite Breeders of the Year by the Holstein Association USA as well as have won numerous accolades for individual cows at various shows across the country, including the World Dairy Expo. One of their show cows earned the highest marks possible and was Supreme Champion at the World Dairy Expo in 2009 and 2010.
In their local community, the family is known for its overall strong support for a wide range of philanthropy. David and Debbie have been 4-H leaders for more than 25 years and the farm provides a non-ownership leasing program for county 4-Hers that are not able to raise cows on their own property. The family works with around 35 lease participants each year, leading to hundreds of 4-Hers who have been through the program, all of who leave with a higher appreciation of showmanship and animal care. The farm hosts tour groups often and advocate on behalf of dairy in communities across the state. Ashley Hardesty also served on the Nestle Farmer Led Sustainability Project, while Matt Hardesty is the familiar face on the Maola Milk
Harvue Farm is in its second year of making its own cheese. With more than nine flavors, Harvue Farm provides cheese blocks for sale to many local stores, breweries and vineyards as well as at various local farmer’s markets.
“Family farms must diversify to provide opportunities for the next generation of farmers,” said Ashley Hardesty. “Harvue Cheese is our way of sharing the positive, and tasty, story of dairy with our local community.
In addition to the Hardesty family, MDVA honored three families celebrating anniversary years with the cooperative. Click here
to learn more.
David and Debbie Hardesty receive the Producer of the Year Award from Maryland & Virginia Milk Producers Cooperative Chief Executive Officer Jay Bryant (left)
during the cooperative’s 102nd
Annual Meeting on March 30.