Chambersburg, PA – Maryland & Virginia Milk Producers Cooperative Association (MDVA) participated in a recent event held by MDVA Members the Burkholder Family at Burk-Lea Farms in Chambersburg, PA highlighting opportunities to enhance federal farm conservation programs to five Members of Congress.
House Agriculture Committee Ranking Member Glenn “GT” Thompson (R-PA), House Select Committee on the Climate Crisis Ranking Member Garret Graves (R-LA), Representative John Rose (R-TN), Representative John Joyce, M.D. (R-PA), and Representative David Valadao (R-CA) were in attendance as part of a series of roundtables to receive stakeholder input and discuss policy opportunities on environmental and energy policy. Several additional farmers attended, as well as representatives from the National Milk Producers Federation (NMPF), the Pennsylvania Center for Dairy Excellence, and the Alliance for the Chesapeake Bay.
“Dairy farmers are longtime environmental stewards with a significant story to tell,” MDVA CEO Jay Bryant said. “We thank the Members of Congress who are seeking input from our hard-working dairy farm families and looking to enhance funding and flexibility for critical farm conservation programs.”
Not only do dairy farmers directly access conservation programs such as the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) Environmental Quality Incentives Program (EQIP), but MDVA leverages public-private partnerships to access programs such as the Regional Conservation Partnership Program (RCPP). Most recently, the Turkey Hill Clean Water Partnership between MDVA, the Alliance for the Chesapeake Bay, and Turkey Hill Dairy was awarded $4 million to support MDVA dairy farmers in South Central Pennsylvania through the RCPP.
“Dairy farmers are constant innovators, looking to adopt new technologies and break down barriers to new stewardship practices,” Lindsay Reames, Executive Vice President of Sustainability & External Relations for MDVA said. “Congress has an opportunity through the next Farm Bill to increase funding for our overprescribed conservation programs and reduce payment limitations so that our family-owned dairy farms can better achieve their conservation goals.”
MDVA’s portfolio of sustainability work is funded through outside grants and donations – not through member fees. Through partnerships over $19 Million dollars has been raised to invest in the sustainability of our member farms. Due to the support of our supply chain partners, MDVA members can simultaneously achieve financial and environmental sustainability, oftentimes with extra time to give to animal care and their own families. MDVA has won multiple sustainability awards including the Innovation Center for U.S. Dairy’s 2022 Sustainability Award for Outstanding Community Impact, 2022 Outstanding Dairy Farm Sustainability (Grayhouse Farms, Stony Point, N.C.), and the 2020 Outstanding Supply Chain Collaboration Award for our shared Turkey Hill Clean Water Partnership. Learn more about our sustainability commitment at www.mdvamilk.com/sustainability.
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About Burk-Lea Farms
Clint Burkholder and his wife, Kara, are the third generation to farm on Burk-Lea Farms, milking 850 Holsteins and raising roughly 700 heifers. The Burkholders strongly prioritize both animal care and environmental conservation, housing their cows in freestall barns with sand bedding and using cover crops and no-till on their cropland to benefit soil and water quality. The farm also has a manure separation system and a water recirculating system to recycle water.
About Maryland & Virginia Milk Producers Cooperative
Maryland & Virginia Milk Producers Cooperative is a community of more than 900 dairy farm families in 11 states passionate about cultivating dairy goodness and bottling fresh Maola brand milk and dairy products. Our farmer-owned cooperative owns five dairy processing plants that process more than three billion pounds of milk annually. Our diverse portfolio of dairy products are then distributed to consumers in the United States and ingredients customers worldwide. Our cooperative is a leader in sustainability, partnering across the supply chain to deliver sustainable solutions to our member farms. We take pride in supporting the educational and nutritional needs of the communities in our milkshed through our MDVA Fund. For more information about Maryland & Virginia, visit www.mdvamilk.com.
Headline Photo Caption: Event host and MDVA Member Owner Clint Burkholder of Burk-Lea Farms provides remarks on how his farm uses conservation programs during the roundtable. (Raw photo available upon request)
Contact: Lindsay Reames at 804-370-4324.