A Resounding Success – YC Summer Break

girl standing in front of a group of people
Hollis Reames poses in front of the crowd as they gather at Lovelea Farms in North Carolina during 2023 YC Summer Break

Maryland & Virginia’s annual YC Summer Break was an exceptional gathering that brought together over 80 Young Cooperators from 16 member farms and cooperative staff for a memorable and insightful experience. Held in High Point, North Carolina, from July 19 – 21, the Break featured farm visits, educational tours, and networking opportunities, creating an atmosphere of camaraderie and shared learning.

The event kicked off on July 19th with a visit to the esteemed N.C. A&T dairy farm, which provided the YCs with a rare glimpse into modern dairy farming practices. The YCs had the oppor- tunity to witness cutting-edge technologies in action and learn about sustainable farming methods from the farm staff and student work- ers. The visit was both inspiring and educational, and it left a lasting impression on all attendees. Day two was marked by engaging tours of Grayhouse Farms and Lovelea Farms, two prominent MDVA member dairy farms in the region. At Grayhouse Farms, the YCs were ex- posed to innovative animal care techniques and state-of-the-art sustainable facilities, while Lovelea Farms provided valuable insights into successful dairy business management. These tours exemplified the commitment of MDVA to fostering knowledge sharing and promoting best practices among young dairy cooperators.

As always, Summer Break is not just about tours and learning; it also gives YCs and opportunity to foster meaningful connections. The diverse group of attendees, hailing from var- ious backgrounds and regions, exchanged ideas and experiences, forming valuable networks that will undoubtedly enhance their future in the dairy industry. Kevin Robertson of Statesville, NC said “I’ve been attending the YC trips for over 17 years and have enjoyed seeing many different operations, meeting new co-op friends through- out multiple states, and catching up with old friends and their families.” The camaraderie and support within the YCs community was truly heartwarming, creating an encouraging atmos- phere for young cooperators to thrive.

person standing and explaining farming practices to a larger group
YCs listen as the team from N.C. A&T University and its dairy unit explain how the farm operates with staff and students working side-by-side.

The co-op ensured that attendees were treated to exceptional culinary experiences as well. The dinner at N.C. A&T’s Pavilion provided a delightful blend of local flavors and traditional dishes, adding a touch of southern charm to the event. Similarly, the concluding dinner at Magnolia Blue was a fitting end to the event with a chance to savor delicious food and gather with friends before everyone headed home. With its signature combination of education, networking, and family fun, the YC Sum- mer Break continues to be a big part of MDVA’s commitment to nurturing the next generation of dairy leaders by helping inspire and empower young cooperators as they continue their pur- suit of excellence in the dairy industry.