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Jay Bryant to retire as MDVA CEO, Jon Cowell Named Successor

Jay Bryant, CEO of Maryland & Virginia Milk Producers Cooperative Association (MDVA) announced yesterday he will retire from his position at the end of this year, concluding more than 22 years of leading and 37 years of working for the cooperative. Jon Cowell, current CFO of MDVA, has been named as his replacement by MDVA’s Board of Directors.

“It’s time to let MDVA do what we built it to do – and that is to continuously improve and deliver results back to the family farmers who own us,” said Bryant, who led MDVA through its transition from a raw milk marketing cooperative to a brick-and-mortar cooperative with a respected regional brand – Maola Local Dairies. “It is humbling to look back to where MDVA was 20 years ago and see what we have achieved together by investing in our cooperative. We successfully transformed ourselves to remain relevant in the dairy marketplace and I am confident our nimble approach to business will continue to yield results when I’m gone.”

Bryant’s strategic direction cemented a home for MDVA member milk through the purchase of three additional Consumer Products plants. MDVA’s revenue sales and gross profits have doubled and increased by 150%, respectively, under his leadership. Bryant’s leadership enabled MDVA to become a recognized pioneer on dairy supply chain sustainability – earning more than $77 million for on-farm sustainability initiatives to date.

A native of Boonville, N.C., Bryant grew up on his family’s 70-cow dairy farm. After earning a degree in Agricultural Economics from North Carolina State University he returned to his family’s farm until he entered the world of milk marketing as a field representative for Carolina-Virginia. By 1997, Jay was named General Manager of Carolina-Virginia, a position he held until the company merged with MDVA in 1999. Jay served as the Director of Milk Marketing at Maryland & Virginia until his appointment as CEO in 2002.

“The Board of Directors extends its deep gratitude to Jay Bryant for guiding us through transformative change and uncertain times like dairy industry consolidation and the pandemic,” said Kevin Satterwhite, President of MDVA’s Board of Directors. “Most importantly we want to praise Jay for his decades of thoughtful leadership. There’s no doubt he will carry a legacy as a transformative figure in the dairy cooperative landscape.”

Jon Cowell joined MDVA as the Chief Financial Officer in 2018. Jon leads all financial aspects of MDVA as well as the Information Technology division. In that time he has renegotiated various banking agreements, monetized redundant assets, led a corporate headquarters relocation, and implemented new payroll systems for both the dairy farmer owners of MDVA as well as employees.

As MDVA’s next leader, Cowell is excited to build upon the foundation that has been established by Bryant and grow the Maola branded business to meet the needs of our customers and consumers. Jon’s vision for MDVA is to grow the Maola branded product portfolio to gain more market share, develop new dairy products and return value back to our member owners. His vision is aligned with the mission of MDVA; to maximize value for our member owners, employees and customers.

Jon most recently served as Vice President and Corporate Controller at Ocean Spray Cranberries, Inc. where he worked from 1996 to 2018. Prior to his time at Ocean Spray, Jon served in various roles at Deloitte & Touche, Kraft Food, and Assured Packaging.

Born and raised in Canada, Jon moved to the United States (Boston) in the late 90s after graduating with a degree in Chartered Accountancy from the University of Waterloo. Jon shares four adult children with his wife, Jennifer.

“Jon brings the vision and leadership necessary to lead MDVA forward into its next phase of growth and success,” said Satterwhite. “As our business becomes increasingly more diversified to meet changing consumer needs, Jon’s strategic insight will help us navigate the challenges and opportunities ahead. Jon has the full support of the more than 900 dairy farmers who own our cooperative.”


About Maryland & Virginia Milk Producers Cooperative

Maryland & Virginia Milk Producers Cooperative is a community of more than 900 dairy farm families in 10 states passionate about cultivating dairy goodness and bottling fresh Maola brand milk and dairy products. Our farmer-owned cooperative owns six 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