Maryland & Virginia Milk Producers Awards Scholarships to Future Dairy Leaders

Reston, Virginia – Maryland & Virginia Milk Producers Cooperative Association (MDVA) is pleased to announce its 2022 scholarship winners. The cooperative awarded $7,500 in scholarships from the MDVA Fund to a promising crop of 10 students pursuing careers in the dairy industry.

Five students each received a $1,000 scholarship and five additional students each received a $500 scholarship. These scholarships will help to offset college expenses for the 2022-2023 academic year. The recipients were selected based on their resume and cover letter, answers to dairy industry questions, academic achievements and career ambitions.

“We are encouraged to see such promising young leaders show an interest in the dairy industry. Maryland & Virginia’s scholarship program is able to help fuel a variety of successful, dairy-driven careers,” said Lindsay Reames, Executive Vice President of Sustainability and External Relations. “Over the past two decades, Maryland & Virginia has contributed over $95,000 in scholarships to support more than 90 future dairy leaders.”

The winners are as follows:

Ryan Allen from Jefferson, Maryland is the son of Michael Allen of Glen-Toctin Farms. Ryan will be a senior this fall at Pennsylvania State University where he is studying Animal Science. At school, he is active in the Dairy Science Club and has served as the Assistant Chair of the Nittany Lion Fall Classic cattle sale. According to Ryan, “I aspire to work for a progressive genetics company to help advance dairy genetics.”

Ashley Bushong from Blacksburg, Virginia is majoring in Agriculture Technology at Virginia Tech. She is an employee at Rocky Ridge Creamery in Woodstock, Virginia. She has been active in FFA and dairy judging. Through her dairy farm experiences, Ashley hopes to put her animal husbandry skills to use and operate her own dairy farm one day. “I plan on being one of the many dairy farmers that provides this cooperative with fresh milk to be sold,” said Ashley.

Molly Cessna of Clearville, Pennsylvania will be a freshman at Potomac State University this fall majoring in Animal Science. She is the daughter of Wayne and Dana Cessna. In high school, Molly was  active in soccer, the rifle team, 4-H and FFA. Molly plans to pursue a career as a dairy nutritionist. “Growing up on my family’s dairy farm has opened up my eyes and helped me realize how important the nutritionist is. I believe that every dairy farm has room for improvement, and I want to help dairy farms do this.”

William Coltrane from Pleasant Garden, North Carolina is the fourth generation at Coltrane Dairy, LLC. William is the son of David and Amy Coltrane and double majoring in Ag Business and Animal Science at the University of Mount Olive. He was active in FFA, 4-H and the North Carolina Junior Holstein Association where he held leadership roles. As for his future plans William said, “my goal is to return to my family farm with improved technology to make our business more efficient.”

Jada Crockett from Hampton, Virginia is the daughter of MDVA employee William Crockett, Jr. Jada will be a sophomore this fall at Virginia State University where she is majoring in Biology. Outside of school, she has volunteered with the Peninsula SPCA. She would like to pursue a career as a dairy lab technician. According to Jada, she plans to positively impact the dairy industry and would “think of the safety of consumers and make sure the milk is safe to drink.”

Laurel Gray from Stony Point, North Carolina is the daughter of Andy and Amy Gray of Grayhouse Farms. She will be a sophomore at North Carolina State University this fall majoring in Agriculture Business Management with a minor in Entrepreneurship. Laurel was involved in FFA and 4-H, serving as the North Iredell FFA President and is very involved in her family’s farm. After college, Laurel plans to return to her family’s dairy to work on the farm. “Growing up, I have always been eager to expand my knowledge and experiences within the dairy industry and believe returning home and working on my family’s dairy farm would be the perfect opportunity to do so.”

Regan Jackson of Boyce, Virginia is the daughter of Kevin and Laura Jackson, who is a MDVA employee. Regan has been involved in her grandparents dairy, Waverly Farm. Regan will be attending Louisiana State University this fall where she will study Nutrition and Food Science and pre-medicine. She has been active in dairy cattle showing, 4-H and FFA. Regan plans to attend medical school and work in the medical field. According to Regan, “I want to be the spokesperson for agriculture and to advocate that real cow’s milk is healthy for children. I want to help educate all, including other doctors, about the health benefits of our country’s wholesome and safe products.”

Charles Patterson from Chestertown, Maryland is the son of Charlie and Sherry Patterson. Charles will be a junior this fall at Purdue University majoring in Agriculture Systems Management with a minor in Animal Science and Farm Management. At school, Charles is involved in the Ag Systems Management Club and the Purdue Dairy Club. According to Charles, “I am pursuing a career in the dairy industry because I have grown up on my family dairy farm and have always loved it. The new knowledge that I will learn at college will help me prepare for problems that will occur on the farm.

Paige Peiffer from Lebanon, Pennsylvania is the daughter of Ammon and Brenda Peiffer. She is studying Animal Science at Penn State University. At school she is active in the Dairy Science Club and the Dairy Cattle Reproductive Research Team. Prior to college, Paige served as the Pennsylvania State Dairy Princess from 2019-2020. After graduation, she plans to either work in the dairy industry or return to her family’s farm as the fourth generation. “I know the value behind food production and know the effort and sacrifices it takes.” said Paige.

Keegan Stuver of Frederick, Maryland is the son of MDVA employee Todd Stuver. Keegan is majoring in Finance with a minor in Agriculture Science and Technology at the University of Maryland. Outside of school, Keegan is involved in intramural volleyball teams and volunteers with the Greater Area Urbana Food Bank. Although not from a farm, Keegan’s interest in agriculture began at home. “Since my dad works in the dairy industry, I have always had a fascination with all of the moving parts of the industry,” said Keegan.

To be eligible for a Maryland & Virginia Milk Producers scholarship, students must be the son, daughter or employee of a current co-op member or the son or daughter of a Maryland & Virginia employee and attending an accredited college or university. For more information about the cooperative’s scholarship program, visit the Maryland & Virginia scholarship page.

The scholarships are awarded through Maryland & Virginia’s MDVA Fund. The MDVA Fund goes beyond scholarships to include sponsorships and product donations for dairy industry events, programs and organizations that share Maryland & Virginia’s mission of supporting our local communities. Visit the MDVA Fund page to learn more.


Student Photos: Available upon request