Maryland & Virginia Milk Producers Awards Scholarships to Future Dairy Leaders

Reston, Virginia – Maryland & Virginia Milk Producers Cooperative Association (MDVA) is pleased to announce its 2021 scholarship winners. The cooperative awarded $7,00 in scholarships from the MDVA Fund to nine deserving students pursuing careers in the dairy industry.

Five students each received a $1,000 scholarship and four additional students each received a $500 scholarship. These scholarships will help to offset college expenses for the 2021-2022 academic year. The recipients were selected based on their resume and cover letter, answers to dairy industry questions, academic achievements and career ambitions.

“From business managers, dairy farmers, to large animal veterinarians, our scholarship program has helped to fuel a variety of successful, dairy-driven careers,” said Lindsay Reames, Vice President of Sustainability and External Relations.

The winners are as follows:

Jill Allen of Jefferson, Maryland is the daughter of Jim and Lisa Allen. Jill is the third generation on her family’s dairy, Glen-Toctin Farm. She attends Frederick Community College majoring in business and plans to transfer to Virginia Tech to study Dairy Science. Jill was active in 4-H and FFA and served as the 2019-2020 Maryland State FFA President. “I wish to apply my passion for the dairy industry with the business skills I learn to help improve my family farm operation,” Jill said. After graduation, she would like to stay local to Maryland and work on a dairy farm.

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 majoring in Ag Business at the University of Mount Olive.  While in high school, William took college courses at Randolph Community College and the University of Mount Olive and earned his Associates Degree in Agriculture last May, then graduated high school in June.  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 continue this route to earn a bachelor’s degree and return to our fourth-generation farm.

Mindi Freed, from Timberville, Virginia is majoring in Dairy Science with a minor in Political Science at Virginia Tech. She is the daughter of Steve and Anna Freed. She worked at Ridge View Dairy in Quicksburg, Virginia. Through her involvement in 4-H and FFA, she found her passion for the dairy and agriculture industry. While in high school, Mindi attained her Associates Degree from Lord Fairfax Community College. She also served as the 2020 Virginia Dairy Princess. “I am very passionate about agriculture and hope to learn more about different opportunities in government through my college career,” said Mindi. After graduation, Mindi hopes to work for the U.S. Department of Agriculture or the Virginia Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services.

Laurel Gray of Stony Point, North Carolina will be a freshman at North Carolina State University this fall majoring in Agriculture Business Management. She is the daughter of Andy and Amy Gray and her family operates Grayhouse Farms. Laurel was involved in FFA and 4-H, serving as the North Iredell FFA President and very involved in her family’s farm. After college, Laurel plans to take the skills and knowledge she learns at school and return to her family’s dairy to work on the farm. “With fewer involved in dairy, we are the future of agriculture,” said Laurel.

Rachel Gray, Stony Point, North Carolina is the third generation on her family’s dairy farm, Grayhouse Farms. Rachel is the daughter of Andy and Amy Gray and a sophomore at the University of Mount Olive majoring in Agribusiness. Throughout her youth, Rachel was active in 4-H and FFA. Her family milks 1,200 Holstein cows and grows corn, soybeans, and small grain forages. Rachel said, “Working alongside my father, grandfather, and uncle for many years, I realized this industry has so much to offer.” Rachel plans to return to her family’s farm upon graduation.

Helen Leadingham, of Sharpsburg, Maryland is majoring in General Business Studies at Hagerstown Community College. She is an employee at Bakers Farm LLC in Boonsboro, Maryland and has worked for several other dairy farms helping with all aspects of the operations. Helen has been active in FFA and is serving as the 2020-2021 Maryland State FFA Vice President. “I want to further my education so that I can gain a better understanding of everything that goes into running a commercial dairy,” Helen said.

Charles Patterson from Chestertown, Maryland is the son of Charlie and Sherry Patterson. Charles is majoring in Agriculture Systems Management at Purdue University. At school, Charles is involved in the Ag Systems Management Club and the Purdue Dairy Club. In high school, he was active in 4-H and participated in the Maryland 4-H Dairy Judging Team contests. He also played lacrosse in high school. 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.”

Harper Sellers of Lebanon, Pennsylvania is the daughter of Kraig and Meranda Sellers. She is majoring in Marketing and Business Administration at Eastern University. Harper is the fourth generation on her family’s dairy farm. Harper was involved in FFA and has participated in several mission trips in the U.S. and Haiti. “I plan on working in marketing and advertising for a company directly involved with the dairy industry. I want to spread the message of goodness of all things dairy so that others can benefit as much as I have from the dairy industry,” Harper said.

Elizabeth Stoltzfus of Berlin, Pennsylvania is an Animal Science major at Penn State University. She is the daughter of Duane and Andrea Stoltzfus and when not at school, she works as the calf manager on her family’s farm, Pennwood Farms. She has been active in 4-H, FFA and the Somerset County Jr. Holstein Club. According to Elizabeth, she has always loved raising her own heifers and enjoys educating the public about dairy farming. “I plan to take the information that I have learned here at school and apply it to my own farm,” Elizabeth said. After graduation, Elizabeth plans to return to her family’s dairy farm.

“Since the scholarship program’s inception, Maryland & Virginia has been proud to invest more than $85,000 in scholarships to benefit more than 80 future dairy leaders in the last decade,” Reames said.

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.

Contact: Daniela Roland, or 814-386-8000