man standing in front of audience who is applauding
MDVA CEO Jay Bryant receives a standing ovation after he announces that the 2024 Annual Meeting on Thursday, March 28, 2024 will be his final Annual Meeting. Bryant will retire at the end of this year after 22 years at the helm.

Plant Acquisition and CEO Retirement Highlight Maryland & Virginia Milk Producers Cooperative Annual Meeting

Maryland & Virginia Milk Producers Cooperative Association (MDVA) members gathered for the cooperative’s 104th Annual Meeting in Harrisonburg, Virginia last week. Members joined cooperative staff and leadership to engage in cooperative business, as well as learn from outside experts. The two-day meeting featured remarks from Dairy Management Incorporated CEO Barb O’Brien, Virginia Secretary of Agriculture and Forestry Matt Lohr, Virginia Senator Timmy French, National Dairy Promotion and Research Board Chair Joanna Shipp, CoBank Dairy Economist Corey Geiger, James Farrell & Co. CEO Jeff Vandel, and numerous others. Animal Care Expert Temple Grandin made a guest appearance to join MDVA members for breakfast.

MDVA CEO Jay Bryant spoke on the dynamic landscape of the dairy industry and the importance of focusing on sustainable growth.

“By focusing on our owners – our dairy farm families – we strengthen the foundation upon which our cooperative stands,” said Bryant. “Whether through transportation improvements, on-farm sustainability practices, or new food safety technologies, MDVA is committed to doing what the future requires of us today.”

At the close of the meeting, CEO Jay Bryant announced he will retire from his position at the end of this year, concluding more than 22 years of leading and 37 years of working at MDVA.

“I would not trade who we have for any other team in the business,” said Bryant. “We have been putting together our system of plants and our top-notch staff over the past decade for this moment. I’m excited about the future of our organization.”

Bryant’s strategic direction cemented a home for MDVA member milk through the purchase of three additional Consumer Products plants. MDVA’s revenue sales have doubled, and gross profits have increased by 150% 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.

Jon Cowell, current CFO of MDVA, has been named as his replacement by MDVA’s Board of Directors.

MDVA also recognized members for significant contributions to the business.

Burk-Lea Farms was named the 2024 Maryland & Virginia Producer of the Year. Located in Chambersburg, Pennsylvania, Burk-Lea Farms is owned and operated by Clint and Kara Burkholder. The family milks 860 cows on 1,300 acres with the help of more than a dozen employees. Burk-Lea Farms is a well-rounded operation with multiple best management practices in place and a strong commitment to sustainability

“Burk-Lea Farms is an example of multi-generational resilience, dedication, and innovation in MDVA’s dairy farm family community,” said MDVA President Kevin Satterwhite. “The Burkholder family has built a dairy farm showcase and a symbol of how agriculture is a contributor to the vibrancy of our communities.

Molly Elgin McWilliams from Culpeper, Virginia, has been honored as the 2024 MDVA Outstanding Young Cooperator (YC). Hailing from a lineage of dairy farmers spanning four generations, Molly oversees the management of her family’s 200-cow herd. In her capacity as the Outstanding YC, Molly will serve as the representative of the cooperative in national-level gatherings dedicated to shaping the future of dairy farming in the United States.

“As the next generation, hopeful to take over the family farm, I know just how important it is to take every opportunity that you can to broaden your horizon and continue to improve the next generations to come,” said Elgin.

MDVA also was honored to celebrate a 50-year member and a 75-year member at their Annual Meeting.

The Burdette family of Mercersburg, Pennsylvania is celebrating 50 years of membership. James and Nina Burdette began Windy Knoll View Farm in October 1974. The couple have two sons and six grandchildren, with one of the sons, Justin, handling much of the operation with his wife, Claire. The Burdette’s have won dozens of awards for their cows and the lineage that they produce, but above all, the family hopes they are recognized for the incredible product that leaves their farm each day.

“We want consumers to know that we work hard to produce quality milk made with love from our family farm,” says Claire.

Ellerton View Farm and the Grossnickle Family are celebrating 75 years as members of MDVA. The Grossnickle’s have always had an eye toward sustainability, the family has been doing no-till and cover cropping for decades now. Today, they milk about 150 cows and farm on 500 acres in Myersville, Maryland. The family recognizes the hard work required to run a farm for 75 years.

“The commitment and the pride that goes into running a beautiful farm, in a beautiful valley, is important,” said Dolly Grossnickle. “When you do it together as a family, there are so many rewards.”

For more information about the Young Cooperator program, the Producer of the Year award, or our families celebrating 50- and 75-years of membership, visit the MDVA website at


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