3/3/2014 6:30 AM
By Laurie Savage Maryland Correspondent
FREDERICK, Md. — Two organizations hosting the Maryland Dairy Convention on Feb. 22 honored the stars of the industry during the event that drew about 170 dairy producers, supporters and youth.
“Working Smarter for More Profits” was the theme of the event put on by the Maryland Dairy Industry Association and Maryland Dairy Shrine at the Holiday Inn and Conference Center near the Francis Scott Key Mall.
During MDIA’s daytime educational program, four farms were announced as Dairies of Distinction.
“The winning farms not only beautify Maryland’s rural countryside, but also provide a quality product to consumers,” said Mike Bell of the University of Maryland Extension Carroll County, who emceed the program.
Each farm received a Dairy of Distinction sign and framed farm photo after obtaining a minimum score from judges, who performed a visual inspection of each farm. The winning farms were:
Lepter Farms of Kennedyville, operated by Anna Lepter; brothers Ernie, Willie and Fred; and Kenny Lepter and Tim Bishton.
Maple Dell Farm Inc. of Woodbine, operated by David, Mike, Denny and Derek Patrick.
MD-Delight, Westminster, operated by Gary and Crystal Dell, and children Gregory, Grant, Annie and Gabe Dell.
St. Brigid’s Farm of Kennedyville, operated by Judy Gifford and Robert Fry.
During the MDIA business meeting, outgoing board member Joe Stowers of Brunswick was recognized for his service to the organization. Jessica Stiles Hess was re-elected to a second term, while Jody Vona of Dairy Maid Dairy in Frederick was welcomed as a new director.
Three Virginia Tech students received MDIA Boyd Cook Memorial Scholarships. Jessica Sentelle of Jefferson received a $1,000 award, while Ryan Zimmerman of Littlestown, Pa., and Elizabeth Davis of Union Bridge received $500 scholarships.
During the Maryland Dairy Shrine evening banquet, Ken Holland of Glad-Mar Dairy in Pocomoke, and Ralph Shank and Mary Creek of Palmyra Farm in Hagerstown, were inducted into the shrine.
“Never in a million years did I ever think I’d be receiving this award tonight,” Holland said, adding that the evening was “a celebration of acceptance and inclusion in an organization I hold in the highest regard.”
The farm includes up to 425 milking cows and replacements, and the family has been selling their own dairy products direct to the public on a busy tourist route since 2005. In 2012, they built a processing plant on the farm.
“This is very meaningful to us and to our family,” Creek said, adding that their farm is a family affair. Shank said family is first on the farm. “After that, it’s the love of cows,” he said.
Palmyra Farm includes 116 Ayrshires and 81 Holsteins. Over the years, the family has bred numerous All-Americans. They have been involved in the 4-H dairy judging program for a number of years and market cheese from their herd to the public.
About 23 youth ages 8 to 21, who participated in the junior dairyman contest held earlier in the day, were recognized during the awards ceremony. The competition tested youth on their dairy knowledge through a written test and hands-on activities, including cheese tasting and identifying the parts of a dairy cow.
Results of the junior division were Ryan Allen, first; Robert Hahn, second; and Alicia Hoff, third. In the intermediate division, Charlie Sasscer was first, Katelyn Allen was second and Catherine Savage was third. Senior division winners were Shelby Hahn, first; Bryce Zimmerman, second; and Courtney Hoff, third.
Jack King, David Patrick, Shirley Smith and Paul Spurrier were recognized as outgoing Maryland Dairy Shrine board members. New board members are Scott Hood, Bill Schnebly, Allen Stiles and Kathy Zimmerman.
The shrine presented scholarships to Elizabeth Davis, Ryan Zimmerman and Shelby Hahn of Sabillasville, who is attending Penn State Mont Alto. The Mid-Maryland Dairy Veterinarians Scholarship was also presented to Shelby Hahn.