The Maryland Dairy Industry Association held its annual convention at FSK Holiday Inn and Conference Center on Saturday, Feb. 27.
A comprehensive group of speakers were at the convention featuring Dr. Bob Peters, University of MD, Gordie Jones, DVM, Central Sands Dairy, LLC of Nekoosa, WI. Virginia Ishler of Penn State and Ralph Ward of Cumberland Valley Analytical Services in Hagerstown, MD provided the two consecutive morning breakout sessions.
The afternoon sessions were given by Julio O Giordano from Cornell University and Sue Puffenbarger representing Land O’Lakes.
Around the speaker’s meeting rooms a great deal was going on. The Junior Dairyman Contest ran most of the day. The tests included identifying 44 different parts of a cow, a test on reproductive terms, 50 true or false questions, a 25 question written test and two hands on tests which included identifying dairy foods and identifying 26 different feedstuffs which were displayed in simple containers on a table.
Winners of the junior division were: (First place) Jessica Martin, (Second) Katelyn Iager and (Third) James Savage. Winners of the intermediate division were: (First) Shelby Iager; (Second – tie) Robert Hahn and Ryan Allen. Winners of the senior division were (First) Cory Zimmerman, and (Second) Catherine Savage.
A silent auction was also underway in the lobby of the convention area and it was well supplied with donated items — all with a dairy theme. All proceeds were to benefit the Maryland Dairy Shrine and Museum established in 1963. The purpose of the Dairy Shrine is not only to recognize and honor outstanding pioneers, breeders and cattle but also to honor young dairy leaders through scholarships. This year’s silent and live auction, which was held after the dinner and awards presentation, raised $3000.
A total of seven scholarship awards were given during the Conference this year. The Maryland Dairy Shrine scholarship winners were Katelyn Allen of Jefferson, Josiah Manning of Huntingtown and Mary Payne of Thurmont.
The Mid-Maryland Dairy Vets Scholarship winner was Emma Brenengen of Middletown
Scholarships were also awarded to Julia and Ian Doody of Damascus and Ben Miller of North East. These recipients could attend to accept their scholarships in person as they were in college classes at the time of the awards, some as far away as California.
The annual business meeting of the Maryland Dairy Industry Association was also underway with announcements of incoming members of the board and officers of the organization. Those persons who were retiring from being officeholders given certificates of appreciation for time donated to the MD Dairy Industry Association.
This year there were three Dairy of Distinction awards made to farms from around the state. Fritz-Farm, LLC, is located in New Windsor and operated by the Fritz Family. The operation includes 210 owned and 40 rented acres that support 60 milking registered Holsteins. The herd boasts a rolling herd average of 24,500 pounds of milk with an average somatic cell count of 120,000. The Fritzes have achieved a 12-month calving interval and an average first-calf freshening age of 22 months. The farm was honored as a Century Farm in 2012. Details matter in their management, and the Fritzes breed for functional cattle with good udders, feet and legs. A great deal of attention is directed toward quality forages and cow comfort.
Jerry and Barbara Watt operate MD Cedar Knoll, a 900-acre dairy farm in Keymar. The Watts milk 175 Holsteins with a rolling herd average of 24,802 pounds of milk, 883 pounds of fat and 730 pounds of protein. The family has been honored with Maryland and Virginia Milk Producers milk quality awards and was named a Carroll County soil conservation cooperator of the year. They breed for milk production, good feet and legs to improve herd replacements. They also group cows for feeding according to milk production and size.
Millard Wesley Shafer and John A. Shafer, Jr operate Potomac View Farm, LLC, located in Knoxville. The family farms 700 acres and milks 165 Holsteins with a rolling herd average of 18,500 pounds of milk. The farm was honored as a 75-year member of Maryland and Virginia Milk Producers in 2016. The Shafers strive to produce the highest quality milk at the most profitable level. Day-to-day operations include maintaining a level of farm cleanliness that provides an appearance that is pleasing to the consumer.
It should also be noted that the Maryland Dairy Convention is approved for three continuing education credits with the American Registry of Professional Animal Scientists.