Washington County dairy operations recognized

Md. Va. Milk Producers Cooperative Association honors farms for 25 years of membership

December 27, 2010
  • Brian, Christine, Mike and Tracey Forsythe work together to operate their dairy farm and orchard.

RESTON, Va. — Maryland and Virginia Milk Producers Cooperative Association recently recognized Mark Strite of Clear Spring, Linden Hall Farm in Hagerstown and Philip Martin of Smithsburg for 25 years of continuous cooperative membership.

They received a plaque and gift at their local district meeting to thank them for their loyalty and commitment to Maryland and Virginia.

Mark A. and Martha Ann Strite, Clear Spring

When you think of Mark and Martha Ann Strite in Clear Spring, a small family dairy farm is what immediately comes to mind.

The couple, with the help of their children, Mervin and Michael, farm about 500 acres and milk 85 Holsteins.

Mark’s grandfather bought the farm in 1955 and it has been passed down through generations. Few improvements have been made to the 24 cow stanchion barn or the bedded pack barn over the years.

“We like to run a low debt load and make do with what we have,” Mark Strite said. With Mervin showing interest in continuing to dairy, the family is contemplating the next step for its operation.


Linden Hall, Michael Forsythe, Hagerstown

Many dairy farms have diversified over the years in order to remain sustainable, but the Forsythe family of Linden Hall Farm took a unique route to diversification.

Mike and Christine run a 166-acre dairy and orchard with the help of their children, Tracey and Brian, and Christine’s parents and sister. The farm has been in Christine’s family for more than a century, and has functioned as a dairy and orchard for most of that time. When the family isn’t busy milking its 55 registered Holsteins and Jerseys, they can be found in the orchard tending their apple and peach trees or manning their farm stand, where they sell a variety of produce.

“I like the variety of work,” Mike Forsythe said. “It may seem routine to some, but there is always something to do.”

Philip and Delphine Martin, Smithsburg

Farming is truly a labor of love for dairyman Philip Martin.

He and his wife, Delphine, milk 70 cows and farm around 130 acres on a farm that originally belonged to Philip’s grandparents.

“I like farming,” Philip Martin said. “It is a good opportunity to work together as a family and I had a farm available to me.”

Working together on the farm is just what Philip and Delphine have been doing with their four children since 2001. Philip strives to put up the best feeds possible and grows most of his own crops, including corn, soybeans, alfalfa and a small amount of barley. Their operation has always been a family farm and the Martins plan to keep it that way.

Steve Graybeal, first vice president of Maryland and Virginia,  presented the award Nov. 8 at a meeting at Bevenola United Methodist Church in Boonsboro.

In total, the cooperative recognized 28 farms this fall for achieving 25 years of membership.  Maryland and Virginia recognized each family at the cooperative’s district meetings held Nov. 8 to 15.  

Maryland and Virginia Milk Producers Cooperative is a milk marketing and processing cooperative that represents 1,500 dairy farmer-owners from Pennsylvania to Georgia. The cooperative includes three fluid processing plants: Marva Maid in Newport News, Va., Marva Maid of Landover, Md., and Maola Milk and Ice Cream in New Bern, N.C.; manufacturing plants in Laurel, Md., and Strasburg, Va.; and a farm supply warehouse in Frederick, Md.

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