Pacesetters honored in Pennsylvania

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LANCASTER, Pa. — Positive leadership and groundbreaking innovation characterize the recipients of the Pennsylvania Dairy Stakeholders’ 2008 Pacesetter Awards: the Young family and their Red Knob Farm in Peach Bottom; and Dennis Milhoan, president of Lancaster Dairy Farm Automation, headquartered in Lititz.

This award acknowledges individuals, companies or organizations that have worked to promote a progressive dairy industry in Pennsylvania.

The recipients were recognized during the 2008 Pennsylvania Dairy Summit at the Lancaster Host Resort in February.

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Red Knob Farm

Red Knob Farm, Lancaster County, was founded in 1974 by two generations of the Young family: Henry, Dave and Matt Young. Among their ongoing contributions to the betterment of Pennsylvania’s dairy industry, the Youngs were instrumental in opening doors to the Order 5 southeast milk market and later in the formation of the Professional Dairy Managers of Pennsylvania.

The Youngs also formed the Dairy Farm Neighbors Association and their farm was one of the earliest adopters of no-till farming practices. Their efforts also provided the initial concepts that eventually matured into the Resource Enhancement and Protection Act of Pennsylvania.

They have collaborated on initiatives like the Lancaster Farms project and they were named Conservation Cooperator of the Year in 2000.

During the past three years, the Young family developed a progressive new business model and Jan. 1, they forged Red Knob Farm into Keystone Dairy Ventures, LLC. Comprised of several farms at various locations, Keystone Dairy Ventures is considering collaboration with additional farms that share the Young family’s vision and core values.

Driving force

Dennis Milhoan, president of Lancaster Dairy Farm Automation, is perhaps best known as a driving force for milk quality, even before it was identified by the Dairy Task Force as a focus area for producer profitability.

In presenting the Pacesetter Award, Dairy Stakeholder board member Matt Wanner highlighted Milhoan’s energy, enthusiasm and vision for finding opportunities that help dairies be successful, through both his role on the Dairy Task Force and the solutions-oriented focus of his business.

“As a member of the Dairy Task Force Economic Development Committee, Dennis Milhoan was instrumental in getting the new Milk Quality Initiative off the ground, and he provided the leadership in determining a framework for organizing it,” said Wanner.

In his business operations over the past 23 years, Milhoan has invested in educational programs and resources to help dairies optimize profits by getting the best yield and producing the highest quality milk to achieve their bonuses.

Setting standards

His company was the first — and still the only milking equipment, service and supply company — to have a full-time bilingual veterinarian on staff to assist dairy producers in educating employees about milking procedures and udder preparation, aimed at producing high quality milk.

Milhoan also provided key leadership in the Dairy XP initiative.

Milhoan was raised on his family’s western Pennsylvania farm and earned his bachelor’s and master’s degrees in agriculture education at Penn State University. After serving eight years as an ag educator, he focused on the dairy business as a sales representative for Boumatic.

In 1985, he founded Lancaster Dairy Farm Automation, which presently has five warehouse divisions across Pennsylvania and two in Maryland.

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