Pennsylvania dairy industry honors four

Pennsylvania Dairy Awards

HARRISBURG, Pa. — The Pennsylvania Dairymen’s Association, Center for Dairy Excellence and the Professional Dairy Managers of Pennsylvania jointly recognized Pennsylvania’s dairy industry leadership and excellence through four awards presented at the 2018 Pennsylvania Dairy Summit in State College.

Distinguished Dairy Woman

The Pennsylvania Distinguished Dairy Woman Award was awarded to Karen Hawbaker, who operates Warm Spring Dairy, a 180-cow dairy farm in Franklin County.

Hawbaker and her late husband Rodney began farming in 1988, and over the years, the farm has been recognized for numerous production and milk quality awards.

Since Rodney’s death in 2011 from a farming accident, Karen Hawbaker has continued to operate the farm business on her own with the help of several dedicated employees. Her focus is on the cows, with custom operators doing most of the field work.

Karen has shared her passion in dairy with others through her work in Love in Action Ministries, which established a dairy farm at a Bolivia orphanage. Rodney started the Love in Action project to build a dairy to support the orphanage. After planning the farm, Rod and Karen led fundraisers to build the dairy and then traveled to Bolivia in 2009 for the start of the barn, traveling there three other times before he died in 2011.

Cows arrived in the fall of 2014 and the farm now provides milk and vocation for the children.

Distinguished Dairy Producer

The Pennsylvania Distinguished Dairy Producer Award was awarded to Reid Hoover. Reid, his wife Diane and son Brad, own and operate Brook-Corner Farms, a 400-cow dairy in Lebanon County.

Brook Corner Farms has a rolling herd average of 28,600 pounds with 1,130 pounds of fat and 854 pounds protein.

Reid Hoover grew up on the family dairy farm and began working there full-time in 1981, joining the family partnership in 1983. In 1996, he and Diane became the full owners of Brook Corners Holsteins, with their son Brad joining the partnership in 2015.

Currently, Hoover is the president of the Pennsylvania Dairymen’s Association and the chair of the 2020 National Holstein Convention being hosted by Pennsylvania. He is a past president of the Pennsylvania Holstein Association and a past president of the Lebanon County Holstein Club.

He currently serves on the Center for Dairy Excellence board of directors and has served on the Lebanon County DHIA board.

Dairy Service Award

The Pennsylvania Dairy Service Award was awarded to the Pennsylvania Beef Council, a partner to many in the dairy industry, working both to educate dairy producers in the importance of beef quality assurance and to serve as an advocate for the beef industry.

To date, the staff at the Pennsylvania Beef Council has trained more than 1,000 dairymen and women through its Beef Quality Assurance Program initiatives. They also hosted several producer groups at the Cargill Wyalusing plant and led tours of the Penn State Dairy Beef facilities during Ag Progress Days to share income opportunities in raising dairy beef.

They also coordinate the work of the Pennsylvania Beef Working Group, and oversees beef producer education efforts made possible by funding through the Pa. Department of Agriculture’s Ag Excellence line item.

Dairy Innovator Award

The Pennsylvania Dairy Innovator Award was awarded to Mercer Vu Farms of Franklin County, owned by Rick and Rod Hissong.

Currently, with 3,000 mature cows, Mercer Vu has facilities in Mercersburg, Pa., and White Post, Virginia. In addition to the dairy, Mercer Vu raises 3,000 acres of crops in Pennsylvania and 1,450 acres in Virginia.

They haul all their own milk, hauling more than 80 million pounds in 2017.


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