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Farms recognized for excellence; students awarded scholarships
Talk of new direction dominates Dairylea meeting

Greg Wickham, CEO describes the changes Dairylea Cooperative Inc. has experienced since 1907.
Photo by Mitch Wojnarowicz

SYRACUSE, N.Y. -- “The changes we are proposing are powerful, meaningful and will set the course for us in the future,” declared Bill Beeman at the 106th annual meeting of Dairylea Cooperative Inc.

The Dairylea chairman was referring to the proposed merger of Dairylea with Dairy Farmers of America (DFA).

“Our journey to arrive at this new direction began a year and a half ago as we started to review the changing dynamics of our membership; there is a seismic shift of new leaders and business owners emerging among the membership ranks with generational transfers occurring and consolidation of farms,” Beeman explained.

“Bottom line, the needs of our members have changed, as has the definition of the value they seek from their Cooperative.”

He ended his address to members by saying: “The Dairylea story has always been about you. I am hopeful that together we will make the right decision to assure future generations a solid and strong cooperative that is, and always will be, farmer-driven.”

Also addressing the merger proposition during the annual meeting, which was held at the Holiday Inn in Liverpool, N.Y., during the week of Oct. 14th was Chief Executive Officer (CEO) Greg Wickham. Now in his eighth year of executive leadership, Wickham revealed that “Dairylea’s Board of Directors has spent the past three years deeply involved in a comprehensive examination of how to best position Dairylea for the future.”

“The industry is changing. There is more focus on international products with more than 13% of dairy being exported. We need to ensure U.S. dairy farmers have a stake and bring more value to our members.”
Wickham further summarized: “This is an exciting and beneficial move for both cooperatives. By coming together we are building a stronger Cooperative for members.”

DFA Chairman Randy Mooney, as well as DFA President and CEO Rick Smith, were on hand to highlight the long-term partnership Dairylea and DFA have shared and the natural union of the complimentary organizations.

The annual meeting concluded with an annual banquet, where Dairylea honored a number of member farms. The awards presented included the prestigious Pride of Dairylea Award, several scholarship awards, Distinguished Member Awards and Quality Milk Management Awards.

Three member farms were awarded the prestigious Pride of Dairylea Award, created to recognize member farms that are well managed, well maintained and operate with the utmost quality product in mind.

The three farm recognized were:
• Table Rock Farm of Castile, N.Y.
• Bloss Family Farm of Wapwallopen, Pa.
• Allenwaite Farms, Schaghticoke, N.Y.
The Distinguished Member awards were presented to Dairylea members who have been a part of the Dairylea membership for more than 50 consecutive years. This year, eight farms were honored with an engraved display clock. They included:
• Daniels Dairy Farm LLC., operated by George and George Jr. Daniels of Jordan, N.Y.;
• The Richter Family Trust II, operated by Raymond and Better Richter of Conewango Valley, N.Y.;
• Alfred and Dawn Stannard of Valley Falls, N.Y.;
• Sheldon Farm Inc., operated by Richard Sheldon of Fair Haven, Vt.;
• Stein & Sons Inc., operated by Hubert W. Stein of Caledonia. N.Y.;
• Aldon Acres, operated by Alan and Lisa, Donald and Donna Gearhart of Martinsburg, Pa.;
• Welch Farm, operated by Harold and Melody Welch of Starrucca, Pa.,
• Clyde Dale Farms, owned by Clyde and Mabel Eltz of Pleasant Mount, Pa.

Dairylea also awarded high school and college aged members who are pursuing careers in agriculture-related professions with several scholarships.

The Clyde E. Rutherford Scholarship was established in honor of the now retired, long-time chairman, Clyde E. Rutherford. The scholarship wass given for the second year and recognized one outstanding student who excels academically, is pursuing a career in an agriculture‐related profession, has shown great leadership abilities and embodies the spirit of cooperation. Clark Egelston of Fultonville, N.Y., was this year’s recipient.

Additionally, several Dairylea Leadership Scholarships were awarded. These students exhibit outstanding leadership abilities and foster the spirit of cooperation. Recipients were Isaac Hagen of Howard, Pa.; Gavin Gates of Burdett, N.Y.; Roberta Starceski of Sherman, N.Y.; Alicia Chisholm of Carthage, N.Y.; Erin J. Nellis of Fort Plain, N.Y.; Tiffany Pheasant of Williamsburg, Pa., and Justin Braun of Cambridge, N.Y.

Finally, nine Dairylea farms were recognized for their achievements in milk quality management. These awards are given annually to the top herds producing outstanding raw milk. This year’s recipients were Galens Homestead Acres, operated by Paul, Charlie, Hope and Stephen Galens of Clifton Springs, N.Y.; the Koithan Farm, operated by Robert and Kris Koithan of North Tonawanda, N.Y.; Deep Valley Farm, operated by John Bennett of Millerton, Pa.; Henderson Farms, operated by Taylor and Alan Henderson of Schaghticoke, N.Y.; Hepler Homestead Farms, LLC., operated by the Hepler Family of Pitman, Pa.; Balsam View Dairy, LLC., operated by Harold, Donna, Brian and Heidi Newton of Pharsalia, N.Y.; Reedland Farms LLC., operated by James and Jamison Reed and David Schendel of Clifton Springs, N.Y.; Tullando Farm, Inc., of Orford, N.H., and Hi Hope Farm LLC., operated by Terese, Noel, Ben and Dan Bibbins and herds manager Alicia Niemetz of Adams, N.Y.