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Penna. Dairy Hall of Fame honors innovative leaders

HARRISBURG, Pa. -- A progressive dairy producer, extension educator, and industry nutritionist and volunteer are the latest individuals to be accepted into the Pennsylvania Dairy Hall of Fame. Their formal introduction took place last Friday, January 10, at the Pennsylvania Farm Show in Harrisburg.

Honorees were Richard Waybright, founder of Mason-Dixon Farms in Gettysburg, Adams County; Dr. Larry Specht, Penn State dairy extension educator and sire analyst; and Dr. Carl Brown, sales and nutrition director for F.M. Brown’s Sons, Inc. and Berks County dairy volunteer.

Brown has served many roles with the family’s F.M. Brown’s Sons business, including sales manager, nutritionist and treasurer. His leadership in animal nutrition has helped improve efficiencies in production agriculture and ensure the security of Pennsylvania’s feed supply, including service on the Pennsylvania Feed and Grain Task Force.

He served as a Berks County Dairy Cattle Judging Team coach for more than two decades and organized the first All-American Dairy Show Junior Dairy Management Contest. He is a past All-American Board member, serves on the PennAg Industries Board of Directors and volunteers with the Berks County Farm-City Council and the Berks Agricultural Resource Network.

Specht, as a Pennsylvania State University professor, developed the Sire-Son and Prefix reports first published in the 1970s. His work made data-intensive sire operation accessible to dairy producers nationwide, an important step in improving genetics in the dairy industry. Those reports remain the basis for modern summaries. He is the creator and author of the Specht Report.

He is a National Dairy Shrine Living Pioneer, was an All-American Dairy Show Image Award recipient and served as treasurer and committee member for the All-American Dairy Show.

Waybright, a former Adams County Commissioner and Pennsylvania Dairy Promotion Program volunteer, is known as an innovator, creator and dairy advocate. His Mason-Dixon Farms began operating the first plug-flow manure digester at a commercial farm in 1979, generating the farm’s electricity and selling excess across the power grid. The farm also helped pioneer robotic milking systems in the U.S.

Thousands of visitors tour the farm each year from tourists to international dignitaries. Waybright has traveled across the world, sharing his cow comfort and milk sanitation knowledge, and testified before the House Agricultural Committee.

The new inductees received a crystal award and their photos will be placed on the Hall of Fame wall outside the Large Arena at the Pennsylvania Farm Show Complex and Exposition Center.