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Sustainability recognized
Milky Way Farms advances by stepping back

“Going back to our roots was worth it,” says Kim Seeley, pictured here with his wife Ann, daughter Jessica and PASA executive director Brian Snyder.

MILLHEIM, Pa. -- Kim and Ann Seeley of Milky Way Farms have been awarded the Pennsylvania Association for Sustainable Agriculture’s (PASA) Sustainable Ag Leadership Award. The award will be presented to them during PASA’s 23rd Farming for the Future Conference, February 5-8 at the Penn Stater Conference Center Hotel in State College.

Distinguished by the PASA membership as sustainable agriculture leaders and promoters in Pennsylvania and beyond, the award recipients will speak as part of the PASAbilities Plenary, sponsored by Kimberton Whole Foods and scheduled for 10:15 a.m. on Saturday, Feb. 8th.

Back in 1996, Kim and Ann Seeley were raising dairy cattle using conventional confinement methods while watching their milk sales and herd health decline. Then they attended PASA’s annual conference.

"This was the beginning of many wonderful changes on our farm," says Ann. Since then they have implemented farming methods that resemble those once used by Kim’s grandfather, halting the use of pesticides, herbicides, antibiotics, and hormones, and returning their cattle to a grass-based diet.

“Our organic matter levels have soared and our soils are biologically thriving. Our milk and meat flavors are greatly appreciated by our customers,” says Kim. “Going back to our roots was worth it.”

While reflecting on the award, the Seeleys also look to the future. “We have seen so much change in the sustainable landscape over the past 25 years,” they say. “We both look forward to witnessing even more. We look forward to producing food fit for our children.”

While the Seeleys were attending their first PASA conference, childhood friends Ron Barchet and Bill Covaleski, were opening Victory Brewing Company in an abandoned factory in Downington, Pa. When their beers were met with enthusiastic local response, Covaleski says, they saw it as an opportunity “to demonstrate the positives of local production, energy conservation, watershed stewardship and a whole host of practices that better sustain our environment.”

Barchet and Covaleski were named winners of this year’s Sustainable Ag Business Leadership Award.

Now in its third decade, Farming for the Future has grown into one of the largest and most respected gatherings on sustainable agriculture in the country, a multi-day affair comprising intensive pre-conference tracks, two plenary sessions and over 100 main conference workshops.

Registration is open to the public. To register, and to view a full schedule of conference programming, visit pasafarming.org/conference.