The latter has become even more of a focus since 2009, with the start up of a farm-related cheese company.
Palmyra Farm Cheese utilizes a portion of the milk produced on the farm. The vast majority of sales happen off the farm through a distributor. But the public is welcome to stop by the farm and buy cheese, as well.
Starting the cheese company provided a way for one of Mary’s sons, Michael, to be involved in the business. The farm itself was too small to accommodate him, but the cheese company was a chance to start a satellite enterprise where he could find his niche.
It would be difficult to expand the farm to any significant degree, Mary says. The farm is already locked in, land-wise, with housing developments on three sides. Hagerstown, Md., where the farm is located has become a bedroom community for Baltimore, Md., and Washington, D.C., both located about 75 miles away. In fact, the influx of new homes in the area causes Mary to quip, “The best thing we grow are houses.”
But one might say that the Hagerstown area has done a pretty good job of growing dairy leaders. Mary has been chosen Dairywoman of the Year and six years ago her cousin, Janet Shank Stiles, was picked for a similar honor.
Industry Person of the Year: Sheila McGuirk
Sheila McGuirk is widely known and respected, having made outstanding contributions to the University of Wisconsin in all areas of teaching, outreach, service and research in the discipline of veterinary medicine.
The dairy industry has been a primary beneficiary of her time and talents. Sheila is recognized within the veterinary profession as one of the elite internal medicine specialists focused on dairy cattle in the world today.
One of Sheila’s accomplishments has been the development of her special skills in the area of calf care and management. She is one of the most respected vets in neonatal calf health in North America.
Her love of cows and the people who care for them is evident in her daily actions, treating them with grace and respect.
International Person of the Year: Abelardo Martinez
Abelardo Martinez has been the publisher and editor of the magazine Hoard’s Dairyman en espanol since 1994. His contribution to breaking the language barrier through his translation of close to 3,500 articles written in Hoard’s Dairyman has been instrumental in assisting dairy farmers in Mexico and Latin America in adapting new management and herd health concepts.
He is a prolific writer featuring dairy topics, including two editions of the Calf Raising Handbook, a dozen peer-reviewed papers in The Veterinary Record, The British Veterinary Journal and Veterinary Medicine. He has written more than 300 articles for Hoard’s Dairyman en espanol, 500 in his Carta Ganadera magazine and around 1,000 more articles in other magazines.
Through his writings and shared knowledge at numerous meetings, Abelardo has undertaken an excellent and tireless extension job as dairy cattle specialist in countries that needed translated technical dairy information.