Schrack Farm Resources Named 2018 Innovative Dairy Farmer of the Year

(L to R) Mike Opperman, editor, MILK Magazine and Dairy Herd Management; Lisa and Jim Harbach; and Cary Frye, IDFA senior vice president. ( International Dairy Foods Association )

Schrack Farm Resources LP of Loganton, Pa., was recognized as the 2018 Innovative Dairy Farmer of the Year during a special ceremony this week at Dairy Forum 2018 in Palm Desert, Calif. The award celebrates U.S. dairy producers that apply creativity, excellence and forward thinking to achieve greater on-farm productivity and improved milk marketing.

Jim and Lisa Harbach and Kevin Schrack, Lisa’s brother, are partners in Schrack Farm Resources, and they operate the farm with the help of their children and grandchildren, who now represent the 11th generation on the land. The Harbachs attended the ceremony to accept the award from the International Dairy Foods Association and Dairy Herd Management magazine, the award’s cosponsors.

“We’re pleased to honor Schrack Farm Resources because their operation effectively demonstrates that investment in environmentally friendly practices can lower costs, provide new revenue streams and offer greater efficiencies on the farm,” said Michael Dykes, D.V.M., IDFA president and CEO. “Also, we commend the partners for continuing to educate local legislators and their community about their operation’s positive economic and environmental benefits.”

Conservation and Renewable Energy

In operation since 1773, Schrack Farm Resources has learned a thing or two about the natural environment and the importance of farming practices that focus on conservation. Today the family is managing a 1,100-head dairy herd while advocating for no-till farming, maintaining soil health and promoting awareness of the Chesapeake Bay watershed.

Schrack Farm Resources also was an early adopter of renewable energy technology and installed one of the first methane digesters in Pennsylvania. Now the farm generates revenue by selling power back to the grid and reduces electricity costs for the farm.

“Because of their advocacy and testimony to the benefits both to the farm and the surrounding community, our state now has a set metering law that allows farms to generate revenue from this energy stream,” said Pennsylvania Secretary of Agriculture Russell Redding, who nominated the farm for the award.

Schrack Farm Resources is featured in the January issue of Dairy Herd Management, and a brief video highlighting the farm operations is available here.

Previous winners of the Innovative Dairy Farmer title are:

  • Mason Dixon Farms, Gettysburg, Pa. (1999)
  • Clauss Dairy Farms, Hilmar, Calif. (2000)
  • Baldwin Dairy/Emerald Dairy, Emerald, Wis. (2001)
  • Si-Ellen Farms, Jerome, Idaho (2002)
  • Pagel's Ponderosa Dairy, Kewaunee, Wis. (2003)
  • C Bar M Dairy, Jerome, Idaho (2004)
  • North Florida Holsteins, Bell, Fla. (2005)
  • KF Dairy, El Centro, Calif. (2006)
  • Joseph Gallo Farms, Atwater, Calif. (2007)
  • KBC Farms, Purdy, Mo., (2008)
  • High Plains Dairy, Friona, Texas (2009)
  • Haubenschild Dairy Farm, Inc., Princeton, Minn. (2010)
  • Brubaker Farms, Mount Joy, Pa. (2011)
  • Sweetwater Valley Farm, Philadelphia, Tenn. (2012)
  • McCarty Family Farms, Rexford, Kan. (2014)
  • Hilmar Jerseys, Hilmar, Calif. (2015)
  • Holsum Dairies, Hilbert, Wis. (2016)
  • Jer-Lindy Farms LLC, Brooten, Minn. (2017)

A call for nominations for the 2019 Innovative Dairy Farmer award will be released this summer.