Jack Hardesty, Matt’s grandfather and the second generation of dairy farmers, paved the foundation and established a dairy farming legacy that his children and grandchildren are proud to continue. Jack was a true leader in the dairy industry and his local community and was recently awarded the Pioneer Award from the National Dairy Shrine.
Today, the family milks 260 registered Holsteins and farms 750 acres of land. Together, Matt and his wife Ashley handle the herd health program and oversee the farm’s show animals. The family exhibits animals at the local, state, and national level and has earned numerous awards and accolades for their cows.
Taking care of their animals is a top priority on their farm. Their cows are housed in freestall barns and newer bedded pack barns. “We feel the bedded pack is the Cadillac of cow comfort,” Ashley said. “And our freestalls are bedded with sand which we consider top-of-the-line for cow comfort and milk quality.”
The family’s dedication to their animals is reflected in the quality milk they provide to their community. The family has received the Maryland & Virginia Milk Producers Cooperative’s highest honor – Producer of the Year in 2022. The family has also earned the annual Milk Quality Award in each of the past four years.
“Our employees are one of our top contributors to our milk quality,” Matt said. “Our employees stay on a routine and are particular about how they clean and milk our cows in the parlor,” he added. They have four dedicated full-time employees and “everyone is like family,” he said. Several employees have worked on the farm for 10 to 15 years, with one employee who has been with the farm for 40 years.
The family opens their farm throughout the year to school groups, 4-H groups, and producer organizations. “I always try to emphasize the importance of consumer education and stress how hard we work to make sure that what leaves our farm is safe,” Ashley said.
The family and employees work well together every day to ensure the milk that leaves their farm is the most fresh, nutritious, and delicious that it can be.