Joe and Nona Schwartzbeck's farm relocated in 1968 when they moved to Central Maryland from Montgomery County, Maryland where Joe’s family had been for generations. He began milking cows in 1958 when he was in school and according to his wife Nona, “he loves being a dairy farmer and has no plans to retire anytime soon.”
The family milks 245 registered Holsteins and farms 1,100 acres. With three generations working on the farm currently, family plays an important role in running the farm.
“It is wonderful to work with family and everyone gets along,” said Nona. “I just love that I can see our sons, our grandkids, and great-grandkids every day.”
At their farm in Maryland, the well-being of the cows is very important. “We make animal care the number one priority on the farm. We treat them with the best care,” Nona said. The cows are housed in a freestall barn with mattresses. They also have a newer loose housing barn for the dry cows. Cows that have just had a calf and the show cows are kept in a special barn to receive extra attention. “We even have large brushes installed, for the cows to rub and scratch whenever they want. They love these brushes,” Nona said.
Sustainability is put at the forefront of operation at the farm. They recycle the manure from the cows and use a special machine to separate the solids. The dried material is then used as recycled bedding for the cows. They incorporate no-till farming on 1,100 acres of crops to minimize soil disruption and protect the environment.
As recognition for their environmental stewardship, the farm received Carroll County’s Soil Conservation District Cooperator of the Year. The farm was also an active participant in the Double Pipe Creek Rural Clean Water Project and was recognized for their outstanding conservation achievements as part of the project.
The family is active in the Carroll County and Maryland Holstein Associations and show their animals at local, state, and national shows. The farm has received Maola’s milk quality award and has been named a Dairy of Distinction as well as being named Master Farmer.
Over the years, the family has opened their farm to host tours and groups. They take pride in educating consumers and their community about where milk comes from.
With the multiple generations involved at the farm, the family works hard to make sure that the farm can be viable for the younger generations. “It does my heart good to know that we are headed in the same direction and toward the same goals,” said Nona.