Mt. Airy Dairy Farm is operated by third-generation farmers Jimmy, Billy, and Joe B. The three brothers farm with their parents in Mt. Jackson, Virginia, where they milk 150 Holstein cows. Jimmy’s grandfather first started dairy farming in Pennsylvania in the 1960s and the family had a dairy farm and their own milk processing plant called Chrome Dairy. In 1997, the family jumped on the opportunity to purchase their current farm and relocate to the Shenandoah Valley. For the past 15 years, Mt. Airy Dairy has shipped milk to Maryland & Virginia Milk Producers Cooperative.
Jimmy manages the cows and helps with field work, while his brothers oversee the growing of crops, and equipment maintenance and repairs. His parents take care of the overall operation.
“We raise all of our replacement heifers and we give all of our animals the highest quality of care,” Jimmy said. Their heifers are raised mostly on pasture and they have an average of 130 heifers, from newborn to 25 months of age. Milk cows are housed in a free stall barn with straw-bedded stalls to keep them clean and comfortable.
At Mt. Airy Dairy they grow corn, alfalfa, barley, soybeans, and pasture grass for their animals. To help protect their land and water, they implement a variety of environmental management practices including no-till cropping and maintaining ditch lines to slow down any sediment run-off. To protect the waterways, all animals are kept out of the streams and ponds, and the crop fields along streams have buffer zones to minimize any run-off into the water. The family also plants cover crops to help protect the soil during winter.
Jimmy’s two school-aged children also help on the farm. Both children are taking an interest in agriculture and are active in their school’s Future Farmers of America (FFA) program. “My kids are learning a great deal in FFA and we learn from them too,” Jimmy said.
Mt. Airy’s commitment to caring for their animals is evident in the high quality milk they ship to the cooperative. The family earned top recognition twice from Maryland & Virginia – receiving the annual Milk Quality Award.
“The most rewarding part of dairy farming is having a farm that carries on my Grandfather’s dream and providing quality milk to the public,” Jimmy said.