Peace & Plenty Farm relocated in 1968 when Joe and Nona S. moved to Union Bridge, Maryland from Montgomery County, Maryland where Joe’s family had been for generations. Joe 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.”
Since he was a boy, Joe has always enjoyed farming. “He was the youngest person to ever borrow money from Farm Credit,” said Nona. Joe used that money to build a 20 stantion milking barn and start his farm.
The family milks 245 registered Holsteins and farms 1,100 acres. Today, three generations work on the farm and Joe and Nona’s sons, Gus and Shane and their families all play an important role in running the farm. Gus and his wife, Lisa have three grown children, Davis, Aubrey and Austin. Davis and his wife Brittany, have a baby girl Evelyn. Aubrey and her husband Matt Storey have two children, Madden and Chandler. Austin is still a bachelor. Shane and his wife Lisa have a daughter Sadie and a son Taylor.
“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 Peace and Plenty, the wellbeing 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 also 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.
On the environmental side, the farm closely follows nutrient management. 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. For the 1,100 acres of crops consisting of corn, alfalfa hay, timothy hay, soybeans and wheat, much of the land is no- tilled to preserve the soil.
As recognition for their environmental stewardship, Peace and Plenty received the 2006 Carroll County 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 Maryland & Virginia’s milk quality award and has been named a 2010 Dairy of Distinction as well as being named Master Farmer.
Over the years, the family has opened up their farm to host tours and groups. And they take pride in educating consumers and their community about where milk comes from.
With the multiple generations involved at Peace and Plenty, 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.