UNIVERSITY PARK - Pennsylvania dairy producers are invited to apply for the Dairy of Distinction award from the Pennsylvania Dairy of Distinction program. Applications must be submitted by April 15.
The award is based on the idea that attractive farmsteads enhance consumer confidence in the wholesomeness of milk and stimulate milk sales and public support for the industry.
Dairies receiving the highest scores in each of 10 Pennsylvania districts will be awarded an 18-inch-by-24-inch Dairy of Distinction sign to display in front of their farm.
"This program is run by volunteers and recognizes the hard work and dedication of dairy producers who promote a positive image for the dairy industry," said Mike O'Connor, secretary of the Pennsylvania Dairy of Distinction program and professor emeritus of dairy science in Penn State's College of Agricultural Sciences.
Roadside judging will take place in May, and farms will be evaluated on factors that can be controlled by the dairy producer.
Judges will look for clean and attractively finished buildings; neat landscaping, ditches, roads and lanes; and well-maintained fences.
They also will take into account other aspects of the farm, such as manure management and cleanliness of animals, the barnyard and feed areas.
To obtain an application, call O'Connor at 814-863-3913 or visit the program's website at http://www.dairyofdistinction.com/html/pa_dod.html.
Since 1987, Pennsylvania's Dairy of Distinction program has recognized more than 800 dairy farms.
The Pennsylvania program is part of the Northeast Dairy Farm Beautification Program, which also includes New York, New Jersey, Maryland and Vermont.
Dairy producers in these states can contact the program secretary in their state for an application.