ANDOVER, MA—The Davenport family of Ancramdale was one of three farm families recently recognized by the Agri-Mark dairy farmer cooperative for their efforts to produce exceptionally high quality milk for the region’s consumers during 2017.
“Superior milk quality is the key to our award-winning Cabot and McCadam products. Our farm families take pride in their brands and work hard to produce the best milk possible because it translates into high quality dairy products for our consumers and increases their income,” Agri-Mark CEO Ed Townley said in a press release.
All of Agri-Mark’s farm families are eligible to receive additional premiums for their milk if their herds can meet the high milk quality standards set by Agri-Mark that exceed state and federal minimum standards. This premium money is a welcome source of added income for many farm families, and is a strong incentive to provide the best milk possible to their co-op and its customers.
Jim and Karen Davenport, who operate Tollgate Holsteins in Ancramdale, believe in cow cleanliness, comfort and health as essential components of milk quality. Mr. Davenport, who also serves as the president of the Columbia County Farm Bureau, monitors his herd’s milk quality record closely, to ensure his farm is producing the best milk possible for consumers.
“You need to start with clean and healthy cows, a good, consistent milking routine, really clean milking equipment and a bulk tank that is cooling the milk fast. Those are some of the more important factors that help us consistently produce high quality milk,” according to Mr. Davenport, who milks 64 cows on his farm 60 miles south of Albany.
Some of Mr. Davenport’s high quality milk is marketed with Agri-Mark, and some is also bottled into the Hudson Valley Fresh brand that he owns with 14 other local farmers. Hudson Valley Fresh milk is marketed to consumers in Hudson Valley and the New York metro area.
The Davenports and two others will be recognized at the Agri-Mark annual meeting in April where they will receive plaques and cash prizes. For their ranking as the second place overall Top Quality Producer—the Davenports will receive $1,000. The Davenports have previously won the top quality producer spot eight times.