On a warm day in June in Mifflintown, Pennsylvania, Land O’Lakes farmer-owners Brett and Meredith Reinford and their four sons found themselves welcoming Pennsylvania’s Governor Josh Shapiro and the state Agriculture Secretary Russell Redding to their farm.
Reinford Farms, in Juniata County, is a multigenerational farm covering 1,300 acres and currently housing 750 milking cows and 800 young cattle. Brett and his wife Meredith met in college and started their life together in Minnesota where she is from. They later moved to Pennsylvania to join Brett’s parents, Steve and Gina, and brothers Chad and Drew in running the family farm.
Governor Josh Shapiro and Agriculture Secretary Russell Redding with Brett and Meredith Reinford and their children at Reinford Farms in Mifflintown, Pennsylvania. Photo by Will Whisler of the Pennsylvania Farm Bureau.
When Brett and Meredith moved to Pennsylvania, Reinford Farms was mainly producing milk which is still picked up daily and brought 36 miles south to Carlisle, Pennsylvania -- a Land O'Lakes dairy production facility where it is turned into multiple dairy products, including butter. It is also delivered to the nearby HERSHEY'S plant for the milk in their milk chocolate.
However, Brett returned home with a vision for the future of his family’s farm: a vision centered on sustainability, environmental conservation, and recycling energy. In 2008, this vision became a reality. They embarked on a sustainable solution to the problem of food waste by using an anaerobic digester that not only allows for the disposal of food waste but also churns it into renewable energy in an environmentally responsible way.
The farm partners with 35 grocery stores and food manufacturing companies to recycle food waste. Their two digesters process manure and food waste to generate enough electricity to power the dairy farm and about 600 more homes. During the tour, attendees were able to learn about Reinford’s on-site digester. You can learn more about Reinford Farms' operation here.
Brett Reinford leading a tour of his family farm for Pennsylvania’s Governor Josh Shapiro and their Agriculture Secretary Russell Redding. Photo by Will Whisler of the Pennsylvania Farm Bureau.
Following the tour, attendees gathered to hear remarks from Brett Reinford, Executive Director of the Center for Dairy Excellence Jayne Sebright, Secretary of Agriculture Russell Redding, and Governor Josh Shapiro.
During his remarks, Brett Reinford, who also serves as chair of the Pennsylvania Dairy Future Commission, shared his thoughts on what dairy means to Pennsylvania and his family, “Dairy provides over 14 billion dollars in economic value for Pennsylvania, with thousands and thousands of jobs being generated because of it. Dairy consumption has been at an all-time high in the last thirty years and the future looks bright. I am so excited to be a part of this industry and I am looking forward to raising my kids in the industry.”
Watch the remarks from the event here.
Brett Reinford with Governor Josh Shapiro addressing attendees in the free stall barn at Reinford Farms. Photo by Will Whisler of the Pennsylvania Farm Bureau.
Governor Shapiro used this opportunity to share his budget proposals aimed at assisting farmers and small businesses in Pennsylvania, as the farm economy plays an integral role in the state's success. Governor Shapiro focused on his administration’s plans to refine the permitting process and improve farm conservation efforts.
Governor Josh Shapiro at Reinford Farms. Photo by Will Whisler of the Pennsylvania Farm Bureau.
The Governor highlighted Reinford Farms as an example of how the agriculture industry combines agri-business, conservation, and innovation. During his remarks, he shared how the dairy industry impacts Pennsylvanians, "Our Commonwealth's dairy industry supports more than 53,000 jobs and contributes more than $14 billion to our economy - and Pennsylvania dairy farmers are putting food on our tables while continuing a long tradition of agricultural excellence and innovation. Reinford Farms is a prime example of how Pennsylvania farmers are using innovative technology to take their work to the next level.”
Land O’Lakes farmer-owners and ag-retailers have the opportunity to engage directly with policymakers and share what makes our cooperative special. Each operation has a unique footprint, like the Reinfords, who simultaneously maintain the legacy of their dairy farm while keeping an eye toward the future through their sustainability efforts.