Valentines honored as farm family of year at Great Frederick Fair
By CARYL VELISEK
FREDERICK, Md. (Oct. 4, 2016) — One of the highlights of the Great Frederick Fair each year is the announcement of the Farm Family of the Year.
The family is recognized at a luncheon, usually mid-week of the fair.
This year, the 153rd year of The Great Frederick Fair, the Robert Valentine family of Frederick County, was recognized for their multi-generational dairy operation and their commitment to 4-H in the Frederick area.
“It means so much to have the family recognized for the hard work for many, many years,” Robert Valentine said.
Robert and Madeline Valentine have two sons, Mark and Mike, that were raised on the farm.
When they purchased their first 4-H cattle, they consequently, began a lifelong commitment to agriculture and the dairy industry.
The Valentine’s agricultural roots, however, go back much farther, to Robert’s grandfather, Harry Valentine, who owned and operated Val-Ary Dairy Farm.
Robert and Madeline’s eldest son, Mike, operates Vales Pride Farm, a 600 acre dairy farm in Emmitsburg, Md., with his wife, Denise and their daughter, Amanda. Mike and Denise started their farm in 1989 and they merged with Denise’s grandfather’s farm in 1994. They have two other daughters who are involved with farming, Jessica, who is married to Drew Derr, and Samantha.
The Valentine’s younger son, Mark is herdsman at Stony Point Jerseys with his wife, Jessica, and sons, Cadin and Gavin.
Gavin, who is 13 years old, is the sixth generation of the family in farming. He milks 70 cows and says he has fun feeding them and helping on the farm.
“I think it’s pretty cool that we’ve been farming so long,” Cadin noted, and he added that farming is a family affair and a passion.
The Valentines milk 115 cows, have 75 replacement heifers and house cattle for members of the community and 4-H members. Family members are involved in many dairy and agricultural boards and helping to promote dairy and youth in the county whenever, and wherever they can, Cadin said.
Robert Valentine has also served as 4-H Dairy Superintendent of The Great Frederick Fair, for the past 42 years. The family has bred seven Supreme Champion cows at Frederick and has had more than 20 All-American Nominations. They have 11 head at the GFF this year.
Also at the Luncheon were Ellie Grossnickle, the 2015-2016 Dairy Princess, who commented on how great it was to see so many young people involved; Tyler Umberger, Frederick 4-H King and Tabitha Gregory, Frederick 4-H Queen.