The Malott Family

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Jennifer and Justin Malott are the 2018 Young Cooperator Chaircouple and members of Maryland & Virginia Milk Producers Cooperative Association. They own and operate Misty Meadow Farms, where they milk 150 Holstein cows.

What do you like the most– and the least – about working as a dairy farmer?

The best is working together as a family on the farm every day, and to show our children that hard work pays off. I enjoy working with the cattle, and watching the calves grow and mature into profitable dairy animals. Justin likes working with the land and crops, and seeing how the cows produce off of the best forages possible. The least is the volatility of the market – I wish we had a steady milk price. Dairy farming is very demanding of our time, and we miss a lot of the children's events that we wish we could make.

Describe how the work on the farm is shared or divided up in your family?

I manage the herd, cattle health and reproduction. Justin and my brother Andrew take care of the crops and nutrition work, feeding all the cows and heifers, as well as equipment and building maintenance. Everyone, including the children, chip in feeding the calves.

How do you think your farm’s business plan will change 10 years from now?

We are working on transitioning from the second to the third generation. Hopefully, in 10 years, we will have a plan for our children, the fourth generation, to be a part of the farm. We also hope to expand our creamery to move more product produced on our farm.

During those days when things aren’t going well, what do you do to keep a positive attitude?

When the work is done, we go home and spend time as a family, having positive conversations and focusing attention on our children who always seem to cheer us up.

What would you be doing if you were not a dairy farmer?

Justin would continue to be a firefighter and still grow crops on the farm. He would also sell grain or work for a custom operates running equipment. I have never pictured myself doing anything except dairy farming, but if it came down to that, I would probably do something else in the industry.