Farmer Focus

The Detwiler Family

Hometown: Sinking Valley, Pennsylvania

Brian and Rachel Detwiler are the 2019 YC Vice Chaircouple and members of Maryland & Virginia Milk Producers Cooperative Association. They are the fourth generation to operate Maple Kroft Farm is in Sinking Valley, Pennsylvania. They currently farm 285 acres, milk 180 cows (mostly Holsteins), have 180 replacements, and milk three times a day in an 8-stall, step-up parlor. The cows are housed in sand-bedded free stalls. They are raising four boys: A.J. (14), Aiden (11), Andrew (9) and Abram (6).

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

Rachel: Brian enjoys working with the cows and crops, spending time outdoors, and being able to work alongside family raising the next generation to love what we do. I love to see our four boys enjoy growing up and working on the farm, as well as the ability to share our farm with family, friends and community. We both feel that the volatility of the industry is our least favorite thing about dairy farming.

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

Brian is the farm manager, and oversees the herd, crops and business, and provides labor for the entire farm as needed.  I am the family and office manager. I also milks cows and provide general farm labor. My parents are partners in the business and they milk cows when needed.  We also have a few part-time employees to help with cows, calves, barn care, etc.

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

With 4 boys who may or may not be interested in continuing the dairy farm, we feel that our business plan will need to change to accommodate more family, as well as possibly diversifying the business.

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

Pray! And focus on our “why,” which is that we desire to nurture what we’ve been blessed with and leave it better than we received it.

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

Brian would be happy doing just about anything less stressful than dairy farming. I am currently a substitute teacher and substitute veterinarian technician, and would most likely pursue one of those careers on a full-time basis.

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