Conservation Roundtable with Ag Policy Leaders Features NMPF Co-Op Farmer

Pennsylvania dairy farmer Clint Burkholder, owner of Burk-Lea Farms in Chambersburg, PA, and a part of NMPF member co-op the Maryland & Virginia Milk Producers Cooperative Association, hosted several members of Congress along with other area dairy farmers for a farm tour and roundtable discussion on July 15 on the importance of agricultural conservation.

Clint and his wife, Kara, are the third generation to farm on Burk-Lea Farms, milking 850 Holsteins and raising roughly 700 heifers. The Burkholders strongly prioritize both animal care and environmental conservation, housing their cows in freestall barns with sand bedding and using cover crops and no-till on their cropland to benefit soil and water quality. The farm also has a manure separation system and a water recirculating system to recycle water.

“We are grateful to the Burkholders for their leadership in this crucial discussion about the importance of voluntary, producer-led conservation and sustainability,” said Jim Mulhern, NMPF president and CEO. “Clint and Kara have a fantastic story to tell, and we’re glad members of Congress will have the opportunity to see their farm and hear their perspective.”

House Agriculture Committee Ranking Member Glenn “GT” Thompson (R-PA) and House Select Committee on the Climate Crisis Ranking Member Garret Graves (R-LA) led a delegation to the farm, visiting Burk-Lea Farms as part of a series of roundtables to receive stakeholder input and discuss policy opportunities on environmental and energy policy.

The roundtable also featured representatives of key dairy partner organizations, including Jayne Sebright, Executive Director of the Center for Dairy Excellence, and Jenna Beckett, Pennsylvania State Director and Agriculture Program Director at the Alliance for the Chesapeake Bay, which partners with Maryland & Virginia on the Turkey Hill Clean Water Partnership.