The Robert Valentine family was recognized as the Farm Family of the Year at The Great Frederick Fair on Friday for their multigenerational dairy farm and continued commitment to 4-H in the area.
“It means so much to have the family recognized for the hard work for many, many years,” Robert Valentine said. “But I’ve got to give full credit to the boys. If they got one good thing from their father — they picked good wives.”
Robert and Madeline Valentine raised their two sons Mark and Mike in 4-H, and purchased their first 4-H cattle, which turned into a lifelong commitment to agriculture and the dairy industry. However, the family’s roots stretch back another generation to Robert’s grandfather, Harry, who owned Val-Ary dairy farm.
Their eldest son, Mike, now operates Vales Pride Farm, a 600-acre dairy farm in Emmitsburg, with his wife, Denise Valentine and daughter Amanda. Mike and Denise started their farm in 1989 and merged it with Denise’s grandfather’s farm in 1994. They have two daughters who are also involved with the farm: Jessica, who is married to Drew Derr, and Samantha, who is dating Tyler Fitzwater.
“Pretty much everyone is doing something at some point in time,” Amanda said.
Robert and Madeline Valentine’s younger son, Mark, is a herdsmen at Stony Point Jerseys with his wife, Jessica, and sons, Cadin and Gavin.
Cadin, 13, is the sixth generation in the family farming lineage. He milks 70 cows each morning, and he has fun feeding and helping on the farm, he said.
“I think it’s pretty cool that we’ve been farming so long,” Cadin said.
Farming is a family affiar and passion, Cadin said. The family milks 115 cows, owns 75 replacement heifers and houses cattle for community members and 4-H students. Family members are involved in a vast number of dairy and agricultural boards, and helps whenever it can to promote dairy and help youth in the county.
Robert Valentine has served as 4-H Dairy Superintendent for 42 years at The Great Frederick Fair. The family breeds high quality cattle, which can be seen in their seven Supreme Champion cows at the fair and over 20 All-American Nominations. The family has about 11 cattle at the fair this year.
“The family fought tooth and nail to do it, and they’re really doing a great job,” Robert said.