Pleasant Lane Farms in Unity has been honored by the dairy industry for its community outreach efforts.
The American Dairy Association North East recognized the 180-acre Frye Family Farm with its Dairying for Tomorrow Award.
The Fryes have organized educational programs and farm tours for veterans and other groups.
Highlights of the tour include the farm’s robotic milking parlor, its successful cheese-making operation, and a ‘smart barn’. It allows automated control of lighting and ventilation and tracks the movements and needs of the 40 dairy cows on the farm.
“We’re excited and proud to show off our farm and the investments we’ve made in technology to care for our cows,” said Jason Frye. “The doors to our barn are always open to people who want to see how our cows spend their days. “
“The Dairying for Tomorrow Awards recognize unique actions taken on and off the farm by local dairy farmers to help support and improve the dairy industry,” said Rick Naczi, CEO of the American Dairy Association North East.
Pleasant Lane uses social media to post upbeat videos and live broadcasts to connect with those looking for local food sources.
A video that was created by the Westmoreland Conservation District to recognize the Fryes as the 2020 Conservation Farmer of the Year, itself, won an award at Pennsylvania’s inaugural Conservation District Video Awards.
The Fryes previously won the County Conservation Farmer of the Year award in 1983. They added fences and passageways for livestock and planted buffers to protect two tributaries of Sewickley Creek that run through their farm. They also created a bypass ditch and made further improvements to the farm’s original 18th century barn to control water runoff.
As part of the Dairying for Tomorrow Prize, a donation of $ 500 was made on behalf of the farm to the Greater Pittsburgh Community Food Bank to provide fresh milk and dairy products to families in the area.
Milk is one of the most requested products by parents who turn to food banks. But, due to its perishable nature, this is one of the less donated items.