Two weeks ago in San Antonio, Texas, it was announced that Pheobe Bitler, owner and operator of Vista Grande Farm near Fleetwood, PA, is the 2010 National Beef Quality Assurance Award winner. This award recognizes the close attention her farm pays to dairy animal care and quality assurance. More about this excellent news has been reposted below from My Beef Checkoff News: Dairy Edition. (links and emphasis added)
A desire to continually improve Beef Quality Assurance (BQA) on their operations while successfully encouraging others around them to implement BQA. A desire evident as two producers were recently honored with the annual national Beef Quality Assurance (BQA) award, created to recognize outstanding beef and dairy producers from across the country who incorporate BQA principles as part of the day-to-day activities on their operations. The winners were selected based on their commitment to beef quality assurance while operating sustainable cattle operations.
This year’s dairy winner is Phoebe Bitler, Vista Grande Farm in Fleetwood, Pa.
Vista Grande Farm was founded in 1937 by Phoebe’s parents. Phoebe grew up on the registered Holstein farm, and her 4-H project cows paid for her college degree and also helped to build the foundation for the dairy herd that she and her husband, Dave, began in 1977. On Jan. 1, 2010, they began a partnership with their son, Jesse, operating as Vista Grande Farms, LLC and Vista Grande Cattle Co., LLC.
The dairy farm currently consists of 100 milking registered Holstein cows; 23 owned by the Bitlers, and the balance owned by two young men developing their individual herds, they have placed 30 more milking Holsteins in other young farmers herds, have a dairy replacement business with 150 females, and farm 600 acres, producing feed crops for the livestock. In addition, the family also performs a variety of custom farming operations, facilitates farm-to-farm dairy cattle sales, and Phoebe conducts educational agriculture tours that showcase what family farms have done to remain viable in the industry.
Vista Grande Farm is located in a densely populated county in southeastern Pennsylvania and one of their ‘next door’ neighbors is an industry that employs 5,000 persons. The road that travels between the farm buildings is heavily traveled. This creates challenges for cattle and equipment movement, but also provides the opportunity to showcase a tidy farmstead, along with clean and well cared for animals to the consuming public. Read more about Phoebe here.