David and Ann Patrick earned their "milk and butter" by raising dairy cattle consistently earning "Excellent" scores at the top of the Ayrshire and Holstein breeds. And, their farming success led two of their seven children back to continue Maple Dell Farm's success story at Woodbine, Md.
After starting out with two Ayrshire heifers at the age of 10, David graduated from high school in 1947 with an 18-cow herd and worked for his father. By 1955, his herd grew to 45 Ayrshires. Two years before that, he met Ann, a girl who was never going to marry a farmer. The rest is history.
During the 1990s, the Patricks purchased another small farm with the help of the state farmland preservation program. Today, two sons, Denny and Michael, now own the farm in partnership with their dad.
Maple Dell Farm consists of 250 acres of owned crop and pastureland plus 800 acres of rented cropland. It's renowned for 170 head of high-quality Ayrshire and Holstein breeding herds. It also markets embryos and live animal flushes, plus has four bulls at stud.
The family has been showing cattle at state, national and international levels for more than 60 years. Their cattle have won countless awards at breed shows, state fairs, World Dairy Expo, the All-American Dairy Show and Canada's Royal Agricultural Fair. In 1989, David helped initiate Maryland's 4-H Dairy Leasing Program.
David is chairman of Maryland's Purebred Dairy Cattle Association, president of the Wills Fair Association, a Dairy Farmers of America delegate, a board member of Howard County Farm Bureau, serves on the board of the All-American Dairy Show, and chairs his local church council.
Among many personal honors, David received the All-American's Obie Snyder Award in 2006. In 2007, the Patrick family was inducted into the Maryland Agriculture Hall of Fame. In 2010, David received the Master Breeder Award at the National Ayrshire Convention.
Nominate a worthy Mid-Atlantic Master Farmer candidate now
Know of an outstanding farmer who's deserving of the Master Farmer award? Then, nominate him or her now for the 2014 award. And they'll receive an application.
Since 1927, the Mid-Atlantic Master Farmer Awards program has recognized individual farmer leaders from Delaware, Maryland, New Jersey, Pennsylvania and West Virginia who inspire others. These men and/or women are good farmers, smart business persons, excellent stewards of their resources and exemplary community servants. Size of the farming operation isn't a deciding factor.
The award is co-sponsored by American Agriculturist and Cooperative Extension in the above mentioned states. Email your nominations to: firstname.lastname@example.org . Be sure the mailing address is current and complete.