Unity farming household earns dairy trade award for neighborhood outreach

Pleasant Lane Farms in Unity has been honored by the dairy industry for its community outreach efforts.

American Dairy Association North East recognized the 180-acre Frye family farm with its Dairying for Tomorrow Award.

The Fryes have hosted educational programs and farm tours for veterans and other groups.

Tour highlights include the farm’s robotic milking parlor, its successful cheese making operation and a “smart barn.” It provides automated control of lighting and ventilation and tracks the movements and needs of the farm’s 40 milking cows.

“We are excited and proud to show off our farm and the investments we have made in technology to care for our cows,” Jason Frye said. “Our barn doors are always open to folks who want to see how our cows spend their days.”

“The Dairying for Tomorrow Awards recognize the unique actions taken on and off the farm by local dairy farmers to help sustain and improve the dairy industry,” said Rick Naczi, CEO of American Dairy Association North East.

Pleasant Lane employs social media to post upbeat videos and livestreams to connect with those looking for local sources of food.

A video that was created by the Westmoreland Conservation District to recognize the Fryes as its 2020 Conservation Farmer of the Year, itself, won an award as part of Pennsylvania’s inaugural Conservation District Video Awards.

The Fryes previously won the county Conservation Farmer of the Year award in 1983. They’ve added fencing and cattle crossings and planted buffer zones to protect two tributaries to Sewickley Creek that traverse their farm. They also created a diversion ditch and made new improvements to the farm’s original 18th-century barn to control water runoff.

As part of the Dairying for Tomorrow Award, a $500 donation was made in the farm’s name to the Greater Pittsburgh Community Food Bank to provide fresh milk and dairy foods to families in the region.

Milk is one of the most requested items by parents who turn to food banks. But, because of its perishable nature, it is one of the least donated items.

Jeff Himler is a Tribune-Review staff writer. You can contact Jeff at 724-836-6622, jhimler@triblive.com or via Twitter .

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