The Will farm in Mt. Crawford had its beginning when Thomas J. Will purchased the land at auction in December 1924. He then moved his family from Timberville, VA that winter and began farming in the spring. For the next 27 years he operated it as a general livestock and crop farm, raising cattle, growing hay and corn with wheat being his cash crop.
In 1952 his grandsons, Melvin Will, Jr. and James L. Will, purchased the farm from him. They built a dairy farm and began milking cows, selling their milk to the local co-op, Valley of Virginia Milk Producers Cooperative Associate, better known as their trademark name Shenandoah’s Pride.
In 1979 Melvin Will suffered a severe stroke and his sons Kenneth and Frank assumed the day to day operation of the farm while caring for their father and their mother who was diagnosed with Multiple Sclerosis in 1970.
Will Brothers continued on as a dairy farm and purchased a second farm in 1989. Kenneth, his wife, Karen, and three children moved to the second farm in 1990 and assumed the daily operations there, while Frank continued to live and work on the original farm. Kenneth’s children, Daniel, Jeremy, and Nancy grew up working on the farm and now their own families have become a part of the farm living there while working to keep it for the next generation. These include Jeremy’s wife, Lauren and their two children, Ariel and Edward, Nancy’s husband Isaac Hill, and Frank’s wife, Cheryl.
Melvin’s death in 1997 left Kenneth and Frank with a very large estate tax which severely depleted their cash reserves. In 2009 a disastrous depression in the price of milk led them to the realization that if they were to continue farming significant changes would have to occur. After more than two years of discussion and meetings, research, and study it was decided that adding value by processing and selling our own milk was the best option.
With no other dairy processing and bottling milk in the area, we want to share with the people of the Shenandoah Valley fresh milk produced by a family that has been in the community for generations. We want to give our neighbors and friends milk from their own community, where they can see the happy cows munching on fresh green, grass and know they have a quality product they too can be proud of when they take a drink.
At that point permits were applied for and bids taken for buildings and equipment. A machine shed and calf barn were constructed in the winter of 2012 to replaces one which had to be removed. Ground was broken in 2012 for the milk processing plant itself and we opened for business on Saturday, May 11, 2013.
We hope you become a part of our family and allow us into yours.