State farm bureau honors local dairy farmer Marie Canon

Marie Canon enjoys sharing her knowledge of dairy farming and that passion is now being recognized.

Canon was named this month as the state’s Outstanding Woman in Agriculture at the Pennsylvania Farm Bureau’s annual meeting this month in Hershey.

She and her husband, Mark Canon, own the 300-acre Canon Dairy Farm in Shenango Township. The farm, which also grows crops, has been in Mark’s family since 1909. Over the years, Canon said she’s enjoyed reaching out to the community.

“I’ve done dairy promotions all over the area,’’ she said.

Among her favorites is making milkshakes at the Lawrence County Fair.

“We make them from good ice cream and good milk,” she said. “Everyone at the fair knows where they need to go for good milkshakes.”

Canon also invites children to her farm to see how the dairy operation work.

“I’ve always enjoyed having children on the farm, showing them how we care for our baby calves and cows, how dairy barns are designed for the comfort of our animals, how much it takes to feed the cows and how overall cow comfort helps us produce more milk,’’ she said.

Canon has been active with agricultural promotion and education in Pennsylvania, one key reason she won the farm bureau’s award.

“People constantly refer to Marie’s proactive and can-do attitude and her love of talking with school children about farm life and food production,” Pennsylvania Farm Bureau President Rick Ebert said in a press release.

Canon also demonstrated robotic technology in front of about 125 representatives from the county and local schools during a Chamber of Commerce event called TechBrek. Canon’s farm was the first in Mercer County to use a robotic milking machine for their dairy cows.

Displaying the robotic milking machine has been a part of Canon’s agricultural education efforts. During the 27 years she has hosted the farm bureau’s children’s program, she estimated that more than 1,000 children have visited the farm, and have seen the devices at work.

“The kids absolutely love seeing the cows being milked by our robots,’’ she said.

The Mercer County Farm Bureau’s annual “Brunch on the Farm” was held at Canon Dairy Farm in 2017. After enjoying a brunch at a park, almost 500 farm bureau members and guests visited five agricultural education stations.

She’s been active in state agricultural organizations such as the Pennsylvania State Dairy Promotion Board, and the Pennsylvania Friends of Agriculture Foundation, which preserves and promotes agriculture, and educates the public about agricultural business.

“I like to pass things along to help the public understand what we do,’’ Canon said.

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