Carl and Martha Bender of Accident have been inducted into the Maryland Dairy Shrine. The award was given on Sept. 1 during the 2019 Maryland Holstein Futurity Show at the Maryland State Fair in Timonium.
The Shrine recognizes dairy producers, supporters and enthusiasts who “want to preserve the dairy heritage and keep the dairy industry strong.”
A National Dairy Shrine was founded in 1949, and the Maryland Dairy Shrine was established in 1963 to recognize leaders of Maryland’s dairy industry and to help preserve its legacy and history.
The Shrine recognizes achievements and offers numerous scholarships and awards. It also provides opportunities to further education and create new connections among members.
The Benders were nominated for the award, but are not sure who made the nomination.
“It is a honor to receive this award, but we know there are many dairymen who deserve it just as much or more,” they said.
The Benders both grew up on dairy farms — Carl in Springs, Pa., and Martha in nearby Salisbury, Pa.
In 1954, when Carl Bender was 14, he purchased a registered Holstein calf with money he saved up from selling beagle pups. The calf, which he named Tulip, was the start of his own dairy business. He bought a 123-acre farm in Accident in March 1964, and he and Martha were married that May. They also raised a family in the dairy business.
They officially sold the farm to their son, Kenton, in January 2018. Today, about 220 cows are milked there daily, and the farm includes over 500 acres.
The Benders have five children, Lillian Beitzel of Bittinger; Richard, Kenton and Dennis Bender of Accident; and Janelle Ganson of Rock Hill, S.C. There are also 20 grandchildren in the family, and one grandchild has also added a “grandson-in-law.”
Carl Bender remains active on the farm, helping with the crop work in the summer. The couple has a home in Arcadia, Fla., where they spend about four months each winter.
“Our summers are spent helping on the farm and enjoying our children and grandchildren,” Martha Bender said.
Carl Bender served as past president of the Maryland Holstein Association, as well as serving multiple terms as a board member. He was also a director of the Garrett County Farm Bureau, a Select Sires board member and also served on the Garrett County Land Preservation board.
The Benders have received numerous awards, including Master Farmer in 1986, Outstanding Senior Breeder in 1989, the Progressive Breeder Registry Award for achievement through an improved breeding program, and the Maryland Holstein Distinguished Service Award for outstanding contributions to the Maryland dairy industry in 2005.
The farm has received numerous premier breeder and exhibitor awards at county shows and received first place for a 5-year-old cow in 1988 at the Eastern National Holstein Show.
According to the Dairy Shrine, Carl Bender is known for “his constant improvement of the land, for breeding high-quality dairy cattle, including numerous excellent cows, and for his good working relationship with individuals in the Holstein industry.”
The Benders’ community activities include supporting the Garrett College Agricultural Management Program, the Garrett County Soil Conservation District, the tax appeal board and the Goodwill Retirement Home, as well as serving as Sunday school superintendent and Sunday school teacher at Cherry Glade Mennonite Church.
“Dairy farming has been a good life for us,” Martha Bender said. “God has blessed us way above and beyond what we deserve, but the biggest blessing by far is our family we raised and all the wonderful friends we made in connection with the dairy business.”
She also spoke about the auger accident last year that resulted in the amputation of part of Kenton’s leg.
“Our experience this past winter since Kenton’s accident has reminded us again how blessed we are to live in such a close and caring community,” she said. “We did not win this award on our own. We have a strong support group in our family, friends and neighbors.”
Source: The Garrett County Republican