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Fred Imler, Imler’s Poultry recognized with ACE Award

Photo for the Mirror by Linda Stotler The first winner of the Farm Family of the Year Award Don Brumbaugh (left) poses with 2020 Agricultural Community Excellence Award winner Fred Imler Sr.

A longtime local business owner and his company were honored Thursday with the Blair County Chamber of Commerce’s annual Agricultural Community Excellence Award.

Fred Imler Sr. and Imler’s Poultry received the award at the chamber breakfast club at The Casino at Lakemont Park.

The ACE Award was started as a continuation and expansion of the chamber’s Farm Family of the Year Award, which was initiated in 1970. In addition to farm families, the ACE award also allows for nominations of agriculturally oriented individuals, agribusinesses and nonprofit organizations.

Imler’s Poultry has been a nationally recognized business since Fred Sr. purchased full ownership in the business in 1977.

“Today’s honoree is a shining example of a successful and accomplished agricultural business that reaches out to the agricultural community to make it more successful. Fred Imler and Imler’s Poultry set a high example for excellence throughout the Northeast,” said Joe Diamond, chairman of the chambers farm-city committee. “The agriculture industry will continue to have its challenges, but it is reassuring to know there are leaders like Fred Imler and Imler’s Poultry who have stayed focused to make sure agriculture never disappears.”

Imler’s Poultry was founded in 1903, when Leff Imler — Fred Sr.’s great-great-uncle — operated a general store in Rainsburg, Bedford County. He traded with farmers who brought in products to exchange for goods. The business moved to Altoona in 1918.

Imler was pleased to receive the award.

“We’ve been blessed with an opportunity to buy a lot of animals and poultry. We are blessed with more than 180 employees, who are all extended family,” Imler said. “In the early days, we ran by horse and buggy. Today, we have over 65 tractors and trailers on the road.”

The keynote speaker was Don Brumbaugh, whose family was the winner of the first Farm Family of the Year award in 1970. He is a retired dairy farmer who began farming in 1953.

Milk was a big part of

his presentation.

“We sold our cows in 2018. In 2014, milk prices were higher than I had seen. They move in three- or four-year cycles. By 2018, the prices were lower, 30 to 45 percent lower than 2014, In October 2018, we decided to sell the cows. That was a good move,” Brumbaugh said.

He also said he favors whole milk in schools.

“Back to 2010, the Obama administration got the idea to remove fat from children’s milk. Since then obesity has skyrocketed. If you taste skim milk or 1 percent, it is not very good. Kids then started to drink sugary drinks and obesity went up. Whole milk is 3.2 percent butter fat, just 1.2 percent more than 2 percent. That 1 percent gives us more flavor, vitamins and minerals,” Brumbaugh said.

He said there have been efforts, spearheaded by U.S. Rep. Glenn Thompson, R-15th District, to get whole milk back into the schools.

“It has been stalled in committee. Whole milk is nutritious, good and we encourage you to drink it,” Brumbaugh said.

Mirror Staff Writer Walt Frank is at 946-7467.

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