Family creates 4-H endowment to honor son’s commitment to dairy farming, youth

Susan Bedsworth
January 16, 2020

By the time he was 10 years old, Penn State alumnus Dave Mattocks (’90, Agriculture) knew he wanted to be a dairy farmer. A little over a decade later with a college degree in hand, Mattocks made his dream come true and became a full-time dairyman on the farm that had been in the family for generations.

After his passing in late 2018, his parents, who prefer to remain anonymous, created the Dave Mattocks 4-H Dairy Endowment to honor not only Dave’s life, but his dedication and passion for dairy farming. The endowment, which was established with a $25,000 gift through donations from family and friends, provides supplemental support for the 4-H dairy programs in Wyoming and Susquehanna counties.

“Dave’s family is continuing his dairy farming legacy with this gift to 4-H,” said Amy Murphy, area 4-H youth development extension educator. “The support continues Dave’s dedication to supporting 4-H youth and educating them on the importance of the dairy industry. The funds will support 4-H Dairy Camp and will enable us to recognize youth for their outstanding work within their dairy project. We are proud to continue his passion for dairy through the 4-H youth.”

According to Mattocks’ father, Dave began helping with dairy farm chores early in his childhood. He would do his homework on the bus, change clothes and then head down the road to help his uncle and grandfather. It wasn’t long before his grandfather bought him his first calf for 4-H. Soon there were two, after Mattocks won a second calf through a drawing at a Sire Power Festival. By middle school, he was taking courses on how to breed cows, and by the time he graduated from high school, about half of the 40-cow herd on his uncle’s farm were his.

Dave’s family convinced him to go to college and get a degree. He enrolled at Penn State and pursued agriculture. While completing his coursework, he came home on weekends to help with farm chores. During the week when Dave wasn’t studying, his uncle would call to ask his advice on what cows he should breed because he knew how focused Dave was on building a top-notch herd.

“He was committed to becoming a dairy farmer,” said Mattocks’ father.

After college, Dave returned home and moved in with his uncle, eventually taking over the dairy farm. It was during that time that he got involved in 4-H again.

“Dave would hire kids to work on the farm and teach them whatever they could absorb,” said Mattocks’ father. “He would arrange it so that when it came time for the local fair, they would have a calf to show. He also sponsored barn visits to help the kids learn how to get their cows ready for the fair. His heart was with 4-H.”

After Dave’s passing, his family collected donations from family, friends and fellow church members at the Community Bible Church where he was a member of the worship team as a drummer. They hoped to put the money toward a memorial that would exist in perpetuity. After connecting with the 4-H leadership in both Wyoming and Susquehanna counties, they knew they had found a way to honor Mattocks’ life.

“We wanted to encourage 4-H dairy in the two counties,” Dave’s father said. “While there are very few 4-H dairy youth in Wyoming County anymore, we do have nieces and nephews involved in Susquehanna County. Dave was involved with the fairs and 4-H in both. We felt strongly about making it beneficial to both counties.”

While Mattocks gave back in many areas of his life, he never sought or wanted recognition for it. His family feels the same would apply with this gift. However, they wanted to make sure his impact continued to be felt for years to come.

“He’d be embarrassed,” said his father. “He’d be humbled and proud of it, but not proud to the point that he’d dare tell anyone.”

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Last Updated January 16, 2020