If you’re looking to hone your management skills while getting a glimpse of what’s on the horizon in dairy, join the more than 500 dairy producers and industry leaders who travel each year to Lancaster, Pennsylvania, to attend the Pennsylvania Dairy Summit. The 2012 Summit will be held Feb. 8-9 at the Lancaster Host Resort and will feature discussions on the global dairy marketplace, management strategies and new technologies. Producer showcases and breakouts addressing on-farm dairy issues are also part of the two-day event.

The summit is hosted annually by the Professional Dairy Managers of Pennsylvania and the Center for Dairy Excellence , with support from the Penn State Extension Dairy Team and the Pennsylvania Department of Agriculture .

Considered the premier education event for Pennsylvania’s dairy industry, the summit brings in the “best of the best” as speakers to offer cutting-edge information for today’s dairy managers and agribusiness leaders.

Making it easier to attend
New this year, a one-day “core dairy track” will be offered during the first day of the summit to provide those dairy managers who can’t get away for two days with meaningful information and insights they can take back and quickly apply to their dairy.

Offered at a discounted rate, the core dairy track gives participants access to all of the general sessions, breakouts and trade show activity included on the first day of the summit.



Dr. Bruce Jones , agricultural and applied economics professor at the University of Wisconsin – Madison, will kick off this year’s summit with a discussion on “Key Principles for Success in Dairy Today and in the Future.”

The next 10 years will hold many opportunities to succeed and fail in the dairy industry, with change being the only certainty. Dr. Jones will help participants think through those key principles that will define success today and in the next 10 years.

Following Dr. Jones’ discussion, John Neizen, dairy manager at Greenstone Grazing in Georgia, will share a showcase of their 700-cow dairy operation established on 300 irrigated and 70 non-irrigated acres of grassland.

Greenstone follows the New Zealand method of intensive pasture grazing, and Neizen will describe the day-to-day operation and outline the dairy’s current thinking on ways to refine performance.

After lunch, participants will have the opportunity to visit with the more than 40 vendors at the trade show before attending two of six breakouts held during the afternoon.

Following the breakouts, Gigi Vitae, president and COO of the North America division of Fonterra, the world’s largest exporter of dairy products, will share how what happens globally affects mailbox prices locally and the opportunities that exist in the world’s dairy markets.

A chance to brush up your skills
This year’s summit breakout sessions qualify for continuing education credits through several affiliations and offer meaningful insights on ways to improve the bottom line on the dairy farm.

With early-bird sessions available on both Wednesday and Thursday, along with the Wednesday afternoon sessions, participants have more opportunities to attend the breakouts. The six sessions offered include:

• The Dairyland Initiative: A Guide to Welfare-Friendly Dairy Housing, hosted by Dr. Nigel Cook, University of Wisconsin – Madison, to share the ideas and standards needed to produce an economically viable dairy industry with animal well-being as the number one goal.

• The Potential of Alternative Feeds to Improve IOFC, hosted by Dr. William Weiss, Ohio Ag Research and Development Center, to outline the considerations to make when evaluating alternative feeds, including feed efficiency, nutrient composition and shrinkage.

• Using Genomics to Strengthen Your Herd’s Future, a panel discussion with three dairy producers sharing how they’ve found success in using genomics to build their future herd.

• Strategies for Improved Reproduction, a panel discussion with three producers providing insights on what they’ve included in their herd management programs to improve reproduction and what results they have had.

• A Roadmap to Robotics, a panel discussion with two producers who have used robotic milker systems for several years and can share the stumbling blocks they’ve found along the way and how they’ve gotten the new technology to benefit their business.

• Understanding the Ins and Outs of Succession Planning and Estate Tax Laws, a panel discussion with Vicky Trimmer, Esquire, with Persun & Heim law firm; Tim Sutherland, financial planner with AgChoice Farm Credit; and a dairy producer offering advice on smoothing transitions between generations.

Getting into the grit
Back by popular demand, the “Dairy Late Night Show” will follow the dinner reception, with host Kirk Sattazahn leading the discussion on hot-button issues in today’s dairy industry.

This year’s topic will address “Ethanol: Friend or Foe,” with representatives from the ethanol industry, the Pennsylvania Crop Producers Association and Pennsylvania’s feed industry sharing their perspective on how ethanol has affected their business.

The discussion during the late show is lively and quick, with audience participants asking questions and engaging in the discussion.


On Thursday morning, Cliff Hanehan will share a showcase of his dairy, Hanehan Family Dairy LLC in Stillwater, New York. The Hanehans have 700 cows at the home farm with a satellite farm with 700 cows located in Sydney, New York. They farm a total of 2,200 acres.

Drew Wilkins will share a showcase of Cargill Meat Solutions, the leading processor and distributor of fresh beef, pork and turkey in the Northeast. Wilkins, the cattle procurement manager for Cargill Regional Beef in Wyalusing, will show how the company is committed to providing great-tasting meats for its customers and how animal care affects the quality of their products.

A panel discussion on Thursday will showcase ways dairy farms are incorporating alternative energy into their operations to boost the bottom line. Jerry Bingold from the Innovation Center for U.S. Dairy will share national initiatives as part of that panel discussion.


Staying on the course
The summit will close on Thursday with a recognition luncheon honoring leaders in the industry.

Dick Beardsley , author of the best-selling book, Staying the Course , will recount a stunning race that made him a celebrity and the difficult years that followed, including his recovery from a near-fatal farm accident, his subsequent addiction to painkillers and a very public arrest for forging prescriptions.

Beardsley’s message speaks to anyone who loves competition, who has survived catastrophe or who has pursued a seemingly impossible goal.

The summit has been approved for continuing education credits from both the American Registry of Professional Animal Scientists and the Pennsylvania Board of Veterinary Medicine.

Scholarships and discounted registration rates for dairy producers and students enrolled in dairy coursework are available. To learn more about the summit or to register, visit www.padairysummit.org PD