Dairy producers across the industry are constantly working to find fusion with each sector of the supply chain, with family and business, with current and future generations, with their products and consumers, and with their mental and physical wellness. It takes collaboration, innovation and communication to connect all of these dots.

Barge emily
Communications and Marketing Manager / Center for Dairy Excellence

During the 2023 Pennsylvania Dairy Summit, dairy producers and industry professionals will hear from dynamic speakers on real-time industry issues, including farm succession and family dynamics, what dairies can learn from the avian influenza pandemic, diversifying the family farm, change management and multigenerational family businesses. Hosted by the Professional Dairy Managers of Pennsylvania and Center for Dairy Excellence, the 2023 event is slated for Feb. 8 and 9 at the Penn Stater Hotel and Conference Center in State College, Pennsylvania.

“The Dairy Summit is an exciting way to network, reconnect and exchange ideas with other dairy farmers and professionals from across the industry. I look forward to it every year,” said Tony Brubaker, the 2023 Pennsylvania Dairy Summit chair and a dairy farmer from Lancaster County. “The program and speakers we have lined up for the 2023 event will help us find the winning combination for success at a personal and professional level, and help us envision what the future of dairy looks like.”

With this year’s theme of “Fusion,” the dairy summit will feature interactive breakout sessions, discussion groups and networking opportunities designed to help attendees find fusion within their dairy teams and across the broad industry.

Keynote speakers

The featured speakers for the 2023 Dairy Summit are taking their years of experience serving the agriculture industry and infusing that with real-time issues that are affecting today’s dairy farm families.

  • "Bulletproof Your Farm: How Stubborn Farmers Can Work Better Together." Andy Junkin will share insight on how to stop being stubborn with each other and start being stubborn with the critical habits that make a farm successful. Junkin was born and raised a dairy farmer in Bobcaygeon, Ontario, Canada. After walking away from his family’s dairy barn in 2007, he has been focused on figuring out how to help stubborn farmers work better together. He is widely recognized as an expert on farm succession and farm debt turnarounds, having written five books on the topic, spoken in 14 states and provinces, and having helped farmers in 22 states and provinces. 

  • "Lessons Learned From the Avian Influenza Pandemic, a Panel Discussion." Until it happens, it is hard for dairy producers to imagine what a highly contagious outbreak in their animal population could do to their family business. Panelists from Pennsylvania’s poultry industry will discuss what they wish they had known when avian influenza hit and what they are doing to never let it happen again. Dr. Kevin Brightbill is the state veterinarian and director of the Bureau of Animal Health and Diagnostic Services at Pennsylvania Department of Agriculture. Byron Shaffer has worked at Kreider Farms for 22 years, including the last 12 as director of food safety and quality assurance, and was part of the leadership team at Kreider Farms that managed the index case of high path avian influenza in Pennsylvania. Jennifer Reed-Harry joined PennAg Industries Association in 2009 and works on issues related to environmental regulations and legislation, transportation, workforce labor and serves as a registered lobbyist. 

  • "A Diversified Family Business: Producer Showcase with Ideal Dairy Farms." From sustainability and nutrient management to high-quality genetics and cheese processing, Ideal Dairy Farms has diversified their family business and built new partnerships. Ideal Dairy Farms, owned and operated by the Dickinson and Getty families, cares for their herd of registered Holsteins including 1,900 heifers and 3,200 mature cows. They produce 210,000 pounds of milk per day. To support the nutritional needs of the herd, they operate 4,500 acres in Washington and Warren counties of New York. They remain committed to the production of quality milk and using superior genetics.
  • "From Our Kitchen to Your Table: Family Business Showcase." Now in its third generation, DelGrosso Foods has taken its place among the most highly regarded producers of fine sauces anywhere. Joe DelGrosso and Amy Mearkle will have a conversation about what they have learned about food production and running a successful family business that spans decades. Joe DelGrosso took a permanent position at DelGrosso Foods in 1979 and has since led the company’s rapid growth and development. He serves as president. Amy Mearkle is the director of marketing and events at DelGrosso’s.

  • "Change Management: Adapting Your Mindset." Col. Leon “Sam” Barringer will share lessons learned from his combat experience on leadership, teamsmanship, detecting abnormal/normal behavior and enriching life through intentional, unforgettable moments. Barringer retired from the Air Force in September 2021. His 34-year career includes time as commander, 302nd ASTS, Peterson AFB, Colorado. He was responsible for overseeing the mission of deploying medical personnel to provide command, surgical support, aeromedical evacuation, nursing and specialty functions along with mental health triage and traumatic stress management, critical care expertise and surgical and dental support, and initial environmental and disease assessments. Barringer is a rancher and large-animal veterinarian consultant in the civilian sector.

Discounts available for dairy producers from all states 

Join the event on Feb. 8-9 and find fusion with your peers across the industry. Thanks to grants and support from the Northeast Dairy Business Innovation Center, Center for Dairy Excellence, Professional Dairy Managers of Pennsylvania and summit sponsors, registration fees for dairy producers are set to be as affordable as possible. Dairy producers from any state can attend the full two-day dairy summit for $100, with one-day rates available for $50.

“This year’s event should be filled with insightful, eye-opening conversations, packed with specific takeaways and tactics we can implement directly on the farm,” Brubaker added.

For dairy producers from any state who want to take advantage of the discounts, click here to register. Use the code “FUSION23” for each attendee who registers from the farm. Contact the Pennsylvania Dairy Summit Business Office at (814) 355-2467 or by email for more information.