Roundtable Meetings Help Dairy Producers Manage Financial Risk

2019 fall roundtable meeting

More Than 110 Dairy Professionals Attended November Roundtable Meetings

This November, more than 110 dairy producers and industry professionals attended roundtable meetings hosted by the Center for Dairy Excellence in six locations throughout Pennsylvania. With the meetings specifically designed for dairy producers, attendees learned about financial planning resources and risk management programs that can help manage uncertainty.

“This year’s roundtable meetings focused on risk management and cost of production—two avenues that are available to help dairy producers mitigate financial loss and maintain profitability over the long term,” said Jayne Sebright, Executive Director at the Center for Dairy Excellence. “We appreciated hearing from farms across the state who are committed to finding a path forward in today’s marketplace.”

Representatives from Penn State Extension’s Dairy Team attended each roundtable meeting and explained the steps involved in calculating cost of production. Dairy producers in attendance learned how to calculate their operation’s breakeven costs and make realistic assessments to evaluate opportunities for improvement.

“Making smart decisions on dairy operations, related to both income and expenses, requires knowing the breakeven cost of production. This provides a valuable metric to monitor when the business’s success is compromised by bottlenecks,” said Virginia Ishler of the Penn State Extension Dairy Team. “When changes are implemented, their impact on cost of production can be evaluated and adjusted to ensure the operation is on the right path.”

Zach Myers, Risk Education Program Manager at the Center for Dairy Excellence, also shared information about multiple risk management programs available to dairy producers and the importance of creating a risk management plan to eliminate some of the volatility in the marketplace.

“As you consider your risk management options, you need to be willing to create a consistent risk management plan. You need to be all in,” Myers said. “Once you make your decision, stick to it and know that you’re covered if there’s a catastrophe.”

Dairy producers discussed current risk management programs, including Dairy Margin Coverage (DMC) and Dairy Revenue Protection. Enrollment for the 2020 year of DMC began in October and continues until December 13, 2019.

The roundtable meetings also gave dairy producers the opportunity to converse with industry representatives, share their perspectives on the state of the industry, and ask questions related to current dairy trends and dynamics.

To find more risk management and financial planning resources, visit or contact Zach Myers at 717-346-0849 or

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