Learn How to Manage On-Farm Family Dynamics During 2021 Virtual Dairy Summit

The 2021 Virtual Dairy Summit Will Be Held on February 8-11, 2021

Managing family business dynamics on the dairy farm can be both rewarding and challenging. As the number of partners and family stakeholders grows, the potential for interpersonal tension and problems increases. During this year’s virtual Pennsylvania Dairy Summit on February 8-11, 2021, several speakers will address this important topic and provide strategies for managing family-related business conflicts that arise on the farm. Learn more about the program and registration process at www.padairysummit.org.

“This year’s Dairy Summit is filled with timely, relevant sessions, and family dynamics is a topic that is at the forefront. Our speakers plan to share ways we can improve and sustain healthy family functioning and overall farm performance—two things that are often challenging for dairy farm families who work together on a daily basis,” said Jessica Slaymaker, the 2021 Pennsylvania Dairy Summit chair and a dairy farmer from Tioga County.

During a keynote session on Tuesday, February 9th, the Webb family of Heglar Creek Dairy near Declo, Idaho will give an inside look at their five-generation dairy farm which includes four partners. Bringing non-family members in as partners at Heglar Creek Dairy has been a natural part of their growth and diversification. Through a panel discussion and virtual farm tour, the Webb family plans to describe their farm’s team approach, their work with outside partners, and how it has contributed to their success within their diversified businesses.

“The generation before us set the expectation that everyone in the family has to leave the family business and go out and learn their strengths and weaknesses first. There is not a guaranteed job for you here unless there is one that fits well with your strengths,” said Eric Webb. “There is no fitting a square peg in a round hole at Heglar Creek.”

Phil Clemens, CEO and President of Clemens Family Business and Hatfield Quality Meats, will also use his experience to lead a breakout session titled “Navigating Family Business Dynamics and Governance.” At last year’s Dairy Summit, Clemens challenged attendees to think about their enterprise “with family first…as a business FAMILY, not a family BUSINESS,” he said.But how do you govern your dairy business with family? How do you structure a professional company with diverse family members of multiple generations so it runs as an effective and profitable business? Clemens returns to the virtual Dairy Summit this year to delve deeper on business governance and share ideas on how to professionalize family farm businesses to ensure both fairness and accountability. Hatfield Quality Meats is a Pennsylvania-based company with annual sales in excess of $1 billion, employing over 3,500 team members and marketing products all over the United States.

In addition to family dynamics and best management practices, partner buyouts and sellouts are a reality for many dairy farm families—whether a farm is transitioning to the next generation or partners are pursuing new business ventures. Any kind of separation of partnership in the dairy business is sort of like a divorce. It is a dissolution of a business partnership with varied assets and liabilities. During this year’s event, Mike Peachey of Acuity Advisors and CPAs, LLP and Mike Hosterman of AgChoice Farm Credit will lead a breakout session titled “Business Divorce: Preparation for Buyouts and Sellouts.” They will share how farm businesses fare a lot better if they put in place key documents long before any invested partners choose to exit. Attendees will learn what those documents are and what mechanisms dairy businesses should put in place to not only protect their operation for the remaining partners and future generations, but to spare family members from heartache and strained relationships.

“Families experience challenges just like all business partners, but the dynamics of a family dairy farm can make it extra difficult to address conflicts. During these sessions, our speakers will share some common roadblocks dairy farm families face and discuss practical strategies for managing conflict in healthy ways,” Slaymaker added.

Learn more about the 2021 event:

  • When: February 8-11, 2021
  • Where: Virtual event
  • Cost:
    • PA Dairy Producer — $100
    • Out-of-State Dairy Producer — $125
    • Non-Producer — $175
    • College Classrooms/Clubs — $100
    • College Dairy Students and Young Professionals (Age 17-25)*— $25
      *Must attend Tuesday evening’s Young Professionals Chat
  • How to register: Visit www.padairysummit.org or contact the Dairy Summit Business Office at 814-326-5993.

Hosted by the Professional Dairy Managers of Pennsylvania and the Center for Dairy Excellence, the 2021 virtual Pennsylvania Dairy Summit will feature renowned keynote speakers from across the nation and more than 10 educational breakout sessions. The Dairy Summit is nationally recognized as one of the best conferences for dairy professionals in all types of production. Transitioned to a virtual platform for 2021, creative ways to connect and engage will be included throughout the Summit program, including networking opportunities, virtual giveaways, music and entertainment. Sponsorship opportunities are still available for businesses that are looking for affordable and effective ways to connect with dairy customers digitally and expand their reach within Pennsylvania and across the nation.

To learn more about this year’s virtual Dairy Summit and to view sponsorship opportunities, visit padairysummit.org. Contact the Pennsylvania Dairy Summit Business Office with questions at 814-326-5993 or email info@padairysummit.org.