Young Dairy Professionals to Be Highlighted at 2022 Dairy Summit, More Than 12 Breakout Sessions Planned

The 2022 PA Dairy Summit Will Feature a Young Professionals Panel and 12+ Timely Sessions

As the dairy industry focuses on achieving excellence and “going for the gold” in the new year, the 2022 Pennsylvania Dairy Summit will feature a U.S. Olympian, panels of experienced dairy producers, experts in dairy markets, and a panel of innovative young dairy professionals. To kick off the conference on Tuesday, February 1 at 5 p.m., the Young Dairy Professionals Reception will be held at the Lancaster Marriott in Lancaster, Pa., which is where the full two-day Dairy Summit will be held on February 2-3, 2022. Any young dairy professionals between the ages of 17 and 25 are encouraged to apply for a scholarship to attend the reception and full Dairy Summit.

“Our speakers for this year’s Young Dairy Professionals Reception are energetic, innovative, and forward-thinking about the future of the Pennsylvania dairy industry. If you’re a dairy professional who is planning to attend the Dairy Summit, this is a great opportunity to invite a young producer or college student to join you and apply for this scholarship,” said Michelle Shearer, Workforce Development Manager at the Center for Dairy Excellence. The Center helps support the scholarship opportunity in partnership with the PA Dairymen’s Association and Dairy Excellence Foundation.

During the Young Dairy Professionals Reception, attendees will hear from:

Stephanie and Hayley Painter, The Painterland Sisters – From Tioga County, Pennsylvania, the Painterland Sisters have developed their own Organic Skyr Yogurt line and innovative marketing strategy. Their goal is to make their family’s fourth-generation organic dairy and crop farm, Painterland Farms, more sustainable by entering the value-added space. With cheese-making experience and a strong work ethic, the Painterland Sisters will share their journey developing their brand and beginning to sell their dairy products.

Donny and Shari Bartch, Merrimart Farms — In 2017, Donny and his wife Shari became owners and managers of Merrimart Farms in Perry County, Pennsylvania. The fourth generation to run the dairy operation, it has grown from 60 cows on 115 acres to the current 265 cows and 1,000 acres over the last 80+ years. The operation now includes fattened steers and a custom farming business. Donny and Shari will share their insight on generational family businesses and their forward-thinking approach to managing the dairy operation.

Carli Woodward, Phibro Animal Health — Carli graduated from Penn State with a major in Animal Science in 2016. After graduation she worked for Premier Select Sires as a Reproductive Specialist in Pennsylvania. In December of 2020, Carli started a new position as an Account Manager with Phibro Animal Health. She consults with producers, nutritionists, and other consulting groups to improve cow performance through the use of Phibro’s Nutrition Specialty Products lineup. Carli will share how she found her start as a consultant and advice for other students who want to pursue a career in this field.

Young professionals who attend will also be paired with mentors and network with dairy professionals of all ages. Scholarship applicants must be between the ages of 17 and 25 as of February 1, 2022; operate or work on a dairy farm or enrolled in an agricultural degree program at college or trade school; be a resident of Pennsylvania or enrolled in an agricultural program at a Pennsylvania college or university; and agree to pay a $50 registration fee.

In addition to the Young Dairy Professionals speakers, the 2022 PA Dairy Summit is slated to have an expert line-up of keynote speakers, including dairy farmer and U.S. Olympian Elle Purrier St. Pierre; Dr. Marin Bozic, Assistant Professor in the Department of Applied Economics at the University of Minnesota; Dale and Clay Hemminger of Hemdale Farms Dairy and Greenhouses in Seneca Castle, New York; and Ed Herr from Herr’s Potato Chips. The dynamic speakers will share what’s next for milk pricing, how to successfully manage multiple enterprises, and ways to build a collaborative culture for generational businesses.

“We can’t wait to reunite the dairy industry in-person at the 2022 PA Dairy Summit, where we can reflect on the last year and look ahead to how we can continue to go for the gold in the future,” said Frank Graybill, the 2022 Dairy Summit chair and a dairy farmer from Hershey, Pennsylvania. “This event is ideal for dairy producers in all types of production, and you’ll be able to network with your peers in breakout sessions that cover real-time herd, farm, and financial management topics affecting the entire industry.”

Some of the breakout sessions for the 2022 Dairy Summit include:

Evolution of Beef in the Dairy Herd with Dr. Tara Felix and Dr. Chad Dechow 
Ensuring improved herd genetics and good quality beef offspring takes a well-thought-out strategy, but strategies are evolving every day. This session will provide insight on how beef can help dairy producers achieve their performance goals.

Improving Production and Crop Yields With In-Furrow Technologies with Jonathon Rotz
The in-furrow market is growing, and some say it is one of the fastest-growing trends in agriculture. This session will give an understanding of how in-furrow technologies can protect the seed at a critical stage in the growth cycle and the potential impacts on soybean and corn crops.

Breaking Down Hedging and Risk Management with Jacob Thompson, Zach Myers, and Katie Burgess
A reliable risk management strategy can lead to a more consistent milk price with less volatility compared to relying on market prices alone. This panel discussion will feature three risk management professionals who will share updates on hedging and risk management.

Benchmarking to Bolster Your Bottom Line with Doug Harbach and Jason Karszes
Benchmarking can help dairy producers avoid financial risk. This panel discussion will include several dairy producers who will share how benchmarking has helped them achieve their unique goals and bolstered their bottom line.

Investigating Consumer Trends with Kristiana Alexander and Dr. John Stanton
Consumer trends are constantly changing, especially as work and family life have evolved throughout the pandemic. This session will provide data and insight on current consumer trends and how they might shape the direction of the dairy industry.

Thanks to grants and support from the Professional Dairy Managers of PA (PDMP), the Center for Dairy Excellence and Summit sponsors, registration fees for dairy producers and all farm employees are set to be as affordable as possible. During registration, producers can receive an additional $50 discount for each attendee from the farm. 

To apply for a Young Dairy Professionals scholarship by January 17 or to register for the PA Dairy Summit, visit Sponsorship opportunities are also available. Contact the Pennsylvania Dairy Summit Business Office at 814-355-2467 or email for more information. The Dairy Summit is hosted by the Professional Dairy Managers of Pennsylvania and Center for Dairy Excellence.