Keynote Speakers Announced for 2023 PA Dairy Summit

Speakers Will Share Lessons Learned from the Avian Influenza Pandemic, Farm Succession, Multi-Generational Family Businesses and More

The dairy industry is infused with opportunity, always working to find fusion with each sector of the supply chain, with family and business, and with current and future generations. During the 2023 Pennsylvania Dairy Summit, several featured speakers will lead five dynamic keynote sessions on real-time industry issues, including farm succession and family dynamics, what dairy can learn from the avian influenza pandemic, diversifying the family farm, change management, and multi-generational family businesses.

Hosted by the Professional Dairy Managers of Pennsylvania and Center for Dairy Excellence, the 2023 event will take place on February 8 and 9 at the Penn Stater Hotel and Conference Center in State College, Pa. Registration is now open for the in-person event.

“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. These should be insightful, eye-opening conversations, packed with specific takeaways and tactics we can implement directly on the farm,” said Tony Brubaker, the 2023 Pennsylvania Dairy Summit chair and a dairy farmer from Lancaster County.

Learn more about the featured speakers for the 2023 Dairy Summit:

  • Bulletproof Your Farm: How Stubborn Farmers Can Work Better Together with Andy Junkin. 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, 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 with Dr. Kevin Brightbill, Byron Shaffer, and Jennifer Reed-Harry. 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 AI 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. Dr. Brightbill brings a unique blend of extensive clinical mixed animal practice (dairy, small ruminant and companion animal medicine) and regulatory veterinary medicine expertise to tactfully address the most difficult problems.

    Byron Shaffer has worked at Kreider Farms for 22 years, including the last 12 as Director of Food Safety and Quality Assurance. Kreider Farms is one of the oldest and largest dairy farms and egg producers in the state of Pennsylvania. Byron was part of the leadership team at Kreider Farms that managed the index case of High Path AI in the state.

    Jennifer Reed-Harry has been following environmental regulations and legislation for the past 20+ years with a watchful eye for how it will impact the livelihood of Pennsylvania farmers and agribusiness. Jennifer 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, John Dickinson and Luke Getty. 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, started selling milk by the dipper, door to door, around 1908. Ideal Dairy packaged and sold their milk to local communities until 1987. Today, they care for their herd of registered Holsteins including 1,900 heifers and 3,200 mature cows, producing 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 with Joe DelGrosso and Amy Mearkle. 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 is a lifelong resident of Blair County, Pennsylvania and a second-generation member of the DelGrosso Amusement Park and DelGrosso Foods Family, where he began work at a young age. Joe 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 theDirector of Marketing and Events at DelGrosso’s. Her success can be accredited to a hard work ethic that she says was instilled in her at a young age growing up on her family’s dairy farm. Before joining the DelGrosso Family of Companies in November of 2011, Amy worked as the Morning/Noon Anchor for WTAJ-TV.
  • Change Management: Adapting Your Mindset with Sam Barringer. 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 the Commander, 302nd ASTS, Peterson AFB, CO. 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. Sam is a rancher and large animal veterinarian consultant in the civilian sector.

Thanks to grants and support from the Center for Dairy Excellence, Northeast Dairy Business Innovation Center, Professional Dairy Managers of PA, and Summit sponsors, registration fees for dairy producers from any state are set to be as affordable as possible. During registration, producers can receive a $50 discount using code “FUSION23” for each attendee from the farm. 

To register for the conference and view the full program, visit Sponsorship opportunities are also available. Contact the Pennsylvania Dairy Summit Business Office at 814-355-2467 or email for more information.