2022 Dairy Financial and Risk Management Conference: “Adjusting the Lens”

Wednesday, September 14, 2022
8 a.m. - 4 p.m.
Sheraton Harrisburg Hershey Hotel

4650 Lindle Road
Harrisburg, PA 17111

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Event Host:

Center for Dairy Excellence

The future of dairy may look blurry, but all we have to do is bring our lens into focus. At the 13th annual Dairy Financial & Risk Management Conference, learn how you and your dairy clients can create a clear vision for future profitability. Hear from a wide range of speakers, including panels of dairy producers, who will share what their lens looks like – including everyday costs we can control at the farm level, key performance indicators for Pennsylvania dairy production, and a deep dive of dairy markets and economic forces. Join us on Wednesday, September 14 from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. The event will be offered both in-person and virtually.

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  • A Dairy Market Snapshot: 2022 Highlights and 2023 Market Forces – Betty Berning. Milk prices might look good for 2022, but how soon are they going to fall? This session will provide a snapshot of 2022 dairy markets and analyze future market forces that will affect the dairy economy heading into 2023.
  • A Farm-Level View: Producer Panel Discussion – Greta Halahan (Singing Brook Farms), Donny Bartch (Merrimart Farms) and Jared Kurtz (Kurtland Farms). Several dairy producer panelists will share what their lens looks like and how they are leveraging grants and resources, including consultants and profit teams, to forge a clear path for future profitability.
  • PA Performance Indicators: Where Do We Stand? – Wayne Brubaker and Mike Hosterman. Pennsylvania dairy producers have their own unique goals, but comparing their performance to their peers across the state can help drive efficiency and success. This session will discuss key performance indicators across Pennsylvania dairy operations.
  • Foraging for Profits: Crop Production Costs and Feeding Management Decisions – Tim Beck and Rainey Rosemond from Penn State Extension. On most dairy farms, feed and forage costs can ultimately dictate production costs and on-farm profitability. This session will not only dissect feed and forage costs, but offer strategies for using them to improve a farm’s bottom line.


A Dairy Market Snapshot: 2022 Highlights and 2023 Market Forces

Betty Berning owns and operates Betty Berning Consulting, which provides services ranging from supply chain optimization to market intelligence for the food and agricultural sector. Betty has extensive experience in the agricultural supply chain and has held a wide variety of roles including Senior Dairy Buyer at General Mills, Loan Officer at Farm Credit, Extension Educator at the University of Minnesota, and has worked on her family’s dairy farm in Central Minnesota. These experiences have enabled her to understand both the challenges farmers face as well as the decision-making processes of food companies and consumers. She is also an analyst for the Daily Dairy Report.

A Farm-Level View: Producer Panel Discussion

Donny Bartch and his wife, Shari, began managing Merrimart Farms in Perry County, Pennsylvania beginning in 2017. Merrimart Farms was formed in 2004, with a partnership between Ed Martin, Keith Martin and Donny Bartch. Growing from 50 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 businesses. Donny and Shari represent the fourth generation of farming in the Martin family. They continue the legacy started over 100 years ago with the dream to one day see the farm handed over to the next generation.

Greta Snider Halahan is the herd manager at Singing Brook Farms in Imler, Pennsylvania. Her passion for improving the profitability of the dairy farm and progressing the herd for the next generation has created innovative solutions for the family’s farm. She resides in Lebanon, PA with her husband Steve and her two sons.

Jared Kurtz owns and operates Kurtland Farms in Berks County with his father, Tim. Together, they are the third and fourth generation to operate the dairy that has been in the family for over 100 years. Prior to coming back to work on the farm full-time in 2014, Jared worked for a software company. After long days of sitting in front of a computer screen, Jared couldn’t resist the desire to return to the farm once a new free stall barn was constructed with four Lely robots. 225 cows are currently being milked with the four robots, and the rest of the cows are milked in their tie stall facility. They currently farm 275 acres, most of it double-cropped with corn silage and small grain silage. In addition to Tim and Jared, they have one full-time and seven part-time employees who work on the farm.

PA Performance Indicators: Where Do We Stand?

Wayne Brubaker has served PA Farm Bureau members since 1978. He began as an Account Supervisor in Bradford County, moving to Franklin County in 1980 and assuming the position of consultant in 2008. He has worked extensively with over 200 farms helping with financial planning, farm management, tax planning and preparation, business planning and transition planning. During his tenure, he has helped numerous farms transition from one generation to the next. He is now helping the third generation take over his grandfather’s farm. Wayne has a BS degree in Business Administration with a minor in Accounting from Messiah College and is an IRS Enrolled Agent.

Mike Hosterman has been with Horizon Farm Credit and its predecessor organizations for 30 years, giving him much knowledge and experience in the agricultural industry. In his role as an executive ag business consultant, Mike works with farm operations to conduct all types of strategic planning, business planning, transition/ succession planning, budgeting and benchmarking. During his 30 years at Farm Credit, Mike has primarily worked with dairy clients to benchmark their operations and make profitable business decisions. Mike continues to work with some of Pennsylvania’s more progressive operations. Mike grew up on a farm in central Pennsylvania and his background is in swine, beef and dairy.

“Foraging for Profits: Crop Production Costs and Feeding Management Decisions”

Tim Beck is a Dairy Business Management Educator for Penn State Extension housed in York, Pennsylvania. His primary focus is to help dairy producers determine cost of production and develop farm business plans that help farms reach long-term goals and objectives. This work is accomplished through on-farm visits, workshops and conferences and the development of tools and resources for producers and consultants. Tim has a Bachelor of Science degree from Penn State in Animal BioScience. He studied at Kansas State University to complete his Master’s degree with a focus on Ruminant Nutrition.

Rainey Rosemond is a Dairy Educator at Penn State Extension. Her primary focus areas are dairy nutrition, feed management, and business management. Rainey has a bachelor’s degree from Virginia Tech in Animal Science and a master’s degree in Dairy Nutrition from UC Davis. She has worked in dairy research in feed efficiency and on feed quality and development studies. Rainey’s current role focuses on serving farmers to improve efficiency, production, and financial advancement.

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