Somerset County Regional Dairy Discussion

Thursday, March 12, 2020
9 a.m. to 3 p.m.
Berlin Community Building

700 North Street
Berlin, PA 15530

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Event Host:

Penn State Extension

Join Penn State Extension as they welcome leaders and experts from across The Commonwealth of Pennsylvania to join in an engaging discussion regarding our local and regional dairy industry. Experts will present on timely topics concerning the dairy industry and related agricultural activity in Somerset County and the surrounding region.

The event is ideal for dairy producers who are looking to examine their current operation and consider various diversification opportunities. Other dairy industry professionals are welcome to attend this important event.

Continental breakfast and lunch will be provided free of charge. However, RSVP is required. RVSP by March 5. Contact Joshua Miller by email or call 814-443-9399.


  • 9 – 10 a.m. – Continental Breakfast and Networking
  • 10 – 10:45 a.m. – “Analysis & Adjustment of a Dairy Business Plan” with Andrew Sandeen of Penn State Extension
  • 11 – 11:45 a.m. – “I am the Milkman’s Daughter… and Other Secrets of Dairy Value-Added Processing” with Carissa Itle Westrick of Vale Wood Farms
  • Noon – 12:45 p.m. – Lunch
  • 1 – 1:45 p.m. – “Diversifying Your Dairy with Beef” with Dr. Tara Felix of Penn State College of Agricultural Sciences
  • 2 – 2:45 p.m. – “Resources for Pennsylvania Dairy Farmers” with Jayne Sebright of the Center for Dairy Excellence

About the Speakers:

Andrew Sandeen is a dairy educator with Penn State Extension, based in Indiana County. He serves on the statewide Dairy Team with expertise in reproductive management and risk management programs for dairies. Andrew received Animal Science degrees from Oregon State University (B.S.) and The Ohio State University (M.S.). Previous industry experience includes employment with an embryo transfer company in Nebraska, nationwide work with dairies of all types and sizes while employed by the American Jersey Cattle Association, and localized industry support activities with the Washington State Dairy Federation. He also spent four years living and working in East Africa, prior to being hired by Penn State in 2014. Engaging in a variety of educational activities around the region and state of Pennsylvania, Andrew is involved in facilitating educational programs, helping with financial analysis and planning for dairies, troubleshooting dairy management issues, and serving on a variety of profit teams.

Carissa Itle Westrick is the Director of Business Development for Vale Wood Farms in Loretto, Pennsylvania. Vale Wood Farms is an integrated dairy business. This family dairy farm milks their own cows and then processes a full line of dairy products sold to customers throughout the region. Carissa has an Economics degree from Bucknell University, which she uses to analyze the different business departments – from feed costs to delivery efficiencies and all the steps in between. Before returning to the family farm, Carissa worked for the National Milk Producers Federation to represent national dairy interests to USDA, EPA, and on Capitol Hill. Carissa is active with Pennsylvania Farm Bureau, was on the Board of Directors for the Center for Dairy Excellence Foundation, and was appointed in 2018 to the Pennsylvania Dairy Future Commission. She also serves on the Penn Highlands Community College Board of Trustees, where she is tasked with representing agricultural interests in our region.

Dr. Tara Felix is an Assistant Professor of Beef Cattle Nutrition and Management in the Department of Animal Science where she is a member of the Livestock Extension Team and the state Extension Beef Specialist. Dr. Felix grew up on a small hobby farm in Northwest Pennsylvania. She attended Penn State University and graduated with her bachelor’s degree in Animal Biosciences. Dr. Felix pursued her master’s degree in ruminant nutrition at the University of Florida. After her MS, she spent 3 years obtaining a doctorate at The Ohio State University in beef cattle nutrition and management. Upon graduation, Dr. Felix accepted a position at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. At IL, she spent 4 years and obtained over a million dollars to fund her research investigating the effects of alternative feeds on growth performance and ruminal metabolism of beef cattle. In January 2016, Dr. Felix rejoined the faculty at her first alma mater, Penn State University. As part of her extension appointment, she continues her applied research on feed additives and other technologies used to promote beef cattle performance and improve nutrient digestion.

Jayne Sebright is a highly respected leader in the Pennsylvania Dairy Industry. Currently, she heads up the Center for Dairy Excellence, a non-profit public-private partnership with the mission to empower people, create partnerships and coordinate resources to grow dairy profitability in Pennsylvania. Jayne leads a team of eight, all focused on fostering industry-wide collaboration, supporting individual dairy farm businesses, and cultivating opportunities for strengthening dairy in Pennsylvania. She graduated with highest distinction from Penn State University, and has over 20 years of experience in strategic marketing and communications, holding positions with Mid-Atlantic Dairy Association and Land O’Lakes, prior to joining the Center in 2006 as communications director before being named executive director in 2016. In addition to her role with the Center, Jayne leads the work of its sister organization, the Center for Dairy Excellence Foundation of Pennsylvania, a charitable 501C3 organization that works to empower the next generation of dairy in Pennsylvania.