Theodore Roosevelt once said, “Far and away the best prize that life has to offer is the chance to work hard at work worth doing.” That’s how I feel about the Center for Dairy Excellence and our Dairy Excellence Foundation. Every time a farmer shares with me how the Center has helped them transition to the next generation or invest in their next business opportunity, and each chance I get to watch a child’s face light up when they get to meet their adopted calf or, better yet, find their passion during an on-farm internship, I know that this is work well worth doing.
I’m Jayne Sebright, the Executive Director of both the Center and the Foundation, and I’ve been part of the Center, at least in some way, since its inception in 2004. Dairy has always been an important piece in the fabric of Pennsylvania. But back in 2004, leaders in the state and in our industry began to realize that if we wanted dairy to remain strong, we needed a central resource that would assist individual dairy businesses and serve as a catalyst for collaboration across the industry. I had the opportunity to serve on the Pennsylvania Dairy Task Force in those early days of the Center, and I knew even then that the Center had the potential to make a meaningful and lasting difference in the lives of our dairy stakeholders and in the future of the broader dairy industry.
Growing up on a dairy farm in Adams County, I have always counted myself as very fortunate because of how strongly I believe in the dairy industry – in its people, our product, and in our role in feeding a hungry world. Even now, as my husband and I watch our children become more and more interested in continuing his family farm into future generations, that passion I have for strengthening our industry and helping individual dairy farm families only continues to grow. As a dairy farmer and as someone who has been involved since the Center’s onset, I am proud of the work we do here – in helping dairy farm families find their way forward in an ever challenging industry, in helping dairy processors get the help they need to find new market opportunities, in bringing together unique partnerships to address new opportunities and the issues within an ever-changing industry, and in inspiring that next generation to consider dairy as their future career or even just to help them better understand how dairy contributes to their world. For me, this is work well worth doing.
And I feel incredibly fortunate to work with an amazing team of people – both within our organization and across the industry – to do that work, too!