Dairy producers and agribusiness leaders should mark their calendars for the 2015 Pennsylvania Dairy Summit, to be held on February 4 – 5 at the Lancaster Marriot at Penn Square in downtown Lancaste, PA.
Hosted annually by the Professional Dairy Managers of Pennsylvania and the Center for Dairy Excellence, the annual summit brings in more than 500 dairy producers and other industry enthusiasts for two days of learning and networking.
This year’s program will offer a mix of business showcases and innovative ideas for the dairy operation. David Masser from Masser Potatoes will share a showcase of Sterman Masser Inc., a family-owned potato farming company based in Sacramento, Pa. Masser Potato Farms combines eight generations of potato farming experience with today’s newest potato farming technology to meet the demands of the modern marketplace.
Brian Houin will share a showcase of Homestead Dairy, located in Plymouth, Indiana. The Houin family established the original dairy in 1945 and since have purchased two other operations. Today, the three dairy facilities include about 2,700 milking cows, along with more than 3,000 replacement heifers.
Along with the business showcases, this year’s Dairy Summit general session will feature Charlie Arnot, chief executive officer of the Center for Food Integrity, an organization established in 2007 to build consumer trust and confidence in today’s food system. Arnot will discuss emerging issues and their influence on our food supply, including GMO technology, OSHA regulations and increasing safety regulations and standards.
Arnot’s discussion will continue as part of a breakout on how to talk to non-farm neighbors regarding the benefits of GMOs in the food supply. Arnot’s breakout is one of ten breakouts that are part of this year’s summit. The breakouts cover everything from bulletproofing your balance sheet to understanding and preventing why cows die on the dairy.
For the second year, a forage analysis competition will be part of the Pennsylvania Dairy Summit schedule of events. Contest entry forms will soon be available for producers to submit samples in six categories, including conventional corn silage, BMR corn silage, perennial legume silage, mixed perennial silage (alfalfa and/or clover with grass), cool season annual silage (small grains and/or annual ryegrass), and forage sorghum silage. Class sponsors for each category are currently being solicited, with a top prize of $1,000 available in each class.
New this year, the Summit will also include “Side Servings,” which will be small discussion groups held during exhibit and breakout sessions to allow producers to share ideas and solutions on critical topics affecting the dairy. Topics discussed during the Side Servings will include satellite dairies, managing grass forage mixes, EPA permitting, heat monitoring and ruminant activity detectors, robotics and a sharing session on app technology.
For more information about the summit or forage analysis competition, contact Caroline Novak from PDMP at 877-326-5993 or [email protected] or Jayne Sebright from the Center for Dairy Excellence at 717-259-6496 or [email protected].