HARRISBURG, Pa. — To help Pennsylvania dairy farm families with transition planning and business management consulting, the Center for Dairy Excellence has tapped Dr. Brian Reed to serve as a consultant in working with Pennsylvania dairy farms. Dr. Reed joins Dr. Charlie Gardner to serve as consultants provided by the Center to support dairy farm transition and transformation across Pennsylvania. Dr. Reed and Dr. Gardner are both available to help dairy farm families navigate the complex process of transition planning, business plan development, and business transformation.
“The future of our industry rests on the ability of individual farms to transition to the next generation. The Center has made this a key priority of our work, offering grant programs, resources, and one-on-one consulting support provided in the past by Dr. Gardner,” said Jayne Sebright, Executive Director at the Center for Dairy Excellence. “We are excited to bring Dr. Reed onto our team to complement these efforts. We look forward to working with him to offer his expertise in financial planning, farm succession, and business transformation to more dairy farm families.”
Dr. Brian Reed grew up on a livestock and crop farm in Minnesota. He attended the University of Wisconsin – River Falls for his pre-vet/animal science studies before attending the University of Minnesota College of Veterinary Medicine, where he received his DVM degree in 1987. Since that time, he has served as a primarily dairy veterinarian for Agricultural Veterinary Associates. Dr. Reed received his MBA from Lebanon Valley College in 2001. Since then, he has expanded the services he provides to include financial and business management consulting services such as farm transition planning, feasibility studies and strategic planning services. Dr. Reed has provided business planning services to more than 150 farms, veterinary practices, and other businesses to date.
He also serves as the Treasurer, Finance Committee Chair and a member of the Executive Board for the American Association of Bovine Practitioners, Director for Ephrata National Bank, and is finishing up 15 years serving as a Commissioner on the Pennsylvania Animal Health and Diagnostic Commission. Dr. Reed served on the founding board and was founding treasurer for the Center for Dairy Excellence in its early years. Dr. Reed continues to work as a dairy veterinarian with Agricultural Veterinary Associates, LLC while pursuing his other interests.
The Center offers consulting services from Dr. Reed and Dr. Gardner at no charge to Pennsylvania dairy farm families. The farm families who have worked with the Center in the past have found help in:
- Receiving direction and the next steps forward. “We’ve been trying to do it on our own and nothing was happening. We’ve been talking about transitioning to an LLC and we’ve been talking about the next generation, but everyone is always so busy. It’s always on the back burner. Finally, we just needed some direction. The Center for Dairy Excellence really provided that,” said Joanne Stoltzfus of Pennwood Farms in Somerset County, Pa.
- Having a third party to be a listening ear. “Between my parents, my wife and I, we have established good trust and mutual goals of seeing the farm succeed. Even though we have similar goals and a good relationship, we brought someone else in to help make sure none of that was disrupted if someone had differing perspectives. Even though we felt like we were starting at a good place, we didn’t want to see things go south. We wanted to honor everyone through the process and make sure we weren’t missing anything. Having a third party involved really goes a long way in that. Our consultant definitely validated all of our feelings about how things should go and listened to what we wanted to accomplish,” said Jared Kurtz of Kurtland Farms in Berks County, Pa.
- Developing a business plan to enter the value-added space. “I’ve been doing the [business] planning for four years, and it feels a little surreal. I’m working on ramping up recipes for bigger vats and it has been a lot of fun. If I can get this working, I really want to not only show the consumer where their milk comes from, but also show other farms the potential of what we can do. There’s not an instruction manual somewhere. There are a lot of different things you can do, but I think the stronger your local dairy market is, it’s good for everyone,” said Amy Brickner of Destiny Dairy Bar at Stover Farms in Cumberland County, Pa.
To learn more about the Center’s business consultants who are available to dairy farm families at no cost, contact Melissa Anderson at firstname.lastname@example.org or call 717-346-0849.
–Emily Barge, Center for Dairy Excellence