HARRISBURG, Pa. — Registration is now open for the 13th annual Dairy Financial and Risk Management Conference, titled “Adjusting the Lens.” Designed to help attendees bring their lens into focus for on-farm profitability and risk management, the event is planned for Wednesday, September 14 from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. at the Sheraton Harrisburg Hershey Hotel in Harrisburg, Pa. Dairy financial consultants, lending representatives, and interested dairy producers can register online at www.centerfordairyexcellence.org/financial-conference.
This year’s conference will feature several different panel discussions from Pennsylvania dairy producers and industry professionals. Attendees will gain outside perspective on everyday costs they can control at the farm level, key performance indicators for Pennsylvania dairy production, and an in-depth analysis of dairy markets and economic forces.
“Our goal for this year’s conference is to share multiple perspectives from individuals representing all corners of the dairy industry – from dairy production at the farm level to dairy economics and financial planning,” said Zach Myers, risk education manager at the Center for Dairy Excellence. “Our speakers will share tactical strategies for boosting on-farm profitability and discuss how market forces, performance indicators, and feed management decisions all impact day-to-day risk management planning.”
Featured speakers at this year’s conference include:
- Betty Berning – “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.
- Donny Bartch (Merrimart Farms), Greta Halahan (Singing Brook Farms), and Jared Kurtz (Kurtland Farms) – “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.
- Wayne Brubaker, Samantha Gehrett, and Mike Hosterman – “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.
Samantha Gehrett is a Dairy Business Management Educator with Penn State Extension and is housed in Carlisle, Pennsylvania. Her 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. She brings experience in accounting, taxation, and dairy processing. This work is accomplished through on-farm visits, workshops and conferences, and the development of tools and resources for producers and consultants. Samantha has a Bachelor of Science degree in Agricultural Sciences, and a master’s degree in Homeland Security with a focus in Agricultural Biosecurity and Food Safety Defense both from Penn State.
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.
- Tim Beck and Rainey Rosemond – “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.
The cost to attend this year’s Dairy Financial and Risk Management Conference is $250 per person, discounted to $225 for those who are representatives of the Center for Dairy Excellence Allies for Advancement.
For more information about the program and to register for the event, visit www.centerfordairyexcellence.org/financial-conference or call Zach Myers at 717-346-0849.
–Emily Barge, Center for Dairy Excellence