HARRISBURG, Pa. — The 2023 Pennsylvania Dairy Summit, which will be held on February 8 and 9, 2023 in State College, Pennsylvania, will help dairy producers and young dairy professionals find fusion with their peers. Through a line-up of dynamic keynote speakers and breakout sessions, attendees will gain insight and inspiration for their future, their finances, their herd, and their overall wellness. To kick off the conference on Tuesday, February 7 at 5 p.m., the Young Dairy Professionals Reception will be held at the Penn Stater Hotel and Conference Center. Any young dairy professionals between the ages of 18 and 25 are encouraged to apply for a scholarship to attend the reception and full Dairy Summit.
“Our speakers for this year’s Young Dairy Professionals Reception have all completed the On-Farm Internship program during their college years and now have meaningful, full-time careers serving the dairy industry. They have fresh, real-world perspective to share with high school and college students who are interested in pursuing careers in herd management, nutrition and beyond,” said Michelle Shearer, Workforce Development Manager at the Center for Dairy Excellence.
During the Young Dairy Professionals Reception, scholarship recipients will hear from:
- Shara Allman — Shara graduated from The Pennsylvania State University in 2021 with a degree in animal science and a minor in Spanish. During her time in college, she completed an on-farm internship with El-Vi Farms, Inc. and Willow Bend Farm, LLC in New York. Since graduating, Shara now works as the herdsman for S&A Kreider and Sons dairy farm in Lancaster, PA. She is responsible for the overall health and reproduction of the dairy herd.
- Beckie Burns — Beckie Burns is a Berks County native who graduated with a bachelor’s degree in animal science from Iowa State University in 2022. While at Iowa State, she focused her studies on dairy cattle science and competed in the National Dairy Challenge to grow her consultation skills. She also completed an on-farm internship at McWilliams Farm in Somerset, Pa., a laboratory internship with PEAK Genetics, and completed the URUS Dairy Consulting Experience. Beckie is passionate about improving cow comfort, health, and efficiency to make dairies more productive and to support dairy farmers in her current role as a Dairy Nutritionist for Purina Animal Nutrition.
- Aaron Harbach — Aaron Harbach grew up on Schrack Farms in Loganton, Pennsylvania and attended Cornell University where he received a degree in animal science. Before graduating in 2020, Aaron completed an on-farm Internship on a 12,000-cow dairy, Barrington Dairy, LLC, in South Central Georgia. After college, he returned to this Georgia dairy and worked there for more than two years as a herd manager, covering everything from pre-fresh forward. He recently moved home to work alongside his family at Schrack Farms and learn from the older generations.
“The Center for Dairy Excellence helps support the scholarship opportunity in partnership with the PA Dairymen’s Association and Dairy Excellence Foundation. If you’re a dairy professional already planning to attend the Dairy Summit in February, this is a great opportunity to invite a young producer or college student to join you and apply for this scholarship,” Shearer added.
Young professionals who receive the scholarship will network with dairy professionals of all ages. Scholarship applicants must be between the ages of 18 and 25 as of February 1, 2023. They must be a resident of Pennsylvania or enrolled in an agricultural program at a Pennsylvania-based college or university. They must also meet one of the following categories:
- Operate or work on a dairy farm OR
- Be enrolled in an agricultural degree program at college or trade school OR
- Be enrolled in an agriculture program at a high school OR
- Teach agriculture at a high school, college, or university
Applicants must also agree to pay the discounted $50 registration fee that is awarded to scholarship recipients. Checks should be made payable to “Pennsylvania Dairy Summit.”
In addition to the Young Dairy Professionals speakers, scholarship recipients will be able to attend the full, two-day Summit on February 8 and 9. Keynote speakers will lead sessions on real-time industry issues, including farm succession and family dynamics, what dairy can learn from the avian influenza pandemic, diversifying the family farm, change management, and multi-generational family businesses.
To apply for a Young Dairy Professionals scholarship, applications must be submitted by January 16, 2023. Visit www.padairysummit.org and click on “Young Professionals” on the top right. Contact Michelle Shearer at firstname.lastname@example.org or call 570-768-8316 with questions.
The Dairy Summit is an annual event hosted by the Professional Dairy Managers of Pennsylvania and Center for Dairy Excellence.
–Emily Barge, Center for Dairy Excellence