About 30 producers and industry professionals traveled to Pennsylvania April 10-12 as part of the Professional Dairy Producers of Wisconsin's (PDPW) bus tour. The tour showcased operations in Lancaster and Franklin counties, two of Pennsylvania's largest milk producing areas.
Featured farms included Meadow Vista Dairy, Walmoore Holsteins, Mercer Vu Farms, Star Rock Dairy, Reich-Dale Farm and Mason Dixon Farms, Inc.
Scroll down or click here to see a photo slideshow from this event.
These visits showcased producers using sand bedding, featured discussions on managing somatic cell count and highlighted efforts of transitioning the farms to a new generation. In fact, some of these farms were under ownership of eighth-generation or ninth-generation family members.
The Waybright family at Mason Dixon Farms established a homestead in the late 1700s along the Pennsylvania-Maryland border. The dairy operation that began in 1948 with 12 cows is now milking about 2,300 cows, with half the herd being milked with DeLaval robots and the other half with a parlor. The Waybrights hope to one day be milking 90 percent of the herd with robots.
Other hot topic issues affecting these dairy operators included proper nutrient management and community relations due to urban sprawl. Walt Moore, for example, says nearly 37,000 vehicles travel past his farm every day. This number increases even more during weekends in the summer months.
Attendees were able to visit the Turkey Hill Dairy Experience and to hear from industry speakers, including Frank Day of The Hershey Company and John Frey of Pennsylvania's Center for Dairy Excellence.
While the Northeast is mostly a fluid milk market, both Day and Frey spoke to the importance of being an international player and paying attention to the export market.
Producers also had a chance to tour the Gettysburg Battlefield and to learn more about Pennsylvania's history from a tour guide recommended by Dick Waybright at Mason Dixon. The farm is located less than 10 miles from where the Battle of Gettysburg was fought nearly 150 years ago. PD
PHOTO: The PDPW group stands in front of the Eternal Light Peace Memorial at the Gettysburg Battlfield. The monument was dedicated on the battle's 75th anniversary in 1938. Photos by PD Editor Emily Caldwell.