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Executive track, BMP insight and networking make Pennsylvania Dairy Summit a don’t-miss event

Jayne Sebright for Progressive Dairyman Published on 18 January 2016

Danny Klinefelter has been leading the Executive Program for Agricultural Producers for the past 25 years and will share his insight on best management practices producers can and should adopt during the 2016 Pennsylvania Dairy Summit, which will be held Feb. 10-11 at the Penn State Conference Center in State College, Pennsylvania.

Klinefelter will kick off this year’s event and lead a new “Dairy Executive Track” being offered as part of the summit, which is hosted annually by the Professional Dairy Managers of Pennsylvania and the Center for Dairy Excellence.



The program runs from 9 a.m. Feb. 10 until 3 p.m. Feb. 11, with cutting-edge industry-wide discussions balanced with management-driven breakout sessions offering best management practice ideas on the farm. Below are highlights of the summit program and speaker line-up. To register, visit or call the summit business office at (814) 355-2467.

Klinefelter is a professor and extension economist with Texas AgriLife Extension and Texas A&M University and founder and former director of the Executive Program for Agricultural Producers. In 2013, Top Producer magazine named him one of 30 innovators who have had the biggest impact on agriculture during the past three decades.

Klinefelter will lead three presentations on Feb. 10 – a keynote discussion on the “12 Best Management Practices of a 21st Century Farm Executive” and two breakout sessions, one on developing the next generation for your business and another on positioning and planning for business success.

Jennifer Voss

Jennifer Voss is a business consultant with the Voss Group, a business and estate planning company that helps small businesses think through their management strategies for all aspects of the operation, from personnel development and business planning to succession planning and transition.


Voss will lead two breakout sessions on Feb. 11 on “Becoming a Best Place to Work” and “Addressing the Hard and Soft Issues of Transition.”

“During my session, attendees will learn how to hone their ability to effectively lead their team as well as improve individual and team performance,” Voss explains. “This will require a shift in leadership style from command and control to engaging and empowering, and I will provide practical tools that, when implemented, will lead to a more engaged and accountable workforce.”

Joel Mergler

Joel Mergler, vice president of international market development for Select Sires, has traveled to more than 70 countries during his career working with dairy producers.

During the opening session, he will share some of his international travel experiences and perspectives on the global dairy industry to help you better understand how what happens over there affects dairy producers over here.

Gregory Miller, Ph.D., M.A.C.N., nutritional security sector lead for the Global Dairy Platform, is recognized as a leading voice in the global food system and will lead a session on “Innovations in Dairy Research.”


He is currently leading the effort to enhance dairy’s contributions toward a more sustainable food system by examining the intersection among nutrition, health, food security and environmental impact.

Miller is the chief science officer for Dairy Management Inc./National Dairy Council in Rosemont, Illinois, as well as an adjunct associate professor in the department of food science and nutrition at the University of Illinois.

“During this session, I will share what the dairy industry’s research priorities and success has been recently,” Miller says. “Both nutrition and product research priorities will be discussed, and I will highlight the impact research outcomes have had for the industry.”

Laura Daniels

Laura Daniels of Heartwood Farms is a dairy nutritionist with Vita Plus, wife, mother, farmer and agriculture activist who is passionate about the farmer’s role in educating the public about agriculture. During the Feb. 10 dinner program, she will share why dairy producers are the hitch pin desperately needed when it comes to sharing the dairy story.

In addition to her roles as a mother, farmer and nutritionist, Laura is well known for her blogs and other outreach to the non-ag public about her role as a farmer. “My blog is a place for me to share the triumphs and trials of my days on the farm,” she says. “I want anyone to feel comfortable asking any question about how I farm and how food is produced on thousands of family farms like mine across the countryside.”

Jonathan Lamb

Jonathan Lamb is a partner at Lamb Farms, which operates with milking facilities at three sites, as well as 6,500 head of replacement heifers. Jonathan is active in the Holstein Association, recently retiring from the board of directors and as chairman of the Genetic Advancement Committee. The farm also operates Oakfield Corners Dairy, a registered cattle business managed by Jonathan and his wife, Alicia.

Always a highlight of the dairy summit, the Dairy Farm Business Showcase will feature a look at the Lamb Farm and Oakfield Corners Dairy, their management philosophy, business and production best management practices, and strategy for growing and evolving in today’s dynamic dairy industry.

Jonathan will also join Chad Dechow, an associate professor with Pennsylvania State University, to speak about genomics’ applications on commercial dairy farms.

In addition to these keynote speakers, the summit program also includes a producer panel on “Best Management Practices for Maximizing Revenue in a Low-Price Environment” and a wide array of breakout sessions, with topics including:

  • The Department of Environment Protection and What’s Coming Down the Pike

  • Automated Calf Feeders, Waste Milk Pasteurizers and What Works for the Farm

  • Best Management Practices to Develop the Next Generation for Your Dairy Business

  • Best Management Practices to Strive for the Hundred-Pound Club

  • Winter Forage and Summer Forage – High-Quality Forage Both Ends of the Season

  • Positioning and Planning for Business Success

  • Personnel Management: Becoming a “Best Place to Work”

  • The Transition Cow – Managing the Immune System and How It Affects the Process

  • Genomics – Real-Time Data and How It Can Benefit Commercial Dairy Farms

  • Transitioning Your Dairy – Addressing the Hard and Soft Issues

  • A Balancing Act – Managing the Transition Cow and Hypocalcemia

Mini-breakout sessions are also planned, along with plenty of time to network in the 70-plus vendor exhibit hall with hands-on demonstrations offered throughout the event.

Those who come early can attend the Young Entrepreneurs’ Reception being held the evening of Feb. 9. Visit to learn more. Registration is now available online, with producer discounts, group rates and one-day registration offered.  PD

Jayne Sebright
  • Jayne Sebright

  • Communications and Marketing Director
  • Center For Dairy Excellence
  • Email Jayne Sebright