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I belong to... Pennsylvania Dairy Task Force: Lolly Lesher

PD Editor Emily Caldwell Published on 18 January 2011


0211pd_ibt_lesher_1“Lolly brings a unique perspective on the dairy value chain and a tremendous passion for the long term sustainability and growth of this industry. She has a keen understanding of what it is going to take to keep Pennsylvania a viable dairy state and brings this understanding to numerous discussions both as chair of the Center for Dairy Excellence Board and a member of the Dairy Task Force. Lastly, she has been very active in meeting with legislators about dairy, the Center for Dairy Excellence, and the value of the Dairy Task Force.”

—John Frey, Executive Director, Center for Dairy Excellence

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Lolly Lesher, member of the Pennsylvania Dairy Task Force

( to learn more about the Pennsylvania Dairy Task Force and the Center for Dairy Excellence.)

Age: 47

Location: Bernville, Pennsylvania

My dairy background:
I did not grow up on a commercial dairy farm. My mom had a Guernsey and a Brown Swiss that we milked by hand and had a butter route. But I showed dairy animals as a 4-Her, and I had a passion for dairy promotion.

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If I wasn’t a dairy producer, I would be
working in the public relations and event marketing industry.

I have served on the Dairy Task Force
since its inception.

I decided to become a part of the Dairy Task Force because
the dairy industry in Pennsylvania is a huge economic driver, and there is a need for all the segments to work together and move the entire industry forward.

Another member of the Dairy Task Force who I admire is
Allyn Lamb. His insight and vision have been a help in creating an effective task force. He saw a need to create a profitability measurement system. His support for a benchmarking system and protocols that all dairy farmers can use to evaluate their business is a really essential business tool.

The Dairy Task Force has five sub-committees, which serve as the “think tanks” for the Center for Dairy Excellence. I have been apart of
the communication and education subcommittees. The volunteers who serve on the committees offer a wide variety of talents and skills. The discussions are lively, thoughtful and intuitive. This is an excellent way to get new ideas and better serve the industry from the farm to fork.

The Dairy Task Force is a valuable resource for Pennsylvania dairy producers because
it provides honest evaluation, unlimited resources and skills and works continuously to provide a positive atmosphere so that all dairy farms in Pennsylvania can succeed.

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The biggest strength for the Pennsylvania dairy industry is
building on our diversity, our proximity to markets and the dedicated work force. The dairy industry will change as years pass, but it will be a viable and profitable business for Pennsylvania families for decades to come.

My worst struggle in dairying has been
getting the real dairy message out to consumers, and getting the message out to educators and decision makers that I value my animals, my land and water resources. Farmers are the original environmentalists and animal care-givers. We walk and cherish our farm resources.

I hope my dairy legacy will be
that the customers that visit Way-Har Farms have the best tasting milk and ice cream they ever experienced. That as they visit our store and farm, they see the care and dedication we have to our farm, our resources and our family.

My advice to all dairy producers is
speak up at church, at PTA, at the doctor’s office – to share a quick story about your family and your farm. No need to preach or lecture on the values of milk – but share the joy and value you and your family have in your daily life. Help our non-farm neighbors understand, just a little, how much we care about our cows, our land, our water and our families.

I want other Pennsylvania producers to know
we are always seeking new members and volunteers for the Dairy Task Force. The committees and task force need producers, suppliers, buyers and retailers to make the circle of the dairy industry complete. Each producer has a story and skills they could share. It would be great if they would help in our programming.

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The Pennsylvania Dairy Task Force is a program of the Center for Dairy Excellence.

Address:
2301 North Cameron Street, Suite 205
Harrisburg, PA 17110
Phone: (717) 346-0849
Fax: (717) 705-2342
Website: www.centerfordairyexcellence.org
E-mail: Year organized: 2003

Volunteers who serve: 110

Number of dairy farms served: 7,400 (all Pennsylvania dairy farms)

Vision: The Pennsylvania Dairy Task Force provides the opportunity to bring leaders together to collaborate and to guide the work of the Center for Dairy Excellence. The Dairy Task Force also serves as a resource to the Pennsylvania Secretary of Agriculture.

Mission:
The volunteers of the Dairy Task Force envision a dairy industry that...
• Embraces all Pennsylvania dairy herds, focuses on improving their profitability, and supports their growth and development through a progressive and proactive infrastructure, resulting in an adequate supply of high-quality dairy products preferred by consumers.
• Stimulates the collaboration of new and existing dairy production, farm management and business planning tools to help dairy producers improve performance, better utilize inputs and increase profits.
• Collaborates across all segments of the industry to communicate effectively, share ideas and support each other to enhance the statewide industry.
• Proactively demonstrates to elected officials and our non-farm neighbors the dairy industry's contribution to Pennsylvania's economy and environmental well being, seeking fairness in the laws that govern our producers and the programs available to our industry.

Core programs of the Center for Dairy Excellence, overseen by the Dairy Task Force:
On-farm dairy resource team, Dairy Decisions Consultant, Dairy PROS, “My Dairy Plan”, Risk Management Advisory Resources, Dairy Profitability Forum, Mastering the Dairy Business calls, Open House and Dairy Tours, the Center for Dairy Excellence Foundation of Pennsylvania, Practical Dairy Advisor program

The following programs are also done in conjunction with organizations such as the Mid-Atlantic Dairy Association and the Pennsylvania Dairy Promotion Program (with funding from Dairy Checkoff): Discover Dairy and Dairy Farmers Speakers Bureau.

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