Offering inspiration, education, and networking for dairy farmers in all types of production, the Pennsylvania Dairy Summit is nationally recognized as one of the best conferences for dairy professionals. The 2023 Dairy Summit featured several keynote speakers and breakout sessions that covered herd, farm, and financial management topics as well as broad industry issues so there is something for everyone on dairy operation teams.

View the full program below. Speakers and sessions will be announced in the coming months for the 2024 PA Dairy Summit.

Meet the Keynote Speakers:

Bulletproof Your Farm: How Stubborn Farmers Can Work Better Together with Andy Junkin

Hear Andy’s insight on how to stop being stubborn with each other and start being stubborn with the critical habits that make a farm successful.

Andy Junkin was born and raised a dairy farmer in Bobcaygeon, Canada. After walking away from his family’s dairy barn in 2007, he has been obsessed with figuring out how to help stubborn farmers work better together. He opened his office in Ontario in 2010 and married a Midwestern farm girl in 2019. He is widely recognized as an expert on farm succession and farm debt turnarounds, having written five books on the topic, spoken in 14 states/provinces, and having helped farmers in 22 states/provinces.
Lessons Learned From the Avian Influenza Pandemic, a Panel Discussion with Dr. Kevin Brightbill, Byron Shaffer, and Jennifer Reed-Harry

Until it happens, it is hard to imagine what a highly contagious outbreak in your animal population can do to your family business. Hear from Pennsylvania’s poultry industry about what they wish they had  known when AI hit and what they are doing to never let it happen again.
Dr. Kevin Brightbill is the State Veterinarian and Director of the Bureau of Animal Health and Diagnostic Services at Pennsylvania Department of Agriculture. Dr. Brightbill brings a unique blend of extensive clinical mixed animal practice (dairy, small ruminant and companion animal medicine) and regulatory veterinary medicine expertise to tactfully address the most difficult problems. He strives to be efficient and responsive to challenges in the prevention, detection, control and eradication of diseases affecting domestic animals and poultry.

Byron Shaffer has worked at Kreider Farms for 22 years, including the last 12 as Director of Food Safety and Quality Assurance. Kreider Farms is one of the oldest and largest dairy farms and egg producers in the state of Pennsylvania. Byron is responsible for food safety, quality assurance, regulatory compliance, animal welfare and biosecurity. He was part of the leadership team at Kreider Farms that managed the index case of High Path AI in the state. A graduate of Penn State University, Byron has 40+ years in food production and resides in Lancaster County, PA.

Jennifer Reed-Harry has been following environmental regulations and legislation for the past 20+ years with a watchful eye for how it will impact the livelihood of Pennsylvania farmers and agribusiness. Jennifer serves on numerous state committees with direct oversight on issues such as compliance with Chesapeake Bay mandates, EPA, CAFO issues and land application of manure. Jennifer joined PennAg Industries Association in 2009 and works on issues related to environmental regulations and legislation, transportation, workforce labor; as well as serves as a registered lobbyist. In addition, Jennifer serves as the Executive Director of the Pennsylvania Soybean Board as well as the Eastern Region Soybean Board.
A Diversified Family Business: Producer Showcase with Ideal Dairy Farms with John Dickinson and Luke Getty

From sustainability and nutrient management to high-quality genetics and cheese processing, hear how Ideal Dairy Farms has diversified their family business and built new partnerships.

Ideal Dairy Farms, owned and operated by the Dickinson and Getty Families, started selling milk by the dipper, door to door, around 1908. Ideal Dairy packaged and sold their milk to local communities until 1987. Today, they care for their herd of registered Holsteins including 1,900 heifers and 3,200 mature cows, producing 210,000 pounds (24,000 gallons) of milk per day. To support the nutritional needs of the herd, they operate 4,500 acres in Washington and Warren counties of New York. They remain committed to the production of quality milk, using superior genetics, a focus founded with the onset of Ideal’s slogan “Where Quality and Service Meet.”
From Our Kitchen to Your Table: Family Business Showcase with Joe DelGrosso and Amy Mearkle

Now in its third generation, DelGrosso Foods has taken its place among the most highly-regarded producers of fine sauces anywhere. Hear what they have learned about food production and running a successful family business that spans decades.

Joe DelGrosso is a lifelong resident of Blair County and a second-generation member of the DelGrosso Amusement Park and DelGrosso Foods Family, where he began work at a young age. Joe took a permanent position at DelGrosso Foods in 1979 and has since led the company’s rapid growth and development where he now serves as president. Joe, his mother, and brother were personally presented with a “Small Business of the Year” award by President Bill Clinton at a White House Oval Office ceremony in 2000. Joe has appeared on numerous national and regional TV shows, including the Food Network and NBC’s Today show. 

Amy Mearkle is the Director of Marketing and Events at DelGrosso’s. Her success can be accredited to a hard work ethic that she says was instilled in her at a young age growing up on her family’s dairy farm. Amy graduated from Elizabethtown College with a bachelor’s degree in communications and a minor in public administration. Before joining the DelGrosso Family of Companies in November of 2011, Amy worked as the Morning/Noon Anchor for WTAJ-TV. Amy is active in several non-profit organizations including the Blair County Chamber of Commerce, Girls Night Out Altoona, Inc, and the Greater Altoona Career and Technology School.  
Change Management: Adapting Your Mindset with Sam Barringer

Hear lessons learned from Sam’s combat experience on leadership, teamsmanship, detecting abnormal/normal behavior, and enriching life through intentional, unforgettable moments. 

Sam Barringer –  Col Leon “Sam” Barringer – retired from the Air Force in September 2021. His 34-year career includes time as the Commander, 302nd ASTS, Peterson AFB, CO. He was responsible for overseeing the mission of deploying medical personnel to provide command, surgical support, aeromedical evacuation, nursing and specialty functions along with mental health triage and traumatic stress management, critical care expertise and surgical and dental support, and initial environmental and disease assessments. Sam is a rancher and large animal veterinarian consultant in the civilian sector.

Breakout Sessions:

Investing in Your Future with Lamar King 
It’s not my farm or your farm – it’s the family farm that’s going to continue for another 50 years. Investing in your own future typically involves retirement planning, but how do you invest in your kids’ futures as well? This session will focus on strategies you can consider to secure a solid financial future for yourself, your children, and your farm.

Spinning the Wheel of the Future with Andy Junkin 
What are the most common questions dairy farm families ask during the succession planning process? In this session, Andy Junkin will have a candid conversation with real-world examples of how to solve some of the most challenging questions related to managing a family business and finding fusion as a team.

Adding to Revenue With Diversification with John Dickinson, Daryl Martin, and Corey Mellot
Diversifying the family farm can not only strengthen your dairy operation, but it can lead to future revenue streams. During this panel discussion, multiple dairy producers will share their unique journeys, roadblocks they have encountered along the way, and the opportunities they have found with diversification.


Evaluating ROI on New Tech Tools with Greta Halahan, Ben Peckman, and Duane Stoltzfus
Technology is continually evolving, but how do you know if the “latest and greatest” dairy tech tools are worth investing in? What’s the true return on investment? In this panel discussion, several dairy producers will have an honest conversation about their firsthand experience with tools like activity monitors, precision farming technology, feed watchers and more.

Redirecting Your Business Plan for an Evolving Future with Rob Goodling, Amy Brickner and John Esh
Developing a detailed business plan can help ensure your dairy business remains profitable, but your business plan isn’t something you can stick on the shelf once you finish it. It’s a living and breathing document that must evolve alongside your business– whether you open a farm store, install robots, bring on the next generation, or enter the retail space. In this panel discussion, hear from two dairy producers who have used their business plan to grow their businesses.

An Outsider’s Look Inside Your Business with Dale Brown, Kate Kulp, and Mark Mosemann
Even professional athletes rely on coaches to assess their performance and advise them on how to up their game and achieve their peak performance. The same is true for dairy farming. This producer panel has tapped a second set of experienced eyes to look at their operations and bring an outside perspective to improving their operations and enhancing profitability. They will share their personal experience on the best ways to stay open-minded when it comes to business coaching, consulting, and mentoring.


Breeding for Enhanced Profitability with Harrison Hartman, Clint Burkholder, and Bryon Graybeal
By remaining laser-focused on breeding and genetics, many dairy producers are not only improving their herd’s performance but also enhancing their overall profitability. During this panel discussion, hear from multiple dairy producers who are infusing breeding and genetics into their herd management decisions.

Creating a Biosecurity Plan for Your Operation with Miquela Hanselman (NMPF) and Danelle Bickett-Weddle (Preventalytics)
We learned from our poultry partners the risk of not having a biosecurity plan for your operation. With National FARM’S new secure milk supply agreement, it’s easier than ever for dairy producers to put together a biosecurity plan that could protect you from a potential crisis. This session will offer updates on what is involved and provide a clear-cut checklist for biosecurity planning on the farm.

Minimizing the Impact of Heat Stress with Dr. Geoffrey Dahl 
This session will discuss the physiological impact of management interventions, including heat stress abatement, at various stages of the lactation cycle to help you harness that knowledge and optimize your herd health and performance.


Boosting Your Mental Fitness with Monica Kramer McConkey 
All too often we pour ourselves into caring for our animals at the expense of our own well-being. Being physically strong doesn’t matter if we aren’t mentally fit as well. This session will equip you with strategies to effectively take control of your mental fitness, manage stress, take care of yourself, and be available to others in this high-demand field.

Linking Your Business’s Sustainability with Environmental Sustainability with Experts From All Sectors of the Food Chain, Brett Reinford, Madelyn Daley, and Katie Morison 
If we can’t meet the environmental demands and expectations of our customers, our industry isn’t going to be sustainable, and if our industry isn’t sustainable, it jeopardizes the sustainability of each farm business. Recognizing what “customer demand” means to your farm’s future is the first step. This panel discussion will feature professionals from all sectors of the food chain to discuss the interdependency of the environmental agenda and the viability of the dairy industry.

Digging Into Regenerative Ag Planning with Shawn Saylor, Sue Ellen Johnson and Katie Sattazahn
This session will feature an insightful panel discussion about how we can cultivate regenerative agriculture to increase biodiversity, improve soil health, protect waters, and support high-yielding livestock and growing businesses.


Have questions? Email for more information about the event.


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