Featured photo: The Professional Dairy Managers of Pennsylvania elected three new members to its Board of Directors at the annual meeting held November 4, in Mifflintown, Pa. From left: Lucas Waybright is a 9th generation dairyman in Adams County; Matt Wanner is 7th generation dairy producer in Lancaster County; John Williamson is a founder of TeamAg, Inc.

The Professional Dairy Managers of Pennsylvania elected three new members to its board of directors during the PDMP annual meeting held November 4 in Mifflintown, Pennsylvania  PDMP members and guests also explored the issue of family business transition.

Matt Wanner was elected to serve on the Board of Directors for one of the two producer terms beginning January 1, 2016.  He is half of the 7th generation operating Wanner’s Pride and Joy Dairy on land in Lancaster County that was originally deeded to William Penn.  In partnership with his brother, John and father, Alfred, Matt is the dairy manager for the operation with responsibility for directing all animal nutrition, reproduction, health and welfare protocols, milk quality and cleaning protocols for their 700 mature cows and equal number of young stock.

The second open producer seat on the Board will be filled by Lucas Waybright.  Lucas is one of the 9th generation currently working alongside the 8th generation at Mason Dixon Farms, milking 2,400 animals and farming 3,000 acres in Gettysburg, PA.  This 2010 Ag Business graduate of Delaware Valley University is responsible for Mason Dixon’s maintenance and special projects.  He works daily with the dairy’s complex methane digester (the first of its kind in the Nation), manure system, and lagoons and all harvest operations.

Elected to the Associate seat opening on the Board as of January 1, 2015 is John Williamson of TeamAg Inc.  John Williamson was one of the founding members of TeamAg.  He holds a degree in Civil Engineering from Ohio State and earned Master’s Degrees in Regional Planning and Ag Engineering from Cornell University.

PDMP President, Walt Moore of Walmoore Holsteins in Chester County, recognized the outgoing Board members who are meeting their term limits at the end of this year; Tony Brubaker of Brubaker Farms, Keith Spicher of Kish-View Farms and Jeff Ainslie of Red Barn Consulting.

“All three have been tremendous assets to PDMP and the entire industry through their leadership in this organization,” said Moore.  “They each have brought so much with their contribution of time, talent, and passion for dairy.”

A review of accomplishments over the past year and focus for the coming was presented by Executive Director Alan Novak, at the annual meeting.

“From food labeling and right to use technology to farm, to immigrant labor and environmental regulations, PDMP is the voice for dairy producers with the folks who set policy on issues that impact our ability to prosper,” said Novak.  “This coming year we will be calling upon our members even more to interface with decision makers in Harrisburg and Washington.”

In other business, several upcoming programs were announced, including the PA Dairy Summit February 10&11, hosted by PDMP and the Center for Dairy Excellence.  Attendees were reminded that the Summit will return to State College in 2016 and that entries in the Forage Analysis Competition, held in conjunction with the conference, must be submitted between December 1 – 31, 2015.

The annual meeting was followed by the PDMP Fall Issues Forum; a panel discussion from different perspectives on family business transitions.  Duane Hertzler, the ‘Passer’ of Rock Hollow Dairy shared his experience in transitioning ownership and management to his son and Carissa Itle Westrick gave her vantage point as part of the ‘Receiver’ generation at Vale Woods Farms.  Mike Hosterman of AgChoice and ag attorney, Gary Heim offered their insights from having worked with hundreds of farm families in transitioning the business from one generation to the next.