Dairy checkoff was a key sponsor for the Pennsylvania Dairy Summit this week in State College, Pa. ADA North East hosted one of the keynote speakers – John Dickinson and Luke Getty from Ideal Dairy Farms in Hudson Falls, N.Y., and participated in several other sessions.

Dickinson and Getty were the “Producer Showcase” session where they discussed their diversified family business where they milk about 3,500 cows and bottle milk, raise heifers, and focus on genetics with their Cookiecutter Holstein herd.

Dairy Management Inc.’s Stan Erwine joined dairy farmer Brett Reinford from Mifflintown, Pa., and Katie Morison from the Hershey corporation in a panel discussion about consumers and environmental sustainability.

“If we’re going to progress, we have to do it together as a value chain,” said Erwine.

Reinford added, “We need to move in the direction of meeting the criteria of what consumers want, and what the companies that are buying our products want.”

Dairy Management Inc. Chair and Pennsylvania dairy farmer Marilyn Hershey and ADA North CEO John Chrisman participated in a Q&A session, “What Has Checkoff Done for Me Lately?”

“It all comes down to partnerships with other organizations – those that have larger budgets than we do at both the national and grassroots levels, and that support our initiatives to build sales and demand for dairy – to get things done in checkoff,” said Chrisman.

Dairy farmer Rob Barley from Star Rock Farms in Conestoga, Pa., agreed, saying, “Checkoff’s budget is so much smaller than what a cola or beer company has, so it’s important to continue to embrace all kinds of promotion ideas – and to help independent-minded dairy farmers to understand how their investment is working.”