Day-long Workshop Offers Insight to Dairy Farm Families in Various Stages of the Transition Process

Harrisburg, Pa. – The Center for Dairy Excellence has waived the registration fee for dairy farm families to attend the Transition Planning Workshop scheduled for Thursday, February 23, at Celebration Hall in State College from 8:45 – 3 p.m. Dairy farmers have until Monday, February 20 to register their family for the workshop hosted by the Center for Dairy Excellence and Penn State Cooperative Extension.

The workshop is designed to better equip participants to work through the complex steps of transferring ownership and management of a dairy business to the next generation.Attendees will have time for discussion, role playing and sharing ideas among family members. It will also provide a look at resources available to farms interested in beginning the transition process.

In spring 2015, Rebecca Couch joined her husband Travis and mother-in-law Mary Lou at a transition workshop hosted by the Center and Penn State Dairy Extension. “The presenters were outstanding and we gained a lot of knowledge about the transition process and resources available to us,” said Couch. “The workshop also allowed us to meet other farm families that are starting or going through this process and it was encouraging to relate to them and hear their stories.” The Couch family has since successfully completed a transition plan.

The day-long workshop will be led by Penn State and Center for Dairy Excellence. Rob Goodling and Virginia Ishler, both from Penn State, will lead a session on “Knowing Your Financial Picture and Breakeven Costs” to help farm families think through what it will take to position the next generation for success. Lisa Holden with Penn State and Charlie Gardner, contractor for the Center for Dairy Excellence, will discuss family communications, roles and other dynamics.

“Transitioning the family dairy business can be extremely challenging, often with many years of planning involved,” said Jayne Sebright, executive director at the Center for Dairy Excellence. “This workshop is intended to give dairy families the skills and insight needed to evaluate their operation, identify bottlenecks, and begin the planning process.”

Gary Heim, from Mette, Evans and Woodside, will share a look at legal issues and options to consider as farms begin the planning process. Kyle Heffner, Pennsylvania Department of Agriculture Bureau of Market Development, will provide an update on financing programs through the Commonwealth.

Registration, required by Monday, February 20, will be limited to 15 families and is available on a first-come, first-serve basis. Farms are encouraged to include their key family decision makers in the workshop.

To register or for more information, visit and select “Upcoming Dairy Events” from the left side menu on the “Programs and Events” tab. If you have questions, contact the Center for Dairy Excellence at 717-346-0849 or Penn State Extension Dairy Team at 888-373-7232.

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