High school students encouraged to participate in April event

CDEHigh school students interested in careers within the dairy industry are invited to participate in a day-long tour of two southeastern Pennsylvania dairy farms on Friday, April 8. The tour, which will be held in Lancaster County, will give students the opportunity to gain firsthand knowledge of modern working dairy farms, while showcasing careers within the dairy industry as well as agricultural technologies used to help improve today's farming practices.

The first stop, Stoney Path Farm, owned and operated by Jeff and Jesslyn Balmer, currently milks 120 cows and farms 110 acres in Lititz, Pa. With the farm bordering a key water source for the township, the Balmers have recently introduced a manure storage tank that can hold 6 to 8 months of waste as well as implemented a special manure management plan. Additionally, the Balmers implemented two robotic milking units that they credit for calmer cows, increased production and improved herd management.

Brubaker Farms located in Mount Joy, Pa., milks 950 cows and was recognized as the 2011 most innovative farm in the nation and will be the second farm featured during the tour. Owned and operated by Mike and Tony Brubaker, Brubaker Farms prides itself on environmental stewardship through constant innovation. Currently, a methane digester powers most of the farm by disposing on-farm manure as well as food scraps from Elizabethtown College. Additionally, the Brubakers have installed solar panels that are located on the top of their cow barn and utilize hops and barley byproducts from a local brewery in their cow's feed rations.

In addition to touring the dairy facilities, students will hear from industry representatives who will share information about their role on the dairy farm, as well as introduce them to the several careers that are available within the dairy industry.

Students must register for the Dairy Leaders of Tomorrow Farm Tour by March 25. Tentatively, locations for bus pick-up will be in State College, Pa., and Harrisburg, Pa., with definite locations being determined at the end of registration.

This tour is funded by the Center for Dairy Excellence Foundation of Pennsylvania, with lunch generously sponsored by Phibro Animal Health Corporation and hosted at Binkley & Hurst.

More details and information can be found by visiting www.centerfordairyexcellence.org under the Upcoming Events tab. To register, contact Mary Foote at the Center for Dairy Excellence at 717-346-0849 or mfoote@centerfordairyexcellence.org.

Media contact: Jayne Sebright, 717-817-1376; jsebright@centerfordairyexcellence.org

The Center for Dairy Excellence is a non-profit organization initiated by the Pennsylvania Department of Agriculture in 2004. Bringing together people from more than 40 different dairy organizations in Pennsylvania, the Center's mission is to enhance the profitability of the dairy industry by empowering people, creating partnerships, and increasing the availability and use of resources. Learn more about the Center at www.centerfordairyexcellence.org.
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