Producers Interested in Value-Added Enterprise Invited to Learn From Others' Experience

CDEThe Center for Dairy Excellence will host an "On-Farm Processing Forum" on Thursday, October 13, from 11 a.m. 2 p.m. at the Hoss's Steak and Sea House in Carlisle, Pa. The purpose of the event is to give producers considering this option an opportunity to hear from others who have experience in processing milk and other dairy products on the farm.

"The center has received a number of calls from producers who are asking what it would take to start their own processing business on the farm," said Jayne Sebright, executive director at the Center for Dairy Excellence. "We thought the best people to give these producers more perspective on what planning and marketing needs to go into a venture like this would be other producers who have already done something like this on their own."

The forum will include lunch and a panel of three producers who have experience in on-farm processing. The panelists include:

  • Lolly Lesher, partner at Way-Har Farms and Way-Har Farm Market in Bernville, Berks County. The Leshers bottle milk and make homemade ice cream from their cows' milk, which is sold at their farm market located next to the farm.
  • Emily Montgomery, partner at Calkins Creamery in Honesdale, Wayne County. Calkins Creamery specializes in fine artisanal cheeses processed from milk produced on Highland Farm, owned by Emily's father and brother, Bill and Zach Bryant.
  • A third panelist yet to be announced.

Following the panel, there will be a short period for questions and answers with a presentation by Jared Grissinger, Division Chief for Economic Development at the Pennsylvania Department of Agriculture, who will lead a discussion on resources available to farms through state and federal programs.

The on-farm processing forum is the first step in a two-part program the center is supporting in conjunction with the Pennsylvania State University. For producers who are interested in taking the next step toward a value-added venture, Penn State Extension Dairy Team will offer a full one-day On-Farm Processing Workshop in two locations in February. This workshop will include technical and logistical insight from industry experts in the area of dairy processing. More information on this workshop will be made available at the forum in October.

There is no cost to attend the October on-farm processing forum. However, pre-registration is required. To register, please contact the Center for Dairy Excellence at 717-346-0849 or contact Melissa Anderson at

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