From conferences that allow you to meet other dairy farmers to listening to podcasts while you’re working in the barn, professional development doesn’t have to be a huge time commitment. To help you make it a priority in 2024, read on to hear from three dairy producers who share simple ideas for professional development.

Learn from and network with other farmers

“Hearing one of the keynote speakers at the Pennsylvania Dairy Summit talk about his mentality for [working with family] was intriguing and challenging,” said Kerry Zeiset, a Pennsylvania dairy farmer. “He shared how change is possible, and once we are all pulling together on things rather than apart, so much more can be accomplished. That was a really good challenge because we are doing a farm transition. You have to be willing to work together.

“Sitting beside other farmers at the Summit helped me realize we’re all in this together. Nobody has it all figured out. It was encouraging,” Zeiset added.

Hosted by the Professional Dairy Managers of Pennsylvania and Center for Dairy Excellence, the Pennsylvania Dairy Summit will be held February 7 and 8, 2024, in Lancaster, Pa. The event brings together dairy producers and allied industry representatives from around the state and country who want to unlock their potential and boost their performance. Visit to learn more and register today.

Become a better communicator through dairy-specific courses

Led by Katie Dotterer of AgvoKate, the online winter course titled “Spanish for Agriculture” includes dairy and agriculture-specific vocabulary. The Center for Dairy Excellence is offering $100 discounts for dairy producers from any state who sign up for the course being held from January 16 to March 7, 2024. Producers must sign up by January 11 to receive the discount.

“I loved getting back into the Spanish language. For any dairy that works with Spanish-speaking personnel and are sweating the communication gap, this course will help alleviate the stress of communication. Learning the proper terms of all things dairy around the farm has been a great benefit to communicating with our Spanish-speaking employees,” said Pamela Barnes of Maple Knoll Farm in Pennsylvania.

Pick one new idea to take back to your farm

“If you can visit another farm, go to a seminar, or listen to a podcast and pick up just one thing you can learn and take back to your farm, it’s well worth it,” said Neil Hertzler, a Pennsylvania dairy farmer.

With more than 13,600 downloads to date, the Center for Dairy Excellence’s Cow-Side Conversations podcast shares real-time farmer insight, tricks of the trade, and inspiring stories from dairies across Pennsylvania. “I’ve been able to get one really interesting thing I can take home with me from each podcast episode,” Hertzler described.

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(c) Hoard's Dairyman Intel 2023
January 4, 2024
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