32 dairy leaders convened in Carlisle, PA on Monday, October 15 to plan future goals and next steps for the dairy industry in Pennsylvania. Following a key recommendation of the Center for Dairy Excellence’s 2017 Pennsylvania Dairy Study to organize a series of strategic planning sessions with key industry stakeholders, Center for Dairy Excellence requested Team Pennsylvania to facilitate the meeting.

Attendees represented various aspects of Pennsylvania’s unique dairy stakeholder group, including dairy farmers, academia, regional and national cooperatives, and agricultural financial lenders. Organization representation from the Pennsylvania Farm Bureau and the Pennsylvania Association of Milk Dealers was present, as well as public-sector participation from the Pennsylvania Milk Marketing Board and the Pennsylvania Department of Agriculture.

Team Pennsylvania facilitated the strategic planning session as a series of four breakout sessions. The first session began the day by asking the group to envision big goals for Pennsylvania dairy. Participants were asked to generate newspaper headlines they’d wish to see in the future regarding dairy in PA. From there, sessions focused on ideation of no-to-low cost strategies and action areas, to strategies and actions with a figurative substantial infusion of new funding. Another session asked participants to examine the industry from a pre-competitive space to identify areas that would best benefit from strategic collaboration. To wrap up the day, six key priorities were identified and attendees shifted from talk to action by naming themselves as champions of the priority areas.

Team Pennsylvania challenged the Champions to convene the first meetings of their groups by December 31, 2018. The goal of those meetings is to create an 18-month plan of action. Team Pennsylvania will continue to assist the Center for Dairy Excellence in providing support through the Champions’ group meetings.

As an organization, Team PA is thankful for the opportunity to convene groups like this. Dairy is a keystone sector in our agriculture industry. We see that the PA dairy leaders are united by common goals and ready to make a lasting impact. We look forward to assisting this group as they charge ahead over the next several months.