Dairy Center, Stakeholders join for benefit of Pennsylvania dairy industry

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HARRISBURG — Pennsylvania’s dairy industry will benefit from the joining of the Center for Dairy Excellence and the Pennsylvania Dairy Stakeholders, which will provide leadership, education and advocacy to boost the industry.

The groups’ boards of directors recently met to prepare for the integration of the two organizations that will start operating under the name of the Center for Dairy Excellence beginning Dec. 31.

Leon Graves of Syracuse, N.Y., board president of the Pennsylvania Dairy Stakeholders said the Dairy Stakeholders board is fully committed to proactively bringing the two organizations together, adding the move will eliminate some of the duplication and confusion arising from having multiple organizations within the industry.

“With 7,400 dairy farms and $4.5 billion in economic revenue, a strong dairy industry is critical to the commonwealth,” Agriculture Secretary Russell C. Redding said. “Having unity in the dairy leadership will be tremendously beneficial in bringing a new level of resources to our dairy farms and providing input to shaping dairy policy in Pennsylvania.”

Plans

The groups reviewed the center’s existing programs and identified future industry needs, recognizing priorities for the combined organization.

“The center has a complete staff dedicated to serving the dairy industry and individual dairy farms day in and day out,” said John Frey, Center for Dairy Excellence executive director. “That aspect of our organization allows the center to be a valuable resource for Pennsylvania’s dairy farm families and infrastructure within the dairy industry.”

“Since its inception, the Dairy Stakeholders focused on providing leadership for the industry, from farm to fork, by bringing together members from the production, processing and retail segments of the industry,” said N. Alan Bair, facilitator for the group. “That is something we can bring to the center to make it an even greater resource for the industry.”

Future

After the first of the year, all operations of the Dairy Stakeholders will be consolidated into the center. A combined transition board meeting is set for January to begin the transition to a permanent Center for Dairy Excellence board to be in place by 2012, with representatives from both boards.

For more information about the integration of the Center for Dairy Excellence and the Pennsylvania Dairy Stakeholders, call 717-346-0849.

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