Farmer Panel a Highlight at NEAFA Annual Meeting

NEAFA is looking forward to the March 4th, 2019 farmer panel that promises to be an outstanding compliment to their great conference that runs from March 3rd-6th! The four-farmer panel, whose members are all prominent in their fields, will be moderated by Corwin Holtz, a NEAFA board member and president at Holtz Nelson Dairy Consultants, a group of nine independent dairy nutrition and management consultants working with dairy producers in New York, Pennsylvania, Ohio and the New England states. The farmer panel includes Blake Gendebein, Beth Kennett, Jonathan Lamb, and Neil Rejman.

“I'm very happy to be a moderator for what I see is a very diverse panel,” said Holtz. “The panel covers a wide spectrum of the northeast dairy industry in terms of herd size and management types. Each of them have common challenges, but because of the diversity of the panel members unique challenges in their own situations. I'm looking forward to how they see 2019 shaping up for them, and how they see the N.E. Dairy Industry progressing in the next 5-10 years.”

Blake Gendebein is one of 14 directors for AgriMark Cooperative, the makers of Cabot Cheese, as well as the owner of a 550 cow dairy. “Our farm brings diversity to the forefront,” said Gendebein. “We're able to support our dairy by adding over $2.00 per cwt with non milk income. This takes significant effort in developing value added relationships. I'm excited to share my experiences with the panel and to help connect dairy farm family views with NEAFA membership.”

Jonathan Lamb is a partner at his family's 8000 cow dairy. The farm operates with milking facilities at four sites in New York and Ohio. Lamb is active in the Holstein Association, where he served as Chairman of the Genetic Advancement Committee for 5 years. Lamb currently serves as a board member and Finance chair for Erie-Niagara Insurance Company, and as a delegate for Upstate-Niagara Milk Cooperative and Select Sire Power, Inc.

Neil Rejman is owner and dairy manager of Sunnyside farms, a 4,500 cow dairy, as well as the Chairman of the board for Cayuga Milk Ingredients. “I'll be sharing my concern about the lack of competitiveness in the northeast dairy industry, primarily due to our high feed cost (high basis) and decreasing milk premiums (lower basis),” said Rejman. “While this may not be a very positive message, I think it is very realistic, and it needs to be discussed in order for our industry to find solutions.”

Beth Kennett has operated Liberty Hill Farm (LHF) with her husband Bob since 1979. LHF is a farm vacation business, providing lodging and meals for guests from around the world since 1984. “Agricultural tourism creates a significant impact with our communities by allowing for personal relationships between farmer and consumer,” said Kennett. “It is not just local food, farm to table, or even putting the face on the farmer, it's creating meaningful dialogue that goes both ways to improve understanding between farmers and their community. I am truly honored to participate at the NEAFA conference with those who provide for the needs of our cows, our farms, and our families by helping them create opportunities to spread the positive message of agriculture.”

The NEAFA annual meeting promises to be a full, educational and fun event for all attendees. In addition to NEAFA's programming, there is a risk management program available from International FC Stone (IFCS, IFCS is a global company offering comprehensive risk management tools and services, will be hosting their annual Global Markets Outlook Conference at Rosen Shingle Creek Resort during our NEAFA conference. They're graciously offering deep discounts to our members to participate in 3 sessions on Sunday March 3, 2019. The risk management refresher is free, and the other two seminars (OTC price-risk management and a fertilizer summit) are $250 each for NEAFA members. The risk management refresher is from 10:00 am – 12:00 pm. It's a brief, interactive two hour presentation on the foundation of the futures and options markets including material on hedging mechanics and strategy.

The OTC price-risk management session is from 1:00 – 5:45 pm. This valuable session is for becoming more familiar with the OTC-Swap market. A variety of commodity markets will be used to illustrate the different uses of OTC tools. This is a good opportunity to get an understanding of what tools are available, how they function, and their impact on markets. Available to NEAFA members at a $100 discount for $250.

At the same time as the OTC management session is a fertilizer summit from 1:00 – 5:15 pm. The IFCS team will be combining market outlook with information on how to use the available tools to manage risk, as well as enhance grain origination. Available to NEAFA members at a $100 discount for $250.

To register for one or all of these seminars, please click here.When registering, choose “NEAFA” from the drop down menu to activate the discount.