Dairy Farmers Attend DFA Southeast Leadership Conference

August 5, 2010

KNOXVILLE, Tenn. – Nearly 300 dairy farmers and industry leaders gathered recently for the annual Leadership Conference hosted for members of Dairy Farmers of America, Inc.’s (DFA) Southeast Area.

“The Leadership Conference is an important opportunity for members to share ideas and gain valuable knowledge about the dairy industry,” said Mickey Childers, Southeast Area chairman. “DFA’s grassroots structure is built around programs like this, which allow members to collect information and take it back to fellow DFA members in their local districts.”

The conference provided members with an overview of the global dairy economy, an update on Cooperative business and a closer look at some of the farm services available to help manage on-farm costs and profitability.

Special guests discussed the importance of farm succession planning and communication in family operations, as well as trends in agriculture lending. In addition, Tom Gallagher, chief executive officer of Dairy Management Inc. (DMI), shared the details of numerous promotion initiatives underway to increase dairy consumption.

Select members of DFA’s management team were on hand for the conference, including:

  • Rick Smith, president and chief executive officer, who gave a Cooperative business update
  • Jim Hahn, chief operating officer for the Southeast Area, who spoke about local operations and initiatives underway in the Southeast
  • John Wilson, senior vice president of marketing and industry affairs, who provided an overview of current market trends
  • Jay Waldvogel, senior vice president of strategy and international development, who provided insights on the global economy and world trade
  • Shonda Wills, director of Dairy Risk Management Services, who outlined options available to help manage price risk
  • David Darr, vice president of sustainability and public affairs, who talked about DFA’s Gold Standard Program and the importance of animal care and wellness
  • Bruce Hageman, vice president of Farm Services, who described services and programs available to help members improve on-farm efficiencies and increase profit margins

Attendees also had the opportunity to participate in post-conference seminars on Dairy Risk Management Services and Dairy Grazing Services, both offered through DFA’s Farm Services division.