2009-01-15 / Local & State

Hissong Named President Of Professional Dairy Managers

Rod Hissong from Mercer Vu Farms, Mercersburg, became president of the Professional Dairy Managers of Pennsylvania (PDMP) on January 1, taking office for the 2009 term. He is part of the new leadership for the organization, which held elections for two board members during the annual membership meeting in November and elected officers at a board of directors meeting in December.

Hissong began his presidency by asking dairy producers throughout the state to join him "as PDMP works to help producers navigate through the difficult dairy climate."

His call to action pointed to a coming year that "looks to be difficult for most of us - too high of costs and too low of milk price, a down economy, and all of the other issues that are being placed on our plates." He stressed, "We won't be able to thrive in the next upturn, let alone survive the next downturn, unless we work together to effectively navigate whatever climate we find ourselves in."

A third generation on the dairy farm, Hissong has been a member of PDMP for 10 years and moves up from the position of vice president, which he has held for four terms. Although his family dairy farm is now one of Pennsylvania's largest, he notes that PDMP has been invaluable in all its stages of development, and he is especially vocal about the networking and learning experiences PDMP has presented as their farm has grown from having 100 cows in the early 1990s.

He points out, "One of the misconceptions about PDMP is that when we say we represent progressive dairy producers we mean big ... We dairymen and women are a shrinking population. There is enough fragmentation going on in the dairy industry that we cannot afford to separate ourselves from large or small."

Moving into the position of vice president for 2009 is Dale Hoffman, owner of Kar-Dale Acres, Shinglehouse, Pa. He was re-elected to the board by the membership in November

Other officers serving during the coming year are secretary Dina Zug, Zugstead Farm, Mifflintown and treasurer Gary Kline, Y Run Farms, LLC, Troy, Pa.

The 2009 board will also welcome newly elected member Glenn Gorrell. Glenn and his wife, Robin have a dairy farm in East Smithfield, Bradford County, Pa., with a herd of 590 cows and 440 heifers. They farm 1,100 acres of corn and 900 acres of hay. A member of Land O'Lakes cooperative, Glenn currently holds the unit delegate position. He also serves the ag industry as president of the Bradford County Extension Board, a member of Pennsylvania Farm Bureau, a representative for AgChoice Farm Credit, and chair of the annual dairy tour held by PDMP and the Penn State Dairy Alliance. He is a local board member of First Citizens National Bank in Troy.

Gorrell joins a board of producers and agribusiness representatives that also includes Mike Hosterman, of AgChoice Farm Credit, Chambersburg; Jeff Harding, Elanco, State College, and Duane Hershey, Ar-Joy Farm, Cochranville. Logan Bower, Pleasant View Farms, Blain, who had served for five terms as president, now assumes the role of immediate past president on the board.

Alan Novak of Novak Strategic Advisors, Harrisburg, serves as executive director of PDMP, and The Heuser Group, based in Bellefonte, provides business office support.

PDMP is an organization of progressive, positive-minded dairy producers and agribusiness leaders. Its mission is to advance the dairy industry in Pennsylvania through improved productivity and profitability. For more information on PDMP, visit its Web site at www.pdmp.org or email info@pdmp.org.

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