Six dairy calf and heifer raisers have been selected to participate in the 2013 Dairy Calf and Heifer Association (DCHA) Merck Animal Health Leadership Program. Now in its fifth year, the program is designed to help provide future leaders in the dairy industry with professional training and the opportunity to develop valuable business and leadership skills.

 “By choosing to participate in the Merck Animal Health program, these individuals have made a commitment to become more involved within the industry and take on leadership roles,” says Jack Banker, DCHA president, of Black Creek, Wis. “DCHA is privileged to have the opportunity to work with this group of passionate and committed dairymen and women who bring energy and passion to our industry, and insight and vision for its future.”

 The following class members, representing several types of dairy calf and heifer businesses, have been chosen to participate in the 2013 program.

  • Pamela (PJ) Barnes, the co-owner of the Maple Knoll Farm in Lawrenceville, Pa., milks 200 cows and raises 250 calves and heifers.
    • Cali Edler, from Winslow, Ill., is a calf and heifer manager for Cam-Cal-Kar Dairy Farms and Godfrey Farms. She manages six employees who raise more than 2,000 dairy heifers.
      • T.J. McClure is the general business manager for Circle Heifer Development, LLC, in Garden City, Kan. He manages seven employees who raise 6,500 Holstein heifers.
        • Andrea Radke-Rynes, from Hawk High Dairy in Norwalk, Wis., co-manages her family’s 20-year-old dairy, which milks 500 cows and raises more than 500 calves and heifers.
          • Jenny Siemers is the herd manager for her family’s fifth-generation dairy farm in Newton, Wis. She oversees the daily operations of the 2,500 cow, heifer and calf facility.
            • Kitty Waggoner, the owner of Kiss ‘Em All Dairy, in Pendleton, S.C., raises more than 40 Holstein and Jersey calves and heifers and is the sole manager of the operation.

              This year’s leadership program includes two 4-hour training sessions involving class members and the DCHA board. The first took place during the 2013 DCHA Conference and featured an effective behavior and communications skills workshop taught by Don Walker, national account manager for Merck Animal Health. The second training program will be held in October during World Dairy Expo in Madison, Wis.

              Class members also will have the opportunity to serve on a DCHA committee during the year, applying their leadership skills and gaining dairy industry connections essential for future leadership success.

              “Merck Animal Health is proud to support the development of the next generation of dairy industry leaders through our continued sponsorship of this professional training program,” says Rick Jackson, dairy marketing manager for Merck Animal Health. “These skills will not only benefit the class members themselves, but also will have a lasting, positive impact on their dairy operations, their communities and the dairy industry.”