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2024 NODPA Field Days

Nichols Volunteer Fire Hall, Nichols, NY
Demystifying Succession Planning for Organic Dairy Farms
The 24th Annual NODPA Field Days
September 26 & 27, 2024
Nichols Volunteer Fire Hall
106 West River Road, Nichols, NY 13812

The 24th Annual NODPA Field Days is fast approaching and we hope everyone will find the time to attend for both days because we have an excellent and very relevant educational program and two farm tours. This year, the NODPA Field Days focuses on demystifying the succession planning process for organic dairy farms.

While there are any number of different webinars, workshops and presentation on farm transfer, none approach the challenge from an organic dairy perspective. A few examples raised by producers are:

  • Should the farm stay organically certified, a priority for the current owners but maybe not for the next generation?

  • Organic dairy requires more pasture for grazing as opposed to conventional dairy, and the alternative return on assets, in keeping land in organic dairy, is a lot less than selling some for development or more intensively managed crops that yield more return per acre.

  • The lack of any federal safety net, no transparency in pricing, and the lack of security in individual contracts, plus the loss of organic integrity in the marketplace, may not provide the necessary security required by lenders and family members.

  • Lifestyle may also be an important concern as the next generation may not want a life tied to the farm with possibly limited financial return and room for expansion.

None of these problems are insurmountable and there are many ways to come to agreement to meet different expectations. Sometimes assumptions made by either party may be incorrect, BUT the sooner a process can be started to address these and other issues, the more likely there will be good decisions made in anticipation of change rather than as a reaction to it.

At the 24th Annual NODPA Field Days, we will bring together all of the topics, experts, and experiences that will help guide you through a complex process. We will hear from farmers who have successfully and not so successfully, been through the process, from farmers in the midst of it; from those farmers who have moved on and those who are getting started. Regardless where a person or family is in the farm transfer process, everyone admits that it’s stressful and stirs up a lot of emotion and feelings. Come to hear how everyone has dealt with it, and share your own experiences, concerns and questions.


Take advantage of the Early Bird Rates! Register by Saturday, September 14th and pay online, by mail or at Field Days registration. Just let us know you are attending in order to get the lower rates.

Register here.

24th Annual NODPA Field Days Program

MK Dairy, LLC, Owego, NY

Thursday, September 26, 2024

8:30 – 11:30 am Farm Tour:

Farm Tour: MK Dairy, LLC, 5932 Waite Road, Owego, NY 13827, hosted by Madeline and Bruce Poole.

12:00 – 1:00 pm

NODPA Field Days Registration and lunch, Nichols Volunteer Fire Hall, 106 West River Road, Nichols, NY 13812

1:00 – 1:30

The State of the Organic Dairy Industry in the Northeast and the importance of succession planning now. Ed Maltby, NODPA Executive Director

1:30 – 2:30

Where to Start? The most important questions to be answered to get started, and why this is a critical time to begin. Ted LeBow, Co-CEO, Kitchen Table Consultants, Bala Cnwyd, PA

2:30 – 3:30

What Does the Succession Planning Structure and Process Look Like? Christopher Anderson, Nordic Geo Solutions, Southern Tier, NY, Madeline Poole, MK Dairy, LLC, Owego, NY, and Liz Bawden, Bawden Family Farms, Hammond, NY

3:30 – 4:30

Building Your Team: the nuts and bolts of assembling a team of professionals. Who to include, when and why, and the costs to expect; plus where to look for financial assistance. Ted LeBow, Kitchen Table Consulting, Jen Miller, NOFA-VT Farmer Services Director, and Chris Anderson, Nordic Geo Solutions.

4:30 – 5:30

Trade Show and Social Hour

5:30 – 7:00

Banquet and NODPA Annual Meeting

7:00 – 8:30

Sharing our Succession Experiences: a facilitated discussion with farmers and families at all stages of the succession process. Klaas Marten and Zach Pizzenti (invited), Marten Organic Dairy, Penn Yan, NY, Dave Johnson, Provident Farm, Liberty, PA, Henry Perkins, Bison Ridge Farm, Albion, ME and Jacki Perkins, MOFGA Organic Dairy and Livestock Specialist, Unity, ME, and Roman Stoltzfoos, Spring Wood Organic Farm, Kinzers, PA.


Meeting ends.

24th Annual NODPA Field Days

Engelbert Farms, Nichols, NY

Friday, September 27, 2024

6:30 – 9:00 am

Continental Breakfast-Nichols Volunteer Fire Hall

7:00 – 9:00 am

Producer-Only Meeting

9:00 – 10:30

Setting up Your Farm Business for a Successful Transfer: financial planning, analysis, and management for generational profitability. Jen Miller, NOFA-VT Farmer Services Director and Sarah Flack, Sarah Flack Consulting, Northern Vermont

10:30 – 11:30

The Plain Community Succession Planning and Farm Transfer: within families and farm transfers from outside the community. Nathan Weaver, Windhover Farm and Alex Weaver, Grunen Aue Farm, Canastota, NY, George Wright, Wright Dairy, Hermon, NY, and Sarah Flack, facilitator.

11:30 – 12:00 pm

NODPA Field Days Farm Tour: Engelbert Farms Nichols, NY 13812. An introduction to the Engelbert’s and their family farm. Joe and John Engelbert

!2:00 – 1:00

Lunch and Door prize drawing


Travel to the Engelbert Farms, 182 Sunnyside Road, Nichols, NY 13812


Farm tour: Engelbert Farms, Nichols, NY



Ted LeBow is a serial entrepreneur. His first business venture (in 1980) was a farm in Idaho where he bought his first tractor, signed his first loan with the Production Credit Association and started waking up in the middle of the night worrying about the rain ruining his hay crop.

He graduated in 1989 from Cornell University School of Agriculture with a Business Management Degree. He’s run eleven small businesses, six of which he owned all or part of. Since 2008, he’s grown two small business management consulting firms. As of 2017, JRI Consulting and Kitchen Table Consultants have served over 200 small businesses. Ted is currently focused on building Kitchen Table Consultants (which he co-founded)—a practice that serves sustainable food and farm related companies. He and his team are an Entrepreneur’s Best Nightmare. Ted has worked with farm families who are in the midst of succession planning, many of whom admit they couldn’t have made the transition without him.



Christopher Anderson is the owner of Nordic GeoSolutions, LLC, and is an Accredited Rural Appraiser with the American Society of Farm Managers and Rural Appraisers, a New York State Certified General Appraiser, and farm business consultant. He began his agricultural career as a herdsperson on a small dairy in the Southern Tier of New York in 1994, worked as a feed salesman in Northeast Pennsylvania from 1995 to 1997, then started with the Farm Credit system. He has been appraising farm, agribusiness, commercial, and industrial properties since 1997, and began working with farm families on tax, estate, and succession issues in 2002. Chris had multiple roles within Farm Credit, including senior appraiser, business consultant, tax specialist, team leader, and loan officer. He also became an FAA-licensed commercial remote pilot for small unmanned aircraft systems (i.e., drones), and worked with geolocated 3D imagery, photogrammetry, aerial photography, and multi-spectral crop analysis. Chris began his own business in 2021, offering appraisal, estate and succession consulting, and geospatial services. In working with farm families on estate, succession, and retirement planning, he believes firmly that the estate and succession planning process can be one of bringing families together. Chris is pursuing his PhD in Geographic Information Science at Texas State University. He lives in Marathon, NY.


Jen Miller is the Farm Business Development Program Director at NOFA-Vermont and provides in-depth business and transfer planning services to farmers, supporting them in reaching their financial, production and quality of life goals. Jen also implements the Vermont Organic Dairy Cost of Production project which aggregates financial and labor efficiency benchmark data for organic dairies on an annual basis.


Sarah is an author, consultant, and speaker specializing in grass-based livestock farming systems. She is passionate about helping farmers find ways to be financially viable while caring for both their land and livestock. She lives on the farm she grew up on in Northern Vermont where she is surrounded by pastures, wetlands, forests, livestock and wildlife.


Madeline and her husband Bruce are the owner operators of MK Dairy LLC, Owego, NY. They took over the farm from her parents and have been working on a successful transition process for a number of years (MK Dairy was the featured farm in the May, 2024 NODPA News issue.). NODPA Field Days Thursday morning farm tour will take place at MK Dairy.



Nathan Weaver’s and Alex Weaver’s farms are located in Madison County, NY. Both farms are producing 100% grassfed organic milk. They milk 40-60 crossbred cows on each farm.

Alex and his wife, Rita, have recently purchased the family farm, Grunen Aue Farm, from his parents, Nathan and Kristine, along with the rest of their family still living at home, moved five miles away to start up their new dairy farm, Windhover Farm.


Liz farms with her husband Brian and son and daughter-in-law Nathan and Courtney Bawden at Bawden Family Farms, Hammond, NY. The whole family is in the midst of succession planning.


From Wright Dairy, Hermon, NY, George sold his farm to a Plain Community farmer and has worked with him for a successful transfer.


John and Joe Engelbert have assumed management of the Engelbert Farms from their parents Kevin and Lisa Engelbert. They will share their experiences of that process, and their farm will be the site of the Friday afternoon NODPA Field Days farm tour.

Sharing Our Succession Stories The Thursday Evening Program:

Come listen to the stories of those who have been through or are going through a farm transfer. We will hear about creative successful transfers and ones that weren’t so successful-all helpful to learn from. Plus, we will hear from farmers about the emotional experience of changing roles and identities as the succession plan occurs. The audience will be encouraged to be actively participate, adding their stories, too.

Panel Members:

Roman Stoltzfoos, Spring Wood Organic Farm, Kinzers, PA

Klaas Martens, Lakeview Organic Grain and Zach Pizzenti, Penn Yan, NY

Henry Perkins, Bison Ridge Farm, Albion, ME

Jacki Perkins, MOFGA Organic Dairy and Livestock Specialist, Unity, ME

Dave Johnson, Provident Farms, Liberty, PA

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Thursday, September 26, 2024

Madeline and Bruce Poole

MK Dairy LLC

5932 Waite Road, Owego, NY 13827

Madeline, Bruce and their three young children farm MK Dairy in Owego, NY, an organic dairy farm that Madeline’s grandparents started in 1943. Since 2017, Madeline and Bruce have been in the process of acquiring the farm from her parents.

The generational transfer process has included purchasing, over time, the land from her parents, and by 2026, they will own over 500 acres with 230 additional rented land. Come visit the farm and learn about the complex process of this generational transfer and learn of their farming practices.

Friday, September 27, 2024

John and Joe Engelbert

Engelbert Farms

182 Sunnyside Road, Nichols, NY 13812

Engelbert Farms, LLC is a certified organic dairy farm and a true family farm, farming in the same location since 1911. Kevin, Lisa and their sons, Joe and John, all actively work on the farm, with Joe and John managing all aspects of the farm these days, following their successful generational transfer.

The Engelbert’s were the first certified organic dairy farm in the United States and have been farming organically since 1981, and have been certified organic since 1984. They joined CROPP Cooperative and started shipping milk to Organic Valley in August 2001. The Engelberts own over 600 acres and rent over 550 additional acres for crops. The Engelberts will be on hand to lead this tour and describe their farming practices and share their generational transfer story.

2024 NODPA Field Days Sponsors and Supporters

NODPA thanks all of our sponsors and supporters

for their ongoing support.


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