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Program Faculty


Michael Boehlje

Dr. Michael D. Boehlje — Purdue University

Dr. Boehlje conducts research and teaches in the area of farm and agribusiness management and finance at Purdue University. His research interests include alternative systems of coordination of the food and industrial product chain, the industrialization of agriculture and alternative financial and organizational structures for farm and agribusiness firms.  Dr. Boehlje teaches an undergraduate course in agricultural finance, in the executive development programs of the Center for Agricultural Business as well as in schools and extension programs for farmers and lenders on finance and management topics.

Bernie Erven

Dr. Bernie Erven - The Ohio State University

Dr. Erven is Professor Emeritus of Agricultural Economics at The Ohio State University.  At Ohio State, his teaching, extension and research activities were in human resource management and business management.  His consulting work with small businesses through Erven HR Services LLC focuses on family business relations and human resource management.  For 40 years he has worked on issues such as hiring, training, motivation, discipline, compensation, and performance feedback.  He also does workshops on succession and human relations in family businesses, communication, handling the stress of management, team building and time management.

Allen Featherstone

Dr. Allen Featherstone – Kansas State University

Dr. Allen M. Featherstone is a professor in the Agricultural Economics Department at Kansas State University. An alumnus of Purdue University and the University of Wisconsin-River Falls, he was appointed at Kansas State in 1986. His primary responsibilities have been teaching and research. In addition, he directed the on-campus Masters and Ph.D. program for 9 years and the distance graduate program since it inception. His primary areas of emphasis have been in finance and production economics.  He also served as interim Department Head from October 2009 to August 2010 and in September 2013 and was subsequently named Head in June 2014.  As a leading agriculture finance scholar, he has studied land markets, investment decisions, mergers in the financial services industry, the probability of agricultural loan default and loan loss severity, the influence of taxes on farm land, and alternative federal tax systems. His production economics research has investigated issues such as ground water allocation in irrigated crop production, comparison of returns under alternative tillage systems, the costs of risk, interactions of weather soils, and management on corn yields, analysis of the returns to farm equity and assets, and analysis of the optimizing behavior of Kansas farmers.

Rodney Jackson

Mr. Rodney Jackson- Caleb Consulting

Rodney Jackson founded the Caleb Consulting Group in 2006, bringing over twenty years in the field of organizational development as an executive coach and leadership development professional, with graduate level credentials.  Rodney's education includes a Master of Arts Degree in Organizational Development from The Fielding Graduate University.  He is highly skilled in partnering with clients to take what is learned through these tools and developing solid communication and action plans.  As a professional facilitator and coach, he consults in strategic alignment, change management, team development, coaching, conflict management, and performance management. His human resources experience includes mergers and acquisitions, restructuring, building performance management and 360-feedback systems, and operating as a full business partner with internal clients.

Jason Karszes

Mr. Jason Karszes — Cornell CALS PRO-DAIRY

Mr. Karszes is a farm management specialist with the PRO-DAIRY Program at Cornell University.  Jason began working for PRO-DAIRY in 1998, after working the past seven years as the farm management educator for Cornell Cooperative Extension on the Erie-Wyoming Dairy-Livestock Team.  He began working for extension in 1991, after he had completed his B.S. and M.S. degrees in farm management and production economics from Cornell University in 1989 and 1991.  His extension teaching and research efforts have centered around financial performance and analysis programs for dairy farms and the use of Cornell’s Dairy Farm Business Summary Program.  Along with the whole farm financial analysis program, he also works in the area of general business management principals. Jason has also spent time working in the fields of business expansion, personnel management, estate planning, and dairy replacement analysis.

Bob Milligan

Dr. Robert A. Milligan — Dairy Strategies

Dr. Robert A. Milligan's goal is success for owners, managers, and employees through increased performance and enhanced job satisfaction. Bob is a Senior Consultant with Dairy Strategies LLC and Professor Emeritus at Cornell University.  His professional interests include human resource management, strategy, and organizational development for small business managers.  While at Cornell Dr. Milligan taught a popular undergraduate class titled Managing Human Resources in Small Businesses and led a team that developed the PRO-DAIRY Program.

Andy NovakovicDr. Andrew Novakovic - Cornell University

Andrew Novakovic is the E.V. Baker Professor of Agricultural Economics at Cornell University, where he has been since 1978. His primary interest is dairy markets and policy, and he also is a Cornell resource on agricultural and food policy.  In addition to his research and teaching, he also serves as the Director of Land Grant Programs in the Charles H. Dyson School of Applied Economics and Management.

Phil Plourd

Mr. Phil Plourd - Blimling and Associates

Mr. Plourd is Chairman and President of Blimling and Associates, a leading provider of support to individuals and firms seeking to successfully navigate the milk and dairy product markets.  He combines curiosity, understanding of economics and love of the written word to produce a wealth of materials for Blimling and Associates. He also works extensively with clients to help develop and execute risk management strategies. Phil has led numerous outlook sessions and dairy hedging workshops from coast-to-coast and around the world. Before joining Blimling, Phil previously worked at the Coffee, Sugar & Cocoa Exchange, Inc. where he was instrumental in the design, education and marketing efforts for the dairy futures and options markets. 

Dr. Mark Stephenson

Dr. Mark Stephenson — University of Wisconsin

Dr. Stephenson is the Director of Dairy Policy Analysis, where he has been employed since July, 2010. In this position, Dr. Stephenson conducts and coordinates research and outreach activities related to the dairy industry. He is involved in applied research at the firm-level, including milk assembly costs, processing costs and efficiencies, new processing technologies and new dairy ingredients. He is also active in sector-level performance including dairy policy and price forecasting. Mark has a second title as Director of Wisconsin's Center for Dairy Profitability. In this capacity, he works with faculty and staff to coordinate a multi-disciplinary approach to dairy farm-level problem solving and planning.

Dr. Tom Wall

Tom Wall, The Dairy CoachTM, is passionate about helping people reach their potential.  He’s been working with dairies throughout the country for over 17 years, helping managers create and implement simple systems that work while also training and coaching their employees.

Dr. Mark Stephenson

Mary Kay Williams – MindShift Consulting

Mary Kay Williams, is the owner of MindShift Consulting, a training and consulting firm that focuses on helping individuals and organizations ‘shift’ their perspectives.  Mary Kay earned both her B.S. in Education and M.Ed. in Training and Development from Penn State. She has earned her senior in human resources professional (S.P.H.R) certification.  She lives in Spring Mills, PA with her husband Greg in their 1808 home that was once a tavern….



Believing that the most important asset on the farm is the management personnel and their skills and experiences, the following companies provide key support for CDEP:

Ag Choice Farm Credit * Cargill Animal Nutrition * Dairy Farmers of America * Dupont Pioneer * Farm Credit East * Zoetis


Additional support is provided by media partners:

California Dairy Magazine

DAIRYBUSINESSTM - The Future of Dairy

Progressive Dairyman