The Pennsylvania Grazing Lands Coalition (PAGLC) was created to facilitate collaboration and the sharing of ideas about grazing in PA. As part of this mission we strongly value the importance of mentorship. As mentors, we hope to use our combined expertise to help Pennsylvania grazers achieve increased profits while improving the health of their livestock and their land.
Below are the names and contacts of the PAGLC mentors. From each bio you can learn a little bit about us, our achievements and our areas of expertise. If you have a question related to any of the topics we list as “willing to answer” please don’t hesitate to contact us using the method provided.
We look forward to hearing from you.
Please, no unsolicited third party or commercial requests or contact.
Chairman, PA Dairy Stakeholders
Cliff and Maggie Hawbaker own and operate Hamilton Heights Dairy Farm and Emerald Valley Farm in South Central Pennsylvania. The certified ogranic dairies consist of 689 acres of pasture and hay crop with an additional 140 acres of rented land. They got into grazing in 1998 by letting the cows out onto pasture for 2 to 3 hours every day. Today they raise their 450 head dairy cow and replacement heifer herd on 100% pasture throughout the year. For several years Ciff has focused on intensive grazing management and other dairy related issues, such as once-a-day milking. Their milk products are marketed through Trickling Springs Creamery in Chambersburg, PA. Cliff and Maggie have 3 daughters, Juanita, Emily, and Dawn, as well as 9 grandchildren. Cliff is on the advisory board for Pennsylvania Certified Organic, and has served as chairman of the Dairy Policy Action Coalition, Franklin County Farm Bureau, Franklin County Farmland Preservation and Franklin County Soil Conservation, and AgChoice Farm Credit Board, and is active at his local church, Chambersburg Mennonite. Cliff believes that PAGLC brings together individuals with a passion for pasture and grazing lands to enhance the PA environment, livestock, and wildlife. As a mentor Cliff offers knowledge of whole farm financial planning and pasture forage.
Questions he’ll answer: Anything pertaining to grazing and farm financials.
Phone: (717) 263-9577
Vice-Chairman, Member at Large
David Williams is a National Farm Broadcaster and owner of the PA Farm Country & American Farm Country Radio Network. His 75 acre hay and vegetable farm is located in Wayne County in the northern part of the Pocono Mountains and all produce is sold directly to consumers. He and his wife Melba have been married for 35 years and have 4 children with 3 grandchildren. In his younger years David worked on a large cattle ranch in Texas, a drastic contrast to the small dairy he was raised on in PA. After three years there he met Melba and leased a 50 acre mule farm while working in the oil industry. Eventually they purchased their current land in PA for a beef operation. After starting agriculture broadcasting, however, they switched to vegetables and high quality hay for the equine industry. As a broadcaster and farmer David has a good understanding of state and federal laws and regulations and the benefit of farm organizations, as well as experience with proper grazing applications as a tool to better the environment for future generations. In addition to being vice chairman of PAGLC he serves on the PA Farm Bureau State Board, and is Vice President of the Wayne County Farm Bureau, and Director of the Honesdale Shippers Assoc., and Chairman of the Indian Orchard Renewable Energy LLC.
Questions He’ll Answer: As a farmer and broadcaster he is open to any questions pertaining to agriculture.
Phone: (570) 253-0832
Secretary, PA State Grange
John Courtney farms in Mercer County with his wife and family. The land has been in the family’s stewardship since 1825. They sustain 30 plus brood cows and 150 ewe flock on their grassland whom have never left their care. The animals are raised for quality grass fed beef and lamb. The Dorset cross ewes also produce wool and are shorn yearly. John’s livestock production system meets the USDA grass fed protocol and Pennsylvania’s Beef Quality Assurance Program. Intensive grazing management allowed them to reduce resource and energy consumption while also maintaining high production of food and fiber. Solar power provides the bulk of the water for tge livestock and powers our fencing system. In addition to livestock, John’s family farm produces timber from their managed woodlots as a Certified Tree Farm. John’s family actively conserves soil,water, air, plant and animal resources through stewardship of their farm and by being actively involved in various local and statewide programs and activities.
Questions he’ll answer: Anything related to intensive grazing, woodlot management, and solar water pumps.
Treasurer, PA Forage and Grassland Council
Duane Hertzler runs a 300 cow dairy and 300 youngstock grass based dairy on 600 acres, half fenced pasture and half in cropland. He and his wife have four children, and his oldest son Neil runs the dairy operation with his wife Kilah and their four sons. He believes that PAGLC brings together grass-minded farmers, educators, and industry to learn and increase knowledge and understanding of grass based farming and conservation. In addition to serving as the PAGLC Treasurer, Duane is part of the National Grazing Lands Coalition, Pennsylvania Forage and Grassland Council, and Pennsylvania Animal Health Commission. Duane started farming in 1970 and started grazing in 1994, giving him a full 20 years experience as a grazier. As a mentor he is willing to consult on any grazing topics, including financials.
Questions he’ll answer: Anything related to grazing, financials, etc.
Helene and her husband Jack, a retiree from DEP, own 45 acres in Clinton County, Beech Creek Township, of pleasure equine with mixed forestry and pasture acreage. Off farm, Helene is an Equine Research Associate at Pennsylvania State University. Helene’s love of horses began when she was a teenager and owned but boarded a horse. In 1976 she married an ex-dairy farmer and used the farm to keep her horses. She operated a boarding, training, and lesson program that included pasture grazing. In 1985, after giving birth to her second child, she purchased her own farm that she decided to use for hobby and not business. She now has three children, Sarah, Rachael, and Allison and two grandchildren, Aubrey and Blair. Helene believes that pasture grazing reduces food costs and makes for more content equine. PAGLC helps educate on these management practices which protect the environment. In addition to PAGLC, Helene is an active member of the Pennsylvania Equine Council and helps plan the Appalacian Grazing Conference. As a mentor, Helene offers skills in equine environmental stewardship.
Questions she’ll answer: Pasture management, environmental concerns, manure composting and/or and equine related questions.
Phone: (570) 660-3150
The McElhaney Stock Farm, a family owned and operated business raising purebred Shorthorn cattle, began in 1880 on the land that is now the entrance to the Pittsburg International Airport. After 3 years in the US Army as a helicopter mechanic and 31 years with Trans World Airlines, Dick and his wife bought the 100 acres they own in Hookstown, PA to carry on the family Shorthorn herd for sale as breeding stock as well as for consumption. They market through their farm store, local farmer’s markets, a golf club, two retail markets, and two CSA programs. He converted from crops to grazing in the 1980s. Dick has two sons and a daughter. In addition to PAGLC, Dick serves on an impressively lengthy list of livestock/agriculture organizations throughout the state, surrounding states, and the nation. Some include: founder of the Beaver Co 4H Stockman’s Club, former director of the Southwestern PA Project Grass, former president of the PA Shorthorn Breeders Association, former director of the Washington Co Cattleman’s Association as well as the Beaver-Lawrence Co Farm Bureau, and a PA Beef Council board member (the list goes on). Through PAGLC Dick hopes to educate grazer’s on how to increase production while conserving water/soil nutrients.
Questions he’ll answer: How to increase beef production.
Phone: (724) 544-7152
Mike got into commercial sheep production four years ago.Today he direct markets his lambs to friends, family and local restaurants. He grazes his 20 sheep on 7 acres. In addition to farming, Mike works as a lab technician in Dairy Nutrition at Penn State University. In addition to serving on the PAGLC Board he is the Vice President of the PA Sheep and Wool Growers Association. On the value of the coalition Mike states, “There can be strength in numbers of voices (voters) speaking out. Bringing various opinions and perspectives together as well can be very powerful if done with respect and a willingness to learn.” As a mentor he offers a perspective outside of the traditional agricultural box.
Questions he’ll answer: Goal setting and visioning, sheep fencing, aerial mapping of pasture, livestock nutrition, grazing behavior.
Member at Large
Matt is part of a third generation, 146 acre dairy in Annville, Lebanon County. He lives there with his wife and two children. In 2000, Matt’s father began grazing and in 2005 Matt returned to the farm, expanding their grazing program from 30 acres/60 cows to 97 acres/110 cows. Matt joined the coalition because he believes it is important to educate farmers about what grazing can do for their lifestyle, profitability, and environment. As a mentor, Matt hopes to help other farmers transition from conventional confinement dairying to grazing dairy. He has experience with grazing annuals, such as sudan grass and cereal grains.
Questions he’ll answer: Confinement to grazing transitions, dairy breeding for grazing, financials, feeding TMR with grazing to maintain production.
PA Association of Conservation Districts
Donna owns and manages a farm in Monroe County. She previously bred and foaled Thoroughbred mares for clients and now board pleasure and sport horses. Currently, Donna is the Penn State Extension Equine Natural Resource Educator – she provides short courses and workshops on equine environmental and nutritional issues including hay quality and pasture and nutrient management. Donna is heavily involved in teaching the pasture, weed and nutrient management sections of the Extension Equine Team Environmental Stewardship short course that is offered statewide. Prior to her present position, Donna worked as the agricultural program coordinator for Rutgers Cooperative Extension where she helped develop the Mid-Atlantic Pasture Educational Initiative and designed and implemented the pasture management and rotational grazing program for the Ryder’s Lane Equine facility. As a mentor, Donna is a resource for veterinarians, seed companies, other extension agents, and agricultural professionals that deal with horses.
Questions She’ll Answer: Rotational grazing, health, and pasture concerning equine.