Milk Business Conference

MILK to Recognize Leaders at Annual Conference

Dairy producers will gather to recognize award winners and network with industry peers Nov. 28-30 at Caesar’s Palace in Las Vegas.

Lenexa, Kan., (Sept. 25, 2023) – The first MILK Business Conference award winners have been announced and will be recognized at the 2023 MILK Business Conference  set for Nov. 28-30, at Caesar’s Palace in Las Vegas. Honorees include the Leader in Technology, Young Producer and Employee Excellence award winners. 

Sponsored by Boehringer Ingelheim, the MILK Business Young Producer Award winner is Ben Smith of Cool Lawn Farm. A fourth-generation registered Holstein dairy producer in Remington, Va., Smith owns 855 acres and currently milks 915 cows with 1,100 replacements. Cool Lawn Farm has the highest herd average for milk, fat and protein in Virginia. Smith was the Maryland & Virginia Milk Producers Cooperative Association Young Cooperator in 2022. 

The winner of the MILK Business Leader in Technology Award, sponsored by Merck Animal Health, is Chris Szydel of Pagel’s Ponderosa Dairy in Kewaunee, Wis. As herd manager, Szydel oversees 65 employees on two milking sites with three parlors milking 6,200 cows. 

The MILK Business Employee Excellence Award winner is Laurenio Vitorino of Countyline Farm, Denair, Calif. As General Manager of Countyline, Vitorino oversees the day-to-day operations of the 2,150-head dairy including the farming operations team. Vitorino has served the dairy in many roles over his 32-year tenure, including the dairy’s conversion to robotic milking. 

Award winners received a trip for two to attend the 2023 MILK Business Conference, set for Nov. 28-30 at Caesar’s Palace in Las Vegas, where they will be honored by more than 400 of their industry peers. 

“We are so pleased by the amazing applications we received for the first MILK Business Conference Awards,” said Dustin Johansen, vice president, livestock at Farm Journal. “The award winners are inspiring and well-deserving, and we are looking forward to honoring them in Las Vegas.” 

Learn more about the award winners and event at  

About Farm Journal

Farm Journal is the nation’s leading business information and media company serving the agricultural market. Started 147 years ago with the preeminent Farm Journal magazine, the company serves the row crop, livestock, produce and retail sectors through branded websites, eNewsletters and phone apps; business magazines; live events including conferences, seminars and tradeshows; nationally broadcasted television and radio programs; a robust mobile-text-marketing business; and an array of data-driven, paid information products. Trust In Food is a Farm Journal initiative dedicated to accelerating the adoption of climate-smart and regenerative agriculture in ways that work for producers and enhance connection to consumers, and also is the majority shareholder of the online equipment marketplace, Machinery Pete LLC. In 2010, the company established the non-profit, public charity, Farm Journal Foundation, dedicated to sustaining agriculture’s ability to meet the vital needs of a growing population through education and empowerment.

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