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Kristi Kassimer speaks to the Pennsylvania Senate Agriculture and Rural Affairs Committee on June 15, 2021.

A Pennsylvania Senate committee has recommended ag marketing professional Kristi Kassimer to fill an open seat on the state Milk Marketing Board.

"I want you to know that I recognize the gravity of stepping into this role, and I take it very seriously," Kassimer said before Tuesday's vote of the Agriculture and Rural Affairs Committee.

Kassimer runs Kascom Media and lives on her family's farm in Fayette County.

She previously served as marketing director for the Pennsylvania Beef Council and as a marketing specialist with the state Department of Agriculture.

She has also handled outreach for the Fayette County Fair and the county COVID-19 vaccine task force, said Sen. Patrick Stefano, who serves the district where Kassimer lives.

Kassimer said she looks forward to the challenge of communicating about the complexities of milk marketing with farmers, milk dealers and policymakers.

But she and the senators also discussed opportunities she would have to promote the dairy industry and contrast milk with nondairy beverages.

Kassimer said she would be interested in working with others at the Milk Marketing Board to develop cohesive pro-dairy messaging for online use.

"Social media is sometimes a blessing and a curse, but it's also where folks are finding their information," she said.

If confirmed by the full Senate, Kassimer would fill the board's consumer seat. The position has been open since March 2020, when Carol Hardbarger vacated the seat to become the board's secretary.

The other seats on the three-member board are held by dairy farmers Rob Barley of Lancaster County and James Van Blarcom of Bradford County.

The board regulates farmer premiums, minimum retail prices and other parts of the state's dairy industry.

Kassimer said her great-grandfather George Emerson Work served on the state Milk Control Commission, a predecessor to the Milk Marketing Board, in the 1960s.

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