January 2016
Brought to you by Dairy's Professional Development Organization®
Tom & Jake Pessig
When Jake and Tolea Peissig, Dorchester, Wis, wanted to return home to dairy with Jake's parents Tom and Peggy, a consultant helped the four set up a business plan. In their arrangement, Jake owns the cattle and Tom owns the facilities. Together they farm 400 acres of owned land and 175 acres of rented land that provide crops to feed their cattle.

Today, JTP Farm milks 285 cows, using a robotic milking system that has been in action for three years. In a seven-day period last winter, the dairy harvested an average of 6,453 pounds of milk per robot.

Their robotic system is a guided-flow system. A one-way gate with "hanging fingers" sorts cattle. The cows circle and bring themselves into the holding area. They cannot enter the holding area unless they are due for milking again.

A feed pusher encourages cows to eat more. "We feel we gained three or four pounds of milk a day just because of the feed pusher," Jake interjects.

The dairy's calf-raising barn is equipped with an automatic calf-feeding system that can handle 15 to 20 calves at a time. While the system automatically washes, the Peissigs check it daily, clean it and change hoses and nipples each week.

Thanks to the robotic milking system, automatic calf-feeding systems, plus RFD ear tags and activity transponders to detect heat, JTP Farms operates its facility, including the raising of all young stock, with two full-time people.

Jake, Tolea, Tom and Peggy are strong proponents of being active in the dairy industry and broadening their horizons via continuing education. "We like the educational events PDPW has to offer," Jake states. "There are a lot of good topics and a lot of calf-care information. All the information they offer online is really helpful, and they do a good job trying to move their tours and educational sessions around the state and country."

Jake credits fellow PDPW members Dick and Peggy Rau of Dic-Wisco Farms for being tremendous mentors. "This husband-wife team was very important in my learning opportunities," he states. That's the way it is with PDPW members. They are about helping each other succeed.


Opportunities to learn... 
LEARN FROM EACH OTHER AND CREATE A STRONGER WISCONSIN. That's the purpose of the Agricultural Community Engagement® (ACE) Regional Meetings: Tuesday, Feb. 16, Eau Claire, Wis., and Wednesday, Feb. 17, Wisconsin Dells, Wis. This meeting, repeated in two locations, is designed as a venue where community leaders, elected officials, conservation officials, dairy and livestock producers can discuss critical issues and learn from one another. Speakers include Ben Brancel, Secretary of Wisconsin Department of Agriculture, Trade and Consumer Protection and Cathy Stepp, Secretary of the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources. For more details, full speaker line-up, and registration information click:  HERE 

and PDPW wants your message to be as accurate and as powerful as it can be, whether you're speaking about a positive or a negative event. PDPW is offering Dairy's Visible Voice® leadership development session, "Sharing Your Message with the Media," on Wednesday, Jan. 27, from 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m., in Fond du Lac, Wis. This hands-on training will increase your understanding of the media, help you develop effective messages and improve your confidence and comfort when interacting with print, broadcast or online media. You'll be trained to be a valuable resource so reporters will want to hear what you have to say, positioning you and your dairy as community leaders. Pre-registration is required.  CLICK HERE  to get more information and to register.
And that's just the beginning. Mix in more than 1,600 dairy farmers from across the country. Then, add over 200 industry suppliers in the Hall of Ideas and Equipment Show showcasing innovative products and offering profit-focused solutions and ideas and you have "INSPIRE," the 2016 PDPW Business Conference, March 16-17, in Madison, Wis. CEUs are available from ARPAS, CCA and SVM-UW for numerous sessions and keynotes. CLICK HERE
to get all the details and register. 

If you or one of your farm suppliers are interested in Business Conference Sponsorship, please contact our team member at abonomie@pdpw.org or by phone at 800-947-7379. 

Whether you're entering management, looking to make a smooth career transition or just beginning your career, Cornerstone Dairy Academy is the place to grow your soft skills and develop professionally. Open to dairy farmers and other industry professionals, Cornerstone Dairy Academy is a two-day program, March 15-16, with two dynamic tracks, each focusing on a unique suite of communication and leadership skills.This is an application-based program with a limited number accepted into each program.   THIS WEBSITE  is where you will find all the details and the online application.
MANAGING PEOPLE AS MUCH AS MANAGING ANIMALS AND EQUIPMENT? No need to worry. There are skills for that too, and PDPW's H.R. Training for Dairy...Cultivating Your Team Workshop, February 2-3, in Madison, Wis., offers skills and information to improve your dairy's employee relations and competencies. 
Whether you manage one or 50 employees, this training is a must-attend program. Attendees can attend one or both days of training, with Day 1 devoted to "Hire Right" and Day 2 focused on "Become the 'Super' Supervisor." Workshop trainer is Melissa O'Rourke, farm and agribusiness management specialist and attorney for Iowa State University Extension and Outreach, a very boots-on-the-ground, practical presenter. Click  HERE  for details and online registration.
FEED STRATEGIES, ADDITIVES AND INVENTORIES headline a series of three upcoming PDPW World Class Webinars: March 23, April 20 and May 18. Specific topics and leaders include "Implementing Feed Strategies," John Kappelman, a former dairyman and now with Cereal Byproducts Company, March 23 webinar; "Feed Additives on Tight Margins," Dr. Mike Hutjens, Professor Emeritus, University of Illinois, April 20 webinar; and "Managing Your Feed Inventories," Dr. Randy Shaver, University of Wisconsin, May 18 webinar. Each webinar will be presented live between noon and 1 p.m. Central Time, with recorded versions available to those who register. You can participate in one or all three World Class Webinars, with a discount available when registering for all three.   CLICK HERE  for details and to register.
PRODUCER PROFESSIONALISM IS SHINING POWERFULLY BRIGHT. Proof: Not just one, but two, key PDPW meetings reached maximum capacity: Managers Academy for Dairy Professionals™ and the International Dairy Tour to New Zealand. Dairy farmers from across the country are seeking leadership development opportunities, new ideas and creative solutions to grow their business minds. Learn more about all of PDPW's upcoming meetings, including the 2016 PDPW Business Conference online at  WWW.PDPW.ORG or call us at 800-947-7379.
FARMER-TESTED, ENVIRONMENT APPROVED: DEVELOP A WINNING CROPPING STRATEGY. The 4th annual UW Discovery Farms Conference offered farmers a forum to connect with other farmers and experts. With water quality in mind, the conference focused specifically on manure incorporation strategies and tillage. As part of our PDPW environmental initiative, PDPW collaborates with organizations like UW Discovery Farms to share the latest and best resources and solutions available. PDPW is proud to support UW Discovery Farm's mission and their Annual Conference. To read the full press release and access conference materials you can do so online.  
For your dairy...
DEVELOPING HEIFERS IS ALL IN THE DETAILS. Knowing that transitioning from milk to solids impacts a dairy heifer's rumen ecosystem, rumen fermentation, rumen development, rumination behavior and growth, dairy researchers zeroed in on feeding and management. They have concluded that "the provision of high-starch and low-fiber starter feeds may negatively affect rumen development and that forage supplementation is beneficial for promoting development of the gut and rumination behavior in young calves." You can learn more about this research project written up in the Journal of Dairy Science by going online to  THIS WEBSITE .

Chad Staudinger, forage product manager with Dairyland Seed Company, Inc., says low milk prices often bring forth cost-cutting questions. Asked if there are opportunities to reduce costs without impacting the quality or quantity of forage necessary to keep cows productive, Staudinger says, "Maybe," adding that two major components of forage production that deserve attention are variety selection and soil fertility. He advises that producers "stick with what works" when it comes to forage variety selection.
Staudinger's "why" is that "a poor variety decision may lead to additional feed purchase needs or low quality feed for an entire year." He also advises producers to review soil fertility basics with their trusted crop adviser. "It's essential to be sure the major fertility components are at levels that promote high yields and high quality," Staudinger points out. "Look at the components that are difficult to measure but offer a feel good approach to fertility as cost-cutting options. Unless N, P, and K are at sufficient levels in the soil and available to the plant, the extras won't make much of a difference on soil fertility and may simply be a waste of money. Farms that stick to maintaining high basic fertility levels over time have more success producing high levels of quality forage year after year."

and dairy cows transitioning into early lactation could help reduce physiologic and metabolic stresses. That's the findings of University of Illinois researchers. When the researchers provided dairy cows transitioning into early lactation an optimal supply of micronutrients-zinc, manganese, copper and cobalt-via more bioavailable forms such as AA complexes, the cows produced approximately 3.3 kg/d more milk and 0.14 kg/d more protein during the first 30 days in milk than cows supplemented entirely with inorganic trace minerals. The researchers note that "overall, the positive response in milk yield and milk protein in the cows might be partly explained by the beneficial effects of AAC on postpartal drymatter intake driven at least in part by better liver and immune function as a result of improved antioxidant status."   CLICK HERE to read more.

1) Evaluate vacuum and take-off settings; 2) Protect parlor entrance and exit areas; 3) Implement a winter teat dip; 4) Protect your employees; 5) Warm up the drop hoses; 6) Eliminate leaks; 7) Warm up the supply room; 8) Maintain traction; 9) Cautiously warm up treatments; 10) Rethink warming post-dip; 11) Take temps on hot water; 12) Adjust schedules for weather; and 13) Plan for bad weather. To learn about specifics regarding each tip CLICK HERE.

Dr. Jeff Weyers urges dairies to "make sure feeders are a valued part of your dairy's team" and fully understand the importance of their job. Noting that a dairy depends on its nutrition program, since it's the foundation for animal health, milk production, reproduction and overall profitability. Weyers advises dairies to take steps to improve feed management and delivery compliance. Basic steps include education, defining bunk management protocols and outlining mixer management protocols. Weyers digs into the ditty gritty of these basic steps HERE.

to be reminded of Gary Sipiorski's "Dirty Dozen" that narrows the maze of financial ratios and calculations to just "12 key financial indicators." Sipiorki says "If you get these right, most of the others will fall into place."  
1) income per cow-$5,000 target
2) Operation cost as a percentage of gross income-80 percent
3) Milk sold per cow-24,000 (Holsteins, make a breed adjustment for others)
4) Ownership equity-50 percent 
5) Current equity-$2 or each $1 of current liabilities
6) Cost of producing 100 pounds of milk-$17.50 
7) Feed cost-20 percent to 45 percent of gross income
8) Livestock expenses-4 percent
9) Debt per cow-$5,000
10) Debt coverage-no more than 20 percent of gross income for payments
11) Asset turnover-2.5 times
12) total investment per cow-$7,500 to $15,000
Sipiorski goes into detail regarding each of his key 12 financial indicators at THIS WEBSITE. 
For your business mind...
THE POWER OF LISTENING RATHER THAN TALKING  is often overlooked. Ralph G. Nichols reports, "The most basic of all human needs is the need to understand and be understood. The best way to understand people is to listen to them." Good advice, particularly when you're in management and dealing with people on a daily basis. Harvey Deutschendorf, an emotional intelligence expert, offers these five ways to increase our listening abilities: 
1) Be fully in the moment - paying attention to word, tone of voice, facial expressions and body language. 
2) Put yourself in their shoes.
3) Pick up key points and let the speaker know you did by mentioning the key points you heard and ask them to clarify anything you did not understand.
4) Practice active listening using a good friend or family member (learn to focus on their words rather than creating a response while they are speaking).
5) Develop curiosity, an open mind and a desire for continuous growth. 
To read more, click on THIS WEBSITE

WHO BENEFITS FROM MENTORING? BOTH MENTOR AND MENTEE. In  addition to those being mentored receiving valuable advice and insight from professionals, a report by a Points of Light initiative says companies who provide mentors benefit as well. Three key benefits of mentoring include fostering employee engagement, retention and recruiting; helping develop the future workforce; and supporting vibrant communities.
PDPW's Enhanced Internship Program provides a platform and resource for collegiate-level students to partner with an active dairy producer to participate in an educational, hands-on, on-farm professional experience. If you are a dairy producer and would like to serve as an intern host, check out the program. Ditto if you are a college-age person or know someone who is interested in the dairy and food industries and would like the opportunity to learn from an on-farm internship,  CLICK HERE to learn more.

DECLUTTER, IMPROVE PRODUCTIVITY. If  your office computer screen is cluttered with so many icons that you can barely see your wallpaper, then it's probably time to clean up your icons. Psychologist Pamela Rutledge, director of the media Psychology Research Center, California, says, "A clean desk or desktop can be like taking a deep breath, allowing you to focus."
Rutledge's five-step guide to starting 2016 with a clean digital slate includes select a calming wallpaper, delete or hide every desktop icon you don't use on a regular basis, limit the number of web browser tabs you have open at once, don't leave your email or social media sites open on your desktop all day and play music that relaxes you but minimize the program on your desktop.
"When your computer desktop is cluttered, it takes more time to find important documents and locate icons, which slows down your workflow," Rutledge states. "Staring at an overwhelmingly disorganized desktop all day can also affect your mood; it can make you anxious or frustrated, which, of course, also impacts productivity."

BOOK REVIEW: THE COMPASSIONATE SAMURAIIn this No. 1 Wall Street Journal business bestseller, Author Brian Klemmer believes truly good-hearted people can make a whole lot of money, be influential and achieve the honors they deserve in life and want to debunk the myth that "nice guys finish last." Experience has taught him that dominant individuals can still win as they help those around them succeed and that compassionate souls can tap into their warrior nature so they, too, can win battles in life and not be limited by their passive temperament. To that end, Klemmer devotes one chapter each to ten codes or character traits - commitment, personal responsibility, contribution, focus, honesty, honor, trust, abundance, boldness and knowledge - that anyone can incorporate into their life so they can be rich and spiritual , wealthy and giving as well as a strong-willed compassionate friend. This is not a how-to book but a character-changing book. 


"If you don't like something, change it.
If you can't change it, change the way you think about it."   

- Maya Angelou
A BIG Thank You...    
TO OUR PDPW SPONSORS who  support continuous improvement for the dairy industr y. T hey believe in producer leadership and place a high value on lifelong  education for those involved in the dairy industry. We deeply respect their commitment to PDPW and the members we have the honor to serve. It is by this partnership that we c ontinu e to build a strong industry filled with capable professionals. Click  HERE  to see a list of our sponsors. If you interact with any of these companies, please thank them for supporting PDPW! 
If you or a company you know is interested in participating as a sponsor, please contact our team member at abonomie@pdpw.org or call 800-947-7379.