March 2021 Vol. 2
Brought to you by Dairy's Professional Development Organization®
2021 PDPW BUSINESS CONFERENCE CONTENT NOW AVAILABLE! The 2021 PDPW Business Conference was a resounding success – thank you to all those who helped to safely bring it together.
We have great news for those who weren’t able to attend in person and those who want to re-listen to sessions they attended. ALL content is now available from the conference. It’s a complimentary part of registration to attendees and for a $350 registration fee to non-attendees. Either way, it’s available for a limited time, so take advantage of this offer right away. Click here to register or learn more.
When you enter the on-demand page, make sure to start by clicking on the introduction video on the large white screen in the Kalahari Lobby. PDPW board members will introduce you to the content on the site and links to videos featuring dairy leaders, including Dairy Farmers of Wisconsin, who were instrumental in the development of this project. Registered users will have full access to the four keynote sessions, producer panels, learning lounges, specialty sessions and the five presenters from the all-new Nexus™ stage. You can view all speaker pictures, bios and contact information, as well as the handouts associated with their sessions.
In addition to the educational content, you’ll be able to access the digital storefronts of the industry’s finest industry suppliers and their new product developments.
Opportunities to learn
NEXT GENERATION OF MILK MARKETERS TARGETED in the PDPW Commodity Marketing Class. The program features a sample class for attendees to determine if they’d like to attend the additional six courses that follow. Led by instructor Carl Babler, commodity market consultant and senior hedge specialist with Atten Babler Commodities, the Commodity Marketing Class will equip farm owners, managers, herdsmen and women – as well as dairy lenders, consultants and agribusiness professionals – with marketing essentials and practical strategies for implementing risk management and marketing tools.
The sample class will be held April 14, 2021, at PDPW Headquarters in Juneau, Wis. Participants can register for the full six-session course starting now or after the sample class. The additional courses will be held through 2021. Up to two people from a registered entity can participate in the classes, with a registration limit of 30 entities. Learn more and register here.
For your dairy
STRATEGIES TO REDUCE CROSS-SUCKING IN PAIR HOUSED CALVES was the focus of research conducted at UW-Madison and published in the Journal of Dairy Science. Researchers studied 32 pairs of Holstein heifers housed in adjacent hutches with a shared fence. They compared feeding strategies before and during weaning, and found that calves who were provided starter in a Braden bottle, in addition to a bucket or fed milk through a slow-flow teat bucket, were less likely to show cross sucking behaviors. Learn more in the full study that provides practical methods for implementing social housing on commercial dairies.
This topic was presented by Jennifer Van Os, PhD, assistant professor in dairy science, UW-Madison, on the Preview Stage at the 2020 PDPW Virtual Business Conference and highlighted in an April 30, 2020 edition of Manager’s Memo.
WATCH FOR SIGNS OF LABOR TRAFFICKING IN AGRICULTURAL SETTINGS. During a Learning Lounge session at the 2021 PDPW Business Conference, Lt. Paul Marik, Lieutenant Commander and senior trainer for the Pleasant Prairie, Wis. police department, shared that agriculture is one of the leading industries for labor trafficking. In addition to informing attendees about red flags to be aware of, he encouraged dairy owners and managers to pay employees directly, rather than through recruiters, and to maintain ongoing and clear communications with employees to ensure they understand their rights.
Signs of potential trafficking among employees include that they
  • appear to be monitored by another person when talking or interacting with others
  • do not have control of their passport, ID, money or other important documents
  • owe money to a recruiter
  • feel pressure to stay in a job or situation they would otherwise want to leave
  • live in isolated conditions, largely cut off from interaction with others
Learn more here. If you suspect trafficking issues, do not attempt to confront a suspected trafficker directly or alert a victim to your suspicions. Contact your local police department or the National Human Trafficking Hotline at 1-888-373-7888. 
UNDERSTANDING COST OF MASTITIS TREATMENT on today’s dairy farms was the focus of research published in February 2020 American Association of Bovine Practitioners proceedings by Dr. Pamela Ruegg, DVM. A study of disease and treatment data from 40 large Wisconsin farms with approximately 53,000 lactating cows showed that 34% of cows experienced a case of clinical mastitis, and around 70% of those cases were treated with commercially available intramammary antibiotics. Research showed direct costs of treatment and milk-discard costs of about $147 per case and showed a likelihood that few clinical mastitis cases benefit from treatments beyond labeled timing. Click here to read the summary and full article.
For your business mind
MAKING THE BUSINESS CASE FOR SAFETY ON THE FARM. Significant progress has been made in farm safety over the years, but farm work is still one of the most dangerous professions. In Wisconsin in 2018, 34 fatal incidents occurred and 80% of the estimated 12,000 Wisconsin farm injuries each year require professional medical care. An article from UW Extension shares the physical and mental toll of farm injuries, as well as the financial and regulatory implications. 
Make safety a priority on your operation by:
  • Work with insurer or experts to assess risks at your operation, and recommend investment priorities with the highest return on investment.
  • Develop written safety and health policies to share with all family members and employees.
  • Provide personal protective equipment.
  • Make physical, measurable changes to eliminate or physically protect against hazards.
  • Schedule frequent safety-training sessions.
MAKE THE MOST OF MEETINGS BY PLANNING AHEAD. Unproductive or unnecessary meetings not only waste time, but they can also lead to frustrated team members and poor decisions. Before scheduling a meeting, answer these four questions:
  1. Why are we meeting?
  2. Who needs to be there?
  3. What conversations need to happen?
  4. How can you create conditions that will enable conversation?
Read more about how to create conditions for productive meetings and engage participants in decisions and follow-up activities in this article
BALANCING FEED COSTS AND MILK PRICES to maintain margins will be a top priority for U.S. dairy farmers in 2021. The Penn State Extension dairy team created a tool to calculate the maximum milking-cow feed cost a dairy operation can withstand based on their financials. Producers need to understand metrics such as income over feed cost for lactating cows, as well as feed costs for dry cows, springing heifers, pregnant heifers, and growing heifers. Read the full article to learn more.
The Dairy Signal
TUNE IN TO THE DAIRY SIGNAL. Join leading experts across dairy and agricultural industries, government and regulatory associations and universities for insights on the most pressing issues in today’s marketplace. The educational sessions air every Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday, with recorded versions available for free at Click here to find archived recordings of sessions.
A special thank you to Encore Consultants for their recent sponsorship of The Dairy Signal during March.
Presenters and topics covered recently include:
Hear about the “Dairy Dozen,” the 12 key financial ratios lenders follow that are easy for dairy producers to calculate and understand.
  • Dr. Kevin Bernhardt, Professor of Agribusiness at UW-Platteville School of Agriculture and Farm Management Specialist with UW-Extension and Center for Dairy Profitability
  • Gary Sipiorski, independent business and financial consultant
Learn about the latest on-farm research projects and resources available at Discovery Farms that may be applicable on your dairy operation.
  • Amber Radatz, Co-Director of Discovery Farms
The amount of business and personal data producers share in cyberspace is always increasing. Learn how to identify a potential risk or attack and develop a cybersecurity strategy for your business.
  • Jeremy Cherny, Founder and President, Tobin Solutions
Evaluate some of the risk-management strategies dairy producers utilize to manage their operations amidst current market trends and conditions.
  • Will Babler, Principal, Atten Babler Commodities LLC
Get the latest update on the impact of government programs offered in 2020 and what’s waiting in the wings regarding dairy, federal milk marketing orders, economic programs, and more.
  • Paul Bleiberg, Senior Vice President, Government Relations, National Milk Producers Federation
Learn the benefits of cover crops and participation in watershed groups and the impact on productivity and sustainability of the land.
  • Matthew Oehmichen, part-owner of Short Lane Ag Supply
  • Peter Graff, dairy producer from Stetsonville, Wis.
Dairy currents
NATIONAL POLITICS MAY GET THE LION’S SHARE OF MEDIA ATTENTION, but it’s often the decisions made at the township, city or county level that have the most significant impact on your farms and businesses. Getting to know local officials, sharing your concerns and making sure they understand agriculture and dairy is key.
Joe Thome, Redtail Ridge Dairy, Malone, Wis., shared his insights on the importance of being involved in politics at the town and local level at the 2021 PDPW Business Conference. He recommended the following tips for getting started:
  • Attend meetings and ask questions; your voice is important.
  • Be aware of what decisions town officials are considering.
  • Know how potential decisions can impact you, such as weight limits or driveway rules for roads, the impact of developments, and where farmland and dairy fit in the comprehensive planning.
  • Learn town ordinances and zoning codes.
  • Intentionally seek to be appointed to a committee.
STAND UP 4 GRAIN SAFETY WEEK is recognized from March 29 through April 2 to raise awareness of the potential hazards and safety precautions that should be used when working in and around grain storage bins. A number of training and safety resources are available on the Stand up 4 Grain Safety program website.
Seven critical steps for grain safety include:
  • Turn off lockout equipment before entering a bin or performing maintenance.
  • Never walk grain down to make it flow.
  • Test the air in the bin before entering.
  • Use a safety harness and anchored lifeline.
  • Place a trained observer outside of the bin in case of emergency.
  • Do not enter a bin where grain is built up on the side.
  • Control the accumulation of grain dust through regular housekeeping.
Learn more about Stand up 4 Grain Safety Week here.
FROM SPORTS DRINKS TO SNACKS AND PANCAKE MIXES, food companies are increasingly relying on dairy ingredients to deliver the nutrition and protein levels that consumers are asking for, all while meeting their own processing needs. A Food Business News article shares how ingredients, such as buttermilk powder, permeate, whey proteins and more are becoming more important in the food industry while contributing to the sustainability of the dairy industry. Read the article here.
“I don’t care how much power, brilliance or energy you have, if you don’t harness it, focus it on a specific target and hold it there you’re never going to accomplish as much as your ability warrants.” - Zig Ziglar
PDPW educational calendar
April 14
Commodity Marketing Class
Juneau, WI

Thank you sponsors