April 2023 Vol. 1
Brought to you by Dairy's Professional Development Organization®
NEW PDPW OFFICER TEAM ANNOUNCED! Members of the 2023-2024 PDPW board of directors recently announced their new officer team.
  • President John Haag owns and operates Haag Dairy, LLC, in Dane, Wis., with his son Josh. They raise all their replacements on the 150-cow dairy in addition to selling approximately 50 cows a year to other farmers for as replacements.
  • Vice president Janet Clark and her husband Travis of Eldorado, Wis., joined her family's dairy, Vision Aire Farms, LLC, in 2010 as employees. Her parents Roger and Sandy Grade are currently transitioning ownership to Janet, Travis and her brother David Grade. The dairy consists of 140 registered milking Holsteins and 1,000 acres of owned and rented land. Janet manages the farm financials and calves.
  • Secretary Corey Hodorff is part of the fourth generation to own and operate his family’s century farm with his wife Tammy, brother Clint, and parents Doug and Linda. They milk 1,000 cows and crop 1,200 acres at Second Look Holsteins, LLC, in Eden. In addition to the dairy entity, the family business structure also includes Peniel Acres, Ltd. and Hodorff Seeds and Agronomy.
  • Treasurer Brady Weiland owns and operates Weiland Dairy, LLC, along with his parents and brother. The farm is home to 600 milk cows and employs seven additional employees. Brady oversees the daily operation on the farm as the dairy manager.
Board members help facilitate the development of programs to bring cutting-edge research, elite training, peer-networking events and hands-on educational opportunities to the dairy industry. Involved in PDPW programs and committees, they also proactively seek leadership opportunities on non-PDPW committees in the dairy and agricultural industries. Learn more here.
2023 Cornerstone Dairy Academy graduate spotlight on
Kathryn Elliott
The 2023 graduating class of Cornerstone Dairy Academy® included 22 dairy producers and other industry professionals. Each of these individuals has successfully completed all three pillars of the leadership-development program.
Congratulations to Kathryn Elliott of Madison, Wis. for being among the graduates!
After receiving Bachelor of Science degrees in Dairy Science and Biology from the University of Wisconsin Madison in 2013, she went on to earn a Master of Science degree in Animal Molecular and Cellular Biology from the University of Florida in 2015.
Kathryn currently serves as a Dairy Technical Support Specialist with ProAGtive Dairy Nutrition – a role in which she supports and teaches ProAGtive’s dairy nutritionists and team of colleagues that work with their ration balancing software.
“The three pillars of Cornerstone Dairy Academy gave me valuable insights on my communication and leadership style. I learned that every individual approaches decision making from their own perspective and in their own character. Approaching others with this in mind will aid in both my dairy career and in my personal life,” Kathryn said.
“Cornerstone not only taught this concept, but challenged us to use it in action. Fostering strong team communication is key to resolving challenges in nutrition, production and dairy management. My role is to bring new ideas and to foster that culture of collaboration. Cornerstone helped me to value the variety of perspectives and past experiences that guide the thoughts and actions of others. As a result, communication has become both more enjoyable and more effective.”
Cornerstone Dairy Academy is an application-based program designed to equip producers and industry professionals with the tools to effectively communicate and more proficiently collaborate and lead others. The two-day program is held in conjunction with the PDPW Business Conference.
Opportunities to learn
MEDIA TRAINING FOR DAIRY PRODUCERS will be held May 3, 10 and 18 in three locations across the state. This one-day program is designed to equip dairy producers with the tools they need to effectively craft and practice telling your story of sustainability in a way that resonates with the non-agricultural public.
This complimentary program is open to dairy producers only and includes all educational materials, food and refreshments. Each program will begin at 8 a.m. and conclude by 4:30 p.m. at the following locations:
  • Weds., May 3     PDPW office, 820 N. Main St., Juneau, WI
  • Weds., May 10   UW Stevens Point, 2100 Main St., Stevens Point, WI
  • Thur., May 18    Chippewa Valley Technical College Energy Education Center, 4000 Campus Drive, Eau Claire, WI

Attendance will be capped to ensure program quality. Please RSVP by April 24 to Professional Dairy Producers with the location that works best for you at 800-947-7379. 
PROFESSIONAL DEVELOPMENT PROGRAM FOR INTERNS will be held on Weds., July 26 at the Wilderness Resort in Wisconsin Dells, Wis., from 9am to 5pm. Designed to help prepare college students for success in agricultural careers, this one-day program will feature Dallas-based trainer Michael Hoffman of Igniting Performance, Inc, to show interns how they can distinguish themselves from the other students graduating alongside them. Watch www.pdpw.org for more details as they come. For now, spread the word and save the date.
For your dairy
UNDERSTANDING IMPACT OF SUBCLINICAL HYPOCALCEMIA ON REPRODUCTION was the focus of research published in JDS Communications. They collected data from 697 multiparous cows from four farms to evaluate blood total calcium the first five days in milk along with pregnancy to first service and hazard of pregnancy by 150 days in milk. The research showed that cows with subclinical hypocalcemia at four days in milk had lower odds of becoming pregnant to first service and showed that the negative effects of delayed or prolonged reductions in blood calcium can last well after the postpartum timeframe. Read the full article here.
RISING TEMPS CAN ALSO MEAN INCREASING SOMATIC CELL COUNTS. As spring arrives, hot temperatures of summer will soon follow. Having plans in place now to prevent heat stress can keep somatic cell counts in check. Since SCC tends to rise with temperature and humidity levels, consider taking these steps to reduce heat stress:
  • Keeping bedded areas clean and dry
  • Properly maintaining and operating fans and sprinklers to reduce wet stall beds and areas where cows can become dirty
  • Implementing fly control
  • Providing an abundance of clean, fresh water
Read more in this article from Penn State Extension.
EARLY CALF CARE HAS LASTING IMPACTS ON PRODUCTION, according to an article from the University of Kentucky Extension. A young calf’s cells are programmed early on and can impact their ability to absorb nutrients and cell function throughout the remainder of their life. Take the following steps in the first two months to set the foundation for a healthy, productive lifespan:
  • Feed high quality colostrum. It’s critical for immunity, beneficial bacteria and gastrointestinal-tract health
  • Aim for a higher plane of nutrition; this also improves weight gain
  • Be consistent in feeding times and milk composition
  • Prevent instead of treat disease
Another critical factor to implement before calves are even born is keeping dry cows cool. Learn more about tips for accomplishing each practice here.
For your business mind
INCREASE RETENTION BY IMPROVING ONBOARDING EXPERIENCE for new farm employees. The first day of the job should include more than just filling out HR and payroll forms, especially when it’s already difficult to find and hire team members. An article from UW Extension shares five components of a sound onboarding plan for new employees:
  • Initial welcome
  • General information and procedures
  • Work time and pay
  • The job
  • Your philosophy about safety
Read the full article and download an “Onboarding New Employees Checklist” for more details. 
ASK THE RIGHT CARBON-MARKET QUESTIONS as you weigh options in this evolving space. A panel discussion at the 2023 PDPW Business Conference highlighted the growing opportunities and complexities of carbon marketplace for farmers. Ryan Stockwell, IndigoAg, shared a set of questions that should be the starting point for reviewing any program:
  • What practices qualify?
  • How many years of data is required?
  • What are the payment options (per acre, per amount of carbon, etc.) and timing of payments?
  • How long is the commitment?
  • Is the buyer a single entity or are there multiple buyers?
  • Who is buying credits? For how long? Does the purchase represent one entity or multiple buyers?
  • What happens if a sale of 80 to 90% of credits is made to one company and that company later dissolves?
  • Do you use registry-affiliated protocols?
  • Consider your “what if” flexibility? For example, “What if I sign up to plant cover crops and the weather prevents me from doing so?”
To gain more insights into the work of IndigoAg as it relates to agriculture, sustainability, and the carbon-market space, check out their blog here.
DO YOU HAVE A “TO DON’T” LIST? A never-ending “to-do” list is common for most managers, but a Harvard professor suggests that also creating a “to don’t” list will help identify those things causing you to be less productive or enjoy work less. The list could include “don’t complain” and “don’t schedule meetings or calls without a set agenda” for starters. For other ideas and to learn more, click here.
The Dairy Signal
WHAT’S HAPPENING ON THE DAIRY SIGNAL? If you haven’t been tuning in, now’s a good time to catch up. (What? During the busy spring season?) All episodes of the Dairy Signal are archived in a video and audio format, and for those who still need to create agendas for team meetings, featuring a ready-made training segment from experts in the industry can be a huge time-saver. We’ll continue to air the 60-minute sessions live every Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday – but you might find the recorded episodes especially helpful when you’re burning the candle at both ends. Click here to find those recordings.
Presenters and topics covered recently include:
Culling decisions impact the bottom line and play an important part of a farm’s financial and environmental sustainability. Learn how herd-turnover rates influence milk production and methane generation in a session that was first introduced at the 2023 PDPW Business Conference.
  • Dr. Daryl Nydam, DVM, PhD, Professor, College of Veterinary Medicine, Cornell University

Bring your entire team up to speed in this discussion of maternity and obstetric care, including pre-, mid- and post-delivery signs to watch for, protocols for safe deliveries and best practices for the safety of cows, calves and handlers.
  • Dr. Ryan Breuer, DVM, Clinical Assistant Professor of Large Animal Internal Medicine, UW-Madison School of Veterinary Medicine, and Diagnostic Case & Outreach Coordinator, UW-Madison
Tune in to hear about new research on the use of solar-power ventilation to reduce heat stress and increase welfare for dairy calves housed in outdoor hutches.
  • Dr. Jimena Laporta, Assistant Professor, Lactation Physiology Department of Animal and Dairy Sciences at UW-Madison
Learn strategies to take control of your farm’s finances amid changing markets, input and feed costs, supply chain disruptions, pricing and more. This episode will review the high points from a 2023 PDPW Business Conference session; tune in for tips on better managing during times of rapid change, rising interest rates and evolving technology.
  • Dr. Brady Brewer, PhD, assistant professor, Agricultural Economics Department, Purdue University
Tune in for a discussion on how sleep can affect brain function, the short- and long-term effects of sleep deprivation, and several tips for getting a better night’s sleep.
  • Holly Green, Behavioral Scientist and Consultant, The Human Factor, Inc.
With spring weather finally arriving, we’ll take a look at the roles of current economics, exports and market factors positioned to impact your farm and the dairy industry during the 2023 growing season and beyond.
  • Ben Buckner, Grains Analyst, AgResource Company
Dairy currents
FOOD INFLATION AT HIGHEST LEVEL IN 40 YEARS, according to an article in Supermarket News. The U.S. Government’s Accountability Office released a report showing the annual increase from August 2021 to August 2022 was 11%, dramatically higher than the average increase of about 2%. The report highlighted geographies with highest and lowest price changes and noted the key factors driving changes were the COVID-19 pandemic, increased consumer demand, droughts in 2021, the highly pathogenic avian influenza virus outbreak in 2022, and the Russia-Ukraine conflict.
Read the full article for details.
GUT MICROBIOME PLAYS BIGGER ROLE IN HUMAN HEALTH than anyone thought, and scientists are continuing to expand their understanding. An article in Food Navigator highlights that each person’s microbiome is like an individual fingerprint and is different depending on your geography, exposure to pets and animals and much more. It also highlights the difference in labeling requirements between the U.S. and Europe for probiotics or products claiming to be good for gut health. Read more here.
REMEMBER TO STOCK FIRST-AID KITS in barns, vehicles and offices throughout the different locations on your dairy. Having a well-stocked first-aid kit can help you respond quickly to injuries and having appropriate supplies in several locations improves access and response speed. The Upper Midwest Agricultural Safety and Health Center provides a list of items that should be in a basic kit that can be used to treat small wounds, stop bleeding, support a fracture or sprain, or preserve a severed limb. Spring is the perfect time to check and update the items in all the farm’s first aid kits. Click here for the list.
Book review
THE WISDOM OF THE BULLFROG: LEADERSHIP MADE SIMPLE. The title of “Bullfrog” is given to the Navy SEAL who has served the longest on active duty. Admiral William H. McRaven shares advice and leadership lessons from his four decades as a Navy SEAL in this book that covers crisis situations, management debates, organizational transitions, and ethical dilemmas. He draws on the leadership challenges he faced during such incidents as the capture of Saddam Hussein, the rescue of Captain Phillips, and the raid for Osama bin Laden. Each chapter provides lessons on specific leadership traits that separate the good from the great.
“Life throws challenges but with patience and resilience, you can convert every challenge into a new opportunity to grow.” - Amit Ray
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