January 2024 Vol. 1

Brought to you by Dairy's Professional Development Organization®

Opportunities to learn


Feb. 11-17, 2024


EXPERIENCE CALIFORNIA LIKE NEVER BEFORE with the perfect combination of sightseeing, relaxing and learning … all with fellow PDPW dairy producer members! The five-day trip includes tours at top dairy farms and creameries, a day at the World Ag Expo, visits to Yosemite National Park and wine tasting events. Space is limited, so register today. Learn more here.

Carbon Conference 2.0

Jan. 30, 2024

Madison, Wis.

IT STARTS WITH YOUR NUMBERS. Dairy producers have heard about the need to reduce the carbon footprint on their farms and the pledges from global companies to reduce emissions in their supply chain, but the critical first step in accessing these markets is understanding your operation’s current emission rate or carbon footprint number. At PDPW’s Carbon Conference 2.0, leading experts will provide critical insights and resources for dairy producers to calculate their current number, improve their management practices and have access to marketing opportunitiesLearn more and register here.

 Cornerstone Dairy Academy®

March 12-13, 2024

Wisconsin Dells, Wis.

DON’T WAIT – APPLICATIONS DUE JANUARY 31! Select from three pillars of leadership training led by top facilitators, including Holly Green, Rachel Wagner, Hank Wagner, Dr. Richard Kyte, Dr. David Kohl and Tom Thibodeau, to build your communications and leadership skills. The application-based program in a dynamic, interactive setting is designed for English and Spanish-speaking dairy professionals at every stage of their careers. Learn more and apply here for English speakers and here for Spanish speakers.

PDPW Dairy Wellbeing Workshop

Feb. 6, 7, 2024

Green Bay, Wis.

GENETICS TAKE CENTER STAGE with presentations at the 2024 Dairy Wellbeing Workshop. Learn from Dr. Dan Weigel and Dr. Steve Kelm about new genetic predictors for health traits, how to use them in our herds and the role of genetics in building a better cow. A tour of American Foods Group will provide an opportunity to learn from beef buyers, market experts and USDA meat inspectors. Learn more and register here.


Application Deadline: Monday, January 15, 2024

Applications are being accepted for innovators to showcase their cutting-edge technologies on the Nexus stage at the 2024 PDPW Business Conference. Scheduled for March 13-14, 2024, at the Kalahari Resorts in Wisconsin Dells, finalists will be chosen to receive 20 minutes of stage time each day of the conference in the presence of the industry’s most forward-thinking dairy farmers. Attendees will have five minutes to engage in Q&A with the presenters for more details.

Application deadline is TODAY, January 15, 2024.


Click here for the application and more details, including a complete list of finalist rewards. 

2024 PDPW Business Conference

March 13-14, 2024

Wisconsin Dells, Wis. 

IS THE 2024 BUSINESS CONFERENCE ON YOUR CALENDAR YET? With dozens of leading speakers and dairy producers, 54 learning sessions, two youth leadership sessions, as well as the Hall of Ideas Equipment and Trade Show, Preview Stage and Nexus stage, there is no better place to “drive innovation” for your business than the 2024 PDPW Business Conference! Set for March 13-14 at Kalahari Resort and Convention Center at Wisconsin Dells, Wis., where there are learning and networking opportunities for everyone. Learn more, register and find hotel information here.

VOTE FOR 2024 PDPW BOARD CANDIDATES. As an organization founded by dairy farmers, led by dairy farmers and serving dairy farmers, the election of the Board of Directors is critical to our organization’s success. Board members help plan and facilitate the development of programs that bring cutting-edge research, world-class training, peer networking events and hands-on educational opportunities to the dairy industry.

Four candidates are on the ballot, and three of these dairy-producer members will be elected to seats on the 2024-25 PDPW Board of Directors. PDPW bylaws allow one vote per dairy farm membership.

Ballots can be cast in person at the 2024 PDPW Business Conference or mailed to PDPW. Mailed ballots must be postmarked by Feb. 19. 

For your dairy

VENTILATION KEY TO SUCCESSFUL RENOVATION OF TIE-STALL BARNS for indoor calf housing. A publication from UW Extension shares tips for updating existing barns on farms to house calves, providing an alternative to individual calf hutches. After assessing space and barn conditions, pens can be placed, with the recommendation to leave front and bank panels open to allow air exchange within the pens. Good ventilation systems are vital, with one commonly used ventilation system of calf barns being positive pressure ventilation tube. Learn more in the full article

MANAGING MASTITIS IN HEIFERS can help preserve the health and productivity of your herd. While few dairy heifers show clinical signs of mastitis before calving, a Staphylococcus aureus infection can result in 10% less milk in the first lactation. A number of steps can be taken to control the spread of contagious mastitis bacteria to calves and heifers, including:

  • Pasteurize raw milk that is fed to calves.
  • Avoid feeding waste milk from cows that are infected with mastitis.
  • Use individual stalls for pre-weaned calves.
  • Cull calves that suck other calves.
  • Do not use freshening pens for sick cows.


Learn more here.

HOW DOES BIRTH WEIGHT OF A CALF IMPACT A COW’S PERFORMANCE after calving? Researchers focused on this question in a study published in the Journal of Dairy Science, analyzing 11,592 lactation records from 4,549 spring-calving dairy cows. They noted that results may be useful to dairy producers as they make sire selection decisions, as multiparous cows that gave birth to heavier cows had higher milk production than those with lighter calves. Primiparous cows that delivered lighter calves had a small increase in 60-day milk production but also had a shorter calving interval to first service. Read the full study here

CONTACT PREMIER DAIRY SUPPLIERS WITH PDPW PRIME® to find seasonal specials offered by leading dairy-industry companies and service providers. PDPW Prime companies represent a multitude of allied industry organizations, including businesses representing animal health, artificial insemination, buildings and facilities, crops, feed and feed additives, implements and equipment, milk handling equipment and more.
Make pdpw.org/prime your one-stop shop to take the hassle out of finding an industry professional for the services and resources you need.

For your business mind

ESTABLISHING PROCESSES AND PROTOCOLS for how to hire and manage your employees will help set expectations for team members and avoid potential legal pitfalls. In a recent episode of The Dairy Signal, attorney Troy Schneider reviewed things to consider for employment application forms as well as interview and hiring requirements. He also reviewed processes and considerations for the termination of employees. Watch the “Legal Ins and Outs of Hiring and Firing” episode to learn more. 

SETTING SMARTER GOALS FOR THE NEW YEAR. We’ve heard the framework of setting SMART – Specific, Measurable, Actionable, Realistic and Time-bound – goals. Taking the next step to add details and context to each goal will help motivate you to achieve them, according to an Inc.com article. For example, break down large goals into smaller daily actions to make them less overwhelming and track positive momentum. Find more actionable tips in the full article.

START WITH EMPATHY AND UNDERSTANDING TO MOTIVATE TEAMS. Engaging and motivating employees is more challenging than ever in today’s fast-paced world with so many distractions. An article from Fast Company highlights strategies to ensure everyone is working toward the same goals:

  • Share the “why”
  • Set expectations
  • Welcome questions and feedback
  • Tailor your approach
  • Acknowledge hurdles

Learn more about each of these strategies here.

The Dairy Signal

CONNECT WITH LEADERS, RESEARCHERS, INNOVATORS. The Dairy Signal® continues to bring a wide array of valuable information to the dairy industry. From leading experts across dairy and agricultural industries to researchers at universities and government agencies, The Dairy Signal brings insights and the opportunity to interact with the most timely topics in the industry. The 60-minute sessions air every Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday, with recorded episodes available at www.pdpw.org. Click here to tune in to archived sessions.


Presenters and topics covered recently include:


January 2

Start the new year off with a fresh focus on your health. Tune in for a discussion of dietary and cardiovascular wellness and how to build healthy eating habits that will last all year long.

  • Amy Mydral Miller, MS, RDN, FAND, Founder and President of Farmer’s Daughter Consulting


January 3

Bring your questions about 2023 feed quality and 2024 seed decisions to this interactive conversation. Dr. Goeser will review 2023 crop quality and discuss anti-nutritional factors that are showing up in Michigan and eastern U.S. dairies.

  • Dr. John Goeser, PhD, Director of Nutritional Research & Innovation at Rock River Lab, Inc., and Adjunct Assistant Professor in the Dairy Science Department at University of Wisconsin-Madison


January 4

Hear a 2024 outlook for dairy markets with a focus on the top 10 fundamentals market drivers that producers should be aware of and discuss the risk management considerations recommended for the year ahead.

  • Will Babler, Principal, Atten Babler Commodities LLC 


January 9

Learn about the latest research and innovation underway at the Center for Dairy Research in the field of cultured dairy products and beverages.

  • Dr. Daniel Wilbanks, Dairy Applications Specialist, Center for Dairy Research


January 10

What are some key practical strategies to sustain consistency in feedstuffs? And how can producers prevent bottlenecks and quality issues when supplies are tight and alternatives are necessary? Tune in for answers to these questions and more.

  • Dr. Gail Carpenter, Assistant Professor of Teaching in Dairy Production, Iowa State University and State Dairy Extension and Outreach


January 11

While dairy farming is a way of life, having hobbies and activities outside the farm is critical to health and wholeness. Join an interactive discussion on finding balance on the farm alongside other aspects of life for producers actively involved in farm duties as well as those who are in a transition phase.

  • Monica McConkey, Rural Mental Health Counselor, Eyes on the Horizon Consulting

Dairy currents

FDA REPORTS ON 2022 ANTIMICROBIALS SOLD FOR USE IN FOOD PRODUCING ANIMALS. The latest report from the U.S. FDA shows that domestic sales and distribution of medically important antimicrobials approved for use in food-producing animals decreased by 32% from 2013 through 2022. There was an increase of 4% from 2021 through 2022. An estimated 41% of intended for use in cattle, 43% in swine, 12% in turkeys and 2% in chickens, with 2% for other species or unknown. Learn more in the full report.

FOOD HALL CONCEPTS ARE A GROWING FORMAT FOR GROCERY STORES featuring multiple branded restaurant concepts in one location. A Supermarket News article highlights the trend in supermarkets that feature a variety of food options and styles, noting that they are popular with consumers familiar with food trucks and smaller, unique concepts. Learn more here.

PREPARE FOR COLD WEATHER WITH PROPER CLOTHING for all members of your team. As winter temperatures drop, make sure that employees are protected from cold stress. Three layers of loose-fitting clothing are recommended, including an inner layer of wool or synthetic to keep moisture away from the body, a middle layer of wool or synthetic to provide insulation and an outer wind and rain protection layer. Hats, knit masks to cover the face and mouth, insulated gloves and insulated boots also provide protection. Read more winter clothing and safety tips for your entire team on the OSHA website.

Book Review

THE POWER OF REGRET: HOW LOOKING BACKWARD MOVES US FORWARD. While “No Regrets” has become a popular motivational phrase, author Daniel Pink outlines how people can learn from and grow from their regrets. He shares four core regrets based on U.S. and global research and how we can learn from them to find a better path forward.  

Learn more here.


“You cannot do a kindness too soon because you never know how soon it will be too late.” —Ralph Waldo Emerson

Upcoming PDPW programs

January 15

Nexus Application deadline

January 30

Carbon Conference

Madison, Wis.

January 31

Cornerstone Dairy Academy

Application deadline

February 6-7

Dairy Wellbeing Workshop

Green Bay, Wis.

February 11-17

Explore California Tour

March 12-13

Cornerstone Dairy Academy®

Wisconsin Dells, Wis.

March 13-14

Business Conference

Wisconsin Dells, Wis.

Thank you, sponsors

Professional Dairy Producers
820 North Main St.
Juneau, WI 53039
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