January 2024 Vol. 2

Brought to you by Dairy's Professional Development Organization®

Opportunities to learn


Feb. 11-17, 2024


GET YOUR TICKETS SO YOU CAN EXPERIENCE CALIFORNIA with the perfect combination of sightseeing, relaxing and learning … all with fellow PDP dairy producer members. You arrange your airfare to suit your convenience and we’ll facilitate the five-day trip that showcases 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.

Cornerstone Dairy Academy®

March 12-13, 2024

Wisconsin Dells, Wis.


Cornerstone participants choose from three leadership pillars – influential, visionary or servant – with interactive learning and networking opportunities led by world class facilitators. The application-based program in a dynamic, interactive setting is designed for English and Spanish speaking dairy professionals at every stage of your career. Learn more and apply here for English speakers and here for Spanish speakers.

Dairy Wellbeing Workshop

Feb. 6, 7, 2024

Green Bay, Wis.

Pre-Registration required

SEE FIRSTHAND HOW ANIMAL CARE IMPACTS CULL COW QUALITY with a behind-the-scenes tour at American Foods Group. The 2024 Dairy Wellbeing Workshop is an opportunity for all members of the farm team to learn how genetic tools can be used effectively for cow health and productivity. Dr. Dan Weigel and Dr. Steve Kelm will present about new genetic predictors for health traits and how to use in our herds and the role of genetics in building a better cow. Learn more and register here.

2024 PDP Business Conference

March 13-14, 2024

Wisconsin Dells, Wis. 

DRIVE INNOVATION WITH NEW IDEAS, INSPIRATION AND CONNECTIONS at the 2024 PDP Business Conference on March 13-14 at Kalahari Resorts in Wisconsin Dells, Wis. Leading experts, world-class researchers and forward-thinking producers will lead keynote, break-out, hands-on sessions and interactive panels at dairy’s premier educational event.


Two youth leadership sessions for 15 to 18-year-olds will be facilitated by conference emcee, speaker and author Michael Hoffman.


Don’t miss the Hall of Ideas trade show area featuring the industry’s top technology and service providers, as well as the Preview stage with the latest research from university researchers, graduate students and the Dairy Innovation Hub. The Nexus® stage will return with five companies highlighting the next generation of ideas, technologies and innovations for the dairy industry. In addition, business conference sessions will be simultaneously translated into Spanish, not including Nexus stage and youth leadership sessions.


Register today by visiting the 2024 Business Conference website. Also available are the English-language flier, the Spanish-language flier, information on exhibiting, and details on lodging. For a discounted rate on lodging at the Kalahari, book your rooms through the PDP website by Feb. 19.

VOTE FOR 2024 PDP 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 your 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. PDPW bylaws allow one vote per dairy farm membership.

Four candidates are on this year’s ballot and three of these dairy-producer members will be elected to seats on the 2024-25 PDP Board of directors. More information on each candidate can be found here.

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

For your dairy

AUTOMATED FEEDERS CAN HELP REDUCE CROSS-SUCKING in calves with several management strategies for the feeders. An article from Penn State Extension notes that increasing the minimum meal size on the AMF when calves are eligible to drink milk, offering higher daily milk allotments and providing an appropriate step-down weaning strategy can all help maximize the productivity of calves and reduce incidences of cross-sucking. They also recommend at least 35 square feet per animal of bedded resting space and a maximum of 15 calves per AMF nipple. Learn more here.

COWS CARRYING CALVES SIRED BY BEEF BREEDS were not at higher risk of dystocia, clinical health events, and early-lactation culling than cows that carried Holstein-sired calves. A study published in the Journal of Dairy Science reviewed records from 10 herds with more than 75,000 lactations from more than 39,000 cows from 2010 to 2023 to compare health events and production for cows with calf sire breeds including Holstein, Angus, Simmental, Limousin, crossbred beef, and Charolais. There was also no significant impact on subsequent milk production or component yield. Read the full study to learn more. 

SHARE YOUR OPINIONS TODAY! SURVEY FOR DAIRY MANAGERS about the use of automated/precision technology in the dairy industry. If you are involved in a managerial position at a dairy farm, influence day-to-day operations and have access to dairy operation records, please complete this 10-15 minute online survey that covers topics such as your dairy herd, current priorities, economic challenges, views on diseases and perceptions of technology aimed at detecting sick animals. The survey is part of a “Management Technology Perceptions” study underway at the University of Minnesota College of Veterinary Medicine.  Learn more and complete the survey here by Feb. 1.

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

HOW LONG TO KEEP THOSE FILES? Nearly every aspect of running a business generates paperwork and documents, but there is no single rule on how long individual documents need to be saved. An article from UW Extension reviews document retention guidelines for common files, such as seven years for farm business financial records, payroll records for at least three years, and job advertisements, applications and resumes for at least one year. Establishing a record retention policy for your farm or business is the first step to getting paperwork under control. Read more here.

TAP INTO THE POWER OF “NOW” to accomplish tasks and keep projects moving. It can be easy to get overwhelmed with an overflowing inbox and long to-do list, but an article in Axios recommends handling the most important things right away helps reduce procrastination and accelerate progress. A few ground rules:

  1. If something is important, do it today
  2. Start with emails and phone calls
  3. Have tough conversations now
  4. Give compliments now

See more guidelines and details on each in the full article.

DON’T FORGET TO USE THE NEW VERSION OF THE I-9 to verify the eligibility of new employees to work in the U.S. The new form is a fillable PDF, so employers don’t have to write in information. Cornell Agricultural Workforce Development has also created an example SOP that provides steps and a sample timeline for reviewing documents and completing the I-9. Learn more about the I-9 here and view the SOP.

The Dairy Signal

CONNECT WITH EXPERTS, LEARN FROM PEERS. Three days a week, The Dairy Signal® connects you with leading experts across dairy and agricultural industries to researchers at universities and government agencies to bring updates on the trends and topics that will affect your dairy business. 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 16

Farmers depend on reliable, continuous power to run their business. The next episode in The Path to Smarter Energy series features a discussion on options for on-farm energy generation and storage.

  • Mark Inkrott, Co-Founder and Partner, UpField Group
  • Jacob Feutz, Vice President, Renewable Fuels, EnTech Solutions


January 17

Weight vs. Wait? Tune in to learn about the latest research and discussion between weight vs. waiting to breed heifers and the potential outcomes for animal health, performance and a producer’s bottom line. 

  • Dr. Paul Fricke, PhD, Dairy Reproduction Specialist, University of Wisconsin-Madison
  • Megan Lauber, M.S., Ph.D. Candidate, Dairy Reproductive Physiology, Department of Animal & Dairy Sciences, UW-Madison

January 18

As we begin the new year, what should dairy producers be thinking about or watching for to help manage through these volatile times? Join in for an update and outlook on dairy industry news and markets.

  • Leonard Polzin, Dairy Markets and Policy Outreach Specialist, UW-Extension


January 23

Tune in for an interactive review of solids and sand bedding options. The presenters will share results of the veterinary clinic’s bedding sample lab tests and management recommendations for dairy producers.  

  • Dr. Nick Mayer, DVM, Veterinarian, Waupun Vet Clinic
  • Dr. Monty Belmer, DVM, Veterinarian, Waupun Vet Clinic


January 24

Join Dr. Nicholson for an update on milk price reform. He’ll share where policy discussions are headed and what dairy producers can expect.

  • Dr. Charles Nicholson, Associate Professor, Department of Animal & Dairy Sciences and Agricultural & Applied Economics, UW-Madison

January 25

Learn about strategies for setting and sticking with realistic wellness goals. Whether it is nutrition, movement or a lifestyle change, you’ll leave with ideas and inspiration for 2024.

  • Morgan Ekovich, Owner & Head Trainer of Get Fit with ME LLC

January 30

Join in for a timely discussion on the carbon market incentives available to dairy producers, with a focus on feed product incentives. Learn more about how the process works and how carbon insets are kept within the industry. Episode presenters will be:

  • Don Larson, P.A.S. Technical Ruminant Sales Manager, Feedworks USA
  • Ryan Smith, Senior Manager, Regenerative Agriculture Impact and Partnerships, Danone North America

January 31

Tune in to learn how using predictive animal behavior can improve animal wellbeing and milk production in a variety of ways, including how a cow uses her senses, how to work in a pressure zone, move cows more effectively, and more. Episode presenter will be:

  • Dr. Kurt Vogel, PhD, Director, Humane Handling Institute, and Associate Professor, Animal Welfare and Behavior, UW-River Falls

Dairy currents

OPPORTUNITIES FOR U.S. DAIRY AS SOUTH EAST ASIA CONSUMERS LOOK for more options to increase their protein intake. The U.S. Dairy Export Council reports that market research in Singapore, Vietnam, Malaysia, Philippines, Thailand and Indonesia showed that more than 30% of consumers were not highly satisfied with their current protein intake, opening the door for U.S. food formulators to develop new products or reformulate items with added protein. U.S. dairy protein ingredients such as whey protein concentrate (WPC) and isolate (WPI), as well as milk protein concentrate (MPC) and isolate (MPI), offer a formulator-friendly complete package of nutritionally high-quality protein. Learn more here.

INFLATION IS DOWN, BUT CONCERN STILL HIGH over grocery prices. A Grocery Dive article reports that the combination of high interest rates, rising debt and increasing costs for housing and other necessities are putting pressure on consumers’ grocery budgets. Grocers are responding with more focus on value, even as grocery inflation has fallen from over 11% at the start of 2023 to just above 1% in December. Learn more here.

USDA PILOT PROGRAM TO GRADE BEEF REMOTELY using smartphone cameras. While more than 90 percent of fed beef in the U.S. is officially graded, the service is almost exclusively used in larger packing operations, so the goal of the new Remote Grading Pilot for Beef program can reduce the cost of the service for smaller or independent beef packers. Learn more in this news article and the USDA website.


 "The secret of success is to do the common thing uncommonly well."  

-- John D. Rockefeller Jr.

Upcoming PDPW programs

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
Facebook  Twitter  Linkedin  Instagram