February 2021 Vol. 2
Brought to you by Dairy's Professional Development Organization®
Opportunities to learn
2021 PDPW Business Conference
March 17-18, 2021
Wisconsin Dells, Wis.
2021 BUSINESS CONFERENCE: “DISCOVER” WHAT AWAITS! This year’s conference features the best-in-class speakers, timely topics and innovative new ideas you’ve come to expect from dairy’s premier educational event. Held in a new location with new youth-leadership programming and the exciting Nexus™ innovation stage, the 2021 event will be one for the books. Register today and join us at the 2021 PDPW Business Conference, March 17-18 at Kalahari Resort in Wisconsin Dells.

Your health and safety are our highest priority. The Kalahari Resort has been safely hosting in-person group events throughout 2020 and into 2021 and is well equipped to accommodate social distancing in all session formats. Capacities have been calculated for each room with seating arrangements that allow attendees to reposition chairs to ensure safe distances. Extra audiovisual equipment will also be set up in overflow areas and all food and beverages will be individually served by Kalahari staff.

PDPW will follow all current CDC-recommended guidelines throughout the conference, including providing masks and hand sanitizer in training kits for each attendee. 
Each year dairy producers come to the Business Conference looking for the newest research, technologies and information to make their operations more productive and sustainable. The Nexus stage will provide a preview of the next generation of innovations for the dairy industry.

Five inventors and idea-generators were selected from an exceptional group of applicants and will present during the business conference on the Nexus stage. Each presenter will deliver a 15-minute TED Talk-style overview of their idea, followed by an opportunity for dairy producers to ask questions and provide feedback on each idea. Each presentation will be professionally moderated by staff from Progressive Dairy magazine.
Youth Sessions: Future of Success
With a focus on building communications, teamwork and collaboration skills, PDPW is introducing this four-part youth leadership program for teens 15 to 18. The sessions will be facilitated by Hans Gochenaur in a fun, fast-paced interactive environment. Through group activities and engaging team challenges, Hans will lead teens through these four session topics:
  • You, your world, your path
  • Discovering your leadership style
  • Building a team with potential
  • Practical tools in today’s world

All 15- to 18-year-old Future of Success attendees must be accompanied to Business Conference by a parent or chaperone and are encouraged to attend Business Conference sessions between Future of Success sessions.

Reduced rates apply; click here or call PDPW at 800-947-7379 to register teens for both days.
Just as every dairy farm has customized protocols for milking, calf care and other aspects of their farm, each farm’s approach to risk management must be tailored to its goals and financial situation. A panel of three forward-thinking dairy producers will share what has worked – and what hasn’t – in a breakout session during the Wednesday afternoon session of the conference.
The session is facilitated by Tim Swenson, senior business consultant with Compeer Financial. Dairy-producer panelists include: Joe Fetzer of Fetzer Farms in Elmwood, Wis.; Patrick Maier of Maier Farms LLC near Waunakee; and Kendall Melichar of Melichar Broad Acres in Port Washington, Wis.
Each farm has taken a different journey to their current risk-management programs. Panelists will talk about their priorities as well as the tools and strategies that have helped achieve their goals in an increasingly volatile marketplace.

The “Is direct marketing for you?” breakout session on Thursday afternoon will feature two dairy farmers who have successfully diversified their businesses and created additional revenue streams. Amanda Freund, sales and marketing lead for CowPots, and Walt Gladstone, owner of Newmont Farm, will participate in the panel moderated by Kurt Petik, Rabo AgroFinance.
Freund will share how her father’s idea 20 years ago evolved into the design, manufacturing and distribution of biodegradable gardening pots made from separate solids from their dairy’s methane digester. CowPots are now available in 13 styles and distributed to all 50 states and Canada.
Gladstone will highlight the evolution of the dairy farm he and his wife purchased on auction 32 years ago, including their diversification into produce, which has led to growing 200 acres of pumpkins at Newmont Farm. He will share how they built markets ranging from small farm stands to major retailers and the importance of delivering a quality product with efficiency.
For your dairy
BOOSTING SOIL HEALTH, WATER QUALITY AND BOTTOM LINE are fundamental to successful and sustainable dairying. Learn about new techniques, opportunities and discussions in nutrient management and conservation practices by attending these sessions during the conference:

“Understand your land” will bring the outdoors indoors to show how ground cover, topography and land management impacts the water quality and soil health of your land with a water-runoff simulator demonstration. Hands-on Hub, offered twice both days.
“Transporting nutrients” will highlight new techniques being used to optimize the complete cycle from cow to soil and back to the cow. This panel will provide you with insights into new and diverse techniques currently happening within dairy while also offering a glimpse at methods other industries are using. Specialty session, Wednesday morning.
“Phosphorus harvesting” will share how this practice is being used in the public sector and explore the potential for dairy farms to reduce phosphorus loading and potentially generate additional revenue streams. Specialty session, Thursday morning.
“Capitalize on carbon credits” will provide an update on how your dairy can cash in on carbon credits by creating revenue from the manure being created on your farm. Learning lounge, Thursday afternoon.
MANAGING DUST IN CALF BARNS. Researchers studied air samples taken from group-housed calf barns on 24 dairy farms and 23 beef farms to study levels of dust concentrations and their associations with lung consolidation, respiratory-tract inflammation and infection in calves. While dust concentrations were lower in calf barns than pig or poultry barns, the study showed levels high enough to be associated with pneumonia. Read the study here and find recommendations for ventilation in calf barn housing from The Dairyland Initiative here
CONTROLLING AND PREVENTING MASTITIS STARTS WITH HEIFER CALVES. The spread of contagious mastitis bacteria to calves and heifers can cause an infection that leads to chronic health issues when animals enter the milking herd. An article from Penn State Extension recommends the following ways to control spread:
  • Pasteurize raw milk that is fed to calves
  • Use individual stalls for pre-weaned calves
  • Cull calves that suck on other calves
  • Do not use freshening pens for sick cows
  • Routinely culture milk from chronically mastitic cows to identify those that are contagious
  • Properly handle chronically infected cows to limit bacteria spread within the milking herd

Read the full article to learn more. 
For your business mind
WHAT ARE YOUR RIGHTS TO DATA generated from your farm? Data is being created 24/7 from every aspect of the operation on modern dairy farms. While the wealth of data allows producers to make more precise, informed decisions, it may open the door to unforeseen questions. Todd Janzen, attorney and co-founder of Janzen Agricultural Law LLC, will present a Thursday afternoon breakout session at the 2021 PDPW Business Conference to provide an overview of current laws affecting ownership and control of data streaming off your farm. 
COMPANY CULTURE STARTS WITH HIRING the right people. In a recent episode of The Dairy Signal™, John McHugh, director of public relations for Kwik Trip, shared the company’s approach to ensuring all 30,000 employees share the company’s values of customer service and treating others the way they want to be treated. Instead of an intensive training program, they focus on hiring the right people. All interviews start with three questions:
  • Tell me the last act of random kindness you’ve done for someone.
  • How have you treated others like you want to be treated in the last six weeks?
  • How have you made a difference in someone’s life in the last month?
Hear more about how the company has focused on maintaining its culture during a time of rapid growth in the full episode
ARE ESTATE TAXES THE BIGGEST THREAT TO FARM-SUCCESSION PLANNING? Probably not, according to an article from UW Extension Farm Management. While federal estate tax has existed since 1916, legislation over the past 20 years has eased the burden. In many cases, the distribution of farm assets through the owner’s planning or the state’s succession plan can put the successor generation in a challenging position if all assets are divided equally among both farming and non-farming children. The article outlines the principles of equality, proportional equity, and needs-based distributions and provides insights into the planning process. Read the full article here
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 pdpw.org. Click here to find archived recordings of sessions.
A special thank you to Bremer Bank for sponsoring The Dairy Signal during February.
Presenters and topics covered recently include:
Discover how Kwik Trip is managing its accelerated growth and learn its philosophy for providing opportunities to team members.
  • John McHugh, Director of Public Relations, Kwik Trip
Learn how the beef and meat processing industries have adapted through an unprecedented year, how they are keeping up with consumer demand and what lies ahead in 2021.
  • Keith Lindsay, President and CEO, Salm Partners
  • Steve Van Lannen, President and Chief Operating Officer of American Foods Group
Hear about the climate and weather trends that will impact the remaining winter months and influence spring planting and the 2021 growing season.
  • Eric Snodgrass, Principal Atmospheric Scientist for Nutrien Ag Solutions

The Center for Dairy Research is one of the premier dairy research centers in the United States. Find out what the research team is currently working on and what the dairy industry has to look forward to.
  • Dr. John Lucey, PhD, Director of Center for Dairy Research, Professor of Food Science at UW-Madison
Learn how we can best prepare the next generation of employees, managers and leaders for success by developing their leadership skills and managing everyone’s expectations.
  • Nicole Bettinger Zeidler, Consultant, Family Business Consulting Group
February 25                          
Hear the latest news and analysis of agricultural markets and trends that will impact dairy producers and the ag industry. Episode presenter includes:
  • Dan Basse, Economist and President of AgResource Company
Dairy currents
VIRTUAL DAIRY FARM TOUR AVAILABLE FOR STUDENTS. For many students across Wisconsin and other states, a field trip to a dairy farm is a memorable part of the school year. However, with limitations due to the COVID-19 pandemic, those trips may not be possible for the 2020-21 school year. Dairy Farmers of Wisconsin has teamed up with the Wisconsin Dept. of Agriculture, Trade and Consumer Protection to develop a virtual farm tour featuring Julia Nunes, Wisconsin’s 73rd Alice in Dairyland, at her home farm. View the tour here and share it with students and teachers in your area.  
KEEPING YOUR FARM PROTECTED FROM NEGATIVE PUBLICITY STARTS with establishing and following protocols and training team members to be vigilant about possible surveillance. While most people are curious and genuinely seek honest information, there are some activists who seek to do harm to animals, property or the industry through negative videos and/or social media posts.
Tips to maintain security on your farm include:
  • Know what farm information is available on public platforms and monitor social media pages for potential threats.
  • Implement sound hiring practices.
  • Discuss and enforce visitor policies with all family members and employees.
  • Ensure security and biosecurity policies are followed.
  • Create and enforce a policy around phone, camera and other technology use.
  • During tours, watch for individuals wandering away from groups without permission or continually focusing on areas not being highlighted during tours.
  • Pay attention to unfamiliar vehicles or out-of-state license plates. Be polite if you choose to engage with people you’re unfamiliar with; it’s possible they’ve made a wrong turn or are simply out for a drive.
See more tips and details in the full article from South Dakota State Extension here.
“The best way to find yourself is to lose yourself in the service of others.”
~Mahatma Gandhi
PDPW educational calendar
March 16-17
Cornerstone Dairy Academy
Wisconsin Dells, WI

March 17-18
Business Conference
Wisconsin Dells, WI
March 24-25
Financial Literacy for Dairy - Level 3
Juneau, WI
Thank you sponsors