December 2016 vol.1
Brought to you by Dairy's Professional Development Organization®
Opportunities to learn...

NEW WEBINAR SERIES TO FOCUS ON VENTILATION  in both natural- and mechanical-design concepts. The first of the two-part series will be held on Wednesday, January 11 from 12pm to 1pm CST. Dr. Nigel Cook, professor in the Food Animal Production Medicine section at the University of Wisconsin-Madison School of Veterinary Medicine will present "Challenges of Naturally Ventilating Cow Barns," and will cover the basic design concepts required for effective natural ventilation and examine why some struggle to keep cows cool in these facilities during the summer. He'll also review financial returns for different ventilation options. The second session will focus on mechanical ventilation options, including cross and tunnel ventilation. Click  here to see the series flyer and to register. 

CRISIS MANAGEMENT IS THE FOCUS OF THE NEXT VISIBLE VOICE TRAINING. The next "Dairy's Visible Voice" winter series training will be held on January 12 in Baraboo, Wis. and will give your team the skills and confidence to manage the media during a crisis, rather than the media managing you. This module starts by looking at the types of crisis-communication situations, then shares a unique numerical risk ranking, so you can rank and prioritize the crisis situations for your farm. By the session's end, you will know best practices and common activities and events that will help you build relationships in the community. Upcoming 'Dairy's Visible Voice' courses will focus on Effective Leadership and Proactive Communications. Review the full course listing here. Register online or call 800-947-7379.  

The 2017 Managers Academy for Dairy Professionals™ will provide three days of high-energy, life-long learning that will position your business for success. After touring and discovering the common interests that the dairy industry shares with the San Diego Zoo and Sea World - and learning their fresh approaches to long-standing and surprise in-the-news challenges, you will settle into the classroom with two of agriculture's most preeminent agricultural economists, Dr. Mike Boehlje of Purdue University and Dr. David Kohl of Virginia Tech. Learn more click  here  or call 800-947-7379 for details on this January 17-19 program.

SOAR WITH THE EAGLES - DODGE THE TURKEYS!  In order to succeed in dairy today, there is one critical set of tasks you have to get right: hire, retain and engage 'eagle' employees. Just one bad hire can create a cycle of frustration that results in lost production, poor animal care, low employee morale, and loss of income.  Attend this workshop facilitated by HR expert Trevina Broussard and leave with take-home hiring tools, retention tips and employee-engagement techniques that will make life easier and take the guesswork out of hiring, retaining and engaging 'eagle' employees. Sessions will be held January 31 in Oshkosh, Wis., February 1 in Eau Claire, Wis., and February 3 in Orange City, Iowa. Click here for more information. Register online or call PDPW at 800-947-7379. 

MARK YOUR CALENDARS FOR THE 2017 BUSINESS CONFERENCE AND CORNERSTONE DAIRY ACADEMY. A special celebration is planned for PDPW's 25th Business Conference March 15-16 in Madison, Wis. We have over 45 planned sessions with high-caliber business speakers, hands-on workshops, a trade show featuring new products and over 200 of the industry's leading companies.  

The Cornerstone Dairy Academy will be held on March 14-15 for producers and dairy industry professionals wanting to heighten their communications, collaboration and leadership skills. Applications for the Academy are due January 31.  Click here for details. 
For your dairy...

That  was  the question analyzed by researchers in an article in the December 2016 issue of Journal of Dairy Science. The study evaluated the effects of pelleting a forage-based diet on Holstein heifers' rumen health, NDF digestibility, and animal performance. The diets fed to two groups had the same ingredients, but different forms - one a TMR, the other a pellet. The results of the current study suggest that a complete feed-pellet diet was well accepted by the animals as demonstrated by higher dry matter intake (DMI). Rumination time was reduced with the pellet diet, but rumen pH was not different. The pdNDF digestibility was high for both diets, but significantly higher for the TMR diet. Given that animal performance was similar between the two diets, although they differed with respect to DMI and fiber digestion, researchers hypothesize that each diet had a different retention time related to its physical form. A complete feed-pellet diet formulated to provide a sufficient level of NDF from forages could be fed to growing ruminants without apparent negative effects on rumen health and animal productivity, at least for a short period. More research over a longer growing period is needed before recommending this feeding strategy for growing heifers. Read the full study  here.

AS TEMPERATURES DROP, TAKE A FRESH LOOK AT WINTER CALF CARE.  It is no secret that preweaned calves are the most susceptible to disease, and that's compounded during cold months, especially for calves housed outdoors.  Calves need additional energy during the winter and steps should be taken to ensure that housing provides adequate air exchange without becoming drafty.  Review this list of tips for feeding, housing and caring for calves and heifers to minimize disease and death loss this winter. 

MANAGEMENT IS KEY IN FEEDING 2016 CORN SILAGE CROP. Wet weather provided a challenge to many producers in the upper Midwest this fall as rain continued to fall after the crop passed silage maturity. This made it difficult to chop and ensile and increased opportunities for stalk rot and fungal diseases. A focused management strategy will be important as producers begin feeding silage and grain from this year's harvest, including assessing mold and yeast levels in silage and monitoring animal performance closely. Additional tips and information are available in this blog post from Rock River Labs.  
Dairy currents...

MILLENNIALS CONNECT TO FOOD DIFFERENTLY than older generations, said author Eve Turow Paul during an industry conference recently.  In 2017, Millennials will surpass Baby Boomers as the largest spending group in the world, and they bring a new perspective on food.  She said they have "a strong need to experience food, know food, connect with the world through food and use food to identify a social status." While millennials are 'wired in' 24 hours a day to technology, they gravitate to 'anti-technology' when it comes to their food. That leads these young people to want to know everything about their food, including how it is grown and who is behind how it is grown.  Read about Paul's presentation in an article here, or dig into the details in her book, The Generation of Yum.
A BRIGHT FUTURE LIES AHEAD FOR FOOD AND AG COLLEGE GRADS  according to research by the USDA's National Institute of Food & Agriculture (NIFA). The research showed that U.S. college graduates will find many professional employment opportunities in the next five years if they have expertise in food, agriculture, renewable natural resources or the environment. Between 2015 and 2020, there are expected to be 57,900 average annual job openings for graduates with bachelor's degrees or higher in those areas. According to projections, almost half of the expected job openings will be in management and business, with another 27% in fields related to science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM). Jobs in sustainable food and biomaterials production will make up 15%, while 12% will be in education, communication and government services. Read more here about the research and areas where college graduates will be needed to meet the growing challenges in the U.S. and around the world in providing sustainable food systems, adequate water resources and renewable energy in a world of population growth and climate change.

MORE FARM-RELATED CLAIMS TO APPEAR ON FOOD PRODUCT LABELS  as the 'clean label' trend continues to grow and become the norm in food marketing. Innova Market Insights predicts more brands will rely on 'farm to fork' claims and idyllic imagery as a differentiator in an age where clean label and organic branding is no longer niche.  Brands will use shorter ingredient lists, cleaner formulations and they'll more commonly proclaim the product's virtues in animal welfare and supporting local farmers as more quantifiable ways to connect with consumers than the 'natural' label that is being criticized as vague.  See examples of product marketing and learn more in this article.
For your business mind...

HAVE YOU SET YOUR FARM'S GOALS FOR 2017? As 2016 winds down, take time to review the goals for your team and dairy for the new year. When setting long-term goals, make sure they support your farm's mission statement and will focus attention on what is most important to achieving success. In building long-term goals, you should make sure that they DRIVE you by being:
Directional clearly stating the desired direction in which to move the business.
Reasonable -   the goal has at least some possibility of being achieved.
Inspiring -   the goal is challenging enough to get your team members motivated to meet it.
Visible -   There is some means in place to monitor the progress being made to obtain the goal.
Eventual  - The time frame in which the goal will be achieved.
Find more tips on setting measurable and achievable goals in this article from Michigan State University.

  Farmers often don't prepare their own federal tax forms, but understanding the basic concepts and applications of federal income tax law is crucial for making decisions throughout the year.  Understanding tax laws also provides a back drop for keeping the appropriate records throughout the year and helps you work more efficiently with accountants, bookkeepers and other tax/finance professionals at tax time and year round.  Review this publication for a general overview of farm-related tax laws.

WARDING OFF STRESS DURING THE HOLIDAYS  can be difficult, especially with busy schedules, shopping, entertaining and more.  Mayo Clinic offers a number of tips and resources to minimize the stress that accompanies the holidays. When stress is at its peak, it's hard to stop and regroup. Try to prevent stress and depression in the first place with these steps, especially if the holidays have taken an emotional toll on you in the past: 
1. Acknowledge your feelings  
2. Reach out
3.  Be realistic  
4.  Set aside differences
5.  Stick to a budget  
6.  Plan ahead
7.  Learn to say no  
8.  Don't abandon healthy habits
9.  Take a breather
10. Seek professional help if you need it

Visit the Mayo Clinic website for details about each of these tips along with links to professional resources.

Words to live by. . .  

"This is my wish for you: peace of mind, prosperity through the year, happiness that multiplies, health for you and yours, fun around every corner, energy to chase your dreams, joy to fill your holidays!"     
- D.M. Dellinger
Mission Sponsor Spotlight . . . 

Professional Dairy Producers Foundation was founded in 2002 by PDPW to fund dairy-specific programming to 'grow the next generation' of dairy producers and build on the strengths of previously available resources and experiences in the industry.

One of the Foundation's key objectives is to fund programs that recruit and train incoming dairy leaders. Programs like PDPW's Dairy Mentor Program, and Cornerstone Dairy Academy bring forth learning and networking opportunities not typically found in traditional post-secondary venues and these programs earn high praise from participants - and presenters - year after year.

Though Professional Dairy Producers Foundation places a high value on targeting youth in their programming, the Foundation's reach extends to all ages and is national in scope. Enhancing the public's understanding of what agriculture does to protect and improve the environment is a core value.  

The Foundation has granted funds for Dairy Challenge Academy, New York State Junior Dairy Leader Program, Indiana Dairy Youth Academy, Kansas Junior Dairy Exploration, and Dodge County Dairy Education Moo Booth as well as Wisconsin Center for Agriculture and Environmental Resources (WiCAER) and Yahara Pride Farms. In addition,  Food Armor , an industry-wide program that pairs dairy producers with their veterinarians to ensure safe meat and milk, is a PDPF-funded program, and it has become a national model for residue-free meat and milk. 

Foundation dollars also help unify like-minded producer groups to enhance quality of life and business in local communities. North Carolina Dairy Advantage, Maryland Dairy Shrine, Indiana Dairy Producers, and Western United Dairymen are among those making a positive difference in their neighborhoods and beyond because of PDPF funds.

The ever-growing dialog between consumers and producers about food safety compels the Professional Dairy Producers Foundation to continue supporting education opportunities for the non-dairy sector about how the meat and milk they consume is safely produced while also caring for our soil, water and air. 

Professional Dairy Producers Foundation offers two principal ways to contribute to their mission: "I Believe" donations and "Two Cents for Tomorrow" donations which allow dairy producers to pledge two cents for every hundredweight of milk produced on their dairy.   For more information on how you can be a part of the foundation's mission to grow the next generation of dairy producers and enhance consumer perception of our livelihood, contact them at or 800-947-7379.
A BIG Thank You...    
TO OUR PDPW SPONSORS who  support continuous improvement for the dairy industr y. T hey believe in producer leadership and place a high value on lifelong  education for those involved in the dairy industry. We deeply respect their commitment to PDPW and the members we have the honor to serve. It is by this partnership that we c ontinu e to build a strong industry filled with capable professionals. Click  HERE  to see a list of our sponsors. If you interact with any of these companies, please thank them for supporting PDPW! 

If you or a company you know is interested in participating as a sponsor, please contact one of our team members at or call 800-947-7379.