March 2016
Brought to you by Dairy's Professional Development Organization®
It's Next Week...

THE BIG DOGS ARE COMING-AND YOU CAN VISIT WITH THEM ONE-ON-ONE. Where? At the 2016 PDPW Business Conference, Wednesday and Thursday, March 16-17, at the Alliant Energy Center, Madison, Wis. This year's Business Conference is bringing together 48 speakers and panelists from across the globe who will participate in 23 break-out and specialty sessions, 15 learning lounge sessions and three hands-on learning sessions. Plus, six keynote speakers will share their insight and expertise: "The Dawn of a New Era: Opportunity Awaits the Wise," Dan Basse; "Connecting with Consumers: They Want to Know Their Products," a panel lead by Charlie Arnot with Craig Culver, Culver's, and Annika Stensson, National Restaurant Association; and "Last Man Down: A Fireman's Story," Richard Picciotto, New York Fire Department Chief who experienced 9/11 firsthand. And don't forget some of the "biggest dogs": YOU and fellow dairy producers from across the country.  This is the place where you can slow down and pick the brains of some of the sharpest dairy producers in the world. This conference isn't called dairy's premier education event by accident.    Click Here for all the details.  You can register online at and we also accept walk-in registrations.  See you next week!

NO MATTER THE SIZE OR TYPE OF DAIRY YOU RUN, ideas, resources and solutions will be yours for the taking at the 2016 Hall of Ideas of Equipment Show conducted in conjunction with PDPW's 2016 Business Conference, March 16-17, Alliant Energy Center, Madison, Wis. More than 200 dairy industry partners will be available to Conference participants starting Wednesday, March 16, at 8:00 a.m., and they stand ready to discuss your wants and needs and answer your most probing questions until the Business Conference closes on Thursday afternoon. Visit the Hall of Ideas Trade Show throughout the Business Conference and use this vast variety of industry partners as a way to gather knowledge and expertise and be inspired. Click here to see details about the Hall of Ideas. 
Opportunities to learn...
HOOF IT TO THE HOOF CARE WORKSHOP: April 12, Wisconsin Dells, Wis.; April 13, Eau Claire, Wis.; and April 14, Oshkosh, Wis., with each workshop 9:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m.  Identical in format and topic coverage, the workshops will feature industry hoof care experts Dr. Nigel Cook, University of Wisconsin-Madison, and Dr. Gerard Kramer, University of Minnesota. Drs. Cook and Kramer will help every level of hoof care person-even the most astute cow gurus-to pinpoint the most difficult on-farm hoof health issue and will outline the best treatment protocol for each situation. This workshop is ideal of dairy owners, herdsmen, nutritionists and veterinarians (UW-School of Veterinary Medicine and ARPAS CEU's are available).  To register or to learn more about these workshops  click here.

YOUTH CAN DIVE-IN, DISSECT & DISCOVER DAIRY  at the 2016 PDPW Youth Leadership Derby, Saturday and Sunday, April 16-17, Brillion, Wis. This overnight lock-in, designed for youth ages 15-18, is where youth can learn about the industry, network with students who share their common interests and further develop their leadership skills in a fun, dig-in-and-do learning event. The two-day event includes four learning stations, a farm tour, necropsy demo, nutrition lab and land stewardship lab; three key spe akers - motivator Sam Glenn, world-class runner Eddie Slowikowski and Alice in Dairyland's Teyanna Loether; Comedy Sportz; four discovery forums and career round tables. Yes, it's a lot, and all squeezed in between 10 a.m. Saturday and 12:45 p.m. Sunday. Pre-registration is required by Sunday, April 10. Register your son or daughter or a friend, neighbor or relative's teen, and help keep our industry in good hands. To learn more about this fun and exciting youth event, click on this link.
John Kappelman, Dr. Mike Hutjens and Dr. Randy Shaver during the March, April and May World-Class Webinars.  The webinar trio for spring: "Feed Quality to Ensure Production," will begin Wednesday, March 23, "Implementing Feed Strategies," Kappelman;  Wednesday, April 20, "Feed Additives on Tight Margins," Hutjens; and Wednesday, May 18, "Managing Your Feed Inventories," Shaver. Each webinar will be presented live from noon to 1 p.m. Central Time, with fully recorded version available to those who pre-register. There is a discount for registering for all three webinars at the same time. Remember, all members of your dairy can participate in the webinar with one registration. Click here to get details about this "learn at home" opportunity.

WILL YOU BE REACTIVE OR PROACTIVE if your farm or dairy business encounters a crisis? A Thursday, April 28, Dairy's Visible Voice® workshop, "Preparing for a Crisis Before it Happens," will equip dairy owners and key leaders with the skills and confidence to manage the media and community during a crisis. Skilled communication specialists will zero in on your farm's personal crisis plan and help you identify risks, develop a physical response plan and prepare basic response materials, fact sheets, material locations and emergency response contacts. This hands-on workshop will give you the confidence that you are ready to address the media and community so you won't be caught when a crisis occurs. To register or learn more  click here .
For your dairy...

FRESH FORAGE: FOUR-HOUR, EIGHT-HOUR OR NO ACCESS. Looking at the time cows have access to fresh forage and its impact on dry matter intake and milk yields, Uruguay researchers found that cows with four hours of access to high-quality fresh forage had similar dry matter intake and milk yields as cows fed only a TMR. Their work also shows that exceeding four hours of access to fresh forage reduced dry matter intake and performance without changes in feed efficiency. Total DMI was 3.0 kg higher for cows provided four hours of access to fresh forage than the cows given eight hours of access to fresh forage. No differences were detected in the cows not provided fresh forage. Compared with cows without access to fresh forage, those given access to fresh forage for eight hours had decreased milk, protein and casein yields, and tended to decrease fat and lactose yields. The full abstract, published in the March 2016 Journal of Dairy Science, can be read online. For more information click this link.

EVEN LOW-LEVEL MYCOTOXIN CONTAMINATION IN CALVES can initiate what Dr. Johanna Fink-Gremmels, Utrecht University, The Netherlands, calls "a cascade of events, impairing immune function and increasing susceptibility to bacterial and viral diseases inside the calf." Dry matter intake may be decreased, growth rate slowed and gut health and immune response distressed, resulting in lost performance and increased health costs.  Decreased growth rate in heifer calves can also have a negative impact on first lactation performance. 
Noting that "most mycotoxin problems with calves often go undiagnosed because the dairy doesn't pursue further investigation," Fink-Gremmels advises dairy producers to analyze feed and ingredient records to determine the cause and source of a case of mycotoxicosis. Next steps: Eliminate the suspected source of the mycotoxin; add mold inhibition products (i.e., use of fungicides or mold inhibitors on the total mixed ration or corn silage); and use mycotoxin sequestering agents in the feed. She says, in many cases, using sequestering agent products can help clinical and/or subclinical symptoms to disappear, and affected animals can begin to return to normal.

FOCUS ON THE VITAL 90 DAYS and you just might head off metabolic and infectious diseases that occur during early lactation. Noting that "transition is not a single event or period but a progression through a multitude of events over approximately a 90-day period," David McClary, DVM, urges dairy producers to be fully aware of clinical diseases that commonly occur during The Vital 90 days: metritis, ketosis, displaced abomasum, retained fetal membranes, milk fever, mastitis, ovarian dysfunction, lameness and pneumonia. And he advises dairies to record and analyze clinical disease data so they and their veterinarians and other advisors can make impactful decisions: individual cow decisions and herd health decisions. "Focusing on The Vital 90 Days can lead to a higher likelihood for reduced frustrations, higher profitability and long-term success in a dairy operation," McClary summarizes. Click this link to learn more.

For your business mind... 

PICK UP A BOOK. READ.GROW. "Leaders are readers," says author and syndicated radio host Dave Ramsey who reads at least one book a week. Warren Buffet spends 80 percent of his day reading. Bill Gates reads for an hour each night before going to bed. Joan Fallon, CEO of a biotech company reads a book a week and says, "Reading forces me to stop thinking about my day-to-day life for long enough that I often find a new perspective or a new way of thinking about something." Sam Thomas Davis, author of "Unhooked: How to Break Bad Habits and Form Good Ones That Stick," stresses that "you have to make reading a habit instead of waiting until you're in the mood." Ramsey's advice: Turn off the TV and open a book. Get started today: READ more here

A UNIQUE SET OF CHALLENGES ARISE WHEN YOU RUN A BUSINESS WITH YOUR SPOUSE. David and Carrie McKeegan, co-founders of Greenback Expat Tax Sevices, know the situation firsthand and offer these five commandments to help a joint business be a successful venture both personally and professionally. 
Commandment #1: Have a clear division of labor-specific roles and responsibilities-on the job, and, to keep productivity flowing, make certain team members know who is the ultimate decision-maker.
Commandment #2: Set work and personal hours and don't talk business non-stop. 
Commandment #3: Pretend you aren't working together and, at the end of the day, inquire how a spouse's day went. 
Commandment #4: Create your own space and allow each spouse to have his/her own routine. Commandment #5: Reap the rewards. Celebrate successes. 
To learn more about working with your spouse  click here.

MAKE MENTAL HEALTH A PRIORITY. While roughly one in four adults suffers from a diagnosable mental disorder, David Sack, MD, says less than half receive treatment. So why should you care about mental health? Sack cites four key reasons: 

1) Better physical health, since there's a strong connection between the mind and body; 
2) Improved productivity and financial stability; 
3) Less strain on the family, as mental illness affects families as well as individuals; and 
4) A longer, happier life.

 "Just as we have effective treatments for physical illnesses, there are therapies, medications and lifestyle interventions that can ease mental suffering, especially if you get help at the earliest signs of a problem," Sack states.  Click here to learn more.
Book Review

AS A MAN THINKETH   Published in 1903, this 113-year-old timeless classic by James Allen has influenced the work of many respected personal-development leaders. At the core is the belief that "as a man thinketh in his heart, so is he." Using eloquent period language, Allen zeroes in on thoughts and character being inseparably intertwined and underscores the importance of taking focused time to reflect and discover yourself and your dreams-and to put forth energy and time to make your dreams reality. "As a Man Thinketh," now in public domain and freely accessible on the Internet, is said to be one of those books that should be in every achiever's library.
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 our team member at or call 800-947-7379. 
Meet a PDPW Member...   
The Beck family, Allenton. Wis., knows that change is the only constant in life, and, changing with the times is allowing them to pass the family farm to the sixth generation. 

Changes started big time in 2008 when Mike Beck, his wife Tammy and Dave Beck and his wife Mary formed an LLC, combined their herds and built modern facilities. Today the dairy has 20 employees, milks 840 cows, takes care of all young stock and raises crops on 2,800 acres of owned and rented land. 

Dave is in charge of commodities and financial work on the farm while Mike concentrates more on the crops. Mary is in charge of human resources, and Tammy oversees calf care. Tammy and Mike's daughter Stephanie and their sons Nick and Matt work full time on the farm. Ditto for Dave and Mary's daughter Lisa. Mike and Dave's mom Rose Marie pitches in with cleaning the break room and making meals during busy times.

Since 2008 the dairy has added a transition cow facility that has individual calving pens with a heated floor and cameras mounted around the close-up pen area that automatically call their cell phone when assistance is needed. The Becks also started using sexed semen on their heifers, resulting in a greater percentage of heifer calves. 
A recent change was adding a new 400-cow tunnel- ventilated barn alongside the dairy's other two freestall barns. "We went on PDPW's 100-pound tours looking for ways to improve milk production. We were hovering around the 100-pound mark but couldn't seem to move forward," Dave says. "We wanted to find out what was our limiting factor." After visiting other farms and talking with other PDPW members, they determined that they were over-crowding just a bit too much. Cows didn't have enough bunk space or resting places.

The construction of their newest barn allowed them to add about 100 cows to the milking string-and it resulted in an immediate improvement in production and breeding. They were also able to discontinue use of one of the satellite barns where they kept dry cows and heifers. That barn was on a bedded pack and did not have drive-by feeding so it was much more labor intensive.

This family dairy is big on continuing education, participating in PDPW workshops, webinars and the Business Conference. They credit PDPW's sessions on transitioning the farm for helping them get off on the right foot when Dave, Mike and their wives first took over the farm from Dave and Mike's parents. Now the two couples are beginning to think about the eventual transfer to the next generation, knowing it can take many years to come up with just the right way to do it.

Mary says the networking at PDPW events has been a great way for them to learn from others. 
"I like that they offer classes all over the state so we are able to find one closer to us. Then it is easier to send our employees or take the time to go," Mary states. "We meet a lot of nice people at these events and we brought a lot of ideas from the people we've met back to our farm. Hopefully we've shared some of our ideas as well."