January 2017 vol.2
Brought to you by Dairy's Professional Development Organization®
Opportunities to learn...

DON'T MISS THE PDPW ANNUAL MEETING AND BUSINESS CONFERENCE - It'll be here before you know it, and this year's program will be one for the record books. The Mission Driven 2017 PDPW Business Conference features 74 speakers and panelists, 25 breakout sessions, 15 learning lounge sessions, 12 new research previews, 5 hands-on labs,  4 dynamic keynotes and one unforgettable celebration to commemorate something special - the 25th anniversary of PDPW! More than 1,600 dairy farmers will trek to Madison, Wis. from across the country to roll up their sleeves for the best in high-level training, peer networking and a first-hand look at innovative products and profit-oriented solutions showcased by over 200 industry suppliers. CEUs are available from ARPAS, CCA, SVM-UW and DACE for numerous sessions and keynotes Click here to review the flyer and register.

RETAINING AND ENGAGING THE BEST EMPLOYEES is critical to succeeding in dairy today. 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 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 Jan. 31 in Oshkosh, Wis; Feb. 1 in Eau Claire, Wis; and Feb. 3 in Orange City, Iowa. Review the workshop details and register online or call 800-947-7379.

Dr. Nigel Cook
"VENTILATION OPTIONS" WEBINAR SERIES CONTINUES  with the second session focused on the pros and cons of different mechanical ventilation systems, emphasizing cross and tunnel ventilation.  The session will be held on Wednesday, Feb. 15 from 12 pm to 1 pm (CST). Dr. Nigel Cook, professor in the Food Animal Production Medicine section at the University of Wisconsin-Madison School of Veterinary Medicine will share an economic model to highlight the differences between options. Participants will get a firsthand look at the numbers that make economic sense and learn how to maximize cow comfort. Click here to see the series flyer and contact PDPW at 800-947-7379 to register. 

EFFECTIVE LEADERSHIP IS YOURS THROUGH VISIBLE VOICE TRAINING.  The fourth session of the 5-part Dairy's Visible Voice® winter series, to be held February 16, will teach key components of effective leadership including the power of strong conversation openers, learning to listen more than talk, ask more than tell, and uncover motivations. Mastering effective leadership will help you more impactfully engage with others, adding skill and value to each conversation you have. For more information and to register, go to pdpw.org or call 800-947-7379. The fifth and final Dairy's Visible Voice® course will target Proactive Communications.

LEARN FROM EACH OTHER AND CREATE A STRONGER WISCONSIN - that' s the purpose of the Agricultural Community Engagement® (ACE) Regional Meeting Feb. 21, 2017 in Wisconsin Dells, Wis. You'll get the latest on upcoming regulations including high-capacity wells and updates on rural issues such as broadband access in non-urban areas. Attendees will also learn keys to building a sustainable dairy economy for the next generation and enhancing trust and transparency with consumers. Secretary of Agriculture, Trade and Consumer Protection Ben Brancel will open this meeting designed for local elected officials, dairy and livestock farmers, and all community and conservation leaders. For more details, full speaker line-up, and registration information  click here .
For your dairy...

CALVING SENSORS CAN PROVIDE ALERTS TO PRODUCERS when a cow is in active labor, which could improve calf survival, cow and calf health and the profitability of dairy operations.  Researchers have found that almost 50% of all calf deaths within the first 24 hours after birth are a result of calving difficulty. While observational monitoring of heifers and cows due to calve is vital in improving calf survival, it is difficult to maintain 24/7 in any operation. Calving sensors and temperature-sensitive devices can work well in combination with human observation and management practices.  Descriptions of several products are available in this Penn State University article.

ARE YOUR CALF-FEEDING PROTOCOLS LEADING TO ABOMASAL BLOAT?  Novel milk replacers and automated calf-feeding systems are being used more commonly as a way to gain higher pre-weaning growth rates in calves.  These protocols - and others - sometimes subject calves to higher abomasal-emptying rates and gastrointestinal diseases such as abomasal bloat. Some factors that can prolong the time partly-digested food remains in the abomasum include volume and calorie content of feed, method of feeding, and pH levels. Read the complete article published in the Journal of Dairy Science.

THE WATERWAY NETWORK is a new online forum from The Discovery Farms Programs of Wisconsin and Minnesota.  The WaterWay Network is a peer-to-peer forum opportunity for farmers and crop consultants to share information and collaborate on topics related to water quality and soil conservation.   With the WaterWay Network, farmers can interact with each other to contribute tips, share experiences and use information provided by others to continue managing their operations efficiently and sustainably. Discussion topics are prompted by experts, starting the conversation and giving users access to valuable information from other farmers, experts, UW Discovery Farms and Discovery Farms Minnesota. Click here for more information.
Dairy currents...

CONSUMER EATING ATTITUDES AND BEHAVIOR TRENDS TO WATCH  include meal kits and the blurring of lines between retail and foodservice.  What are you doing to make sure consumer desires and your farm are aligned to capitalize on these trends?  Because consumers are seeking foods with value-added attributes, positive benefits and social value, today's dairy farms should enhance or continue to share their message of sustainable, local food production.  Here's a list of five trends from the NPD Group:
-          the battle for share of stomach will intensify
-          the "blended meal" trend will continue to develop
-          companies will win by getting personal
-          the definition of meal occasions will evolve
-          the 'experience' will make the difference
Read the full article here.

GRASSROOTS LEADERSHIP AND INDUSTRY COLLABORATION led to the fulfillment of a dream.  A recent ground-breaking ceremony in Manitowoc County, Wis. marked the start of construction for the Wisconsin Agricultural Education Center (WAEC). With an objective to l ead the way in educating and engaging the rapidly growing group of people generations removed from food and milk production, the 29,000 square-foot discovery center will feature educational displays, hands-on learning opportunities, large conference center and a country store featuring Wisconsin-made products. Also featured will be a birthing barn where visitors can watch calves being born. In addition, visitors will have the opportunity to tour a modern, progressive farm focused on sustainability best practices. To learn more about the project, visit their  website .

"TRANSPARENCY" VOTED MARKETING WORD OF THE YEAR FOR 2016 in a survey of marketing professionals conducted by the Association of National Advertisers.  This is consistent with trends showing that consumers want to do business with brands they trust and are looking for more information on the products they purchase.  Read the full Feedstuffs article .
For your business mind...

during regular management team meetings to help drive your farm or business forward.  While updates on tasks are important, remember to take time to ask big-picture questions of your team and advisers.  A list of 11 discussion-starter questions that you can weave into meeting agendas throughout the year include: 
  • What process or infrastructure improvements would have the biggest impact on our ability to deliver our goals?
  • What should we learn this year in addition to our core work? 
  • What do we want to be better at or smarter about next year?
  • Who in our organization has done something remarkable that we should recognize?
Use these conversation starters to make your team smarter and identify the direction to take your team and business. 

KEY TO ACHIEVING THE NEXT LEVEL OF SUCCESS  in your dairy business for 2017 is taking your financial data beyond the realm of record keeping into decision making, according to Dr. Mike Gunderson, associate professor of Agricultural Economics at Purdue University.  

As you wrap up 2016 financials and begin setting up financial and accounting systems for 2017, he encourages producers to work with accounting professionals who can provide valuable analysis to drive business improvement. When looking for an accountant or more from your current professional, ask the following questions:
1.       What is your dairy expertise?
2.       How can you help me/us with benchmarking and identifying opportunities to improve?
3.       What is your experience in pro forma financial forecasting? 

Benchmarking your farm against similar operations identifies areas where costs are out of line and what changes can be made to have the most impact on bottom line. Conducting pro-forma financial forecasting runs scenarios to see the impact a specific decision or change could have on a farm's financial statements. Click here for a series of articles about financial analysis and benchmarking that can provide tips and insights for your farm.

AVOID TIME-MANAGEMENT MISTAKES to improve productivity and reduce stress levels at work and at home.  By understanding common time-management pitfalls like not keeping a to-do list or taking on too much, we can identify strategies to overcome them.  For example, develop a strategy to prioritize tasks each day can to stay focused despite distractions. Read a list of the 10 most common time-management mistakes and the tips to avoid them in this article from mindtools.com.

BOOK REVIEW: ALL ABOUT THEM - GROW YOUR BUSINESS BY FOCUSING ON OTHERS.  If you want to be successful, then stop focusing on yourself, and focus on others instead. Author Bruce Turkel uses entertaining and inspiring stories to illustrate how the best companies and most successful salespeople live by a three word mantra - "all about them" - to focus their efforts on customers and employees instead of themselves. He shares how understanding others can be even more beneficial in today's technology-driven, hyper-connected culture.  
Words to live by...

 "You are never too old to set another goal or to dream a new dream." -- C.S. Lewis
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 abonomie@pdpw.org or call 800-947-7379.