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

ONE-STOP-SHOP FOR HERDSPERSON TRAINING. Don't miss this one-day conference designed for herdspeople, mid-level managers and on-farm consultants focused on today's most important herd health issues. A full day of presentations and hands-on breakout sessions will include identifying ways to take herd performance to the next level, managing feed and forage quality, optimizing transition cow and dry cow nutrition, managing ketosis, understanding reproductive management options, interpreting feed test results, troubleshooting fertilizing issues, and more. Three sessions will be held December 6-8 in Chilton, Eau Claire, and Fennimore, Wisconsin. Read more and register online, or call a PDPW team member at 800-947-7379. 

2017 MANAGERS ACADEMY TO FOCUS ON PROFIT STRATEGIES. 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 and sign up here, or call 800-947-7379 for details.

George Twohig
KEEPING YOUR FARM SUCCESSION PLAN ON TRACK requires focus and commitment from everyone involved.  To learn more about handling changes in the transition-planning processes, plan to participate in the second part of the World Class Webinars series "Farm & Family Business Transition" on Wednesday, Dec 7 at 12:00 pm CST.  Attorney George Twohig will outline how to review, reassess and change transfer plans so that it continues to effectively meet the evolving goals and objectives of both generations. Click here for more information. Register online or call PDPW at 800-947-7379. 

GAIN SOCIAL MEDIA SKILLS FOR YOUR DAIRY. The second session of the "Dairy's Visible Voice" winter series will focus on Social Media Skills.  You don't need to be an expert in social media to optimize this far-reaching, real-time platform to tell your dairy's story. The sessions are packed with hands-on learning and short on lectures.  Future courses are focused on Crisis Management, Effective Leadership, and Proactive Communications.  The social media session will be held December 1 at Foremost Farms USA Baraboo, Wisc. Review the full course listing and register online or call 800-947-7379.
For your dairy...

Manure management is a key part of dairy operations today, but something many farmers don't think about is the potential for manure to host antimicrobial-resistant bacteria. Research done at the Lethbridge Research Centre of Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada in Alberta, Canada, compared methods of manure management to determine the most reliable way to kill the bacteria and degrade the DNA associated with antibiotic resistance. They used manure from cattle treated with various antibiotics to find that composting works best for killing bacteria with resistant genes. Storing manure in stockpiles works, but not as thoroughly, as the heat tends to concentrate in the middle of the pile and doesn't reach the outer edges. Read more here.

CHANGES IN PRE-FRESH DIETS CAN HELP PREVENT HYPOCALCEMIA. Subclinical hypocalcemia is challenging to diagnose and potentially occurs in 50% of dairy cows.  Prevention is key, and changes in pre-fresh diets can help ward off hypocalcemia. Several recommendations from an article by University of Kentucky will mobilize calcium in pre-fresh cows to be primed and ready for the increased demand for calcium associated with the synthesis of colostrum and milk. They include 1) low-calcium pre-fresh diets; 2) low-potassium forages/ pre-fresh diets; 3) feeding anionic salts for 21 days pre-freshening; and 4) providing oral sources of calcium. Click here to read the full article.

DIETARY STRATEGIES TO IMPROVE CALF HEALTH was the topic of a presentation by Dr. Michael Ballou at Texas Tech University.  With the national mortality rate of heifer calves from 48 hours of life to weaning at about 7.8 to 10.8 percent, finding ways to improve this rate is critical to dairy producers. Dr. Ballou's research found that some issues may be related to the naive gastrointestinal immune system of calves. Increasing the plane of nutrition in the first week or two appears to increase fecal scores, although the dry matter percentages of the feces were not different. In addition to plane of nutrition, the uses of prebiotics, probiotics, and proteins from hyper-immunized egg or spray-dried plasma were all shown to reduce the incidence of gastrointestinal disease.  Read the full proceedings from the conference.
Dairy currents...

CHOCOLATE AND STRAWBERRY MILK ARE BACK IN L.A. SCHOOLS after a five-year ban has been lifted. The school district passed a ban on flavored milk in 2011, citing higher sugar content.  The new vote came after a 2015 study showing a significant amount of food waste, including plain milk. Twenty-one schools will participate in a study to monitor student behavior when chocolate and strawberry varieties are reintroduced, as well as when plain milk is in more appealing displays.  Read more in this article in Feedstuffs.

CRISPR TECHNOLOGY IS GAINING ATTENTION from media and others as possibly the next frontier in the discussions about agricultural technology.  A blog post on the Supermarket Guru website states that just as brands are starting to label GM ingredients or eliminate them from food products, products developed through CRISPR gene editing technology are beginning to move through the regulatory process. The USDA approved CRISPR mushrooms that are engineered to not brown. USDA's approval included the statement that because the new mushroom "does not contain any introduced genetic material" it isn't subject to the agency's GMO regulations. Click here to watch a video and read the blog post.

FOOD AND FARM ISSUES ARE MORE SUSCEPTIBLE to the "echo chamber" of misinformation and mistrust that can proliferate on the Internet and social media platforms, according to Marcus Glassman in the Global Food for Thought blog.  Why?  One reason is the complexity of agriculture requires concepts to be simplified when communicating to people.  However, that simplification leaves information gaps that can be "windows of opportunity to those who are only looking to find holes in your story." Read the full blog post.

Chad Vincent
WISCONSIN MILK MARKETING BOARD OF DIRECTORS has named Chad Vincent its new Chief Executive Officer after an extensive national search. Vincent is a seasoned executive with experience successfully taking startups, turnarounds, family owned brands and Fortune 50 divisions to record levels of sales and profitability. He brings to WMMB extensive dairy marketing and branding experience as well, having served as chief marketing officer and senior vice president of strategic development at Sartori Cheese in Plymouth, Wisconsin for the past seven years. Prior to joining Sartori, Vincent held executive positions with H.J. Heinz, Miller Brewing Company, Fiskars Brands and other consumer products and beverage companies. 

"I am extremely excited about our new hire, Chad," said WMMB Board Chair Connie Seefeldt of Coleman, Wisconsin. "The board is really impressed with his experience, and we are excited to see how he will improve upon the fantastic work our team has been doing." Seefeldt said she believes Vincent will help WMMB enhance the already strong promotional work and help strengthen partnerships with processors, farmers, industry partners and consumers. He will begin his tenure at WMMB December 1. The entire press release can be reached by clicking here.
For your business mind...

JOIN UW DISCOVERY FARMS FOR THEIR FIFTH ANNUAL CONFERENCE on December 13 in Wisconsin Dells. Speakers from Wisconsin, Minnesota, Canada and Iowa will cover research related to phosphorus management, cover crops, soil health and tile drainage. Two farmer panels will share their experiences on cover crops and manure management with a focus on seed choices, equipment for crop establishment and additional benefits from cover crops as well as unique manure application strategies. The conference will take place from 9 am to 3:30 pm on December 13 at the Glacier Canyon Conference Center in Wisconsin Dells, Wis. Registration opens in early November. For more information visit or email

ARE YOU GRATEFUL FOR GOOD EMPLOYEES? Thanksgiving is the perfect time to remember that employees who are recognized for their efforts have higher morale, are more engaged and produce higher quality work. Here are five ideas to make the Thanksgiving spirit last all year long:    

1. Pay it forward. Do you remember recognition from a former manager? Start that practice with your team.
2. Think inside and outside the wallet. Both financial rewards and non-monetary perks can serve as motivators.
3. Let everyone know. Share an employee's good work with the rest of the team.
4. Put it in writing. Personalized thank you notes to employees are a great option, especially in a technology driven environment.
5. Have fun. Employee recognition doesn't have to be a chore; look for creative ways to recognize success.
Learn more in the full blog post.

DON'T FORGET ABOUT VFD CHANGES that will go into effect this January.  Is your farm ready?  Most in the dairy industry are aware of recent guidance coming from the FDA as part of the agency's policies on judicious use of medically important antimicrobial drugs. As the final phase of implementation approaches, make sure you understand changes regarding feed-use- and water-use-antibiotic products that were - up until now - purchased over the counter. Check out resources produced by UW Extension and Cornell University to make sure you are ready.

Words to live by. . .   "As we express our gratitude, we must never forget that the highest appreciation 
is not to utter words, but to live by them." --- John F. Kennedy
Meet a fellow PDPW member...

Ryan & Lindsey Prahl and children
Like the dairy industry itself, Granite Vu Farm has transformed over the years. The land it sits on near Wausau, Wisconsin once belonged to timber barons. It's now a fifth-generation business led by Ryan and Lindsey Prahl.

While the farm has been operating for 137 years, most of the changes have happened in the last 17 years when the Prahls moved away from a traditional tie-stall barn to their present-day parlor and added a free-stall barn. This year, Ryan and Lindsey assumed 51 percent ownership from his parents, who remain minority partners.

The Prahls milk 147 cows, mostly Holsteins with some Jerseys. Lindsey manages the farm's books and employees, takes care of their three kids, and fills in wherever else she's needed. Through hard work and education, the couple intend to keep building the business. While they would like to add to their herd, they believe growth doesn't necessarily mean expansion and adding facilities.

"Building is about managing for profitability and transition, doing the things you have to do to move forward," says Ryan. "You have to be proactive. There's too much volatility in our industry to sit back and hope opportunity comes to you."

One option they are considering is the installation of robotic milk machines to reduce dependence on labor and improve management of their herd.  "We feel we'd be able to manage the cows more intensively. The robot provides a lot of good health information that enhances management," said Ryan.

The Prahls find valuable inspiration and know-how through their membership in PDPW. They have attended Managers Academy and Business Conference, and plan to participate in more PDPW events and seminars in the future.

"I've been to Managers Academy twice. We get ideas - outside-the-box ideas - that we bring back to the dairy... the kinds of things you don't think about when you're working in the trenches," Ryan says. "That conference is worth it. The networking alone can turn into something that influences profitability."

While at Managers Academy last January he and Lindsey learned about crisis management from companies outside of the dairy industry. They heard other business owners talk about how to deal with universal business issues. Lindsey picked up useful tips for managing employees.

"If you'd like to enhance your dairy and make yourself more stable within this industry, PDPW is a good way to do it," says Ryan. "The reward of being a member is that you're always going to bring home something you can apply on the farm and build from."
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.