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Cornerstone Dairy Academy®

Professionals and producers with professionalism can set themselves apart from others. Cornerstone Dairy Academy®, a product of PDPW and underwritten by the Professional Dairy Producers Foundation (PDPF), can be a gateway to enhancing professionalism, communication and leadership skills needed for success in a 21st Century workplace. Put another way, this isn't just another conference; it is an elite development program for students and dairy professionals.

Attendance at Cornerstone Dairy Academy® is by application only, with selected applicants receiving a scholarship for attendance at the two-day event, valued at over $600. Accepted applicants must agree to attend the full two-day event. Age is not a consideration for selection.

Applicants will be notified of their acceptance or denial by February 9, 2024. Accepted dairy producer & student applicants pay $200 in tuition, and all industry applicants pay $500. The remaining costs are covered with a program scholarship. Tuition includes program registration, lodging voucher of $50 per night (nights of March 12 and 13), and meals for both days of the program.

This application must be completed in one sitting; you cannot save it and return to it at a later time. We suggest you use a word processor to write essays, then paste them into the form to submit.

Important dates to note:

  • January 31, 2024 - Application Deadline
  • February 9, 2024 - Academy Attendees and Scholarship Awardees Announcement
  • March 12-13, 2024 - Cornerstone Dairy Academy
  • March 13-14, 2024 - PDPW Business Conference

Application questions should be directed to Amber Keel at or 800-947-7379.


All applications must be submitted by 11:59 p.m. on January 31, 2024 to be considered.

Short Essay – Please limit your response for each question to no more than 250 words. There is no minimum word count, but rather, please use the space to help the selection committee understand more about you and your desire to attend the Cornerstone Dairy Academy®.

We recommend you use a word processor, then paste your final essays into the boxes to take advantage of spell check features and to avoid the loss of any data. You cannot save and return to this application at a later time.

1. Describe your past involvement in agriculture and the dairy industry. What unique experience would you bring to the table in a class of dairy leaders?

2. Outside of formal education, which skill set do you personally need to better develop?

3. How will this training impact your career and/or your involvement in the dairy industry? Put another way, how might you apply what you learn?

INFLUENTIAL LEADERSHIP - Leadership, Interaction and Influence
Success in today's workplace requires an ability to interact with others to solve complex problems. Today's employers are seeking employees with "soft skills" – the entire suite of skills related to personality, social skills, communication abilities and aptitudes. Sessions cover leadership, teamwork skills, communicating with different generations and personality and leadership styles, conflict resolution, business etiquette and professionalism.
VISIONARY LEADERS - Ethics, Leadership and Outlook
Good leadership is first ethical. Participate in discussions on social responsibility using real-life case studies. Then discover how to be a high impact player capable of leading others through turbulence and change – which is what a global economy often is.
SERVANT LEADERS - Serve. Grow. Lead.
Leaders are developed, not born. This program is for people who aspire to excel in leadership positions and who are committed to leading change in organizations and communities. Through ethical decision-making, self-reflection, leadership training and encouragement for action, you will gather the foundation and motivation to effectively serve your family, your business and our industry.

Trainer Tom Thibodeau believes in people like you who will put forth the effort and hard work to uncover and grow leadership skills needed for business to be sustainable and successful. Tom's fresh style, practical information and insightful stories create a dynamic learning environment and a powerful experience for the aspiring leader.
Please upload a resume in one of these accepted file formats: .pdf, .docx, .doc. Maximum file size is 8MB.

By checking the box below and pressing submit, I agree to the following terms.

I certify that the information I have provided on this program application is correct and true to the best of my knowledge.

Furthermore, in consideration of the investment of resources PDPW is making, I agree that if I am offered a program scholarship and agree to accept it, I will attend the two-day program in full. If I fail to attend the full two-day program on March 12 & 13, 2024, I understand and accept responsibility to reimburse PDPF the partial value of the Cornerstone Dairy Academy in the amount of $600 and forfeit fees already paid to PDPW.

I acknowledge and certify the above terms.

All applications must be completed by 11:59 p.m., January 31, 2024, to be considered.