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PDPW Makes the News

Posted May 2nd, 2019

The animal-welfare issue is moving fast – and will only move faster in the future.

Dr. Nigel Cook, veterinarian and chair of the Department of Medical Sciences at the University of Wisconsin-Madison’s School of Veterinary Medicine. likened it to a sleek bullet-train. He pointed to the current number of animal-activist organizations – as well as how animal-welfare-assurance programs have been developed to address animal-health and wellbeing standards.

Cook, and Jennifer Van Os, assistant professor of dairy science at UW-Madison, spoke at the Professional Dairy Farmers of Wisconsin’s annual business conference about what lies ahead for animal welfare.

Posted April 30th, 2019

A group of state lawmakers is working to help Wisconsin’s struggling dairy industry, by focusing on our research universities. Agriculture is an $88 billion industry. Half of that comes from dairy farms. But in the past 15 years, Wisconsin has lost half its dairy herds. The state has 750 fewer this year than at the same time last year. “The problem is, for the last five years, our farmers haven’t been able to pay their bills,” said state Rep. Travis Tranel.

Posted April 15th, 2019
Dr. Frank Mitloehner, a professor and air quality extension specialist in the Department of Animal Science at the University of California-Davis, isn’t afraid to speak up, particularly on Twitter where he writes under the handle @GHGGuru. He sees 2.5 million people visiting his Twitter account each ... 
Posted April 11th, 2019
Last year, Wisconsin lost 691 dairy farms, the most since 2011. Wisconsin also leads neighboring states in farm bankruptcies. Consecutive years of low milk prices, increasing operational costs and changes in trade policy are exerting pressure on dairy farmers and, by extension, the entire dairy industry. We are alarmed by these trends and want to see them reversed to the benefit of the entire state.
Posted April 10th, 2019
When walking into Lakeshore Technical College next to Wisconsin Farm Discovery Center, a group of students stood around a lifesize model of a cow with the middle of the back lifted out to reveal the cow's reproductive organs. Instructor Craig Lallensack directed students to pull the cow's tail to the left and insert their left arm into the back of the cow. From there he guided them as they learned the anatomy of the bovine reproductive tract.
Posted April 10th, 2019
During a weekend packed with learning about the dairy industry and building leadership skills, students ages 15 to 18 had an opportunity to dig into a number of integral career experiences. In addition to touring Lakeshore Technical College, Farm Wisconsin Discovery Center and LaClare Family Creamery and hearing from dairy professionals in a variety of careers, attendees also learned about the process of artificial insemination and had an opportunity to work with preserved bovine reproductive tracts and mammary glands as well as ...
Posted April 5th, 2019
The Professional Dairy Producers® (PDPW) announce their 2019-20 PDPW Board of Directors and Executive Committee, re-electing incumbents Jay Heeg as President, Katy Schultz as Vice President and Dan Scheider as Secretary, and naming Janet Clark as new Treasurer of the Board.
Posted March 30th, 2019
Improving efficiencies on the farm and paying attention to small details was a common theme during the Professional Dairy Producers – PDPW Business Conference in Madison, Wis., on March 13-14, 2019.

World-renowned agricultural economist and former Virginia Tech professor David Kohl urged managers to commit to ...
Posted March 25th, 2019

Everyone experiences stress, the type of tension that accelerates our bodies into fight or flight mode. Stress can also be energizing and motivating, pushing us to accomplish tasks. But how do you know when stress morphs into something else: distress?

“Distress means prolonged periods of stress that your body can’t recover from,” Dr. Josie Rudolphi said during a session at the Professional Dairy Producers of Wisconsin’s recent Business Conference. “This type of stress with no relief, these chronic periods, can be extremely ...

Posted March 25th, 2019
What separates the top 20 percent of dairy farms from the remainder of their peers? 

Jason Karszes, senior Extension associate with the PRO-DAIRY program at Cornell University, shared insights he has gained from studying New York dairy farms with those in attendance at his presentation at the PDPW Business Conference March 13-14 at the Alliant Energy Center in Madison, Wis. 
Posted March 25th, 2019
After two near-misses of his own, and learning the stories of other accidents and fatalities that occurred around silage piles, Dr. Keith Bolson, of Kansas State University, has become passionate about silage safety. 
    He urged producers and dairy workers to exercise caution during his presentation at the PDPW Business Conference March 13-14 in Madison, Wis.
Posted March 24th, 2019

Calfhood birth and death data provide tools for dairy producers. In the eyes of Dr. Franklyn Garry, DVM, keeping these records is key to successfully raising healthy, well-grown heifers. 

Dr. Garry shared his thoughts on tracking and using this information during a presentation at the PDPW Business Conference March 13-14 in Madison, Wis.
Posted March 21st, 2019
Twelve dairy farmers and allied industry professionals graduated from the PDPW Cornerstone Dairy Academy™, presented by the Professional Dairy Producers (PDPW) this week after completion of three pillars of learning in the application-based professional development training program.
Posted March 20th, 2019
David Kohl, a professor emeritus in the Applied Economics Department at Virginia Tech spoke to over 1200 attendees at the 2019 PDPW Business Conference about things producers can manage to compete in today's dairy markets.

In a keynote address in which he listed seven habits of successful producers, Kohl said, "Farmers can’t control commodity prices, trade wars, tariffs or weather. But to be successful today, they need to “learn how to manage with focus and manage around the uncontrollables — manage what you can,”

He cautioned that ...
Posted March 15th, 2019

Eight percent, or nearly 700, of the state's dairy farmers left the business last year. A few thousand more farmers got out over the previous five years. Those still at it say being creative is one of the things they have to do to keep going.

There are still about 7,000 milk-cow herds in Wisconsin, many owned by people who say they have no intention of shutting down. Hundreds of farmers travelled to Madison this week for the annual business conference of the Professional Dairy Producers of Wisconsin, including ... 

Posted March 7th, 2019
Youth from 15 to 18 years old who want to discover their leadership abilities and explore potential careers will want to register for Youth Leadership Derby. It’s scheduled for April 6-7, 2019, at Kiel High School in Kiel, Wisconsin. Students attending the weekend lock-in will participate in hands-on labs, interactive learning sessions, tours and leadership activities.

In addition to touring the ...
Posted February 28th, 2019
Midwest Farm Weekly: PDPW Business Conference
Posted February 15th, 2019

Attendees of the 2019 PDPW Business Conference will have access to 62 educational sessions, 41 dynamic presenters, and six learning platforms. Held March 13-14, 2019, at the Alliant Energy Center, Madison, Wis. the annual event will include inspirational and business keynotes, information-rich breakout sessions, interactive workshops in the Hands-on Hub, quick-pace Learning Lounges, and breaking innovation from ... 

Posted January 28th, 2019

How cows eat and ruminate is just as important as the nutritional composition of the feed in front of them. Make the most of every minute at the bunk by understanding dairy cow behavior and incorporating that into daily herd management.

“We put a lot of effort into making good feed, but the value of feed is based on how the cow interacts with it,” Dr. Trevor DeVries, University of Guelph, said at the 2018 PDPW Herdsperson Conference held in November in Wisconsin.

Professor and Canada Research Chair in Dairy Cattle Behavior and welfare in the department of Animal Biosciences at the University of Guelph, Dr. DeVries was one of four presenters at the PDPW Herdsperson Conference, held at two Wisconsin locations in October and November, 2018... 

Posted December 10th, 2018
Dr. Richard Wallace joined two other calf care experts at a PDPW Calf Care Connection workshop held in Eau Claire, Fennimore and Chilton, Wis. in mid-November.

Wallace's session taught participants how to perform calf necropsies and explained why conducting them is important. Dr. Donald Sockett and Dr. Judd Heinrichs also spoke to attendees about Salmonella Heidelberg, cleaning and disinfecting facilities and equipment, and calf rumen development, respectively. 
Posted November 29th, 2018

The 2018 edition of PDPW Dairy Food & Policy Summit will bring together a dozen top speakers and allow for conversations between farmers, researchers, policy makers on relevant issues.

Featured presenters include:
Sheila Harsdorf, Wisconsin Secretary of Agriculture,Trade and Consumer Protection
Matt McKnight, Chief Operating Officer of the U.S. Dairy Export Council
Dan Basse, economist and President of AgResource Company
Linda Wenck, Principal at MorganMyers
Chad Vincent, ​Dairy Farmers of Wisconsin Chief Executive Officer
Bill Even, Chief Executive Officer of National Pork Board
Eric Cooley, Co-Director of the UW Discovery Farms Program and Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources employees Mary Anne Lowndes and Mike Gilbertson
Emily Yeiser Stepp, Senior Director of the FARM Program
Chase DeCoite, Director of Beef Quality Assurance Program at the National Cattlemen’s Beef Association 

The event is scheduled for Dec. 19-20 at the Sheraton Hotel in Madison, Wis. 

Posted November 27th, 2018
Dan Basse, president of Ag Resource Co., recently presented a webinar sponsored by PDPW that featured latest market trends and what they may mean for U.S. farmers. Basse also painted a picture of what global agriculture may look like in 2019.

According to Basse, a trade deal with China would give U.S. agriculture a much needed boost, but even without an updated pact with the overseas trading partner this weekend, ag economist Dan Basse is optimistic that 2019 will be a more favorable year for U.S. farmers.

Basse said trade sanctions and trade agreements have been major talking points for the past year. While U.S. farmers and manufacturers have been watching the retooling of the NAFTA agreement between its Mexican and Canadian trading partners, most have been watching ...
Posted November 26th, 2018
Managing a dairy farm requires a unique skill set to keep up with a complex business as well as changing technologies and management practices; managing the finances of a dairy farm is no different.  A new program designed specifically for dairy producers will provide tools today’s farmers need in a format that meets their busy schedules...
Posted November 26th, 2018
Dr. Donald Sockett, DVM, of the Wisconsin Veterinary Diagnostic Laboratory, spoke to participants during mid-November PDPW Calf Care Connection workshops in Eau Claire, Fennimore and Chilton, Wis. about the dangers of Salmonella Heidelberg for the dairy industry, and the importance of proper cleaning and disinfection.

Dr. Richard Wallace and Dr. Judd Heinrichs also taught attendees on calf necropsies and rumen development based on milk-feeding strategies. 
Posted November 21st, 2018
Farm-fresh milk, premium homemade ice cream and on-farm tours and events have put Sassy Cow Creamery on Dane County’s map of must-see attractions. Milk, ice cream, retail and agritourism are all part of the four four-pronged approach to value-added dairy farming used by the creamery near Columbus, Wis. 

Participants of Professional Dairy Producers of Wisconsin’s value-added dairy tour received a firsthand glimpse into Sassy Cow Creamery’s milk bottling and ice cream-making processes Oct. 23.

Opening its doors in April 2008, the creamery processes 6,000 gallons of milk per day and uses over one million pounds of milk per ...
Posted November 16th, 2018
As more dairies seek ways to increase income, many are turning to value-added opportunities. On a recent Value-Added Dairy Tour hosted by PDPW, participants heard from producers who have successfully integrated these strategies alongside their dairy operations. Also sharing insights was Jim Gage, a value-added agriculture consultant, grant writer and business feasibility analyst who wrote a grant for the Craves in 2004. After the tour, he shared some of his expertise on value-added cheese manufacturing... 
Posted November 6th, 2018
Get a clearer picture of what’s happening around the globe and what’s ahead for U.S. dairy in an upcoming World Class Webinar, to be hosted by PDPW from noon to 1 pm CT Wednesday, November 21.

From slaughter projections, milk flows and powder storages to harvest reports, Basse will review how it all impacts domestic and global supplies – and ...
Posted October 19th, 2018
Dairy farm owners and managers looking for creative ways to expand their enterprises to offer value-added products may be interested in participating in a bus tour this month. The Professional Dairy Producers of Wisconsin is organizing the trip scheduled for October 23, which will make stops at Crave Brothers Farmstead Cheese in Waterloo and Sassy Cow Creamery in Columbus.

Participants will hear a roundtable discussion with hosting dairy owners George Crave and James Baerwolf, who will join agricultural value-added business consultant Jim Gage as they share ...
Posted October 17th, 2018
The PDPW Mentorship Program exposes college and tech school students to possible dairy careers.

"It’s an opportunity for students to shadow a dairy farmer for eight hours and also attend the PDPW business conference," said Tracy Propst of PDPW.  “They will fill out an application... the application asks what they want to experience on a farm. Sometimes we’ll give them what they want, and other times ...
Posted October 17th, 2018
The Value-Added Dairy Tours will give dairy farmers and allied industry behind-the-scenes visits to two dairy farms that have successfully added processing and retail markets to their businesses.

The event will feature a roundtable discussion with the farm owners and value-added business consultant Jim Gage, who will bring perspective on crafting business plans for new value-added opportunities and help tour participants think about ...
Posted October 17th, 2018
Implementing on-farm processing or other value-added services to a dairy farm’s operation provides both challenges and diversified revenue opportunities. This tour will shed light on the full spectrum of financial, labor and marketing aspects critical to success.

In addition to touring Crave Brothers Farmstead Classics in Waterloo, Wis., attendees will hear the story of brothers James and Robert Baerwolf, the third generation to farm the Columbia County land their grandfather purchased in 1946. With a variety of milk and ice cream products available in their own farmstead creamery store and 75 retail locations in Wisconsin and Illinois, the Baerwolf families have 10 years of experience developing products to meet consumer needs.

The Crave Brothers have a different story of success. Participants will tour their cheese plant and on-farm bio-digester as they learn how the brothers have delivered milk from their farm through a direct pipeline to their cheese factory to produce popular products including mascarpone, rope string cheese, and ...
Posted October 5th, 2018

While career opportunities in the agricultural industry abound, fewer and fewer people have personal, on-farm experience. To counter this fact and equip non-farm professionals with practical, hands-on involvement, Professional Dairy Producers® (PDPW) developed the Agricultural Professional Partnerships® program.

Through the APPs program, participants take in more than 20 hours of...

Posted October 5th, 2018
A series of 2018 PDPW ACE On-the-Farm Twilight Meetings held Aug. 27-31 and hosted by Wisconsin Towns Association, Wisconsin Counties Association and Professional Dairy Producers® (PDPW) drew more than 600 attendees for tours of the hosting dairies, ice cream and facilitated discussion about issues important to rural communities, conservation groups, educators and agricultural producers. The four hosting dairies are located in different parts of the state, bringing a variety of talking points to each of the meetings ...
Posted October 5th, 2018

Dan and Steve Smits have made the news before for innovations they’ve implemented in their dairy. But, truth be told, they’d just as soon someone else be in the spotlight. The brothers, owners of Double S Dairy east of Markesan in Fond du Lac County, are quick to credit their committed team of employees and families for the successes they’ve collectively achieved. Taking excellent care of the animals is central to every employee’s work at the dairy.

“It’s our goal to create a quality product and give each animal the right kind of care,” Steve Smits said.

By opening the dairy’s doors to ...

Posted October 5th, 2018

Cows at Kellercrest Registered Holsteins are comfortable and productive. Inside the dairy’s office near Mt. Horeb are wall-to-wall plaques, pictures and honors showcasing breeding successes and more.

Kellercrest was formed in the late-1960s when Daniel and Jeanne Keller purchased two registered Holsteins. They then bought...

Posted October 5th, 2018

The Brey family has been farming on its northeastern Wisconsin dairy since the turn of the previous century. George Brey Sr. established the dairy in 1904. His grandson Bill Brey, with his wife Clarice Brey, raised five children on the farm. Their sons Tony and Jacob Brey in July 2016 became owners of Brey Cycle Farm, carrying on the family tradition.

While some founding principles remain, it’s an ongoing pursuit of innovation, sustainability and leadership that...

Posted October 5th, 2018

One could sum up the philosophy of Miltrim Farms in one word – growth. Owned by Tom and Lorene Mueller, and Kathy and Scott Trimner, Miltrim has seen growth on many levels since it was founded.

For Miltrim Farms, growth isn’t measured merely in numbers of cows, acres or buildings – though family members say they understand the importance of economies of scale. But more significantly they say they’re dedicated to growing strong partnerships to care for the water, soil and environment on their farm as well as growing relationships with team members and...

Posted October 5th, 2018
UW Discovery Farms and Professional Dairy Producers (PDPW) teamed up in their third annual Water Quality Tours to showcase innovations and practices that support sustainability. Nearly 60 participants, including local elected officials, community members, key stakeholders and company leaders attended the tour, which featured a stop at Sunburst Dairy, a 500-cow dairy owned by Brian, Yogi and Cory Brown near Belleville; the Verona City of Verona Public Works; and Wisconsin Brewing Company, all for the cause of learning collaborative strategies of best practices for water and soil quality and embracing the technologies that are most suitable for people, animals and the environment. 

Details on the day's agenda are found here...
Posted October 5th, 2018
Raising quality replacement stock requires upfront costs without immediate returns. This is one of many complex issues dairy farmers must consider when raising youngstock. “Youngstock management really comes down to heifer inventory and heifer management,” said Matt Akins, a University of Wisconsin-Madison dairy management specialist. 
Akins presented, “Youngstock management: Heifers eating into your profits?” during a Professional Dairy Producers of Wisconsin’s World Class Webinar Sept. 5.

There are four goals dairy farmers should keep in mind when...