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Protecting, empowering people at the heart of dairy farm success

February 5, 2021
Contact: Shelly Mayer
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Protecting, empowering people at the heart of dairy farm success
PDPW Business Conference sessions deliver content to support team building, response to emergencies

DAIRY NEWS - The most valuable assets on any dairy farm are its people. The 2021 Professional Dairy Producers® (PDPW) Business Conference will feature programming designed to help today’s dairy owners and operators develop and protect their employees on and off the farm. Scheduled for March 17-18, 2021, the conference will be held at the Kalahari Resort Convention Center in Wisconsin Dells, Wis.
The two-day event is packed full of speakers who bring decades of experience and insights to helping dairy producers take their people management and leadership skills to the next level.
“Whether on dairy farms or in our homes and communities, we’ve all gotten through a challenging 2020 and are ready for ideas to motivate, encourage and support our teams,” said Katy Schultz, PDPW Board President and dairy producer from Fox Lake, Wis.
Building positive teams is the central theme in several sessions, including:
  • Better coaching for winning teams” and “People management that works
    Michael Hoffman, founder and owner of Igniting Performance Inc., shares strategies to empower team members and helps managers build a culture of ownership. His sessions will help leaders deliver more effective feedback and coaching while building teams that understand and own their roles.
  • Effective management teams”
Liz Griffith, a human-resource consultant in market development for Encore Consultants, brings 30-plus years of experience in the dairy industry to this session. She’ll share relevant, fundamental do’s and don’ts for creating powerful management teams, including how to effectively build a team that works for the good of the whole.
Answering the call
Tom Thibodeau, distinguished professor of servant leadership at Viterbo University, brings his popular style of leadership training focused on honesty, communication and confidence to this session. He’ll focus on the opportunities each of us has to serve and answer the call for leadership in today’s changing and challenging world. 
A focus on safety has always been critical in agriculture, but today’s world introduces more potential dangers to our families and employee teams. These eye-opening sessions will have attendees assessing their personal and team readiness to respond quickly in dire situations.
  • Active shooter!”
    Mike Bolender of the Oak Creek, Wis., police department is the operations captain overseeing the patrol division and communications center. After responding to two active-shooter incidents, he and his team developed a program that provides life-saving preventative measures and response alternatives for life-threatening situations. The specialty session will change your perspective and teach you to be aware of your surroundings and develop a plan in case the unthinkable happens.
  • Lt. Paul Marik is Lieutenant Commander with the Pleasant Prairie, Wis., police department and a senior trainer, as well as a certified force-science analyst and critical-risk-management expert. His “Human trafficking” session will provide important information on this grave violation that impacts thousands of people, including employees on dairy farms. Understanding what to look for is the first step in knowing how to prevent or mitigate the damage done by trafficking. 
  • Chris St. Pierre brings his experiences from the electrical construction industry and public safety sector to the Hands On Hub. In the “Stayin’ alive: first response” session, he’ll share first-response techniques that can save lives before paramedics or first responders arrive.
Full program and registration information, including the PDPW Business Conference flier, is available at or by calling 800-947-7379. Reduced rates for students will apply, including for teens attending the youth-leadership sessions and full-time students 19 and older.
The program and location have been adapted to meet CDC-recommended guidelines for the COVID-19 pandemic; the health and safety of attendees is of highest priority for PDPW and the Kalahari staff. While providing flexibility and comfort, capacities have been calculated for each room, with seating arrangements that allow attendees to reposition chairs to ensure safe distances. To promote social distancing during sessions, extra audiovisual equipment will be set up in overflow areas. All food and beverages will be individually served by Kalahari staff, and masks and hand sanitizer will be included in training kits for each attendee.
Professional Dairy Producers (PDPW) is the nation's largest dairy producer-led organization of its kind, focusing on producer professionalism, stakeholder engagement and unified outreach to share ideas, solutions, resources, and experiences that help dairy producers succeed.