Professional Dairy Producers FoundationThe Professional Dairy Producers Foundation board of directors has made its funding decisions for 2012 education projects for dairy producers and their communities.

First, the Foundation continues to support three programs run by Professional Dairy Producers of Wisconsin (PDPW): Youth Leadership Derby, Dairy Mentor Program and the Agriculture-Community Engagement program, a partnership between PDPW and the Wisconsin Towns Association. In addition, the Foundation will support PDPW's Visible Voice program, a new leadership and communications training curriculum for dairy producers.

The Center for Dairy Excellence Foundation of Pennsylvania will receive support for "Managing a Diverse Dairy Workforce," a series of one-day, on-farm professional development workshops for dairy producers in Pennsylvania. The sessions will be a joint effort with the Professional Dairy Managers of Pennsylvania and will include information for producers on the ins and outs of successfully hiring, retaining, training and managing a diverse workforce on their dairies.

Maryland Dairy Shrine Inc. will receive funding for "Humane Safety and Animal Care." This program, hosted at the 2012 Maryland Dairy Convention, will include information on animal welfare, dairy farm safety and milk and meat quality.

"Farmers need training and support to reach their full potential," says Dr. Matthew Iager, spokesperson for the Shrine. "Consumers want reassurance that their milk is produced in a humane environment. This program will have a 'trickle-down' effect, from our dairies to our consumers."

The North Carolina Association for Dairy Stabilization and Growth Inc. will receive funding for the "North Carolina Dairy 20-40," a high-intensity, management-focused workshop to excite and expand young producer networking opportunities and access to information. The workshop will engage young dairy producers, launch three local networks and provide guidance to start-up dairy operations.

"It is our intent to fill a void in education of the next generation, create networking opportunities to grow the industry and utilize technology to increase their access to information," says Matt Lang, Dairy Development Coordinator.

"All of the programs we support clearly align with the values and vision of our Foundation," says Deb Reinhart, dairy producer and chair of the Foundation Board. "They exemplify our Foundation's commitment to raising the bar of professionalism in our industry, so we can pass on a sustainable industry to the next generation."

Since its founding by dairy producers in 2002, the Foundation has made funds available for youth programs, community education programs and the National Dairy Animal Well-being Initiative. This year's competitive grant program focused on two key areas: 1) Building producer professionalism, and 2) Maintaining public trust within dairy communities.

The Professional Dairy Producers Foundation was established by Professional Dairy Producers of Wisconsin in 2002 as a way to raise funds and awards grants for educational programs. The Foundation is a 501(c)(3) entity. For more information on programs funded and ways to donate, visit