It takes “focus” and a clear vision to stay on course in any business. Access to leading-edge information and the latest in dairy farming education, innovations and research will help keep dairy producers, agribusiness and other key thought leaders profitable and on track. The tools to help sharpen one’s focus in dairying have been assembled at one venue over two days during the Professional Dairy Producers – PDPW Business Conference. The annual Conference is held March 18-19, 2020, beginning each day at 8 a.m. from the Alliant Energy Center Exhibition Hall in Madison, Wis.
Dairy’s premier educational Conference is open to the public and will offer something for every dairy professional. The event offers nearly 40 educational sessions with four learning subjects held through keynotes, seminars, labs, research showcases, quick-set learning stages, and peer-to-peer learning from the floor of the Hall of Ideas and Large Equipment Trade Show.
As one of the most popular learning experiences, the Conference offers seven producer-panel sessions. Attendees will hear real-life experience on a variety of timely topics, including adequate insurance coverage, restructuring debt, sourcing alternative feeds, strategic business management, and international experiences with big-brand food companies and beyond.
Featured producer panel and producer-led sessions include:
- Dairy farmers Marty Hallock, owner and operator of Mar-Bec Dairy and Jim Kroeplien and his daughter, Rachel, of Fly-By Acres, LLC will share what they learned about insurance policies and coach you through important sections to review in your farm policies so you won’t be under-insured when tragedy hits. The “Stuff happens…you covered?” morning session will be facilitated by Dave Becker, founding partner in Dairy Business Consulting Group, on Wed., Mar. 18.
- Mike McCloskey, dairy farm owner at Fair Oaks Farms and CEO of Select Milk Producers milk cooperative, will share insights on net zero and carbon trading to offset pollutions that could benefit the dairy farm in his morning specialty session, “Carbon Trading,” held Thur., Mar. 19.
- The father-son pair, Anton and Arjan Stokman are dairyman from the Netherlands and the chosen flagship farm for McDonald’s Europe. The two manage a free-choice system that enables the 280-cow dairy to operate with flexibility. Implementing waterbeds and robotic milking, they are focused on cow comfort and health. In their morning specialty session “McSustainability,” and afternoon Learning Lounge, “Dairying in the Netherlands,” both held Thur., Mar. 19., attendees will learn from their experiences in the Netherlands.
- Corey and Clint Hodorff, of Second Look Holsteins, LLC, Eden, and Brian Schaal, a third-generation dairy farmer in Racine County, will talk about sourcing alternative feeds and maintaining production and herd health while optimizing palatability in their afternoon session, “Time to get creative,” on Thur., Mar. 19. This session will be facilitated by Eric Snodgrass, principal atmospheric scientist for Nutrien Ag Solutions.
- Randy and Jennifer Gross, managers at Ash Grove Dairy, LLP and Ken Feltz, owner of Feltz Family Farms Inc. and Feltz’s Dairy Store Inc., are part of an afternoon producer panel that will share the tips, tricks and techniques that helped them chart their way through an obstacle course of adversity to build strength and enhance sustainability in their dairy enterprises. “The top 3: I wish I knew then what I know now,” will be held Thur., Mar. 19, and is facilitated by Kurt Petik, senior relationship manager for Rabo AgriFinance.
- In this quick-set afternoon Learning Lounge session, “Executing your why,” held Thur., Mar. 19, dairy farmer Liz Griffith of Rock Prairie Dairy, LLC will show how farmers can build well-managed and better dairy teams. Highlighting enhanced communications with concise messages, Liz will dig into the farm’s “why,” which will lead to a positive team culture and with strengthened leadership as a result.
Attendees will also access three Hands-On Hub Labs, including genetic strategy, calf care and maternity pen pathogen mitigation, and a live animal handling demonstration.
Featured Hands-On Hub labs, repeating both days include:
- “Exploring genetic strategies,” led by veterinarians from Lodi Veterinary Care Clinic. In lab, attendees will calculate heifer-inventory needs, determining which genomic traits to emphasize, and the best options for semen type. Participants will manipulate data, collect genomic samples and observe oocytes and embryos under the microscope.
- Also led by veterinarians from Lodi Veterinary Care Clinic, attendees will explore what “clean” really means and test the efficacy of chlorinated alkaline detergent on common equipment during this hands-on lab “Calf equipment: keep it clean.”
- Dr. Don Höglund, DVM, who teaches Dairy Applied Behavior classes for the University of Pennsylvania-School of Veterinary Science, will address handling dairy cattle correctly to save time, prevent injury and promote optimal animal wellbeing. During this hands-on lab, “Live animal demonstration: understand how cattle learn,” attendees will hear how knowing the cows and their reactions can maximize the herd’s potential.
To see the full line-up of educational sessions and speakers, visit https://pdpw.org/businessconference/.
The annual Business Conference has become dairy’s premier educational event and gathering place for continuous improvement. Driven by the PDPW mission to share ideas, solutions, resources and experiences that help dairy producers succeed, fellow dairy farmers came together to build the best-in-class education and peer-to-peer networking that farmers have come to appreciate and expect.
“Business Conference is a unique educational opportunity that is developed by producers to provide a high quality educational event that has something for every dairy producer,” said Corey Hodorff, dairy producer and board member from Eden, Wis. “Producers need to be able to support each other and share ideas with one another in order to help us all succeed. That is why I decided to be a part of a producer panel this year.”
The 2020 PDPW Business Conference is an accredited training and offers up to 12.75 Dairy AdvanCE continuing education (CE) credits for dairy farmers and agribusiness. To learn more or secure credits, visit www.DairyAdvance.org. Also offering up to 12.9 CEs to UW-School of Veterinary Medicine (UW-SVM), up to 9 CEs to the American Registry of Professional Scientists (ARPAS) members, and up to 9.5 CEs to Certified Crop Advisors (CCA) members.
To learn more or register online for the 2020 PDPW Business Conference, visit PDPW.org/BusinessConference/ or call 800-947-7379. Follow along digitally in advance of and during the event by following @dairyPDPW and using #Focus2020 on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and LinkedIn.
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.