Midwest Rural Energy Conference set for next week

By MAA
The 56th annual Midwest Rural Energy Conference will take place in La Crosse, Wis., on Feb. 15-16.
The Midwest Rural Energy Council hosts the conference to provide education and research on rural energy issues to benefit farmers and other rural energy consumers, suppliers, organizations and agricultural trade associations, electrical equipment and allied industries  and government regulatory agencies. Continue reading “Midwest Rural Energy Conference set for next week”

Growing exports vital to dairy industry’s success

Patrick Flood Photography

By MaryBeth Matzek
MAA Editor

MADISON, Wis. — The key to the dairy industry’s success lies in exports as the world’s growing middle class seeks to add more dairy to their diet, according to milk marketing experts who participated in a panel discussion Jan. 18 at the Dairy Strong conference at Monona Terrace.

Panel moderator Mike North, who is president of the Dairy Business Association, kicked off the discussion by pointing out an estimated 15 percent of milk produced in Wisconsin is exported to other countries. Continue reading “Growing exports vital to dairy industry’s success”

Navarro to dairy farmers: Make voice heard on immigration

Patrick Flood Photography

By MAA

MADISON, Wis. — If Congress and President Trump do not make progress on immigration legislation before spring, Republican strategist and CNN political analyst Ana Navarro predicts it will not get done in 2018.

Navarro spoke to hundreds of dairy farmers and other industry professionals during the annual Dairy Strong conference Jan. 18 at Monona Terrace. Immigration is a key issue for dairy farmers since immigrants make up a large portion of their workforce. Continue reading “Navarro to dairy farmers: Make voice heard on immigration”

Dairy well-being workshop focuses on animal care

By MAA

Why aren’t cows allowed to go outdoors?  Why are calves raised without social interaction?  These are just a couple of the questions that consumers have about how dairy animals are cared for.  Animal welfare continues to be critical topic for dairy producers as consumers question where their food comes from, and activists pressure food companies to influence how animals are raised. Continue reading “Dairy well-being workshop focuses on animal care”

Conference looks at urban/rural divide in Wisconsin

By MAA
MADISON — After spending a decade visiting rural communities and inviting herself to listen in on informal conversations about politics at diners, gas stations and other local gathering spots, University of Wisconsin-Madison political scientist Kathy Cramer has learned a lot about the state’s rural-urban divide. She summarized her findings in her 2016 book The Politics of Resentment: Rural Consciousness in Wisconsin and the Rise of Scott Walker.

On  Jan. 25, Cramer will interpret her book for an agricultural audience during the keynote talk at the 2018 Wisconsin Agricultural Outlook Forum. The theme of this year’s forum is “Navigating the Rural-Urban Divide in Wisconsin.”

Due to her unusual research approach, Cramer developed a unique and deep understanding of a perspective she calls rural consciousness, which she describes as someone’s identity as a rural person combined with a sense that people in rural communities do not get their fair share of attention, resources and respect. Cramer will explain this perspective at the forum. Continue reading “Conference looks at urban/rural divide in Wisconsin”

Dairy Strong speakers announced

By MAA
GREEN BAY, Wis.  – One of the Midwest’s premiere conferences for the dairy farming community will be held Jan. 17 and 18 at the Monona Terrace Community and Convention Center in Madison, Wis.
Dairy Strong 2018 will bring together more than 700 farmers, corporate professionals and government and university representatives to explore the future of an integral part of the culture and economy of Wisconsin and the nation.
The conference will include a panel discussion about the changing landscape of milk marketing and trade in the United States and globally featuring a dynamic panel of CEO’s from the Wisconsin Milk Marketing Board, The National Council of Farmer Cooperatives and the International Dairy Foods Association.
Lynne Lancaster, one of today’s foremost cultural translators and an expert on the generations, will be a keynote speaker. Lancaster advises leaders, managers and employees on how to conduct business more successfully by bridging generation gaps at work and in the marketplace. She has been featured on CNN, CNBC and National Public Radio and has worked with companies like Best Buy, Coca-Cola, Disney and Intel to name a few.
Republican strategist and a political analyst for CNN and CNN en Español, Ana Navarro will serve as the legislative keynote. She is also a political contributor on ABC’s The View and has worked extensively with Jeb Bush and Marco Rubio. Navarro is poised to play a big role in the GOP response to immigration reform and Hispanic outreach.
A keynote by Major League Baseball’s Commissioner Emeritus, Bud Selig will kick off the conference. Commissioner Selig, a Milwaukee native and former owner of the Milwaukee Brewers, navigated many challenges during his 17-years as Commissioner including efforts to rid the game of illegal steroids and other performance-enhancing substances. He will draw parallels on his leadership during times of crisis to our own challenges in the dairy community.
Wisconsin Atty. Gen. Brad Schimel, will deliver the state legislative keynote.
In addition to keynotes, the event will feature track sessions, panel discussions and shorter presentations on the Innovation Stage, located in the trade show area. Topics range from sustainable compliance to social media insights and on-cow sensors.
These are trying times for the dairy community. Market access and a fair price are top of mind for all dairy farmers. In 2017, we learned one thing: It’s complicated.
Admittedly, many farmers do not fully grasp where their milk goes when the milk truck leaves the driveway. The time to understand and advocate for the dairy supply chain is now. With this in mind, a panel of CEO’s from the leading marketing and trade organizations in dairy will convene to discuss current trends and future predictions.
Discussion will center on the need for increased exports, broad trade policy challenges and increasing opportunities for Wisconsin dairy. The panel will also explore the growing divide between what consumers want and what farmers need to be successful.
Panelists include: Chad Vincent, CEO Wisconsin Milk Marketing Board; Chuck Conner, CEO National Council of Farmer Cooperatives; and Michael Dykes, CEO International Dairy Foods Association. The panel will be moderated by Mike North, president of Commodity Risk Management Group and president of Dairy Business Association. The panel is open to all registered attendees of Dairy Strong and will be available to view on YouTube after the event via dairystrong.org
 Dairy Strong is also offering three educational tracks for attendees to choose from: legislative and advocacy, consumer trends and dairy technology. Attendees can attend programs from just one track or mix and match depending on their interest.
The legislative and advocacy track includes:
“Participate and persuade: Lobbying to make a difference” presented by John Holevoet and Aaron Stauffacher of Edge and  Shawn Pfaff of Pfaff Public Affairs. Sponsored by Edge.
“VTAs and calf hutch lots: The legal treatment of “process wastewater” presented by David Crass of Michael Best & Friedrich LLP. Sponsored by Michael Best & Friedrich LLP.
The track on consumer trends includes:
“Engaging neighbors and protecting from activists presented by Allyson Jones-Brimmer of the Animal Agriculture Alliance. Sponsored by Quality Liquid Feeds .
“Live feed from inside the brain of social media presented by Leah Beyer of Elanco. Sponsored by Elanco.
The track on dairy technology includes:
“Farm decision making: unlocking the power of data and analytics” presented by Ricardo Daura of Cargill Digital Insights. Sponsored by Cargill.
“Is a robotic system right for your dairy?”  Sponsored by Compeer Financial featuring Mark Berning of Green Waves Farm, St. Michael, Minn.; Tom Oesch of Swisslane Farm, Alto, Mich.; and Steve Bodart of Compeer Financial.
The Innovation Stage, a smaller presentation venue on the trade show floor, is returning this year to Dairy Strong.  This space features timely presentations in a concise 20-minute format focused on emerging technologies and innovations. A full listing of these eight lightning presentations is at dairystrong.org.
Hosted by the Dairy Business Association, Dairy Strong is an event for the entire dairy community. Farmers representing farms of all sizes and management philosophies are encouraged to attend the event held each January. For more information about Dairy Strong including schedule and registration information, go to dairystrong.org

Continue reading “Dairy Strong speakers announced”

Dairy Strong focuses on industry’s future

By MaryBeth Matzek
MAA Editor

Dairy farmers and industry professionals can personalize their experience by following one of three educational tracks at Dairy Strong 2018, which will be held Jan. 17-18 at the Monona Terrace Community & Convention Center in Madison, Wis.

The tracks feature informational sessions focused on three themes: legislation and advocacy; consumer trends; and dairy technology. If participants have multiple interests, they can choose to attend sessions from the different tracks.

Continue reading “Dairy Strong focuses on industry’s future”

Event helps farmers brush up on communication skills

By MAA

When a planned event or unexpected incident occurs on farm – good or bad – our consumers and community expect to hear from the dairy owner and managers.  This request often comes on short notice with a tight interview deadline.  Join the Professional Dairy Producers (PDPW) Dairy’s Visible Voice – leadership development through effective communication, for media training to properly prepare, practice and position a dairy farm for success when working with the media.

The media training workshop will be presented on-farm from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., repeating in two locations:

Exclusive to dairy farmers and held on farm, the media training will focus on providing skills and techniques needed to handle the media with confidence and composure.

Led by seasoned corporate brand and communication expert, Linda Wenck, principal at Morgan Myers, dairy farmers will receive a 360-degree perspective to increase one’s understanding of the media, develop effective farm-specific key messages, and improve confidence when interacting with print, broadcast and digital media.

Dairy farmers will walk away with the ability to:

  • Enhance the public’s knowledge and understanding of the dairy industry
  • Build credibility for their dairy
  • Reach their target audience with proven and tested key industry and personalized messages
  • Provide credibility for third-party endorsements.

Upon completion of this certified training and following invaluable on-camera practice time, farmers will be trained to lead as a source of authentic information and a trusted resource to reporters and editors.

To learn more about the PDPW Dairy’s Visible Voice series and to register, visit www.pdpw.org or contact PDPW at 1-800-947-7379.

Farmers can attend Dairy Strong for free if registered by Nov. 1

Dairy farmers who register for the fourth annual Dairy Strong Conference  by Nov. 1 will receive two free tickets..
Hundreds of dairy farmers and industry professionals are expected to attend Dairy Strong, an exciting conference and trade show, will be held  Jan. 17-18 at the Monona Terrace in Madison. 
Registration is now open  at dairystrong.org. To receive your two complimentary registrations, you must register prior to Nov. 1. After that date, dairies can attend for $150 for two days or $99 for one day.
Highlights of this year’s event include:
Inspiring keynotes – Dairy Strong provides farmers and dairy professionals with the opportunity to hear from renowned national speakers. This year, Bud Selig will serve as the opening keynote for Dairy Strong. He is the former commissioner of Major League Baseball, the former owner of the Milwaukee Brewers and a Milwaukee native. During his tenure, Selig navigated numerous controversies in baseball and will call on his leadership experience to draw parallels to challenges in the dairy community.
 Valuable connections – None of us got to where we are without relationships. Dairy Strong is where farmers, corporate professionals and representatives from government agencies and universities come together with a united mission to move dairy forward. Attendees will also have the chance to network with the nation’s leading suppliers on the trade show floor in a relaxed setting. Dairy Strong is an inclusive environment where farms of all sizes and management philosophies connect with each other and the dairy community.
Practical sessions – Time off the farm is hard to come by and the schedule for January’s event will be a great use of time.  There will be innovative and practical sessions to help farmers improve their dairies, as well as panels focusing on issues related to dairy market access, economics and trade. Enjoy a few days off the farm and return with new ideas and a fresh perspective.
Hosted by the Dairy Business Association, Dairy Strong is an event for the entire dairy community. Farmers representing farms of all sizes and management philosophies are encouraged to attend the event held each January.

FVTC plans Ag Development Career Day

By MAA

APPLETON, Wis. — Fox Valley Technical College will hold its fifth annual Agricultural Department Career Day on Nov. 8 at the Service Motor Company Agriculture Center.

Availability is limited to the first 120 students registered per half-day session with a maximum of 20 students per school. Registration is free.

Schools can register for one or both sessions: 9:30 a.m. to noon or noon to 2 p.m.

Continue reading “FVTC plans Ag Development Career Day”