June 2018 vol. 1
Brought to you by Dairy's Professional Development Organization®
Opportunities to learn...

"WATER MATTERS" TOURS SET FOR JUNE 26. A day-long tour in the Verona, Wis., area will give elected officials, farmers, community members, city and county administrators a firsthand view of innovations and partnerships to protect water quality in rapidly growing suburban areas. Tour stops will include SunBurst Dairy followed by lunch at Paoli Bread and Brat Haus and the Hop Garden while hearing from Wade Moder, executive director of the Upper Sugar River Watershed Association. Attendees will then travel to the City of Verona Public Works for discussions with  Assistant Director Marty Cieslik as he highlights how Verona has managed rapid population and business growth. The program concludes at Wisconsin Brewing Company to learn how the brewery handles processes for managing wastewater streams.   The tour is hosted as a collaborative effort with UW Discovery Farms®; participants will depart via chartered bus at 9:30 a.m. and return by 3:30 pm on Thursday, June 26. For more details and to register, click here or call 800-947-7379.

WISCONSIN DAIRY TOURS TO FOCUS ON margin-focused strategies in today's dairies. Scheduled for Tuesday, July 17 in northwestern Wisconsin, the tours will highlight an in-depth round-table discussion with members of the hosting dairies and their financial consultants Dave Becker, founding partner of Dairy Business Consulting Group, and Steve Bodart, Senior Dairy Consultant with Compeer Financial as they talk through details of modern dairy-production systems and which are the right fit for each situation. Tour stops will include Son-Bow Farms near Spring Valley and Alfalawn Farm near Menomonie. Attendees will hear from tour hosts about efficiencies recovered by water reclamation and solids separation, as well as expansion to a 60-cow rotary parlor.   To learn more about the program and  to register , click here or contact PDPW at 800-947-7379.

DON'T MISS AGRICULTURAL PROFESSIONAL PARTNERSHIPS TRAINING IN JULY! Industry professionals with limited on-farm experience have an opportunity to learn firsthand from top-notch farmers and on dairy tours with the July 24-26 round of Agricultural Professional Partnerships (APPs®) trainings.  Participants will learn about animal care practices, environmental stewardship techniques, employee management and the economics of production agriculture.  The training will depart from Madison each day and feature on-farm training at dairy farms in southern Wisconsin. To register, click here or call 800-947-7379. 

SAVE THE DATE FOR 2018 ACE ON-THE-FARM TWILIGHT MEETINGS which bring to gether local community leaders and dairy producers to learn from one another and discuss important issues. These free meetings begin with a one-hour tour of the host dairy farm from 6:00 to 7:00 p.m., followed by ice cream, discussion and a question-and-answer session. Make plans to attend at one of the following locations:
  • Mon., Aug. 27: Kellercrest Holsteins, 1141 County Highway JG South, Mt. Horeb, WI 53572
  • Tue., Aug. 28: Miltrim Farms, 1715 W Townline Rd., Athens, WI 54411
  • Wed., Aug. 29: Brey's Cycle Farm LLC, 2139 County Road O, Sturgeon Bay, WI 54235
  • Thu., Aug. 30: Double S Dairy, N3447 Marshview Rd., Markesan, WI 53946
For additional information, click here , call 800-947-7379 or email mail@pdpw.org.

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his award-winning continuing-education tracker, powered by PDPW is free for dairy producers and continues to grow in the number of accredited education providers and subscribers, with 28 states currently represented. The online tool enables farmers and their team members to easily track their CE credits and advancement toward their professional-development goals.
In addition to farmers and their team members, college students and those in allied industries are using Dairy AdvanCE to track and report their transcripts as an official record of their ongoing education to employers, lenders, community boards, agents, and more.
"The idea of an online resource to find top-quality training and education offerings on one website is spot on," said Darci Daniels, dairy farmer and owner of Garden Valley Genetics, Hixton, Wis.  "I can search for specific trainings or discover programs I didn't even know existed - and right from my phone. I can also see how those who market and provide services to dairy farmers could benefit from Dairy AdvanCE.  Knowing that the industry person I am dealing with has a qualified base of knowledge means better use of our time and more productive conversations about our farm."
Dairy AdvanCE allows users to access its features directly from their mobile device or desktop computer at any time. Get more details at DairyAdvance.org and start finding, tracking and reporting your Continuing Education (CEs) units today. 
For your dairy...

FEEDING DIETARY ZINC DURING TIMES OF HEAT STRESS can improve the integrity of mammary epithelium according to research published in the Journal of Dairy Science. Researchers studied 72 Holstein cows to study the effects of environment and zinc on performance and mammary epithelial integrity, including an environment where cows were cooled and an environment where cows were not cooled, and two sources of dietary zinc. Removing cooling impaired lactation performance and affected gene expression of proteins involved in the mammary epithelial barrier. Researchers also found other differences in milkfat content, lactose content and other factors. Read more here .

THE IMPACT OF FEEDING REDUCED-FAT DISTILLERS GRAINS with and without monensin was reviewed in an April 2018 article in the Journal of Dairy Science. Researchers compared dry matter intake, production, milk fatty acid profile and plasma amino acid profile in lactating cows in a control group, a group fed high inclusion of reduced-fat corn distillers grain with solubles, and a high inclusion of distillers grain with monensin. Their findings showed that feeding a high distillers grain diet did not sustain dry matter intake and production, and supplementing monensin to a high-distillers grain diet further decreased dry matter intake and production. Read more here .

FEEDING ANTI-IL-10 ANTIBODIES TO DAIRY CALVES MAY DELIVER BENEFITS which could include reduced risk of respiratory disease later in the preweaning period, decreased antibiotic usage and increased fecal pH. Results from a study of 133 calves that received a daily dose of 0.96 g of egg yolk powder with anti-IL-10 antibodies upon arrival to a calf ranch were published in the Journal of Dairy Science. Researchers stated these findings might be associated with improved mucosal immunity, enhanced host defenses, or reduced susceptibility and warrant further investigation. Read more here .
Dairy currents...
SAFETY TRAINING IS CRITICAL FOR ALL FARM WORKERS , especially children and family members. With summer underway, hours are longer and more people - including family members and temporary employees - are working on farms. These conditions can lead to higher safety risks, especially when people are doing jobs they aren't properly trained for. A Michigan State University article offers several reminders for instilling a safety culture at your operation:
  • Train more thoroughly.
  • Take time to talk with employees about safety around cattle.
  • Train employees to understand equipment operation; remind them about safe work practices, and activities that are not allowed, such as allowing others to ride in loader buckets.
  • Talk with employees about the dangers of silage piles and the potential for partial collapse.
  • Provide the tools and the personal protective equipment (PPE) workers need to do tasks safely.
  • Be especially mindful of the whereabouts and activities of children. A newly revised guide for age and farm tasks can be found at cultivatesafety.org.
Click here to read the full article.

NEW CAMPAIGN HIGHLIGHTS ECONOMIC IMPACT OF DAIRY in the United States.  The U.S. Dairy Export Council, International Dairy Foods Association and National Milk Producers Federation have created a series of materials to share the positive effects of the dairy industry in communities and across the country. It shares the more than $628 billion economic impact as well as personal stories from farmers, innovative dairy-company employees and retailers.  A new  website also features economic statistics from individual states.  Click here  to read the full article.

TAKE TIME TO PREPARE BEFORE HOSTING A FARM TOUR. It will pay dividends in a better experience for consumers and a less stressful event for the host farm family. Dairy farms are a popular tour destination for many field trips and community groups, especially during June Dairy Month. Make sure to welcome tour groups with an overview of your farm and your mission or priorities. Signage is important to not only welcome visitors but also point out restrooms, washing stations, safety hazards and provide information about key areas of the farm.
Read this article from South Dakota State University Extension with other tips on biosecurity and safety during tours, or download the Wisconsin Dairy Farm Tour Booklet for more details on developing your own farm's processes and protocols.
For your business mind...

CHANGES TO TAX LAWS REGARDING W-4 FORMS may impact your employees. Form W-4 "Employee's Withholding Allowance Certificate" is the federal tax form that lists the amount of tax employers need to withhold from an employee's paycheck. In the past, some employees claimed to have numerous dependents as a way to have less tax withheld from their paychecks.  In the future that strategy won't work so well; the Tax Cuts and Jobs Law passed in December 2017 phases out personal exemptions for the years 2018 through 2025. Read full article from Cornell University here.

ESTABLISHING A FORMAL COMPENSATION STRATEGY will provide a solid plan of action for one of the largest expenditures on your farm. Taking time to create a formal policy that outlines wages, benefits, performance reviews and other key elements of compensation will set expectations for employees, provide specific direction for management, and prioritize the most important values and activities in the dairy.  Click here for more details and descriptions of effective policies.

NEW APP PROVIDES TOOL TO PRICE STANDING HAY . UW-Extension agent Greg Blonde has developed a mobile app to help farmers and landowners better evaluate their options when it comes to pricing standing hay. It offers quick access to baled hay reference values with projected sale and purchase prices for each cutting using a farmer's yield and harvest-cost information. Click here for details on the app and instructions to download.
Words to live by...

"Persistence and resilience only come from having been given the chance 
to work through difficult problems."      --- Gever Tulley
Meet a fellow PDPW member...
Paul Fetzer
FETZER FARMS Paul Fetzer and his brothers Steve and Joe are fourth-generation owners of Fetzer Farms in Elmwood, Wis. Niece Alicia works in the office and manages the bookkeeping and nephew Brent is lead mechanic. Two additional next-generation family members might join, after working elsewhere first.
"We think it's good for all the kids to work off the farm before coming aboard," said Paul of the brothers' philosophy toward onboarding family members, "to get some work experience and see what it's like out there in the world."
The Pierce County farm celebrated their centennial anniversary in 2014. Today approximately 30 employees, including family members, keep the farm operating on all fronts. Paul is the general manager, Steve is the primary herdsman and employee manager while Joe is crop and waste manager and helps in the shop.
The farm has seen its share of changes in the last hundred years and particularly over the last ten years. In 2008, they built a new cow barn and made the switch from rubber-filled mattresses and sawdust to deep-sand bedding. The milking herd approved; by the end of that year, production had climbed from 82 pounds per cow to as high as 98 pounds per cow.

When they transitioned from rubber mattresses to sand bedding, they also converted from curtain walls to tunnel ventilation. Paul says he wouldn't build another barn without power ventilation; having control over the herd's fresh air has made a significant difference.
More recently, the Fetzers constructed new facilities to enable them to raise all their heifers on-site; they are currently raising more than 1100 youngstock, including wet calves.

Over the years, the Fetzers have been refining the herd's genetics too. Genomically testing all heifers assists them in selling those that don't meet their standard for genetic potential in regard to production, fat and protein as well as mastitis and certain diseases.
"We (genetic) test 100 percent of our heifers as soon as they're born and move them immediately if they test poorly," said Paul. "We've found that animals who test poorly don't produce well, so we no longer wait until they're milking to make that decision."
The team recognizes the importance of ongoing education to stay competitive in the dairy industry. Paul has attended executive leadership trainings including Managers Academy for Dairy Professionals and Dairy's Visible Voice® series. "The 'Media Training' session from Dairy's Visible Voice offers fantastic knowledge on how to deal with media and crisis management," Paul said.
Underscoring their commitment to ongoing learning, the Fetzers have served as hosts for several PDPW programs, including Youth Leadership Derby, milker trainings and ACE (Agricultural Community Engagement®) On-the-Farm Twilight Meetings. They've participated in the PDPW Mentor Program also, which enables college-aged students to partner with dairy producers for a one-day on-farm experience. "PDPW is so good at getting the younger people involved," Paul remarked.
In addition to the day-to-day responsibilities, the Fetzer farm team makes time to open their doors to organizations and visitors. "Over the years, a number of people have toured here, including guests from China, Japan, North Africa, and Europe," Paul said. "Most have been farmers but there have been some diplomats from Inner Mongolia who were looking for ideas on modernization."
The Fetzers look forward to continuing to create a workplace that welcomes incoming family members to join the workforce - as well as fostering an open-door policy for organizations and visitors who want to learn more about dairy.
A BIG Thank You...    
TO THE PDPW SPONSORS who are supporting your professional development organization! As a producer-led group,we extend a heart-felt "Thank You!" to those that stand alongside our nation's dairy farmers. T heir support allows PDPW to execute best-in-class producer training and has enabled us to become the go-to resource for unified outreach initiatives. If you or a company you know is interested in participating as a sponsor, please contact us at abonomie@pdpw.org or call 800-947-7379.
See the full list of generous sponsors here.