September 2019 vol. 1
Brought to you by Dairy's Professional Development Organization ®
Opportunities to learn
October 17, 2019
The talk and tweets of global leaders have been making news headlines and influencing the economic landscape of American agriculture. In an October 17 PDPW World Class webinar, Dr. David Kohl will share the latest on key factors that will influence the dairy industry and the business models of the future. He’ll outline the need for discipline in the fundamentals of business and ownership of your dairy’s numbers – he’ll also discuss five “tools for the times” to jump start your dairy for the next decade. In the case of a date or time conflict, this session will be available after the webinar to those who register. Sign up today at or call 800-947-7379. For more details, see the program flier.
October 30 & 31, 2019
THE 2019 PDPW HERDSPERSON WORKSHOP will feature leading experts Dr. Laura Hernandez, Dr. Mike Hutjens and Dr. Marcia Endres sharing a variety of insights for herd managers, nutritionists and veterinarians. Sessions will focus on selective treatment for transition cows, managing feed inventories and rations, animal welfare assessments and management case studies. Two repeating one-day workshops will be held Oct. 30 in Arlington and Oct. 31 in Marshfield. Click here for details and registration or contact 800-947-7379 or with questions.
November 19, 20, and 21, 2019
TAKE CALF CARE TO THE NEXT LEVEL with research and management strategies from leading calf experts at the 2019 PDPW Calf Care Connection® workshops. Three repeating one-day sessions will be held Nov. 19 in Chilton, Nov. 20 in Eau Claire, and Nov. 21 in Fennimore, Wis. Workshops will be led by Dr. Jennifer Van Os, Dr. Theresa Ollivett, and Dr. Franklyn Garry and will include hands-on labs and the latest in research for calf-care managers. Click here for details and registration or contact 800-947-7379 or with questions. 
January 14-16, 2020
SAVE THE DATE – 2020 PDPW MANAGERS ACADEMY FOR DAIRY PROFESSIONALS! Make plans now to attend the executive-level three-day training program designed for CEOs, dairy owners and managers, industry directors, processors, marketers and distributors. The 2020 Managers Academy will be held Jan. 14-16, 2020, at the Omni Corpus Christi Hotel in Corpus Christi, Texas. Learn more here and watch for more program details soon! 
CHECK OUT DAIRY ADVANCE. Find, track and report your Continuing Education (CEs). Take credit for the trainings you attend! Get more details at .
For your dairy
CONTROLLING FEED COSTS WITH AMINO ACID SUPPLEMENTATION and management can boost a dairy’s bottom line and cow nutrition, according to a recent Dairy Herd Management article. As research helps us better understand what happens inside the rumen, producers can look for options to replace protein feeds such as soybean meal and canola meal with synthetic amino acids. Cows have a nutritional requirement specifically for amino acids, not protein. By reducing crude protein in a diet by 1%, nitrogen yield to the environment can be lowered by 8% to 10%. Read more in the full article here
USING BODY CONDITION SCORE TO TRACK TRANSITION COWS can help prepare for a successful next lactation, according to an article by Penn State Extension. Studies suggest an optimum calving Body Condition Score (BCS) between 3.0 and 3.5. Research shows lower scores are associated with lower production and reproductive performance, while higher scores could be associated with reduced feed intake and increased risk for metabolic diseases. Learn more, including results of a field study case in the full article here
WHAT ARE OPTIONS FOR IMMATURE CORN? The combination of late planting, wet conditions and fewer growing-degree days this summer has increased the risk that some corn will not be mature enough for grain harvest this year. Michigan State University Extension provides resources and recommendations for determining the nutritional value of silage crop, as well as resources for pricing and economic value. It is recommended that the pricing of immature corn be adjusted down because of lower feed value. Read the full article here
For your business mind
INCLUDING EMPLOYEES IN DECISION-MAKING PROCESS can boost morale, improve productivity and lead to innovative solutions. Opportunities to get feedback and identify suggestions from employees that could be used to improve processes on the farm include:
·       Maintain communications , including asking how a job is going and what could be done to help the employee do the job better
·       Schedule employee meetings to review Standard Operating Procedures and get feedback on completed tasks
·       Take breaks as necessary during busy seasons and reflect on what needs to be repaired or changes that could make processes more efficient
·       Delegate tasks and lead by example
Read the full article written by Peter Callan at Virginia Cooperative Extension here .
COMMUNICATING DURING TIMES OF STRESS is both critically important and more difficult than communicating during less stressful times. Having patience, keeping a sense of humor and helping people tap into the social support systems around them can improve communications during difficult situations. Read more in this article , and find a variety of resources for managing stress in the University of Wisconsin Extension’s “Resilient Farms, Families, Businesses & Communities: Responding to Stress” Facebook page.  
REST IS AN IMPORTANT INVESTMENT for successful business owners and team members. Rather than feel guilty while taking a break, it’s important to make clear boundaries between business tasks and chores and personal time. Rest is key to success because it allows you to:
·       Recover , similar to how your body needs to recover after physical activity in order to achieve growth
·       Reflect on past results to gain clarity for future decisions
·       Rekindle the enthusiasm and energy for your work.
Click here to read full blog post and more tips for investing in rest.
Dairy currents
PLAN AHEAD FOR SAFETY IN THE SILAGE SEASON with a checklist provided by the OSHA Work Group and Cornell PRO-DAIRY program. Start with a pre-harvest preparation and safety meeting to review processes and farm-specific safety issues. Of special concern during silage season is ensuring safe driving practices for the health of employees, contractors and the general public. Recommendations for safe road behavior include:
·      Follow speed limits and other traffic rules
·      Identify best routes and alternatives to reduce neighbor irritation
·      Use escort vehicles when moving equipment at dusk, whether well-lighted or poorly marked
·      Check field-entry routes for washouts and culvert problems, as well as visibility for both operators and general traffic
Read the full list of safety recommendations for before and during silage harvest here .
BE AWARE OF NEW ACTIVIST SCHEME. A Wisconsin dairy farm was recently targeted with a phone call from a caller claiming to be with the USDA-Animal Health Division who demanded access to the farm to ensure cows were being milked in a humane manner. Remember that animal-welfare audits will always be conducted in partnership with your cooperative, and that anyone claiming to be calling from USDA or other regulatory agencies must provide contact information, or have a badge or business card with contact information that you can call to verify their position. Learn more in the full article here .
SOMATIC CELL COUNTS AT LOWEST LEVELS EVER in the Upper Midwest, according to data compiled by the Upper Midwest Federal Milk Marketing Order. The report reviews SCC counts from 2006 through 2018, and shows that SCC levels have dropped to 182,000 cell/mL on a weighted-volume basis in 2018, the lowest level ever. Seasonal highs since 2015 are now lower than the seasonal lows reported for 2008. Read a summary article here and access the full report here .
Words to live by
“Taking initiative pays off. It is hard to visualize someone as a leader if she is always waiting to be told what to do." --Sheryl Sandberg
Member profile
Brothers Dan and Steve Smits, owners of Double S Dairy east of Markesan in Fond du Lac County, are quick to credit their committed team of employees and families for the successes they’ve collectively achieved.

At Double S, taking excellent care of the animals is central to every employee’s work. “It’s our goal to create a quality product and give each animal the right kind of care,” Steve said. By opening their doors to the public as hosts of the Agricultural Community Engagement® (ACE) On-the-Farm Twilight Meeting, the dairy showcased the quality of care given to the cows as well as the comfortable working environment for the employees.

When Dan and Steve partnered to form Double S Dairy in 1993 they were milking 240 cows in a double-8 parallel parlor; their father, John, was an integral part of their early success, feeding cows and driving tractor as needed. In 1996 they expanded to handle 600 cows, and January 2002 saw the addition of a 300-cow free stall barn and a double-20 parallel parlor. In 2017, AfiLab monitors were installed beneath the milking parlor. Today the farm raises all its young stock, with brother Mark Smits overseeing the management of the heifers being raised at a separate site in Green Lake, Wis. Wet calves and pregnant heifers are cared for at the Markesan site.

Late in 2015, construction began on a cross-ventilation barn to accommodate more heifers coming into the Markesan facilities. The team decided to incorporate curtain baffles so air flow could be adjusted based on the in-barn temperature.

When it comes to calf care, open-air calf barns with individual hutches house the wet calves until weaning, where they can receive individual care while still reaping the social benefits of group-like housing.
One of the Smits’ other core values is taking good care of employees, as is evidenced by the tenure of many of them. “The success of the farm is because of the employees,” said Dan.

Among those who have been part of the team since nearly the beginning are dairy manager Butch Guenther and crop-and-shop manager Mike Perry with, respectively, over 21 and 20 years working on the dairy. Many others have been an integral part of the dairy for ten years or more. One of the keys to maintaining good help is the investment the Smits make into team members’ continuous learning. “When our guys get an opportunity to attend PDPW workshops, they’re all eager to attend,” Dan said. “It’d be great if we could send them all at once – they always come back recharged and willing to apply what they’ve learned.” “And it’s great for them to feel ‘I’m important enough to be allowed to attend a training,’” Steve added.

Working with Mike Perry in crop-and-shop matters is Dan’s son Dave Smits, who also feeds cows morning and night with Kyle TerBeest. PDPW’s Feed & Nutrition workshops have proven impactful in the work they do. Herdsmen Mike Posthuma and Drew Buiter have both attended PDPW’s Cornerstone Dairy Academy™ - a two-day leadership training program held in conjunction with the PDPW Business Conference. “I really liked learning about the DISC personality profile,” said Mike. “It’s helped me figure out how to better connect with people – to understand a little more about how they’re wired. It’s quite something.” Other driving motivators include their faith and families. Their focus isn’t on garnering attention for themselves, but rather to continue doing the work they feel called to do.
PDPW Educational Calendar
October 17

October 30, 31
Arlington, Marshfield, Wis.

November 19, 20, 21
Chilton, Eau Claire, Fennimore

December 4 & 5
Dairy Insights Forum (formerly Food & Policy Summit): Madison, Wis.
December 10
Madison, Wis

January 14-16
Corpus Christi, Texas

March 17-18, 2020
Cornerstone Dairy Academy:
Alliant Energy Center, Madison, Wis.

March 18-19, 2020
Alliant Energy Center, Madison, Wis.
Thank you Vision and Mission sponsors
Thank you to these agribusiness leaders that stand alongside our nation's dairy farmers supporting your professional development organization. Their support allows PDPW to execute best-in-class producer training and has enabled us to become the go-to resource for outreach initiatives. See the full list of generous sponsors here.