PDPW Dairy's Bottom Line -- April 2021

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BOTTOM LINE Thursday, April 15, 2021 SECTION E

Sharing ideas, solutions, resources and experiences that help dairy producers succeed.

Perfect cow defined by genetics SHELLY O’LEARY


For decades trends in dairy-cattle genetics have been driven by breed-association classification and milk-production ideals. A panel of dairy-industry experts at the recent Professional Dairy Producers® Business Conference discussed how consumer demands and advancements in technology stand to redirect some of those standards. Juan Tricarico, vice-president for sustainability research at Dairy Management Inc., presented as a panelist in the “My Perfect Cow” session. He affirmed every individual has his or her own idea of what the perfect cow is. “Genetic selection is extremely important because we as dairy farmers decide what traits the next generation will have,” he said.

“I look at efficiency as a cow that gives a lot of milk,” he said, “and one that efficiently converts feed into milk without needing treatments or antibiotics.” Steve Berland, co-founder of GenElite LLC, also shared his thoughts. “Everyone has (his or her) own idea of a perfect cow but when you get down to it, it boils down to a few key points,” he said. “She has to produce product, have sufficient mobility and (have) a strongly attached udder, with desirable teat placement and length. She needs to be healthy overall with a strong immune system and good feet. And she needs to breed back efficiently, have a quiet disposition, (and) milk “Each producer needs to ask him Panelist Jon Schefers, program out easily and fast.” or herself, ‘What are the specific lead for PEAK Genetics, said he’s Changes in technology have traits I’d like to see? What does my interested in efficiency and obtain- played a role in genetic selection. perfect cow look like?’” ing more milk from fewer cows. “The way cows are managed

has an impact,” he said. “A taller and sharper dairy cow was once considered beneficial, but today’s dairy systems no longer broadly support those traits.” Increasingly as important as conformation and production, the presenters agreed, are the unseen traits affecting health as well as environmental sustainability and stewardship. Tricarico said, “There’s one particular trait I’m very interested in and that’s enteric-methane production. This is one of those elements the industry is getting a lot of flak around. Regardless of what the real numbers are, we have to do something about it as an industry.” While no model yet exists that correlates an economic value to a Please see GENETICS, Page E3

Business-conference content available on-demand The 2021 Professional Dairy Producers® Business Conference featured two days of keynotes, presentations and panel discussions representing 46 dairy experts and producers from around the world, as well as five innovative presentations from the all-new Nexus™ stage. That content is now available in a virtual on-demand format for conference attendees and new registrants. “Now anyone can access the sessions from business conference, whether they were able to be in attendance with us or not.” said Shelly Mayer, PDPW executive director. In addition to video recordings of sessions and Nexus presentations, the

In addition to video recordings of sessions and Nexus presentations, the resource features session handouts, speaker bios and contact information as well as access to the digital storefronts of industry suppliers who exhibited at the conference. resource features session handouts, speaker bios and contact information as well as access to the digital storefronts of industry suppliers who exhibited at the conference. The on-demand package is made possible through a partnership with Dairy Farmers of Wisconsin and with the support of other generous conference

sponsors. For conference attendees the resource is available as a complimentary part of the registration. Those who were not able to attend the conference can access the content with a $350 registration. All materials will be available through May 19. Visit www.pdpw.org to register for online access and for more information.




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Commodity-marketing class targets next generation of milk marketers An effective risk-management strategy is more critical than ever with current volatile commodity markets and input pricing. A new course from Professional Dairy Producers® will equip farm owners, managers, herdsmen and herdswomen – as well as dairy lenders, consultants and agribusiness professionals – with marketing essentials and practical strategies for implementing risk-management and marketing tools. Carl Babler, commodity-market consultant and senior hedge specialist with Atten Babler Commodities, led as instructor a sample class of the program April 14. The program is now open for registration for six successive courses to be held throughout 2021. The classes will cover several topics. understanding agricultural commodity markets and marketing developing an effective marketing plan analyzing the market for market activity the futures market understanding and utilizing the cash market the options market marketers and hedges checklist All classes will be held at the PDPW Headquarters in Juneau, Wisconsin; the remaining dates will be posted at www.pdpw.org soon. As many as two people

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from a registered entity can participate in the program; class size is limited to 30 entities. Visit www.pdpw.org/ programs to register and for more information.



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BOTTOM LINE Thursday, April 15, 2021 E2

Sharing ideas, solutions, resources and experiences that help dairy producers succeed.

PDPW: Who we are

Professional Dairy Producers of Wisconsin (PDPW ) is Dairy's Professional Development Organization®. W ith a vision to lead the success of the dairy industry through education, our mission is to share ideas, solutions, resources and experiences that help dairy producers succeed.

Protect team with active-threat training SHELLY O’LEARY


The idea that an active-threat situation will occur at one’s place of business is easily dismissed. But sadly such accounts are increasing. That compels dairy owners and managers to prepare just as they would for a fire, tornado, farm accident or other emergency. At the recent PDPW Business Conference, Capt. Mike Bolender of the Oak Creek, WisBolender consin, police department led a specialty session entitled “Active Shooter!” Designed to equip attendees with basic strategies of prevention and protection, the session also highlighted warning signs that a threat may be impending. “Prevention is where you should put all your energy,” said Bolender, who is the founder and lead instructor of Peaceful Warrior Training Group. “Forty-two percent of active-threat events happen at places of commerce such as farms.” Early intervention is key. For that to happen there must be someone to whom a concern can be reported – and someone who will take the concern seriously. That person should be in a position of authority; he or she needs to be someone who can make a decision if necessary. Bolender emphasized three warning signs. Fixation – It’s a pathological obsession with someone or something, or strong opinions concerning certain relationships. “It’s all a person can think about,” he said. Leakage – An example is when a person tells another, “Hey, don’t be here tomorrow. Something bad’s gonna happen.” He said that can be both a cry for help and a true warning meant to protect a particular someone. Pre-attack behaviors – Those include suicidal thoughts, depression, worsening interpersonal interactions, and declining quality of thinking and communications. “Your best prevention will come from your people,” Bolender said, “because 97 percent of attackers give some sort of warning sign before the attack.”

PDPW Board of Directors President Katy Schultz Fox Lake, Wis. 920-210-9661 katylschultz@ gmail.co m Vice President Janet Clark Rosendale, Wis. 608-341-6709 vafarmsllc@hotmail.com Secretary John Haag Dane, Wis. 608-576-0812 jahaag5@gmail.com Treasu rer Steven Orth Cleveland, Wis. 920-905-2575


Directors Andy Buttles Lancaster, Wis. 608-723-4712 stonefront@tds.net Ken Feltz Stevens Point, Wis. 715-570-6390 feltzfarms@hotmail.com Corey Hodorff Eden, Wis. 920-602-6449 corey@secondlookholsteins.com Paul Lippert Pittsville, Wis. 715-459-4735 lippert4735@gmail.com Brady Weiland Columbus, Wis. 920-285-7362 bweiland11@hotmail.com

PDPW Advisers Andrew Skwor 608-963-5211 askwor@msa-ps.com

Kurt Petik 920-904-2226 kurt.petik@raboag.com Roger Olson 920-362-4745 roger.olson@zinpro.com Peter Weber 715-613-6664 pweber@genex.coop

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“Prevention is where you should put all your energy. Forty-two percent of active-threat events happen at places of commerce such as farms.” Capt. Mike Bolender, founder and lead instructor of Peaceful Warrior Training Group whom concerns should be reported. “Some organizations have created anonymous ways for team members to report coworkers who are showing warning signs,” he said. “Whether that’s a cellphone app or a telephone tip line, systems that maintain anonymity significantly increase the incidence of helpful reporting.” Use the “ripple of safety” concept in all emergencies. “First get yourself safe,” he said. “Then communicate with others (that) they need to get safe.” One’s surroundings will determine what “safe” looks like – whether there are places of concealment, or nearby exits and corridors through which to run to safety. If running appears to be the best option, be sure to tell other people along the way so they can also run to safety – or hide. “While running yell loudly, ‘Active threat! Active threat!’” Bolender said. Add specifics if they are known, such as “Active threat in the break room!” “And if you know who the shooter is, let everyone know,” he said. “‘Tom’s got a gun! Tom is shooting people; get away!’” Other steps in the ripple of safety include activating the organization’s pre-planned emergency notifications and calling 911. “Have a plan in advance to communicate critical alerts with off-site employees and vendors who don’t know there’s a threat, such as ‘Don’t come to the farm right now!’” Bolender said.

Hinder attack

Distract the offender to thwart the attack. A person’s automatic flinch response will delay them for at least a few seconds. Bolender teaches his students to throw objects – books, tools, hot coffee or whatever is nearby. “Mama taught you to be nice, but action always beats inaction in these moments,” he said. “Speed, surprise and violence of attack are your best weapons. That means injuring the attacker if you must.” Bolender defined two modes of a killer in an active-threat situation – killing and problem-solving.

In killing mode the perpetrator is actively killing victims. In that mode a person dies every 15 seconds. In problem-solving mode the killer’s plan has been thwarted; he or she must search for people to kill.

Aid authorities

As part of any emergency plan, calling 911 is a must. But in an active-threat situation it’s imperative to realize that law enforcement won’t know whom the perpetrator is. It will be critical to visually display that information. “When police are on the scene, your hands need to be up in the air,” Bolender said. “Good guys have mistakenly

Shelly O’Leary is the communications and outreach specialist with the Professional Dairy Producers of Wisconsin.

Upcoming Educational Events MAR 19-MAY 19

PDPW Business Conference On-Demand Online access to all 2021 PDPW Business Conference content in video format. Visit www.pdpw.org for details; all sessions held in compliance with CDC guidelines.

APR 15; 20-22; 27-29

The Dairy Signal™ Online, 12 – 1 pm CT Visit www.pdpw.org to participate in live-streamed event. Audio/video recordings also available free.

MAY 4-6; 11-13; 18-20

The Dairy Signal™ Online, 12 – 1 pm CT Visit www.pdpw.org to participate in live-streamed event. Audio/video recordings also available free.

PDPW mission: to share ideas, solutions, resources and experiences that help dairy producers succeed.


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been shot by law enforcement before.” There have been cases when potential victims have been able to capture the shooter’s weapon – and were still holding it when police arrived. Instead the weapon should be placed on the ground and empty hands should be lifted. Though responding to active-threat situations is the exception rather than the rule, it’s important to have routine drills to prepare – just as is the case in preparing for other emergency situations. “Schedule a five-minute Friday talk where you gather your team and think about what each person will do in case of a threat,” Bolender said. “Where are the exits? How will you communicate?” Visit www.pwtraininggroup.com for more information.

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Thursday, April 15, 2021 | E3


Meet world’s deep needs The work dairy producers do … is it a job? A career? In the opinion of Tom Thibodeau, associate professor and distinguished professor of servant leadership at Viterbo University, it’s neither. Rather it’s a vocation – a way of life. Merriam-Webster’s dictionary defines “vocation” as a summons or strong inclination to a particular state or course of action – especially a divine call to the religious life. “It’s where your deep gladness meets the world’s deep needs,” Thibodeau said in March to a standing-room-only audience at the Kalahari Resorts and Convention Center. “If your work doesn’t give you joy, find something else to do. Your life is too short.” As a self-proclaimed ambassador for goodness, he encouraged attendees to consider why they’re involved in farming and agriculture, and why they chose to attend the business conference. “You’ll hear all sorts of people talking about the what, the how (and) the skills,” he said. “But what’s most important is the heart. Why do you get involved? Why do you continue to make the sacrifices you do for your education or to help other people grow their product or their farm?” To paint a picture of what it means to meet the world’s deep needs with deep gladness, Thibodeau relayed a recent account from his own life. “It was March 24, 2020,” he said. “I’m at home just like all of you – COVID. Shelter in place. My wife is a poll worker and she wanted to vote in the primary, so we

made an appointment at the polling place. We pulled in the parking lot and I looked at my wife. “She’s speaking gibberish. I ask her my name; she doesn’t know. I ask her to raise her right arm; she can’t. I turn the truck around and head for the medical center. It’s eight minutes away. “I pull to the back door of the emergency room. Two nurses, one with a wheelchair, come and take my wife inside. I park the truck (and) give them our insurance information. And they give me my first mask. “I’m there 40 minutes – just sitting there, waiting, praying, not knowing what’s going to happen to my wife. Is she paralyzed? Is she going to die? “They wheel in a television and I find myself talking to a neurosurgeon who’s in his home office. He says to me, ‘Your wife has a brain clot. We’re going to do immediate neurosurgery.’ “He proceeds to tell me the risks – which include death. And they hand me a waiver to sign. Now I’m scared. And the nurse behind me puts his hand on my shoulder as if to say, ‘Hello, brother. Got your back.’ “Now is that anywhere in the job description of a nurse? Why’d he do it? Because it’s where his great gladness meets the world’s deep needs. ‘I care about you!’ is what he was saying to me. “I reach my hand down, place it on my wife’s head and pray that God’s grace and blessing will be on her surgeon and her nurses, and all the people that will take care of her. She’s cry-

ing; I’m crying. And I look up and the nurse across the bed says, ‘Amen, brother. Amen.’ “Is that in the job description anyplace? That they finish the prayer of someone who’s scared beyond belief? No, it’s from the heart – it’s where great gladness meets deep needs. “My wife is taken to surgery; I go and sit in a waiting area for four hours by myself. The neurosurgeon talks to me after surgery to tell me my wife will be in intensive care. I cannot go back (to be with her) because of the virus. “Later that night I call the nurse’s station. She tells me there’ll be three nurses taking care of my wife all night long. I can come back in 24 hours to pick her up. “Driving her home, I ask my wife how she’s doing. She says she had three nurses taking care of her all night long – two of whom I had taught at Viterbo. The goodness that I had tried to reflect into their lives they had reflected into the life of my wife. “You never know, do you? In terms of the good work you do every day, you never know the impact you’ll have on people’s lives. It’s the goodness that travels. “Your group knows this better than any other group I will talk to. Sow a thought, reap an action; sow an action, reap a habit; sow a habit, reap a character; sow a character, reap a destiny.’” Fortunately his wife has recovered and the incident now serves as a teaching moment. It’s also a reminder of the importance of answering the call each person has in his or her life.


Tom Thibodeau says vocation is where one’s deep gladness meets the world’s deep needs. In Thibodeau’s words, “Once you say ‘yes’ to the call of serving other people, it comes back to you a

hundredfold. But you must because it meets the world’s have the courage to say ‘yes.’ deep needs.” You must have the courage Email tathibodeau@vitto follow your deep gladness erbo.edu to reach him.

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specific unit of enteric-methane production, pursuing genetic-selection data in that area could prove useful to dairy. The same holds true for other traits consumers hold in high regard. European clients are seeking to increase the incidence of polled genes, with much pressure from animal-welfare constituents, Berland said. “Trends show a big market for homozygous-polled genetics in Germany, which will likely lead to more emphasis on polled genetics in the United States,” he said. Scandinavia has been a leader in incorporating health traits in the genetic-selection process. Schefers spoke to the influence of stricter environmental regulations imposed in Holland. “(Dairy producers there) have had environmental regulations with phosphorus and quotas for how much manure they can produce,” he said. “I think we’ll start seeing an exodus from places such as Holland and even California to more dairy-friendly areas. “Look at South Dakota. They’re growing rapidly because of environmental regulations and permitting. In the future I think we’ll see a shift not just in the cow of the tomorrow, but also where she’s going to live.” Tricarico said consumers are asking for new attributes in the milk they buy. Genetic selection can position the industry for opportunities to select for traits that yield a better level of the ingredients consumers are demanding. “A lot of the milk being produced goes to dairy ingredients – not necessarily a standalone product such as milk or yogurt but ingredients that go into a wide variety of foods,” he said. “If we can recognize and select for those characteristics that will affect farmlevel profitability.” Though the science may be available for producers to select for specific traits relating to sustainability and environmental stewardship, converting such traits to a predicted transmitting ability for type or production proves to be more complex. 00 “To track those traits 1

there first needs to be an economic innovation that allows us to talk about them in an economic way,” Tricarico said. “If we want to genetically select for cows that produce a low amount of enteric methane, we’d first need to establish a way to correlate a price to it.” He encourages sector-wide collaboration. “The progress we’ll make requires a substan-

tial amount of work – and a substantial amount of work together,” he said. Genetic and technological advances are bringing sweeping changes regarding what the ideal cow looks like – as they have been during the past several decades.

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E4 | Thursday, April 15, 2021



Wisconsin’s home to dairy badge of honor CHAD VINCENT

Building a trusted and respected brand like Wisconsin Cheese is no accident. Of course beginning with excellent-quality milk produced by hard-working Wisconsin dairy farmers starts everything off on the right foot. But it requires a well-planned, deliberate and dediVincent cated strategy to reach where we are. A whopping 99 percent of U.S. grocers sell Wisconsin Cheese. Wisconsin leads the nation, producing a quarter of all cheese in the United States; it accounts for 50 percent of specialty-cheese production. Wisconsin Cheese is an integral part of U.S.-restaurant-menu items. Success also requires constant communication and strong relationships to cultivate that well-earned reputation, and to continue to build the Wisconsin Cheese and Wisconsin Dairy brands. Careful stewardship and quality products mean Wisconsin is recognized far and wide as a dairy powerhouse. In turn those efforts grow demand and increase the value of Wisconsin milk.

Ultimately the efforts of the Dairy Farmers of Wisconsin help sustain the treasured Wisconsin Cheese brand. Consumers recognize and associate Wisconsin Cheese and dairy products with taste, quality, innovation and integrity – and ask for them by name.

Wisconsin values equal increased sales

The Proudly Wisconsin Cheese™ badge on product packaging is designed to quickly and clearly convey that the product comes from Wisconsin – America’s Dairyland.

the state’s processors to elevate products and drive sales. The quantity and quality of Wisconsin’s dairy processors is an invaluable strategic advantage. The more processors sell, the more Wisconsin milk is required. That means engaging partners with promotions and events while providing a broad range of support to increase awareness, visibility, distribution and ultimately sales of Wisconsin Cheese. We work with dairy companies to use the Proudly Wisconsin Work continues Cheese® and Proudly Wisconsin Dairy® badges alongside other behind badge Wisconsin identifiers to increase The Dairy Farmers of Wiscon- awareness and sales. Consumers sin is dedicated to deepening and crave knowing the background strengthening partnerships with of their food. Wisconsin dairy

farmers and dairy products have amazing stories to tell. For example the Dairy Farmers of Wisconsin assists with advertising and promotions to help put Wisconsin-labeled products in front of consumers and cheese buyers, using virtual-tasting connections to achieve impressive results. Product demonstrations are effective because they work. Research shows a consumer is nine times more likely to buy a product if he or she can sample it first. The Proudly Wisconsin badges and products earning the right to display them embody things Wisconsin is known for – almost two centuries of quality, tradition, innovation, passion and award-winning dairy. The badges, driven by Wisconsin dairy-farmer-checkoff dollars, serve as visible reminders that make it easy for consumers to recognize and trust that outstanding cheese when making purchase decisions.

Supportive efforts were put to the test during recent market upheavals, proving more than ever those promotions and activities drive sales and keep Wisconsin milk moving. During the past five years total Wisconsin-identified cheese sales have increased 4.4 percent, compared to 1.4 percent at retail for cheese made elsewhere. Wisconsin Cheese is selling faster and more frequently at retail grocers than cheese made anywhere else. Comments by Dave Christoff, national sales manager for Carr Valley Cheese, are a testament to those valued partnerships. “Dairy Farmers of Wisconsin support has been an incredible asset during these challenging times,” he said. “We needed to quickly pivot our 2020 marketing and sales approach due to COVID-19. We relied on Dairy Farmers of Wisconsin to help us navigate the new landscape and ensure everyone stayed safe. “The quick adaptation to virtual-buyer missions enabled us to continue sharing information about our products to potential buyers, that we wouldn’t have been able to otherwise.

“Because of the support from Dairy Farmers of Wisconsin and the programs (it offers) we were able to grow our sales and in turn our need for more milk. Dairy Farmers of Wisconsin has been an excellent partner and we look forward to our continued partnership.”

Consumer connections important It’s working. The latest Dairy Farmers of Wisconsin brand study shows unaided awareness for Wisconsin Cheese remains more than double that of cheese from other places. Wisconsin Cheese maintains its lead in awareness, consideration and purchase intent among all origins tested, significantly outpacing France in awareness, consideration and purchase. Ultimately the efforts of the Dairy Farmers of Wisconsin help sustain the treasured Wisconsin Cheese brand. Consumers recognize and associate Wisconsin Cheese and dairy products with taste, quality, innovation and integrity – and ask for them by name. Visit WisconsinCheese.com to see more of the consumer-facing efforts raising awareness of the Proudly Wisconsin badge. Chad Vincent is the CEO of Dairy Farmers of Wisconsin, the marketing and promotional arm for Wisconsin’s dairy farmers. Visit wisconsindairy.org for more information.

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