PDPW Dairy's Bottom Line -- December 2019

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


Don’t wait to prepare will


ear George: Q: A friend of ours recently died unexpectedly. He leaves behind a wife and two kids – and he didn’t have a will in place. My wife and I want to put things in order to avoid the legal hassles they’re dealGEORGE ing with in TWOHIG addition to their grief, but we don’t know where to start. Can you give us some pointers? A: Sadly many people put off these critically important decisions. Too often they die without having established either a will or living trust – or they have outdated documents that no longer reflect their wishes. According to a “Money” magazine article, only 40 percent of American adults have a will or living trust in place. If a person dies intestate, or without a will, intestate-succession laws apply to the assets. Those assets are considered “probate assets” because there is no legal mechanism in place for the assets to pass directly to beneficiaries. Under Wisconsin intestate-succession law, probate assets pass as follows.  Assets go to the surviving spouse if all one’s children are from that marriage.  If the deceased had children separate from his or her current spouse, then the surviving spouse receives all property currently held as survivorship marital property or as joint tenancy – as well as half of any property the deceased owned individually. The children receive the deceased’s share of the marital property without survivorship and half of the deceased’s separate property.  If there is no surviving spouse, probate assets pass to the deceased’s children by right of representation.  If there is no spouse or children, probate assets pass to surviving parents or, if they are deceased, to surviving siblings by right of representation.  If none of those apply, probate assets pass to grandparents or, if they are deceased, to their living descendants, with half each to the maternal and paternal side.  If none of those apply, probate assets pass to the Wisconsin School Fund. Without a will each heir will receive his or her bequest outright when the heir reaches age 18. The court will also designate the personal representative of the deceased’s estate – not an appealing prospect if the chosen representative is someone they consider untrustworthy or incapable of fairly administrating estate decisions. The court will also appoint guardians for minor or dependent children. Again selected representatives may be individuals outside one’s preferences. A will is the most basic way to document one’s desired plan of distribution to protect and provide for minors as well as financially challenged or special-needs beneficiaries. Particularly when there are farm assets and/or trusts to transfer, a will is essential to designate specific personal representatives and guardians of minor or dependent children. Unfortunately both options – the intestate

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Please see TWOHIG, Page E3

Thursday, December 12, 2019 SECTION E

PEOPLE PERSPECTIVE neighbors. I’m not sure yet if those seeds will be spoken words, cards, gifts or home-cooked goodies, but I know we can do someur son Shawn, who thing to ensure they know is responsible for the we are thankful for them. cropping enterprise I want to plant seeds of at our farm, came to me a appreciation among all couple of weeks ago. He other people. Those of us asked to talk in agriculture have expeabout seed rienced many unfortunate needs for things outside of our connext year’s trol this year, but so have crops. At many others. Many have that moCONTRIBUTED lost loved ones or expement I felt rienced broken relationcompletely The first place to plant seeds of gratitude is with an important group of people – the inner HANK ships. Too many people overcircle of family and friends. WAGNER rarely hear words of apprewhelmed give them more time, more ciation; they live their lives child. We would have and unable it wouldn’t stop time or with low self-esteem. words of thanks and apmissed all the fabulous even slow it down. Winto process his request. We now are much more memories and experiences preciation, and more good ter is coming and there’s While it’s normal to times to remember before familiar with the feeling with family and friends. nothing I can do about it. be planning seed needs of being at the end of our this year ends. Thanksgiving ihas already It became clear that even in early November, this rope – and I say that gives The second place to year has been so different. come and gone; Christmas though 2019 was a difficult us all the more reason to year for many of us in agri- plant seeds of gratitude Maybe it’s because the end is knocking at the door. look for places to plant The drumbeat of marching culture we still have crops and appreciation is with of silage harvest was two seeds with others. By another group of importto feed our animals. The months later than normal time didn’t seem to care planting seeds of thankant people who helped sun still shines and prices and just being completed. that I was not ready. In fulness and appreciation Or it could have been be- fact, time waits for no one. are improving. And – more us through the year – our we still have plenty of employees. Without our importantly – we all have The negative and fruscause of the never-ending time to still bring in abungreat team 2019 would trating experiences of 2019 people in our lives who mud that persisted all dant harvest in 2019. have been an even bigger made 2019 a good year. made me eager to just put year long. That mud was challenge. They helped So for the rest of this now turning to frozen soil this horrible year behind Hank Wagner is a dairy us do the work while also long before we were ready me. And then the thought memorable year I plan to producer and a John Maxcame to me – what if I had intentionally focus on seed helping us have some fun – and there was still so the option to remove 2019? planting. I invite everyone along the way. Of course in well Team teacher, mentor, much to do. to consider joining me. The that same group of people speaker and coach. To What if I could erase all I finally said, “Shawn, I include our nutritionists, learn more about nurturing first place to plant seed is of 2019 in an instant and I just need a little more thankfulness, consider readveterinarians, breeders, time to put the challenges start off with Jan. 1, 2020? with an important group ing Hank’s book “Teachable custom harvesters, maof people – our inner cirof this year behind us be- Would I? nure haulers, milk haulers, Moments: Lessons from cle of family and friends. It was a tempting fore I can think about next Africa.” It’s available online equipment-repair proThey are the source of thought – but only for a year.” at amazon.com and at most many great memories and fessionals, agronomists, few moments. I almost Then a quick look at book stores. Contact hwagsalespeople, milk-equipthe main reason 2019 was immediately realized that the calendar had me realment repair people, deliv- ner@frontiernet.net for a good year in spite of all without a 2019 we would izing I could put off seed more information. ery people, landlords and the challenges. I want to not have another grandordering if I chose to, but

Focus on seed planting


Dairy managers, executives gather in Texas Managers Academy for Dairy Professionals™ is an executive educational program for dairy CEOs, owners and managers as well as other industry professionals. It’s scheduled for Jan. 14-16, 2020, in Corpus Christi, Texas. With a theme of “Renew, Refine, Rethink,” the Professional Dairy Producers of Wisconsin’s 2020 program is centered on honing the mental acuity of producers, sharpening team-management skills and rejuvenating business mindsets. The three-day program is bookended by Holly G. Green, founder of the Management Development Institute offered at

San Diego State University; and Michael Hoffman, founder and owner of Igniting Performance Inc., a Dallas-based company that specializes in teaching the skills of sales, customer loyalty and leadership. Green and Hoffman will shed light on harnessing the innate human ability to reason, problem-solve and stay focused on objectives despite distractions. Day two of Managers Academy offers attendees out-of-industry tours to showcase the common ground dairy shares with the cotton and energy industries. Participants Please see DAIRY, Page E2

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LINGEN DAIRY, The Lingen Family BALATON, MINNESOTA 400 cows, 87 lbs/cow/day 5.2F SCC 65 to 70,000 “The Udder Comfort™ pre-fresh groups came in with udders full of milk, but so soft, no edema. We saw an average of 2 pounds more milk from those 2-yr-olds at around 14 DIM. Robot attachments are faster, and robot fetch time on first lactations was cut by 70%. That’s huge! By softening them right into calving, udders went through fewer changes in the first 10 days after calving, and it took out that belly edema, making the robots more efficient,” Josh Lingen reports.

At Lingen Dairy, Balaton, Minn., 240 cows milk robotically and 100 by parlor, making 87 lbs of 5.2F milk. Using Udder Comfort Quality Udders Make Quality Milk routinely after calving for 5 years, Josh To locate a distributor and learn more about the says, “we saw quality and performance new Backpack Sprayer, call 1.888.773.7153 uddercomfort.com with SCC 100 to 150,000.” He wanted to @uddercomfort For external application to the udder only, after milking, as an essential component see how heifers respond to it pre-fresh. of udder management. Always wash and dry teats thoroughly before milking. “We used the Udder Comfort Backpack to spray pre-fresh 2-yr-olds in headlocks 1x/day for a week before calving. SCC dropped to 70,000 in the robot and parlor. But the biggest thing is how it reduced fetching and improved attachment times. I absolutely love it!”





BOTTOM LINE Thursday, December 12, 2019 E2

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

PDPW Board of Directors President Jay Heeg Colby, Wis. 715-507-0030 jcheeg@yahoo.com

Vice President Katy Schultz Fox Lake, Wis. 920-210-9661 katylschultz@gmail.com Secretary Dan Scheider Freeport, Ill. 815-812-4012 dnscheider@gmail.com Treasurer Janet Clark Rosendale, Wis. 608-341-6709 vafarmsllc@hotmail.com Directors Andy Buttles Lancaster, Wis. 608-723-4712 stonefront@tds.net Ken Feltz Stevens Point, Wis. 715-570-6390 feltzfarms@hotmail.com John Haag Dane, Wis. 608-576-0812 jahaag5@gmail.com Corey Hodorff Eden, Wis. 920-602-6449 corey@secondlookholsteins.com Steven Orth Cleveland, Wis. 920-905-2575 orthlanddairy@gmail.com

PDPW Advisers Jim Barmore GPS Dairy Consulting Verona, Wis. jmbarmore@gpsdairy.com

Paul Fricke UW-Madison Dairy Science Madison, Wis. pmfricke@wisc.edu Kurt Petik Rabo AgriFinance Fond du Lac, Wis. kurt.petik@raboag.com Andrew Skwor MSA Professional Services Baraboo, Wis. askwor@msa-ps.com

Increase value of dairy-beef crosses


s dairy producers become more strategic with the use of sexed semen on dairy heifers to improve genetic gains, the use of beef semen on a portion of the herd has become more widespread. It makes MATT AKINS sense to optimize the number and quality of heifers to control heifer-rearing costs while also increasing the value of dairy-beef-cross calves sold for beef. When selecting sires it’s important to consider the genetic impacts on animal growth and finishing. Producers should also bear in mind the final product the packing plant must be able to sell. Holstein beef consistently yields a similar taste and tenderness to beef breeds as well as less external fat than beef breeds. But Holstein carcasses yield a decreased dressing percentage as well as an elongated and smaller ribeye shape. There’s also a risk of exceeding packer weight restrictions if animals aren’t managed correctly. Because a limited number of packers are purchasing Holstein steers currently, producers need

Unlock udder complexities T he udder is truly a remarkable organ. The milk it produces a staple in diets around the globe and a source of nutrition to people and animals. And it undergoes dramatic transformation with each lactation. Researchers have long sought to better understand the udder’s role in animal health, reproduction and dairy-business profitability. In recent decades scientists have begun to better recognize the extent to which that life-sustaining organ is formed in the cells of mammals before they’re even born. Geoffrey Dahl, professor in dairy science at the University of Florida, and Jimena Laporta, assistant professor in mammary physiology at the University of Florida, have con-

Dairy From E1

will tour a cotton gin to learn how cotton quality is determined at a cotton-classing laboratory. The first mass-consumer commodity in America, cotton led the way for American exports



ducted research. They’ve shown that in-utero heat-stressed heifers had smaller mammary alveoli with fewer milk-producing cells. As a result they produced less milk as first-calf heifers. Once calves are born, data shows feeding them increased-energy feeds can suppress udder development. Several laboratories have demonstrated that rapid weight gain in calves negatively impacts udder

to pay close attention to sire selection. The use of beef sires on dairy has the potential to improve carcass characteristics and feedlot performance. But it may introduce greater variability as well. In the current markets dairybeef-cross finished cattle and feeder calves that lack adequate muscling are being discounted in both live sales and grid sales. Light-muscled animals with wider variability will not support sustained increased prices for week-old dairy-beefcrosses. A recent survey performed by the University of Wisconsin-Extension, Iowa State University-Extension and Michigan State University-Extension asked dairy producers and artificial-insemination representatives in Wisconsin, Michigan and Iowa how they implement beef genetics, beef-sire-selection criteria and dairy-female-selection criteria. Semen cost, conception rate and calving ease were selection criteria on more than 40 percent of farms. Conception rate was ranked as the most important criteria on 29 percent of farms; semen cost ranked most important to 20 percent of farms. Carcass criteria was important on fewer farms

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the resulting calves and – eventually – finished steers or heifers may not meet expectations of the feedlot and processor. To help producers understand important sire traits to improve feedlot performance and carcass characteristics, UW-Extension developed “Considerations for Breeding Dairy Cattle to Beef Breeds for Meat Production.” The publication addresses concerns that are important to feedlot cattle such as carcass value and weight, feed efficiency, ribeye area, improved muscling and moderate frame score. Marbling isn’t considered as important a trait in dairy cattle because they typically grade well, yielding an excellent proportion of Choice grades and less external fat than beef breeds. To focus on improving carcass size and muscle shape, breeders should prioritize selecting for ribeye area, carcass weight and moderate frame size rather than marbling. Calving ease is likely another trait to consider to minimize calving difficulties. Several artificial-insemination companies offer beef sires with traits to improve feedlot performance and carcass traits in addition to characteristics important to

the dairy. Using a limited number of sires may help limit performance variation if sires are selected for the correct traits and shown to work as crosses with dairy. Regardless of sire selection, calf health remains essential for fast efficient growth and economic performance later in life. Manage dairy-beef crosses in a way similar to heifer calves that will be raised as replacements – colostrum feeding, navel dipping, dehorning practices and more all apply to calves raised for beef. Also rather than sending calves to the sale barn shortly after they are born, consider caring for them a few days or as much as a week to improve their value. Visit fyi.extension. wisc.edu/wbic/dairybeef for more information. Co-authors are Matt Akins, dairy-heifer specialist with the University of Wisconsin- Department of Dairy Science and UW-Extension; Ryan Sterry, UW-Extension agriculture agent in St. Croix County; Amanda Cauffmann, UW-Extension agriculture educator in Grant County; and Bill Halfman, UW-Extension agriculture agent in Monroe County. Email msakins@ wisc.edu for more information.

OPPORTUNITIES TO LEARN PDPW Upcoming Educational Events As dairy’s professional development organization, PDPW is committed to leading the success of the dairy industry through education. The following programs have been guided by our mission to share ideas, solutions, resources and experiences that help dairy producers succeed. See pdpw.org/programs for full program details and to register.


PDPW Program


Dec. 18, 2019

Online, 12 - 1 p.m. CST

Mar. 17-18

World Class Webinars™ “What’s in store for 2020?” – Dan Basse 2019-20 Financial Literacy for Dairy™, Level 1 (second of two two-day sessions) World Class Webinars™ “Strategies for Rising Labor Costs” – Jason Karszes 2019-20 Financial Literacy for Dairy™, Level 2 (first of four two-day sessions) Managers Academy™ “Renew, Refine, Rethink” World Class Webinars™ “What are the top 20% doing?” – Jason Karszes Dairy Wellbeing Workshop (two one-day sessions) Cornerstone Dairy Academy™

Mar. 18-19

PDPW 2020 Business Conference

Madison, Wis.

Mar. 24-25

2019-20 Financial Literacy for Dairy™, Level 3

Juneau, Wis.

Dec. 18-19 Jan. 8, 2020 Jan. 8-9 Jan. 14-16 Feb. 5 Feb. 12 & 13

Juneau, Wis. Online, 12 - 1 p.m. CST Juneau, Wis. Corpus Christi, Texas Online, 12 - 1 p.m. CST Green Bay, Wis. Madison, Wis.

See pdpw.org for more programs and details

Please see UDDER, Page E3

from 1803 to 1937. Attendees will gather insights on how the globally important crop transformed from being dependent solely on physical labor to the extremely mechanized industry it is today. Relative to cotton, the oil industry in Texas is adolescent – though its contribution to the state’s economy is far from insignificant. The United States is energy-in-

dependent thanks primarily to Texas. The No. 1 producer of U.S. oil, Texas produces one-fifth of the domestic total. While hearing from Valero Energy Corporation executives, Managers Academy attendees will learn how the rapidly growing sector balances environmental protection and activism with explosive growth. Further rounding out the

program, Rabobank global dairy strategist Mary Ledman will update the group with the latest in market and global trends. In a separate session Corpus Christi Mayor Joe McComb will share how he manages a rapidly growing municipality that’s full of opportunity and challenges. Attendees will learn how the coastal city prepares for accelerated growth and potential crises

while tightening budgets and complying with increasing regulations. “We all need to be refueled and renewed to stay at the top of our game,” said Shelly Mayer, dairy farmer and PDPW executive director. “Managers Academy is the program designed to help producers evaluate our thinking patterns and rewrite the thoughts we think when we’re on autopilot.” The program has a limited capacity. Visit www.pdpw. org/programs or call 800947-7379 for more infor-

mation. Registration covers all sessions, training materials, meals, tours and tour travel but not hotel accommodations. The Omni Corpus Christi Hotel is offering a special rate of $139 per night for single or double rooms when reservations are made by Dec. 23. Triple and quad rooms are available at increased rates. For the discount when registering be sure to mention the PDPW Managers Academy. Call 800-843-6664 to make hotel reservations.

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– only 15 percent stated they consider expected progeny differences for marbling to determine sire selection. Just 10 percent stated they consider expected progeny differences for ribeye. Of the artificial-insemination representatives surveyed, the main sire-selection criteria their customers use included semen cost at 92 percent, conception rate at 80 percent, blackhair coat at 80 percent, calving ease at 68 percent, marbling expected progeny difference at 12 percent, frame score at 8 percent and ribeye expected progeny difference at 8 percent. The same artificial-insemination representatives indicated they would like their customers to use the following sire-selection criteria – conception rate at 81 percent, calving ease at 72 percent, black hair coat at 53 percent, semen cost at 47 percent, ribeye expected progeny difference at 28 percent, marbling expected progeny difference at 25 percent and frame score at 16 percent. Based on those data it appears sire-selection criteria is primarily focused on conception rate, calving ease and minimizing semen cost. Without emphasis on carcass traits

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and levels, reducing mammary growth during puberty. In any case there is From E2 a link between feed intake and mammary developdevelopment during the ment that has implications pre-pubertal phase. for influencing milk proMike Van Amburgh is a duction. professor at Cornell UniMike Akers is a professor versity in the animal-sciof dairy science at Virence department. His research more specifically ginia Polytechnic Institute and State University, He suggests that impaired demonstrated that despite udder development is not a negative correlation so much a matter of increased-energy feed intake between weight gain and but rather a decrease in the mammary development in pre-pubertal animals, time to onset of puberty. a positive correlation may That data is supported by exist during the pre-weanprogesterone surges that ing phase. In that research affect estrogen receptors

Twohig From E1

succession and the will – require that probate assets be administered through the court probate process. Court probate mandates: filing an inventory of assets publishing notices several accountings of income and expenses filing and receiving clearances for the estate’s federal and state income tax returns final judgment in the estate as issued by court Probate should be avoided at all costs because it’s time-consuming and often unnecessarily expensive. To avoid probate it’s recommended to acquire a living trust, potentially combined with other available legal methods that will permit assets to transfer without needing to involve the court system. A living trust is an immediate revocable trust created by an individual or a couple – the settlor or the settlors. As with a will, the living trust can be amended or revoked by the settlor(s). The settlor(s) usually act as the initial trustee(s), retaining the right to manage and control the trust estate and to withdraw assets for any reason. The settlor(s) name(s) one or more successor trustees to act after their deaths and if the settlor(s) become incapable. A farmer’s living trust will often designate one or more of the on-farm heirs as the farm trust adviser(s) with authority to direct the successor trustee(s) regarding the retention and continuing management of the family farm and assets. Like a well-drafted will, a living trust provides a detailed plan for distribution of the trust estate after either or both of their deaths. Often the settlor(s) will title assets to the living trust during their lives. But the estate plan should also utilize other probate-avoidance methods when beneficial. There are options. title assets as survivorship marital property or jointly held property. transfer-on-death deeds for real estate payable-on-death designations Beneficiary designations for annuities, retirement plans and life insurance – these designations will often name the living trust as the beneficiary so the assets transfer in accordance with the general plan of distribution. Because a living trust operates without court supervision, the trustee(s) can usually distribute assets with fewer delays and without public disclosure of the size, contents and distribution of the decedent’s estate. In addition Wisconsin has a unique law that allows transfers without probate under a Marital Property Agreement; consider that law when making an estate plan. Careful development of a plan will ensure assets pass to one’s designated beneficiaries in a way that best meets the family’s needs regarding the transfer of the family farm. And for everyone’s peace of mind, it’s best to develop the plan long before it’s needed.

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George Twohig is a partner and attorney at Twohig, Rietbrock, Schneider & Halbach S.C. in Chilton, Wisconsin; the firm focuses on agriculture and agri-business. Contact george@twohiglaw.com for more information.

calves fed enhanced rations during pre-weaning showed increased udder development, fat-pad tissue weight and deoxyribonucleic acid content – DNA. Because of the echogenic nature of breast and udder glandular tissue, ultrasound technology has proven useful in assessing mass and health of mammary-gland tissue in calves as well as humans. Advances in that field could lead to new innovations in health, wellbeing and productivity. While ultrasonography

Thursday, December 12, 2019 | E3

and heifers. It could also serve as another tool for farmers as they predict the lactation potential of their young stock.

is presently expensive and impractical for most dairy operations, such tools could be an important noninvasive means to monitor mammary development in dairy calves

Laura Hernandez is an as-

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E4 | Thursday, December 12, 2019



Webinar considers market trends ‌Economist Dan Basse will share insights Dec. 18 about what can be expected in U.S. dairy markets in the seasons ahead. The market-management webinar is one of Professional Dairy Producers of Wisconsin’s World Class Webinars™. T h e 60-minDan Basse ute webinar “U.S. Dairy: Will the years of financial pain produce lasting gain?” will start at noon. Basse will share with listeners how the interrelated pieces of agricultural markets stand to be impacted by unprecedented weather patterns and the

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correlating communication tendencies. Discerning behavior types, mastering first impressions, habitually showing gratitude, and displaying confidence and courtesy are other skills taught and practiced in the Influential Leaders pillar. The Visionary Leaders pillar was developed to instill the importance of setting ethical boundaries while equipping participants to innovate, envision the “big picture,” and think strategically. Experts will bring to life examples of integrity and its ties to ethical decision making while illustrating the importance of exceptional credibility. The practical skills of observing global trends and using economic-indicator tools to discover opportunities before others will also be highlighted.





‌Dairy producers and industry members seeking to lead or communicate more effectively are invited to apply to Cornerstone Dairy Academy™. The two-day program will be held March 17-18, 2020, in Madison, Wisconsin. It’s designed to strengthen the leadership traits of attendees. Developed by Professional Dairy Producers of Wisconsin to enhance professional-development skills, the program hones in on critical leadership skills in three separate “pillars.” The Influential Leaders pillar focuses on refining leadership traits that equip participants to be clear, consistent and trustworthy. Influential leaders are those who exemplify a strong work ethic, collaborate with others, have good communication skills and are self-confident. Activities will help attendees better understand generational differences and the



recent increase in U.S. milk prices. He’ll also discuss domestic and global trends likely to impact dairy. Basse has been in the commodity business since 1979. He’s the president of AgResource Company, a domestic and international agricultural-research firm in Chicago that forecasts domestic and world agricultural-price trends. AgResource provides research to multiple segments of the industry including farmers, elevators, soy, corn, wheat processors and millers, food and trading companies, meat packers, and importers and exporters. Its research is sold around the globe. Visit www.pdpw.org or call 800-947-7379 for more information.

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4-1/2 mi. west of Stratford on “153” to “E”, then north 1-1/2 mi. & 1/2 mi. west

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