PDPW Dairy's Bottom Line -- May 2021

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BOTTOM LINE Thursday, May 20, 2021 SECTION E

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

Adapt for changing climate AMBER RADATZ

Climate change is a topic being addressed in many ways at the local, state and national level. Many predictions and recommendations are surfacing regarding climate-change mitigation and adaptation. Mitigation means reducing climate-change effects by reducing the flow of greenhouse gases into the atmosphere. Radatz Adaptation means changing behaviors or systems based on identified or expected climate changes. Agriculture is making steps toward adaptation and mitigation. Examples include farming systems that emphasize reduced soil disturbance, increased cover and plant diversity. They turn agricultural lands into a sink for carbon and become mitigation techniques with a positive impact on climate change. Many farmers have started to make adaptations to their systems to protect their farms from nutrient loss, devastating erosion events or crop losses caused by weather challenges such as dry periods or extreme storms. Discovery Farms has compared its edge-of-field runoff data to corresponding rainfall. The data from Wisconsin and Minnesota show the impacts of precipitation events of different sizes on runoff, sediment and nutrient loss. A rainfall-return period is an estimate of the likelihood of a rainfall event to occur. The prob-


Snowmelt is a primary accomplice in runoff events, as are storm events throughout the warmer seasons. ability of a 100-year-rainfall event occurring in any given year is 1 out of 100 or 1 percent. Generally, as the return period increases so does the rainfall or rainfall intensity. The graph separates surface-runoff events into rainfall-return periods as measured by Discovery Farms. It’s expected that storms will be seen with a return period of 0 YR – shown in dark blue, and snowmelt – shown in light blue. There are main takeaway points shown in the graph.  Runoff events are usually caused by snowmelt or storm events in sizes expected to occur every year.  Most runoff is caused by snowmelt while the ground is frozen. In the non-frozen season, small- and medium-sized storm events influence the amount of runoff from a field.  Soil loss is affected by storms

of normal size while the soil is not frozen. But large storm events are a factor in more sediment loss than any other constituent.  Phosphorus and nitrogen loss have similar characteristics to runoff volume relative to storm size. Snowmelt delivers the largest share of losses, while small- and medium-sized storms comprise the rest of the total. Climate-change models predict more extreme precipitation events. That raises concerns because soil loss is disproportionately impacted by large events. To adapt for those changing conditions, agricultural systems must be built for extreme weather conditions. Increasing cover during winter and spring helps prepare for large precipitation events. There are many acceptable cover-crop options but a priority should be placed on establishing cover in the

Impact of rainfall-return periods on surface-runoff events fall – with enough biomass going into the winter to provide armor for soils in the spring. If planting a multi-species mix, choose one that contains at least one species that will live through the winter. It needs to provide living cover through the spring months until the next crop is canopied, to protect against soil loss. That may mean changing rotations or varieties to allow for earlier establishment of cover crops, or before Oct. 1. Systems should also afford more protection against soil loss, no matter the size of precipitation events. In addition to protecting against sediment loss from large storm events, farming systems that are built with diverse crop rotations will have increased resilience for climate challenges. More flexibility is needed regarding when manure can be applied. One way to achieve that is to identify diverse forage rotations that allow

for different windows of manure application and more days of living cover. With flexibility in the timing of manure application, producers can avoid time periods with greater risk for surface runoff or nitrogen leaching. As adaptations to farming systems continue to be made, an important consideration is changing weather and climate conditions. Conservation systems are often referred to as more resilient in a challenging weather year. Instead of merely designing farming systems that can survive through a bad year it would be better to build adaptive systems that thrive in all conditions. As a return, farming systems will also serve as a sink for carbon and nutrients, further mitigating future climate change. Amber Radatz is co-director of University of Wisconsin-Discovery Farms. Email amber.radatz@wisc. edu to reach her.


Learning makes dairy difference Left: PDPW board member Steven Orth says he’s thankful to PDPW for its impact, especially in the initial stages of the farm’s involvement. ‘PDPW got our gears turning and prompted us to dig deeper into our operation, and it has snowballed from there,’ he says.


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The correct resources at the correct time have helped Steven and Joel Orth set the stage for success at Orthland Dairy Farm LLC in Manitowoc County, Wisconsin. The brothers own and operate the 1,400-cow dairy with their mother, Maxine Orth. By the time Steven Orth attended his first PDPW program as a teenager – the two-day career-oriented Youth Leadership Derby® – he knew he was more interested in working on the farm than being in a classroom, he said. “I always knew I wanted to farm,” he said. “I was mainly thrilled that dairyfarm educational programs were available other than going to college.” The Derby event helped him realize education didn’t need to be confined to the walls of a school building. “It opened my eyes to what is out there,” he said. “It was exciting to find an organization that exists to provide education in agriculture and dairy farming.” He’d already learned more than most his age; he and his brother took on significant on-farm roles after their father, Dennis Orth, passed away in a farm accident. At the ages of 12 and 18 the two brothers along with their mother and farm managers kept the farm operating. After graduating from Kiel High School and attending Fox Valley Technical College, Steven Orth returned to the dairy full-time. The Orths began in 2011 to work with an independent financial consultant, at the recommendation of their lender after their dairy expanded from 350 cows to 700 cows. “We expanded because we thought it was the right thing to do,” Steven Orth said. “But looking back I see we didn’t have a complete understanding of what was necessary to successfully manage our employees, finances and business.” He continued to attend PDPW programs, leaning particularly into the

management and financial courses. He also attended Managers Academy® in several locations, learning from the presentations of that national executive-level

program. He heard insights from leaders of outside industries and networked with peers from other states. Each time he’d return PDPW home with new information, eager to implement Steven Orth compares learning from PDPW programs to finding a college that doesn’t require a full-time commitment. The programs allow attendees to choose topics that are Please see ORTH, Page E2 most important to them.

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BOTTOM LINE Thursday, May 20, 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.

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

Fresh cow, calf workshop offered in Spanish Developed for Spanish-speaking maternity-pen and newborn-calf managers, two one-day Wisconsin workshops will be taught exclusively in Spanish next month. The PDPW Dairy Obstetrics & Newborn Calf Care Workshop will be held June 16 at Juneau and June 17 at Colby. Participants will be taught technical skills and safe, compassionate techniques to successfully deliver calves and to care for newborns. They’ll also learn to care for cows through the early transition process. During the session regarding newborn-calf care, attendees will evaluate

passive-transfer methods in calves, work with serum and colostrum samples and refractometers, learn cow-side test methods that estimate colostrum quality, and more. The fresh-cow session will offer practical insights to those managing close-up and maternity pens.  signs to watch for before, during and after delivery  indications of calving distress  protocols for safe, healthy calf deliveries  how to determine when assistance is needed

Dairy Obstetrics & Newborn Calf Care Workshop June 16 - 17

 safe handling practices for handler and cow  post-calving care  assessing signs of milk fever and ketosis Registration begins at 8:30 a.m., with training beginning at 9 a.m. Each session will conclude at 4 p.m. Visit www.pdpw. org/programs for more information.

Secretary John Haag Dane, Wis. 608-576-0812 jahaag5@gmail.com

Upcoming Educational Events

Treasu rer Steven Orth Cleveland, Wis. 920-905-2575


Directors Andy Buttles Lancaster, Wis. 608-723-4712 stonefront@tds.net

MAY 18-20; 25-27

The Dairy Signal™

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

National Dairy Month celebrations may look different in 2021, but they’ll provide important opportunities for consumers to visit a farm and enjoy Wisconsin dairy products and people. As was seen in 2020, dairy-promotion groups have become creative in offering farm exposure.

Programs, people promote Wisconsin dairy BETH SCHAEFER

Dairy Farmers of Wisconsin

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

www.pdpw.org mail@pdpw.org 800-947-7379

Those who have organized a dairy-promotion event know it takes many hands to bring such experiences to life; they are champions of Wisconsin dairy. Those volunteers play a critical role in connecting consumers and farmers, building trust and helping to solidify dairy’s favorable status in communities across the state. Schaefer Dairy Farmers of Wisconsin proudly supports local dairy-promotion programs to build consumer trust in Wisconsin dairy products, dairy farmers and dairy-farming practices through the extension of local and national checkoff programs that reach into local communities. Those grassroots dairy efforts succeed thanks to boots-on-the-ground

volunteer organizations.  county dairy-promotion groups  Wisconsin FFA chapters  Wisconsin 4-H  Wisconsin Farm Bureau Federation and the Ag in the Classroom program Local promotional activities help Wisconsin dairy farmers share dairy’s story of nutrition, community impact and environmental stewardship. They’re also a fun and effective way to spread the good news about dairy, provide an opportunity to foster increased consumer understanding and support Wisconsin dairy farmers. Dairy Farmers of Wisconsin provides promotions and programming that reinforce farmer trust. In an era that has consumers seeking products and brands with similar values to their own, developing transparency and trust between farmers and consumers is becoming increasingly important.

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Visit www.pdpw.org to participate in live-streamed event. Audio/video recordings also available free.

JUN 1-3; 8-10; 15-17

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

JUN 16-17

Obstetrics & Newborn Calf Care Workshop

(taught exclusively in Spanish) June 16, Juneau, Wis. June 17, Colby, Wis. Visit www.pdpw.org for details; all sessions held in compliance with CDC guidelines.

JUN 22-24; JUN 29 - JUL 1

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.

Please see PROGRAMS, Page E3


Online, 12 – 1 pm CT

what was relevant for the family members. As they began taking a closer look at each part of their business they realized they wanted to make more of their own decisions rather than relying on consultants. “To make informed decisions, we needed to have a better understanding of our financials,” Orth said. When PDPW launched its three-level Financial Literacy for Dairy® program in 2017, he knew he wanted to participate. He was an attendee in the pilot class taught by cur-


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riculum author David Kohl, professor emeritus in the Virginia Tech-Department of Agricultural and Applied Economics. After recently completing the third level of Financial Literacy for Dairy, Orth said he has a muchbroader understanding of dairy-finance basics in addition to quite a few fairly complex financial tools. Due to focused efforts to analyze every decision’s financial impact, Orthland Dairy has been able to continuously reinvest capital into the operation and increase its rate of growth. “Instead of decisions being controlled by what the bank will allow us to do, we have a strong relationship with our lender and great communication,” Orth said. “They support our goals. We are now in control of our own destiny and we know what needs to happen in order to achieve our goals.” In addition to Financial Literacy for Dairy he’s regularly attended 10 or more

days of PDPW programming each year, focusing on employee and management topics. He had the opportunity in 2017 to view the organization from a new perspective when he was elected to the board of directors. “PDPW has played an important role in helping me grow as a leader and a professional,” he said. “As a board member I’m able to provide insights on programs that will help farmers facing similar challenges to what we’ve faced, so they can improve their operations.” With a passion for engaging team members, a recent commitment he has made is to learn Spanish, he said. He’d like to more effectively communicate with Hispanic employees and build a stronger team at the dairy. “I want to be able to have personal and business relationships with our Spanish-speaking employees the same way I do with our English-speaking employees,” he said.

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BOTTOM LINE Thursday, May 20, 2021 E3

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


Pandemic teaches many lessons JOHN SHUTSKE

Within a few days of COVID-19 being declared a global pandemic in March 2020, I joined my colleague Mark Stephenson to write “Six possible impacts of COVID-19 on farming.” Stephenson is the director of dairy-policy analysis at the University of Wisconsin-College of Agricultural and Life Sciences. Many predictions in the published article came to pass – though we didn’t reference our mistaken belief that the novel virus would be only a memory by early 2021. Several months into 2021 the vi-

Programs From E2

The COVID-19 pandemic served to heighten consumer awareness of their reliance on farmers and the products they produce. The Gallup Poll, which tracks U.S.-consumer views regarding business and industry sectors, ranked farming and agriculture as the No. 1 industry out of 25 assessed. That marks the first time in 20 years. Dairy Farmers of Wisconsin is working hard to maximize that position with enhanced assistance.  financial support for local dairy promotion and education  networking and training through events and social media  dairy promotional and educational materials, messaging and resource tools Visit www.WisconsinDairy.org/Promote-Dairy/ dairy-month-promotion to access tips and ideas for hosting a successful event, a planning checklist and more.

Dairy promotions held year-round Local promotional groups include 1,000 dairy-promotion volunteers. Dairy Farmers of Wisconsin works to support local activities year-round.  We’ve sponsored five grants to the Wisconsin FFA Foundation Supervised Agricultural Experience to foster youth dairy entrepreneurship.  We launched in January 2020 a webinar series to increase engagement and sharing of dairy-promotion best practices. The 12 virtual sharing sessions were attended by more than 100 volunteers representing 17 counties.  We established a social-media support program to provide training and messaging prompts.  We hosted a record-setting virtual fall conference for volunteers. Dairy Farmers of Wisconsin also assisted with several additional promotions to directly reach consumers.  Community Rally for Dairy – digital reach 500  product promotion – in-person reach 77,083; digital reach 99,438  school and farm tours – in-person reach 20,700; digital reach 22,285

Dairy-promotion impacts measured

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We can measure the direct impact Dairy Farmers of Wisconsin has on the planning and execution of local promotions by tracking funding and materials provided to groups, the number of volunteers who engage in trainings and the number of events recognizing support of dairy checkoff. Effectiveness is also measured through reported results from the promotional groups. Those metrics include consumer reach, impressions, key messaging, collaborating organizations and matched support. For

rus’s toll is finally beginning to subside. It’s time to reflect on lessons learned regarding agricultural health and safety – and what the impliShutske cations are for the industry’s future. Digital, internet and technology access in many farming communities is extremely variable. Young families everywhere, especially those with school-age children, learned that access to broadband or relatively high-speed internet

example Dairy Farmers of Wisconsin funded 43 percent of total budgets for local dairy promotions in 2020, for an in-person reach of 130,440 – including socially distanced and drive-through events – and

was as important as having electricity and running water. Likewise modern farms of all sizes require robust internet access. I led a project in 2019 that showed about 20 percent of Wisconsin farm households didn’t have internet access, even via smartphone. And for those with access, cost was a major concern. Telehealth and telemedicine became the norm and is likely to become a standard option. As the pandemic spread, telemedicine afforded providers a safer way to conduct patient visits. Virtual visits reduce risk and

a digital reach of 253,871. During National Dairy Month specifically, in-person promotions reached 32,657 and the digital reach equaled 131,648. We also supported five drivethrough dairy breakfasts

travel time for the patient. They often cost less than an in-person visit – and they can be just as effective as on-site care. Growth trends connected to telehealth services are likely to continue. They underscore the critical link between overall health in farming communities and access to robust high-speed-internet access. The health and well-being of workers is vital to the success of agriculture and stability in food-supply chains. Production agriculture has always involved

and provided 63 promotional groups with a wide variety of promotional materials including banners, yard signs and more. Dairy Farmers of Wisconsin works together with local promotional activ-

Please see HEALTH, Page E4


While a return to more-normal life has been eagerly anticipated by many, it will likely be accompanied by stress. Intentionally pursue activities that reduce stress. Go outside, breathe fresh air and enjoy the warming weather.

ities to elevate Wisconsin’s hard-working farm families. Engage with a local promotional group or attend dairy promotional events to recognize them. Visit WisconsinDairy. o r g / P r o m o t e - D a i r y/

dairy-month-promotion for more information. Beth Schaefer is the regional program manager at Dairy Farmers of Wisconsin. Email hello@WisconsinDairy.org to reach her.

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E4 | Thursday, May 20, 2021




Shape your fortune HANK WAGNER

I read a statement recently that really jumped out at me – “Each of us is the architect of our own fortune.” Such a powerful statement should compel us to consider how we perceive our lives, the situations we face and what steps we take to learn from mistakes. Fortune can be comprised of any number of things. Wagner For most people the list includes quality relationships and time with family and friends, good health and enough money. No matter what’s on our list, the point is we all have the ability to influence the things that come into our lives and how we handle them. If we all have the power to bring more good fortune into our future, why don’t we see more evidence in people? For starters I think many people don’t realize the degree to which they can have an impact on their own fortunes. As an advocate for continuous education and lifelong learning, I believe people who are successful – those who are enjoying good fortune – are those who have committed to

a lifestyle of continual improvement. There are virtually limitless options to pursue personal growth. They all come at a cost in time, energy and-or money, but the result is worth the sacrifice. Personal growth unlocks good fortune. Another reason good fortune is difficult to see is that it’s so often taken for granted. Think about the standard American lifestyle. It typically includes cell phones, automobiles, a home with a bed to sleep in, food to eat and way more entertainment options than we even have time for. So many Americans have access to all those things. Most would be astounded to know how many of the world’s population don’t even have roofs over their heads. I recently attended level 3 of PDPW’s Financial Literacy for Dairy. I was humbled by the level of knowledge of other attendees and especially the presenters. Their mastery of complex financial information was impressive. I registered for that program because I wanted to learn more, so I was already aware I didn’t know it all. But wow; it didn’t take me long to realize I knew a whole lot less about effectively using the tools of dairy financials than I thought I did. Sometimes it can be pain-

Health From E3

exposure to a number of biological and physical hazards such as animals, organic dust, viruses and bacteria, gases, noise and more. Now it’s also necessary to consider the impacts associated with a pandemic. Recent studies show hired farmworkers


People who are successful are those who have committed to a lifestyle of continual improvement. There are virtually limitless options to pursue personal growth. ful to grow, stretch and change. But it’s those who have a plan to make it happen who can expect a future with an abundance of good fortune. Have you ever felt like everyone else around you was more gifted, more talented or smarter than you? Feeling inadequate and out of place is a miserable feeling. Yet it’s in those humiliating moments when we should turn our focus from ourselves to those around us

are often aware of health risks they face. It’s increasingly apparent that farm owner-operators and managers create a business advantage by paying attention to worker health and safety. Respirators and masks can be confusing and uncomfortable. For 30 years I’ve encouraged the use of N95 respirators for farmers working with dusty grain, silage, hay and in other conditions involving dust

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in the air. Some people struggle as a result of allergies, asthma, sensitivity or other respiratory problems; some have even needed to exit the business due to those issues. From the onset of the pandemic, information about correct wearing habits and mask styles has varied and been a source of confusion. Specific to mask types, wearers who alternated between wearing an N95 and a cloth mask would likely have found the former to be more uncomfortable. It’s also been difficult to obtain N95s since the early months of 2020 and they remain expensive. Apart from the COVID-19 issue, an N95 with a comfort-enhancing exhalation valve is an important tool in a farm’s health arsenal. It will prevent respiratory disease and alleviate extreme complications or discomfort from airborne farm hazards. Farm stress is a concern even in relatively good economic times. As mid-year approaches the economic horizon is beginning to clear. Policymakers have realized the importance of infusing resources

sure to their ways of thinking will stretch yours, and that will have a positive impact on your own abilities and talents. To shape your fortune, partner with people who can bring you with them to their level. And then keep reaching. Hank Wagner is a dairy producer and a John Maxwell Team teacher, mentor, speaker and coach. Email hwagner@wagnerfarmswi.com to reach him.

into the economy to buffer the negative effects of COVID-19. Kids have been back in school; many churches and businesses are starting to reopen or already have. Adding to stress levels are the setbacks partnered with economic improvement. With a return to pre-pandemic activities, many are reminded that busy schedules can be stressful. Commodity prices show promise but input costs are increasing. The economic picture six to 12 months from now is anyone’s guess. It’s important to regularly incorporate stress-mitigating options into one’s lifestyle. Spend time every day reflecting on two or three things that generate gratitude. Spend a half-hour every week to plan the big things in the coming week. Spend time with friends and family away from work, computer screens and to-do lists. Pursue healthy activities that bring joy and calm. John Shutske is a professor and University of Wisconsin-Division of Extension specialist. Email john.shutske@wisc.edu to contact him.




who can help us grow. Someone who is always the smartest, savviest, brightest person in the room is likely someone who won’t feel compelled to continue to grow, learn or improve. And that’s a dangerous thing if they’re surrounded by people who are never motivated to stretch themselves. Whenever possible, spend time with people who are smarter, bolder and more innovative than you consider yourself to be. Expo-

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