2021 Conference Agenda

Tuesday, Jan. 19 | Forward & Focused
Sponsored by Compeer Financial 

1:00 PM CT Opening keynote: Peter Sheahan, Growing in uncertain times: Turning challenges into opportunity and change into competitive advantage


Stimulating a culture of growth amidst uncertainty begins with leaders taking ownership for their changed reality, unleashing an ambition that drives their team forward and aligning their people to the new ways of working necessary to create value in the current environment. In this case-study rich session, Peter Sheahan will unpack how to balance the need for prompt action with the need to maintain the capacity, capability and engagement required to make the most of the massive opportunities that inevitably emerge from crisis. And he will explore the unique application of these insights into a mostly virtual world. 
Sponsored by BMO Harris Bank and Cargill

2:00 PM CT Break
2:15 PM CT Breakout sessions:
  » Dairy Management Inc.: Driving innovation through retail and food service partners


Nearly a decade ago, the dairy checkoff switched from a generic advertising model to a partnership model to help spur needed innovation and drive trust and sales at the food service level. More recently, the checkoff added fluid milk revitalization at retail as a new focus area. Paul Ziemniskyexecutive vice president of Global Innovation Partnerships at Dairy Management Inc., will lead the audience through the goals of the partnership model and key in market results over the term of partnerships and how COVID-19 impacted partnership plans and results. He will also give a peek under the tent of what lies ahead. 
Sponsored by Dairy Management Inc.

  » GPS Dairy Consulting: Systems to turn your feed center into a profit center


Robb Bender, Ph.D. and Paul Dyk, MSc. will walk producers through a proven systems-approach to managing feed centers. FeedFITTM is a comprehensive program that looks at the complete process of feed inventory management, loading, mixing, regular monitoring, enhanced feed KPI reports, feed costs and tightly tracks the feeding performance as a primary cost center to the dairy. Upon implementation, the systems-approach application will deliver a measurable change in feed cost control management, improved accuracy of feeding and improved performance of the herd through a series of on-farm evaluations, team training and the use of technology for data sharing of the key metrics associated with the feed center and feeding. Operational excellence and efficiency are foundational to the systems-approach and application. Real, on-farm examples of management changes and the impact on profitability will be explored during the presentation, as well as provide a series of metrics and KPI’s to evaluate your own dairy. 
Sponsored by GPS Dairy Consulting 

3:15 PM CT Break
3:25 PM CT Breakout sessions:
  » Alltech: Personality tests and internal surveys on dairy farms: The new norm to manage


Pre-employment assessments and internal surveys on dairies are not commonly used tools, typically due to the informality around recruiting and retention structures. However, these resources can provide relevant information about a job applicant or an existing employee’s ability to perform in the workplace. In the current environment, where the supply of agricultural employees is limited, pre-employment tests can provide immense value for dairies seeking to find the right talent and for screening candidates with the wrong intentions, such as radical animal activists.
Sponsored by Alltech

  » Animal Agriculture Alliance: Securing the future of dairy: Preparing for changing tactics in animal rights activism


In this presentation, you will learn about the individuals and organizations behind the animal rights movement, as well as their strategies and tactics to push farmers out of business and remove milk, meat and eggs from consumers’ diets. Next, you learn about what we in agriculture can do to avoid or counter the activists’ tactics. The presenter will share farm and plant security, red flags to watch out for when hiring, how to handle visitor requests and more. Also, you will hear about security considerations for special events, such as fairs or expos, and what to do in case of a protest. The speaker will also share security considerations for using social media. Finally, the audience will learn how to be proactive in this area and where to go for more resources.
Sponsored by Compeer Financial

4:25 PM CT Break
4:30 PM CT

Virtual Happy Hour 


Dairy Farmers of Wisconsin is proud to bring to our 2021 Virtual Dairy Strong, the Fabulous Farm Babe Pam Jahnke and comedian Charlie Behrens. This dynamic duo will be joining us for an entertaining and insightful conversation where Behrens will walk us through his work in promoting dairy, experience visiting dairy farms and insights on consumer perceptions. During this virtual happy hour event, anticipate plenty of laughs and the opportunity to ask questions of your own.
Sponsored by Dairy Farmers of Wisconsin


Wednesday, Jan. 20 | Sustainability & Stewardship
Sponsored by STgenetics 

10:00 AM CT Virtual tour and panel: Building relationships: Farmer and processor insights


Navigate an in-depth dive into the interdependency of the dairy supply chain and the importance of healthy relationships between producers and processors. Throughout the introductory video and panel, four common themes between producer and processor stand out: 

  • Strategies for business communication 
  • Trust 
  • Making connections between producers, processors and brands 
  • What the relationship between the future producer and processor will look like  

The presentation will begin with a five-minute video on the relationship between Victory Farms and Valley Queen Cheese, giving an inside look at a real-life, progressive relationship. A panel discussion consisting of two producers, Kevin Souza of Victory Farms and Jim Winn of Cottonwood Dairy, and two processors, Jason Mischel of Valley Queen and Greg Siegenthaler of Grande Cheese, and moderated by Scott Caine of Aimpoint will follow. 
Sponsored by American Foods Group and Zoetis 

11:00 AM CT Break
11:15 AM CT  Breakout sessions:
  » Dairy Innovation Hub: Featured research on environmental and economic sustainability


The Dairy Innovation Hub, which launched in 2019, harnesses research and development at UW–Madison, UW–Platteville and UW–River Falls campuses to keep Wisconsin’s dairy community at the global forefront in producing nutritious dairy products in an economically, environmentally and socially sustainable manner. It is supported by a $7.8 million annual investment by the state of Wisconsin. To date, more than 50 funding awards have been made to researchers on the three campuses. “Stewarding land and water resources” is one of four core pillars of the Dairy Innovation Hub. In this session, three research teams will present their projects designed to address ongoing concerns with water quality and the economic sustainability of solutions.
Sponsored by Michael Best

  » Innovation Center for U.S. Dairy: U.S. dairy working together on collective impact


In the spring of 2020, the Innovation Center for U.S. Dairy set new environmental stewardship goals and a vision that U.S. dairy can be an environmental solution. These voluntary, collective goals include becoming carbon-neutral or better, optimizing water use while maximizing recycling, and improving water quality by optimizing the utilization of manure and nutrients by 2050. 
During this session, industry panelists will share how the Net Zero Initiative is collaborating on sustainability projects to expand research, data, and on-farm projects to close knowledge gaps, improve analysis and demonstrate progress. The audience will have the opportunity to learn how dairy supply chain partners can engage in collective impact projects. Insights will focus on assessing and advancing economically viable practices and technologies to help move the needle to reduce environmental impact.
Sponsored by Investors Community Bank

  » STgenetics: Decision support tools to increase farm profitability and sustainability


Dairies are faced with numerous challenges and constraints in managing their operations. Environmental and economic variables continue to make every decision producer makes crucial to managing efficiency to maintain profitability. Technologies and data-driven decision support tools have become more important in implementing at the dairy level to measure and employ changes that allow the dairy to achieve levels of profitability and sustainability. 
Sponsored by STgenetics

12:15 PM CT Break
12:25 PM CT

Panel: Money from manure: Strategies for alternative revenue streams


Join us for an hour-long presentation featuring multiple industry experts. Discussion on the ins and outs of manure processing and potential revenue will be discussed. Josh Meissner from Norm-E-Lane, Inc., will talk about the history of digestors. Jessica Niekrasz from Clean Fuel Partners LLC will go in-depth on operating and selling digestors. Brian Dolski from Pagel Family Businesses will review what happens after the digestor makes the gas, credits and where the money is made. Jordan Hemaidan from Michael Best will talk about how deals are put together. The session will be hosted by Greg Steele from Compeer Financial who has an extensive background in working with farms on digestor projects.  
Sponsored by Compeer, GreenStone FCS, McLanahan Corp.

Thursday, Jan. 21 | Policy & Purpose
Sponsored by Edge Dairy Farmer Cooperative

10:00 AM CT  Opening session: John Holevoet, DBA’s 2021 policy agenda
10:20 AM CT

Opening keynote: Matt Lewis, Political outlook


Matt Lewis, senior columnist for the Daily Beast and author of Too Dumb to Fail: How the GOP Betrayed the Reagan Revolution to Win Elections (and How It Can Reclaim Its Conservative Roots), will provide a political outlook following the recent presidential election.

Moderating alongside Matt will be Sara Wyant, President of Agri-Pulse Communications. Agri-Pulse is a communications firm with offices in Washington, D.C., Sacramento, Calif. And Camdenton, Missouri.
Sponsored by Edge Dairy Farmer Cooperative

11:20 AM CT Break
11:30 AM CT

Political keynote: Wisconsin Governor Tony Evers
Sponsored by Dairy Business Association 

11:45 AM C

Keynote: Michael Torrey and Ray Starling, The election is over. Now what? An insider perspective on what to expect from Federal Ag Policy


Michael Torrey, Edge Dairy Farmer Cooperative’s lobbying partner in Washington D.C., will facilitate a discussion with Ray Starling about what the agricultural community should expect during this time of transition in our nation’s capital and beyond. Torrey has worked on Capitol Hill and at USDA. He has also been personally involved in a presidential transition. Starling previously served as chief of staff for outgoing Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue and worked as a special assistant to the president for agriculture and agricultural trade in the Trump White House.
Both men have a wealth of experience with D.C. politics and how the government impacts the lives of farmers across the nation. With the election in the rearview mirror, we will take a look at the future exploring the transition process, changes at USDA and Congress, and what the next four years could hold for policymakers and farmers alike.
Sponsored by Valley Queen Cheese
12:45 PM CT Break
1:00 PM President’s report, DBA Advocate of the Year and conference closing
Sponsored by Vita Plus/Cornette Farm Supply