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Make 2017 a great dairy year

Christina Winch for Progressive Dairyman Published on 02 January 2017

As a new year rolls in, the big question is always, “What is your resolution?” Some people want to exercise more, eat less, spend less money, save more, spend more time with family and the list can go on.

According to history.com, the ancient Babylonians are credited with making the first New Year’s resolutions over 4,000 years ago. It is said that they promised their gods that they would repay debts or return borrowed objects.

We are now a few days into 2017. Take a look back and reflect on 2016. Dairy prices weren’t great; many producers were told to stop using rBST by their milk processors; the consumer wants more transparency; and crop yields were great in the Midwest. These are just a few things that come to my mind. Now take a look forward. What can you do to make 2017 better for your dairy?

Dairy producers don’t really set New Year’s resolutions; rather, we are constantly looking forward and setting new goals. I am proud to be part of an industry that focuses on the future and what we can do to make sure the next generation has an opportunity to be part of this great industry.

As my husband and I look forward into 2017, our main goal is to start using some sort of electronic cow management system. There are a lot of yellow pads of paper floating around with breeding dates, calving dates and treatment lists on them. They are organized, but not as efficiently as they could be. Instead of just opening up the data and printing a report, we have to sort through paper and develop our own spreadsheet. Yes, it works, but with our boys getting bigger and more involved, we want to be able to be more efficient with our data. We have already started working toward this resolution by taking two big steps. We have joined the county DHIA and are testing milk for the first time ever! We have also finally upgraded to smartphones. In fact, as you read this, our smartphones are so new that our boys are still teaching us how to use them.

I shared with you our goal for the year, and now I want to challenge you to set a goal for your dairy. Some goals might be:

  • Attend an educational event
  • Research some new technology
  • Learn Spanish
  • Learn a skill that maybe you can’t do, like IV or A.I.
  • Make an improvement to your facilities

2017 is here. By setting goals and working together, we can make it a great one for the dairy industry.  end mark

Christina Winch is a dairy farmer in Fennimore, Wisconsin. Email Christina Winch.

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