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Dairymen get motivated for 2010 at annual Idaho convention

Walt Cooley and Ryan Curtis Published on 19 November 2009
Idaho dairymen and producers from throughout the Northwest convened in Boise during November looking for positive news about their industry. Many found what they were looking for.

Dairy families from more than 150 dairies attended, and total attendance was surprisingly up over last year’s annual meeting, says Cheri Storey, communications director for the Idaho Dairy Products Commission. The first day of the convention began with an inspirational message from Kirk Weisler, a business motivational speaker. Weisler invited producers to review their workplace culture and the words they speak to employees.

“People become by and large what we say about them,” Weisler said. “One of the first things that happens when things get tough is our language gets more negative. Watch your mouth.”

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Weisler described how words can be one of the most influential tools for success in business. He told producers that when someone asks how things are going this year to say: “My year will get better as I do.”

In the afternoon, Jerry Dryer of Rice Dairy told producers of his optimistic outlook for 2010. He estimates 2010’s Class III milk price to average out at $17.45. Dryer, who proclaimed that the market should drive the milk pricing system – not the government or supply programs – spoke about future volatility in milk pricing.

“Milk price spikes and troughs – volatility –will kill many in the dairy business,” Dryer said. “I don’t know if we can change volatility, but we can manage around it with hedges and options.”

Dryer was also bullish on the export market. He reported that in August the U.S. exported nearly 10 percent of total monthly milk production overseas.

“Exports will be stronger in 2009 than indicated in earlier forecasts,” Dryer said. “That strength will continue in 2010.”

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On the second day of the convention, Dr. Lowell Catlett, regent professor and dean of New Mexico State University’s College of Agricultural, Consumer and Environmental Sciences, presented an entertaining comparative analysis of the way his father’s generation lived and the way today’s society lives. In his upbeat analogies he consistently reminded the audience that his father’s generation lived to survive and today’s society lives for entertainment. One such story highlighted that 100 years ago, there were 7.3 million horses and they were used for hauling and work. Today there are 9.3 million horses – two million more than in 1999 – and “They don’t do anything! We haul them around!”

At lunch attendees were treated to a short presentation by Kristin Armstrong, gold medalist and two-time world time trial champion cyclist. She explained that her partnership with United Dairymen of Idaho and the dairy industry has branded her as more than a gold medalist – as a milk enthusiast.

“I’m not known as a gold medalist,” Armstrong quipped to the audience. “I’m known as a milk drinker.”

Armstrong then explained how so many of her appearances in national events and interviews have discussed milk and its value as a rejuvenating drink after workouts. Next year’s meeting will be held Nov. 10-11, 2010. PD

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