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PDPW celebrates ‘Exceeding Excellence’

Progressive Dairyman Editor Peggy Coffeen Published on 31 March 2014
Ice sculpture

More than 1,500 dairy farmers and allied industry professionals gathered for the 2014 Professional Dairy Producers of Wisconsin (PDPW) Business Conference held at the Alliant Energy Center in Madison, Wisconsin, March 12-13.

Jordy Nelson and Mark Diederichs “Exceeding Excellence” was the theme for the two-day event that featured five keynote speakers and 17 specialty sessions.



pie eating contest

A conversation about consumer trust took center stage with Charlie Arnot, CEO, Center for Food Integrity. He challenged dairy producers to “protect their social license to operate” by sharing value statements and acknowledging mistakes.

people walked through the door at the PDPW Business Conference “We live in a radically transparent environment,” he told the audience, referencing the swiftness of social media. “You need to become a radically transparent farmer.”

Despite the challenges, opportunities abound, according to agricultural economist Dan Basse, AgResource Company. He declared 2014 “the year of the cow,” as he forecasted solid milk prices, strong export markets and stable feed costs.

annual silent auction “This is your time,” he told dairy producers. “The opportunities are robust.”


In PDPW business, two dairy producers were re-elected to their posts on the PDPW board of directors. Kay Zwald of Bomaz Farms, Hammond, Wisconsin, and Charlie Crave of Crave Brothers Farm LLC, Waterloo, Wisconsin, were joined by newly elected director Jeremy Natzke of Wayside Dairy, Greenleaf, Wisconsin. PD

PHOTO ONE: An ice sculpture stood as a chilling reminder of the record-breaking winter that Wisconsin dairy producers faced this year.

PHOTO TWO: Jordy Nelson, Green Bay Packer and spokesperson for Fuel Up to Play 60, talked about playing football and growing up as a farm kid in Kansas. He is pictured here with outgoing PDPW President Mark Diederichs, Lake Breeze Dairy LLC.

PHOTO THREE: During the conference, the Professional Dairy Producers Foundation served up some laughs for a good cause with its annual pie-eating fundraiser. In the friendly competition that raised $22,572 for educational programming, dairy farmer Dean Strauss out-ate his rivals to defend his champion title. Photo courtesy of PDPW .

PHOTO FOUR: More than 1,500 people walked through the door at the PDPW Business Conference, gathering to hear the top-notch keynotes, view the expanded Hall of Ideas and network with other dairy industry producers and partners.

PHOTO FIVE: The annual silent auction also raised funds for the Professional Dairy Producers Foundation programs, including the new Cornerstone Dairy Academy, a two-day educational training focusing on developing the “soft skills” of students, dairy producers who are coming back to the farm and professionals who are starting their careers. Photos by Peggy Coffeen.


To view more photos from the event, check out the slideshow .

peggy coffeen

Peggy Coffeen
Progressive Dairyman