Current Progressive Dairy digital edition


Find out more about dairy farmers and industry experts, including the producers behind unique dairy operations and innovative management strategies.



"As a first-rate dairy producer who also runs his own processing facility, Les brings a unique perspective to his USDEC chairmanship. He truly understands both sides of the equation. It’s exactly this kind of experience that we need to help grow strong global markets." —Tom Suber, president, U.S. Dairy Export Council (USDEC)

Age: Young enough to still be having fun and enjoying life.

Location: Greeley, Colorado

My dairy’s history: Sherrill and I are the third generation that has marketed milk for consumption. We operate two dairies: the 700-cow Painted Prairie Dairy as well as our small, educational showcase farm, Cozy Cow Dairy.

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When the conventional way of dairy farming wasn’t working for Norm Nickerson and his sons, Chris and Joe, they decided it was time for a change.

“Our philosophy is to keep it simple,” Norm says. “We carry it a little farther than other dairy farmers.”

The Nickersons are graziers. They have four farms in south Florida, which are all divided into paddocks.

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Q. What most concerns you about the dairy industry in the next five years?


Nik Sutter
Fertile-Ridge Dairy LLC
Mount Horeb, Wisconsin

Volatility is the biggest concern in a lot of different ways – not just feed, not just milk, but growing operations not knowing what land values are going to do; not knowing what credit availability is going to be in the next five years.While many of us have plans, I know that there are others that don’t. It’s just scary to think if a lot of different risks occur at the same time, what might happen to some of us.

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Age: 34

Location: Chilton, Wisconsin

My dairy’s history: My parents owned and operated a 70-cow dairy farm until 1994, when they transitioned to raising replacement heifers. They were one of the first replacement heifer farms in our area. Five years ago, I joined the farm operation and we formed an LLC.

I am very proud to be a third-generation farmer, but couldn’t do it without the help of my mom, Gertie, who does all the farm bookwork and my husband, Brent, and our three full-time employees, who help me keep the operation running day-to-day.

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In 2005, Michelle Berdan participated in Dairy Challenge as a student. Four years later, she was offered a teaching position in the new dairy program at Northcentral Technical College, in addition to her full-time job on her family's 1,500-cow dairy.

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In this video, Jim Lohman of Burley, Idaho, tells us how often he holds employee meetings. This video was taken at the 2010 World Dairy Expo.