Picture
By MaryBeth Matzek
MAA Editor


Dairy farmers and agricultural professionals cast their eyes on the future and sustainable growth at Dairy Strong 2017: The Journey Forward, a conference meant to challenge and inspire participants.
More than 700 people from across the country listened to speakers, engaged in panel discussions and explored educational programs that focused on a wide range of issues in the dairy community, honing in on challenges and opportunities. The third annual event was held Jan. 18-19 at the Monona Terrace Community & Convention Center.
Mike North, newly elected president of the Dairy Business Association (DBA), called Dairy Strong a big success.
“It brought together a lot of people to discuss important, high-level issues, such as immigration and conservation,” said North, president and founder of Commodity Risk Management Group in Platteville. “The speakers really opened eyes to a lot of possibilities, and I think everyone who attended came away with lots to think about and plenty of ideas.”


 
 
PictureRichardo Jaime and Joaquin Vazquez
By MaryBeth Matzek
MAA Editor
MADISON, Wis. – Just as Western European immigrants came to the United States during the 19th and 20th centuries, today’s Latino immigrants come from a variety of backgrounds and for many different reasons. What unites them is the goal of a better life for themselves and their families – a message shared during a panel discussion with Latino farm employees at Dairy Strong 2017: The Journey Forward.
The dairy industry relies heavily on Latino employees so it is vital farmers understand their perspective and recognize their differences, said Cody Heller of Central Wisconsin Agricultural Services, who moderated a panel discussion on the topic during the convention held at Monona Terrace Community and Convention Center on Jan. 18-19. When pulling the panel together, Heller said the goal was to show “three different families who were all tied to the dairy industry, but have different stories.”


 
 
PictureStephen Chavez
By MaryBeth Matzek
MAA Editor
MADISON, Wis.  –  Food plays a central role in the lives of Latinos and as their population increases, it is vital U.S. producers understand their spending habits to take advantage of their growing economic power.
“Hispanics are an economic engine. One out of every four babies born in the United States right now is Latino descent,” said Jose Castro, manager of insights and strategy for Univision Communications Inc. “That right there tells you a lot about their growth.”
Add to that the power of Latino wallets – they spend more on groceries than any other groups, according to Nielson – and it is clear why dairy producers and industry affiliates were eager to listen to a panel discussion on the growing influence on U.S. food and agriculture at Dairy Strong 2017: The Journey Forward, which held was held at the Monona Terrace Community & Convention Center on Jan. 18-19.


 
 
Picture
By MaryBeth Matzek
MAA Editor
MADISON, Wis.  – Farmers need to be ready for the emerging technologies that will transform their industry in the years to come, according to futurist Jack Uldrich, who spoke during the third annual Dairy Strong 2017: The Journey Forward conference, which was held Jan. 18-19 at the Monona Terrace Community & Convention Center.
“You need to future-proof your business and be aware of the extraordinary change that will be happening before your eyes,” said Uldrich, best-selling author of “Jump The Curve” and other books. “You may think some of this stuff is a long way off, but it will be here closer than you think.”
Technology changes are happening exponentially, said Uldrich, using cellphone technology to illustrate his point. “A farmer in Africa with a smartphone has more information at his fingertips than (Bill) Clinton did as president,” he said.


 
 
Picture
By MaryBeth Matzek
MAA Editor
If Wisconsin is to remain known for dairy farming and food, state government must provide farmers with tools for success, Lt. Gov. Rebecca Kleefisch told hundreds of farmers and others today at a dairy conference.
“If we declare to the world that we’re the Dairy State, we need to do everything we can to support our dairy industry,” Kleefisch said during an address at Dairy Strong 2017: The Journey Forward, the annual conference of the Dairy Business Association, at the Monona Terrace Community & Convention Center.


 
 
Picture
By MaryBeth Matzek
MAA Edito
r
MADISON, Wis. -- The state’s dairy community honored a Waunakee farmer for his work in helping to build a successful family dairy and an innovative environmental stewardship program.
The Dairy Business Association’s Advocacy Award was given to Jeff Endres, a co-owner of Endres Berryridge Farms LLC, on Jan. 18 during the organization’s Dairy Strong 2017: The Journey Forward conference at the Monona Terrace Community & Convention Center.
Endres, along with his brothers, Steve and Randy, and their families, guided the farm’s expansion from the 60 cows his parents milked to 550 cows today, allowing the dairy to remain competitive and profitable. Endres was also one of the founders of Yahara Pride Farms, a farmer-led non-profit organization that works to improve water and soil quality. Endres serves as the organization’s chairman.


 
 
Picture
By MaryBeth Matzek
MAA Edito
r

MADISON, Wis. -- Political commentator and author Dana Perino might not know exactly what to expect in U.S. politics during the next four years, but she is certain of this: It’s going to be wild ride.
“Embrace the chaos because that’s what you’re going to get. Conventional wisdom was thrown out the window during the election and it’s not going to come back in now,” Perino told more than 600 people on Jan. 18 at Dairy Strong 2017: The Journey Forward at the Monona Terrace Convention & Community Center.
Perino, who served as press secretary to President George W. Bush and is a co-host of Fox News Channel’s “The Five,” said President-elect Donald Trump was carried into office by a wave of voter desire for change. However, predicting what that will look like when he takes office Jan. 20 is difficult.   
Trump will have a Republican-controlled Congress for the next two years, so he has the obvious advantage. But certain changes on his wish list, such as tax cuts and replacing the Affordable Care Act, may take more work than he expects, Perino said.


 
 
MADISON, Wis.  – Members of the Dairy Business Milk Marketing Cooperative elected directors at the group’s annual business meeting during the third annual Dairy Strong 2017: The Journey Forward conference Jan. 18 at the Monona Terrace Convention Center.
Members elected Randy Hallet, owner of Hallet Dairy Farm LLC in Casco, and re-elected Jerry Meissner, owner of Norm-E- Lane Inc. in Chili, to the DBMMC board.
In addition to running his dairy farm with his son. Hallet is chairman of the Kewaunee County Board of Adjustments and the Casco Town Zoning of Appeals Board. He is also a member of the Kewaunee County Ground Water Task Force and has served as a delegate for both Genex and Accelerated Genetics. Hallet originally served on the DBMMC’s board when the organization started.
Meissner, a lifelong dairy farmer, was integral in the development of DBMMC and has served on the board since it started. He has also been a leader in Dairy Business Association and various community boards. Meissner has testified at hearings for policies that benefit dairy farmers in both Madison and Washington D.C.
Board officers remain unchanged: John Pagel, president; Todd Doornink, vice president; Jim Winn, secretary; and Mitch Davis, treasurer.
 
 
By MAA
Rep. Lee Nerison, R-Westby, received the Dairy Business Association’s Legislator of the Year Award during Dairy Strong 2017: The Journey Forward held at the Monona Terrace Community and Convention Center.  
The Legislator of the Year recognizes a member of the Wisconsin Assembly or Senate who has shown strong support for the dairy industry in Wisconsin.
The DBA also honored several legislators with its Legislative Excellence Award. Assembly members receiving the award include: Nancy VanderMeer, Ed Brooks, Warren Petryk, Gary Tauchen, Bob Kulp, Amy Loudenbeck, Robin Vos, Jeremy Thiesfeldt, Michael Schraa, Keith Ripp, Rob Brooks, Travis Tranel, Rob Swearingen, David Steffen, Adam Jarchow, John Jagler, Joan Ballweg, Kathy Bernier, John Nygren, Mary Cjaza, Terry Katsma, Jeff Mursau, Tyler Vorpagel, Jim Steineke, Samantha Kerkman and Adam Neylon.
Members of the State Senate receiving the award were: Howard Marklein, Frank Lasee, Sheila Harsdorf, Roger Roth, Scott Fitzgerald, Alberta Darling and Terry Moulton.
 
 
Dairy Business Association members elected two new directors, a new president and other new officers during the annual business meeting at the Dairy Strong 2017: The Journey Forward conference Jan. 18 at the Monona Terrace Community & Convention Center.
Newly elected board directors include farmer representatives Lee Kinnard, owner of Kinnard Farms Inc. in Casco, and Amy Penterman, owner of Dutch Dairy LLC in Thorp. Mike North, president and founder of Commodity Risk Management Group in Platteville, was re-elected as the board’s corporate representative and selected as the group’s new president.
Kinnard has dedicated his life to farming, seeking to improve his family’s farm and protect and enhance natural resources through cutting-edge practices and innovative decision-making. Kinnard is a board member for Peninsula Pride Farms, a farmer-led environmental stewardship coalition in Kewaunee and southern Door counties. He also played a leading role in the formation of the Dairy Strong Sustainability Alliance.
Penterman owns and operates Dutch Dairy with her husband, Sander. She also has worked as a crop insurance agent for 18 years and was in the Farm Credit lending system for 15 years. Penterman is a member of the DBA Public Relations Committee and serves as president for the Thorp FFA Alumni.
North’s company, CRMG, provides consulting and brokerage services to farmers, handlers and end-users of agricultural commodities as well as diversification tools to individual investors. He works with production and processing clients to build marketing plans and margin management programs. North has been a member of DBA’s board since 2008 and has an agriculture business degree from the University of Wisconsin-Platteville.
North replaces Calumet County farmer Gordon Speirs as president. Speirs will be president emeritus.
Other officer changes included Tom Crave as vice president, Cindy Leitner as secretary and Lloyd Holterman as treasurer.