New to the Professional Dairy Producers of Wisconsin (PDPW) Business Conference, the FreshPicks Stage packages timely topics into quick and convenient 20-minute presentations. Throughout the two-day conference, which will be held March 12-13 in Madison, Wisconsin, a dozen experts will address a variety of timely topics through this format.

Coffeen peggy
Coffeen is a former editor and podcast host with Progressive Dairy. 

The FreshPicks speakers on schedule for March 13 offered Progressive Dairyman a sneak peek of their presentations.

Why Farmers Should Run For, Not From, Local Government
Richard J. Stadelman
Wisconsin Towns Association

Why is this topic important?

STADELMAN: With agriculture being the number one industry in the state of Wisconsin, yet with the numbers of farmers declining each year, it is important that local elected leaders on town and county boards not only have a knowledge of agricultural interests and concerns but also have a stake in ensuring that local government supports the industry.


What do you hope attendees take away from your presentation?

STADELMAN: Attendees will see what the commitment to run for local office and serve can mean for their interests as a property owner, businessman and resident of their community. Running for – not from – local elected office should be a priority of farmers.

Safety is Part of Your Health
Rhonda Strebel
Rural Health Initiative, Inc.

Why is this topic important?

STREBEL: Safety includes protecting your ears, eyes, nose and throat (respiratory) and skin. We will show you ways to incorporate the protection of these senses and your skin simply within our daily activities.

It won’t cost much upfront, but it will save you from potential high medical costs and frustrations in years to come. All industries have safety as part of their business. Are you including it in your operation for your family and employees?

What do you hope attendees take away from your presentation?

STREBEL: We want attendees to know how to choose the right personal protective equipment and how to wear them properly.

Making Sense of Sensory Monitors
Matt Borchers
Department of Animal and Food Sciences, University of Kentucky

Why is this topic important?

BORCHERS: Little work has been done on dairy farmers’ perception of precision dairy farming technologies. This is surprising considering the success of these technologies depends largely on dairy farmers’ decisions to implement them. In our study, we wanted to find out how dairy farmers perceived technologies and what they found useful.

What do you hope attendees take away from your presentation?

BORCHERS: I hope attendees come away from my presentation with a better understanding of precision dairy farming technologies, what they entail and how they can be useful.

Photos of richard j. stadelman, rhonda strebel, matt borchers, matt kilgus, k.j. burrington, scott and val gaffney

How We Added Value at Kilgus Farmstead, Inc.
Matt Kilgus
Kilgus Farmstead

Why is this topic important?

KILGUS: We are on the smaller side of a family dairy, and I am in partnership with my uncle and his boys, who have come back to the farm. We were looking for ways to bring family back to the operation and to add value to our product. I think a lot of people are in the same situation we were at on our farm.

What do you hope attendees take away from your presentation?

KILGUS: There are others out there who have thought of doing something like what we are doing with on-farm processing. I hope attendees can learn about what we are doing and the steps we took to get to processing our own milk.

My goal is not to just paint a rosy picture; I want to be honest and straightforward about the ups and downs for those pondering about doing what we are doing.

What’s New in Dairy-Based Beverages
K.J. Burrington
Center for Dairy Research

Why is this topic important?

BURRINGTON: Innovation is key to growing demand for dairy ingredients and dairy products. And as technology improves, allowing us to capture even more unique whey proteins, it will become a bigger driver in the value for farmers’ milk.

Since dairy farmer checkoff dollars are a major supporter of dairy product application innovation, it’s important for them to see examples of their investment at work through the Center for Dairy Research. Whey protein products, including beverages, are a growing market segment including products for athletes, weight management and healthy aging.

What do you hope attendees take away from your presentation?

BURRINGTON: A positive understanding of the value of their investment in dairy product application research at the Center for Dairy Research, and pride in the innovation that is happening thanks to farmer investment.

How Beef Can Work for Dairy
Scott and Val Gaffney
Gaffney Family Cattle

Why is this topic important?

GAFFNEY: Today’s beef industry needs everyone doing their best. Whether it is a dairy operation placing emphasis on good beef quality assurance practices or incorporating beef genetics into breeding decisions, all dairy producers play a key role in keeping beef at the center of the plate.

We will be discussing the production and selection numbers behind the beef industry, along with current trends in the beef industry.

What do you hope attendees take away from your presentation?

GAFFNEY: The dairy industry has played a critical role in maintaining a strong U.S. beef supply through the cow and finished markets. Dairy-sourced beef can be found in local burgers, the biggest grocery meat cases and upscale steak houses across the country.

The extreme weather patterns and feedstuff availability have taken tolls on the U.S. beef cow herd, driving them to all-time-low levels. Dairy producers have a chance to add serious pounds and quality to the beef markets through their everyday breeding decisions. PD

peggy coffeen

Peggy Coffeen
Progressive Dairyman