The Professional Dairy Producers of Wisconsin’s (PDPW) Annual Business Conference, March 17-18, in Madison, Wisconsin, fulfilled its theme by “Adding Passion, Multiplying Profits.” More than 1,100 producers gathered from across the U.S. for the two-day event. Together they faced their challenges head-on, discussed solutions and walked away with a proactive approach to the future.

The current state of the economy was by far the hottest topic on the agenda, and producers heard insight from Mark Pearson, an economist who hosts the nationally syndicated public television program Market to Market. Breakout sessions were also held on managing markets, accessing credit and making sound decisions in tough economic times.

Additional sessions covered a wide array of topics including managing Johne’s disease, developing employees and middle managers, protecting farmland, utilizing genomics, feeding fat, exploring energy, considering byproducts and many more. Throughout the conference, attendees heard real dairy experiences shared by dairymen from Wisconsin, California, Colorado and Michigan.

Each day concluded with uplifting messages from two keynote speakers with rural backgrounds. Adam Timmerman, a former Green Bay Packer lineman, shared how his agricultural background helped him on and off the field, while Ron “Gus” Gustafson spoke of how a farm accident at the age of 9 that left him without his right shoulder and arm and a permanent injury to his right leg taught him the true meaning of the phrase “never give up” and to always “have the courage to face the next challenge.”

Wisconsin attendees received a special treat with an unexpected visit from Gov. Jim Doyle. He acknowledged the producers for their hard work and investments, which increased the state’s milk production and spurred additional investments by dairy plants in the region.


Conference attendees also demonstrated their support for the industry by bidding at live and silent auctions to raise more than $33,000 for PDPW’s Education Foundation.

Board of director elections resulted in two new faces on PDPW’s nine-member board: Walter Meinholz of Blue Star Dairy, DeForest, Wisconsin; and Keith York, Merry Water Farm, Lake Geneva, Wisconsin. Meinholz and York replace outgoing board members Dean Strauss and Kevin Griswald, whose terms have expired. Doug Knoepke of Durand, Wisconsin, was re-elected to the board for a second three-year term.

The 2010 Annual Business Conference is set for March 16-17 in Madison.

For more information about PDPW programs, visit or call (800) 947-7379. PD