The end of one year and the start of another is often a reflective period. With that in mind, the editors of Progressive Dairy reached out to our editorial advisers and asked them to reflect on the following question:
Natzke dave
Editor / Progressive Dairy

“If you could wake up tomorrow having gained any one quality or ability that would help your dairy, what would it be and how would it improve your operation?”

Jim WerkhovenJim Werkhoven
Werkhoven Dairy Inc. and People’s Creek Dairy
Monroe, Washington
Herd: 1,700 cows

2019 was an eventful year for us, with both good and bad. My wife and I celebrated 40 years of marriage this year. We gained a new grandson in September, and it’s been great watching all four grandsons growing up. I also lost a dear sister-in-law, Deb, in March. Deb was truly one of the most positive people I have ever known; she was an encourager. Deb was not naïve but, no matter what the circumstance was, she seemed to be able to find something positive about it.

So if I could wake up tomorrow with a new trait, I would like to become a better encourager. Somebody who is quick to encourage people and see the best in them. While it would be hard to say exactly how this would help my dairy operation, I know I like working with people like that. When it is all said and done, it would make me a better person, and that’s good enough for me.


Lynda FosterLynda Foster
Foster Dairy
Fort Scott, Kansas
Herd: 180 commercial Holstein cows
Parlor: Three Lely robotic milking units

If I could wake up tomorrow and know everything there is to know about using, understanding and analyzing our Lely Robot’s T4C software program, I would be very happy. There is so much data available now on each cow and the whole herd that it’s mind-boggling. One could spend days and days trying to sort it all out. By having the knowledge to dig in-depth on what’s important and what’s not as important would help me manage the herd better which, in turn, should help increase productivity.

Aaron WickstromAaron Wickstrom
Wickstrom Dairies
Hilmar, California
Herd: 2,400 Jersey cows milked in 50-cow rotary

If I could wake up tomorrow with a new trait or ability that would help our farm, it would be the trait of being a better communicator with our team so we could align more quickly toward our goals that benefit our team and farm.

Will GladstoneWill Gladstone
Newmont Farm
Bradford, Vermont
Herd: 1,400 commercial Holstein cows
Parlor: Double-20 parallel

If I could wake up having gained one quality to help our dairy, it would be letting go and delegating responsibilities. Since 1998, we have grown from 120 cows to 1,550 milking cows and now have many employees and family members working on the dairy. As our business has grown and become more complex, more employees are needed. We have great employees who are very smart and capable, so I’d like to be able to delegate better and be better at giving new responsibilities to people sooner.

Dan BrickDon Brick
Brickstead Dairy
Greenleaf, Wisconsin
Herd: 800 cows
Parlor: Double-10 parallel

I would be bilingual. A number of employees on my farm are native Spanish-speaking. The ability to clearly and effectively communicate with them would not only help build camaraderie, it would help us gain efficiencies.  end mark

Dave Natzke