In preparing for this annual University Review issue, we sent out a survey to determine trends among universities that are teaching the next generation of dairy industry leaders and companies hiring the newest class of dairy graduates. Now we need your help – dairy producer opinion.

Our results showing how educators feel about the preparation of these students can be found here. Industry responses to the same questions will be published in the next issue. Also, to be published next issue, are the results from the final question of our survey. It surprisingly has sparked a bit of controversy. That’s where we – both the magazine and our industry – need your help and opinions.

The question is: Among the three pictures printed above, which student do you think is most likely to succeed long-term in the dairy industry?

Already this question has been called “stereotypical” and “not progressive.” And while I acknowledge that on the surface the question asks for a myopic view of a potential employee, I promise that choosing a side, and defending why you believe it will lead to success, will be very enlightening.

To those of you who would say you can’t judge based on only one image, I would ask you to consider your most recent successful employee hire. Ask yourself, “What qualities did I see in my employee that led me to believe he or she would be successful?” Then consider which path would most likely generate the experiences that you believe are valuable to your operation.


Your opinion and, more importantly, your reasoning on this question will help clarify for our dairy youth what our industry will demand of them. They are our hope for the future. We can help them the most by telling them what we hope most of them. PD

Note: Last issue we promised that co-ops would be responding to an article by Ben Yale (“Can you count on co-ops to protect your margin?” August 19, 2008 issue, pg. 20) discussing pending make-allowance increases proposed by the USDA. Since the article appeared, a group of dairymen have filed a suit in U.S. District Court in the District of Columbia contending that the USDA in proposing its new make-allowances has failed to accurately consider producers’ costs of feed and fuel in its marketing formulas. The lawsuit was filed during the production of this issue, and as a result dairy co-ops who were planning to submit responses or who had been invited to comment withdrew their submissions or declined to comment on the issue due to the pending litigation.

Progressive Dairyman contacted and received a “decline to comment” response from the following co-ops: DFA, Land O’Lakes, Northwest Dairy Association (Darigold) and Foremost Farms. Walt Cooley Editor