You’re taken back to your adolescent years and spending the day with friends at the local amusement park. The rollercoaster operator motions you to the front seat; they ask you to strap in and hang on tight. As the ride clicks away from the station, you hear a distant, “Enjoy!” and you’re all too soon approaching a steep incline that puts you close to the heavens, only to be dropped quicker than you can blink. In a matter of minutes, you return to the station and are faced with the question of wanting to ride again.

Coyne jenn
Editor / Progressive Dairy

That memory feels a bit like 2023, no? Except the year didn’t include much for cotton candy, soda and laughter with friends. 

As we all know, last year’s boom led to an unfortunate – and perhaps inevitable – bust in 2023 with milk prices diving lower than we all could have anticipated, the result of a slowed export market, gushes of excess milk and persistent expansion in the industry. While the tail end of the year has shown some recovery, we’ve made it back to the station and are now being asked if we’re ready for another ride. 

These sorts of drastic changes are hard to manage and accept, from a personal standpoint as well as a business point of view, but they also push us to embrace the change and find opportunity even when the moment feels bleak. 

The concept of working through change is nothing new, but one I heard a couple of times throughout this year. The first mention was at the Young Dairy Leaders Institute’s Class 12 final leg of the program where Heather LaPierre spoke to the group on choosing how we respond to change and embrace new happenings; the second was in the summer months at the Vita Plus Midwest Dairy Conference with Becky Pertzborn. (Here’s a brief recap of Pertzborn’s presentation.)


Those who experienced some of the industry’s most drastic changes this year might have come quickly and with little ability to prepare; we were simply riding in that front seat of the rollercoaster.

Maybe you’re unknowingly still stuck in the trenches of change, so now might be a good time to evaluate how your life and your dairy business fared this past year. Did you and your family or business partners have adequate time to process the emotions surrounding those changes? How are your employees dealing with a new beginning? What is left to be addressed?

As John C. Maxwell stated, “Change is inevitable. Growth is optional.” Change is certain and how we ride that change curve is our chance to grow.

This past year was not all doom and gloom, and there’s a-plenty to be thankful for in this season of life. Here at Progressive Dairy, we found what kept you interested and reading in 2023 (pulled from Google Analytics between Oct. 1, 2022 and Oct. 1, 2023). It was an assortment of content from management tips and best practices to leading research and farm features on some of the most progressive producers across the country. Here is a summary of those top articles, as well as a few behind-the-scenes anecdotes from the content. Looking at the list and ruminating with my co-workers on how they came to be was a pleasant reminder of all the good this year had to offer.

Reflecting on this rollercoaster year, I hope you found the change manageable and sensible while also recognizing the best of each situation.