Wisconsin Dairy Digest: Jan. 31, 2011

PDPW holds 2011 Managers Academy

The Professional Dairy Producers of Wisconsin (PDPW) hosted 75 dairy producers and industry leaders from 18 states, Jan. 18-20, in Albuquerque, N.M., for the 2011 Managers Academy.

75 dairy producers and industry leaders from 18 states participated in PDPW’s Managers Academy.

“This mix of dairy producers and industry leaders was perfect and contributed to the success of the event,” stated Shelly Mayer, executive director of the Professional Dairy Producers of Wisconsin. “This event is just another example of how dairy producers and other leaders within our industry are on a continual quest of knowledge and seek out events that meet their needs.”

Focused on the theme “Managing Momentum,” business coaches Dr. Buck Joseph and Chris Hinrichs used classroom sessions to encourage attendees to view leadership from a four-pronged capacity – outward, inward, downward and upward – urging them to manage momentum while adapting for change and uncertainty.

Manager Academy participants toured and networked with New Mexico business executives from Southwest Cheese Factory, Haw Farms, Poblanos Organic Farms and El Pinto Restaurant/Foods.

Business executive training was led by Dr. Lowell Catlett of New Mexico State University. Dr. Catlett’s presentations, group-think sessions and case studies delivered the tools to help participants understand how successful companies grow and prosper, how to create a culture of ideas and implementation; and how to make a company sustainable. He also shared insight regarding “the next big thing” so individuals have the skills and knowledge to look around the corner and develop a matrix of scenarios and their potential impacts.

HSA law allows health care savings for Wisconsin farmers

The Wisconsin Legislature’s recent passage of a tax deduction for Health Savings Accounts (HSA) is a matter of fairness for farmers and other self-employed individuals, according to the Wisconsin Farm Bureau Federation.

“Farmers and other self-employed individuals in Wisconsin will now be able to deduct this cost for health care, just as other employers have been able to do,” said Paul Zimmerman, executive director of public affairs for the Wisconsin Farm Bureau. “This brings fairness for those who purchase their own health insurance coverage rather than accessing it through employers.”

“The benefits of this new law are two-fold,” Zimmerman said. “Consumers win with lower costs associated with health insurance. Additionally, these reduced costs free up dollars to be invested and spent elsewhere within the economy.”

HSAs allow people with high-deductible health insurance plans to save a limited amount of money for future health expenses. Their taxable income is reduced by the amount they put into the HSA.

A 2010 survey of Wisconsin dairy farmers by the National Agricultural Statistics Service notes the largest proportion of insured farmers (46%) purchased individual policies directly from private insurance companies; while 11.5 percent of dairy farm families reported no coverage at all.

Zimmerman said Wisconsinites with HSAs should now see their health care costs lowered by 6.5%, the amount they will be able to deduct from their state income tax liability.

Wisconsin had been one of only four states still taxing contributions to HSAs since the federal government made them exempt from federal taxation in 2003.

The HSA bill was signed into law by Governor Scott Walker, retroactively taking effect as of Jan. 1, 2011.

Family Dairies USA to hold 39th annual member meeting

The Family Dairies USA 39th Annual Member Meeting will be held Feb. 12, at the Kalahari Resort & Convention Center, Wisconsin Dells, Wis.

More than 200 dairy farm delegates will elect board members and act on policy resolutions.

Returning this year are “Early Bird” sessions, Feb. 11-12.  Sessions include:

• “Don’t Lose Your Future: Keep Your Calves Alive and Healthy,” by Tom Earleywine, Land O’Lakes Animal Milk Products

•  “Planning Your Future: Farm Succession & Transition,” by Michelle Birschbach of Steimle Birschbach LLC

• “Building a Future with Lessons from the Past,” by Gary Sipiorski of Vita Plus Corporation

• “Timeless Art of Cheese Making: Breaking New Ground,” by Steve Buholzer of Klondike Cheese Company

The annual meeting business session begins at 9 a.m. on Feb. 12.

DBA Expansion Symposium: ‘Surviving the Storm’

The 6th annual Dairy Business Association’s (DBA) Expansion Symposium will be held Feb. 24-25, at Lambeau Field,  Green Bay, Wis. This year’s symposium will provide attendees information they need to keep their dairies progressive and profitable following two years of low milk prices and increasing costs.

The event kicks off Feb. 24 with topics ranging from cash flowing through rough times and being a good neighbor, to increasing exports and U.S. federal policy impacts to Wisconsin farmers.  At 12:00 pm

U.S. Rep Reid Ribble (R-Wis.), recent appointment to House Ag Committee, will hold a town hall meeting at noon. The first day ends with a cheese reception, dinner, networking opportunities and trade show exhibits.

Feb. 25 topics include estate planning, animal well being and the responsibilities involved in selling cull cows to market. A drawing for $1,000 cash concludes the day.

For additional agenda and registration information, visit www.widba.com or call 920-866-9991.  Cost is $175 for DBA corporate members; $200 for non-members; and a special producer rate of $99 per person.

PDPW plans ‘World Class’ seminars

The Professional Dairy Producers of Wisconsin kick off a series of three ‘World Class” webinars, Feb. 28. All sessions feature Dr. Donald Jonovic, Family Business Management Services. Sessions include:

• Feb. 28: Compensation: Why Pay Is a Critical Business Strategy
A critical mistake made by many family farm operations is confusing compensation for performance with return for an owner’s investment. Learn how this fundamental confusion is often the cause of the stress, tension and dysfunctions in farm partnerships. Dr. Donald Jonovic, Family Business Management Services, discusses why it is critically important to differentiate pay from return, both in theory and in practice. He describes practical pay strategies that both motivate and reward desired performance. He addresses the significance of return on investment and its importance as a strategic tool for assuring farm survival, growth, continuity and successful transition of ownership in families where not all heirs intend to be farmers.

• March 21: Developing the Next Generation of Leaders – Family or “Non”

As family farm businesses grow, they also evolve and mature in ways that greatly change the kind of leadership that they need. Each generation of leaders needs to be very smart, tough-minded, flexible, creative, courageous and determined.  Jonovic shares how successful family operations have developed successful leaders from within the owning family, and addresses some of the unique strategies necessary for recruiting and retaining key people from outside the family.

• April 18: When Siblings Don’t Want To Work for Their Siblings
It is challenging enough managing a business when there is a single “boss,” who has the final say on important decisions and authority. Unfortunately, it is common for siblings farming together to inherit a deck stacked against success with no clear leader, equity and power distributed over a number of people, and a new ownership group with a history of each doing their own thing. Jonovic draws on his many years of experience helping sibling and cousin partnerships work through this leadership “gap” to develop decision and responsibility structures that draw the best from each partner while designing a management process and operating plan that can fill that important role of “The Boss.”

For more information, visit www.pdpw.org or phone 800-947-7379

UW Farm & Industry Short Course Preview Days set

The University of Wisconsin-Madison’s Farm and Industry Short Course invites prospective students and their parents to campus on Feb. 16 or 17, to preview what the program has to offer. High school juniors  and seniors are encouraged to attend.

The UW-Madison College of Agricultural and Life Sciences offers the one- or two-year short course program to high school graduates interested in farming or one of Wisconsin’s many other agricultural industries. The program runs from November to April and has an average enrollment of 135 students.

Over 50 courses are offered annually in the areas of soils, crops, dairy, meat animals, general livestock, landscaping, agricultural engineering and agricultural economics.  Students may earn a one-year or two-year certificate requiring 20 or 40 credits, respectively, or they may pursue a specialty certificate in one of seven areas: Crop and Soil Management, Dairy Farm Management, Farm Mechanics, Farm Service and Supply, Landscape Industry, Meat Animals, or Pasture-Based Dairy and Livestock.

The preview days will give visitors a chance to tour the campus and  attend classes in advanced reproduction, plant diseases, managing a  pasture-based dairy business, beef cattle management and production and  oil and crop nutrient resource management.

There is no cost for the Preview Days, but pre-registration by Feb. 9 is recommended. To register or for more information, phone 608-263-3918; or e-mail Kimberley Brudny, kbrudny@cals.wisc.edu

Wisconsin Ag Status: 2010 dairy a little better

Things couldn’t have gone better for Wisconsin corn and soybean producers in 2010. For milk producers, they went a lot better than they did a year ago, according to University of Wisconsin-Madison agricultural economists in their 2011 Status of Wisconsin Agriculture report.

“For Wisconsin corn and soybean producers, 2010 was a fabulous year in nearly every respect—early planting, timely and abundant rains, warm temperatures and early harvest with little or no drying required. Best of all, they had plenty to sell at good prices,” the report says.

The state’s dairy farmers received some much-needed relief from the devastating milk prices of 2009—the state’s average all-milk price increased by about $3 to $16.18 and farmers sold 3 percent more milk—but the added income wasn’t nearly enough to rebuild the nearly 9 percent loss in net worth that they suffered in 2009.

For more, visit  http://dairywebmall.com/dbcpress/?p=9805

WMMB nominees sought

Wisconsin’s state ag department is seeking nominees to fill nine of 25 district director positions on the Wisconsin Milk Marketing Board (WMMB). All director nominees must be active dairy producers who sell milk into commercial channels and live in the district where they are nominated.

Election announcement postcards were mailed to all licensed producers in affected districts. If you didn’t get a postcard or would just like to learn more, contact Noel Favia at (608) 224-5140 or Noel.Favia@wisconsin.gov. In addition, information about the election and director responsibilities can be found at: www.wmmb.com/elections.

Ehlenfeldt reappointed to state veterinarian post

Dr. Robert Ehlenfeldt was reappointed Wisconsin state veterinarian and administrator of the Division of Animal Health in the Wisconsin Department of Agriculture, Trade and Consumer Protection.

As state veterinarian, Ehlenfeldt will serve as Wisconsin’s chief of regulatory veterinary medicine, overseeing surveillance, prevention and response to diseases in the state’s multi-billion animal agriculture sector. As administrator of the Division of Animal Health, his oversight also includes the local humane officer training program, rabies epidemiology, and the new dog sellers’ licensing program. The Division works closely with the U.S. Department of Agriculture Veterinary Services and Wildlife Services and the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources, as well as other state and federal agencies, private practice veterinarians, and local law enforcement.