For 18 years, PDPW members have been resolute in their promise to support fellow dairy producers seeking to advance their businesses and our industry. There are many accomplishments of which members can be proud.
EDUCATION: Raising the bar for education.
GROWTH: Building a grassroots network.
PROFESSIONALISM: Championing professionals.
COMMUNICATIONS: Helping dairy producers tell dairy’s story.
PUBLIC POLICY: Our seat at the table.
ISSUES: Taking the lead, “connecting the dots” on key issues.
YOUTH ADVANCEMENT: Helping to prepare the next generation.
Raising the bar for education.
PDPW has given the dairy industry a professional trade organization that values and delivers lifelong learning and career path development. PDPW programs have always been designed and driven by producers. They cover topics and issues important to dairy producers.
- PDPW’s Annual Business Conference: the dairy industry’s premier educational conference has grown to 1,200 attendees annually.
- Managers Academy: offers executive-level training for dairy producers.
- Specialized Training: one-day seminars delivering unique education through a variety of learning styles. Production, accounting, finance, management and human resource topics are part of PDPW’s steady lineup of top-notch annual seminars.
- Issues Education: PDPW leaders become educated and capable spokespersons on industry-wide issues, preparing them to lead the industry through change.
“Producer-driven” has always been a key success factor for PDPW. Dairy producers sharing ideas, resources and solutions with their peers has proven to be a very valuable format for education, embraced by dairy producers nationwide who attend our programs.
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Building a grassroots network.
In March of 1992, ten dairy producers came together with a desire to elevate the education opportunities and professionalism of producers. Today, PDPW is a network of thousands of dairy producers and industry leaders across the country who have come to know PDPW as the place to go for the very best education programs and networking opportunities.
PDPW has been able to maintain its diversity of membership despite significant growth. We represent all sizes and management styles and remain united by our continuous pursuit of the best production and management practices, as well as the desire to be, and be viewed as, professionals.
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PDPW galvanized dairy producers in the mid-1990s, a critical time in our industry. Through education and professional development, we inspired a “we can” attitude that marked a significant shift in self-awareness. Producers saw themselves as they are: professionals in business. As more producers came to value PDPW’s programs, and its networking channels and optimism for dairy, renewed passion spread past Wisconsin’s borders.
“I was just awestruck by the enthusiasm and positive attitudes of people in the dairy industry.” -- Jim and Deb Senn, Campbellsport, commenting on their first PDPW Annual Business Conference in 1998
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Helping dairy producers tell dairy’s story.
Hundreds of dairy producers have improved their communications skills through our communications and community relations training. With a force of skilled communicators ready to tell dairy’s story, PDPW serves as a resource for non-agricultural media, and as a proactive coordinator of effective spokespersons when issues arise.
Our three-phase curriculum includes:
- Effective communications for leaders
- Media training
- Issues management and spokesperson training
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Our seat at the table.
In the public policy arena, PDPW has worked successfully with multiple gubernatorial administrations in Wisconsin to help bring focus and perspective on issues important to agriculture. While we are not a lobby group, PDPW has earned a seat at the table while administrative rules are being written and public policy issues are being discussed.
- In 1998, PDPW led the way to develop dialogue between the two state agencies that impact dairy producers—the Department of Agriculture and the Department of Natural Resources. Since that time, we’ve placed producers at the table when those agencies discuss important issues. PDPW is now the go-to resource for information and producer voices in Wisconsin.
- Since 2004, PDPW has nurtured relationships with town and county elected leaders through its Agriculture-Community Engagement (ACE) program. ACE is a partnership with the Wisconsin Towns Association and the Wisconsin Counties Association that keeps producers and community leaders engaged in dialogue about important agricultural issues at the local level. ACE has reached out to hundreds of local elected leaders through farm tours and seminars, demonstrating the economic and environmental contributions of agriculture to local communities.
- Outside Wisconsin, PDPW has mentored other state producer groups as they strive to make similar public policy inroads.
- Because we have developed capable producer leadership, PDPW leaders have been invited to discussions of national issues impacting dairy, such as beef quality assurance, dairy animal well-being and animal identification systems.
"ACE helps local officials connect with and understand dairy producers and their businesses. It also allows the dairy industry to work with the local officials who need to make the decision in their towns and counties. This collaboration improves communication and understanding for all involved." --Rick Stadelman, Executive Director, Wisconsin Towns Association
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Taking the lead, “connecting the dots” on key issues.
Wherever education is needed to address a looming issue, PDPW has worked to educate its members and help the industry coordinate its approach.
- On the issue of dairy animal well-being, PDPW took the lead and facilitated a coordinated, proactive industry approach. At the 2008 World Dairy Expo, the Coalition introduced its Principles and Guidelines—a uniform umbrella of assurance that the industry is meeting its ethical obligation for dairy animal well-being. The goal is to protect consumer trust and confidence in the dairy industry by demonstrating dairy producers’ commitment to animal well-being.
- In 2002, PDPW gave a gift to the dairy industry when members established an education foundation that serves the industry nationwide. The Foundation’s purpose is to raise funds for the dairy industry to further develop its PEOPLE, maintain PUBLIC TRUST in our production practices, and remain PREPARED for new challenges.
- Today, PDPW is actively engaged in building non-traditional relationships with other sectors of our industry and beyond, linking supply chain sectors to work together toward common goals. Ultimately, these links help food industry professionals tell the story of quality, responsible production that begins on the farm.
The grassroots nature of PDPW gives producers a voice and a chance to shape their future rather than react to circumstances.
“I think it is very important for the producers in the dairy industry to lead and navigate their way through public-related issues rather than being forced. Being proactive and aware of the public concerns surrounding the dairy industry will help the producers address concerns before they are detrimental to the success and growth of the dairy industry.” --Sarah Rust, Smithfield Beef Group
“As a retail grocery chain, Safeway is committed to sourcing our dairy products from producers who treat their animals in a humane fashion, provide for their health and well-being, and adhere to sound animal management practices. We have a commitment to our customers to source any animal-based foods in this fashion. Uniformly administered animal welfare standards that can be verified by third-party inspections give the industry credibility in the eyes of customers like Safeway…and subsequently with our customers.” --Mary Kamm, Safeway
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Helping to prepare the next generation.
PDPW members recognize that dairy’s future is dependent upon recruiting the next generation of young producers and industry professionals. Three programs have literally touched hundreds of young people through the years, connecting them with the optimism and integrity our members share.
- Mentors—PDPW developed our industry’s first producer mentor program, connecting young professionals and future dairy industry managers and owners with a network of positive and progressive dairy producer leaders. More than 300 young professionals have gone through the program since its inception in 1996.
- PDPW’s internship program is coordinated with key land grant colleges and reaches out to students across the country to either experience production dairying for the first time, or to have a different experience than what they previously have had. We match interns with a dairy producer who embraces education, in a formal, paid internship.
- Youth Leadership Derby—This fun, hands-on weekend generates great enthusiasm for careers in production dairy among teenagers. Presenters highlight opportunities in agriculture and encourage youth to seek careers in our industry.
“I would recommend this program to other students because it is a wonderful way to see how other farmers run their farms and provide ideas that youth may be able to use themselves. It is also a great opportunity to ask a professional dairy producer questions about dairy farming and have a one-on-one learning experience with an expert.” –student participant in mentor program
“I enjoyed getting to see another dairy in another part of the state and being able to meet with a producer enthusiastic about the dairy industry.” –student participant in mentor program
“It was a huge learning experience for me in which I could apply the facts I learned from college lecture to real business.” –student participant in mentor program
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