On Demand Breakout Sessions:
*All breakout sessions will be recorded for you to view at your own pace. Live Interactivity Q&A sessions will happen with each breakout speaker during the conference on Wednesday, November 4th.*
Want to check out the general sessions? Click here!
“Dairy Policy: Looking Back and Moving Forward” presented by Mary Knigge, Vice President Government Relations
Session Description: Do you feel like you hear the same thing year after year when it comes to dairy policy? Actually a lot has changed. Mary spends her time talking with legislators about issues impacting the dairy industry. Her real-world experience of being a farm kid now translates to advancing dairy policy and being an advocate for farmers. In this session, Mary will discuss significant policy wins for the dairy industry at end of 2019 and more background on the support agriculture received in aid packages signed by the President due to COVID-19. Leaving this session you will be up-to-date on what is happening now and what we can expect going forward in Washington.
Speaker Bio: Mary grew up on her family dairy and cash crop farm in Omro, WI and now works with Dairy Farmers of America in Washington D.C. The home farm is still a place she enjoys spending time and sharing with her husband and their two children. Mary enjoys traveling the country talking to farmers about what’s happening in D.C., unwrapping the policy impacting their business and encouraging them to be engaged in the process. Mary is thrilled to be part of the Dairy Girl Network to collaborate and share with other women in the industry.
“Learning Styles for Effective Employee Training” presented by Elsie Gonzalez, Owner and Consultant
Session Description: Effective employee training has a huge financial return because it reduces employee turnover, promotes best animal care practices, increases productivity, and improves overall work quality. Part of a successful training program includes developing a consistent system for training new and current employees, communicating expectations, explaining the “why” and providing learning opportunities that are specific to each worker population and that meet their predominant learning style. During this session we will learn the predominant learning styles and various training tips and tools that can be implemented to develop an effective training program for your dairy.
Speaker Bio: Elsie is the owner at Motiva Consulting where she works with progressive dairy operations and their teams developing consistent systems and training employees to ensure outstanding animal care, work quality and efficiency. She has been serving the dairy industry in Wisconsin for the last 10 years in various roles as a Dairy Agent with the University of Wisconsin-Madison Division of Extension, conservationist with the USDA-NRCS and co-instructor for the UW-Madison Farm & Industry Short Course, as well as being actively involved in several dairy organizations.
“Building Your Financial Confidence” presented by Amber Hewett, CFO and Founder, and Matt Lange, Dairy Business Consultant
Session Description: Financial Confidence is the ability to trust, make use of and rely on your financial data to make smart business decisions. Ignite your financial confidence with this breakout session where we will discuss tips and provide some strategies on how to turn your financial data into measurable and actionable data.
Speaker Bio: Amber Hewett has served in various management and financial roles over her 17+ years’ experience in the Wisconsin dairy industry. Amber and her husband founded Lakeshore Dairy Services to provide reproductive management services to local dairies and over time, she became more involved in managing the financial affairs of the business and also provided independent consulting services on both Animal Welfare and Business Management practices. Amber knows well the value of understanding what happens in the barns and fields and how that affects what happens in the business office. Her role within her client relationships focus on helping clients and their NextGen gain a better understanding of the daily accounting, budgeting, forecasting and preparing financial reports that are needed to manage and grow a profitable dairy business.
Speaker Bio: Matt Lange has been a business consultant with Compeer Financial for 8 years. In this role, Matt provides his clients with production and financial management expertise, assisting them with annual budget projections, ongoing performance monitoring, strategic planning, bench marking, and tactical decision-making and analysis. Serving clients throughout the United States, Matt works with a diverse array of dairy operations including enterprises from 250 to over 5,000 milking at one location, Holstein Jersey and Crossbred, diversified cropping/dairy operations and businesses financed by various lenders and investors. Prior to Compeer, Matt worked 7 years serving in various roles of dairy development at the government and non-profit levels.
“Turning Friction into a Positive” presented by Michelle Jackson, Owner and Consultant
Session Description: During this session you’ll learn techniques for flexing your personal conflict strategy to produce resolution-based conversations, as well as the steps for resolving conflict that result in all parties taking action.
Speaker Bio: Michelle has over 30 years work experience in learning and development, international program management, and human resource management. As an experienced learning strategist, Michelle understands the importance of identifying the expected outcomes in knowledge, behavior, and attitude that must be attained to effect change within an organization. She works with a variety of clients and believes strongly that her work is a reflection of the relationships she builds with her clients. Michelle has a master’s degree in International and Intercultural Management, with a focus on Training and Education; is a Certified Professional in Talent Development as well as a Certified Online Training Professional, and has spoken at various regional and national conferences.
“From Field to Feed” presented by Michelle Change-Der Bedrosian, Forage Product and Dairy Tech Specialist
Session Description: The majority of a dairy cow’s diet is home-grown forages, and quality is of utmost importance. Making quality forages requires top-notch management, starting with harvesting under the right conditions, ensiling them properly, and feeding them out in a manner that keeps forages fresh. High quality milk and efficient, healthy cows starts with fantastic forages that are treated right every step of the way, from field to feed.
Speaker Bio: Michelle Chang-Der Bedrosian has been a Vita Plus forage products and dairy technical service specialist for seven years. She earned her bachelor’s and master’s degrees in animal science at the @University of Delaware and then her Ph.D. in animal and food science, specializing in forage research with Dr. Limin Kung. A New Jersey native, Michelle gained much of her farm experience during her collegiate years, milking cows, working in a forage laboratory, and performing dairy research. Based in Madison, WI, Michelle assists dairy producers and Vita Plus consultants with on-farm troubleshooting and focuses on forage product research and development, dairy research and dairy technical services.
“Legal Learnings Through a Crisis” presented by Leah Ziemba, Attorney
Session Description: During the challenges of 2020 (and there have been many!), people have found themselves getting “back to the basics” to focus on protecting their family, their business, their employees and other key relationships. A global pandemic has a way of putting things into perspective while providing learning opportunities along the way. This session will share some of the legal learnings that apply equally during a global pandemic or clear-sailing skies.
Speaker Bio: Leah is an attorney at Michael Best & Friedrich LLP’s Madison office. She represents dairy-farmer and food-manufacturer clients as well as co-chairs the firm’s Agribusiness, Food and Beverage industry team. A fellow dairywoman, she was raised on her family’s dairy farm. Now Leah and her husband own a farmette in Wisconsin. They have 25 calves and heifers on their 10-acre farm, with milk cows on a neighboring farm. Leah doesn’t work on the farm on a daily basis, but she and her husband are excited to continue the dairying tradition for their young children.
“Behaviors Impacting Your Bottom Line” presented by Dr. Kelly Reed, Ruminant Field Technical Specialist
Session Description: In this session we will discuss behaviors that we do day in and day out in the barn and in our office that impacts the bottom line. The goal is to identify some key areas limiting performance commonly seen on farm and to give attendees some ideas of areas to reflect on their own herd performance and management. The focus is the “big rocks” that tend to be the biggest bottlenecks limiting overall herd profitability. The talk will discuss three groupings of animals including youngstock, transition cows and lactating herd. Dr. Reed with focus on details and decisions within your herd that will help you move forward.
Speaker Bio: Kelly works for Diamond V as a Ruminant Field Technical Specialist based in the Pacific Northwest. Prior to joining Diamond V, Kelly managed a 5000-cow dairy in the Yakima Valley of WA for 7 years. To maintain her clinical skills and gain exposure to other operations, she provided primary veterinary care to a few dairy and beef clients, as well as covering relief emergency vet services. Kelly was raised on a small family farm in upstate NY and possesses the unique understanding of the challenges that face both the small family farm, as well as large-scale western dairies. Kelly received both her Bachelor of Animal Science and Doctorate of Veterinary Medicine degrees at Cornell University.
“Building Resiliency and Finding Joy” presented by Monica Kramer McConkey, Rural Mental Health Specialist
Session Description: Has life become overwhelming? Do you feel like you’ve lost your spark? Your purpose? In this workshop we will explore ways you can be intentional in making your life what you want it to be despite difficult circumstances that may surround you.
Speaker Bio: Monica has 25 years of experience in the behavioral health field as a counselor, program supervisor and administrator. Her focus throughout her career has been to increase access to, and remove the stigma often attached to mental health services. Monica grew up on a farm in northwestern Minnesota and has intimate understanding of the dynamics leading to farm stress and its impact on farm families. She currently works as one of two Rural Mental Health Specialists in Minnesota providing support to farmers and their families through a contract with the MN Ag Centers of Excellence and Farm Business Management.
“Understanding Your Milk Check” presented by Mike North, Principle CRMG
Session Description: While it may seem like a simple task, understanding all that goes into calculating your monthly milk check is way more complex. Managing risk is imperative to stability on today’s dairy operations. However, it is difficult to manage “price” that you do not understand. Join Mike as he takes a closer look and deeper dive into what goes into your milk check and what to do with that information to help you make informed decisions.
Speaker Bio: Mike North grew up on his family’s dairy farm in southeastern Wisconsin and received his Bachelor of Science degree in Agribusiness from UW-Platteville. While still in college, Mike began his work in the futures industry in 1995 as an intern with a local brokerage company. After nearly two decades in the business, Mike founded Commodity Risk Management Group (CRMG). In 2019, CRMG merged with Rice Dairy to form Vault Ag, a company that collectively provides comprehensive marketing plans, brokerage, insurance and technology services while providing high-level unbiased research and education to its clients. Mike has been published in several agricultural periodicals, is a regular guest on several national programs, can be heard frequently on local and national radio programs, served as a part time lecturer at the UW-Platteville and is a featured speaker at programs across the country.
“Turn Observation into Action for Better Calves” presented by Michelle Sullivan, Calf and Heifer Specialist
Session Description: Today’s dairy farms have lots of data at our fingertips. Additionally, we have employees who work with our animals daily and can recognize when animal performance deviates from “normal.” What should you do when your information and observations still don’t meet your goals? It can feel overwhelming to sift through the data and determine where to begin. In this presentation we’ll discuss ways to direct your energy onto key areas of focus and to determine the steps to take to turn observations into performance.
Speaker Bio: Michelle grew up in a small town in Kansas and earned her bachelors and master’s degrees at Kansas State University. During this time, she worked as a herdsman for the University’s dairy teaching and research unit, which ignited her passion for the dairy industry. After graduation, Michelle began working for Cargill in Southern Idaho as a dairy nutritionist. She has worked with a variety of dairy operations, from custom calf ranches to large dairy farms. Her passions include helping producers identify opportunities on their operations, troubleshooting bottlenecks on farms, working to develop actionable plans and conducting employee training programs to assist with adoption of new protocols.
Want to check out the general sessions? Click here!