General Sessions


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General Sessions:

*All general sessions will be live streamed and also recorded for later viewing.*

Want to see information about the recorded breakout sessions? Click here!

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Wednesday, November 4th

Opening Session Sponsored by:


Opening Speaker: “Confidence in Uncertainty” presented by Mary Ledman, Global Strategist – Dairy

Mary LedmanSession Description: The world is uncertain, the markets are uncertain, our lives are turned upside down. All this unknowing has us on edge in every way. How can we be certain of anything? Mary will use her vast experience in world markets, running her own business and now as Global Strategist for Rabobank to help us find confidence through strategy. Yes there is uncertainty but this also creates opportunity for us to thrive in business and in our personal pursuits.

Speaker Bio: Mary Ledman is a thought leader who has extensive knowledge of domestic and international dairy markets, policy and over thirty years of experience in production agriculture, food processing, government service, agricultural policy, dairy risk management, market information and dissemination, and milk and dairy product price forecasting. Mary grew up on a dairy farm in southwest Wisconsin and received a Master of Science degree from Texas A&M University in agricultural economics, followed by work experience including the U.S. Department of Agriculture, Kraft Foods, Keough Ledman Associates and the Daily Dairy Report. Mary joined Rabobank in January 2018 as their Global Dairy Strategist and directs a team of ten analysts around the globe.

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Panel: “Building an Ecosystem Utilizing Technology”

Sponsored by:

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Session Description: Applying technology to a dairy farm is more than just “set it and forget it.” It’s vital to build an ecosystem within the operation utilizing that technology to improve efficiency, drive revenue, and lay the foundation for future business planning. This first-class panel will feature discussion spanning from the farmers point of view to the supplier angle and will round out with the consultant perspective on how to harness the data. Robotic milking, automated calf feeding, cloud based software, precision TMR feeding, activity monitoring and data dashboarding are the key areas this panel will dive into as experts in their field.

Tera BakerModerator Tera Baker, Sales Manager – Livestock Products

Speaker Bio: Tera Baker is the sales manager for livestock products in North America and helps drive strategy on the global precision feeding team within Topcon Agriculture. She grew up working on her family’s registered dairy farm in Michigan, and can’t pinpoint exactly when the love affair began with big bovines but figures it was right around the Kindergarten age when she broke the ice with new classmates by telling stories about her calves named after Disney characters. She’s spent a decade working on the supply side of agriculture in pharmaceuticals and technology, and attributes industry success to her view through the lens of practical farm level application.

Kelly BroughtonPanelist Kelly Hendrickson, Partner in Broughton Farm Operations, LLC

Speaker Bio: Kelly is a 5th generation dairywoman working her family farm alongside her father and husband. The farm is over 100 years old and currently milks 2,900 cows, mostly Holstein, with some Jerseys, 3x a day. Kelly oversees the cow portion of the operation, managing the 55 employees and overall herd management, feed management and calf/heifer management. The farm has a Delaval auto feeder barn where all the calves spend the bulk of their time when they are on milk. The farm has roughly 400 wet calves. Kelly truly believes technology is the way to really dial in your farm’s profitability and management structure.  

Craig Blough

Panelist Craig Blough, Robotics Specialist

Speaker Bio: Craig Blough is a Robotics Specialist for DeLaval in Indiana & Michigan. In this role, he focuses on sales, project management, facility design and practical on-farm consulting after the sale. Craig works with dairy farmers to conceptualize their vision of the future and convert that vision into a successful robotic milking facility. To date, he has worked with farmers to build a variety of robotic milking projects including blank slate Greenfield sites, retrofit facilities, free flow cow traffic and guided flow cow traffic. Craig graduated from Purdue with a BS in Agricultural & Biological Engineering and while in the workforce at John Deere, he completed the dual masters MS-MBA in Food and Agribusiness Management Program.

Manny S

Panelist Manny Salcedo, Founder of Dairy Performance Network

Speaker Bio: Manny Salcedo was raised on the farm when his family started dairying in Roswell NM, then moved to Plainview TX, where he currently resides with his family. Manny was a manager at the farm until 2016 when he founded the Dairy Performance Network (DPN), where he currently works with farms across the USA helping them bridge the gap between multiple technologies and automate processes to bring a faster ROI on the technology the farms work with. Manny has worked with 90% of the activity or management software on the market.

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“Tactical Actions That Yield Profitable Outcomes” presented by Matt Lange, Dairy Business Consultant

Sponsored by:

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Matt LangeSession Description: In this session, you’ll explore in-depth what some of the top herds are doing to achieve profit margins even in challenging times. Matt will help you better understand production and financial metrics that have a big impact on your business. You will take home practical tools to help you identify opportunities allowing you to implement changes that yield profitable outcomes.

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.

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Panel: “Why Net Zero Matters”

Sponsored by:


Session Description: This panel will discuss the people and progress behind dairy’s sustainability story. We will hear from Krysta, Jim and Tara each a leading voice in the industry on the topic of sustainability as we seek to explain our positive impact on the environment. Consumers care about climate change and the conversation is happening all around us. The goal has been set, the dairy industry will reach Net Zero or better by 2050, and the research on how to get there is underway. This panel will arm us with facts, ideas and stories to not only allow us to be part of the discourse but also be part of the solution on our own farms.

Tara Vander Dussen

Panel member Tara Vander Dussen, Environmental Scientist and Dairy Farmer

Speaker Bio: Tara is a New Mexico native, growing up on her family dairy. Today, she and her husband, Daniel, dairy farm along with their two daughters. Tara has worked as an environmental scientist for nine years on dairy farm projects and as project manager and certified NRCS TSP. She assists her clients with state and federal regulatory compliance, water conservation and sustainable management practices. Her passion is advocating for sustainable dairy farming by sharing her story as the New Mexico Milkmaid. She has had the opportunity to speak at national and global conferences about dairy sustainability including the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) Committee on World Food Security and the Forbes AgTech Summit.

Krysta Harden

Panel member Krysta Harden, Executive Vice President of Global Environmental Strategy

Speaker Bio: Panel member Krysta serves as Executive Vice President of Global Environmental Strategy for Dairy Management Inc. (DMI), which manages the national dairy checkoff on behalf of nearly 40,000 U.S. dairy farmers. In May of 2020 Krysta was named Chief Operating Officer of the U.S. Dairy Export Council. She plays a key leadership role in defining the vision, strategy and plan forward for U.S. dairy’s environmental commitment. Collaborating with dairy farmers and leadership within the dairy community, Krysta continues to identify the science, best practices and metrics that will further advance the positive impact U.S. dairy has on the environment and the important role it plays in a sustainable food system.

Jim WallacePanel member Jim Wallace, Senior Vice President, Environmental Research

Speaker Bio: Jim Wallace holds the position of Senior Vice President, Environmental Research at DMI. He is responsible for leading strategy and oversight of the environmental science and research program to position US dairy in a global food system. He also leads the foundational work for environmental research and measurement to inform decisions, update models and advance outcomes for the dairy industry’s Net Zero Initiative. Prior to joining DMI, Jim was the Senior Vice President of Engineering & Business Development for Newtrient where he was responsible for developing and leading new technology and project initiatives, supported environmental market-based development efforts and led the technical phase of the dairy industry’s Net Zero Initiative. The interface of water quality and renewable energy with business and technology development have been a common thread throughout Jim’s 28-year career.

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Thursday, November 5th

Early Bird Gets the Worm Session: “Workplace 101: The Answer is Yes – How to Lean in, Learn, and Live Your Best Life” presented by Martha Trott, Vice President, Human Resources

Sponsored by:


Martha TrottSession Description: Our very human essence pulls us to create meaning in everything we do. Through this interactive session we will learn how to explore how to lean into things that are scary, require courage, and help us grow and self-actualize to the fullest expression of ourselves through our work. Drawing on inspiration from: Maslow, Brene Brown, Studs Terkel, and Maya Angelou, Martha will share her story of saying yes and weaving the concepts of some of her heroes who have helped her go from a shy kid who loved puppets to a larger (and at times scary) stage.

Speaker Bio: Martha has worked in Human Resources for her entire career in different industries, including Automotive, Oil and Gas, Consumer Packaged Goods, and now Dairy. Martha runs the HR function in the Americas cluster for DeLaval , including Talent Management, Training & Development, Employee Relations, HR Systems and Compensation and Benefits. Martha co-founded Women in Blue five years ago with the goal of solidifying DeLaval as a top employer for Women in Dairy. Martha has always been passionate about what motivates people to do their best work and how to get things out of the way to allow them to flourish.

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Early Bird Gets the Worm Session: “Milk Markets: Today, Tomorrow and Into the Future” presented by Mary Ledman, Global Strategist – Dairy

Sponsored by:

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Mary LedmanSession Description: Mary has over thirty years of experience in production agriculture, food processing, government service, agricultural policy, dairy risk management, market information and dissemination, and milk and dairy product price forecasting. In this session, you will learn more about milk markets of today, tomorrow and look into the future with insights from Mary who has extensive knowledge of domestic and international dairy markets and policy.

Speaker Bio: Mary Ledman grew up on a dairy farm in southwest Wisconsin and received a Master of Science degree from Texas A&M University in agricultural economics, followed by work experience including the U.S. Department of Agriculture, Kraft Foods, Keough Ledman Associates and the Daily Dairy Report. Mary joined Rabobank in January 2018 as their Global Dairy Strategist and directs a team of ten analysts around the globe.

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Panel: “Transitioning Into Your Next Purpose”

Sponsored by:

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Session Description: This energetic and supportive panel of dairywomen will discuss the transition phases that we experience throughout our lives. The panelists range from changing careers, losing a loved one, or selling the milking herd and searching for a way to re-define themselves, ultimately transitioning into their new purpose. We all revolve around change and this session will discuss those changes and how we handle and move forward from them to find our “next purpose.”

Julie Veldhuis

Panel member Julie Veldhuis, Technical Sales Manager

Speaker Bio: Julie Velduis was raised working on a dairy farm in Chino, California. Her passion and involvement in the industry has grown exponentially through the years. Over the course of her time in the dairy industry, Julie has dairied in California, New Mexico, Wisconsin and Idaho, where her sons currently manage the farm she helped start. With her on-farm experience, Julie understands the challenges today’s dairy farmers face. That is why in February, she made the decision to join the team at Feed Components and relocate back to Idaho where she is Technical Sales Manager for the Mountain States Region.  

Catharine Perry KuberPanel member Catharine Kuber Perry, Executive Director

Speaker Bio: Catharine Kuber Perry joined the American Dairy Science Association (ADSA) as its Executive Director in April 2020. She previously served as the Vice President of Member Programs and Services for the Global Cold Chain Alliance (GCCA). Before joining GCCA, Catharine worked for the Animal Agriculture Alliance and the National FFA Organization. In her home state of California, she served as the State FFA president, representing the organization at agriculture industry events. Catharine holds a Bachelor of Science degree in agricultural economics from Purdue University.

Beth HeinzePanel member Beth Heinze, Owner of Heinze Farm and Lewiston Farmstead

Speaker Bio: Beth Heinze grew up working on her family’s small dairy farm in Michigan. After graduating from Michigan State University, she moved to Wisconsin and married Mark, a 6th generation dairy farmer. Beth worked previously in dairy genetics and as the UW Extension Dairy Youth Specialist. In 2012, while continuing to work full time off the farm, she and Mark purchased the dairy portion of the farm from Mark’s parents. In 2019, they made the tough decision to sell the milking herd and have since taken a tough look at changes needed to their business plan, including adding a custom hay business, selling farmstead meats and starting a seed dealership.

LuAnn Troxel

Moderator and Panelist LuAnn Troxel, Owner of Troxel Dairy

Speaker Bio: LuAnn Troxel jumped straight into the heart of Indiana’s dairy industry after marrying her husband, Dr. Tom and moving to a dairy farm. Even though she wasn’t raised around agriculture, her commitment to the dairy industry grew stronger every year as she and her husband strived to produce high quality milk, provide excellent animal care, serve the community and learn to effectively connect with consumers. After 33 years, the Troxels sold their milking dairy herd but still work daily with dairy farmers through their veterinary business. LuAnn has had opportunities to speak at such conferences as the ADSA Discover Conference, Great Lakes Dairy, Central Plains, and more.  LuAnn is past president of Indiana Dairy Producers and a member of the DGN Board of Directors.

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“Animal Welfare: Essential for the Cow, the Producer and the Consumer” presented by Dr. Jennifer Van Os, Assistant Professor and Extension Specialist in Animal Welfare

Sponsored by:


Jennifer Van Os 2019 head shotSession Description: Holsteins may be black and white, but the issues we face in modern farming are not always so clear. What do consumers far-removed from food production expect regarding animal care? How do producers reconcile these expectations with what makes sense and is best for our cows and calves? Scientific research can help us optimize the welfare of dairy cattle while balancing consumer concerns with producer realities.

Speaker Bio: Dr. Van Os is an Assistant Professor and Extension Specialist in Animal Welfare for the Department of Animal and Dairy Sciences at University of Wisconsin-Madison. She received her Ph.D in the interdisciplinary Animal Behavior graduate program at the UC Davis and conducted postdoctoral research in the Animal Welfare Program at the University of British Columbia. The research in her lab at UW-Madison focuses on understanding, evaluating, and improving the welfare of dairy animals from a biological perspective. The goal of Dr. Van Os’ extension program is to promote best practices in management and housing to help the dairy industry adapt as our scientific knowledge about animal welfare continues to grow.

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Panel: “Quiet the Noise, Set Your Intentions”

Session Description: Are you searching for ways to focus, find quiet or be present? Noise surrounds each of us and often interrupts our work, our plans at home, in relationships and in making decisions. This dynamic panel will share their realities, their experiences, challenges and how they have set their intentions when faced with “noise.” This session will help you carve out the space you need to prepare your mind to be present and will be the ultimate experience allowing you to gain tools to begin to apply at home and in everyday living. The goal for “Quiet the Noise, Set Your Intentions” is to prepare you to be present, get in a growth mindset and be ready to set your intentions.

Glenda GehlPanel member Glenda Gehl, Senior Director

Glenda is an executive with over 20 years of experience in the agricultural field. Her current team is responsible for driving change and building new insight capabilities to ensure the long-term viability of the dairy member-owners within the cooperative system. Previously she led a team within the crop inputs business who worked through the ag retail channel to deliver seed and crop inputs to their customers. Prior to her career on the agricultural industry, Glenda and her husband Andy were first generation dairy producers for eight years in Northeast Wisconsin with a 100 cow Holstein herd.

PortiaPanel member Portia Stewart, Vice President of Content

Panelist Portia Stewart is vice president of content at Farm Journal, where she leads an editorial team that serves the livestock, crops and produce markets through its robust digital, print and broadcast offerings. She spent the first 18 years of her career editing animal health publications and joined Farm Journal in 2018. Portia has been sketch noting for four years and has done live sketch noting for sessions at veterinary conferences and believes everyone can draw with a little practice. As a registered yoga instructor, she believes in a mindful approach to work and life and enjoys helping others quiet the noise and set their intentions.

Becky AllenPanel member Becky Allen, Owner of Win the Day

Becky Allen, owner of Win the Day Productions, is on a mission to help others become the best version of themselves. She loves to discover how people are wired, how they process the world and how their strengths can be used to win each day as they add value to others. Becky is taco obsessed, a creative thinker, has a constant drive to improve and loves all things enneagram. Chances are you can find her dancing in the kitchen with her two kiddos or soaking up some quiet time in the corner of a coffee shop.

Ann McDonald Head ShotsModerator Ann McDonald, Owner of Ann McDonald Agency

Ann McDonald is a State Farm Agent and owner of the Ann McDonald Agency. She is passionate about empowering women and families to make educated decisions to secure their financial future. She grew up on a beef, swine and crop farm and building on her past experience in marketing, sales and business development at BouMatic, Quality Liquid Feeds and Beck Ag, Ann opened her agency on November 1, 2019. Her goals in opening the agency included controlling her financial destiny, making a difference in the community, prioritizing her family, and helping life go right for others.

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Closing Session: I Have Something to Saypresented by Laura Daniels, Founder and President of Dairy Girl Network

Sponsored by:

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Session Description: What makes us feel confident and what holds us back? In this high energy talk, Laura will share research on both. The real life examples of women who have pushed through self-doubt and imposters syndrome will help you see you aren’t alone. And, if you are perceived as being “overly bold” Laura will have some balance tips for you, too. Most of us have moments of meek and overbearing but learning to manage both makes you more effective in every aspect of your life. Laura will also share her journey; the challenges, frustrations and life changing breakthroughs that have led her to believe as women, “We must build our knowledge and skill so we have confidence to take our rightful seat at the table AND use our voice.” When there is diversity of thought there are better solutions. We need all the best ideas. We need you to be confident. We need you to have something to say. This closing keynote will inspire you to head out the door with energy and a willingness to make a difference by using your important voice.

Speaker Bio: Laura Daniels is a mother, wife, farmer, dairy consultant and agriculture advocate. Laura serves as the General Manager of her dairy, Heartwood Farm, in charge of day-to-day operations of the farm and advises fellow farmers and business owners in the areas of team building and strategic planning with Hitch Pin Consulting, her start-up company. Laura is also a proven organizational leader with executive-level experience and a background in dairy nutrition and on-farm management. Laura founded Dairy Girl Network in 2013 to help fellow dairywomen across the United States connect and succeed.

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Dairy Girl Fitness Workout with Emily Shaw

Wednesday and Thursday Mornings


Emily ShawSession Description: During this workout with Emily Shaw of Dairy Girl Fitness, you will experience a full body, no equipment, circuit style workout that anyone can participate in. Move your body with fellow dairywomen and get active. Can’t join us live, enjoy the recorded workout on your own schedule. This workout can be completed by anyone from anywhere.

Instructor Bio: Emily is a Pennsylvania dairy girl who now resides in the sunny state of Florida. She grew up very involved in youth dairy organizations through her family’s show herd, Linden-Loch Holsteins. Along with her love for the dairy industry, Emily spent the rest of her free time playing an array of sports year round. This is where her passions for dairy and health came from, and helped form the idea for Dairy Girl Fitness. Dairy Girl Fitness was created over two years ago as Emily’s way to show others that you don’t need to cut dairy and other animal products out of your diet to be “healthy.” She wants to encourage women to make their health a priority, and show that it doesn’t have to be extreme or confusing. 

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Want to see information about the recorded breakout sessions? Click here!