PDP Business Conference Discusses Sustainability

The 2024 Professional Dairy Producers® (PDP) Business Conference brought together nearly 1,200 dairy producers and industry professionals March 13-14 at Kalahari Resorts in Wisconsin Dells, Wis. In addition to interactive sessions and networking opportunities, the annual conference featured more information about PDP’s recently launched Your Farm-Your Footprint™ initiative, the first-of-its-kind, farmer-led sustainability initiative that empowers dairy producers to know and understand their environmental footprint and implement solutions to shape the future of their farms.

With a theme of “Driving Innovation,” the conference featured more than 50 speakers presenting interactive sessions that included simultaneous translation into Spanish. The event also showcased a trade and equipment show, the Nexus® Stage previewing new technologies and innovations, youth-leadership programming, expanded networking opportunities, evening entertainment and more.

Keynote speakers included Brent Gleeson, founder and CEO of TakingPoint Leadership and Navy SEAL combat veteran whose session focused on navigating change with resilience and passion. The second keynote gave the stage over to dairy producers Mitch Breunig, Sauk City, Wis., and JJ Pagel, Kewaunee, Wis., to share their experiences as participants in the newly unveiled Your Farm-Your Footprint initiative. The session also featured insights from Sustainable Environmental Consultants agronomist Carson Dugger and PDP Executive Director and dairy producer Shelly Mayer.

Other keynote sessions featured Jacob Shapiro, partner and director of geopolitical analysis for Cognitive Investments to identify the latest insights regarding the geopolitical forces expected to shape the next five years. Dovetailing with Shapiro’s presentation, third-generation logger Bruce Vincent made the case that the dairy industry is positioned to instill hope in a conflict-weary world. An internationally respected thought leader on natural-resource topics, Vincent emphasized that when dairy businesses are centered on sustainability, credible leadership and integrity, dairy producers can help consumers replace fear with scientific facts.

2024-2025 PDP Board

Conference attendees were introduced to their 2024-25 PDP board members at the close of the event. Re-elected were Brady Weiland, Weiland Dairy LLC, Columbus and Paul Lippert, Grass Ridge Farm, Pittsville. Jake Hoewisch of Fremont, Wis. was newly elected. Other PDPW board members include Patty Dolph, Dolph Dairy LLC, Lake Mills, Wis.; Ken Feltz, Feltz Family Farms Inc., Stevens Point; John Haag, Haag Dairy LLC, Dane; Corey Hodorff, Second-Look Holsteins LLC, Eden; JJ Pagel, Pagels Ponderosa Dairy LLC, Kewaunee, Wis.; and Laura Raatz, Wagner Farms, Oconto Falls, Wis.

2025 Business Conference

The 2025 PDP Business Conference will take place at the Alliant Energy Center in Madison, Wis., March  12-13, 2025. With the theme of “Dialing It In” the event will once again showcase the latest in relevant information, innovations and educational resources that position dairy producers and other dairy professionals for success.