Dairy Strong speakers look to the future

Dairy Strong

Dairy Strong 2020 will bring together 700+ farmers, professionals, representatives

One of the Midwest’s premiere conferences for the dairy community will be held Jan. 22 and 23 at the Monona Terrace Community and Convention Center in Madison, Wis.

Dairy Strong 2020 will bring together more than 700 farmers, corporate professionals and government and university representatives to explore the future of an integral part of the culture and economy of Wisconsin and the nation.

The conference will include a dynamic discussion on dairy trade, policy and risk management by Marin Bozic from the Department of Applied Economics at the University of Minnesota. He’ll give an overall outlook for 2020 as well as practical solutions that dairy farmers can put into practice.



Former Army Intelligence Officer, Brett Sciotto, president and CEO of Aimpoint Research will give a keynote presentation. He fuses best practice and Intelligence disciplines with marketing research methodologies to explain the “farmer of the future”.

Col. Nicole Malachowski will serve as the closing speaker. Col. Malachowski is a leader, a combat veteran and the first woman pilot on the Thunderbirds Air Demonstration Squadron. When a devastating tick-borne illness left her unable to speak or walk for ten months (effectively ending her military career), Nicole fought back against overwhelming odds and prevailed.

Michael Parrish Dudell has helped some of the world’s most influential brands, including Kraft, Visa, L’Oreal, Toyota, Costco and American Express connect with millennials. Michael helps businesses build future-focused organizations to connect with a new generation of customer. He will talk about ways farms, dairy companies and dairy brands can position themselves to appeal to a younger, emerging demographic.

A keynote by robot ethics expert, Dr. Kate Darling, will kick off the conference. Dr. Darling is a research specialist at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) Media Lab, where she investigates social robotics and conducts experimental studies on human-robot interaction. She explores the emotional connection between people and life-like machines, seeking to influence technology design and policy direction. Dr. Darling’s writing and research anticipate difficult questions that lawmakers, engineers and the wider public will need to address as human-robot relationships evolve in the coming decades. She will draw parallels to the dairy community by identifying key considerations as dairy farms move to adopt automation and artificial intelligence.

In addition to keynotes, the event will feature track sessions and shorter presentations on the Innovation Stage, located in the trade show area. New this year, Dairy Strong created “in-booth” presentations as another content platform. These micro-sessions will take place directly from designated exhibitor booths. Topics range from breeding and genetic decisions to advocating for dairy on social media and breakthroughs in conservation. Dairy Management, Inc., Dairy Farmers of Wisconsin and The Wisconsin Beef Council are also featured speakers, sharing information about their work as check-off organizations.

Back by popular demand will be the Wisconsin wine and cheese stage, presented by HUB Insurance, featuring experts from Dairy Farmers of Wisconsin for cheese and wine tasting, cheese education, pairing ideas, fun facts and more.


Track 1: Supply chain

  • “Secure Milk Supply – Safety across the dairy supply chains”
    • Dr. Darlene Konkle, Wisconsin Department of Agriculture, Trade and Consumer Protection
    • Becki Slater, Wisconsin Department of Agriculture, Trade and Consumer Protection
    • Mike Starkey, Minnesota Department of Agriculture
    • Moderated by Adam Brock, Dairy Farmers of Wisconsin
  • “Stronger together: How collaboration contributes to conservation success.” Sponsored by Michael Best.
    • Cody Carpenter, Redrock View Farms
    • Wes Garner, GLC Minerals
    • Colleen Geurts, Schreiber Foods Inc
    • Doug Thomas, Houston Engineering Inc.
    • Greg Siegenthaler, Grande Cheese
    • Moderated by Paige Frautschy, The Nature Conservancy

Track 2: Dairy vs. plant-based 

  • “In light of changing consumer preference: FDA modernization of standards of identity and labeling claims”, Emily Lyons and Eric McLeod, Husch Blackwell LLP. Sponsored by Husch Blackwell LLP.
  • “Dairy milk vs. non-dairy: A look at consumer trends, nutrition and sustainability perceptions”, Jen Walsh, Dairy Farmers of Wisconsin. Sponsored by Quality Liquid Feeds.

 Track 3: Economic opportunities

  • “Breaking through the noise of today’s risk management tools”Mike North and Ryan Yonkman, Vault Ag. Sponsored by Vault Ag.
  • “Prospering in a down ag economy”Pat Sturtz and Austin Burby, CliftonLarsonAllen LLP. Sponsored by CliftonLarsonAllen LLP.


The Innovation Stage takes place directly on the trade show floor. This space features timely presentations in a concise 30-minute format focused on emerging technologies and innovations.

Presentations include:

  • “Two heads are better than one: Benefits of pair or group housing of calves”, Dr. Jennifer Van Os, assistant professor and extension specialist in animal welfare at UW Madison. Sponsored by Calf-Tel.
  • “The U.S. Dairy Stewardship Commitment:  Advancing US dairy’s leadership position in a global market”, Colleen Geurts, Schreiber Foods Inc and Josh Luth, Foremost Farms. Moderated by Jennifer Block, Innovation Center for US Dairy.
  • “Increasing herd profitability through genetics and inventory management”, Kevin Ziemba, STGenetics. Sponsored by STGenetics.
  • “The economics of a low cull rate”, Andy Bohnhoff, ProAGtive Technologies. Sponsored by ProAGtive Technologies. 
  • “Are you milking your farm’s efficiency?” Jessica Mlsna and Kevin Weiler, Focus on Energy. Sponsored by Focus on Energy.
  • “Ecosystem services markets: A path to cleaner water in Wisconsin”, Steve Rowe, Newtrient. Sponsored by Newtrient.
  • “Customized solutions to reduce clostridial risk”, Dr. Tom Rehberger, Arm & Hammer. Sponsored by Arm & Hammer.
  • “Dairy animal welfare certification: How to effectively engage”, Matt Jones, Where Food Comes From. Sponsored by Where Food Comes From.
  • “Rethinking rotations: How progressive dairies can lower the cost of production, increase feed efficiency and address environmental concerns”, Daniel Olson, Forage Innovations. Sponsored by Byron Seeds.
  • “Embracing your platform: A farmer’s experience using social media to influence consumers”. Hannah Vander Poel, @IDdairygirl, Northern Sky Dairy. Sponsored by Cargill.





In-booth-sessions take place directly from designated exhibitor booths

Presentations include:

  • Mastitis identification, formation and farm troubleshooting”, Brett Roeller, Qualitru Sampling Systems. Sponsored by Qualitru Sampling Systems.
  • “Beef on dairy: Considerations for your breeding program”, Amanda Cauffman, Ag Educator, UW-Madison Division of Extension. Sponsored by the Wisconsin Beef Council. 
  • “Engaging with consumers today: breaking through and building bridges”, Nate Janssen, Director, Farmer Relations at Dairy Management Inc. Coordinated by Dairy Management Inc.
  • Modern dairy facility ventilation is entering a new phase of intelligent machines”, Michael Wolf, consulting veterinarian, VES Environmental Solutions. Sponsored by VES Environmental Solutions.
  • “What do wine, cheese and your cows’ health have in common?” Dr. Neil Michael, Arm & Hammer Animal Nutrition. Sponsored by Arm & Hammer Animal and Food Production.
  • “The Beef Checkoff – what your dollar does”, Tammy Vaassen, executive director and Brooke Roberts, director of communications, Wisconsin Beef Council. Sponsored by the Wisconsin Beef Council.

About Dairy Strong: In its sixth year, Dairy Strong is a conference where all aspects of the dairy community come together to coalesce around a commitment to what’s important today and tomorrow. Farms of all sizes and business philosophies are joined by representatives of related businesses and partners to learn, engage and explore. More information about Dairy Strong including the complete schedule and registration information, can be found at dairystrong.org

Be the first to comment

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.