Take the next step with dairy financial knowledge


Understanding the financial foundation of your dairy farm or business is critical for making decisions in today’s fast-paced and constantly-changing environment. The 2020-21 PDPW Financial Literacy for Dairy™ Series offered by Professional Dairy Producers® (PDPW) is a multi-level, multi-session financial development program designed to provide dairy farmers and other agribusiness professionals with a solid financial base to understand their current situation and plan for the future.

Financial learning continues in 2021 with Levels 2 & 3 in the 2020-21 series. These levels will be held in January, February and March at PDPW Headquarters in Juneau, Wis.

“PDPW Financial Literacy for Dairy is the industry’s first dairy specific financial curriculum, and feedback from participants shows that it is providing valuable tools to help producers track and meet financial goals for their operations,” said Shelly Mayer.  “We are also excited to launch the ‘Count on Us’ program for this year to bring together dairy producers with lenders, financial institutions and consultants who are willing to provide partial scholarships for the Financial Literacy series.”

An online placement assessment will determine which level best suits the degree of the individual’s financial comprehension. Each training group offers a multi-session, multi-date format with day one running from 9:30 a.m. to 8 p.m., and day two reconvening from 8 a.m. and concluding at 4 p.m.

Level 2 will start Jan. 13-14, 2021; continues Feb. 10-11, 2021 and concludes March 3-4, 2021. This session will offer an in-depth look at financial tools such as income statements, inventories, and depreciation. A study of profitability and cost-center tracking will show trainees how to separate various parts of their operation to measure the profitability of each enterprise, such as raising heifers, steers and crops.

Level 3 will be held March 24-25, 2021. This session will cover budgeting tools for planning and performance monitoring, trend analysis, key metrics to monitor, and benchmarking. This level will stretch attendees with managing capital investment for their business, how to optimize capital purchases and protocols for sharing records.

Level 1 sessions for the 2020-21 series were completed in November and December 2020. For those who take the pre-assessment test in 2021 and test into Level 1, they will be placed in the 2021 session later in the fall.

Program trainers for Level 1 & 2 include Gary Sipiorski, an independent business and financial consultant; and Dr. Kevin Bernhardt, Professor of Agribusiness at UW-Platteville School of Agriculture and Farm Management Specialist with UW-Extension and Center for Dairy Profitability. The Level 3 instructor is Dick Wittman, board chair, transition coach and former manager of a 20,000-acre crop, cattle and timber operation in northern Idaho.

The “Count On Us,” program is designed to build partnerships with lenders to improve financial reporting, understanding and ultimately, profitability for dairy operations. PDPW has developed a list of lenders, financial institutions and consultants who are willing to provide partial scholarships to dairy producers who participate in the PDPW Financial Literacy for Dairy program. Class attendees will pay the training program fee to PDPW upon registration, then consult with their “Count On Us” partners to determine the scholarship amount.

“Count On Us” partners include:

  • Ag Consulting Team
  • BMO Harris Bank
  • Compeer Financial
  • Dairy Business Consulting, Inc.
  • DMB Community Bank – DeForest
  • Farmers & Merchants Union Bank
  • Rabo AgriFinance
  • Citizens State Bank of Loyal
  • Bank of Brodhead – Brodhead
  • Investors Community Bank
  • Greenstone Farm Credit Services

To learn more about Financial Literacy for Dairy or to register online, visit www.pdpw.org or call PDPW at 1-800-947-7379.

Financial Literacy for Dairy is an accredited training and offers up to 32 Dairy AdvanCE (DACE) continuing education credits for Level 1, up to 48 DACE credits for Level 2 and up to 16 DACE credits for Level 3. To learn more or secure credits, visit https://dairyadvance.org/.

PDPW will follow the latest CDC guidelines, with adequate distancing offered. Ample supplies of masks and hand sanitizer will also be available.

Professional Dairy Producers (PDPW) is the nation’s largest dairy producer-led organization of its kind, focusing on producer professionalism, stakeholder engagement and unified outreach to share ideas, solutions, resources and experiences that help dairy producers succeed.

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