Great Turnout at 2013 YC Conference
Held for the first time ever in LaCrosse, Wis., this year's Young Cooperator conference in early March had a great turnout of enthusiastic attendees combined with interesting speakers and a great plant and farm tour.
The YC'ers traveled to Mindoro, Wis. to tour Swiss Valley's award-winning Blue cheese plant. Following this, a quick drive south to the outskirts of LaCrosse put the group on the Jeff and Johanna Berg dairy, where a robotic parlor had been installed a few months earlier.
On Saturday, social media was a hot topic as Midwest Dairy Association reps Sherry Newell and Samantha Carter, both from the Integrated Communications Department, presented a workshop on how to use available social media outlets to promote a positive image for dairy. Sherry and Samantha were pleased that several YC'ers in the room were already active bloggers.
Roger Williams, Consultant/Mediator and UW-Madison/Extension Emeritus, spoke to the group on how to shift the family farm between generations. One of Roger's biggest points to the YC'ers was to use "carefrontation" not "confrontation" when working with family members about transferring the dairy farm. Another speaker, Mark Morningstar from Blimling and Associates gave the YC'ers an entertaining and informative glimpse of how this year's global dairy markets were shaping up.
2013 Outstanding YC Contest Winners
Also at this conference, Andy and Jessica Schmitt of Fort Atkinson, Iowa and Emily Parker of Janesville, Wis. were chosen the 2013 Outstanding Swiss Valley Farms Young Cooperators. They will be joining the 2012 YC contest winners at the NMPF Dairy Summit this November.
Andy and Jessica farm with Andy's parents, Peter and Sue Schmitt of Fort Atkinson, Iowa, milking 70 cows. Emily Parker milks 100 cows on her parents' farm (Pete and Linda Parker) in Janesville, Wis.
2012 National YC Advisory Board Members
YC'ers Matt and Kristi Strief of Farley, Iowa represented Swiss Valley Farms on the national YC Advisory Board at the 2012 NMPF Dairy Summit in Orlando, FL.
Who is a Swiss Valley Farms YC'er?Swiss Valley Farms members from 18 through 45 years old are Young Cooperators and are eligible to attend this two-day YC Spring Break. At this conference, equal time is devoted to educational seminars as well as fun and entertainment. Swiss Valley Farms brings in top notch speakers to address the YC'ers on a wide range of issues that affect their lives and their dairy operations. YC'ers from across the Swiss Valley Farms four-state area can relax and meet fellow co-op members, and discover common ground for interesting discussion.