IDEAS, IDEALS AND LEADERS are more than just three words with some common letters. When combined, ideas, ideals and leaders have a huge influence on us all.

Most of my ideas (good, bad or otherwise) usually begin in one of three locations: 1) in the shower; 2) on the couch; or 3) behind a piece of glass.

The latter was the case this spring, flying to the Dairy Farmers of America meeting in Kansas City. Not only was I staring out an airplane window, but on my lap was Time magazine’s “Ideas issue”, featuring ideas “from 37 smart people” on how to make the world better. I confess I found only one or two of them likely to make my world better.

Dairy Herd Management also seeks to identify people and ideas to make our world better, and so we’re turning to the smartest people we know – you, our readers and business partners.


Leaders: Searching for ‘40 Under 40’

Most of us are guided by an ideal or ideals, principles or values that direct our decisions and actions. Whether selfish or selfless, they are at the root of almost everything we do. Abraham Lincoln had ideals; Adolph Hitler did, too. Society and history usually get around to judging ideals accurately.

Innovative, energetic leaders who transform ideals into ideas make up the hope and strength of the dairy industry, not only creating models of service, but also serving as role models.

Last year, Dairy Herd Management and the rest of the Vance Publishing family launched its “40 Under 40” program, designed to recognize 40 people (under the age of 40) who are making a significant contribution to agricultural production and food systems. Those recognized have shown leadership and will be instrumental in meeting the 2050 challenge of feeding the world’s projected 9 billion people.

The nomination period is now open for this year’s “40 Under 40” program. Those nominated must be involved (owner, co-owner, employee, consultant, student) with a business engaged in food production, processing, safety, research or transportation, or be involved in a group, organization, association or university serving those industries. As the program’s name implies, individuals to be considered for the award must be between the age of 20 and 40 at the time of nominations.

You can find profiles of last year’s honorees, and nomination information for this year, at

Recognition of each award winner will include a profile in the various Vance Publishing publications and posted on the website, a recognition plaque, invitation to an exclusive “40 Under 40” event in 2015, and future participation in social media forums and virtual roundtables.


Ideas: Celebrating innovation

Innovation transforms ideas into practical application and, when applied, innovation drives productivity. Innovation in agriculture will be needed to feed a growing world population. With that in mind, nominations are also being accepted for the fourth annual Dairy Herd Management  “Innovation Awards” competition.

Eligible products must be new to the U.S. dairy marketplace since the 2013 World Dairy Expo. To nominate a product, visit Nominations will be accepted through July 15.

An expert panel of dairy farmers, agribusiness representatives and university experts will evaluate the nominations and choose 10 winners, which will be announced at the 2014 World Dairy Expo.

Dave Natzke is editor of Dairy Herd Management. To contact him, e-mail