Using visionary thinking and adapting new concepts quickly have helped each of the World Dairy Expo recognition honorees to be successful, says Mark Clarke, World Dairy Expo general manager.
“A common thread amongst the group this year is their ability to leverage their progressive mind-set by sharing and communicating those fresh ideas with others, both in the dairy industry or for the benefit of the dairy business through consumers. That selfless sharing marks the sign of a true leader,” Clarke adds.
The four recipients will be honored during World Dairy Expo at a special “Dinner with the Stars”, held on Wednesday,
Oct. 3, in the Exhibition Hall at the Alliant Energy Center in Madison, Wis.
Dairyman of the Year: John Fiscalini
For John Fiscalini, it’s been a good run — thanks to hard work, perseverance and love of the dairy industry.
He attributes much of his success to the values instilled in him as a child by family members.
“They always taught me business ethics — treat the cows well, treat the land well… it was just ingrained in me as a young kid,” he says.
By age 15, he was so involved in the dairy operation that he ran it himself for two and a half weeks while his family took a vacation. That, to him, was more fulfilling than going on the road, however enjoyable that might have been.
It’s been his goal along the way to make the dairy run as efficiently as possible with new technology.
An example is the methane digester project. In 2005, he read a newspaper article stating that central California dairy farms would be required to have a methane digester within five years. That got him to thinking, and then he found grant money was available. Before he knew it, he had become committed to the project.
In retrospect, he probably wishes he hadn’t.
It’s been a tough time getting state regulators to sign off on the methane digester project. Specifically, they have objected to nitrogen oxide (NOx) emissions coming from a motor on the methane digester.
“It’s 90 times cleaner than the average automobile,” Fiscalini says. Yet, the regulators keep putting obstacles in his way. He has spent hundreds of thousands of dollars trying to make improvements. Last year, he even thought of building an algae farm to utilize exhaust and heat from the engine.
It’s taken a lot of perservance, trying to do the right thing and then encountering obstacles.