Augustian named Wisconsin OYF

A eastern Wisconsin dairy farmer has been named the winner of the 2014 Wisconsin Outstanding Young Farmer award. Todd Augustian, Kewaunee, Wis. operates a 420-cow dairy with his brother, Aaron.

Augustian began farming in 2000 when he took over his parents' operation upon their retirement. In 2005, a barn fire wiped out his entire herd, so he started over by purchasing 30 cows and milking at a neighbor's vacant dairy farm.

Jim & Shelly Grosenick, Watertown, Wis. were named first runners-up and the 2014 'Speak-up for Agriculture' winners. The second runner-up was Christopher Davis, Wisconsin Dells.

Other finalists were Jeff & Angela Monson, Richland Center; Kyle Thompson, Barneveld; Aaron Wachholz, Montello; and Eric & Misty Vogel, Athens.

Last year's state runners-up, Brian and Nicole Barlass of Janesville, were recently named top 10 finalists for the same award at the national level. They will represent Wisconsin at the National OYF Awards Congress in Rapids City, S.D.


Partnership boosts University of Minnesota dairy economic research

The success of a partnership between Midwest Dairy Association, the Midwest Dairy Foods Research Center (MDFRC) and the University of Minnesota has led to a new level of cooperation in support for dairy economics research at the University of Minnesota.

The MDFRC, with a successful history of innovation in dairy food science since its establishment in 1987, added a dairy foods marketing economist in 2011. Midwest Dairy Association provided a grant to fund the position, and Dr. Marin Bozic was hired for the post.

The three partners have now announced a long-term commitment to support a dairy economics research program at the University of Minnesota. Bozic will join the Department of Applied Economics as a tenure-track assistant professor and will also serve as an associate director of the MDFRC with responsibilities in dairy economics, and the Center’s strategy and development. Midwest Dairy Association has committed to funding the dairy economics research program with a $500,000 grant over the 2014-2018 period.

“This is exciting for dairy producers,” said Ken Herbranson, a Clitherall, Minn., dairy producer who serves on the advisory committee that helped develop the partnership. “The University’s recognition of the importance of dairy economics frees up checkoff monies for the work that needs to be done. It fits our strategy of leveraging checkoff to attract additional investment on dairy producers’ behalf.”

Since beginning work in the fall of 2011, Bozic’s research projects have included analysis of demand for fluid milk, a feasibility study of acid whey utilization, dairy risk management analysis, farm bill dairy policy evaluation and much more. “When we envisioned a world-class dairy economist position more than five years ago, this is exactly how we saw success,” said Mike Kruger, CEO of Midwest Dairy. “It’s a three-way partnership where everyone wins.”


PDPW schedules events

The Professional Dairy Producers of Wisconsin (PDPW) have scheduled several dairy-related programs. They include:

• Dairy producers who have built a successful business can develop strategies for transitioning ownership and management to the next generation at PDPW’s Business Transition Workshops. The workshop will be offered in two locations: Feb. 11 in Cashton, Wis., and Feb. 12 in Fond du Lac, Wis. Both sessions begin at 9:30 a.m. Featured speakers include Dr. Deb Houden, Director of the UW Family Business Center and a consultant with Family Business Consulting Group. She specializes in helping family-owned businesses with communication, transition and next-generation development.  Also, Attorney George Twohig, with the agricultural law firm of Twohig Rietbrock Schneider & Hallbach S.C., will explain how farm transfers start early and continue through a series of actions. For details and registration information, visit, or call the PDPW office at 800-947-7379.

• An educational seminar, “Growing Together, Growing Stronger,” will be held Feb. 19, 9:30 a.m.-3:30 p.m.  at the Sheraton Madison Hotel, Madison, Wis.  The seminar is jointly sponsored by the Wisconsin Counties Association, Wisconsin Towns Association and Professional Dairy Producers of Wisconsin (PDPW) as part of the Agriculture Community Engagement (ACE) program. It will address county, state and national governmental and environmental issues impacting Wisconsin dairy producers and communities.

To register, call the Wisconsin Towns Association at (715) 526-3157. A detailed seminar brochure is available by contacting the Wisconsin Towns Association, or at

• A PDPW World Class Webinar series featuring Dr. Deb Houden, Director, University of Wisconsin Family Business Center and a consultant at The Family Business Consulting Group, continues in February and March. The series is designed to help dairy producers and other industry professionals address issues unique to family farm businesses, including working successfully with family members and transitioning responsibilities to the next generation. Remaining sessions are set for Feb. 26 and March 19, both noon-1 p.m. Register by calling PDPW at 800-947-7379 or visiting Registered participants can watch a fully recorded version of the webinar after the event at their convenience.


Michigan Farm Bureau names ProFILE class

Eighteen young Michigan farmers have been chosen for the 2014-15 ProFILE, Michigan Farm Bureau's (MFB) 15-month advanced leadership development program. Selected participants, ages 25 to 35, are nominated by their county Farm Bureaus, according to ProFILE coordinator Jenna Schrot. The 2014-15 ProFILE class includes: Brad Lubbers, Allegan County; Vince Cooper and Keegan Shooks, Antrim County; Carl Wagner III, Berrien County; Paul Pridgeon and Cody Herman, Branch County; Rob West, Clinton County; Arthur Lampinen, Houghton County; Cory Oeschger, Huron County; Alysa Sanford, Jackson County; Nicholas Schweitzer, Kent County; Jennifer Marfio, Mecosta County; Brittany Delmotte, Monroe County; Adam Kokx, Newaygo County; Gerrit Herrygers, Oceana County; Mike Noll, Sanilac County; Mark Naplin, St. Clair County; and Mike Bodtke,Van Buren County.


Growing Michigan Agriculture Conference is March 5

Michigan State University Extension will host the third annual Growing Michigan Conference, March 5. The event is packed with current information from MSU experts and guest speakers that will help Michigan farmers maximize their potential.

Session topics will include: global economic outlook; antibiotic use and resistance; predicting water resource availability; employee management and communication; emergency preparedness planning; Michigan feed law changes; and more.

This year's conference takes place in conjunction with Michigan Farm Bureau's March 6 Winter Commodity and Marketing Conference, also at the Kellogg Center.

The cost to attend is $85 by March 3 or $95 at the door; online registration is open here. For more information, email ANR Event Services or call 517-353-3175.