Everyone, including myself, gets caught up in a daily routine, preventing us from reflecting on where we started, where we are today and where we are going.
This doesn’t only happen in our personal lives, but on our farms and in our businesses, too. Let’s face it, we can easily set goals and make plans to achieve them, yet it often seems something gets in our way, sometimes out of our control.
One of the issues we are all too familiar with is the weather. These unforgiving conditions have been out of our control, forcing us to improvise and do our best.
Being resourceful, proactive and confident are our only options. In a recent TV interview, our past president Gordon Speirs summed it up well:
“We will get through this. It won’t be pretty, but we will get through it.” This is the resolve of many farmers and the encouragement we need during these unnerving times.
Switching gears to DBA’s work in the Capitol, we’ve had an action-packed session with many moving pieces. From the budget, the environment, the Dairy Innovation Hub and many topics in between, our team has been very busy. Our board’s decision to ramp up our political presence last year was intuitive and well-timed. Our legislative team has worn out their shoes walking the halls and offices at the Capitol providing insight, solutions and encouragement on very complex issues.
A core strength of DBA is our ability to bring forward true solutions. As I have said many times, the old default — “duck, deny, deflect, delay” — is not going to solve complex problems. Dairy needs to advance practical and solutions-based policies. Anything less than that is unacceptable.
Speaking of solutions, great strides and outcomes are happening within the farmer-led conservation groups we support. This was evident with the interest from state-wide elected officials touring farms and attending field days. Recently, Gov. Evers and Rep. Joel Kitchens toured a Peninsula Pride Farms and DBA member farm, Deer Run Dairy, owned and operated by Duane and Derek Ducat and Dale Bogart.
Two encouraging things occurred: firsthand experience on a farm and a better understanding of the voluntary options used by farmers. Deer Run’s commitment to continuous improvement was evident and these points were conveyed to policy- makers.
No matter the farm size, it’s important that you are part of the solution. This can be accomplished by adopting sensible management solutions and being transparent about it.
These efforts are not by chance, but rather by design. Five years ago, DBA realized it was time to change our approach to ensure a better future for dairy in Wisconsin. The premise is to provide a way for all farms and members to actively participate in the mission of the organization. Building broader support through the state and forming partnerships with like-minded organizations have paid huge dividends. It’s about being inclusive, gathering wisdom and capturing passion. After all, our members are the key and inspiration to continue moving dairy forward.