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MADISON - Thanks to a dedicated group of dairy farmers who envisioned a professional statewide organization that would assist Wisconsin dairy farmers, Professional Dairy Producers of Wisconsin is a reality 25 years later.

Since then Professional Dairy Producers of Wisconsin (PDPW) has worked with dairy-related groups and businesses to help educate Wisconsin farmers operate profitable businesses. Throughout the years, PDPW has also provided producers with a road map to help navigate the challenges of farming via educational programs, seminars, tours and more.

The crowning event of the year is the annual business conference held at the Alliant Energy Center in Madison. This year's event will be held March 15-16 and is themed "An Event to Remember". Attendees will have the opportunity to hear from expert speakers and panelists, attend four keynote sessions, hands-on learning sessions or sit in on new research previews. The conference also features over 200 booths manned by companies showcasing products and new ideas in the Hall of Ideas and Equipment Show.

As part of the 25th anniversary event, a tribute to the PDPW founders and leaders will be honored with a special tribute. Those founders include: Pete Kappelman, Linda Hodorff, Alan Koepke, Joe Draxler, Pete Giacomini, Mike Brown, Lynn Johnson and Terry Smith.

Keynote speakers at this year's conference include one-handed New York Yankees hurler Jim Abbott, Dr. David Kohl, professor emeritus, Dept. of Ag and Applied Economics at Virginia Tech, motivational speaker Tom Thibodeau and Dr. Lowell Catlett, a former Regents Professor in Ag Economics and Ag Business at the New Mexico State University.

Specialty sessions will cover a gamut of topics relevant to the ag industry including: environmental regulations, multi-site dairies, global trade and its impact on Wisconsin producers, dairy technology systems, strategies for smaller farms, cow comfort, dairying without rBST, weather prediction models, on-farm protocols, forage management and more.

Attendees can also drop in for quick hit presentations at three areas inside the Hall of Ideas at the green, red or blue lounge. Topics include managing compost bedding, avoiding drug residues, energy savings, prepping for animal care evaluation, farm safety and more.

Looking to get up-close and hands-on? The Hands-On Hub will allow conference goers to experience select topics up close. Veterinarians will take you step by step through a full cow or calf necropsy - learning about health ailments and their impact on animal health. Other presentations include hoof care, farm accident simulation and first response drill and a live ovum collection for IVF. Continuing education credits are available for select sessions.

Debuting in the Hall of Ideas is the Preview Stage. Gather a sneak-preview of upcoming dairy-realted research and meet some of the industry's brightest, up-and-coming talents. Throughout Day 1 and Day 2 UW Madison Master and PhD students will showcase 12 studies happening in America's Dairyland that may impact the entire industry.

Drs. Kent Weigel and Paul Fricke from UW-Madison will facilitate this informative stage.

To register online visit www.pdpw.org or call 800-947-7379.

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