26th Annual PDPW Business Conference, headliners announced

Wisconsin State Farmer
Dairying to Thrive: 2018 PDPW Business Conference

The headliners and educational speakers at the 2018 PDPW Business Conference, presented by Professional Dairy Producers® (PDPW), will bring to life the “Dairying to Thrive” conference theme through their personal experiences and professional expertise, Mar. 14-15, 2018 at the Alliant Energy Center, Madison, Wis.

This year’s presenters – dairy scientists and leaders, international specialists, dairy farmer panelists, motivational speakers and out-of-industry experts and beyond, will both inspire and teach attendees to address challenges head-on and move beyond adversity.

Dr. Allan Gray Director of the Center for Food and Agricultural Business Purdue Univeristy leads a seminar on strategic work force planning at the 2016 PDPW conference.

The 26th annual PDPW Business Conference will provide best-in-class, real-world business and management skills to achieve the professional development needs and goals of dairy producers and agribusiness professionals from across the country and around the globe. And, to keep the event lively, the evening entertainment will feature a live concert from The Soggy Prairie Boys, a popular Blue Grass Group and cover band.

Historically, more than 1,700 attendees, representing dozens of states and multiple countries, have attended the Conference – two days loaded with dynamic learning and networking that will prepare and inspire dairy farmers and other agribusiness professionals to thrive in 2018 and beyond.

The conference will be held March 14-15 at the Alliant Energy Center in Madison, Wis. with keynote presentations from:

John O'Leary

John O’Leary, burn survivor and motivational speaker, presenting: “It’s time to thrive.” At the age of nine, John was severely burned on 100% of his body. Given a 1% chance to live, John survived months in a hospital bed, dozens of surgeries, and years of therapy. John now shares his story with others, teaching how to truly live – and executes with energy, audacity and attitude.

Mike Boehlje

Dr. Michael Boehlje, Professor Emeritus of Ag Economics at Purdue University, presenting: “Where there’s challenge, there’s opportunity.” A renowned researcher and teacher, Professor Boehlje will provide attendees the knowledge, insight and confidence to respond and adjust to today’s volatile times.

Attendees will hear about world economic growth, domestic and global demand, capital market and interest rate trends, international trade and currency values, policy and regulation and financial condition in the dairy industry. Dr. Boehlje teaches graduate and undergraduate courses as well as executive development programs at the Center for Food and Agricultural Business at Purdue.

Mark Tauscher

Mark Tauscher, former NFL offensive tackle for the Green Bay Packers, presenting: “If it were easy, anyone could do it.” Serving as the Conference Emcee and evening keynote, Mark Tauscher knows what it’s like to overcome obstacles. A farm kid from Wisconsin, Tauscher faced his first obstacles when he fell behind classmates in reading, early in school.

With a lot of hard word, determination, and a fantastic 3rd grade teacher, he charged past his first block to become an independent reader and honor student. He went on to play for the Wisconsin Badgers as a walk-on and was drafted by the Green Bay Packers in the 7th round, where he soon found himself the starting right tackle his rookie year. Tauscher will impress with his unique brand, humor and fortitude that helped him succeed in the NFL, earn a Super Bowl ring, and build a life that thrives far beyond the turf.

Dan Basse

Dan Basse, agricultural economist and President of AgResource Company, presenting: “Get a grip and move beyond the dips.” Dan combines his background in production agriculture with vast experience in the commodity business to bring economic insights to the dairy industry.

With the U.S. farm income having tumbled 50% from its peak in 2013 due to expanding ag supplies and keen U.S. export competition, Dan will share a review of the current macro-economic forces and what to expect in the months ahead.

Liz Murray

Liz Murray, a survivor, inspirational keynote, and author of “Breaking Night, presents: “Your destiny: define it.” Living through a childhood with drug-addicted parents and finding herself homeless at 15, Liz was determined to move beyond her circumstances.

She earned her high school diploma and won a scholarship to Harvard University. She will share her inspiring story of determination, not to be defined by her circumstances, by recognizing education as a key to her fresh beginning and a whole new way of living. With sincerity, maturity and grace, Murray shares her personal journey from street-smarts to classroom triumphs. She will inspire you while providing perspective, hope and a new outlook on how to overcome obstacles.

As dairy’s professional development organization, the PDPW Business Conference has grown to be the premier educational event for the dairy industry. Attendees can expect best-in-class keynotes and breakout sessions focused on pressing industry topics, as well as dynamic small-group learning lounge sessions, previews of new industry research, and hands-on workshops.

Additional experts will cover a wide array of topics in the areas of dairy production and health, business and finance, leadership and management, natural resources, human resources, food safety, consumer engagement and beyond.

To see the full program line-up and secure registration information, visit or contact PDPW at 1-800-947-7379.