Late US Sen. Bob Dole once attended Breakfast on the Farm event in 1979

John Oncken
Dairy Expo features over 2000 dairy cattle at the breed shows.

The World Dairy Expo® Board of Directors has begun the search for a new general manager after Scott Bentley recently announced he will be retiring after eight years of dedicated service to the organization.

“We are grateful for Scott’s commitment and leadership to World Dairy Expo and wish him the very best as he begins his retirement. At the same time, we are eager to hire a new general manager and continue planning for the 55th World Dairy Expo and beyond,” said Bill Hageman, World Dairy Expo Board president.

Recruitment efforts are focused on hiring a passionate and highly motivated general manager to lead a professional, dedicated team and successfully produce the globe’s largest dairy event. 

Scott Bentley is leaving his position as general Manager of World Dairy Expo.

During Bentley’s time as general manager, World Dairy Expo celebrated great successes including impressive growth to Expo’s Trade Show, Dairy Cattle Show and educational programing.

Bentley was the sixth general manager during the 54 years of Dairy Expo and was preceded by: Mark Clarke; Tom McKittrick; Brad Rugg; Bev Craig and Bruce Walter. McKittrick served as the general manager for 19 years making him the longest tenured general manager.

World War II veteran and US Senator Bob Dole once attended a dairy breakfast at Maurice and Gerry Cooper’s Moss Oak Farm near DeForest in 1979. Dole died at the age of 98.

Sen. Bob Dole once attended a dairy breakfast

Bob Dole, the longtime lawmaker who overcame life-threatening injuries during World War II to become a leader of the Republican Party, died Sunday at age 98.

"Bob Dole never forgot where he came from. He embodied the integrity, humor, compassion and unbounded work ethic of the wide open plains of his youth," the statement said. "He was a powerful voice for pragmatic conservatism, and it was that unique Kansan combination of attributes and values that made him such a giant of the Senate."

Dole was a popular political figure for decades and I and many others from mostly Dane County had the chance to meet him at the first Dane County June Dairy Breakfast held in 1979 at Maurice and Gerry Cooper’s Moss Oak Farm near DeForest. 

I remember Gerry Cooper and her group of volunteers cracking eggs by hand vowing “never again” - thereafter. Now, the eggs are pre-cracked and bought in pails.  

June 1979 at Cooper farm

Also, I remember shaking hands with US Senator Bob Dole who was contemplating running for president at the time (he didn’t) at the breakfast.  My son John, then about 12 years old was puzzled when he shook hands with Dole who extended his left hand to shake.  

I tried to explain that the Senator had been severely wounded during World Was II by shell fragments while fighting in Italy and spent three years in hospitals. The result was a partially paralyzed right arm. Thereafter it’s said he always grasped a pen in his right hand to partially explain shaking hands left handed.

Bob Dole had ambitions to become President but never got there. But I’ll never forget my one short meeting with him and do admire his War War II service. And in spite of extreme wounds, lived to age 98.

Cows are milked on one of two large carousels at the Rosendale Dairy in Pickett, Wis. Rosendale Dairy milks around 9,000 cows, making it the largest dairy farm in Wisconsin.

Biggest state dairy farm

A caller asked, What is Wisconsin’s biggest dairy herd? The largest dairy farm in the state is Rosendale Dairy near Pickett with about 9,000 milking cows that produce some 78,000 gallons of milk every day according to a spokesman for Milk Source.

Milk pricing

A dairy group says it remains to be seen if the 2023 Farm Bill is the right place to fix milk pricing issues. Mykel Wedig of Edge Dairy Farmer Cooperative says pricing tweaks in the previous farm bill cost dairy farmers hundreds of millions of dollars during the pandemic, thus members of Congress are likely to be cautious to make any fast decisions.

The DBA and its partner cooperative are seek answers to milk pricing challenges.

“I think there might be some hesitancy on behalf of the Hill to touch dairy policy again but hopefully we can all come together with a solution,” she says.

Wedig says their organization currently has a task force to address milk pricing reform while partnering with leading dairy professionals and economists.

“We really want to focus in right now on the content and what that would look like, and what we want to see,” she explained.

Regardless of the route to fix the issue, Wedig says Federal Milk Marketing Orders aren’t working and aren’t transparent which is why dairy farmers are calling for a better milk pricing system.

Note: It seems I’ve attending milk pricing hearings forever with the results never achieving desired goals. So, it’s try, try again.

The cow gives more milk each year. How to sell it a profit is the question.

Better times in 2022?

Dairy farmers who endured paper-thin margins in recent years have reason for optimism in the year ahead, some say. USDA’s current price projections for 2022 surpass the $20-mark (at $20.25 per hundredweight) for all milk, with Class IV and Class III average price estimates close behind at $18.70 and $17.75, respectively.

If realized, the price increases for the three milk classifications would range between 80 cents and $2.70 per hundredweight above USDA’s November 2021 estimates.

“There’s reasons to finally be upbeat in dairy,” Dan Basse, president of AgResource Company in Chicago, said recently at the annual Agricultural Bankers Conference. “It’s taken us eight years to get back to where we were in 2014 (if milk prices surpass $20).”

Many farmers blame low milk prices for their reason for quitting milking and selling their cows.

Basse estimates Class III and IV milk prices could reach as high as $21 to $23 next year, driven by surging demand, a possible smaller supply and inflationary pressure.

Longer-term, a proposed shift in ag policy in the European Union could shift the EU market from a net exporter to net importer of dairy.

“World demand for dairy products remains strong,” Basse said. “I believe exports are the bullish driver of the future.”

John Oncken can be reached at 608 837-7406 or email