May 21, 2024

Dairy farmers invited to attend FarmFirst workshop series

Jeff Ditzenberger

WISCONSIN DELLS, Wis. — FarmFirst Dairy Cooperative invites dairy farmers to attend the cooperative’s Producer Discovery Workshop series as part of its 2024 Annual Meeting taking place on Feb. 9 at the Wintergreen Conference Center and Clarion Suites in Wisconsin Dells.

The theme for this year’s event is “Mission: Possible,” which highlights the cooperative’s commitment to working with dairy producers to help them achieve their goals in the face of evolving markets, changing consumer preferences and other challenges by providing relevant information on preparing for the upcoming year in the dairy industry.

The first Producer Discovery Workshop is “The Dairy Situation and Outlook for 2024,” beginning at 1:15 p.m. with Leonard Polzin, University of Wisconsin-Madison Division of Extension dairy markets and policy outreach specialist. He will provide an overview of the dairy markets, examining recent trends and possible future directions.

Polzin grew up on a century-old Wisconsin dairy farm and received his bachelor’s degree in dairy science and agricultural business from UW-River Falls. He later received a master’s degree in agricultural, food and resource economics from Michigan State University.

Polzin has extensive experience as an educator, farmer and analyst. His work focuses on dairy markets, firm level economics, risk management, trade and policy.

The second workshop, “It’s OK to Not Be OK: Mental Wellness on the Farm,” will begin at 2:45 p.m. and features Jeff Ditzenberger. This presentation will give insight into Ditzenberger’s story about his own struggles with mental wellness, how he overcame those challenges and how to stay mentally well during trying times.

Ditzenberger’s passion for agriculture began on the small dairy farm he grew up on in South Wayne. He has been involved in agriculture in many different facets and is currently the Wisconsin district manager for Big Iron Auctions.

Ditzenberger is the founder of TUGS, a non-profit committed to breaking the stigma surrounding mental health issues through talking, understanding, growing and supporting.

FarmFirst Dairy Cooperative welcomes all dairy farmers to attend the cooperative’s Producer Discovery Workshop series as part of its 2024 Annual Meeting taking place on Feb. 9 at the Wintergreen Conference Center and Clarion Suites in Wisconsin Dells.

“We encourage all dairy farmers to join us for these Producer Discovery Workshops. The event is free to all dairy farmers, not just cooperative members,” said John Rettler, dairy farmer from Neosho and president of FarmFirst.

“Preparing for the upcoming year by hearing about the market outlook and economics as well as about how we can stay mentally well during the stressful times is essential.”

There is no cost to attend; however, attendees are asked to make reservations to ensure sufficient seating. Call Sarah Sarbacker at 608-286-1909 by Feb. 2 to make a reservation.