As we put 2017 in the rear-view mirror, we can take pride in what DBA has accomplished during the past year.
Whether it’s our successful conclusion to the lawsuit with the state Department of Natural Resources, the addition of two farmer-led watershed initiatives focusing on environmental improvement or growing member value by expanding engagement opportunities, DBA is always looking forward to better opportunities to serve.
Now, it would be easy to stop and enjoy the wins, but we know that every day we have more challenges and opportunities before the greater dairy community.
As we dive into 2018, I would like to share just a few items on our to-do list.
First, it is critical that Wisconsin dairy organizations break down our external silos and be more unified than ever. Dairy farmers expect our dairy community to do better with limited time and resources, just as they do on their farms. Also, we will work more wisely and strategically. We must focus on the core issues that need to be addressed and determine who is best suited and positioned to fulfill those needs. Duplication of effort is non-productive and increases cost to farmers. Don’t get me wrong, everybody has the best of intentions; we just need to do better.
Being more strategic will keep dairy heading in the right direction. Understanding the magnitude and complexity of external factors is critical. Are we only addressing the symptoms or are we getting to the root cause of the problem? A good example is establishing long-term, stable markets for dairy products. We know that the expanding global demand for protein is real, but how does Wisconsin dairy capture and hold on to the market opportunities? How do we ensure processing capacity is in place for expanding markets and that dairy farmers receive reasonable prices and premiums for their risks and efforts? It starts with meaningful dialogue, milkshed transparency and accountability to one another.
This may sound like rhetoric, but this is pulled directly from DBA’s strategic plan. We realize that a vibrant and growing dairy community will require all hands on deck and a willingness to band together for the greater good.
We have a responsibility to our dairy farmers to do our very best and realize that the strategies of the past are not good enough. I know we can do better and I look forward to 2018!