2010 Youth Leadership Derby inspires the next generation

A bright future is waiting in the wings for the dairy industry. In November, 68 of Wisconsin's bright and motivated high school students gathered for the 2010 PDPW Youth Leadership Derby, held November 6th and 7 th at DeForest High School. The 24-hour lock-in gave students a look at multiple career choices in the dairy industry.

In addition to the PDPW staff, nine undergraduate students from the University of Wisconsin-Madison led the students through this unique event, allowing individuals in various stages of career development to grow, learn, and connect with each other.

Highlights of the action-packed derby included:
  • A trip to the State Capitol, where Casey Langdon from Wisconsin Farm Bureau met up with students for a quick tour and role-play on how legislation happens.
  • A visit with Dr. Scott Rankin of the University of Wisconsin's Department of Food Science. The group discussed how new dairy food ideas become reality, and what is needed to follow a career in food science.
  • A hands-on hoof diagnostic and trimming lab and virtual tour of the UW Veterinary School, led by Dr. Nigel Cook.
  • A trip up to the UW's Arlington Research Farm and a tour of the nearly 500-head dairy facility. Administrator Mike Peters explained the many features of the farm and UW graduate students Matt Akins and Shane Fredin guided students as they explored the rumen of two of the University's fistulated cows.
  • A round-the-world tour from university students Katy Schultz and Darci O'Brien as they shared their experiences with traveling abroad and what the dairy industry is like in other countries.
  • An informative session from Andrea Brossard Martin from the Wisconsin Milk Marketing Board, who armed the group with fun facts and ways to communicate their passion for the dairy industry to their non-agriculture friends.
  • An inspirational send-off from Gus Gustafson who triumphed over adversity after a tragic farm accident took his right arm and shoulder as a child.
“The dairy industry's future is bright because there is a crop of amazing youth eager and willing to continue their journey of work and lifelong learning in the dairy industry,” said Shelly Mayer, PDPW Executive Director.

Youth Leadership Derby SM is developed by Professional Dairy Producers of Wisconsin and funded in part by the Professional Dairy Producers Foundation and other industry collaborators. Thank you to these sponsors:
  • ABS Global, Inc.
  • Big Gain Wisconsin LLC
  • DMB Community Bank
  • Family Dairies USA
  • Landmark Services Cooperative