Sunday, March 1, 2015

YDLI 9 Day 3 Recap: Finding Stability in Stressful Times, UnderstandingCommunication Styles & Creating Effective Presentations

The final day of YDLI 9, Phase 1 was filled with plenty of laughter and learning to cap off an amazing week in Phoenix.

Mark Mayfield got the group warmed up with his session titled "'Momma Told Me There'd Be Days Like This' - Finding Stability in Stressful Times." In today's fast paced world, balancing the demands of busy lives, families and other commitments, it can be easy to get overwhelmed. Mayfield shared a variety of strategies to help manage stress and move forward in a positive way, all the while keeping the group laughing with his humorous styles and stories. He shared an acronym to help remember keys to keeping your mind in the right pace and avoiding or dealing with stress: 
  • Relaxation
  • Exercise
  • Avocation (hobby)
  • Communication
  • Humor
Mark Mayfield got the group warmed up with funny stories and great tips for better managing stress in our lives. 
Next, Monty Miller and Laura Daniels took the floor to lead their workshop, "Communicating - Influencing - Leading: Preparing to Leave the Oasis." All participants completed a Brain Pathways Profile, describing their learning and thinking tendencies, whether they are more Kinesthetic, Auditory or Visual learners, and Sequential, Global or Integrated thinkers. Understanding the differences between those styles helps speakers build more effective presentations, by having the ability to adapt their presentations to connect with people of all types. These skills will come in handy during Phase 2 [and beyond!], as all class members will be asked to do a presentation about the dairy industry to a group in their home communities. The class had a chance to draft presentations of their own and put the new learning tools into practice.
Kristen Kelderman from Ontario, & Chris Holcomb, FL
Jessica Getty, NY, Amy Schaufelberger, WI, and Holstein Association USA CEO and Holstein Foundation administrator John Meyer
Amber Horn-Leiterman, WI, makes a point during the presentation training session.

Amanda Zick, NY, cuts up an apple during a hands-on demonstration of the amount of arable land available on Earth.
Monty Miller works with a group during his workshop.
At lunch, the Holstein Foundation was pleased to recognize Chandler Goule as our 2015 Distinguished Alumni Leader. Goule is a graduate of YDLI Class 5, and currently is the Senior Vice President of Programs for the National Farmers Union, serving as a media spokesperson and overseeing the organization's departments of government relations, communications, education and membership. Prior to joining NFU, Goule worked for the U.S. House Agriculture Committee, for U.S. Rep. Collin C. Peterson, and for U.S. Rep. John S. Tanner. He holds a master's degree from George Washington University and a bachelor's degree from Texas A&M.

Goule shares some stories about how his YDLI experiences have benefited him in his personal and profession life.

John M. Meyer, Holstein Association USA CEO and Holstein Foundation administrator, and Tom Thorbahn, Chairman of the Holstein Foundation board of trustees, present Goule with his award during Saturday's lunch.
To wrap up the end of Phase 1 workshops, Jodi Hoynoski reviewed expectations for Phase 2, and the class was able to spend time working with their mentors and peer groups to start developing ideas and plans for the Phase 2 Advocacy Action projects. 

Bringing Phase 1 to an official close was a final banquet and a comedy show by Mark Mayfield. Phase 2 for the class officially begins when they arrive back home, and we can't wait to hear about the impact they will have through their work over the next 12 months. Some of the assignments class members will complete during Phase 2 include interviewing non-farm consumers, making contact and introducing themselves to local media and legislators, making a presentation to a community organization, and executing their Phase 2 advocacy project.

Congratulations to YDLI Class 9 for doing an outstanding job during Phase 1 of the program! We can't wait to see what you all accomplish over the next 12 months in Phase 2 and beyond.
The Holstein Foundation would like to thank the organizations who sponsored today's program:
  • "'Momma Told Me There'd Be Days Like This' - Finding Stability in Stressful Times," by Mark Mayfield, sponsored by Northeast Agricultural Education Foundation
  • "Communicating - Influencing - Leading: Preparing to Leave the Oasis," by Monty Miller and Laura Daniels, sponsored by Arm & Hammer
  • Dinner & Entertainment sponsored by Farm Credit
Learn more about YDLI Class 9's Phase 1 experience by reading our earlier blog posts, or if you are on Facebook or Twitter, follow along with #ydli9! Learn more about YDLI or sign up to be on the mailing list for YDLI Class 10 applications at the Holstein Foundation web site.

Saturday, February 28, 2015

YDLI 9 Day 2 Recap: Developing Communication Skills and Learning about Consumer Perceptions

A big part of YDLI Phase 1 is always the communications training session, this year lead by David Pelzer and Michele Ruby from DMI. The group worked on crafting their core stories that communicate the values of why they choose to be a part of the dairy community and what their role is, and then the focus shifted to communicating key messages and handing difficult questions from the public. Several class members were put in the hot seat and took the stage to answer questions from a "reporter" on camera in front of their peers. It is said that the greatest opportunity for personal growth occurs when you step outside your comfort zone, and this was certainly achieved for many on Friday morning!

YDLIers got the morning started by crafting some fun "dairy bumper stickers" using a variety of cards they had to choose from.


Mark Chamberlain, OH, takes the mic to practice telling his story.

Michael Johnson, MN

After lunch, Jamie Vander Molen from DMI presented a session on developing your personal brand and using a variety of social media channels to tell dairy's story to consumers. Participants were able to split into a few breakout sessions to focus more closely on areas they were interested in, including getting started with Facebook, Twitter, blogging and Instagram, how to grow your audience to increase your social media presence and  how to answer difficult questions online.

After the classroom session, YDLIers had a chance to put their newly learned skills to use in the field, doing consumer interviews on the Arizona State University campus. Working in small teams, the group had the chance to have conversations with over 200 people, from students to university professors, learning more about their perceptions about how food is produced in this country, how they believe animals are cared for by farmers, and more. An eye opening experience, it helped to reinforce the importance of having these conversations and really connecting with the public who consumes the food that our industry produces.




The evening closed with dinner and an inspiring keynote presentation by Laura Daniels, whose message revolved around telling your own story from the heart, and how those personal stories are the connection between the dairy community and consumers, and science-based facts should only play a very small role in that story.

Laura Daniels, YDLI Advisory Committee member and keynote speaker


The Holstein Foundation would like to thank the organizations who sponsored today's program:
Check back on our blog daily to keep up with YDLI Class 9's Phase 1 experience, or if you are on Facebook or Twitter, follow along with #ydli9! Learn more about YDLI or sign up to be on the mailing list for YDLI Class 10 applications at the Holstein Foundation web site!

Thursday, February 26, 2015

YDLI 9 Day 1 Recap: Understanding Behavioral Styles and Leadership Inspiration

Phase 1 of YDLI has a strong focus on developing individual leadership skills, and the first day of our Class 9 Phase 1 program reflected that emphasis. The first official session was entitled "Create a Leadership Oasis using Behavioral Styles to Influence Others" lead by Marnie Green of the Management Education Group. All participants had the opportunity to complete a DiSC Workplace Profile assessment; the majority of the workshop was spent covering the different styles and understanding how individual styles impact a person's ability to influence others, and how recognizing the styles of those around you can help you relate and communicate more effectively.

Marnie Green speaks to the class about personality styles during Thursday's opening session.
Michael Goeldi, IA, talks to the class about the defining characteristics of his group's style.

Wayne Worden, NY, shares the results of his group's discussion about what their personality style can contribute, what worries them, how they are commonly misunderstood, and tips for working with people who have that style.

Michael Johnson, MN

Abby Bauer, WI
After lunch, the focus shifted to a broader leadership focus, with Paul Vitale leading a session titled "Legendary Leadership in Action." Key take-home messages from this workshop included the importance of effective listening and connecting with others; developing an attitude for service and becoming an inspiration for others; and eliminating the fear of failure while setting a tone for success, recognizing growth opportunities and becoming more resilient during setbacks.
Paul Vitale speaks to the group during Thursday's session.

Amber Horn- Leiterman, WI, discusses her ideas with a partner during one of the group exercises.

Londa Johnson, MN, plays along with an exercise using a tube of tootpaste to demonstrate the point of how important it is to carefully consider what you say before you speak - once the words are out there, they can't be put back in!
After taking some time to review many of the objectives participants will be expected to complete over the next 12 months during Phase 2, Paul Vitale took the stage again to speak about developing Community Support and Partnerships, skills that will be key during the Phase 2 experience. Some of the main concepts from this portion of the meeting were the importance of properly identifying and researching your target audience, maximizing the tools at your disposal, making the most of your budget, properly positioning yourself against competitors, and sharing your news with the world.

After a long day, the class had a chance to unwind with dinner and a hypnotist show that had everyone laughing in their chairs.

The Holstein Foundation would like to thank the organizations who sponsored today's program:
  • "Create a Leadership Oasis Using Behavioral Styles to Influence Others," by Marnie E. Green, sponsored by CHS Foundation
  • "Legendary Leadership in Action," by Paul Vitale, sponsored by Deere & Company
  • "Community Support & Partnerships," by Paul Vitale, sponsored by Cargill
  • Dinner & Hypnotist Entertainment sponsored by Allflex
Check back on our blog daily to keep up with YDLI Class 9's Phase 1 experience, or if you are on Facebook or Twitter, follow along with #ydli9! Learn more about YDLI or sign up to be on the mailing list for YDLI Class 10 applications at the Holstein Foundation web site!

Wednesday, February 25, 2015

YDLI 9 Phase 1 Kicks Off in Phoenix with Pre-Conference Dairy Tours & Welcome Reception

Over 50 young adults from across the U.S. and Canada are in Phoenix, Arizona this week participating in the ninth class of the Holstein Foundation's Young Dairy Leaders Institute (YDLI) program.

On Wednesday morning, many class members took advantage of a pre-conference tour option to enjoy seeing two Arizona dairy farms in the Casa Grande area: T & K Red River Dairy and Shamrock Farms.

Red River Dairy was the first stop, where Tom Dugan and family milk over 11,000 Holsteins in two barns, on land that was previously owned by John Wayne. The dairy operation, spread over 550 acres, has many interesting features, including a double-77 parallel parlor, an extensive grain operation, farming 13,000 acres, rolling their own corn on site. The farm has 3,400 calf hutches and at any given time has over 2,200 calves on milk.



A section of the double-77 milking parlor.

Amber Horn-Leiterman visits with owner Tom Dugan walking through the basement section of their parlor.


YDLIers enjoy some Arizona sunshine, a welcome reprieve from the frigid cold many areas of the country are facing this week!

A portion of the youngstock area at Dugan's Red River Dairy

Shamrock Farms was founded in 1922, and today is home to over 9,000 milking cows, which they milk twice a day in two double-50 parlors. The milk from these animals is used to produce a variety of different dairy products, including bottled milk, sour cream, cottage cheese, heavy cream and more, which can be found across the continental United States, including restaurant chains Subway and Arby's. The dairy is comprised of both a conventional and organic operation, and actually had Arizona’s first USDA-certified organic dairy operation, the milk from which is used to provide local stores with bottled organic milk and sour cream. 


Milking parlor at Shamrock Farms
YDLI class members learn more about the Shamrock Farms enterprise.

A good time was had by all on the pre-conference tours!
Wednesday evening the YDLI program officially began with our Welcome Reception. Participants enjoyed a Mexican fiesta-themed dinner and then became further acquainted with each other while learning some tips to help them network more effectively and work any crowd with ease.

YDLI Advisory Committee members Josh Hushon and Brett Barlass led the networking exercise during the Welcome Reception
Brian Coyne fills the group in on the networking strategy he used during the mixer exercise.
Mo Phelon shares her tip for "working a crowd," based on the book by Susan RoAnne that was the basis of the mixer activity.  
The Holstein Foundation would like to give a special thanks to Wednesday's event sponsors:


Check back on our blog daily to keep up with YDLI Class 9's Phase 1 experience, or if you are on Facebook or Twitter, follow along with #ydli9!

Wednesday, February 18, 2015

Gearing up for YDLI Class 9 - "Find Your Leadership Oasis" in Phoenix, AZ!

Holstein Foundation staff is preparing for the kick-off of Young Dairy Leaders Institute (YDLI) Class 9, which meets for Phase I February 25–28, 2015, in Phoenix, Arizona.

Sixty young adults from the United States and Canada will be a part of Class 9 of YDLI, a cornerstone program for the Holstein Foundation.

The three-phase program takes place over 12 months. Phase I includes hands-on workshops to improve attendees' leadership, communication, and advocacy skills. It also offer opportunities for networking and building enthusiasm for the dairy industry.

In Phase II, which takes place in the year between Phase I and III, class members develop and use their new skills in a community outreach project of their choice. Phase III, held February 24-27, 2016, will focus on group leadership skills and topics such as advanced communication training, conflict resolution skills, and influencing public policy. Class members will give presentations on their Phase II projects.

The Holstein Foundation thanks these YDLI Class 9 sponsors:

Platinum Sponsors



Gold Sponsors


Silver Sponsors: Accelerated Genetics, Center for Dairy Excellence, GEA Farm Technologies, Inc., Pennsylvania Dairymen’s Association.

Bronze Sponsors: COBA Select Sires, Farm Credit Northeast AgEnhancement, Horace Backus Fund, Merial Ltd., and Select Sires GenerVations.

Stay tuned here next week for more blog posts live from YDLI Class 9 in Phoenix, AZ!

Wednesday, February 12, 2014

YDLI Day 4: Understanding the Public Policy Process, and Our Final Fiesta!

The final morning session for YDLI Class 8 was led by YDLI alum Bonnie Burr, walking the class down the trail of the public policy process. Burr covered the general structure of our government, and shared her real-life experience with lobbying for various agricultural issues. After the foundation was laid, each group was given an actual bill that had come before a state legislature, and tasked with deciding their position and preparing how they would lobby for that position in front of elected officials.

Every class member participated in a mock hearing, where they presented their positions on each bill to a group of "state legislators," with hopes of influencing their opinions. Participants were empowered to realize the impact they can have on the state and national governance process, and all finished with a better understanding of how to represent agriculture's best interests on the legislative stage.





At lunch, the Holstein Foundation staff was pleased to honor retiring Advisory Committee member Denise Skidmore, who has been a part of the YDLI program for several years, being a Class 2 graduate herself.

Holstein Foundation Programs Manager Jodi Hoynoski with
outgoing YDLI Advisory Committee member Denise Skidmore
At the conclusion of the remaining YDLIers' Phase 2 reports was the closing session led by Ty Bennett, where he talked about "The Power of Influence."  Ty shared strategies that everyone in the room could use to become a more effective leader - someone that others are excited to be associated with and want to follow. Some of the key take-home messages included:

  • "Leadership is not about you...it's about the people that you lead."
  • "Do what you said you would do, when you said you would do it, the way you said you would do it."
  • "Invest in your people."
  • "Focus on being interested, not interesting."
  • "Practice the 'Platinum Rule': Treat others the way they want to be treated."
Closing speaker Ty Bennett
After ending the formal training on a high note, with all participants receive their graduation plaques, the group headed out to one of Albuquerque's most established Mexican resturant's, Sadie's, for a competitive chile cook-off, and delicious buffet to round out the evening. We certainly look forward to seeing what the group will be able to accomplish in the coming years with the skills they have learned and put into practice over the past twelve months. 








The Holstein Foundation and Young Dairy Leaders Institute participants would like to sincerely thank the many gracious sponsors who made the experience possible. Platinum sponsors include Allflex USA, Inc.; DairyBusinesss Communications; Dean Foods Foundation; Farm Credit System Foundation; Hoard’s Dairyman; and Land O’Lakes, Inc. Foundation. Gold-level sponsors were AFACT, Cargill Animal Nutrition, CHS Foundation, Dairy Management, Inc.; Elanco; Holstein Association USA; Northeast Agricultural Education Foundation; and Zoetis. Silver sponsors were Accelerated Genetics; Center for Dairy Excellence; GEA Farm Technologies, Inc.; and Merck. Bronze-level sponsors included Chobani; Church & Dwight Co., Inc.; COBA/Select Sires; Cooperative Resources International; Farm Credit Northeast Ag Enhancement; Hilmar Cheese Company, Inc.; Robert L. Cain Memorial Fund; and Select Sires Canada, Inc.

To learn more about Young Dairy Leaders Institute, or to obtain an application for Class 9, which will be held in February 2015 and 2016 in Phoenix, Ariz., visit the official YDLI page on the Holstein Foundation web site! Class 9 applications are due August 1, 2014.