2021 National Young Cooperators Leadership & Development Program

November 14 - 15, 2021
Las Vegas, Nevada

It’s time to register for the 2021 Young Cooperators (YC) Leadership & Development Program. This year’s event will be an in-person conference, bringing together young dairy leaders from across the U.S. to the Mirage Hotel in Las Vegas, Nevada Nov. 14 – 15, followed immediately by the NMPF/DMI/UDIA Joint Annual Meeting Nov. 16 – 17.

See below for a schedule of events for this year’s YC program. This link will take you to the official 2021 meeting website to learn more about what’s to come. And this link will take you to the hotel’s reservation page, where you can reserve rooms for your stay.

Please note that in response to elevated COVID-19 caseloads, Las Vegas is currently requiring indoor mask use in public meeting facilities, regardless of vaccination status. MGM Resorts, the corporate parent of the Mirage Hotel, is also requiring indoor masking. The National YC Program, NMPF, DMI and UDIA will be abiding by these policies.



Schedule of Events

Sunday, November 14

9:00 – 10:30 AM – YC Advisory Council Breakfast

10:30 – 12:00 PM – YC Advisory Council Workshop: How to Be an Effective Board of Directors Member, Hank Wagner, Wagner Leadership Training

12:00 – 1:00 PM – Welcome Lunch

1:00 – 2:30 PM – Managing Your Workforce for Success, Jorge Delgado, Alltech

For employees to be successful on our dairy farms, managers must consider motivational principles that influence an employee’s intrinsic enthusiasm about and drive to accomplish work activities. Motivation is the internal drive that causes them to decide to act. Employee motivation is influenced by biological, intellectual, social, and emotional drivers, such as the drivers to bond, to acquire, to defend and to satisfy their curiosity. As such, motivation is a complex force that can also be influenced by external factors, like the employee’s desires to be recognized, to be measured and to be relevant to somebody.

We must define the desires behind motivation, and then we must create a work environment in which an employee is motivated about their job by resetting the way we structure our diaries around employee management. At the same time, we need to understand that motivation is directly related to the dairy’s mission and vision, as this is the first principle of resetting your dairy to improve employee engagement and motivation.  In this presentation we will cover all these principles by analyzing the concept “3-4-5” on how to motivate your labor force.

2:30 – 3:00 PM – Break

3:00 – 4:30 PM – Managing Stress and Leading Through Adversity, Kit Welchin, Welchin Communication Strategies

Have you ever said that you feel burned out?  Well, maybe you are.  When physical fatigue and psychological fatigue team up, they can create burnout.  To enjoy good health and feel a sense of well-being, you must have a good balance with professional productivity, personal recreation, and positive relationships.  Many of us are over-achievers and it is hard to balance the demands of our careers, family, and friends. Balance the quickness, quantity, and quality of your life.

In this presentation, YCs will learn the three stages of burnout, thirty proven techniques to relieve stress, twenty-time management tips to get more done in less time, five steps to break (or at least manage) procrastination, and how to gain control of your time and your life.

4:30 – 5:30 PM        Happy Hour



Monday, November 15

8:30 – 9:30 AM – Breakfast

9:30 – 10:30 PM – Consumer Perspectives on Dairy: How Do We Manage the “Great Divide”?, Dr. Marina von Keyserlingk, University of British Columbia

Animal welfare is emerging as one of the key social concerns regarding animal agriculture. Concern for the welfare of farms animals is not new, but the last few years have seen increased interest in farm practices. One of the dairy industry’s core strengths is the very positive view that many people have about dairy farming, and the ‘wholesomeness’ of both the milk and the way it is produced. Many consumers believe that cows spend their days grazing green pastures, conveniently turning grass into milk year after year until old age.  This strength can also be regarded as a threat if industry practices no longer match evolving public expectations.

Every year there are fewer dairy farms, and the ever-decreasing proportion of society that works within this industry will never be able to able to ‘educate’ the large majority, at least not on all issues, all of the time. Moreover, the famers themselves are part of this rapidly evolving society, and practices that were accepted by past generations as necessary may not seem so to the next generation of producers. Change will happen. During this presentation I will highlight some of our most recent work on engaging the public to help identify methods of care to come into harmony with public expectations.

10:30 – 12:00 PM – Consumer Behavior Panel: Sustainability and Animal Care, Allyson Perry, Center for Food Integrity

How did we, as a society, reach a level of affluence that allows us to sit and ponder our individual “food philosophies”?  As dairy farmers, we know where food comes from but not everyone is as knowledgeable. For some, a basic trip to the grocery store becomes burdensome because it requires so many decisions about issues consumers don’t understand. Join us as we ask local consumers about their perceptions of sustainability and animal care in the dairy industry.

12:00 – 1:00 PM      Lunch

1:00 – 2:00 PM        You’ve Got a Story Worth Telling, Michele Ruby, Ruby-Do Inc.

This session is aimed to help you craft a meaningful message that will leave a lasting impression with any audience. Whether having a conversation about dairy in-person, via a media interview or through social media, this workshop will provide you with useful tips to successfully communicate with the general public, in an effective and memorable way. Come ready to roll up your sleeves, and learn how to lead with your “why” to help you tell a story that’s as interesting to them, as it is to you.

2:00 – 2:30 PM        Break

2:30 – 4:00 PM        Ecosystem Service Markets: Navigating a New Revenue Stream for Agriculture, Chris Kopman and Jamie Vander Molen, Newtrient

As more industries and companies seek to green their portfolio, many are looking to agriculture as a key climate solution. Over the past few years, dozens of trading platforms and new markets have come online to transact credits for ecosystem services from technology and practice improvements on the farm, resulting in carbon reductions and water quality improvements. While the emergence of these markets present tremendous opportunities for agriculture, they also come with significant challenges in navigating the complex, cluttered space. Learn about the top challenges facing farmers when it comes to preparing for and implementing revenue-generating services, and efforts underway to help make these markets more accessible.

4:00 – 5:00 PM        Break

5:00 – 6:00 PM        Happy Hour

6:00 – 9:30 PM        Dinner and Evening Activities