Young Dairy Leaders Institute Concludes Phase I

BRATTLEBORO, Vt., March 8, 2017- Sixty young adults from the United States, Canada and Mexico came together in Phoenix, Ariz., February 8 – 11, as Class 10 of the Young Dairy Leaders Institute (YDLI) convened. YDLI is the cornerstone program of the Holstein Foundation.

Phase I Sessions
Phase I kicked off with a pre-conference tour of Danzeisen and Rijlaarsdam dairies, two operations local to the Phoenix area. The sessions were interactive and encouraged YDLIers to challenge themselves, think outside the box, develop their core story and learn how to engage with a diverse audience.

Phase I presenters included Kim Bremmer, motivational agriculture spokeswoman; Mark Mayfield, “The Corporate Comedian”; fairlife, LLC’s vice president of communications, Anders Porter; Michelle Ruby, communications consultant. Jill Tomac, business consultant and speaker; Paul Vitale, professional trainer and author; and YDLI advisory board members, Laura Daniels and Jolene Griffin, rounded out the outstanding lineup. 

Learn more about the week’s sessions and the YDLI program with the official YDLI blog,

The class put their newly learned skills to use in the field, talking to consumers on the Arizona State University campus. They visited with more than 200 people, to find out their perceptions about how food is produced in this country, how they believe animals are cared for by farmers, and more.

The Holstein Foundation also recognized Melissa Greenbacker Dziurgot, herdswoman for Greenbacker Farms and a graduate of YDLI Class 3, as 2017 Distinguished Alumni Leader.

Phase II is underway already—the class is working on community outreach projects.  Then, during Phase III, held in February 2018, each class member will give a presentation on their projects. Workshops will cover group leadership skills such as media training, conflict resolution, and influencing public policy.

Participant Feedback
After the class, members had plenty to say about YDLI in their feedback surveys:
·        “YDLI has reinvigorated my passion for the dairy industry and has given me the courage to stand up and stand out.”
·        “I have been pushed outside my comfort zone, but feel energized and more prepared to challenge the status quo and be an advocate for this great industry.”
·        “YDLI has given me a sense of community within the dairy industry with likeminded people that want to promote our passion.”
·        “This program is going to push me to be exactly where I always saw myself going, but never had the courage to go.”

Applications for YDLI Class 11 will be due August 1, 2018.  To sign-up for an email notification when applications are available, visit

For more information on other Holstein Foundation programs, go to or contact Jodi Hoynoski, 802.451.4261or by email, at [email protected].

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