Curtain rises Wednesday on WUD convention in Sacramento

A full lineup of practical workshops, celebrity speakers and insights by dairy industry professionals await those attending the annual Western United Dairymen convention on March 27-29 at the Sheraton Grand in Sacramento.

The convention kicks off on Wednesday, March 27, with a day of workshops on subjects ranging from solar energy to labor and Cal-OSHA updates. Wednesday morning workshops begin at 10 a.m. and include discussions of wastewater and land application solutions; labor and employment requirements for ag employers, commodity risk management tools; the economics of profit in California dairies; time-varying pricing for agricultural energy customers; solar production on California dairies and a labor roundtable. The evening’s festivities include a wine and cheese social beginning at 4:30 p.m., followed by the membership dinner at the California Auto Museum.

On Thursday, speakers will discuss global marketing opportunities, the story of Greek yogurt giant, Chobani, consumer perceptions about agriculture and the current state of California’s government. The day opens up at 8 a.m. with the traditional “graduation” of members of the California Dairy Leaders Class XI. At 9:30 a.m., the Ladies Day program gets underway with an excursion to the Crocker Art Museum followed by a luncheon and shopping.

Morning speakers include a “Global Opportunities for Dairy” panel discussion. Panel members include: Matt McKnight, US Dairy Export Council; John Jeter, Hilmar Cheese; Andrei Mikhalevsky, California Dairies, Inc. and Allison Specht, Leprino Foods Company.
Next up will be Sacramento Bee political columnist Dan Walters who will present the “State of the State.”

The luncheon keynote speaker is Greg Forbes Siegman who will focus on how his love of milkshakes brought a diverse community together.
Afternoon presentations include Gulf War veteran and Veterinarian, Dr. Sam Barringer, who will address “The Impact of Agriculture on the Global War on Terrorism.” “The Chobani Story: The Billion Dollar Yogurt Startup” will be given by Chobani’s Director of Operations, John Winnie. To finish out the day’s presentations Stan Erwine of Dairy Management Inc. will explain why “What We Say, Isn’t Always What Consumers Hear.”

Evening events will include a cocktail reception beginning at 5:30pm and the annual banquet at 7 pm. The music of “The Man in Black”, Johnny Cash, will be performed by the Cash Tribute Band.

Friday is set aside for WUD members and invited guests as they hear from Dairy Council of California CEO Tammy Anderson-Wise. Next will be legislative updates from Gary Conover, WUD’s director of government relations, and Charlie Garrison, WUD’s legislative advocate in Washington DC. The convention wraps up with the district delegate business meeting.

To download the complete convention and registration form, and get travel information, visit the WUD website at