HATLEY — Boehringer Ingelheim recently selected Heidi Fischer, calf operations manager at Fischer-Clark Dairy Farm, Inc. in Hatley, as the grand prize recipient of its Producers for Progress recognition program.

Heidi Fischer

The program celebrates dairy producers who demonstrate a commitment to the well-being of their animals. Fischer will receive a new John Deere Gator Crossover Utility Vehicle for her work in advancing the industry.

“We believe in a proactive, preventive approach to the well-being of our animals,” Fischer said in a news release. “From our vaccination protocols to the design and management of our barns, to the employee training meetings we hold to the technology we use.”

“We firmly believe and stress that education paves the way for success not only for the farm and animals, but more importantly, for personal employee satisfaction, success and development,” Fischer said.

The barns the cows are housed in, for example, are designed with comfort in mind: deep sand bedding, ample bunk space and natural ventilation. “Using practices that decrease stress and discomfort for our animals is good for animal care and the business,” Fischer said. “We pride ourselves on our animal husbandry and continually reflect on animal handling protocols to ensure that we are using the best possible practices.”

Fischer is one of three dairy producers chosen in BI’s Producer for Progress recognition program. The first-place recipient – Chris Szydel, herd manager at Pagel Ponderosa – and the second-place recipient – Laura Raatz, calf and young stock manager at Wagner Farms – are also from Wisconsin: Kewaunee and Oconto Falls, respectively.

Applicants were asked to provide information about their preventive management practices, their views on the judicious use of antibiotics, and to describe their mastitis treatment protocols. Applicant names and operations were anonymous, and judging was based on the following criteria:

  • Demonstrated understanding of and passion for the judicious use of antibiotics
  • Commitment to animal well-being