Dairy Profile: Trent Styczynski

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Trent Styczynski (pictured with his wife, Laura)
Herd Manager, Betley Family Farm
Pulaski, Wisconsin
Shawano County
2,800 cows

How did you get into farming? I grew up on a dairy farm and have worked on dairy farms all my life. I began working at Betley Family Farms when I wanted to relocate to be closer to family and friends.

What are your thoughts and concerns about the dairy industry for the next year? My concerns lie in the areas of pricing, both commodity pricing and milk prices. I am concerned about inflation and how that will affect the agricultural economy.

What is a recent change you made on your farm and the reason for it? We are putting in a manure digester that will be operational this coming spring. It is more environmentally friendly and allows us to reduce our carbon footprint.

Tell us about a skill you possess that makes dairy farming easier for you. I am good at managing employees. I manage 26 employees on our staff. If you get to know your employees, you learn how to treat them and make them feel appreciated. We do things to show our appreciation of them. I bring in a taco truck quarterly, and we are starting to raise beef and will be giving our employees beef. Respect and appreciation is mutual. When you show it, you earn it back. That has paid off big dividends for our farm with a hard-working and dedicated staff.

What is the best decision you have made on your farm? We continually implement new technologies as they become available. We have learned how to make the best decisions for the farm on the spot. That is possible because we are continually studying and learning about our industry and business.

What are three things on the farm that you cannot live without? I couldn’t live without my team. They are the foundation of each and every success we have. I also couldn’t live without a strong management team that is able to work together and use reason to come to logical solutions. The support technicians that I rely on to keep all the parts of the farm functioning as they need to are vital to me as well. I certainly couldn’t live without the technology that we have implemented that makes our jobs easier.

What strategies do you use to withstand the volatile milk prices? We don’t contract milk, but we are on the Land O’ Lakes base program. That provides us with the benchmarks we need to keep up with and keeps our price as good as it can be.

How do you retain a good working relationship with your employees? With my team of employees on the dairy, we have bi-weekly team meetings. I also regularly express my appreciation for their work. Our employees have opportunities to advance and better themselves in their careers. I am big on promoting from within, and I am always looking for the employees who want to learn and take on more responsibilities. Those employees are our best assets. My wife, Laura, and I work with the Betley kids on their show heifers. That is a lot of fun, and it gives us time to enjoy doing something we love and share that with a new generation of dairy cattle enthusiasts.

What do you enjoy most about dairy farming? I am a part of the team that feeds America. It is fun to say that I am a part of the very small percentage that feeds the entire world.

What advice would you give other dairy farmers? Wake up every morning with a fresh mindset. Don’t let what happened yesterday drag you down. Greet each day with new eyes.

What are your plans for your dairy in the next year and five years? In the next three years or so, we plan to expand from 2,800 cows to 4,000 cows. That will include building a new parlor. We are researching 100- and 120-stall carousels right now.

How do you or your family like to spend time when you are not doing chores? We like going to cow shows and touring other farms. That is really our passion.

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