Dairy Strong, one of the Midwest’s premiere conferences for the dairy community, will be held Jan. 23-24 at the Monona Terrace Community and Convention Center in Madison, bringing together more than 700 farmers, corporate professionals and government and university representatives to explore the future of an integral part of the culture and economy of Wisconsin and the nation.

Ken Schmidt, the former director of communications for Harley-Davidson and now a highly sought-after communications consultant, will be a featured speaker. Schmidt played an active role at Harley-Davidson in one of the most celebrated turnarounds in corporate history. He will talk about how to improve competitiveness and reach out to new customers in completely non-traditional ways, which is a timely discussion for the dairy community. Schmidt was a featured speaker at the first Dairy Strong conference in 2015.

Geopolitical strategist Peter Zeihan will serve as the economics keynote and closing speaker. Zeihan’s worldview marries the realities of geography and populations to a deep understanding of how global politics impact markets and economic trends.

A keynote by sports agency trailblazer Molly Fletcher will kick off the conference. As one of the top agents, she has represented sport’s biggest names, including Hall of Fame pitcher John Smoltz, PGA TOUR golfer Matt Kuchar, broadcaster Erin Andrews, and basketball coaches Tom Izzo and Doc Rivers. While Fletcher negotiated more than $500 million in contracts and built lasting relationships, she also observed and adopted the traits of those at the top of their game. She will draw parallels to the dairy community by identifying the traits that allow successful leaders to lean in to challenging times, emerging better on the other side.

Newly elected Wisconsin Gov. Tony Evers has been invited to deliver the state legislative keynote at 9 a.m. on Thursday, Jan. 24.

In addition to keynotes, the event will feature track sessions and shorter presentations on the Innovation Stage, presented by CWAS Global, located in the trade show area. Topics range from risk management to advocating for dairy on social media and breakthroughs in dairy nutrition.

New this year is the Wisconsin wine and cheese tasting and pairing stage, presented by HUB International, featuring experts from Dairy Farmers of Wisconsin for cheese education, pairing ideas, fun facts and more.