The 11th annual Great Lakes Regional Dairy Conference is slated for Feb. 7-9 at the Bavarian Inn Lodge and Conference Center in Frankenmuth.
The conference is focused on making attendees aware of the tools and resources available for managing the challenges facing the dairy industry. It will touch on everything from the latest technological advancements and more efficient nutrition decisions to mastering the use of social media and promotion of farm products.
The first day of the conference will feature keynote speaker Dale Bauman, who is widely regarded by the industry as the godfather of recombinant bovine somatotropin (rBst). He will discuss the impact that new technology has on the dairy industry and public perception of change.
Nutrition is the focus of the session "Feeding Cows in 2012-2013: What Has Been Learned, What Are We Still Learning and How Do Dairy Farmers Move Forward?" presented by Mike Hutjens, dairy Extension specialist from the University of Illinois, and Greg Zuver, dairy nutritionist with Caledonia Farmers Elevator.
A concurrent session by Tom Earleywine, director of nutritional services at Land O'Lakes, is titled "The Latest in Calf Nutrition." This session will explore the latest research findings for managing groups, using robotic calf feeders and meeting nutritional requirements for calves.
Rounding out the first day of the conference will be a producer panel featuring Nathan Elzinga, of Daybreak Dairy, Zeeland; Dr. Lou Neuder, D.V.M., Green Meadow Farms, Inc., Elsie; and Brian Schaap, Visser Calf Ranch, Strathmore, Calif. They will share their views and experiences related to optimizing newborn calf care and health.
The evening's dinner program will provide an inside look at the innovative partnership built between Domino's and the dairy industry.
Friday morning's lineup features Tom Overton, associate professor of dairy nutrition at Cornell University, who will discuss how producers can achieve peak performance from their fresh cows by addressing their specific nutritional needs. Dr. Ron Erskine, Michigan State University (MSU) College of Veterinary Medicine, and Dr. Roger Thompson, D.V.M., Team Management Concepts, will offer advice on how prevention is preferable to using drugs as a cure-all. Their session will also offer tips for avoiding drug residue when treatment is the only option.
~~~PAGE_BREAK_HERE~~~Producers will also pick up practical tips for improving milk quality from Michigan producer panelists Dave Schroeder, Cary Dairy, Battle Creek; Steven Vander Hoff, Bebow Dairy, St. Louis; and Tom Oesch, Swisslane Dairy, Alto. Gary Sipiorski, development manager of Vita Plus Corporation, will present Friday's final morning session, "Dairying in the 2013 Economy." This interactive session will offer advice and tips on how to survive – and thrive – in the new global dairy industry.
Friday afternoon, Feb. 8, attendees will have the choice of attending two of five in-depth workshops:
•"Business Planning for Your Dairy Succession" with Dennis Stine, MSU Extension farm business management educator.
•"Connect With Consumers From Your Couch: Social Media 101" with Jane Hillstrom and Samantha Baudhuin, Hillstrom PR.
•"Dairying in 2013: Question and Answer Follow-up" with Gary Sipiorski.
•"A Robotic Comparison" with Michigan panelists Amy Martin, Gingrich Meadows, LeRoy; Tom Oesch; Margie Weiss, Weiss Farms, Frankenmuth; and Ben Schaendorf, Schaendorf Dairy, Hopkins. The session will be moderated by Phil Durst, senior MSU Extension educator.
•"Shooting On-farm Videos: Telling Dairy's Story From Your Cows' Best Side" with Jane Hillstrom and Samantha Baudhuin, Hillstrom PR.
The Michigan Brown Swiss and Holstein associations will conduct annual meetings on Saturday, the third and final day of the conference, starting at 10 a.m. A group lunch and statewide Purebred Dairy Cattle Association (PDCA) update occurs at noon. The Michigan Jersey Cattle Club will conduct its annual meeting starting at 1 p.m.
Other conference activities include the eighth annual Great Lakes Commercial Heifer Extravaganza Sale, an industry trade show, the seventh annual dairy industry recognition night banquet and the announcement of the 2013 Michigan Dairy Ambassador Scholarship and Leadership Program recipients.
Individual (adult), student and farm registration options are available. For a $50 discount, register before Jan. 18. Online registration closes Jan. 25 at midnight. On-site registrations are subject to availability.
to see the complete conference schedule or to register online. Participants may also register by phone. Call the MSU Agriculture and Natural Resources Events staff at 517-353-3175.