Great Lakes Regional Dairy Conference focuses on ppreparing producers for dairying in the future

14th annnual conference will be held Feb. 4-6 in Mount Pleasant, Michigan.

The 14th annual Great Lakes Regional Dairy Conference (GLRDC) Feb. 4-6, 2016, at the Soaring Eagle Casino and Resort in Mount Pleasant, Michigan, will focus on the latest technologies, techniques and market outlooks to help dairy producers remain successful today and into the future.

The conference kicks off Thursday with a pre-conference session in which Michigan dairy producers will share their tactics on how they manage cows for first artificial inseminations (AI), when they pregnancy check and how they manage cows for repeat AI services. The panel will also share their heifer reproduction strategies to maximize pregnancy rates.

Next, producers will hear from Christophe Lafougere of GIRA, a leading expert in global food and agricultural markets, on what the future holds in terms of global consumption and trade, and how changes in the European Union will have an impact on the global market. As a follow up to the global discussion, attendees will learn from one of the largest registered dairy farming operations in the nation. Stephen Maddox, owner of Maddox Dairy, will discuss his operation, the challenges facing the industry and the future of dairying in the West.

The conference will then shift focus to the labor force. Human resource experts will showcase ways producers can get the most out of employees, from entry level to management, through personal leadership and best practices. Producers will have time to ask questions on labor.

The Exhibitor Showcase, and the Dairy Challenge Presentation will round out the first day. Producers can also attend the Great Lakes Commercial Heifer Extravaganza XI Sale.

The conference continues Friday morning when attendees will discover new reproductive and genetic management techniques from the experts at Trans Ova Genetics. Producers will have the opportunity to discover the role genomics and in vitro fertilization (IVF) can play in raising animals that are healthier, have greater longevity, and are more efficient in providing meat and milk to feed the ever-increasing food needs of a growing world population. Following this session, a panel of producer experts will discuss genomic strategies in depth.

Next, producers can learn how to tell their dairy stories and address the common misperceptions of the benefits of dairy foods from Kathi Eckler of the United Dairy Industry of Michigan. Finally, attendees will hear from dairy financial and market expert Gary Siporski of Vita Plus Corporation, who will take a closer look at current dairy market conditions. He will examine what is causing them, what the future holds and what producers should do about it. Producers will walk away from this final session with practical strategies for challenging financial times.

Friday afternoon, attendees will have the choice of three educational workshops to attend:

  • Answering Consumer Questions About Dairy Farming Practices
  • Improving Feed Efficiency of Lactating Dairy Cows
  • Rebuilding DeVor Dairy – Lessons Learned

In addition to educational sessions, the conference will include annual meetings for several state breed associations. The Michigan Holstein Association will conduct its annual meeting on Friday, from 3:30 p.m. to 5 p.m. The Jersey associations will conduct their annual meetings on Saturday starting at 10 a.m.

Individual (adult), student and farm registration options are available. Registrations received before Jan. 23, 2016, will save up to $25 per day. Online registration closes Jan. 31, 2016, at midnight. On-site registrations are subject to availability.

Visit to get the complete conference schedule or to register online. Participants can also register by phone by calling 517-884-7089.

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