Preparing producers for dairying in the future at Great Lakes Regional Dairy Conference in February

The 15th annual Great Lakes Regional Dairy Conference is slated for Feb. 2-4 in Frankenmuth, Michigan.

Calf looks into the camera. | MSU Extension Communications

Calf looks into the camera. | MSU Extension Communications

EAST LANSING, Mich. – The 15th annual Great Lakes Regional Dairy Conference Feb. 2-4, 2017, at the Bavarian Inn and Conference Center in Frankenmuth, Michigan, will focus on the latest in milk quality, hoof care, antimicrobial drug use, consumer transparency 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 producers, managers and employees will discuss progress and pitfalls of antimicrobial drug use in Michigan herds, gained from a study funded by the United States Department of Agriculture.

Next, producers will hear from Thomas Bailey, the vice president dairy analyst with Rabobank Food & Agribusiness Research and Advisory dairy team, as he shares his insights into where the dairy industry is headed globally. Bailey will give producers a chance to discuss what these changes mean to their bottom line.

Following the global discussion, the conference will shift its focus and hear from Charlie Arnot with the Center for Food Integrity and Chad Frahm with the Innovation Center for U.S. Dairy as they help producers understand consumer demands and explore what is needed to build trust with consumers and processors to ensure a transparent food supply. Producers will have the opportunity to have a dialogue with these experts about the challenges they face, and discuss what can be done to reduce confusion and find a common ground for all.

The afternoon will wrap up with a detailed look at dairying Down Under with James Mann of Donovan’s Dairy.

The Exhibitor Showcase, Dairy Challenge Presentation, Great Lakes Commercial Heifer Extravaganza XII Sale and an entertaining night of Loos Tales with comedian Trent Loos round out the evening.

The conference continues Friday morning when attendees hear Greg Bethard of G&R Dairy Consulting talk about the economics of dairying today and the most critical economic and societal factors for the future. Then participants will discover new tools and techniques to bring hoof health care into the next decade with Karl Burgi of the Dairyland Hoof Care Institute. University of Wisconsin professor Pam Ruegg, veterinarians Dr. Mark Fox and Dr. Roger Thomson, and Michigan producers will share their research and real-life experiences to help expand producers’ skill sets in excelling in milk quality to meet the evolving standards of today and tomorrow. The formal program will wrap up with inspiring and challenging words from Mike Hutjens, University of Illinois professor emeritus, on the four feeding pillars of 2017.

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

  • Q&A With a Producer Down Under

Producers will learn more about Donovan’s Dairy and Mann’s management strategies in a question-and-answer workshop.

  • In-Depth Discussion About Hoof Health With Karl Burgi

Attendees will take a closer look at the details of keeping hoofs healthy: understanding basic hoof anatomy, preventing claw horn diseases through functional and therapeutic hoof trimming, using timed hoof trimming, preventing digital dermatitis and foot rot, managing a successful hoof bath and setting up a low-lameness action plan.

  • Milk Components: Opportunities for Maximizing Farm Gate Returns

Adam Lock, Michigan State University and other experts

Maximizing milk components has historically been one of the biggest challenges of dairy management. Milk component yield (not milk volume) continues to be the key driver of dairy profitability. The workshop will emphasize influences on milk components, both fat and protein, during production with input from economics.

The Jersey Association will conduct their annual meeting on Saturday starting at 10 a.m.

Individual (adult), student and farm registration options are available. Registrations received before Jan. 20, 2017, will save up to $25 per day. Online registration closes Jan. 29, 2017, at midnight. On-site registrations are subject to availability.

Visit www.glrdc.msu.edu 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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