An unparalleled educational opportunity for regional dairy farmers will present itself in Norwood Young America next Monday, Feb. 18 when the 21st annual Carver County Dairy Expo and Trade Show comes to Central High School.
Whether local farmers are wondering how to increase profits without raising expenses, how to efficiently sustain a herd during periods of high feed prices, or simply need a refresher course on how to deal with complications during the birthing of calves, they can find answers at the Expo.
Extension Educator Laura Kieser said that a committee made up of dairy producers and individuals in dairy-related business worked together to construct the most practical and relevant program possible this year.
“We thought, ‘OK, we’re in a time when feed prices are high, milk prices are low and margins are tight. So what kind of topics can we put into the agenda that are going to help people immediately?’” Kieser explained.
The result was schedule of five different seminars and the addition of a keynote speaker, a six-hour slate of activities for the cost of $10 per person ($5 for children age 12 and under).
“This is really the keynote program in dairy in the area. This is definitely one that people have come to rely on,” said Kieser. “The price point is perfect for folks, $10 per person for the whole day.”
The day begins with registration, refreshments and the trade show featuring around 50 vendors at 9 a.m. Anyone wishing to see what vendors will be on hand can see the listing online at http://z.umn.edu/dairyexpo.
A morning session of seminars begins at 10:30 a.m. and features three speakers.
Dr. Tom Bailey of Elanco Animal Health will present “10 Ways to Improve Profitability Without Expanding,” an advice session on how all dairy farms can increase income while minimizing expenses.
“I think is a very timely topic, a pertinent topic for farmers in our area,” said Kieser. “Not everyone is in a place where they can build a bigger barn or add more cows, so this covers the question, “What can I do with what I have to make a little more profit? How can we pay a few more bills with the facilities that we have and the cows that we have?”
In response to suggestions from previous years to repeat at least one of the seminars during the afternoon session so visitors can catch multiple seminars, Bailey’s presentation will be repeated during the afternoon session at 2:15 p.m.
A second morning session, led by Dr. Noah Litherland of the University of Minnesota Extension, will provide “10 Strategies to Feed Your Dairy Herd During High Feed Prices.” That session will explain how to meet challenges to profitability and sustainability in a practical manner by managing feed costs, improving efficiency, and getting a bigger return on dollars invested.
The third morning session at 10:30 a.m. is titled “New Technologies in Dairy Replacement Heifer Management,” and will be presented by Pat Hoffman of the University of Wisconsin Extension. Genomics, calving age stringing, precision feeding, intake control and more will be addressed.
Following the morning sessions all visitors will undoubtedly want to hear an address from keynote speaker Hank Wagner of Oconto Falls, Wis. on “How to Achieve True Success and Happiness.”
Wagner, a dairy farmer and past president of the Professional Dairy Producers of Wisconsin, will speak on ways to find fulfillment both personally and in business.
“We’ve been getting some feedback over the past last year or two that people would like a keynote speaker, so we are pretty excited about Hank Wagner coming in from Wisconsin. He’s a pretty dynamic speaker, a dynamic person, so I think that with most of what he has to say people are going to find a piece of that they can use in their life,” said Kieser. “He just has a really interesting spin on life and how he works and manages his operation that I think will be really interesting to people.”
A lunch session with time to peruse the trade show will ensue at 12:45 p.m., and afternoon sessions will commence at 2:15 p.m.
In addition to the second presentation by Bailey, Dr. John Zimmerman of Liberty Vet Clinic will present a workshop dealing with “Calving Conundrums.” Practical information on successfully handling calving misrepresentations (head or leg back, breech presentation, etc.), and tips on when to examine or intervene will be covered.
“If we help producers learn to deal with those situations they can probably deal with it on their own, and it will probably save them some money from calling out an emergency vet,” said Kieser. “I think that will be a really good session for people to be a part of. I think it applies to a lot of people on the farm, and those are just good skills to brush up on.”
For dairy producers interested in learning more about new innovations in the evaluation of feed grains for lactating dairy cows, Hoffman will cover that topic in the final afternoon session.
The day concludes with prize drawings at 3:15 p.m.
“This is a great opportunity. The Extension in Carver County has a tradition of hosting excellent dairy programs in the area,” said Kieser. “That comes from the productivity and profitability of the farms, and the dedication of the farmers and businesses in the area. So I’m really proud to be upholding that tradition of excellent dairy programs in the area.
“We have tremendous community support between the school, the planning team behind this event and all the volunteers. It’s just makes the perfect storm in the best sense of the term. Between the volunteers, the speakers we pull in and the community, this a really, really good event. We’re excited for the program, and we’re looking forward to seeing folks.”
• For additional information on the Dairy Expo and Trade Show, see http://z.umn.edu/dairyexpo.
Contact Paul Downer at [email protected]