World Dairy Expo kicked off Tuesday, Sept. 30, in Madison, Wis. Below are videos from our sponsors.

To read summaries from the conference, click here.

Featured Videos from the Show Floor:

Show Summaries:

Prepare for a crisis

Are you prepared for the worst? Do you have a crisis management plan in place? Matt Joyce, communication specialist at the Wisconsin Milk Marketing Board, told audience members at World Dairy Expo this week that crisis situations and natural disasters are not planned, but you can be prepared for them. There are three steps to navigating a crisis. First, prepare for the crisis before it strikes. Walk through possible scenarios (like a flood, tornado and so on). Assess your operation's strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats for each scenario. Then make an action plan. Just like a hotel has an evacuation map, your operation needs one too, notes Mike Opperman, public relations director at Charleston|Orwig. For example, have a plan for where the people and animals will go. "When you are in the middle of a crisis, you may not think very clearly," notes Opperman. Lastly, plan for the future and the steps you need to take once the crisis passes.

Join the social media discussion

Nearly six in 10 Americans younger than 30 say they get their news from online sources, says Jolene Griffin, manager of industry communications for Dairy Management Inc. Accompanying this trend is the exponential growth of social media — blogs, Twitter, YouTube and so much more. While this new way of communicating may seem intimidating, keep in mind you don't have to embrace it all at once. DMI offers the following tips when it comes to social media: Using social media takes as much, or as little, time as you are willing to give. You don't have to use every tool every day. Instead, find which one is most comfortable to you and explore it.

  • Successful communications are conversational in tone and personality-driven. Don't focus too much on data, but rather on personal stories.
  • Use frequent updates to share information. Make sure these updates are informative, consistent, timely and relevant.
  • Do your homework so that you are well-informed before engaging others or responding to postings. Also be respectful, but maintain your passion for your topics.

Calves and weather challenges

Lance Fox, veterinarian and technical service manager with Alpharma Animal Health, reminded calf raisers at World Dairy Expo this week that with the impending cold weather, calves may need more energy in their ration. Fox says that 25 to 30 percent of energy fed goes to the immune function of the calf. And, in cold weather calves need more energy for maintenance and to fight off diseases. A 1-week-old calf can burn off fat reserves within 18 hours.

Dairy animal welfare in good hands

The National Milk Producers Association (NMPF), with support from Dairy Management Inc., formally launched the "National Dairy FARM Program: Farmers Assuring Responsible Management" at a news conference Thursday at World Dairy Expo in Madison, Wis. "Dairy farmers are passionate about the care they provide to their animals," says Jamie Jonker, NMPF vice president of scientific and regulatory affairs. "The National Dairy FARM Program takes that producer passion and quantifies it to tell the story of dairy animal care to our customers and consumers." This program was created with input from all sectors of the dairy industry, including producers, veterinarians and other animal care experts. It includes current best practices, innovations and advances in technology. Read more.

Maximize growth potential in calves

To achieve the maximum growth potential, calves need to be fed adequate levels of high quality colostrum as soon as possible after birth. Robert Corbett, a nutritionist and veterinarian with Dairy Health Consultation, told audience members at World Dairy Expo this week that producers should consider feeing calves a high protein milk replacer (28 percent protein) at an increased level of solids (18 percent), 3.5 quarts twice per day. Calves fed at this higher plane of nutrition, have a healthier immune system, decreased morbidity and mortality rates. Studies have also shown that calves will also have increased milk production in the first lactation.

And the winner is ...

The 26th Annual Forage Analysis Superbowl winners were announced this week at World Dairy Expo in Madison, Wis. This year, more than 320 entries from 25 states competed for top honors and more than $17,000 in cash prizes. South Town Dairy Farm of South New Berlin, N.Y. was named Grand Champion and received $2,000 from Kuhn North American Farm Machinery Inc. Click here for more winners.

Take stock in employee management

Your dairy is your stock portfolio, says Tom Wall, president of Language Links LLC, told audiences at World Dairy Expo this week. Therefore, you need to hire and manage people that will help your investment succeed. To do this, he suggests you focus on these five areas:

  • Organize your systems, strategies, policies and procedures. This includes a new hire kit, organizational chart, set pay scales, performance evaluations, employee manual, job descriptions, standard operating procedures and written warning procedures.
  • Practice frequent formal and informal communication. "This is more than speaking the same language," Walls says. "It's team maintenance."
  • Connect with your people. This means developing respect and trust between you and your team.
  • Manage and lead your team. As a manager, you must focus on the execution of the work on your dairy. To lead, you need to create and develop teamwork.
  • Reward performance. Make sure you connect job descriptions with employee evaluations and your pay scale.

You must do all five steps for success, says Wall. "One is not more important than the other."