Producers drive change at DCHA annual conference

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More than 300 dairy calf and heifer growers, industry representatives and allied associates met in Green Bay, Wis., for the Dairy Calf and Heifer Association (DCHA) 2014 Annual Conference held April 1-3. Producers in attendance represented more than 500,000 cattle.

The conference lineup included interactive educational seminars for both farm managers and employees, an inside look at industry-leading dairy operations and a keynote presentation from renowned leader, humanitarian and Green Bay Packers’ all-time leading receiver Donald Driver.

“The conference was an exciting event for our organization and our industry,” says Jack Banker, DCHA President and owner of Scenic-View Farms in Black Creek, Wis. “Calf and heifer growers from across the country joined in the excitement of the renewed vision of DCHA by sharing their experiences and learning new strategies. The success of the conference is a testament to our organization’s future strength – a future that we are very excited about.”

The DCHA 2014 Annual Conference was planned and hosted by dairy producers with new avenues of industry education. Through a mix of classroom and on-farm sessions, industry experts shared management strategies and expertise on topics, including: calf health, housing, silage quality, team management, sanitation, ventilation, forage testing and audits, manure management, genomics, federal policy and much more.

“The new conference format helped calf and heifer growers to see strategies that are working on successful facilities and to talk with the managers about what is working well and challenges they have overcome,” says Vickie Franken, 2014 conference committee chair and owner of City View Farms near Sutherland, Iowa.

“You are all leaders and you are all here for a reason,” Driver said. “The reason is to be successful, learn new tricks and trades and make the impossible, possible. Because of the people, DCHA has been around for 18 years and it won't go away as long as you believe in it.”

During the annual meeting, the 2014-2015 Board of Directors was announced as follows: President: Jack Banker, Black Creek, Wis.; 1st Vice President: Lane Sollenberger, Newburg, Penn.; 2nd Vice President: Amy Shiplett, Chilton, Wis.; Secretary/Treasurer: Vickie Franken, Sutherland, Iowa; Directors-At-Large: Tamilee Mennich, West Lafayette, Ind., and Jackie Florent, Twin Falls, Id.; Past President: Darin Mann, Parma, Id.; South Central Regional Director: TJ McClure, Garden City, Kan.; Northeast Regional Directory: Elizabeth Quinn, Schaghticoke, NY; North Central Regional Director: Paul Jacobs, DePere, Wis.; and Western Regional Director: Brandon Anderson, Jerome, Id. The 2014 DCHA Scholarship was also awarded to Lea Van Rossum from Kaukauna, Wis.

Additional conference highlights included: a trade show focused on calf and heifer products and services and facility tours at: Calf Source, a 10,000-head calf facility in DePere, Wis. which recently invested more than $2 million in facility and system upgrades; a stop at Green Valley Dairy a family-owned facility in Krakow, Wis., that received the 2014 Outstanding Achievement in Renewable Energy by the Innovation Center for U.S. Dairy; a tour of Genex Cooperative, Inc.’s bull housing and semen collection facility in Shawano, Wis., that houses 378 bulls and employs 15 staff members; and a visit to Synergy Dairy a Red & White Holstein facility in Pulaski, Wis. that recently built a new heifer housing facility, allowing the managers to bring their previously custom-raised heifers back to the farm.

DCHA thanks its annual conference sponsors who contributed to the program’s success. Diamond sponsors were Dairy Herd Management and Hoard’s Dairyman. Gold sponsors were Merck Animal Health and Zoetis. Silver sponsors included American Foods Group, Dairy Today, DBC Ag Products, Land O’Lakes Animal Milk Products and Purina Animal Nutrition. Bronze sponsors included BMO Harris Bank, Central Life Sciences, Crystal Creek, Dairy Tech Inc., Digi-Star, Elanco, Family Insurance, Golden Calf Company, Green Stone Farm Credit Services, Hubbard Feeds, Huvepharma, ImmuCell Corporation, Merial, Milk Products, Nutrius, Prince Agri Products, Inc., Progressive Dairyman, QualiTech, Trouw Nutrition, Virtus Nutrition, Vita Plus and Wisconsin State Farmer.

Make plans to join DCHA for the 2015 conference, set for March 30-April 1, 2015, in Madison, Wis. Additional information will be available at www.calfandheifer.org and www.facebook.com/calfandheifer.


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