The focus of the sixth annual I-29 Dairy Conference will be on helping dairy producers provide their cows with the best possible care.

The event will be held Feb. 9-10 at the Best Western Ramkota Hotel in Sioux Falls, S.D. Extension Service dairy specialists from North Dakota State University, Iowa State University, the University of Minnesota, South Dakota State University and the University of Nebraska coordinate the conference. The universities' Extension Services host the event.

"Few, if any, issues facing the dairy industry today will have more impact on our sustainability than the issues related to animal welfare," says NDSU Extension dairy specialist J.W. Schroeder. "When it comes to our agricultural resources and the animals' role in food production, farmers and ranchers are the premier caretakers. Yet public perception has changed the way we do business."

Temple Grandin, a livestock-handling expert featured in HBO's Emmy-winning film "Temple Grandin," will be the featured speaker. The professor in the Department of Animal Science at Colorado State University designs livestock-handling systems that reduce stress on animals and improve safety for people working with livestock.

Her keynote presentation will be at 7 p.m., Feb. 9. It is open to the public as well as conference attendees.

"I hope this event will help our effort to enlighten the public and give producers a venue for interacting with consumers," Schroeder says.

Presentations on Feb. 10 will be on sustainability; reducing stress on livestock; livestock care issues; lameness and how it affects performance, profit and welfare; dairy carbon footprints; and mold and mycotoxins in dairy feeds.

The registration fee is $25. That includes dinner, the keynote presentation and educational sessions. The cost for just attending the keynote address is $10.
Registration is on a first-come, first-served basis.

For a program schedule or to register, visit http://www.sdstate.edu/sdces/resources/animals/dairy/i-29.cfm.

Source: North Dakota State University Agriculture Communication