Dairy owners, families, professionals and agri-industry partners can step away from work on Jan. 21- 22, 2010 for a mid-winter get-away, and at the same time be refreshed by connecting to peers, getting information updates, and sharing new ideas.   The 5th Annual I-29 Dairy Conference emphasizes the things that are at the very core of the U.S. dairy industry, “Sustaining Our Dairy Families, Farms, and Rural Communities”.  This regional event will be held Thursday and Friday, Jan. 21-22 in Sioux Falls, S.D, at the Best Western Ramkota Inn, 3200 Maple St.

The conference opens on Thursday evening with Jolene Brown, a popular professional speaker who brings humor, hope, and helpful ideas for those who want to celebrate and learn skills for the human and sometimes humorous side of agriculture.   Her presentation, “When Pigs Fly,” is designed to look for possibilities and opportunities – especially in turbulent times.   She brings laughter and a positive approach to the everyday challenges we face in families and in our businesses.

Friday morning, Brown will present the keynote address on strengthening dairy families. Her “Facts of Life: When Business and Family Collide” is a fast-paced session focusing on the tools needed to bring about productivity, profitability, and collaboration in successful family farm business operations.

Break-out sessions that follow her will offer additional approaches to sustaining dairy farm operations.

Jan Shearer, of the Iowa State University College of Veterinary Medicine, will share research information about sustaining the dairy herd through a focus on cow. Jim Salfer, University of Minnesota Extension, will present options on structuring a sustainable dairy farm operation. John Baker, attorney with Iowa Concern Hotline and ISU Beginning Farmer Center will present farm transition strategies and guidelines to make transitions in ownership, business structure, and exit-entrance plans.

At lunch time, Rick Naczi, Executive Vice President Strategic Industry Analysis and Evaluation, Dairy Management Inc., returns to the I-29 Conference to give a progress report on national dairy initiatives. This will be an interesting follow-up to his message presented to the 2009 I-29 Conference.

The Friday afternoon session focuses on one of the hottest issues circulating in the U.S. dairy industry, milk marketing for the 21st century.  Conference attendees will hear from speakers who present details about two key approaches debated in the industry right now. Ken Bailey, with FC Stone Group will explore free market systems strategies; Gary Vande Vegt, Van Bruggen & Vande Vegte will discuss supply management strategies.   The afternoon will be capped off by a panel that includes dairy producers in a question-answer session.

This event is coordinated by University Extension dairy specialists serving the multi-state I-29 region as the I-29 Dairy

Consortium, and is made possible by the generous support of the dairy agri-industry serving the region.

Registration is $20/person; pre-register by Jan. 14, 2010 to be eligible for door prizes. Full conference and lodging details are available here, or call (701) 231-7663 for more information.

Source: Iowa State University