Industry experts share their experience, knowledge and ideas to help make your dairy operation and your clients’ operations more profitable and efficient as part of World Dairy Expo's 2009 Education Seminars. Again this year, ten free seminars will be offered during the week of Sept. 29 to Oct. 3 at the Alliant Energy Center in Madison, Wis.

There is valuable information for all sizes of dairies including: popular media communications, alfalfa technology, integration of RIFD tags, employee management, genomics, raising replacements, crisis management, manure management, price volatility and energy efficiency. Continuing education credits can be earned for members of the American Registry of Professional Animal Scientists (ARPAS) and the American Association of State Veterinary Boards – RACE Program (RACE). Credits that can be earned are listed below.

There will be two seminars each day, Tues through Sat, in Mendota 2 meeting room, located in the Exhibition Hall. Seminars are structured with a 45-minute presentation and time for questions and discussion.

Following is a brief synopsis of the material that will be covered in each presentation.

Tuesday, September 29, 11:00 a.m.
“Using Popular Media to Tell Dairy Farming’s Story”
Polly Ligon O’Grady, Vice President, Weber Shandwick
Jolene Griffin, Manager of Industry Communication, Dairy Management, Inc.
Sponsored by: Dairy Management, Inc.
Continuing Education Credits: RACE (1)

Social media networks and sites are becoming a very popular tool for people to gather information and express thoughts and opinions. The myDairy Social Media seminar will teach producers and agribusiness professionals of all ages how to utilize peer-to-peer communication to tell the dairy industry’s story, reinforce and build its positive image, and counter inaccurate or uninformed online commentary about modern dairy farming practices. Learn how to use outlets such as Facebook, MySpace, YouTube and blogs to create dialogue to spread positive dairy messages.

Tuesday, September 29, 1:00 p.m.
“The Future of Your Alfalfa”
Mark McCaslin, Forage Genetics International
Sponsored by: Syngenta
Continuing Education Credits: ARPAS (1), RACE (1)

New plant improvement tools have enabled the development of alfalfa plants with novel traits. Among these new traits are reduced lignin content and improved fiber digestibility, which will be featured in this session. Other ongoing alfalfa biotech projects that are being researched by the Consortium for Alfalfa Improvement (CAI) will be discussed. The Consortium for Alfalfa Improvement was formed in 2003 to improve the characteristics of alfalfa, such as yield, nutritional content and digestibility. CAI is comprised of Forage Genetics International, Plant Science Research Unit and U.S. Dairy Forage Research Center.

Wednesday, September 30, 11:00 a.m.
“Interface Integration of RFID Tags into Management Software”
Sue Hart, Regional Sales Manager, AgSource Cooperative Services
Dr. Mike Wolf, Dairy Systems Specialist, Country Doctors Veterinary Service
Paul Fetzer, Owner/Operator, Fetzer Farms Inc.
Sponsored by: Wisconsin Livestock Identification Consortium
Continuing Education Credits: RACE (1)

Identification is a crucial part of management on a dairy. As they become more popular, radio frequency identification (RFID) tags need to be integrated into management systems. This has become a challenge. Join the panel of Sue Hart, AgSource, Dr. Mike Wolf, Country Doctors Veterinary Service and Paul Fetzer, Fetzer Farms, Inc., as they discuss the success and hurdles associated with implementing RFID tags into an existing management system.

Wednesday, September 30, 1:00 p.m.
“Relief for Your Employee Management Headache”
Tom Wall, President, Language Links, LLC
Sponsored by: Ecolab
Continuing Education Credits: RACE (1)

When asked whether it’s more difficult to manage cows or people, most dairy producers immediately answer ‘People!’ Regardless of a dairy’s size or location, nearly all managers and owners encounter the same challenges when it comes to effective employee management. Developing strategies and systems in order to lead and manage people not only makes dairy operations more profitable, but also help make the dairy manager’s job easier. Tom Wall will present five simple principles that every manager and owner can implement to overcome these challenges and improve profitability, leading to a more successful team.

Thursday, October 1, 11:00 a.m.
“Genomic Selection of Dairy Cattle: Opportunities and Challenges”
Dr. Kent Weigel, Professor & Extension Genetics Specialist, University of Wisconsin – Madison
Dr. C. Michael Cowan, General Manager, Genetic Visions
Sponsored by: Accelerated Genetics
Continuing Education Credits: ARPAS (1), RACE (1)

Genomic selection is perhaps the greatest breakthrough in dairy cattle breeding since the advent of progeny testing nearly half a century ago. Dr. Kent Weigel will discuss the practical application of testing animals for AI programs and commercial dairy producers including the implications of this technology on selection programs, mating decisions, inbreeding and management practices. C. Michael Cowan will discuss how methods in sampling methods, storage and test procedures can impact the amount and accuracy of information generated and the utility of DNA information.

Thursday, October 1, 1:00 p.m.
“Feeding Calves to Maximize Potential Growth”
Dr. Robert B. Corbett, Veterinarian-Dairy Nutritionist, Dairy Health Consultation
Sponsored by: APC, Inc.
Continuing Education Credits: ARPAS (1), RACE (1)

Calves are the future of the dairy herd. However, current feeding programs may not be providing enough nutrition. Traditional milk replacer feeding programs do not have enough protein, thus inhibiting calves from reaching their maximum growth potential. Increasing the level of nutrition to calves has shown positive results in growth rates and increased immune defense. With increased defense, there is less sickness, which results in lower treatment costs, decreased death loss and ultimately improved first lactation production.

Friday, October 2, 11:00 a.m.
“Are You Prepared for the Worst? How to Plan for a Crisis”
Mike Opperman, Public Relations Director, Charleston|Orwig
Matt Joyce, Vice President of Producer Communications & Programs, Wisconsin Milk Marketing Board
Dan Monson, Manager, Spring Grove Dairy
Sponsored by: Arm & Hammer Animal Nutrition
Continuing Education Credits: ARPAS (1), RACE (1)

It can happen to anyone. Natural and non-natural disasters can be devastating to dairies. Developing a plan for these times can help to minimize the damage and expedite recovery. This session will feature all types of disasters including natural disasters like fires and floods, non-natural disasters like manure spills and accidents, and public pressures like activists and poor neighbor relations. Resources for developing management plans for these situations will be discussed. Finally, Dan Monson will share his personal experience and the dairy’s protocol for emergencies.

Friday, October 2, 1:00 p.m.
“Making Manure Pay: New Economics of Manure in an Era of Change”
Kevin Erb, Conservation Professional Development and Training Coordinator, UW-Extension
Sponsored by: Jamesway Farm Equipment
Continuing Education Credits: ARPAS (1), RACE (1)

The dramatic swings of diesel, fertilizer and feed prices over the past few years have made it more important than ever to put pencil to paper. Producers need to determine how get the most from manure and minimizing costs. Kevin Erb will cover not only how to determine manure's value for your operation, but also how to accurately determine whether you are better off to sell it, give it away or apply it to your own fields.

Saturday, October 3, 11:00 a.m.
“Taking Control of What You Can: Financial Management and Communication During Volatile Times”
Steve Bodart, Senior Business Consultant, Lookout Ridge Consulting
Cathy Olson, Business Consultant, Lookout Ridge Consulting
Sponsored by: AgStar Financial Services
Continuing Education Credits: ARPAS (1), RACE (1)

In today’s volatile environment, it’s easy to focus on the challenges and roadblocks impacting your dairy operation’s success. But in times of uncertainty, your operation can greatly benefit from identifying and managing those factors that can be controlled. In this seminar, you’ll learn how to use key financial measures and analysis, benchmarking and other tools to make the most of your on-farm production and financial data. You’ll find ways to maximize this financial information to make sounds business and management decisions, and with less stress along the way.

Saturday, October 3, 1:00 p.m.
“Making Your Electricity Work Smarter for You”
Dr. John W. Worley, Associate Professor, University of Georgia
Sponsored by: Acme Engineering and Manufacturing Corp.
Continuing Education Credits: ARPAS (1), RACE (1)

Dairy farms utilize a large amount of electricity and other types of energy. Vacuum pumps, milking coolers, ventilation and lights are some of the largest users of electricity. By increasing energy efficiency of this equipment, producers can improve their bottom line. Saving energy pays dividends regardless of the price of milk or feed. Dr. Worley will explore ways to use electrical energy more efficiently and to reduce the use of other types of energy.

Source: World Dairy Expo