Published: Jan. 16, 2013

11th annual Great Lakes Regional Dairy Conference set for Feb. 7-9

Making profitable farm management decisions in a tough economic environment and herd nutrition are two of the most challenging topics for dairy producers everywhere.

These subjects will be the focus of the Friday morning sessions at the 11th annual Great Lakes Regional Dairy Conference set for Feb. 7-9 at the Bavarian Inn and Conference Center in Frankenmuth.

Tom Overton, associate professor of dairy nutrition at Cornell University, will explore the specific nutritional needs of fresh cows in the early session.

Ron Erskine, from the Michigan State University College of Veterinary Medicine, and Roger Thomson, veterinarian, from Team Management Concepts, will follow with a talk on disease prevention and treatment practices critical to milk quality and animal health. Erskine and Thomson will then facilitate a producer panel highlighting how three Michigan dairy farms have been able to improve milk quality while maintaining their farms’ bottom line: Cary Dairy, Battle Creek; Bebow Dairy, St. Louis; and Swisslane Dairy, Alto. Gary Sipiorski, development manager from Vita Plus Corporation, will round out the morning with his session providing tips to survive – and thrive – in the new global dairy industry. This session is supported by Vita Plus Corporation.

After lunch, participants will be able to attend two of five in-depth workshops:

• “Business Planning for Your Dairy Succession,” with Dennis Stein, MSU Extension farm business management educator.

• “Connect With Consumers from Your Couch: Social Media 101,” with Jane Hillstrom and Samantha Baudhuin, from HillstromPR. This session is sponsored by the United Dairy Industry of Michigan.

• “Dairying in 2013 -- Question and Answer Follow-up,” with Gary Sipiorski, development manager from Vita Plus Corporation. This session is supported by Vita Plus Corporation.

• “A Robotic Comparison,” with panelists Amy Martin, Gingrich Meadows, Le Roy; Tom Oesch, Swisslane Dairy, Alto; Margie Weiss, Weiss Farms, Frankenmuth; and Ben Schaendorf, Schaendorf Dairy, Hopkins. Moderated by Phil Durst, dairy educator with MSU Extension.

• “Shooting On-farm Videos: Telling Dairy’s Story from Your Cows’ Best Side,” with Jane Hillstrom and Samantha Baudhuin, HillstromPR.

Visit to view the complete conference schedule or to register online. Participants can also register by phone by calling MSU agriculture and natural resources events coordinator Megghan Honke at (517) 353-3175.

Individual (adult), student and farm registration options are available. Registrations received before Jan. 18 will receive a $50 discount. Online registration closes Jan. 25 at midnight. On-site registrations are subject to availability.

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