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Forum staff reports, Published January 15 2010

I-29 dairy conference Jan. 21-22 in Sioux Falls

Dairy owners, families, professionals and agricultural industry partners can connect with peers, get informational updates and share new ideas Jan. 21-22 at the fifth annual I-29 Dairy Conference at the Best Western Ramkota Inn in Sioux Falls, S.D.

The conference theme, “Sustaining Our Dairy Families, Farms and Rural Communities,” emphasizes what is at the core of the U.S. dairy industry, says J.W. Schroeder, North Dakota State University Extension Service dairy specialist and a conference organizer.

The conference opens the evening of Jan. 21, 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 dairy producers face in their families and businesses.

On Friday morning, Brown will present the keynote address on strengthening dairy families. Her talk, “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 talk will offer additional approaches to sustaining dairy farm operations. The topics and presenters for those sessions:

E Research information about sustaining the dairy herd through a focus on the cow – Jan Shearer, Iowa State University College of Veterinary Medicine.

E Options on structuring a sustainable dairy farm operation – Jim Salfer, University of Minnesota Extension Service.

E Farm transition strategies and guidelines to make transitions in ownership, business structure and exit-entrance plans – John Baker, an attorney with Iowa Concern Hotline and the ISU Beginning Farmer Center

At lunch, Chuck Cruikshank, executive vice president of producer and industry relations for Dairy Management Inc., will give a progress report on national dairy initiatives.

The Friday afternoon session will focus on milk marketing for the 21st century, one of the hottest issues in the U.S. dairy industry. Conference attendees will hear from speakers who present details about two key approaches being debated in the industry. Ken Bailey, with FC Stone Group, will explore free market systems strategies. Gary Vande Vegt of Van Bruggen & Vande Vegt will discuss supply management strategies.

The afternoon will be capped off by a panel that includes dairy producers in a question-and-answer session.

This conference is coordinated by land-grant university Extension dairy specialists in a five-state area consisting of North Dakota, South Dakota, Nebraska, Iowa and Minnesota.

Registration is $20 per person. For more information about the conference and lodging details, visit http://sdces.sdstate.edu/

ces_website/conferences/I-29DairyConference or contact Schroeder at (701) 231-7663 or jw.schroeder@ndsu.edu.