World Dairy Expo offers diverse series of seminars

Wisconsin State Farmer
Dr. Bradley Bolling listens to questions from participants after his seminar on dairy and inflammation at the World Dairy Expo on Oct. 4, 2018, in the Exhibition Hall at the Alliant Energy Center in Madison.

World Dairy Expo provides attendees additional educational value once again through its diverse series of Expo Seminars. Presented by industry leaders daily, these seminars address topics centered around policy, research, finances and the future.  

Each seminar is approved for one continuing education credit for members of both the American Registry of Professional Animal Scientists (ARPAS) and the American Association of State Veterinary Boards – RACE Program (RACE).  

Sponsors of the 2018 Expo Seminars include Feed Supervisor Software, Innovation Center for U.S. Dairy, Micronutrients, Quality Liquid Feeds, Inc. and Semex.  


The following is a schedule of 2018 Expo Seminars, which will be held in the Mendota 2 meeting room of the Alliant Energy Center’s Exhibition Hall. 

Tuesday, Oct. 2 at 1 p.m. 

“Entering the Dairy Industry; How do Young People get Started into Dairying,” Gary Sipiorski, Dairy Development Manager, Vita Plus  

Continuing Education Credits: ARPAS (1), RACE (1) 

Entering the dairy industry can be a daunting task for people of any age, but especially for young people. Gary Sipiorski, Dairy Development Manager at Vita Plus, will outline a road map into the dynamic dairy industry for beginning farmers during this seminar. The discussion will include financial, management and animal husbandry skills needed to be successful in addition to possible education routes and the role internships can play. With experiences on the Board of Directors for Citizens State Bank of Loyal and as an advisor to the Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago, Sipiorski will also cover how money borrowing works in a capital intensive business, like dairying. He also spends time offering insight to families in the midst of generational farm transitions and as a regular writer for Hoard’s Dairyman.  

Wednesday, Oct. 3 at 11 a.m.      

“Large-Scale Robots: Is It Worth the Hype,” Brian Houin, Owner, Homestead Dairy, LLC 

Sponsored by: Quality Liquid Feeds, Inc. Continuing Education Credits: ARPAS (1), RACE (1) 

Beginning as a small family farm, Homestead Dairy, LLC in Plymouth, Indiana, is now the largest dairy to implement a robotic milking system in the United States. Still caring for a portion of the herd in two conventional systems, 2,200 cows are milked using 36 robots in the newest facility. The decision to convert part of the farm to this system was made while the family was working to find a way to stay competitive in the industry by utilizing new technologies. Brian Houin, an owner of Homestead Dairy, will present the data between his traditional and robotic dairies as he discusses if large-scale robot farms are worth the hype. Houin, who was born and raised at Homestead Dairy, returned to the farm in 2003 after graduating from Purdue University with a degree in Meteorology and a minor in Spanish. While he does not practice predicting the weather, this degree has helped to drive his passion for data analysis.  

Wednesday, Oct. 3 at 1 p.m. 

“Will the Farm Bill Hurt or Help?” Dr. Mark Stephenson, Director of Dairy Policy Analysis, University of Wisconsin-Madison. 

Continuing Education Credits: ARPAS (1), RACE (1) 

Every five years, farmers are faced with the same question, will the Farm Bill hurt or help? This piece of federal policy, used to address problems the marketplace cannot fix on its own, impacts farmers every day. For more than a decade, dairy producers have identified milk price volatility and its impacts on their businesses as the most important issue to address. Today, it might include policy to mitigate the impacts of trade policy talks. 

This seminar, presented by Dr. Mark Stephenson, will cover what has worked in the past, what might improve current policy, what has been done in other countries and what may be politically feasible during this Farm Bill year. Stephenson is the Director of Dairy Policy Analysis at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. In this role, Dr. Stephenson conducts and coordinates research and outreach activities related to the dairy industry. He is also involved in applied research at the firm-level and in sector-level performance including dairy policy, international trade and milk price forecasting. 

 Thursday, Oct. 4 at 11 a.m. 

“Are You Raising the Right Number of Heifers?” Jason Karszes, Senior Extension Associate, PRO-DAIRY at Cornell University. 

Sponsored by: Micronutrients. Continuing Education Credits: ARPAS (1), RACE (1)   

Representing ten to twenty percent of the total annual operation costs of a dairy farm, a dairy’s heifer replacement program in an investment worth investigating. An evaluation of this program should include the question, how may heifer should be raised? Jason Karszes, Senior Extension Associate for PRO-DAIRY at Cornell University, will share information about a number of key areas across the dairy business that can provide a road map for how individual dairy producers can approach this question. Karszes’ extension, teaching and research efforts have centered on financial analysis and decision-making programs for dairy farms and the use of Cornell’s Dairy Farm Business Summary and Analysis Program. He also focuses on budgeting, decision making, activity analysis and goal setting to improve business performance in the dairy industry.  

Thursday, Oct. 4 at 1 p.m. 

“KPIs: Your Yardstick to Improve What Matters on Your Operation,” Dr. Tom Fuhrmann, Consultant, DairyWorks Management System, Terry Battcher, Consultant, DairyWorks Management System 

Sponsored by: Feed Supervisor Software. Continuing Education Credits: ARPAS (1), RACE (1) 

Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) are numbers that become tools for measuring effectiveness when making management improvements. This seminar will dive deeper into understanding what numbers can be classified as KPIs and how to implement them into a management strategy. Leading the discussion is the duo of Dr. Tom Fuhrmann and Terry Battcher of DairyWorks Management System. Dr. Fuhrmann founded DairyWorks as an outgrowth of his veterinary consulting practice and now teaches, trains, consults and troubleshoots production management issues for dairy producers and their employees. Battcher, a specialist in employee training, strategic planning, labor efficiency, milk quality, production and implementation of new technology, brings additional hands-on experience to the team after being a managing partner during his family’s dairy expansion. 

Friday, Oct. 5 at 11 a.m. 

“Improved Genomic Selection for Health and Other Traits,” Dr. Paul VanRaden, Research Geneticist, USDA-AGIL. 

Sponsored by: Semex. Continuing Education Credits: ARPAS (1), RACE (1) 

In April 2018, the Council on Dairy Cattle Breeding introduced six additional health traits that can be evaluated using genomic predictions. While reviewing the current sources, edits and evaluation methods of health traits, this seminar will also look to forecast future improvements to health and other trait evaluations. This includes the potential for new traits such as feed intake and new tools that could make crossbred genomic prediction into a possibility for dairy producers. Leading this discussion is Paul VanRaden, a research geneticist at the USDA-AIPL. VanRaden has thirty years of experience deriving genetic evaluation methods and introducing new traits for the U.S. Department of Agriculture. In 1994, he introduced the lifetime net merit index and has updated the formula six times since to include additional confirmation, calving, fertility, livability and health traits.  

Friday, Oct. 5 at 1 p.m. 

“View from the top: How corporate restaurant and food retail sourcing policies are being developed and the implications to the farmer.” 

Panelists: Mike Brown, Director, Dairy Supply Chain, The Kroger Co; Sarah Hendren, Nutrition & Quality Assurance Manager, Culver Franchising System, LLC; Angela Anderson, Director, Customer Outreach Innovation Center for U.S. Dairy (moderator). 

Sponsored by: Innovation Center for U.S. Dairy. Continuing Education Credits: ARPAS (1), RACE (1).

From animal welfare to sustainable sourcing, key restaurant and food retail leaders will be discussing how policy and buying decisions are developed and implemented for their companies. Sharing decision-making insight and how they work with the dairy industry, these individuals will touch on topics that are impactful to the dairy community. The panel discussion which will also highlight ways dairy farmers and stakeholders can engage with the supply chain, will end with an open question-and-answer segment.    

Panel moderator, Angela Anderson, is the Director of Customer Outreach for Innovation Center for U.S. Dairy in Rosemont, Illinois. In this role, Anderson proactively works to foster relationships with major dairy customers, including retailers, restaurants and food service companies. She also works closely with the National Dairy Farmers Assuring Responsible Management (FARM) Program and its dairy customers.  

Saturday, Oct. 6 at 11 a.m. 

“Learning from the Future – Dairying in 2068,” Dr. Jack H. Britt, Senior Consultant, Jack H. Britt Consulting. 

Sponsored by: Continuing Education Credits: ARPAS (1), RACE (1).

The dairy industry is constantly changing and evolving. In this seminar, Dr. Jack H. Britt, a senior dairy consultant and former Professor at three Land-Grant universities, will share what he believes the industry will look like in 2068, 50 years from now. With a family dairy farming background, this scientist, teacher, entrepreneur and dairy future enthusiast has teamed up with a group of international experts to create this vision for dairying in the future. Their vision includes a cow with genes from multiple breeds, a smaller environmental footprint, healthier and more fertile. They predict the development of natural microbes specifically for cattle that will replace antibiotics and chemicals used on farms today. Also foreseeing a structure change in the dairy industry, Dr. Britt will share the groups thoughts on lateral and vertical integration, location and scale as well as the role of automation, robotics and artificial intelligence in 2068.