Evaluation Summary of the 6th Annual I-29 Dairy Conference, February 9 and 10th, 2011 Sioux Falls, SD

Chris Mondak, Dairy Field Specialist

Fiscal Year:

POW Title and Number: 
110 - Dairy

Evaluation Summary of the 6th Annual I-29 Dairy Conference, February 9 and 10th, 2011
Sioux Falls, SD

Impact Summary Statements
More than 200 individuals in dairy farming improved their understanding of sustainability concepts at an I-29 region dairy meeting. This year’s theme was “Sustaining Our Dairy Families, Farms, and Rural Communities,” while this year’s focus was “Animal Well Being.” Based on survey results 73% responded that material presented gave them a better understanding of animal welfare.

Why the Program was Implemented  
The I-29 dairy corridor includes dairy farms and processors located in five states (SD, IA, MN, ND and NE) and is a major representation of the nation’s dairy industry. This area is large and producers within the states face similar challenges of increasing feed costs and other issues related to sustaining family farms and their communities. Furthermore, limited education resources and opportunities are available to these producers. The Annual I-29 Dairy Conference represents a collaboration of University Extension personnel from South Dakota State University, University of Minnesota, Iowa State University, University of North Dakota and University of Nebraska-Lincoln with complementary expertise and knowledge of dairy production and management in the region. The I-29 Dairy Conference was developed to disseminate relative information to this area. In 2010, the program was held in Sioux Falls, SD. Like the nation’s dairy industry, producers in this region struggle to understand the concepts and importance associated with animal welfare and its relationship with to overall herd management and profitability.  

Impact(s) of the Program:
At the conclusion of the meeting a questionnaire was distributed to all who attended and the response rate was 32% (64 out of 200 people).  Respondents were also asked of their state of residency as was observed to be as follows; 29% IA, 8 % MN, 10% NE, 43% SD, 10% other. Based on these data, this group influenced at least 24, 582 mature dairy cattle. Upon EXIT producers were also asked to rank the value of the meeting. This was question was ranked on a 1-4 scale (1 = strongly disagree or not useful 4= strongly agree or very useful). The average ranking was 4.1 indicating positive value of the meeting.  When asked of the time and date is convenient the average ranking was 4.0 and when asked if they will attend next year the response averaged 3.9. Impact of this meeting was determined by survey results. Respondents were also asked if the topic presented was of value to them and the average response was 4.0 (See Table 1 for complete results). Two strategic questions was created and aimed at determining a change in attitude, philosophy and plan of additional action. The following is a summary of these impacts:

In summary, respondents indicated a strong positive value for a change and improvement in knowledge.  

Description of the Process:
Specifically, six sessions verbally addressed the group on topics that impact sustainability on dairy farms. The following is a listing of the title, speaker(s) affiliation and title of each session. 

Individual Written Comments:

General comments about today's program:

Good program
Very valuable information.
Animal welfare and lameness are huge problems that we all need to improve on.
Venue excellent but room cold? Food excellent! Speakers very enjoyable.
Mini muffins and no dairy products do not count as breakfast.
Great topics/presenters.
Very nice line-up of presenters.
Very interesting—actually I was surprised.
Very good service (e.g. food, water during presentations).
Good job with a variety of topics.
I don’t understand question #8.
Well done.
I thought it was interesting to learn about what’s going on in the dairy industry today.
Very well organized.
I found this conference good—interesting relevant topics.
Temple was great.
Good program, very well done.
Would like to have seen the other dairy videos.
Great selection of speakers and topics.
Fairly well organized.
Wonderful talks about animal welfare and “animal rights”
Great, need to emphasize the value of giving neighbors some cheese or ice cream whatever and how it will help smooth over troubles.
Really enjoyed all speakers.
Shift in program confused issues as I wanted to hear Jim Paulson  but can only attend A.M.—disappointed.
EU ESS regulations.
Consumers and antibiotics.
Good information about Animal Welfare issues.
Thank you for Temple Grandin—what an opportunity! Thank you! Thank you!
Good timely topic.
We need to work on local issues and new market ideas.
Great program.
Great info, well presented.
Should start at 8:00 a.m. not 10:00 with breakfast at seven.
I very much enjoyed this conference and hope to come back next year.
Topics of Animal Welfare and consumer engagement should be included each year.

What topics/speaker would be of interest to you for next year's conference?

Antibiotic residues in cull cows.
Vet/Client relationships
Calf facilities
Consumes and antibiotics concerns.
Residue spot checking.
Residue risk avoidance—what do I need to change?
Residue risk avoidance (milk and meat).
Treatment protocols—residue concerns
What is going to be legal for antibiotics in the future?
Immigration issues—agriculture workers! Dairy not eligible.
Business support—management of resources—employees’ skills.
More aware of our image and cattle handling.
Direct marketing/value--added agriculture.
Social media.
Temple Grandin.
Dry cow nutrition and fresh cow problems.
World markets.
Dairy calf production/management
Mike Hutchison
Cattle nutrition, new tech in the industry, political issues in Ag, Temple Grandin, a producer in the industry.
How imported diary products affect our industry.
More dairy related, how to increase profits.
Increasing agricultural awareness for consumers/Improving public perception of agriculture.
Manure management options (biogas digesters).
Conventional vs grazing dairy operations.
Mastitis, Seinatic cell counts.
Placenta retention issues.
Pregnancy—conception and retention.
Get Temple again.
Organic, neighbor cooping (cultivate  ways to get corn and dairy farmer to buy and sell, ?????share, time or equipment share), computerized milkers and feeding ???????
Manure handling.
Miracle additives—the benefits or pitfalls.
Risk management involving price volatility with both milk and feed.
Input cost management: lab, feed, repair, ???????
Dairy housing, milk quality, animal welfare.
Good turn out.
You do a nice job of putting a good program together for the industry.
Raising calves and replacements.
Time budgets.
Surprise me.
End to CWT, how to keep going!
Try to get HSUS to speak and have an opinion mike for us to ask questions or have a round table discussion.
Immigration issues/immigrant workers.
I’m hearing rumors about spot checking and a residue list? How do I stay off this list?
If growth in dairy is to occur in the I 29 Corridor, what do we need to do as states to prepare and encourage for this growth.
Nutrition and efficiency.

After attending this meeting what changes may you make in welfare, management, feeding, and health decisions?

Changing clothing between milking and treating.
Seeing facilities from the cow’s point-of view.
Slippery floors.
Paying attention to the cows to gauge our management.
Be calmer with cows and train employees on stockmanship.
Consumer focus and animal welfare.
Try to introduce more natural light in barns.
Flooring needs to be upgraded in parlor and holding area.
Pay attention to what is going on.
Consider mold binders.
Taking more time with young people to train them in animal handling and observation skills.
Make sure the milkers are handling the cows in the parlor properly.
How I work with and pay attention to my herd.
Handle differently
Ways of handling vaccination day—i.e. bringing animal to the chute. Quiet approach.
Did not attend, wish I could have.
Observe more animal behavior to see if there are things I don’t see affecting our animals.
Figure a way to mingle dairy bulls @ an early age.
Animal handling.
Change the color of clothing people wear.
Adding more to audits.
Will become more informed.
Bought book on Animal Handling. Will put into practice. Procedures learned.
Still working on that.
Better Education.
Implement Audits.
Address issues in walkways.
Fascinating presentation!
Watching cow’s signs and body language.
Flashing colors.

Last updated: July 19, 2011
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