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Webinar Series Discusses Handling Stress on Dairy Farms

Tuesday, July 10, 2018 - 12:00pm to Tuesday, July 24, 2018 - 1:00pm
Event Type: 

Webinar Series Discusses Handling Stress on Dairy Farms

Three ISU Extension and Outreach webinars will be held in July

AMES, Iowa – Farming is one of the most stressful occupations in the United States. This is particularly true for dairy farmers as they are experiencing an extended period of low milk prices.


To help dairy farmers deal with stress, Iowa State University Extension and Outreach will host a series of three webinars that discuss how to recognize the signs of stress, how to deal with dairy farm families experiencing stress, analyzing a dairy for profits, the profitability of various dairy systems and what FINBIN says about production costs.

The webinars will be held at 12 p.m. on July 10, 17 and 24 and will be conducted by extension specialists from ISU Extension and Outreach, the University of Wisconsin, University of Illinois and University of Minnesota. ISU Extension and Outreach dairy specialists Larry Tranel, Fred Hall and Jenn Bentley will present during the webinars, as well as John Shutske, extension specialist with the University of Wisconsin, Jim Salfer, extension dairy specialist with the University of Minnesota, and Phil Cardoso, extension dairy specialist with the University of Illinois.

The topics discussed in the webinars are:

  • July 10 – Recognizing and Managing Stress in Dairy Farmers
  • July 17 – Knowing your cost of production and Dairy Outlook
  • July 24 – Making Production Decisions During Challenging Times

To join the webinars, log onto For more information contact Tranel at or 563-583-6496, Bentley at or 563-382-2949 or Hall at or 712-737-4230.

The webinars are sponsored by ISU Extension and Outreach, University of Minnesota Extension, University of Illinois Extension and University of Wisconsin Extension.


Tri-State Ag Lender's Seminar

Wednesday, October 24, 2018 - 9:30am to 2:30pm
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The agenda this year again focuses on the marketing outlooks of dairy, livestock, and grains along with the issues of the farm bill, farm stress, and the Ag Decision Maker Tool.  The seminar should once again provide fruitful discussion to issues of concern to agricultural lenders.  The cost of the program is $100 per person, which includes handouts, refreshments, and lunch.  To register, please mail the enclosed registration with payment by October 14th. 


2019 Iowa Farm Couple Getaways

Friday, February 15, 2019 - 12:30pm to Saturday, March 23, 2019 - 3:00pm
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In response to high levels of both personal and financial farm stress, ISU Extension and Outreach is making available two “Farm Couple Getaways” aimed at farmers wanting to take advantage of activities to improve farm family communication, work on farm or family goal-setting, farm transition or just would like a weekend away to discuss farm and farm family issues.  The first “getaway” will be held Friday and Saturday, February 15-16 at Hotel Winneshiek in Decorah.  The second “getaway” will be held March 22-23 at the Best Western Plus Hotel in Dubuque.  The “getaways” run from 12:30 pm on Friday to 3 pm on Saturday.  There is no cost to attend the program as food, lodging and other expenses are being paid for by grants and sponsorships.  However, there is a $50 per couple deposit to hold each reservation, refundable on the second day of the getaway.

Past “Farm Couple Getaways” have proven to be beneficial to farm couples.  They are a very productive and delightful time to discuss items of importance to help farms and families be successful”, says Larry Tranel, ISU Extension Dairy Field Specialist.” Each “getaway” will consist of eight farm couples and our Extension facilitators.  Registration will be on a first come, first serve basis with registrations due two weeks prior to each session. Registration brochures for the Decorah site can be obtained from Jenn Bentley or at the Winneshiek County ISU Extension Office at 563-382-2949.  Registration brochures for the Dubuque site, or questions regarding the getaway experience, can be directed to Larry Tranel at the Dubuque County ISU Extension Office at 563-583-6496.

The “Farm Couple Getaways” Gold sponsors are Iowa Farm Bureau, Dubuque County Farm Bureau, and Professional Dairy Producers Foundation. Silver sponsors are American Trust, Decorah Bank &Trust, and Farmers and Merchants Savings Bank. Bronze sponsors are Iowa State Dairy Association, State Bank—Calmar & Ossian, Cresco Union Savings Bank, Viking State Bank, Clinton National Bank, and Dairy Farmers of America.


Tri-State Agricultural Lender's Seminar

Thursday, October 24, 2019 - 9:00am to 2:30pm
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The 33rd Annual Tri-State Agriculture Lender’s Seminar will be held on Thursday,
October 24th at the Best Western Plus Hotel, 3100 Dodge Street, Dubuque, Iowa, from
9:30 am – 2:30 pm. This year’s focus is on market outlooks for livestock, grains and
dairy along with the issues of the farm technology, farm stress and tax laws affecting

“Price risk management continues to be the major variable for profitability in many
commodity enterprises. Understanding the ag markets is a necessary part of lender
portfolio management”, says Larry Tranel, ISU Extension Dairy Field Specialist.” This
seminar has proven itself in assisting lenders and farm financial advisors in helping
farmers manage that risk.”

The cost of the program is $100 per person by October 14th.

To register, contact Larry Tranel at ISU Extension in Dubuque County at 563-583-6496 or e-mail for registration information.

9:00 am Registration and Refreshments
9:30 am Dairy Marketing and Risk Management Update, Dr. Mark Stephenson, Dairy Policy Analyst, UW Madison, UW-Extension
10:15 am Farm Mental Health and Grief, Dr. Larry Tranel, Dairy Field Specialist, ISU Extension and Outreach
10:55 am Break
11:05 am Convergence of the Big Three: Ag Economy, Ag Technology and Ag Experience, Doug Johnson, Moody’s Analytics, Omaha, NE
11:50 pm Lunch
12:50 pm New Tax Law and Legal Issues of Concern, Kristine Tidgren, Director, Center for Agricultural Law & Taxation
1:35 pm Break
1:40 pm Land, Grain & Livestock—Marketing and Risk Management, Dr. Chad Hart, Grain Marketing Specialist, ISU Extension and Outreach

The program will adjourn around 2:30 pm.

The Tri-State Ag Lender’s Seminar is sponsored by: Iowa State
University Extension and Outreach; University of Illinois Extension; University of Wisconsin-Extension and the
UW-Platteville College of Agriculture. The cost of the program is $100. Please register with Dubuque County
Extension at 563-583-6496 or email or for registration information.

To get to the Best Western Plus Hotel at 3100 Dodge Street, simply follow Highway 20 into Dubuque (which is Dodge Street). The hotel is between Theisen's and Cedar Cross Road.


2020 Iowa Dairy Days

Monday, January 20, 2020 - 9:30am to Thursday, February 6, 2020 - 3:00pm
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Ames, Iowa – Iowa dairy producers will have the opportunity to learn about emerging dairy industry issues during the 2020 Dairy Days events hosted by Iowa State University Extension and Outreach specialists. The program is scheduled at five eastern Iowa locations between Jan. 20 and Feb. 6.

“Producers have seen low milk prices in the last few years, causing added farm stress. Our goal is to help producers make sound herd management decisions that are backed by current and relevant information,” said Jennifer Bentley, dairy specialist with ISU Extension and Outreach. “We host these workshops for farmers to network, share ideas, and take back management tips to help improve profit margins.” 

Topics will include ventilation options for freestall barns, dealing with farm stress, dairy market outlook, stress and metabolic responses on dairy cows, and group calf housing and its effects on calf behavior.

“This daylong program offers producers an opportunity to hear up-to-date information. They can also talk with our speakers for answers to their specific situations,” Bentley said.

Dairy Days dates and locations

  • Jan. 20 – Windy Tree Café, 101 East Main St., Riceville
  • Jan. 21 – Iowa’s Dairy Center, 1527 Hwy. 150 South, Calmar
  • Jan. 23 – Civic Center, 200 1st St. NE, Waverly
  • Feb. 4 – Chamber of Commerce, 514 B. Avenue, Kalona
  • Feb. 6 – Neumann’s Bar & Grill, 927 Main St., Holy Cross

Registration starts at 9:30 a.m. and the program will conclude by 2:30 p.m. A $15 registration fee covers the noon meal and costs. Pre-registration is requested by the Friday before each event, to reserve a meal. Online registration is available. Vouchers for the event may be available at your local agri-service providers or veterinarian’s office.

For more information, contact your ISU Extension and Outreach county office or Bentley at 563-382-2949. Larry Tranel, also a dairy specialist with ISU Extension and Outreach, can be reached at 563-583-6496.



Dairy Monthly Webinar - "Farm Stress, Behaviorial Health, and Grief"

Wednesday, December 16, 2020 - 12:00pm to 1:00pm
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Monthly Dairy Webinar: Farm Stress, Behavioral Health, and Grief

The Iowa State University Extension and Outreach Dairy Team monthly webinar series continues on Wednesday, December 16 from 12 noon to 1 pm. This program “Farm Stress, Behavioral Health, and Grief” features a presentation by Dr. Larry Tranel, Iowa State University Extension and Outreach Dairy Field Specialist.

Dr. Tranel will discuss the factors contribution to farm stress as it impacts behavioral health and thoughts to deal with grief.

Producers, dairy consultants and industry representatives can attend the webinar at:

No registration is required and there is no fee.

For more information contact the Iowa Extension Dairy Field Specialist in your area:

Region 2 - Jennifer Bentley-  email:   phone: 563.382.2949

Region 3 - Larry Tranel-  email:  phone: 563.583.6496

Region 1 - Fred M. Hall-  email:  phone: 712.737.4230



Virtual Boots in the Barn Offered for Dairy Women

Friday, January 22, 2021 - 2:44pm to Friday, February 5, 2021 - 2:44pm
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Virtual Boots in the Barn Being Offered for Dairy Women

Three-part series for women involved in the dairy industry begins Jan. 22

AMES, Iowa – Iowa State University Extension and Outreach will host Boots in the Barn virtually, a program for women dairy producers. Boots in the Barn is a three-part series for women involved in a dairy operation or industry and will be held as a webinar series. 

boots in the barn.The webinars will be held Jan. 22 and 29, and Feb. 5, via ZOOM from noon to 1:15 p.m.

The Jan. 22 session will feature Sarah Adcock, assistant professor in animal welfare research/teaching at the University of Wisconsin. Adcock will discuss pain management for disbudding and steps producers can take to stay ahead of consumer concerns and changing industry standards for this procedure.

On Jan. 29, Emily Krekelberg, farm safety and health extension educator at the University of Minnesota, will present “A Better Farm Starts with a Better You.” With low commodity prices, high debt loads and challenging weather in recent years, farm families are experiencing a high amount of stress. The COVID-19 pandemic added an unprecedented set of circumstances to already stressful conditions on many farms. Some days, it can seem impossible to stay above it all.

Krekelberg will interact with the group about wellness, self-care and strategies to help yourself and others cope with stress.

The third webinar will be held on Feb. 5 and include a panel of dairy women sharing their own personal dairy hacks, tips and tricks, from managing to owning and working in the industry. Find how out these three women take care of their animals and balance life. Bring your own ideas and join in the discussion of sharing dairy farm tips and tricks.

There is no fee for this program; however, registration is required. Register in advance for this meeting:

After registering, participants will receive a confirmation email containing information about joining the meeting.

The program is also sponsored by a Professional Dairy Producers Foundation educational grant.

“We’ve had great success with programs designed specifically for women,” said Jenn Bentley, dairy specialist with ISU Extension and Outreach. “Women often prefer to learn in small groups and with hands-on opportunities. They like to ask lots of questions of presenters without feeling intimidated, so programs designed for women alone are very effective.”

For more information on Boots in the Barn, contact Bentley at or 563-382-2949.



Virtual Dairy Day

Tuesday, February 9, 2021 - 10:00am to 1:30pm
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Virtual Dairy Day to Feature Profitable Practices


Timely updates on dairy issues


AMES, Iowa – Dairy producers and the industry will have the opportunity to learn about emerging dairy industry issues during Virtual Dairy Day hosted by the Iowa State University Extension and Outreach Dairy Team. The program is scheduled for Tuesday, Feb. 9, 2021 from 10 a.m. to 1:30 p.m.

“Producers and industry partners will have a chance to hear about current and relevant information to help them make sound management decisions.” said Jennifer Bentley, dairy specialist with ISU Extension and Outreach. “This workshop is traditionally in-person for farmers to network and share ideas. Due to COVID-19 concerns, this will be a virtual workshop to network, connect and ask questions.”

The agenda for the virtual day includes:

  • 10 a.m. – Opening Remarks.
  • 10:05 a.m. – “Making the Most of your Manure Nutrients”, Brian Dougherty, ag engineer with ISU Extension and Outreach.
  • 10:45 a.m. – “Think Outside the Box; Cocktail Mixes, Milking Frequencies, and Grazing Heifers”, Wisconsin Dairy Farmer, Josh Tranel.
  • 11:20 a.m. – “Mindset Tactics to Improve Brain and Behavioral Health”, Larry Tranel, dairy specialist with ISU Extension and Outreach.
  • Noon – Virtual Lunch Break.
  • 12:15 p.m. – “Milk Market Update”, Fred Hall, dairy specialist with ISU Extension and Outreach.
  • 12:55 p.m. – “Iowa’s Dairy Industry and Economic Impact”, Jenn Bentley, dairy specialist with ISU Extension and Outreach.


There is no fee to register; however, pre-registration is required to receive the ZOOM link.  Online registration is available at: Registrants will receive a confirmation email containing information about joining the meeting.

For more information, contact your ISU Extension and Outreach county office or Bentley at or 563-382-2949; Tranel at or 563-583-6496; or Hall at or 712-737-4230.


Rural Resiliency Webinar Series

Tuesday, March 2, 2021 - 7:30pm
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Rural Resiliency Webinar Series to Offer Advice on Stress

Learn how to manage the day-to-day stresses of rural life

DUBUQUE, Iowa – Rural residents and those who associate with them are encouraged to partake in a webinar series called “Rural Resiliency: Caring for You and Yours,” from 7:30 p.m. - 8:45 p.m. on four consecutive Tuesday evenings, March 2, 9, 16, and 23, 2021.

The series is sponsored by the Iowa State University Extension and Outreach Dairy Team, University Extension in Iowa, Illinois, Minnesota, Mississippi, Missouri, Nebraska, South Dakota, Texas, Vermont, West Virginia, and Wisconsin; and in cooperation with the Dioceses of Madison, Rockford, St. Cloud, Sioux City, New Ulm, Davenport, the Archdiocese of Dubuque; the Synods of Northeastern, Southeastern, and Western Iowa, ELCA; the Wisconsin Council of Churches; and other rural church organizations.

“This webinar series is a discussion starter and healthy mindset promoter for dealing with rural behavioral and brain health, communication skills and relationship enrichment for self, marriage and families,” according to Larry Tranel, pastoral psychologist, Iowa State University Extension and Outreach dairy specialist, and program speaker.

Farm families and those who work with them as consultants or neighbors are encouraged to attend. Local churches or ag businesses are encouraged to host a community site, following COVID restrictions, to allow farmers and interested rural associates to come together for group discussion and support.

“Attention to simple, but proven, relationship behaviors and mindset tactics can truly elevate our personal and family well-being to better deal with whatever life sends our way,” Tranel said.

This material is based upon work supported by USDA/NIFA under Award Number 2018-70027-28586.”

Sessions are as follows:

March 2 – Farm Stress Resiliency and Grief

March 9 – Personality Keys When “Married” to Farm Stress

March 16 – Dealing with the Stresses of Men, Women and Children

March 23 – Brain and Behavioral Health “Hacks” to Mitigate Distress


Registration for the series can be done at: . Questions about the program can be directed to Larry Tranel at 563-583-6496 or

Other Resources

  • Iowa Concern, offered by ISU Extension and Outreach, provides confidential access to stress counselors and an attorney for legal education, as well as information and referral services for a wide variety of topics.

With a toll-free phone number, live chat capabilities and a website, Iowa Concern services are available 24 hours a day, seven days per week at no charge. To reach Iowa Concern, call 800-447-1985; language interpretation services are available. Or visit the Iowa Concern website to live chat with a stress counselor one-on-one in a secure environment. Or email an expert regarding legal, finance, stress, or crisis and disaster issues.

  • 211 is a free, comprehensive information and referral line linking Iowa residents to health and human service programs, community services, disaster services and governmental programs. This service is collaborating with the Iowa Department of Public Health to provide confidential assistance, stress counseling, education and referral services related to COVID-19 concerns. 

Dairy Directions Series offered in Sac City and Pocahontas

Tuesday, December 7, 2021 - 10:00am to Wednesday, December 8, 2021 - 2:00pm
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ORANGE CITY, Iowa — The Iowa State University Extension and Outreach Dairy Team will host its annual Dairy Directions Series Dec. 7 in Sac City and Dec. 8 in Pocahontas.

The series will focus on four topics: cover crops and cocktail mixes as part of your forage system; the difference between cash flow and profitability; stress on the family farm, and a review of the dairy market and federal milk market orders.

“We all have a good sense of how cover crops are a good conservation practice, but we need to understand how they fit into our forage system,” said Fred Hall, Northwest Iowa Dairy Specialist with ISU Extension and Outreach. “This also opens up a variety of ‘cocktail mixes’ that can fit into our forage programs.”

Gentry Sorenson, ISU Extension and Outreach Field Agronomist will cover the cover crop topic.

Dr. Larry Tranel, ISU Extension and Outreach Dairy Specialist, will discuss the difference between cash flow and profitability and how that can help producers understand their lender’s point of view. Plus, Tranel will communicate with producers to help manage stress in the farm family.

“While the milk market looks strong now and the margins are looking better, looking at what is being discussed for the Federal Milk Market Order changes has the potential to reorganize the standards for the milk market,” Hall said.

Hall will address the market and what is being discussed concerning the federal orders.

Both days will feature the same program from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m., so dairy producers and agribusiness personnel can select the date and location that works best for them – either the ISU Extension and Outreach Sac County office in Sac City on Dec. 7 or the ISU Extension and Outreach Pocahontas County office in Pocahontas on Dec. 8. Registration will open at 9:30 a.m. each day.

There is no charge to attend either program thanks to sponsorship from the county Extension offices and Dairy Gross Margin, LLC; however, preregistration is requested to plan adequately for meals and materials. To register for the Dec. 7 Sac City session, call 712-662-7131; for the Dec. 8 Pocahontas session, call 712-335-3103. Any other questions can be directed to Dairy Specialist Fred Hall at 712-737-4230.