The focus of the sixth annual I-29 Dairy Conference will be on helping dairy producers provide their cows with the best possible care. The event will be held Feb. 9-10, 2011, at the Best Western Ramkota Hotel in Sioux Falls, South Dakota.

Temple Grandin, a livestock-handling expert featured in HBO’s Emmy-winning film “Temple Grandin,” will be the featured speaker. The professor in the Department of Animal Science at Colorado State University designs livestock-handling systems that reduce stress on animals and improve safety for people working with livestock. Her keynote presentation will be at 7 p.m., Feb. 9. It is open to the public as well as conference attendees.

Presentations on Feb. 10 will be on sustainability; reducing stress on livestock; livestock care issues; lameness and how it affects performance, profit and welfare; dairy carbon footprints; and mold and mycotoxins in dairy feeds.

To provide a preview of the educational line-up, Progressive Dairyman asked Temple Grandin to comment on her keynote presentation and two afternoon breakout session speakers to comment on their presentations. Here are their responses:


How to Implement Animal Well-being Auditing Programs
Temple Grandin
Colorado State University


Why is this topic important?
1) It is the right thing to do,
2) Improves productivity of animals (e.g. milk production),
3) reduces pain and suffering of the animals, and
4) the customers are demanding it.

What do you hope attendees will take away from this presentation?
I want them to come away with practical items they can easily implement.


Lameness: Effects on Performance, Profit and Welfare
Jan Shearer
Iowa State University

Why is this topic important?
Lameness is the most costly disease of dairy cattle; and because it is so prevalent and causes so much pain and discomfort to affected animals, it is without question one of the most important from an animal welfare perspective.

What do you hope attendees will take away from this presentation?
My hope is that participants will gain a greater appreciation of the importance of lameness’ effect on performance, profit and welfare. It is important to deal with these disorders promptly and effectively. It is the right thing to do not only because it affects performance and profit, but also because it’s the right thing (morally and ethically) to do for the cow.


Carbon Footprints: A Management Tool for Your Farm
Crystal Powers
University of Nebraska

Why is this topic important?
In a challenging economic climate, efficiencies on the farm are crucial to success. Often these same improvements reduce the farm's environmental impact, which is a valuable measure in your community and the global marketplace.

What do you hope attendees will take away from this presentation?
Improving farm efficiencies and manure management also reduces a carbon footprint. We will explore some simple tools that producers can use to evaluate management and technology options for your operation. PD