The seminar will be held March 5-8 at the Sheraton Hotel in Red Deer, Alberta, and the agenda covers a wide range of topics including farm management, dairy cattle nutrition, herd health, genetics and reproduction, and animal welfare. Once again, the Thursday morning plenary session will include student research presentations and a dairy producer panel.

This year, the seminar’s opening session will take a look at the road ahead for the dairy industry. After a welcome from planning committee members, Timothy Caulfield of the University of Alberta will look at the clash between celebrity culture and science.

Next, Crystal Mackay of the Canadian Center for Food Integrity will talk about earning public trust in food and farming with Canadian consumers.

Last, Al Mussell of Agri-Food Economic Systems will share an economic analysis of supply management after the Canada-United States-Mexico-Agreement (CUSMA).

Progressive Dairyman asked the presenters of the first session to answer a couple of questions about their presentation. Here are the responses received from two of them.


Milk Supply Management After CUSMA: An Economic Policy Analysis

Al Mussell
Agri-Food Economic Systems

Why is this topic important?

MUSSELL: I think this session is important because there are many important questions ushered in by CUSMA for the Canadian dairy industry, and these have been difficult to sort out with the final text of the agreement only appearing so late in the process.

What do you hope attendees will take away from this presentation?

MUSSELL: What I would hope attendees could learn from the session are the critical elements of CUSMA that impact Canadian dairy, how these impact the ongoing dialogue regarding the operation and improvement of the milk supply management system and, finally, the anticipated timeline and risks regarding ratification of CUSMA among the three countries.

Timothy Caulfield

When Celebrity Culture and Science Clash

Timothy Caulfield
University of Alberta

Why is this topic important?

CAULFIELD: Popular culture is having a huge impact on public perceptions and behaviours. We live in the era of misinformation. And this is influencing how people think about food, exercise and health more broadly.

There is a ridiculous amount of noise out there. A recent study from the U.S. found only 27 percent of the public feel confident separating real news from the fake stuff. It has never been more important to understand how and why this is happening.

What do you hope attendees will take away from this presentation?

CAULFIELD: I hope people get a sense of the scope of the problem, how and why we got here, and what we can do as a community to push back.

For example, there is a growing body of research suggesting trust in our institutions – both public and private – has declined significantly. What can we do to address this issue? Also, what policy steps can we take to fight misinformation?

Of course, I also hope the attendees have fun. It is an entertaining topic because there are so many absurd claims being made in celebrity culture.

A 75-booth trade show held in conjunction with the event offers a forum to discuss the important industry topics shared during the formal program.

In addition, pre-conference events on Tuesday will offer the opportunity to visit three local dairy farms or delve into a three-hour session on precision feeding strategies for cows in automated milking systems.

Visit Western Canadian Dairy Seminar for the full agenda and to register.  end mark

PHOTO: Timothy Caulfield will be speaking on “When Celebrity Culture and Science Clash” at the conference.  Photo provided by Timothy Caulfield.

Tuesday, March 5

  • Pre-Conference Tour

  • Pre-Conference Workshop: “Addressing Precision Feeding Strategies for Cows in Automated Milking Systems” – Facilitator: Greg Penner, University of Saskatchewan

Wednesday, March 6

Morning Plenary Session

Session I: The Road Ahead

  • Welcome and Conference Overview – Gezinus Martens, Alberta Milk, chair, WCDS advisory committee; and Mike Steele, universities of Alberta and Guelph, chair, WCDS program committee

  • “When Celebrity Culture and Science Clash” – Timothy Caulfield, University of Alberta

  • “How Do We Earn Public Trust in Food and Farming with Canadian Consumers?” – Crystal Mackay, The Canadian Centre for Food Integrity

  • “Milk Supply Management After CUSMA: An Economic Policy Analysis” – Al Mussell, Agri-Food Economic Systems

Afternoon Concurrent Sessions

Session II: Optimizing Farm Management

  • “New Concepts in Dairy Cow Barn Design” – Gordie Jones, Central Sands Dairy LLC

  • “Mission 2050: Building Envelopes for the Future” – Vern Osborne, University of Guelph

  • “Mental Health in the Dairy and Livestock Production Sector” – Andria Jones-Bitton, University of Guelph

  • “Understanding the Internal Frictions Weighing on Milk Supply Management” – Al Mussell, Agri-Food Economic Systems

Session III: Fundamentals of Nutrition

  • “Strategies to Alleviate Aflatoxin Deleterious Effects on Performance, Inflammation and Oxidative Stress in Dairy Cows” – Phil Cardoso, University of Illinois

  • “Gut Health and How to Improve It” – J.C. (Kees) Plaizier, University of Manitoba

  • “Feeding Management for Cows in Automated Milking Systems: What We Know and What We Still Need to Learn” – Greg Penner, University of Saskatchewan

  • “Consistency is Key When it Comes to Feed Consumption in Dairy Cows” – Trevor DeVries, University of Guelph

Evening Banquet

  • Entertainment – Tribute artist and comedian Corny Rempel will be performing Johnny Cash

Thursday, March 7

Morning Plenary Session

Session IV: Student Research and Producer Panel

  • Student Research Presentation Competition – Five graduate students will present their dairy-related research findings.

  • “How I Define Efficiency on My Farm” – Producer Panel

Afternoon Concurrent Sessions

Session V: Healthy Cows – Healthy Milk

  • “Better Fresh Cows” – Gordie Jones, Central Sands Dairy LLC

  • “Being a Mom is Hard: Calcium Demands of Early Lactation Dairy Cows” – Jessica McArt, Cornell University

  • “Bovine Leukemia Virus (BVL) in Your Herd? Get Rid of It!” – Frank van der Meer, University of Calgary

  • “No Guarantees with Johne’s Disease: Use of Common and Novel Diagnostic Methods” – Jeroen De Buck, University of Calgary

Session VI: Advances in Genetics and Reproduction

  • “Impact of Nutritional Strategies, Including Feeding Amino Acids, on Health, Performance and Fertility of Dairy Cows” – Phil Cardoso, University of Illinois

  • “Benchmarks for Reproduction at the Herd Level” – Mark Carson, EastGen Genetics

  • “Timed AI in Context: Fitting Reproductive Programs to Cows’ Physiological Needs” – Rafael Bisinotto, University of Florida

  • “Using Automated Activity Monitors to Modify Reproductive Programs” – Ronaldo Cerri, University of British Columbia

Friday, March 8, 2019

Morning Plenary Session

Session VII: Improving Animal Welfare with proAction

  • “Managing Robot Herds to Optimize Health and Welfare” – Trevor DeVries, University of Guelph

  • “Why Do Some Calves Thrive and Others Die? Risk Factors Impacting Male and Female Dairy Calf Health” – David Renaud, University of Guelph

  • “What are the Options to Improve the Comfort and Welfare of Dairy Cows?” – Elsa Vasseur, McGill University

  • “Key Considerations for the Implementation of a Hoof Health Program” – Laura Solano, Farm Animal Care Associates  end mark