The Central Plains Dairy Expo at the South Dakota Convention Center in Sioux Falls, South Dakota, is less than two weeks away. The Welcome Reception with a concert by Nashville signer and songwriter Phil Vassar will kick off the event on March 26. The trade show and seminars are March 27-28. Keynote speaker Michael Swanson, a Wells Fargo agricultural economist, will address “Economic Outlook and Opportunities: What’s the Market Telling You?”

Lee karen
Managing Editor / Progressive Dairy
There will also be an ag prayer breakfast, two virtual farm tours and a Hispanic workshop.

As always, five-star sponsor breakout sessions will take place over the two-day event. Read below as a few breakout speakers share more on their presentations.

Click a link below to jump to an individual speaker's comments:

Click here for more information about the Central Plains Dairy Expo.


20 by 20: How to Increase Milk Production 20 Pounds Per Cow Per Day By 2020

Mark Armfelt
DVM, Dairy Technical Consultant
Elanco Dairy Business

Why is this topic important?
ARMFELT: Annual milk production per cow has practically doubled in the past 25 years. That is because more milk per cow spreads out fixed costs over more pounds of milk. Dairy producers who are most profitable generally increase milk production faster than the average producer.

What do you hope attendees will take away from this presentation?
ARMFELT: I hope the dairy producers who attend this presentation will come away with some new ways to think about obtaining higher production on their dairy.

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Managing Hispanic Labor: Is It About the Culture or Is It About the Rules?

Jorge Delgado
On-Farm Support Manager

Why is this topic important?
DELGADO: When I work with dairy farms around the U.S. that hire Hispanic employees, I always see them struggling to get the right messages between managers and workers.

Part of this problem is due to the language difference, but for the most part they struggle because many dairy managers don't set up rules and work regulations right at the beginning when they start the hiring process. Many use the excuse of not understanding the "culture," when it is really about the rules and not about the culture.

Culture is the difference in food and maybe family relations … but when it comes to milk cows, these differences should not affect performance and efficiency on dairy farms. Dairy workers, as many other workers in the U.S., work with a routine where things should be constantly monitored.

This topic is important because we are going to share experiences from successful farms and myself working with Hispanic workers on how to avoid problems and make business more profitable.

We are going to share tips on how to successfully manage employees on dairy farms and how to communicate better with them. The managers from both dairies at the panel session are Hispanics, making this session more interesting because producers can also see their point of view.

What do you hope attendees will take away from this presentation?
DELGADO: We hope they will understand the need to take total control of their business and manage employees very efficiently in order to increase their profits.

We hope that they can see that this matter should be addressed with regulations and continuous communication instead of avoiding it and hiding behind the excuse of a difference in culture.

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Understanding the Role of Plant Nutrition in Providing Better Animal Nutrition

Tim Eyrich
Manager, Plant Nutrition Development
Winfield Solutions

Why is this topic important?

EYRICH: Your plant nutrition is directly correlated to the minerals in the animal. Proteins and starches are very important in animal nutrition balancing rations for feeding. We have to have proper plant nutrition to produce these building blocks of the feed we want in the bunk. We get better utilization of the minerals and nutrients from a plant than we do from mineral supplementation, so having it right … in the plant is important. Good plant nutrition equals good animal nutrition.

What do you hope attendees will take away from this presentation?
EYRICH: By managing forage crops better ... they will have better animal productivity and possibly less input cost for the ration.

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Every Calf Counts

R.M. Thornsberry
DVM, Dairy Technical Specialist
Milk Specialties Global Animal Nutrition

Why is this topic important?

THORNSBERRY: Calves are born without any exposure to the diseases they're going to encounter later in life. They've been protected from inside their mothers, but once they're born, we have to vaccinate them in order to establish immunity.

Without it, they stand a low chance of survival. I'll be discussing how to vaccinate calves and when to vaccinate them. I'll also be talking about how to feed calves to promote the development of the immune system.

What do you hope attendees will take away from this presentation?
THORNSBERRY: I hope attendees will take away the understanding that you can vaccinate calves if you're using the proper vaccines in the right amounts and if you give a booster at three weeks.

It's important to establish immunity so that these calves are protecting against factors that cause diseases once they're weaned. I also want attendees to understand the role of nutrition and that what we feed to calves is just as important to the development of immunity function. PD

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Karen Lee
Progressive Dairyman magazine