As Dairy Strong – one of the Midwest’s premiere conferences for the dairy farming community -- gets closer, more details are being released about the planned speakers and educational opportunities.
Dairy Strong will be held Jan. 12-14 at the Monona Terrace Community and Convention Center in Madison, Wis. More than 600 farmers, corporate professionals and government and university representatives from across the Midwest are expected to gather to explore the future of an integral part of the culture and economy of Wisconsin and the nation.
The conference will include a panel discussion about sustainability of farming and food production as part of a national outreach program called the Food Dialogues, developed by the U.S. Farmers & Ranchers Alliance.

Jonathan Perelman, who heads digital initiatives for the international talent agency ICM Partners, will be a keynote speaker. Perelman is the former vice president of BuzzFeed Motion Pictures and the former global lead for industry relations at Google.
A performance by New York Times best-selling author, Grammy-nominated comedian and actor Jim Gaffigan will kick off the conference. Gaffigan, whose writing and comedy center on food, is the star of “The Jim Gaffigan Show” on TV Land and Comedy Central.
In addition to the Food Dialogues, the event will feature breakout sessions and panel discussions on topics ranging from investment funding for new dairy technology to the evolving relationship between farmers and veterinarians.
While the concept of “sustainability” has different meanings for different people, most customers agree it’s becoming increasingly important in food production. With this in mind, a panel of farmers, academics and sustainability experts will convene to discuss current practices and the future of sustainability. The panel will take place from 10:15 to 11:45 a.m. on Jan. 14.
The discussion will center on trends related to sustainable farming and sourcing, how customers define sustainability, and the environmentally friendly methods and techniques currently used on farms—both small and large. The panel will also explore current environmental methods and the possibility for future innovation. Panelists include: Kim Kroll, Rolling Hills Dairy; Jude Capper, PhD, livestock sustainability consultant; Greg Zwald, White Pine Berry Farm; Michelle Miller, associate director, UW Center for Integrated Agricultural Systems; Steve Peterson, food industry sustainability expert, and Lauren Lindsley, dietician manager for Skogen’s Festival Foods. The panel is open to all registered attendees of Dairy Strong and will be available to view live and after the event at www.dairystrong.org.
Dairy Strong will also feature a number of sessions including:
  •  “Angel Funding: A Strategy to Stimulate Development of New Solutions and Technologies for Dairy Farmers” presented by Kent Weigel and Heather White of UW-Madison Dairy Science Department, and Jim Hodge, a financial consultant with The Hodge Williams Group.
  •  “Fan Testing at the BESS Lab: The Importance of Ventilation Testing for the Dairy Industry” presented by Steve Ford, BESS Lab manager at the University of Illinois.
  •  “High Immune Response Technology and Breeding Selection” presented by Dr. Bonnie Mallard of the Department of Pathobiology at the University of Guelph in Ontario, Canada.
  • “Understanding Your Rights When Regulators Come Knocking” presented by Tom Janczewski, attorney at Michael Best & Friedrich, LLP
  • “The Evolving Relationship Between Veterinarians and Farmers” presented by John Borzillo of Central Wisconsin Agricultural Services and Cody Heller of Heller Farm.
There will also be two panel discussion:
  •  “Farm/Public Partnerships: A Case Study of the Yahara Pride Farms Conservation Group of Dane County” moderated by Dick Cates, Center for Integrated Agricultural Systems at UW-Madison
  •  “Dairy Economy & Market Conditions” moderated by Mike North of Commodity Risk Management Group
For more details and information on how to register, visit www.dairystrong.org


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