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DCHA Conference: Shaping the Future

February 12, 2020


Maureen Hanson

The Annual Conference of the Dairy Calf and Heifer Association will convene April 7-9, 2020, at the Alliant Energy Center in Madison, Wis.


Dairy Calf and Heifer raisers, researchers and industry supporters will gather for three days of educational sessions, industry networking and fellowship, featuring opening speaker Matt Rush. His keynote speech, “There’s a snake in my bumper!” will promises to set an inspiring tone for the conference, based on common sense, “farm boy” logic, and humor.


Other featured speakers include:


Emily Yeiser Stepp, National Dairy FARM Program – Stepp will discuss how collaboration between the Farmers Assuring Responsible Management (FARM) program and DCHA’s Gold Standards can underscore excellent animal care, and bring value to the complete dairy and beef supply chain.


Donald Hoglund, Dairy Stockmanship Specialist – Hoglund will share decades of experience in animal handling, emphasizing how correct handling techniques benefit both animal welfare and human handler safety.


Jason Lombard, USDA Centers for Epidemiology and Animal Health –A longtime veterinarian with the USDA, Lombard will discuss new passive transfer standards for calves, and how to achieve them.


Additional speakers from universities, private laboratories and technical service staff will discuss a broad range of topics, including disbudding practices; vaccines and immunity; heifer maturity; and marketing beef-on-dairy crossbred animals. Panel discussions also will focus on group housing and dairy-beef crossbreeding.


An optional, pre-conference tour on April 7 will visit Larson Acres, Evansville, Wis. A five-generation dairy enterprise, Larson Acres is managed by six Larson families. The operation milks 2,800 cows and farms more than 5,000 acres. Features of the tour will include pair and group calf rearing, and touring the dairy’s four modern calf barns.

Following the tour, pre-conference sessions will be presented by ABS Global (beef-on-dairy breeding) and NovaVive, Inc. (healthy calf transportation). An optional post-conference session on April 9 will feature more in-depth animal handling instruction by Donald Hoglund.


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