Experts to discuss the future of the dairy industry at the Great Lakes Regional Dairy Conference

posted on January 18, 2016 11:50am

Producers attending the 2016 Great Lakes Regional Dairy Conference will hear from industry experts about the global future of the dairy industry as well as ways to improve the bottom line through labor changes, genomics and nutrition. 

The conference will take place Feb. 4‒6 at the Soaring Eagle Casino and Resort in Mount Pleasant, Michigan. 

Leading experts will make presentations Thursday on topics ranging from reproduction and labor management to global and national outlooks on the industry. 

Today’s U.S. dairy industry operates in a globalized world. Milk from one in seven trucks leaving American dairy farms ends up in products and ingredients sold overseas, making exports a vital growth path for farmers and processors. GIRA is a strategic consultancy and market research firm with more than 30 years of experience understanding and predicting agricultural outlooks. Christophe Lafougere will share GIRA’s outlook on the global dairy industry. He will present volume and price forecasts for milk and commodity production, consumption and trade. In addition, he will provide an outlook on the European Union and discuss how the recent changes in policies will have an impact on the industry. 

In addition to hearing about the global outlook, attendees will hear from one of the largest registered dairy farming operations in the nation. Stephen Maddox, owner of Maddox Dairy, will discuss his operation, the challenges facing the industry and the future of dairying in the West. 

The conference will then shift focus to the labor force. Human resources experts with more than 80 years of combined experience will provide tips and techniques that producers can use to implement leadership teams, effectively source and recruit employees, and meet new labor laws. The experts and fellow producers will share best practices from various dairies across the United States and answer questions from the audience. 

Producers will also have the option of attending a preconference session, led by Michigan State University faculty and Michigan State University Extension educators. During the session, Michigan dairy producers will share their tactics on how they manage cows for first artificial inseminations (AI), when they pregnancy check and how they manage cows for repeat AI services. This panel will also share their heifer reproduction strategies to maximize pregnancy rates. 

Rounding out the Thursday schedule is the Exhibitor Showcase, the presentation of the Dairy Challenge awards presentation and the Great Lakes Commercial Heifer Extravaganza XI Sale. 

Individual (adult), student and farm registration options are available. Participants who register before Jan. 23 will save up to $25 per day. Online registration ends on Jan. 31. 

Visit to see the complete conference schedule or to register online. Participants can also register by phone by calling 517-884-7089.