Northeast Dairy Management Conference offered in March

The Northeast Dairy Management Conference, presented by Cornell CALS PRO-DAIRY and Northeast Dairy Producers Association NEDPA, will be held March 11 and 12 at the Holiday Inn, Liverpool. Seven sponsored pre-conference sessions will be offered prior to the 12:45 PM conference opening.

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This biennial and dynamic conference for progressive dairy farmers, previously known as the NEDPA Conference, continues to offer high-quality programming and provide the latest information on current trends and topics in the dairy industry. Farm owners and managers leave re-energized and with strategies to improve business performance.

This year’s theme is “Focus on the Future” and sessions feature diverse topics, including on-farm technology, protecting your brand, environmental issues updates, and navigating changes brought about by the new agricultural labor legislation.

Networking opportunities to share ideas and challenges with peers are highly valued by participants are built in during breaks and Wednesday evening’s dinner reception. Additionally, an exhibitor tradeshow provides the opportunity to personally connect with industry representatives that serve your business.

Following the conference theme, Jay Waldvogel Senior Vice President of Strategy and International Development for DFA, will kick-off the conference with his presentation What Will Influence Northeast Dairy Production Decisions in the Next 10 Years? Calling on his vast knowledge and experience in global dairy, Waldvogel will share perspectives on how the Northeast will fit into this worldwide marketplace.

The Compeer Financial Dairy Consulting Team and Zoetis joined forces in a project to statistically analyze financial and production records from large herds in six Midwest states over 11 years. Results identified six variables that separated the top performing dairies from their peers. At 2:00 pm, Steve Bodart, Senior Dairy Consultant of Compeer Financial, will share Management Strategies to Achieving Success in the Upper Midwest that these top farms have implemented.

Wednesday’s final speaker, Phil Plourd, President of Blimling Associates, will present Evolutions and Revolutions: Engaging Elusive Consumers. Consumers have more choices than ever, and they tend to be less predictable. Based on trends, Plourd will discuss how players in the dairy supply chain can react.

Is there waste in your operation? Time? Duplication of efforts? Cheryl Jones, University of Kentucky, is the first speaker Thursday morning and will present Employee Effectiveness with Lean Systems Concepts. Jones spent 22 years with Toyota implementing their production system based on the philosophy of achieving the complete elimination of all waste in pursuit of the most efficient methods. This “lean manufacturing” system is a model used throughout the world and across many industries, including agriculture.

Cornell University’s Julio Giordano will present Cows Going High Tech: Health and Reproductive Management in the Era of Precision Technologies. Dr. Giordano’s lab works to improve the reproductive performance, health, and productivity of cows. He’ll discuss strategies to incorporate the many types of technologies available on daily herd management.

Back by popular demand, owner and operator of Dairy Coach LLC and dynamic speaker, Tom Wall, will present Runaway Wages – Are You Getting What You Pay For? Tom is the creator of the newest employee management app and time clock called PeopleCOR, the Details for Dairy training video series, and Dairy Interactive Milker Training simulator.

While labor efficiency has always been a goal on dairies, the Farm Laborers Fair Labor Practices Act (FLFLPA), which went into effect January 1, has intensified the focus on labor tenfold. With the overtime threshold at 60 hours and mandatory day of rest, farms need to find ways to make the most of employees’ time. Three general sessions and one breakout session on Thursday’s conference agenda are devoted to this topic. Attendees will also hear the latest updates and guidance on the law, including the Temporary Restraining Order, which is expected to be resolved by that time.

During the Adapting Management to Changing Labor Regulations panel discussion, led by Cornell’s agriculture labor specialist Dr. Richard Stup, you’ll hear how three NEDPA member farms are adapting labor practices under the new law. Crystal Grimaldi of Ideal Dairy Farms, a 2,600-cow dairy in Hudson Falls, Kim Skellie of the 2000-cow EL-VI Farms LLC in Newark, and Mike McMahon of EZ Acres LLC, a 850-cow dairy in Homer, will share their strategies to incorporate requirements of the new legislation.

“The panel plans to discuss strategies that their farms are using to adapt to the new overtime and day of rest requirements in New York. We will discuss the steps they are taking to cover work schedules, maintain farm profitability, and keep employees satisfied with their work and compensation. We will also explore union formation and collective bargaining, how these farms are responding, adapting operations, and working with employees,” Dr. Stup said.

Interspersed between general sessions on Thursday will be two breakout sessions, offering the opportunity to attend two of four topics offered. Concurrent sessions include:

  • Understanding New Labor Regulations with Chuck Palmer, Michael Best & Friedrich LLP
  • Protecting Your Brand with Emily Stepp, National Milk Producers Federation,
  • Environmental Issues Update with Karl Czymmek, Cornell CALS PRO-DAIRY,
  • Practical Risk Management Applications for Commercial Dairies with Chris Wolf, Cornell University.



Seven industry-sponsored speakers will be featured starting at 9 am, Wednesday, March 11, prior to the opening of the Northeast Dairy Management Conference.

Sharing Your Farm Story with Local Media
Eileen Jensen, Executive Director, NYAAC
Gain insight on connecting and working with local media to build relationships. Develop a plan for the upcoming year to share positive, proactive stories about agriculture in your local community.
- Sponsored by NEDPA

Stressors and Stress Affecting Dairy Cattle and Their Impact on Health and Performance
Kristen Glosson, Phibro Animal Health
This session will explore the biological implications of expected and unexpected stressors present on a dairy farm, and identify and mitigate the effects of stress on the health and production of your herd.
- Sponsored by Phibro Animal Health

Missed Margin Opportunities: Are You Capturing Every Gross Income Opportunity? 
John Lehr, Farm Credit East
Are old paradigms holding you back from capturing the most top line income you can? We will examine a gross margin approach for selling excess heifer and crops. What are those marginal units really worth?
- Sponsored by Farm Credit East

Gaining Value from Your Technology

Luke Getty, Ideal Dairy Farms and Shane St. Cyr, Adirondack Dairy
Technology is a critical tool on the farm. Working with a provider who understands your business and has experience working with farms is key to gaining value from technology.
- Sponsored by Dairy One

Focus on Your Ownership Plan
Tim Veazey, Lincoln Agribusiness; Bruce Charleton, Lincoln Agribusiness; and Jeff Fetter, Scolaro, Fetter, Grizanti, McGough & King, P.C.
Do you have a plan to ensure the smooth transition of ownership and management to the next generation? How should your business be structured?
- Sponsored by Lincoln Agribusiness

Nutrient Recovery and Watershed Protection on Dairies
Kerry Doyle, Trident Processes
Farmers are not just seen as food providers anymore; they are also expected to provide sound environmental solutions in their communities. Integrated manure treatment systems help achieve these expectations.
- Sponsored by Pikeside Ag Machinery

Improving Dairy Profitability 

Mark Thomas, Dairy Health & Management Services, LLC
As dairy margins continue to narrow, accelerating the profitability is a key to the sustainability of the business. Join us to find out how an interdisciplinary approach helps dairy operations who want to improve their net profitability by optimizing cattle health, nutrition and production and strategically adopting new knowledge based on farm-specific data modelling.
- Sponsored by Dairy Health & Management Services, LLC

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