The Dairy Calf and Heifer Association (DCHA) annual conference offered a diverse lineup of speakers and producer panels, unveiled new industry insights and provided unmatched networking. More than 600 dairy calf and heifer growers, dairy farmers and allied industry professionals who represent more than 2 million cattle, attended the 2017 DCHA conference, April 11-13 in Madison, Wis. Attendees traveled from 30 states and 10 countries.
“This year’s DCHA conference was one of our finest ever,” said Lane Sollenberger, DCHA president and general manager of Dream Farms in Newburg, Pa. “The information shared by keynote speakers and producer panels paired with exceptional farm tours, educational breakout sessions, trade show and unmatched networking has elevated the level of education and expertise shared at the conference. Additionally, the Gold Standards have complemented all aspects of DCHA’s goals.”
Calf and heifer performance, employee empowerment and animal welfare were the key topics of this year’s conference.
Conference highlights include:
Farm tours: Attendees visited Endres Jazzy Jerseys and Ziegler Dairy Farm. Owners of Endres Jazzy Jerseys of Lodi, Wis., discussed specialized newborn calf care, transition management and an overview of the DCHA Gold Standards was given. At Ziegler Dairy Farm in Middleton, Wis., members saw group calf housing with autofeeders, heifer transition barns and toured off-site heifer grower facilities.
Educational sessions: During the two-day conference, members learned about new discoveries in calf health and nutrition, heifer reproduction and monitoring, group housing and feeding, animal welfare, real-world experiences from panels of calf and heifer raisers, employee management and more.
Industry tradeshow: More than 80 innovative calf- and heifer-focused companies highlighted the latest products, technology and information at their booths.
Keynote speaker: Ruby Newell-Legner, 7 Star Service, showed members how to create a positive work environment to foster trust and develop teamwork.
Annual meeting: DCHA celebrated another year of success and welcomed two new board members, Sam Gardner of Huddleston, Va. and Megan Kissel of Wendell, Idaho. Emily Butner of San Marcos, Calif., was recognized as the 2017 scholarship winner.
Social media giveaway: Attendees used #DCHA2017 throughout the conference to share their experiences on social media. Ryleigh Rowcliffe, CY Heifer Farm of Basom, NY, won a complimentary 2018 conference registration.
Post-conference tour: The Wisconsin Veterinary Diagnostic Laboratory (WVDL) brought hands-on learning for members to learn what to look for in an electrolyte, how to administer fluid therapy, in addition to a full necropsy.
Full conference summary and proceedings are available at: http://bit.ly/2ppvZxN
The 2018 DCHA Conference is set for April 10-12 in Milwaukee, Wis. Make plans to attend by visiting www.calfandheifer.org/conference or calling 855-400-DCHA (3242). Sponsorship opportunities are also available.
The Dairy Calf and Heifer Association (www.calfandheifer.org) was founded in 1996 based on the mission to help dairy producers, calf managers and those professionally focused on the growth and management of dairy calves and heifers. With a national membership of producers, allied industries and research leaders, DCHA seeks to provide the industry’s standards for profitability, performance and leadership, serving as a catalyst to help members improve the vitality and viability of their individual efforts and that of their business.