There are two dairy conferences scheduled in early March that will provide area dairy producers with the opportunity to learn skills and hear information that can help them with the production management and financial management tasks of operating a dairy farm.
The first conference is the annual Northeast Ohio Regional Dairy Conference organized by the Killbuck Valley Veterinary Medical Association. This conference will be March 1 at Fisher Auditorium and the Shisler Conference Center on the OARDC campus in Wooster. The theme of the conference is "Survive, Thrive or Dive: Developing a Financial Strategy for All Markets." Featured speaker is Gary Sipiorski, a contributing author to Hoard's Dairyman and a dairy financial specialist with Vita Plus who works on developing financial training tools for dairy producers.
Sipiorski will present three topics at the March 1 conference, "What does a top third dairy producer do," "How to talk to your banker" and "You can't give up milk." Other speakers include Dr. Bill Yost, providing a dairy update, and Dianne Shoemaker, OSU Extension dairy production economics field specialist, talking about the "15 Measures of Dairy Farm Competitiveness." The day begins with registration at 9 a.m., includes programs at 10 a.m. and concludes by 3:30 pm.
There is no cost to attend the conference, but reservations are required by Friday, Feb. 24, for a lunch count. Lunch costs are covered thanks to the sponsorships of the conference exhibitors. Reservations can be made by calling any of the following veterinary clinics: Tri-County Animal Clinic, 419-853-4835; Orrville Veterinary Clinic, 330-682-2971; New Pittsburg Veterinary Clinic, 330-264-7787; or Byland Animal Hospital (419-994-5515). RSVP can also be done online at www.neodairy.com.
The second dairy conference opportunity is the Winter Dairy Conference scheduled for Thursday, March 9, at Fisher Auditorium on the OARDC campus. Sign-in/registration is at 9:30 a.m., and the day will conclude around 3 p.m. This conference is organized by the OSU Extension Dairy Working Group and includes a number of OSU specialists on the program. The theme of the conference is dairy cattle nutrition and management.
Topics and speakers include:
■ Less is more with reduced lignin in alfalfa: Mark Sulc, OSU Extension forage specialist
■ Numbers can lie! The importance of good feed sampling: Bill Weiss, OSU Dairy Nutrition and interim chair, Department of Animal Science
■ Dairy Economics: Measuring Up, Dianne Shoemaker, Extension field specialist, dairy production economics
■ Wading through a sea of numbers: How to evaluate a feed lab test: Bill Weiss, OSU Dairy Nutrition and interim chair, Department of Animal Science
■ Automated Milk Feeders for Calves: There's more to manage than the milk dispensing equipment: Maurice Eastridge, OSU Dairy Nutrition
■ Creating a culture of good handling practices on your herd: Katy Proudfoot, OSU Extension animal welfare and behavior specialist
■Salad bar and dessert: Managing the feeding system on farms with robotic milking systems: Maurice Eastridge, OSU Dairy Nutrition
Cost of the conference is $10 per person and includes morning refreshments, noon lunch and handout materials. Pre-registration is requested by Thursday, March 2, to the Wayne County Extension office at 330-264-8722; or RSVP by email to firstname.lastname@example.org. Sponsors of the dairy conference include Farmers National Bank, Farm Credit Mid-America, Wayne Savings Community Bank and Farmers State Bank.
An informational flier and registration form is available at: http://go.osu.edu/winterdairyconf.
Produce Safety Alliance Grower Training Course
A Produce Safety Alliance Grower Training Course is scheduled for March 6 at the Food, Agricultural and Biological Engineering Building on the OARDC campus in Wooster. This is an all-day (about seven hours) course for fruit and vegetable growers. The course covers key parts of the Food Safety Modernization Act, as well as Good Agricultural Practices.
The PSA course is one way to satisfy the FSMA produce safety rule requirement that states, "At least one supervisor or responsible party for your farm must have successfully completed food safety training at least equivalent to that received under standardized curriculum recognized as adequate by the Food and Drug Administration."
Course attendees will gain a basic understanding of the following:
■ Microorganisms relevant to produce safety/where they may be found on the farm.
■ How to identify microbial risks and practices that reduce risk. How to begin implementation of produce safety practices.
■ Parts of a farm food safety plan and how to begin writing a plan.
■ Requirements in the FSMA Produce Safety Rule and how to meet them.
Registration cost is $50 per person, which includes course materials, certificate of attendance and lunch. More information about the course, along with a registration form, is available on the OSU Extension produce safety website at http://producesafety.osu.edu/events/psa-grower-training-course. Or contact Allison Penate at email@example.com or 330-641-8147.
Rory Lewandowski is an OSU Extension Agriculture & Natural Resources educator and may be reached at 330-264-8722.