More than 670 dairy producers, family members and industry representatives gathered at the Kalahari Resort in Wisconsin Dells, Wis., earlier this month for the Leading Dairy Producer Conference. Hosted by Purina Animal Nutrition and Land O'Lakes Inc., the Leading Dairy Producer Conference, now in its eleventh year, is one of the largest dairy producer conferences held annually in the Upper Midwest.
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This year's attendees represented 205 dairy farms and more than 160,000 cows. Attendees had the chance to learn about a wealth of topics ranging from transition cow immunology, feed-borne mycotoxins and how to improve efficiencies on-farm. Attendees also had the opportunity to hear first-hand from two producer panels engaged by Purina Animal Nutrition for their unique and specialized knowledge of the dairy industry. Sharing insights on calf raising practices, the first panel consisted of Pete Kappelman, Meadow Brook Dairy Farms in Two Rivers, Wis., Greg Ziegler, Ziegler Dairy Farms in Middleton, Wis., and Mike Larson, Larson Acres in Evansville, Wis. Feeding to a higher plane of nutrition, feeding three times a day and automated calf feeders were credited with part of their successes.

Panelist, Greg Jans, Cojo Dairy in Grove City, Minn., Kurt Steiner, Steinhurst Farms in Creston, Ohio and Rick Rausch, Rausch Family Farm in Athens, Wis., were in consensus, "We won't sacrifice milk to save a penny on feed." These three dairy producers participated in a panel discussion at the Leading Dairy Producer Conference on how to drive profit despite high feed prices.

The second panel focused on tips to drive profit potential despite record-high feed costs. Greg Jans, Cojo Dairy in Grove City, Minn., Kurt Steiner, Steinhurst Farms in Creston, Ohio and Rick Rausch, Rausch Family Farms in Athens, Wis., discussed tools and strategies that have made their operations successful. All three panelists credited holding the course when it comes to their rations despite high feed cost as part of their success, stating "cutting back sets you back."

Attendees at the Leading Dairy Producer Conference had a chance to see the growth difference between calves on a feeding program trial taking place at Fertile Ridge Dairy in Mt. Horeb, Wis.

"Our goal each year is to provide a discussion forum for the most progressive dairy producers and deliver the latest dairy nutrition and management insights," says Elena Lindemann, lactating livestock marketing director with Purina Animal Nutrition LLC. "Dr. David LaCount, our dairy nutritionist based in Wisconsin, leads the selection of topics that are of key relevance for dairy producers."

In addition to the seminars, attendees also had a chance to engage in friendly competition to test their dairy nutrition knowledge. Winners of the dairy jeopardy contest received vouchers good towards their next Purina Animal Nutrition feed purchase.

Purina Animal Nutrition partners with several industry leading companies to host the Leading Dairy Producer Conference each year and bring the newest research and information to attendees.

Purina Animal Nutrition LLC ( is a national organization serving producers, animal owners and their families through more than 4,700 local cooperatives, independent dealers and other large retailers across the United States. Driven by an uncompromising commitment to animal excellence, Purina Animal Nutrition is an industry innovator, offering America's leading brands of complete feeds, supplements, premixes, ingredients and specialty technologies for the livestock and lifestyle animal markets. Headquartered in Shoreview, Minn., Purina Animal Nutrition LLC is a wholly owned subsidiary of Land O'Lakes, Inc.