The dairy industry has many cycles – price cycles, production cycles, and even educational cycles. From an education standpoint, sometimes the pendulum swings toward business education and the numbers side of the business, and it eventually swings back to cow care and the science side of the business.
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Each year, the PDPW Business Conference offers a wide variety of speakers for the business mind, for managing people, and for cow care. This year's conference, March 12-13 in Madison, Wis., includes five specialty sessions with special emphasis on the dairy cow - how to care for her, the latest science around health and nutrition, and how to interact with her for peak health and productivity. "The wide variety of sessions focused on the cow will be helpful to a broad group of dairy professionals, from those just beginning their career who need to understand the basics of calf care or cow behavior, to seasoned herd managers who want the latest research and science," says Kathy Muth, dairy producer and PDPW program manager.

Among the 14 specialty sessions are these cow-centric programs, led by the dairy industry's foremost experts:
• Dairy Stocksmanship: Reconnecting People to Cows will be taught by industry-leading educator Dr. Don Hoglund. A new generation of dairy workers needs to learn animal behaviors that improve the interactions between people and cows. Many "I didn't know that" moments will come to light in this session, for experienced cow people and those who need to understand cow behavior better. Dr. Hoglund is adjunct assistant professor at the University of Minnesota and teaches applied animal behavior and handling at the College of Veterinary Medicine, North Carolina State University.

• Avoiding Heat-Stressed Cows with Cool Management will be taught by Dr. Jim Spain of the University of Missouri. From dietary management strategies to environmental cooling strategies, this session addresses the profit-robber on many dairies. Dr. Spain specializes in feeding management systems and computerized diet formulation and implementation of computerized DHIA records analysis.

• Stepping Up Calf Immunity and Controlling Bovine Respiratory Disease will share new research that helps you manage vaccinations to optimize calf health, led by Dr. Amelia Woolums from the University of Georgia. She is a faculty member in the Department of Large Animal Medicine with research interests in bovine respiratory disease (BRD), vaccination to control BRD, and immunity in the cow and calf.

• New Technologies to Improve Cattle Reproduction will be led by Dr. Paul Fricke, who will offer an overview of research assessing the value of new technologies that promise to improve reproduction in dairy cattle. Dr. Fricke is professor of dairy science at the University of Wisconsin–Madison with research goals to improve efficiency of dairy cattle through applied scientific research.

• Make Mom Proud: Understand the Early Life Factors that Impact Long-term Productivity of Calves. Dr. Michael Van Amburgh will share the latest research about the powerful signals a dam sends to the calf through colostrum, and offer practical information that can lead to positive profitable results for dairy animals. Dr. Amburgh is associate professor in the Department of Animal Science at Cornell University, where he has had dual appointments in teaching and research.

PDPW business conference logoFourteen specialty sessions and five keynote speakers will address the attendees, including an international panel of dairy producers. The conference theme is "RECHARGE," which is fitting for this annual educational event, as it has become known as the place where dairy producers reconnect with industry friends, rethink ways to handle on-farm tasks and business challenges, and plug in to industry issues that require dairy producer leadership.

New this year, dairy consultants, crop consultants and veterinary professionals attending select sessions of the 2013 Business Conference can receive continuing education credits through the University of Wisconsin School of Veterinary Medicine, as well as through ARPAS, the American Registry of Professional Animal Scientists. In addition, some sessions are approved for Certified Crop Adviser (CCA) continuing education units.

Details and registration information for the 2013 PDPW Business Conference can be found at, or by calling PDPW at 800-947-7379. The 2013 PDPW Business Conference will be held at the Alliant Energy Center in Madison, Wis.

Professional Dairy Producers of Wisconsin is a dairy-producer founded organization that provides educational programs and services to fellow dairy producers. PDPW's mission is "to share ideas, solutions, resources, and experiences that help dairy producers succeed."