February 24, 2010

The third annual Kentucky Dairy Partners meeting is set for March 2 and 3 at the Cave City Convention Center. Dairy producers, industry representatives and anyone interested in the dairy industry are welcome to attend.

Exhibit viewing begins March 2, from 6 to 8 p.m. CST and continues throughout the meeting. Participants can register at 8:30 a.m. March 3. Sessions will start at 9:20 a.m. Opening sessions include a presentation about educating the public about the dairy industry from Chuck Cruickshank of Dairy Management, Inc. and information about feeding dry cows from University of Illinois Extension Dairy Specialist Mike Hutjens, a regular contributor to Hoard’s Dairyman magazine.

University of Kentucky College of Agriculture  Extension Dairy Specialist Jack McAllister will lead a discussion titled “Past Research and Extension Gave Us Today’s Practices – What Does the Future Hold?”

Terry Rowlett and Cheryl Hayn will discuss ways to “Build Dairy’s Future Together” and how to promote the dairy industry and its products with dairy checkoff funds. With his wife and his father, Rowlett milks 120 cows and raises corn silage, grain, tobacco and grass hay on 600 acres. Hayn is general manager of the Southeast United Dairy Industry Association in Atlanta.

After lunch, Hutjens will talk about nutrition lessons learned in light of low milk prices, and Cruickshank will discuss incorporating and validating animal practices on the farm.

The day will wrap up with “Lessons Learned from Weathering the Storms,” a farmer-led panel discussion. Dairy farmers on the panel include John Harrison of Tennessee, Mark Rauscher of Indiana and Stewart Jones of Kentucky.

Harrison grew up on the family dairy farm before earning a bachelor’s degree in agricultural economics from the University of Tennessee in 1981. After graduation, he continued in the dairy business and eventually purchased Sweetwater Valley Farm and led its growth to 800 milking cows. Harrison also formed Sweetwater Valley Cheese in 1998, which recently opened to the public as a way to educate consumers about the cheesemaking process.

Rauscher also grew up on his family’s historic farm, which was established in the 1800s. The Rauschers currently milk 220 registered Holsteins, with a rolling herd average of 29,520 pounds of milk.

Jones began farming with his wife Mary in Loretto, Ky. in 1982. They raised tobacco, beef and hogs on 186 acres and over the years expanded. They started milking 60 Holstein cows in 1995. These days the dairy operation has grown to 600 cows with a focus on cow comfort, milk quality and facility maximization.

Sponsors of the meeting include the UK College of Agriculture, the Kentucky Dairy Development Council, Kentucky American Dairy Association/SUDIA and the Kentucky Department of Agriculture.

Two producers per Kentucky dairy operation will receive free registration courtesy of the Kentucky Dairy Development Council. The fee for other participants is $25 per person. All registrations will be taken at the door. Complete schedule available at http://www.uky.edu/ag/ AnimalSciences/Dairy/schedule.pdf .

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