Thursday

9 a.m.

Michigan State University Extension Workshop: Developing Your Employees Into More Productive Partners 

Now more than ever, agricultural producers need to transform the productivity of their farm operations using an inside resource: their employees. Find out how to encourage your employees to become more engaged, productive work partners. You’ll learn about tools you can use to include your employees in goal setting, developing employee training programs, and self-directed learning. The goal is to start your farm on a path to successful employee development.

11 a.m.

Trade Relations and the U.S. Dairy Industry
Tom Vilsack, CEO, U.S. Dairy Export Council (USDEC)

Tom Vilsack will share his outlook on U.S. trade relations for agriculture in general and the dairy industry specifically. Vilsack will discuss the current state of trade relations, where trade is headed and what it all means for the agriculture and dairy industries.

Noon

Lunch

1:15 p.m.

Unique Partnerships – The Future for Success in Agriculture?
Rob Rettig, Partner, New Vision Farms

New Vision Farms is a multi-family farming operation spanning three generations that is located in Henry County, Ohio. Rob Rettig will provide an overview of the operation’s unique approach to partnerships to succeed now and as the landscape of agriculture changes. (Rettig will go into greater detail on the topic during a later breakout session.)

1:45 p.m.

Breakout Sessions

In-depth Discussion on Unique Partnerships – The Future for Success in Agriculture?
Rob Rettig, Partner, New Vision Farms

Rettig will share details about how the New Visions Farms partnership started, its unique structures and success strategies the operation employs. He’ll also answer your questions in this continuation of his earlier keynote.

Shockproof Your Farm Finances Now for Leaner Times Ahead
John Blanchfield, Agricultural Banking Advisory Services

At the beginning of the 21st Century, prices and profitability in agriculture reached historical highs and producers expanded their farms accordingly. Today, farm economics have changed and producers need to make sure their farm finances are as shockproof as possible. John Blanchfield has spent 40 years in and around farm finance and agricultural banking. Hear his insights, tips, and takeaways on how to improve your farm finances and communicate with your banker.

Predicting Forage Quality to Improve Your Bottom Line
Ev Thomas, President, Oak Point Agronomics

Join Ev Thomas as he discusses influences on forage quality (such as climate and harvest management) and genetic efforts at improving forage digestibility including growing BMR (brown midrib) corn and reduced lignin alfalfa varieties. You’ll also learn strategies to better manage forage quality and improve your bottom lines.

3:00 p.m.

Break and Exhibitor Showcase

3:30 p.m.

Repeat Breakout Sessions (see 1:45 p.m.)

4:30 p.m.

Producer Perspective: An Inside Look at a Texas Dairy
Donald DeJong, Owner and CEO, AgriVision Farm Management LLC, and Co-owner and CEO, Natural Prairie Dairy

AgriVision Farm Management oversees 25 family-owned and operated agricultural businesses. Natural Prairie Dairy, based in Hartley, Texas, is one of the largest family-operated organic dairy farms in the U.S. Donald DeJong will share his perspective on these operations and explain a bit about how they work to enhance the dairy industry

5:30 p.m.

Reception, Exhibitor Showcase and Great Lakes Commercial Heifer Extravaganza XIII Sale

Dairy Girl Network Program