Vermont Dairy Producers Conference set for Feb. 24 in South Burlington

SOUTH BURLINGTON - Dairy farmers will have the opportunity to hear from the experts about future milk pricing, animal welfare and other issues affecting the dairy industry at the 2011 Vermont Dairy Producers Conference (VDPC) on Feb. 24.

The meeting will be held at the Sheraton Hotel Conference Center in South Burlington from 8:30 a.m. to 4:15 p.m. Registration, which includes the conference fee, lunch and a copy of the proceedings, is $25 if post-marked by Feb. 10, $45 after that date. Registration on the day of the conference is $65, space providing.

Conference information and a registration form for advance registrations may be found on the Web at www.uvm.edu/extension/2011dairyconference. Or people may contact Peggy Manahan or Tony Kitsos at the University of Vermont Extension Office in St. Albans at (800) 639-2130 or (802) 524-6501 or via e-mail at peggy.manahan@uvm.edu. Checks should be made payable to the Vermont Dairy Producers Conference and mailed to UVM Extension, 278 S. Main St., Ste. 2, St. Albans, VT 05478.

Participants who require accommodations should call the UVM Extension Office in St. Albans by Jan. 28.

The program will open with an address by U. S. Representative Peter Welch, followed by "Who's Hiding the Humor?," a presentation on laughter and learning with Jolene Brown, a motivational speaker and Iowa farmer. Brown will present a second talk in the afternoon entitled "The Facts of Life: When Family and Business Collide."

Leon Graves, vice president of Dairy Marketing Services, will moderate a panel on future milk pricing and policies, specifically how co-ops, producer groups and legislators are attacking the issues and what farmers can expect in the way of milk pricing in the coming year. Panelists include Bob Gray, executive director of the Northeast Dairy Farmers Cooperative, and Bob Wellington, senior vice president of economics, communications and legislative affairs at Agri-Mark Cooperative.

After lunch Graves will describe New York's animal welfare program. Dr. Frank Garry, an integrated livestock management specialist at Colorado State University will help producers make sense of dairy animal welfare issues and what they can do to help improve the dairy industry's image in regards to these issues.

The conference is sponsored by UVM Extension in coordination with the VDPC Committee with conference costs funded, in part, through donations from various agricultural service providers.

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