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Dairy Prices, Policy and Preparation at Feb. Conference
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This year’s Great Lakes Regional Dairy Conference takes place Feb. 3–5 at the Bavarian Inn Lodge and Conference Center in Frankenmuth, Michigan.

Source: Michigan State University, College of Agriculture and Natural Resources

Prices, Policy and Preparing for the Future: Dairy Producers Can Learn What’s Ahead in the Industry at February Conference

EAST LANSING, Mich. – Dairy producers are no strangers to fluctuating milk prices and tackling policy hurdles, but at this year’s Great Lakes Regional Dairy Conference (GLRDC) they will hear the latest news about the direction prices are heading in the future and learn strategies they may want to adopt to weather unexpected shifts in the industry. This year’s GLRDC takes place Feb. 3–5 at the Bavarian Inn Lodge and Conference Center in Frankenmuth, Mich.

Fluctuating milk prices can throw a wrench into the best laid budget plans. The size of the monthly milk check greatly influences the day-to-day operations of dairy farms. At 8 a.m. on Friday, Feb. 4, Jim Tillison, senior vice president of marketing and economic research for the National Milk Producers Federation and Chief Operating Officer of Cooperatives Working Together (CWT), will present the latest news related to dairy policy issues at the federal level and the role these issues will play in the 2012 Farm Bill during his session, "Milk Pricing Policy Development: Where It’s At, Where It’s Going."

"This session is very timely as discussions for the 2012 Farm Bill begin to take shape," said Sheila Burkhardt, member relations and public affairs coordinator for the Michigan Milk Producers Association. "When the current dairy support programs were implemented more than 60 years ago, nearly 100 percent of the U.S. milk production was used domestically. Today, the export market is a major component of growth for U.S. dairy products."

Tillison will also share insight into the Foundation for the Future program, developed by the National Milk Producers Federation in partnership with individual producers and cooperative management staff members who serve on its board of directors. The program takes into account the expanding export market and explains how to address price volatility by focusing on margin protection, rather than price.

"The Foundation for the Future program is designed to bring more economic stability to the dairy industry," Burkhardt said. "That’s something we would all like to see happen."

At 11:30 a.m., Gary Sipiorski, dairy development manager with Vita Plus Corporation, will present, "Preparing for the Next 2009: Learning Lessons and Moving Forward." Recognizing that 2009 was a difficult year for dairy producers, Sipiorski will review the lessons learned and help attendees discover steps they can take in order to keep their operations viable as they move forward.

Registration forms and a complete program schedule are available online at www.glrdc.msu.edu. Participants can also register and receive more information on the conference by calling Michigan State University events coordinator Megghan Honke at 517-353-3175.

The early registration deadline has been extended until Jan. 28, which qualifies participants for a $50 early bird discount. Online registration closes Jan. 28, and on-site registrations are subject to availability.