SIOUX FALLS, S.D. – As registered Holstein breeders gather for the 2022 National Holstein Convention to celebrate Progress on the Plains, a secondary event will be fitting for every dairy producer of any size, shape and breed.
    “We want this event to foster a learning environment for producers of all sizes, especially as we look to the future needs of dairy farmers where data and technology innovations are a cornerstone towards success, both in terms of profitability, efficiency, and what it can do to help improve herds and labor needs,” Cheryl Marti said.
    Marti is the chairperson for the Data and Innovation Summit being held during part of the National Holstein Convention.
    The summit will take place June 30 at the Sioux Falls Convention Center in Sioux Falls.
    The day-long event begins at 7:30 a.m. with presentations from notable industry leaders, including Holstein Association USA’s Dr. Jeffrey Bewley and Zoetis’ Dr. Michael Overton, to discuss the transformation of data in the dairy industry and its future, as well as how farms should be using the data to aid in best management practices. Discussion will continue with presentations by Dr. Jason Osterstock and Chris Cunningham.
    “It’s an educational event for dairy producers interested in achieving better herd results and successes in whatever way they measure that,” Marti said. “When we were putting together the objective of the meeting, we wanted to create a space for dairy farmers to learn and hear of ways to improve and use new and existing data and technologies on the dairies, no matter the size of the dairies.”
    The day will continue with panels from industry experts on technologies that make a difference on farms, and dairy producers from both Minnesota and Wisconsin who will testify their successes from using on-farm data.
    “Our desire is for attendees to see how data innovations have evolved and can aid in new decisions on farms with cow and herd-based information and leave the event with actionable take-homes they can apply immediately,” Marti said. “The event was put together by producers and with producers in mind, and we’re especially focused on anything related to cow and herd data which can be used to improve a dairy operation in many ways, such as profitability, health, performance and labor.”
    In addition, there will be 14 technology video spotlights during the main summit that runs until 1:15 p.m. There will also be opportunities to learn from exhibitors about the technologies they may hear about and be entered into a raffle drawing. Following the summit, at 3:30 p.m., 11 additional sponsored seminars and learning opportunities, most all technology based, will take place.
    As Marti confirms the lineup for the day, she said it is a toss-up between which part of the summit excites her most.
    “It’s really hard to pick just one,” Marti said. “I’m excited about our agenda; it’s really going to be great learning for everyone, we have some great and dynamic speakers, and it’ll be fun to do this all in-person to get the most from the content.”
    The summit is approved for six continuing education credits from the Registry of Approved Continuing Education of the American Association of Veterinary State Boards and five credits toward the American Registry of Professional Animal Scientists.
    “This is truly an educational event,” Marti said. “And for those that would like to see some of the technologies at work, there are a couple of farm tours the day before that may also interest them. One tour (Great Northern) has multiple farms using dairy precision technologies and another tour (Western Ways) includes a couple of robotic farms.”
    Following the summit, attendees are encouraged to stay for the cattlemen’s style ribeye steak sandwich dinner and time to socialize with fellow dairy farmers.
    “It’s been a couple years since people have had many chances to get out and go to events,” Marti said.
    While Marti is organizing the event, the idea for a technology summit came from the Minnesota Holstein Association, this year’s host for the national convention.
    “We knew this data and innovation space was the right topic to have in a place like this, the I-29 corridor, where there is a lot of dairy growth and new things happening,” Marti said. “The convention itself attracts our traditional registered breeders, but we wanted to also attract those producers of different types, breeds and larger herd sizes too for great discussion and an opportunity to learn from each other.”
    And in conjunction with the convention, the summit is an opportunity for dairy farmers across the nation to see the industry’s progress in the Upper Midwest as it relates to data and technology on farms.