More than 350 dairy calf and heifer growers, industry representatives and allied associates met in Madison, Wis., for the Dairy Calf and Heifer Association (DCHA) 2015 Annual Conference held March 31-April 1. Producers in attendance represented more than 500,000 cattle from 23 states and six countries, showcasing the increased national and international reach of the association.

The agenda and line-up of speakers for the 2015 conference was planned for and hosted by calf and heifer raisers. The team created the new two-day agenda with a focus on calf performance, employee empowerment and financial success.

“This year’s DCHA Conference was one of our most successful to date,” says Lane Sollenberger, DCHA President and owner of Dream Farms in Newburg, Pa. “Like the other conference attendees, I am energized by the new ideas that I can take back to my facility; gained through the seminars, farm tours and by networking with other calf and heifer raisers and industry leaders. The DCHA team is proud of our association’s growth and is excited to continue building on this momentum.”

The conference lineup included educational tracks for all involved in calf raising, with sessions for: farm owners and managers, employees and those interested in dairy beef.

Conference highlights included:

· Pre-conference tour: Attendees got a first-hand look at thoracic ultrasounding, taking pharyngeal swabs and respiratory scoring live calves during the event hosted by the Wisconsin Veterinary Diagnostic Laboratory and University of Wisconsin-School of Veterinary Medicine.
· Educational sessions: A variety of seminar-style sessions were offered to producers during the conference. An assortment of topics were covered pertaining to calf health, dairy beef, employee management and more.
· Industry tradeshow: More than 50 leading calf and heifer focused companies showcased their latest innovations.Winners of a tradeshow reception activity were Dr. Dewayne Weaver and Angela Larse.
· Keynote speaker: Brad Scott, Scott Brothers Dairy, San Jacinto, Ca., shared his farm’s experience building consumer relationships through the hit TV show Undercover Boss.
· Annual meeting: A bright future for the association was discussed, the new board was instated (see below) and the 2015 scholarship was awarded to Danielle Lindquist of Cary, N.C.
· Farm tours: Attendees toured Doerfer Bros. Farm, a 900-cow facility in Verona, Wis. who recently installed auto-feeders to streamline their calf feeding program; and Larson Acres in Evansville, Wis., where they saw four all-in, all-out nursery barns and a cross-ventilated barn with transition and maternity facilities.
· Social media giveaway: Attendees used #DCHA2015 throughout the conference to share their experiences on social media. Lauren LeFort, Christina Maher and Danielle Penney were each winners of a Farmgirl Photography canvas.

During the annual meeting, the 2015-2016 Board of Directors was announced as follows: President: Lane Sollenberger, Newburg, Pa.; Vice President: Paul Jacobs, DePere, Wis.; Secretary/Treasurer: Vickie Franken, Sutherland, Iowa; Directors-At-Large: Tamilee Nennich, Freeport, Minn., Jackie Florent, Twin Falls, Id., and Bob James, Blackburg, Va.; Past President: Jack Banker, Black Creek, Wis.; North Central Regional Director: Amy Shiplett, Chilton, Wis.; South Central Regional Director: TJ McClure, Garden City, Kan.; Northeast Regional Director: Elizabeth Quinn, Schaghticoke, NY; and Western Regional Director: Brandon Anderson, Jerome, Id.