Penn State's Extension Dairy Team Offers Free Online Workshops To Increase Efficiency and Support Effective Decision-making

Posted: January 10, 2013

Free online seminars continue throughout 2013; updated schedule for Friday Facilitator Forums and Technology Tuesdays.

Penn State's Extension Dairy Team's free online seminars continue in 2013, offering dairy producers, advisers and employees multiple opportunities for enhancing their profitability.

Both "Friday Facilitator Forums" and "Technology Tuesdays" have programs scheduled throughout the winter and spring.  Each series is available to anyone with a computer and high speed internet access, and are free but require registration by noon of the day preceding the first session that you wish to be part of. Upon registering, you will receive information about accessing the training site. You need only register once to participate in as many sessions as you wish.

Friday Facilitator Forums are designed for on-farm resource teams, helping them work together for maximum benefit. The Forums are held from 10:30 a.m. to 11:30 a.m. on a monthly basis.

Remaining topics and dates are:

* January 18, 2013: Farm, Family, and Fitting the "Right" People around the Table  Understand how to get people on the team and around the table who have the greatest impact on the business. Speaker is John Frey, executive director, Center for Dairy Excellence.

* February 15, 2013: Hot Topics for Teams   Discover how to re-energize and re-focus your team by looking at current dairy industry issues and how they may impact your team. Dr. Lisa Holden, associate professor, Penn State Department of Animal Science.

* March 15, 2013: Having a Successful Advisory Team   Review recent research comparing the goals and subsequent achievements of various Pennsylvania advisory teams in relation to their cohort herds. Examine the annual impact of advisory teams and the potential they have to the profitability of the dairy operation. Instructor is Robert Goodling, Extension associate, Penn State Department of Animal Science.

To learn more about the series visit To register, visit

Technology Tuesdays: "Dairy Systems Planning and Building," are held from 8:30 a.m. to 10:00 a.m. and are aimed at increasing overall efficiency. Each webinar highlights an area of the complete dairy system.

Remaining topics, dates and presenters are:

* January 22, 2013: Using the "Team Design Approach" Learn how to put a team together to gain the best ideas from all your advisors. Also learn what the lender and others want to see in the planning process. Presented by Rob Goodling, Extension associate, Penn State Department of Animal Science.

* February 12, 2013 - rescheduled for March 12

* February 26, 2013: Transition Cow Housing and Management Transitioning cows from the dry period into and through early lactation has a huge impact on overall production. Learn why transition is needed, housing options, proper sizing of facilities and justifying the expense to your lender. Presented by Dr. Robert VanSaun, Penn State Extension veterinarian and John Tyson, Penn State Extension engineer.

* March 12, 2013: Milking Center Layout and Components (Change from previously announced topic.) Topics include animal and worker traffic, animal sorting, treatment and handling; parlor stall type options; ventilation; and how to incorporate other areas for equipment, offices and employees. Presented by Dan McFarland and John Tyson, Penn State Extension engineers.

* March 26, 2013: Feed Storage and Handling System Design  Feed is a large expense and storage and handling of that feed is critical to getting the most production out of that feed. Presented by Dan McFarland and John Tyson, Penn State Extension engineers.

* April 9, 2013: The Use of Existing Buildings  Do existing facilities fit into your dairy systems plan? What types of upgrades would be needed to make current facilities productive and how do you evaluate management and construction costs and benefits of remodeling? Presented by Dan McFarland and John Tyson, Penn State Extension engineers.

* April 23, 2013: Animal Welfare and the Dairy Industry Learn the importance of third party evaluations and the relationship between the score, cow comfort and production. Presented by Dan McFarland and John Tyson, Penn State Extension engineers along with the Penn State Extension veterinarians.

* May 14, 2013: Building Structures that Last  Building new dairy facilities is a huge investment, so what does it take to make that investment last? Discussion will include proper building loads, building material types and installation methods and suggestions. Impact of building construction on future modifications to accept changing management needs will be considered. Presented by Dan McFarland and John Tyson, Penn State Extension engineers.

For those unable to participate in the live sessions, all webinars will be recorded and posted online for later viewing at

This program is eligible for the following SmartStart credits from AgChoice Farm Credit: 2-4 webinars, 1 credit; 5-6 webinars, 2 credits; and 7-8 webinars, 3 credits.

For more information on the topics, visit To register, visit