Meeting virtually via a Zoom webinar for its 56th annual meeting on Mar. 9 and 10, the National Dairy Herd Information Association was able to conduct its regular business electing board members, passing resolutions and hearing industry reports with 147 delegates and industry folks attending. Last year this same week, the meeting had been held in Savannah, Ga., and just got under the wire before the coronavirus shut down… in fact the host hotel closed the next day. The online sessions this year were two and a half hours each day.
Board president Allen Chester, dairy producer from Lisbon, N.Y., called the meeting to order a few minutes after 10 a.m. on the 9th. The roll call of delegates was conducted by Secretary Susan Lee assisted by Leslie Thoman, business operations and office manager. Last year’s meeting minutes were approved and then the group unanimously elected three board members… Dan Nodolf, dairy producer representing AgSource / VAS, Madison, Wis.; Jeff Horning, dairy producer for Central Star Cooperative, Lansing, Mich.; and Julee O’Reilly, holding the management position from DHI Cooperative, Columbus, Oh. National DHIA is the service organization for the DHI industry and consists of 15 members, state and regional DHI associations across the U.S.
As the next business item, six resolutions were presented by Committee Chair Mark Rodgers. Topics were supporting USDA with animal ID based on RFID technology and the official ‘840’ tags. Another supported industry partnerships in collaboration with DHI organizations to add services for members and recognition of DHI personnel for supporting the dairy industry through the pandemic to provide animal protein for consumers. Retiring board members George Cudoc, Jere High and Skip Vierra were thanked for their service and finally members were asked to support the actions of the board and staff for their work this past year. All were approved the next day.
During the meeting, Steve Seivert, technical director of DHIA and Quality Certification Services, presented the Distinguished Service award to Ms. Pat Wright, retiring customer service manager at Tru-Test and Datamars. For many years, her work involved contact with DHI organizations across the country providing meters and parts, so she was a friendly, professional voice if not a regular meeting attendee.
In the board meeting at the conclusion of the two-day event, board officers elected were Allen Chester, president; Kevin Haase, Kaukauna, Wis., vice-president; Susan Lee, Twin Falls, Id., secretary; and Dave Scapanksi, Sauk Rapids, Minn., treasurer. Program sponsors recognized were Bentley Instruments, Datamars Livestock and Y-Tex.
Always a popular and well attended component of the NDHIA conference are the “Leadership Sessions” that feature organizations and technologies not always found at other dairy events. This year on the first day were topics and presenters from an international perspective that included Jort Schutte of Holland, speaking about Nedap as a dairy technology company; Uffe Lauritsen of the Danish DHI group – RYK – providing an update on a universal sampling device for today’s high speed milking systems; Reinhard Reents from the German organization VIT describing “iDDEN” or the International Dairy Data Exchange Network, assisted in the Q & A by Neil Petreny of Lactanet, Canada.
Also presenting were two from CDCB – Joao Durr CEO, giving an overview, and Javier Burchard who described the “DHI factors” research. A new NDHIA partner is iYOTAH, an on-farm dairy data sharing and management program with details presented by CEO Kari Spaan and Chief Product Officer Chip Donatone. Wrapping up day one was Neil Petreny, Lactanet CEO, describing the Canadian confederation of DHI groups and Martin Burke, CEO of ICAR (International Committee on Animal Recording).
Day two opened with information about the National Dairy FARM program from Nicole Ayache and Jamie Jonkers of National Milk. More NDHIA business followed including the Allen Chester’s president’s report, Treasurer Bob McKaig’s financial and budget reports, and Jay Mattison’s CEO’s report. Included too was information about human resources program being made available to members through Ashlie Johnson of BrookeHR headquartered in Madison.
The 16-page NDHIA Annual Report, available on the website, is jam packed with DHI and dairy statistics, documenting that in 2020 there were 11,691 herds with 4,077,255 cows in DHI for an average herd size of 253 across all programs. Among them, 51% of DHI herds have less than 100 cows but 60% of DHI cows are in herds of more than 750 cows. There were 383 herds with more than 2000 cows/herd representing 1.41 million cows submitting data through the DHI system to the National Cooperator Database at CDCB in 2020.
After final voting on the resolutions (see above) three more industry updates were provided. Dr. Randy Baldwin, newly named AIPL research leader, and Dr. Asha Miles, research geneticist, shared information about ongoing and new genetic research being conducted through this USDA unit. Danish DHI organizations leaders Niels Henning Nielsen, CEO, and Lauritsen, technical director, spoke about new collaborations in that country’s dairy sector. And finally, Jay Weiker, president of NAAB, the AI trade group, presented a positive report about AI sales both foreign and domestic, doing well in spite of the pandemic.
A featured speaker was slotted to round out the meeting agenda. Dr. Robert Sicora, based in Minneapolis, Minn., speaks on organizational leadership and personal motivation. Unhappily, the meeting ran a bit long and the speaker had a family emergency so his presentation was rescheduled to Mar. 23. There were 55 who were able to check in for his program… “Leading from the Helm: Navigating with a Purpose in 2021.”
Source: Dairy Business