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Operations Managers Conference Session Descriptions

General Sessions

Seneca Park Zoo Society: A Top Workplace Awardee (Despite the Odds)
Pamela Sanchez, Seneca Zoo Park Society
Tuesday, January 22  8:45 - 9:45 a.m.
Sometimes, the public perception of zoos doesn’t match 21st century zoological practices that emphasize animal welfare, guest experience, and environmental conservation.  Creating a workplace culture that is rooted in the WHY of our existence and that empowers and connects each employee to the organization’s mission is key to creating a culture where employees feel valued and purposeful.  Programs, projects, solutions and ideas that support the mission begin to come forth from all levels of the organization, especially when the culture also has clear workplace ethics that form the backbone of employee behavior.

How Much Does the Welfare of Our People Affect the Welfare of Our Animals?
Dr. Robert Hagevoort, New Mexico State University
Tuesday, January 22  5:20 - 6:20 p.m.
This presentation will focus on the concept that animal welfare doesn’t live in a vacuum; it’s the outcome of an interaction between a human and an animal, and it can either have a positive or a negative outcome. The question explored in this presentation is how much does the well-being of our people affect the well-being of our animals?

Strategies for Team Effectiveness
Dr. Jamie Perry, Cornell SC Johnson College of Business, School of Hotel Administration
Wednesday, January 23        7:50 - 8:50 a.m.
Collaborating and coordination are essential characteristics to an effective team. However, most teams struggle in this area due to member-related issues (e.g. absence, fatigue, motivation, training) or team-related issues (e.g. conflict, resentment, changes). This presentation will focus on ways to provide support, either through strategy or intervention, to teams who are faced with challenges.

Employee Development Panel
Dr. Richard Stup, Cornell University (moderator)
Panelists: Betsey Cunningham, Alliance Dairies, Jon Huseth, Clay View Dairy, Byron Ramirez, Ag Pathways LLC, and Dr. Conrad Spangler, Riverview LLP

Wednesday, January 23        11:10 a.m. - 12:15 p.m.

Employee development should be and is a continuous process within successful businesses. During this panel conversation moderated by Dr. Richard Stup, Ag Workforce Specialist with Cornell Cooperative Extension, three different dairy businesses will share insights on what they are doing to recruit, develop, and retain employees on their farms along with sharing key attributes of their successful middle managers.   The panel consists of Jon Huseth, Clay view Dairy, Minnesota, Dr. Conrad Spangler, Riverview LLP, Minnesota, and Betsey Cunningham, Alliance Dairies, Florida

Breakout Sessions

Employee Onboarding: The First Step to Develop and Retain the Best People
Dr. Rich Stup, Cornell University
Tuesday, January 22              10:15 - 11:00 a.m. and 11:10 a.m. - 11:55 a.m.
Safe, Productive, and Confident… from Day One.  Onboarding is the dairy’s chance to make a strong and lasting impression that will shape an employee’s career with the farm. An effective onboarding program establishes the dairy as a professional employer worthy of retaining quality employees for the long term. It sets a positive safety culture, clears the employment law hurdles, and sets the employee onto the fast track toward high productivity. Learn about templates and resources that your farm can adopt to quickly implement an effective onboarding program

Key Lean Concepts to Improve Efficiency and Reduce Waste
Courtney Karszes, Raymond Corporation
Tuesday, January 22              10:15 - 11:00 a.m. and 11:10 a.m. - 11:55 a.m.
The main operational way Toyota has improved profits has been through eliminating waste and becoming more efficient in their processes, known as Toyota Production System, a Lean concept.  When starting out on the Lean journey the best place to start is with implementation of standard work and 5S. Standard work is the documentation of the process so that everyone performing that task is doing so in the safest and most efficient way. 5S is the concept of only having exactly what is needed in the exact location it is needed. These tools are the foundation of Lean. After these tools have been implemented it lends itself to better recognition and permanent fixes to disruptions of processes.

Practical Dairy Farm Safety Implementation: Sharing our Journey
Dr. Conrad Spangler, Riverview LLP
Tuesday, January 22              10:15 - 11:00 a.m. and 11:10 a.m. - 11:55 a.m.
The fatality of one of your dairy farm employees is a horrible experience for the employee's family, your family, and the coworkers of the employee.  Implementing a dairy farm safety program can seem overwhelming as to where to start and how to know what is the most effective thing to implement.  Conrad will share Riverview's journey in improving dairy farm safety, provide practical tips for getting started, and share successes and failures along the way in an effort to help other producers wherever they may be in the safety journey on their dairy operations.

Finding the Right Reproductive Management Program for Dairy Heifers
Dr. Julio Giordano, Cornell University
Tuesday, January 22              1:00 - 1:45 p.m. and 1:50 - 2:35 p.m.
In this presentation Dr. Giordano will discuss the latest research findings on the impact of different reproductive management programs for dairy heifers. Practical aspects for on-farm implementation and recommendations will also be discussed.

Developing a Virtual Dairy Farm Brain
Dr. Victor Cabrera, University of Wisconsin-Madison
Tuesday, January 22              1:00 - 1:45 p.m. and 1:50 - 2:35 p.m.
Dairy farms have embraced technological innovations and procured vast amounts of data, but integrating these data to improve whole farm-based management and decision-making has proven challenging. It is imperative to move towards systems that can collect, integrate, manage, and analyze relevant data in real-time and provide inferences and learning to maximize profit and reduce environmental impact.

Pathogen Based Mastitis Treatment
Dr. Rick Watters, Quality Milk Production Services
Tuesday, January 22              1:00 - 1:45 p.m. and 1:50 - 2:35 p.m.
Pathogen based mastitis treatment has the potential to decrease farm costs and the use of antibiotic on farm.  It allows farmers to tailor treatment protocols to limit antibiotic use to mastitis cases that will most effectively respond. Dr. Watters will share the current research on pathogen based mastitis treatment programs and practical protocols for implementing such a program.

On-farm Applications of NIRS
Dr. Matthew Digman, University of Wisconsin-River Falls
Tuesday, January 22              1:00 - 1:45 p.m.
Over the past decade near-infrared reflectance (NIR) spectrometers have gone from the lab, to the field and can now fit into the palm of your hand. But how do these systems work and why is the calibration such an important consideration? How can I incorporate predicted results into management decisions?

Managing Shop and Maintenance Operations
Albert McFadden, Pleasant Valley Farms of Berkshire LLC
Tuesday, January 22              1:50 p.m. - 2:35 p.m.
As farms grow in size, the operations associated with maintaining equipment and facilities becomes more time consuming and important. Lean how one operation manages their daily maintenance activities, with a focus on timely maintenance, cost management, parts inventory, parts pricing, early ordering, and time management.

Identifying Bottlenecks in On-Farm Labor Efficiency and Practical Solutions for Improvement
Jason Karszes, Cornell CALS PRO-DAIRY
Tuesday, January 22              3:30 - 4:15 p.m. and 4:25 - 5:10 p.m.
With labor being a growing concern over time, understanding where our time goes and how to evaluate it is crucial to improving labor efficiency on farms. Digging into some data from PRO-DAIRY’s labor allocation study, this session will discuss the results, where ranges are in labor efficiency across the industry, and methods for restructuring habits and routines to improve the efficiency in daily tasks.

Managing and Resolving Conflict in the Workplace
Dr. Ariel Avgar, Cornell University ILR School
Tuesday, January 22              3:30 - 4:15 p.m. and 4:25 - 5:10 p.m.
Conflict is an inevitable feature of all organizations. Nevertheless, the manner in which managers and supervisors deal with conflict varies greatly across different organizations with consequences for productivity, performance, and employee wellbeing. This session will highlight central types of conflict in the workplace and different methods used to resolve and manage them. The session will focus on the strategies, structures, and skills necessary for effective organizational conflict management.

How Does Your Farm Culture Measure Up?
Libby Eiholzer, Cornell Cooperative Extension - NWNY Dairy, Livestock and Field Crops Team
Tuesday, January 22              3:30 - 4:15 p.m. and 4:25 - 5:10 p.m.
It can be difficult to put a finger on what makes one farm a better place to work than another.  Sometimes it just boils down to the "feel" or culture of the workplace.  In this talk you will learn how to gauge the culture of your farm, learn how it can be perceived by workers, and the effect that this can have on their behavior.  You'll also learn how you can make incremental changes to work towards creating a more positive culture. We'll also cover some of the misunderstandings that are common on farms with Hispanic employees and how to prevent them.

What Drives Financial Success on Dairies?
Dr. Michelle Barrett, Zoetis
Wednesday, January 23        9:00 - 9:45 a.m. and 10: 15 - 11:00 a.m.
In conjunction with Compeer Financial, an 11-year study was conducted to identify dairy operating measures that correlate with the financial health of contemporary dairy farms.  Six key drivers of profitability were identified as the most highly correlated measures to Net Farm Income (NFI), expressed as dollars per unit of energy corrected milk.  Herds that perform well in these six areas achieve healthier cows, higher profits and greater staying power.

Calves and Heifers: The Future of Our Dairies
Dr. Kelly Reed, Diamond V
Wednesday, January 23        9:00 - 9:45 a.m. and 10: 15 - 11:00 a.m.
In this presentation, Dr. Kelly Reed will review the importance of calf & heifer programs in the success of our businesses. She will discuss how to identify bottlenecks holding back our programs and working through the management challenges of protocol compliance and consistent performance.

Dynamic Harvest Scheduling
 Joe Lawrence, Cornell CALS PRO-DAIRY
Wednesday, January 23        9:00 - 9:45 a.m. and 10: 15 - 11:00 a.m.
Obtaining the right quality forage for the right group of animals is key to optimizing forage utilization on farm. Both your harvest strategy and storage options must be well planned but nimble to achieve forage quality goals in the face of the numerous challenges presented in any given harvest season.

Know Your Yields! Importance of Accurate Yield Records for (Nutrient) Management for Corn and Whole Farm Nutrient Efficiency Assessments
Dr. Quirine Ketterings, Cornell University
Wednesday, January 23        10:15 - 11:00 a.m.
With a growing number of choppers joining the fleet of combines with yield monitors we now have the opportunity to summarize large yield datasets to help update several important issues: these include the ability to generate an updated general yield potential database, the opportunity for farms to develop and maintain their own yield potential database, and the ability to more quickly test if higher yielding fields, zones within fields, or specific varieties need higher N applications to meet or exceed potentials. This presentation will focus on use of yield records for field-based decision making, for on-farm research, and for whole farm nutrient mass balance assessment.