Minnesota Dairy Health Conference Program

Welcome to the 2019 Minnesota Dairy Health Conference. Learn about the latest research, delivered from experts in the field.

CE Information:

Wednesday morning Workshops: 4.5 hours

Wednesday afternoon and Thursday Main Program: 11.5 hours


Tuesday, April 16

8:00 a.m.−2:30 p.m.

CANCELED: On-Farm Workshop: Investigating Lameness, Mastitis, and Transition Disease


6:00−9:00 p.m.

Evening ADPM Alumni Reception and Workshop (by invitation only)

Location: Urban Growler Brewing Co.

Wednesday, April 17

 Preconference Short Courses

8:00 a.m.−noon

Veterinary Clinic Milk Lab Training

Instructors: Jennifer Timmerman, Erin Royster, and Sam Rowe, University of Minnesota

CE Hours: 4.0 **Credits available for certified veterinary technicians as well as veterinarians

Registration: 24 maximum

Location: VetSci 229

Price: $165.00

Target Audience Veterinary technicians, vet clinic lab managers, and veterinarians. This course is appropriate for beginners with no milk culture experience, as well as those with more experience looking for a refresher or to add new skills. Similarly, this course will be beneficial for those who will actually be doing the laboratory work, as well as those who will be managing the vet clinic lab.

There is a demand for rapid, affordable diagnostic results that can help farmers make better decisions regarding mastitis treatment and control. Providing these diagnostic results may be profitable in and of itself, but it also generates an opportunity for veterinarians to get more involved in mastitis control on their clients’ dairies. Advances in diagnostic technology, such as PCR and MALDI-TOF, have also given us an improved understanding of the limitations of traditional microbial identification techniques. This course aims to provide the background knowledge and hands-on skills needed to successfully operate a veterinary clinic milk lab.

Topics & Schedule

  • Split Session Introduction (45 mins, participants can select one of the following options)

    • For Beginners/Technicians − Mastitis 101

    • For Veterinarians − How to interpret and use culture results to help your clients, including treatment protocol design, troubleshooting and monitoring

  • Hands-on Laboratory (3 hours with breaks)

    • Basic milk culture and mastitis pathogen identification

    • Introduction to Mycoplasma culture identification

    • Advanced techniques and additional services

** Participants will receive written protocols for all the procedures covered in this training.

Motivating On-Farm Change in Your Clients

Instructor: Stephen Roche, ACER Consulting

Registration: 30 maximum

Location: Continuing Education and Conference Center

Price: $165.00

This workshop session will focus on practical skills and tools veterinarians can use to be more effective at communicating with and motivating their clients on farm. This session will start by taking a look at the key factors driving farmer behavior and on-farm decision making: we’ll try to answer the question, “Why do farmers do what they do?” Building on this, the session will then explore one-on-one and group-based approaches to communicate recommendations and motivate adoption. This interactive session will also give practicing veterinarians an opportunity to share experiences and best practices with respect to motivating change.

Maximizing Calf Health Through Barn Design

Instructor: Courtney Halbach, University of Wisconsin Dairyland Initiatives

Registration: 30 maximum

Location: Continuing Education and Conference Center

Price: $165.00 

This interactive workshop will combine lecture, interactive discussion, and group exercises to help participants troubleshoot existing calf facilities and design new or retrofitted facilities that maximize calf health using The Dairyland Initiative’s recommendations. Participants will leave the workshop with key metrics that they can use on farm, and with the knowledge necessary to tackle their clients’ nursing calf facility projects and to provide housing solutions that optimize animal well-being, health, and performance.

Noon−1:00 p.m.



Wednesday, April 17

Main Conference Sessions

1:00–1:10 p.m.

Welcome: Dr. Trevor Ames, College of Veterinary Medicine, University of Minnesota

1:10−2:30 p.m.

Session 1. Making better use of your vet technicians to benefit both you and your clients

Title: Veterinary Technicians in Large Animal Practice: Training, Credentialing, and Recruitment  

Instructor: Sarah Wagner, Animal Sciences, North Dakota State University

Veterinary technicians can expand the scope and sustainability of large animal practice. This session will provide practitioners with information about the competencies of graduates from accredited veterinary technician programs, along with tips for recruitment and retention.


Title: Using Veterinary Technicians to Benefit Your Clients and Build Your Practice

Instructor: Stephen Roche, ACER Consulting

This session will explore opportunities for integrating veterinary technicians into your practice model. Building upon the previous review on technician competencies and scope of practice, this talk will provide practical examples for using veterinary technicians to improve veterinarian efficiency, expand service offerings, support client needs, and improve health outcomes.


2:30−3:00 p.m.


3:00−5:00 p.m.

Session 2. Mastitis potpourri

Title: Managing Klebsiella Mastitis 

Instructor: Pat Gorden, College of Veterinary Medicine, Iowa State University

Klebsiella is an emerging mastitis pathogen on US dairy farms. Even though this bacterium is closely related to E. coli, it causes clinical mastitis that is more severe. This talk will discuss the underlying reasons for its pathogenesis and control strategies, including vaccination, to mitigate the organism in dairy herds.

Title: Relationships Between Bedding Bacteria Counts, Bedding Characteristics, and Udder Health

Instructor: Sandra Godden, College of Veterinary Medicine, University of Minnesota

We will present results from a multistate, multiherd observational study investigating the relationship between bedding bacteria counts and udder health, and the relationship between bedding characteristics (e.g., dry matter) and bedding bacteria counts.

Title: Selective Dry Cow Therapy on US Dairy Farms: Impact on Udder Health and Antimicrobial Use

Instructor: Sam Rowe, College of Veterinary Medicine, University of Minnesota

Selective dry cow therapy may provide an opportunity to improve antibiotic stewardship on US dairy farms.  However, its impact on udder health is not yet clear. Dr. Rowe will report the findings from a multistate, multiherd randomized clinical trial of two different selective dry cow therapy protocols.

Title: PCR for Mastitis? What Practitioners Need to Know

Instructor: Erin Royster, College of Veterinary Medicine, University of Minnesota

While PCR test kits for mastitis pathogens are not new, there are more commercial kits available now and more labs that are offering them. Vets needs to understand the fundamental strengths and limitations of PCR for mastitis diagnostics, what data is (or is not) available to support the use of PCR, and what factors to consider when selecting a PCR test and interpreting the results.

5:00−5:30 p.m.

Graduate Student Research Lightning Talks

5:30−7:30 p.m.

Reception and Poster Session

Thursday, April 18

 Main Conference Sessions

Location: Continuing Education and Conference Center, Saint Paul


7:00–7:45 a.m.


Sponsored by Valley Agricultural Software


8:00–9:00 a.m.

Session 3: An update on advances within the ‘ologies’

Title: Application of Prudent Clinical Pharmacology in Bovine Practice 

Instructor: Pat Gorden, College of Veterinary Medicine, Iowa State University

The use of antimicrobials can be an essential component in the treatment of dairy cattle. However, their use is associated with the development of antimicrobial resistance, which has prompted the US FDA to implement control plans to mitigate resistance development. This talk will discuss strategies to continue to effectively use antimicrobials in this environment of increased regulatory compliance.

Title: Practical Immunology for Youngstock part I – Development of the Neonatal Immune System

Instructor: Chris Chase, Veterinary & Biomedical Sciences, South Dakota State University

This presentation will focus on applying the latest information on the basic neonatal immune response to take advantage of age and life stage to maximize body’s defenses. This talk will also provide background on what happens with too much “immune” response.

9:50–10:20  a.m. 

Break and posters


10:20–11:55 a.m.

Session 3: Continued

Title: Practical Immunology for Youngstock part II – Building Practical Calf and Heifer Vaccination Programs

Instructor: Chris Chase, Veterinary & Biomedical Sciences, South Dakota State University

This presentation will focus on applying the latest information on the basic neonatal immune response to vaccines and timing. We will review a number of protocols veterinarians are using. This will include understanding the interactions of physiological stress (heat, weaning, vaccination) along with microbiome changes in the gut (diet change) resulting in severe respiratory disease that results in enhanced disease and less productivity.

11:10–11:25 Update from the Minnesota Department of Agriculture – Nikki Neeser

11:25–11:40 Update from the Minnesota Board of Animal Health – Stacey Schwabenlander

11:40–11:55 Update from the Minnesota Veterinary Diagnostic Laboratory – Jeremy Schefers  


11:55 a.m.–noon

Presentation of the 2019 Dairy Appreciation Award to Gary Neubauer


Noon–1:10 p.m.



1:10–2:50 p.m.

Session 4: Updates on metabolic disease control and pain management

Title:  Calcium Dynamics in the Cow and Strategies that Will Reduce Hypocalcemia in Cows

Instructor: Jesse Goff, Iowa State University

This will give a brief overview of Ca metabolism and the issues with the cow that lead to hypocalcemia.  The presentation will cover the rationale behind the use of Low DCAD diets, the role of Mg and Phos in Ca homeostasis, use of low Ca diets and zeolite, and the rationale for use of oral Ca gels, pastes and boluses.


Title: Update on Pain Management in Cattle

Instructor: Sarah Wagner, North Dakota State University

This session will provide the latest information about pain control in dairy animals including validated treatment approaches and what the future might hold.


2:50–3:10 p.m.


3:10–5:00 p.m.

Session 5: What is the future of the dairy industry and how will you serve clients who may be adopting different philosophical approaches (e.g. embracing technology or adopting a simpler approach) to managing dairy cows?

Title: Who Moved My Cheese? Structural Changes in US Dairy Sector

Instructor: Marin Bozic, University of Minnesota

How will the US dairy markets evolve in 2020s? How will global and national trends direct changes in the structure of dairy sector in the Upper Midwest. From global geopolitical analysis and national consumer and farm policy trends to radical innovations in biotechnology, in this lecture Dr. Bozic will identify key factors driving the industry dynamics in the coming decade. While growing importance is recently placed on environmental and financial sustainability, Dr. Bozic will argue that the solution to maintaining robust dairy infrastructure in Upper Midwest must begin with and be anchored in discovering and pursuing sustainable identities. Dairy producers will need to revise how they perceive themselves and their heritage to unleash resourcefulness needed to thrive in the next decade.


Title: Keeping It Simple: Riverview’s Approach to Dairy Production.

Instructor: Conrad Spangler, Riverview LLP

There is a prevailing myth in the dairy industry that the more animals you have, the cooler things you can do with more data and technology.  For Riverview, the opposite has proven to be more effective.  We are constantly working to determine how to make dairies simpler for employees and managers to understand and operate through regular visits, candid discussions, tours, and regular use of “stop doing” lists.  This has led Riverview to eliminate the use of antibiotics on the lactating herd, raise replacement heifers in the Southwest, and use undigested biosolids on mattresses for bedding.  Dr. Spangler will share more details of Riverview’s approach to dairy production, results associated with this approach, and his view on how veterinarians can provide value to dairies such as Riverview.

Title: Balancing the Implementation of Technology to Maximize Profitability

Instructor: Megan Schrupp

In the modern era of the dairy industry current and emerging technologies are abundant. These technologies need to be highly scrutinized to ascertain the direct and indirect effects on profitability upon implementation. One also needs to first identify the true bottle neck(s) of the dairy to be able to increase efficiency and productivity thus leading to expanded profitability.



Panelists: Marin Bozic, Conrad Spangler, Megan Schrupp   


5:00−5:10 p.m.

Evaluation & Adjourn


Main Conference (Wednesday, April 17 afternoon − Thursday, April 18)

Regular Fee (starting March 21, 2019) − $435

Student Fee (must email current student fee statement to vetmedccaps@umn.edu to be eligible) − $25

Preconference workshops

Wednesday Morning Short Courses − $165 (regular)

The registration fee includes instruction, handout materials, parking, continental breakfast, lunch, and refreshment breaks.


If you need to cancel your registration, a refund—minus $30 cancellation fee—will be issued if you provide written notice by April 1, 2019. Cancellations after this date will be ineligible for a refund.