The 2023 South Western Ontario Dairy Symposium (SWODS) will be held Feb. 22 at the Woodstock Fairgrounds.
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The symposium will be held on a Wednesday this year, rather than being held on a Thursday, as it has been in previous years. The SWODS committee made the decision to change the date, for this year only, to accommodate the keynote speaker, Michael Barrett, president & CEO of Gay Lea Foods, SWODS organizers said in a news release.
The event doors open at 9:00 a.m. Admission is $25 (cash only) at the door which includes lunch. There is a full line-up of speakers starting at 10:15 a.m. in the main auditorium with lunch featuring food from local farms.
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Over 100 dairy exhibitors will be open before the start of presentations, as well as during the lunch break. For up to date information, visit dairysymposium.com, like the SWODS Facebook page or follow SWODS on Twitter @SWODSdairy.
Michael Barrett comes with a wealth of knowledge of the dairy industry, having worked with Gay Lea Foods for 20 years, eight of them as president and CEO. Under Barrett’s leadership, Gay Lea succeeded in multiple acquisitions and investments which has continued the growth of the farmer-owned organization. Barrett is retiring from his role on Jan. 31, 2023 and will be discussing the state of the dairy industry, reflecting on the past and how the industry can continue to grow.
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Dr. Trevor DeVries, professor and Canada Research Chair in the department of Animal Biosciences at the University of Guelph. Dr. DeVries will be sharing his knowledge on optimizing health and production on robotic dairies. Although automated milking systems (AMS) bring opportunities for dairy producers with respect to cow health and production, Dr. DeVries will share how housing design and management are equally as important as milking and feed management to ensure good health and production in an AMS setting.
Dr. Mike Steele, professor in the department of Animal Biosciences at the University of Guelph, will be sharing his take on raising dairy-beef calves. This diversification has led to questions in the industry that Dr. Steele plans to answer.
Joanne Fallis, a licensed immigration consultant, with J. Fallis Immigration Consulting, will be presenting on accessing offshore labour for your dairy. Working with temporary foreign workers, as well as doing the necessary work to obtain this labour gives her great insight on the where, what, when and how of this process.
Dr. Allison Fleming, a geneticist with Lactanet Canada will share breeding strategies for optimum genetic progress.
Dr. Andrew VanderZaag, adjunct research professor in Geography and Environmental Studies, and research scientist at Agriculture and Agri-food Canada will focus on reducing water use of milk production in current and future climates.