Why do we put on the Annual Herd & Feed Conference?
At the end of the day we understand, it's all about the cows. Because of that, most producers find it difficult to take off a few days to leave a farm that continues to run while they're away. And because we understand that, why would we continue to put on a conference year after year?
We visit with and talk on the phone to producers every day who discuss the details of their operations with us. The one thing we hear over and over again is that producers are always exploring options to be better and produce more—to benefit their business and the people they depend on every day.
We understand we're in an industry that's always improving... and that creates a lot of opportunities for education. We put on these conferences for that very reason. The producers we know are so busy with the day-to-day. The conferences provide avenues of quick learning to stimulate thoughts of how the future of your business can go.
Ladd Muirbrook, our Senior Account Executive said, "I often get asked for training on our herd and feed management tools. This conference is one of the best training opportunities we provide. You get the benefit of getting trained by our staff of professionals who know how the software tools work and how to help you get the most from them on your operation. Networking with industry professionals and other dairy producers helps as well. Hearing how others use the tools is an excellent way to spark new thoughts to take back home. Come and get this training!"
Here is an overview of what we work hard to do each year:
We provide keynote speakers that have something to say relevant to our industry. These are either industry leaders who have a message that helps drive production or productivity or producers who are doing something well that everyone else would benefit from hearing.
It has been said that it takes hundreds or even thousands of hours to become an expert in one topic. In dairy farming, there are many areas that require expertise. By learning from others who have already achieved that expertise, you can significantly reduce the time it takes to become proficient.
These speakers also help provoke new thoughts... sometimes the way something has been done in the past isn't always the best way to do it now. Learning from others who have discovered a different way of doing things shifts thoughts and old patterns - and that leads to innovative growth.
When we develop our software, we continually focus on the needs of our clients - as well as future trends that will affect the way they do business. Because of that, there are continual updates to the software and sometimes even shifts in the way the software works. In addition, we know just like any business, there is a certain amount of employee turnover.
By providing ongoing training on how to use our software, as well as practices to improve business—we address the communication gap. When I say communication gap, I'm talking about the gap that is created as we continue to develop our software and our clients continue to work at their business day after day. Focused training gives us both a chance to work together and close that gap.
Our goal is to provide relevant information that you can take back to the farm and implement today. To do that, we bring the majority of our staff to ensure we can work one-on-one with our clients. This also ensures that focused training happens, because the experts are all at the conference. In other words, we also take the time off work to prioritize the ability of our clients to be trained.
Who doesn't like to take the opportunity to get to know and meet new people who work in the same industry? There is an incredible amount of sharing, learning, and leveraging that can happen. The conference atmosphere provides this opportunity, and we build in time for producers and industry experts to get to know one another.
Sending someone to a conference is great, but to truly make it valuable, they've got to bring it back and share it with the people who didn't get to go to the conference. We recommend sending people who will not only benefit from the information, but who will stay present, engaged, and actively participate. We provide materials and access to presentations so they can take them back and share.
This year we've also added an additional benefit by providing virtual training. Those who attend the conference receive two virtual passes... so people at home can view a special virtual track. Both the person attending and their two people at home will have on-demand access to the general sessions and a variety of virtual breakout sessions for training in DHI-Plus, EZfeed, and EZweights. We hope that this makes it even easier for those who attend to bring the information back to the office.
It may or may not be a surprise to you... but these conferences cost a lot more than the registration money we collect.
We feel like it's important to provide a conference that everyone can come together and benefit from... so we work hard to make it affordable and valuable. This includes negotiating an excellent price on your hotel stay, paying for our staff to be on location at the same time, and subsidizing your ticket price. We reduce the cost of attendee's tickets by reaching out to vendors who provide amazing services in our industry... and they help by paying for a portion of the conference. You can say we put our money where our mouth is—it's important to us!
Do you support and enable your employees to attend conferences? What's your biggest motivator?