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Maryland Dairy Convention set for Feb. 23 in Frederick

The Maryland Dairy Convention will be held Feb. 23 at the Frederick Fairgrounds, 797 East Patrick Street, in Frederick. Registration starts at 8:30 a.m., and the program kicks off at 9:30 a.m.

The event is themed "Using Technology to Improve Dairy Profits." In addition to the keynote address, John Smucker of Smuckers Energy will discuss opportunities to save on electric costs, while Chad Dechow of Penn State University will provide dairy farmers with insight into sire and cow genomic evaluations. The University of Maryland's Casey Moyes will lead a session on automated, or robotic, milking systems. Each presentation includes perspectives from local producers using these technologies on the ground.

The afternoon features an optional tour of the automated milking system at South Mountain Creamery/Sowers Dairy in nearby Middletown.

Also during the day are the Maryland Dairy of Distinction and scholarship awards and a program for youth that includes the junior dairyman contest and special presentation by Dino Giacomazzi of Giocamazzi Dairy in Hanford, Calif., sharing the latest dairy apps to keep local farmers on the cutting edge of technology.

The junior dairyman contest is open to youth ages 8 to 21 and includes a written exam and several hands-on components pertinent to on-farm practices and knowledge. Topics covered may include, but are not limited to, feedstuff identification, milking equipment identification, reproductive tract identification/dissection, sire selection and DHIA sheet evaluation. Following the contest, there will be time for review and education. Juniors are invited to the evening banquet for the awards. All youth who participate receive an award.

The evening program kicks off with a reception at 6:30 p.m., followed by the awards program recognizing Maryland Dairy Shrine inductees, scholars, silent auction results and junior dairyman contest awards.

All Maryland dairy farmers, as well as dairy farmers from surrounding states, industry supporters and dairy youth are invited to attend the event presented by the Maryland Dairy Industry Association and the Maryland Dairy Shrine.

For more information on the convention keynote speaker, visit http://dinogiacomazzi.com.

Sponsorship and exhibit opportunities are available, and items are needed for the silent auction. For more information, visit http://www.marylanddairyindustry.org, e-mail secretary@marylanddairyindustry.org or call 301-349-0750.

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