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Dairy symposium - advancing Wisconsin dairy industry

Dairy symposium - advancing Wisconsin dairy industry

By Blake Jackson

The Dairy Innovation Hub at the University of Wisconsin-Madison hosted its 3rd annual Dairy Symposium, drawing over 200 attendees. This event focused on research aimed to keep Wisconsin's dairy industry globally competitive and sustainable.

The symposium functioned as a platform for researchers, students, and industry professionals to share and discuss ongoing projects funded by the Hub. Through presentations, breakout sessions, and poster displays, attendees learned about advancements in areas like human health, animal welfare, environmental stewardship, and farm business development.

Keynote speaker Moises Torres Gonzalez, from the National Dairy Council, highlighted the "dairy matrix" concept – the unique combination of nutrients found in dairy products and their potential health benefits. This resonated with Wisconsin Department of Agriculture Secretary Randy Romanski, who emphasized the importance of reminding consumers about the distinct nutritional value of dairy.

Breakout sessions offered in-depth explorations of various research areas. Attendees could learn about cheese microbes enhancing food safety, biochar for manure management, and sensor technology for soil health. The afternoon sessions delved into animal well-being, automated milking systems, and upcycling dairy waste into valuable products.

A highlight was the Greener Cattle Initiative panel discussion. This multi-million-dollar project aims to reduce methane emissions from cows through selective breeding and other strategies. Dairy farmer Dave Daniels, chair of the Hub's advisory council, expressed his optimism about the initiative's potential to benefit farmers in the coming years.

Students played a significant role in the symposium. Ten students presented their research in a flash talk competition, while over 30 posters showcased student projects throughout the day. Shabda Gajbhiye, a first-year PhD student, emphasized the value of connecting with industry professionals at the symposium and the opportunity to share her research on using microbes to improve soil health.

The event concluded with Alice Peres Assumpção winning the flash talk competition. Her research, mentored by Hub faculty member Hilario Mantovani, focused on identifying bacterial differences in the feces of cows with varying methane emissions.

The Dairy Innovation Hub symposium serves as a valuable platform for knowledge sharing and collaboration, driving advancements that can strengthen Wisconsin's leading role in the global dairy industry.

Photo Credit: gettyimages-vm

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Categories: Wisconsin, Business

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