2018 Healthy Calf Conference sells out after reaching record attendance

Practical, take-home tips resonate with conference participants

Guelph, ON – With nearly 550 attendees and one sold out location, the 2018 Building the Foundation: Dairy and Veal Healthy Calf Conference (HCC) brought innovative ideas to producers across Ontario on November 27th in Stratford and November 29th in Maxville, and at a special “Vet Night” event exclusively for bovine veterinarians. Expert speakers offered advice on all aspects of calf management, including health, housing, welfare, feeding, and behaviour. The excellent networking among attendees, experts, and exhibitors is a hallmark of HCC, and this year was no different. Each attendee left with practical tips they could implement during that evening’s chores.

“You are the CEO of your calves,” encouraged Jayne Dietrich, co-owner, Character Dairy Genetics, as she concluded the 2018 Building the Foundation: Dairy and Veal Healthy Calf Conference (HCC). “You are responsible for making sure all calves are treated the same way, every time,” she stressed.

Dietrich, along with Laura Schuurman from Joe Loewith & Sons Ltd., and Aaron Keunen of Mapleview Agri Ltd., was part of the all-new producer panel, featuring three experienced Ontario calf managers offering virtual tours of their farms and sharing tips for reducing calf morality and raising high-production animals. The panel concluded the day, framing recommendations from veterinarians and scientists earlier in the program in a practical way and allowing attendees to see how the latest research in calf management can be used on their own farm.

“We recognize the important role dairy producers play in the veal industry,” explains Tom Kroesbergen, Chair, Veal Farmers of Ontario.  “It is always encouraging to see how many people are making their calves a priority by attending the HCC with their calf management team.”

If you missed the event, proceedings from the HCC can be purchased from the VFO office. Proceedings include slideshows from each presenter as well as calf care resources, including videos, articles, booklets, and more.

The next HCC will take place in 2020. Be sure to get your tickets before they sell out – sign up at calfcare.ca to be the first to know about our popular events and calf raising tips in our monthly newsletter. Calf Care Corner is also on Facebook and Twitter.

The Veal Farmers of Ontario is a producer-run organization that represents the interests of Ontario’s veal producers. VFO is committed to promoting industry growth and viability through collaboration, innovation, marketing and education. To learn more, visit ontarioveal.on.ca.

Click here for a PDF of this news release

About the conference

Practical and simple on-farm management changes to improve the health and welfare of dairy and veal calves are the focus of this year’s Healthy Calf Conference.

“We asked calf raisers what some of the biggest issues are that they’re facing and they told us that feeding, health and housing top the list – so we’ve got a great line up  of speakers this year that will address all of those topics,” says Kendra Keels, Director of Industry Development with Veal Farmers of Ontario.

Dr. Michael Ballou, a professor of nutritional immunology at Texas Tech University, headlines the program with a presentation on the art of calf nutrition and how feeding calves a proper diet can help minimize or prevent common problems like respiratory disease and scours.

A new addition to the Healthy Calf Conference is the calf care panel. Ontario calf managers Jayne Dietrich of Character Dairy Genetics, Laura Schuurman with Joe Loewith & Sons Ltd, and Aaron Keunen of Mapleview Agri Ltd. will offer virtual tours of their operations and share their tips for reducing calf mortality and raising high production animals.

The University of Guelph’s Dr. Trevor DeVries will address the why, when and how of group housing calves, and Dr. Dave Renaud, a consultant and University of Guelph assistant professor, will discuss how managing calf health and working with a herd veterinarian can ensure future profitability of a dairy herd.

“Our program is designed to offer relevant, easy to use information that conference participants can take back to implement on-farm right away,” says Keels.

The Healthy Calf Conference, which also includes a calf-focused trade show, will be held on November 27 at the Best Western Plus Arden Park Hotel in Stratford, and again on November 29 at the Maxville & District Sports Complex in Maxville, from 8:30 am until 3:00 pm. Cost is $90 per person until November 1 and $100 after that date. A student rate of $40 is also available. A hot buffet lunch, proceedings, and calf care resources are included. The first 90 producers to register also receive a free 3.7L bottle – perfectly sized for colostrum feeding!

Registration is open here for Stratford conference and here for Maxville, or by contacting the VFO office at 519-824-2942 or info@livestockalliance.ca.

Unable to make it to the conference? You can still benefit by ordering a copy of the proceedings. After the conference, you will receive a custom Healthy Calf Conference USB Lanyard with copies of the presentations and resources such as videos, booklets, and fact sheets on calf care.

Click here and select a “proceedings only” ticket.

A copy of the proceedings is also included with each attendee ticket.

Click here to see the brochure

Click here to see the speaker lineup

Click here for sponsorship information.





Follow us on Facebook or sign up for the Calf Care Corner newsletter to have all the updates delivered straight to your inbox.


Thank you to our generous sponsors who make this event possible!

Gold Sponsors

[slide-anything id=”2281″]

Silver Sponsors

[slide-anything id=”2283″]

Tradeshow Sponsors

[slide-anything id=”2285″]

Click here to read about past conferences