Dairy cows

BLOOMINGTON, Ill. — With a theme of “Planning for the Future,” Illinois dairy farmers are heading toward their 10th annual Regional Dairy Summit season this month with a more positive outlook than in recent years.

“Farmers are seeing changes in trade agreements as a move in the right direction,” said Tasha Bunting, Illinois Milk Producers Association’s manager.

She also noted the milk market has definitely improved in the last six months.

A panel of producers talking about practices that work on their farms will be featured at each of the three summits held in the south, central and northern Illinois Feb. 4-6, Bunting said.

Each event will also have an exhibition of about 25 vendors with products of interest to dairy farmers. Agencies will also have exhibits about programs.

As dairy farmers look ahead, there are still consequences of 2019 to deal with, including the quality and availability of feed. Experts will talk about feeding strategies this year following a “unique planting and harvest season last year,” Bunting said.

Each summit takes place from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. with on-site registration for walk-ins starting at 9:30 a.m. Cost is $15.

Dates and locations are:

  • In the south, the summit will be held at Kaskaskia College Life Long Learning Center, 27210 College Road, Centralia, on Tuesday, Feb. 4.
  • In Central Illinois, the summit is at Asmark Institute, 14171 Carole Dr., Bloomington, on Feb. 5.
  • The northern Illinois event will be at Stephenson County Farm Bureau, 210 W Spring St., Freeport, on Feb. 6

The summits are organized by the University of Illinois Extension and the Illinois Milk Producers Association. IMPA is a federation of the five largest dairy cooperatives in Illinois — Prairie Farms, Foremost Farms, Dairy Farmers of America, Brewster Cheese and Mid-West Dairymen’s Co.

For more information or to register, go to http://www.illinoismilk.org/2020-summit/ or call 309-557-3703.

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Phyllis Coulter is Northern Illinois field editor, writing for Illinois Farmer Today, Iowa Farmer Today and Missouri Farmer Today.