Speakers

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Pamela Ruegg, DVM, MPVM

Dr. Ruegg currently holds the David J. Ellis Chair in Antimicrobial Resistance and Large Animal Clinical Sciences in the College of Veterinary Medicine at Michigan State University and is focused on research and outreach that help to improve dairy animal health and dairy farm sustainability.

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She previously served as the chair of the Dept. of Animal Science at Michigan State University and spent 20 years as a Professor and extension milk quality specialist in the Dept. of Dairy Science at the University of Wisconsin, Madison were she remains an emeritus Professor. Dr. Ruegg has academic degrees from both Michigan State University and the University of California, Davis. She has had varied professional experiences including private veterinary practice, academic positions at both Atlantic Veterinary College in Prince Edward Island, Canada, and the College of Veterinary Medicine at MSU and corporate technical service. Her areas of expertise include preharvest milk quality and safety in dairy cows, udder health and antimicrobial usage on dairy farms and assessment of milking performance and dairy animal health records. She maintains a research program that is focused on ensuring antibiotic stewardship on dairy farms by reducing antibiotic usage on dairy farms and identifying cow, environmental and pathogen factors that can be manipulated to reduce mastitis risk. Dr. Ruegg is active in a number of industry organizations and is a past-president of the National Mastitis Council. Her extension program has focused on developing programs that help farmers maintain healthy cows while reducing antimicrobial usage and improving milk quality and safety on dairy farms.

Throughout her career she has received a number of awards for research, extension and international outreach programs and she has published numerous peer-reviewed articles that are frequently cited.

Michael DeGroot PhD PAS

Mike DeGroot has been an independent dairy nutrition and management consultant for over 17 years. He received a B.S. degree in Dairy Science and Agribusiness from Cal Poly, San Luis Obispo.

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His M.S. degree from Fresno State University in ruminant nutrition and his Ph. D. in ruminant nutrition from Oregon State University. His areas of focus included transition cows and feeding behavior. Mike consults on over 30 dairies in California and Colorado. He has been active in the industry through the California ARPAS chapter where he coauthored a paper on the Variability in Chemical Composition and Digestibility of Twelve By-Product Feedstuffs Utilized in the California Dairy Industry. (Professional Animal Scientist 2007 23:148-163). Mike was on the California Animal Nutrition Conference Committee for 7 years and was chair of the conference in 2011. He has been involved with several on farm trials including working with niacin in transition cows. He is a member of the IDNC (Independent Dairy Nutritionist Consortium) for over 10 years. Mike and his wife Sharol were married in 2002 and have two children Karlee and Kolbi and live in Visalia California.

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Michael DeGroot PhD PAS

Mike DeGroot has been an independent dairy nutrition and management consultant for over 17 years. He received a B.S. degree in Dairy Science and Agribusiness from Cal Poly, San Luis Obispo.

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His M.S. degree from Fresno State University in ruminant nutrition and his Ph. D. in ruminant nutrition from Oregon State University. His areas of focus included transition cows and feeding behavior. Mike consults on over 30 dairies in California and Colorado. He has been active in the industry through the California ARPAS chapter where he coauthored a paper on the Variability in Chemical Composition and Digestibility of Twelve By-Product Feedstuffs Utilized in the California Dairy Industry. (Professional Animal Scientist 2007 23:148-163). Mike was on the California Animal Nutrition Conference Committee for 7 years and was chair of the conference in 2011. He has been involved with several on farm trials including working with niacin in transition cows. He is a member of the IDNC (Independent Dairy Nutritionist Consortium) for over 10 years. Mike and his wife Sharol were married in 2002 and have two children Karlee and Kolbi and live in Visalia California.

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Trevor DeVries

Dr. Trevor DeVries is a Professor and Canada Research Chair in the Department of Animal Biosciences at the University of Guelph. Trevor received his B.Sc. in Agriculture from The University of British Columbia (UBC) in 2001.

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Immediately following he began graduate studies at UBC, where he received his Ph.D. in 2006. Following that, he spent one year as a post-doctoral fellow with Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada. In 2007 he was appointed as faculty with the University of Guelph in the Department of Animal Biosciences. In that position Trevor leads a highly productive research program focused on dairy cattle nutrition, management, behavior, and welfare. Trevor also contributes to teaching at the university, including instructing undergraduate and graduate courses in the areas of dairy cattle management, behavior, and welfare, coaching the university Dairy Challenge team, as well as mentoring of graduate and undergraduate students.   

Wyatt Smith

Wyatt was born and raised on a dairy farm in Tennessee, earned his Bachelor of Science degree in Animal Science from Middle Tennessee State University, his Master of Science degree in Dairy Science from Louisiana State University and his Doctor of Philosophy degree in Dairy Science from The Pennsylvania State University.

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He began his professional career with the University of California Cooperative Extension as the State Dairy Milking Management Specialist, a brief detour as the president of a record promotion company in Los Angeles and Nashville, and then back to the dairy world for the next three decades working in the dairy equipment industry.  Currently Dr. Smith consults through his own firm, Smith Consultancy LLC, from Kansas City, Missouri. 

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Wyatt Smith

Wyatt was born and raised on a dairy farm in Tennessee, earned his Bachelor of Science degree in Animal Science from Middle Tennessee State University, his Master of Science degree in Dairy Science from Louisiana State University and his Doctor of Philosophy degree in Dairy Science from The Pennsylvania State University.

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He began his professional career with the University of California Cooperative Extension as the State Dairy Milking Management Specialist, a brief detour as the president of a record promotion company in Los Angeles and Nashville, and then back to the dairy world for the next three decades working in the dairy equipment industry.  Currently Dr. Smith consults through his own firm, Smith Consultancy LLC, from Kansas City, Missouri. 

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Dr. Jose Santos

José E. P. Santos is a Research Foundation Professor in the Department of Animal Sciences at the University of Florida, USA, where he conducts research and extension in dairy cattle nutrition, health, and reproduction.

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José received his DVM degree from São Paulo State University in Brazil in 1992, completed the MSc and PhD degrees in 1995 and 1997 at the University of Arizona (USA), a clinical residency in Dairy Production Medicine in 2000 in the School of Veterinary Medicine at the University of California Davis (USA) and completed a sabbatical in 2017 at SBScibus and the University of Sydney in Australia.

He spent 8 years as a faculty member with clinical and research responsibilities in the School of Veterinary Medicine at the University of California Davis before moving to the University of Florida in 2008. José has been the major professor of 16 PhD and 23 MSc students, and he has hosted 10 post-doctorates and sabbatical visitors and another 117 visiting students. He has published 251 manuscripts in the peer-reviewed scientific literature, 14 book chapters, and has given have more than 400 presentations in technical and scientific meetings.

José’s research seeks to develop technologies that enhance efficiency of dairy production, in particular improvements in peripartum health and reproduction. The research is highly integrative, combining components of basic cellular biology, whole animal physiology, and applied interventions that are adopted by dairy producers worldwide.

Dr. Blaine Nicks

Dr. Blaine Nicks is a 2012 graduate of the Iowa State University College of Veterinary Medicine.  After graduation, he spent time practicing in both Wisconsin and California prior to settling in at The Dairy Authority in Colorado.  At The Dairy Authority, he focuses on milk quality and dairy production on dairies throughout the US. 

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Dr. Blaine Nicks

Dr. Blaine Nicks is a 2012 graduate of the Iowa State University College of Veterinary Medicine.  After graduation, he spent time practicing in both Wisconsin and California prior to settling in at The Dairy Authority in Colorado.  At The Dairy Authority, he focuses on milk quality and dairy production on dairies throughout the US. 

Don De Jong

Donald De Jong

Co-owner/Chief Executive Officer of Natural Prairie Dairy

Donald grew up working on his family’s dairy farm in California and attended California Polytechnic State University in San Luis Obispo, California, majoring in agribusiness management.

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In addition to his duties at Natural Prairie Dairy, Donald serves as vice chairman of Select Milk Producers, Inc. and serves as a director on the following boards: Greater Southwest Milk Marketing Agency, fairlife, and the Texas Department of Agriculture Organic Advisory Board. He also serves as a trustee for the Alpha Gamma Rho Fraternity Foundation as well as sitting on the Saint Anthony Catholic School Board.

Dr. Chris Holderman

Chris Holderman is a veterinary entomologist working for Central Life Sciences in development of EPA registered pesticide products for cattle and other livestock.

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Chris received a B.S. degree in Animal Science and Industry form Kansas State University (KSU), a M.S. and Ph.D. from the University of Florida in Veterinary Entomology. He was then awarded a Transboundary Animal Disease Fellowship at KSU before starting with Central Life Sciences. His prior research has revolved around novel technologies for pest control on livestock, insecticide management for horn flies, mosquito ecology, and invasive tick management. In his current role he works to improve existing products and develop new EPA registered products relating to arthropod pests of cattle and other livestock.

Dr. Holderman
Dr. Holderman

Dr. Chris Holderman

Chris Holderman is a veterinary entomologist working for Central Life Sciences in development of EPA registered pesticide products for cattle and other livestock.

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Chris received a B.S. degree in Animal Science and Industry form Kansas State University (KSU), a M.S. and Ph.D. from the University of Florida in Veterinary Entomology. He was then awarded a Transboundary Animal Disease Fellowship at KSU before starting with Central Life Sciences. His prior research has revolved around novel technologies for pest control on livestock, insecticide management for horn flies, mosquito ecology, and invasive tick management. In his current role he works to improve existing products and develop new EPA registered products relating to arthropod pests of cattle and other livestock.

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Matt Havens

Matt Havens is not your typical speaker. His uncanny ability to provide realworld solutions in a relatable and humorous way have made him one of the quickest up-and-coming speakers in the industry.

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Matt’s signature style began in corporate America, where by 25 he pitched the C-suite boardroom of a Fortune 25 company on his plan to lead enterprise-wide transformations to capitalize on the “Millennial” opportunities present in the marketplace and the workforce. Matt’s work soon caught fire, and he began speaking to audiences all over the country, subsequently catapulting up the corporate ladder and leading teams in areas as diverse as marketing, sales, and customer retention. Matt has been at the forefront of driving massively scaled change efforts, started new sales departments, and ran contact centers in 5 different U.S. locations. In short, his approach is baked in reality instead of hyperbole. Matt now brings his simple yet profound solutions to companies, associations, and small businesses across North America. His stated mission is to put perspective into action – both professionally and personally – by unpacking our true motivations, and specifically how our answers relate to the meaningful relationships and connections we create. The versatility of his experience and expertise is why he’s frequently called upon to address a variety of topics ranging from generational differences, leadership, culture, communication, sales and building successful teams