Since 2009 Zen has trained over 80 dairy industry personnel, many from Wisconsin as well as other states including Florida, Pennsylvania, Ohio, Virginia and Arizona to assess farms for the National Dairy FARM program – a way for the dairy supply chain to document that farmers are caring for their animals in a way that assures animal well-being, quality care, and reduced drug use.
Zen also helped plan and coordinate UW-Extension Dairy Beef Animal Well-being Conference held each year in Wisconsin. Since 2010 it has been held in Kaukauna twice reaching over 650 farmers, high school students, service providers and animal care consultants at that location alone.
Zen has utilized interns and backfill to conduct on-farm demonstrations. One dehorning/disbudding program designed to encourage dairy farmers to dehorn or disbud earlier and/or use pain medication to reduce the stress on young calves. Zen worked with 22 farms, fifty farmers and employees; he taught this material to 60 Agriculture bankers, accountants and educators, FFA animal science classes as well as Quality Milk Council members using this innovative teaching which included two calf cadaver heads to show where the horn buds attach to skull.
Zen has served on the livestock team and has been the Swine Team leader since 2012. Pork Quality Assurance Plus (PQA) has been a large part of his effort. Another innovative idea that Zen brought to Wisconsin from Kentucky is the Bacon contest, designed to teach youth about processed meats and curing techniques. 30 youth participated in 2014 and 2015 and was developed so other counties can conduct similar contests using Zen’s curriculum.
In the last five years Zen has trained over two dozen PQA advisors, including UW-Extension agents and veterinarians. He also teaches Transport Quality Assurance (TQA) which trains farmers and truckers in all aspects of animal welfare as they haul swine to market. Under Zen’s leadership the Swine Team has developed the Bader Swine Symposium as a yearly educational program that rotates from UW-Platteville, UW-River Falls and the Arlington Agriculture Station.
In 2013, Zen co-authored two publications. Feeding Cabbage Waste, Factsheet with Liz Binversie and An Assessment of the Wisconsin Swine Production Sector, with Adam Hady, Dave Wachter, Mahlon Peterson, Ed Jesse, Pat Luby and Bill Gnatzig.
To learn more about the UW-Extension Scholarly work and of Zen Miller, please click here..