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November 16, 2001

UW-RF Professors Speak at Conference in Ukraine

UW-River Falls dairy science Professor Dennis Cooper and agronomy Professor Dennis Cosgrove delivered presentations in Kharkiv, Ukraine, Oct. 29-31 at the Dairy Forage and Feeding Workshop. Cooper spoke on dairy nutrition and Cosgrove spoke about forages.

The Foreign Agriculture Service, a division of the United States Dairy Association, set up the seminar to provide training for farmers of the Kharkiv community on dairy nutrition and forage management.

The FAS worked with the Ukrainian Animal Science Research Institute, a division of the Ukraine Academy of Agrarian Science, to set up the conference. Cooper said the Science Research and Exchanges Division of the USDA was asked to recruit speakers for the seminar, and probably contacted him because he spoke at a similar conference held in the Baltic nations last year. The USDA did not have a specific topic to suggest, but it wanted something that would be relevant, and raising good quality forage is a need in many countries.

He said he received a call on a Friday to see if he was interested, and turned in a three-page proposal the following Monday. He selected Cosgrove, who teaches forage management, as his partner. Though others had submitted proposals, the USDA chose to work with UW-RF.

Cooper said that he had no worries about travelling in the wake of the terrorist attacks on the United States. "I didnąt feel unsafe," he said. "The planes were full and a lot of people were travelling."

He added that it was really special to visit the area. "The Ukraine is one of the great agricultural regions of the world," he said.

Although Cosgrove wasnąt concerned about his personal safety while in Ukraine, he said he was worried that something else would happen in the United States and he would be stranded in another country.

Personal comfort was another thing, though. "The building the conference was held in had no heat, and the temperature was around 40 degrees," Cooper said. "There were people with their coats on," he said "When we were talking we could see our breath!" He concluded there wasn't enough money for fuel to run the building's boilers.

Cosgrove said the trip was a great experience for him and it was an excellent opportunity for the University to get some international exposure. Although it's burdensome to work into his teaching schedule, "it provides me with some useful new materials for the classroom."

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