4dbarn dairy welfare meeting
20. - 22. November 2019, Hyvinkää Finland

World leading experts will walk you through practical solutions for future challenges

The First time in Europe - Dairyland Initiative professionals with 4dBarn specialists in 4dBarn Dairy Welfare Meeting.

Nigel B. Cook, BSc BVSc Cert. CHP DBR MRCVS

A Professor in the Food Animal Production Medicine section of the University of Wisconsin-Madison, School of Veterinary Medicine.

Dr. Cook qualified as a veterinarian in 1992 and worked in a large food animal clinic in Southern England for four years before moving to the Royal Veterinary College, Hertfordshire, where he spent three years as lecturer and head of the Large Animal Ambulatory Clinic. Since 1999 he has been in Wisconsin, teaching veterinary students, performing research and developing outreach to improve dairy cattle well-being. His particular interests include lameness prevention, cow comfort and improving facility design. He developed The Dairyland Initiative – a resource to drive the creation of welfare friendly cattle housing in 2010. He is currently Chair of the Department of Medical Sciences and Past President of the American Association of Bovine Practitioners.

A world renown researcher doing facility planning and clinical troubleshooting on commercial farms  


Unfortunate cancellation, Ken Nordlund, DVM

Ken Nordlund, DVM, cancelled his participation to 4dBarn Meeting. Dr. Nigel B. Cook will have also these subjects. An Emeritus Clinical Professor in the School of Veterinary Medicine at the University of Wisconsin-Madison.

Dr Nordlund graduated from the University of Minnesota in 1977 and was in private veterinary practise specializing in dairy cattle for 12 years. In 1989, he joined the University of Wisconsin the School of Veterinary Medicine. His research interests have focused on interactions between dairy cattle housing and health, as well as dairy record systems including development of the patented Transition Cow IndexTM. Recent projects have focused on housing factors to improve transition cow health and positive pressure ventilation systems for use in calf barns and dairy cow holding areas. He is a co-developer of the Dairyland Initiative website and outreach program. He retired from active service at the UW in 2014 but continues work with a number of research projects.

An experienced professional and developer of a mathematical index that turns fresh cow performance into a practical management model.


David W. Kammel, PhD

An Emeritus Professor and was the State Extension livestock specialist in the Biological Systems Engineering Department at the University of Wisconsin.

Kammel received his doctorate in 1985 and has worked in the area of dairy and livestock housing design and management with thousands of dairy farms in Wisconsin, the USA and internationally. He is the author of several chapters in the Midwest Plan Service Dairy Freestall Housing and Equipment Handbook and the Large Dairy Herd Management Book developed by American Dairy Science Association. He received the University of Wisconsin – Madison College of Agriculture 2014 Pound Extension for his extension activity.

An innovative developer of new methods for handling problems on dairy farms in the USA and internationally


Courtney Halbach, MBA

Ms. Halbach is the Outreach Specialist for The Dairyland Initiative, an outreach program dedicated to providing dairy industry professionals with welfare-friendly facility and lameness management recommendations through a web-based platform and workshops. Her areas of interest include calf and adult cow barn design, positive pressure tube ventilation systems, and automatic milking facility design. In the summer of 2018, she conducted a survey of 46 Midwestern U.S. herds with automated milking systems to evaluate labour efficiency and facility design.

A researcher with the latest knowledge of commercial AMS dairy farms in Wisconsin.


Jouni Pitkäranta, M.Sc. Architect

Jouni Pitkäranta graduated from the University of Technology in Helsinki in 2006. Even before that He has run his own barn design and architecture office Cowhomes. Jouni Pitkäranta has born and lived his childhood on a dairy farm and did his first barn design, which was built, at 15 years age in 1987.

Jouni Pitkäranta is specialized to dairy, youngstock, and calf barn design especially focused to robotic milking barn design. Jouni Pitkäranta has designed about 700 dairy barns in total mostly in Finland, but also in Sweden, Estonia, Russia, Lithuania, Holland and Germany.








Virpi Kurkela, DVM

Virpi Kurkela graduated from the Faculty of Veterinary Medicine at Helsinki University in 1999. Since then she has worked as a practising veterinarian mostly in large animal practice and as a herd health veterinarian. Virpi has done a lot of presentations for farmers, advisors, and veterinarians about bovine health and welfare. She also does specialize consulting for robotic farms as a member of ProAgria’s Herd Navigator advisory team.

In 2013 she got special training from the University of Wisconsin (USA) about calf housing and calf barn ventilation and is a licensed calf barn overpressure tube ventilation adviser.

In 4dBarn her work designing and boosting barns with AMS milking focuses on ensuring excellent animal health and welfare for good production and efficient working.

Virpi’s professional interest is focused on the health and welfare of dairy cows in robotic milking and herd health management in dairy farms. She has a lot of postgraduate education and experience especially in udder health management and influence of the barn environment and design on health and production of dairy cows, calves and heifers.


Marjo Posio, M.Sc. Agr.

Has lived her childhood on a dairy farm. - 2009–2011 Farm manager in a beef calf barn for 850 beef calves in Kuivaniemi, Finland
- 2011–2013 Project manager in Milk management –development project, ProAgria Oulu
- 2013– Dairy farm -adviser (specialized to nutrition and production monitoring, SOP – working rules in a dairy barn, udder health and fertility control) ProAgria Oulu

Has developed and worked together with Jouni Pitkäranta in an international robot barn labour efficiency project monitoring robot barn performance in numerous barns in Finland, Sweden, Denmark, Holland, and the United States.

Has got training from University of Wisconsin (USA) about calf housing and calf barn ventilation in 2013, Licenced calf barn overpressure tube ventilation adviser.


Virpi Huotari, M.Sc. Agr.

Virpi is an experienced Chief Executive officer (CEO) with a demonstrated history of working in the food production industry and consulting. Strong business development professional was skilled in coaching, entrepreneurship, business development, and strategy.

She has worked for 14 years as a development and service manager in the advisory centre. Her responsibilities included managing advisory services to the dairy farms, leading team of advisors (10 - 45 persons), developing new services for the large dairy farms.

"4th D in our company name means the fourth dimension, which is human - a manager or an employee. My Specialities are leadership in the farm and LEAN, human resources and coaching managers and employees."






Emmi-Leena Viitanen, B.Sc. Agr.

Emmi has lived her childhood on a dairy farm and has gained experience in practical barn work. She will soon graduate from the University of Helsinki and become M.Sc. in Agricultural sciences.
In summer 2019 she has concentrated on bedded pack areas in transition cow facilities. The survey she made covers farmer’s practical experiences on the bedded pack area design, different bedding materials and work routines with the bedding.

Emmi looks forward to learn and get more experience in robot barn labour efficiency and housing.