Ohio State sets hay production school

Drought conditions in some Western states and higher overall demand for hay exports will likely result in stronger markets for hay this year, industry experts say.

So producers may want to attend a daylong course to ensure they are aware of the most up-to-date techniques for quality hay production this season, according to a forage expert with Ohio State University’s College of Food, Agricultural, and Environmental Sciences.

Producers can take advantage of a hay production school April 16 designed to help them learn techniques including best fertility practices and general hay management guidelines, said David Marrison, an Ohio State University Extension educator.  OSU Extension is the outreach arm of the college.

Other topics will also be discussed, including:

• Hay cutting management.

• Hay sampling and testing procedures.

• Weed identification.

• Forage selection.

• Hay renovation.

• Forage species identification.

In addition to classroom experience, participants will also take part in a hay field diagnostic walk at Honkonen Farm south of Jefferson, he said.

The program is from 9:30 a.m. to 3 p.m. at 39 Wall St. in Jefferson, Ohio. Registration for the workshop is $20 and includes the program, handouts and lunch. Checks should be made payable to OSU Extension and mailed to OSU Extension, 39 Wall St., Jefferson, Ohio 44047.

The deadline to register is April 7. For more information about the event, including registration, contact Marrison at marrison.2@osu.edu or 440-576-9008, ext. 106.


Midwest farmers invited to ‘Start2Farm Together’ conference

The Start2Farm Together Conference will be held Apr. 15-16, bringing together beginning farmer and rancher educators and service providers to share resources and best practices. The conference will be held at the Illinois Farm Bureau Auditorium,  in Bloomington, Ill.

Start2Farm Together is funded through a grant from the USDA-National Institute of Food and Agriculture’s (NIFA) Beginning Farming and Ranching Development Program and was developed to assist people new to farming or ranching and those who have less than 10 years of experience. For more information, click here.

A $25 registration fee includes the conference and two lunch meals. For registration, visit the website link.


WMMB director candidates named

The Wisconsin Department of Agriculture, Trade and Consumer Protection (DATCP) announced 11 nominees are certified eligible for the Wisconsin Milk Marketing Board (WMMB) 2014 Board of Directors election.

  Here are the certified candidates, listed in alphabetical order by district:





Ashland, Bayfield, Burnett, Douglas, Iron, Rusk, Sawyer and Washburn Counties

- Ben Peterson of Grantsburg


Barron and Polk Counties

- Audrey Kusilek of Rice Lake


Clark County

- David Bangart of Greenwood

- Richard Price of Stanley


Brown, Door and Kewaunee Counties

- John Pagel of Kewaunee


Buffalo, Pierce and Pepin Counties

- Lanette Harsdorf of Beldenville


Fond du Lac, Green Lake and Marquette Counties

- Dave Schmitz of Fond du Lac


Columbia and Dodge Counties

- Becky Levzow of Rio


Grant County

- Ann Kieler of Platteville

- Mary Wackershauser of Lancaster


Green, Rock and Walworth Counties

- Stacy Eberle of Monroe


    DATCP confirmed that each candidate is an active dairy producer who sells milk into commercial channels and lives in the district up for election. In addition, DATCP certified each candidate’s nomination form, which included five signatures from active dairy producers within the district and a notarized "Affidavit of Eligibility" requirement.

    Nominations were first filed by February 21, however, District 4 failed to receive any nominations during the allotted time period. DATCP then extended the deadline for that district until March 14. One nomination was received during the extension.

    To vote, DATCP will distribute mail-in ballots in early April to dairy producers who live within the nine affected districts. Producers who do not receive a ballot by April 14 should call Noel Favia at (608) 224-5140. Elections will be held through April 26, 2014, with results announced later in May. For more election information, visit www.wmmb.com/elections.



IMMAG offers spring manure application tips

As the snow melts and this winter slowly turns to spring, it is extremely important to take into account the conditions of the ground and the weather forecast before applying manure. Although Iowa restrictions on application of manure on frozen and snow-covered ground will expire April 1, farmers are still responsible for any discharges that may result from manure application.

Here are a few tips:

•       Apply on level ground

•       Apply as far away from surface waters as possible

•       Avoid application on ground that drains to tile inlets that discharge directly to surface or groundwater

•       Do not apply manure in a grassed waterway

•       Follow the required separation distances for land application of manure 

•       Do not apply prior to forecasted precipitation or warming conditions that will cause snow melt

•       Review your manure management plan before applying

For additional tips, check out this fact sheet, or visit the Iowa Manure Management Action Group website.


Wisconsin offers livestock, genetics exporting seminar

Wisconsin is known internationally for its quality livestock and genetics, creating great potential for the state’s farmers and agribusinesses. The Department of Agriculture, Trade and Consumer Protection (DATCP) will again host its Livestock and Genetics Export Seminar in Madison this April.

“This popular seminar will feature new speakers and cover a variety of topics, including technical information needed to enter the export market,” explained DATCP’s Enrique Gandara. “Exporters will learn what they need to know to take advantage of market opportunities in new parts of the world.”

The seminar will be held on Wednesday, April 9 from 8:30 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. at the Sheraton Hotel, 706 John Nolen Drive, Madison. The day will include educational sessions and time for networking.

Speakers will provide tools and techniques for exporting livestock and genetics. Participants will gain greater understanding of the regulations and logistics for exporting livestock and genetics.

Topics will include:

●  Importance of building relationships when making sales.

●  Coordination and complications of embryo export.

●  Understanding export protocols and regulations.

●  Overview of export logistics.

Farmers and representatives from small to mid-sized agribusinesses should plan to attend. Information provided will be helpful for those seasoned in, or new to exporting.

Wisconsin ranks second in the nation in the export of bovine semen. In 2013, the state exported $56 million of bovine semen, a 10% increase over the same period the year before. The top export destinations for our bovine semen exports are the United Kingdom, Brazil and China.

Registration is required. There is a $25 cost to attend, which includes lunch.

For more information, contact DATCP’s Enrique Gandara at 608-224-5113 or enrique.gandara@wi.gov.


Research grants available to help boost Minnesota ag products

The Minnesota Department of Agriculture (MDA) is seeking applicants for $1.3 million in competitive grants for applied crop research. The research needs to focus on improving agricultural product quality, quantity and value.

Projects must create public, transferable information that will benefit Minnesota farmers and the state’s economy in the next three to five years. The maximum grant award will be $250,000. Projects can last up to three years.

Any Minnesota organization, research entity, individual, or business with agricultural research capability is eligible to apply and receive funding. This includes: farmers/farmer networks, institutions of higher education, research institutions, nonprofit organizations, agricultural cooperatives, and agricultural businesses with research capabilities. 

Applications must be received no later than 4 p.m. on April 28, 2014. Proposals may be delivered by mail or in person to the MDA, or sent by email. Additional information and the application are available at www.mda.state.mn.us/grants/grants/cropresearch.aspx.


MMPA leaders elected; 35-year members honored

Delegates attending the 98th annual meeting of Michigan Milk Producers Association (MMPA) re-elected Rodney Daniels, of Whittemore, to an at-large, three-year term on the board of directors. 

During the board’s reorganizational meeting, held after the delegate meeting, the following officers were elected: President: Ken Nobis, St. Johns; Vice President: Bob Kran, FreeSoil; Treasurer: Mark Halbert, Battle Creek.

Board members re-elected during the district meetings are: Tim Hood, Paw Paw, MMPA District 2; James Reid, Jeddo, District 7 (at-large position) and Bob Kran, Free Soil, MMPA District 11(now known as District 3.) Elected to his first term on the MMPA board is Tony Jandernoa, St. Johns, representing MMPA District 6.

Delegates also elected representatives to the MMPA Advisory Committee:

District 1:  Perry Cisco, Hudson; Carlton Evans, Litchfield

District 2:  Michael Oesch, Middlebury, IN; Danny Ransler, Gobles

District 3 (formerly District 11):  Jim Good, Caledonia; Dave Pyle, Zeeland

District 4 (formerly District 12): Marvin Rubingh, Ellsworth; Jeremy Werth, Alpena

District 5:  Mike Rasmussen, Edmore; Bill Jernstadt, Big Rapids

District 6:  David Reed, Owosso; Jamie Meyer, Ionia

District 7(formerly District 10):  John Bennett, Prescott; Scott Kleinhardt, Clare

District 8:  Tim Kubacki, Sebewaing; Dale Phillips, Marlette

At-Large:  Mark Crandall, Battle Creek; Tom Wing, Bellevue; William Blumerich, Berlin; Chuck White, Fowlerville

Sixty-three MMPA members were recognized as 35-year members at the meeting. A video presentation showcased the vast changes the Michigan dairy industry has undergone the past 35 years since these members began dairy farming.

The presentation highlighted that in 1979, when these members joined MMPA, the average milk price was just $11.53 per hundredweight; in fiscal year 2013, the average price was $20.28 per hundredweight. There were 5,214 MMPA members in 1979 who marketed a total of 2.81 billion pounds of milk. Today, MMPA has approximately 2,000 members and marketed over 4.31 billion pounds of milk in the 2013 fiscal year. Most notably, the average producer shipped 662,262 pounds of milk in 1979 compared to the average member’s shipment last year of nearly 3.35 million pounds of milk.

Michigan Milk Producers Association is a member owned and controlled milk-marketing cooperative serving approximately 2,000 dairy farmers in Michigan, Indiana, Wisconsin and Ohio.


Biery Cheese Co. plans Wisconsin expansion project

The Wisconsin Economic Development Corporation (WEDC) will provide a $1 million loan to the Biery Cheese Co. for a facility upgrade. The Ohio-based Biery Cheese, which has operations in the Town of Sherry in Wood County, plans to invest $19.7 million in equipment purchases and facility upgrades.

Biery, a cheese packaging, processing and distribution company, has been operating in Wisconsin since November 2013, when it purchased the Kickapoo Valley Cheese Corp. in Sherry. The company is currently pursuing options for a new building in the area. Once complete, the project is expected to create 31 full-time jobs and retain 111 positions.

The Biery Cheese Co. was founded in 1929 by Norman F. Biery, who started making Swiss cheese in Louisville, Ohio. The company has evolved from a manufacturing company to one that now provides chunks, shreds, slices, diced, cubes, and snacking cheeses to its customers around the world. Visit www.inwisconsin.com.


Golden Sands Family Farm posts online tool to follow EIR

A Central Wisconsin dairy farm facing vocal opposition to expansion plans posted an interactive online tool to provide public with access to important information from the recently submitted Environmental Impact Report (EIR). Golden Sands Family Farm is being developed by central Wisconsin-based Wysocki Family of Companies and will be located in the Wood County Town of Saratoga.

“For more than 60 years and going on three generations, we have remained committed to environmental responsibility, growing the local economy and providing a legacy for our children and grandchildren,” said Jim Wysocki, chief financial officer of the Wysocki Family of Companies. “Golden Sands Family Farm will add productive farmland to our current operations and helps us continue our tradition of farming and land stewardship.”

The new online tool provides neighbors of the project and people throughout Wisconsin with important facts from the Environmental Impact Report, which was recently submitted to the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources, the agency primarily responsible for processing project permit applications. The EIR provides the DNR with comprehensive information about the science and technology behind Golden Sands Family Farm and answers to many questions the public has raised concerning the planned farming operations.

The new interactive tool can be found online at www.FarmingFullCircle.com. It contains easily accessed data, facts and highlights from the EIR. The EIR is a valuable and comprehensive tool for identifying issues to be addressed as the current red pine plantation, which is regularly harvested for the paper industry, is converted to both agricultural crop fields and a productive dairy. The EIR is an important step in the multi-stage permitting process for Golden Sands Family Farm.

“We have worked tirelessly with scientists and other experts to carefully develop a plan that will be sensitive to the community and the environment and the concerns we have heard. We’re pleased to share highlights from that plan with the public through our new online tool,” said Jim Wysocki. “This online resource allows anyone to get timely and accurate information about the Golden Sands Family Farm project at any time and to avoid confusion and misinformation.”

When it becomes operational, Golden Sands Family Farm will annually produce an estimated 13.5 million gallons of milk, 21,000 tons of silage corn, 22,500 tons of potatoes, 1,500 tons of grain corn, 10,000 tons of alfalfa, 5,500 tons of sweet corn, 3,500 tons of snap beans and 1,100 tons of peas.

Wysocki Family of Companies, a family-farming operation, is an industry leader and key grower/shipper of year-round potatoes and onions. The company prides itself on maintaining a high level of business integrity that includes commitments to environmental sustainability, as well as innovation and retail solutions.


UM to honor Enchanted Dairy 

 The University of Minnesota College of Veterinary Medicine (CVM) will honor Marv, Ron, Jeannie Miller and Enchanted Dairy as recipients of the 2014 Dairy Appreciation Award. The award will be presented to Enchanted Dairy on May 22, during the Minnesota Dairy Health Conference, Minneapolis, Minn.

The Millers operate the 1600-cow dairy farm near Little Falls, Minn. The farm was started by Ron and Marv Miller's grandfather, who purchased the land in 1947. When Ron and Marv's parents came home from the service in 1955, they purchased a farm site across the road and began farming on their own. Their father was a full-time carpenter so the dairy only developed as Ron and Marv began to take interest in it.  Ron began dairying with his father in 1981. Five years later, Ron and Jeannie were married, Marv returned to the farm and their father retired. At that time, Ron, Jeannie and Marv formed a partnership and have been operating the dairy business ever since, growing from the original 75 cows to more than 1,000 by 2005, when the veterinary college first began to work with the dairy.

Enchanted Dairy has been an important partner to the College of Veterinary Medicine for nearly a decade, collaborating with the college to educate both veterinary students and post-graduate continuing education students. The family has hosted teaching exercises at their dairy and provided access to their dairy for research studies to develop better systems to manage and support health initiatives on dairies.

For many students, their experience at Enchanted Dairy marks their introduction to dairy production medicine.  According to John Fetrow, CVM Professor of Dairy Production Medicine, “The Millers have patiently answered students' questions, endured their intrusion, and have been positive and supportive examples of the best in the dairy industry.”

Ron Miller appreciates the opportunity to work with veterinary students. “It has been a real privilege over the years of working with the College of Veterinary Medicine.  We have found so much energy in the students and their passion for their careers. The knowledge they bring and their enthusiasm is uplifting.”

The dairy is a former recipient of Minnesota’s Dairy Producer of the Year by the Minnesota Milk Producers Association. 

The Minnesota Dairy Health Conference is an annual event for dairy veterinarians, dairy industry professionals, and dairy producers on advancements in the dairy field. During the three-day event, nationally renowned speakers give presentations on the latest developments in dairy production science, health management and food quality.  For more information visitwww.cvm.umn.edu/vetmedce/events/MinnesotaDairyHealth

The Dairy Appreciation Award was created in 2011 to recognize individuals who have made outstanding contributions to the dairy industry and supported the college’s education and research missions. Individuals are nominated by members of the Dairy Production Medicine Group and the recipient is selected by a vote.


Indiana Milk Quality Conference is April 15-16

Indiana Milk Quality Professionals Inc. will present a conference April 15-16 to provide up-to-date information and educational support for dairy industry professionals involved in improving the quality of milk produced in Indiana.

The Indiana Milk Quality Conference will be held at Don Hall's Guesthouse, 1313 W. Washington Center Road, Fort Wayne. The annual conference will feature speakers covering topics including how to use mastitis culture results, pros and cons of on-farming milk culturing, monitoring technology on the farm, and economics of digesters on dairy farms.

A producer panel on management practices to increase milk production on farms will include topics such as breeding management, genetics and robotic milking.

To register, send the registration form and a $100 registration fee to Indiana Milk Quality Professionals Inc., Robin Fuhrman, secretary/treasurer, P.O. Box 10419 Fort Wayne, Ind., 46852. Advanced registration is required, but it can be paid at the door. There is no registration fee for industry and regulatory retirees, but they will need to register.

Overnight accommodations may be made at the Don Hall's Guesthouse, which has set aside a block of rooms for the organization under group number 4414. To reserve a room, call 800-348-1999.

More information on the conference is available on the organization's website at http://www.imqpinc.com.


Iowa farm custom rate survey shows slight increases for 2014

The 2014 Iowa Farm Custom Rate Survey followed the recent trend of small, but consistent increases in rates each year. According to William Edwards, retired Iowa State University Extension and Outreach economist, most operations showed increases of 4%-6% over the average rates in the 2013 survey.

The survey includes information on tillage, planting, spraying and harvesting grain or forages. Also included are values for miscellaneous services and machinery rental. read more

A total of 195 Iowa farmers, custom operators and farm managers replied to the survey. Twenty-seven percent of them reported that they performed custom work for others, 12% reported hiring custom work done and 61% indicated that they did both.

The Ag Decision Maker offers a Decision Tool to help custom operators and other farmers estimate their own costs for specific machinery operations. The Machinery Cost Calculator, File A3-29 can be found under Crops, then Machinery in the Ag Decision Maker table of contents.

The 2014 Iowa Farm Custom Rate Survey is available at your county extension office or online as publication FM-1698, from the Extension Online Store, or as Information File A3-10, Iowa Farm Custom Rate Survey, on the Ag Decision Maker website www.extension.iastate.edu/agdm/.