Minnesota Department of Labor seeks ag sector wage information

(Kevin Walli, Fryberger, Buchanan, Smith & Frederick)

A provision resulting from the 2014 Minnesota legislative session called for the Minnesota Department of Labor and Industry to survey agricultural operations to gather overtime and work week information, and to submit a report to the 2015 legislature. This requested report is a remnant of the legislative proposal which would have changed the current 48-hour agricultural work week to 40 hours.

The Department of Labor will be sending a short survey to all agricultural operations (including dairies) that are large enough to have an unemployment insurance account number. Generally, the dairy operations that will receive the survey are those which paid at least $20,000 in wages during at least one quarter, or had at least four employees in each of 20 weeks in 2013. Data from the Department of Labor and Industry indicates that there are just under 300 dairy operations that are being sent a survey.

The two-page survey will be mailed Aug. 11, and will ask for employment information from four different weeks during 2013. Survey responses can be submitted by mail or online. None of the information gathered from individual respondents will identify their particular farming operation.

If you have concerns about the survey, contact the Minnesota Milk office at 1-877-577-0741 or mmpa@mnmilk.org.


Summer Extension dairy field days set in Stearns County

The University of Minnesota Dairy Extension Field Days continues in August.

• Aug. 12, 10 am-3 pm – West Central ROC Organic Dairy Field Day, Morris, MN. The university’s organic 230-cow dairy will feature Hue Karreman and his seminar on organic animal health and lameness. Updates of current research on organic projects at the West Central ROC will also be included. Field tours and a pasture walk will include alternative forages and cover crops for grazing as well as organic fly control methods. Lunch will be provided. If you plan to attend, or would like more information, contact WCROC at 320-589-1711 or by sending an email to: hein0106@umn.edu.

• Aug. 14, 10 am-2 pm – Rohe Dairy, LLC, Marv, Jim & Mike Rohe, Freeport, MN. Rohe Dairy milks nearly 250 cows 2x per day and runs 600 acres of corn and alfalfa. A major feature of Rohe Dairy is their calf barn, built in August of 2012. The Rohes remodeled and added onto their original barn to make room for three group pens and a Lely Calm automatic calf feeder with two feeding stations. Besides the feeder, the calf barn also features 14-ft ceilings which the Rohes credit for the good ventilation in the barn. The afternoon session will include a cow handling demonstration and discussion with Dr. Gerard Cramer at the dairy cow barn. Lunch will be provided.

• Aug. 19, 10 am-2 pm – Schefers Brothers Dairy, Ken & Ralph Schefers, Paynesville, MN. Milking 75 cows in a tie-stall barn with earthen pit. The herd has 27,000 RHA, over 1000 BF, and less than 100,000 SCC. Schefers Dairy is located in the Sauk River watershed and is involved in the MN Ag Water Certification Program. Discussions and demonstrations will focus on nutrient management including various options and methods to manage total farm nutrient balance, nutrient runoff and manure management. Lunch will be provided.

View all Summer Field Day dates and locations at the UMN Dairy Extension website.


Indiana ‘Certified Livestock Producer’ meeting planned

The Indiana State Department of Agriculture invites Indiana dairy producers interested in participating in the Certified Livestock Producer Program to attend a training in Kosciusko County, Aug. 27.  The program recognizes outstanding livestock producers that go above and beyond in their farm management practices.

To be recognized by ISDA as a Certified Livestock Producer, participants must uphold the highest industry standards in environmental protection, animal care, bio-security, emergency planning and community relations. They also agree to sign the “Producer Promise,” committing to meet or exceed the high standards of the Certified Livestock Producer Program as a commitment to the citizens of the State of Indiana.  

To complete their certification, producers will meet with their veterinarian to discuss their bio-security plan and meet with their local fire department to review their emergency plan, as well as obtain a certain number of points on each of the self assessments.

Certified livestock producers receive a variety of discounts from program sponsors, including Indiana Farm Bureau Insurance and others. Since the program's launch in 2008, 98 Hoosier farmers have earned the certification and 26 are currently in the process.

Interested producers must register by contacting Kimmi Devaney at KDevaney@isda.in.gov or 317.450.3570 no later Aug. 20. More information will be sent to producers after registration.


Brawner named Indiana Dairy Princess

Kamille Brawner of Hanover, Ind., was selected as the 2014-15 Dairy Princess for the American Dairy Association Indiana. Kamille, age 20, is the daughter of Greg and Teresa Brawner. She represented Dairy Farmers of America in the 2014 Indiana Dairy Princess Scholarship Program.

Brawner will be a sophomore at Purdue University, pursuing a bachelor's degree in agribusiness with a minor in animal science. Following a personal interview, Kamille gave a presentation on the advantages of choosing real dairy milk over non-dairy alternatives.

As Dairy Princess, Brawner will be educating the public and her peers on the importance of dairy to Indiana's economy and to Hoosier health.

Other Dairy Princess candidates were: Kylei Klein (Indiana Ayrshire Breeders Association), Hadley Whicker (Indiana Jersey Cattle Club), Christy Mote (Indiana Milking Shorthorn Society), Cheyanne Bowman (Dean Foods), Laura Frye (Indiana Brown Swiss Association), and Anna Will (Indiana Holstein Association).


Federal crop insurance briefings set in Ohio

Ohio State University’s College of Food, Agricultural, and Environmental Sciences (CFAES), Farm Credit Mid-America, the Ohio Farm Bureau Federation and USDA’s Farm Service Agency have organized a series of free briefings to help producers understand the new crop insurance programs. The series will offer information on pertinent deadlines and policy requirements.   

The events will feature Carl Zulauf, an economist in the Department of Agricultural, Environmental, and Development Economics, which is a part of CFAES. Jon Coppess, clinical professor of law and policy at the University of Illinois, will also speak at the meetings.

The meetings are scheduled for:

• Aug. 18, 1 p.m., at the Ohio Agricultural Research and Development Center Fisher Auditorium,  Wooster.

• Aug. 19, 9 a.m., at the George M. Smart Athletic Center, Defiance College, Defiance.

• Aug. 19, 7 p.m., at the Oscar F. Boyd Cultural Arts Center, Wilmington College, Wilmington.

• Sept. 16, 2 p.m., at the Farm Science Review, London.

Registration for the meetings can be completed online at http://go.osu.edu/summer2014farmbill.


PDPW offers Spanish dairy obstetrics workshops

The Professional Dairy Producers of Wisconsin (PDPW) will hold three one-day dairy obstetrics workshop, taught in Spanish.

Each workshop will cover the birthing process for the safe delivery of a healthy calf, with workers receiving hands-on time in the maternity pen coached by Oscar Duarte, DVM. Attendees will also learn how to handle the challenges posed by compromised cows in a session led by Bob Leder, DVM. In addition, farm safety information will be shared by Yuarny Ninco Sanchez, National Farm Medicine Center's community outreach trainer.

Workshop dates are:

• Tuesday, Aug. 19, Emerald Dairy, Emerald, Wis.; 

• Wednesday, Aug. 20, Central Sands Dairy, Nekoosa, Wis.; 

• Thursday, Aug. 21, Rosendale Dairy, Pickett, Wis.

Start time is 9:45 a.m., wrapping up by 4 p.m. All individuals will receive a completion certificate. Registration deadline is Sunday, Aug. 17. To register or for additional information click here.  


PDPW offers Spanish dairy calf care workshops

The Professional Dairy Producers of Wisconsin (PDPW) will hold three one-day Calf Care workshops. Each workshop will cover the critical first two weeks of a calf's life, with sessions delivered by three bilingual trainers. The workshop dates are: 

• Tuesday, Aug. 26, Norm-E-Lane, Chili, Wis.; 

• Wednesday, Aug. 27, Sunburst Dairy, Belleville, Wis.;

• Thursday, Aug. 28, Sunset Farms, Allenton, Wis. 

Using live calves and cows, Oscar Duarte DVM will focus on newborn protocols, when and how much to feed calves, tube and bottle feeding and much more. Yurany Ninco Sanchez, National Farm Medicine Center's community outreach trainer, will provide information focused on protecting handlers from injury and accidents. Bob Leder, DVM, will address transporting and carrying a newborn calf in a safe manner, euthanasia and more.

Workshop start time is 9:45 a.m., wrapping up by 4 p.m. All individuals will receive a completion certificate. Registration deadline is Sunday, Aug. 24. To register or for additional information click here.


‘Heat stress’ workshops planned in Minnesota, South Dakota

Two remaining workshop will help dairy producers evaluate heat stress and energy use. They are a joint effort between SDSU Extension and University of Minnesota Extension.

Morning session will cover the costs of heat stress and how to reduce the impacts of heat stress with the ventilation and cooling system. The afternoon will feature hands-on stations around the farm.

Remaining workshops include:

• Aug. 19, 9:30 am-3 pm – Cottonwood Dairy, Garretson, SD. The farm features 100 cows milked in robotic milkers, and a slatted-floor, tunnel-ventilated barn with light-transmitting wall panels.

• Aug. 28, 9:30 am-3 pm – Hinsch Dairy, Goodhue, MN. A barn tour will feature variations of mixing fans and misting systems, including the CowKühlerZ system.

Registration, including lunch, is $20 for the first person and $10 for each additional person from the same farm. To register, call Candy at 605-688-5141 or Shari at 320-203-6054. Visit: iGrow.org or z.umn.edu/heatstress


Manure Science Review set in Ohio

Manure storage options and farmers who have direct experience using them will take the stage at this year’s Manure Science Review, Aug. 14, near Sterling, Ohio.

Co-hosted by Ohio State University’s College of Food, Agricultural, and Environmental Sciences, the event will hold a panel discussion by several Ohio farmers on their plans and practices for storing manure. The farmers will share their experiences with the audience, who should gain new ideas for improving their own operations, said Mark Duncan, a panel organizer and nutrient management specialist with the Wayne Soil and Water Conservation District.

Slated for the panel are dairy farmers Mike Rupp of Rupp Vue Farm in Sterling, the host farm for the event; Scott Stoller, also of Sterling, who recently transitioned his farm to organic methods; and Greg Steffen, whose long-time family farm near Kidron milks about 110 Holsteins.

The program will also feature new methods and technologies for handling, storing and applying manure. Registration for the event is $25 by Aug. 6 and $30 after that date. Continental breakfast and lunch are included.

The event flier has a mailable registration form and the complete list of topics and speakers. It can be downloaded at go.osu.edu/jug. More information


University of Illinois offers fall online dairy classes

The University of Illinois will be offering three dairy classes in the fall 2014 semester.

•  A one credit dairy class titled "Ration balancing and building," taught by Mike Hutjens. The class will use the Spartan III dairy model. The five week class begins in mid-September and is open for enrollment for credit or non-credit students.

• Mike Hutjens will coordinate a two-credit advanced dairy management and diagnostics class, starting in mid-September. The 10-week course features calf and heifer systems, genetics, farm systems and health.

• Dick Wallace will offer his 10-week advanced dairy reproduction class for two credits, starting in September.

Enrollment and details for all three dairy classes can be found at the http://online.ansci.illinois.edu/


Arlington Agronomy/Soils Field Day is Aug. 27

Four tours will highlight the latest in agronomy and soils research  at the Agronomy/Soils Field Day Wednesday, Aug. 27 at UW-Madison’s Arlington Agricultural Research Station.

Greenhouse gases and Wisconsin agriculture will be among the topics addressed during the tours hosted by CALS researchers and Extension specialists. Topic-specific tours will depart the Public Events Facility at 8:30 a.m., 10:30 a.m. and 1:00 p.m.

• A soil science tour will include a discussion of strategies for crop residue management; nitrogen sensor research for corn and wheat; and using rolled cover crops in organic and conventional soybean production.

• A grains tour examines herbicide resistance in Wisconsin corn and soybeans; prescription seeding rates and climate impact on Midwestern soybean; maximum yield systems research for corn; and going “old school” to manage corn rootworms.

• A forages tour covers perennial forages for long-term carbon storage in Wisconsin’s prairie soils; cautions when harvesting wet forage; what level of weed control is needed to ensure alfalfa establishment; and common alfalfa diseases for 2014 and management options.

• A greenhouse gases and Wisconsin agriculture tour includes an introduction to greenhouse gases; greenhouse gas emissions from three crop rotations in Wisconsin; influence of weed management on nitrous oxide emissions; greenhouse gases from dairy-based rotation; and greenhouse gasses and biofuel production.

Lunch will available on the site for a $5 donation to the Badger Crops Club. During lunch, there will be a demonstration of UAV with aerial photography.

Additional exhibits to visit between tours or during lunch include: Apps for Ag, Nutrient and Pest Management Program, Integrated Pest Management and SnapPlus, and others.

The Arlington station is located on Hwy. 51, about 5 miles south of Arlington and 15 miles north of Madison. Watch for field day signs. For more information contact the UW-Madison Department of Agronomy at (608) 262-1390 or the Department of Soil Science (608) 262-0485.