UW-Madison Short Course Preview Day set

The University of Wisconsin-Madison’s Farm and Industry Short Course invites high school students and their parents to a Preview Day on campus on April 11. Prospective students will have a chance to talk to short course staff and students, tour the Short Course dorms, and learn about scholarship opportunities and the types of careers that a Short Course can lead to.

The one-or two-year UW short course program is designed for high school graduates interested in farming or one of Wisconsin’s many other agricultural industries. It runs from November to mid-March and has an average enrollment of 135 students. Over 50 courses are offered annually in the areas of soils, crops, dairy, meat animals, general livestock, agricultural engineering and agricultural economics.

There is no cost for the Preview Day but space is limited and registration is required. Registration is accepted on a first-come, first-serve basis until April 7. To register go online to fisc.cals.wis.edu and select “prospective students.”


Sioux Falls 4th grade classes to learn about agriculture

Nearly 325 Sioux Falls area fourth grade students will learn about several segments of South Dakota agriculture, March 11.  Participating schools include:  St. Michael, Laura B. Anderson, Eugene Field, Hayward Elementary, St. Lambert and Anne Sullivan Elementary.

From the Farm to you….More than the Oink will be held at the Sioux Empire Fair Armory building and will feature live farm animals and sessions about each segment of agriculture represented that day.  

Fourth graders will have time at each of the eleven stations to meet farmers with their dairy calves, beef calves, chickens and lambs. These students will also get a chance to learn about grains grown in our state.  The students will also hear from farmers at each of these stations where they will learn how the farmer cares for their livestock and the importance of agriculture to South Dakota’s economy.  


Warm-up makes manure runoff a risk; check advisory before spreading

With temperatures warming up, Wisconsin agriculture and water quality officials are asking farmers to check the Runoff Risk Advisory Forecast online before spreading manure.

They encourage farmers  to avoid spreading manure during high-risk runoff times. If farmers must spread manure now, they should steer clear of high risk fields and have a spill response plan in place.

"The weather that is forecast could create a high risk of manure runoff to lakes, streams and groundwater if farmers spread it now," says Sara Walling, water quality section leader with the Wisconsin Department of Agriculture, Trade and Consumer Protection. "The online runoff risk advisory maps will give them a day-by-day forecast out 10 days, so they can avoid spreading, or if they must spread manure during that time, can take steps to minimize the risk of runoff."

The Runoff Risk Advisory Forecast is available at http://www.manureadvisorysystem.wi.gov/ and is part of the Wisconsin Manure Management Advisory System. The runoff forecast provides maps showing short-term runoff risk for daily application planning, taking into account factors including soil moisture, weather forecast, crop cover, snow cover, and slope. In winter, it gives a 10-day outlook day by day.  It is updated three times daily by the National Weather Service.

Farmers should contact their crop consultants or county land conservation offices for help identifying alternatives to spreading, such as stacking manure away from lakes or rivers, drinking water wells, or area with sinkholes or exposed bedrock. If farmers must spread manure, crop consultants and county conservationists can help identify fields where the risk is lower. You can find contact information for county conservation offices at datcp.wi.gov, search for conservation directory.

"If you are unable to avoid spreading manure in the coming days, you need to use caution, and know what the conditions are on the fields where you're spreading. A winter spreading plan can help find these lower risk fields," says Amy Callis,  Agricultural Nonpoint Source Implementation Coordinator with the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources. "You need to aim for the best outcome, but plan for the worst. You should also have a plan in place ahead of time about who to call and what steps to take if runoff or a spill occurs. How are you going to get it cleaned up and how are you going to prevent it from happening again?"

Information about preventing and planning for manure spills is available at http://dnr.wi.gov/topic/agbusiness/manurespills.html.


UW-Madison Dairy Science to host student open house

The University of Wisconsin-Madison’s Department of Dairy Science invites prospective students and their parents to visit campus on Friday, April 11, 9:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m., to explore what the program has to offer. High school juniors who are looking to get a head start on their college search and transfer students are encouraged to attend.

Those attending will get a firsthand look at one of the world’s leading dairy science departments as they tour the UW-Madison campus and Dairy Cattle Center, meet faculty, participate in hands-on workshops and learn about the wide variety of learning opportunities available to dairy science majors. Current students and alumni will be on hand to answer questions and share their experiences.

The UW-Madison undergrad dairy science program emphasizes a combination of cutting-edge, science-based knowledge and hands-on experience. Award-winning research and extension faculty teach more than 20 undergraduate courses covering nutrition, reproduction, mammary physiology, genetics and other aspects of dairy management.  On-campus, state-of-the art dairy facilities enhance the learning experience.

 For UW-Madison admission eligibility, it is recommended that high school students rank in the top 25 percent of their high school class. Transfer students must have completed at least 24 semester hours of college–level work. Most transfer students have a GPA of at least a 3.0 on a 4.0 scale. 

To attend the Dairy Science Visit Day, register on-line by April 8 at dysci.wisc.edu/visitday/.  For more information, contact Cathy Rook at (608) 263-3308 or rook@wisc.edu.


Five vie for 59th South Dakota Dairy Princess

South Dakota’s 59th State Dairy Princess will be crowned in Sioux Falls, March 25.  Five candidates are seeking the current title to replace Audrey Souza, Milbank, who has served the dairy industry for the past year. 

A program is scheduled to begin at 4:30 p.m. at the Sioux Falls Convention Center in Sioux Falls, South Dakota, in conjunction with the Central Plains Dairy Expo and Convention. The crowning of the 59th South Dakota Dairy Princess will be held at 6:30 p.m. during the Central Plains Dairy Expo’s Welcome Reception.

The five candidates are:

•       Katelyn Grehl, Hitchcock, daughter of Frank and Julie Grehl;

•       Martha Hartway, Castlewood, daughter of Charles and Darlene Hartway;

•       Emily Massey, Olivet, daughter of Jim and Deb Massey;

•       Katie Merrill, Parker, daughter of Allen and Kristi Merrill; and

•       Mercedes Zemlicka, Watertown, daughter of Daron and Val Zemlicka.

The new princess receives a $1,000 scholarship from Midwest Dairy Association.  A $500 scholarship from the Central Plains Dairy Expo is awarded to the runner-up.  Each candidate will receive a $250 scholarship from Midwest Dairy Association – South Dakota Division.

Throughout the year, the South Dakota Dairy Princess assists with promotion of dairy products, particularly with young children and on-farm events.  The Dairy Princess program is sponsored by Midwest Dairy Association through the dairy checkoff.


Western Minnesota MAWQCP open house set

The Minnesota Department of Agriculture (MDA) and the Buffalo-Red River Watershed District (BRRWD) invite farmers in the Whiskey Creek area to an open house on March 14, 9:30-11:30 a.m., to learn how they can get involved in the Minnesota Agricultural Water Quality Certification Program (MAWQCP).

MAWQCP is a voluntary program designed to accelerate adoption of on-farm conservation practices that protect Minnesota’s rivers and streams. Producers who implement and maintain approved farm management practices will be certified and in turn assured that their operation will obtain regulatory certainty for a period of ten years. The Whiskey Creek area was selected as one of four pilots throughout the state to test and refine the program. This pilot area includes parts of Wilkin and west Otter Tail County.

At the open houses, MDA and BRRWD staff will provide a brief presentation on the program and demonstrate the assessment tool used to evaluate individual operations. A panel discussion will feature local farmers, advisory committee members, and technical staff. Attendees will also have the opportunity to ask questions about the program and receive a free assessment of their farm.

 No registration is required for the open house. Farmers with questions about the event can contact Bruce Albright, BRRWD Administrator, at 218-354-7710.

For more information on the Minnesota Agricultural Water Quality Certification Program visit www.mda.state.mn.us/awqcp or http://www.brrwd.org.


Ohio ‘Farm Bill’ meeting scheduled

Farmers interested in learning more about the 2014 farm bill and its impact on commodity programs can hear from experts who will provide insight into the legislation and its impact on agriculture during a meeting March 20.

The 2014 farm bill's safety net requires farmers and landowners to elect which program design they prefer based on what they think will be most effective for their operation, particularly in conjunction with crop insurance, said Sam Custer, an Ohio State University Extension educator.

OSU Extension, which is hosting the event, is the outreach arm of Ohio State University’s College of Food, Agricultural, and Environmental Sciences.  

“Significant analysis is needed to compare the new programs and provide valuable information to the farm's decision makers, who will be locked into the program choice for the life of this farm bill,” Custer said.

A panel discussion of the farm bill will include Jon Coppess, clinical professor of law and policy at the University of Illinois; Adam Sharp, vice president of public policy with the Ohio Farm Bureau; and Art Barnaby, professor of policy and risk management at Kansas State University.

The meeting will cover several issues including:

•       Crop safety net decisions

•       Commodity programs including dairy

•       Crop insurance

The meeting begins at 7 p.m. at the Versailles High School, 280 Marker Road in Versailles. There is no cost to attend the meeting but registration is requested. An online registration form can be found at http://go.osu.edu/2014FarmBillMeeting. The deadline to register is March 17.

For more information contact Sam Custer at 937-548-5215 or custer.2@osu.edu.


Competition gives crash course in dairy farm management

“Learning about farm management strategies in class is one thing,” says University of Wisconsin-Madison junior Ryan Pralle. “But the real world is a different story. There are factors that we might not consider in class when discussing what research tells us is the best way to farm. Things like the existing infrastructure of the farm, or the farmer’s financial standing, can be limiting factors.”

Pralle had a chance to address some of those real-world issues when he joined 57 other dairy science students from 13 Midwestern schools at the 10th annual Midwest Dairy Challenge in Appleton, Wis. Pralle, from Humbird, was one of the six UW-Madison competitors.

Dairy Challenge was developed to expose students to opportunities the dairy industry. Working in four- or five-person teams, each with members from multiple universities, participants assessed all aspects of a working dairy farm and presented recommendations for improvement to a panel of judges and participating farm families.

Two Wisconsin farms, Sugar Creek Dairy LLC of New London and Country Aire Dairy of Greenleaf, hosted this year’s contest.

Max Luchterhand, a junior from Spencer, Wis., says that he says he was “stunned” to learn that his took first place among the six that assessed Country Aire Dairy. The experience will always stick with him, and will be invaluable in helping him run his own farm after college, he adds.

The three-day competition offers students a crash course in practical dairy farm management—with opportunities to attend seminars on finance, nutrition and reproduction, play the roles of consultants, interview farm owners and inspect dairies—where they can apply their classroom learning out in the field.

As Pralle, whose team also took first in its group, puts it: ”It is a rewarding feeling to know that what I learn in college is making me a well-educated dairy professional who knows his way around the barn.”

Others UW-Madison students at the Midwest Dairy Challenge included Elizabeth Binversie, Joseph Mulcahy, Olivia Peter and Carrie Warmka. Dairy science professor Dave Combs and dairy management instructor Ted Halbach served as coaches.

The North American Intercollegiate Dairy Challenge was established to facilitate education, communication and an exchange of ideas among students, agribusiness, dairy producers and universities that enhances the development of the dairy industry and its leaders. In its 13-year history, the program has helped train more than 4,000 students through one national and four regional annual contests. NAIDC is supported through generous donations by 130 agribusinesses and dairy producers and coordinated by a volunteer board of directors.

For more information, visit www.dairychallenge.org or www.facebook.com/DairyChallenge.