Rulfs named NNY Ag Development Program co-chair

Jon Rulfs, co-owner of Adirondack Farms in Peru, N.Y., has been named co-chair of the Northern New York Agricultural Development Program, a farmer-driven research and technical assistance program serving Clinton, Essex, Franklin, Jefferson, Lewis and St. Lawrence counties.

Rulfs, who serves on the Northeast Dairy Producers Association board, is one of three co-chairs. He joins dairymen Jon Greenwood, Madrid, and Joe Giroux, Plattsburgh to lead the farmer-member advisory committee and commodity-focused subcommittees of the Northern New York Agricultural Development Program.

Rulfs owns the 2,500-cow, 5,000-acre dairy in partnership with Jake Swyers and Rocklyn Giroux.

The Northern New York Agricultural Development Program recently announced 27 farm research projects underway across the NNY region in 2014. The projects range in focus from dairy, field crops, fruit and vegetable production to livestock and crop pest and disease control and agricultural environmental stewardship. Learn more at


CDE Foundation offers scholarships

Outstanding students with an interest in the dairy industry can apply to receive a $1,000 “Student Leader” scholarship, offered by the Center for Dairy Excellence Foundation of Pennsylvania. Applications are being accepted until June 1, with up to seven scholarships being awarded to qualified students for the 2014-2015 academic year. In 2013, six scholarships were awarded to outstanding students.

 New guidelines and application have been released for the “Student Leader” Scholarship Program, which is intended to provide recognition, encouragement and financial assistance to outstanding students enrolled in academic programs that support the dairy industry. The guidelines are intended to maintain consistency in the application process and objectivity in the review process.

The changes for the 2014 enrollment period include:

·        All applications must be completed using the application form available online at Applications must be typed, and all question responses must strictly follow word count limitations.

·        One of the scholarships will be designated for an incoming freshman, with the remaining scholarships (up to six) awarded to upperclassmen. Only full-time undergraduate students can apply for the scholarship.

·        Students may apply for and receive the scholarship in subsequent years, but a student can only receive the $1,000 scholarship two times during their undergraduate academic career. Students employed by the Center for Dairy Excellence as an intern or in another capacity are not eligible to apply for the scholarship during the period in which they are working for the center.

Consideration for this scholarship will be given to Pennsylvania residents who are full-time undergraduate students planning to enroll or are currently enrolled in a qualifying field of study such as dairy and animal science; agriculture marketing and business; nutrition; food science; agricultural and extension education; agri-business management; agricultural engineering; or related fields.

Selection of the scholarship winners will be made by a joint committee of the Center for Dairy Excellence and Center for Dairy Excellence Foundation board of directors. Decisions will be based on the completed application within the following criteria: academic performance; apparent commitment to a career related to the dairy industry; evidence of leadership, character and integrity; and application compliance.

Scholarship shall be awarded for one academic year. The scholarship will be paid to the student upon certification of enrollment by the appropriate academic institution officer.

Scholarship application forms are available at Go to the “Student & Educator” section and click on scholarships. You may also send an e-mail requesting an application form to, or call Jayne Sebright at 717-346-0849.


CDE welcomes Howes as communications specialist

The Center for Dairy Excellence has named Amie Howes as Communications Specialist as of March 2014. In her new role, Howes will increase the center’s presence in electronic and social media communications venues and will assist in the center’s goal of providing relevant, cutting edge information to all dairy audiences, especially the dairy farm community.

“Helping dairies succeed in business is something I take very seriously,” Howes said. “Growing up in various areas of the dairy business has allowed me to appreciate the importance of what the center needs to provide to dairy farm families and others in the dairy industry.”

Howes obtained a bachelor of sciences degree in Animal Sciences with minors in agricultural business management and equine sciences from Penn State University in 2002. After graduation, she worked as a veterinary assistant and for an animal pharmaceutical company before spending the past eight years as a caretaker for her three children. She, her husband Justin and their three children, Austin (8), Chase (6), and Adelyn (5), live in Elizabethtown, Lancaster County.



Farm Credit East releases outlook report

Farm Credit East, the largest lender to Northeast agriculture, has recently released an outlook report, containing information and economic analysis about many Northeast agriculture industries. This report examines challenges and opportunities for Northeast agriculture, as well as the impact of broader economic trends and conditions on our region's farm businesses.

This report opens with an optimistic outlook on Northeast agriculture. Following, Farm Credit East senior leaders, consultants and appraisers provide information on financial management and planning, real estate markets, an overview of the national economy and business outlooks by agricultural industry.

The report also features 11 short perspective papers from some of the industry’s top thought leaders, including:

• Dr. Andrew Novakovic, Cornell University, highlights coming trends affecting Northeast agriculture;

• Dr. Brent Gloy, Purdue University, comments on the increase in farmland values throughout the U.S.;

• Dr. Michael Goodman, University of Massachusetts Dartmouth, takes a look at the U.S. economy;

• Guido van der Hoeven, North Carolina State University, talks about handing down the farm to the next generation;

• Kathryn Ruhf, Land for Good, offers perspectives on beginning farmers;

• Drs. Charles Nicholson, Penn State, and Mark Stephenson, University of Wisconsin-Madison, explore milk price cycles;

• Dr. Greg Bethard, G&R Dairy Consulting, Inc., talks about dairy herd replacement;

• Dr. Ben Campbell, University of Connecticut, covers local and organic foods and what they mean to consumers;

• Jeff LaFleur, Massachusetts Association of Conservation Districts, tackles environmental regulatory certainty;

• Dr. Thomas Sproul, University of Rhode Island, examines agriculture as an engine of economic development; and

• Dr. Todd Schmit, Cornell University, explores food manufacturing relative to other manufacturing sectors.

To view a full copy of the report contact your local Farm Credit East office or visit


Dairy checkoff organizations re-elect officers

The Mid-Atlantic Dairy Association and Pennsylvania Dairy Promotion Program (PDPP) board of directors recently elected officers for the 2014 term during their annual reorganization meeting.

Vernon Horst of Chambersburg, Pa., was re-elected chairman of the Mid-Atlantic Dairy Association board, and Harold Shaulis of Somerset, Pa., was re-elected to lead the Pennsylvania Dairy Promotion Program.

Also re-elected as Mid-Atlantic Dairy Association officers were: Joyce Bupp, Seven Valleys, Pa., vice chairwoman; Jeff Moore, Centreville, Md., secretary; and Jerrel Heatwole, Greenwood, Del., treasurer.

In addition to Harold Shaulis as chairman, the Pennsylvania Dairy Promotion Program board also re-elected the following officers: Jeff Raney, Adamsville, Pa., first vice chairman; Harold Bailey, Roaring Springs, Pa., second vice chairman; Christine Cooney, Spartansburg, Pa., secretary; Joyce Bupp, Seven Valleys, Pa., assistant secretary; Bertha Ackerson, Marion Center, Pa., treasurer; Rita Kennedy, Valencia, Pa., assistant treasurer; and Jim Warburton, New Albany, Pa., finance and audit committee.

For the past eight years, the two promotion boards have worked closely together to bring dairy checkoff programs to the Mid-Atlantic region. Dairy checkoff programs continue to focus on promotion, education and research of dairy  through a variety of programs aimed at increasing the demand for and sale of milk and dairy products.

Mid-Atlantic Dairy Association and Pennsylvania Dairy Promotion Program are the local planning and management organizations funded by dairy farmer checkoff dollars. They work closely with Dairy Management Inc.™ and are responsible for increasing demand for dairy products on behalf of Mid-Atlantic dairy farmers. For more information, visit 

Source: Mid-Atlantic Dairy Association and Pennsylvania Dairy Promotion Program


Allen receives Richard Popp Memorial Leadership Award

George Allen, owner/operator of Allenwaite Farms Inc., Easton, N.Y., received the Richard Popp Memorial Leadership Award at the 2014 Northeast Dairy Producers Association (NEDPA) Conference.

Allen and his father, Norman, grew the family’s herd of 100 milking Holsteins to 270 cows in 1974, building the farm’s first freestall barn. The herd was expanded to 500 cows in 1993; 1999 brought the addition of a new calf barn and a venture into the world of automated calf feeding systems.

George and his wife, Paula, raised three sons, Aaron, Ross and Travis. Aaron and Travis returned to the family farm after graduating from Cornell.

When Aaron returned home in 2002, they build a new barn and milking center, propelling the farm to a milking herd of over 1,000 cows. The past 10 years have seen continued growth and development, as son Travis returned to the farm in 2006. The team implemented a new manure system, and continued to build barns, including a new heifer facility in 2011, resulting in a total milking herd of 1,700 cows.

Earlier this year, Allenwaite merged with a neighboring dairy, bringing the herd to 2,200 milking cows.

Allen worked with Advanced Dairy Genetics to be an early adopter of sexed semen. His dedication to the CAFO work group provided a voice for the farming community in New York. He also served several years on the NEDPA board, judges local FFA competitions, served in the Washington County IDA, and was a board member of the Agricultural Stewardship Association, conserving local farm land including 1,000 acres of the home farm.

The Popp award was created to honor dairy farmer Richard T. Popp, Castile, N.Y., who died in 1997.


NY Dairy Farm Business update

Participation in New York's annual Dairy Farm Business Summary and Analysis Program is underway, with farms submitting their information and receiving analysis of their business’ performance for 2013. Farms that have entered data for multiple years also receive a trend analysis for 3 or 7 years, depending how long they have participated in the program. Using data submitted by farms that participated in 2012 and 2013, the change between the two years can be examined.  Preliminary selected factors from the same 78 farms are:

•   Average herd size increased 2.9%

•   Milk sold per cow was unchanged

•   Costs to produce milk are up 7% 

•   Gross milk price increased 9.6% to $21.79

•   Profit per cow increased $162, or 25.6%

•   Debt per cow decreased 2.8%

To learn more about the Dairy Farm Business Summary and Analysis Program and to inquire about participating, please visit


Winter damage not stopping brown root rot-resistance researchers

As Northern New York farmers begin checking their fields for signs of brown root rot (BRR) this spring, Cornell University researchers are preparing to overcome a weather-related setback to developing regionally-adapted alfalfa varieties resistant to the soil-borne fungus Phoma sclerotioides.

Ice sheeting in 2012 killed both older and younger generations of alfalfa plants and caused the loss of significant data from the field trials at the William H. Miner Agricultural Research Institute at Chazy, N.Y.

Since 2008 with funding from the farmer-driven Northern New York Agricultural Development Program, Cornell researchers have managed a trial to test the resistance to BRR in currently available alfalfa varieties. 

Cornell plant breeders Don Viands and Julie L. Hansen are hoping an agronomist’s loss will become a plant breeder’s gain in that the trial results were lost to winterkill, but the surviving plants may be genetically improved for winter stress, perhaps including resistance to BRR.

In 2013, the research group grew out stem cuttings from surviving plants from Cornell-developed alfalfa varieties. Seed was produced and is now ready for planting at Chazy in the 2014 BRR-resistance trials on a field with a high concentration of BRR.

BRR-resistant alfalfa grown in the Canadian province of Saskatchewan, where BRR has been a long-term problem for alfalfa production, has shown up to 65 percent higher yields, however, says Cornell Plant Pathologist Gary C. Bergstrom, “Unfortunately for New York alfalfa growers, the BRR-resistant variety that does well in Saskatchewan and Alberta performs poorly here as it is susceptible to other alfalfa root rots common in New York.”

Brown root rot was first identified in the eastern United States in Clinton County in northern New York in 2003. It has since been confirmed in Vermont, New Hampshire, Maine and Ontario. The fungus impacts alfalfa, other perennial legume crops, and overwintering grass crops. BRR persists in soil year-round, becoming primarily active in winter and early spring, causing slow crop emergence, stand decline, and yield loss.

The complete Brown Root Rot of Alfalfa: Challenges and Opportunities research report is posted in the Field Crops section on the Northern New York Agricultural Development Program website at


Pennsylvania dairy professionals invited to customer relations seminar

Dairy professionals who work within Pennsylvania’s dairy industry are invited to attend a professional development conference on Thursday, May 15, titled “Essentials for Enhancing Your Career.” The meeting will run from 9 am-2:30 pm and will include an opening discussion, followed with two sets of breakout sessions.

The one-day conference is being hosted by the Center for Dairy Excellence and the Penn State Extension Dairy Team at the Penn State Visitors Center in State College, Pa., to help those who work with dairy farm customers and clients to enhance their customer relations and facilitation skills.

The agenda has been finalized with talented speakers including:

·        Mary Kay Willaims, M.Ed, Penn State Corporate Learning is leading the opening discussion speaking on Working with Different Customer Types.

·        Two options for the first two breakout groups are: Lisa Holden and Rob Goodling, Penn State University, on Meeting Facilitation or Kevin Silman, College of Education Marketing Communication Specialist, addressing Email Etiquette.

·        The second session of breakout group options are: Heather Weeks, Penn State Extension, talking on How to Give the Presentation of a Lifetime, or J. Craig Williams and Gary Hennip, Penn State Extension, along with Alan Zepp, Center for Dairy Excellence helping those on Interpreting the New Farm Bill.

·        Meeting will wrap up with door prize announcements.

Registration closes Wednesday, May 14, 2014 with a discounted fee of $40 per registrant until May 1. After May 1, the fee increases to $50 per person. A boxed lunch will be provided that day. There are a limited number of seats so please register today and don’t forget to invite others to join you so they may also enhance their career.

For more information on the “Essentials for Enhancing Your Career” conference, contact Emily Yeiser at the Center for Dairy Excellence at 717-346-0849 or or Rebecca White at 814-863-3917 or


Penn State Extension Dairy Team to host negotiation workshop

       Building effective negotiations skills can be valuable in dealing with vendors, employees and business associates. To help dairy producers and management increase their confidence, the Penn State Extension Dairy Team will hold a workshop in which participants learn strategies for successful negotiation.

Scheduled for April 30 at the Ranch House Restaurant, 190 Keystone Road, Edensburg, Pa., the session will be held from 9 a.m. to 1:30 p.m.  Registration fee is $25 per person.

Dairy Extension Educator Ximena del Campo explained that the workshop will teach participants how to “maximize the value of outcomes by learning to plot a course from beginning, to commitment to completion.”

Topics will include basics of principled negotiation, in which participants learn effective strategies for negotiating, giving information on how to successfully negotiate with various audiences. Participants will be taught negotiation steps for success, learning how to strengthen skills and build “negotiation vocabulary,” as well as crucial negotiation strategies and components.

Participants will have the opportunity to practice negotiation techniques in a  non-threatening environment in small group discussions, allowing hands-on experience practicing these skills with other managers.

This program is eligible for 2 SmartStart credits from AgChoice Farm Credit. Register online at or by calling toll-free 888-373-7232. This program is designed for dairy producers, owners, managers or herdsmen