DFA acquires Maine’s Oakhurst

Maine's Oakhurst will become a wholly owned subsidiary of Dairy Farmers of America (DFA), it was announced Jan. 31.

Oakhurst will continue to operate independently, sourcing milk from 70 independent Maine farmers that currently supply the company. Processing and bottling will continue at the company’s Portland, Maine location.

The Bennett family, which has owned Oakhurst since 1921, and the existing management team will continue to manage the company’s day-to-day operations. John Bennett and Tom Brigham will continue in their role as co-presidents. 


Dairy Leaders of Tomorrow farm tour planned, April 11

Pennsylvania high school aged students with an interest in dairy are invited to participate in a day-long tour of two Blair County dairy farm operations on Friday, April 11. The tour is being coordinated by the Center for Dairy Excellence and supported by the Center for Dairy Excellence Foundation of Pennsylvania as part of its Dairy Leaders of Tomorrow program.

The two farms featured on the tour include:

• Kulp Family Dairy, LLC, owned by the Kulp family in Martinsburg, Pa.

• DD Drycreek Dairy, owned by the Smith family in Martinsburg, Pa.

 More details about the specific farm locations will be outlined in the near future, with specific information on bus pick-up points determined at that point. Those interested must complete a brief application and include a statement on why they are interested in the dairy industry. The application must also be signed by their agriculture teacher or an educational advisor and a parent. Absentee excuse forms should also be submitted with the application, so they can be signed to ensure that the tour is considered an educational field trip.

Applications can be downloaded from www.centerfordairyexcellence.org under “Upcoming Events” or in the Student and Educator section. Call 717-346-0849 to request an application. Application deadline is March 31.


Farm Credit awards Northeast dairy grants

Farm Credit Northeast AgEnhancement Program recently awarded $39,500 to 14 organizations to promote northeast agriculture, support young and beginning farmer initiatives and encourage agricultural youth programs. The program is a joint effort of Farm Credit East, Yankee Farm Credit and CoBank.

The most recent dairy-related grant recipients include:

• The New York Animal Agriculture Coalition will use their $8,000 grant to enhance the Dairy Cow Birthing Center, which debuted at the 2013 New York State Fair, by increasing seating capacity, utilizing more audio/visual and internet technologies and distributing handouts and prizes, therefore attracting more visitors and creating a greater understanding of the dairy industry.

• A $7,500 grant was awarded to the Cornell Dairy Fellows Program to support Cornell Dairy Fellows, a comprehensive undergraduate program for students considering careers in the dairy industry.

• A $5,000 grant to the University of Massachusetts will be put towards the Winter Traveling Dairy Tour, an annual, week-long tour of dairy farms and related businesses offered to Animal Science students at New England Land-Grant Universities.

• A $2,000 grant to the Vermont Holstein Association will support their Northeast Show Calf Summit, which brings together youth from New England and New York to educate them on calf selection, nutrition, care and showmanship.

• New York Holstein Association will put their $1,500 grant towards the New York Holstein Association’s judging contest held during the New York Spring Dairy Carousel. This program provides young adults the opportunity to organize and run an event, which helps to develop organization, time management and delegation skills.

The deadline to submit proposals for the next round of grants is April 1. For more information: FarmCreditEast.com/Industry-Support.aspx


Penn State: Best Milking Practices workshops set

Producing high quality milk is fundamental to the success of a dairy operation.  The Penn State Extension Dairy Team is offering hands-on workshops to help managers and milkers understand the importance of consistent milking practices to increase productivity and profitability. The programs will be from 9 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. on the following dates:

• Feb. 14 – Blue Mountain Family Restaurant, Shartlesville, Berks County

• Feb. 24 – Grange Fair Administration Building, Centre Hall, Centre County

• Feb. 26 – Perry County Extension Office, New Bloomfield, Perry County

• Feb. 28 – Belleville Community Hall, Belleville, Mifflin County

• Mar. 7 – Berlin Volunteer Fire Hall, Berlin, Somerset County

Taught in English, this program will emphasize proper milking techniques and standard operation procedures that will reduce somatic cell count. Practices that promote good udder health include teat cleanliness, udder massage and rapid milking, as well as pre-dipping, fore-stripping, and rapid unit attachment and detachment.

Participants will also learn the importance of early detection of clinical mastitis and tools and tips for monitoring milking performance.

Registration fee: $40 per person. Registration may be done on line at http://extension.psu.edu/animals/dairy/education/best-milking-practices. A form may be downloaded and mailed to Penn State Extension Dairy Team, 324 Henning Bldg., University Park, PA 16802.

A portion of this workshop will be on farm. Bring footwear that can be sanitized, as well as warm and clean clothing. Plastic boots will be provided.

This program is eligible for 2 SmartStart credits from AgChoice Farm Credit.

For more information, call toll-free 888-373-7232 or contact: Amber Yutzy, Extension educator, anl113@psu.edu.


Dairy Team offers training in on-farm culturing

The Penn State Extension Dairy Team is offering workshops to help producers increase milk production and premium benefits and decrease cost of treatment for mastitis. These hands-on workshops are designed for dairy producers, employees and milkers focus on proper methods for collecting and identifying cultures.

All workshops are from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Dates are:

Feb. 21 – Lancaster Farm and Home Center, Lancaster County

March 4 -  Tioga County Fairgrounds, Wellsboro, Tioga County

March 6 – Hoss’s Steak and Sea House, Indiana, Indiana County

March 12 – Berlin Volunteer Fire Hall, Berlin, Somerset County

Instructors are Greg Strait and Amber Yutzy, Extension educators. This program is eligible for 1 SmartStart credit from AgChoice Farm Credit.

Registration fee is $70 per person. Registration may be done online at http://extension.psu.edu/animals/dairy/education/best-milking-practices-on-farm-culturing. A form may be downloaded from this site to be mailed with a personal check.

For more information, call toll-free 888-373-7232 or contact: Amber Yutzy, Extension educator: anl113@psu.edu or Greg Strait, Extension educator: gls10@psu.edu


Robot milking systems, cost analyses to be featured at New York Farm Show

Farm Credit East, New York Farm Show and American Agriculturist are sponsoring the fourth Dairy Robotonomics seminar during all three days of the New York Farm Show, Feb. 20-22, at the New York State Fairgrounds, in Syracuse, N.Y.

Robotic milking system manufacturers will have robots on display at the show. Each morning's session wraps up with an analysis by John Lehr, Farm Credit East vice president and farm business consultant. He'll share some financial tools to illustrate how robots impact dairy operation equity position and cash flow.


Farm Credit East sets February webinars

Farm Credit East will host two webinars in February.

• Thursday, Feb. 13, 10 a.m. – 2014 Agricultural Economic Outlook and Ag Labor Update webinar. This webinar will take a look at agricultural markets in 2014 and what the road ahead looks like. That will be followed by the agricultural labor update, including a look at the status of the H-2A program. Presenters for this webinar will be Terry Barr, economist with CoBank, and Monte Lake, attorney and agricultural labor expert. To register to attend this webinar, click here.

• Thursday, Feb. 27. 10 a.m. – Navigating the Grant Process, a webinar that will provide answers to questions about the grant process. For example: What kinds of grants are available to Northeast producers? Who funds them? What application processes are like? What can farmers apply for on their own and when should they engage a grant writer? What services does Farm Credit East provide? This webinar features Farm Credit East consultant Nathan Rudgers. To register to attend this webinar, click here.