Vermont Farm Show kicks off Jan. 28

The 82st annual Vermont Farm Show, set for Jan. 28-30, will feature more than 150 agricultural exhibits, ranging from tractors to livestock to cutting-edge equipment. Vermont’s largest agricultural showcase, it will be held at the Champlain Valley Expo, Essex Junction, Vt.

The Farm Show also hosts key meetings for Vermont agricultural groups. For a full list of Farm Show Meetings, visit

This year Consumer Night will be held Wednesday, Jan. 29, 4-7 p.m.

For a full list of exhibitors ad their respective booth numbers, visit

For more information, visit


New York’s DAP funding boosted

Funding for New York’s Dairy Acceleration Program (DAP) will be increased by $850,000, to $1.85  million. Combined with funding still available under the current program, this new funding will serve at least 100 more dairy farms across New York.

DAP is jointly funded by the Department of Agriculture and Markets and the Department of Environmental Conservation. Available funding covers: 

• up to $5,000 per farm to write a business plan or develop a combination of a business and facility growth plan.

• up to $4,500 to update an existing Comprehensive Nutrient Management Plan (CNMP), or $6,000 to develop a new one.  

New  funds will be available to design farm practices described in CNMPs. CNMPs are a conservation system for animal feeding operations designed to address soil erosion and water quality concerns. The CNMP encompasses the storage and handling of manure as well as using and applying manure nutrients on farmland. Through DAP, the state already awarded dozens of projects to farms with an average herd size of about 140 cows. 

Business planning may include financial analysis, farmstead development planning, facility planning and capital investment planning for increased milk production per cow. Environmental planning includes CNMP development and updates. Farms without an existing CNMP may hire a certified Nutrient Management planner to develop a new CNMP.

To be eligible for DAP, a dairy cattle farm must have complete financial records and be shipping milk. Preference will be given to farms with under 300 mature cows. DAP funding will cover up to 80% of a project’s cost.

Through DAP, farmers will be able to tap into the expertise of the Cornell Cooperative Extension (CCE) network, Cornell PRO-DAIRY, certified Agricultural Environmental Management planners, farm business planning consultants and other agricultural programs to facilitate and grow their business, and in turn, increase production on their farms.

To apply for DAP, visit


Penn State: Middle Managers Conference is March 5

The Penn State Extension Dairy Team will host a Middle Managers Conference, Wednesday, March 5, at the Best Western Premier Central Hotel & Conference Center in Harrisburg, Pa. The conference help dairy farm middle managers and mid-level supervisors develop practical skills they can use to make their dairy farms better places to work and more successful businesses. It qualifies for 2 AgChoice Smart Start Credits, and scholarships to attend are available from the Center for Dairy Excellence. Learn more.


New York offers on-farm anaerobic digester funding

New York dairy farmers may now be eligible for cost-share assistance to construct anaerobic digesters on their farms. Gov. Andrew Cuomo designated $20 million to be available through the New York State Energy Research and Development Authority (NYSERDA).

Farms, food processing manufacturers and municipal wastewater sites are eligible for up to $2 million per project. The digester technology funding will be available on a first-come, first-served basis for eligible projects.  Further details will be available from NYSERDA.

Biogas-to-power technology has several steps. Dairy manure and other organic wastes are conveyed into heated digestion tanks where naturally occurring bacteria break down a portion of the waste, creating the methane-rich biogas. The liquid outflow (effluent) from digesters, about the same volume as the inflow, contains all the nutrients that came into it, thus the effluent that can be applied to crops as fertilizer. Biogas can be used to fuel engines that in turn produce electricity and heat. Through this process, farmers can often eliminate a significant portion of the electricity they would otherwise purchase from the utility grid, and periodically export surplus electricity onto the electrical grid in exchange for credits. 

NYSERDA and the New York Power Authority have awarded nearly $30 million toward anaerobic digestion projects and related technology over the past 10 years. Currently, this funding supports 20 operational digester projects.

Find Governor Andrew Cuomo's announcement here:


Miner Institute to study grain substitutes in dairy rations

Northern New York farmers are interested in properly and cost-effectively feeding their dairy cows. To help them evaluate economically-feasible replacements for corn grain in dairy rations, the Northern New York Agricultural Development Program (NNYADP) has provided funding to the William H. Miner Agricultural Institute to conduct a comprehensive inventory and analysis of accessible and appropriate dairy diet substitute products.

‘This research is timely in responding to the need for farmers to reduce the use of corn in feed rations. Corn prices have reached all-time highs in recent years and although they may trend downward due to high yields in 2013, prices are expected to remain higher than historical averages,’ said Miner Institute president Dr. Rick Grant.

Grant adds that a lower corn/starch diet does not compromise milk production.

‘Research by Cornell and Miner Institute has shown that high milk production can be obtained with lower dietary starch as long as rations are properly formulated. A lower starch diet can be successfully fed to early to mid-lactation cows, dry cow and fresh cows without compromising any aspect of performance,’ Grant said.

The search for acceptable corn grain substitutes goes beyond simply increasing the dairy ration with grass/legume forage grown on regional farms.

‘Northern New York weather and growing conditions can create a major constraint in assuring high quality forage harvest each year. Milk production suffers if the increased forage fed to cows is not of high quality and increases the real cost of production in spite of reducing the use of corn grain, thus we are in search of acceptable non-forage alternatives and the proper formulation of rations using those substitutes,’ Grant said.

Non-forage sources of fiber (NFFS) and fermentable carbohydrates for dairy rations include soybean hulls, beet pulp, and wheat midds.

With the NNYADP-funding, Miner Institute is collaborating with Northeast Ag and Feed Alliance feed industry representatives to look at regional factors influencing dairy ration development. For example, large storage facilities along the St. Lawrence River offer citrus pulp, hominy, and whole cottonseed supplies as potential dairy diet sources.

The NNYADP dairy diet corn substitute project researchers are also evaluating sources of distiller and wet brewer grains, and malt sprouts produced in Quebec, gluten feed produced in Ontario, and New England bakery by-products.

The first survey of the project will identify the current use of corn substitutes in NNY dairy herd diets over the past five years, what products are used as substitutes and the sources of those substitute products. The data will be analyzed to determine the most economically-feasible products.

The research team will analyze samples of the most economically-feasible products to determine how well their nutrient composition will work in developing dairy cow rations to support strong milk production.

The analysis protocol will evaluate digestibility by the cows, rumen digestion efficiency, and other factors that influence the proper formulation of the lower starch dairy cow diet.

‘We have found good agreement between the Fermentrics analysis and actual measured cow response to different types of diet rations in previous research studies conducted at Miner Institute’ Grant said.

Once the research surveys and analysis are complete, an updatable database will be developed for use by Northern New York dairy producers to encourage the best nutrition and economic gains from consistently feeding a less corn, lower starch substitute diet.

When completed, the Economical Substitutes for Corn Grain in NNY Dairy Cattle Rations report and database will be available on the NNYADP website at

The NNYADP is a farmer-driven research, technical assistance, and outreach small grants program supporting the diverse agricultural sectors in Clinton, Essex, Franklin, Jefferson, Lewis and St. Lawrence counties. The program receives funding support from the New York State Senate.


‘PYP’ call shows strong margins, opportunities

The Center for Dairy Excellence hosted its monthly “Protecting Your Profits” conference call, which documented recent movement in the dairy commodity markets. Alan Zepp, risk management program manager, led the conference call and reported on the current trend toward strong dairy prices.

“With the LGM Dairy sales period coming up next Friday, prices are at historically high levels and margins are well above both the five-year and ten-year average,” said Zepp. “The best case scenario would be that a producer who purchases a LGM policy would pay a 17-cent premium per hundredweight and not receive an indemnity. That would mean we would have a really strong year in dairy, but we don’t know how long prices will hold.”

On the call, Zepp shared updates on both national dairy industry statistics and local milk production trends that were reported in the Pennsylvania Dairy Industry Performance Scorecard. He also discussed the factors influencing the trend toward higher milk prices. Strong export demand, coupled with steady domestic sales, is currently pulling more product out of stocks, while milk production has been slow to grow recently.

“Nobody knows what the coming year will bring. Producers can choose not to use risk management, but at these historically high prices, that might be more of a gamble than actually doing something to protect your price,” Zepp said.

To access a recording of the conference call in a webinar format, visit For more details about the monthly conference call learning series, contact the Center for Dairy Excellence at 717-346-0849 or by e-mail at More information about this and other resources from the center can be found at