New York: Low-stress dairy cattle handling clinic set

A Low Stress Cattle Handling Clinic will be held Aug. 5, at Spring Hope Dairy, Stanley, NY.  This innovative program uses live cow and calf handling demonstrations to inform dairy producers about the importance and benefits of proper cattle handling throughout each life cycle. Creating and managing movement is the key to effective dairy cattle handling and plays a critical role in both cattle well-being and worker safety.

Led by talented presenter and renowned stockmanship instructor, Curt Pate, this special event focuses on handling methods to improve dairy cattle movement through all parts of the dairy facility, from freestall to parlor, bedded pack and maternity pens, to loading and hauling. Special emphasis will be placed on effective cattle handling to improve cow comfort and productivity.

Registration is at 10 a.m.; the program will run from 10:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. There training is free and lunch will follow the event. Preregistration is required. Contact the NY Beef Council at 315.339.6922 or email


Maryland: LEAD applicants sought

The LEAD Maryland Foundation, Inc. (LEAD) is seeking applicants for its next class of LEAD Fellows.  Program information and the application are available at  or the University of Maryland Extension’s website at . Completed applications are due to LEAD by October 1, 2014 for participation in 2015-2016.

LEAD Maryland awards two-year fellowships to selected participants, creating classes of 20-25 emerging leaders. The LEAD fellowship curriculum focuses on providing public issues education, skills building, leadership development, and personal growth. Through program participation, Fellows become more equipped to solve problems, identify resources, engage and educate, and to provide leadership in shaping public policy and serving others.

During 2015 and 2016, LEAD Class IX will complete a series of nine multi-day seminars held at locations throughout Maryland and Washington, D.C.; and the Fellows will participate in a travel study tour. 

For more information, call the LEAD office at 410.827.8056 or email


CDE plans dairy financial and risk management conference

The Center for Dairy Excellence will host its fourth annual Dairy Financial and Risk Management Conference on Tuesday, Sept. 23, from 8:30 a.m.–3 p.m. at the Central Penn Business Conference, Summerdale, Pa., just outside of Harrisburg. The event is held annually to provide dairy lenders and financial consultants with insight and strategies to help their dairy clients improve profitability.

Keynote speaker Greg Bethard, Ph.D., will draw on his experience as a management consultant to dairy farms around the world to guide Pennsylvania lenders on which benchmarks to put their focus. He will also share his first hand perspective on the international dairy industry. Dr. Mark Stephenson with the University of Wisconsin-Madison and Dr. Chuck Nicholson with Penn State Smeal College of Business will review the new federal dairy policy and its implications for the industry.

 For more information, visit and click on the event listed under “Upcoming Events.”


YDLI scholarships available in Pennsylvania

The Pennsylvania Dairymen's Association and Center for Dairy Excellence are offering up to four partial scholarships for Pennsylvania dairy producers to attend the Holstein Foundation's Young Dairy Leaders Institute (YDLI). Class nine will meet Feb. 25-28, 2015, and Feb. 24-27, 2016, in Phoenix, Ariz. The application deadline is Aug. 1, 2014. Learn more.


PDMP Summer Summit planned

The Professional Dairy Managers of Pennsylvania will host its Annual Summer Summit on Thursday, August 7, at Yippee Farms, owned by Arlin and Deborah Benner in Mount Joy, Lancaster County. The event will feature round-robin sessions, showcasing key management areas of the farm. To learn more or for registration information, click here. 


2015 Pennsylvania Dairy Summit scheduled

The 2015 Pennsylvania Dairy Summit is scheduled for Feb. 4-5, 2015, at the Lancaster Marriott in downtown Lancaster, PA.

This year's conference will feature an opening discussion on protecting the integrity of our food supply with Charlie Arnot, from the Center for Food Integrity. Brian Houin from Homestead Dairy in Indiana, and David Masser from Sterman Masser Potato Farms, Sacramento, Pa., will both provide business showcases.


Cornell Dairy Executive Program accepting applicants

The Cornell Dairy Executive Program is now accepting applications for its latest class, to begin in December 2014.  This unique educational opportunity, organized by the PRO-DAIRY Program at Cornell University, is a professional educational program in leadership and management principles for progressive dairy executives and agriservice personnel, focused on increasing their ability to run a successful dairy business and to enhance their understanding of the fast-changing dairy industry.  By coming to this program, participants will continue to develop the necessary leadership and business management skills to lead their dairy business into the future. 

Timely topics in dairy business management are presented by a team of national experts from within and outside of the field of agriculture through three multi-day sessions over a 12-month period.  Participants attending the program can expect to develop 1- and 5-year strategic business plans through a comprehensive self-evaluation of their business, while building a network of dairy executives and business relationships.  All sessions take place at The Statler Hotel on the Cornell University campus, where a typical day includes presentations, individual study, small group discussions and roundtable discussions with faculty.

Detailed information, including an application, can be found online at or by contacting Heather Darrow, Conference Coordinator at (607) 255-4478 or  Class size is limited to 30 participants. Registration deadline is Oct. 15.


Organic dairy series continues in Vermont

 A series of workshops is being offered throughout the summer for organic farmers interested in learning how to make the most of their forages. The Summer Organic Dairy Series is a collaboration of the University of Vermont Extension Northwest Crops and Soils Program and the Northeast Organic Farming Association of Vermont (NOFA-VT).

Dates and locations of remaining workshops include:

• Aug. 19 – Summer Annuals, Irrigation and Cow Health; Fournier Farm (Earl Fournier and Sons), 101 Campbell Bay Rd., Swanton, 10:30 a.m.-2:30 p.m.

• Aug. 28 – Soils, Foliar Sprays and Nutrient-dense Forages; Butterworks Farm (Jack and Anne Lazor), 421 Trumpass Rd., Westfield; 10:00 a.m.-3:30 p.m.

• Sept. 9 – Crop Diversification, Hay in a Day and Robotic Milkers and Grazing; North Hardwick Dairy (Steve and Nick Meyer), 2687 Bridgman Hill Rd., Hardwick; 10:30 a.m.-2:30 p.m.

Interested farmers can register online at The web site also includes directions to each farm. Each event is $20 per person, which includes lunch from the NOFA-VT Pizza Oven.


Vermont 4-H Dairy Show is Aug. 11

Many of Vermont's best dairy 4-H members will compete at the annual 4-H State Dairy Show, Aug. 11 in New Haven, for championships and a chance to show their animals in New England regional competition.

Spectators are welcome to attend the free University of Vermont (UVM) Extension 4-H event, which will be held at the Addison County Fair and Field Days grounds, beginning at 9 a.m. Lunch will be available for purchase on-site.

Separate competitions will be held for all the breeds. The fitting and showmanship classes, based on the age of the exhibitor, focus on the poise of the 4-H'er and presentation of the animal. In addition to earning ribbons for placement, the top individuals in both the junior and senior divisions will earn the fitting and showmanship championship for their division.

In the conformation classes, arranged according to the animal's age and breed, the judges evaluate the cow or heifer on its physical structure, condition, physical appearance and breed characteristics. A grand champion will be chosen from among all the junior and senior champions for each breed.

In addition, 30 of the best competitors will be selected to participate at the regional 4-H dairy show at the Eastern States Exposition in West Springfield, Mass. in September.

The day before the state dairy show, participants will take part in a clipping contest. They also will attend a chicken barbecue hosted by Addison County 4-H clubs and local businesses.

For more information on the 4-H dairy show, contact Wendy Sorrell, UVM Extension 4-H livestock educator, at (802) 656-5418 or (800) 571-0668, ext. 2 (within Vermont).


NNYADP research enhancing on-farm precision nitrogen management

The Northern New York Agricultural Development Program (NNYADP) and Cornell University Crop and Soil Sciences and Earth and Atmospheric Sciences departments have released results of their latest efforts to enhance real-time weather-based precision nitrogen (N) management in New York state’s northernmost counties.

Based in part on 18 years of field studies in Northern New York, the van Es Lab at Cornell University developed the Adapt-N data-driven simulation software to help reduce uncertainty about optimum nitrogen application rates, particularly driven by early-season variable weather conditions.

 The farmer-led NNYADP has funded Cornell to refine the software that functions in real-time, daily adapting recommendations to current weather conditions. Farmers and crop consultants can receive weather-adjusted updates daily via email or text alert.

Growers and service providers can also receive instantaneous recommendations by inputting field-specific data, including soil type, organic nitrogen sources, soil and crop management practices, crop growth, and weather impact, using any device with internet access. Field managers can monitor nitrogen availability to crops throughout the growing season.

The Cornell University Department of Earth and Atmospheric Sciences developed a process for incorporating 3x3-mile grids of daily high-resolution rainfall and temperature data that Adapt-N uses to calculate how much nitrogen is needed.

The NNYADP project included training for farmers and crop consultants on the proper use of the tool to gain the benefits to crop production, economic efficiency on the farm, and environmental stewardship.

More than 20 farmers and crop consultants in northern NY tested the Adapt-N cloud-based software, running simulations for nitrogen application recommendations at more than 350 sites in 2013.

Nine of 12 on-farm Adapt-N trials completed on Northern New York farms in 2013 met criteria for evaluating grower benefits. In eight instances nitrogen use was decreased, by an average of 37 lbs/acre. Seventy-eight percent (7 trial sites) reported increased profit with an average of $23/acre.

Noting that each subsequent year of field research enhances the precision of the tool, Cornell Crop and Soil Sciences extension associate Dr. Bianca Moebius-Clune estimates that currently Adapt-N could improve Northern New York grower profits in 70% to 80% of locations, on average by $20-$30/acre, and more in wet years when profit comes from maintained yields.

To learn more about Adapt-N, visit the Northern New York Agricultural Development Program at


Mid-Atlantic Dairy, CDE release community event planning guide

Dairy farm families and others planning events to reach out to the local community can now access a new “Community Event Planning Toolkit,” made possible by the Center for Dairy Excellence, Mid-Atlantic Dairy Association and Pennsylvania Dairy Promotion Program. This toolkit offers a step-by-step event planning guide, along with valuable resources, such as activity ideas, brochure and poster templates, and a how-to on creating a neighborhood mailing.

The toolkit combines resources from Mid-Atlantic Dairy Association’s “Your Milk Comes from A Good Place” campaign with center resources, including the “Something to Treasure” brochure and activity ideas from the “Discover Dairy” educational program. It also includes electronic templates for posters, a brochure and a farm fact sheet on a DVD to use to promote key messages about the farm.

 Anyone interested in planning a community event can request a free copy of the toolkit by calling the Center for Dairy Excellence at 717-346-0849 or emailing Information on how to order additional brochures to distribute at the event is also included in the toolkit.

For more information about this toolkit or other resources available from the Center for Dairy Excellence that showcase dairy’s contribution to the local community, visit Click on “Share Dairy’s Value” on the top menu bar.

For more information about Mid-Atlantic Dairy Association’s Telling Your Story training programs, including speaker’s bureau, on-farm crisis preparedness and social media, among others, contact Lisa Perrin-Dubravec at 717-787-6903 or


Dairy PROS Breakfast to showcase animal care, stewardship practices 

The Center for Dairy Excellence and the Penn State Extension Dairy Team announced a special statewide Dairy PROS breakfast meeting being held at Ag Progress Days, Wednesday, Aug. 13, from 7 a.m.-8:45 a.m., in the Theatre area.

 Discussion will focus on the Novus auditing system, along with a local dairy farm, sharing the benefits to Novus COWS (Cow Comfort, Oxidative Balance, Well-being and Sustainability) assessment program. Dr. A’ndrea Messer, Penn State Office of Strategic Communications, will speak on positively communicating with the public and media, while Kay Johnson Smith, from the Animal Ag Alliance in Washington D.C., will share the Alliance’s current goals and emerging issues that could influence the dairy industry’s image in the future.

Exclusively for dairy professionals, Dairy PROS is designed to provide the opportunity for participants to gain information that could help their customers go from “good” to “great.” The August meeting is intended to give those dairy professionals already attending Ag Progress Days an opportunity to learn more about topics that will impact their customers.

Pre-registration is encouraged. To register, contact the Center for Dairy Excellence at 717-346-0849 or by email at

For more information or to register for the August Dairy PROS meeting, visit and click on “Programs and Events” tab, then the “Dairy PROS” icon in the middle of the page. 

This event is provided at no charge, thanks to support from the Center’s “Allies for Advancement” supporters. Please visit our website under the “About the CDE” tab for the complete list of those allies


NYAAC seeks volunteers for Dairy Cow Birthing Center at the NYS Fair

The New York Animal Agriculture Coalition (NYAAC) is seeking volunteers for the Dairy Cow Birthing Center at the New York State Fair, Aug. 21–Sept. 1, 2014.

The Dairy Cow Birthing Center was a new exhibit at the State Fair last year that attracted over 160,000 urban and suburban fairgoers by offering an opportunity to see the birth of a baby calf and talk to a real farmer.

This year, NYAAC is seeking roughly 400 people from the dairy industry to help tell the wonderful story of dairy farming at the Dairy Cow Birthing Center. NYAAC welcomes farmers, veterinarians, nutritionists, tractor dealers, students, sales reps, faculty and more to fill these shifts, which are several hours long, every day of the State Fair.

To prepare volunteers, NYAAC requires all volunteers to watch a short webinar, which includes details about the exhibit and how to “tell your story” to the public.  NYAAC will also provide a written document with frequently asked questions and answers. All volunteers are provided a “There’s no udder place for the answer” T-shirt, along with official Birthing Center credentials. Free State Fair admission and a parking pass will also be provided to volunteers who sign up before August 16, 2014.

New features to the exhibit this year are expanded seating for 700 people, year-old calves that were born last year during the State Fair, a mechanical backscratcher donated by Future Cow, and short video clips of the featured farm.

NYAAC organizes the Dairy Cow Birthing Center in partnership with the New York State Fair and Cornell University’s College of Veterinary Medicine. To sign up, contact Jessica Ziehm at or at 518-527-3949.



11 myths about Northeast farming debunked

Farm Credit East released a report that looks at 11 common misconceptions about agriculture which have been debunked by data from the recently released 2012 Census of Agriculture. This report specifically looks at census results for Farm Credit East’s seven-state region: New York, New Jersey, Maine, New Hampshire, Massachusetts, Connecticut and Rhode Island.


1) The family farm is a dying tradition and agriculture is dominated by “corporate farmers.”

Wrong. 96% of farms have “50% or more ownership interest held by an operator and/or persons related by blood, marriage or adoption.”


2) Farming is dominated by “factory farms.”

Wrong. Virtually all farms meet the Small Business Administration definition of a small business ($9 million or less of gross sales) and, according to the census, 99.7% of Northeast farms have less than $5 million in sales.


3) Agriculture would be better if commercial farms had not grown so large.

Wrong. Farmers aspire to the same standard of living as those in the nonfarm sector, including nice homes, college educations, family trips and a comfortable retirement. In order to maintain a decent standard of living, there is strong market pressure to grow.


4) Farmers depend on government payments to earn a living.

Wrong. In 2012, only about 19% of Northeast farmers received payments from the federal government at an average amount of just over $8,100.


5) Family farming involves one family operating one farm.

Wrong. Many full-time farms involve multiple families and generations farming together within one business unit.


6) Most farmers are old.

Wrong. The fine print in the census indicates that 57.6 is the average age of the “principal operator or senior operator.” Commercial farms account for about 70% of Northeast farm production and most have multiple generations. These younger generation farmers work alongside the principal operator as they transition into leadership roles, but because they are employees their ages are often not captured in census statistics.


7) Too many senior farmers.

Wrong. Senior farmers are a valued component of our farming community; often a major investor in their own family’s farming operation and an important source of rented land to other farmers. This group is critical to financing their family’s middle and younger generations for success.


8) No one gets started in agriculture anymore.

Wrong. Nearly one fifth (19.5%) of today’s farmers entered the industry within the past nine years and there was an average of 1,248 new farmers per year over the most recent four years. In addition, the Census only counts those that identified themselves as principal operators, therefore younger employees in multigenerational commercial farm operations would add substantially to this number.


9) Farming is a man’s world with few women farmers.

Wrong. The census reports 16,348 female principal operators, or 23% of the total. In addition, this statistic may be understated since spouses are often equal business partners, sharing substantial management responsibilities and ownership.


10) Operating a small farm is a wonderful way to earn an easy living.

Wrong. Most small farmers are motivated by reasons other than earning a living from farming. The census indicates that 35% of small farms operated in the black while 65% lost money in 2012. This means that the operator’s standard of living, repayment of debt principal and/or investment in additional land or equipment came from nonfarm sources or healthy savings accounts.


11) Farmers no longer own much of the land.

Wrong. Northeast farmers own about 74% of the land on which they farm and rent the other 26%, of which about 4% is rented from other farmers and 22% from nonfarmers.

To view the full report, visit