CDE planning small-group dairy meetings

Pennsylvania’s Center for Dairy Excellence (CDE) is offering to host mealtime meetings with dairy producer groups across the state for informal, roundtable discussions about dairy profitability and associated topics.

CDE is scheduling meetings in February, March or April. Producers can identify the topics which they would like to discuss, from business planning to current dairy markets to the farm bill and dairy policy.

Producers and small groups interested in scheduling a meeting with the center are encouraged to call 717-346-0849 or email


NEDPA Conference is March 19-20

The Northeast Dairy Producers Association (NEDPA) Conference will be held March 19-20, at the Holiday Inn, Liverpool/Syracuse, N.Y. The event, coordinated by PRO-DAIRY Program at Cornell University and presented by the Northeast Dairy Producers Association, is designed for producers and agriservice professionals to interact and relate to the latest thinking and issues in the dairy industry.

For a program agenda and registration information, visit


Cornell plans 2014 Winter Dairy Management program

  Cornell’s PRO-DAIRY program will host winter dairy management meetings at eight New York locations in March. Speakers and topics include:

• David Kammel, University of Wisconsin-Madison ag engineer, will present information on the economic and design considerations of “Low Cost Parlors.”

• Dr. Rick Watters, DVM, PhD - Sr. Extension Veterinarian, Quality Milk Promotion Services, will discuss  parlor efficiencies and equipment maintenance.

• A panel will address business planning for successful projects. Presenters include: Betsey Howland, PRO-DAIRY Extension Support Specialist, Dairy Profit Monitor, PRO-DAIRY, Cornell University; Caroline Potter, Coordinator, PRO-DAIRY, Dairy Acceleration Program, Cornell University; and Beth Dahl, Dairy Modernization Specialist, Cornell Cooperative Extension.

• a panel will discuss robotic milking systems. Presenters include: Beth Dahl, Dairy Modernization Specialist, Cornell Cooperative Extension; and Kathy Barrett, Senior Extension Associate, Dairy Management, PRO-DAIRY, Cornell University.

For dates, locations and registration information, visit


Cornell: Dairy profit trends monitored

 The Dairy Profit Monitor (DPM) is a tool that farmers can use to measure Net Milk Income over Feed Costs on their farms. Uses of the program include tracking progress of the farm over time and making comparisons to other farms using the program.

Data from the DPM was used to create graphs that show how 46 farms using the program from October 2012 to September 2013 changed in: pounds of components produced per head per day,
pregnancy rate, feed conversion (lbs of milk per pound of dry matter),cost per pound of dry matter fed, net milk income over purchased, and total feed costs using actual and fixed milk prices. 
Farmers can use these graphs to compare how their farm changed over the same time frame as other farms using the program and to identify differences. Once differences are identified, a farmer should look at current operations to determine if changes need to be made to improve operating performance.

Net milk income over feed costs represents the amount of money left over to cover all other cost after  feed costs, the single largest cost on dairies, has been paid. During the time frame highlighted in the graphs NMIOFC increased some in the beginning of 2013 and then tailed off some during the summer months.

Of the various measures used to track feed costs or feed program performance, Net Milk Income over Purchased Feed Costs has consistently shown the highest correlations to overall farm profitability when related to return on assets. The trend in income over feed costs likely indicates that profits from the last quarter of 2012 to the third quarter of 2013 will be flat to slightly increasing.

For more information on the Dairy Profit Monitor or for a free three-month trial, visit or contact Betsey Howland, PRO-DAIRY Extension Support Specialist, at


Vermont: Organic dairy conference is March 5

Talks by three nationally acclaimed scientists top the agenda of the 2014 Vermont Organic Dairy Producers Conference, March 5, at the at Vermont Technical College, Randolph Center, Vt.

The theme of the conference is “resiliency as a strategy for organic dairies to optimize and maintain soils and high quality forages”. University of Vermont (UVM) Extension's Northwest Crops and Soils Program and NOFA-Vermont's Organic Dairy and Livestock Technical Assistance program will host the day-long conference at Vermont Technical College in Randolph Center.

The $25 per person fee covers lunch and all materials. Registrations are due by Feb. 26 and will be accepted online at or by mail. Checks should be made payable to University of Vermont and mailed to UVM Extension, attn: Organic Dairy Conference, 278 South Main St., Ste. 2, St. Albans, VT 05478.

Keynote speakers include: Dr. Silvia Abel-Caines of Organic Valley/CROPP in La Farge, Wis., on high forage diets for optimal animal health and milk production; Dr. Fred Magdoff, UVM emeritus professor, on building farm resilience through soil health and crop diversification; and Dr. Tom Kilcer, Advanced Ag Systems LLC in Kinderhook, N.Y., on wide-swath (hay in a day) haylage harvesting and other best practices for harvesting and storing hay.

In addition, Willie Gibson, a NOFA-Vermont dairy and livestock advisor, will lead a motivational exercise designed to help farmers learn how to cope with stress. Dr. Heather Darby, UVM Extension agronomist, speaking on key management strategies for high yields and quality forages, will be joined by a panel of organic dairy farmers who will discuss how they maintain soils and forage quality on their farms.

For more information, visit or contact Deb Heleba at


Organic dairy producer to address Vermont grains conference

Jack Lazor, co-owner of Butterworks Farm in Westfield, Vt., has been tapped as the keynote speaker for the 10th annual Vermont Grain Growers Conference, March 13, in Essex, Vt.

Lazor's talk will focus on grain production in cold climates, based on his experiences with growing grains for human consumption and feed for his Jersey herd. The organic dairy farmer is a co-founder of the Northern Grain Growers Association (NGGA).

Registrations are due by March 10. The fee, which includes lunch, is $45 per person and $40 for NGGA members. Conference details and online registration can be found at  The registration form and payment also may be mailed to Grain Growers Conference, UVM Extension, 278 South Main St., Ste 2, St. Albans, VT 05478. Please make checks payable to University of Vermont.


Farm Credit East: 2014 Pulse of Ag Survey

 Farm Credit East is conducting a brief survey to learn more about Northeast producers' 2013 results and expectations for the year ahead. Anyone engaged in the business of agriculture, commercial fishing or forest products in Connecticut, Maine, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York or Rhode Island is invited to participate. Survey participants will be entered into a drawing to win one of four $250 Visa gift cards.

The survey will take no more than 15 minutes to complete and the responses are mostly multiple choice. Responses will be kept confidential and be used only for statistical purposes.

To be entered into the drawing, producers must participate by Feb. 15. For more information and to provide your input to this survey, visit


Farm Credit East to host ag economy, labor outlook webinar

Northeast producers are invited to participate in a webinar providing a 2014 agricultural economic outlook and an update on ag labor. This webinar, hosted by Farm Credit East, will be held Thursday, Feb. 13, 10 a.m. 

This webinar will feature Dr. Terry Barr, economist with CoBank, who will take a look at agricultural markets in 2014 and the road ahead. Barr will cover global agricultural trade in major commodities including feed, grain and dairy, and how international markets affect us here in the Northeast.

Monte Lake, attorney and agricultural labor expert, will join the webinar to provide an update on the agricultural labor situation. His presentation will focus on legal issues and regulatory compliance, including a look at the status of the H-2A program.

This webinar is free. Visit for registration information.


Farm-to-Institution grant funding available

The Vermont Agency of Agriculture, Food and Markets (VAAFM) announces $40,000 available to agricultural producers and food hubs serving institutional markets through the Local Food Market Development Grant program for 2014.

Any Vermont producers, processors, community food organization, or food hub interested in a Local Food Market Development grant can find more information and download an application at under the ‘Grants’ tab on the homepage.

Maximum grant awards will be $7,500 with a 25% cash or in-kind match requirement by producers, and 50% match requirement by community groups and food hubs. All applications must be received by the Vermont Agency of Agriculture no later than 4:30 pm on Monday, March 3, 2014.

For more information about the Local Food Market Development Grant program visit the VAAFM website or by contacting Abbey Willard, Local Foods Administrator, 802-828-3829 or