New York

Cornell Extension presents Dairy Performance Management workshops

Cornell Cooperative Extension will present two New York workshops on performance management for dairy operators. The workshops are targeted to dairy owners interested in learning more about leadership styles and qualities and how to put them to work to attract the right employees. Sessions (both 10 am-3 pm.) are set for:

• Wednesday, Feb. 18, 911 Emergency Services Building on Bare Hill Road, Malone

• Thursday, Feb. 19, St. Lawrence County Extension Learning Farm, Canton.

Presenters are Tom Mahoney with the Dyson School of Applied Economics and Management at Cornell University and University of Vermont Professor Emeritus Rick LeVitre, who is now executive director of Cornell Cooperative Extension Franklin County.

Workshop participants will discuss how to prepare a job description to attract the desired workers as well as techniques for documenting and positively disciplining problem employees. An Employee Handbook authored by Mahoney will be available for $7.  

The workshop fee includes lunch and is $30/person; details and registration are online at https://reg.cce.cornell.edu/Dairy_216. For more information, contact NNY Dairy Specialist Kim Morrill at 315-379-9192, kmm434@cornell.edu or Rick LeVitre at 518-483-7403, rlevitre@cornell.edu.

 

Northeast farmers are cautiously optimistic

Farm Credit East released the findings of a survey, indicating Northeast farm, fishing and forestry producers are cautiously optimistic about their businesses going into 2015, but are concerned about a number of challenges, including compliance with governmental regulations. This survey asked Northeast producers to provide insight into their 2014 business results and perspectives on the year ahead.

A cross section of 180 Northeast producers responded to this survey. Key results included:

• 81% of respondents continue to be optimistic or cautiously optimistic for the future of their farming enterprise.

• In terms of gross farm income, 72% of producers experienced growth in 2014 as compared to 2013.

• Most respondents (67%) continue to see significant cost inflation in their business.

The top three major business challenges Northeast producers anticipate in 2015 are compliance with regulations (state and federal combined), availability of labor and financial volatility.

Survey respondents anticipate consumer buying habits to stay about the same as they have been in previous years, with a cautious outlook on spending in 2015.

In addition, survey respondents reported on their 2015 business plans and goals. Looking back at 2014, survey respondents reported on their business results and operating environment.

This survey, conducted in December 2014, was open to any farm, fishing or forestry producer operating within New York, New Jersey, Maine, Connecticut, Massachusetts, New Hampshire and Rhode Island. The survey was made available on Farm Credit East’s website and social media sites. Farm Credit East conducted the survey in cooperation with the New York State Farm Viability Institute. To view the full report, visit FarmCreditEast.com.

 

North Country Crop Congress set at two sites

The 2015 North Country Crop Congress will be offered at two sites in February:

• Tuesday, Feb. 17, at W.H. Miner Agricultural Research Institute, Chazy, N.Y.

• Wednesday, Feb. 18, at Ridgeview Hotel, Lowville, N.Y.

Cornell Nutrient Management Spear Program Director Dr. Quirine Ketterings will share her experience and latest results from a project using normalized difference vegetation index/NDVI imaging sensors for on-the-go nitrogen application in corn.  She will also present findings from two years of her corn yield potential research studies.

Dr. Elson Shields, Professor of Entomology at Cornell University and a licensed pilot, will moderate a panel of North Country crop consultants and agribusiness leaders in a question-and-answer session about using unmanned aerial vehicles (UAV) in crop production. Shields will also discuss recent developments regarding corn insect traits and the importance of insect resistance management to preserve the effectiveness of these technologies. He will also present information about using entomopathogenic nematodes for the biological control of the alfalfa snout beetle.  

 Dr. Russ Hahn, a Cornell Crop and Soil Sciences professor, will provide an update on current technologies under development for weed control in corn and soybeans, as well as management of herbicide-resistant weeds for 2015.

Both sessions are 10 a.m.-3 p.m. Registration fee is $20 per person if pre-registered by Feb. 11, or $25 at the door. Lunch and educational materials are included.

To register for the Chazy location, call the Clinton County CCE office at 518-561-7450 or visit their website at http://blogs.cornell.edu/cceclintoncounty/ to register online.  

To register for the Lowville location, call the Lewis County CCE office at 315-376-5270 or visit their website at http://blogs.cornell.edu/ccelewis/ to register online.  

 

Vermont

Vermont Organic Dairy Producers Conference set

The fifth annual Vermont Organic Dairy Producers Conference will feature two nationally acclaimed  speakers from the Midwest, as well as several certified organic Vermont farmers who will share their experiences with trying new ideas.

The conference will be held March 11, 9 a.m.-4 p.m., at Judd Hall on the Vermont Technical College campus in Randolph Center, Vt. It is sponsored by University of Vermont (UVM) Extension's Northwest Crops and Soils Program, in collaboration with Northeast Organic Farming Association of Vermont's Organic Dairy and Livestock Technical Assistance Program.

Topping the agenda are talks by Dr. Roger Moon, a University of Minnesota veterinary entomologist, and Dr. Guy Jodarski, staff veterinarian for the Coulee Region Organic Produce Pool (CROPP) Cooperative's Organic Valley label in Neillsville, Wisconsin.

Moon will discuss his research on fly management in organic dairy herds and provide ideas for managing flies and other insect pests on organic dairy operations. Jodarski will address common livestock health, nutrition and management problems and the tools farmers around the U.S. are using to handle these issues.

Farmer-to-farmer sessions will include a presentation by Guy Choiniere, Highgate, and Brent Beidler, Randolph Center, on their experiences transitioning to all-forage and no-grain systems. A second talk by Jennifer Breen, Orwell, will focus on using a robotic milking system during both grazing and non-grazing seasons on her grass-based dairy farm. Sarah Flack, a grazing consultant from Enosburg Falls, will join Breen, providing information on considerations before installing robotic milkers.

The program will conclude with a presentation by Dr. Heather Darby, UVM Extension agronomist, who will discuss recent UVM Extension Northwest Crops and Soils Program research including a precision feed management study. Darby also will describe ways to improve soil fertility to optimize forages for good milk quality and higher production.

The fee is $25 and includes lunch, if payment is received by March 4. Registrations will be accepted online (www.uvm.edu/extension/organicdairy) or by mail. Checks, made payable to University of Vermont, may be mailed to UVM Extension, ATTN: Organic Dairy Conference, 278 South Main St., Ste. 2, St. Albans, VT 05478.

 

Vermont farm safety program receives pledge

Co-operative Insurance Companies in Middlebury recently pledged $60,000 over three years to support two University of Vermont (UVM) Extension farm safety programs.

The gift will benefit Vermont Rebates for Roll Bars and the Youth Farm Safety Program. A previous $45,000 donation from Co-op was instrumental in helping UVM Extension launch the rebate program, also known as the Vermont ROPS (rollover protective structures) program, in 2010.

The rebate program reimburses farmers for 70%t (up to $765) of the cost of the safety equipment. Farmers can call a toll-free help line (877-767-7748) to request information on roll bar protection kits available for their specific model, including the cost and where to purchase. The program, which is funded by private and public donations, works closely with the Vermont Agency of Agriculture, Food and Markets; the Vermont State Farm Bureau and tractor dealers in the state.

While participation in the ROPS rebate program helps ensure the safety of tractor operators, UVM Extension's youth farm safety outreach efforts can prevent serious injury or death of young people who live or work on farms. Farm safety workshops, day camps and tractor training classes help educate them about potential farm hazards and safe operation of tractors and farm machinery. Youths who take part in these programs are more likely to encourage family members to adopt safety measures on the farm, including retrofitting older tractors with roll bars and seat belts.

 

Vermont Dairy Producers Conference is Feb. 24

The 16th Annual Dairy Producers Conference will be held on Feb. 24, at the Sheraton Burlington Conference Center, Burlington, Vt. Speakers and topics include:

• Dr. Julio O. Giordano – Reproduction. Giordano, DVM, MS, PhD is Assistant Professor of Dairy Cattle Biology and Management in the Department of Animal Science at Cornell University with a dual appointment in research and teaching. Dr. Giordano’s research focuses on dairy cattle reproductive physiology, management, and the implications of reproductive performance on the economics of dairy farms.

• Jay Waldvogel – The Global Dairy Market and What It Means To Me. Waldvogel is responsible for leading DFA’s strategic planning process and supporting DFA’s business leaders in implementing the strategies. He also is charged with guiding DFA’s expanding global activities.

• Nigel B. Cook – Facilities Impact On Your Herd. Cook is a Professor in the Food Animal Production Medicine section of the University of Wisconsin-Madison, School of Veterinary Medicine.

• Dr. Joe Schwarcz – Good Science/Bad Science. Schwarcz is Director of McGill University’s “Office for Science and Society” which is dedicated to demystifying science and separating sense from nonsense. He is well known for his informative and entertaining public lectures on topics ranging from the chemistry of love to the science of aging.

• Mark Andrew Junkin – Agriculture Strategy: Farm Succession & Motivation. After his parents divorced due to farm management and succession issues, Junkin has lived to change how farm families make decisions together.

• Dr. Tom R. Overton – Transition Strategies. Overton is Professor of Dairy Management in the Department of Animal Science at Cornell University and and serves as Director of the PRO-DAIRY program at Cornell. He is recognized nationally and internationally for his research and outreach efforts relating to metabolism, immune function, and nutritional physiology of the transition cow and his work on milk component production in cows.

Pre-registration is encouraged. Cost is $50 (before Feb. 10); $70 (after Feb. 10); and $85 at the door (if space is available). The registration fee covers admission, conference proceedings and lunch. Register online: www.vdpc2015.eventbrite.com.

 

Cover Crop Symposium planned

The 2015 No-Till and Cover Crop Symposium will be held Feb. 19, at the Sheraton Hotel and Conference Center, just off I-89 at Exit 14W in South Burlington, Vt.

Speakers from Wisconsin, Pennsylvania, Quebec and Vermont will address a wide range of topics, from the basics of no-till to more advanced discussions on integrating cover crops into no-till systems to improve soil health and crop production.

The keynote speaker is John Koepke of Koepke Farms in Oconomowoc, Wis., who has utilized no-till practices and integrated cover crops on the family's soil-based dairy farm for more than two decades. Koepke will share his experiences with how these practices impact their farm business and crop production.

Farmers will hear from Richard Hall, on how he has successfully used no-till and, more recently cover crops, on his farm in East Montpelier. Hall also will participate in a farmer panel with Shawn Gingue, Fairfax; Ron and Chad Machia, Sheldon; Scott Magnan, St. Albans; and Gerard Vorsteveld, Panton; to discuss highlights from the 2015 National No Tillage Conference in Cincinnati, Ohio.

Two Pennsylvania crop experts will describe successful strategies and equipment for "planting green," the practice of no-till planting of cash crops into a living cover crop. Loganton farmer Lucas Criswell will explain how to make the most of cover crop residue in a no-till system. Gerard Troisi, a crop advisor and production consultant with Upper Susquehanna Crop Management Associates in Millmont, will talk about how to set up a no-till and cover crop system to reduce weed pressure, achieve less costly weed control and improve both seedbed conditions and nutrient cycling.

Other speakers include Pierre-Olivier Gaucher and Patrice Vincent from Quebec, who will describe their innovative crop-rotation strategy that includes cover crops, winter cereals and interseeding in corn.

UVM Extension's Heather Darby and Kirsten Workman will provide an update on their research on short-season corn and cover crop systems in Vermont. Jeff Carter, UVM Extension agronomist, will highlight new developments in cover cropping and no-till strategies since the first annual symposium held last February.

An exhibitor fair will feature vendors of equipment, supplies, education and services for producers to implement no-till and cover cropping practices on their farms.

The symposium will be hosted by University of Vermont (UVM) Extension's Champlain Valley Crop, Soil and Pasture Team in Middlebury and the Northwest Crops and Soils Program in St. Albans.

The registration fee, payable by Feb. 16, is $75 and includes a hot lunch and snacks. To register online or view the conference brochure, go to http://go.uvm.edu/ntcc. For more information, call (802) 388-4969 or e-mail champlain.crops@uvm.edu.