North Florida Winter Forages Field Day is March 3

The North Florida Winter Forages Field Day will be held March 3. The events starts at the Suwannee Valley Extension Center farm, between Live Oak and White Springs, at 10 a.m. From there, participants will move to Shenandoah Dairy, at 1 p.m., for a forage equipment demonstration and tours of winter forage plots.

Speakers and topics include:

 • Ann Blount, Cheryl Mackowiak and Elena Toro will describe ryegrass, rye, oats, triticale and blend variety plots, with a description of which would best help you for grazing or stored forage. 

• Gbola Adesogan will be the lunch speaker, sharing how to “Optimize Winter Forage Storage”. 

Lunch is free, but reservations are required by Feb. 27. Contact Pam at the Suwannee County Extension Office: e-mail: or phone:  386-362-2771.


A brother and sister continue Florida dairy farming family tradition

Tommy Watkins and Kara Watkins Sanders are third-generation dairy farmers who, together as brother and sister, run their family dairy farm, C.R. Melear Dairy in Hardee County, Florida. As they continue their family farm legacy, they both have started families and are raising children who they hope will become the fourth generation of dairy farmers on their family farm. View the video.

Source: Florida Dairy Farmers


Georgia Waste Operator and Planner Certification Training scheduled

The University of Georgia Extension will host its yearly Waste Operator and Planner Certification program, March 19-20, in Athens, Ga. This is the only operator/planner certification course of 2015.

All permitted livestock operations (other than dry poultry operations) must have a certified animal waste systems operator and an implemented nutrient management plan written by a certified planner. In previous years, this has been two separate trainings: one to certify farm owners/employees to properly manage animal waste systems; and the other to certify people to write nutrient management plans. This course has been combined into one training, with break-out sessions on day two for topics specific to each group. Both certifications require completion of this course and passing of the exam.

This two-day training will be held Thursday, March 19, 10 a.m.-6 pm. On Friday, March 20, instruction begins at 8 a.m., concluding at 3 p.m. with the Georgia Department of Agriculture exam.

The Georgia Milk Producers pays registration fees for its members. Pre-register by March 13 by mailing a registration form found at: or contact Melony Wilson at: 706-310-3466.


Georgia Dairy Conference held

Eighty-one dairy farms and 83,250 cows were represented at the Georgia Milk Producers’ 2015 Georgia Dairy Conference.

Among event highlights, Dr. Bill Graves and Dr. John Bernard, of the University of Georgia, presented the Cream of the Crop awards as a part of the Southeast DHIA program. The Top High Holstein Herd award went to Hill Crest Dairy, Dearing. WDairy, LLC, Madison, Georgia, took home the award for Top High Crossbred Herd.

Georgia’s dairy farmers presented Billy O. Smith with the 2014 Friend of the Dairy Industry award, recognizing his long career working as a sales representative for breeding associations in South Georgia.

The Georgia Dairy Youth Foundation recognized Farrah Newberry’s dedication to the Foundation by presenting her with the Dr. Larry Guthrie award.

Following the presentation of awards, Carol Williams, president of Georgia Dairy Youth Foundation, spoke of the importance of Foundation-supported programs and raised $6,970.00 through the Bull Calves for Kids program. The live auction at the banquet also raised an additional $7,615 to support dairy youth programs.

The Conference hosted the first annual Southeast Dairy Student Symposium, welcoming 27 students from five southeastern schools – University of Georgia, Kentucky, Florida, Virginia Tech and Berry College – to learn about career and internship possibilities.

The 2016 Georgia Dairy Conference will be held at the Savannah Marriott Riverfront from Jan. 18 to 20.

For more information, click here.

-- Allison Fortner


 2015 Florida Dairy Production Conference

The 2015 Florida Dairy Production Conference will be held Wednesday April 29, at Gainesville, Fla. More information is forthcoming. Contact Mary Sowerby at or Jose Santos at


Proceedings 2015 Florida Ruminant Nutrition Symposium

Proceedings of the 2015 Florida Ruminant Nutrition Symposium are now available at


CROPS 2015 conference to discuss sustainability through plant genomics

Leading plant genomics researchers and breeders will meet May 18-21, at the HudsonAlpha Institute for Biotechnology in Huntsville, Alabama, to discuss the latest genomic technology in plant breeding and crop improvement.

Presented by HudsonAlpha and the University of Georgia College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences, the CROPS 2015 conference will focus on improving crop sustainability through genomics.

For more information about speakers, abstracts, poster submissions or to register, visit