Archive for the ‘Eastern DairyBusiness’ Category

‘Speed of trust’ can lead to profits or loss of business

There’s one element that can accelerate – or terminate – a relationship faster than anything else: that’s trust. According to Stephen M.R. Covey, a nationally-recognized business leadership advisor, most business owners don’t realize that trust is a real, fast and measurable factor that can effect their bottom line in a direct way.

“In business, the speed of trust is very important,” Covey told members of the Professional Dairy Producers of Wisconsin at the group’s annual meeting in March. “Our research shows that when trust is increased between two parties, business deals are sealed faster and profits often follow.

Though most people consider trust as something that deals with our social relationships, Covey says there are several myths about trust that business managers may want to know about. For example, the age-old perception is that ‘most people cannot be trusted.’ But Covey explains that ‘not trusting people’ is more risky when it comes to doing business.

“The ability to establish, grow, extend and restore trust with all stakeholders—such as customers, partners, investors or co-workers—is the key leadership competency of the new, global economy,” Covey said. “When trust is lost, costs go up; and visa-versa when trust is established, expenses will usually fall.”

But he was quick to point out that it’s not all about dollars and cents. Covey says people tend to work more efficiently, have happier employment conditions, and produce a better product when they feel they can trust their co-workers and managers.

On a farm operation, Covey says employes will often take more pride in their work when trust is bestowed upon them. And when workers earn that trust, it makes the managers more confident in their team, as well.

Covey is a graduate of Harvard University and author of the book, The Speed of Trust. He also played a key roll in propelling his father’s best-selling book, The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People, by Dr. Stephen R. Covey.


Social media can be effective in telling agriculture’s story

Social media has allowed every consumer to become a reporter, and every reporter to become a consumer. That was the rationale of California dairy producer Ray Prock, who began using tools such as Facebook, YouTube and other online programs to put out a positive message for animal agriculture. Mr. Prock was part of a discussion panel during the Professional Dairy Producers of Wisconsin’s annual meeting.

“Social media is nothing more than people having conversations online,” Prock said. “If they trust us, we can build relationships with our customers. There aren’t many better ways to do that than communicating and finding our common ground via the Internet.”

Prock has also found that science-based information alone isn’t always the best way to combat misguided messages. He says many people communicate with emotion, and producers should do the same when they engage the public.

Shannon Seifert, a producer from Minnesota, is also active in social media. She says the power of blogging has been an effective way for her to send a positive message about the dairy industry.

“One thing I learned is it’s harder for people to attack us if there’s a ‘real’ face to the industry,” Seifert noted. “When I blog, I share every mundane detail about what we do on our farm and how we do it. You never know when a consumer will learn something positive through our efforts.”

She also uses a simple rule when spreading her message to the public: give them a glass full, not a whole tanker!

Meanwhile, Laurie Kyle stressed that producers shouldn’t forget to use traditional tools, such as letters to the local newspaper editor or open farm tours. As a nutrition expert, she also tries to think about the consumers’ perspective when sharing the dairy message. She says milk and dairy products are among some of the most natural and wholesome products a consumer can get on the market, and if producers aren’t communicating that message, it can get lost in our information-intensive culture.


Lessons learned from 3 minutes, 44 seconds of video

“Devastated.” “ Absolutely crushed.” “Caught off guard.” These are descriptions Ohio dairy producer Gary Conklin used to tell those at Professional Dairy Producers of Wisconsin (PDPW) 2011 Business Conference,  how he felt when he learned about a video that had gone viral on YouTube on March 25, 2010. The video, which showed animal abuse by an employee of Conklin Dairy Sales LLC farm, was just 3 minutes and 44 seconds long but it delivered Conklin a hard lesson in consumer activism.

“The YouTube video had my name on it,” Conklin stated. “I wasn’t in the video. Yet we were the one receiving phone calls from across the world.”

Conklin said he was unaware of the video posted on YouTube until he was in his car and was contacted by a reporter who wanted his response to the posting.

After returning home and viewing the video, Conklin took four key steps. He contacted his county sheriff’s department, contacted his attorney, notified his staff and began steps to terminate the employee identified in the video.

By Day 2, the employee, Billy Joe Gregg, was terminated and charged with animal abuse. Security for the farm and Conklin’s homes were hired, and four entities—Union County Health Department, Union County Humane Society, Union County Sheriff’s Department and Ohio Department of Agriculture—had received invitations to tour the Conklin dairy facilities. A public relations firm was also hired.

“Hiring a PR firm was costly, but a smart investment,” Conklin stated, adding that the media consultants handled 917 initial media requests.

“The ag media were very good, fair and asked tough questions—and that’s OK,” he stated. “The general media like things like this. They seek controversy as it feeds their ratings.”

Prior to the Grand Jury hearing, Conklin said he watched all 20 hours—1,200 minutes—of recorded video.

“The 3 minutes and 44 seconds posted on YouTube represented just one-half of one percent of the total footage,” he stated. “Ninety-nine point ninety-eight percent of the video shows a clean, well-run facility.”

In the end, the Grand Jury cleared Conklin Dairy Cattle Sales LLC and all remaining employees.

Like most events in life, Conklin said his experience taught him several key lessons.

Today, Conklin has a list of all employee phone numbers and email addresses.

All employees are given an employee handbook that details on-farm procedures, including proper handling. Employees are aware that they must follow all procedures in the handbook and report any regulation in the handbook that is not followed.

Signs posted on the farm clearly state “no trespassing” and “no recording photos or videos.” Individuals seen taking photos or videos will face legal action.

“We also need to be careful who is allowed on our farms,” Conklin stated, “and we need to know what each person is doing on our farms.”


Dialogue can help build consumer trust

“Consumers have two images of farmers, and one of these images will go away,” Linda Basse Wenck told attendees at the Professional Dairy Producers of Wisconsin 2011 Business Conference. Wenck is Director of Corporate Social Responsibility for Morgan & Myers, a communications firm.

One image is a farmer who is hardworking, honest, nurturing and caring, and important to the economy. The other image is less positive, with consumers not always believing and trusting that farmers will do the right thing on their farms.

“That’s the disconnect,” Wenck said.

To move the more positive image to the forefront, Wenck urged conference attendees to listen to and understand consumers and their perceptions of farmers.

Citing information gleaned from the Illinois Coalition study that focused on consumer perceptions of and trust in farmers, Wenck stressed that today’s consumers are not about trade-offs, want the “real deal” and value authenticity. The Coalition also shows that trust is eroding and that “health and wellness will always win.”

The powerful consumers today, according to the survey, are moms. And, Wenck noted that moms tend to trust other moms like themselves.

“We also must remember that trust is built person to person—not person to farm,” she stated. To that end, she urged farmers to engage in conversations with neighbors in the community, on a personal level.

Wenck added that people tend to give more leeway to someone they trust and less leeway to someone they don’t trust.

Sharing additional information for the Illinois Coalition, Wenck pointed out that only about one out of three consumers say that they are somewhat knowledgeable of farming practices. Their key source information, however, is limited to that obtained at farm markets and driving by farms.

Asked about family farms and corporate farms, Wenck said survey participants defined corporate farms as ones whose owners live in the city, operate a calculator and are involved in the business from a purely financial standpoint rather than a lifestyle or a passion. Family farms, however, were defined as being owned by those who make a living from it and love their job. Yes, the difference between how survey respondents viewed a corporate farm and a family farm seemed to boil down to one word: motivation.

Wenck made it clear that survey participants did not understand that family farms are often incorporated for accounting purposes, and the media often play up the incorporated aspect.

“Negative information by media impacts consumers,” she stated.

To help the audience understand consumers, Wenck said research shows that today’s consumer values are derivatives of fear and insecurity.

“These fears and insecurities have been put there by someone,” she said. “And we’ve left a void.”

Wenck went on to explain that more consumers today are removed from the farm, with many having never visited a farm except perhaps a school visit years ago.

To help consumers understand and narrow the trust gap with farmers , Wenck suggested that those in agriculture communicate with consumers and relay information about regulations, best practices and commitment. But this communication must be a dialogue and not simply a monologue.

“Real authentic farmers are viewed as credible messengers,” she stated. Other Illinois Coalition conclusions show that consumers listen to everything a farmer says through a “Do you care?” lens and that firsthand experiences trump all.

“They want to hear the reasons to trust you,” Wenck wrapped up. “It would be most powerful if the farmers in this state are equipped and prepared to have conversations.”

Using the example of Ohio dairy producer Gary Conklin who spoke ahead of her, Wenck offered four steps to building good will and trust with consumers:
1) Prepare now
2) Build a plan
3) Know your resources
4) Participate in training

“Training programs such as PDPW’s Visible Voice will give you the skillset you need to communicate confidently,” she summarized.


Stockmanship: Cow rules; people rules

Cattle are like people. Their behavior is a product of their genetic makeup, their past environment and their present environment.

Dr. Margaret Perala, a professional animal managing instructor, zeroed in on these similarities to help dairy producers fine-tune their dairy stockmanship skills during a “Cow Handling for Everyday and When Critical Care is Needed” session at the Professional Dairy Producers of Wisconsin’s 2011 Business Conference.

Perala used multipler video segments throughout her presentation to underscore the positive results of good stockmanship and how negative cow handling tend to produce negative results.

“Just getting a job done is not the only criteria for competency,” Perala stated. “Top-notch dairy stockman skills result in less stress on the cattle and less stress on workers.”

A veterinarian, Perala explained that communication with cows extends to five areas: sight, hearing, smell, touch and taste.

“A cow’s brain gets input from her five senses,” Perala stated, “Knowing this has resulted in identifying best practice stockmanship skills that involve being aware of all five senses.” She especially called for the use of pressure—not a touch but a presence of a person—to achieve desired results.”

“Further, cows want to see what is pressuring them, tend to go around the pressure and want to release the pressure. When we use pressure correctly, we can get cows to do what we want in a calm, controlled and gentle manner,” she said.

Perala went on to explain five additional “cow rules”:
1) Conflicting pressure confuses cows, since cows can only focus on one thing at a time;
2) Cows want to follow other cows;
3) Cows want to return to where they came from;
4) Cows want to move in the direction they face; and
5) Each day the cow or cows will respond differently.

Perala also stressed that only one person should pressure a cow at a time.
Perala’s list of “people rules” when handling cows proved longer than her “cow rules”:

1) The cow is always right;

2) Never cheat—be consistent in your handling methods even if they initially take more time;

3) See everything, yet look at nothing—be patient and know that the animal’s every interaction with people is important and has repercussions;

4) Work in the pressure area—work where the cow can see you and work “inside” the circle;

5) Do not predetermine your actions.

6) Pressure properly. “Animals should be pressured from the side, and your hands should be in your pockets and not flying about in the air. Timing of the pressure, angle of the pressure and speed are also extremely important. Slow is good.”

She added, “We have to teach animals to take pressure, and it will be a learning process for you when it comes to knowing how much and where to apply pressure.”

7) Teach animals so they remain calm and do what is the handler wants. This requires the handler to first use stockmanship skills to slow down the animals, then stop them, start them slowly and turn them. And all of these steps can be accomplished, she said, by teaching the animals to take pressure and having the stockman apply pressure correctly.

8) Properly start movement. “Greater pressure is required to start movement,” Perala stated. “We use less pressure to drive and guide animals and more pressure to start movement.”

“Starting movement properly is extremely important. And once we start movement we should keep the movement going, calmly, and avoid constantly stopping motion. “

Perala’s last four “people rules” all involved how to keep animals moving as desired. The animal managing instructor advised a handler to rock back and forth gently, swaying from one side to another when moving animals, and to walk straight rather than run back and forth. She also pointed out that walking with the cows will slow them down while walking against the cows will speed them up.

“So if you want to move cattle forward a bit faster, walk against them, going head to rump,” she explained. “Again, don’t run or move too quickly and frighten them. Move with purpose and ease.

“Cows tend to walk at 2 miles per hour while people tend to walk 3 to 4 miles per hour.”

Perala underscored the “rules” with video that illustrated the correct and the not-correct ways of cattle handling. She also stressed that every interaction—whether positive or negative—shapes cow behavior and working cows properly will get the behavior people want.

She urged producers to not overpressure and to not shout—except when in danger. Excess of anything from loud music to whistling to voices should be avoided.
She did note that soft whistling or gentle humming is OK if it helps the handler remain calm.

“If you get animals going in the direction you want, they’ll go. A distraction of any kind, however, will interrupt that flow,” she explained, adding that a distraction might be a person in the wrong place, a jacket on a fence, a dog, etc.

The animal handling expert said people can become “leaders” when they create “honest communication” with their cattle, and that cattle arriving at a new facility or pen are open to being worked properly. In addition, she noted that cattle respond positively to leadership.

“Working new animals on arrival using correct handling methods pays,” she stated. “They learn what is expected of them and this communication and stockmanship will set the pace while they are at that facility.”

When it comes to handling bulls, Perala urged producers to always remember that “bulls are bulls” and have no fear of people since people have been their source of food since they were calves.

“The trick with bulls is starting him early and teach him to respect you,” she stated. “But always be super careful with dairy bulls.”


Northeast Dairy Digest: March 21, 2011

Everetts commit $2 million to Cornell animal science

Cornell University Emeritus Professor Robert Everett and his wife Anne have committed $2 million to endow the Robert and Anne Everett Professorship in Dairy Cattle Genetics, the first endowed position in the Department of Animal Science.

Everett, an emeritus professor of animal science in the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences, dedicated his career to dairy cattle genetics. He came to Cornell in 1966 as a postdoctoral fellow, and in 1968, was hired as an assistant professor to work in research and extension in dairy cattle genetics.

For more than four decades, Everett made advances in the approaches and principles of dairy cattle breeding that improved the efficiency of milk production, ensuring greater profitability for dairy farm families and more affordable dairy products for consumers.

One of Everett’s notable achievements was creating a valuable management tool for dairy farmers, called the Test Day Model, to use data to document their operations, evaluate management practices and make genetic improvements in their livestock that would improve their farm’s performance and profitability.

Everett also taught classes in animal breeding, international agriculture and dairy cattle selection, as well as mentored graduate students and served as an academic adviser to undergraduate students.

Raised on a dairy farm in New Jersey, Everett attended the National Agricultural College, now known as Delaware Valley College in Doylestown, Pa. He received master’s and doctorate degrees from Michigan State University. He retired from Cornell in 2008.

Monthly LGM-Dairy update us March 23

Alan Zepp, risk management program coordinator at Pennsylvania’s Center for Dairy Excellence hosts his “Protecting Your Profits” call, March 23, 12-12:30 p.m. The calls are intended to provide regular updates on dairy markets and margins current available through the Livestock Gross Margin insurance program for dairy (LGM-Dairy). The next LGM-Dairy sales date is March 25-26. Call the Center for Dairy Excellence at 717-346-0849 or e-mail to register or find out more information about the call.

Pennsylvania makes milk quality strides

Pennsylvania’s average somatic cell count has fallen 24% over the past two years, according to the latest “Pennsylvania Dairy Industry Performance Scorecard.” Somatic cell counts in the state now average 234,000, with the state’s total milk production up 1% with 2,000 more cows and one pound more in daily milk production per cow.

New York dairy promotion board nominees sought

New York State Acting Agriculture Commissioner Darrel J. Aubertine called for nominations for the New York Dairy Promotion Advisory Board, which administers the State’s Dairy Promotion Order and evaluates dairy marketing and promotion programs.  Nominations must be received no later than April 1, 2011.

The Advisory Board consists of 10 New York milk producers who oversee and make recommendations on the appropriate expenditure of assessments collected from New York dairy farmers that make up the State’s Dairy Promotion Order.  Members serve a three-year term, commencing May 1, 2011. They do not receive a salary, but are entitled to reimbursement of actual expenses.

Any individual producer marketing milk in New York may be nominated to serve on the Dairy Promotion Advisory Board. Nominations can only be made by individual New York milk producers and must be submitted in writing and signed by the individual producer making the nomination. Cooperatives and other farm organizations are not authorized to nominate individual producers to the Advisory Board, but may endorse producers who are nominated.

Each nomination should provide the name and address of the producer being nominated and his or her cooperative or other organizational affiliation. Other information that is helpful in evaluating a nominee’s qualifications to serve on the Advisory Board include the producer’s herd size, milk market, participation in farm organizations or programs, and experience or interest in dairy marketing activities.

Authorized organizations can endorse nominees by submitting to the Commissioner, no later than April 8, 2011, a resolution of the board of directors or other governing body endorsing the nominations of at least two of its members whose nominations have been received. Authorized organizations are: Agri-Mark, Inc., Dairy Farmers of America, Inc.; Dairylea Cooperative, Inc.; Niagara Frontier Cooperative Milk Producers Bargaining Agency, Inc.; New York Farm Bureau, Inc.; New York State Grange, Inc.; and Rochester Cooperative Milk Producers Bargaining Agency, Inc.

Nominations by individual producers and endorsements by the designated cooperative and other farm organizations should be sent no later than April 1, 2011 for nominations and April 8, 2011 for endorsements to: New York State Department of Agriculture and Markets, Division of Milk Control and Dairy Services, Attn: Moe Miran. 10B Airline Drive, Albany, NY 12235

For further information on the New York State Dairy Promotion Advisory Board nomination process, contact the New York State Department of Agriculture and Markets’ Division of Milk Control and Dairy Services at 518-457-1772.

Milk producers pay 15 cents per hundredweight of milk produced for dairy promotion. The New York State Dairy Promotion Order, established to promote the consumption of New York milk and dairy products, retains 10 of the 15 cents paid by producers for contractual milk promotion activities and dairy research in the state.  The remaining 5 cents is used for national program activities. Last year, $12.5 million was collected through the State Dairy Promotion Order.

Dairy PROS offers dairy professional discussion series

Harrisburg – Agri-business professionals working with dairy farms can expand their network and knowledge base at 2011 Dairy PROS meetings, a series that offers participants the opportunity to gain tools to help their customers and clients excel. The April series will address pricing, policy and programs.

“We introduced Dairy PROS last year exclusively for dairy professionals working day-in and day-out with Pennsylvania’s 7,400 dairy farms,” said John Frey, executive director of the Center for Dairy Excellence. “This year we are focusing on roundtable discussions and networking to allow participants to share the opportunities and challenges facing their dairy farm customers and clients.”

Dairy PROS meetings are hosted three times a year by the center and Penn State Dairy Alliance, with the cost offset by a grant from the Department of Labor and Industry’s Workforce Investment Board.

Three April meetings are planned:

* Wednesday, April 13, at Lancaster Farm and Home Center, 1383 Arcadia Road #22, Lancaster, Lancaster Co., from 8-10 a.m.

* Thursday, April 23, at Comfort Inn Mercer, 835 Perry Highway, Mercer, Mercer Co., from 8-10 a.m.

* Wednesday, April 27, at Celebration Hall, 2280 Commercial Blvd., State College, Centre Co., from 8-10 a.m.

“We will again offer ‘Take It to the Farm,’ a segment that explains the tools available to help farmers enhance their management, performance and profitability,” said Lisa Holden, associate professor with Penn State Dairy Alliance.

For more information or to register for the April series of Dairy PROS meetings, visit, and click on the “Dairy PROS.” Dates for the July Dairy PROS series are also available online.

Questions about the Dairy PROS meeting series can be referred to Penn State Dairy Alliance at 1-888-373-7232 or, or to the Center for Dairy Excellence at 717-346-0849 or

Managing the margin workshops set in New York

The New York Department of Agriculture and Markets is holding a series of workshops designed to help dairy farmers maintain profitability in an uncertain market environment.  Managing the Margin workshops teach dairy producers effective risk management strategies they can use to anticipate and manage price risks for both milk and feed.

The objective of the workshop is to provide producers with concepts and tools to determine breakeven prices, marketing plans, and crop insurance decisions appropriate for their operations under various conditions.  Specific topics that will be discussed include margin risk, risk tolerance, breakeven analysis, use of crop insurance and market volatility.

The schedule is listed below.  A $15 to $20 local registration fee secures lunch and a spot at the workshop.


March 21, 2011 in Randolph (10:30 a.m. – 3:00 p.m.)

Randolph Municipal Building, 72 Main Street, Randolph

RSVP to Lynn A. Bliven at 585-268-7644 x18 or 716-699-2377 x124


March 22, 2011 in Batavia (10:30 a.m. – 3:00 p.m.)

CCE of Genesee County, 420 East Main Street, Batavia

RSVP to Cathy Wallace at 585-343-3040 x138


March 23, 2011 in Geneva (10:30 a.m. – 3:00 p.m.)

NYS Agricultural Experiment Station, Jordan Hall, 630 West North Street, Geneva

RSVP to Cathy Wallace at 585-343-3040 x138


March 24, 2011 in Bath (10:30 a.m. – 3:00 p.m.)

Civil Defense Center, 7220 State Route 54, Bath

RSVP to Jim Grace at 607-664-2316


March 25, 2011 in Oneonta (10:30 a.m. – 3:00 p.m.)

Holiday Inn, 5206 Highway 23, Oneonta

RSVP to Marianne Kiraly at 607-865-6531


For questions on the information contained in this FB Alert, e-mail or call NYFB’s Public Policy Department at 1-800-342-4143.



Hoang outlines perceptions, realities regarding antimicrobials in animal agriculture

Dr. Christine Hoang, assistant director, Scientific Activities Division of the American Veterinary Medical Association, operates on the premise that “it’s better to prevent a disease if you can.” As such, Hoang urged dairy producers at the 2011 Business Conference of the Professional Dairy Producers of Wisconsin to follow drug labels to a “T” or be prepared for the consequences.

“People care about antibiotic usage in animals because they want safe food and they are told by the media to care,” Hoang states.

“What everyone gets really upset about is the indirect route of transmission—and no one even knows if this indirect route of transmission really occurs. It’s all based on theory—not fact. But this theory is what causes so much concern in the media.”

Calling negative messages spread to the public about indirect route of transmission “not correct,” Hoang explained that many people equate producer’s use of antimicrobials to consumers sprinkling antibiotics on their children’s cereal every morning.

“Consumers don’t know the facts,” she added. “They believe what they have read and what others have said. We all know that animals are not fed antimicrobials every day.”

Hoang urged dairy producers to consider people’s incorrect belief about indirect route of transmission as drugs are administered to animals—no matter how infrequently the drugs are administered.

The veterinarian who has a Masters of Public Health informed attendees about PAMTA—The Preservation of Antibiotics for Medical Treatment Act—and the role PAMTA activists are trying to play in the future use of antibiotics in animal agriculture.

“They want only treatment use. Yes, they are trying to cut out all antimicrobial use unless an animal is ill,” she stated. “They want to ban growth promotant usage and use of antimicrobials for prevention of disease.”

Hoang advised producers to continue to use animal agriculture drugs responsibly. She pointed out that consumer concerns coupled with response to residues have resulted in “important drugs no longer being available.”

“When the FDA says no extra label drug use, they mean it,” she stated. “If a drug is not followed according to its label, it can be withdrawn from the market. The pulled drug will not even be available for use according to label.

“Read the labels. It’s that simple. Read the label and follow it. If you don’t understand a label or want reassurance regarding that you fully understand a label, visit with your veterinarian. If you follow your veterinarian’s instructions, you should be OK.”

Hoang acknowledged that mistakes related to drug usage can occur.

“If you make a mistake administering a drug, let someone know,” she stated. “And always follow withdrawal times. Plus perform bulk tank testing, be open to inspections and testing and keep accurate records.”

In wrapping up her presentation, Hoang encouraged producers to be actively involved, maintain a voice and become advocates so accurate messages are delivered to the public.


Midwest Dairy Digest: March 20, 2011


Professional Dairy Producers set policy, pricing information meetings

The Indiana Professional Dairy Producers is partnering with the Indiana State Department of Agriculture, the Indiana Corn Marketing Council and the Indiana Soybean Alliance to hold two informational meetings in Indiana to help educate dairy farmers and others interested in learning more about the complexities of milk pricing.

“We are vulnerable as an industry because often we don’t understand how our milk price is determined,” said LuAnn Troxel, IPDP president and LaPorte County dairy farmer. “This is a critical time in dairy policy. Legislators need to hear from dairy farmers.”

Meetings will be held:

•   Friday, March 25, at the Bartholomew County Fairgrounds, Family Arts Building, 750 W 200 S, Columbus, Ind.

• Saturday, March 26, at the Elkhart County Fairgrounds, Ag Hall, 17746 E CR 34, Goshen, Ind.

These meetings will address the National Milk Producers Federation “Foundation for the Future,” as well as other plans developed to implement policy changes in the 2012 Farm Bill. Sherry Bunting, writer for Farmshine newspaper, will be the keynote speaker at both meetings.

Registration for both meetings begins at 10:30 a.m. (Eastern). Each meeting will run from 11 a.m.-2 p.m., and a complimentary lunch will be served. There is no charge, but reservations are requested by March 22. Call the Indiana Professional Dairy Producers at 317-695-8228 and leave a message stating which meeting you wish to attend and how many attendees from your farm, or email with that same information.

The Indiana Professional Dairy Producers is the organized voice for Hoosier dairy farmers. Membership in IPDP is not required to attend the meeting. More information about the Indiana Professional Dairy Producers can be found at


Lucey named UW-Madison Center for Dairy Research director

John Lucey, professor of Food Science, University of Wisconsin-Madison, has been named Director of the Wisconsin Center for Dairy Research (CDR). The dairy research center focuses on research, applications, outreach and education geared  towards partnering with the Wisconsin and U.S. dairy industries.

John Lucey

Lucey joined the UW-Madison Food Science department in 1999. Over the  past 20 years, he has worked in food science departments or research  centers in four different countries, (Ireland, the Netherlands, New  Zealand, and the U.S.) each with a strong dairy foods emphasis. Lucey’s  research interests cover a wide range of dairy technology and products  including cheese texture/chemistry, gelation of milk, cultured  products like yogurt, and the production/functionality of milk protein ingredients. In 2001 he received the American Dairy Science Association (ADSA) Foundation Scholar award, and in 2005 the DSM award for Cheese and Cultured Products Research from ADSA.

Anaerobic digester operator training program is April 13

Fond du Lac, Wis. – In response to an increased use of digesters, an Anaerobic Digester Operator Training Program will be offered, April 13-15, in Fond du Lac, Wis. The program is designed to provide design, process and safety information for digester operations.

The training program highlights design options and optimization of system operation with a focus on safety, including an on-farm safety assessment and walkthrough. Detailed operational and trouble-shooting information will include system start-up, process control, and monitoring to provide a framework to maintain operator safety while achieving consistent biogas production.

An operator panel composed of industry, municipal, and on-farm digester operators will provide real-world experience and expertise for digester operation and management. Biogas and digestate end use, regulations and permits, and environmental issues will complete the training to provide the comprehensive systems knowledge required to make informed decisions concerning digester management.

The program provides a systems perspective for digester operator safety and digester management critical in maintaining digester operation. This program is a collaborative effort from UW-CALS, UW-Extension, MSU Extension, Solid and Hazardous Waste Education Center, and the Michigan Department of Agriculture. The program will be held at UW-Extension Fond du Lac County, 400 University Drive, Room UC 113/114, Fond du Lac, Wis. Additional information, brochure and registration is available at:

Dairy farm management team program applications accepted

The Wisconsin Department of Agriculture, Trade and Consumer Protection (DATCP) encourages farmers to apply now for the Dairy Farm Management Team program. This program is designed to assist producers with future planning to innovate and modernize their farms to increase profitability.

“Dairy Farm Management Teams are an additional tool producers can use to improve their operating efficiency by identifying challenges and opportunities,” said DATCP Secretary Ben Brancel. “The purpose of this program is to help dairy farmers strengthen their management tools and provide the resources needed to move forward.”

Participating producers will work with a facilitator, who will bring together a team of professionals tailored to the farm’s individual situation.  The management team may include lenders, agronomists, nutritionists, veterinarians, and other specialists. Over three meetings, the team will discuss issues, develop a strategy, and provide input for decision-making and long-term planning.  Technology, growth, herd health, milk quality, financial success, and sustainability are some issues that may be considered.

The cost-share program will provide up to $2,000 to cover costs such as consultant fees and agronomic, milk quality, or veterinary testing.  Capital expenses are not eligible.  Farmers will contribute 10 percent of these costs as part of the program.

All Wisconsin dairy farmers, who do not already have management team advisors in place, are eligible to apply, regardless of herd size or set-up.  The application is only one page.

Sixty-five Dairy Farm Management Teams have been formed since this program launched in late 2009. This program is made possible through the Value Added Dairy Initiative, which is funded by a Federal-State Marketing Improvement Program (FSMIP) grant from the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Agricultural Marketing Service. In-kind contributions are provided by the Wisconsin Milk Marketing Board and DATCP.

The Dairy Farm Management Team program is a joint effort of DATCP; the Wisconsin Department of Commerce Dairy 2020 program; the University of Wisconsin-Extension Dairy Team, Farm and Risk Management Team (FARM), and Center for Dairy Profitability; and Wisconsin Technical Colleges.  For application materials, visit

For questions or more information, contact Jim Cisler at or 608-224-5137.

Wisconsin records 1 millionth RFID number

On Feb. 28, 2011, the Wisconsin Livestock Identification Consortium recorded the state’s millionth Radio Frequency Identification Number (RFID), a milestone in Wisconsin animal identification. RFID, also known as electronic ID, is an ear tag that has a unique number which can be read both visibly and electronically.

“Wisconsin farmers have really stepped up to the plate when it comes to using RFID,” said Ben Brancel, Secretary of Agriculture, Trade and Consumer Protection. “Using RFID improves traceability and opens doors to international markets.”

RFID use has grown considerably over the past few years. In March 2008 there were 138,260 RFID numbers recorded. Just a year later in March 2009 that number increased to 405,134, and today there are over one million RFID numbers being used amongst various species across the state. As consumers become more source conscious of their food and the agricultural industry presses for more traceability due to residue and disease issues, use of RFID is expected to grow. Currently, Wisconsin Livestock Identification Consortium (WLIC) estimates show that 16% of the milking dairy herd in Wisconsin is identified by RFID.

“We’ve seen a dramatic example of how RFID can save producer headaches and taxpayer dollars,” said Brancel. “When we had to TB-test a 3,000-cow herd that had been exposed by imported cattle, it was an RFID herd. We needed to process 360 animals an hour to avoid disrupting the milking operation. If we’d had to manually read and record identification for that many animals, we would have needed 36 staff members and it would have cost $84,000. With RFID, six people did it, it cost $22,000, and the producer’s operation just kept right on with no interruption. Those are results you can take to the bank, and we’re glad Wisconsin farmers know that.”

Over the past few years, WLIC has worked with producers, county fairs, veterinarians, and other livestock groups to promote the value of animal identification and RFID for herd management as well as animal health and traceability purposes. WLIC also offers tag programs where producers and county fairs looking to implement RFID can apply to receive RFID tags at no cost. These tags are distributed on a first-come, first-serve basis, to qualified applicants.  For more information on these programs, call 888-808-1910 or send information requests to

The mission of the Wisconsin Livestock Identification Consortium is to create a secure livestock identification system to protect animal health and market access, and to offer opportunities that enhance the marketability of Wisconsin livestock products. Representing more than 50 businesses, organizations and livestock producer associations, WLIC draws upon the collective strength of its diverse membership to help strengthen and advance animal disease traceability in Wisconsin and the nation as a whole. To learn more about WLIC visit


Dairy research, promotion board directors elected

The Minnesota Department of Agriculture (MDA) announced the recent elections of board members to serve on the Minnesota Dairy Research and Promotion Council. Members elected to serve two-year board terms are Peter Ripka of Ogilvie, (District 2); Ken Herbranson of Clitherall, (District 4); Ron Rinkel of Hillman, (District 6); Corrine Lieser of Belgrade, (District 8); Kathleen Skiba of North Branch, (District 10);  Charles Krause of Buffalo, (District 12); Paul Fritsche of New Ulm, (District 14); Keith Knutson of Pine Island, (District 16); Dave Schwartz of Slayton, (District 18); Christine Sukalski of Leroy, (District 20); Carolyn Freese of Lanesboro, (District 22).


Midwest Dairy Digest: March 19, 2011


MMPA sets I-9 compliance, immigration, migrant and seasonal employee workshop

Minnesota Milk Producers Association (MMPA) members are welcome to attend an Executives Workshop, March 23-24, on I-9 Compliance, Immigration and the Migrant and Seasonal Worker Act.  This workshop is only available to MMPA members at no cost (non-members are able to register for $200 registration fee and only if referred by a MMPA member).

Donald C. Erickson and John Gasele, from Fryberger, Buchanan, Smith and Frederick, P.A., will present the information and answer questions.  Don Erickson is a Labor and Employment Law Specialist certified by the Minnesota State Bar Association and a former Workers’ Compensation Judge with the State of Minnesota, Office of Administrative Hearings.

This workshop is limited to the first 50 participants.  To reserve your space, contact MMPA by phone at 877-577-0741 or by e-mail Hotel rooms are avilable at the Cambria Suites Maple Grove by calling 763-494-5556.

Dairy drug use and compliance webinar is April 5

Dairy farms are the key link in the chain of protection of food from contamination with drugs. Prudent, label use under the supervision of your veterinarian, good record keeping, reliable animal identification, and appropriate testing can help the dairy industry keep the trust of the consumer and avoid the risk of regulatory enforcement.

Dr. John Fetrow, VMD, MBA, University of Minnesota, will present a webinar on those issues for Minnesota Milk Producer Association members, Tuesday, April 5, 12:30-1:30 p.m.

Topics for the presentation include:

• Background on drug residue and use issues

• Rules regulating drug use on dairies

• What the future holds

If you have any additional questions, or if you are not a member and would like to participate, please contact MMPA by e-mail at or toll-free at 877-577-0741. A confirmation e-mail will be sent to you with login information for the webinar upon completion of your registration.


South Dakota

SDSU Jackrabbit Dairy Camp scheduled

The 8th annual South Dakota State University Jackrabbit Dairy Camp, a three-day workshop for youth wanting to learn about the dairy industry, will be held  June 16-18, at the South Dakota State University Campus, Brookings, S.D.

The South Dakota State University Dairy Club is sponsoring this event for youth between the ages 8-18 who want to enhance their dairy cattle skills and learn about the dairy industry.  Campers from all states are welcome to attend.

“The SDSU Jackrabbit Dairy Camp is a great place for the youth to learn about the dairy industry.  This is a fun event for kids to interact and meet other dairy enthusiasts.  The participants learn about both sides of the industry; production and manufacturing.  They learn about clipping, showmanship, and judging while also learning about proper care for animals.  There are also dairy manufacturing activities, including making products such as ice cream and touring the SDSU Dairy Plant. “Dairy Camp is a place where campers can put their showmanship and judging skills to the test.” said SDSU Dairy Club President and past counselor, April Johnson.

Highlights of the dairy camp include:

• Dairy Workshops on fitting, showmanship, oral reasons, dairy promotion, and dairy products

• Hands-on fitting demonstration

• Mock heifer auction

• Dairy Judging Contest

• Showmanship Contest

• Other  activities – bowling and movie night

Lodging for two evenings in an SDSU dormitory, meals, and materials provided are included in the $50 registration fee.  Registration materials can be obtained by going to the website or by e-mailing  The registration deadline is May 25. Registration is limited and on a first-come first-serve basis.



ISDA offers scholarships

The Iowa State Dairy Association (ISDA) will award six college scholarships of $500 to Iowa students. The scholarships are available to any level undergraduate student, incoming freshmen through seniors, pursuing a degree in any field.

Candidates must complete the ISDA scholarship application and attach a one-page essay. All applications and essays must be received by April 1. The ISDA scholarship application can be downloaded from the ISDA Web site ( or contact Jessica Bloomberg, ISDA industry relations manager, to request an application at (515) 971-3620 or

Return completed application and essay via email to, fax to 515-964-5498 (attention: Jessica Bloomberg), or mailed to: Iowa State Dairy Association, Scholarship Application, 101 NE Trilein Dr., Ankeny, IA 50021.

Applicants must be the child or grandchild of a current ISDA member.  If you are not currently an ISDA member or if you have not yet renewed your membership for 2011, you can find a membership application on the ISDA Web site or contact Jessica Bloomberg to request a membership form.


Workshops to provide environmental issues updates for medium-sized dairies and beef feedlots

ISU Extension and the Iowa DNR will offer three workshops in northwest and western Iowa featuring environmental issues for feedlots and dairies that are medium-sized concentrated animal feeding operations (CAFOs).

Each workshop will cover the following topics: definition of a medium-sized CAFO; National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (NPDES) permit requirements; design criteria for manure and effluent handling and storage; operation, maintenance and nutrient management plans; and resources for technical and financial assistance.

Consultants and companies from Iowa and surrounding states are sponsors for the workshops and will be available to discuss engineering services, manure plans and technical assistance.

Workshops include:

• March 29: Spencer Community School Admin Bldg (10 a.m. – 3 p.m.) Call: 712-262-2264 to register

• March 30: Corporate Center, Sioux Center (10 a.m. – 3 p.m.) Call: 712-737-4230 to register

• March 31: American Legion Hall, Arcadia. (10 a.m. – 3 p.m.) Call: 712-792-2364 to register

Registration for the workshop is $30 for the first person from the operation and $15 for each additional person, which includes materials and lunch. Register by March 23 by calling the ISU Extension county office associated with the site to be attended. Payment may be made at the door, but pre-registration is required. (Source: ISU Extension)


DFA member, employee honored

The Missouri Dairy Hall of Honors Foundation recently recognized the dedication and service of James A. Coats, a Dairy Farmers of America, Inc.’s (DFA) member, and Steve Davis, a manager in DFA’s Southeast Area. The Foundation awarded Coats its Leadership Award and Davis the Meritorious Service Award. The Foundation’s awards program recognizes and honors Missouri individuals who have made noteworthy contributions to the progress and welfare of the dairy industry.

Coats held several roles in the Missouri dairy industry over the course of six decades. He served as a leader with the University Extension Council of Texas County, Mo.; MFA, Inc.; Farm Credit Land Bank; the Missouri Holstein Association and the Texas County Cattlemen’s Association. Coats recently retired and his son, Tom, assumed management of the dairy. Before retiring, Coats was a district chairman for DFA and served as an elected delegate, representing fellow DFA members at the Cooperative’s Annual Meeting.

The Meritorious Service Award is given to those who have served milk producers and processors in exemplary fashion. Davis, a resident of Seymour, Mo., and a former field representative for DFA, has more than 20 years experience working in the dairy industry and currently serves on the Missouri State Milk Board Advisory Committee.

Dairy business planning grant application deadline is March 25

The Missouri Agricultural and Small Business Development Authority (MASBDA) is accepting applications for the Dairy Business Planning Grant Program. This funding will enable dairy producers to work with a qualified dairy business planning professional to develop a business plan for the startup, modernization, expansion or increased production of a Missouri dairy farm.

The dairy planning grant shall not exceed $5,000 or finance more than 90% of the cost of the business plan, whichever is less. The dairy producer is required to pay at least 10% of the cost of the work done. The Missouri Soybean Association and the Missouri Dairy Growth Council will provide the funding for this grant; MASBDA will implement and administer the program. Applications will be scored competitively.

Applications must be received no later than 5 p.m. on Friday, March 25. To contact MASBDA, call (573)751-2129 or

Missouri Dairy Grazing Conference is July 6-8

The Missouri Dairy Grazing Conference will be held July 6-8, at the Holiday Inn Hotel, Joplin, Missouri. Presentations will be given by university faculty, industry and dairy producers on the latest information related to dairy grazing systems. Farm tours are planned to local pasture-based dairy operations both during and after the conference. A trade show is planned for 30-40 businesses affliated with this industry to showcase their products and information during the conference. Highlights include:

• Learn the latest in dairy grazing systems

• Tour some of the nation’s best grazing dairies

• Network with national dairy graziers

For more information, visit

Minnesota, Wisconsin dairy leaders work to improve milk quality, food safety in Kosovo

MADISON, Wis. – A delegation of dairy leaders from Wisconsin and Minnesota are partnering with government and industry leaders in Kosovo for a two-year collaborative project to assess food safety risks and improve milk quality.

Kosovo, a former territory of Yugoslavia, is a small country with a tumultuous history. As a result of conflict and war in the 1990s, many farmers lost their lives. Livestock was destroyed and the nation’s dairy industry was left devastated. The country gained independence in 2008 and is still working to rebuild its agricultural industry to meet the nutritional and economic needs of the population.

The Wisconsin and Minnesota delegation of dairy experts traveled to the war-torn county in January to begin work on a milk quality project. The initiative is led by Dr. Pamela Ruegg, professor of Dairy Science at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, and Karen Nielsen, director of the Babcock Institute for International Dairy Research and Development. Accompanying Ruegg and Nielsen to Kosovo in January were Dr. Scott Wells, director of education for the Center for Animal Health and Food Safety at the University of Minnesota; Trisha Wagner, Jackson County UW Extension agent; and John Kappelman, a consultant for Cereal Byproducts Company who has worked on many USAID Farmer to Farmer projects in Eurasia.

While in Kosovo, the team of U.S. agricultural experts traveled throughout the country, visiting small dairy farms, milk collection centers, dairy processing plants, national testing laboratories, and the University of Prishtina.

The trip culminated in a presentation of the proposed program by Dr. Ruegg, who spoke to a room of government officials, university staff, embassy personnel and representatives of private organizations. The proposal received enthusiastic endorsement by the Ministry of Agriculture in Kosovo, the University of Prishtina and the Kosovar Food and Veterinary Agency, who will be key partners.

“This project is a partnership in every sense of the word,” Nielsen said. “We have an enthusiastic team of researchers who are committed to the project. This dedication ensures that everyone will be able to benefit from the work being done.”

The collaborative project will strengthen Kosovo’s ability to identify and address food safety risks in its dairy chain, as well as provide opportunities to train American experts and strengthen their ability to understand food systems in emerging markets. Immersing UW faculty, extension agents and students in issues faced by Kosovo’s dairy industry will help internationalize Wisconsin’s education and outreach efforts.

Students from the University of Prishtina in Kosovo will visit milk collection centers to obtain milk samples, which will be tested at the Food and Veterinary Agency of Kosovo. Once the collection and testing has been completed, university faculty and students from Wisconsin and Kosovo will work together to analyze data. During this project, a risk assessment tool will be developed for use in Kosovo, on farmstead dairy processing facilities in Wisconsin and other parts of the U.S., and in emerging dairy industries throughout the world.

Initial funds used to support the project come from a USDA – International Science and Education grant, which covers only travel expenses and a small portion of testing and equipment costs. All individuals involved are personally invested in the project and are volunteering their time and expertise.

To learn more about the Babcock Institute and its collaboration with Kosovo, visit or call 608-265-0561.