Midwest Dairy Digest: Jan. 31, 2011

Missouri offers dairy business planning grants

The Missouri Agricultural and Small Business Development Authority (MASBDA) is accepting applications for the 2011 Dairy Business Planning Grant Program. Deadline to apply is March 25.

This funding will enable Missouri’s dairy producers to work with qualified dairy business planning professionals to develop a business plan to facilitate startup, improve profitability, increase production and encourage modernization and expansion of dairy farms in Missouri. Funding for the grant is being provided by the Missouri Soybean Association and the Missouri Dairy Growth Council.

Grants are capped at $5,000 and/or may not 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. Applications will be scored competitively.

Applications are online at mda.mo.gov. For more information, contact MASBDA via phone: 573-751-2129; or e-mail masbda@mda.mo.gov.

Tri-State Dairy Nutrition Conference scheduled at Fort Wayne

The 2011Tri-State Dairy Nutrition Conference will be held April 19-20, at the Grand Wayne Center, Fort Wayne, Ind.

For more information, contact:

• Michelle Milligan, phone: 614-292-7374 or e-mail: milligan.4@osu.edu

• Herb Bucholtz, phone: 517-230-0120 or e-mail: bucholtz@msu.edu

• visit http://tristatedairy.osu.edu

Iowa State University’s Spring Ag Career Day Set for Feb. 2

The spring version of Iowa State University’s Ag Career Day will be held Feb. 2, 10 a.m. to 2 p.m., in the Memorial Union on the Iowa State University campus. The job fair is open to Iowa State students, alumni and the general public.

Mike Gaul, director of career services for the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences, expects 80 to 85 companies and organizations to recruit at the annual event.

USDA’s National Institute of Food and Agriculture and Purdue University released a report (http://www.ag.purdue.edu/usda/employment/pages/default.aspx) last year projecting 5% more college graduates in agriculture and related academic fields will be needed between 2010 and 2015 compared to the jobs available from 2005 to 2010.

A list of employers that have scheduled to recruit at Ag Career Day is on the career services web site: http://www.career.ag.iastate.edu/agcareerday/career.php.

Michigan labor seminars to turn out top-notch agricultural employers

Like all successful employers, Michigan farmers depend on good help, and good help typically hinges on work conditions and environments that are satisfying and up to par.

To help ensure that Michigan farmers continue to meet both these criteria for their employees – socially responsible labor management practices and regulatory compliance – more than 20 entities are teaming up to hold a series of agricultural labor management seminars beginning next month and continuing through July.

“Farmers need the best, most up-to-date information available if they are to continue their operations in the face of stepped-up enforcement of agricultural labor rules and a complicated maze of requirements,” said Craig Anderson, manager of the Michigan Farm Bureau agricultural labor and safety services program.

“The rules are complex and confusing, and these seminars will help farmers comply with new and existing agricultural labor rules before an inspection catches them off guard,” said Anderson.

While not directly the result of the Michigan Civil Rights Commission’s 2010 report on the conditions of migrant and seasonal farm workers in the state, Anderson said the labor seminars, in part, help to achieve a recommendation from that report which calls for ensuring that “workers, growers and crew leaders are regularly informed about the legal rights of farm workers.”

The agricultural labor management seminars will address a variety of issues including employment of youth, migrant labor housing, employer and employee rights and responsibilities, recruitment options, food safety and security procedures, federal and state agency enforcement and inspection activities and updates, self-audits, and much more. Complete agendas are online at http://www.michfb.com/safety/seminars.

Each seminar will incorporate local commodities produced and/or local issues. The first round of seminars includes three meetings tailored to the blueberry industry and six meeting tailored to a variety of specialty crop production. A second round of seminars for the livestock and dairy industry, expected to be held March through July, will be announced later.

Registration costs $75 for the first individual from a farm or agricultural business and $50 for each additional attendee from the same farm or agribusiness. Attendees will receive lunch, snacks and a USB drive with publications and handouts. To register, individuals should contact the local organizer affiliated with their preferred meeting location.

The day-long seminars will be held as follows from 8:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. unless otherwise indicated.

For a schedule and general information on the agricultural labor management seminar series, call (517) 323-7000, ext. 2022 or visit http://www.michfb.com/safety/seminars.

Iowa: Be aware of winter manure application rules

The recent snow storm brought challenges to livestock farmers throughout the state. Between moving snow, keeping waterers thawed and getting chores done, there always seems to be something that needs your attention.

However, the abundance of snow brings up another important topic—winter application of manure. What are the rules? How do they affect your farm?

Last September, Iowa legislation regulating application of manure on frozen and snow-covered ground went into effect.

It prohibits the application of liquid manure from confinement feeding operations with more than 500 animal units on snow-covered ground from Dec. 21 to April 1. Application is not allowed on frozen ground from Feb. 1 to April 1, except in an emergency.

When there is one or more inch of snow and/or one-half or more inch of ice, it is considered to be “snow-covered.” On the other hand, “frozen ground” is defined as soil that is impenetrable for a depth of more than 2 inches.

Farms that are regulated under these rules may be able to apply manure in the case of an emergency. However, you must report the incident to DNR prior to application and follow all applicable NPDES permit requirements. For more information on emergency application see the IMMAG website or call your DNR Field office.

Facilities built after July 1, 2009 with manure storage capacity of 180 days or less do not qualify for emergency application under the existing insufficient storage exemption.

This law does not apply to:

  • • Manure from open feedlots (liquid or solid)
  • • Dry manure from confinements (frozen manure is not dry manure)
  • • Liquid manure from small animal feeding operations (confinements with 500 units or less)
  • • Liquid manure that can be appropriately injected or incorporated within 24 hours of application

Additional questions can be directed to Coalition to Support Iowa’s Farmers at 1-800-932-2436 or info@supportfarmers.com.

MDA appoints new dairy princess consultant

Seena Glessing, Waverly, Minn., has been named “princess consultant” for Midwest Dairy Association, with responsibilities in Minnesota, North Dakota and South Dakota.  Glessing replaces Char Hovland, who retired, Jan. 1.

Glessing will manage the state dairy princess competitions and events, provide training and oversight for the three state princesses and help princesses develop skills to help consumers understand more about the value of dairy foods and the way they are produced.

Minnesota nutrient management conference is Feb. 15

The Minnesota Department of Agriculture (MDA) will host a Nutrient Efficiency and Management Conference, Feb. 15,  8:30 a.m. to 4 p.m., at the Rochester Event Center, Rochester, Minn.

The conference will bring together agricultural supply and service consultants, growers, university extension specialists, crop advisers, researchers, and local, state and federal government officials.   Continuing education credits will also be available for Certified Crop Advisers.

Scott Murel,l of the International Plant Nutrient Institute will kick off the meeting with a discussion of the basics of nutrient interactions and how they affect the efficient use of nutrients.  He will also provide a big-picture view of nutrient use efficiency and stewardship trends in the Midwest.

Dennis Frame, of Wisconsin Discovery Farms, will follow with a discussion of water quality runoff research from a variety of crop and livestock farms in Wisconsin.

Tim Radatz, with the Minnesota Agricultural Water Resources Coalition, will provide updates on the newly formed Minnesota Discovery Farms Program.

The morning session will wrap up with a panel discussion of innovative and progressive management ideas from local farmers and crop consultants.

In the afternoon, participants will have their choice of listening to a variety of other speakers covering topics such as key manure management practices, precision conservation, optimizing phosphorus recommendations, soil test phosphorus trends in Minnesota, effectiveness of nitrogen additives, and vertical tillage.  A variety of other topics and information will be made available throughout the day.

There are no fees to attend and lunch will be provided.  Participants are encouraged to pre-register online at www.mda.state.mn.us/nutrientconference.aspx or by calling 651-201-6141.  For more information about the event, contact MDA’s Kevin Kuehner at 507-765-4530.

MMPA offers farm business webinar

Minnesota Milk Producers Association will host farm succession and estate planning webinar, Feb. 3, 12:30–1:30 p.m.

Attorney Brian Schoenborn will present “Forming Your Farm’s Legal Entity: Why is it important and what are my options?” This webinar will help producers consider the alternatives and decide what entity would be best for their and your agribusiness. He’ll address such question as:

  • • Legal: I don’t want to fill out paperwork every year or adhere to state/federal regulations — what is the easiest entity to maintain?
  • • Liability: I sold thousands of gallons of contaminated milk by accident — how can I be sure my personal assets are protected from a lawsuit?
  • • Financial: I want to add a state-of-the-art milking system but don’t have the money — how can I get access to more capital?
  • • Transition: I want to pass the farm on to my son/daughter/grandchildren — how can my business entity impact this?
  • • Taxes: How can I spend less money on taxes and more money investing in my farm?

The webinar is only available to producer and associate members of Minnesota Milk Producers Association. Advance registration is required. For more information, contact MMPA by e-mail at mmpa@mnmilk.org or toll-free at 1-877-577-0741.

UMDIA offers scholarships

The Upper Midwest Dairy Industry Association (UMDIA) is now accepting applications for the Gene Watnaas and Pioneer Dairymen’s Club Scholarships. In an effort to recognize individuals pursuing post- secondary education in a field that will enhance the quality and safety of dairy and food products, UMDIA will be awarding up to three $1,000 scholarships in 2011 to qualified applicants. Applications are due Feb. 7.

Scholarship application forms are available online at www.umdia.org and  should be submitted electronically to: Elaine Santi, Secretary/Treasurer, Upper Midwest Dairy Industry Association, e-mail: elaine.santi@state.mn.us,

Minnesota Extension offers labor management programs

One of the greatest challenges facing farmers is the management of a labor force. Effective management of hired labor can have a profound effect on the overall profitability of a farming operation.

University of Minnesota Extension will offer labor management programs at three sites, covering hiring process, legal issues, compensation and communication.

The programs are titled, “Employment Skills for Today: Planning for Success.” Farm owners and managers who oversee family and non-family labor should consider attending.  There is no cost for these programs, but pre-registration is required. The programs will be held at the following times and locations:

• Feb. 4, Minnesota West Community & Technical College, Pipestone, Minn.

• Feb. 11, Midtown Square, St. Cloud, Minn.

• Feb. 25, Heintz Center, Rochester, Minn.

Employment Skills for Today: Planning for Success will address the following labor management topics:  hiring process, legal issues, compensation and communication.

All three programs will begin at 10 a.m. and adjourn by 3 p.m. A complementary noon lunch will be provided at each location. To pre-register, e-mail Mary Jo Fox at foxxx055@umn.edu or call (507) 337-2800.