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Empire Farm Days: Dairy Profit Seminars

The DairyProfit Seminars at Empire Farm Days have become a regular stop for dairy producers, dairy farm staff and agribusiness professionals. This year’s show is slated for Aug. 9-11, at the Rodman Lott & Sons Farm near Seneca Falls, N.Y.


2011 DairyProfit Seminars will feature presentations on intensive grazing, transitioning the farm to the next generation, and the latest findings to increase cow comfort. The seminars are presented by Cornell’s PRO-DAIRY and Eastern DairyBusiness magazine, with support from the sponsors (listed below).


Each session starts at 10:30 a.m. at the Dairy Seminar Center, located on the show grounds. They are free and open to the public, and will be followed immediately by industry updates from the beef checkoff program and a picnic lunch.



Tuesday, Aug. 9 – 10:30 a.m.


Intensive Grazing – Improving the Health of Your Herd ... and Your Bottom Line


This session will feature PRO-DAIRY’s John Conway as moderator, with three successful dairy producers who will share their “real-world” experiences. They’ll highlight the opportunities and challenges of this approach to managing cows and heifers, improving herd health, performance and income over feed cost. This program is put together with support from the New York Holstein Association’s breed improvement committee.

Panel members are:


Bill Paddock, Groeslon Farm, Remsen, N.Y.

Handling his 75-cow, well-established herd of registered Holsteins on an intensive pasture management program since 1973, Bill is also grazing specialist with the Oneida County Soil & Water Conservation District and has worked with over 200 producers in Central N.Y. Bill has seen the good, bad and ugly of pasture management and will share insights for success from his long experience.


Mark Savage, MilkyWay Farm, Boonville, N.Y.

Managing the 200-head milking herd and as many heifers on rotational grazing in partnership with his father-in-law, Scott Sawyer, Mark previously worked with a large commercial confinement herd. He’ll share his experiences about different management priorities needed. He’s a Cornell grad and experienced foot trimmer, rounding out his extensive background.


Joe Schultz, Ara-Kuh Holsteins, Lowville, N.Y.

This 50-cow registered Holstein herd has been managed on intensive grazing since 1988, when Joe’s dad worked with Cornell Extension on a research trial. Paddock management, seasonal feeding programs and working to achieve solid production are the priorities at this family operation, which includes Joe, his wife, Sue, who’s starting a farmstead cheese operation, and their young son Bronson, an enthusiastic 4-H showman.


Dale Mattoon milks 800 cows near Genoa, NYWhen neighboring land became available, it was ideal for rotational grazing for heifers.  With the addition of fencing, laneway and watering systems he began to graze heifers since they were overcrowded in his conventional facility.  He's discovered improvements in heifer health, muscle tone, reduced cost per lb. of gain and a good use of the land resource.  And by reducing crowding, all the heifers improved their rate of gain. 


Moderator John Conway has been a member of the PRO-DAIRY team at Cornell since its inception in 1988, with a focus on herd management. He is a passionate advocate for forage quality and its effect on dairy farm business financial health. Intensive grazing done well has the potential to optimize forage quality, income over feed cost and cow health.



Tuesday, Aug. 9 – 1:00 p.m.


Improving Health of Young Calves

This session will feature Dr Jim Quigley, nationally known expert on baby calf nutrition and health.  He will explain how proper management in the first 24 hours of a calf’s life can improve her potential to make milk.  He’ll talk about managing colostrums and three simple steps to really improve the health of the calves on your farm.  Dr Quigley is VP and Director, Calf Operations, APC, Inc. in Ankeny, IA. For more information about this seminar, click here.



Wednesday, Aug. 10 - 10:30 a.m.


Generation Next” – Involving Young People in Your Business


A key to the long-term success of existing dairy farming businesses and the overall New York State dairy economy is the continued involvement of young people within the industry.  These people bring new energy, ideas and challenges to business every year. There are many different paths people take to return to the farm or to be successful in agribusiness careers.  The participants of the “Generation Next” panel will talk about their paths and how they got to where they are, along with sharing thoughts on things they could have done differently. “If you are interested in a career in the dairy industry, or are working with a next generation in your business, please come and interact during the seminar,” urges panel moderator Jason Karszes of the PRO-DAIRY staff. Panel members are:


Steve Young, Oakwood Dairy, Auburn, N.Y.

Steve grew up on a dairy farm in Clifton Springs, N.Y.  He went to Cornell University, majoring in Animal Science and after college went to work with the crop team at Oakwood Dairy. The dairy has 1,850 milking cows and 1,800 heifers. Steve is responsible for 3,700 crop acres, with 2,000 acres of corn, 1,500 of alfalfa and hay and 200 of wheat.


Jon Beller, Beller Farms, Carthage, N.Y.

Jon grew up on his family farm and knew he wanted to farm with his parents. He went to SUNY Cobleskill, majoring in Dairy Science. After college, he went to work on a well-managed progressive dairy in Central N.Y. While there, he developed skills in herd management and working with Hispanic employees.  Jon felt it was important to get off the home farm and work for someone else before coming home, but he knew he wanted more responsibility and the ability to make his own decisions, which he felt he could have at home.  Jon is a partner in Beller Farms LLC with his parents, Glen and Emily, and is responsible for the day-to-day dairy operations, herd health, calves, and supervising employees.  He is also involved in the strategic decision-making with his parents.


Holly Burley, Graceland Dairy, Dansville, N.Y.

Growing up on the grazing dairy of her parents, Holly developed an interest in grazing and wanted to be involved in the grazing business. She attended SUNY Morrisville for two years, majoring in dairy science. Upon graduation in 2004, with the intent to learn more about grazing dairy cattle, Holly developed contacts in New Zealand and landed a job there, working for a grazing dairy from July 2004 until May of 2005. Upon returning home to New York, she returned to the home farm. After being home eight weeks and realizing there was not yet room for her at the home farm, she packed back up and headed back to New Zealand, staying this time till January 2006.

With this experience, she returned home to the farm and took on a role managing the grazing herd. With her return to the farm, she and her parents, Gary and Betty, started looking for further opportunity and, in August of 2007, a second grazing dairy was started. Currently, Holly is part owner and is responsible for all management of the second dairy.


Kyle M. Getty, Ideal Dairy Farms, Hudson Falls, N.Y.

A number of experiences led Kyle back to production agriculture in 2009. He grew up on a 100-cow registered herd in Eastern N.Y., where his parents taught him the basic practices of production agriculture. While attending Cornell University, he had the opportunity to do two on-farm internships during summer breaks: one at his current employer, Ideal Dairy Farms, Inc.; and a second at Upper Valley Holsteins, in Western Colorado. Both experiences exposed him to large-scale herd management and financial budgeting. An internship with Cargill Animal Nutrition, in the Yakima and Columbia Valleys of Washington State, along with other international and domestic dairy trips with the Dairy Fellows program and the Dairy Cattle Club, provided great insight to alternative production methods across the globe.

Upon graduating from Cornell University in 2007 with a B.S. in Animal Science, Kyle took a position within Cornell’s Pro-Dairy Department as a Research Support Specialist, with primary responsibilities for the Dairy Profit Monitor, a monthly benchmarking tool. He says of this work, “My two years in this position was invaluable, as I was able to interact with a number of dairymen across the Northeast and relate their management practices to their financial success.”

“Currently, I am employed by Ideal Dairy Farms, Inc., a 900-cow operation in Hudson Falls, N.Y. My main responsibilities involve financial analysis of the business, capital budgeting, input procurement, feeding and nutrition.


Mark Mapstone, Farm Credit East, Sangerfield, N.Y.

As a business consultant working with farm families, Mark spends considerable time addressing business transfer issues. With experiences and expertise in identifying the next generation, integrating them into the management, ownership transfer, family meetings and communications, he will provide his viewpoint on the approaches, pluses and minus associated with the different approaches to taken by the next generation to return to the farm.




Wednesday, Aug. 10 – 1:30 p.m.


Junior Dairy Leaders graduate


There will be 24 young people, ages 16-19, from York State counties and one Vermont county graduating from the Cornell PRO-DAIRY Junior DAIRY LEADER Program. The ceremony will be held at 1:30 p.m. in the DairyProfit Seminar Center.


The Junior DAIRY LEADER program is a statewide program for youth with an interest in learning more about career opportunities in the dairy industry and gaining hands-on field experience. The year-long schedule combines hands-on workshops, focusing on specific facets of the dairy industry, including veterinary science, dairy nutrition, production management and on-farm production analysis, with the opportunity to interact with producers, industry professionals and other young people.


As part of the graduation ceremony at Empire Farm Days, the 2011 class members will present a summary of their experiences throughout the program year: what they saw, what they learned, who they met, and what they did during the nine workshops from September 2010 to August 2011. The kickoff program included a seven-day tour of dairies and agribusinesses in Madison, Wis., and attending the National 4-H Dairy Conference., which is attended by more than 200 other dairy interested youth across the U.S. and Canada.


The Junior DAIRY LEADER graduation ceremony provides participants with the opportunity to highlight their experiences and demonstrate to visitors, family, friends, agribusiness professionals and educators the dynamic aspect of dairy education and the multitude of dairy career opportunities.


The Junior DAIRY LEADER Program sponsors include PRO-DAIRY, Northeast Agricultural Education Foundation, New York Farm Viability Institute, New York Center for Dairy Excellence, DEHM Associates, SHUR-GAIN USA, Genex/CRI, Northeast Farm Credit AgEnhancent Program, Cargill Animal Nutrition, and Cornell’s Department of Animal Science.

For more information on the Junior DAIRY LEADER Program, contact Deborah Grusenmeyer, Cornell University PRO-DAIRY Youth Program, phone: 607-255-0656; or e-mail: djc27@cornell.edu.





Thursday, Aug. 11 – 10:30 a.m.


Cow Comfort & Heat Stress Management

The benefits of keeping them cool and comfortable


These panelists have all emphasized cow comfort and implemented strategies to manage heat stress on their dairies and with their clients, resulting in improved milk yield, cow health and reproductive success during the summer months that often carries through the fall.


The moderator for this session will be Dr. Tom Overton, Associate Professor at Cornell and Director of the PRO-DAIRY program. His work has focused on nutrition and herd management and he’s in demand for his expertise around the Northeast and across the U.S. Panel members are:


Aaron Allen, Allenwaite Farms, Schaghticoke, N.Y.

Converting to sand bedding in 2007 was the biggest improvement for cow comfort at this 1500-cow dairy that averages 85 lbs. of milk per day. Allen will report on the transition, the manure facilities required and the positive impact that resulted. The seventh generation here, Aaron farms in partnership with a brother, their dad and a cousin. They also raise 1,500 heifers and nearly 3,000 acres of corn and alfalfa with 24 non-family employees.


Jeff Mulligan, Mulligan Farm, Avon, N.Y.

Jeff and his wife, Lesa, have been dairying for 30 years. They put up a new free-stall barn and parlor in 2008. With sand bedded stalls, sprinklers and fans, the herd average on 1,200 cows herd recently went over the 30,000-lb. mark. With a crew of 20, Mulligan Farms raises over 1,000 heifers, 1,000 acres of corn and 800 acres of alfalfa and hay.


Lynn Murray, Murcrest Farms, Copenhagen, N.Y.

Putting up a new 448-stall, head-to-head four-row barn in 2006, Lynn his wife, Peggy, focus on cow comfort, using sand bedding, stalls with ample lunge space, carefully placed sprinklers and fans and healthy air movement. He’ll show how keeping the cows comfortable has contributed to improved herd health and high product.


Dr. Mark J. Thomas, Countryside Veterinary Clinic, Lowville, N.Y.

As a partner in a veterinary practice that works with 200 dairy herds, Dr. Thomas specializes in facility design, nutrition, reproduction, milk quality and replacement rearing. A Spanish speaker, he does bilingual training programs, as well as teaching with PRO-DAIRY and Cornell. Active in the American Association of Bovine Practitioners, he holds a DVM degree from Cornell and with advanced certification in dairy from Penn State.




Drive it yourself tour – Thursday, Aug. 11

The annual PRO-DAIRY drive yourself dairy tour will focus on cow comfort and heat stress management. It will start on Thursday, Aug. 11, 3 p.m., at Twin Birch Dairy, in Skaneateles, N.Y. They have implemented deep-bedded stalls using solids recovered after methane digestion, along with sprinklers and fans for heat stress management. They were one of the Northeast farms assessed in a recent cow comfort and behavior study conducted by Novus International.


Following the tour conclusion at 4:30 p.m., attendees will be invited to join representatives of Novus International and PRO-DAIRY specialists for a presentation and discussion of the results of this study, which characterized farms in the Northeast, California, Texas/New Mexico, and British Columbia. Join us for a discussion on how to remove limitations to health and performance by focusing on cow comfort.


The tour is free, but RSVP is required. For more information on the schedule and directions to the farm, e-mail dmconf@cornell.edu or to register, click on this link http://www.cvent.com/d/tcq7s6/1Q.  Please RSVP by Aug. 1 by e-mail, or by calling Heather Howland at 607-255-4478.




DairyProfit Seminar sponsors


For over 60 years, three generations of the Albers family have designed and manufactured dairy equipment of the highest quality. The firm provides innovative ideas that make the dairyman’s business more manageable and efficient. Most notable is the origination of the self-locking stanchion. Originally serving the West, the company has opened branch-stocking offices in Idaho, New Mexico, Texas, Wisconsin, Iowa and New York. Albers also ships internationally on a regular basis. For your next building or remodeling project, contact Albers for a complete line of dairy and barn equipment, made in USA and offered at competitive prices.  www.albersdairyequipment.com


APC, Inc. is a world leader in the development of functional proteins for animal health and nutrition. For thirty years, APC’s research investments have yielded safe, effective products to improve animal performance. APC’s plasma-based products are based on Proteiva™ Functional Proteins technology, obtained by isolating unique components from blood proteins through proprietary fractionation processes. Acquire, Lifeline, Gammulin and NutraPro-containing milk replacers are available from local distributors to use as part of your complete calf care program. For additional information visit our web sites www.functionalproteins.com or www.proteiva.com.


Dairy Farmers of America, Inc. (DFA) is a national dairy marketing cooperative that serves and is owned by nearly 16,000 members on more than 9,000 farms in 48 states. Global Dairy Products Group, a division of DFA, is one of the country’s most diversified manufacturers of dairy products, food components and ingredients, and is a leader in formulating and packaging shelf-stable dairy products. For more information, call 1-888-DFA-MILK (332-6455) or visit www.dfamilk.com.


Cargill Animal Nutrition provides customized animal productivity solutions to commercial producers across the Americas, Europe, and Asia. Rather than focusing on standardized nutrition products, we create customized ingredient blends and management programs to fit each situation. Our research-proven management and nutrition technologies suit the specific needs of our diverse array of customers. www.cargillanimalnutrition.com


Dairylea Cooperative Inc. is a farmer-owned agricultural marketing and service organization with more than 2,000 member farms. They are the largest milk-marketing organization based in the region, selling more than 6 billion pounds of raw milk annually through an extensive milk-marketing network. Their goal is to maximize net returns at the farm by preserving and enhancing milk markets and milk-marketing relationships, and by providing services and programs that create real value for members. Visit www.dairylea.com for more information.


The Farm Family group of insurance companies, headquartered in Glenmont, NY, is part of the American National Family of Companies. Farm Family has been providing insurance protection for families and businesses in rural and suburban areas of 13 northeastern states since the 1950s. Over the years, Farm Family has earned a solid reputation, with an established tradition of trust. We continue to honor that commitment with pride. Farm Family agents take a personal interest, protecting what you value most. Many of our agents come from agriculture backgrounds themselves, and some of them even began their relationship with Farm Family as clients. We’re big enough to meet a wide range of coverage needs, yet small enough to listen to your concerns and provide the personal attention you deserve.


The Beef Checkoff Program is the beef industry’s only national self-help program. Beef, dairy and veal producers invest $1 per head on the sale of domestic cattle and importers invest $1 per head or the equivalent on live imported cattle and imported beef and beef products. Checkoff assessments are collected by state beef councils, which retain up to 50 cents and forward the other 50 cents to the Cattlemen’s Beef Board, which administers the national check off program. The 106 producers and importers appointed to the board invest check off dollars to stimulate beef sales through things like advertising - including the “Beef. It’s What’s For Dinner” campaign - as well as marketing partnerships, public relations, foreign marketing, education, research and new-product development. www.nybeef.org


H.J. Baker & Bro., Inc. is a leader in the feed, fertilizer and sulphur industries, with more 20 locations throughout the United States, Canada and Mexico. For over 160 years, H.J. Baker has been mobilizing resources and providing outstanding products and services to the agriculture industry throughout the world. The company’s strategically located processing plants, offices and warehouses create a super-efficient pipeline for the vital commodities and products that it sources, manufactures and markets. H.J. Baker & Bro., Inc. is headquartered in Westport, Connecticut USA. For more information on H.J. Baker & Bro., Inc. visit their website at www.bakerbro.com


The Northeast Dairy Producers Association Inc., formed in 1993, is a group of forward-looking dairy producers committed to an efficient, profitable, environmentally responsible and consumer conscious dairy industry in the Northeast. NEDPA encourages the free exchange of ideas among dairy producers through meetings, tours and publications. It provides leadership and financial support for solving industry issues. It encourages young people to establish careers in the dairy industry. And it brings a unified voice to take assertive stands on sensitive issues as we work with government to formulate policy and ensure the best business climate in the region. All dairy producers and industry professionals are invited to join. www.nedpa.org


With its mission to increase the profitability and competitiveness of New York’s dairy businesses through industry-applied research and education programs, PRO-DAIRY has been for more than 20 years a joint venture of Cornell University’s College of Agriculture and Life Sciences and the New York State Dept. of Ag & Markets. Key program areas are farm business management; field crops, nutrient and environmental management; cattle housing, health and productivity; dairy youth; and Extension and agribusiness education. To accomplish its mission, PRO-DAIRY partners with an extensive group of institutions, associations, businesses and individuals working for the betterment of the NY dairy industry.  www.ansci.cornell.edu/prodairy/