dairy

Tuesday, May 9, 2017 at 11:45 am
posted by Julia Ferrini in Wyoming County, news, dairy, agriculture, agribusiness.

Press release:

Congressman Chris Collins (NY-27) recently led a bipartisan letter sent to President Donald Trump applauding his acknowledgements of Canada's protectionist trade policies related to dairy products and advocating for swift action to ensure Canada upholds its trade agreements.

"President Trump campaigned on putting America first, and protecting American jobs," Collins said. “The letter highlights how vital the U.S. dairy industry is to Western New York and dairy producing regions across the country. The U.S. dairy industry supports billions of dollars in exports and hundreds of thousands of U.S. jobs.

"Unfortunately, due to unfair competitive practices by Canada, we must take action to ensure our dairy products will be able to compete on a level playing field. I am glad President Trump has recognized how important this issue is to hundreds of thousands of hardworking Americans, and I will continue working with my colleagues to protect the U.S. dairy industry."

The letter, which 68 lawmakers signed, was also co-led by congressmen Elise Stefanik (NY-21), Ron Kind (WI-03), Sean Duffy (WI-07), Suzan DelBene (WA-01), and Peter Welch (VT-AL).

The letter details Canadian trade practices that "may violate Canada's existing trade commitments to the United States by effectively discouraging U.S. dairy exports to Canada." It also reinforces that "our districts and states rely on the jobs the dairy industry provides and cannot afford further protectionist policies from our northern neighbor."

The letter to the president states in part:

The U.S. dairy sector relies on its exports to survive. In 2016, the industry exported approximately 15 percent of its milk production, worth roughly $5 billion. To our NAFTA partners alone, the United States exported $1.2 billion of dairy products to Mexico and $631 million to Canada. To that end, U.S. exports helped the dairy sector maintain roughly 110,000 U.S. jobs in farming and manufacturing.

Unfortunately, Canada's recent revisions to its milk classification system have prompted serious concerns. Canadians traditionally used five classes to price its products, ranging from fluid milks and creams to milk used for further processing. In April 2016, the Canadian province of Ontario began implementing a new milk price class, Class 6, which has dramatically altered dairy imports and skewed the market…

To read the full text of the letter click here.

Monday, March 6, 2017 at 9:00 am
posted by Julia Ferrini in Wyoming County, announcements, agri-business, dairy, agriculture.

0228holsteingrazingbenson3005.jpg

Photo from Fay Benson, Cornell Small Dairy support specialist.

Press release:

Wanted: aspiring dairy farmers and dairy master graziers to stem the tide of retiring dairy farmers in New York State.

Cornell Small Dairy Support Specialist Fay Benson is recruiting participants for the New York edition of the Dairy Grazing Apprenticeship Program (DGA), the groundbreaking, nationally recognized apprenticeship program for the agricultural industry.

Modeled after apprenticeship programs such as those for developing a highly skilled level of experience for new plumbers and electricians, the DGA is recognized by the federal Department of Labor. 

The two-year DGA requires 4,000 hours of instruction, including 277 hours of online classes, and on-the-job training on farms approved for good agricultural practices and safety measures. The federally registered apprentices are paid on an established wage scale to work on an existing grazing dairy farm while they gain knowledge, skills, and early experience. The wage increases over time as skill level grows.

The New York apprentices and master graziers will work with Benson as the New York DGA education coordinator and a “job book” containing several hundred dairy industry topics to prepare the apprentice to successfully own, operate, or manage a grazing dairy farm business.

Apprentice candidates must be at least 18 years old; have a high school diploma or equivalent, e.g., GED or composite ACT score of at least 18; be physically able to do the work a farm requires; and have reliable transportation.

A master grazier must have at least five years experience with managed grazing or certified organic dairying an an interest in mentoring someone interested in dairy career entry. 

Master graziers often find their own apprenticeship candidates. In some cases, once the training is complete an apprentice stays on as a dedicated farm employee, becomes a farm partner, or eventually transitions into farm ownership.

Successful completion of the DGA provides the apprentice with a journeyman certificate recognized for college-level credit by the New York Department of Labor. The journeyman experience may help secure a beginning farmer loan with FSA (flexible spending account) or a bank.

The Cornell Dairy Farm Business Summary has shown that dairies that use grazing are more profitable than non-grazing dairies of similar size. Grazing is a way to lower fee costs while maintaining animal health and agricultural stewardship.

The Dairy Grazing Apprenticeship program that began in Wisconsin in 2009 is now approved in nine states: Iowa, Maine, Minnesota, Missouri, New Jersey, New York, Pennsylvania, Vermont and Wisconsin.

Those interested in becoming an apprentice or serving as a dairy master grazier may apply online at www.dga-national.org; for assistance, contact Abbie Teeter at ajt248@cornell.edu, (607) 391-2660, ext. 412. 

Once registered, the apprentices and dairy master graziers can search the entries across the nine-state region to initiate discussion of a possible apprenticeship opportunity.

To learn more about the New York Dairy Grazing Apprenticeship, contact Benson at (607) 391-2660 or via email at afb3@cornell.edu. Benson is project manager for the New York Organic Dairy Program, an educator with the Cornell University South Central New York Regional Team, coordinator of the New York Soil Health Trailer, and a member of the New York Crop Insurance Education Team.

Friday, February 12, 2016 at 5:41 pm
posted by Julia Ferrini in Wyoming County, farms, dairy, agribusiness, organic farming.

Press release:

The New York Organic Dairy Program (NYODP) has partnered with the New York Farm Viability Institute to make grant funding available for organic dairy producers. The funding allows farmers to participate in the Cornell Organic Dairy Farm Business Summary (DFBS) program and select a project for immediate attention through a modified Dairy Profit Team approach.

Farms currently participating in the program and those that have not completed a DFBS before are both eligible for funding. Priority for grants will be given to certified organic dairies, however, farms in transition to become organic are encouraged to apply.

Farmers may first apply for funds to:
    • Work with a qualified farm business consultant to upload the operating and financial information for the individual farm into the Cornell Organic Dairy Farm Business Summary; or
    • If the farmer has completed a 2016 Summary, to work with the consultant to review the data to select a short-term project that will benefit the farm. Varying levels of funding are available for this initial step.

Funding is also available for farmers to work with a consultant on a project that will help the business better meet its goals. Applicants for a project grant must first complete a 2016 DFBS.

Farmers requesting project funds will be required to work with NYODP to document their desired goal and projects must be achievable within 18 months of the formation of the consultant team. Examples of projects include, but are not limited to, developing a business plan, enhancing transitioning practices, and constructing facilities. NYODP will provide up to $1,500 for the consultant and team to complete its project work.

The Cornell Organic Dairy Farm Business Summary is a confidential program that collects operating and financial information from an individual farm. The summary is used to identify areas where the farm is doing well and areas that need improvement. The summary also helps farmers analyze if the farm is meeting the financial and long-term goals of the business. If enough similar farms participate, the Cornell Organic Dairy Farm Business Summary will create benchmarks against which the owners of farms of similar size can measure their performance.

NYODP Manager Fay Benson will assist farmers in identifying a qualified farm business consultant for each of the two levels of funding. Consultants who have already agreed to work with this modified Organic Dairy Profit Team approach are:

 • Klaas Martens, co-founder of New York Organic Certified, Penn Yan. He is a pioneer in organic field crop production and an advisor on general organic dairy management;
 • Tom Kilcer, Advanced Ag Systems, Kinderhook; with a specialty in crop rotations specifically fit to an individual farm to provide the best possible forage for dairy animals and livestock;
 • Sarah Flack, Sarah Flack Consulting, Enosburg Falls, Vt., working with grazers to improve the performance of farm pastures and livestock production; and
 • Consultants in the existing Dairy Farm Business Summary network.

Guidelines and application form for the NYODP consultant and project grants are posted at http://blogs.cornell.edu/organicdairyinitiative/. Grants will be awarded on a first-come, first-serve basis until funding is spent. 

For more information, contact Fay Benson at (607) 391-2669 or afb3@cornell.edu.

This grant opportunity is funded by the New York Farm Viability Institute through its Dairy Profit Team program.

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