best milking practices online course

posted November 20, 2017

Penn State Extension are running a best milking practice course for professionals in the dairy industry who want to learn about problems on dairy farms that result from mastitis. “Best Milking Practices” is a self-paced course primarily designed for dairy producers, employees and managers that teaches concepts to help them measure and reduce levels of mastitis, and it offers practical solutions to help apply that knowledge to milking practices.

Mastitis is a common and expensive problem on dairy farms. It is, on average, costlier than veterinary care, food, housing or equipment maintenance. To maximize a dairy’s profitability, it’s important for producers to learn as much about mastitis as possible to reduce or eliminate the spread of it on their farm. The course includes eight sections: Mastitis Basics, Cleanliness, Handling Cows, Pre-milking Prep, Milking and Post-milking, Managing Infection, CMT and On-farm Culturing, and Standard Operating Procedures.

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graziers wanted in NY

posted February 27, 2017

grazier, ny, greenhorns,

We’ve come across a cool program for aspiring dairy farmers! If you’ve been mulling over the various routes get into dairy perhaps this is worth looking into.

From the press release:

Cornell Small Dairy Support Specialist Fay Benson is recruiting participants for the New York edition of the Dairy Grazing Apprenticeship Program, the groundbreaking, nationally-recognized apprenticeship program for the agricultu
ral industry.

Modeled after apprenticeship programs such as those for developing a highly skilled level of experience for new plumbers and electricians, the Dairy Grazing Apprenticeship, or 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.

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 9-state region to initiate discussion of a possible apprenticeship opportunity.

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


milk: the new crude oil?

posted August 27, 2016

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NPR’s The Salt, on why the USDA is purchasing $20,000 worth of cheese to help US dairy farmers– and why it doesn’t really make a difference to the big dairy industry. If this piece whets your appetite to understand globalization and milk production, we recommend you keep on down the rabbit hole with this Modern Farmer piece. Then, watch this mind-blowing lecture that we posted last July about the impact that trade deals like the TPP would have on small dairy farmers in Maine.


maine dairy: eight generations and counting

posted August 23, 2016

Meet Your Farmer – Tide Mill Farm from Pull-Start Pictures on Vimeo, featuring Aaron Bell and Carly DelSignore and their four children. Aaron is the 8th generation of the Bell family that has lived on Tide Mill Farm, where they now raise chickens, pigs, dairy cows, and beef, along with two acres of mixed vegetables. They are also featured in the critically-acclaimed documentary Betting the Farma film about a milk marketing-coop they formed with other Maine dairy farmers.

Word on the street is that they’re hiring for their apprentice program too! Learn more about that here.


heritage grass discovered in wisconsin

posted January 21, 2016

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A forgotten forage grass imported from Europe in the 1800s could soon begin to help boost cattle and dairy production in parts of the Upper Midwest. U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) scientists in Madison, Wisconsin, recently released the grass for commercial production.

The grass, named “Hidden Valley,” was discovered on a farmer’s shaded hilltop in a long-time pasture that had never been seeded with commercial forages. Cattle thrived on the grass, and it gradually spread from the hilltop into gullies and open areas. The farmer fed hay made from the grass to more cattle and spread the seeds in the manure. He also eventually began consulting with Michael Casler, a plant geneticist with USDA’s Agricultural Research Service(ARS).

Casler and his colleagues at the U.S. Dairy Forage Research Center spent more than a decade evaluating Hidden Valley, named for the farm where it was discovered. They found that cattle digest it more easily and eat more of it than other forages, thus gaining more weight when it’s available and producing more milk.

DNA tests show that the grass is a meadow fescue that has adapted to the Upper Mississippi River Basin since its arrival in the 1800s. It is drought tolerant and will survive freezing temperatures and repeated grazing. Surveys of the Upper Midwest “Driftless Region,” which includes parts of Illinois, Iowa and Minnesota, show that the grass can be found in a wide range of habitats. It also grows well on land taken out of crop production and allowed to revert to pasture.

To read more, click HERE!



A training facility for low-input and small scale dairy in new england

posted September 22, 2014

*they’re also hiring!

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Wolfe’s Neck Farm Secures Major Grant from Stonyfield to launch an Organic Dairy Farmer Training and Research Program

FREEPORT, Maine — For many years, the story of dairy farming in New England was a story of decline. But, a new program being launched by Wolfe’s Neck Farm in partnership with organic yogurt maker, Stonyfield, hopes to change that trend. The Organic Dairy Farmer Training Program aims to revitalize and strengthen the organic dairy industry in Maine and New England while ushering in the next generation of organic dairy farmers. The program is made possible by a 3-year, $1,693,000 grant awarded to Wolfe’s Neck Farm from Stonyfield and the Danone Ecosystem Fund. (more…)


a great revision of a classic

posted October 9, 2013

A well-worn favorite on our bookshelf, Keeping A Family Cow, is out again in a revised and updated edition!  Joann S. Grohman wrote the book back in the early 1970s, but it is just as relevant to greenhorns of today.  760

Check it out at Chelsea Green.
The cow is the most productive, efficient creature on earth. She gives you fresh milk, cream, butter, and cheese, and promotes human health and happiness. She helps the homesteaders and small farmers who offer her bounty up to the community with a chance at turning a profit. She provides rich manure for your garden or land, and enriches the quality of your life as you benefit from the resources of the natural world.

Originally published in the early 1970s as The Cow Economy and reprinted many times since, Keeping a Family Cow is the book that launched thousands of holistic small-scale dairy farmers and families raising healthy cows in accordance with their true nature.

This Chelsea Green edition of a nearly forty-year-old classic has been revised and updated to incorporate new information on the raw milk debate, the conversation about A1 vs. A2 milk, totally grassfed dairies, practical advice for everyday chores, updated procedures for cow emergencies, and more.

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dairy grazing apprenticeships

posted May 18, 2013

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http://www.dairygrazingapprenticeship.org/welcome

Earn while you learn! The Dairy Grazing Apprenticeship is the first legally recognized, fully accredited apprenticeship for farming in the United States.

Mission

The Dairy Grazing Apprenticeship of GrassWorks, Inc., is dedicated to providing a guided pathway to independent dairy farm ownership, developing grazing careers, and strengthening the economic and environmental well-being of rural communities and the dairy industry.

We accomplish this mission by:

  • Linking current and aspiring graziers in the transfer of farms and graziers skills and knowledge.
  • Developing alliances with agricultural, environmental, and consumer groups.
  • Providing opportunities for farmers and their customers to invest in the next generation of grazing farmers.

Learn more


sending milk

posted August 22, 2012

The faces and places that send milk
by Skye Chalmers for the Burlington Free Press

Skye Chalmers is the photographer behind a new book, Sending Milk, which features images of the New England and New York farm families that make up the Cabot Creamery Cooperative. He writes about what he observed during this three-year project.

As I visited farms I found many similarities in how each farm was structured with its barns, parlor, feed bunkers, equipment and croplands, all of which result in sending milk. However, these are similarities in a generalized context. Each farm is composed of many thousands of details which express a wealth of individuality and a portrait unlike all other farms.

Details such as the way in which a fence is strung, whether the tractors are new John Deere(s) or layers of aged Internationals, whether the cows are Holstein or Jerseys, the flow of a parlor, the separation of duties between family members, how manure is managed, the layout of the heifer barns or bunkers. (more…)