Brooksco Dairy, Quitman
Georgian of the Year: Agriculture Commissioner Gary Black
2017 Georgian of the Year: Agriculture Commissioner Gary Black
By Susan Percy, Georgia Trend

Gary Black likes the notion that Georgia's Department of Agriculture may very well touch the lives of more Georgians than any other part of state government.

Now in his second term as the state's elected agriculture commissioner, Black is a farmer who raises cattle on 72 acres of land near Commerce that his father bought in 1969 and is a former lobbyist for the state's mammoth agribusiness industry.

"I firmly believe that if agriculture in Georgia is healthy, then Georgia is healthy - from an economic standpoint," he says.

SE Dairy Student Symposium on Jan. 15-16

The third annual Southeast Dairy Student Symposium will take place during the 2017 Georgia Dairy Conference on Jan. 15-16.  The symposium will host dairy science students from Southeastern universities to learn about employment opportunities and practices in the dairy industry. 

Last year 40 students attended from the University of Georgia, University of Florida, Virginia Tech, Berry College, University of Tennessee at Martin and North Carolina State University. 

The Southeast Dairy Student Symposium (SEDSS) connects dairy science students with dairy producers and industry affiliates to explore internships and careers in the Southeast dairy industry. Students attending SEDSS will have the opportunity to exchange ideas among fellow students; to discuss internship and job opportunities exclusively with trade show vendors; and to interact with SEDSS speakers during breakout sessions.  

Click here to view an agenda for the 2017 Southeast Dairy Student Symposium and other information.  Follow the symposium on social media through Facebook and Twitter.  
By Progressive Dairyman Editor Dave Natzke

Both the U.S. average milk price and margin over feed cost hit 12-month highs in November, marked improvements compared to earlier this summer, according to monthly summaries from the U.S. Department of Agriculture.

As of Jan. 4, USDA had not posted the November 2016 national average margin under the Margin Protection Program for Dairy (MPP-Dairy). According to a Dairy Farmers of America newsletter, the margin for the month was $9.98 per cwt, just under the $10.01 per cwt margin in November 2015.

November's margin estimate is the first half of the November-December 2017 MPP-Dairy pay period, making it almost certain there will no be indemnity payment for the final two months of the year. The December estimate will be announced Jan. 31.

The November 2016 U.S. average all-milk price was $17.60 per cwt, up $1 per cwt from October but still 60 cents per cwt less than November 2015's average of $18.20 per cwt (Table 1). While the higher milk price helped create the higher margin, feed costs also helped.    Read more
Former Georgia governor expected to get USDA nomination
By Philip Brasher,
 Agri-Pulse Communications, Inc.

Former Georgia Gov. Sonny Perdue is emerging as President-elect Donald Trump's selection for agriculture secretary even though the search had focused in recent weeks on a woman or Hispanic and no official announcement has yet been issued.

A source close to the transition team confirmed media reports Monday that Trump had settled on Perdue, whom the president-elect had interviewed in November.  Read more 
The Innovation Center for U.S. Dairy is accepting nominations for the sixth annual U.S. Dairy Sustainability Awards, honoring exceptional dairy farms, businesses and partnerships for their socially responsible, economically viable and environmentally sound practices.

"Communities - urban and rural - benefit from the individual and collective efforts of dairy farmers and dairy companies that work to advance sustainability," said Barbara O'Brien, president of the Innovation Center for U.S. Dairy. "We are excited to collect and share success stories that exemplify this commitment, and we continue to depend on people to nominate themselves, their business partners and their neighbors."

Nominations are open through March 3. All segments along the U.S. dairy value chain and those who promote dairy-related health and wellness are eligible to submit nominations in the following categories:  Outstanding Dairy Processing & Manufacturing Sustainability,  Outstanding Achievement in Resource Stewardship,  Outstanding Achievement in Community Partnerships and Outstanding Dairy Farm Sustainability

Visit to submit your nomination by March 3. There is no fee to enter. Winners will be announced in June.   For more information click here.
Dairy Foods 2017: Make it a Resolution to Own the Year!

Happy New Year!

This past year was an interesting journey, and because we cannot hit a re-do button, it is time to embrace 2017 and own it. That's right. The dairy foods industry is well poised to own the year. 

Butter is back. Whole milk is, too. Cheese and ice cream have never fallen out of favor. Now upscale, specialty and unique varieties are increasingly sought out by consumers and they are willing to pay a premium for them. Fresh and minimally processed have always been dairy's mantra. Local is the name of the game. The dairy industry has everything going for it in 2017. It's time to commit to owning the year and I have just the resolutions to assist.  Read more
GA Dairy Conference to Host 1st Dairy Girl Network Welcome and Networking Event in SE

Calling all Dairy Girls. The Dairy Girl Network will be hosting the organization's first southeast Connect networking event on Sunday, January 15th, 2017, in conjunction with the Georgia Dairy Conference. The reception on Sunday night will be an informational session and networking event for ladies involved in dairy in the southeast.  All women students, industry professionals, dairy producers are invited to the event which will begin at 7 p.m. in the Academy room of the Savannah Riverfront Marriott.
The event will include a background on the Dairy Girl organization and ways to get involved in the organization going forward. The evening will be a time to network and meet with all of the other conference ladies. For the $10 registration cost, there will be a drink ticket included and a dessert bar during the reception event.

Thank you to our event sponsors Georgia Dairy Producers and Feed Components.  

Sign up for the event at
GDC Dairy Wives Social Will Be Unique!
Each year Georgia Milk Producers provides the opportunity for women attending the Georgia Dairy Conference to fellowship with other dairy wives. Held on the Tuesday of the conference, this event is a great opportunity for Georgia women to meet one another and share their dairy experiences while enjoying a relaxing morning. 
This year, our wives will fellowship over breakfast, then participate in a painting session with Savannah's own Painting with a Twist®. No painting experience is needed and you'll end up with a one-of-a-kind dairy creation and a new found talent you'll want to explore.  Please email us if you plan to participate or sign-up at GDC registration desk in Savannah.  
A Seven Week Educational Series on Forage Production

The UGA Forage Team is partnering with USDA NRCS to host the "
UGA GrassMaster
" program in Northeast District starting January 12th, 2017 at the UGA Livestock Instructional Arena in Athens. This program is a 7-week series focusing on forage production that gives producers an entry-level education leading in to other programs like Grazing School or SE Hay Convention. Programs will be taught by UGA Forage Team members as well as NRCS staff. 

Cost to attend for producers is $25 and will include a notebook with materials and refreshments at each program.  Registration is available online here
 and by calling the Morgan County Extension Office at  706-342-2214. The registration deadline is  January 9th and we are limiting the class to 30 people.  Click here for the agenda.
At the 2016 Vita Plus Dairy Summit, attendees heard straight talk from a panel of consumers on where and what they buy and what drives their food purchasing decisions, and they learned about building trust and operating with transparency from Charlie Arnot with the Center for Food Integrity and Andrea Bloom from Vita Plus.  Read more
Vilsack expected to take over Dairy Export Council
By Sara Wyant and Philip Brasher,  Agri-Pulse Communications, Inc.

Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack will become president and CEO of the U.S. Dairy Export Council when he leaves office this month, says a source familiar with his plans. Tom Suber retired at the end of the year as president of the organization, which is funded by checkoff revenue to track and promote trade in American dairy products and ingredients.  Suber has been the group's president since its inception 21 years ago.    Read more
The Case for Eating Cheese is Stronger Than Ever

By: Mandy Oaklander,

The last thing cheese-lovers need is a health expert to justify their obsession. In their eyes, a stiff, smelly block of fromage needs no defense. Yet for the waistline conscious, more cajoling may be needed to convince them they can be eating cheese for good health.

That cheese can be a dieter's friend will come as a surprise to many. It has a reputation as a fatty, sodium-filled indulgence, and there's no denying that it's rich in both; just an ounce (about a slice) of cheddar cheese will run you 9 grams of fat and 180 mg of sodium. It's also high in saturated fat and cholesterol.

For a long time, these stats made cheese an automatic nutritional no-no. "We used to assess whether a food is good or bad for your health simply by looking at a label and reading some of the basic information," says Arne Astrup, head of the department of nutrition, exercise and sports at the University of Copenhagen in Denmark. (Astrup has received accepted grants from dairy foundations and companies, yet says the research he conducts is "not biased due to industry influence.") Recent research, from Astrup and others, is showing that the thousands of molecules that make up cheese are working in ways that make the food beneficial to health.     Read more 
Predicting markets and preparing for the next growing season can be a tough job, and that's where we can help.

Georgia Ag Forecast is an annual seminar series presented by the University of Georgia College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences in partnership with Georgia Farm Bureau and the Georgia Department of Agriculture.

UGA, the state's land-grant and flagship institution, is committed to sharing the latest research and information to help Georgia farmers and agribusinesses. Join our economists as they give an outlook of agricultural markets for the coming year. Participants will get to network with UGA faculty and UGA Cooperative Extension agents, local producers and other stakeholders, and will leave the meeting with a copy of the 2017 Georgia Ag Forecast book, which is designed to provide a detailed analysis of major commodities produced in the state.  The 2017 seminar dates include:
  • Wednesday, January 18: Macon (GA Farm Bureau Building)
  • Thursday, January 19: Marietta (Cobb County Civic Center)
  • Friday, January 20: Carrollton (Carroll County Ag Center)
  • Monday, January 23: Tifton (UGA Tifton Campus Conference Center)
  • Tuesday, January 24: Bainbridge (Decatur County Ag Center)
  • Wednesday, January 25: Lyons (Toombs County Ag Center)
  • Thursday, January 26: Waynesboro (Burke County Office Park)
  • Friday, January 27: Athens (Georgia Center for Continuing Education)
Registration fees and conference meals are free to Georgia dairy producers and their families. Please let us know if you will be attending the Conference!  All information regarding the conference can be found online at .

Georgia Milk Producers will ALSO deduct $100/night for two nights from each Georgia dairy farm's hotel bill at checkout. It's our way to show our appreciation for your support and to encourage you to attend your annual dairy conference!

Mark Your Calendars:
Jan. 16-18 - SE Student Symposium & GA Dairy Conference, Savannah
Jan. 18: GA Ag Forecast Mtg: Macon (GA Farm Bureau Building)
Jan. 19: 
GA Ag Forecast Mtg: 
Marietta (Cobb County Civic Center)
Jan. 20: 
GA Ag Forecast Mtg: 
Carrollton (Carroll County Ag Center)
Jan. 23: 
GA Ag Forecast Mtg: 
Tifton (UGA Tifton Campus)
Jan. 24: 
GA Ag Forecast Mtg: 
Bainbridge (Decatur County Ag Center)
Jan. 25: 
GA Ag Forecast Mtg: 
 Lyons (Toombs County Ag Center)
Jan. 26: 
GA Ag Forecast Mtg: 
Waynesboro (Burke County Office Park)
Jan. 27: 
GA Ag Forecast Mtg: 
Athens (Georgia Center for Continuing Ed.)
GA Dairy Classifieds

FOR SALE:  (1) Registered Holstein bull 12 months old.  (1) Registered Brown Swiss bull from Franks Farm, 14 months old. (1) Cross Breed Bull from WDairy.  Call Randall Ruff at 706-498-4344 for more information.

Bullcalves Wanted : Looking for Bullcalves to purchase - Barron Tench 864-844-2295 or     
GA Milk Producers|706.310.0020

For 2016, Georgia Milk Producers, Inc. has once AGAIN been named an All Star Award winner by 
Constant Contact, Inc.
, the trusted marketing adviser to hundreds of thousands of small organizations worldwide. The annual award recognizes the most successful 10% of Constant Contact's customer base, based on their significant achievements leveraging online marketing tools to engage their customer base and drive results for their organization.