Comerford Farms, LaGrange
UGA-Tifton hosts rededication ceremony for newly renovated Agricultural Research Building
From  Clint Thompson, UGA

Members of the University of Georgia Tifton campus community took part in a rededication of the newly renovated Agricultural Research Building on Wednesday, April 4. The 80-year-old building was the second structure constructed on the UGA Tifton campus.

Renovations to the building, formerly known as the Animal and Dairy Science Building, concluded in early March and were made possible by $5 million in state support. The building houses the UGA College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences (CAES) Department of Animal and Dairy Science and Department of Entomology.

At the rededication, UGA President Jere W. Morehead highlighted UGA-Tifton's impact on the community and the important research enabled by the newly renovated building.    Read more
Heat Stress Workshop on Tuesday

Tuesday, April 10, 2018
Macon County Extension Office
105 South Sumter Street, Oglethorpe, GA 31068
Office Phone: 478-472- 7588
11:00 A.M. to 3:00 P.M.

USDA Reopens Enrollment for Improved Dairy Safety Net Tool
From  USDA

U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue is encouraging dairy producers to consider enrolling in the new and improved  Margin Protection Program for Dairy  (MPP-Dairy), which will provide better protections for dairy producers from shifting milk and feed prices. With changes authorized under the Bipartisan Budget Act of 2018, the U.S. Department of Agriculture's (USDA) Farm Service Agency (FSA) has set the enrollment period to run from April 9, 2018 to June 1, 2018. Read more

Webinar April 9th on Margin Protection Program Changes
Mark Stephenson and Andrew Novakovic, dairy economists with the University of Wisconsin and Cornell University, respectively, will conduct a webinar Monday, April 9th, at 1 p.m. Eastern, to walk you through these changes and to assess impacts on producers who participate. The webinar will be hosted by Farm Credit East, but will be limited to the first 500 registered attendees.  

You can register for the webinar at  The webinar will be recorded and made available as an online stream after it is presented live.
'Cow Fitbits' and artificial intelligence are coming to the dairy farm, but some farmers aren't impressed
By Drew Harwell,
Washington Post
In the two months since Richard Watson strapped 200 remote-control-sized transmitters around his cows' necks, an artificial-intelligence system named Ida has pinged his phone with helpful alerts: when his cows are chewing the cud, when they're feeling sick, when they're ready for insemination.

"There may be 10 animals out there that have a real problem, but could you pick them?" he said one morning, standing among a grazing herd of dairy cattle wearing what he calls "cow Fitbits."

But on the neighboring pastures here in rural Georgia, other farmers say they aren't that impressed. When a cow's in heat, they know she'll start getting mounted by her bovine sisters, so they smear paint on the cows' backsides and then just look for the incriminating smudge. No fancy AI required.

"I can spot a cow across a room that don't feel great just by looking in her eyes," said Mark Rodgers, a fourth-generation dairy farmer in Dearing, Georgia, whose dad still drives a tractor at 82.    Read more
By AFBF President Zippy Duvall
Much like spring follows winter, every dairy market boom is followed by a bust and vice versa. Dairy farmers are entering a fourth straight year of low prices as global milk production has grown faster than demand. The all-milk price averaged more than $25 per hundredweight at certain points in 2014, but it has been downhill from there. The milk price hit just $15.30 per hundredweight as of February 2018, and it's not expected to get above $16 - $17 this year.

With no price recovery in sight, many of us personally know a dairy farming family that is getting out of production after generations of being in the business. About 10 percent of dairy farms across the nation have shut down over the past year. 

Just in the last few days, I have heard from good dairy farming friends in Georgia that they're selling all their cows. "This is the best business decision," a member of the family said. However, "It's never been just a job to us; it's how we raise our family. Without our beloved cows, who in the world are we?" I think most of us in agriculture can relate to that, no matter what we grow or raise.   Read more
From GA Farm Bureau
Georgia farmers could benefit from a number of bills passed in the 2018 session of the Georgia General Assembly, which concluded on March 30. Among them are protections for livestock producers, a clarification of rules for the Conservation Use Value Assessment (CUVA), measures to improve oversight of the Georgia Agricultural Tax Exemption (GATE) and setting statutory responsibilities for the Georgia Department of Natural Resources' Environmental Protection Division (EPD).

The General Assembly also approved a number of ag-related provisions in the state budget.    Read more
UGA Spring Dairy Show - This Saturday!
Mark your calendar for the 2018 UGA Spring Dairy Show.  With a long running history (we're on the 55th year) this Spring Show is a great way to bring together all of our registered cattle producers from across the southeast.  In addition, this show helps ensure that we have high quality animals ready to go for the Georgia State 4-H Dairy Judging Contest!  Please help spread the word as we would love for this year's show turnout to be even bigger and better than last.   Please email or call 706-542-9108 with any questions!  Show information and registration packet available here.
What do dairy farmers do for fun?
By Caitlin Rodgers, Georgia dairy farmer
Farming can fill every day, but it is important to step back and enjoy yourself now and then.
People have the perspective that dairy farmers have no life. That they work sunup to sundown, and that they eat, sleep, and breathe farming. Some believe their life consists of cows, crops, manure, sleep, and repeat.

In all reality, at certain times of the year, this is very true. But for other parts of the year, that's not always the case. I will have to say, though, that normally our minds are farming nonstop - stressing, thinking, wondering all about work, even when we are away. It is what our lives revolve around, but we do like to have fun outside of work every now and again.

My dad is a big outdoors guy. He loves to kayak, camp, hike, and ride horses. Now that I have taken over a lot of his responsibilities on the farm, it gives him the chance to take full advantages of these hobbies. He and his wife love to travel and see different places around the world. I can remember before I left for college how hard it was for him to go places and do the things he does now.   Read more
April Dixie Dairy Report
This issue covers:
  • Southeast fluid milk deficit declining
  • Milk Production Totals
  • Class I Demand
  • Dairy Commodity Prices
  • Blend Prices
Florida may get a seven-month bump in prices

The Agricultural Marketing Service (AMS) proposed  a temporary rule published in the March 30, 2018, Federal Register that would bump Class I milk prices up by 9 cents per hundredweight for a seven-month time period. This emergency provision could raise consumer prices by less than 1 cent per gallon during that time.

This temporary provision would apply to all milk in the Florida federal order. The reason for its implementation is related to Hurricane Irma. That storm disrupted the orderly flow of milk within the Florida marketing area between September 6 and September 15, 2017.

The money collected from this USDA-AMS proposal would be dispersed to handlers and producers who incurred extraordinary expenses due to Hurricane Irma. AMS estimates that 248 dairy farms produced milk pooled on the Florida FMMO in 2017.   Read more
Digital dairy app helps milk data at Waynesboro farm
"If it fixes a 10 percent problem with a herd of of 100 cows, we're talking tens of thousands of dollars," said Watson, whose 2,500 cows are spread across three farms. "For us, a 10 percent problem is hundreds of thousands of dollars. So if we can extract an extra 10 percent efficiency out of the system, then it's a five or six times return on the investment. So it makes complete sense to do it."

Watson's Burke County dairies have been testing Ida for a little more than a month. The "intelligent dairy app" was released last year by Netherlands-based Connecterra, which runs herd data through Google's TensorFlow open-source artificial intelligence software to ensure the bovines are behaving as they should.

To produce prodigious amounts of milk, dairy cows spend roughly 90 percent of their time resting, eating and ruminating - a process known as "chewing the cud," in which previously consumed feed is regurgitated and masticated a second time. Illness, bad weather and other factors can disrupt the feeding routine and lower a cow's milk production.      Read more
USDA Looks Into On-Farm Labor
From USDA vis 
The U.S. Department of Agriculture's National Agricultural Statistics Service (NASS) will conduct its biannual Agricultural Labor Survey during the second half of April. The survey will collect information about hired labor from more than 360 Wisconsin farmers and ranchers.
"The beginning of the year is the time when agricultural producers plan out the rest of their growing seasons and it is a great time to assess on-farm labor needs," said Greg Bussler, NASS Wisconsin State Statistician. "The data that farm operators provide through NASS's Agricultural Labor Survey help federal policymakers base farm labor policies on accurate information."

USDA and the U.S. Department of Labor use statistics gathered in the Agricultural Labor Survey to establish minimum wage rates for agricultural workers, administer farm labor recruitment and placement service programs, and assist legislators in determining labor policies.

In the survey, NASS asks participants to answer a variety of questions about hired farm labor on their operations, including total number of hired farm workers, the average hours worked, base wage rate, and wage rates paid for the weeks of January 7-13 and April 8-14. For their convenience, survey participants have the option to respond online.    Read more  
Tennessee Senate, House pass bill permitting 'Made in Tennessee' labels
Shoppers wanting to support Tennessee dairy farmers may have an easier time determining whether milk in grocery stores was produced in Tennessee.

On Wednesday, the Tennessee Senate and House both unanimously passed legislation encouraging consumers to buy local milk by permitting the use of "Local Tennessee Milk" labels only on milk produced in the state. Read more
Why Your Cows Need Those Expensive Vitamins
By  Jaymelynn Farney, Kansas State University
Anybody who's strolled through the feed store or co-op lately to price mineral-vitamin mixes knows that vitamins have shot up in price. A logical question then, is this: Are vitamins necessary or just an expensive luxury that the cows can get by without?

Bottom line is yes. Vitamins, especially A and E, are important around calving.    Read more
AGAware Workshops Scheduled for Summer
AgSouth is excited to announce the dates and locations locked down for another round of AGAware workshops. Van McCall will present an exciting and fun-filled, educational workshop on farm finance.  The classes are from  9 am until 4 pm with lunch provided and there is no charge to attend. The workshops are certified for FSA borrower credits as well.
Click here for more information . This is a hands-on workshop with actual projects conducted during the training. 

Mark Your Calendars:

April 5-7: 57th Annual GA Cattlemen's Assoc. Convention & Trade Show and 21st Annual Georgia Beef Expo Georgia National Fairgrounds in Perry, GA

GA Dairy Classifieds

For Sale 3000 gallon Surge/Westfalia milk tank and wash system. Three phase condensers. 2002 model. Excellent condition. John B Gay, 478-494-5107

WANTED: DeLaval Westfalia
 Neck Transponders:  TN Dairy seeking used Westfalia neck band transponders. 
Please contact Bill or Peggy Howell if interested at 423-972-9254 or 423-371-3032.

WANTED: GA Corrections Facilitity in Reidsvile seeks farm manager to 
manage farm and livestock operations, supervise inmates and staff, perform administrative duties and will oversee land, equipment and vehicles.  Click here for more information

WANTED: UGA Tifton Dairy looking for a  full time milker with duties to include: setting up the
parlor; milking cows; cleaning free stalls; cleaning milking equipment and parlor
to meet state and FDA guidelines. In addition to milking, the individual will be
assisting staff with routine animal care to include assistance with moving,
vaccinating, treating, and sorting animals. Click here for more information

WANTED:  L ooking for used pasteurizing and bottling equipment in working condition; Linda and Darrell Rankins, Jr.;  334-745-2357  (best times: mid-day and after  8 p.m. )

For Sale: 
Jersey cows, heifers and calves for sale.  Registered with AJCA, all ages! Contact Matt Holton at 770-718-8271, call or text.  Dawsonville, GA.

For information contact Jim Reid at 
or email at

FOR HIRE:  Custom Silage Harvesting.  Late model JD chopper. Will travel. Let me put your quality forage up! Nic Haynes, Muddy H Farms, 678-617-3379.

We have a continuous selection of fresh and springing heifers.
Call William at  (706) 768-2857 or visit our website at 

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

Georgia Milk Producers has been named a 2017 All Star Award winner by Constant Contact , an  Endurance International Group  company and a leader in email marketing solutions. The annual award recognizes the most successful 10 percent of Constant Contact's customer base, based on their significant achievements using email marketing to engage their customer base and drive results for their organization during the prior year.  GA Milk utilizes the Constant Contact marketing service each Friday with their GA Milk Weekly Enews and has received this award for the last three years. Thank you to our many subscribers!!