Top 2017 Cream of the Crop Award Winners (left to right): Mark Rodgers, Dearing; Danny Bill, Madison; Dave Clark, Madison; and Daniel Williams, Madison
2017 Cream of the Crop Awards Presented at the GA Dairy Conference
By Farrah Newberry, GMP

The University of Georgia and Southeast DHIA presented their 2017 Cream of the Crop Awards during the evening banquet of the Georgia Dairy Conference last month. Sixteen Georgia dairy farms were recognized for their production achievements and 14 were recognized for their outstanding milk quality.

The Rodgers Family of Hillcrest Farms in Dearing received the "Top High Holstein Herd" award for 2017. Hillcrest Farms milks 438 cows, with a rolling milk production average of 31,510 lbs. and 1,133 lbs. of butterfat. Godfrey Dairy in Madison received 2nd place and B & B Dairy, owned by Danny and Ginny Bell, received 3rd place for the Holstein category.  All three dairies milk their cows three times a day.

The Williams Family of WDairy, LLC in Madison, received the "Top High Crossbred Herd" award for 2017. They milk 1986 cows three times a day and achieve a milk production average of 28,335 lbs. 

To be eligible for the 2017 GA Cream of the Crop Awards, herds must have a minimum herd size of 20 cows and conduct a minimum of 9 tests per year. 

Fourteen Georgia dairy farms were also recognized for exceeding milk quality standards in 2017.  Congratulations to Addis Dairy, located in Rocky Face, for receiving the "Top High Herd Quality" Award with an amazing SCC average for the year at 110,000 cells/ml.

Brenneman Farms in Montezuma received the 2nd place quality award with a SCC average of 170,000 cells/ml.  Berry College received 3rd place with an SCC average of 180,000 cells/ml for 2017. Click Here to view the full list of award winners!
Hay and Baleage Short Courses

This year, the UGA Forage Team is debuting a new workshop for hay and baleage producers called the Hay and Baleage Short Course. This program will be offered at two locations. The first will be  February 22 at the Carroll County Extension Office in Carrollton, GA ( Feb. 22 Agenda).  The second will be a two-day workshop with a few additional hands-on learning opportunities on  March 8 and 9 held at the Burke County Extension Office in Waynesboro, GA ( Mar. 8-9 Agenda) . The second program is a joint effort of Burke and Jefferson Counties and will include more emphasis on equipment options and set-up. These workshops will focus on techniques for producing high yields of high quality hay and baleage, along with a more detailed look at specific topics. Click on the links above for a more complete agenda for each location. Visit the Hay and Baleage Short Courses webpage for more information.
Johnson of Providence Dairy explains misconceptions in industry
By Jill Holloway, The PostSearchlight

Paul Johnson of Providence Dairy spoke to Rotary on Tuesday afternoon about life on a dairy farm and the misconceptions people often have regarding dairy products.

He said 1.8 percent of the U.S. population provides food for 155 people. Johnson explained very few people are involved in agriculture and even fewer understand agriculture. On Johnson's farm, they deal with the cattle and feed them specific rations that help meet the cow's growth capacity, because of this they are able to produce 10 gallons of milk per cow per day. They are currently producing more milk in dairy products that can be consumed in the U.S. and are dependent on 10 percent of products that can be exported.

The issue with this is that people are not drinking as much milk as they used to, Johnson said.

Johnson referred back to the good ole days. He said dairy farmers used to be able to rely on the fact that every morning at breakfast families would sit around the table and eat eggs, bacon or cereal all accompanied with a glass of milk. Today that is no longer the case. Because of this, the farming community had to get bigger to compete. Today, milk is convenient. Consumers can buy it 24 hours a day at any store and have a wide variety. Johnson's concern though is that parents who don't drink milk, even when it is convenient, produce children who don't drink milk.   Read more
McDonald's moves cheeseburgers, chocolate milk off Happy Meal menu
From The Associated Press

McDonald's is taking cheeseburgers and chocolate milk off its Happy Meal menu in an effort to cut down on the calories, sodium, saturated fat and sugar that kids consume at its restaurants.

Diners can still ask specifically for cheeseburgers or chocolate milk with the kid's meal, but the fast-food company said that not listing them will reduce how often they're ordered. Since it removed soda from the Happy Meal menu four years ago, orders for it with Happy Meals have fallen 14 percent, the company said. Hamburgers and Chicken McNuggets will remain the main entrees on the Happy Meal menu.

The Happy Meal, which has been around for nearly 40 years, has long been a target of health advocates and parents who link it to childhood obesity. McDonald's has made many tweaks over the years, including cutting the size of its fries and adding fruit. Most recently, it swapped out its apple juice for one that has less sugar.   Read more  
In Face of Harsh Realities, Choose to Be Great
By Sherry Bunting, Farmshine News

Like other small businesses, dairy farms will not "survive by accident." And like in the animal world, it is not necessarily the storngest that will surviv, but the most adaptable to change.

During the Georgia Dairy Conference that drew a record 540 attendees to the Savannah Riverfront Marriott last week, Dr. Jeffery Bewley of Bovisync taked about the key characteristices and principles of companies that choose to be great instead of big from the book "Small Giants" and applied thses principles to small dairy farms - be they 100 cows or 1000.   Read article here
Legislation on GATE to Move Soon at Capital

Changes to the GATE card are expected soon.  Watch video here as  Rep. Sam Watson discusses his GATE reform legislation HB 886, which is expected to move soon at the Capital this legislative session.

44th Annual Southern Dairy  Conference
Nashville, TN -  March 5th-7th, 2018

Topics for 2018 will focus on: Labor Management, Milk Quality, 2018 Dairy Outlook, Federal Order Updates

Location: The Inn at Opryland,  2401 Music Valley Dr.,  Nashville, TN 37214
Reservations for the event will be made by individual attendees directly with Marriott reservations at  1-855-584-3466  or 615-889-0800 .   Reservation must be received on or before TODAY - Friday , February 9, 2018 .
To register for the 44th Annual Southern Dairy Conference -  click here
UGA Forage Team Debuts Fencing Workshop

The UGA Forage Team is debuting a new workshop focusing on updated fencing options for producers. This field day will be held  February 28, 2018 at the Black Shank Farm and Pavilion on the UGA-Tifton campus. The program will begin at  9:30 a.m. and will conclude at approximately  4 p.m.
The Fencing Field Day is a hands-on learning opportunity to give producers of all experience levels an opportunity to discover new fencing tools that could benefit their production systems. Attendees will have the chance to "learn by doing" from members of the UGA Forage Team and industry professionals.
Topics covered in-depth include:
  • Post selection, spacing, and bracing
  • Fencing types and wire selection
  • Designing an electric fence system
  • Fastener types and matching with fence design
  • Selecting, hanging, and bracing for gates
  • Selecting and installing fence charger/energizers
  • Water trough selection and specifications
Cost to attend for producers is $10 and will include lunch. Register for this event by contacting Cathy Felton at  706-310-3464. Visit for more information and the tentative agenda!
Changes to the Dairy Margin Protection Program in the Bipartisan Budget Act of 2018
From Dr. Levi Russell, UGA

The Bipartisan Budget Act of 2018 made some significant changes to the Margin Protection Program for dairy producers. These changes apply beginning with the 2018 calendar year and make the program more producer-friendly and substantially decrease premiums for Tier I coverage. The specific changes are as follows:
  • Dairy-MPP now operates on a monthly basis. Feed costs, milk prices, the margin, and payments are all calculated or paid monthly. There are no additional changes to any of the formulas to compute these costs, prices, margins, and payments.
  • The 2018 election year is extended by at least 90 days after the enactment of the Bipartisan Budget Act of 2018 (February 9, 2018)
  • Limited resource, beginning, veteran, and socially disadvantaged farmers are exempt from the administrative fee associated with Dairy-MPP
  • The base production history is maintained
  • Tier I premiums now apply to the first 5,000,000 pounds of production instead of the previous 4,000,000. Tier II covers production in excess of 5,000,000 pounds
Premiums for Tier II are unchanged. Premiums for Tier 1 are lowered as follows:

Follow Dr. Russell and others from UGA Department of AG Economics Online Here   
The beef industry has fired its first shot in the fight against cell-cultured meat

The US Cattlemen's Association (USCA) has filed a  15-page petition(pdf) with the US Department of Agriculture, asking it to differentiate conventional meat from the cell cultured-known in the industry  as "clean meat"-by creating a formal definition. As laid out in the petition, the cattlemen say they envision a definition for "beef" that reads something like this:
[The government] should require that any product labeled as "beef" come from cattle that have been born, raised, and harvested in the traditional manner, rather than coming from alternative sources such as a synthetic product from plant, insects, or other non-animal components and any product grown in labs from animal cells.
Further, the association asked the department's Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS) to narrow the definition of "meat" to the flesh of animals that have been harvested in the traditional way. Earlier this month, another large and powerful industry group, the National Cattlemen's Beef Association, listed "fake meat" as one of its  five main priorities for 2018 and vowed to "protect our industry and consumers from fake meat and misleading labels."     Read more  
Southeast Milk Price Drops $0.74/cwt Since Last December
By Andrew Griffith, Univ. of TN

Milk Production: Milk production in the 23 major states during December totaled 17.0 billion pounds, up 1.2% from December 2016. Production per cow for December averaged 1,943 pounds. The number of milk cows was 8.74 million head, up 3,000 head from November 2017. November production was revised down 0.1% to 16.2 billion pounds. For milk production in the top 5 producing states, California was down 0.3% from December a year ago; Wisconsin up 1.0%; Idaho down 0.2%; New York down 2.2%; and Texas up 8.1%. Other states with large production increases were Colorado (9.2%), Utah (6.2%), Iowa (3.8%), Illinois (3.1%), Kansas (3.1%), and New Mexico (3.1%). The states reporting a large decline in production compared to December 2016 were Florida (-4.6%) and Washington (-1.1%).

Milk Price and Utilization: The Southeast Uniform milk price for December was $19.04, down $0.03 from November and $0.74 lower than December 2016. The Appalachian Uniform milk price was $18.37, down $0.26 from November and $0.97 lower than December 2016. December's Class III price was $15.44, down $1.44 from November, and $1.96 lower than December a year ago. The Class IV price was down $0.48 from November to $13.51, and $1.46 lower than December 2016. The Class I Mover price for February is $14.25, down $1.19 from January. The milk/feed ratio for December was 2.38, 0.16 lower than November.   Read more
Certified Nutrient Planner/ Waste Operator Training in March
The Georgia Department of Agriculture and the University of Georgia will hold their annual planner/operator certification training in Athens at the UGA Livestock Arena classroom on March 20-21, 2018. Anyone interested in becoming a Certified Nutrient Management Planner or Certified Waste Operator in Georgia must attend this training. This training is only available once a year. Also, those seeking continuing education credit hours are welcome to attend. For more information and to register for the training visit the AWARE website at:
UGA Spring Dairy Show - April 7th
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.
Mark Your Calendars:

Feb. 10: UGA Commercial Dairy Heifer Show, Athens, GA
Feb. 21-23: Georgia Jr. National Livestock Show, Perry
Mar. 5-7: Southern Dairy Conference, Nashville, TN
Mar.  30: GDYF Golf Tournament, Bishop, GA
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: 13 Holstein heifers due Feb and March, 5 with dams over 1000lbs fat , 6 bred to sexed semen. Over 30 yrs AI  Ray Ward.  706-473-8789  Eatonton, Ga

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 200 cow dairy in Eatonton, Georgia ; selling choice of 100 head.  SCC low 200,000's.  Cows mostly AI sired for last 30 years primarily Holstein, few Jerseys and cross breeds.  Cows in milk tank average 70 lbs. 3.9 fat test on low input feed.  Complete DHIA info. on all cows.  Nearly 100 head in first lactation or springing now.  Also offering 50 bred heifers to start calving late January thru Summer.   Call 423-506-2621

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