UGA/FL Corn Silage Field Day is Thursday, May 24

The 2018 Corn Silage and Forage Field Day sponsored by the University of Georgia and University of Florida will be held at the Plant Science Research and Education Unit in Citra, Florida on May 24th. 

This field day is an extension and education program that offers the latest educational techniques and resources for forage producers to improve forage yield and quality, and methods of forage conservation. 

For additional information, visit the field day website at: or contact Dr. Jose Santos at the University of Florida by email at or by phone at 352-392-1931.
Decision Time for Using the Dairy Safety Net
From National Milk Producers Federation

A webinar was held on last Monday in Coweta County  - UGA Extension has posted the video online for dairy producers to view at their convenience.  To view the webinar click here:  

The economic situation facing America's dairy farmer community has been a frequently and widely reported news story this spring - and the news hasn't been good. As 2018 unfolds, dairy farmers are again dealing with depressed milk prices that, for many farms, don't cover all the bills. 

Thus, the arrival of an improved dairy safety net with more and better risk management tools - in particular, important enhancements to the dairy Margin Protection Program (MPP) that make it more affordable and effective - is coming at a crucial time.

These changes are the result of a year-long effort by NMPF to strengthen the safety net by providing more effective coverage for farms of all sizes through MPP and other meaningful risk management options, including the Livestock Gross Margin (LGM) program and additional tools under development. After months of negotiation, Congress adopted many of NMPF's desired changes in the bipartisan budget act adopted in early February.

For MPP, farmers have the entire month of May to evaluate how these changes could impact their operations. The good news is that by June 1 (the deadline for enrolling in the program for calendar year 2018), we'll know exactly what the official margins are for the first four months of the year, and farmers will know with certainty the level of support at varying levels of margin coverage. They'll also have a good indication of prospects for additional program support during the summer months. 

There are several program improvements that producers should consider as they examine their sign-up choices for the program for this year.  Read more
Immigration Audits Shift to Employers

Continuing with the Trump Administration's heightened focus on curtailing illegal immigration, responsibility has shifted to employers to ensure employees are authorized to work in the U.S. Deportation arrests increased significantly after President Trump took office in January of 2017.

According to an Associated Press article, there were 2,282 employer audits opened between October 1, 2017 and May 4, 2018 as reported by the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) agency. That's nearly a 60% jump from the 1,360 audits opened between October 2017 and September 2017. There were 594 employers arrested on criminal immigration charges from October 1, 2017 to May 4, 2018, up from just 139 arrests during the previous fiscal year. Civil immigration charges numbered 610 during the same time period, compared to 172 in the preceding 12 months.

And the numbers could go higher. Derek Benner, head of ICE's Homeland Security Investigations unit, told the Associated Press that another nationwide wave of audits is planned for this summer that would push the audit total well over 5,000 by September 30. ICE has a plan to open as many as 15,000 audits a year, Benner says. 

The proposal to reach that many audits is designed to create a "reasonable expectation" among employers that they will be audited, Benner says. "This is kind of our vision of creating this culture of compliance. I think it's a game-changer."

For decades, the dairy industry has relied heavily on the use of a significant immigrant labor force, and dairies have often been targets of ICE audits. With increased scrutiny on companies that employ immigrant labor, producers would be well-served to make sure documentation is in order and up to date
Farm Bill Falls on House Floor
By John Herath, Dairy Herd Management

The House Freedom Caucus delivered a blow to GOP leadership Friday, killing the 2018 farm bill on the House floor. If failed on a 198-213 vote.

No Democrats voted for the farm bill, expressing concern over work and job training requirements for food stamp recipients. Thirty Republican members, mostly tied to the Freedom Caucus, also voted against the measure, sealing its defeat.

The conservative Freedom Caucus had pushed for guarantees on a floor vote on a conservative immigration reform package later this summer. When a scheduled vote was not secured, Cong. Mark Meadows (R-NC) indicated he and the Freedom Caucus would oppose the bill.

House Speaker Paul Ryan (R-WI) immediately filed a motion to reconsider the bill which keeps the option open to bring the bill back to the House floor at a later time. Under House rules, leadership has two days to bring the bill back to the floor for reconsideration. It is not yet clear if Republicans will be able to secure and keep enough votes on their side of the aisle to ensure passage.    Read more

With two years of planning and touring robotic farms under our belts, it is now time to break ground on the next phase for our family farm. We have greatly appreciated the generosity and insights into dairy robotics that many farms have shared with our family.

I would like to share the following insights I have learned with my readers:

1. Free flow versus guided flow - We visited both styles of operations. Both layouts, with good management, worked. Two key factors seemed to be stocking density and barn design.

2. Which brand of robot to buy? - My initial assessment is that several brands can get the job done. The dairy farmers I spoke with seemed to agree that service and which machine could be upgraded as new technology became available were some of the major keys to their brand choice.

A farmer I met compared the decision to the "Red/Blue/Green Tractor" syndrome. All brands of tractors can plow the field, some faster and more comfortably than others, but do you have a dealer nearby that is knowledgeable, dependable, stocked with adequate parts, and able to get to the farm rapidly when needed?
Read more
Farmers worldwide struggle with rising fuel costs
Farmers worldwide are feeling the pinch as fuel costs rise to near four-year highs just as they plant and harvest their fields, eroding agricultural income already hamstrung by depressed crop prices. 

The agricultural sector from the United States to Russia, and Brazil to Europe, is seeing profits harmed by the rise in diesel prices. The global oil benchmark, Brent crude LCOc1, touched $80 a barrel for the first time since late 2014 on Thursday.

Coupled with local economic issues, the increase is making it even harder for many farmers worldwide to turn a profit in the estimated $2.4 trillion agriculture industry, casting a cloud over future investments.

In the United States, fuel accounts for about five percent of farmers' overall costs, and is hurting margins at a time when farm income is already half that of 2013. Massive harvests have depressed prices of staples such as corn, wheat and soybeans. Read more
Part Two of Six-part "Global Dairy Thoughts" Series in Farmshine

By Sherry Bunting, from Farmshine May 4, 2018

BROWNSTOWN, Pa. - Everywhere we turn, we receive the message that fresh fluid milk is a market of the past and exports of less perishable dairy products are the wave of the future. As discussed in  Part One of this 'global dairy thoughts' series, that seems to be the trend if you look at the markets.

Yet, could a portion of the reason we are in this fluid milk decline, be the effect of USDA-regulated pricing, USDA-imposed restraints on the ability to promote competitively in the beverage space, and the resulting industry neglect of this regulated commodity category - fresh fluid milk?

The government - USDA - and the checkoff and cooperative leadership have no appetite for significant change to any of these factors. USDA gets to pay less than it otherwise might for milk in its nutrition assistance programs, while both the proprietary and cooperative processors get to pay less than they might otherwise for components in a range of products.

Meanwhile, dairy farms see the first product to come from their herds - milk - declining, and their futures along with it.

Yes. We all know it. Fresh fluid milk - the most nutritious and natural option - is in the fight of its life. In meeting after meeting, presentation after presentation, we hear the messages from the industry and university economists - both subtly and outright.  Read more
By Robert B Corbett DVM, PAS, Dairy Herd Managment

The majority of dairy operations consider raising dairy heifer replacements a major cost without receiving any return until the heifer enters the milking herd. As a result, the dairy tries to minimize the cost of raising heifers by feeding hospital milk or a lower-quality milk replacer. In most cases, the least expensive calf starter is also chosen as the product to use on the farm.

The cost of raising the heifer is often calculated by cost per head per day. To reduce the cost per head per day, the dairy tries to purchase the feeds previously mentioned as inexpensively as possible. Looking for the lowest price per bag or ton of milk replacer and the cost per ton of calf starter is commonly considered as the best way to reduce the cost of raising the milk-fed calf.    Read more
Register for the 2018 SE Dairy Youth Retreat

Make plans to attend the 2018 Southeast Dairy Youth Retreat h  osted by the University of Georgia, on July 8th-12th in Covington, GA.
This year's activities will include:
  • Touring a large, crossbred herd that milks in a rotary parlor and whose owner was named the 2017 Georgia Farmer of the Year.
  • Visit a small, farmstead operation that makes numerous products on site and whose Chocolate Milk won the 2018 Dairy Foods Taste of Georgia award
  • Go behind the scenes at Zoo Atlanta
  • Participate in hands on learning workshops - have you ever explored the inner workings of the udder? Do you know how to make your own butter? Have you seen the inside of a cow's stomach?
Dairy Goodness: Be Transparent in Product Development

"Science says we can. Society questions if we should."

Charlie Arnot, CEO of The Center for Food Integrity said this at the 2018 Food & Agribusiness National Conference on May 17, 2018, in Minneapolis. Organized and hosted by the law firm Faegre Baker Daniels, Arnot and I spoke on the topic of transparency in today's food industry.

That statement says a great deal regarding where we are in today's food culture. Just because something is scientifically feasible does not mean consumers will accept it. And if we want them to accept it, we better explain it to them. That's the foundation of transparency in food manufacturing and marketing; however, there are many degrees to which one can be transparent.

Please take a moment to view this VIDEO on Colin the chicken to see just how far transparency can go with food.

There's no denying that transparency is paramount in today's food culture. 

Transparency is the currency of trust, according to Deborah Arcoleo, director of product transparency at The Hershey Company. In April 2015, Hershey published a complete ingredient glossary on its website. You can view it HERE .   
Read more
Why You're So Obsessed With Almond Milk: An Investigation

The Got Milk? Campaign, widely considered one of the most successful advertising campaigns of all time, is a feat of reputational magic. For a while there, it gave a product as boring as cow's milk a sheen of coolness and vitality. The celebrities who were photographed were always posed as though they were sitting for a fashion editorial or glowing profile, holding their guitars or dribbling a basketball or sitting in a makeup chair getting glammed - all while sporting a hilarious (and looking back, disturbingly thick) milk mustache. The message was clear: Powering these extraordinary humans is this ordinary product that you can drink, too.

Cut to nearly 20 years later, though, and that notion seems embarrassing now, the way ultra low-rise jeans and belly chains do. Spinrad hasn't had a drop of dairy milk for years, after doing an elimination diet ahead of her wedding. Her "milk" drink of choice these days: Almond, obviously. "I don't even really like  almond milk that much, to be honest," she says. "It's just a low-calorie replacement for something that I don't feel like I need to put in my body. I think there's just something psychological about calling it milk."    Read more
Mark Your Calendars:

May 31 - GA Milk Producers Board of Directors Meeting, Macon - All dairymen invited to attend
June 2: Putnam Dairy Festival, Eatonton
GA Dairy Classifieds

SEEKING FIELD SERVICE TECHNICAN: Southeast DHIA has a position to fill in the NE Georgia area for a FIELD SERVICE TECHNICIAN. Responsibilities include data collection on area dairy farms during milking time. The schedule is somewhat flexible but the hours are non-typical. Some travel and out-of-town work possible Applicants should be comfortable with computers and software and have good communication and organizational skills as well as reliable transportation. If interested send a resume to

For Sale: 
WW Livestock Systems Hydraulic Head shoot, never used, excellent condition, kept  under roof.  Listed for $23,041 asking $15,000 or reasonable offer.  Call M
aggie 352-507- 
2042 or email:
For Sale: 40 high quality Holstein heifers bred to calf this summer and fall. Start calving in July, 40 yrs AI breeding 24,000 herd average. Ray Ward 706-473-8789.

For Sale: Custom manure application and Dryhill manure equipment sales. 
Contact Edwin @ 478-299-0717 with Agboys Custom Services LLC  - 
New 8"x52' lagoon pump with outriggers $24,000 (Pictured right)

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: Looking 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     
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. 

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!!