Delmarva Dairy Day

2016 Delmarva Dairy Day
Thursday Feb 18, 2016
Hartly Fire Hall, Hartly, DE

9:30 to 10:15 AM Visit with Exhibitors, Coffee and Pastries

10:15 to 10:45 AM Coming Changes in Veterinary Feed Directives
Susan Garey and Dan Severson, UD Cooperative Extension

10:45 to 11:15 AM Ovarian Dysfunction As A Cause of Reproductive Inefficiency
Jim Ferguson, VMD, University of Pennsylvania

11:15 to 11:45 AM The Latest in Dry Cow/Transition Cow Management
Tom Bass, DVM, Ph.D., Renaissance Nutrition

11:45 to 12:45 PM Lunch (with UD ice cream) and visit with Exhibitors

12:45 to 1:15 PM Chromium and its Impact on Fertility
Jim Ferguson, VMD., University of Pennsylvania

1:15 to 1:45 PM Update on Heat Stress in Dairy Cattle
Andy Holloway, DVM, Elanco

1:45 to 2:15 PM Culling Strategies
Tom Bass, DVM, Ph.D., Renaissance Nutrition

Contact Info: Dan Severson: (302) 831-2506 ( or Limin Kung, Jr. (302 831-2522 (

Cooperative Extension Education in Agriculture and Home Economics, University of Delaware, Delaware State University and the United States Department of Agriculture cooperating. Distributed in furtherance of Acts of congress of May 8 and June 30, 1914. It is the policy of the Delaware Cooperative Extension System that no person shall be subjected to discrimination on the grounds of race, color, sex, disability, age, or national origin.

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An easier way to pay your MPP premium?

Paying bills on a monthly basis is often best for managing cash flow. And now, thanks to a new program from National Milk Producers Federation (NMPF), dairy farmers can have their Margin Protection Program (MPP) premiums deducted from their milk checks.

“What we heard from producers was, ‘Anything you can do to help us pay these premiums will make it easier for us to buy,’” says Jaime Castaneda, senior vice president at NMPF. “Like anyone else, if producers can pay something on a monthly basis, without having to pay much interest, it’s better than having to pay $10,000 all at once.”

This new feature does that. Producers enrolled in MPP can contract with their milk handler or cooperative to make monthly payments on their MPP premiums.

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What do Grain Prices Look Like for 2016?

The good and bad of 2016 grain prices

By Ben Potter, Social Media and Innovation Editor December 30, 2015 | 7:01 am EST

‘Tis the season to speculate. Will 2016 grain prices be naughty or nice?

With the highest world corn and soybean stocks in more than a decade, many farmers remain skeptical a rebound in prices for 2016 is likely. A strong dollar also creates problems for farmers hoping to move grain this winter. That’s because it lowers foreign countries’ buying power and makes foreign grain more competitively priced, according to Purdue ag economist Chris Hurt.

“China’s currency has lost 4% of its buying power in the U.S. over the past year,” he notes in the December 2015 Purdue Agricultural Economics Report. “More dramatically, Japan’s buying power has dropped 12% and the Korean currency has dropped 15% in the past year.”

Because of this, odds favor a “sidewise price pattern” this winter until the excess supply situation is solved.

“However, the price pattern and marketing strategies vary for corn and soybeans,” Hurt adds.

Hurt expects corn prices to increase throughout the winter and spring at least enough to cover farmers’ on-farm storage expenses. He speculates corn could raise as high as $4.40 next summer.

“When one decides to price, they should probably price for next summer delivery,” he recommends. “The principal is to price for the delivery period that provides the most return above storage costs. This is called earning the carry in the market and is generally one of the best marketing strategies in periods of excess supplies.”

On the other hand, Hurt says he does not see soybean price bids to gain much into next spring and summer. The high could end up around $9.40 this winter in processing plants and could fall back in spring and summer, he estimates.

Continue to watch the weather in South America for a potential wildcard, Hurt recommends.

“The biggest impact would generally be on soybean prices, with corn moving in the same direction, but with a smaller magnitude of price change,” he says.

Hurt already sees strong signs of farmers aligning their marketing strategies to lower commodity prices.

“Producer strategies … include watching closely for any price rally to sell more bushels,” he says. “The current tight storing pattern suggests many producers are doing this. Secondly, striving to drive down costs per bushel downward is always an important strategy.”

Adjustments take time, Hurt notes, and foresees farmers needing to prepare for tight margins through at least 2018.

“Hopefully some progress will be made each year in narrowing the current negative margins,” he says. “By late this decade, producers will have adjusted their costs to be in better alignment with revenues.”

For more information, visit

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For the Holidays

Santa’s veterinarian clears reindeer for Christmas flight

By AVMA December 15, 2015 | 11:29 am EST
AVMA president Joe Kinnarney, DVM, performs pre-flight exams to ensure the health of Santa’s reindeer.

Photo by AVMA

Following a health checkup at the North Pole, Santa’s veterinarian has given the green light to Rudolph’s red nose and the rest of the reindeer that will be traveling the world this Christmas Eve.

Dr. Joe Kinnarney, president of the American Veterinary Medical Association, visited the North Pole today to ensure that Santa’s team of nine were up-to-date on their vaccinations and healthy enough to make their annual trek around the globe.

“After a thorough examination I can tell you that Santa’s reindeer are perfectly healthy and in great shape, and ready for their flight.,” Dr. Kinnarney said.

(Watch a video of Dr. Kinnarney’s reindeer inspection.)

The reindeer’s annual exam includes a health check about 10 days prior to their Christmas Eve flight to make sure they’re healthy and not showing any signs of disease—such as brucellosis, tuberculosis or chronic wasting disease—that can be transmitted to other animals.

“Santa’s reindeer need to be in tip-top shape to complete their Christmas Eve flight on time, so it’s vital that they receive a pre-trip veterinary exam to make sure they are free of any injuries that might slow them down,” Dr, Kinnarney said. “Because the reindeer will be visiting all corners of the globe, we need to make sure they are up to date on their vaccinations and free of disease so they don’t pick up or spread any infections to other animals around the world.”

In addition to presents for children around the world, Santa is required to bring with him an official “North Pole Certificate of Animal Export” that allows him to freely cross borders and ensure health officials that his reindeer are no threat to animal or public health.

Dr. Kinnarney will make a follow-up trip to the North Pole on Christmas Eve to provide a pre-flight checkup and to inspect the reindeer upon their return on Christmas morning.

For kids who want to help the reindeer on their journey, Dr. Kinnarney recommended leaving a plate of graham cracker reindeer cookies, their favorite snack, for Santa to feed them between stops.

Dr. Kinnarney’s work is consistent with the role veterinarians play every day to ensure the health of animals, people and the environment across the globe. Far from just being “dog and cat doctors,” veterinarians work with all kinds of species, in all types of environments, to make the world a healthier place for all forms of life.

While unavailable for comment due to his busy work schedule, Santa issued a statement, saying, “Without my reindeer there simply would be no Christmas. Proper veterinary care ensures that, year in and year out, my team and I are able to deliver presents to boys and girls around the world. Dr. Kinnarney is definitely on the ‘nice list’ again this year.”

For more information on Dr. Kinnarney’s role as North Pole Veterinarian, including answers to kids’ questions about reindeer, visit

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Milk Quota

Eastern region Land O’Lakes producers headed for quota

While supply management is law north of the U.S. border, in this country cooperatives are self-imposing the practice in times of tight capacity like the current glut in the northeast. Farm Progress first reported that Land O’Lakes sent its eastern region members notice that a quota would be established, effective January 1.

The Land O’Lakes website shows that its board of directors currently has seven dairy regions represented, with one in California, three in the Upper Midwest, and three based in Pennsylvania, but also covering parts neighboring Mid-East states. Three of the 12 dairy division directorships are held in these eastern regions.

A base production value of September 2014 to August 2015 will be assigned to each member, and their production managed by the cooperative with any member producing over-quota milk charged the incremental costs to do so.

While Canada’s supply management system via quota remains intact, the E.U. let their version of supply management expire on April 1 of this year. The state of California remains in a quota system since the 1960s, giving quota-holders, representing about 60% of the state’s farms, additional revenue each month of about $1.50/cwt as distributed from a pool. That quota has not expanded for 20 years, but cooperatives have implemented quota at times within the state to manage supply.

Meetings are taking place in Pennsylvania to inform Land O’Lakes producers of the changes.

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Black Friday’ delivers pizza promotion

The dairy checkoff’s work with partners such as Domino’s continues to revitalize the pizza category to benefit dairy farmers.

The checkoff’s cheese work in pizza and foodservice has helped move 4 billion incremental pounds of milk from January of 2014 to July of 2015, according to Dairy Management Inc., which manages the national dairy checkoff.

Much of this success results from the checkoff’s work locally and nationally with partners such as Domino’s, said Neil Hoff, a Texas dairy farmer and chairman of the United Dairy Industry Association, the federation of state and regional dairy checkoff organizations.

“Pizza consumption was on a steady decline for five-plus years and had been a driver for increased consumption the prior 25 years,” Hoff said. “With that business scenario, we entered the marketplace with Domino’s in 2009 to turn the category around. They said, ‘What can we do together?’ This created a catalytic effect in the pizza industry to put more cheese on the pies.”

The first success came that year with the launch of the American Legends specialty pizza line, which uses up to 40% more cheese than the traditional pizza at Domino’s.

It continued with Domino’s Smart Slice, a kid-approved school pizza that the checkoff helped create. Smart Slice uses pizza cheese made with 100% real mozzarella and meets  USDA’s school meal guidelines.

Local dairy checkoff organizations have worked with Domino’s to serve Smart Slice in more than 6,500 schools, which helps protect dairy’s freedom to operate in a critical environment.

The latest example of how dairy farmers and importers are working with Domino’s is through a 10-day marketing and media promotion starting on “Black Friday” for all pizzas ordered through

Domino’s has run a “Cyber Monday” promotion aimed at online shoppers the past few years. This year, it will begin three days earlier (Nov. 27 to Dec. 6) thanks to local checkoff organizations that have helped Domino’s increase its marketing and media work. The promotion will include national Domino’s advertising and digital marketing, plus online conversations from the checkoff.

“Local promotion farmer leaders support this effort because the investment goes directly to markets where people live and we expect it to deliver positive results,” Hoff said. “This is another strong example of local and national dairy promotion dollars working together to increase demand for dairy.”

The partnership between dairy farmers and Domino’s franchisee owners works because they have much in common, Hoff said. Both are local, small business owners that create jobs and have other positive impacts on their communities.

“Our partnership with America’s dairy farm families continues to uncover new ways to deliver more delicious cheese to our customers across the country,” said Domino’s Chief Marketing Officer Joe Jordan. “Our relationship with dairy farmers is a major strength for us, not just on Black Friday but every day.”

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Farm Toy

walmart_livestock_truck_toyIf you are thinking of buying this toy livestock trailer from Walmart to put under the Christmas tree this year, we would suggest grabbing it now instead of later.


It appears that even these toys are not safe from the likes of animal rights extremists.

Yes, you read that right – even toys meant for children are targets of these activists.

Over the weekend, a petition was initiated by a vegan activist based in Canada. The petition urges fellow activists to ask C. Douglas McMillon, CEO of Walmart, to stop selling the livestock trucks.

“Normalizing the enslavement and murder of animals to kids is not ok,” the petition stresses.

And people have responded. More than 10,000 people signed the petition in just four days.

Not everyone is persuaded by the petition.

“Why don’t you all grow up? It’s a toy. Not all cow wagons are slaughter rigs, just like not all trains are slave trains, not all ships are pirate ships,” The petition’s top commenter, based in California, wrote.  “And not all of you goody two shoes are all that perfect if you really think about it.”

More of the petition’s critics also pointed out that these trucks are used for more than just transporting animals to slaughter.

It’s unclear how Walmart will respond to the petition, if at all. However, similar efforts in other retail sectors have succeeded in other instances. For example, in 2013, the children’s clothing store Children’s Place removed a t-shirt after the customers complained it sent the wrong message to young girls.

By Angela Bowman, Associate Editor, PORK Network November 18, 2015 | 1:14 pm EST

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Natural Food Label

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) is seeking public comments on whether the agency should set a definition for the term “natural” on food labels. The comment period opened Nov. 12 and runs through Feb. 10, 2016.

FDA received three citizen petitions asking the agency define the term “natural” for use in food labeling, and one petition asking the agency prohibit the term “natural” on food labels.

The absence of a federal regulation for “natural” or “all natural” claims has resulted in a large number of class-action lawsuits against food companies, according to the International Dairy Foods Association (IDFA). Those lawsuits allege consumers are misled by “all-natural claims” on products containing specific ingredients derived synthetically or from biotechnology.

Currently, there is no FDA regulation that defines “natural” for labeling purposes. FDA has a longstanding policy prohibiting products from being labeled as “natural” if they contain synthetic ingredients, artificial flavors or added color that a consumer would not normally expect in a product.

That policy was not intended to address food production methods, such as the use of pesticides, nor does it explicitly address food processing or manufacturing methods, such as thermal technologies, pasteurization or irradiation, according to the FDA announcement. The FDA also did not consider whether the term “natural” should describe any nutritional or other health benefit.

The policy also does not address the use of the term “natural” to address statements regarding natural cheese, IDFA noted.

Specifically, the FDA is seeking information and public comment on questions such as:

  • Whether it is appropriate to define the term “natural,”
  • If so, how the agency should define “natural,” and
  • How the agency should determine appropriate use of the term on food labels.

How to comment

To comment electronically, go to docket folder FDA-2014-N-1207 on

For submissions by mail, use the following address.

Division of Dockets Management
Food and Drug Administration
5630 Fishers Lane, Room 1061
Rockville, MD 20852

Be sure to include docket number FDA-2014-N-1207 on each page of your written comments.

By Dave Natzke November 16, 2015

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Small Ruminant Workshop

Small Ruminant Health Workshop

November 5, 2015
Paradee Center
Dover, Delaware
6:30-9:00 pm

Learn to assess vital signs and recognize signs and symptoms of common diseases in sheep and goats

Featured Speaker:
Dr. Wendy Freeman, VMD

Workshop Schedule:

6:30-6:45- Welcome and Overview of the Small Ruminant Health Grant Project
6:45-7:15- Assessing Vital Signs in Small Ruminants

7:15-7:30- Break

7:30-8:45- Signs and Symptoms of Common Diseases in Small Ruminants

8:45- Questions, Evaluation, Adjourn

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