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Free Small Flock Poultry Winter Webinar Series

EXtension logoHealth Problems With the Digestive System of Poultry: Tuesday, January 6, 2:00 pm EST

As the first in a four part webinar series on poultry health, Dr. Frame will start this webinar with an introduction to chicken health programs. The remainder of the webinar with discuss problems with the digestive system. The digestive system of poultry is exposed to a variety of pathogens on a daily basis. Dr. Frame will be discussing how some of these digestive-related diseases are manifested in poultry

Salmonella and Backyard Poultry Flocks: Tuesday, January 13, 3:00 pm EST

The summer of 2014 saw many cases of Salmonellosis traced back to backyard poultry flocks – see CDC website: Dr. Colin Basler of the Center for Disease Control and Prevention will be speaking about preventing salmonellosis while maintaining a backyard poultry flock.

Quality of Eggs from Different Production Systems: Wednesday, January 14, 11:00 am EST

When it comes to buying eggs for your family there are many different types to chose from – conventional, brown, white, green, free-range, cage-free, omega-3 enriched, pasture-raised. What are the differences between these eggs? Why do some cost more than others? Which type of eggs would you like to produce for sale. Dr. Jacquie Jacob from the University of Kentucky will be discussing this nutritious topic. Dr. Jacob is a poultry extension project manager with a heavy focus on small and backyard poultry flocks.

Health Problems with the Respiratory System of Poultry: Tuesday, February 3, 2:00 pm EST

The avian respiratory system of birds is very different from that of mammals with a rigid lung, air sacs and extends into the bones (Pneumatic bones). This is the second in a poultry-related health series looking at health problems associated with the poultry respiratory system.

Participation is free and brought to you by but requires a high speed internet connection.  To participate, simply click on the link and enter the virtual meeting room as a guest.  You will be asked to type in your name.  You may want to attempt to join 5-10 minutes in advance of the start time in case you need to download an abode connect add in or update your software.  These webinars are also recorded and made available through the website when you click on the small flock resource area.

MPP Extended – Again

From an Article in Dairy Herd Management.

The National Milk Producers Federation (NMPF) applauded a USDA announcement giving dairy farmers two more weeks to sign up for the revamped dairy safety net included in the 2014 Farm Bill. The extension, the second since the program was announced in September, now sets the enrollment deadline for the new Margin Protection Program for Dairy (MPP-Dairy) until Friday, Dec. 19.

“The most important New Year’s resolution a dairy farmer can make for 2015 is using the new Margin Protection Program to take advantage of this opportunity to guard against the possibility of low margin conditions at some point in the next year,” said NMPF President and CEO Jim Mulhern.

“With a busy harvest season now done, along with this year’s favorable milk prices, many dairy farmers are just now taking the time to review their options and explore the need for the new MPP program,” said Mulhern.

The strong milk prices of 2014 are giving way to lower prices in the coming year, which “should prompt many farmers to consider their risk management options should prices drop further,” Mulhern said.

Mulhern said there are good reasons for farmers to sign up for the program. “First,” he said, “futures indicate dairy margins are leaving their record territory and will trend down through much of 2015.”

He cited the crash in oil prices in recent weeks as an example of where sudden price changes in a commodity can catch many by surprise, adding that “no one expected oil prices would drop by 40% in just a few months, but sudden movements either up or down are a frequent occurrence in commodity markets.”

In addition, Mulhern said, with U.S. milk production expected to increase by more than one percent this year, signing up for MPP boosts an individual farm’s production history going forward by the same amount as the national increase.

“MPP payments are based on past production, and that production history increases only with the rise in national milk production,” Mulhern said. “As a result, those who sign up now for 2015 coverage will benefit from this year’s increase in milk production, thus allowing them to insure a larger base in the future.”

NMPF has a variety of tools on its website and on a separate website devoted exclusively to the new program to help producers make their decisions. Included is a downloadable calculator on which producers can plug in their own numbers and get a sense of the program’s impact on their farm. Farmers who have already enrolled have the opportunity to change their coverage levels until Dec. 19.

“Basic coverage costs farmers only $100 a year,” Mulhern said. “But that relatively small investment does a lot to protect the future of a farm. We encourage all producers to take advantage of USDA’s deadline extension and get to their county Farm Service Agency office to sign up for the Margin Protection Program in the next two weeks.”

Sign up Deadline for MPP

By J.W. Schroeder, Dairy Specialist, NDSU Extension Service

Until recently, the final day to sign up for the Dairy Margin Protection Plan (MPP-Dairy) was Nov. 28, but that day being Black Friday, the deadline was extended to Dec. 5.

Many of you already have attended informational meetings and likely have made a decision, but some have chosen to ignore this program for philosophical reasons or busy schedules.

However, a change is in the market winds: Just listen to the lament about the drop in corn prices! Not that long ago, I overheard some producers suggest the demand for food never would let prices fall drastically.

I never will start a market column; I leave making predictions to others. Nonetheless, I must note that the futures market appears to expect milk prices to change. Declining cash prices are moving closer to the already discounted futures. While the weakness in dairy product prices is not likely to change anytime soon, U.S. and world milk production is increasing, and product availability is keeping world prices low. Furthermore, U.S. products are having difficulty competing on the world market due to high prices.

So back to the MPP-Dairy program. Wisconsin-based commodity trader Robin Schmahl offered the following program observation about the Livestock Gross Margin-Dairy (LGM-Dairy) and MPP-Dairy programs:

“Because LGM-Dairy is based on futures prices (rather than the national average price calculation in MPP), allowing producers to vary feed inputs, it is anticipated quite a number of dairy producers will opt to implement an LGM-Dairy policy or policies this year with the ability to capture a higher income over feed cost. The issue here is that it is anticipated the appropriated money for the LGM-Dairy program could be used up quickly, which then would require producers to pay the full amount of the insurance premium for the program. After the latest LGM sign-up last weekend, there is slightly less than $3.5 million remaining to subsidize the program, with this expected to be used up during the December offering unless there is some redistribution of funds.”

Many who study dairy markets concur that signing up for the MPP program would be wise if you do not use LGM-Dairy. In our educational meetings, the consensus was that if you do nothing else, simply pay the $100 to have the $4 level coverage. Then use futures, options and forward contracts to protect your milk and feed margin this next year.

This allows you to take advantage of the first production bump in 2015. It also gives you the ability to protect a greater than $8 level income over feed cost by using futures or options for milk and feed.

If you choose to pay higher premiums to increase your income over feed cost using MPP, then decisions remain. For larger farms that have milk production greater than 4 million pounds, Schmahl suggests only purchasing higher margin protection on 4 million pounds and utilizing the futures markets to protect your margins above that level due to the substantial increase in premiums on milk production above that level.

Remember, MPP or LGM-Dairy should not be used as a stand-alone marketing program. These programs protect milk and feed margins. They do not protect against lower milk prices or higher feed prices. A marketing program should be designed using a combination of the tools available.

So my take-home message is: You do not have much time left if you plan to get on board with MPP-Dairy. My feeling is that dairy owners do not want to miss this deadline for pending market reasons. Moreover, if you still have philosophical reservations, simply think of this program as what it is: a risk management program, not an entitlement program.

Grain marketers used to talk about short markets having long tails. The rigors of 2009 still are vivid in the minds and bank accounts of many dairy farms. It was brutal. For the first time in the history of dairy program support, you can purchase some insurance or protection against catastrophic market events.

In my nearly 40 years of service to agriculture, this is the first time you can buy a little insurance. It’s protection that you hope you never have to use. Don’t you wish you had this protection five years ago?

Now that you ate your Thanksgiving turkey, you must decide. But remember, you have only until Dec 5, so visit your Farm Service Agency office and take a little pressure off 2015.