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New National FFA President is from Delaware

The year was 1969 and it proved to be an important one at the National FFA Convention in Kansas City. The delegates had voted to provide full membership privileges to women. It was also the year that Charles Postles was elected as the Eastern Region Vice President. Only two others from Delaware had ever earned the honor of serving as a National FFA Officer: S. Pennewill Isaacs (Secretary, 1941-1942) and John W. Webb, Jr. (Eastern Region Vice President, 1947-1948). Over the past 47 years, there have been many deserving candidates that have worked hard in hopes of being elected, but no one from Delaware had succeeded in being one of the top 6 selected by the National FFA Nominating Committee to serve.

Delaware’s dry spell came to an end this afternoon, when David Townsend was elected to the 2016-2017 National FFA Officer team as President at the 89th National FFA Convention & Expo. As a National Officer, David will travel more than 100,000 miles, nationally and internationally, to interact with business and industry leaders, thousands of FFA members and teachers, corporate sponsors, government and education officials, state FFA leaders, the general public and more. The team will lead personal growth and leadership training seminars for FFA members throughout the country and help set policies that will guide the future of FFA and promote agricultural literacy.

David is a 2014 graduate of Middletown High School. He was very active in their FFA chapter and Agriscience program, led by Jeff Billings and Cheryl Vest. In March 2014, David was elected as the 2014-2015 Delaware FFA State Treasurer, serving a membership of more than 10,000 students. He is currently attending University of Delaware studying Agriculture & Natural Resources and Plant Sciences.

Farm Succession

Farm Succession Planning Education Series

Farm Succession Planning is a business and risk management practice that is critical to the
agricultural industry and to the health of families and farm businesses. These sessions will
present farmers with the knowledge to begin or continue the process of succession planning.
Families are encouraged to attend the workshop together.

Tuesday, November 29, 2016 – 7pm

Farm Transfer Communication Webinar The Farm Whisperer by David
University of Delaware Paradee Center 69 Transportation Circle, Dover, DE 19901
Please arrive 15 minutes early.

For more information and to pre‐register, contact Extension agents:
Dan Severson ‐ or (302) 831-2506
Laurie Wolinski ‐ or (302) 831-2538

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.

Pre-calving immunity affects transition health and reproduction

Experiencing any one of the metabolic diseases of dairy cows, such as milk fever, ketosis, and displacement of the abomasum, is strongly associated with decreased fertility in the cow. These metabolic problems in the transition dairy cow can have a tremendous negative effect on the immune system of the cow, increasing her susceptibility to retained placenta (RP), metritis and endometritis. A strong immune system is also required if immune recognition of a conceptus is to occur so that implantation can proceed.

Research on the nature of these diseases has shown:

  • Cows with hypocalcemia (milk fever) are 3.2 times more likely to also have RP, compared to cows with no hypocalcemia. Hypocalcemia also has been linked to a higher incidence of mastitis and endometritis in postpartum cows.
  • RP has been shown as a risk factor for developing ketosis, and ketosis is a highly correlated risk factor for the development of metritis and mastitis.
  • Cows with RP, metritis and endometritis have been shown to have impaired neutrophil (white blood cell) function up to two weeks prior to calving, before lactation starts and before any bacteria can enter the uterus.
  • Similarly, levels of non-esterified fatty acids (NEFA) have been shown to be elevated in cows that eventually developed metritis at least two weeks before they calved. This suggests they were mobilizing fat even before calving.

Negative energy and protein balance in the late dry period likely impairs immune function and leaves cows less equipped to manage the stress, bacterial invasion and metabolic changes that occur during calving. For example, it is likely that RP does not necessarily “cause” mastitis or metritis, but is symptomatic of a depressed immune system overall.

If we are going to reduce uterine disease, we must look back to the dry cow. To improve feed intake in the critical period around the time of calving, we must offer palatable rations in a cool, uncrowded environment with plenty of bunk space (28″ to 30″ per cow) to encourage intake. Clean maternity pens, clean obstetrical equipment when assisting calving and clean stalls can reduce exposure to bacteria; even a strong immune system can be overwhelmed by a large bacterial load in the uterus.

Feed to avoid metabolic disorders. Reducing dietary potassium in the dry cow ration and adding chloride or sulfate to the diet in a palatable form to reduce hypocalcemia improves feed intake in early lactation and helps keep white blood cells functioning. Maintain adequate fiber in dry and fresh cow diets to avoid displaced abomasum. Keep cows from getting too fat, as fat cows seem to suffer the greatest decline in feed intake prior to calving.

To read a more comprehensive summary of the author’s insights on the relationship between immunity, transition-cow immunity and reproductive performance, follow this link.