Southern Farm Boy Gets It Done

James H. Baxter, IV

President & Manager

Baxter Farms, Inc.

Georgetown, DE

Distinguished Young Alumni Award for University of Delaware College of Agriculture and Natural Resources.

Jay graduated from UD with a B.S. Degree in Agriculture in 2002 prior to returning to the family farm.  Jays is the 4th. generation farmer at Baxter Farms.

Jay currently oversees the farms 2,800 acres in Sussex County with support from his grandparents.  The Farming operation was established from a small farm and tomato canning operation when James, Sr. moved from Baltimore in the Early 1900’s.  Today the main crops are corn and soybeans, however, Jay is constantly increasing the acreage to incorporate food grade crops, including sweet corn, lima beans, and edamame.  The farming operation also consists of a 200,000 broiler operation.

Jay has been active in many community organizations as well: Director of the Delaware Farm Bureau, Chairman of the Delaware Soybean Board, founding member of Delmarva Tractor Pullers Association, founding member of Southern Delaware’s Local on the Menu, member of Young Farmers and Ranchers, and the Delmarva Poultry Industry.


Hoard’s Dairyman Intel

Here is an article I recieved from Hoard’s Dairyman.

by Dennis Halladay, Western Editor

Don’t be surprised if the after-Thanksgiving mayhem of “Black Friday” shopping sales causes USDA to extend the sign-up deadline for the dairy Margin Protection Program (MPP) provision of the recently passed farm bill by a few days.

It’s a possibility that literally occurred while Michael T. Scuse (above), USDA Under Secretary for Farm and Foreign Agricultural Services, was at the podium last week during a public forum at World Dairy Expo in Madison, Wis. It obviously caught him by surprise, and it went something like this:

“Sign-up deadline is November 28,” he said. “Wait a minute… isn’t that the day after Thanksgiving? Uh oh, that’s Black Friday. That could be a problem for some people, especially for moms. I think we will have to discuss extending things by a few days.”

As much as he was caught by surprise by the calendar, people in the audience were caught by surprise by his reaction when recognizing that sticking to the deadline might cause difficulties for some dairy families.

During his comments, Scuse also emphasized the commitment by USDA Secretary Vilsack to total transparency of both the MPP program and its implementation.

As part of that, Scuse encouraged everyone in the dairy industry to use the 60-day comment period now underway to give feedback to USDA about the program, as well as to ask questions about unique personal situations that may exist. He mentioned in particular those related to bringing family members into the business and to intergenerational transfers.

The forum was presented by National Milk Producers Federation and included a presentation on MPP decision-making tools by Scott Brown, a leading dairy industry financial analyst at the University of Missouri and the Food and Agriculture Policy Research Institute (FAPRI).

Of perhaps the greatest interest to milk producers is his forecast that although Class III milk prices will be much lower in 2015, feed costs will be even lower, resulting in a solid average milk price over feed cost margin of $10.87 per hundredweight.

Milk Protection Program


Tuesday, October 7, 1:00-3:00 p.m.
at the Kent County FSA Office

Tuesday, October 7, 7:00-9:00 p.m.
at the Sussex Co. FSA Office

MPP-Dairy is a risk management program for dairy producers authorized by the 2014 Farm Bill. It offers protection when the difference between the all milk price and the average feed cost (margin) falls below a certain dollar amount selected by the producer.
FSA will explain the eligibility requirements, the registration method, how to establish production history, coverage elections and premiums.
University of Delaware Extension will explain the web based decision making tools, selecting coverage elections and premiums based on projected margins, and will provide hands on help that will enable you to input your information to develop coverage scenarios specific to your dairy operation.
For further information, or if you need special accommodations, contact:
Lynn Manges (302)678-4253 or Dan Severson (302)831-8860
USDA is an equal opportunity provider and employer. To file a complaint of discrimination, write: USDA, Office of the Assistant Secretary for Civil Rights, Office of Adjudication, 1400 Independence Ave., SW, Washington, DC 20250-9410 or call (866) 632-9992 (Toll-free Customer Service), (800) 877-8339 (Local or Federal relay), (866) 377-8642 (Relay voice users).

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Philip Durst and Stanley Moore

October 6th, 12:00 PM Central Time

Durst and Moore will discuss the results of phone interviews with 158 employees from 11 dairy farms, including:

  • Employee turnover rate and employee engagement
  • Management makes a difference
  • Focus employees on achieving performance standards
  • Providing opportunities to learn and develop
  • Language and cultural barriers
Feeding Fats, in Moderation, to Dairy Cows



Dairy cows need a tremendous amount of energy; a dairy cow weighing 1400 lb and producing 70 lb/day of milk with 3.6% fat and 3.3% protein needs about 33 Mcal/day of net energy for lactation (NEL). Although the units are somewhat different, this is about 26 times more energy than for a person consuming a recommended 2000 Calorie diet. Concentrates are higher in energy density than forages, but adequate dietary effective fiber is needed to maintain rumen function, so concentrates need to be limited in the diet. Thus, one of the primary purposes of feeding supplemental fat to dairy cows is to increase energy intake. Fats are higher in energy density than carbohydrates and proteins; therefore, adding fat increases the energy density of the diet.


To read more, view the full article online.

Please contact Nancy McGill at with questions and concerns.

Pasture Walk

Fall Pasture Walk
What: Pasture Walk
When: Thursday, October 2, 2014
Where: Whitehead Cattle Company
1303 Dexter Corner Rd., Townsend, DE 19734
Time: 5:00 p.m. – 7:30 p.m.
Credits: DE Nutrient Management and Pesticide credits will be offered.
Come and learn about pasture management and renovation practices used at Whitehead Cattle Company. Hear about plant establishment and fall weed control. Get help with pasture design and rotation programs. Particulars on Natural Resource Conservation Service programs will also be covered. Experts will be on hand to answer specific questions.
The meeting is free and everyone interested in attending is welcome. If you have special needs in accessing this program, please call the office two weeks in advance.
To register or request more information, please call our office at (302)831-2506.
Thank you and see you there. Dan Severson, Susan Garey, Dr. Richard Taylor

Welcome and Introductions
Dan Severson, University of Delaware Cooperative Extension

Tour of Pastures and Pasture Management
George Whitehead, Whitehead Cattle Company

Pasture Renovation and Plant Establishment
Dr. Richard Taylor, University of Delaware Extension Agronomy Specialist

Weed ID and Fall Weed Control in Pastures
Quintin Johnson, University of Delaware Cooperative Extension

Pasture Design and Rotation
Dan Severson, University of Delaware Extension Agent

Overview of NRCS Programs
Marianne Hardesty, New Castle County NRCS District Conservationist

Winter Care for Poultry


Winter care of backyard poultry flocks

Thursday, September 25 at 7:00 pm EDT


Fall is the time to prepare your flocks and coops for the toils of winter. Dr. Brigid McCrea from Delaware State University will cover the activities that are recommended for such preparations.  Whether this is your first  or fortieth flock, take the time to learn about changes to your management and biosecurity routines so that your flock stays happy and healthy all winter long.

Planting a New Pasture of Hayfield? Part 6: Managing Pasture and Hay Fields for Long-term Health

Part 6: How Do I Manage My Stand So It Stays Healthy and Productive?

In Part IV, I discussed the advantages of planting into moist soil during the ideal planting window for the selected forage species. I then discussed the planting options such as conventional seedbed preparation and no-till seeding. Along with these options, I discussed the need for calibration of the planter or drill to ensure the use of the proper number of pure live seed (PLS) per acre. Let us assume that the new planting has emerged from the soil so it is time to think about how to properly manage the new seeding to ensure a successful establishment and long-term productivity.

Usually even before the seed germinates, grazers want to know when they can return animal to the pasture to graze it. Hay producers have an easier time deciding when to begin using a new field especially for fall planted fields since cool-season grasses will signal their successful establishment by flowering in late spring or early summer the year following seeding.

For new pastures, the key to long-term health of the pasture is to wait about 12 to 18 months before grazing a new field. This means that the new pasture will need to be hayed at least once and possibly several times in the year following fall seeding. From a practical viewpoint, few grazers will wait 12+ months since it means not grazing the field until the second spring following fall seeding. At a minimum, a new fall-seeded pasture should be hayed in late spring or early summer the year following seeding and then allowed to regrow to a height of 8 to 12 inches before grazing is begun. It is possible to plant in the fall and begin grazing first thing the following spring but you will be sacrificing stand health and longevity with this practice.

Nutrient management plans call for a new soil test once every three years but a yearly sample will help the grazer manage the pasture better. This is very important if nitrogen (N) fertilizer inputs are used to stimulate the productivity of a pasture. Even without N fertilizer applications, the natural deposition of urine and feces in a pasture creates small areas where the process of nitrification produces acidity that can significantly lower soil pH in the small area. Higher stocking rates and intensive pasture rotations will result in more uniform spreading of the urine and feces (especially for ruminant animals); and therefore, a greater proportion of the pasture will be impacted by lower pH (more acid soil conditions). Since it can take a year for lime to move an inch down through the soil, yearly soil testing will allow the grazer to begin neutralizing soil acidity as it is produced by the soil N-cycle.

Another aspect of soil fertility to consider is the use of fall applied N to improve the rooting of pasture plants as well as help stimulate growth the following spring for early grazing. Although the practice has long been used in the turfgrass industry, those of us in forage management are just realizing the potential benefits to pastures of fall N applications. Small amounts of fall N (about 30 lbs N/acre) should be applied in mid-October and mid-November since at these times topgrowth has ceased but the deep soil layers are still relatively warm. The N stimulates further root growth creating pasture plants with deeper and larger root systems as they enter the winter period. Some of the N is stored in the plant and available to stimulate topgrowth the following spring as the hours of daylight increase and air temperatures warm. This type of fertilization makes for a stronger plant going into the summer months (greater rooting depth and therefore greater available soil water to draw on) and can improve the competitiveness of the pasture grasses against weeds.

Probably the number one key to maintaining the health and competitiveness of a pasture is to use rotational grazing where plants are allowed to fully recover from the prior grazing period (grow to a height of 8 to 12 inches or more) and the grazing interval is kept short enough that the same plants are not grazed over and over again during a rotation cycle. Generally, this means rotating livestock out of a paddock or grazing cell within three days of moving the animals into the paddock. This time can be stretched to as much as a week but the more rapidly the animals are moved among paddocks in the rotational grazing scheme the healthier the pasture. Another aspect to using rotational grazing is to not put animals on pasture when soil conditions are too wet when the presence of animals can lead to compaction issues. Not grazing when plants are under drought stress is also a key consideration. Use the extra forage produced during the spring and fall to make hay that can support animals on a heavy use pad during periods of wet weather, drought, or other conditions leading to poor pasture growth.

Another method used to maintain healthy and vigorous pastures is to periodically overseed pastures in the fall with grasses and/or legumes. Some producers do this every year while others do it every couple of years. In most cases, the new seedlings must compete against the established plants in the pasture so that there is often limited ‘take’ from the germinating seed. However in the weaker areas of the pasture stand, there will be more light, water, nutrients, and space for the seedlings so establishment will be better in these areas. The weak areas would be where weeds could become established but by overseeding the pastures weed encroachment is limited or prevented.

The species to use for overseeding should be those species that can grow rapidly especially in the cool conditions of late summer and early fall. This would include such species as the ryegrasses, festulolium, ladino white clover, and red clover. Although just broadcasting the seed over the surface and then using a chain harrow or other implement to slightly cover the seed has been used, the best seeding method is to use a no-till drill and drill the seed into the soil. Seeding rates typically used are about one-quarter that of a normal new pasture seeding rate since most of the seed will be planted where established plant competition will not allow the new seedlings to establish successfully.

Finally, the producer can manage the balance of legumes and grasses in the pasture by his/her fertilization practices. Potassium and phosphorus applications along with 1 to 2 lbs of boron per acre per year and maintaining a near neutral soil pH (6.5-7.0) will encourage legume growth. If the percentage of legume is too high and the risk of bloat is too great, N application to encourage grass growth can be used to lower the percentage of legume in a pasture. Grasses with their fibrous root system are much more competitive for applied N than are the tap-rooted legumes. The available N will stimulate the grass and help it shade the legumes as well as change the proportion of legume to grass biomass.

This article was submitted by Dr. Richard Taylor, Extension Agronomist, University of Delaware.  Dr. Taylor can be reached at

Poultry Workshop

Small Poultry Flock Education Series
What: Small Flock Workshop
When: Saturday, September 20, 2014
Where: University of Delaware, Webb Farm
508 S. Chapel St., Newark, DE
Time: 9:00 a.m. – 1:00 p.m.
Want to learn more about starting up a small flock or get information on nutrition and feeding of your current flock. Then, come to our Small Flock Education Workshop on September 13. We’ll have experts form the University of Delaware, Delaware State University and Maryland Cooperative Extension on hand to provide information and answers to your questions.
The meeting is free and everyone interested in attending is welcome. If you have special needs in accessing this program, please call the office two weeks in advance.
To register or request more information, please call our office at (302)831-2506.
Thank you and see you there. Dan Severson

9:00-9:10 AM Opening Remarks and Introductions—Mr. Dan Severson
9:10-10:00 AM Getting Started with Poultry—Dr. Brigid McCrea
10:00-10:30 AM Biosecurity—Mrs. Jenny Rhodes
10:30-10:40 AM Break
10:40-11:20 AM Nutrition and Feeding—Dr. John Moyle
11:20-12:00 AM Chicken Breed Identification—Dr. Brigid McCrea
12:00-12:15 PM Break
12:15-12:30 PM Egg-citing Information—Dr. Jon Moyle
12:30-12:45 PM Mites and Lice in Poultry—Dr. Brigid McCrea
12:45-1:00 PM Why do you like to keep chickens? Survey