Northwest New York Dairy, Livestock & Field Crops Enrollment

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Set Up New Employees for Success

Libby Eiholzer, Bilingual Dairy
Northwest New York Dairy, Livestock & Field Crops

June 14, 2013

When hiring and training new Hispanic employees, there are several tasks to accomplish in short order. First on the checklist is usually to complete paperwork and to arrange for housing, if that's something your farm offers as a benefit. If the new employees do not have access to a car, then many employers will want to make sure the workers have appropriate work clothing and enough food on hand for their first days on the job. Depending on which jobs you assigned to the new employees and how many people will be involved in training them, important bits and pieces of information can sometimes fall through the cracks. Be sure to keep the lines of communication open so that everyone involved in welcoming and training a new employee (owners, managers & employees) knows what their role is.

Do you frequently make deductions to your employees' paychecks? Make sure you are in compliance with NYS Department of Labor laws. Section 193 of the New York State Labor Law, which explains the ins and outs of wage deductions, was recently changed significantly. Apart from governmental deductions (taxes, child support, etc), any other deductions must be for the benefit of the employee and must be authorized in writing by the employee. It is a common practice to deduct a uniform fee, a repayment for a loan or a broken gate, etc., but unless the employee signs a document agreeing to this, it is illegal! You must keep records of wage deductions on the farm during the employees' time at the business and for six years after they leave the farm. For more information on wage deductions, visit this website: Deduction from Wages

What are some of the most important things for your new employees to understand about their job and your business in general? Hispanic employees are often shocked to learn just how much money a farm could lose for the simple mistake of milking a treated cow into the bulk tank. The worst case scenario, of course, is that the mistake goes unnoticed and the milk gets shipped. If the contamination is first detected at the plant, the farm incurs a heavy fine. However, if your workers alert you while the milk is still in the farm tank tests can determine whether or not it is safe to ship. If the milk has already shipped, you can at least alert the cooperative. Fines are generally less severe in this case. Whatever the specific regulations of your milk cooperative are, you should explain to your employees what the possible consequences are and encourage them to come forward if they make a mistake or notice someone else making a mistake in the parlor. New employees tend to be especially cautious and may be hesitant to speak up about making a mistake they think could result in their dismissal.

A few other topics you might want to discuss with a new employee are animal welfare, milk quality bonuses, requirements for getting a raise or other benefits you offer. The next time you have a new employee starting out on your farm, consider the above suggestions to make sure you provide the tools they need to succeed. 











calendar of events

Upcoming Events

Dairy Cattle Summer Research Update

July 18, 2019
Batavia, NY

After the day's work is done, come hear about two new research trials conducted by Julio Giordano's lab:
  • Strategies for improving dairy cattle reproductive performance and economics
  • Using automated sensors for improving dairy cattle health monitoring and management

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Weed Resistance Management Demonstration and Plot Tour

Event Offers DEC Credits

July 23, 2019
1:00 - 3:00 p.m.
Waterloo, NY

Come join us on July 23 in Seneca County at Quinten Good's farm for a demonstration and walking tour of 16 different pre- and post-emergence treatments in soybean and 12 different treatments and combinations in corn.
  • Tall waterhemp and marestail are two weeds that are resistant to glyphosate and ALS herbicide modes of action in the WNY and Finger Lakes regions.
  • Each year the number of acres with resistant weed populations expands.
  • For herbicides to be an effective tool in weed management, we have to know what chemistries & application timings are most effective against these resistant weeds.

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Pasture Walk with the Finger Lakes Graziers

July 29, 2019
12:45 - 4 pm
Waterloo, NY

Join the Finger Lakes Graziers on a pasture walk and learn about soil health. 
view details


USDA Announces New Decision Tool for New Dairy Margin Coverage Program

WASHINGTON, April 30, 2019 ? Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue announced today the availability of a new web-based tool - developed in partnership with the University of Wisconsin - to help dairy producers evaluate various scenarios using different coverage levels through the new Dairy Margin Coverage (DMC) program.

The 2018 Farm Bill authorized
DMC, a voluntary risk management program that offers financial protection to dairy producers when the difference between the all milk price and the average feed cost (the margin) falls below a certain dollar amount selected by the producer. It replaces the program previously known as the Margin Protection Program for Dairy. Sign up for this USDA Farm Service Agency (FSA) program opens on June 17.

"With sign-up for the
DMC program just weeks away, we encourage producers to use this new support tool to help make decisions on participation in the program," Secretary Perdue said. "Dairy producers have faced tough challenges over the years, but the DMC program should help producers better weather the ups and downs in the industry."

The University of Wisconsin launched the decision support tool in cooperation with FSA and funded through a cooperative agreement with the USDA Office of the Chief Economist. The tool was designed to help producers determine the level of coverage under a variety of conditions that will provide them with the strongest financial safety net. It allows farmers to simplify their coverage level selection by combining operation data and other key variables to calculate coverage needs based on price projections.

The decision tool assists producers with calculating total premiums costs and administrative fees associated with participation in
DMC. It also forecasts payments that will be made during the coverage year.

The new Dairy Margin Coverage program offers very appealing options for all dairy farmers to reduce their net income risk due to volatility in milk or feed prices," said Dr. Mark Stephenson, Director of Dairy Policy Analysis, University of Wisconsin, Madison. "Higher coverage levels, monthly payments, and more flexible production coverage options are especially helpful for the sizable majority of farms who can cover much of their milk production with the new five million pound maximum for Tier 1 premiums. This program deserves the careful consideration of all dairy farmers."

For more information, access the tool at For
DMC sign up, eligibility and related program information, visit or contact your local USDA Service Center. To locate your local FSA office, visit

New Guidance for Mortality Disposal Issued

NYS Department of Ag and Markets has posted guidelines on disposal of livestock carcasses, in response to reports that some rendering companies have halted pickups from farms.|1