Northwest New York Dairy, Livestock & Field Crops Enrollment

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Upgrading Skills

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

June 14, 2013

If you visit one of New York's mid- to large-size dairy herds, you would see many employees in the milking parlor who are immigrants of His-panic descent.

This isn’t a news flash — these employees have been working on some dairies for more than 10 years now. In recent years, the increase in immigrant labor from Mexico and Central America has become a hot-button political issue achieving national attention.

People make many assumptions about this workforce: It’s uneducated, unskilled and suitable for only the most routine, tedious tasks such as milking. A closer look at our dairy farms proves those beliefs to be mis-conceptions. The Hispanic workforce on New York dairy farms is being promoted to higher positions and given more responsibilities.

Many dairy managers are learning that Hispanic employees aren’t an unskilled workforce but simply an untrained workforce. They are discovering that these employees are a valuable resource beyond milking cows.

New tasks and responsibilities
Responsibilities vary from dairy to dairy, but in general Hispanic employees complete some of a herd manager’s responsibilities. Dairies’ reproduction pro-grams have benefited greatly from Hispanic employees’ taking on additional responsibilities. Heat detection and the delivery of ovulation synchronization injections are now popular jobs for Hispanic employees. On some dairies, Hispanic employees are also per-forming AI. And they’ve been trained to identify lameness and often trim hooves.

The calf barn has probably benefited the most from Hispanic employees’ being trained to work outside the milking parlor. Caring for heifers from their first day to their first service is an important job that many His-panic employees now perform.

There are many reasons why Hispanic employees are diversifying in their job duties, but two of the biggest reasons for this change are:

  • The quality of the Hispanic workforce.
  • The decline in the number of trained herd managers. Dairy managers and owners are having more difficulty in finding trained herd managers, and vacancies can be empty for months. A dairy can’t stop operating, so many managers have decided to fill the gaps with current Hispanic employees who have a record of competence and high performance. Dedicated, skilled employees are valuable not just in the milking parlor but everywhere on a dairy.

If you or someone you know are in need of dairy employee training in Spanish, the Cornell Cooperative Extension offers a program to address that need. Please contact Libby Gaige at (607) 793-4847 for more information.











calendar of events

Upcoming Events

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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Income and Real Property Tax Primer-A Learning Circle for Women Non-Operating Land Owners of Ag Land

July 24, 2019
9:00 am - 3:00 pm
Portageville, NY

For many of us taxes can be a mystery, let's have a conversation with the experts about the tax considerations agricultural landowners need to think about. 
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Pasture Walk with the Finger Lakes Graziers-Cancelled!

July 29, 2019
12:45 - 4 pm

The Finger Lakes Graziers pasture walk has been cancelled due to some scheduling conflicts. 
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RMA Announces Additional One-time Changes to Prevented Planting Provisions

June 29, 2019

RMA Announces Additional One-time Changes to Prevented Planting Provisions
for 2019 Crop Year

In response to delayed and prevented planting resulting from above average rainfall and wetness, the USDA Risk Management Agency has made a one-time change to the 2019 crop year prevented planting rules that effectively allows silage corn, if planted as a cover crop following local agricultural expert guidelines, to be acceptable as a post-prevented planting cover crop. Under this one-time rule change, producers are allowed to produce this crop while retaining their prevented planting payment. This change couples with previously announced one-time changes to the prevented planting rules - including expanded acceptable uses for post-prevented planting cover crops and a change in the cover crop haying and grazing start date rule - serve to help those struggling to meet their forage needs due to the weather.

Read the full article from the New York Crop Insurance Education Program.

The USDA-RMA states that "For crop insurance purposes, a cover crop is a crop generally recognized by agricultural experts as agronomically sound for the area for erosion control or other purposes related to conservation or soil improvement." PRO-DAIRY specialists Joe Lawrence and Karl Czymmek and Dr. Quirine Ketterings, Professor and Director of Cornell Nutrient Management Spear Program have released a letter stating "Corn on Prevented Planting acres meets these objectives."

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