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Winter Weather- Are You Prepared?

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

Last Modified: March 19, 2015
Winter Weather- Are You Prepared?

Winter Weather- Are You Prepared?

After a winter like 2013/2014, we’d hope that everyone would be prepared for cold weather. Just in case you’ve blocked last year’s freezing temperatures from your memory, here are some reminders to keep everyone on your farm warm, healthy and safe this winter.

1. Get your flu shot! Think December is too late to get vaccinated against the flu? Think again, and encourage your employees to get vaccinated too. You might consider setting up a flu shot clinic at your farm to make it more convenient. The more people on your farm that are vaccinated, the healthier and more productive your work force will be this winter.  
2. Dress appropriately for the weather. Insulated, waterproof boots and wool socks are a must. Dressing in layers and wearing sweat-wicking clothes, a hat and gloves will keep you warm no matter your activity level.  
3. Know the signs of frostbite. Last year was the first year in recent memory that many people really had to worry about frostbite in Western NY. The first signs are cold skin and a prickling feeling, then numbness and red or pale skin. This is frostnip, which won’t permanently damage skin. Give yourself a review on signs of the later and more dangerous levels of frostbite by looking up “signs of frostbite” at
4. Look out for your Hispanic employees. Last year was a shock to many who were born and raised in NY, so imagine what it was like for someone experiencing their first NY winter. Consider the fact that those used to warmer climates may not know strategies for layering clothing or recognizing frostbite. Taking them on an extra shopping trip to purchase warmer clothes or giving them a bit of advice can make for warmer, happier and more productive employees when the mercury heads south.
5. Stay hydrated. When it’s cold, many people tend to drink less; yet active farm employees still sweat and lose electrolytes during normal farm activity. Encourage employees to drink more by making hot and cold water readily available.
6. Take proper care of machinery. Make sure to train employees which tractors need to be plugged in at night to avoid problems starting in the morning- this is again something that new Hispanic employees have probably never done before.
7. Pay extra attention to newborn calves: dry them off, provide plenty of bedding (straw is best to allow for nesting) and feed them one gallon of warm colostrum within the first hour after birth.
8. Take care not to rush cows when moving them. Cows walk comfortably at 2 mph, while humans tend to walk at speeds of 4-5 mph. When cows are pushed to walk too fast, they are more prone to slip and fall. This is exacerbated by slippery conditions caused by snow and ice. Use a material like calcite to improve footing in areas prone to icing.
Wishing you all a safe and productive winter!











calendar of events

Upcoming Events

2019 Corn Silage Pre-Harvest Workshop - Penn Yan

September 17, 2019
10:00am to Noon
Penn Yan, NY

Corn silage harvest is drawing near. The way corn silage is harvested and stored is a single event that affects your operation for the entire next year. Are you prepared to set your operation up for success? 
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Ontario County Fun on the Farm

September 21, 2019
11:00 am- 4:00 pm
Seneca Castle, NY

Fun on the Farm works to educate non-farm public and our neighbors about agriculture around them. It is fun and educational.

Fun on the Farm attracts thousands of people and gives us the opportunity to communicate to the community the benefits of the agricultural production in Ontario County, the state, and the nation.

The event is free! There are many agricultural products that are available to be sampled. It is the perfect place to try that product you have seen in the store but didn't want to commit to purchasing.

Food is available to purchase for lunch. It is provided by a local service group.
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Bovine Reproduction and AI Training Course

September 24 - September 25, 2019
9:30am - 3:30pm
Shortsville, NY


This two-day AI workshop will be held on September 24 and 25. 

Topics covered will include:

• Reproductive Physiology
• Synchronization Protocols
• Heat Detection
• Artificial Insemination
• Proper Thawing of Semen
• Loading A.I. guns
• Practice Breeding Cows

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Preventing Sexual Harassment on Farms

If you're wondering how to get your farm business in compliance with NYS Sexual Harassment Regulations, you've come to the right place.  The 2018 New York State budget included new regulations addressing sexual harassment in the workplace that became effective on October 9, 2018 for all New York employers, including agricultural employers. All employers are required to have a sexual harassment prevention policy and to provide annual, interactive sexual harassment prevention training for all employees.  Check out the resources developed by Cornell Ag Workforce Development, including step-by-step instructions and farm-friendly training videos.

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."