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Is Your Farm Prepared For a Crisis? Part 1

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

March 23, 2016
Is Your Farm Prepared For a Crisis? Part 1

That is the question that was addressed at the American Dairy Association & Dairy Council Inc. Dairy Industry Crisis Drill on December 1-2, 2015 in Albany, NY. Members of the dairy industry from throughout the supply chain were present: producers, cooperatives, processors and retailers, to name a few. The group met to work through a simulated crisis: the release of a video depicting animal abuse on a dairy farm in New York. The scenario isn't actually new: two videos have been released on New York dairy farms. The first was in 2009 by PETA and the second was in 2012 by Mercy for Animals. This type of undercover video has been prevalent across the U.S. since the first was released in 1999 of a Florida dairy farm.

The general consensus was that the question we should be asking ourselves is not if there will be another video released, but rather when another video will be released. While it's not a popular subject in the dairy industry, it's one that must be dealt with. We need to be better prepared the next time around. And in all reality the next video or crisis could focus on a different aspect of agriculture and reach outside of the realm of dairy. 

To start with, we need to remember that with social media, the news cycle is now seconds, not hours or days. When a story breaks, it takes no time at all for it to reach across the world. A farm's response to a crisis needs to be quick in order to do as much damage control as possible. The New York Dairy Crisis Team was developed in order to discuss and prepare for possible crises. The Crisis Team includes Tonya Van Slyke of North East Dairy Producers Association, Jessica Ziehm of NY Animal Agricultural Council, Steve Ammerman of NY Farm Bureau, and is headed by Beth Meyer at the ADADC. Beth can be reached at 315-472-9143.

In a series of upcoming articles over the next few months we will discuss this topic in depth. February's article will feature information on how to protect your business from an undercover video, March's article will teach you how to respond to the media in a crisis, and April's article will help you develop an on-farm crisis preparedness plan for your business. In the meantime, start thinking about how you would respond if it was your farm that came under attack.











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. 
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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