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October 2020

HEPA filters for farms?
Peter Wright

Ventilation and filtration provided by heating, ventilating, and air-conditioning (HVAC) systems can reduce airborne concentration of the virus that causes COVID-19 (and the flu virus), which can reduce risk of transmission through air in enclosed work and break areas of a dairy farm. A high ventilation rate can remove airborne particles and bring fresh outside air into a room. During cold weather, when heating the outside air is not feasible, air purifiers can help reduce airborne contaminants, including viruses, in a work room or confined space. A HEPA (high efficiency particulate air) filter can remove most particles.

The fibers in a HEPA filter capture airborne particulates above 0.5 microns by impact, less than 0.5 micron by interception, and very fine particles (the size the smallest airborne COVID-19 viruses might be) by diffusion. The net result is that virtually all particles get captured quickly, while airflow is only slightly impeded.

HVAC systems or air purifiers only filter the air when the fan is running. The filter will need to be changed and air flow to and from the filter needs to be considered. Portable HEPA filtered air purifiers might be useful for some enclosed farm rooms. It is important to remember that available data indicate that it is much more common for the virus that causes COVID-19 to spread through close contact with a person who has COVID-19 than through airborne transmission. Continue reading: HEPA filters for farms

“It’s always the nutritionist’s fault!” – Understanding diets and improving communication on your dairy

Cornell Cooperative Extension Northwest NY, North Country Region and South Central NY teams

Thursday, October 15, 2020 | Presented at 12:30pm EDT and again at 7:00pm EDT

This a FREE webinar for farmers and dairy nutritionists who are looking to get on the same page about farm goals and dairy rations. The live session includes interactive poll questions, and a Question and Answer session at the end of the presentation. Registration is required.

Learning Goals:

  • To improve communication between the dairy farmer and their nutritionist
  • To ensure the dairy farmer and nutritionist have matching goals for the farm
  • For the dairy farmer to understand what is in their diet and why it is being fed
  • For the dairy farmer to gain a basic understanding of how to compare diets
  • For the dairy farmer to clearly communicate concerns to their nutritionist when they may arise
  • For the nutritionist to use this as a guideline for conversations with their dairy farmer client
Online Feeder School in English and Spanish
Cornell PRO-DAIRY and Cornell Cooperative Extension are partnering to offer a two-day Online Feeder School that will be taught in English and Spanish. The program is free thanks to generous sponsors and pre-registration is required.

Online Feeder School will be offered in English from 1:00 to 2:30 PM EDT on November 3 and 5 and in Spanish from 1:00 to 2:30 PM EDT on November 10 and 12. The program will be held online only and feature a combination of video demonstrations, presentations, and discussion. The same program will be offered in the English and Spanish sessions.

Bill Stone, DVM, Diamond V, will lead the school along with CCE regional dairy specialists and members of Cornell PRO-DAIRY. Dr. Stone has helped a multitude of dairy farmers feed their herds and will offer his expertise in troubleshooting mixer wagons and answer questions live during discussion.

The Online Feeder School is targeted to farmers, employees, and agriservice professionals who work as or with the feeder – the person responsible for mixing TMR, maintaining bunk silos, and communicating feed issues with other farm staff. The school will cover monitoring dry matter, feed bunk management, bunk face management, and troubleshooting mixer wagons.

Operations Managers Conference goes virtual in 2021
Operations management on dairy farms is integral to success of the farm business. Presented by Cornell CALS PRO-DAIRY and the Northeast Dairy Producers Association, Operations Managers Conference provides an opportunity for the people responsible for day to day activities on dairy farms to increase their management and operations skills.

Due to ongoing uncertainty related to the Coronavirus pandemic and anticipated strict limitations on an in-person experiences, the January - February 2021 event will be offered as a 100 percent virtual conference series. The Operations Managers virtual conference series will be a four-week virtual event featuring educational topics and applicable strategies for management teams, whether their focus is cows, crops or people. Each weekly two-hour session will include a general keynote presentation and attendee’s choice of one technical breakout session in the area of dairy, crop, or human resource management. One breakout session each week will be offered in Spanish. All sessions will be recorded and available to conference registrants.

Sponsorship and registration information will be available soon. Additional information is available at

Cornell Agricultural Workforce Development hires Rachel McCarthy to coordinate supervisory leadership courses
Cornell Agricultural Workforce Development has hired Rachel McCarthy to coordinate a new series of courses in a Supervisory Leadership certificate program. The Agricultural Supervisory Leadership certificate program will be offered in early 2021 and train farm managers to use human resource management practices that support their businesses and foster rewarding workplaces.

“We are grateful for the opportunity to expand Ag Workforce’s capacity with a professional of McCarthy’s caliber and experience,” said Ag Workforce Specialist Richard Stup. “She has extensive experience developing online, in person, and train-the-trainer programs,and a passion for educating agricultural professionals.”

McCarthy is a skilled science communicator, with over a decade of experience working in higher education and extension, developing online and in-person learning programs. McCarthy has a joint appointment with the School of Integrative Plant Science at Cornell as a Training and Education Program Manager where she has developed and implemented training and outreach programs for two national invasive species early detection networks. She developed the Sentinel Plant Network’s train-the-trainer curriculum, including educator presentations, supporting print resources, eLearning modules, and training videos to support asynchronous learning. She also developed a variety of First Detector resources and training materials for traditional and online learning. Previously McCarthy led the landscape development program at Alfred State College, including instruction, program assessment, and development. McCarthy earned her BS and MPS from Cornell University in Landscape Architecture and Ornamental Horticulture.

​The first supervisory leadership courses that will be launched are:
  • Transitioning to Supervisor and Workplace Culture: Develop essential communication skills and manage conflict. Lead a multi-cultural team. Build an effective workplace culture.
  • Organizing Work for High Quality Results: Develop clear expectations and standard operating procedures. Delegate effectively. Diagnose and correct performance problems.
  • Managing Performance: Understand motivation. Harness the power of performance feedback and coaching. Build clear and effective workplace communications, including leading team meetings. Set safety expectations. Conduct effective performance reviews.
  • Ethics and Employment Regulations for Supervisors: Implement responsible and ethical labor practices and understand why this matters for agriculture. Recognize and prevent sexual harassment. Understand and follow minimum wage and overtime laws. Implement Equal Employment Opportunity laws to prevent discrimination and harassment. Use an employee handbook. Handle employee discipline and termination.

Virtual Labor Roadshow IV offered by the Ag Workforce Development Council
Ag Workforce Development Council is hosting Labor Roadshow IV as a virtual event. A series of five one to two-hour webinars will be held online through Zoom at noon on November 18, 19, 20, 23, and 24. Cost is $55 per person to attend all five webinars and to receive links to the webinar recordings. A link to registration will be posted at New York Labor Road Show IV is an opportunity to learn about regulation changes and how to best position your business for compliance and success. Several important changes to state regulations occurred in 2020 that farm employers need to understand, including which employees are covered by overtime and day-of-rest, and which can be designated as family members or exempt employees. Topics will include:

  • FLFLPA Overtime and Day-of-Rest Updates
  • New NY Permanent Sick Leave Law and Insurance Requirements
  • Paid Family Leave and Disability
  • Union Education
  • FLFLPA Employee Housing Requirements
  • Sexual Harassment Prevention Requirements
  • COVID-19 and Farm Workforce Health

Ag Workforce Development Council member organizations include: NEDPA, Cornell Cooperative Extension, Cornell Agricultural Workforce Development, Cayuga Marketing, AgriMark, Upstate Niagara, New York Farm Bureau, New York Vegetable Growers Association, New York Animal Ag Coalition, Agri-Placement Services, New York Horticultural Society, Dairy Farmers of America, Farm Credit East, Gray & Oscar LLC.

Coming soon: New podcast series
Troubleshooting herd health issues on your dairy episodes will be available starting November 30. This podcast series will follow the life cycle of the cow and discuss practical ways to troubleshoot herd health issues.

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Julie Berry, Editor | Tom Overton, Director | Facebook

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