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MAY 2021
Cymmek with producers
 Photo credit: American Dairy Association North East

A note of appreciation from Karl Czymmek
Karl Czymmek joins Dairy Management Inc.

Working for the last 20 plus years with the NYS dairy industry in my position with PRO-DAIRY has been incredibly fulfilling and rewarding. Over this time, I have had the privilege of working with many outstanding dairy farmers, researchers, agriservice and agency staff. Together we have helped the dairy industry grow stronger while reducing its environmental footprint. Many of you have become great friends and have stood by me both professionally and personally. I am especially thankful for these friendships.

I write to let you know of a new and exciting opportunity for me: I have accepted a position to work at the national level in the area of dairy environmental sustainability. In June, I will start a full-time position with the Environmental Research Team at Dairy Management Inc. My work will focus on processes and practices in dairy feed production, manure and fertilizer management and carbon sequestration that can help dairy farmers reduce the environmental impact of greenhouse gas emissions and nutrient loss on water quality. This effort will support the environmental stewardship goals established by the Innovation Center for US dairy developed in consultation with dairy producer and processor representatives from across the country. I hope to contribute to continued progress in the dairy industry in this new position and expect to be working with many of you in a new and different way.

There are many questions and challenges ahead. The resilience and problem solving skills of people involved in agriculture, especially dairy farmers, never ceases to amaze me. These skills will continue to be necessary in the coming years as we work to adjust to ongoing change. Thank you for the opportunity to serve the industry and the friendship and kindness you have shown me in return.

Karl Czymmek

​Plan for the future of your dairy - DAP funding available
The Dairy Advancement Program is designed to enhance long-term viability of New York dairy farms while maintaining a commitment to environmental stewardship. Funds for business planning are provided through the New York State Department of Agriculture and Markets and the Environmental Protection Fund for environmental planning. The program is coordinated by Cornell PRO-DAIRY and delivered to farms in partnership with Cornell Cooperative Extension and agriservice professionals.

Eligible projects assist New York dairy farmers to position their farm for long-term economic and environmental sustainability. Funds are used to engage specialists for financial analysis and to create business plans or to develop farmstead environmental plans, including design of practices outlined in the farm comprehensive nutrient management plan.

Environmental and business planning funds available:

  • Comprehensive Nutrient Management Plans (update or new) - up to $6,000 for farms with fewer than 300 mature cows.
  • Design of eligible Best Management Practices (BMPs) - up to $10,000 for a combination of practices (BMPs) ($5,000 for a single practice) for farms with fewer than 700 mature cows.
  • Business planning and implementation of recordkeeping funds for small to midsize dairies – up to $5,000 available.
  • The DAP program covers 80 percent of cost. The farm is responsible for 20 percent and any amount exceeding the value of the award. The application and more information are available on the DAP webpage.

Organizing Work for High Quality Results Course
Cornell Agricultural Workforce Development has opened registration for Organizing Work for High Quality Results, the second course offered by the Agricultural Supervisory Leadership Certificate program.

Organizing Work for High Quality Results teaches how to develop clear expectations and standard operating procedures, delegate effectively, and diagnose and correct performance problems. Materials will release June 18, 2021 and registration is open now. Cost is $275 for the six-week course.

Supervisors are critical to the success of farm businesses. They have a major impact both on employees’ daily work experiences and on the production performance of the business. The Agricultural Supervisory Leadership certificate helps farm supervisors and managers develop skills and apply human resource management practices to create rewarding workplaces and drive business results, like more engaged employees and less turnover. The six courses within the certificate program, which can be taken in any order, offer extensive practice and engagement activities to build confidence and skill sets.

Cornell Agricultural Workforce Development leadership courses are appropriate for both new and experienced farm supervisors and managers, and those preparing to become supervisors. All participants will learn leadership concepts and practice skills that will improve their ability to build a positive workplace and get results through leading others.

Each course includes up to six weeks of instruction on topics that will build your leadership and management skills. Instruction includes a combination of prerecorded lectures, reading assignments, written exercises, live discussion sessions and quizzes. For those looking to learn more on a particular topic, supplemental videos and articles may be recommended by the instructor. To get the most out of the course, students should plan to spend a minimum of two hours each week on combined course activities.

For questions, contact Rachel McCarthy, Supervisory Leadership Certificate Program Coordinator, at

How to talk about COVID-19 vaccination with your employees
Mary Kate MacKenzie, Farm Business Management Specialist; Richard Stup, Agricultural Workforce Specialist; and Mary Jo Dudley, Director of the Cornell Farmworker Program

The decision to receive the COVID-19 vaccine is a highly personal one, yet each individual’s decision has profound implications for public health. At the farm level, that makes farmer and farm worker vaccination an important risk management issue. The more people on your farm who are fully vaccinated against COVID-19, the lower your risk of experiencing a COVID outbreak with consequences for employee health and farm operations. As a manager, your words and actions have potential to influence employee attitudes about the vaccine. How can you communicate effectively about COVID-19 vaccination with your family members and employees? Here is a list of Do’s and Don’ts to help you have productive conversations that lead to more vaccinations.

Dialing into Your Dairy and Troubleshooting Herd Health Issues on Your Dairy podcast series
PRO-DAIRY and Cornell Cooperative Extension special podcast series are still available.

Dialing Into Your Best Dairy episodes discuss management practices and tips to reach your herd’s full genetic potential. Over eight episodes PRO-DAIRY and CCE Dairy Specialists discuss life stages of the dairy cow, including raising calves through the milk phase and weaning; managing weaned heifers up to freshening; making decisions about which replacements to keep, including inventory, disease prevention, and culling decisions; feeding and nutrition management during lactation; facilities, time management, and ventilation considerations throughout lactation; and management factors around reproduction, gestation, and the dry period.

Troubleshooting Herd Health Issues episodes discuss specific areas to examine when experiencing issues in different life stages of the dairy cow and includes: preweaned calves, weaning transition, postweaned heifers - disease and growth issues, heifers-reproduction, calving, transition cow issues, and mastitis.

Metro NY Promotion
Your check-off dollars at work

Two of the many exciting projects that the New York Animal Agriculture Coalition (NYAAC) is working on this year include promoting dairy farmers and dairy products in Metro NY. NYAAC will launch their first project "Showcasing Dairy in Words & Voices" this spring. This project will share first-hand stories as op-eds in a variety of publications throughout the boroughs of New York City. Following the written stories, NYAAC will develop visual voice-over components for the digital audience. Tune in to their social media channels for the launch of “Displaying Dairy,” where fiberglass cows will show messages that help connect the dots between upstate dairy farms and downstate customers. Both projects are funded 100 percent by the New York Dairy Promotion Order (DPO) Board, your dairy check-off dollars.

LeadNY accepting applications for leaders in food, agricultural sectors

New York’s premier leadership development program in the food, agriculture and natural resources sectors of the Northeast is accepting applications through June 1 for Class 19. LeadNY is a pioneering training program for mid-career professionals and provides intensive one- or two-year programs to improve leadership skills, self-awareness, issues analysis, critical thinking and civic engagement. Based at Cornell University’s College of Agriculture and Life Sciences, the program links Cornell leadership and global development expertise with real-world training to help professionals maximize their potential in their careers and their community-based impact in the Northeast. LeadNY intends to deliver most of its curriculum through in-person seminars with rigorous safety and health protocols in place. The program anticipates a return to in-person gatherings and in-state travel by this fall when the new class begins, and eventually a return to out-of-state travel next year.

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