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New York dairy institutes focus on benefitting farms

SPRINGVILLE — Four dairy institutes, established with New York Farm Viability Institute funding, offer learning opportunities to New York state’s farm businesses.

“New York’s dairy institute project leaders report that the concentrated-focus learning opportunities are producing comprehensive benefits to dairy farms, across the state,” said NYFVI Managing Director David Grusenmeyer.

The NYFVI provided funding for the Cornell Cooperative Extension of Wyoming County to develop the concept of a dairy education series and also supported its first 10 learning modules that combine classroom, hands-on and on-farm activities, to enhance New York dairy farm owner and employee skills.

The Wyoming County Dairy Institute offered its first module in 2007, with support from the Wyoming County Board of Supervisors, Cornell University’s PRO-DAIRY Program and Quality Milk Production Services. Alfred State and Genesee Community colleges provided credits to participants who completed study requirements.

Dairy industry professionals and educators taught the practical learning modules that concentrated on a single aspect of dairying, such as herdsmanship, milk production, calf care, reproduction, hoof care, farm financial management, nutrient management and commercial driver’s license training, for agricultural industry drivers.

Local farms hosted on-farm, hands-on sessions.

Jason Engel’s family has operated a feed and farm supply in Erie County since 1946. Engel attended five modules, driving from Shamel Milling Company in East Concord to the extension office in Warsaw.

“Having been distant from the family business for 20 years, I needed a better foundation for current farm practices and how they are implemented,” Engel said. “For example, having a heightened awareness for current biosecurity risks and how we can implement proactive measures while providing services to multiple farms is good for our customers.”

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