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Lots of farm courses to be offered in 2006

December 27, 2005|By JEFF SEMLER

With 2006 looming on the horizon and many folks pondering New Year's Resolutions, I, too, would like to look ahead.

I don't make New Year's Resolutions, but I do plan ahead. So I will be sharing with you some of the things we have planned for you in the upcoming months.

First, we will be offering an Extension Winter Dairy Talk Series.

University dairy specialists and industry representatives will give presentations and lead discussions on dairy-related topics, including Premise ID/Animal ID, Sexed Semen, Factors Affecting Culling Rates, Transitioning the Farm Business, USDA's Johnes Program, Milk Urea Nitrogen (MUN) and Grass-based Dairy Production.

The format will allow for open discussion, as well as the opportunity to listen to the expert of the day.

This series will take place for seven weeks during January and February at the county Extension offices around Maryland.

Washington County sessions will be held at the Extension Office, 7303 Sharpsburg Pike, on Thursdays from 10 a.m. to noon, beginning Jan. 5. Frederick and Carroll counties are also offering the series - Wednesdays and Thursdays, respectively - so if there is a topic of interest to you and you are unable to attend the Washington County talks, feel free to cross the line.

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Schedules are different from county to county, so you'll need to contact the respective office to get its schedule. Anyone involved in the dairy industry should not miss this opportunity to learn about these exciting topics currently affecting the dairy industry. This program is open to the public and is free of charge.

For more information, please contact me at 301-791-1304; Stan Fultz in Frederick County at 301-631-3578; or Mike Bell in Carroll County at 410-386-2760. Please call at least a day before the session to allow us to be prepared with materials.

The first session here will be Thursday, Jan. 5, on the topic "Passing the Farm to the Next Generation."

Dale Johnson, regional Extension specialist from Maryland Cooperative Extension, will lead the discussion.

Johnson is just back from a sabbatical where he was studying at Boston University on the subject.

While the series is aimed at dairy farmers, this first session will be appropriate for anyone planning on passing the farm to the next generation.

Dale will lay out your options, discussing the advantages and disadvantages of each. He hopes you bring lots of questions so he can address your needs.

There will be no session Jan. 12 because of scheduling conflicts, but we will be back on track Jan. 19 with Dr. Rich Erdman discussing a problem that is plaguing the dairy industry - high culling rates.

His title, "Lost Income and Wasted Potential," hits the nail on the head.

Remember to call ahead to register for each session so we can have adequate handouts. Watch the ag calendar on this page for future dates and topics.

Another series of educational training will be geared to new landowners.

Each Thursday in March and one in April will be dedicated to reach this audience. The sessions will be held at the Extension office and run from 7 to 9 p.m.

Hardly a week goes by that I don't get a call that goes something like this, "I just bought a piece of property in Washington County and I want to know what kind of agricultural enterprise I could start."

Here is your chance to explore many options. Some other counties have offered similar programs with great success.

We will start from scratch in a sort of Ag 101 format. Upon completing the original series, we will look at advanced training in certain areas depending on the class dynamics.

I have had many requests over the years to offer such training, so here it is. Your participation will tell me if this type of educational venture is what folks want.

One thing you will surely learn is there is no get-rich quick or easy road. But you will also learn that if you like challenges, you are at the right place.

Watch this page for further registration information. As always, you can e-mail me or call to sign up for our training mailing list.

I hope you will find one or all of these educational opportunities of interest.

I wish you and yours a safe and prosperous New Year.

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