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Enrollment open for 2020 On-Farm Internship Program

The 2020 On-Farm Internship program is now accepting applications for host farms and undergraduate students who are interested in gaining hands-on experience in dairy production. The program was designed to provide 10- to 12-week on-farm internships to the next generation of dairy managers in Pennsylvania. The Professional Dairy Managers of Pennsylvania (PDMP), Pennsylvania Dairymen’s Association, and Center for Dairy Excellence Foundation of Pennsylvania partner to support this program.

“For undergraduate students who are interested in pursuing a career in dairy, the On-Farm Internship program gives them valuable experience on a progressive dairy farm. It’s an experience they can’t always get in the classroom,” said Brittany Haag, Dairy Education Program Manager at the Dairy Excellence Foundation. “The opportunity is equally rewarding for host farms who want to make a tangible impact on the next generation of producers.”

Participating students receive a $3,000 stipend in addition to compensation from their host farms. Students must attend a Pennsylvania university, must be a Pennsylvania resident attending an out-of-state school, or must be a recently graduated Pennsylvania resident with an interest in dairy production. Preference is given to upperclassmen undergraduates.

Students who are accepted into the On-Farm Internship program are paired with host farms that complement their career goals. The program matches students with mentors and organizes monthly calls and discussion groups to encourage continuous learning. Throughout the summer, interns also establish goals and complete research projects that benefit their host farm’s operations.

“The internship was a great opportunity for me. I learned a lot about herd health, which is really what I want to do,” said Montana Stump, a senior at Delaware Valley University and a 2019 on-farm intern. “The [farm hosts] were really good teachers — they would show me how to do something, but then let me do it myself. It was an exciting experience.”

Host farms benefit from working with skilled interns who are interested in dairy production and eager to learn. Farms that apply for the program may be located within or outside of Pennsylvania, but producers must agree to provide the intern with exposure to all aspects of a successful, progressive dairy operation.

“As dairy producers, the internship program is a great way to share our knowledge and experiences with someone who is genuinely interested in our industry but needs that opportunity to learn and grow,” said Walt Moore of Walmoore Holsteins, a PDMP member and Dairy Excellence Foundation Board member who hosted an on-farm intern last summer.

Student applications are due by October 31, 2019, and host farm applications are due by December 31. Visit centerfordairyexcellence.org for more information about the program. Contact Brittany Haag at [email protected] or 717-346-0849 with questions.

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Lely kicks off the 2019 Future of Dairy Scholarship Program

College students pursuing their career in agriculture are always on the look out for scholarships to help pay for college tuition. Lely North America is presenting the Future of Dairy Scholarship Program for the fourth year. Five qualified students residing in either Canada or the United States are chosen annually to receive a one-year, $1,000 scholarship.

“Lely North America is excited to support the next generation of leaders to advance the dairy industry,” said Bellana Putz, Customer Sales Support Manager. “For the past three years, we have been impressed with the number and caliber of students who have applied for a scholarship, and we look forward to reviewing applications this year.”

To apply for the scholarship, students must be at least 18 years of age, enrolled at an accredited institution of higher education for the 2019-2020 academic year and participating in a program that can equip the student to contribute to the dairy industry. Students must also be current or former members of the 4-H or FFA organizations.

Entry requirements ask that students interested in applying submit the following items with their application:

  • An essay response to the following question (500 – 700 words): “How would you describe the short-term and long-term benefits of using robotics to a dairy producer and explain how an investment in robotics could benefit the dairy?”
  • A 1- or 2-page personal resume depicting their previous leadership/organizational involvement.
  • A letter of recommendation from their 4-H or FFA advisor/leader/youth coordinator.
  • A letter of recommendation from an academic advisor.

Interested applicants can find the official rules and apply online by visiting their website. Submissions will be accepted until October 31, 2019, at 11:59 PM CDT and winners will be notified on or before December 6, 2019. Winners will be publicly announced no later than December 20, 2019.

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Former agriculture secretaries announce support for USMCA

Today, all former U.S. Secretaries of Agriculture since President Reagan’s Administration announced support for the United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement (USMCA).

In a letter to congressional leaders, former Secretaries John Block (Reagan), Mike Espy (Clinton), Dan Glickman (Clinton), Ann Veneman (W. Bush), Mike Johanns (W. Bush), Ed Shafer (W. Bush), and Tom Vilsack (Obama) underscored the importance of passing USMCA saying, “We need a strong and reliable trade deal with our top two customers for U.S. agriculture products. USMCA will provide certainty in the North American market for the U.S. farm sector and rural economy. We strongly support ratification of USMCA.” Following the announcement, current Ag Secretary Sonny Perdue issued this statement:

“President Trump has fulfilled a promise, which many said couldn’t be done, to renegotiate NAFTA and improve the standing of the entire American economy, including the agriculture sector,” Perdue said. “Support for USMCA crosses all political parties, specifically when it comes to the agriculture community, and I am proud to stand side by side with former agriculture secretaries who agree USMCA is good news for American farmers. I commend President Trump and Ambassador Lighthizer, for their perseverance, leadership, and hard work to get USMCA across the finish line.”

Former Secretaries Vilsack, Glickman, and Block joined Perdue at the USDA today for a news conference to reiterate their support for USMCA. You can watch the conference by visiting the USDA Facebook page.

To see the letter from the former secretaries, you can visit this site

USMCA will advance United States agricultural interests in two of the most important markets for American farmers, ranchers, and agribusinesses. This high-standard agreement builds upon our existing markets to expand United States food and agricultural exports and support food processing and rural jobs.

Canada and Mexico are our first and second largest export markets for United States food and agricultural products, totaling more than $39.7 billion food and agricultural exports in 2018. These exports support more than 325,000 American jobs.

All food and agricultural products that have zero tariffs under the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) will remain at zero tariffs. Since the original NAFTA did not eliminate all tariffs on agricultural trade between the United States and Canada, the USMCA will create new market access opportunities for United States exports to Canada of dairy, poultry, and eggs, and in exchange the United States will provide new access to Canada for some dairy, peanut, and a limited amount of sugar and sugar-containing products.

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Got real milk? Experts say children should avoid plant-based milk

According to a new study from leading health organizations, children should only drink water and real milk to get the key nutrients needed for a healthy lifestyle. Evidence indicates that, with the exception of fortified soy milk, many plant-based/non-dairy milk alternatives lack key nutrients found in cow’s milk.  

Leading medical and nutrition organizations recommend breast milk, infant formula, water, and plain milk as part of a new set of comprehensive beverage recommendations for children, outlined by age (birth through age 5). They caution against beverages that are sources of added sugars in young children’s diets, including flavored milks (e.g., chocolate, strawberry) and sugar- and low-calorie sweetened beverages, in addition to a wide variety of beverages that are on the market and targeted to children such as toddler formulas, caffeinated beverages, and plant-based/non-dairy milks (e.g., almond, rice, oat), which provide no unique nutritional value.

“Early childhood is an important time to start shaping nutrition habits and promoting healthy beverage consumption,” said Megan Lott, MPH, RD, Deputy Director of Healthy Eating Research, which convened the expert panel. “By providing caregivers, health care and early care and education providers, policymakers, and beverage industry representatives a clear set of objective, science-based recommendations for healthy drink consumption, we can use this opportunity to work together and improve the health and well-being of infants and young children throughout the United States.”

The recommendations were developed as part of an unprecedented collaboration by experts at the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics (the Academy), American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry (AAPD), American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP), and the American Heart Association (AHA) under the leadership of Healthy Eating Research (HER), a leading nutrition research organization, and with funding from the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation (RWJF).

“From the time children are born through those first few years, beverages are a significant source of calories and nutrients and can have a big impact on health long into the future,” said Richard Besser, MD, President and CEO of the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation. “Families deserve clear and consistent guidance on what their young children should drink and what they should avoid. These recommendations from our country’s leading medical and nutrition organizations will help families raise healthy children.”

The full guidelines and accompanying technical report can be found at www.healthydrinkshealthykids.org.

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