Dairy Excel: Ohio Dairy Producers continue work

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The Ohio Dairy Producers met recently at the offices of the ADA&DC Mid East.

Besides conducting the regular business meeting, board members also ratified the membership’s mail-in ballots as they voted for vacant individual producer director positions.

Board elections. Newly elected to the board were dairy producers Joel Eltzroth, (Jeffersonville) South District; Paul Broering, (St. Henry) Southwest District; and Tim Shipley, (Newark) East District.

Each, along with past member John Douglass, (Marshallville) Northeast District, was elected to fill a three-year term that will expire in 2006.

They will join the current board members whose terms were also set to expire in rotation. They are: Mike Fullenkamp, (Fort Recovery) 2004, West District; Dale Arbaugh, (Jewett) 2005, East District; Ed Pfeifer (Bucyrus) 2005, Northwest District; and Rick Conrad, (Grafton) 2004, Robert Weisgarber (Massillon) 2004, Frank Burkett, (Canal Fulton) 2005, all from the Northeast District.

DHIA appointed Paul Shirm, West Salem, as its new representative on the board.

What’s on tap. The board discussed several activities that will be priorities for the organization in the upcoming year, including:

* Participation in winter OSU Extension meetings: At least three educational meetings are being offered by OSUE and Ohio Dairy Producers during the winter to address dairy issues.

Raising Heifer Replacements is a workshop targeting already established heifer growers, as well as those that may be interested in starting.

A workshop on dairy promotion and media response will be offered, using information compiled by the American Dairy Association and Dairy Council Mid East and presented by their staff.

Manure management. In response to the increasing public concern over manure management, a dairy producer information session will feature updates on environmental regulations, EQIP fund availability, and the development of manure management plans.

The Ohio Dairy Producers are also planning involvement in both the Northern and Western Ohio Dairy Management Conferences held in February and March.

For information on the workshops contact a local extension agent or check the ODP Web site at http://putnam.osu.edu/ag/ODP.html.

* Ohio Dairy Research Fund: Once again, the Ohio Dairy Research Fund Committee will be convened to review proposals for funding.

Since 1982, contributors have distributed over $600,000 in support of dairy research and extension programs.

The committee, comprised of fund contributors, will meet shortly after the first of the year to review new proposals. Completed projects will be presented at the Spring Dairy Expo, if possible.

Annual meeting. * Spring Dairy Expo: The 2004 Expo will be held on April 1-3 at the Voinovich Center on the Ohio State Fairgrounds in Columbus.

Along with many other industry activities, Ohio Dairy Producers will hold its annual meeting on Thursday morning and host the Ohio Dairy Research Fund presentations in the afternoon.

* The Ohio State Fair: Ohio Dairy Producers have been given the opportunity to operate a dairy food stand during the Ohio State Fair as a money-making venture. A committee was formed to draw up a budget and an operational plan for the undertaking.

* 2004 Ohio Dairy Management Conference: A planning committee will meet in December to begin the preparations for the next conference in December of 2004. A representative of ODP has been invited to participate.

Guest speakers. Prior to the lunch break, attorney Ben Yale from Waynesfield, Ohio, addressed the group.

Yale represents a wide range of dairy producers in any number of states. Some of his clients include the Dairy Producers of New Mexico, Select Milk Producers, and Continental Dairy Products.

Of special interest is the fact that Mr. Yale has served as council for several dairy producers in cases against the dairy checkoff program.

Attorney’s perspective. Although he could not speak in reference to his cases, Yale was able to share a few of his observations on Ohio’s dairy industry.

He sees Ohio as having many advantages when it comes to future growth and relocations.

Ohio has abundant quantities of water and good quality feed and is located relatively close to processors, large markets, and a vast majority of the nation’s population.

He also identified several challenges that need to be addressed.

“The environment is going to drive the dairy industry through the regulations that are designed to protect it,” Yale said.

Buckeye Egg legacy. Yale also said one of Ohio’s biggest problems is the perception that has been created by the troubles surrounding Buckeye Egg.

Large livestock operations have been labeled as “corporate” or “factory farms” when, in reality, almost every dairy operation is still run by a family.

Yale suggested several areas Ohio Dairy Producer organization could aid dairy producers:

* A credit system that is more willing to work with dairy producers,;

* A means to enable dairy producers in obtaining all the information they need before they make business decisions;

* Promotion and education initiatives to assist the public in understanding the value of the dairy industry;

* A greater sense of unity and community among all dairy producers.

Labor assistance. John Wargowsky, executive director of Mid American Agriculture and Horticulture Services, also addressed the board.

Mid American is a consortium of associations, organizations and employers organized to meet the educational, regulatory compliance assistance, and labor recruiting needs of agricultural and other employers in Ohio and Indiana.

Regulatory update. Testimony had been submitted on behalf of the Ohio Dairy Producers, giving limited support for OEPA’s general permit proposal.

Ohio Farm Bureau Federation Vice President of Governmental Affairs Keith Stimpert then updated the board on current legislative issues being monitored by Ohio Farm Bureau, such as the new appropriations bill, proposed legislation to label & restrict MPCs, ethanol legislation, and ATV licensing initiatives.

The following meeting dates were set for 2004: Jan. 27 at COBA; April 1, during the Spring Dairy Expo; July 6, at ODA; and Oct. 5th, at the offices of ADA&DC Mid East.

(The author is an OSU Extension associate with the dairy industry enhancement program. Questions or comments can be sent in care of Farm and Dairy, P.O. Box 38, Salem, OH 44460.)

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