I-29 Moo University

A newsletter for dairy producers & industry ~ March 2019

FARM Version 4.0 comment period now open

By Kim Clark, Nebraska Dairy Extension Educator

The comment period for FARM version 4.0 is now open. Every three years, the National Dairy FARM program is reviewed by dairy producers, industry, cooperatives and others in the dairy industry. The proposed changes are for version 4.0 which is scheduled to go into effect January 1, 2020.

The comment period ends March 31, 2019. To submit your comments, click here.

Below is an outline of the proposed changes.

For the most part, the revisions are minor. The 4.0 Version would require:

  • Facilities have written protocols for both biosecurity and emergency action/crisis plans.
  • All ages of animals mush have a method for daily exercise, weather permitting. This is a previous standard from a previous revision.
  • 95% or more of all age classes of animals cannot have broken tails.
  • Permanent drug treatment records must be reviewed annually by the Veterinary of Record of the facility.
  • Facilities must be designed to prevent unnecessary contact with electrical currents, in essence meaning electrical equipment must be properly managed and maintained.
  • Facilities also must have adequate lighting so that care givers can observe animal behavior and conduct animal care responsibilities.

10 Simple Amenities That Will Boost Employee Morale

By Tracey Erickson, SDSU Extension Dairy Field Specialist

Within the dairy and livestock industry we spend a majority of our time focused on animal comfort and care. We know this is extremely important, we also know that it is vital to the success of our operations and is highly valued by consumers. But let me ask you this, how much emphasis are we placing on our employees and their comfort and care? Do consumers care? Is it something we should place at a higher level on our management radar?

The answer to the three questions is yes. Within agriculture a majority of the work is based around hiring blue collar labor employees. Our competition is other employers who are also hiring blue collar workers, this includes factory workers, maintenance workers, construction, the service industries, warehouses, and so on. So how can we set ourselves apart? We need to understand what these employees value. Click here to continue reading.

Farmers can improve outcomes with a few decision-making tools

By Jim Salfer, University of Minnesota Dairy Extension Educator

Farming requires making many decisions. The outcomes of your decisions often determine the success of your business. When we judge how good our decision-making is based solely on outcomes, it can be frustrating and stressful when a decision doesn't work out.

Farm managers have limited control over many factors and outcomes. Prices received, yields, feed quality and input costs are at least partially out of management’s control.

Management consultant Dennis Hoiberg believes that farmers can alleviate some mental stress by reframing their focus. Instead of focusing on the success of outcomes, something you have limited control over, change your focus to something you have more control over: continually improving your processes. Click here to continue reading.

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Workshops Presented in Spanish at Central Plains Dairy Expo

By Maristela Rovai, South Dakota State University

Every year there are several seminars presented in Spanish at the Central Plains Dairy Expo. Agriculture employees have an opportunity to learn more about relevant dairy topics and the possibility of networking with other employees while visiting the Central Plains Dairy Expo. This is a great opportunity for your employees to enjoy what the Expo has to offer in terms of novelties, interact with other professionals, listen to talks in their primary language and connect to other sources of information.

SDSU Dairy Extension will be presenting “Oxytocin and the 3 A’s: aim, applicability and advices”. The intention of this workshop is to review the various oxytocin applicability, understand doses and adverse effects. This session will be presented on Thursday, March 28, 2019, 2:00pm - 3:00pm. For more details about this session and other Spanish sessions click here.

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Don’t Forget About Heifers!

By Emily Wilmes, University of Minnesota Extension

We regularly talk about two main groups of animals on a dairy farm: calves and cows. While calves and cows are essential members of the operation, just as important are the heifers. Particularly, I’m talking about heifers that are about 5 months of age up to calving age. That is a big chunk of time and there is a lot happening in that heifer’s life. It’s important that we are providing this group with the proper environment as they grow and develop.By 5 months of age, heifers should be acclimated to a group housing environment and needing to share bunk space. An important housing consideration is providing enough space as heifers grow. Also, providing housing that can facilitate tasks such as herd health checks, breeding, and ration changes. Additionally, the amount of shelter heifers need decreases as they age. Click here to continue reading.

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Coping with Farm & Rural Stress

Farming is one of the most stressful occupations in the United States. This is particularly true for dairy farmers as they are experiencing an extended period of low milk prices.

Below are some resources available when dealing with stress.

National Suicide Prevention Hotline

Texting: Text HOME to 741741

Minnesota Farm and Rural Helpline


Ted Matthews, Rural Mental Health Counselor, no cost, no paperwork
Nebraska Rural Response Hotline

South Dakota Ag Mediation Program:

605-773-5436 or 605-280-4745

South Dakota Rural Help Line:


South Dakota Suicide Prevention Hotline


Iowa Concern Hotline & Resources


Farm Stress Packet Resources

Illinois Agriculture Mediation Program: 618-549-1200, ext. 1001

Rural Services of Indiana, Inc.: 574-299-9460

Kansas Ag Mediation Services: 800-321-3276

Missouri Agricultural Mediation Program: 573-751-5520

New York State Ag Mediation Program: 518-687-2240 or 866-669-7267

New York Farm Net: 800-547-3276

North Dakota Mediation Service: 844-642-4752 or 701-328-4158

North Dakota 211 Help Line Mental Health Association in North Dakota: 800-472-2911

North Dakota Agricultural Mediation Services: 800-642-4757 or 701-328-2061

Wisconsin Farm Center Hotline: 800-942-2474

Calendar of Events

NOTE: All event times are listed as CST.



15: Dairy Genetics Webinar - 12:00 - 12:45 pm, Online. Register Here

22: I-29 Moo University Webinar - Retro-fitting Empty Dairy Facilities for New Enterprises and Economic Considerations for Options, more details to come in March, Register at...

26: I-29 Moo University Dairy Beef Short Course - Denny Sanford Premier Center, Sioux Falls, SD. Details and Registration can be found here. Dairy Beef Short Course

26-28: Central Plains Dairy Expo - Denny Sanford Premier Center, Sioux Falls, SD For more details go to click here.


24: Hoof Care Workshop - 10:00 am -Columbus, NE; Dr. Jan Shearer will discuss lameness and hoof health and provide a demonstration. For full details and to register, visit Go.unl.edu/HoofCare

About Us

The I-29 Moo University is represented by dairy extension educators and allied partners from Iowa, Minnesota, Nebraska, North Dakota and South Dakota.