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Delaware Ag Week expands program

Peter Dazeley webinar key on computer keyboard
GOING VIRTUAL: Most of this year’s Delaware Ag Week sessions will be held virtually, with limited in-person group viewing sessions in Dover.
Northeast Notebook: Pennsylvania Dairy Summit breakouts announced; Maryland to cover DMC premiums; N.J. assistant ag secretary named.

The new year will bring something new for Delaware growers as Delaware Ag Week expands to a monthlong educational program covering everything from poultry to urban agriculture.

The programs will be delivered through a mix of live, hybrid and virtual gatherings, with local and national industry experts exploring the latest innovations in agriculture.

Earn credits for pest management, nutrient management and certified crop advising.

Hybrid sessions may be viewed via Zoom, or you can attend a group viewing at a physical location, although seating will be limited.

Read the complete schedule at

Here are some schedule highlights:

Agronomy. Hybrid with viewing at the Paradee Center in Dover. The corn session will be from 1 to 4 p.m. Jan. 11. The soybeans and small-grains session will be from 9 a.m. to noon Jan. 13.

Beef. Hybrid with viewing at the Paradee Center in Dover. The session will be from 6 to 8 p.m. Jan. 11.

Delmarva hay and pasture. Virtual sessions will be from 9 a.m. to noon Jan. 25 and Jan. 27.

Poultry. Virtual sessions will be from 1 to 3 p.m. Jan. 12 and 6 to 8 p.m. Jan. 18. The Jan. 18 session is not a repeat of Jan. 12.

Swine. Hybrid with viewing at Paradee Center in Dover. The session is from 6 to 8:30 p.m. Jan. 12.

Pennsylvania Dairy Summit breakouts announced

The 2022 Pennsylvania Dairy Summit will include 12 breakout sessions on broad industry issues and real-time herd, farm and financial management topics.

With the theme “Going for the Gold,” attendees will hear from a U.S. Olympian, panels of experienced dairy producers, experts in dairy markets and more. Put on by the Professional Dairy Managers of Pennsylvania and the Center for Dairy Excellence, the summit will take place Feb. 2-3 at the Lancaster Marriott in Lancaster, Pa.

The breakout sessions include:

  • “Controlling feed costs in today’s market,” Walt Moore, Jared Kurtz and Rainey Rosemond
  • “Protecting yourself from animal activism,” Casey Kinler, Brook Duer and Kelly Osborne-Filson, Pennsylvania State Police master trooper
  • “Predicting 2022 dairy markets,” Matt Gould
  • “Integrating robotic milking systems,” Dale and Clay Hemminger, Matt Brake and Dan McFarland 
  • “Navigating the logistics nightmare,” panel discussion featuring industry experts
  • “Who will own this when I’m gone?” Josh Kieffer
  • “Maintaining high standards with biosecurity plans,” Miquela Hanselman

Registration fees for dairy producers and all farm employees are set to be as affordable as possible. Producers can receive an additional $50 discount for each attendee from the farm. 

To register and to view the full program, visit

Maryland to cover DMC premiums

The Maryland Department of Agriculture has announced that it will continue its popular cost-share program to cover premiums for dairy farmers participating in USDA’s Dairy Margin Coverage program.

Enrollment for 2022 is now open and runs through Feb. 18 at any local USDA Farm Service Agency office. 

The state cost-share program will cover premiums for participating Maryland dairy farmers’ Tier I production in 2022 — up to 5 million pounds of milk produced — at the $9.50 margin coverage level. The department has worked closely with USDA-FSA to issue direct payments, relieving the administrative burden on farmers. 

Now in its third year, this cost-share program remains popular with more than 80% of Maryland dairy farmers enrolling in DMC. 

For more information about the program, visit the USDA website or contact your local USDA service center.

N.J. assistant ag secretary announced

Joe Atchison III of Cherry Hill, N.J., has been named assistant director of agriculture for the state. Atchison has been director of the ag department’s Division of Marketing and Development and will continue in that role, too.

“Having worked for the department of agriculture for over 16 years, Joe has a wealth of experience in department operations and has served admirably in his capacity as division director,” says Doug Fisher, agriculture secretary. “We look forward to working more with him in this leadership role.”

Atchison directs a division that handles promotion of New Jersey’s agricultural products via several programs, most notably the Jersey Fresh program; conducts Food Safety Modernization Act and other critical inspections; administers several regulatory programs, including organic and dairy registration; administers USDA Specialty Crop Block and other promotional grants; handles licensing and bonding; coordinates the New Jersey State Agricultural Convention; and oversees several equine programs, including New Jersey Sire Stakes.

“I’m honored to be named assistant secretary of agriculture and look forward to continuing to work with the secretary, the state board, the dedicated people at the department, and our state and federal partners to promote and support our farmers and advance the agricultural industry in the Garden State,” Atchison says.

He is a Rutgers University School of Business graduate, where he earned a bachelor’s degree in marketing and management.

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