Dairy farmers honored at annual program

06/10/16) AMITE CITY, La. – Even though the number of dairy farmers continues to decrease in the state, providing a program to show appreciation still draws a crowd.

The annual Florida Parishes Dairy Day, honoring the dairymen of St. Helena, Tangipahoa and Washington parishes, was held on June 9 at Darrell Sinagra’s dairy farm in Amite City.

Darrell and Cassie Sinagra welcomed the large crowd to their farm to celebrate the dairy industry in the state.

Sinagra has been in the business for 26 years and said he was roped into hosting this year’s Dairy Day.

“I asked to be the last on the list, and come to find out that I was the only one on the list,” he said.

Sinagra said the industry is in the worst shape that he’s ever seen right now.

“We have prices that are too low compared to the price of feed, fertilizer and other expenses,” he said. “It’s just hard to keep your head above the water right now.”

Sinagra said he has no plans of passing his dairy down to his children. He said he always wanted about 300 acres and about 200 head. But he said when he gets out, it’s over.

Cassie Sinagra,said it’s a tough life dairying because it is so confining, but she tries to see the bright side.

“I do have my family together, and he’s never more than a phone call away,” she said.

The dairy industry has been decreasing for the last decade, said Phil Elzer, LSU AgCenter associate vice president and program leader of animal sciences

“They need a boost, and we need to be supporting them in any way we can, with any type of event that shows we care,” Elzer said.

Elzer said the dairy research station in Franklinton will not be closing as was planned, but will be remissioned.

“We did a herd reduction. We still have 80 head that we’re milking and 80 replacement heifers, but the mission is changed from the standpoint of having more demonstrations, more extension and no production research, but more extension and teaching,” he said.

Elzer said they’ve started a couple of new courses at the School of Animal Sciences focusing on dairy.

“So there will be teaching, extension and a lot of demos for farmers to come and see what’s going on,” he said.

State Sen. Beth Mizzell, of Franklinton, was on hand to give remarks and brief the crowd on some of the legislation being tackled at the Capitol.

“We need to be watching as these tax bills are being debated,” she said. “We need to understand what is being cut in this and other industries order to cover TOPS and hospitals.”

Jennifer Duhon, with Southeast United Dairy Industry Association, Inc. (SUDIA), discussed some of the programs they are involved in with the LSU AgCenter and schools to help children.

“With our schools’ health and wellness program, we work with schools in Louisiana to introduce grant programs such as breakfast in the classroom or expanding breakfast,” she said.

Duhon said there are also programs promoting yogurt and smoothies in the cafeteria in an effort to increase dairy consumption.

The event is an opportunity to allow dairy producers to get together for fellowship, food and a good time.

This year’s program featured adult and youth dairy judging, a 4-H dairy food contest, a dairy poster contest, milk quality awards, high cow awards and herd production certificates.

Dairy Day concluded with a sponsored lunch.

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Darrell and Cassie Sinagra, hosts of the 2016 Florida Parishes Dairy Day in Amite City on June 9. (Photo by Johnny Morgan, LSU AgCenter)

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LSU AgCenter agent in Tangipahoa Parish Whitney Wallace help her daughters, Graysen and Rowen, put the finishing touches on their dessert entry in the dairy food contest at the Florida Parishes Dairy Day at Darrell and Cassie Sinagra’s farm in Amite City on June 9. (Photo by Johnny Morgan, LSU AgCenter)

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Tangipahoa Parish dairy poster winners at the Florida Parishes Dairy Day in Amite on June 9 are Luke Lirette accepting the award on behalf of Garrett Lirette, Loranger Elemantary School, fourth-grade division winner, and Chelsey Kent, Sumner High School, senior high division winner. (Photo by Johnny Morgan, LSU AgCenter)

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Three of the Milk Quality Award winners at the 2016 Florida Parishes Day in Amite City on June 9 are Jimmy Williams, Steve Williams and Paul Alford. (Photo by Johnny Morgan, LSU AgCenter)

6/10/2016 7:08:22 PM
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