(08/03/22) FRANKLINTON, La. — The annual Florida Parishes Dairy Day recently brought out the spirit of winning in youth showing off their culinary and artistic skills, and farmers received bragging rights with high-yielding milk cows.
The event, which is held every summer, began early in the morning with young people judging dairy cows and others preparing dishes for the cookery contest at the LSU AgCenter Southeast Research Station.
“Dairy Day is the one day out of the year that the community and local agribusinesses, suppliers and veterinarians come together to honor the dairy farm families for their hard work and dedication to the dairy industry,” said station director Charlie Hutchison.
Before Dairy Day moved to the research station, it rotated among various farms in three parishes with dairy production: St. Helena, Tangipahoa and Washington.
“The dairy industry continues to decline in the state, with less than 70 active dairies statewide,” Hutchison said. “Ten years ago, there were close to 400 dairies in the state.”
He said producers are currently seeing some good milk prices, but unfortunately, feed and fertilizer costs are taking away a lot of the margin.
AgCenter economist Kurt Guidry said there are some signs that those prices could be coming down.
“We are seeing some increases in production, with some fertilizer being exported out of Russia,” he said. “We are also seeing some lower natural gas prices in Europe, which will be good for the cost of producing nitrogen fertilizer.”
Milk quality awards were presented to producers for the years 2019 to 2021 due to COVID preventing the Dairy Day programs in 2020 and 2021. The awards were sponsored by Kleinpeter Farms Dairy, Franklinton Chamber of Commerce and First Guaranty Bank. The awards are divided into platinum (highest quality), gold and silver divisions.
Platinum award winners included Barrett Null, 2019; Dale Johnson, 2021; Darrell Sinagra, 2020; S.J. Williams and Co., 2020; Thibodeaux Dairy, 2019 and 2020; Aubrey Dale Cooper, 2019, 2020 and 2021; Miller Dairy Farm Inc., 2020; Travis L. Morgan, 2019; Brock Dairy, 2019 and 2020; Henry Williams, 2021; Phillip Roberts, 2020; Bolivar Magee, 2020; Stevens Dairy, 2019; Dykes Dairy, 2019 and 2021; Kennedy and Son Dairy Farm, 2020; and Hillside Dairy, 2021.
Gold awards went to Dale Johnson, 2020; S.J. Williams and Co., 2019; Shelby Lane Miller, 2019, 2020 and 2021; Brock Dairy, 2021; Yarborough’s Dairy, 2019; Austin Casanova, 2020; Faunce Dairy, 2020; Robert Hutchinson Jr., 2020; Miller Dairy Farm Inc., 2019 and 2021; Kirby Varnado, 2019 and 2020; Travis L. Morgan, 2020 and 2021; Henry Williams, 2020; Phillip Roberts, 2019; Troy Ingram, 2019 and 2020; Gary Bond, 2020; Pope Dairy, 2020 and 2021; Kennedy and Son Dairy Farm, 2021; Pine Ridge Dairy, 2019 and 2020; and Capdeboscq Dairy, 2019.
Silver award winners were Barret Null, 2020; Dale Johnson, 2019; Darrell Sinagra, 2021; LeBlanc Dairy Farm, 2019, 2020 and 2021; S.J. Williams and Co., 2021; Bankston Udderwise Dairy, 2019; Charles M. Wagner, 2019; John Gary Ingraffia Dairy, 2019; Talbert Crowe, 2021; Kirby Varnado, 2021; Thibodeaux Dairy, 2021; George A. Miller, 2019 and 2020; Pine Ridge Dairy, 2021; Capdeboscq Dairy, 2020; Darrell S. Jones Dairy, 2019; Wayne and Kristy Riley, 2020 and 2021; Troy Ingram, 2021; Brent Duncan, 2019 and 2020; Gary Bond, 2021; Kendall Temples, 2020 and 2021; Pope Dairy, 2019; and Shirley and Steven Branch, 2020.
Dairy cookery winners by division included Jacob Hutchison, Livingston Parish, appetizer; Francesca Hanna, Tangipahoa Parish, salad; Landry Haydel, Tangipahoa Parish, dessert; and Madox Forrest, Tangipahoa Parish, main dish.
Dairy poster winners from Tangipahoa Parish were Sophia Coulon, Loranger Middle School; Francesca Hanna, Ponchatoula Junior High School; and Joseph Bigelow, Loranger High School.
Also, in the state poster contest, Sophia Coulon was given an honorable mention in Division I, Francesca Hanna won third place in Division II and Joseph Bigelow earned an honorable mention in Division III.
In the youth dairy judging competition, Ethan Schilling, of Washington Parish, won first place; Madox Forrest, of Washington Parish, won second place; and Callie Rae Faunce, of Tangipahoa Parish, won third place.
In the adult division, Camry Martin, of Tangipahoa Parish, won first place; Brandi Faunce, of Tangipahoa Parish, won second place; and Darrell Varnado, of Washington Parish, won third place.
High cow milk production (HCMP) awards go to cows from the Kirby Varnado Dairy Farm in Tangipahoa for the years 2019 and 2021. For St. Helena Parish for 2019 to 2021, the HCMP awards go to cows in the herd of Pine Ridge Dairy. For Washington Parish in 2019, the HCMP award goes to a cow in the dairy herd of Mack Brown. For 2020 and 2021, the HCMP goes to cows at the Southeast Research Station.
High herd production awards are bestowed to dairy farms when they have a rolling herd average (RHA) of 1,000 pounds greater than their previous high RHA. In 2019, the Southeast Research Station dairy herd joined the 26,000-pound RHA club. Also in 2019, the Ralph and Randy Wilson Dairy along with the Talbert Crowe Dairy joined the 15,000-pound RHA club. In 2019, the Pine Ridge Dairy joined the 20,000-pound club.
Dairy poster winners at this year’s Dairy Day held at the LSU AgCenter Southeast Research Station all hail from Tangipahoa Parish. The winner in the elementary division was Sophia Coulon from Loranger Middle School; in the junior high division, Francesca Hanna from Ponchatoula Junior High; and, not pictured, the senior high division winner, Joseph Bigelow from Loranger High School. Photo by Johnny Morgan/LSU AgCenter
St. Helena Parish dairyman Larry Miller, left, receives his Milk Quality Award from Mike Price, of Kleinpeter Farms Dairy, at this year’s Dairy Day held at the LSU AgCenter Southeast Research Station. Winners of the Quality Milk Awards were presented their plaques for the 2019-to-2021 period due to COVID restrictions canceling past events. The 2022 Dairy Day was held at the LSU AgCenter Southeast Research Station on June 15. Photo by Johnny Morgan/LSU AgCenter