​Courses start in late January


Heifers at UT East Tennessee Research and Education Center Little River Unit
Beginning in January 2014, UT Extension will be offering Master Dairy Producer training for the state’s dairy operators. Photo by D. Edlund, UTIA. Download image.

KNOXVILLE, Tenn. – Tennessee’s farms, nurseries and forests contribute more than $66 billion to the state’s economy and account for more than 337,880 jobs, but the goal is to improve those numbers.

As part of state agricultural leaders’ 10-year strategic plan to increase rural Tennessee’s capacity to produce, beginning in 2014 UT Extension will be offering Master Dairy Producer training for the state’s dairy operators. This training replaces the Tennessee Quality Milk Producer certification currently offered.

Peter Krawczel, UT Extension dairy specialist, is leading the curriculum development effort and will be presenting the training. “This training is designed to cover a wide range of production-related topics and should help producers improve their products and cultural practices,” he said.

The first educational program offered as part of Master Dairy Producer will focus on new approaches to calf and heifer management.

Training will be available as follows: Paris, January 27; Lewisburg, January 28; Cookeville, January 29; Greeneville, January 30; and Athens, January 31. Contact your county UT Extension agent for details.
The cost of attending will be $25 with lunch provided.

Subsequent programs in 2014 will focus on heat stress and transition cow management. Options for reproduction programs will be also be presented, with details to be announced at a later date.

Earning a Master Dairy Producer Certificate may also help farmers qualify for the maximum cost-share funding available through the Tennessee Department of Agriculture’s popular Tennessee Agricultural Enhancement Program (TAEP). The TAEP assists qualified producers with cost-share funds of up to 50 percent of the cost of designated equipment or construction of qualifying facilities.

Beginning in 2015, dairy producers who wish to qualify for the maximum TAEP cost share will need to participate in two of three master dairy modules annually. Dairy producers are encouraged to take advantage of continuing education opportunities in 2014, although certification won’t be required for the 50 percent cost share until 2015. More information is posted online at the TAEP website:

Additional UT Extension training will also be available for the state’s beef and goat producers, beekeepers, equine owners, loggers and nursery operators.

For additional information, producers should contact their local county UT Extension agent. Contact information for agents statewide and calendars, including course offerings, can be found online at
http://utextension.tennessee.edu.  Just click on “County & Region Offices” link on the left column to find a direct link to contact information for your county. You may also find UT Extension listed in your local phone book under the “government” section.

UT Extension provides a gateway to the University of Tennessee as the outreach unit of the Institute of Agriculture. With an office in every Tennessee county, UT Extension delivers educational programs and research-based information to citizens throughout the state. In cooperation with Tennessee State University, UT Extension works with farmers, families, youth and communities to improve lives by addressing problems and issues at the local, state and national levels.



Patricia McDaniels, UTIA Marketing and Communications, 615-835-4570, pmcdaniels@tennessee.edu