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New Zealand protesters demand stop to dairy farm development

Protesters tried to storm the office of a Dunedin accountant yesterday demanding he stop his plans for a large dairy farm development in the Mackenzie Basin.

About 100 environmental activists from Greenpeace and Oil Free Otago were joined by members of the public as they marched up Stuart St to the office of Dunedin accountant Murray Valentine, who plans to build a 4500ha dairy farm at Simon’s Pass near Twizel.

Mr Valentine was not in the building and his office in an building on the corner of Smith and Stuart St was locked when the protesters arrived.

A petition calling on him to stop his plans was left at the office.

Earlier on the protesters gathered in the Octagon to denounce the plans which they say will destroy the ecological and environmental habitat of the area.


New Zealand dairy farmer fined $57,000 for dairy pollution

An Ōtorohanga farmer has been convicted and fined a total of $57,000 for discharging dairy effluent into the environment. This hefty fine comes within a week of a $41,000 fine imposed on a Reporoa farmer, also for dairy pollution.

Both fines have come about as a result of Waikato Regional Council carrying out prosecutions under the Resource Management Act.

In the most recent case, Judge Melanie Harland sentenced farmer Gary Blackler in the Hamilton District Court. Judge Harland noted that the RMA “has been in place for 27 years”, and “simply put, there has been ample time for farmers in this region to get to grips with the rules”.

In September last year, the council was alerted by a member of the public to a usually clear stream running green and smelling of effluent. Council incident response staff were able to track the contaminated stream some distance to the Blackler property, finding two separate sources of contamination to the stream.

An abatement notice was issued to the farmer and a further inspection carried out in November. This inspection also found a significant area of ponded effluent that was a risk to groundwater.

The council’s investigations and incident response manager, Patrick Lynch, said: “We are very grateful to the person who contacted the council with accurate and timely information about the stream. This enabled us to respond promptly and track the source of the contamination.

“Waikato Regional Council takes breaches of the RMA very seriously and will use all of the regulatory tools available to us to bring about positive behaviour change. For those few farmers who continue to let their own industry down, this fine sends a very clear message that unlawful effluent discharges into the environment will not be tolerated.”

Source: Scoop

What’s behind the government’s unprecedented move to buy $50M in milk

The Trump administration will extend billions in “temporary relief aid” to farmers who have been impacted by an ongoing trade fight with China and other nations.

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The move, which includes several types of assistance, could strengthen Trump’s political position ahead of his trade negotiations with European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker on Wednesday.

The U.S. Department of Agriculture said the agency will authorize $12 billion in programs to provide payments to producers impacted by retaliatory tariffs, including soybeans, corn, wheat and dairy farmers, implement a food purchase program to buy surplus products, and authorize a program to develop new export markets for farm products.

The USDA said in a press release the $12 billion is in line to offset the estimated $11 billion impact of the retaliatory tariffs.

“The actions today are a firm statement that other nations cannot bully our agricultural producers to force the United States to cave in,” Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue told reporters. “This administration will not stand by while our hard-working agricultural producers bear the brunt of unfriendly and illegal tariffs.”

President Trump urged patience on the trade spat.

“Just be a little patient. They are all aiming for anybody who likes me,” Trump told the crowd at the Veterans of Foreign Wars national convention in Kansas City on Tuesday as he spoke of foreign countries who have imposed retaliatory tariffs that impact Trump’s base.

The administration is keenly aware of the backlash in some Republican circles over the tariffs on steel, aluminum and $34 billion worth in Chinese imports. In response, China, Canada and the European Union have already hit back with their own tariffs – some of which have caused companies like motorcycle manufacturer Harley-Davidson to move production overseas.

House Speaker Paul Ryan said he understood Trump’s plan and called his goal a “good one” but ultimately said House Republicans do not agree with the practice.

PHOTO: Syngenta Group Co. NK Soybeans are harvested with a Case IH combine harvester near Princeton, Ill., Sept. 29, 2016, this this file photo.Daniel Acker/Bloomberg via Getty Images, FILE
Syngenta Group Co. NK Soybeans are harvested with a Case IH combine harvester near Princeton, Ill., Sept. 29, 2016, this this file photo.

“I think there are better tools that we can use to hold abusers of trade law and people whose countries perpetuate unfair trade practices, [and] get them to play fairly,” Ryan said on Tuesday.

Ryan’s comments come just hours after Trump tweeted that tariffs were the “greatest” and viewed America as a “‘piggy bank” that was being “robbed.”

Tariffs are the greatest! Either a country which has treated the United States unfairly on Trade negotiates a fair deal, or it gets hit with Tariffs. It’s as simple as that – and everybody’s talking! Remember, we are the “piggy bank” that’s being robbed. All will be Great!

— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) July 24, 2018

A senior European official said Juncker will meet with Trump on Wednesday equipped with offers to de-escalate the trade war, while convincing him to hold off on car tariffs.

Juncker will suggest eliminating tariffs across the board on cars, in a multilateral trade agreement that includes all car-manufacturing countries to comply with the World Trade Organization.

The other more feasible offer from the Europeans is a limited free trade agreement between the U.S. and EU on industrial goods including cars, according to the official.

Currently, the European Union places a 10 percent tariff on U.S. car imports, while the US has a 2.5 percent tariff on European cars. When the conditions were struck, the U.S. favored a 25 percent tariff on European trucks and SUVs.

But the senior European official admitted that even lowering or eliminating tariffs on steel, aluminum, cars and agricultural products won’t significantly address the more $100 billion trade deficit the U.S. has with the EU.

“If the problem is the deficit, then we can’t fix it,” the official said.

Sen. Ben Sasse, R-Neb., who hails from an agriculture-heavy state and has criticized Trump’s approach called the plan “gold crutches.”

“This trade war is cutting the legs out from under farmers and White House’s ‘plan’ is to spend $12 billion on gold crutches. America’s farmers don’t want to be paid to lose – they want to win by feeding the world,” Sasse said in a statement. “This administration’s tariffs and bailouts aren’t going to make America great again, they’re just going to make it 1929 again.”

House Minority Whip Steny Hoyer said Tuesday that Trump’s tariff policies were not “well-thought-out” and the effects were a “mixed bag” of positive and negative effects. The No. 2-ranked House Democrat says he is pleased jobs will be created but stressed the financial impacts U.S. farmers face.

PHOTO: Farmer Chris Crosskno watches as soy beans are loaded into his truck, Oct. 11, 2017, at his farm near Denton, Mo.J.B. Forbes/St. Louis Post-Dispatch/TNS via Getty Images, FILE
Farmer Chris Crosskno watches as soy beans are loaded into his truck, Oct. 11, 2017, at his farm near Denton, Mo.

“I’m pleased that certain aspects of his policies have a positive effect but there also have been a lot of negative effects,” Hoyer, D-Md., said. “The aspect of reinvigorating our steel industry is a good objective, but the way the that should have been done is with targeted actions, not scattershot actions. Scattershot actions which adversely affected our trade relations throughout the world.”

The administration also sought to signal that they have the best interests of farmers in mind.

Purdue was recently photographed wearing a hat reading “Make Our Farmers Great Again” a seeming play on Trump’s slogan “Make America Great Again.” Trump wore a similar hat at an event on Monday highlighting American-made goods.

“We’ll make it up to them. And, in the end, they’re going to be much stronger than they are right now,” Trump said of farmers back on April 9th after China threatened tariffs on pork and soybeans in retaliating against US tariffs.

But Farmers for Free Trade, a bipartisan group that works for trade policies that benefit farmers, said “farmers need contracts, not compensation, so they can create stability and plan for the future.”

“This proposed action would only be a short-term attempt at masking the long-term damage caused by tariffs,” the group’s Executive Director Brian Kuehl said in a statement. “Farmers can and do weather many storms, but this economic cyclone of tariffs is creating long-term, irreversible damage to the heartland.”


Firefighters from 4 counties battle fire at Michigan dairy farm

Authorities battle a fire at a dairy farm near the Clinton/Ionia county line on Tuesday, Aug. 14, 2018.

Authorities will be at a dairy farm for several days after a fire broke out Tuesday.

It started around 9 a.m. at a dairy farm in the 3800 block of North Hubbarston Road near the intersection of Clintonia and Colony roads at the Clinton/Ionia county line.

The Ronald Township Fire Department said a barn with around 6,000 large straw bales inside caught fire. 

Ionia County dispatchers told 24 Hour News 8 that several departments are still on scene Wednesday morning. Authorities will stay for several days as the fire continues to rekindle and burn.

There are no reports of injuries and no roads are closed.

Dozens of fire departments from Clinton, Ionia, Gratiot and Montcalm counties assisted in battling the blaze. 


Rising consumer demand benefits dairy farmers

The growing market pull comes in the wake of lower prices and the face of trade uncertainty

The first half of 2018 has brought positive signs for dairy farmers but it’s hard to predict what the rest of the year will bring, says Farm Credit Canada.

Butterfat production increased six per cent year over year to the end of April, bringing higher total revenues to producers even with a lower milk price, says J.P. Gervais, FCC’s chief agriculture economist. However, international skim milk powder prices remain at historical lows, showing little upside for the rest of 2018.

“The Canadian milk price will be roughly in line with the 2017 average price which, combined with growing Canadian production volumes, yield a favourable outlook for Canadian dairy profits,” he said.

While the average milk price for the first three months of this year was as much as three per cent lower than the 2017 average, he said, “The increase in the butter support price effective Sept. 1 will lift the milk price paid to producers.

“Butter stocks have steadily increased since mid-2015 and reached 43,000 tonnes in May, exceeding the industry target of 35,000 tonnes,” he said.

Production cutbacks in the second half of 2018 will help to better align supply with market requirements. “They should help sustain a higher milk price, although it’s difficult to predict price patterns without knowing how the pace of consumption growth will compare to changes in actual milk production.”

Production costs were three per cent to four per cent higher year over year in the first half of 2018 mostly due to higher feed costs, energy prices and interest expenses, he said. However, feed grain prices are projected lower for the second half of 2018.

Retail dairy prices fell on average by 0.5 per cent between June 2017 and June 2018 while butter and cheese prices declined by four per cent and two per cent respectively, he said. “That softness helped improve dairy’s pricing relative to many foods — overall inflation in Canada climbed 2.5 per cent and food inflation increased 1.4 per cent at the same time.”

Demand for dairy products rose during that period with cheese and yogurt con­sumption growing between two per cent and four per cent in the first three months of 2018. The fluid milk market is holding steady and butter demand is still expanding, with over four per cent annual growth.

On the cost side, interest rates slowly trended up while the loonie hovered in the US$0.78 range, he said. Global market forces played a big part in Canadian competitiveness and the profitability of our agricultural sectors in 2018 to date.”

Among the factors affecting the dairy sector are the industry’s continued investment in processing capacity to market innovative products, contributing to raise the demand for milk, an uncertain global trade environment, the uncertain future of the NAFTA negotiations, the not fully complete status of the Canada-Europe free trade deal and Canada’s unsettled status in the Pacific free trade deal.

Interest costs could stabilize because the Bank of Canada is unlikely to raise its interest rates because of the pressure on Canadian exports caused by the international trade tensions, which are holding down the loonie’s value.


Source: Manitoba Co-operator

World Dairy Expo to Host Inaugural Showmanship Judges Clinic

World Dairy Expo is pleased to announce the addition of a Showmanship Judges Clinic to its educational programs. Open to showmanship judges of all skill levels and youth dairy project leaders, the clinic will take place from 2:00 p.m. to 4:00 p.m. on Monday, October 1 in the Coliseum at the Alliant Energy Center.

This international clinic will cover the showmanship guidelines developed by the Purebred Dairy Cattle Association to improve consistency in contests across North America. Led by 2017 WDE Showmanship Judge, David Crack of Richmond, Quebec, Canada, the workshop will include a mock contest. Free for all participants, clinic registration is available at

“Showmanship is one of the most important dairy youth events that youth can participate in as it teaches life skills such as responsibility, poise, precision and learning. It is our responsibility, as youth leaders and judges, to know the guidelines and expectations, so that when we judge a show, we are giving youth the very best experience,” remarks Katie Coyne, WDE Youth Fitting & Showmanship Contest Superintendent.

Meanwhile, four judges have been selected for the 2018 WDE Youth Fitting and Youth Showmanship Contests. These individuals will evaluate contestants from around the globe on Sunday, September 30 at 10:00 a.m. in the Sale Pavilion and Thursday, October 4 at 6:00 p.m. in the Coliseum, respectively.

Judging the 2018 WDE Youth Fitting and Youth Showmanship Contests are:

Youth Fitting Contest
Tyler Reynolds, Feed Manager at Reyncrest Farms, Corfu, N.Y. 

Youth Showmanship Contest
            Junior Division: Curtis McNeil, Owner of Heather Holme Holsteins, Goderich, Ontario, Canada
            Intermediate Division: Jamie Howard, EastGen Regional Sales Manager for Western Ontario, 
                                                   Burgessville, Ontario, Canada
            Senior Division: Kelly Reynolds, New York Holstein Association Executive Manager, Corfu, N.Y.

Open to any young dairy enthusiast ages 16-21 and 9-21, respectively, Expo Youth Fitting and Youth Showmanship Contest participants are not required to exhibit in one of the WDE breed shows to qualify. However, to be eligible, contestants must use an animal that will be shown or sold at Expo in 2018. Complete contest details and registration forms are available in the Expo Premium Book or on the WDE website.


Vytelle™ Introduced as New Company Name for Cogent IVF

New name sets future for forward-thinking company vision, focused on vitality and progression of livestock reproduction

Vytelle was introduced today as the new company name for the business formerly known as Cogent® IVF. Vytelle (pronounced vy-tel-ee) comes from the bold union of VITAL, a powerful word denoting “essential to reproductive success” and the more feminine word ELLE, Greek for “sunray.” Symbolically, the two words come together to create new life in the form of Vytelle, a unique descriptor for a visionary brand born out of vitality, connectivity and positivity.

“This is a big step forward for our organization and our role in the future of livestock reproductive technology,” says Bruno Sanches, Chief Operating Officer of Vytelle. “This brand platform will allow us to continue to deliver a forward-focused promise to our technology licensees and their customers across the United States.”

Vytelle is highly focused on bringing genetic advancement to commercial animals with a deeper driving purpose of implementing technology to produce more protein for the world. Vytelle provides multiple differentiators in the marketplace, including a unique system for collecting oocytes without the use of hormonal stimulation from donor females, modified production protocols using serum-free culture media and unique freezing techniques that increase the success of post-thaw pregnancy initiation and sustained pregnancies.

Cogent IVF was founded in 2015 as a subsidiary of Cogent Breeding Ltd. In the fall of 2017, Wheatsheaf® Group sold a majority interest in Cogent Breeding Ltd. to ST Genetics, based in Texas. Prior to the acquisition Cogent IVF was transferred into Wheatsheaf Group ownership and has operated as an independent Wheatsheaf company, representing a strategic investment by the group into the bovine sector. This name change reinforces our commitment to advancing genetics, business and life.

“Even as we move forward as Vytelle, one thing that won’t change is the core of our business—the people, service and technology that is associated with Cogent IVF,” explains Sanches. “The team at Cogent IVF will remain the same under the Vytelle name with the same mission to Advance Genetics. Business. Life.”


USDA rolls out new dairy insurance plan

Sign-up for the revenue protection plan, which will function similarly to crop insurance policies, opens Oct. 9.

USDA Risk Management Agency on Wednesday announced a new insurance plan for dairy producers that insures against unexpected declines in quarterly milk sales.

Sign-ups for the new Dairy Revenue Protection plan (Dairy-RP) begins Oct. 9, with the first available coverage starting the first quarter of 2019.

Dairy-RP was developed by American Farm Bureau Federation, American Farm Bureau Insurance Services and other collaborators and was approved by the Federal Crop Insurance Corp., John Newton, AFBF director of market intelligence told Capital Press in a recent interview.

The insurance plan is different from other USDA risk programs for dairy, which focus on income over the cost of feed and don’t directly manage revenue risk. It provides insurance for the difference between the final revenue guarantee selected by producers and actual milk revenue if prices fall.

It will function similar to crop revenue protection policies in that the revenue guarantee would be based on futures prices, expected production and market-implied risks, Newton said.

A dairy producer can decide the value of milk protected either based on a combination of Class III and Class IV milk prices or component milk prices for butterfat, protein and other solids.

He would choose the amount of milk production to cover, the level of revenue coverage to insure (from 70 percent to 95 percent) and which quarterly contracts he wants to cover.

The expected revenue is based on futures prices for milk and dairy commodities and the amount of covered milk production elected by the dairy producer. The covered milk production is indexed to the state or region where the dairy producer is located.

The actual ending milk or component values are based on the monthly average prices announced by USDA Agricultural Marketing Service. Milk yields are based on USDA National Agricultural Statistics Service monthly milk production report.

Like other crop insurance products, a premium subsidy is available and is based on the coverage level selected. The subsidy would range from 59 percent of the premium for 70 percent revenue coverage to 44 percent for 95 percent revenue coverage.

On Wednesday, Newton said the final plan is the same as the product developed by American Farm Bureau Federation and Insurance Services.

Preliminary analyses indicate a policy covering 90 percent of milk revenue could cost 5 cents to 40 cents per hundredweight of milk, depending on the quarter of the year covered and other policy parameters, he said in an earlier summary of Dairy-RP.

Participating producers are not precluded from participation in the USDA’s Margin Protection Plan. They are also not precluded from participating in USDA’s Livestock Gross Margin for Dairy program, but only on policy (either Dairy-RP or LGM-Dairy) can have endorsements in effect for the quarterly insurance period.

Dairy-RP only provides revenue insurance and does not insure against the death, other loss or destruction of dairy cattle or any other loss or damage.


Source: Capital Press

Bloomer dairy farm sues Cornell electric company

A group of Bloomer dairy farmers is suing Cornell-based Chippewa Valley Electric Cooperative, claiming that stray voltage from the cooperative’s equipment is harming the dairy herd.

The lawsuit was brought by LaGesse Dairy Farms. Thomas C., Catherine J. and Deanne M. LaGesse and Conrad Willi, all of Bloomer.

Stray voltage levels are small degrees of voltage traveling through parts of livestock buildings or equipment, according to a 2010 report from the nonprofit Midwest Rural Energy Council.

Farmers may find stray voltage when animals are reluctant to touch or go near part of a barn or piece of equipment, or refuse to drink from certain containers, according to the MREC report.

Animals can receive a tiny electric shock if the stray voltage levels are high enough, according to the MREC.

The cooperative’s stray voltage levels caused “decreased milk production, injury and damage to the dairy herd … lost profits and income (and) incurred veterinary and other expenses,” according to the lawsuit.

The cooperative was negligent in “construction and maintenance” of equipment and did not warn LaGesse Dairy Farms and others of stray voltage, according to the lawsuit.

The LaGesse farm is asking for damages, costs, disbursements and attorney’s fees.

The cooperative denies the claims in the lawsuit, according to a court filing from its attorney Rhea Myers of Wheeler, Van Sickle and Anderson, S.C. of Madison.

“Any damage is due to the plaintiff’s fault,” Myers wrote in a court document.

The LaGesse farm failed to “provide timely notice of their claims, allegations and/or alleged damages” in time for the cooperative to investigate, Myers wrote.

The lawsuit was moved to Chippewa County from Taylor County Monday.

CVEC resides and does “substantial business” in Chippewa County, and the LaGesse farm is also in Chippewa County, according to a court filing from the cooperative.

The LaGesse farm protested the move, saying a Taylor County court would be more likely to find an “unbiased jury pool.”

Federated Rural Electric Insurance Exchange was also named as a defendant in the lawsuit.

As of Tuesday evening, no court date in Chippewa County has been set.


Oat milk is so hot right now and edging out soy and almond milk

A selection of lattes from Coffee for Sasquatch in Los Angeles that use milk alternatives such as soy, oat, almond and macadamia.(Photo: Sandy Hooper)

As I squeezed the remaining liquid out of my cheesecloth filled with blended oats and water into a glass and poured my freshly made vegan oat milk into my coffee, my colleagues avoided making eye contact with me in the kitchen. I was embarrassed to be eschewing the office creamer for a nondairy, oat alternative. 

But I’m not the only one doing it. The trend of using liquefied oats in lattes has quickly become more vogue than using almond milk, which already outshone soy milk as the hip, health-conscious way to drink creamy espresso.

Oat milk is hot right now, led by the U.S. arrival of Swedish company Oatly. The company, which was formed in the early ’90s, brought its oat drink to the states starting at Intelligentsia coffee shops last year. Now the gluten-free and sugar-free product is available in upwards of 2,200 coffee shops and 1,000 grocery stores across the country from Seattle to Northwest Arkansas and Brooklyn, says Oatly’s general manager Mike Messersmith.

Starbucks started offering oat milk in Europe this year but has yet to bring it to America. Meanwhile, Oatly is looking to expand to more shops in the Southeast U.S.

“(Customers) get angry and won’t come in if we don’t have oat milk,” says Andrew Robbins, the assistant manager at West Hollywood spot Coffee for Sasquatch, which opened last October with a menu that includes Oatly’s oat drink. “Most times if I’m getting a phone call, it’s over whether we have Wi-Fi, making a to-go order or asking about oat milk.”

Messersmith knows that his “really small company” is not meeting demand. “We’ve been doing this for about a year and a half in the U.S., and the growth has been phenomenal,” he says. “Candidly, faster and more significant than we could even hope for. The rate of adoption exceeded our expectations.”

Oatly didn’t come to America with a major marketing plan; it was presented to baristas looking for an alternative to cow’s milk that is creamy, latte-art-capable, healthy and sustainable. Almond milk and soy milk were no longer fitting the bill.

The soy milk controversy

As for soy, the high-protein nondairy milk has been available at coffee chains from Dunkin’ Donuts to The Coffee Bean & Tea Leaf for more than a decade, but in the past few years it’s been taken off many baristas’ healthy list.

Food and Drug Administration Commissioner Scott Gottlieb mentioned an extreme soy case in a statement last month, when he was addressing how the FDA is considering dropping the word “milk” as a way to identify nondairy liquids.

“There has … been a case report of a toddler being diagnosed with rickets, a disease caused by vitamin D deficiency, after parents used a soy-based alternative to cow’s milk,” Gottlieb said, without getting into specifics.

Soy milk has quickly waned in popular opinion compared with Oatly’s oat drink – a vegan alternative that promises no GMOs and, as the website announces, a sustainable manufacturing process.

Almond milk’s challenges

It’s that last factor that likely has helped oat milk eclipse almond milk, a drink that requires much more water to make and is largely produced in California. Although almond milk rose in popularity in 2013 with chains like Peet’s Coffee introducing the option, in 2015, almonds became something of a scapegoat for the California drought.

So despite researchers saying in the Journal of Food Science and Technology last year that “in a few cases, (almond milk) was found to be even better than the generally followed alternatives like soy-based meals and protein hydrolysate formula,” almond milk is no longer the hot nondairy coffee creamer.

How to get, or make, oat milk

Oat milk is in, and it’s mostly supplied by Oatly – though brands including Pacific Foods and Elmhurst offer versions, too. Most coffee shops charge an extra dollar for the specialty option, which Oatly sells online for $25 per six-pack of 32 oz. cartons, when it’s in stock. 

Don’t have access to a specialty coffee shop or grocery store that sells oat milk yet? You can make it at home by combining water and oats in a blender, then squeezing the liquid mixture through a cheesecloth. Add sweetener if you desire.

My homemade oat milk tasted like liquid cardboard before I poured it into coffee and added vanilla and cinnamon. But as part of a hot drink, it was shockingly tasty and smooth. I’ve already convinced friends to adopt my wholesome new habit.


Milk in bottles is not just about ‘the good old days’ in Sydney Australia

You don’t have to be an old fogey to remember when milk came in bottles, but you do need a memory that stretches back to the last century: milk bottles started to be replaced by cartons in the early 1970s when supermarkets took over from the milkman, and by the late 1980s they were just about history.

But milk bottles will be history no more if Timboon dairy farmer Simon Schulz has any say in the matter.

For the past nine months Schulz has trialled selling his organic, unhomogenised milk in glass bottles at farmers markets around Melbourne. And people want it: he often sells out, even at $3.50 for a one-litre bottle plus a $2 deposit.

Now Schulz has launched a crowd-funding campaign to raise $60,000 so he can install a bottling line at the dairy, with the idea of increasing production to 10,000 bottles a week.

That would make only a small dent in the estimated 2 billion plastic milk containers Australians discard each year, but Schulz hopes selling his milk in glass will inspire other farmers to do the same.

Milk in glass bottles is a lovely idea, and not just for the nostalgia value: glass is non-reactive, so it’s perfect for keeping foodstuffs pure (unlike plastic, which, Schulz says, infuses milk with unpleasant flavours).

Milk bottles are not like other bottles: they give milk a feeling of being real that’s unlike the processed foodstuffs that come in cartons. That might look like marketing, but it’s also symbolism and storytelling.

Bottles are reusable and glass is recyclable: anything that shakes us out of our use-it-once-then-chuck-it-away mindset has to be worthwhile.

OK, you say, it’s all right for people in the inner-city who live near a farmers market or a food store to get their milk in bottles, but what about the millions who shop at supermarkets?

Supplying them with milk in bottles a la Simon Schulz would take thousands of dairy farmers or small co-operatives around the country bottling their milk rather than feeding it into the production stream that ends up in plastic containers in the fridges at Aldi, Coles and Woolworths: a huge change in how we make and sell milk.

Plastic bottles are cheap to manufacture, light to transport and convenient for consumers: when they’re empty, they go into the yellow bin. Could we replace 2 billion of them with glass bottles that people would have to take back to the shops? I don’t know how to do the maths, but the answer sounds like several hundred million milk bottles. That would take some scaling up and taking back.

If selling homogenised milk in plastic containers seems like the most practical and convenient way to do it, that’s partly because we are used to thinking that the way things are now are the way things have to be, and partly because “practicality” and “convenience” are defined by industrial methods of making and selling food.

But Simon Schulz’s milk in glass bottles – with the cream floating on the top – invites us to think again.

Source: The Sydney Morning Herald

Bachman Joins WDE as Trade Show Coordinator

World Dairy Expo is pleased to welcome Becky Bachman to the staff as Trade Show Coordinator. Bachman’s responsibilities include assisting with all aspects of sponsorship and Trade Show management, from corresponding with past, present and prospective exhibitors, to floor plan design and sponsor deliverables.

Bachman joins the WDE team with first-hand experience as a Trade Show exhibitor at the annual event through a previous role with Fabick Cat. For more than a decade, she planned, promoted and executed the company’s participation in up to thirty trade shows per year, while also planning grand opening events and annual open houses. Most recently, Bachman has worked as the Event Marketing Manager with Sonic Foundry in Madison, Wis. where she continued to hone her event planning skills.

“Becky brings to WDE first-hand experience participating in trade shows at a national and international level,” says Scott Bentley, WDE General Manager. “She is acutely aware of the importance of generating impactful show leads for the exhibiting companies, and the role the event and venue play in ensuring a successful trade show. She is an experienced team player who will work effectively with the staff, leadership, sponsors and commercial exhibitors to ensure that World Dairy Expo remains the world’s finest dairy trade show.”

Wisconsin’s old dairy barns are becoming its trendiest wedding venues

Newlyweds Kevin and Maggie Krug share their first dance at Eron’s Event Barn in Stevens Point.(Photo: Chris Kohley/Milwaukee Journal Sentinel)

When Kevin and Maggie Krug started planning their wedding several months ago, they knew they wanted to get married in a barn.  

“We like the rustic theme,” Maggie Krug said. “It seems like every wedding you see on Pinterest with the burlap and the lace and the baby breath and Mason jars. So why not just take it to the next level and have it in a barn instead of a banquet hall?”

The Krugs are part of a fast-growing number of couples who are choosing to celebrate their wedding or their reception — or both — in renovated or converted barns. The setting allows couples to be as casual and creative as they want, personalize their event, and take advantage of nature as a backdrop and a roof in case of inclement weather.

Last year, 15 percent of American couples held their wedding reception at a barn or farm, up from just 2 percent in 2009, according to The Knot’s annual wedding survey. 

Meanwhile, the number of couples choosing to hold their wedding reception in a banquet hall dropped from 27 percent to 17 percent in that time frame. 

“We can easily say this is a legitimate social and business trend,” said Steve Nagy, owner of Homestead Meadows, a farm and event barn near Appleton. 

The result is new life for old dairy barns in Wisconsin’s countryside. Farm owners are finding they can get a second income, and in some cases even outside investors are coming in to do renovations and meet the demand.

“When we first started we didn’t have to do any marketing,” said Lorin Humphrey, who opened The Enchanted Barn in Hillsdale in 2004. “People who were looking for this type of venue kind of had nowhere else to go.”

Now the Wisconsin Agricultural Tourism Association says Wisconsin has at least 150 “event barns.” 

Looking for something different

The majority of barns already are booking weddings for two years from now; some say they are almost completely booked through 2020.

Couples say they pick these venues for the picturesque views, the convenience of having the ceremony, reception and dance at one location, and the freedom to make their vision come to life on the blank wooden walls of the barn. 

But event barn owners and couples say overall this is part of a cultural shift toward more casual weddings as people search for unique experiences.

“It’s not just another wedding at the hotel that six of your friends have had weddings at,” Maggie Krug said.

The Krugs, who reside in the village of Vesper, were married at Eron’s Event Barn outside nearby Stevens Point on July 14. At their wedding, drinks were served in plastic cups with the couple’s initials, and guests wrote messages on a wooden sign instead of in a guestbook. 

The decorations were simple. Baby’s breath in Mason jars replaced elaborate centerpieces. Fairy lights were strung around the wooden beams as an extra touch. 

Kevin and Maggie are both firefighters, so the wedding party arrived by firetruck. 

“Having our wedding in a barn was unique in the way that we got to truly set the mood for our guests,” Maggie Krug said. “Like we got to bring our firetrucks there. There are so few venues that would have allowed such equipment on their grounds.”

Many other couples also want to showcase their personality at their wedding. 

“We really appeal to the DIY (do-it-yourself) brides who want to design their wedding,” said Melissa Eron, who owns Eron’s Event Barn barn with her husband, John.

At other barn weddings, carefully mismatched plates replace fancy china, and dinner could be artisan pizza or barbecue. If the weather is nice, guests can take a break from dancing to play yard games, and the evening may end roasting s’mores around a fire.

“Every wedding here is different,” Melissa Eron said.  “There’s different decorations, different table layout, different people.”

Each barn is different too. Eron’s Event Barn has modern amenities such as air conditioning, heat and flushable toilets. Other barns do not. 

“Many brides want super rustic,” John Eron said. “Having A/C is not as big of an advantage as you may think.”

Concerns over licensing, codes

The blossoming business is not without some concerns and controversy.

Some wedding websites caution brides to make sure their dream barn venue is safe and won’t be shut down before their big day. There are fears that old barns could collapse under the weight of dancing guests, injuries could be easy (think rusted nails and uneven boards), and fire can spread quickly without proper renovations and safety precautions. They may not be handicapped accessible and may not meet up-to-date building codes.

 “There are big engineering differences between a banquet hall and an old barn,” John Eron said.

Guidelines released in 2015 from the Wisconsin Department of Safety and Professional Services require repurposed agriculture facilities used as public buildings to be brought into compliance with the state’s commercial building code. 

The guidelines also state barn owners should work with local municipalities on other requirements such as zoning and licenses. 

The guidelines do not require agriculture venues used for private purposes to meet the commercial building code, which provides a loophole for some barn owners. 

Weddings are considered private events, and the barn is private property. Critics say barn owners should meet the building code regardless, but other barn owners say the extra regulations would hurt business.

Traditional wedding venues and their advocates say this gray area is not only unsafe but also unfair.

“We’ve created this tremendous disadvantage to licensed businesses like this,” said Scott Stenger, a lobbyist for the Tavern League of Wisconsin.  

The majority of local municipalities do not require barns to have a liquor license or use licensed bartenders, a fact that Stenger believes many couples do not understand. 

“The public has an expectation that when they go to these events that the food will be safe and that there will be licensed bartenders, but that’s not the case,” Stenger said.

Several bills relating to event barns have come before the state legislature in recent years, but they did not pass. One required event barns to have liquor licenses and another outlined safety requirements.

Barn owners suggest Stenger’s concerns are a smokescreen. Nagy said event barns are taking enough safety precautions and noted that there haven’t been any accidents at these venues for decades.

“If you owned a traditional banquet hall and business was way down, then naturally you would be looking for ways to bite the competition,” Nagy said.

Creating other revenue streams

As people look for unique experiences, farms also are benefiting from an increased interest in other forms of agriculture tourism, or agritourism. 

Event barns are hosting craft nights, farm-to-table dinners and concerts, in addition to weddings, birthday parties and corporate retreats.

Other farms offer agriculture education programs where farm-goers can pick their own produce or milk a cow. Some take advantage of holidays; Halloween is a particularly big draw, with farmers offering corn mazes and hayrides and pumpkin patches.

All are bringing more revenue to family farmers who are struggling under low commodity prices and an overall depressed agriculture economy. Just last year, Wisconsin lost 500 dairy farms. 

“So many families struggle to maintain the family farm,” said Sheila Everhart. “With the diversification of agritourism, it can help provide money to pay the bills.”

Everhart and Nagy, both from the Wisconsin Agricultural Tourism Association, said most farm families invest the revenue they generate from weddings and agritourism back into the farm.

“Many are not soaking in cash,” Nagy said. 

The economic benefits of agritourism are also extending beyond farmers to help other businesses in rural communities. 

“A wedding is a relatively high-cost activity, and the venue is a relatively modest part of that total,” Nagy said. 

The average cost of a wedding in Wisconsin is $26,000, and about $12,000 of that total is normally put toward the venue, according to The Knot. 

Couples also pay thousands of dollars for catering, a disc jockey, a photographer and a wedding cake, often from local vendors. Nearby hotels, bars and restaurants can benefit from the influx of people.  

“This really helps the rural economy,” Everhart said. “When the market crashed in 2008, these rural economies were the last to recover.”

Event barn owners said they’re not worried about this extra revenue stream leaving anytime soon.

Both barn owners and couples said they believe the trend will stick around, even after Pinterest users move onto something else. 

“I think to a degree it will peak and then settle down,” Humphrey said. “But it won’t go away.”

Maggie Krug agreed and said there will always be brides like her who want a casual and simple wedding. 

“This is a great choice for the brides and grooms who want to have a nice, fun and rustic, lower-key kind of thing,” she said.

And if the goal is to create a unique experience, both event barn owners and couples agree that there’s just nothing else like it. 

“Guests say it’s a beautiful experience and that they have never experienced anything like that before,” Humphrey said. “That’s what makes memories last a long time versus a regular wedding.”


Indiana State Board of Health Investigation underway for Walmart milk

Many local customers have had with Walmart’s Great Value brand of milk going bad before the expiration date on the container.

Cynthia Flanagan told NewsChannel 15 that she has had 3 cartons of milk go bad before the expiration date in the last 5 weeks. Her daughter has had 2 cartons expire early as well.

Flanagan said that when she tried to pour her most recent carton over her cereal that clumpy expired milk came out, 5 days before the expiration date.

“They have a lot of dedicated Walmart shoppers and they’ve taken the choice away as well.. my main goal would be to find out what the problem is and clean it up.” Flanagan said about her social media post. Her post has over 150 shares, and about 150 comments of people sharing similar stories. 

Walmart Media Relations, Molly Blakeman said “We appreciate this being brought to our attention, and we are committed to providing our customers the quality products they expect. We take this claim seriously and are looking into it as part of our ongoing quality control tests to ensure milk is good through its expiration date.”

The Indiana State Board of Health Dairy Divisions’ spokesperson Denise Derrer told NewsChannel 15 about the process they go through to inspect dairy farms, storage of milk on the farms, the trucks used to transport the milk, and the dairy processing facilities. 

“The expiration date is really not regulated. It’s at the discretion of the processing plant to put that on there.” Derrer said.

She said the board is not hearing about this being a widespread issue and happening in other locations at this time.


$510 million in dairy facilities coming to mid-Michigan, creating nearly 300 jobs

Two new dairy facilities, totaling $510 million in investments, are coming to mid-Michigan with plans to reduce high shipping costs and improve the oversupply of milk.


The facility in St. Johns, north of Lansing, comes from a collaboration of farmers, private investors, state and local economic developers. Construction will begin in September and be completed by 2020.

Glanbia, a global nutrition group, partnered with Select Milk Producers and Dairy Farmers of America to form a new limited liability corporation, Spartan Michigan. That group will develop a $425 million dairy procession facility in St. Johns on 146 acres. It will process more than 8 million pounds of milk per day and create 259 jobs.

On top of that, Proliant Dairy Michigan is investing $85 million in an adjoining facility which will manufacture why permeatepowder and employ up to 38 new workers.

“Once again, Michigan’s national reputation as the best place to grow jobs is bringing new investments to our thriving agriculture sector,” Gov. Rick Snyder said in a release. “Michigan’s dairy industry is an essential economic driver in our state, and this new investment elevates and expands our potential to rise even higher while bringing new jobs and opportunities to this region.

When it’s finished, the new site will be one of the largest dairy processing facilities in the country. Glanbia will oversee the commercial, technical and business operations to help produce cheese and whey products.

“The support of local and state agencies demonstrates why Michigan is such a great location to invest,” said Brian Phelan, CEO of Glanbia Nutritionals. “We are looking forward to getting up and running with our partners and farmers providing world-class dairy products while bringing jobs and economic development to the area.”

The funding for the projects came from several grants, investments and more from the Michigan Strategic Fund, Michigan Department of Agriculture and Rural Development and Michigan Department of Transportation.

The state currently has an oversupply of high, and combined with high transportation costs, milk producers lost more than $164 million last year.

Both the Dairy Farmers of America and Select Mil Producers will supply milk to the processing plant.

“Michigan is ripe for growth with a surplus of quality milk, so there’s tremendous opportunity to not only benefit the dairy farm families in this area but also the local economy and region,” said DFA CEO Greg Wickham.

Currently, there are more than 1,700 farms in the state and nearly 1,500 Grade A farms. The average has 176 cows and 98 percent of them are family-owned farms. The state ranks fifth in the nation for total milk production with dairy farmers contributing $15.7 billion to the Michigan economy.

Source: WXYZ

Canada braced for hard bargaining on dairy when NAFTA talks resume

It’s unclear when trilateral negotiations will resume on a revised NAFTA deal. But it’s quite clear Canada’s negotiation won’t be easy. (Jonathan Ernst/Reuters)

Lost quota meant for U.S. in the TPP likely to resurface at NAFTA table

The United States has unfinished business with Canada’s supply-managed dairy, egg and poultry sectors if bargaining to modernize the North American Free Trade Agreement gets down to the short strokes this fall.

U.S. farmers could have sold more of their products into Canada under the Trans-Pacific Partnership, a trade agreement between 12 Pacific Rim countries negotiated during the Obama administration. But President Donald Trump pulled the U.S. out of the deal in his first week in office.

Now he’s out to redeem himself at the NAFTA table — or force even more out of Canada, after imposing previously-unthinkable tariffs on steel and aluminum and threatening to do the same to cars.

“Canada knew going into TPP that the price of entry was going to be doing something on dairy,” said Bob Wolfe, a professor emeritus at Queen’s University who has studied agriculture trade policy since the 80s.

“Everybody in [the United States Trade Representative’s office] knows that Canada blinked on [supply management] before, and will blink again — and given CPTPP, has a pretty good idea what the Canadian blink will look like.”

Under the CPTPP — the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership, the modified version of the TPP being ratified by the remaining 11 countries — Canada creates 20 new tariff rate quotas (TRQs) allowing limited quantities of dairy, poultry and egg imports, to be phased in over 11 to 19 years. They’re worth about 3.25 per cent of Canada’s market.

In CPTPP consultations now underway, farms and businesses can describe how they’ll be affected by the quota changes and state what government help they’ll need to adapt — through the allocation of import permits, for example (recall last summer’s debate over who gets to import European cheese) or financial assistance.

Dairy farmers are known for insisting “the sky will fall because of this and we’re going to need a lot of compensation,” Wolfe said.

America’s share unused?

It’s easy to imagine Fonterra, New Zealand’s dairy monopoly, already packing its first shipping containers of butter.

But not all products covered by Canada’s supply-management system are ideal for shipping across the Pacific. Fresh milk doesn’t travel well. A carton of eggs is a low-margin commodity unlikely to absorb huge shipping costs.

“Negotiators are highly conscious of who can supply in any given tariff line,” Wolfe said. When the TPP was negotiated, in other words, Canada knew that the increased quota space for the most perishable supply-managed products was going to be filled solely by American farmers a short drive away from key Canadian markets, like southwestern Ontario.

Last month, Donald Trump began waving around “Make Our Farmers Great Again” hats, even as his administration’s trade policies threatened U.S. farm export markets. (Evan Vucci/Associated Press)

When the remaining TPP countries decided to proceed without the U.S., no TRQ was revised or suspended. Without American suppliers, it’s hard to imagine all of that quota being used.

Instead, American expectations are “simply (being) transferred to NAFTA,” Wolfe said.

Al Mussell, research lead for Agri-Food Economic Systems in Guelph, Ont., said it’s in the United States’ interest to “completely disassociate themselves with what they obtained in the TPP … just pretend that it never happened.”

That’s what seemed to be happening last fall, when CBC News reported a source saying that an early U.S. negotiating position asked Canada to give up 10 times what it conceded on milk in the TPP talks, and to phase out supply management entirely within a decade. The pitch was dismissed by Canadian negotiators.

The U.S. needs to export milk to deal with its chronic oversupply problem — one that Canada avoids with its strict production quotas. Mexico recently added a new tariff on American milk in retaliation for U.S. steel and aluminum tariffs, making Washington’s push for more exports even harder.

One possible Canadian response to another American request for market space could be “we gave at the office,” Mussell said.

“We gave you access and you walked away, so no — if you want to come back, it’s there [in the TPP].”

In the meantime, other countries will supply most of the CPTPP imports, he said — raising the possibility that Canada won’t have room to concede much through NAFTA, at least based on its TPP-era calculations of what Canada could afford.

Cows in the street

A big American ask, followed by a smaller Canadian give, would mirror what played out in the TPP’s endgame in 2015.

Canada was in the middle of a federal election campaign at the time. A report that the U.S. wanted 10 per cent of Canada’s dairy market brought farmers, and their cattle, into the streets in Ottawa. That provided Canadian negotiators with a helpful visual to drive home the message they had to deliver to the Americans: large concessions are politically impossible.

Dairy farmers tossed milk onto the street in front of Parliament Hill and led their cattle along a line of protest signs during a protest against the Trans-Pacific Partnership negotiations in the middle of the 2015 federal election. (Chris Wattie/Reuters)

Quebec voters head to the polls this fall, and the next federal campaign is just a year away. Up to now, it’s been Mexicans and Americans eyeing electoral consequences. Soon, it will be Canada’s turn.

Quebec nationalists have always been staunch defenders of Canada’s supply management system. A Bloc Québécois media release this week warned about the views of former prime minister Brian Mulroney, who has advised the Trudeau cabinet on the NAFTA talks. In a February speech in Winnipeg, Mulroney said ending supply management would be good for processors and make food more affordable, but farmers would have to be offered enough compensation to make them “very happy.”

“Getting rid of it means getting rid of $25-30 billion in quota values,” Wolfe said. “From the standpoint of the federal budget, you wouldn’t want to absorb that … I’ve yet to see a realistic policy as to how you could unwind the quota in a way that wouldn’t blow the fiscal framework.”

A joint statement from Quebec Premier Philippe Couillard and Ontario Premier Doug Ford at last month’s summer premiers’ meeting “emphasized the importance of supply management to the Canadian economy.”

‘We are the weaker partner’

Since Quebec dairy farmers helped a Conservative win a riding away from the federal Liberals in a June byelection, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau appears to have been paying more attention to the supply management file. He recently recorded a message for the Dairy Farmers of Canada saying his government would “protect and defend” supply management, “and that includes at the NAFTA table.”

“I think Canada will have to concede plenty in order to have an agreement with the U.S. because we are the weaker partner,” said Sophia Murphy, a B.C.-based senior adviser with the Institute for Agriculture and Trade Policy.

“Understanding that the politics are complicated … my impression is that the trade negotiators find [supply management] slightly embarrassing. You know, it’s not very 21st century [to have a protectionist system.]

“In the end, this is a losing game if, every time there’s a negotiation, they give up another two, another three and another four per cent,” she said. “There’s a larger question eventually about whether this works for us.”

And yet, Canada’s marketing boards do prevent overproduction — something that plagues countries that liberalize their agriculture trade and depresses world prices. U.S. farmers get huge subsidies from the taxpayer to stay afloat.

“The United States is not about trying to get Canada to ditch its supply management system,” U.S. Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue told CBC News in June.

Other alternatives?

Two aspects of Canada’s dairy system do frustrate the Trump administration, and congressional leaders like New York’s Chuck Schumer and Wisconsin’s Paul Ryan.

The first is what’s referred to as “class 7,” a recent pricing change based on an agreement between farmers and dairy processors to lower the price of ingredients.

It made Canadian products price-competitive, squeezing out U.S. diafiltered milk that had been coming in tariff-free by exploiting a loophole in the tariff schedule.

Earlier this year, Couillard met with Americans and, in a later interview with Bloomberg News, floated the idea of doing something about class 7 while making sure farmers were “adequately compensated.”

Quebec Premier Philippe Couillard travelled to Washington last spring to make the case for his province’s farmers and other businesses. He’s only a couple of weeks away from running for re-election. (Jacques Boissinot/Canadian Press)

But the ingredient pricing change is key to stabilizing Canada’s market. Without it, high processor demand for butterfat creates unsustainable surpluses of skim milk products.

Because of that, ending class 7 would be “really costly,” Mussell said. “More costly than an access play.”

Tariff cut?

Instead, Mussell pointed to another possible source of trade concessions. It’s Trump’s other obsession: the “270 per cent tariff” Canada imposes on U.S. dairy products.

That tariff applies to imports above the TRQ volumes. Its purpose isn’t taxation; no one really pays it because it basically blocks imports.

Mussell pointed to research by Larry Martin at the Macdonald-Laurier Institute suggesting the tariff rates that protect supply-managed sectors are so large they could withstand a cut without substantially harming Canada’s industry. 

In a NAFTA context, global trade rules may allow Canada to have a special tariff rate for the U.S. alone, Mussell said. 

Rather than being guaranteed a designated slice of the market (the liberalizing argument goes), Americans would have to compete for it at new rates, offering the domestic industry incentives to innovate. And Trump could brag about winning a big tariff cut.

But supply management’s defenders say that’s the top of a slippery slope, one that could undermine Canada’s production and price controls.

Currently, NAFTA consists of three separate bilateral agreements on agriculture — one Canada-U.S. deal (dating back to their first free trade deal), one U.S.-Mexico deal and one between Canada and Mexico — reflecting the fact that, when it comes to farm goods, each trading relationship is unique.

This week, the U.S. and Mexico continued to meet over serious differences on the automotive chapter. An American concession on something Mexico wants for its horticulture sector may grease those wheels.

As what trade negotiators call the “sequencing” of a complicated trilateral trade negotiation unfolds, a conversation between the U.S. and Canada may follow.

That’s when Canadian negotiators may find themselves weighing potential gains against continuing to play defence on dairy.


Farmers stand by Trump despite trade pain

Despite the pain farmers are feeling from the current trade dispute, most of them still support President Trump.

According to survey of 19 farm states conducted by Morning Consult exclusively for CNBC, 10 states saw the president’s approval ratings improve from May 1 through July 31, his approval in 7 states stayed the same and in Idaho his approval declined.

Source: CNBC

Herd of Cows Help Police Catch Suspect on the Run

Video captured by an SCSD helicopter shows Kaufman stumbling upon a herd of about 20 cows who promptly start galloping after her

A herd of cows chased down a suspect that was fleeing a police pursuit on foot in Florida. The Seminole County Sheriff’s Office’s helicopter captured the cows herding the female suspect toward waiting police officers. (Published Wednesday, Aug. 8, 2018)

Green Bay Packers Jaire Alexander spends day as a dairy farmer

On the eve of his first NFL training camp, Packers rookie cornerback Jaire Alexander spent some time on a Wisconsin dairy farm, milking cows and racing tractors.

UK Legend John Gribbon Passes

It’s with great sadness we announce the passing of John Gribbon after a long battle with health issues over the past 10 years. He spent his entire life involved in the dairy industry. John lived a full life that was dedicated to the dairy industry, in particular, the show ring.   He worked alongside his father David, who was a herd manager for the Faham Holstein herd in Norfolk.  John showed and milked cows for almost 40, winning more than 200 championships at all the major shows in the UK. He has judged at shows all over the world, including The Uk, Holland, Sweden, Kenya, Portugal, Hungary, Belgium, Finland, Ireland, Czech Republic France, Azores, Romania, Estonia, Jersey, Argentina and Italy. His biggest honour is being the only person in the world to have judged both Black and White and Red and White Holstein at the 2011 European Holstein Show in Cremona, Italy, where 15 countries competed. In 2014, he received the John Dennison Lifetime Achievement Award. Margaret Dennison, wife of the late John Dennison, said this about John, “John Gribbon is a perfect match for the award. It is presented to someone who supports and encourages the next generation, as my husband John himself did. He has all-round ability, and is respected and recognised by fellow members of the industry.” John will be remembered for his presence both in and out of the show ring, and will be missed ringside at numerous shows.

65 bred cows stolen from a New Zealand dairy farm

A West Otago farmer is furious after recently discovering the theft of 65 in-calf dairy cows – worth about $130,000 – from his property.

Ivan Roulston, who with son Joseph operates the 386hectare Toropuke dairy farm just outside Kelso, said he first detected something was amiss in mid-June, on return from family holiday.

“We were starting the cows out on crop, and there just didn’t seem enough. We’d had a suspicious incident with cows loose through an open gate back in April, so I thought we’d better check. Well you hear about the odd few cows go missing, but we couldn’t believe it when we counted 65.”

The missing cows, valued at about $2000 each, comprised nearly 10% of the Rouslton’s herd of 660.

Unfortunately, the stock were not insured, Mr Rouslton said.

“You’re left in the position of taking a loss on the stolen cows, then having to replace them as well. It’s pretty annoying, and puts you on edge that something like it might happen again.”

He said friends and neighbours had been shocked the theft could even occur, but reflection on the particular circumstances made it clear “how exposed” many farms were.

“We’ve got 30-odd gates on to two rural roads, and the mob I think was stolen was right by one of those roads. Then you add in Gypsy Day on June 1, and nobody would think twice about seeing another truck full of cattle driving up the road. They could be in the North Island by now.”

However, Mr Roulston’s hope, and that of Tapanui police Senior Constable John Mawhinney, was that the cows were still in the South somewhere, and had joined another herd with or without the new farm’s knowledge.

Snr Const Mawhinney said that due to modern stock recording techniques, anybody attempting to sell the cows would face considerable challenges.

“This is a pretty uncommon crime to involve cows locally, although there are always a few sheep go missing. Due to the simple logistics of relocating this number of animals, somebody must have seen or know of something out of the ordinary occurring, and we’d appeal to those people to get in touch.”

He described the theft as “devastating” for the Roulstons.

“We’re very keen to determine who did this.”

• Tapanui police (03)203-0040; Crimestoppers 0800555-111.

Source: Rural Life

Amendment prohibiting dairy labeling fails in Senate vote

A national dairy group says the defeat of an amendment that would have altered the way the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) regulates non-dairy “milk” sends a strong message to food marketers who have long ignored FDA’s food labeling standards by inappropriately using dairy terms on products that do not contain any dairy.

“Those days are numbered,” said Jim Mulhern, president of the National Milk Producers Federation. “The FDA now knows it has strong, bipartisan support in Congress in its efforts to assure a fair marketplace.”

The amendment authored by Sen. Mike Lee (R-Utah) and co-sponsor Sen. Cory Booker, (D-NJ) was defeated in a 14-84 vote, precluding the measure from becoming part of a Senate bill.

Senators Lee and Booker introduced an amendment to an appropriations bill, that If passed, would have prevented the “use of funds to enforce the standards of identity with respect to certain foods.” 

Lee told fellow legislators that the labeling requirements were “outdated” and “unnecessary” and said “the role of government in the market is to protect competition, not any one competitor.”

Sen. Tammy Baldwin called Lee’s amendment “an attack on dairy farmers across the country and in my home state of Wisconsin.”

Just last month, FDA Commissioner Scott Gottlieb told those gathered at the Politico Pro Summit that his agency would begin crafting a guidance document to provide consistency and clarity for consumers.

The agency has long had a definition of milk as being an animal-based product, but it hasn’t been enforced. 

“This has been a little bit of a bugaboo to the dairy industry,” Gottlieb said.  during a Politico event in Washington, D.C. “But we do have a standard of identity, and I intend to enforce that.”

Mulhern said NMPF was pleased with the Senate’s vote that gives the FDA the green light to implement the change which is expected to take a year more.

“We are very pleased with the Senate’s overwhelming rejection of Sen. Lee’s blatant attempt to interfere with the ability of the Food and Drug Administration to enforce standards of identity for dairy products and other foods,” Mulhern said in a statement.  “We fought this amendment because it would have undermined the decades-long policy, established by Congress, that the FDA should regulate food names in order to promote honesty and fair dealing in the interest of consumers.”

He also thanked Senators Baldwin and Jim Risch (R-ID) for their bipartisan work to defeat the amendment.


Source: Wisconsin State Farmer

Best advice to U.S. dairy farmers? ‘Sell out as fast as you can’

Small-dairy farmers are getting squeezed out by corporate agriculture. “That is not what America is about,” a struggling farmer said.

It’s not just farm families who are affected. Many of the half-dozen farmers NBC News interviewed in Kentucky pointed out that their dairy operations contribute to the local economy, from the farm equipment and feed they buy to the veterinary bills they pay. A two-year Pew Commission report found that small farms made almost 95 percent of their farm-based purchases locally, and a 2016 University of California Davis study concluded that those dollars have twice the impact locally as larger farms.

The closure of farms eliminates jobs in adjacent industries, such as manufacturing, and reduces the population of already struggling areas, said Stephenson, the dairy economist.

Things are about to get worse. Dean Foods announced last week that it would close another milk processing plant, in northern Minnesota, affecting about 50 employees and an unknown number of farmers. And the company’s management recently said it plans to close seven more plants across the country, according to John Stovall, the union president of Teamsters Local 738, which represents the employees at the closing Dean Foods plant in Louisville.

Dean Foods did not respond to requests for comment.

Walmart said it announced plans to open the Indiana plant in 2016, so the Louisville closure should not have come as a surprise. The Indiana plant opened on June 13 and provides about 300 jobs, according to Walmart. The company plans to work with 30 local farmers and supply milk to 500 stores in Indiana, Illinois, Ohio, Michigan and Kentucky.

Molly Blakeman, a spokeswoman for Walmart, said she was unsure of the size of the 30 farms that would replace the more than 100 farms that supplied Dean Foods. Walmart’s goal was to get its Great Value brand closer to local dairies, she said.

“We’re hoping to find efficiencies that will find great cost savings for our customers,” she said. “That’s what Walmart is great at.”

Image: Gary Rock
Gary Rock milks cows in his wheelchair.Luke Sharrett / for NBC News

Growing depression over a bleak future

Bob Klingenfus, 69, who has milked cows for 54 years not far from the Coombs family, said friends, family and even the guy who sells him cattle feed have called to check up on him since he lost his contract with Dean Foods because they’re worried he might be depressed.

Klingenfus knows why they’re calling. Some dairy cooperatives have started to send suicide hotline numbers along with the farmers’ checks for milk. Agri-Mark Inc., a dairy cooperative in the Northeast with about 1,000 members, started sending the numbers in January after a third member died of suicide in as many years.

A recent Centers for Disease Control and Prevention report found that from 2005 to 2015, suicide rates grew by 30 percent in half of rural counties, a larger increase than in urban areas. It’s an issue that the House and Senate are trying to address in the Farm Bill by introducing the Farm and Ranch Stress Assistance Network, which would offer mental health resources.

Farmers who lose their business often go through stages of grief that some describe as similar to losing a close family member, said Michael Rosmann, a clinical psychologist and Iowa farmer who has counseled dairy farmers.

Image: Bob and Angie Klingenfus
Farmers Bob and Angie Klingenfus stand outside the calf barn at Harvest Home Dairy in Crestwood, Kentucky.Luke Sharrett / for NBC News

“Often they are never the same,” Rosmann said. After losing their farm, many “carry guilt and blame around with them that maybe they didn’t do enough when actually they probably put their whole minds and bodies into salvaging the farm operation. Too many factors are beyond their control.”

In Kentucky, Klingenfus is largely able to hold himself together, until he thinks of the four employees who have lived on his land and worked for him for decades. He knows he can’t afford them once he quits milking in the next couple of weeks, but the thought of having to let them go has him clutching his wife’s hand.

“They don’t want to leave,” Klingenfus said, stopping to clear his throat as tears collected at the corners of his eyes. “They can make more money right now, but this is where they want to be.”

Klingenfus tried to diversify by creating a side agri-tourism business and building a small cheese processing plant, but he doesn’t think he can break even without his Dean Foods contract.

Not many can.

Image: Bob Klingenfus
Bob Klingenfus checks on his cows.Luke Sharrett / for NBC News

After selling their dairy cows, the Coombses are focusing on growing hay and thinking about raising cattle for beef. They have to pay their farm loan in January, so their stress is only growing. More than anything, they want their two boys to understand and love the life of the dairy farmer.

Alexander, 3, keeps asking where the cows have gone and offering to go find them for his father. That brings Coombs and his wife to tears and makes them talk about ways to bring the cows back. Carilynn often throws out ideas, suggesting they open an ice cream shop, sell dairy-based soap or market their milk to the local community — but it seems all but certain that the boys won’t become the fourth generation to milk cows on this farm.

“What’s happened to us isn’t because we did anything wrong,” Coombs said. “It’s not like we had bad quality milk or treated our cows wrong. It’s just the dairy industry went through circumstances [and] we were the casualties.”

“Maybe we’ll be casualties of the battle,” he said, “but I don’t know if there’s any chance the war can be won.”


Milk carton ‘sell-by’ dates may become more precise

Cornell’s Dairy Plant in Stocking Hall.

The “sell-by” and “best-by” dates on milk cartons may soon become more meaningful and accurate. Cornell food scientists have created a new predictive model that examines spore-forming bacteria and when they emerge, according to research published Aug. 1 in the Journal of Dairy Science.

“Putting dates on milk cartons is a big issue, because consumers often discard the milk if it is past the sell-by date,” said Martin Wiedmann, Ph.D. ‘97, Cornell’s Gellert Family Professor in Food Safety and a senior author of the research. “Often there is little science behind those dates, as they are experience-based guesses. The goal of this research was to put good science to use, reduce food waste and reduce food spoilage.”

All along the milk production path – from farm to processing plant to consumers’ refrigerators – some spore-forming bacteria can survive even the best pasteurization regimens or the cleanest dairy production plants. The bacteria can subsequently germinate and spoil milk.

Ariel Buehler, Ph.D. ’18, the paper’s lead author, said members of the spore-forming bacillus, Paenibacillus and Viridibacillus genera are ubiquitous throughout nature. They have been found throughout the dairy chain, including in farming soil, silage, feed, cow bedding material, milking equipment and in raw and pasteurized milk. Additionally, the bacteria can survive harsh heat, desiccation (dryness) and sanitizers. When they have the opportunity to grow in pasteurized milk, they can cause off-flavors and curdling.

“This is a considerable problem. If we can reduce the spoilage from spore-forming bacteria – by reducing their presence and by controlling their outgrowth – we can see the shelf life for milk improve from two weeks to perhaps a month,” said Nicole Martin ’05, M.S. ’10, Ph.D. ’19, research support specialist at Cornell’s New York State Milk Quality Improvement Program laboratory.

The team created a predictive model that characterizes the growth of psychrotolerant spore-forming bacteria in high-temperature, short-time pasteurized fluid milk. This baseline model allows milk producers to estimate shelf life and determine which quality interventions extend fluid milk shelf life, said Buehler.

Spores can be reduced in microfiltered milk products, which is currently an emerging trend in the dairy industry, and the research finds that temperature is a key. The new model showed that refrigerated milk at 39.2 degrees dramatically lowers the mean concentration of spore-forming bacteria. By decreasing the refrigeration temperature from 42.8 degrees to 39.2 degrees, only 9 percent of milk half gallons were spoiled after 21 days, compared with 66 percent of half gallons held at the higher temperature.

Wiedmann imagines a day – perhaps in five to eight years – when consumers find no dates stamped on milk containers. Instead, a scannable barcode could provide the milk’s production history and an accurate use-by date. Cartons could also sport a time-temperature indicator that communicates shelf-life prediction. “This is the foundational work that could get us there, where consumers could manage their food inventory in the fridge,” said Wiedmann. “That’s the vision.”

Kathryn Boor ‘80, professor of food science and the Ronald P. Lynch Dean of the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences, is also a senior author of the study, “Psychrotolerant Spore-Former Growth Characterization for the Development of a Dairy Spoilage Predictive Model.” The research was supported by the New York State Milk Promotion Advisory Board through the New York State Department of Agriculture and Markets.


Source: Cornell Chronicle

Only 36% of Singaporeans getting enough dairy

New consumer research has revealed that 71 per cent of Singaporeans see dairy as an important part of a balanced diet. However, only 36 per cent of the 1,000 people surveyed are eating dairy on a daily basis.

This is lower than the regional average of 42 per cent of people in Asia getting enough dairy nutrition on a daily basis.

The survey was conducted by Fonterra Brands to mark the 13th Annual World Milk Day which fell on Saturday.

General Manager Fonterra Brands Singapore Rowena Danker said the results clearly demonstrate the growing awareness of the importance of dairy nutrition in Singapore.

“Dairy is one of the world’s most nutritious foods – a single glass of milk provides 15 essential vitamins and nutrients, contains as much protein as an egg, as many carbohydrates as a quarter cup of rice and the same amount of calcium as sixteen cups of spinach,” she said.

Of those surveyed, Chinese and Thai consumers were the most aware of the benefits of dairy nutrition with 84 per cent of people saying they believe it is an important part of a balanced diet.

Chinese consumers are also eating the most dairy with 60 per cent of people eating at least one serving a day, followed by the Philippines where 53 per cent of people enjoy dairy on a daily basis.

Across the region, 72 per cent of Asians see dairy as an important part of a balanced diet. This recognition was the lowest in Indonesia, Taiwan and Vietnam at just over 60 per cent in each country.

The study also found that dairy demand across Asia has grown at a rapid pace over the last 10 years, with volume demand for high quality dairy nutrition increasing by 49 per cent.

This trend is expected to continue with global dairy demand expected to increase by another 100 billion litres by 2020, Fonterra said.


‘Game changing’ digital system to transform UK livestock sector

A “game changing” digital data system could prove central to a post-Brexit livestock sector.

An agreement with Defra for the AHDB to develop the Livestock Information Service (LIS) has now been signed and detailed specification work is underway.

That will involve the Traceability Design User Group (TDUG), a partnership of 22 supply chain and government organisations, which includes the NFU.

AHDB Chief Executive Jane King said the service was “fundamental to the future health of livestock farming in this country”.

She added: “AHDB is in a unique position to be able to lead the collaboration between government and industry in order to deliver a future traceability service which is truly transformational.

“By working closely with the TDUG we will ensure that the needs of the user are at the heart of the service.”


The LIS could give UK producers some of the best farm-to-fork traceability in the world, acting as a catalyst for post-Brexit trade by evidencing their high standards.

It would also put powerful benchmarking at farmers’ fingertips, helping them to identify business improvements.

Using electronic ID tags, the system would give instant access to animals’ lifetime movement records, along with management, veterinary medicine, health and assurance information.

At its core is providing robust traceability data across the livestock sectors, including dairy cows, cattle, sheep, pigs and goats as well as companion animals.

The switch to bovine EID is expected to start on a voluntary basis, moving to a mandatory approach in a relatively short period of time, which would also see an end to the various paper-based arrangements.

The much-discussed idea got the green light from Defra Secretary Michael Gove earlier in the year and the project is slated for a late-2019 roll-out.


The LIS has also been earmarked as a gateway to government support proposed under the NFU’s Livestock Productivity Scheme.

A blueprint for the future sector, that would see incentives for animal health, soil management and genetic improvements which boost productivity while providing wider benefits to society at large. LIS data could act as the evidencing mechanism.

NFU Chief Livestock Adviser John Royle said: “The LIS has the potential to be a game-changer, underpinning our reputation for producing some of the best meat and livestock products in the world through a world class traceability system, and not only delivering better data, but also offering the gateway to deliver support to active keepers through NFU livestock’s productivity scheme proposals.”

TDUG Chairman John Cross said the technology would allow farmers, food chain companies and government to “reap the benefits of shared data”.

He promised a balance of ambition and pragmatism, including practical transitional arrangements .

Farming Minister George Eustice added: “The service will be instrumental in ensuring we continue to provide some of the best meat and livestock products in the world. I am pleased to see this next stage of delivery underway.”


Source: Farming UK

#10GallonChallenge helping dairy farmers and food pantries

A new social media challenge has exploded in agriculture circles over the last week.  As an effort to help “move some milk” off store shelves, Ty Higgins, a Wisconsin Farm Broadcaster, developed the #10GallonChallenge not only to help struggling dairy farmers, but to also provide food for local families in need.

“Dairy farmers right now are in the worst position they’ve been in in years,” Higgins told We Are Green Bay, “and so I thought, ‘how can I help them?'”

It’s pretty simple really, just head to your local grocery store, buy ten gallons of milk and then drop them off at your local pantry.

While there’s an oversupply of milk on the market, at the same time, many food pantries are in need of milk. So, the challenge is a win-win.

Coming up with the 10 Gallon Challenge, Higgins created a Facebook video that has since been viewed 130,000 times since its debut on Aug. 1. The video encourages consumers to purchase 10 gallons of milk to donate to their local food pantry.

Dairy farmers are also jumping on board with this trend, hoping to help drive up the milk price while also making a difference in their community.

Farmer Tim Says ENOUGH IS ENOUGH to Farmer Suicides #ILiveBecauseYouFarm

ENOUGH IS ENOUGH! I need your help. Five times in the last week I’ve received messages about farmers taking their lives. It is getting way too close to home for me now. Last week agriculture lost an amazing soldier. Her passion and compassion for all things farming was contagious. Anyone who had the privilege to meet her instantly became inspired to be a better person. I do not want to needlessly lose another friend, farmer, neighbour or agvocate. We need to do something.

So many people suffer silently and I know that we can’t help them all but sometime even a small gesture can have a huge impact on someone’s life.

That’s why I want to try and start the #ILiveBecauseYouFarm campaign. Farmers make up less than 2% of the population so this shouldn’t be that hard.

I want you all to take a moment and write a short note thanking a local farmer and anonymously put it in their mailbox. If you are uncomfortable doing that then write an anonymous letter to the editor and submit it to your local paper or a rural paper in a nearby community.

I especially need the help of my non-farming followers. We are losing farmers at an alarming rate . I can’t handle reading another tragic story. Will this make a difference? I am not sure but it’s worth a try. Please share with the hashtag #ILiveBecauseYouFarm.

Farmer Tim has dairy farmed all his life. He spend much of his youth involved with 4-H and working on his family farm. He holds a degree in Animal Science from the University of Guelph and is passionate about the dairy industry and agriculture as a whole. His hobbies include square dance calling, astronomy and collecting primitive farm tools. He is married to an incredible veterinarian, Kirsten and together they manage their 43 head dairy herd with Tim’s two children Andy and Abby. Follow Farmer Tim on Facebook HERE

U.S. to Consider Higher Tariff on $200 Billion of China Imports

Robert Lighthizer Photographer: Zach Gibson/Bloomberg

The Trump administration said it’s weighing whether to increase the proposed tariff on $200 billion of Chinese goods to 25 percent from 10 percent, stepping up pressure on Beijing to change its trade practices.

President Donald Trump asked the U.S. Trade Representative’s office to seek public input on the proposed tariff increase, two senior administration officials said on a conference call with reporters Wednesday. The duties could be implemented as early as next month.

The move to more than double the levy may inflame already heightened tensions between the world’s two largest economies. The International Monetary Fund has cited escalating trade disputes as a growing downside risk that’s threatening the strongest global economic upswing in seven years.

The administration officials said the U.S. is open to renewing formal negotiations with China over trade, but urged Beijing to open its markets to more competition and stop retaliating against U.S. trade measures.

Increasing the pressure on China into making trade concessions by threatening even higher tariffs could backfire. Beijing responded to news reports on Tuesday about the planned tariff increase by warning the U.S. against “blackmailing and pressuring” and vowed to strike back at every escalation.

TVs, Handbags

The administration last month released a list of thousands Chinese products it wants to slap with an additional 10 percent in tariffs, ranging from television components to handbags and seafood to baseball gloves. The duties could take effect after the administration draws up its revised, final list of imports following a public comment period. Hearings are scheduled for Aug. 20 to 23 and the comment period has been extended to Sept. 5 from late August, according to the administration officials.

The first wave of 25 percent tariffs on $34 billion of Chinese goods took effect last month, prompting immediate in-kind retaliation from China, and the next round on $16 billion could be implemented by the U.S. in the coming days or weeks.

Trump said last month that he’s willing to impose tariffs on every good imported from China, which totaled more than $500 billion last year. American companies, industry and consumer groups have pleaded with the administration to avoid tariffs, saying they could raise their costs and eventually lead to price hikes for consumers.

The Institute for Supply Management’s latest survey released Wednesday indicated that U.S. companies are already mulling significant investment changes. While manufacturers are experiencing healthy demand in the U.S., they’re considering expanding outside the country to avoid tariffs, Timothy Fiore, chairman of the ISM manufacturing survey, said on a conference call with reporters.

China’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs said it will fight back should the U.S. further increase tariffs. “If the U.S. takes measures to further escalate the situation, we will surely take countermeasures to uphold our legitimate rights and interests,” spokesman Geng Shuang said at a regular press conference on Wednesday.

He said China has always believed that the disputes should be resolved through talks and communications, but the dialogue should be based on “equality and respect as well as established rules and credibility.”

Representatives of U.S. Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin and Chinese Vice Premier Liu He are having private conversations as they look for ways to reengage in negotiations after talks broke down last month, according to people who spoke about the deliberations on condition of anonymity.


Vanilla Almond Breeze Milk Recalled Because It Contains Real Milk

HP Hood LLC is voluntarily recalling a limited number of half-gallon (1.89 L) cartons of refrigerated Vanilla Almond Breeze almond milk because the product may contain milk, an allergen not listed on the label. People who have an allergy or severe sensitivity to milk run the risk of serious or life-threatening allergic reaction if they consume these products.

The product is safe to consume unless you have a milk allergy or sensitivity. To date, there has been one report of an allergic reaction. Medical treatment or hospitalization was not required.

This occurs at a time when the dairy industry has been fighting vegetable, soy and nut juices from labeling themselves as “milk.”  The Food and Drug Administration has recently said it will likely enforce standards of identity for milk, which says the products labeled as milk must come from lactating dairy animals.

According to HP Hood’s news release,  approximately 145,254 half-gallon cartons of the affected product were shipped to retailers and wholesalers in AL, AR, CT, FL, GA, IA, IL, IN, KY, LA, MD, ME, MI, MN, MO, MS, NC, NE, NJ, NY, OH, OK, PA, SC, TN, TX, VA, and WI. The units recalled represent less than 0.8% of half-gallon containers of refrigerated Vanilla Almond Breeze almond milk shipped by Hood in the last twelve months.

The recall only applies to the following product: refrigerated Vanilla Almond Breeze almond milk with a use-by date of September 2, 2018. To identify the affected product, consumers should look for the stamped information printed as:

USE BY: SEP 02 18 (07:36 – 20:48) H5 L1 51-4109 
USE BY: SEP 02 18 (07:36 – 20:48) H5 L2 51-4109 
USE BY: SEP 02 18 (07:36 – 20:48) H6 L1 51-4109 
USE BY: SEP 02 18 (07:36 – 20:48) H6 L2 51-4109

and a Universal Product Code (UPC barcode) of 41570 05621 on the side panel of the carton next to the nutrition facts. Below is a photo of the affected product and stamped information on the carton.

Consumers who purchased the product may return it to the retail location where the purchase was made for a full refund or exchange, or visit http://www.bluediamond.comto complete a web form. Consumers with questions may contact Blue Diamond at 1-800-400-1522, Monday through Friday from 9 AM – 7 PM Eastern Time.

This recall is being initiated with the knowledge of the US Food and Drug Administration.

Intoxicated festival-goer frees cows on dairy farm, dives into manure pit

The heifers on Suplesse Farm had a wild Friday night when an unwanted visitor from the Electric Love Music Festival opened their gate, shortly before attempting a swim in the nearby manure pit. (Nina Grossman/The Observer)

An Agassiz dairy farmer had to hose down an intoxicated festival-goer on Friday after a man ventured onto his property, released the cows from their enclosures, then dove into a manure pit upon being spotted.

According to Agassiz RCMP, the unidentified male wandered away from the nearby Electric Love music festival on Friday evening around 6 p.m and found himself on the property of Agassiz residents Georgia and Martin Flukiger, who keep over 150 dairy cows.

Then the man, who police say was very drunk and possibly under the influence of narcotics, decided to set the cows free.

Martin Flukiger told the Agassiz-Harrison Observer that he and his family were outside enjoying the music from the nearby festival when they noticed somebody had let the cows out.

As they began herding the cattle, Flukiger spotted the culprit — a sun-burnt man wearing only shorts, engaged in conversation with one of the recently-released cows.

Then the man ran away, diving into the manure pit, a swimming-pool sized well full of fertilizer, much to Flukiger’s concern.

“A manure pit is a very unforgiving place,” Flukiger said. If he had gone into the deep end, he wouldn’t have come back up.”

The man did come back up, however, at which point he appeared to realize what he had just done, and began writhing on the nearby grass, covered in manure.

Once he calmed down, Flukiger hosed him off. When the RCMP arrived to take him into custody, he did not resist.

Agassiz RCMP said the intoxicated man escaped without injury, and all the animals were accounted for in short order.

“No cows were harmed,” said S/Sgt. Stephen Vrolyk.

It was a busy weekend for Agassiz RCMP, who responded to 14 calls service at the Electric Love festival grounds or nearby, including one call regarding a man who drove his vehicle through a crowd after being asked to leave the festival.


Source: Vancouver Sun

Tick located in Pennsylvania threatens to hurt milk production

A tick new to Pennsylvania is known to carry Lyme disease and a disease that can hurt milk production in dairy cows.

Tests by the National Veterinary Services Laboratory in Ames, Iowa have confirmed the presence of the Asian, or longhorn tick, Haemaphysalis longicornis, in Pennsylvania.

An invasive species that congregates in large numbers, the longhorn tick can cause anemia in livestock. The tick was discovered on a wild deer in Centre County. It is known to carry several diseases that infect hogs and cattle in Asia. So far, ticks examined in the U.S. do not carry any infectious pathogens.

“Even experts have difficulty distinguishing among tick species, so it is important to take precautions to protect pets, livestock and family members from becoming a host for ticks of any kind,” State Veterinarian Dr. David Wolfgang said. “Scientists don’t yet know how this species will adapt to the North American climate and animal hosts, but we know it survived New Jersey’s winter and has infested sheep and cattle in this region.”

Easily confused with other tick species, including the rabbit tick, which is common in the Eastern U.S., the species’ distinctive “horns” may not be visible without a microscope. The Asian tick infests host animals in dense clusters of numerous ticks. Female Asian ticks reproduce asexually, so a single tick can reproduce and lay 2,000 eggs after feeding on a host. Cattle, pets, small mammals, birds and humans are all potential hosts.

“The discovery of the longhorn tick is another reminder of the importance of tick prevention for Pennsylvanians,” Secretary of Health Dr. Rachel Levine said. “Ticks can be found in your own backyard, so it is essential to wear long sleeves and pants, use insect repellant containing DEET to help keep you safe from ticks and the diseases they carry. It is also important to check yourself and your pets for ticks, as pets can bring ticks indoors.”

Native to East and Central Asia, the tick was originally identified in the U.S. in New Jersey, where it was found in large numbers in sheep in Mercer County in 2017. It has also been found in New York, Arkansas, New Jersey, West Virginia, Virginia and North Carolina.

Wolfgang recommends examining animals on a regular basis, and checking for ticks after being outside to prevent tick bites and disease transmission. Livestock producers and pet owners should consult their veterinarians to develop tick prevention and control appropriate to their specific animals. To reduce tick habitat, maintain a nine-foot distance between lawn or pasture and wooded areas, keep grass height low, and remove weeds and brush bordering wooded areas.

Unfed ticks can live nearly a year. They have been found on a variety of wild animals, birds, pets and humans. An infestation spreads quickly in farm animals.

The longhorned tick can transmit an animal disease called theileriosis to livestock. The disease can reduce milk production in dairy cows and cause blood loss in and the occasional death of calves. Sheep farmers can see poorer wool.

Lyme spirochetes and other organisms causing disease in humans have been detected in longhorn ticks in China.


Source: Public Opinion

Crews worked to rescue 30 cows from barn fire in Pennsylvania

Crews worked to rescue 30 cows from what was a three-alarm barn fire Tuesday evening in Mercer County.

The fire started around 5:15 p.m. on the 500 block of Carpenter Road in Stoneboro.

Officials say there were 30 cows in the barn and nine died in the fire.

The remaining cows were loaded into trailers and taken to neighboring farms, according to officials.

Officials say one man did suffer from smoke inhalation after he went into the barn to help save the animals.

Source: WFMJ

UK Team Selected for European Young Breeders School in Belgium

Seven young, passionate and aspiring dairy breeders from all corners of the UK are preparing for a trip of a lifetime since making the final cut to represent the UK at the European Young Breeders School (EYBS) in Battice, Belgium. 

From 29thAugust until 2nd September, EYBS takes centre stage in Battice, attracting around 140 young members from up to 25 different countries. Holstein Young Breeders (HYB) is thrilled to announce its talented team, which will be making the trip to Belgium this year. 

The team is made up of:

  • Andrew Thomas (East Midlands Club)
  • Heather Limond (South & Wiltshire Club)
  • Lydia Griffiths (Yorkshire Club)
  • Holly Dyer (South East Club) 
  • James Robinson (North East Club)
  • Laura Millward (Western Club)
  • Philip Potts (Border & Lakeland Club)

Meet the team here!

EYBS was set up in 1999 and attracts young people from 13 to 25 years of age. The aim of the school is to coordinate young farmers on a European scale, who are keen to learn and increase knowledge of cattle breeding and showing. The event has now established itself as the international reference for the training of young breeders who are passionate about Holstein cattle. Whilst at EYBS, the young breeders participate in three days of training where they learn the steps of animal preparation for shows (washing, bedding, feeding, clipping, judging, showmanship and theoretical courses such as marketing). Following the training, two days are spent competing, putting into practice their stock judging and showmanship skills. Throughout the five days, emphasis is placed on team spirit and the participation of each member is evaluated throughout each stage of animal husbandry and preparation. 

After participation in EYBS, many of the young breeders go on to compete on an international stage and work for renowned farms. According to its organisers, EYBS is the best springboard to reach the top in the world of breeding and a great meeting place for future breeders. In three words, it is best described as providing learning, exchange and conviviality. 

Miriam Bagley, Events & National HYB Coordinator for Holstein UK, comments, “Our team of seven are all inspiring ambassadors for British agriculture; shining stars for the future of the dairy industry. We wish them every luck and success as they head to Belgium this August to fly the flag for Britain! There is no better opportunity for them to develop their skills and learning and compete with over 100 European young breeders. It really will be a spectacular experience.” 


Source: HYB

In honor of deceased wife Henk Shuurmans to Continue the Canadian Milk Tour

The Canadian Milk Tour at a stop in Ontario on June 25, 2018. Photo: Canadian Milk Tour Twitter account

“In honor of Bettina the Canadian Milk Tour from coast to coast will continue,” says Henk Shuurmans. 

Henk and his Wife Bettina where travelling across Canada by tractor when she was killed in an accident. Henk was seriously injured in the July 9 crash and says he needs six more weeks to heal his broken pelvis and ribs and to prepare a display to go on the truck. 

He and Bettina were travelling across the country to experience Canada, but also to communicate about Canadian dairy farming and the supply management system to Canadians. They had stopped at farms, cities and popular tourist sites along the way, spreading their message as they went. Their tractor, which included a large cow on the back of it, was hit by a transport truck north of Saskatoon, Sask. Bettina’s funeral was held last week. Henk plans to leave in September after his son Jim’s wedding on Sept. 8.

“I’d like to revisit all the farmers we got to know on our first trip, to thank them for all the support after the tragic accident. My five children will take turns traveling with me to help give the message to the Canadian public about why we want to keep our milk 100 per cent Canadian, our superior milk quality and to keep the family farm alive.”

Shuurmans says he needs to finish the tour because he and Bettina both had so much fun doing it.


Prized Guernsey Stolen From New York Dairy Farm

The Washington County Sheriff’s Office is continuing its investigation into seven stolen cows from a Greenwich dairy farm.

Imagine coming back from the fair and finding your prized cow gone. That’s what one Washington County man found on Saturday when he went to check on his milk cows.

But it wasn’t just one cow. Seven of his herd were missing, and he said they just didn’t walk off. They were chained in.

Roxy, his prized Guernsey, is worth nearly $20,000. But to John Violette, of Monument View Farms, she is a priceless member of the family

“Well, Guernseys are rare,” he said. “If somebody sees a Guernsey in a herd that they haven’t seen before, that would be a signal.”

The sheriff’s office said there was no sign of forced entry and no reason to believe it was a targeted attack.

Keith Stewart is a neighboring dairy farmer. He said cattle theft is not a rare occurrence.

“A farmer in the northern part of the county had five or six calves stolen,” he said. “He’s just two miles away from us. These are prized animals.”

A prized cattle has desirable genetics, which Violette suggested could be a reason behind the theft.

“Nobody is making money at the present time anyway,” he said. “We don’t do it for the money; that’s for sure.”

The cows were reported missing Sunday afternoon, but a detective said in a barn of about 30 cows, they could have gone missing days earlier.

Guernseys are a brown and white mix of color.


Lynn dairy farm fined after 3,500 fish end up dead

Manure from this lagoon at High Point Dairy leaked into a creek and caused a fish kill in 2017.(Photo: Indiana Department of Environmental Management)

A Wayne County dairy farm has agreed to pay a $9,600 civil penalty to settle complaints of a manure-lagoon spill that resulted in a fish kill.

High Point Dairy, 11462 Elliot Road, also agreed to reimburse the Indiana Department of Natural Resources $1,775 for the value of damage to fish and wildlife.

The Indiana Department of Environmental Management says the lagoon was filled beyond capacity and overflowed into a field tile that led to Fountain Creek, causing the death of more than 3,500 fish on April 3, 2017.

The manure was supposed to be applied to crop fields as natural fertilizer before the lagoon exceeded its capacity.

“Unforeseeable rain added to our problem,” the farm’s owner, Robert White, told The Star Press. “Mother Nature wouldn’t let us pump the manure out … We just needed a few more days of dry weather to dragline it onto the fields.”

According to the Indiana State Climate Office, March of 2017 was warmer and wetter than normal, and April of that year was a very warm and wet month.

“We knew it was full … but when you can’t get the manure out to the field because they thought it was too muddy there’s nothing you can do with it,” White said. “It’s a bad situation, and we are new at this. We’ve only had the lagoon three or four years and there is a learning curve on our part.”

High Point, between Lynn and Richmond, has expanded from a small dairy to one with total capacity of 1,050 cows, though White said the herd actually numbered only 450.

According to an agreed order issued by IDEM, the farm failed to report the manure spill; failed to monitor the lagoon’s capacity; failed to maintain the lagoon and a sand settling pit with a minimum freeboard of two feet; failed to have clearly identified and accurate manure level markers; did not conduct a manure test within the last year to obtain information about nutrient recommendations for crops and to minimize nutrient leaching; and committed other violations.

Neighbors reported the spill before the farm discovered the problem, White said.

He estimated the amount of manure that leaked from the lagoon at 5,000 gallons or less, seeping out “like a water hose on full tilt. It was minute, but it didn’t take much to pollute the water.”

“We are stewards of the land,” White added. “We are the last ones who want any problems because we live here and will be here.”

High Point was cited by IDEM for alleged violations on two other occasions in recent years.

One resulted in a civil penalty of $1,500 for not providing the state a construction start notification and construction completion affidavit; for allowing sand contaminated with waste to be outside of the waste storage structure after the sand settling pit overfilled; for not considering storm water management practices; and other alleged violations.


Holstein Association USA’s 2019 Annual Meeting Delegate Election Now Underway

Holstein Association USA’s delegate election process is currently underway. Each year, members have the opportunity to nominate members from their state to serve as voting delegates at the following year’s Holstein Association USA Annual Meeting, held in conjunction with the National Holstein Convention.

The 2019 Annual Meeting will be held in Appleton, Wisconsin, June 26 – 27.

Important Deadlines

Here are the important deadlines to take into account:

August 1 – Nominating petitions mailed to members
September 28 – Nominating petitions must be received by Holstein Association USA
October 12 – Deadline for nominees to withdraw names from the ballot
November 1 – Ballots mailed to members
January 2, 2019 – Ballots must be received by Holstein Association USA
February 1, 2019 – 2019 delegate election finalized

Members Ineligible to Serve in 2019

Members become ineligible to serve as a delegate after serving as a delegate at three consecutive Annual Meetings. The following individuals, listed by state, are ineligible to be nominated to serve as a delegate in 2019:

Bonnie Burr, Conn.
Mary Margaret Cole, Conn.
Gary Janssen, Ill.
Brian Olbrich, Ill.
James D. Strout, Sr, Maine
Melissa M. Griffin, Mass.
David L. Alberts, Minn.
Reid K. Hoover, Pa.
Dwight C. Stoltzfus, Pa.
Douglas Kent Ode, S.D.
James M. Cook, Va.
Gary L. Lentz, Pa.
Ryan Rodney Weigel, Wis.
Daniel A. Berry, Wash.

With questions about the Holstein Association USA delegate process, contact Jodi Hoynoski at 800.952.5200, ext. 4261.


First Time Ever: New Zealand to Eradicate Mycoplasma bovis from Dairy Herds

It’s never been done before. New Zealand has announced plans to try to eradicate Mycoplasma bovis (M. bovis) from its dairy herds.

“The government made the official announcement that we’re going to attempt to eradicate M. bovis, which is a first in the world. No one else has tried to do it,” said Dr. Scott McDougall, a professor at Massey University and a research veterinarian with a private practice in New Zealand.

“It’s certainly going to be a big challenge for us, and I guess you might ask, “Well, why would we want to try and eradicate it?” We really believe that the bacteria was introduced relatively recently, probably in the last couple of years in New Zealand. It appears to be restricted to a relatively small number of herds, so we’re in a unique situation which allows us to find those herds and to remove those animals, to cull those animals, and as I say, hopefully to eradicate it.”

No one in New Zealand is underestimating the size and scope of the challenge ahead. However, Dr. McDougall believes there’s a once in a lifetime opportunity to eradicate M. bovis. If it’s not eradicated now, the bacteria will move from cow-to-cow across the country within a year or two, and when that happens, there will be no chance of eradicating it.

“The decision was not made lightly; it’s a major decision. It’s a very large cost to the taxpayer and to the farming industries who are both contributing to the cost, but we believe it is technically feasible and with the support of the government, the dairy industry and the beef industry, it hopefully is achievable,” he said. “It’s going to take a number of years; it’s not a quick fix, but the process is there, the systems are there, the infrastructure is there to allow us to do it.”

Elsewhere in the world, M. bovis is an endemic disease, and most countries just live with it. So why did New Zealand take a stand against this disease?

“When you try and estimate what the cost of having [M. bovis] present in the population is, it’s not insubstantial,” Dr. McDougall said. “There is a proportion of herds that will introduce the bacteria, probably because they import an infected animal, and they’ll get an outbreak.”

An outbreak of M. bovis can be very severe with a high proportion of animals becoming infected along with a syndrome of multi-quarter mastitis that doesn’t respond to therapy. Milk production drops and multi-joint lameness appears in the herd. In young stock, pneumonia and middle ear infections (tilting head) are symptoms commonly seen in calves.

“It’s incurable and I think that’s an important point to make. Once it’s in there, really your options are pretty limited. You really have to cull those animals,” he said.

In New Zealand, the dairy industry is open with a lot of animal movement.

“We have what’s called the sharemilking system which allows someone who owns cows to bring cows to a farm and farm for two or three years and then move those cows,” he explained. “If mycoplasma was endemic, there would be a lot of complications about moving cows or be a cost in trying to certify cows are free of infection. That would impede the ability of particularly young farmers to move their herds and to progress in the dairy industry.”

The cost-benefit also does suggest that, at this stage, it is appropriate to try and eradicate, Dr. McDougall concluded.


Source: The Cattle Site

Farm Wisconsin Discovery Center opens as small dairy farms disappear and farming evolves across the state

The state’s newest museum allows visitors to simulate driving a combine at harvest time, lift a faux block of cheese, learn how yogurt is made and discover more about mink, fish, poultry and bison farms in Wisconsin.

There is an interactive exhibit that uses kinetic sand, lights and a computer program to simulate what happens when land and water are altered. Other displays showcase farmers markets, soil, honey, automatic milking machines, robotic feed pushers and drones that can spot weeds.

But when it comes to learning about the birth of a calf, the $13 million Farm Wisconsin Discovery Center, which opened Saturday in Manitowoc County, skips the simulators and props.

Instead, the 29,000-square-foot museum has opted for the real deal.

An octagon-shaped birthing barn next to the museum allows visitors to watch two to five calves being born each day. The animals, shipped from a nearby farm, are behind a fully enclosed glass wall. The audience watches from stadium benches tiered in a half-circle. A video screen and camera are also on hand just in case the mother cow decides to turn her backside away from the crowd.

The whole idea is to give a population that increasingly is removed from the day-to-day workings of a farm an immersive experience on how food goes from farm to table and to showcase the state’s diverse and evolving agricultural industry.

“Everybody used to be on a farm or a generation removed,” said Roger Sinkula, who helped lead efforts to create the center. “We’re at that point now where we’re three to four generations removed from a farm.”

Agriculture contributes $88.3 billion annually to the state’s economy and accounts for nearly 12 percent of its jobs, according to the state Department of Agriculture, Trade & Consumer Protection.

The state’s ag economy includes equipment manufacturing, research at its universities, apples grown on The Ridge near Gays Mills, cherries picked on the Door County Peninsula and potatoes harvested on the sand flats of Portage County.

The state leads the nation in the production of cheese, snap beans, cranberries, ginseng, mink pelts and milk goats. The state’s 1.28 million dairy cows in 2016 produced over 30 billion gallons of milk, or 14.2 percent of all milk produced in the U.S., according to Dairy Farmers of Wisconsin, formerly known as the Wisconsin Milk Marketing Board. That ranks second only to California.

But while milk production remains robust, thanks to increasingly larger farm operations that can milk thousands of cows a day, milk prices are down, there are concerns about tariffs and small dairy farms are vanishing across the state. According to the latest figures from DATCP, there are 8,463 licensed dairy herds in Wisconsin. In July 2004, there were 15,488.

The losses, combined with more automation, means fewer people are working on farms. The Farm Wisconsin Discovery Center, located on 36 acres along Interstate 43 south of Manitowoc, is designed to help bridge the gap between producers and consumers. Officials hope to attract school and tour groups, families and tourists making their way to and from Door County, Green Bay Packers games and northern Wisconsin.

There are other museums around Wisconsin that focus on specific agricultural products like cheese and cranberries or on historical farming practices. We have breakfasts on the farm events, county fairs and, beginning Thursday, the Wisconsin State Fair in West Allis. The Farm Wisconsin Discovery Center is a year-round destination designed to be all encompassing and looks at agriculture’s past, present and future and the state’s wide swath of products.

Besides the birthing barn, a visit also includes a bus tour of nearby Grotegut Dairy Farm where about 2,500 cows are milked daily. Passengers remain on the bus during the tour but are guided with on-board video presentations. The bus also makes two passes through the barn.

“The cows don’t seem to mind. I think they thought we were going to feed them,” said Lauren Rose Hofland, the center’s executive director. “About 98 percent of the people are fed by 2 percent of the population. We are so far removed from where our food comes from that it’s become a real issue.”

Grotegut, about two miles southwest of the museum, is also providing the pregnant cows. They are shipped to the museum’s birthing barn daily in a trailer after being evaluated by farm staff. After giving birth, the cow is returned to the farm and the calves, for a short time, placed in the birthing barn’s nursery, which is also behind glass.

The museum building includes a theater, gift shop and cafe plus a conference center for up to 300 people on the first floor. A 20-foot-tall sculpture in the museum’s lobby shows a plant sprouting from a globe of the earth which is being held by a pair of hands. The sculpture is the entry point to the second floor, home to an impressive array of hands-on and interactive exhibits broken down in six topic areas. They include displays on the state’s diverse agricultural products, a day in the life of a cow, how vegetables go from the field to a dinner plate, balancing farming with the environment, advances in ag technology and science and the many careers available in the industry.

Officials are hoping for 100,000 visitors in the first 12 months. In addition, an adjacent facility also has classrooms for Lakeshore Technical College’s Dairy Herd Management and Agribusiness and Technology programs.

“This is exactly what he was envisioning,” said David Dvorak, whose late father came up with the idea for the discovery center. “He’d be happy but he wouldn’t be amazed that it got done because he knew it would.”

Norval Dvorak died in 2015 at the age of 93 after an innovative and long career in agriculture. It included teaching veterans who had just returned from World War II about farm practices, helping to create what would eventually become Land O’ Lakes Dairy Cooperative, developing high-quality Holstein beef and creating farm cooperatives in eastern Europe.

The longtime Manitowoc-area farmer came up with the idea of the Farm Wisconsin Discovery Center after a 2010 trip to Fair Oaks, Indiana, home to Fair Oaks Farms. The 25,000-acre farm experience center has thousands of its own dairy cows, scores of pastures, pigs, live births, its own food products and educational exhibits. It’s often referred to as “the Disneyland of agriculture.”

At Norval Dvorak’s urging, a committee was formed in 2011 by agriculture leaders in Manitowoc County. The first meetings were held in Dvorak’s basement and later moved to a conference room of the Manitowoc County UW Extension office. That led to two feasibility studies and the creation of what is now a 19-member board of directors. Fair Oaks was used as a model, a process that included trips to Fair Oaks and Fair Oaks officials visiting Wisconsin.

Officials initially thought they would need $9 million to $10 million for the project, but it grew to $13 million. Fundraising began in 2015 and received a big boost when the state kicked in $5 million in grant money. Private donations covered the remaining $8 million. It includes a $1 million gift from Land O’Lakes and $500,000 each from Country Visions Cooperative and CP Feeds, Dairy Farmers of Wisconsin, Farm Credit System and the Ruth St. John and John Dunham West Foundation. Five others donated $250,000 each and 14 contributed $100,000 each. Construction began in spring 2017.

“It’s really amazing how the state and the community came together to build this facility,” said Melissa Bender, the center’s director of education and programming and a former high school ag business teacher. “Norval really wanted this to educate.”


Source: Madison State Journal

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