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Top Dairy Industry News Stories from June 27th till July 3rd 2020

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GoFundme to help Mike Deaver Medical Expenses

Mike Deaver has helped and influenced so many, and today he needs our industry’s support as he faces his biggest battle.

Mike has been waiting for a heart transplant for some time. On Independence Day, Mike will finally have the surgery, which we hope will allow him to return to what he loves doing.

His health challenges to this point have been protracted and, for him to be able to focus fully on his recovery, and on getting back to the colored shavings – rather than worrying about his medical bills – would be the gift that could change his recovery.

Mike is a proud man, and he would never ask.

But, if Mike has touched you in some way, and you’d like to help – we’d so welcome your support. If you cannot contribute, we ask for your prayers for healing, and to please share the news. We truly appreciate each and every one of you. Stay safe, and thank you.

Please visit GoFundMe

New Elections at Holstein UK

On Wednesday 1st July, at the Holstein UK Annual General Meeting (AGM), the Society elected a new President and two members to the Board of Trustees. Due to the current COVID-19 restrictions in place, it was not possible to hold the AGM as part of the annual Holstein UK Celebration as in previous years, therefore it was streamed online to registered members instead.

Robert Clare (Hawksmoor) Elected as Holstein UK President

As part of the meeting, we said a fond farewell to Bryan Thomas of the Gelliddu herd who stood down from his 12 month post as Holstein UK President. Holstein UK are delighted to welcome new President Robert Clare of the Hawksmoor herd to the Society.

Robert Clare is a highly respected member of the Shropshire Club and has been a dedicated member of the Society for over 50 years. At Club level, Robert has previously held the appointments of Shropshire Holstein Club President and Club Chairman.

Robert was born at Hawksmoor, near Market Drayton, Shropshire, where he grew up and took over the running of the Hawksmoor herd 52 years ago. Hawksmoor have been Champion Herd of the Shropshire Club for eight consecutive years, 2011 – 2018, and were reserve National Champion Herd in 2017. Robert has judged County Herd Competitions in Devon, Staffordshire, Cheshire, South Wales, Derbyshire, The Midlands and Scotland.

Commenting on the change of Presidency, Michael Smale, Holstein UK Chairman, said: “Thank you to our retiring President Bryan Thomas and all of his family for the considerable time they have given to the Society over the past 12 months. We have been honoured to have someone who is so highly respected as our President. I must also congratulate Robert on his new appointment and I would like to wish him all the best for the forthcoming year”.

Retiring from The Holstein UK Board

Following the end of their second terms on the Board of Trustees, Stephen Brough has stood down from representing the Northern region and Aled Jones has stood down from representing North Wales.

Commenting, Michael Smale said; “I would like to thank both Stephen and Aled for their work, expertise and experience they have given to the Board over the past eight years. Having both been elected on to the Board in 2011, they have now finalised two four year terms and have been fantastic advocates of both the breed and the Society”.

New Trustee Appointments

Andrew Williamson (Ingleden) for Northern region

Andrew farms in partnership with his wife and son in Cumbria. The Ingleden herd consists of 200 cows and 180 youngstock and has seen success in the show ring, most recently at last year’s ABAB Calf Show, where they won the Calf Championship. Andrew’s aim is to represent the membership in his area and he hopes to drive the Society forward in all areas of technical innovation whilst becoming more relevant to the commercial dairy farmer.

William Williams (Clwch) for North Wales region

Based in Anglesey, William established his Clwch herd in 1992 with 25 cows. The family now milk 200 cows and last year won Holstein UK’s Master Breeder award. William is passionate about developing and promoting the Holstein breed and is looking forward to maintaining good communication links between the Society and its members.

Peter Prior (Designer) and Wallace Gregg (Frocess) were re-elected into their second term of office. 

David Patrick Selected as Distinguished Dairy Cattle Breeder

David Patrick of Maple-Dell Ayrshires, Woodbine, Maryland, is National Dairy Shrine’s Distinguished Dairy Cattle Breeder Award recipient for 2020. This annual award goes to an active, progressive dairy breeder whose expertise in managing a dairy herd, based upon sound genetic and business principles, is a model for others.

David Patrick, who will celebrate his 90th birthday in August, is the patriarch of Maple-Dell Farm. His grandfather started this dairy farm in 1928. In 1941, David’s father bought him two Ayrshire heifer calves for a 4-H project. By 1955 those two calves had grown into a herd of 45 registered Ayrshires.

Today David and his wife Ann, along with two sons, Mike and Denny, and a grandson, Derek, operate Maple-Dell Farm. The family also breeds Registered Holsteins under the prefix Md-Maple-Dell. The Patrick’s own 450 acres of land and farm 1200 acres. They milk 165 cows in a double-eight parlor and raise over 160 heifers. Cows are fed a TMR and housed in free stalls with sand bedding or on a bedded pack. The herd has been on production testing for over 60 years and classified for 40 years. Productive cows with solid feet and legs, and highly scored udder traits, are the goal of this breeding program.

The Maple-Dell herd has set a standard for excellence in the Ayrshire breed. David received the Ayrshire Association’s Master Breeder award in 2010. He has earned 14 Constructive Breeder awards for the herd’s outstanding production and type. Over 100 cows have classified Excellent, including one at 95 points. There have been 17 All-American and 18 Reserve All-Americans carry the Maple-Dell prefix. The herd has put numerous bulls in A.I. Many cows have ranked on the Cow Performance Index (CPI) List and produced high lifetimes of milk.

David started showing Ayrshires at 11 years old. He has been exhibiting at local, state, national and international shows now for over 75 years. He has shown at the All-American Dairy Show in Pennsylvania for over 50 consecutive years and in 2006 won the show’s Obie Snider Award. He has had 12 grand champions at Maryland State Fair. David had back-to-back grand champions at World Dairy Expo (WDE) with Maple-Dell Luby winning in 1981 and Ardrossan Kellogg Soft Eye in 1982. In 1995, Maple-Dell I.R.S. Sweetnine was junior champion Ayrshire at WDE and the Royal Agricultural Winter Fair in Canada, a first in breed history. David has had two more junior champions at WDE – Maple-Dell BBK Shea in 2006 and Maple-Dell Diligent Gift in 2007.

David has bred and developed many prominent Ayrshires. Maple-Dell Hi-Kick Sweet Pea (Ex-91-3E) was the Ayrshire representative on the Purina Mills “Dairy Breeds of North America” painting by Bonnie Mohr. Grand champion at the 1988 Eastern National Show, she is the dam of Maple-Dell Soldier, a popular A.I. sire. Maple-Dell Trident Song (Ex-91), grand champion at the Mid-Atlantic National Show and reserve grand at WDE in 2003, had two sons in A.I., Maple-Dell Avenger Sarge and Maple-Dell Shipley. The most notable cow family recently has been the “D’s” led by Maple-Dell Zorro Dafourth (Ex-95-2E), 2006 All-American Dairy Show grand champion and WDE reserve grand champion. Four generations of this family have now ranked high on the CPI Cow List. Two of Dafourth’s sons, Maple-Dell Modem Drew and Maple-Dell Modem Diego, and a grandson, Maple-Dell O Dixon, have seen A.I. use.

A great teacher and mentor to young people. David was a key founder of the Maryland 4-H dairy leasing program that gives “urban” 4-H members the opportunity to show and work with cattle. Started in 1989, this program continues to thrive with David leasing over 20 calves from his farm every year to local 4-H members.

David has been very active in breed and farm organizations. A member of the U.S. Ayrshire Breeders’ Association for 73 years, he was Association president in 1998-99 and received their Distinguished Service Award in 2002. He is a past president of the Maryland Purebred Dairy Cattle Association, Wills Fair Association and Maryland/Delaware Ayrshire Association, and was a longtime All-American Dairy Show Board Director. He was inducted into the Maryland Dairy Shrine in 1994 and earned the Maryland Dairy of Distinction Award in 2014. In 2007, Maple Dell Farm was inducted into the Maryland Governor’s Agricultural Hall of Fame. In addition to his farm responsibilities, David has been an A.I. inseminator for over 60 years.

A man of great integrity, deep faith and love of family, David Patrick’s portrait will be displayed at National Dairy Hall of Fame at the National Dairy Shrine Museum in Fort Atkinson, Wisconsin. Mr. Patrick will receive the Distinguished Dairy Cattle Breeder Award at National Dairy Shrine’s 2021 Awards Banquet on Thursday, September 30th in Madison, Wisconsin.

For more information about National Dairy Shrine, the banquet, or the students and dairy industry leaders being recognized this year, contact National Dairy Shrine’s office at or visit their website

Monke to Receive National Dairy Shrine’s Pioneer Award

Four outstanding individuals are being honored with National Dairy Shrine’s Pioneer Award this year in recognition of their significant contributions to the dairy industry. The four will join a distinguished group of industry leaders whose portraits are displayed at the National Dairy Hall of Fame at the National Dairy Shrine Museum in Fort Atkinson, Wisconsin.

Among the Pioneers being honored is Dr. Donald R. Monke of Plain City, Ohio, the respected veterinarian who helped open international markets for American dairy cattle genetics and whose work and research led to improvements in male bovine management and care during a 40-year career at Select Sires Inc.

Born in Illinois, Donald Monke earned his Doctor of Veterinary Medicine (DVM) degree in 1977 from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, and then a Master’s of Business Administration from Franklin University in 2003.

In May 1977, Monke joined the staff of Select Sires Inc., the Plain City, Ohio, based A.I. cooperative that today is North America’s largest A.I. organization. Monke was the first Chief Staff Veterinarian in Select Sires’ history and in his role oversaw and managed the health and welfare of the company’s bulls. He was named Vice President of Sire Health Programs in 1991 and in 2003 was appointed Vice President of Production Operations. During his 40 years at Select Sires, Monke spearheaded the design, construction and renovation of facilities used to house the company’s bulls. He developed health, biosecurity, and emergency management protocols to help prevent the seminal transmission of bovine disease. He took the knowledge he gained from researching bovine diseases, and how they may be transmitted via frozen semen, and translated that into practical bull stud management. When Monke retired in June 2017, the Select Sires Board of Directors honored this committed, foresighted employee by naming their Export Production and Housing Facility the D.R. Monke Production Center.

Monke’s expertise on bull health and the A.I. business led him to be called upon many times to assist with the negotiation of international health regulations related to the export of bull semen. Monke travelled extensively as a veterinary technical advisor for the National Association of Animal Breeders (NAAB) and the U.S. Department of Agriculture-Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service to help develop and negotiate international bull semen health requirements so that semen from the United States could be exported to dairy producers in countries around the world.

As David Thorbahn, Select Sires CEO, says, “Dr. Monke’s work in disease transmission, aiding the breeding industry in negotiating domestic and exporting health regulations, developing strict biosecurity protocols for managing bovines, and his research and clinical work that improved the standards of care for over 1,600 highly valuable bulls at Select Sires has earned him high regard.”

Monke helped to educate dairy producers and veterinarians on bull care and health and disease prevention through his countless technical presentations at domestic and international conferences and his extensive articles that were published in scientific and lay publications. Dr. Gordon Doak, NAAB President Emeritus, states, “Monke’s contributions to health programs for bulls in A.I. over the years has been instrumental in protecting the health of dairy and beef producers’ herds as they employ A.I. to utilize the best genetics available to them.” Dr. Tony Forshey, State Veterinarian for the Ohio Department of Agriculture, says, “Monke’s dedication to excellence by developing and adopting cutting edge technologies has allowed him to contribute to improving dairy herd health and semen quality.”

Monke has been actively involved in many organizations. He was Chairman of the NAAB Board of Directors from 2003-05, a member of the NAAB Sire Health and Management Committee for 16 years (1978-93) and Chairman of that group for eight years, as well as Board Chairman of NAAB’s subsidiary, Certified Semen Services, for 12 years. In 2014, Monke was recognized with NAAB’s Distinguished Service Award. Monke has been a member of the U.S. Animal Health Association for over 40 years where he has served on numerous animal health and import/export committees including the Bluetongue and Bovine Retrovirus Committee. From 1984-95, he was also an Adjunct Assistant Professor in the Department of Veterinary Preventative Medicine at The Ohio State University College of Veterinary Medicine.

For more information about National Dairy Shrine, the banquet, or the students and dairy industry leaders being recognized this year, contact National Dairy Shrine’s office at or visit their website

Canadian firm buys a quarter stake in Fonterra’s biggest supplier, Dairy Holdings

Dairy Holdings has sold a 25 per cent stake to a Canadian pension fund.

Dairy Holdings, the country’s biggest corporate dairy farmer has sold a 25 per cent stake to Canadian pension fund, Sooke Investments, for an unknown sum.

Diary Holdings is Fonterra’s largest shareholder, with more than 12 million shares and $1 billion in assets.

Dairy Holdings’ 59 dairy farms are all in the South Island, with a total herd of 50,000 milking cows that produce around 17 million kilograms of milk solids a year, according to its website.

Sooke is owned by Canadian state-owned Public Sector Pension Investment Board and also owns a 69.5 per cent of Kaingaroa Timberlands, and is the owner of investment holding firm Global Herd.

Timaru-based Dairy Holdings is made up of five companies, the largest of which is Dacca Investments. The other four are Pure Pasture Investments, Turdair 2019 and Turdair Holdings, owned by Temuka farming couple Margaret and Murray Turley.

Prior to the deal with Sooke, the company was wholly New Zealand owned.

Dairy Holdings began in 2001 with the purchase of two South Island corporate farming companies: Tasman Agriculture and Dairy Brands.

Dairy Holdings would not comment on the sale.


Outstanding Youth Recognized as Holstein Distinguished Junior Members

Holstein Association USA recently recognized six finalists as 2020 National Distinguished Junior Members (DJM) during a Facebook Live event on Wednesday, July 1, 2020. This award is the highest honor given to members of the National Junior Holstein Association, ages 17 to 21, in recognition of a commitment to the Holstein breed and involvement in a variety of agriculture related activities.

The finalists for this year’s Distinguished Junior Member competition are Todd Allen, Jefferson, Md.; Matthew Boop, Millmont, Pa.; Kristen Burkhardt, Fowlerville, Mich.; Connor Erbsen, Lanark, Ill.; Mason Jauquet, Pulaski, Wis., and Emily Mikel, Stafford, N.Y.

“The Distinguished Junior Member contest has been held since 1922 and is the longest running Holstein youth program. The award recognition is coveted by Junior members working with Registered Holsteins and participating in our programs across the country,” stated Kelli Dunklee, Holstein Association USA & Holstein Foundation Program Specialist. “These outstanding dairy youth are incredible individuals, leaders and role models for the dairy industry.”

Applicants completed two judging phases. Phase one, the Junior’s entry book, is worth 60 percent of the final score. The book highlights the Junior’s Holstein work, activities and projects, breeding program and personal views. The top 12 individuals based on their book score are named DJM Semifinalists.

Next, the twelve semifinalists are interviewed by a committee of judges, with the interview accounting for 40 percent of their final score. The six individuals with the highest combined scores are named Distinguished Junior Member Finalists and receive an annual renewed Holstein Association USA membership.

2020 Young Distinguished Junior Members (YDJM)

Eight young people were selected as finalists in the 2020 Young Distinguished Junior Member (YDJM) contest and were recognized during a Facebook Live event on July 1, 2020. YDJM applicants are judged on similar criteria as the Distinguished Junior Member contest, but do not complete the interview phase. Junior members ages 9 to 16 are eligible to apply for the YDJM recognition.

The Young Distinguished Junior Members for 2020 are: Colton Brandel, Lake Mills, Wis.; Rachel Craun, Mount Crawford, Vir.; Nevin Erbsen, Lanark, Ill.; Natalie Fredericks, Little Falls, N.Y.; Jacob Harbaugh, Marion, Wis.; Jacob Raber, Gridley, Ill.; Naomi Scott, Westgate, Iowa and Gabriella Taylor, Newark, N.Y.

For more information about Holstein Association USA’s youth programs,

National DHIA seeks scholarship applicants

National Dairy Herd Information Association (DHIA) is offering $1,000 scholarships to full-time, incoming and continuing students at technical and two-year and four-year colleges/universities. To be eligible for a National DHIA scholarship, the applicant must be a family member or employee of a herd on DHI test, family member of a DHI employee, or employee of a DHI affiliate. The DHI affiliate for the herd or affiliate employee must be a member of National DHIA. (AgSource Cooperative Services, Arizona DHIA, Central Counties DHIA, CentralStar Cooperative Inc., Dairy Lab Services, Dairy One Cooperative Inc., DHI Cooperative Inc., Idaho DHIA, Indiana State Dairy Association, Lancaster DHIA, Minnesota DHIA, Rocky Mountain DHIA, Tennessee DHIA, United Federation of DHIAs and Washington State DHIA are National DHIA members.)

The scholarship selection committee will evaluate applicants based on scholastic achievements, leadership, community activities, work experience, knowledge of and experience with DHIA, and responses to questions on the application. Applications are due Nov. 30, 2020. Recipients will be announced at the 2021 National DHIA Annual Meeting.

To apply for a National DHIA scholarship, log on to: and download and complete the electronic application form. For more information, contact JoDee Sattler, National DHIA scholarship coordinator, at 414-587-5839

National DHIA will award approximately 15 $1,000 scholarships. Generous contributions from National DHIA members, friends and supporters help fund these scholarships.

National Dairy Herd Information Association, a trade association for the dairy records industry, serves the best interests of its members and the dairy industry by maintaining the integrity of dairy records and advancing dairy information systems.

USDA Dairy Safety-Net Program Signup to Begin October 12 for the 2021 Coverage Period

The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Farm Service Agency (FSA) announces that Dairy Margin Coverage (DMC) safety-net signup for 2021 coverage will begin October 12 and will run through December 11, 2020. DMC has already triggered payments for two months for producers who signed up for 2020 coverage.

“If we’ve learned anything in the past six months, it’s to expect the unexpected,” said FSA Administrator Richard Fordyce. “Nobody would have imagined the significant impact that current, unforeseen circumstances have had on an already fragile dairy market. It’s during unprecedented times like these that the importance of offering agricultural producers support through the delivery of Farm Bill safety-net programs such as DMC becomes indisputably apparent.”

The April 2020 income over feed cost margin was $6.03 per hundredweight (cwt.), triggering the second payment of 2020 for dairy producers who purchased the appropriate level of coverage under the Dairy Margin Coverage (DMC) program. The April margin reflects a more than a $3 drop from the March $9.15 cwt. income over feed cost margin.

As of June 15, FSA has issued more than $100 million in much-needed program benefits to dairy producers who purchased DMC coverage for 2020.

Authorized by the 2018 Farm Bill, DMC is a voluntary risk management program that offers protection to dairy producers when the difference between the all-milk price and the average feed price (the margin) falls below a certain dollar amount selected by the producer. Over 13,000 operations enrolled in the program for the 2020 calendar year.

All USDA Service Centers are open for business, including some that are open to visitors to conduct business in person by appointment only. All Service Center visitors wishing to conduct business with the Farm Service Agency, Natural Resources Conservation Service, or any other Service Center agency should call ahead and schedule an appointment. Service Centers that are open for appointments will pre-screen visitors based on health concerns or recent travel and visitors must adhere to social distancing guidelines. Visitors may also be required to wear a face covering during their appointment. Field work will continue with appropriate social distancing. Our program delivery staff will be in the office, and they will be working with our producers in office, by phone, and using online tools. More information can be found at

For more information, visit DMC webpage or contact your local USDA service center. To locate your local FSA office, visit

Dairy farmers support each other through the storm

Just when it looks like the storm has let up with a little relief in early 2020 milk markets, another storm bears down, leaving Michigan dairy farmers to believe that short reprieve was just the eye of the storm — a small window of peace and security between the front and back ends of a deluge.

“We’re all in this together” is like nails on a chalkboard at this point, but the truth more than ever before, is that right now, dairy farmers need to support each other wholeheartedly. 

There is no reason to repeat the issues as they are more than obvious to anyone who has ever received a milk check. To support each other, two questions were posed to five dairy farmers from different demographics. Their answers are from the heart.

Question one: What one or two things do you find yourself doing or reflecting on to get through this unique time in history?

Ashley Kennedy: I often find myself going back to my basic comforts of movement or reading. Since I was a kid, I could lose myself in a good book and I have found myself doing that move often lately. I also find my yoga and running/walking habits to be a great way to clear my head.

Tara Good: Things have been very “business as usual” for us, because we are working around the clock. I do think I rely a lot on music to keep me uplifted; and we love what we do! My motto has always been Carpe Diem, or Seize the Day, and I truly try to find beauty in the simple things daily. I think many people forget to do this. It could be as simple as enjoying the sunset, the alfalfa field coming to life after a long cold winter or the birth of a beautiful heifer calf.

Joe Kulhawick: I have a job I love and am grateful that I can get up and go to work every day. I realize I am just passing through this world and trying to do the Lord’s work. This dumping milk to me is sinful and a bitter pill to swallow. I rely on my faith and the Bible, and even though we cannot go to church and worship together, I try to do daily devotions and look for wisdom and knowledge from above, because no one else has wisdom like that.

Mary Costigan: Undoubtedly my faith! Constant conversations with the good Lord throughout the entire day relaxes my anxiety about all the on-farm and off-farm things that are out of my control. “So do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous hand.” Those words in Isaiah 41:10 could not be truer in a time like this. How comforting to know that with all the upset in the world, that God is always with us! God has always upheld me with a strong supportive family, including my husband of almost 12 years, my precious and rowdy sons (Case 6, Brant 3, Kipp 10 months) and my Dad, Mom, brothers Jake and Dave and sister Sarah. 

Gerald Geurink: We don’t have any animals here anymore, it was just more than I could do at 80. I just take care of the things we have here at home, read, watch TV, church on the computer, read some more. That’s about it. Once in a while we sneak off and visit some relatives that are our age. 

Question two: What is one business tool or piece of advice that you incorporate to keep your business moving forward?

Ashley Kennedy: While going through struggles and stresses on the farm, I have found that taking time away, even for a bit, helps my frame of mind. Even when I know it is painful, know our numbers. I like to avoid doing things like that when it’s bad and usually I feel more in control when I know the truth, good or bad.

Tara Good: As far as business advice/strategy, I really think for us it is to just take one day at a time. Dairy farming has always been and will continue to be filled with challenges daily. Remember that everything happens for a reason. We focus on taking care of our herd to the best of our ability. From a cow management standpoint, we can sum it up by saying grass is king for us. A high forage diet positively impacts overall immunity and health of our cows.

Joe Kulhawick: The one thing we try to fall back on is to stay out of severe debt and out of the bank. Unfortunately, reserves will only last so long. We watch our labor budget close, and since we are healthy and able, we are working more and of course getting paid less. But we have our health and strength, and it helps keep us out of the bank. We diversified seven years ago into custom feed harvesting and selling feed. We also have a sweet corn plot. Diversification gives us something to fall back on and can be a real help.

Mary Costigan: I am afraid I cannot give too much surprising and helpful insight on this besides living frugally. Being raised by the master of frugality, it is in my blood to not spend frivolously. The fundamentals of my breeding program haven’t changed. I may be quicker to use Angus in a mating, but I am still seeking that perfect (to me) sized individual with functional feet and legs and beautiful udder with positive milk production and always positive fertility traits. We give probably too many chances to calves that don’t show promise because we cannot stand not giving them a chance. We trim out expenses where we can, but the animals and their comfort are still priority. In the background, my dad has been a miracle worker when it comes to enlisting in helpful programs and knowing where to put money that is going to benefit us the most in the short and long term. Has he been hard to convince over the years to spend money to make money? Absolutely, but ultimately that way of thinking is what is getting us through times like these.

Gerald Geurink: I’ve been through crisis, too. Back in the ‘70’s, I got divorced. It was the worst thing that ever happened to me. Then, about four years later, I got married again and it has been the best 35 years of my life. If you have cows, you just keep doing what you have to every day. Just keep slugging it out.


​Battling bankruptcy and a pandemic, Borden looks ahead

Weighed down by debt, Borden Dairy filed for bankruptcy in January.

The 163-year-old company planned to use the Chapter 11 filing to reorganize its business after some financial missteps left them with $250 million in secured debt, but it didn’t anticipate the coronavirus pandemic. 

“Running a business is tough enough. Running a business in bankruptcy is tougher and then throwing a pandemic on top of that, even tougher,” CEO of Borden Tony Sarsam told Food Dive. 

Both Borden and milk giant Dean Foods filed for bankruptcy just two months apart. Already struggling with shifting consumer demand, the milk producers took another hit as coronavirus shuttered foodservice operations, a major source of business for them. 

Despite the hurdles it faces, Borden is working to get back on track. The company secured a major government contract to supply 700 million servings of fluid milk to nonprofits amid the pandemic, and just five months after filing for bankruptcy, the company is now finishing up that process in the expected timeline. 

Two weeks ago, Capitol Peak Partners and KKR & Co. formed a joint venture and won a bankruptcy auction for Borden. Although union objections put the deal in jeopardy, the court approved the $340 million sale on Friday. 

“We are exiting Chapter 11 as a thriving company that is meeting and exceeding its performance forecasts, making our outlook very promising,” Sarsam said in a statement after the sale was approved. 

Capitol Peak is led by Gregg Engles, a former chairman and chief executive of Dean Foods, while KKR previously owned Borden and was already a lender. Capitol Peak will assume majority ownership of the new company, and KKR will be a minority investor. Sarsam, who led the company for two years, will step down as CEO of the company in July and Engles will take over with a new senior leadership team. 

“My mission when I came here changed once we began understanding the realities of the debt problem that was weighing on the company,” Sarsam told Food Dive.

Borden will remain fully intact, including all branches and plants, and the reorganized business will continue to employ all its workers. The company’s 12 plants in the U.S. produce about 500 million gallons of milk annually.

“My top priority these last six-plus months has been to get the best outcome for all 3,300 employees at Borden, and this outcome with Capitol Peak is the best outcome,” Sarsam said. “For me and for perhaps a few others, we’re going to move in a different direction, but that was still our mission, to get the best outcome for Borden and we’ve done that.”

But even though it is reducing its debt load with familiar faces taking over, analysts say Borden will likely continue to be plagued by the issues hurting the whole dairy industry. 

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Filing for Chapter 11 

Companies in the dairy space, like Borden, have grappled with mounting challenges in recent years from rising competition with alternatives, dropping milk consumption, innovative startups and discounted private label. 

Borden once sold products in all 50 states, but as of last summer, it offered 35 products in the Midwest, South and Southeastern U.S. The milk processor cited a 46% decline in fluid milk consumption per capita from 1980 to 2018 in its filing. 

“The company continues to be impacted by the rising cost of raw milk and market challenges facing the dairy industry,” Sarsam said in a statement when it filed for bankruptcy. 

“Running a business is tough enough. Running a business in bankruptcy is tougher and then throwing a pandemic on top of that, even tougher.”

Tony Sarsam

CEO, Borden Dairy

But what pushed the company to file for Chapter 11? Its debt, Sarsam said. There were “some mistakes that were made during the acquisition from the summer of 2017 that unfortunately put more debt on the company than was reasonable for the size of the company,” he added.  

That year, private equity firm ACON Investments took a major stake in Borden. He said that debt constrained the company’s ability to make basic investments in areas like its plants and equipment. Borden tried to reach a resolution with its lenders, but Sarsam said it was unsatisfactory so the “only choice was to go through a court-supervised process to restructure our debt overall.”

A future with familiar faces

Post-bankruptcy, KKR and Capitol Peak both provide ample experience in this challenging space. 

KKR bought Borden for $2 billion in 1995 and took it private after about 68 years as a public company. However, KKR ended up selling off its brands and divisions during the next decade, although it stayed on as a lender. When Borden filed for bankruptcy, it had a $175 million loan held by firms including KKR. The private equity firm used what it was owed on the loan toward the Borden deal, according to The Wall Street Journal

Eric Snyder, partner at law firm Wilk Auslander and chairman of the firm’s bankruptcy department, told Food Dive that KKR likely didn’t want to take over the company, but they didn’t have much of a choice because there aren’t a lot of buyers interested in milk processing. Swapping the debt for the equity was really the only option. He said the issues plaguing the industry aren’t going anywhere. 

“You wash the company through the bankruptcy. You get rid of your lenders, your general and secured creditors, and they’re able to take the company back,” Snyder said. “But the fundamentals are still there, milk consumption is down.”

While KKR was reportedly unhappy that Borden decided to file for Chapter 11 in January, the company has now paired up with Capitol Peak for a takeover. 


What Capitol Peak and KKR are paying for Borden in its 2020 bankruptcy sale


What KKR paid for Borden in 1995

Engles, who ran Dean for about 18 years, founded Capitol Peak in 2017. “The Capitol Peak team is excited by this unique opportunity to work alongside KKR and build this iconic dairy company,” Engles said in a release. 

Engles has his own checkered past with the industry, but does have experience taking over rival companies. Back in 2001, Suiza Foods acquired its rival Dean Foods and Engles, who was CEO of Suiza, took over the newly merged Dean. 

The company was lucrative at first, with Engles being referred to as a “milkman to the nation,” but it hit road blocks, facing antitrust lawsuits and dropping milk salesForbes even listed him as one of its Worst Bosses for the Buck in 2011, averaging $20.4 million in compensation over six years while Dean’s stock dropped an average 11% per year. ​

At the end of his tenure there, Engles presided over Dean’s spinoff of WhiteWave Foods, which included plant-based brands like Silk, and took over as CEO of WhiteWave, leaving Dean in 2013. He then sold WhiteWave for $12.5 billionto Danone in 2017.

Now that Engles will be heading up one of Dean’s rivals, many will be watching to see if he returns to his reputation as the nation’s milkman or continues to face the same problems at Borden as he did running Dean. 

Dean Foods takes a different path

Just two months before Borden filed for bankruptcy, Dean Foods filed for Chapter 11 in November.

Similarly struggling with mounting debt, changing consumer demands and management blunders, the largest dairy producer in the U.S. announced its filing and said at the same time that it was already in “advanced discussions” with Dairy Farmers of America for a potential sale.

The milk giant recently completed its bankruptcy sale, where it sold off its assets piece by piece. The majority of its assets went to Dairy Farmers of America for $433 million, despite antitrust concerns that the deal could create market consolidation. Although more than 100 objections were filed in court in just three days after the sale, the Department of Justice approved the deal. 

“I think this is a real blind spot,” Sarsam said. “Candidly, I think the Department of Justice missed some things here. There’s a vertical integration as well as horizontal integration — that has the potential to be bad for consumers.”

An antitrust lawsuit was already filed against Dairy Farmers of America in North Carolina after the deal closed.

“The combination of the fact that Dairy Farmers of America has government protections on their pricing, has government protections on their ability to collude on pricing, and now own the largest processor, those three things to me say we should probably take a little harder look at whether that deal was viable or not,” Sarsam said. 

Bondholders from Borden proposed merging the two dairy giants if the DFA sale were rejected, but by that time, the bankruptcy court had already approved the sale. 

“Well it was a better deal for practically everybody. The only loser in that deal would have been DFA. Because in our case, we don’t have vertical integration, we just simply have a merger of two companies and that would have the opportunity to have synergies and best practices that allow us to be better together,” Sarsam said. “But at the end of the day the DFA thing was orchestrated early, and by the time we got to the place where we could actually contemplate that, it was water under the bridge.”

Sarsam said that Borden differs greatly from Dean because Borden was reporting positive numbers last year and prior to the pandemic, which shows that “with the right balance sheet we can actually make money in the current environment.”

Borden’s earnings before debt payments and taxes is positive. In 2018, Borden’s sales reached $1.2 billion with a loss of more than $14.6 million, The Washington Post reported. For January 2019 through December 2019, it had a net loss of $42.4 million.

“We’re in a much more stable situation than Dean Foods,” he said. “Dean Foods is not just a debt problem; they had significant operations problems. They were losing money in a more severe way. … We have to think about our situation differently and it’s a more positive story. We have a business that as a business unit can actually go on and prosper in ways Dean could not.”

Government contract helps amid the pandemic

When Borden filed for bankruptcy, Sarsam said the milk supplier would continue normal business operations as it reorganized. 

But the coronavirus pandemic added additional challenges to an already struggling category. ​As restaurants and schools closed, milk demand in foodservice was down, which makes up about a third of Borden’s business. 

Some of its jobs revolve around those closed businesses so they have tried to redeploy those workers as much as possible, but Sarsam said as of earlier this month 3% or 4% were still furloughed.

In May, however, the dairy company was awarded the USDA’s largest contract through its new Farmers to Families Food Box Program to supply 700 million servings of fresh fluid milk to nonprofits. 

“It offers a better stability for our overall business because it is more volume in a time when our volume is down,” Sarsam said. “Our volume has been down about 20% during this pandemic and having more opportunity to run and produce and ship and all that, provides more stable work hours for our employees and … better stability for our farm partners.”

More than 2,700 dairy farmers went out of business in 2019 as milk consumption declined, Borden said in its filing. Due to the drop in foodservice demand during the pandemic, farmers have been forced to dump millions of gallons of milk. 

Sarsam said Borden works with a lot of independent farmers and for most of them, the company is the single source for their milk, “so if our business is down, their business is down. That’s a tough situation. So this provides more certainty for them, and provides a better financial situation for their business.”​

“Nothing is more gut wrenching than watching a farmer destroy his crop at the same time where somebody on the other end supply chain doesn’t have enough to eat. And so I think this one actually fits the best spirit of how the government can help in a bridge that actually gets the food from the farm to the families,” he said. 

The image by Ashoka Jegroo is licensed under CC BY-SA 3.0

Rohan Jaura, industry analyst at IBISWorld, told Food Dive the “lucrative government contract” Borden won during the lockdown is about 10% of its annual production. The contract, coupled with KKR reentering the market, “could cause a massive reshape of Borden,” he said. 

During the pandemic, Jaura said there could be a slight increase in interest from consumers who never purchase milk during normal times but are buying it during lockdowns. However, he said Borden and other companies are aware they can’t change the shift in consumer habits, which is why they are developing “in” dairy products, such as flavored and higher-protein milks. 

“Innovation is key to surviving in this industry. Plants and companies that only produced fluid milk will not be viable,” Jaura said. “New ownership may be able to find a way to lower costs in certain regions and some plants will close.”

Mary Ledman, global dairy strategist at Rabobank, told Food Dive that although retail sales for dairy have increased during the pandemic, these companies “can’t rest on their laurels here with these increased sales. They’re really going to need to bring things to the category to keep consumers coming back.”

“If we return to our previous habits, this won’t be enough to keep people coming back to the dairy category,” she said. 

Remaining optimistic despite challenges

Last year, Sarsam told Food Dive he was optimistic that there is room for growth in the dairy space. Before the bankruptcy sale was approved, Sarsam said he remained “every bit as optimistic about the fundamental thesis of how Borden can be successful.”

He said consumers have already invested in a sense of trust in its “spokes-cow” Elsie and in the Borden label, so it will be looking to provide new innovations and products in the future. 

“I think that those opportunities are out there for us to grab. They were held up by the practical financial problems we had prior to and during the bankruptcy, but those opportunities are still available, and so I remain quite optimistic,” he said. 

When it comes to innovation, Sarsam said that if all the company is doing is milk in a different container or slightly altering the milk fat percentage, then those are not real innovations and “consumers aren’t really clamoring for that.”

He pointed to Fairlife as an example of a different kind of a milk offering that represented something consumers wanted. Fairlife, a joint venture with Coca-Cola, produces ultra-filtered milk, a higher-protein and lower-lactose product that boosted sales 42% in the first quarter of 2019 compared with the previous year.

“Innovation is key to surviving in this industry. Plants and companies that only produced fluid milk will not be viable. New ownership may be able to find a way to lower costs in certain regions and some plants will close.”

For decades, fluid milk consumption has declined as some consumers have turned to new innovations and plant-based options. Even though it is still a very small share of the overall market, non-dairy milk sales in the U.S. increased 61% from 2013 to 2017.

“It’s going to take some disruptors to wake up some of the folks who haven’t made those decisions to invest in the future. If you’re not investing in the category today, you’re going to have a major challenge to survive,” Paul Ziemnisky, EVP of global innovation partnerships at Dairy Management Inc., previously told Food Dive.

But bankruptcy lawyer Snyder said if Borden does invest more in innovation, that money will be coming out of pocket. He said milk processing is just like coal, it’s outdated, and milk consumption is down almost 50% in the last 20 to 30 years so it’s not going to get any better.

“It’s a total disaster; it’s as simple as that,” he said. 

Even though the category is in decline, Sarsam said continuing to be the most service-oriented dairy while introducing innovations will distinguish the company.  

“Our focus is providing great service, providing new ways to bring energy in the category,” he said before the sale was approved. “I think to a degree, if the entire industry does the same thing then the entire industry will have a brighter future.”


Slow start to $3.5m course set-up to fill 1000 vacant New Zealand dairy jobs

The first intake for the new farm training course was introduced to Agriculture Minister Damien O’Connor in the Waikato.

A $3.5m course to prepare Kiwis to fill the 1000 vacant dairy farm jobs has attracted just 93 registrations.

But Agriculture Minister Damien O’Connor is confident more New Zealanders will come forward to enrol as the three-week course is rolled out over the coming months.

O’Connor visited Dairy NZ’s Scott Farm, on the outskirts of Hamilton, on Tuesday where the first group of people to sign up to the free farm ready training were into their second week of the course.

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There were just seven people in the group but Dairy NZ said 65 more were working on the online training segment now, which was the first week of the three-week training initiative.

The online segment gave people a clear picture of the dairy industry and a chance to decide whether they wanted to continue on with the training.

“I think the industry still has a big job to get out there and tell the story, to show what opportunities there are in dairy,” O’Connor said, replying to questions about the low number of trainees at the Hamilton farm.

There was still uncertainty around Covid-19 and more people would turn to dairy as a secure employment opportunity, he said.

“The conditions are not as bad as people think. You are outdoors dealing with the elements but the rewards are great, you’re learning how to deal with animals and operate machinery.”

The free farm training is part of Dairy NZ’s GoDairy campaign, to encourage more Kiwis into dairy jobs and it is backed by the Ministry of Social Development, the Ministry of Primary Industries and supported by Federated Farmers.

“With Covid-19, we’ve had people been locked out (workers stuck overseas) so we need New Zealanders to help with calving, to help our farmers get the milk out and help run our key dairy industry,” O’Connor said.

The first week of the course, online, focussed on working and living on a dairy farm.

The trainees then moved into the practical training in the second week, which would look at working with cows and farm infrastructure.

On the final week, the people on the course will be put through farm safety exercises.

The training groups will have up to 12 people each and be rolled out around the country. Dairy NZ anticipates there will be 500 people go through the course in total.

Dairy NZ Chief Executive Tim Mackle said the eight candidates in Hamilton will be ready to start work on farms at the end of the three weeks.

“Farmers will do a lot of their own training with them but this is about getting them ready to enter the farm.

“Later on, they can go on to Primary ITO courses if they want.”

Mackle agreed the group was a lot younger than anticipated, most in their early 20s.

“I think over time, sadly we will see more older people unemployed, and that will be a push factor (towards other employment).

“When you are young you can pivot pretty quickly and that’s what these young people have done but I think the demographic will change quickly over the next few months.”

Among the first intake of trainees is Natasha Price, 21, from the Hauraki Plains.

She had finished a degree in ecology and zoology but when the pandemic hit, she realised job opportunities in her field of study would be slim.

“So I thought I would try something different for a career. I grew up on a dairy farm with my family and already have a lot of experience with animals.

“But being on this course means I can learn more about the science and technology involved in running a large-scale farm.”

That included understanding how automation technology had helped advance dairy farming.

“For example in a rotary milking shed, you’ve got automatic cup removers, automatic teat sprayers which save on time getting people to do those jobs.

“We were showed technology that allowed you to use a satellite to measure grass growth on the farm to predict where to graze the cows next. The technology seems limitless.”

Price was commuting from Hauraki Plains to attend the course and said she was excited to be part of the first intake, others were from around the Waikato, South Waikato and Hawke’s Bay.

Some had worked on farms before while others had come from other careers to learn new skills.

“When we finish, I would love to move on to another farm, as a farm assistant and then move my way up the ladder over the years.”


New grants available to support dairy entrepreneurship in MidWest US

The Dairy Business Innovation Alliance (DBIA) is a newly announced program that will provide Midwestern dairy farmers and dairy-related businesses with financial and technical support. This initiative, a joint effort coordinated by the Center for Dairy Research (CDR) and the Wisconsin Cheese Makers Association (WCMA), was designed to support and promote the diversification and addition of value-added products to the Midwest dairy industry.

Goals of this program include:

• Increasing on-farm diversification

• Creating value-added dairy products such as specialty cheeses

• Focusing on export opportunities for farm-scale and processor dairy products

“We want to allow dairy farmers and processors to be innovative for their futures. We hope to improve the situations on dairy farms, processing plants, and cooperatives,” said DBIA Program Director Karen Nielsen.

Grant applications are available on the DBIA website. The grant application period is now open. Funds totaling $220,000 will be disbursed and awarded with individual projects receiving up to $20,000. The deadline to complete and return applications is Friday, Aug 14. Selected producers and business owners will be notified on September 4th. DBIA is also coordinating online webinars and compiling resources for dairy producers and processors.

Nielsen noted that a grant proposal is currently being written to the United States Department of Agriculture for funding for subsequent years. Future plans for the program include expanding the resources available to dairy producers and processors and learning more about U.S. consumers’ dairy product buying preferences.

For more information, call the Illinois Department of Agriculture at 217-524-9129, visit their website at or call the Dairy Business Innovation Alliance at 608-265-1491 or visit their website at

Jersey Leadership Elected at Annual Meetings

Officers and directors of the USJersey organizations were elected during the Annual Meetings of the American Jersey Cattle Association (AJCA) and National All-Jersey Inc. (NAJ) held virtually on June 26 and 27, 2020 in Columbus, Ohio.

Jonathan Merriam, Hickman, Calif., was re-elected to a third one-year term as President of the American Jersey Cattle Association on June 27. The third generation of his family to breed and own Registered Jerseys, Merriam is the genetics specialist at Ahlem Farms Partnership, Hilmar, Calif., having previously worked in A.I. sire procurement, extension and education. He has served on the boards of the California Jersey Cattle Association and Jerseyland Sires and was co-chair of the 2016 National Heifer Sale. He was General Chair of The All American Jersey Shows & Sales in 2019, and served as chair of The All American Sale Committee in 2017.

Rebecca Ferry, Johnstown, N.Y., was elected to her first three-year term as AJCA Director from the Second District. She owns and operates Dreamroad Jerseys LLC, an 80-cow Registered Jersey herd, with her sister Sandra Scott. The herd is enrolled in AJCA’s REAP program. Becky was the 2002 National Jersey Youth Achievement winner and received the AJCA Young Jersey Breeder Award with Sandra in 2013. She was co-chair of the 2019 AJCA-NAJ Annual Meetings in Saratoga Springs, N.Y. In addition, she has served as co-secretary and vice president of the New York Jersey Cattle Club.

Karen Bohnert, East Moline, Ill., was re-elected to a second term as Director from the Sixth District. Bohnert and her husband, Scott, and children, Tyler, Cassie and Jacob, own and operate Bohnerts Jerseys with her in-laws and brother-in-law. The 500-cow Registered Jersey herd is enrolled on REAP. Bohnert is currently a member of the Development and Finance Committees on the AJCA board. Bohnert works from home as a dairy freelance communication consultant, known for her monthly column in the Hoard’s Dairyman, “Around the Kitchen Table.”

John Maxwell, Donahue, Iowa, was elected for his first term as AJCA Director from the Eighth District. He and his family own and operate Cinnamon Ridge Dairy, a 185-cow Registered Jersey herd. The herd is enrolled on REAP. The farm has diversified through the years, adding a large agri-tourism business that hosts an average of 7,000 visitors a year. The tours aim to educate visitors on practices of a modern dairy and row crop operation. John received the AJCA Young Jersey Breeder Award in 1997. He is currently serving as dairy superintendent of the Mississippi Valley Fair, a supervisor for Scott County and fire commissioner for the Donahue Volunteer Fire Department. He is a past president of DHIA and the Outstanding Young Farmers Organization. As well he sat on boards for Dairyland Jersey Sires Inc., Iowa State University Extension Council and River Valley Cooperative.

Cornell Kasbergen, Tulare, Calif., was elected to AJCA Director from the Eleventh District. Kasbergen and his wife, Teri, and son and daughter-in-law, Case and Allison, own and operate Rancho Teresita Dairy. The dairy consists of 1,800 acres of farmland; 3,600 Registered Jerseys and 1,400 Holsteins. The herd is enrolled on REAP and has many animals that rank among the elite of the breed for Genomic Jersey Performance Index. Cornell chairs the Milk Producers Council and recently completed 22 years of service on the Land O’Lakes board of directors. He chaired the audit committee for Land O’Lakes and represented the organization on the National Milk Producers Federation board. Kasbergen is a member of the dairy committee for the Agriculture Council of California and the milk producer review board for the California Department of Food and Agriculture. As well he served on the California Dairy Environmental Justice Fund.

Chairs of standing committees for 2020-21 are Bradley Taylor, Booneville, Miss., Finance; Mark Gardner, Dayton, Pa., Breed Improvement; Tom Sawyer, Walpole, N.H., Development; and John Boer, Dalhart, Texas, Information Technology and Identification. Gardner will also serve as vice president for the coming year.

National All-Jersey Inc.

Following the Annual Meeting of National All-Jersey Inc. (NAJ) on June 26, John Kokoski, Hadley, Mass., was elected to continue as president by the Board of Directors. Kokoski has been a member of the NAJ Board since 2007. He heads up the family-operated Mapleline Farm LLC. The enterprise includes a 135-cow Registered Jersey herd enrolled on REAP and a dairy plant that processes and distributes a full line of Jersey milk products to grocery retailers, restaurants and university food service. Kokoski is a past director of the Massachusetts Cooperative Milk Producers Federation and has served more than 25 years on the New England Dairy Promotion Board.

James S. Huffard III, Crockett, Va., was re-elected to a fifth term as Director from District #5. He served as president of the AJCA from 2001-2004. Huffard was honored by World Dairy Expo in 2014 as Dairyman of the Year, and as the Distinguished Dairy Cattle Breeder by National Dairy Shrine in 2012, He was named Master Breeder of the AJCA in 2008.

Huffard was re-elected as NAJ vice president. Calvin Graber, Hurley, S.D., will continue to serve as Finance Chair.

The American Jersey Cattle Association, organized in 1868, compiles and maintains animal identification and performance data on Jersey cattle and provides services that support genetic improvement and greater profitability. Since 1957, National All-Jersey Inc. has provided services that increase the value of and demand for Jersey milk and milk products and Registered Jersey™ cattle and genetics. For more information on AJCA and NAJ services for dairy business owners, visit the website at or connect at

Holstein Canada Announces 2020-2021 Committees

Holstein Canada is pleased to reveal the 2020-2021 Committees, ensuring the Board of Directors continues to receive input from its grassroots membership and industry partners. This year, Jason Rietveld and Tony van Lith have joined the Breed Advisory Committee. We also have added a new Data and Technology Committee.

Jason Rietveld (RIETBEN) is a past president of the Alberta Holstein Association and is currently a delegate for Alberta Milk. He currently milks 120 cows in Fort Saskatchewan, Alberta with his wife Kristine and children Tyson, Troy, and Janaye. 60% of his herd is higher than VG, with herd statistics at 8ME 12EX 61VG 45GP 7G.

Tony van Lith (LANGEWEER) helps his family milk 290 cows on his home farm in Woodstock, Ontario. He also registers about 30 high-end Holsteins under the prefix VALIANT. As a young breeder with practical experience, Tony will bring great perspective to the Breed Advisory Committee.

The new Data and Technology Committee consists of Board Members Elyse Gendron, Nancy Beerwort, Benoît Turmel, and Doug Peart, as well as CEO Vincent Landry and Holstein Canada’s Manager of Business Technology Solutions Aaron Neely.

The Board thanks all committee members for their time, effort and dedication to the Association.  Thank you to outgoing Breed Advisory Committee members Ian Crosbie and Josh Ireland. Special thanks also to Dr. Gord Atkins, who provided many years of expertise to guide the Classification Advisory Committee and is taking leave; Holstein Canada expresses much gratitude to Gord for his years serving on this Committee and for helping us improve the Canadian system.

Committee members represent all regions across Canada and are selected for their respective expertise relating to a committee’s area of concern. These individuals are selected by the Holstein Canada President, with consultation from the Board of Directors and Provincial Branches.

Each year, the newly elected Board reviews and updates the committees. Terms range from one to three years, with members eligible to be reappointed for second and third terms, depending on the committee. Board Directors serve on each committee and every committee is also supported by Management Advisors from Holstein Canada’s team. Ideas, comments and suggestions from all Holstein Canada members are always welcomed by committee members. One of the key roles of Committees is to provide recommendations to the Board of Directors on the follow up to the member resolutions presented at recent Holstein Canada AGMs. They also do the “leg work” to ensure Holstein Canada programs and services remain current in a rapidly changing industry.

Holstein Canada hosts eleven committees. The 2020 committees list can be found below; contact information can be found at the Holstein Canada website.

The Big E is Cancelled

An official statement from the staff at the Big E:

“The Big E is so much more than just a fair, it is tradition, it is celebration, it is the showcase of everything we are so proud of in New England. This is why our hearts are heavy as we bring you this news. For the safety of our fairgoers, staff, vendors, entertainers, exhibitors, sponsors, volunteers and the broader community, the 2020 Big E has been cancelled. Thank you all for your support and we’ll see you September 17-October 3, 2021, when we can all celebrate together again. “

Ronald J. Schaap Obituary

Ronald J. Schaap, 72, Marshall, died peacefully on Friday, June 26, 2020. He was born on July 6, 1947, in Sheboygan Falls, to Jacob and Marie (Reiss) Schaap. Ron graduated from Sheboygan Falls High School in 1965. He married Jean Evert on July 21, 1978 in Pewaukee.

Ron spent his career working to advance the holstein breed and supporting the dairy industry. After high school he worked for Pinehurst Farms, eventually becoming a herdsman. In 1984, Ron became a classifier for the Holstein Association. Even after retiring, he continued to work in the dairy industry as a contributor to Dairy Agenda Today.

Ron loved watching sports, talking cows, telling stories, making jokes, and staying connected with family and friends.

He is survived by his wife (Jean), his two children, Andrew (Tara) Schaap of Wichita, Kansas and Ruth Schaap of Lake Mills, and two grandchildren.

Ron was preceded in death by his parents and his only sister, Nancy Schaap.

Due to the current pandemic, there will be no services. In lieu of flowers, watch a Badger game and toast a good man.

International interests could ‘take over’ Australian dairy industry without Royal Commission

Australia’s dairy farmers need a Royal Commission into the sector to ensure it’s long term viability, according to Eden-Monaro Nationals candidate Trevor Hicks. Mr Hicks said a Royal Commission is needed into the dairy industry given 20 years since it was deregulated, farmers have been “struggling to survive”. “It’s the only thing that’s going to deliver these dairy farmers a long-term viability in Australia,” Mr Hicks told Sky News host Peta Credlin. “Otherwise we could see businesses shutdown, and overseas interests take over”. “We’re going to be really stuck for dairy products if we don’t have a Royal Commission”. The by-election for Eden-Monaro will go down to the wire between Labor’s Kristy McBain and Liberal candidate Fiona Kotvojs according to polls, but preferences, especially from the Nationals, could play a defining role. Mr Hicks said if he were elected he would be willing to cross the floor in order to push to get support for a Royal Commission.

New Countdown to UK Dairy Day

A new countdown starts for UK Dairy Day; instead of being just over 2 months away sadly we now have to wait another 14 months for the dedicated dairy industry event to return to Telford.

Unfortunately, Government guidelines have not provided us with the assurance that UK Dairy Day can go ahead with the large numbers we anticipate attending.

“It is with a heavy heart that we have to announce that the 2020 event cannot take place on Wednesday 16th September at the International Centre, Telford”, said Sue Cope, UK Dairy Day Event Director and CEO of Holstein UK.  “Since UK Dairy Day started in 2014, it has provided dairy farmers and the industry with a fantastic opportunity to network, do business and view a superb show of dairy breeds.  We thank everyone for the positive support in an attempt to make the event happen, however in light of lead times that are required by many of our exhibitors we have had to make the difficult decision to postpone until Wednesday 15th September 2021. Our top priority has to be the health and safety of our visitors, exhibitors, employees, venue support team and the wider community.”

UK Dairy Day 2021 will welcome the return of over 300 trade exhibitors, 9,000 visitors and cows that showcase the exceptional standard of UK dairy cattle.

“We look forward to welcoming everyone to the 2021 event.  In the meantime please stay safe and be proud of the amazing commitment and hard work that British dairy farmers and the industry have delivered during these uncertain times”, concludes Sue Cope.

How Dairy Princess Paige Peiffer is advocating for dairy during a very unusual year

Lebanon County’s Dairy Princess Paige Peiffer is making the best of her reign during a very atypical year. (Courtesy photo)

The near loss of her family’s dairy farm in 2018 was an eye-opening experience for Paige Peiffer.

The farm’s milk contract, along with many other area producers, was suddenly dropped by Dean Foods, sending shock waves through the local agriculture community and leaving Peiffer with mixed emotions about the fate of the family farm.

Fortunately, the family signed with Harrisburg Dairies to process the milk that their Holstein cows produce on their North Cornwall Township farm, which is located just outside Cleona.

What could have been a tragic ending instead taught Peiffer a valuable life lesson.

“That really kind of opened my eyes and made me think that we really don’t understand and appreciate things unless they are taken away from us,” said Peiffer. “So I decided that I wanted to advocate for families in a similar situation as my family as well as become an advocate for the dairy industry.”

The idea to be a spokeswoman on behalf of an industry that she had been around her whole life led Peiffer, who recently turned 18, to compete in the Pennsylvania State Dairy Princess pageant last September.

Lebanon County Dairy Princess Paige Peiffer began her reign in September of 2019. (Provided photo)

As the 2019-2020 Pennsylvania State Dairy Princess, Peiffer is sharing her passion with consumers and using her high-profile position to educate the public and government leaders about the important role the dairy industry plays in the state’s economy.

“One of the big things of any dairy princess, not just the state princess, is going to promotions and engaging with consumers, answering questions with all honesty, addressing their concerns and doing general education,” Peiffer said. “At the state level, I’ve done a lot of activities with kids … With government leaders, we go to different conferences and workshops to not only educate ourselves but them as well.”

When she isn’t educating or advocating, the 18-year-old Peiffer helps her parents, Ammon and Brenda, and her siblings, Mackenzie, Skylar and Seth, run Box-in Acres, milk their 80 Holsteins, and feed all 160 cows.

In addition to growing corn, soybeans, wheat, rye, and alfalfa on their 65-acre farm, they also rent several hundred additional acres of land from farms in Lebanon and Berks counties in order to feed their animals.

In some ways, her reign has been similar to past state princesses. Although, it’s doubtful that any have ever had to deal with as many car issues on the road as the Peiffers, who have faced not one, not two, but three dead car batteries, a busted oil pan — and, during a promotional event, the lug nuts were stolen off the tires of their car.

“The two alternates and the program director, who is my work mom, thought this was really kind of funny and something that’s never happened in any other state princess’ reign before,” Peiffer laughed.

Automobile difficulties aside, it’s been a unique reign for Peiffer —especially since mid-March, when the coronavirus ushered in a new normal.

The pandemic may have temporarily prevented Peiffer and the 26 other county princesses from promoting the industry within their regions of the state, but the girls have shown they are very resilient.

“The virus caused me to have more time on my hands, so it definitely made me want to learn better time-management skills,” Peiffer said. “I had to finish [high] school [at Cedar Crest] online and still had dairy princess activities to do, so it helped me to learn how to manage my time.”

An added benefit is the digital presence Peiffer’s developed now that Pennsylvania Dairy Princess & Promotion Services, Inc., which administers the state princess program, has taken their message online.

“I wasn’t the most necessarily experienced when it came to speaking in front of a camera since I don’t do that on a normal day-to-day basis,” Peiffer said. “But, eventually, with the dairy princess stuff, it has become a regular activity for me. I have become less self-conscious speaking in front of a camera.”

The princess program has also maximized social media to reach people, especially the 16-24 age demographic, according to Peiffer.

“I’ve learned a lot about the importance of social media and the impact it can make,” Peiffer said. “I think through our social media posts, we’ve been able to hit an audience that we normally wouldn’t meet in person. That demographic is important because they are the next generation of consumers who will marry and have children, and it’s important to engage and educate them now about dairy’s benefits.”

Her favorite memory as state princess occurred in January at the milking parlor at the Pennsylvania Farm Show.

“I got to see firsthand the guests who got to witness for the first time a cow being milked, and it was amazing to see how fascinating they thought it was,” Peiffer said. “I live and breathe dairy farming, but for me to see their fresh perspective, was really interesting. It also gave us a chance to answer all their questions like, ‘They’re milking a cow, where does the milk go next?’ So, it was a wonderful opportunity to educate people about the dairy industry.”

Paige Peiffer, pictured left, with a young girl at the Pennsylvania Farm Show this past year. (Courtesy photo)

After her year-long reign ends in September, Peiffer will attend Penn State University to major in animal science. She then plans to enroll in veterinary school to become a veterinarian.

With a strong interest in science, and especially biology, Peiffer originally thought she’d like a medical career but then decided she’d prefer to work with four-legged animals instead.

“One of the reasons I love the dairy industry is that I am around animals on a day-to-day basis,” Peiffer said. “I love animals, I love science and I absolutely love to work with my hands. So, I thought about it, meshed it all together and came up with being a veterinarian.”

Until she begins the next chapter in her life this fall, Peiffer is content to continue her highly visible role as an ambassador for the dairy industry.

“What one impression would I like to leave with consumers as an advocate? That’s a great question,” Peiffer said. “Honestly, when you talk about the dairy industry, there’s so many important parts that you can be promoting. But overall, I think that what people need to understand is how vital the dairy industry is, from both a nutritious standpoint and an economical standpoint, and how impactful that really is on the lives of everybody.”

Since June is National Dairy Month, LebTown asked Peiffer to share a dairy-infused recipe with our readers. Creamy Chicken Enchiladas is one of her favorite recipes, and she hopes it becomes one of yours, too.


Recipe: Creamy Chicken Enchiladas

(Makes 10 servings)


  • 1- 8 oz. package of cream cheese (softened)
  • 2 tablespoons water
  • 2 teaspoon onion powder
  • 2 teaspoon ground cumin
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • ¼ teaspoon pepper
  • 5 cups diced cooked chicken
  • 20 flour tortillas
  • 2 cans (10-1/2 oz) cream of chicken soup
  • 2 cups sour cream
  • 1 cup milk
  • 1 can (4 oz) green chiles
  • 1 can (10 oz) red enchilada sauce
  • 2 cups shredded cheese


1) Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. In a large bowl, beat cream cheese, water, onion power, cumin, salt, and pepper until smooth. Stir in diced chicken.

2) Place ¼ cup chicken mixture down the center of each tortilla. Roll up and place seam side down in two greased 13×9 in. baking dishes. In a large bowl, combine soup, sour cream, milk, enchilada sauce, and chiles; pour over rolled enchiladas.

3) Bake, uncovered, 30-40 minutes or until heated through. Sprinkle with cheese and bake 5 minutes longer or until cheese is melted.


Holstein Association USA Adds Monthly Classification and Production Record Lists to Web Site

Holstein Association USA has added two new features to the web site to help recognize outstanding Registered Holstein® cows and the people who breed them. New links have been added under the Popular Lists section on the Holstein Association USA homepage for Monthly Classification Summaries and 40,000+ Pound Production Records.

“With so many industry events being postponed or cancelled this year due to COVID-19, Association staff wanted to come up with new ways to help acknowledge the great achievements our members are continuing to attain with their Registered Holsteins,” said Lindsey Worden, Holstein Association USA Executive Director of Genetic Services. “We think these new reports will be of great interest to many and will showcase thousands of animals each month.”

On the Monthly Classification Summaries page, viewers will find lists by month of any cow who classified Very Good-85 or higher in that month, including cows who received a Multiple E designation, regardless of age. The report lists the animals’ names, age at time of classification, final score, sire name, owner name and owner state, and the report is sortable and searchable.

The 40,000+ Pound Production Records page is similar but includes all cows who have a completed lactation record of at least 40,000 pounds of milk that was received in the given month. The report lists the animals’ names, age at the start of lactation, milk, fat and protein information, sire name, owner name and owner state. The report is sortable and searchable.

For both new features, reports are available from January 2020 through present. The lists will be updated each month after classification and production record files are received and processed for the month.

To view these new reports, navigate to, find the Popular Lists section at the lower left of the homepage, and you will find them both listed in that menu.

Holstein Association USA, Inc.,, provides programs, products and services to dairy producers to enhance genetics and improve profitability — including animal identification and ear tags, genomic testing, mating programs, dairy records processing, classification, communication, and consulting services.

The Association, headquartered in Brattleboro, Vt., maintains the records for Registered Holsteins® and represents approximately 25,000 members throughout the United States.

Support for Québec dairy businesses

Residents and visitors to Québec will soon be able to visit cheese facilities through a new app.

Last week, The Honourable Marie-Claude Bibeau, Canada’s Minister of Agriculture and Agri-Food, announced an investment of C$353,432 (US$257,849) under the Dairy Processing Investment Fund (DPIF) to La Fromagerie Nouvelle France, a cheese processor in Racine, Québec, following a celebration of the 10-year anniversary of the company on June 23, 2020.

This week, Québec’s Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food, André Lamontagne, announced financial assistance of C$150,000 (US$110,000) to Fromagerie L’Ancêtre, from Bécancour, for its project to purchase conditioning and packaging equipment.

The province also announced C$50,000 (US$36,500) in funding to the Conseil des industriels laitiers du Québec (CILQ – Quebec Dairy Council) dairy organization to assist in the production of a mobile app promoting a Québec cheese route.

Fromagerie Nouvelle France

The investment in Fromagerie Nouvelle France will allow the company to transfer its processing operations of sheep, goat and cow milk from a rental property into its own facility. The funding will also enable the company to purchase and install new cheese and yogurt manufacturing equipment, including a controlled ripening chamber, pasteurization tank, automated manufacturing tank and cheese press.

The project is expected to increase the use of Canadian cow, goat and sheep milk, increase cheese and yogurt production, reduce production costs, while maintaining jobs in the community.

La Fromagerie Nouvelle France was founded in 2010. It specializes in the production of fine cheeses and yogurts from sheep’s milk and cow’s milk.

DPIF was designed to help the sector increase productivity and competitiveness, and help them prepare for market changes resulting from the Canada – European Union Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement (CETA).

“The construction of a new cheese factory here in Racine is excellent news for the region. This means more opportunities for our dairy producers and more of your excellent cheeses for consumers from near and far. I am proud that our government has contributed to this initiative, because it is exactly what we want for our regions. I would like to congratulate the whole Fromagerie Nouvelle France team for 10 years of growth and wish you many more decades of innovation and discoveries,”​ Bibeau said.

Marie-Chantal Houde, cheesemaker and co-owner of Fromagerie Nouvelle France, said, “I am very grateful to Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada for recognizing the potential of our team over the past 10 years. The “Buy Local” concept is also part of the commitment of our government to small artisans like us. Sheep milk production represents a significant and growing niche. It is our identity and our artisanal know-how that shines throughout the country.”

Fromagerie L’Ancêtre

The provincial funding for Fromagerie L’Ancêtre will be used to purchase automated packaging equipment that will allow the range of formats and the quantities produced by the cheese company to be increased.

The new equipment will improve hygiene, reduce the risk of injury and increase productivity, the government said.

The investment will also have positive spin-offs in the Center-du-Québec region by promoting local purchasing, since Fromagerie L’Ancêtre purchases raw materials from suppliers in the area. The move is also expected to create six new jobs.

Mobile app

The smartphone app will allow users to view, using an interactive map, the cheese factories participating in the project.

Consumers will be able to create personalized journeys or use the app to discover the food along the route.

Companies will be able to display their company profile, as well as information about their products.  The technology will use geolocation, so users of the app will receive notifications when they are close to one of the cheese producers’ facilities.  They can also receive alerts about events.

Currently, Québec has 113 cheese producers in the province, and produces about half of Canadian cheese.

The CILQ includes 97% of the manufacturers of dairy products carrying out milk processing activities in Québec. CILQ members own 96 factories in most regions of the province.


Rising from the ashes – How A Australian Dairy Farmer Recovered from a Recovered After 70 Cows Killed in a Fire

When the 2018 St Patrick’s Day fires hit Phillip Grummett’s farm near Terang, it wasn’t only the grass that was damaged.

Six months after the fires, Phillip found himself crashing to the ground.

“The first six months are okay because you’ve got terrific support from family, friends, Blaze Aid and the whole community and you’re so busy fixing fences and gates and getting your cattle and farm back up and running.

“You’re on the phone non-stop getting everything organised, but after that’s done it kicks in and hits you.

“You burn yourself out.”

The charred trees around his house are still visible, but Phillip’s mental scars have finally cleared. He has shared his story in the hope that it can inspire farmers hit by this summer’s fires to seek help if they need it.

“When there’s no more extra work to be done; you can sit and relax and that’s when you look back at the fire and that’s when depression, anxiety or unhappiness can happen.

“If there are farmers out there feeling not too happy, go and get help. I had to. For the sake of my family and my own wellbeing I had to get help.

“You might think you’re okay, but you’re not.”

The good news is that time and support can be great healers.

“It gets easier,” Phillip said. “It’s taken me two years to mentally and physically get back on top of it but I got there.”

The third-generation farmer was at home when he got a call about the fire about 8pm on Saturday, March 17.

The blaze started at a Powercor substation about one kilometre away at Terang and fanned by blustery winds soon hit his farm.

The local volunteer fire brigade put loads of water around the family house and it was saved, however, nearby trees and sheds, including Phillip’s classic motorbike collection, were destroyed.

About 85 per cent of the farm was burnt and 70 cows killed, but it could have been much worse.

“The grass was very short so when the fire came through there wasn’t much to destroy. It just flew across and burnt the ground but didn’t seem to kill the grass. We sowed the whole farm but a lot of the original grass came back.”

His main priority was saving his cows.

“By the time I knew about it, it was already at the back of the farm. With fast-moving grass fires, you just have to react and go. We went out and could see it running through the back of our property. It was going very quickly and we could see big whirlwinds going through the paddock.

“I had cattle in the back paddock but we had no hope of getting to them.”

Phillip and stepson Jordan Kidd got in the ute and chased the May calving cows about three kilometres to the dairy and then returned to protect the milkers.

“A cow’s got a heartbeat. They’re your lifeblood; you’ve got to look after them,” Phillip said.

“They’ve got a right to live. They’re not like a motorbike or shed.”

Phillip isn’t shy about admitting they were scared. “We chased them all the way with fire coming behind us and trees and limbs coming down but we had to try to save them.”

When he returned to the house, the sheds were on fire but the brigade’s work meant the house was saved and the dairy was also spared.

With most of the herd already dry, Philip, his father Ian, Jordan, and other family and friends could concentrate on recovery.

“It happened in March and we were due to start calving in May so it only gave us a few months to set up the farm,” he said.

“Dad and I look back and wonder how we did that amount of work. Without the help of family, friends and Blaze Aid we couldn’t have done it.”

Phillip plans to get a caravan and join future Blaze Aid volunteer teams. “That’s one of my bucket list items,” he said.

Some rolls of feed were saved and Phillip was able to put the cows on two paddocks.

“It got a bit stressful around the start of May when I only had one side of the farm fenced and needed a lot of little paddocks for calving to look after them properly, but I called Blaze Aid and they got about a dozen people out here and they knocked it off in about 10 days.”

There was no question of walking away.

Phillip Grummett plans to join future Blaze Aid volunteer teams to say thanks for the support on his farm.

Phillip, 49, started on the farm when he was 17, working alongside Ian. Ian had also started young, taking over from his mother when he was 16. His father had died early and the family moved to Terang as sheep farmers. Ian converted to dairy.

One of their early tasks was building a 21-a-side herringbone dairy which is still in use.

They now milk 250 Friesian cows on 170 hectares, with a second farm for young stock about 25 kilometres away at Cudgee.

“We’ve been using A.I for 30-odd years and that’s improved the quality of the herd. Production gets better and better as you improve the herd, and that’s the name of the game.”

When re-establishing the farm, Phillip had an eye on the future.

“A lot of farmers my age are pulling the pin or getting out of dairy and semi retiring into beef. There are a lot of costs in dairy. The prices have been good for the past six or eight months but it’s a grind of milking twice a day. Because the price of beef has gone through the roof, you could be on a good wicket just with beef farming.”

The fencing was replaced so the farm could adjust to beef, possibly in around five years.

In the meantime, Phillip is happy to continue dairy farming. He’s always taken a steady approach to farming and that won’t change. He’s not interested in buying more land and doesn’t need the latest inventions.

“Farming is so complex and every farm is different but you’ve got to be patient and don’t rush things,” he says.

“Don’t give up; that’s the key to farming, and have a go at doing everything.”

Phillip’s farming is based on what he learnt from his father and what he’s learnt through experience.

He’s tried summer crops, but they didn’t work so he sticks to pasture, over-sowing paddocks to top them up as needed.

“You’ve got to keep your costs down, use good fertiliser and good seed, make sure the dairy is working well and keep your cell count down. We herd test seven or eight times a year and get rid of any cow with high cell count.”

When the fire hit, he had some savings to call on for immediate relief.

“I always say don’t go into too much debt, don’t go too big too quick, and have a few pennies in the pocket,” Phillip said. “I’m a strong believer that you shouldn’t go past 17 per cent debt. If you do that, you’ll make a pretty good living.”

By Dairy News Australia

Passion for dairy pushes through pandemic

A global pandemic is not pausing a young woman’s passion for the dairy industry.

Kate Meyer is the first Winona County Dairy Princess to have even been selected virtually.

“It was definitely challenging,” Meyer said talking about the interview process. “We held the crowning online, but I think that was fun because more people who don’t usually get the chance to make it to the banquet got to hear our speeches and see us get crowned. That was pretty cool, but definitely something different.”

In her time as an ambassador, she has used the online platform to continue reaching consumers.

As Minnesota relaxed some restrictions on events and gatherings, Meyer did have a few chances to interact with the community during June Dairy Month handing out milk and cookies at Cabin Coffee in St. Charles and serving ice cream at the Lewiston Farmers Market.

“We had a few good chances to get out in the public, so that’s been fun,” Meyer said.

Photo Credit: Winona County Dairy Princess

She has always had a strong foothold in the industry. Her family owns and operations Quarry Hill Dairy. They milk around 800 cows and produce their own crops.

“I just want people to understand that farmers work really hard for food on the table and that all dairy products are safe,” Meyer said. “No matter what the label says, they are safe because they’re inspected properly. You never have to worry about any safety measures not being met when it’s on the shelf.”

Although most summer activities are canceled, Meyer said Winona County residents will continue to find her serving ice cream and doing giveaways at the Lewiston Farmers markets on Wednesday nights. She will also use her position to volunteer at the food shelf in St. Charles.

“As long as we practice the social distancing roles, we will be available for people to come visit and talk to the public,” Meyer said.

One of the best ways to keep up with the Winona County Dairy Royalty is on Facebook.

“We need to continue to support dairy farmers and continue to stay positive during this time,” Meyer said.


Ontario farmers rejoice, animal activists irate over ag protection bill

Brent Royce believes there is a huge sigh of relief across Ontario’s countryside following the passing of Bill 156.

“It’s really there to protect farm families and keep people from trespassing,” says the Perth County farmer.

The Ontario government recently passed the Security from Trespass and Animal Safety Act. It’s a bill that will dramatically increase fines for people who trespass on farms, and make it illegal to obstruct trucks carrying farm animals.

It’s a result of an increasing number of animal activist protests on farms across Canada.

“They’ve shown up at all kinds of farms in the middle of the night, you just never truly know. Some farmers have put up video surveillance, but yeah, I’d say this is a huge sigh of relief. Everyone is thankful and hopeful this bill will help out,” says Royce, who is also a regional representative for the Ontario Federation of Agriculture, who pushed for the bill’s adoption.

Animal activists are not thankful for the new bill. They say the bill will put an end to undercover operations to expose abuse on farms, as it makes it illegal to gain access to a farm or processing plant under false pretences.

Camille Labchuk is the Executive Director for Animal Justice.

“This is what’s known as an ag gag law, which attacks whistleblowers and prevents them from exposing illegal and unethical practices on farms. This pure protectionism for the farm industry,” she says.

Labchuk believes, sometimes the ends justifies the means.

“These investigations have led to animal cruelty prosecutions and important policy changes. But the bill would effectively shut down these important undercover videos,” says Labchuk.

Farmers and the provincial government say there are laws in place to protect animals, and trespassing on farms can simply no longer be tolerated.

“You want your family to be safe. We do to. We want our family safe, and our farm safe,” says Royce, who farms near Listowel.

Ontario’s Agriculture and Food Minister agrees.

“Individuals would never tolerate having strangers unlawfully enter their homes and to be threatened and harassed by those strangers. Farmers are no different and deserve the same protection under the law,” he says.

Animal activist groups vow to fight the legislation, and have it overturned in the courts.  

Source: CTV News

IDF launches third edition of Dairy Sustainability Outlook

Finding new ways to reduce the impact on the environment, manage resources efficiently and increase benefits to biodiversity and bioeconomy is a crucial part of the commitment made by the dairy sector for continuous improvement, the IDF said.

The free publication, which can be downloaded from the IDF website, showcases ongoing activities and the latest initiatives to ensure sustainable dairy, including new approaches to agriculture, quality education, improved milk quality, development of rural areas through dairying, strong international cooperation and climate commitment achievements.

Case studies in the new edition include sustainability knowledge transfer between Denmark and China; how the Milky Way Partnership is helping deliver on the UN’s sustainable development goals; how Israeli dairy experts are transforming the dairy sector in the Atlántico Departmental region in Colombia; and how the Russian dairy sector is making rural areas attractive places to live as well as for young people to start families.

A case study in India shows how the establishment of an efficient manure value chain can provide fuel needs and provide a stable income for dairy farmers. In Brazil, anaerobic bio-digestion of livestock manure is shown to produce clean energy and reduce soil and water contamination, while in Sweden, the report loThe latesoks at the largest single undertaking to reduce losses of nutrients to air and water from livestock and crop production.

The 3rd edition also provides an example of how COVID-19 has impacted the dairy sector and outlines the measures taken in France to maintain the activity of the sector.

IDF director general Caroline Emond said, “Sustainable development is a collective effort that depends on collaboration between governments, international organizations, and the private sectors, along with individuals. The IDF recognizes the challenges and opportunities and is committed to contributing relevant scientific information and good practice to the discussion. This new edition is a valuable continuation of the series and provides an insight into the contribution of milk production, processing, and consumption to the achievement of UN Sustainable Development Goals.”


Update on Curtis Clark Achievement Award

With the cancellation of this year’s Royal Agricultural Winter Fair in Toronto, ON, this November due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the Curtis Clark Achievement Award Committee regretfully announces that they will not be presenting the Curtis Clark Achievement Award in 2020. All nominations submitted for the award in 2020 will be held over for consideration next year. The Clark Committee looks forward to presenting the Curtis Clark Trophy again at the Royal Agricultural Winter Fair in 2021.

Curtis Clark Press release from June 3, 2020:

Nominations for this year’s Curtis Clark Achievement Award are currently being sought. Presented annually at the Royal Agricultural Winter Fair in Toronto, Ontario, the Curtis Clark Award goes to the Canadian dairy cattle exhibitor who possesses the ability, sportsmanship and character necessary to be respected by their fellow breeders and exhibitors. The award is sponsored by the Alberta Holstein Branch.
Photo provided.

To be eligible for the Clark award, the nominee must be an “active” showman, breeder or manager of any dairy cattle breed in Canada who is exhibiting animals at major shows in Canada. The person who wins the award “must be present” at the Royal Winter Fair to accept it. Nominees will be judged on their support of breed activities and ability to breed, manage, develop and exhibit dairy cattle. Selection of the winner is made by former recipients of the award. The 2020 winner will be announced on November 13th during the Royal’s National Holstein Show.

Nominations for the award, which should include a brief résumé on the nominee, should be sent by October 1st to the Curtis Clark Achievement Award Committee Secretary, Bonnie Cooper, 904 – 12 Rockford Road, North York, Ontario M2R 3A2, e-mail:, telephone: 416-663-8515, cell: 416-579-6572.

Nominations previously submitted for the award need not be submitted again.

Appel de candidatures pour le Prix d’accomplissement Curtis-Clark 2020

Nous sommes présentement à la recherche de candidats pour le Prix d’accomplissement Curtis-Clark de cette année. Un prix décerné à chaque année à la Royal Agricultural Winter Fair à Toronto, Ontario, le prix Curtis-Clark est attribué à un exposant de vaches laitières qui souligne la capacité, l’esprit sportif et le bon caractère nécessaire pour qu’une personne puisse mériter le respect de ses collègues d’élevage et d’expositions. Le prix Curtis-Clark est commandité par la section Alberta de Holstein Canada.

Pour être admissible à ce prix, le candidat, qu’il soit un exposant, un éleveur ou un gérant de n’importe quelle race de bovin laitier du Canada, doit être « actif » et une personne qui expose des animaux dans les grandes expositions de ce pays. Le gagnant de cette reconnaissance doit être présent à la Royal Winter Fair pour recevoir son prix. Les candidats seront jugés selon leur appui des activités de la race et leur capacité de pouvoir élever, gérer, développer et présenter le bovin laitier. Le nom du gagnant cette année sera annoncé le 13 novembre prochain lors de l’exposition nationale Holstein à la Royale.

Les nominations pour ce prix, qui doivent inclure un bref résumé sur le candidat, doivent être envoyées au plus tard le 1 er octobre à la secrétaire du comité du Prix d’accomplissement Curtis-Clark, Bonnie Cooper, 904 – 12 Rockford Road, North York, Ontario M2R 3A2, courriel :, téléphone : 416-663-8515, téléphone mobile : 416-579-6572.

Les nominations déjà soumises n’ont pas besoin d’être soumises à nouveau.

Curtis Clark Achievement Award Nominations Sought for 2020

Top Dairy Industry News Stories from June 20th till 26th 2020

Top News Stories:

Holstein Association USA Presents James and Nina Burdette the 2020 Elite Breeder Award

The 2020 Holstein Association USA Elite Breeder award winners are James and Nina Burdette of Windy Knoll View Farm in Mercersburg, Pa. The Windy Knoll View prefix is synonymous with Registered Holsteins® with outstanding conformation. For the past 44 years, breeding upstanding, strong cattle, with deep maternal and paternal lines, has been the focus of Registered Holsteins for the Burdettes.

The path the Burdettes chose to develop their outstanding herd of Holsteins was very unique. They started with a group of cows with nondescript pedigrees and bred them to develop several great cow families that are internationally known.

Their farm has always been a smaller breeder herd, 50 cows for the first 35 years, cared for by their own family labor, with minimal part time outside help. With careful breeding, they developed several notable cow families that transmitted generation to generation.

Windy-Knoll-View Ultimate Pala was a tremendous brood cow for the Burdette family and the “P family” is known around the world. Tracing down to her great grand-daughter, Panini, through daughter Promis and granddaughter Pledge, you will find classification scores of Excellent 94, then three generations in a row of Excellent 95. The latest three generations were all nominated All-American in milking form. Among Pala, Promis and Pledge, you will find a combined 54 Excellent daughters.

The Burdettes certainly accomplished their plan to breed high type, balanced cows, with high production and they never wavered from that goal. As a result, Windy Knoll View cattle have been in demand as bull mothers as well as elite show cattle and have had a positive impact on Holstein genetics around the globe.

About the Award  

The award recognizes a Holstein breeder who bred outstanding animals, making a notable contribution to the advancement of the Holstein breed in the United States.

Holstein Association USA, Inc.,, provides programs, products and services to dairy producers to enhance genetics and improve profitability — including animal identification and ear tags, genomic testing, mating programs, dairy records processing, classification, communication, and consulting services.The Association, headquartered in Brattleboro, Vt., maintains the records for Registered Holsteins® and represents approximately 25,000 members throughout the United States.

Patsy Gifford Receives Holstein Association USA’s 2020 Distinguished Leadership Award

The 2020 Distinguished Leadership Award honoree is Patricia Gifford of Groton, N.Y. Patsy’s unselfish leadership has motivated young Holstein enthusiasts to set goals, achieve them, and work to create new ones. Simply put, she inspires others to be good human beings.

Patsy’s intrinsic love and support for the Registered Holstein® cow and the dairy industry are evident to those who know her. Patsy became the first woman to classify cattle for the Holstein Association USA.

For Patsy, classifying cattle seemed to be an almost natural and deep-seated talent. She was on the road for nearly two decades scoring thousands of cattle, all the while explaining her decisions with great satisfaction from those whose cattle she was evaluating.

This Holstein enthusiast is a role model to many young people who are finding their way in the dairy industry. She has a knack for putting the right people together and encourages them to stay engaged.

After her career of classifying cattle for the Holstein Association USA, Patsy became the Executive Director of the New York Holstein Association. She had the vision for, secured, and executed the creation of the New York Holstein Reserve Fund. Since its inception, the fund has helped to ensure the long-term success of the New York Holstein Association.

Whether working on a dairy farm classifying cattle, or working in the office, Gifford always approached her career with enthusiasm and commitment. Farm families with whom she worked over the years consider Patsy their cheerleader, confidant, and trusted advisor.

About the Award

This award recognizes an individual who has made a career of providing outstanding and unselfish leadership for the betterment of the dairy industry.


Holstein Association USA, Inc.,, provides programs, products and services to dairy producers to enhance genetics and improve profitability — including animal identification and ear tags, genomic testing, mating programs, dairy records processing, classification, communication, and consulting services.

The Association, headquartered in Brattleboro, Vt., maintains the records for Registered Holsteins® and represents approximately 25,000 members throughout the United States.

Wisconsinites Kurt and Sarah Loehr Honored as Holstein Association USA’s 2020 Distinguished Young Holstein Breeders

Kurt and Sarah Loehr of Eden, Wisconsin are the winners of the 2020 Distinguished Young Holstein Breeder award. The Loehrs’ cattle are registered under the Forest-Ridge prefix.

The prefix had humble beginnings in 2003, just before the couple met and started farming together. Sarah has strong Registered Holstein® roots as National DJM semi-finalist and brought Kurt along on a journey that has established them as a well-respected name in Registered Holstein circles.

Kurt and Sarah married in 2010 and took over the farm a year later. Today, the Loehr’s 92-cow herd has a Rolling Herd Average of 23,289 pounds of milk, 929 pounds of fat, and 738 pounds of protein. Kurt and Sarah’s herd currently consists of 21 Excellent and 46 Very Good cows with an impressive 110.7 BAA, making them one of the top 100 BAA herds in the country. With a passion for the show ring, they also have claimed three All-American nominations, and five Red and White All-American nominations.

Kurt and Sarah breed for high type with good feet and legs, excellent udders, dairy strength and wide rumps. With a quarter of their income from cattle sales, they breed cattle that can thrive in any type of dairy operation.

They also lease show calves to area youth. They say, “We want our genetics to excel for others, whether that is a youth show calf or a milk cow sold to a repeat buyer.”

Both Kurt and Sarah are active as youth activity volunteers, event organizers, and Kurt currently serves on the Wisconsin Holstein Association board of directors. They have two young daughters, Adella and Ainsley.

About the Award  

The Distinguished Young Holstein Breeder award recognizes significant accomplishments of young Registered Holstein® breeders for their commitment to preserving the dairy industry and for achieving excellence in their daily lives.


Holstein Association USA, Inc.,, provides programs, products and services to dairy producers to enhance genetics and improve profitability — including animal identification and ear tags, genomic testing, mating programs, dairy records processing, classification, communication, and consulting services.

The Association, headquartered in Brattleboro, Vt., maintains the records for Registered Holsteins® and represents approximately 25,000 members throughout the United States.

Fonterra names Peter McBride as new chairman

Peter McBride has been named as the new chairman of Fonterra. McBride takes over from John Monaghan (R), who has held the role since 2018.

Fonterra chief executive Miles Hurrell says the rules covering the dairy industry need to be changed to allow a level playing field covering all companies.

Dairy giant Fonterra has named Peter McBride as its new chairman.

McBride will replace current Fonterra chairman, John Monaghan, when he retires as a director of the co-op at its annual meeting in November.

Monaghan said that the early announcement of McBride as chairman-elect was part of the board’s commitment to planned governance succession.

McBride was a current farmer director. H said he was humbled to be selected by his fellow directors, and was looking forward to leading the co-op.

“I grew up on a dairy farm near Te Aroha and today my wife Linda and I run the family farm milking 950 cows in the South Waikato, so dairy has always been part of my life.

“I’m looking forward to working alongside John for the next few months before leading our Co-op into its next phase and creating value for the benefit of our farmer owners and unit holders.”

McBride is a former chairman of kiwifruit exporter Zespri, and was named the Deloitte Top 200 2018 New Zealand chairperson of the year.

He is also the chief executive of Trinity Lands, a farm-focused charitable business in the Waikato.

McBride is the grandson of Lichfield Lands and Longview Trust founder Robert Auld.

Monaghan announced his departure from Fonterra at the end of his three-year term in March.

The Wairarapa dairy farmer held a long serving governance role at Fonterra, and took over the leadership of the co-operative after former chairman John Wilson stepped down due to ill health.

Monaghan was regarded as a “back to basics” leader, taking over just after the dairy giant reported its first ever loss of $196 million. Last year that figure blew out to $605m.

When Monaghan’s retirement was announced, ANZ agriculture economist Susan Kilsby said he had improved the board culture and helped provide a more cohesive direction for the organisation.

“He also contributed to turning the morale of Fonterra around. They’ve been working hard to be a lot more transparent.”

McBride was tipped to be Monaghan’s successor in March.

Source: Stuff

Several Changes Announced to Alice in Dairyland Program

As the agricultural industry continues to change with the times, so does the state’s agricultural ambassador program. Jayne Krull, director of the Division of Agricultural Development at the Wisconsin Department of Agriculture, says there will be two new changes made to the Alice in Dairyland program starting this year.

During last weekend’s Alice in Dairyland finale, which was held virtually because of the COVID-19 pandemic, Krull said the term of all new Alices going forward will begin in July instead of June.

“We’re changing the cycle so that the current, more seasoned Alice will concluded her term during June Dairy Month and thus ending on a high note,” Krull said. “The finals process will still be held in May, but the incoming Alice will begin her duties a little later.”

The second change would allow all Alice in Dairyland finalists to be credentialed for their training and preparation efforts.

“Anyone who applies for Alice can tell you it’s one of the hardest job interview processes around,” Krull noted. “They all learn valuable skills which will help them in the future. So going forward, all finalists will be recognized for completing an agricultural marketing and communications certification program, which will also help them on their resumes.”

As part of the certification process, each of this year’s finalists have gone through weekly learning modules that taught them skills ranging from dealing with the media to effective public speaking.


Charlie Garrison is Featured Speaker of National All-Jersey Inc. Annual Meeting, June 26

Charlie Garrison

The 62nd annual meeting of National All-Jersey Inc. (NAJ), will be held virtually at 2:00 p.m (EDT) on Friday, June 26, 2020. Members will elect a Director from District #5, receive reports of the officers and General Manager and consider any other business that may properly come before the meeting.

The latest on national dairy policy, the USDA Coronavirus Food Assistance Program, prospects for additional federal assistance legislation, trade policy and agreements and the agriculture workforce modernization legislation will be discussed by Charlie Garrison, founder and president of The Garrison Group LLC, during the NAJ annual meeting.

Founded in 1997, The Garrison Group is a Washington, D.C.-based public affairs firm specializing in food, agriculture and energy policy and communications. Garrison provides regular briefings on legislative affairs to the NAJ Board of Directors and coordinated the three Congressional fly-ins organized for NAJ and AJCA members since 2014.

Garrison was raised on a central Indiana dairy and row crop farm and earned a B.S. in Animal Science from Purdue University. After 10 years as a partner in the family farm, he accepted a staff position in Chicago with the Beef Industry Council, the checkoff¬ funded promotion and research arm of the beef industry that is now part of the National Cattlemen’s Beef Association. While in Chicago he studied at the Kellogg Graduate School of Management at Northwestern University. In 1992, Garrison moved to Washington, D.C. to create the position of Director of Industry Relations for the National Dairy Promotion and Research Board. He remained in that role during and after the merger of the National Dairy Board staff and programs into Dairy Management Inc. (DMI).

To view the complete agenda of the virtual meeting, click here.

For a list of sponsors and information to join the meeting, click here.

National All-Jersey Inc. (NAJ) was formed December 9, 1957 by the American Jersey Cattle Association, the oldest dairy breed registry organization in the United States. NAJ’s mission is two-fold: to increase the value of and demand for Jersey milk and to promote equity in milk pricing. It is the only organization that represents milk marketing concerns for owners of a single dairy breed. It functions cooperatively with the AJCA by sharing several Directors, Officers, and staff personnel, and occupies joint headquarters offices in Reynoldsburg, Ohio.

Holstein Association USA provides update on their office re-launch

The Holstein Association USA has provided the below following statement on their re-launch. 

Dear Holstein Association Friends:

As you know, since March 25th, the Holstein Association USA office has been officially closed under Vermont Governor Phil Scott’s emergency order due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Even so, a subset of the Holstein Team continued to work to carry on as many Association services as we effectively could.

Let me assure you, all who remained working exceeded my most optimistic expectations. Many thanks to my colleagues.

At this juncture, I’m happy to report the majority of our personnel is now working either in the office or remotely. Our classification and regional sales representatives teams are working as well.

Our employee Health and Safety Committee is doing an excellent job instituting the guidelines and recommendations coming from the Vermont Department of Health and the CDC. A number of new protocols have been implemented at 1 Holstein Place in order to try to do everything possible to ensure the health and safety of those who work here.

We’ve made some internal operational modifications that we hope will enable us to be of greater service to you than ever before. We’re currently running as close to full throttle as possible, even though some state restrictions still remain. We’re open and here to assist you!

Many thanks to all of you for your patience during this cumbersome time.

Please take care of yourselves and do everything you can to stay well,
John M. Meyer
Chief Executive Officer

NMPF answers farmer questions concerning USDA’s Coronavirus Food Assistance Program

Dairy farmers are eligible for direct support through USDA’s Coronavirus Food Assistance Program (CFAP). CFAP provides direct financial assistance to agricultural producers, providing them the ability to weather the economic uncertainty caused by COVID-19.

USDA is accepting CFAP applications through August 28. Call and set up an appointment with your local USDA Farm Service Agency (FSA) office to determine your eligibility and to apply for assistance.

Am I eligible for assistance under CFAP?

CFAP payments are eligible to all dairy operations with milk production in January, February, and/or March 2020, including any dumped milk production during that period. All farmers who produced milk between January and March 2020, including those who went out of business or otherwise stopped producing milk during this period or after, are eligible. Production enrolled in risk management programs, including Livestock Gross Margin, Dairy Revenue Protection, Dairy Margin Coverage or forward contracts, also qualifies for CFAP payments.

What is the payment level for milk production?

For dairy, a single payment will be made derived from two funding formulas intended to calculate losses caused by the coronavirus. The first and larger component is calculated from a producer’s certification of milk production for the first quarter of calendar year 2020 multiplied by $4.71 per hundredweight. The second component of the payment is based on a 1.014% increase in that first quarter production, multiplied by $1.47 per hundredweight. Overall, the payment amounts to $6.20/cwt. for a farm’s production in January through March of this year.

What other CFAP categories am I eligible for?

Besides milk production, dairy farmers may be eligible for payments under the following categories. Click here for the full list of eligible commodities.

Livestock: Cull cows, Steers, Bull calves, Mature bulls, Cull heifers

Non-Specialty Crops: Corn (including high moisture corn), Sorghum, Soybeans

How does the livestock payment affect my dairy operation?

Livestock that are no longer used for dairy production and have entered the beef cattle market, if all other eligibility requirements are met, may be eligible for CFAP and would be categorized accordingly. USDA has provided guidance to assist dairy producers in determining eligibility. The payment rates listed below are all per head.

A single payment for livestock will be calculated using the sum of the producer’s number of livestock sold between Jan. 15 and April 15, 2020, multiplied by the payment rates per head, and the highest inventory number of livestock between April 16 and May 14, 2020, multiplied by the payment rate per head. For more information, visit USDA’s CFAP webpage for livestock.

How do payment limits work under CFAP?

CFAP payments are subject to a per-person and legal entity payment limitation of $250,000. This limitation applies to the total amount of CFAP payments made with respect to all eligible commodities. Unlike other FSA programs, special payment limitation rules are applied to participants that are corporations, limited liability companies, and limited partnerships (corporate entities). These corporate entities may receive up to $750,000 based upon the number of shareholders (not to exceed three shareholders) who are contributing at least 400 hours of active personal management or personal active labor.

For a corporate entity:

  • With one such shareholder, the payment limit for the entity is $250,000;
  • With two such shareholders, the payment limit for the entity is $500,000 if at least two members contribute at least 400 hours of active personal labor or active personal management, or combination thereof, with respect to the operation of the corporate entity; and
  • With three such shareholders, the limit is $750,000 if at least three members contribute at least 400 hours of active personal labor or active personal management, or combination thereof, with respect to the operation of the corporate entity.

Does money I’ve received this year through the Small Business Administration’s Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) and/or the Economic Injury Disaster Loan (EIDL) program count against the payment limits in the CFAP program?

No. Small Business Administration’s loan programs, including the PPP and EIDL program, are separate from USDA’s coronavirus payments. Farmers can apply for financial assistance through both agencies, and assistance received from one agency should not affect assistance received from the other.

Are there special provisions for seasonal producers or organic producers?

There are no special provisions for seasonal dairy producers or organic dairy producers under the current program.

How do I apply?

A CFAP Payment Calculator is available to assist with applications. This Excel workbook allows you to enter information specific to your operation to determine estimated payments and populate the application form. Producers interested in filling out the application manually can also download the application form, AD-3114.

Producers self-certify when they apply for CFAP, and documentation is not submitted with the application. But you may be asked for additional documentation to support your certification of eligible commodities, so you should retain the documentation used to complete your application.

FSA staff at local USDA Service Centers will work with farmers to file applications. Applications may be submitted via mail, fax, hand delivery, or via electronic means. Please call your office prior to sending applications electronically. Visit for more information. Applications will be accepted through August 28, 2020.

When should I expect to receive my payment?

To ensure the availability of funding throughout the application period, producers will receive 80 percent of their maximum total payment, up to the payment limit, upon approval of the application. The remaining portion will be paid at a later date as funds remain available.

Should I expect any additional aid in the coming months?

Congress is considering additional legislation to respond to the significant impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic. The House-passed HEROES Act includes a number of beneficial provisions for dairy farmers, including additional direct payments, and we anticipate that the Senate will begin work on a bill in the coming weeks. NMPF will keep dairy farmers updated about any subsequent aid made available.

Dairy farmers and their allies are encouraged to spend a few minutes customizing our call-to-action letter urging Congress to prioritize dairy assistance in its next coronavirus assistance package.

Visit for additional information about CFAP and for a full listing of coronavirus resources for dairy farmers and co-ops. Please email with questions or comments about CFAP and how it is being administered in your local office.

DairyTrace Now Set for Fall Implementation

Lactanet Canada and Dairy Farmers of Canada (DFC) today announced that DairyTrace, the much-anticipated national dairy cattle traceability program will become a reality in the fall of 2020, providing a single, common framework for dairy farmers to track animal identity and movements. The announcement follows a separate, related communication from the Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) last week, recognizing Lactanet Canada as the national administrator responsible for dairy bovine animals under Part XV of the Health of Animals Regulations.

“Providing protection and peace of mind to consumers is vital, and when it is fully implemented, DairyTrace will provide a high-quality, national dairy cattle traceability system that takes our industry’s efforts to the next level,” says Gert Schrijver, dairy producer and Chairman of Lactanet’s DairyTrace Advisory Committee.  “The launch of DairyTrace will be a pivotal milestone for dairy producers, as it will provide the data management infrastructure needed to provide – for the first time – a true, pan-Canadian picture of the movements of dairy cattle.”

DairyTrace takes advantage of existing structures, systems and solutions within the Canadian dairy cattle sector, which has the significant benefits of efficiency, cost effectiveness and timely implementation towards the targeted timeline as defined with proAction®.

Under federal regulations and/or proAction® requirements, everyone who owns or has the possession, care or control of dairy cattle must report animal identity, movement, location, and custodianship information. Lactanet and DFC have been working collaboratively since 2016 towards the common vision of a national dairy cattle traceability program. By harmonizing data under a common, national framework, DairyTrace will promote information sharing and potentially add value to research and genetics initiatives, all while aligning with the traceability module of DFC’s proAction® program.

DairyTrace will be managed by Lactanet’s Board of Directors, with input and collaboration from DFC. DairyTrace takes advantage of existing structures, systems and solutions within the Canadian dairy cattle sector, including partnerships with Agri-Traçabilité Québec (ATQ) and Holstein Canada, which provides benefits in terms of efficiency, cost effectiveness and timely implementation:

  • ATQ has expertly led the livestock traceability program in Québec for over 18 years. ATQ will be hosting, supporting, and transferring data to the DairyTrace system and will continue to provide its well-established services to Québec producers via SimpliTRACE.
  • Outside Québec, dairy producers will continue to purchase dairy bovine tags via the National Livestock Identification for Dairy (NLID) program, which will now be dovetailed alongside DairyTrace customer services. Both will be offered from Holstein Canada.

Lactanet and DFC acknowledge and express appreciation to CFIA, as well as for the financial support provided by Agriculture and Agri‐Food Canada through its Canadian Agricultural Partnership (CAP) program.

About Lactanet Canada

Lactanet is the leading dairy herd improvement organization responsible for milk recording, genetic evaluations and knowledge transfer. As a farmer-run organization serving nearly 10,000 Canadian dairy producers, Lactanet provides the dairy industry with products and services to help manage their dairy operation for maximum efficiency and profitability.

About Dairy Farmers of Canada

Dairy Farmers of Canada is the national policy, lobbying and promotional organization representing Canadian dairy producers. DFC strives to create stable conditions for the dairy sector in our country. It also seeks to maintain policies that promote the sustainability of Canadian dairy production and promote dairy products and their health benefits.

Cancellation of the 2020 Royal Agricultural Winter Fair

Due to our ongoing concern regarding the COVID-19 pandemic, the excitement of The Royal will have to wait for another year. The Royal’s Board of Directors today made the heart-wrenching but unanimous decision to cancel the 2020 Royal Agricultural Winter Fair, originally scheduled for November 6th to 15th at Exhibition Place, Toronto. This treasured annual tradition will return better than ever in 2021.

“Over the past several months, we’ve all experienced an unprecedented disruption to our daily lives and are redefining how we live, work and play. Ultimately, our decision is grounded in our commitment to help ensure the health and well-being of our community at large,” stated Charlie Johnstone, Chief Executive Officer at The Royal. “Our primary responsibility remains rooted in serving our community and protecting the integrity and welfare of all. We understand and appreciate the time, effort and financial commitment required to compete and exhibit at The Royal and did not make this decision without very careful consideration.”

The Royal Agricultural Winter Fair is the largest combined indoor agricultural fair and international equestrian competition in the world. Each fall, The Royal brings together hundreds of competitors, thousands of animals and hundreds of thousands of guests to celebrate the best in agriculture, local food, and equestrian competition. During its storied history, The Royal has been cancelled on only one other occasion, during World War II. At that time, the stalls within the historic Royal Horse Palace were transformed into Army Barracks to house soldiers preparing to be deployed to join our Canadian and Allied troops fighting in Europe. Today, The Royal once again stands in support of its community, first and foremost.

“During these uncertain times, we’re heartened by the resilience of farmers, the ingenuity of entrepreneurs, and the abundance of care shown towards family, friends and animals,” concluded Johnstone. “As we lead up to our 100th Anniversary celebrations in 2022, we take comfort knowing that the 2021 Royal Agricultural Winter Fair will be, as always, an outstanding experience for all those who compete, exhibit and attend.”

In additional to The Royal’s Agricultural Food Competitions, which will still take place in 2020, virtual programming designed to engage, educate and motivate is currently being explored for this Fall. More details regarding this exciting initiative will be released soon. In the meantime, all Canadians are encouraged to continue supporting Canadian farmers, producers and local retailers. 

Together we will get through this, and “Bring the Country to the City” next November 5th to 14th, 2021.

Friends come together to buy farmer’s first tractor back from sale

Nick Sievers drives his John Deere 4520 after friends bought it back for him (courtesy Jed Olbertson)

A farmer who’s fallen on hard times was surprised, when friends banded together to buy back his first tractor that he’d put up for sale.

Nick Sievers of Beresford, South Dakota was holding a dispersal sale this week.

As his friend Jed Olbertson said on Facebook, ” He was a good operator.. a good manager… he just caught a good run of bad luck.”

Sievers said on Facebook that he bought the tractor before he got married and started his farming adventure with it, calling it a faithful member of the farm.

As he watched the auction, he said one bidder couldn’t be beat, bringing in more money for the tractor than it should have.

Little did he know, Olbertson couldn’t bear the thought of his friend selling his first tractor, a John Deere 4520. In 24 hours, he came up with enough people who chipped in to buy Sievers’ tractor back.

Sievers said neighbors, friends, even strangers pitched in.

“I have no words. I am truly humbled. I’m going to do my best to thank each and every one of you all personally, but if I cannot, I assure you I will pass this good will forward. People are good. I have proof. It’s in the form of an old dirty John Deere that this teary eyed man is relieved that he didn’t have to say goodbye to. This isn’t a tractor anymore, it’s a treasure. I love you all so much,” he wrote.


Julia Nunes Selected as Wisconsin’s 73rd Alice in Dairyland

A Chippewa County woman has been crowned as Wisconsin’s 73rd Alice in Dairyland. Julia Nunes, 23, from Tilden was selected for the title Saturday night during a Facebook Live event from Walworth County.

“I will strive to be the role model that Alice in Dairyland was for me growing up,” Nunes said after being chosen. “As Alice, I will explore Wisconsin’s agriculture and share my discoveries and knowledge gained with consumers and producers throughout the state.”

Nunes grew up on her family’s registered Holstein dairy farm, where she was involved in the Junior Holstein Association and 4-H. She is a graduate of the University of Minnesota-Twin Cities, where she earned a bachelor’s degrees in Agricultural Communication & Marketing, and Animal Science, with minors in Agricultural & Food Business Management, and Horticulture. For the past year, Julia has been employed at Kinni Hemp Company in River Falls.

Other finalists in the running during the competition were Rachel Gerbitz, Milton; Erica Helmer, Plymouth; Stephanie Hoff, Thorp; Kaitlin Konder, Glenwood City; and Grace Schroeder, Cashton.

Serving as judges this year were Beth Schaefer, Dairy Farmers of Wisconsin; Jackie Fett, Ginseng Board of Wisconsin; and Mark Rhoda-Reis, Wisconsin Department of Agriculture. Walworth County Fair Board President Bill Thompson served as the master of ceremonies.

Meanwhile, this year’s Alice, Abigail Martin, said the COVID-19 pandemic may have changed the way she did her job during the latter part of her year, but it didn’t change her objective.

“March 18th… when this date arrived, I arrived in a new territory–the Alice working from home territory,” Martin said in her retiring address. “I had to transition from life on the road to life at the kitchen table, but the importance of telling agriculture’s story was greater than ever.”

And before giving up her title, Abigail presented the 2020 Friend of Alice Award to Nodji Van Wychen of Wetherby Cranberry Company in Warrens.

Julia officially begins her duties as Alice on July 6. Until then, Martin will continue to handle the program’s responsibilities as her successor goes through a brief training process.

Alice in Dairyland is a full-time public relations professional employed by the state’s division of agricultural development. Each year, she travels more than 40,000 miles throughout the state, promoting Wisconsin products to audiences of all ages and types.

Next year, the Alice in Dairyland finals returns to Walworth County for traditional in-person activities in May 2021. Dane County will hold the 75th annual competition in the Madison area a year later. And Dunn County is already in line as the 2023 host.


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