Archive for News

Australian dairy farmer filmed firing shotgun after heated exchange with animal rights activists

A dairy farmer who was filmed firing a shotgun after a heated confrontation with animal rights activists in Western Australia says the footage does not show his side of the story.

Video: Confrontation between farmer and activists in WA (ABC News)

Jason Parravicini confronted activist James Warden who, along with an unnamed woman, were filming from a car outside his Harvey property earlier this week.

The video shows Mr Parravicini demanding the pair cease filming before lunging for Mr Warden’s keys and accusing the activists of “tormenting Harvey” and telling them to “piss off”.

The video then cuts to the activists driving past Mr Parravicini’s house, where he can be seen firing a shotgun — pointed away from the vehicle — in his backyard.

“[Regarding] the firearm, I honestly thought they had left,” Mr Parravicini, who claimed the video was “heavily edited”, told ABC Radio.

“Every day at 2pm, I let a couple rounds go … a bit of a spray that will scare the vermin away from the young cattle.

“I wasn’t to know they were there.

“For anyone to say I was shooting at them — number one, no-one in their right mind would do that and number two, I have too much to lose to do anything like that.”

Documenting ‘abused animals’

Mr Warden, who describes himself as a “non-apologetic animal rights activist” said he was attempting to film male calves being “dragged from their forcibly impregnated grieving mothers” when the confrontation started.

“We live in a democratic society where we are able to take photos of these abused animals on these facilities,” Mr Warden said.

“We are not going to regress in these sorts of situations.

“The beneficiaries of us not actually taking these photos and exposing this type of abuse is the farmers who are emotionally and physically tormenting these animals.”

Mr Warden declined to reveal how he found Mr Parravicini’s property.

He says he has been receiving death threats ever since the media got hold of the story.

Tension already high after ‘roadmap to grief’ published

Australia’s farming community has been on edge since January, when a website called Aussie Farms published a map revealing the location and details of pastoral operations around the country.

While Mr Parravicini’s property is not listed on the site, industry officials say the fear of this kind of incident is driving up anxiety among farmers.

President of Pastoralists and Graziers Association of Western Australia, Tony Seabrook said the community already felt it was “under attack”, and described the Farms Australia site as a “roadmap to grief”.

“It was unfortunate that it was published and there will be repercussions,” Mr Seabrook said.

“It brings the risk of disease as well as interrupting business.

“It will not be a good thing for the industry.”

Aussie Farms Executive Director Chris Delforce said it was not intended to promote trespassing, rather to “encourage people to drive past and snap a few photos from the road.”

“We’re certainly not encouraging anyone to break the law to get material.”

The group said if requested, the group would remove contact details of farmers.

‘Atmosphere of fear’

Federal Minister for Agriculture and Water Resources David Littleproud urged “calm” in the wake of the incident but linked it to the launch of the Aussie Farms map.

In a statement, Mr Littleproud described the document an “attack map for activists” and said producers “have a right to farm without being harassed.”

Mr Littleproud said he was “genuinely concerned” there would be an incident in which someone would be “seriously hurt or worse”.

“Differences between sections of the vegan and farm communities will not be solved with confrontation,” the minister said.

“I again ask for the owners of the Aussie Farms website to pull down its farm map.

“It’s creating an atmosphere of fear and anxiety on farms around Australia.”


CDC warns consumers over drug-resistant bacteria detected in raw milk

Raw milk being shipped to New York could contain a drug-resistant bacteria.

According to the CDC, Brucella was detected in unpasteurized milk from Miller’s Biodiversity Farm in Pennsylvania.

A similar alert was issued back in December. 

Now, there are more concerns.

Brucella is a drug-resistant bacteria that could lead to severe problems, like meningitis.

Symptoms include fever, sweats, and muscle and joint pain.

If you have raw milk from Miller’s Biodiversity Farm, you’re urged to throw it out.

For more information from the CDC over the raw milk warning, click here.

Source: WHECTV

Price of New Zealand milk hits 19-month low in December

Farmers are facing difficult times, but consumers are benefiting from milk prices dropping to a 19-month low.

The average two-litre bottle of standard dark blue top dropped to $3.49 last month, according to Statistics NZ.

“Supermarket milk prices are highly influenced by the farmgate milk price,” Statistics New Zealand consumer prices manager Caroline White said. “Fonterra’s forecast milk payout was cut multiple times from May last year.”

Farmgate milk price is the price farmers receive from processors for the milk they produce.

“While dairy farmers face tougher times, consumers usually benefit from the lower prices when supermarkets pay less to the suppliers,” she said.

However, yoghurt prices rose 14 per cent and cheese prices rose 4.6 per cent. The price of butter also rose to 2.4 per cent, the report said.

As well, those with plans for a clean, green diet as their New Year’s resolution would have been in for a shock as lettuce and broccoli prices soared over the holidays.

Broccoli prices more than doubled in price last month, and lettuce prices rose almost 80 per cent, the report said.

The average price of a 350g head of broccoli was $2.76 in January, after jumping from seven-year-low of $1.25 the month before.

“A bumper December harvest contributed to particularly low broccoli prices in December,” Ms White said. “As the harvest returned to normal levels in January, we saw a larger than usual price rise.”

The price of a 500g head of lettuce increased from $1.04 in December to $1.86 last month. The January price tag was more than 50c more than the same time last year.

However, avocado lovers enjoyed a price drop. The price of a 200g avocado fell 43 per cent to $1.58 in January compared to the previous year. Prices of the fruit were particularly high early last year because of the small harvest.


Trump Considers 60-Day Extension for China Tariff Deadline

Trump Considers 60-Day Extension for China Tariff Deadline

President Donald Trump is considering pushing back the deadline for imposition of higher tariffs on Chinese imports by 60 days, as the world’s two biggest economies try to negotiate a solution to their trade dispute, according to people familiar with the matter.

The president said Tuesday that he was open to letting the March 1 deadline for more than doubling tariffs on $200 billion of Chinese goods slide, if the two countries are close to a deal that addresses deep structural changes to China’s economic policies — though he added he was not “inclined” to do so. The people said that Trump is weighing whether to add 60 days to the current deadline to give negotiations more time to continue.

“I think it’s going along very well,” Trump told reporters in the Oval Office this week. “They’re showing us tremendous respect.”

A spokeswoman for U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer declined to comment.

Chinese officials had initially proposed an extension of 90 days, but that was knocked back by the U.S. side, people familiar with that request said.

Asian stocks steadied and U.S. stock futures climbed. Treasuries slipped and the yen dipped.

Lighthizer and Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin are in Beijing for the latest round of high-level talks with Chinese Vice Premier Liu He on Thursday and Friday. A meeting between Lighthizer and Chinese President Xi Jinping is being tentatively scheduled for this week. Trump’s willingness to extend the deadline may depend on the outcome of that meeting, one of the people said.

Trump has indicated he will need to meet Xi to agree on a final deal. While no date has been set, a White House aide this week said the U.S. president still wants to meet his Chinese counterpart soon in a bid to end the trade war.

Negotiations this week are focused on how to enforce the trade deal and putting on paper a framework agreement to present to the two presidents.

In the talks, the U.S. is pushing for wide-ranging changes in the way China manages foreign trade and its own economy. Specifically, Lighthizer has zeroed in on China’s alleged abuses of intellectual property and state sponsorship of companies.

Trump has also railed against the size of the U.S. trade deficit with China, and negotiators have made varying demands about how Beijing addresses this. The goal of “reciprocal trade” has been a clear priority of Trump’s policies.

China wants to have the tariffs that have been imposed so far removed. To get the U.S. to do that, negotiators are trying to focus attention on their efforts to reduce China’s more than $300 billion goods trade surplus. Beijing has offered to ramp up its purchases from the U.S. massively over the next six years in order to even the scales.

It is going to take a lot of work to shrink that. While down from the record peak late last year, China still had a $27.3 billion trade surplus in goods with the U.S. in January, according to data released on Thursday in Beijing.

“The outcome of the China-U.S. high-level economic and trade negotiations may be related to the future development and stability of the world economy,” Chinese Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Hua Chunying said at a regular briefing Thursday in Beijing. “Both parties hope to reach a mutually beneficial agreement. The best thing we can do now is to let both sides concentrate on consultations.”


‘Dirty dairy’ farmer Philip Woolley to sue Fonterra for not taking milk

A farmer with a string of environmental offences has won the right to sue Fonterra for more than $2 million for refusing to take his milk.

Philip John Woolley plans to sue Fonterra to recover losses from dumping his milk and paying out his sharemilker, after a court order stopped him from milking the cows at his Glenmae farm in Tuamarina, north of Blenheim, in 2014.

The Marlborough District Council got an order from the Environment Court to stop Woolley from using the milking shed from June 7, 2014, unless he got an engineer’s certificate approving the effluent pond as fit-for-purpose.

Woolley started milking the cows in breach of the order, which he was convicted for in 2015, despite telling the court he was concerned about the welfare of the calving cows.

Fonterra’s sustainable dairying adviser sent Woolley a letter on June 18, 2014, saying the company could not collect milk that season unless the milking ban was lifted.

Woolley told the Environment Court in 2015 he breached the milking ban out of concern for the welfare of the cows. (File photo)

Woolley told the Environment Court in 2015 he breached the milking ban out of concern for the welfare of the cows. (File photo)

Woolley sent the council an engineer’s certificate on September 5, saying it was now fit-for-purpose, but Fonterra still refused to take the milk.

As a result Woolley was forced to dump milk into his effluent systems, and his contract milker terminated their agreement. 

A High Court decision issued in December 2018 said without Fonterra buying the milk, Woolley suffered “serious financial consequences” which resulted in the appointment of receivers. 

Woolley wanted $1.8m from Fonterra to cover the loss of milk, another $629,486 for the cost of paying out his contract milker, and an enquiry to find out how much Fonterra should pay towards the $3.4m cost of receivership and other expenses.

Fonterra sought a summary judgment from Associate Judge John Matthews in the High Court to stop Woolley from suing.

The company had to prove that on the balance of probabilities, Woolley’s suit would fail.

Philip Woolley's property Glenmae, in Tuamarina, north of Blenheim, was visited several times by council compliance staff in 2014.

Philip Woolley’s property Glenmae, in Tuamarina, north of Blenheim, was visited several times by council compliance staff in 2014.

At a hearing in November, Fonterra’s lawyer Murray Branch said the company was under pressure from the council not to collect milk from Glenmae.

Despite receiving the requested certificate, the council’s lawyer Miriam Radich, of Radich Law, said Woolley had not yet met the enforcement order.

Woolley’s lawyer David Clark said the case should be referred to the company’s milk commissioner, appointed as an independent solicitor to resolve disputes between Fonterra and shareholders.

But the milk commissioner was Peter Radich – the council’s lawyer’s father, and partner at the same practice.

“Obviously that cannot happen as he is not independent as far as this matter is concerned,” Clark wrote to Fonterra’s lawyer, Alison Brewer-Shearer.

The council's lawyer Miriam Radich is the daughter of Fonterra's milk commissioner Peter Radich, both of whom work at Radich Law.

The council’s lawyer Miriam Radich is the daughter of Fonterra’s milk commissioner Peter Radich, both of whom work at Radich Law.

She replied that as long as council disputed Woolley’s entitlement to start milking again, Fonterra would also refuse to take the milk.

Clark accused Fonterra of treating Woolley’s livelihood with disdain and in a flippant manner.

Brewer-Shearer said the company was giving “careful consideration” to the issues and would “continue to provide as much assistance as possible”.

She told the court Fonterra did not want to collect milk in breach of Environment Court orders.

The council’s chief executive at the time, Andrew Besley, had issued a warning to Fonterra, saying if the milk was collected, it would breach Environment Court orders.

Judge Matthews said Fonterra’s suspension notice was not the same as a termination of contract, and implied that when the problem causing the suspension was fixed, the suspension would end.

Fonterra knew Woolley had a certificate that “at least arguably complied” with the enforcement order, Judge Matthews said.

Dairy farmer Philip Woolley was banned from milking until he got an engineer's certificate for his effluent pond.

Dairy farmer Philip Woolley was banned from milking until he got an engineer’s certificate for his effluent pond.

Fonterra must also have known that to refuse the milk meant it would have to be dumped, causing “significant adverse environmental consequences”, and at “huge financial cost” to Woolley.

However, Fonterra also knew Woolley had a poor background of compliance with environmental regulations, and had no clearance from the Environment Court until after the end of the milking season, Judge Matthews said.

Fonterra’s application fell “well short” of proving Woolley’s suit would fail, Judge Matthews said.

A trial date for Woolley’s suit has not yet been set.


Flames, smoke race through dairy farm in Pennsylvania

It was all hands on deck at one dairy farm in Chester County, after a fire ripped its way through it early Wednesday morning.

“All I know is I heard something at 1 in the morning. I looked out and there were flames a hundred feet high,” said Lois Stroh, who lives next door to the dairy farm in the 1800 block of Beaver Dam Road, near Route 10, in Honey Brook Township.

A barn on the property was damaged, and smoke could still be seen hours later.

Investigators have ruled the fire an accident, and no one was hurt. They said all the cattle were safely moved from the barn, and damage from the fire tops $300,000.

The owner of the property did not want to share any details of the fire with 69 News, but local contractors were on site for most of the day.

“What’s going through my mind is these are wonderful people,” said Stroh. “Even as we’re going through this right now, they’re rebuilding already.”

Aldi has cheeses named after ’80s hit songs by Def Leppard, GNR, Michael Jackson

First, it was a cheese advent calendars for Christmas. Then, it was heart-shaped cheese for Valentine’s Day. Now, Aldi is playin’ hit songs from the ’80s in the refrigerated aisle.

Humorously named Happy Farms cheeses, inspired by Def Leppard, Guns ‘N Roses, Wham! and Michael Jackson hits from yesteryear, arrive in stores on Wednesday, Feb. 6. The limited-edition goods feature cute, costumed cows struttin’ their stuff in refrigerated section. The 5- to 7-ounce blocks are $3.49, according to the grocer’s website. 

Pour Some Gouda on Me

Oh, in the name of love, chow down on this Gouda wedge and crank up Def Leppard’s “Pour Some Sugar on Me.” 

Billie Goat Is My Lover

That just doesn’t sound right. Nonetheless, do your best moonwalk and grab a block of this blend of cheddar and goat cheese that does its best to honor of Michael Jackson’s “Billie Jean.”

Sweet Cheddar of Mine

Have an appetite for destruction? This sharp and curdled cover of Guns N’ Roses’ “Sweet Child O’ Mine” will hit the spot.

Girls Just Wanna Have Fontina

Grab some crackers and serve this to your “galentines” on Feb. 14 and then turn up the volume on the Cyndi Lauper’s “Girls Just Wanna Have Fun.”

Wake Me Up Before You Goat-Goat

Pour a nice glass of white, open a packages of these goat-cheese medallions and Wham!, you’ve got a tangy snack. It also pairs well with side of a George Michael singing “Wake Me Up Before You Go-Go”.

Total Eclipse of the Havarti

Every now and then I like a creamy and mild Danish cheese, especially when it’s inspired by Bonnie Tyler’s 1983 hit “Total Eclipse of the Heart”


Source: Sun Sentinel

Wisconsin Lost Nearly 700 Dairy Herds In 2018

With the government shutdown now over, we finally have answers to a question that is not pleasant to ask: how many Wisconsin dairy operations survived the difficult economic conditions of 2018? According to the state’s agriculture department, there were 8,110 herds milking in Wisconsin during the first week of January. That’s a drop of 691 since the same time a year earlier.

Clark County continues to hold the highest number of herds in the state with 782, followed by Marathon County with 494.

Florence and Milwaukee Counties each registered just one herd as of January 1, with Forest County losing its last remaining dairy farm during the past year.

Despite having less herds, the state’s remaining dairy operations are still milking over 1.28 million head and producing a record amount of milk.

DATCP records show that 89 percent of state dairy operations are Grade A certified, with 11 percent licensed as Grade B.

Wisconsin has been keeping track of dairy farm numbers since 1950. At that time, the state had 143,000 dairy operations and accounted for about four percent of the nation’s total dairy farms.


Vegan activist gloats over dairy farmer forced to shut struggling family farm

Although Joey said he wasn’t in any way trying to attack Casey, he claimed she had been indoctrinated into the industry and had exploited animals. According to the activist, vegans are not going to stop campaigning any time soon as they work to protect the “true victims” of the industry.

“We are going to change the world, that’s how activism works,” Joey continued. “We see an injustice, the dairy industry, we look at it from the victims perspective, not the farmers, although they are victims of conditioning, they are not the true victims like animals.”

He then went to suggest dairy farmers get a new job and leave dairy farming behind once and for all.

“Why don’t you just move industries?” he queried. “You’re going to have to move industries anyway because dairy is going to become obsolete.”

The video, which was first published on Monday, has since received thousands of views with many other passionate vegans calling out in support of Joey. His fellow activists echoed his comments, claiming if farmers really did love their animals, they wouldn’t be working in the industry.

“It’s prime time for dairy farmers to start jumping ship to veganism. Jump or sink, but don’t complain,” one person commented.

“Cry me a river lady. So happy the dairy industry is struggling. Thank you to all the intelligent, compassionate people buying plant based alternatives,” another wrote.

A third added: “If you loved the cows you’d leave them and their children alone”.

Joey’s message comes only days after Casey shed light on the collapsing dairy industry and the dire situation that led to the downfall of her family’s farm.

“We can’t really afford to keep going anymore,” the heartbroken farmer said in a video published on Facebook. “We are forever the optimists that the industry will get better but for our family, we’ve come to a point where we can’t do it anymore.”


Winter storms kills 1,600 dairy cows in Yakima Valley region

Farmers have been devastated across the Yakima Valley, as strong winds of up to 80 miles per hour, and cold conditions have killed about 1,600 cows according to the Yakima Valley Dairy Farmers Association.

Yakima Valley Dairy Farmers are continuing to prepare as more snow is expected to hit the Valley, they’re adding extra bedding to insulate areas for cows to lay in, adding extra feed, and thawing water troughs with hot water.

“Without our employees, there’s no way we, or our cows could survive this storm,” Alyssa Haak , a dairy farmer in Prosser said. “To shield our cows from the wind we stacked straw bales to create a windbreak for our cows. I give a lot of credit to our milk truck drivers, too. Without their bravery, we wouldn’t be able to get our milk off the farm.”

Another farmer in Grandview says he’s been working around the clock to make sure his cows are being protected from the elements.

“These have been the worst few days of my life,” he said. “We’re just devastated. I don’t think we’ve ever been hit with weather like this.”

With severe winter weather continuing to occur in in eastern Washington throughout the next week, dairy farmers are assessing their current losses and preparing for the next round of snow and wind.

Farmers say that they are working together to help each other through these tough times.

Markus Rollinger, a Sunnyside dairy farmer stated, “Saturday was brutal. We put in a 36-hour day, but we’ve been fortunate. I’ve spent a lot of time helping my fellow dairy farmers and supporting what they’re going through,” Markus says. “My brother and I are trying to keep roads plowed for our employees and the milk trucks.”

Governor Inslee has declared a state of emergency for the state of Washington, which the farmers are hoping will lead to further assistance.

The dairy farmers say that they continue to cope with these conditions and over the next few days will be touch and go as they assess the damage and losses to their farm.


Fonterra negotiates termination deal for Darnum JV with Beingmate

Fonterra has officially unwound its joint venture with Chinese company Beingmate, taking back full ownership of the Darnum manufacturing plant in Australia.

While the exact terms of the separation haven’t been revealed, a Fonterra spokeswoman says the deal had been structured to ensure no cash was paid by the co-operative to Beingmate.

“Beingmate will remain a cornerstone customer of the Darnum site. As part of the agreement we have entered into a multi-year supply contract for Beingmate to purchase ingredients from us.”

The original joint venture was created in 2016 as part of the broader partnership that saw Fonterra take an 18.8 per cent stake in Beingmate Baby & Child Food.

Fonterra paid about $755m for its Beingmate shares, while the latter paid A$102m for its 51 per cent stake in the Darnum factory.

According to a recent statement on the Shenzhen Stock Exchange, where Beingmate shares trade under a restricted ticker, the joint venture has a current book value of A$119m. That included land, buildings and working capital.

Continuous Disclosure understands that some amendments were made to the original joint venture agreement in April 2017.

This included a product purchase agreement that stipulated the purchase volume of the base milk powder from the plant that Beingmate sold was not less than 750,000 tonnes per year, or 51 per cent of the total annual production capacity of Darnum.

But sales volumes did not meet those expectations, meaning Beingmate had to pay a fixed compensation fee of about A$200m.

Beingmate then decided to withdraw from the agreement and Fonterra was happy to oblige.

Fonterra said taking full control of Darnum will give it more options.

“We will be able to look for new partners, improve efficiencies and produce the optimum product mix that creates the greatest value for our farmer-owners and unit holders,” the spokeswoman said.

Meanwhile, Beingmate’s share price is still languishing under 5 yuan despite the company’s return to profit in the last two quarters.

Fonterra paid 18 yuan a share for its stake and has since written down the value of its investment by $433m.


Holstein Canada National Director Election Results for Alberta

Willem Vanderlindeof Lacombe, Alta., has been elected as the new Holstein Canada National Director for Alberta and the Northwest Territories in the election that was held for that position this year. Vanderlinde defeated Debbie Hofstra, Millet, Alta., who had also ran for the post. Vanderlinde will take over the National Director role currently held by Orville Schmidt, Leduc County, Alta., who is retiring from the Board after the Holstein Canada Annual Meeting in Charlottetown, P.E.I., in April.

‘The clock has run out’: Dairy farmer’s viral emotional farewell to cows

A video of a South Australian’s tears for her loved herd of cattle has gone viral after the third generation farmer was forced to farewell the embattled industry.

Hundreds of thousands have watched Casey Treloar’s Facebook video where she says the slashing of farmgate milk prices has made it impossible for farms such as her family’s to stay in business.

“We are getting 38 cents a litre across the year and it’s completely unsustainable. We can’t really afford to keep going anymore,” said Ms Treloar on her farm outside Parawa on the Fleurieu Peninsula.

“It breaks my heart,” she says, visibly fighting back tears.

Ms Treloar, who also works as a journalist, said the slashing of milk in supermarkets to $1-a-litre from 2011 has led to the industry being in the position it is.

“It has devalued our product, milk that we produce is not worth as much as it once was, and it’s to the point where our production is so much that we cannot sustain producing milk the way we have in the past.

“The clock has run out and it’s time to say goodbye.”

She says the industry is getting closer to the point of having to rely on dairy milk being imported from China.

“We call ourselves cow people, we do it because we love the cows and a lot of dairy farmers are like that,” Ms Treloar said.

“We’re forever the optimists that the industry will get better but for our family we’ve come to a point where we can’t do it anymore.”

Ms Treloar said she didn’t know what would happen to her beloved cows, such is the diminished value of the dairy industry today.

“For all we know, they could be worth more at the meatworks,” she said.

She called for government regulation to force the value of dairy to be controlled.

“They need to get off their asses, they need to see that at some stage there is going to be no more family farms in Australia,” Ms Treloar said.

“If you’re watching this, please head down to your supermarket, buy your favourite branded milk, cheese, yoghurt, ice cream because the dairy farmers right now need your support.”

Last year, a long-awaited report into the Australian dairy industry said increasing the price of supermarkets’ $1-a-litre milk would have no impact on the price paid to farmers.

“Dairy farmers are understandably frustrated the retail price of milk has declined in real terms, since retailers adopted their milk pricing policies,” ACCC Commissioner Mick Keogh said in a statement.

“The price set by retailers is arbitrary and has no direct relationship to the cost of production for the supply of milk.

“In examining the impact of this on farmgate prices, however, the ACCC found almost all contracts for the supply of private label milk allows processors to pass through movements in farmgate prices to supermarkets.

“Therefore, there is no direct relationship between retail private label milk prices and farmgate prices.”


You bet, they got milk: USDA program overwhelms food banks

One after another, Rose Sweeney plopped the half-gallon jugs on a counter at the pick-up window. Cold, fresh milk — long a hard-to-come-by item for the Franklinton food pantry — is suddenly as plentiful as it is popular with needy families.

“We almost never had milk here, and if we did, it was expired,” said Sweeney, a volunteer at the Holy Family Church pantry. “This has almost two weeks left. It’s wonderful.”

Almost all of the families served at the pantry Thursday asked for one or more half-gallons, and Sweeney was happy to oblige. The state’s network of food banks is awash in the nutritional powerhouse, with so much milk flowing into the syste-m that the Ohio Association of Foodbanks is fundraising to help cover extra distribution and refrigeration costs.

But the boon isn’t a reflection of good times for the dairy industry. Pantries in Ohio and elsewhere have lots of free milk because the federal government is buying some $50 million worth of it off the market and, for the first time, making it available through the Emergency Food Assistance Program.

The U.S. Department of Agriculture says the purchase is separate from broader trade-mitigation payments that are providing financial assistance to farmers ensnared in the Trump administration’s trade disputes that have disrupted export markets and led to tariffs on many U.S. agricultural products.

Even before they were caught in a trade war, dairy farmers had been struggling under low prices and vast supply.

“You can’t just lose money every day,” said Scott Higgins, CEO of the Ohio Dairy Producers Association. He said the state has seen about 10 percent of its 2,200 dairy farms shut down in the past year.

Rob Bouic, whose family’s roots in farming go back more than 100 years, doubts his kids will stick with the dairy side. The Bouics have a herd of 120 cows and about 1,200 acres for corn and soybeans. The government payment he received for soybeans is propping up his dairy operation.

“Short term, about all you’ve got is government intervention,” said Bouic, of Milford Center in Union County, about 30 miles northwest of Columbus. “Long term, we need as much open trade as possible.”

The 51-year-old has managed his family farm since 1990, doing a lot of what he calls treading water. “We haven’t had a lot of good years,” Bouic said. “And 2018 is the worst.”

Still, Higgins said, supplying milk for the poor is a bright spot for the industry, one he hopes the government will maintain even after trade issues are resolved.

“Our families and children need good nutrition, in good times and when they find themselves in hard times,” Higgins said. “We’re serving a need in our communities, while also trying to sort our way through these trade wars.”

Fresh milk never had been among the many food products purchased under Section 32, the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s long-standing surplus-commodity program. Emergency food sites might have access to items as varied as cranberries and canned salmon through the program, but not liquid milk.

“For as long as I can remember, food banks have been saying, ’We wish we had access to milk,‴ Higgins said.

When they did, it usually was due to a retail purchase or donation.

Now, the Southeast Ohio Foodbank in Logan has “more milk than I’ve ever seen in my life,” said David Keller, development coordinator for the Hocking Athens Perry Community Action Program. “This time last year, we were receiving zero gallons.”

The windfall presents logistical challenges. Some food banks are renting refrigerated trailers while pantries work to get the word out. One preschool program for low-income kids is offering take-home milk for families.

“We are so grateful to have it, but because of the very short shelf-life, we knew we’d have to get very creative,” said Lisa Hamler-Fugitt, executive director of the Ohio Association of Foodbanks. “It’s gotta move fast, so it’s required our food banks to be more of a push system.”

Mareious Killestadt left the Holy Family pantry with fresh milk earlier this week. At age 44, he said it still feels like a luxury.

“I grew up on the dry milk, and it wasn’t fun,” Killestadt said. “Not even for your cereal.”


Source: The Columbus Dispatch

Chaney 2019 Young Dairy Leaders Institute Distinguished Alumni Leader

Rebecca Long Chaney, of Elwood, Neb., is the 2019 Young Dairy Leaders Institute Distinguished Alumni Leader

Rebecca Long Chaney, of Elwood, Neb., is the 2019 Young Dairy Leaders Institute Distinguished Alumni Leader recognized by the Holstein Foundation. The Holstein Foundation recognizes one Young Dairy Leaders Institute (YDLI) graduate annually who has made noteworthy contributions and applied skills gained during their YDLI experience for the advancement of the dairy industry. Rebecca was a graduate of YDLI Class 2.

“YDLI was the greatest educational program I have participated in with people sharing my same passion — dairy. When I had the opportunity to participate in YDLI Class 2, it was an amazing event. Not only were the featured speakers thought-provoking and powerful, but the breakout sessions and workshops were engaging and educational.

“The dairy knowledge gained, coupled with the new dairy friends and professionals I met, have been true assets during my career in ag journalism and great resources for my volunteer work,” Rebecca Long Chaney states.

A Maryland native, Chaney and her family live on a 3,500-acre ranch where they help manage a Red Angus cow/calf operation. Alongside her twin daughters, she is the author of an agriculture educational book series, “The Chaney Twins’ Ag Books.” Chaney also spends her time as a freelance journalist for the Elwood Bulletin and the Midwest Producer. In the past she has written for Hoard’s Dairyman and many other local, regional and national publications.

Aside from writing she enjoys inspiring youth as the coach of the Nebraska Dairy Judging Team. She serves on the National Brown Swiss Fundraising Committee for the 2020 World Brown Swiss Conference. At World Dairy Expo, she helps evaluate udders for the over-bagging research study.

Chaney was recognized during the YDLI Class 11, Phase 1 program, February 6 – 9, 2019, in Phoenix, Arizona.

About YDLI
The Young Dairy Leaders Institute, a program of the Holstein Foundation, is a nationally recognized three-phase leadership and communication skills development program for young adults working in the dairy industry. YDLI’s three-phase approach ensures participants develop necessary leadership skills, apply those skills in real-life scenarios, and then focus on the benefit of influential leadership.

For more information on YDLI or other Holstein Foundation programs, visit the Holstein Foundation website or contact Jodi Hoynoski, at 800.952.5200, ext. 4261 or by email.

Gov. Hogan pledges help for Maryland’s dairy farmers

As dairy farmers in Maryland and across the nation continue to struggle due to low milk prices, Governor Larry Hogan has pledged to contribute approximately $1.5 million in state funds to enable Maryland dairy farmers to participate in a new federal funding program, creating up to $17 million in available assistance and saving jobs and family farms.

Governor Hogan made the announcement on Thursday evening while addressing the annual Taste of Maryland Agriculture dinner in Glen Burnie, Md.

From the governor’s remarks:

“For months we have been searching for a way to help our dairy farmers who are facing particularly challenging times. I want all of you to be the first to know tonight that earlier today I made the decision to put additional state resources that will be combined with federal funds and will mean up to $17 million in emergency funding to assist and support our Maryland dairy farmers.”
–Governor Larry Hogan

Governor Hogan has been proactive in supporting dairy farmers both at the state level and leveraging support from the federal government. The governor signed a letter to U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue in April 2018 asking to provide disaster relief to dairy farmers. Additionally, Maryland Agriculture Secretary Joe Bartenfelder signed on to a regional letter from Northeastern state secretaries of agriculture requesting USDA quickly implement dairy risk management programs approved in the current Farm Bill.

The Farm Bill was signed on December 2018 and amended the Margin Protection Program (MPP) by renaming as Dairy Margin Coverage Program. The program is administered by USDA’s Farm Service Agency.

Following yesterday’s announcement, the governor will authorize the state to pay up to $1.5 million to cover the farmers’ share of the premium cost to participate in the Dairy Margin Coverage Program to leverage a significant amount – projected at up to $17 million – of federal funds for Maryland farmers.


Hundreds of thousands of viewers watch a dairy farmer’s heartfelt farewell to the industry

Casey Treloar is a third-generation dairy farmer in South Australia. (Supplied: Casey Treloar)

South Australian dairy farmer Casey Treloar has recorded a heartfelt farewell to the industry she loves, as she prepared to leave her family farm in Parawa for the last time.

The third-generation dairy farmer said it was a video she hoped she would never have to make but, due to the state of the dairy industry, her family can no longer shoulder their debt burden.

“The clock has run out and it’s time to say goodbye,” Ms Treloar said.

“We are getting 38 cents a litre across the year and it’s completely unsustainable. We can’t really afford to keep going anymore.

Ms Treloar’s tearful farewell struck a chord with Facebook users with the video amassing more than 300,000 views since it was uploaded on Saturday.

It is a story that has played out for many dairy farmers in the past decade with low milk prices, retrospective price cuts for some suppliers, industry consolidation, and more recently spiralling costs due to drought.

Ms Treloar said she did not blame dollar-a-litre milk, but it did not help.

“The dollar-a-litre milk has devalued our product,” she said.

“Milk that we produce is not worth as much as it once was, and it’s to the point where our production is so much that we cannot sustain producing milk the way we have in the past.”

Global show of support

Messages of support and condolences for Ms Treloar and her family have streamed in from across the world.

“Beautiful cows, so sorry you’ve had to make this tough decision. Sending love from a Canadian dairy farmer,” Amy E. VanStraatem said.

Greg Ballweg from the United States also gave his support writing, “I’m sorry to hear about your family farm. I’m a dairy famer myself in Ohio we are still going but not sure how much longer”.

The cattle will need to be sold but Ms Treloar was also concerned about their future given the lack of confidence in the industry.

“We’ve seen cows here that have been nominated All Australian. Marcie, [one of the cows], she’s the best in the world for her age and breed, and her future is uncertain. The whole herd’s future is uncertain,” Ms Treloar said.

Support for family farms

Ms Treloar used her video to ask people to support family farming as they struggled with weather and poor prices for their produce.

“This is the future of farming where we’re going to get to a point where there won’t be these family farms anymore,” she said.

The Federal Government is looking at a mandatory code of conduct that would govern the way processors and retailers deal with issues in the dairy industry but it is not expected to impact on prices.

Last year the annual national farmer survey of 800 farmers looked at farmer confidence, which showed that less than half of dairy farmers remained confident about the industry’s future.

This figure has fallen from 75 per cent four years ago, and has been declining over the past three years.

The confidence of farmers has not been recorded this low since 2013 when it was at 43 per cent, which was at a time when farmgate returns were low, and there were challenging seasonal conditions as well as a high Australian dollar.


Crying over spilled milk? Italian farmers’ unusual protest over low dairy prices

Shepherds from the Italian island of Sardinia are spilling their milk to protest the recent fall in prices.

Videos showing farmers throwing their milk away went viral, while #iostoconnando, the name of the shepherd who initiated the movement on Wednesday, became a trending hashtag on Twitter and Instagram.

The footage was shared with a common motto: “I’d rather dump it than sell it for next to nothing”.

One of the videos featured 23-year old farmer Francesco Pintore (see the video player, above) patiently awaiting the arrival of a dairy truck, only to spill the milk.

“There is no milk for you, you’ve been going around in circles pointlessly, just like me. I do this for my mom [sic], my brothers and the good soul of my father, ” the young farmer said.

Current sheep milk prices have dropped to €0.60 per litre compared to €0.85 last year. The slide is linked to a fall in the price of the popular Pecorino Romano cheese, which absorbs about half of the Sardinian sheep milk production.

Farmers are demanding that prices be raised to €0.70 per litre at least.

Milk distributors have refused to make concessions so far but negotiations are on-going, according to local paper Unione Sarda.

On Wednesday, another video showed a lorry driver forced to stop and spill his milk on the road.

In recession-hit Italy, this method of protest has sparked criticism.

Gianluigi Crobu, a spokesman for the movement, has asked his fellow shepherds not to waste the milk but to find other ways of distributing it to the community instead.


Legislation would allow whole milk in US schools

As Congress considers a recently introduced bill to allow whole milk in schools, area business and educators say the move would encourage students to drink more milk, often a main source of calcium and other nutrients.

The new bill — H.R. 832, the Whole Milk for Healthy Kids Act of 2019 — was introduced Wednesday by U.S. Rep. Glenn Thompson, R-5th, and would allow schools to serve students flavored or unflavored varieties of whole milk in the hopes that they would be more likely to drink milk if given more choices.

“Milk is the Number 1 source of nine essential nutrients in the diets of our students, but if they don’t drink it these health benefits are lost,” Thompson said in a statement.

Thompson represents part of Butler County, including most of the eastern half.

“Milk consumption has been declining in schools throughout the nation because kids are not consuming the varieties of milk being made available to them. It is my hope that the Whole Milk for Healthy Kids Act will bring a wider range of milk options to American lunchrooms, so students can choose the kind they love best,” Thompson’s statement said.

Craig Marburger, vice president at Marburger Dairy in Evans City, said that previous legislation to cut fat in milk at schools slashed student dairy consumption — for some students, indefinitely.

“When they went from 1-percent chocolate to skim chocolate, it reduced consumption at the schools from 30 to 40 percent,” Marburger said.

“So, kids stop drinking milk, and for the rest of their lives they don’t drink milk,” he said.

This affects both the dairy industry, which sells less milk when students stop drinking it, as well as the students who are likely to be missing out on the nutrients that might not be found in other beverages.

These essential nutrients include protein, calcium and others that are vital for children for whom milk is often the main source, whether it’s skim, 1-percent or whole milk, explained Jennifer Taylor, hospitality management instructor at Butler County Community College.

“The main nutritional difference is low-fat milk has less fat in it, but is still nutrient dense,” Taylor said.

Whole milk is essentially 3-percent milk, she explained, and the main difference between it and low-fat milk is the calorie and fat content.

Regarding which type of milk a child should drink, Taylor said that will vary from person to person and is often a matter of personal preference.

The important thing is that students are getting the nutrients they need, whether through drinking milk or some other means, she said.

Thompson’s bill seeks to reverse legislation from 2010 that mandated all flavored milk be fat free.

This resulted in an “alarming decline in milk consumption in schools,” prompting Thompson to introduce legislation in 2017 that eased these rules.

That same year, the USDA passed a rule permitting schools to get waivers for 1-percent flavored milk, which is the essence of Thompson’s bill.

This latest bill builds off that rule, a release from Thompson’s office said.


Source: Butler Eagle

Jersey Youth Academy Class Announced

Jonathan Merriam, President of the American Jersey Cattle Association (AJCA), today announced the class for the sixth Jersey Youth Academy, July 14 to 19 in Columbus, Ohio.

“The 36 young people from 17 states selected for this class exemplify the many talented, interested Jersey youth across the United States that our organization wants to encourage to pursue careers in the Jersey dairy business,” Merriam said.

“Continuing the impact of the national Jersey youth programs offered by the association,” he continued, “the Jersey Youth Academy is an intensive educational program focused specifically on the Jersey cow and the many elements of the Jersey dairy business. Academy challenges participants to understand the long history and current growth of the Jersey breed in this country and shows them the opportunities and challenges of the dairy business in the future.”

Participants in the sixth Jersey Youth Academy, with their current academic institutions, are:

California: Hayley Fernandes, Tulare (California Polytechnic State University); Nathan Merriam, Hickman (Hughson High School); Madisen Petersen, Hilmar (California Polytechnic State University); Hannah Sanders, Hilmar (Modesto Junior College).

Florida: Amber Foley, Sarasota (Berry College).

Iowa: Meghan Hettinga, Orange City (South Dakota State University); Mary Holtz, Maquoketa (Maquoketa High School); Lakaya Lyon, Clarence (Des Moines Area Community College).

Illinois: Elizabeth Reis, Barry (John Wood Community College).

Kentucky: Elise Carpenter, Russell Springs (Marion County High School).

Maine: Ruth Kuettner, Monson (Kennebec Valley Community College).

Maryland: Sydnie Grossnickle, Union Bridge (gap year, Maryland FFA); Isabella Kukor, Frederick (Berry College).

Massachusetts: Gregory Norris, Westhampton (The Pennsylvania State University); Abigail Shaw, Oxford (Assumption College).

Minnesota: Abigail Grimm, Milaca (Ridgewater College); Alaina Johnson, Dakota (La Crescent-Hokah High School).

Missouri: Maria Poock, Boonville ( State Fair Community College).

New York: Lydia Chittenden, Schodack Landing (Maple Hill High School); Kennedy Crothers, Pitcher (Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University); Megan Gilligan, East Chatham (State University of New York -Cobleskill,); Caroline Lafferty, Schodack Landing (Maple Hill High School); Rileigh Mumbolo, Edmeston (State University of New York -Morrisville).

North Carolina: Austin Baker, Staley (Providence Grove High School and University of Mount Olive).

Oregon: Natalie Berry, Sherwood (Sherwood High School); Joshua Seals, Tillamook (Nestucca High School).

Pennsylvania: Sarah Alexander, Liberty (The Pennsylvania State University); Caroline Arrowsmith, Peach Bottom (Solanco High School); Hannah Diehl, McVeytown (The Pennsylvania State University); Naomi Diehl, McVeytown (Mifflin County High School); Camryn Moyer, Roaring Branch (North Penn-Liberty High School).

Tennessee: James Ozburn, Lewisburg (Forrest High School).

Washington: Bailie Shultz, Seattle (Oregon State University); Luke Wolfisberg, Everson (Washington State University).

Wisconsin: Grace Vos, Maribel (Manitowoc Lutheran High School); Colin Wussow, Cecil (University of Wisconsin -River Falls).

Applications were evaluated by a committee appointed by Merriam and chaired by AJCA Director and chair of the Development Committee, Sam Bok. Selection was based on merit, motivation and preparation for the program as reflected in the written application and goal statement.

Presenters will include representatives of key support agencies and allied industry. The group will also meet and interact with leaders from the Jersey community to gain their unique insights about the future of the dairy business with a specific focus on the Jersey cow.

All program costs, including round-trip transportation for participants, are paid by the Academy.

The Jersey Youth Academy is a 501(c)(3) educational foundation administered by the American Jersey Cattle Association. Contributors represent a broad spectrum of Jersey breeder and dairy industry support.


Cochrane Leads Global Expansion for Vytelle

In 2019, Vytelle™ is focused on expanding the reach of and accessibility to its reproductive technology globally. To that end, the company announced that John Cochrane will be serving as the international business development manager. Cochrane will help Vytelle lead its mission to advance genetics, business and life globally, and connect the right partners with beef and dairy producers.

“We’re excited for John to lead our global efforts to provide innovative technology to farmers and ranchers around the world,” said Bruno Sanches, chief operating officer of Vytelle. “John’s experience in the international artificial insemination industry provides a great value to our clients’ businesses and producers as we expand our global presence.”

In addition to five laboratories in the U.S., Vytelle technology can be found in Brazil, Uruguay, Paraguay and South Africa. In his role, Cochrane works to expand the availability of hormone-free IVF technology around the globe.

Prior to joining Vytelle, Cochrane developed sales strategies in several countries for Cogent Breeding as international sales manager. His background also includes marketing U.S. dairy and beef genetics to producers in the United Kingdom and Northern Ireland as UK marketing coordinator for a major U.S. genetics organization. Cochrane was raised on a dairy farm in Ayrshire, Scotland.

Cochrane is located in the United Kingdom and can be reached by email at

‘The Udder Doctor’ receives NMC’s 2019 Award of Excellence

Past NMC president shared milk quality messages in 26 countries

National Mastitis Council (NMC) named Andrew (Andy) Johnson as the 2019 NMC Award of Excellence for Contribution to Mastitis Prevention and Control recipient. Affectionately referred to as “The Udder Doctor,” Johnson served as the 2003 NMC president. Johnson currently serves as the herd health and wellness veterinarian for Grande Cheese Company.

This award recognizes an NMC member who has provided sustained contributions to mastitis prevention and control through research, extension and/or education, clinical practice or service to dairy producers. Boehringer Ingelheim sponsors the award and presented Johnson with a $2,500 honorarium.

A popular milk quality and mammary health speaker, Johnson has presented practical and applied workshops and lectures in 45 states and 26 countries over his storied career. “His understanding of the dairy industry and ability to communicate directly with people in all facets of milk production, processing and marketing are critical keys to the impact he has had around the world,” said Joseph Hogan, The Ohio State University professor emeritus. “Andy is uniquely gifted by being able to convey key messages to help individuals improve dairy operations, whether those helpful talking points are one-on-one conversations delivered in a milking parlor or formal presentations given to hundreds in a lecture hall.”

As a testament to his influence on helping dairy producers market high-quality milk, several dairy producers who market their milk to Grande Cheese Company have been recognized in NMC’s National Dairy Quality Awards program, including two Platinum award winners this year. One of those winners, Jim Winn of Cottonwood Dairy LLC, South Wayne, Wis., said, “Initially, Dr. Andy helped us cut our somatic cell count (SCC) by half; but he said we could do even better.” One of Johnson’s recommendations was to take out the milking system’s back flush. “It was like turning on a light bulb,” said Winn. “After the first month, I saw a dramatic SCC drop and fewer cows with mastitis. Dr. Andy has proven to me why he is the ‘King’ of Milk Quality.”

Tom McClellan of McClellan Farms, Delavan, Wis., praises Johnson for his guidance in dairy herd management, milking procedures and protocols, equipment monitoring, employee education and barn design. “Our employees enjoy his quarterly visits because he always brings us a positive attitude and they want to do their best for him. McClellan Farms, a past NDQA Platinum winner, belongs to Johnson’s “100/100 Club,” which signifies more than 100 pounds of milk (per cow per day) and less than 100,000 cell/mL SCC. “I feel we are proof of Andy’s years of work and dedication to the dairy industry and quality milk production.”

A native of Canada, Gordon Spiers of Shiloh Dairy LLC, Brillion, Wis., first gained advice from Johnson in the early 1990s. Johnson spoke frequently at Canadian dairy events. “I always enjoyed his passion for producing quality milk,” said Spiers. Johnson helped Spiers design Shiloh Dairy’s milking parlor and freestall barn. “With Dr. J’s help, we achieved goals beyond our dreams.” When starting the new dairy, Spiers concentrated on testing for Staphylococcus aureus and Mycoplasma bovis, under Johnson’s guidance. Shiloh Dairy is also a past NDQA recipient.

An NMC member for 40-plus years, Johnson chaired the NMC Milking Machine Committee and co-authored the globally recognized standard for milking system functional analysis, “National Mastitis Council’s Airflow Guidelines for System Analysis.” In the early 1990s, he helped launch NMC’s highly successful short courses and continues to serve as an instructor.

A frequent contributor to peer-reviewed journals and dairy producer magazines, Johnson received several accolades from industry partners, including 1998 American Association of Bovine Practitioners (AABP) Practitioner of the Year, 1989 AABP Excellence in Preventative Medicine, 1994 Wisconsin Veterinarian of the Year and 2003 Merial and Dairy Quality Assurance Quality Veterinarian Award.


Source: Hoard’s Dairyman

Record number of entries for U.S. Championship Cheese Contest in Green Bay

This leap is all about cheddars, Swiss and Goudas, not touchdowns by the Green Bay Packers.

When the 20th U.S. Championship Cheese Contest takes place next month in the atrium of Green Bay’s Lambeau Field, judges will have a record number of entries to score from around the country.

The Wisconsin Cheese Makers Association in Madison said Wednesday that entries for the biennial contest are up 11 percent from the 2017 event to 2,555 entries from 35 states. The contest, which began in 1981 and is now the nation’s largest technical cheese, butter and yogurt competition, also will have entries from 29 first-time competitors.

“The U.S. Championship Cheese Contest has grown steadily over the past two decades,” said Kirsten Strohmenger, WCMA events manager. “We’ve added several new classes this year as a way to reflect the emerging trends in the industry, and that’s part of the reason we’re seeing an increase in entries.”

New classes for this year include traditional waxed cheddars, natural rinded cheddar, other hard cheeses with natural rinds, burrata — a semi-soft Italian cheese — and dried dairy products. Entries in 116 classes will be judged on technical merits, including a product’s flavor, body, texture, salt, color, finish and packaging, with a single gold, silver and bronze medal awarded to top products in each class.

The contest is free and open to the public, who can sample cheese and watch judges work from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. March 5 and 6. The contest concludes March 7 at the KI Convention Center in Green Bay, where the U.S. champion will be named. The event, from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m., is $30 per person and includes a guided tasting experience and samples of specialty products.
This contest is very important to the cheesemakers vying for these prestigious awards,” Strohmenger said. “Not only do all the entrants receive valuable feedback from the judges, but winning a national competition is significant for brand awareness and marketing, not to mention great bragging rights.”

The U.S. Championship Cheese Contest takes place in alternating years with the World Championship Cheese Contest at Madison’s Monona Terrace.


Source: Madison

Dairy Cattle Reproduction Council announces 2019 webinar series schedule

Mark your calendars for the Dairy Cattle Reproduction Council’s (DCRC) 2019 webinar series. These highly regarded sessions offer access to high-quality information and interaction with industry experts to attendees from across the United States and around the world, all from the comfort of their farm or office. The webinars feature top-rated topics from the 2018 DCRC Annual Meeting.

Save these dates and times:

·         Paul Fricke, University of Wisconsin, presents “Evolution of Timed Artificial Insemination and Overview of DCRC Protocol Sheets.”

Feb. 15, at 2 p.m. Central time

·         José Eduardo P. Santos, University of Florida, presents “Feeding Strategies to Support Health and Fertility During the Transition Period.”

April 26, at 2 p.m. Central time

·         Amy te Plate-Church, The Center for Food Integrity, presents “Earning Consumer Trust in Modern Dairy Practices.”

June 13, at 2 p.m. Central time

·         Gustavo Schuenemann, The Ohio State University, presents “Training and Monitoring Herd Managers Based on Attitude and Performance.”

Aug. 12, at 1 p.m. Central time

For more information about the DCRC webinars, e-mail Natalia Martinez-Patino, DCRC Education Committee chair, at: or e-mail DCRC at:

To register for a webinar, please visit and follow all prompts. As the webinar approaches, you will receive an e-mail with information on how to log in for attendance. If you are a DCRC member and cannot attend the ”live” webinar, you may access it (and all past webinars) at

The Dairy Cattle Reproduction Council is focused on bringing together all sectors of the dairy industry – producers, consultants, academia and allied industry professionals – for improved reproductive performance. DCRC provides an unprecedented opportunity for all groups to work together to take dairy cattle reproduction to the next level.


Dairy farmers must avoid a fight with vegan extremists

Dairy farmers are being encouraged to champion the sector rather than becoming embroiled in tit-for-tat arguments with anti-livestock campaigners.

Milk producers have a good story to tell, and should not be afraid of telling it, said industry experts at this week’s Dairy-Tech event.

But it is important for farmers to realise there are some debates they were never going to win, delegates were told.

An estimated 6,500 visitors attended the one-day show, held on Wednesday (6 February) at Stoneleigh Park, Warwickshire.

Alongside a focus on innovation and technology, discussions included a session on defending the sector – and keeping milk relevant to consumers.

A recent surge in attacks by vegan activists on the dairy sector has seen farmers increasingly under fire.

It has included a month-long Veganuary initiative urging consumers to boycott milk and other animal products, and adopt a plant-based diet instead.

To counter the campaign, dairy farmers have launched their own Februdairy initiative, using social media platforms such as Twitter, Facebook and Instagram to promote the sector.

Dairy-Tech visitors were told that such campaigns could be very successful, so long as farmers got their messaging right, and promoted dairy products based on their taste and enjoyment, not just provenance and healthy nature.

‘Feeling of unease’

AHDB head of crops and dairy marketing Rebecca Miah said: “Farmers should not be going head-to-head with vegans – you are not going to change their minds and any consumers looking in from the outside will just see an argument and come away with a feeling of unease.”

Vegan activists are a tiny minority, said Ms Miah. Instead, dairy producers should concentrate on the vast majority of consumers, who trust farmers.

People will listen if farmers tell their story, do it in a memorable way – and are open and transparent about what they do.

An AHDB dairy promotion that introduced people to the fictitious Department of Dairy Related Scrumptious Affairs has seen an 8% fall in the number of shoppers looking to reduce their dairy consumption – and an 11% drop in shoppers looking for dairy alternatives.

Chris Flint, partner at Kite Consultants, which provides business advice to 1,400 dairy farmers, said the vegan threat to the sector should be taken seriously.

The industry should adopt a “protect and promote” policy to highlight the benefits of milk, he said.

“There is a great story within dairy that we don’t talk about enough – we have a lot to be proud of.

“We need to get our house in order because the industry doesn’t want people who disrespect animals and who don’t do the job properly.”

Brand leaders

Yorkshire farmer and NFU dairy vice-chairman Paul Tompkins said it was important to remember that 95% of people ate red meat and 98% of people consumed dairy products.

Farmers are the brand leader and needed to behave like it, he said.

“You don’t see Coca-Cola going around and rubbishing their competitors.

“Although we need to be aware of what the alternative markets are doing, we need to get on and do what we do best, which is producing top-quality, nutritiously dense food to fit every price point.”

Dairy market analyst Chris Walkland said poor practice within the sector needed to be weeded out so that farmers could not be unfairly accused of mistreating animals.

The industry has nothing to hide and should be more open, he said.


Suicide prevention project aims to help distressed farmers

Julie and Phil Henneman, who lost their son Keith to suicide in 2006, when he was 29, talk about the experience outside the old farmhouse in Boscobel, Wis. The Hennemans continue to live on the 215-acre farm with two other sons, but they aren’t farming.

Financial struggles led Leon Statz to sell his 50 dairy cows, causing the third-generation farmer to become depressed.

Then land next to his 200-acre farm near Loganville went up for sale — land his late father had said he should buy. Statz, who didn’t have the money, became hopeless.

On Oct. 8, the day the adjacent property hit the market; Statz killed himself on his farm. He was 57.

“He said, ‘How am I going to afford this?'” Brenda Statz, his wife of 34 years, told the Wisconsin State Journal. “He would panic about everything when it got to finances.”

Wisconsin, which had a record 915 suicides in 2017, may be seeing a surge in suicides and suicidal thoughts among farmers, who are facing some of the worst economic challenges in years, experts say.

Exact numbers of suicides among farmers aren’t available, and authorities say some deaths reported as farm accidents are actually suicides.

But calls to the Wisconsin Farm Center, which helps distressed farmers, were up last year, including a 33 percent increase in November and December compared to the same two months the previous year.

“We definitely have seen an increase in folks who are closer to being that desperate,” said Angie Sullivan, supervisor of the farm center, part of the state Department of Agriculture, Trade and Consumer Protection. “There’s a major increase in their stress level.”

The anguish is approaching that of the 1980s farm crisis, though interest rates today aren’t as high, said Frank Friar, an economic specialist at the farm center who has done similar work for decades.

“There’s so much volatility out there and so much unknown, it makes people think negative,” Friar said.

John Peck, executive director of Family Farm Defenders, an advocacy group in Madison, said he believes farmer suicides are up in Wisconsin from what he’s heard.

Several years of low milk prices, the high cost of farm equipment, trade wars and other pressures contributed to the closure of 691 dairy farms in the state last year, the highest number of closures since 2011.

About 8,100 dairy farms remain, down from about 15,900 in 2004. The number of cows milked has remained steady at nearly 1.3 million, as many surviving farms have expanded.

In 2017, the Western District of Wisconsin had the highest number of Chapter 12 farm bankruptcies in the country, according to federal court data. The district that year had 28 bankruptcies, which represent only a fraction of total liquidations. Similar figures for 2018 are not yet available.

Though the forces working against farmers can seem insurmountable, a growing effort based in Dodgeville aims to help farmers cope with stress and avoid suicide.

Southwestern Wisconsin Community Action Program started a farmer suicide prevention project recently. The effort, funded by a $50,000 grant from the UW School of Medicine and Public Health’s Wisconsin Partnership Program, was prompted by an increase in stories about suicides or suicidal thoughts among farmers, said Wally Orzechowski, executive director.

“Farmers tend to be pretty isolated and pretty independent,” Orzechowski said. “When issues of mental health arise, they tend to just deal with it by themselves.”

The project, which also involves the Suicide Prevention Coalition of Iowa County, plans to develop a mobile crisis service, conduct suicide prevention training sessions and establish networks to address suicide in a region stretching from Eau Claire to the state border with Dubuque, Iowa.

“The biggest part is to spread awareness, to say, ‘It is OK to talk about it,'” said Sue Springer Judd, who runs the Suicide Prevention Coalition of Iowa County, which also serves six nearby counties.

Judd spoke to a group of farmers recently in Loganville, about 50 miles northwest of Madison. Her brother, Donald Springer, killed himself in 2012 at age 41, leaving behind three children ages 10 to 15. He owned a plumbing business and had a hobby farm next to his father’s beef farm near Mineral Point.

“We had no idea he was suicidal; we just thought he was depressed,” Judd told more than 40 farmers and others gathered at St. Peter’s Lutheran Church in Loganville to discuss farmer stress and suicide awareness. “We didn’t know he was going bankrupt and losing his plumbing business.”

Randy Roecker, 54, a dairy farmer in Loganville, said he became suicidal a decade ago when the Great Recession hit shortly after he invested millions to expand the farm started by his grandfather.

Medications and hospitalizations didn’t help much, but counseling brought some relief, he said.

“I’m doing better, but I’m still struggling every day,” said Roecker, whose farm milks about 325 cows on 800 acres. “We suffer alone in silence, is what we do.”

Roecker — who attends St. Peter’s, as does Brenda Statz — helped organize the church gathering. He wanted to do something to help after he couldn’t bring himself to attend Leon Statz’s funeral because the suicide brought back his feelings of despair.

“You feel like you’re in this pit, and you’re climbing to try to get out of it,” Roecker said. “We are all struggling so bad. My friends in the city, they have no idea what we’re going through. … Every load of milk that goes out, we’re losing money.”

When Roecker thought about ending his life, he pictured his two children, minors at the time and now adults, standing by his casket. That prevented him from following through, he said.

For Keith Henneman, from near Boscobel, an outbreak of Johne’s disease, a fatal intestinal infection in cows, appeared to be one reason he killed himself in 2006 at age 29, his parents said.

“It’s very difficult losing cattle like that,” said his mother, Julie Henneman, who with her husband, Phil, sold the 60 cows on their dairy farm, along with the equipment, to their son after he graduated from high school.

“You work so hard to raise the calves and bring them up into the herd, and then a year or two years later, they go downhill,” Julie Henneman said. “There’s a lot of stress on the farm.”

The Hennemans continue to live on the 215-acre farm with two other sons, but they aren’t farming. The couple have other jobs — Julie, 62, at Lands’ End in Dodgeville, and Phil, 63, as a correctional officer at the prison in Boscobel, about 75 miles west of Madison.

They help lead a Dodgeville chapter of The Compassionate Friends, a support group for parents who have lost children for any reason. They also provide training in QPR — or Question, Persuade, Refer — a CPR-like program that helps people recognize signs of suicide and ways to help.

QPR training sessions are one component of the new farmer suicide prevention project.

“No matter how dark a day it is, there is always light someplace, and you can continue on,” Phil Henneman said, sharing some of what he discusses at the training sessions. If people say they’re suicidal, he added, “ask them open-ended questions and let them talk.”

Brenda Statz, 55, was no stranger to signs of suicide by the time her husband took his life in October. He had struggled with depression for years and attempted suicide twice last year after they got rid of their dairy cows in December 2017.

“When we sold the cows, (his depression) came back full bore, and the medications didn’t work,” she said. “Nothing did.”

It wasn’t from a lack of trying. Leon Statz stayed in UW Hospital’s psychiatry unit four times last year and was admitted to Winnebago Mental Health Institute. He saw a counselor in Sauk City and had outpatient treatment at Rogers Behavioral Health in Madison.

Brenda Statz, who works at Lands’ End in its Reedsburg location, said she is disappointed with the mental health care system. Doctors didn’t return her calls or tell her and her three adult children how to help Leon when he was at home, she said.

“I didn’t know what to do with him when his anxiety was through the roof,” she said. “The whole family is affected. That’s where so many places miss the boat.”

Leon Statz agonized about money, so Brenda Statz brought friends and financial experts over to look at their records. Despite some challenges, the farm was paid for and the family was doing OK, they would tell him. The plan was to switch to beef cattle and plant more crops.

But Leon Statz kept saying he was going to lose the farm, Brenda Statz said.

“He couldn’t see the future,” she said. “All he saw was failure.”


Source: Bradenton Herald

Former dairy farm owner pays $20K to drinking water project

The former owner of a dairy farm in southern Washington state has agreed to pay $20,000 to a drinking water project to settle a federal lawsuit.

The Yakima Herald-Republic reports a federal judge signed off last month on the settlement that requires the money from the former operator of Snipes Mountain Dairy to go to the water project operated by the local CARE organization.

CARE and Friends of Toppenish Creek sued the dairy in Outlook in April 2017, claiming it violated the Clean Water Act for discharging effluent into streams and the Yakima River.

The former dairy operator has denied any wrongdoing.

The water project provides free testing of rural domestic wells in areas near dairies and concentrated animal feeding operations.


Australian dairy code divides opinions

While many of the farmers were definitively against a mandatory dairy code, those who had not yet made up their mind were certain a code of some kind was necessary.

That was the vibe in the room at the Mercure Port of Echuca, which last Thursday hosted a second phase consultation meeting about a mandatory code of conduct for the dairy industry.

Facilitated by Federal Agriculture and Water Resources Department assistant secretary Jo Grainger, it was obvious there was confusion and differing opinions about certain aspects of the draft code.

Cobram East farmer Paul Mundy, who was the most vocal opponent of the mandatory code at the meeting, said things should stay the same.

‘‘I’m not in favour of a mandatory code in any form whatsoever,’’ Mr Mundy said.

‘‘Specifically I don’t think people understand when they’re (the Federal Government) talking about a mandated minimum price, exactly what that minimum price is and the form in which it takes.

‘‘I would leave it as it is. If the ACCC and ASIC enforce the current legislation out there to the letter (of the law), instead of using kid gloves and gentle slaps on the wrist, then we wouldn’t be in this situation we’re in.’’

Katunga dairy farmer Daryl Hoey said it was necessary to differentiate between a minimum and opening price.

‘‘They are two completely different things,’’ Mr Hoey said.

‘‘An opening price announced by the factory is a pooled price amongst all its milk and all its farmers and is just an indicative price that you might be able to compare your farm against other prices that have been open if they’ve been announced with the same parameters.

‘‘Whereas a minimum price is something you actually want for your farm. You can get that if you go to a processor and get an income estimation.

‘‘They are two completely different tools and shouldn’t be blurred or tried to be interpreted as the same.’’

Undera farmer and UDV policy councillor Gemma Monk was another who was against a mandatory code.

‘‘I’m not in favour of mandatory code. I would rather see a voluntary code possibly prescribed,’’ Ms Monk said.

‘‘The main reason for that is to ensure no processors are passing on costs to farmers.

‘‘We don’t need any more (costs) — and also to allow for a bit more flexibility if something happens within the enterprise, such as a death or environmental impact … the mandatory code may actually become a constraint to a dairy enterprise.’’

Leitchville dairy farmer Bernice Lumsden was one of the participants who was undecided on whether a mandatory code was the way forward.

‘‘I’m in favour of a code and I’m still deciding whether it be mandatory or voluntary — but I’m definitely in favour of some kind of code,’’ Mrs Lumsden said.

‘‘I think this because of the history and the total abhorrent situation that farmers found themselves in in 2016.

‘‘That situation should not ever be able to be repeated.’’

Discussing the mandatory code, Mrs Lumsden said the idea behind it was to protect dairy farmers.

‘‘The essence of the code is just to protect us from some very predatory behaviour of processors.

‘‘I think that a code, be it voluntary or mandatory, will help to improve the relationships between farmers and processors and getting to the crux of the dealing in good faith (clause).’’


Source: Country News


Cows belch methane. Now researchers are trying to breed them to burp less

Cows emit methane. It’s long been debated which end it comes out and Christine Baes doesn’t think it’s the farts.

“It is indeed the burps that cause the methane, or most of the methane,” said Baes, an associate professor in animal bioscience at the University of Guelph.

Baes has been measuring those burps as part of an international research project using genetics to try and figure out how to breed cows who eat more efficiently and produce less methane. The agriculture industry is trying to cut down its emissions — and cow burps play a big part.

Dairy production has “a bad rap for being environmentally unfriendly,” said Baes. “Every industry is of course responsible for reducing their impact on the environment as much as possible.”

Christine Baes is a key part of the research team at the University of Guelph. Five other countries are taking part in the study. She hopes to collect data on 3,000 to 5,000 cows worldwide. (Haydn Watters/CBC)

The research, known as the Efficient Dairy Genome Project, has a two-fold purpose. Cows that produce less methane will have less environmental impact, while cows needing less feed will save farmers money. Feed is one of the most expensive parts of running a dairy farm.

Baes and her team are measuring and collecting data on hundreds of different cows at a research barn near Elora, Ont., north of Guelph.

They study how much cows eat, how much milk they produce and what’s in that milk, among other traits.

They measure cow burps four times a day using a small green machine which captures methane amounts. The machine wheels up to the cows, who stick their face in and get a few pellets of food while it records their burps. Unlike human burps, cow burps aren’t really audible, so it’s hard to tell when they are emitting methane.


The data lets the team weed out cows that are “efficient” and those who aren’t.

“We can correlate the amount of methane that they produce with their DNA,” she said. “We can actually select animals that have the right DNA that don’t produce much methane and that more efficiently use their feed.”

The Morning Edition – K-W
Researcher seeks to breed cows that burp less methane

Cow burps contribute to climate change. Meet the Guelph, Ont. researcher trying to breed a cow that burps less in order to reduce methane output from gassy livestock.6:27

Studying cows in multiple countries

Mary De Pauw is managing the entire project from the University of Alberta in Edmonton. A team there is measuring the same cow traits and combining it with the findings in Guelph, as well as with researchers in five different countries.

A baby calf at the research barn sports a pair of ‘pyjamas.’ The newborns wear them to keep protected from the cold winter weather. Researchers start collecting data for this project when they are calves. (Haydn Watters/CBC)

De Pauw said sharing the data has made the research much stronger and more reliable.

“We definitely need to reduce the environmental impact of agriculture production and I think it is a very attainable goal,” she said. “I think we have a very good chance of taking the tools that we produce in this project and getting it out into the industry.”

‘Very, very long term thing’

The Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations said livestock makes up 14.5 per cent of all human-caused greenhouse gas emissions, with cattle being the dominant producers of methane.

Baes figures the average cow emits between 80 and 120 kilos of methane per year.

“You’re talking about a very large amount of methane being produced,” she said. “Even if we can have a point one per cent change in the first year after applying a breeding program … it would be a very small part of a much larger program.”

Baes knows it will be a long process to get cows eating and burping less. ‘We don’t do things quickly,’ she says. ‘Genetics means to think in generations.’ (Haydn Watters/CBC)

She understands this will take time, calling it a “very, very long-term thing.” The project is slated to take four or five years — researchers are about halfway through now and there could be an extension. She doesn’t expect to roll out findings for another two or three years.

But the work is particularly meaningful to Baes, given she grew up around cows on a dairy farm.

“I’m a little bit in love,” she admits. “Over time I think it really will make a difference to breed cows that are less environmentally unfriendly.”

Source: CBC

GEA to build the largest infant formula plant in China for Junlebao Dairy

In September 2018, GEA secured an order from the Shijiazhuang Junlebao Dairy Co. Ltd. in China to supply the country’s largest spray dryer for the manufacture of infant milk formula (IMF), with a planned production capacity of 6 tons/hour. The project has already kicked-off, with commercial production scheduled in the second quarter of 2020.

Founded in 1995, Junlebao achieved sustained and rapid growth over the years and today is the largest dairy processing company in the Hebei Province and the fourth largest dairy processing company in China. Well known for its liquid milk products, e.g. yogurt, lactobacillus beverages and UHT milk, it entered the infant formula milk powder market in 2017. In 2016, GEA provided already the whole production line technology and plant for infant formula milk powder for the Junlebao factory located in Junyuan.

The new plant, which is being built adjacent to the one completed in 2016, is a turnkey project for GEA, which includes supplying wet mixing, evaporation, drying and downstream powder handling. GEA is also responsible for the plant design, project execution, installation & commissioning and automation. Central to the plant will be the GEA MSD®-1600 multi-stage spray dryer, one of the world’s most advanced dryers – combining spray and fluid-bed drying in a three-stage drying process. The GEA MSD® drying tower produces formula powder products exactly to customer specifications and achieves an excellent agglomeration effect.

Junlebao chose GEA for this major project given the companies had worked together in 2016 on a project with a similar scope and were extremely satisfied with GEA’s performance on the project and subsequently with the capacity and operational stability of the plant and the world-class quality of the end products.

Leon Han, Head of Dairy Sales – Greater China at GEA, was delighted to announce the new order. “We’ve worked very closely with Junlebao for years and it has been a real pleasure to see the success the plant we built for the company two years ago has had,” he said. “The new plant will be the largest of its kind in China and we are delighted to be working with Junlebao again on this exciting project.”

“During the building of the 2016 plant we developed a very strong working relationship with GEA here in China. For this reason, GEA was the chosen partner for the new plant and we’re confident the project will be a success,” confirmed a Junlebao Dairy spokesperson.

GEA has many years of experience in IMF production, bringing together its expertise and market-leading technology to help dairy processors with the equipment of their production lines. GEA plants are trusted worldwide, achieving high product quality, maximum efficiency, productivity and environmental sustainability. On-going support is provided by GEA’s global network, including its in-house test facilities where customers can develop and refine processes and products ahead of full production, to help bring new products to market quickly and profitably.


Source: GEA

America’s Cheese Appetite During the Super Bowl Is Truly Breathtaking

Experts predict we’ll buy nearly 90 million pounds of cheese for the big game.

We’re officially less than a week out from Super Bowl LIII, which airs this Sunday, February 3—and for many Americans, it’s just as much of a food-centric holiday as it is a football game. Considering the amount of nachos, buffalo chicken dip, queso, and other cheesy foods football fans will be whipping up, we’d expect supermarkets to be running light on cheese this week. What we didn’t expect was that Americans would be projected to buy 88 million pounds of cheese in preparation for the game—we repeat, 88 million (the record is 89.8 million pounds, from 2016). Apparently, both Rams and Patriots fans alike have some dairy-heavy menus on the lineup. 

The stat comes from the Dairy Farmers of Wisconsin, who said the massive haul of cheese is enough to “cover the Mercedes-Benz Stadium football field, end zone to end zone, ten yards deep” in a statement. The organization also goes on to explain that average cheese consumption in the U.S. has “more than tripled” since 1970—so we can likely expect an even larger cheese fest in the next Super Bowls to come. (Last year, Americans bought 87.98 million pounds, according to Dairy Farmers of Wisconsin.) If you need any menu inspiration, look no further than our Super Bowl recipe roundup, which includes everything from zucchini quesadillas and pimento cheese fries, to goat cheese and chorizo rolls and a stromboli that involves two different kinds of cheese (yes, please).

Cheese isn’t the only food experiencing a Super Bowl surge this year—the National Chicken Council predicts that Americans will consume 1.38 billion chicken wings on Super Bowl Sunday, as previously reported by Food & Wine. That’s 27 million more than last year, in case you were wondering, and averages out to four wings for every man, woman, and child in the U.S. (Something tells us Buffalo Wild Wings is pretty psyched about this stat). So if you have any plans to include either food on your menu this weekend, we’d suggest getting to the supermarket asap, before the masses set in.

Source: Food & Wine

Fire at Ferme Jacobs

It is with great sadness we share the news that there has been a fire at Ferme Jacobs.    The fire occurred at a farm they acquired last autumn and not at the home farm. Unfortunately, all the animals died in the fire.

Several fire departments are on the scene, including Pont-Rouge, Cap Santé and Deschambault-Grondines.

The Station Road is currently closed to traffic due to the fire and the transport of water by the trucks.

Strong winds were probably a contributing factor to the spread of flames throughout the building.

According to a neighbor of the area, about 250 cows were in the building.

Two excavators were required on site to assist firefighters

Super Bowl Chunky-Style Milk Commercial Falls Flat with Ag Community

During Super Bowl LIII, the “Chunky-Style Milk” commercial from Mint Mobile may have caused many upset stomacks, but it also has upset many people on twitter as well. The “chunky-style milk” commercial featured    a family is sitting down to breakfast drinking “chunky-style milk because it has the wholesome chunks kids need, unlike smooth style milk.” The mother then pours a glass of the chunk filled liquid into a glass and the whole family enjoys a “beverage.”

 During the commerical the announcer comments “Chunky style milk? That’s not right. But you know what is right? Wireless starting at just $15/month from Mint.”  While is was likely meant to be a funny play on the chunky versus smooth peanut butter debate, it appears to have missed the mark. Many members of the agriculture community went to Twitter and Facebook to voice the disgust with the commercial.


The chunky milk commercial wasn’t the only advertisement to draw criticism from farmers, Bud Light’s corn syrup series also sparked some controversy on#agtwitter.

Are Giant Dairy Farms Dangerous For Wisconsin’s Waters?

Farming has been a cornerstone of Wisconsin’s heritage and economy, but its landscape is changing. Small family farms have given way to large ones called CAFOs (concentrated animal feeding operations). The trend has heightened concerns among some that raising large numbers of farm animals is harmful to the environment.

Twenty years ago, the CAFO count was close to 90. Today, there are more than 300. While some raise hogs and others poultry, the majority are dairy operations.

Water is central to the cow business — from the feeding of cows to milking. And lots of cows produce lots of manure. It must be stored and then transported and spread onto fields.

Vir-Clar Farms’ milking parlor, which is outside of Fond Du Lac.

Steve Eatough, who’s from Door County, shared with Beats Me his concern that mega-dairies puts Wisconsin’s waters at risk.

Denise O’Halloran lives near a mega-farm in rural Jefferson County, near the Rock River. In the 1950s the family milked 50 cows. The farm evolved, has a CAFO permit and is now home to more than 2,000 cows.

O’Halloran is part of a group of neighbors who have multiple concerns about how the watershed they share could be impacted.

The large farm in rural Jefferson County, near the Rock River, that Denise O’Halloran lives near.

“I’m worried about the Rock River and having it not being polluted by runoff and we’ve had these big rains. Is there some control in place so manure does not get in there,’ O’Halloran adds, “Our little community sits on a recharging aquifer and we all have wells here and if our wells go bad, the worth of our property goes down and we have to dig new wells and is that even possible.”

Wisconsin’s Department of Natural Resources is responsible for issuing CAFO permits and monitoring the operations.

Brian Weigel, deputy director of watershed programs, says the agency is tuned into the potential water risks.

“We look at the geology of the area — of the local facility — and understand whether or not there is a high risk of pollutants to the groundwater and in situations where we suspect there might be greater risk then ask the facility to implement a groundwater monitoring plan and report to us regular — on an annual basis — results from that monitoring,” he says.

The location of CAFOs in Wisconsin as of May 2017.

Weigel says DNR oversight includes managing run-off on the farm and says inspectors visit fields where manure produced by the mega-dairy farms is spread.

“That happens on a regular basis with manure haulers, because they may not own the farm who is applying the manure. They have to know the rules, including setbacks — the distance from municipal or private wells, navigable streams and other conduits to ground water,” Weigel says.

The big picture? A CAFO permit lasts five years, during which the farmer must submit annual reports. In the fourth year, Weigel says the farms have to meet “substantial compliance” to renew their permits.

“If there are allegations of discharge, there could be a notice of violations, fines. A settlement can result in concert with the Department of Justice. It has occurred,” Weigel says.

Waukesha County resident John Koepke is a fifth-generation dairy farmer.

“It’s a little concerning for me when I hear all CAFOS are bad. Whenever we stereotype like that we set ourselves up for trouble,” he says.

“It’s a little concerning for me when I hear all CAFOs are bad. Whenever we stereotype like that we set ourselves up for trouble,” says John Koepke, a fifth-generation dairy farmer.

Koepke’s farm is not a CAFO. His family milks 350 cows.

“They’re more regulated than I am as far as when they can apply manure to fields and that sort of thing. And the regulations are very restrictive,” Koepke says.

He believes regardless of regulations, most farmers want to do what’s best for their business and the environment, yet, “I think you will find good actors and bad actors across the whole gamut of farm sizes … But if you have a bad actor out there that’s large they have the potential of having a large negative impact,’ Koepke says.

We asked Dairy Business Association to weigh in on this story, but it politely declined.

Some people believe the best way to prevent potential negative impacts of CAFOs and ensure safe water for future generations is through a long-term comprehensive water plan for the state.

Perhaps Wisconsin will step in that direction. In his first State of the State Address on Jan. 22, Gov. Tony Evers proclaimed 2019 will be the year of clean drinking water.

Source: WUWM

Update on Big Island Dairy Cow Rescue

It’s been three weeks since the Hawai‘i Lava Flow Animal Rescue Network (HLFARN) removed 61 calves from the shuttering Big Island Dairy and moved them into their new homes. The majority of the new homes were those of private citizens who took in two or more calves (cows are herd animals and don’t do well without the company of other cows) and animal sanctuaries. All new homes have committed to providing these female calves with forever homes where they can live out their lives in peace without being used for meat or milk.

These first few weeks have seen adopters bottle feeding the young calves daily, beginning to introduce them to solid foods, and introducing them to other animals around their homes (after a period of quarantine). In addition, the calves are acclimating to life outside of a steel crate, trading their concrete floors for grass, straw, and sunshine and becoming very attached to their new human caretakers.

“From our exciting night delivery, to cutting off ear tags, to watching them grow, run and jump, this is truly a rewarding experience,” rescuer Suzanne Sinclair said. “They love chin scratches and head rubs. These girls are home and they’ll later join our three rescue steers.”

The closing of the dairy resulted in more than 2,800 cows needing to find a new home or be shipped off to slaughter or placement at other dairies. The rescue group quickly mobilized to raise funds for the purchase of as many cows as possible, as well as attempting to find them homes. This all-volunteer network, consisting of caring people from all walks of life and different parts of the Big Island, purchased the calves, transported them to their new homes, and continues to provide support to the adopters after placement.

In addition, HLFARN has provided veterinary assistance to adopters for two weeks after placement. Medical issues that the calves faced after being at the dairy include issues with their joints, digestion problems, hernias, and a large abscess on the neck of one of the calves. With extra love, dedicated care, and medical attention, all 61 cows are happy and healthy at their new homes.

HLFARN’s next rescue day is planned for the middle of February (exact date still to be determined). The group has already purchased 35 pairs of moms and calves, for a total of 70 cows to be removed and placed in new homes. A committed group of volunteers assists with the planning, logistics, transportation, and delivery of the calves.

After this group of cows, HLFARN plans to remove at least one more group and will continue to remove more as homes and funds come available. In order to continue removing cows and saving them from slaughter, the group is still looking for Big Islanders who can provide homes. Those interested in learning more about qualifying for adoption can email

In addition, the group is still fundraising in order to remove as many cows as possible in coming weeks. Funds also go towards gas for transporters, feed for the first few weeks, and veterinary assistance for the first two weeks, if needed. Donors can donate at Go Fund Me or directly to HLFARN’s fiscal sponsor, Sanctuary of Mana Keʻa Gardens (a 501(c)3 charity) via Paypal (be sure to add a note that the donation is for HLFARN). HLFARN absolutely would not be able to engage in these rescue operations without the generosity of so many incredible donors who have helped raise the funds to make this possible.

Rescue operation background:

In May 2017, after members of the Ōʻōkala community filed several complaints to the Hawaiʻi State Department of Health, Big Island Dairy, LLC received a Notice of Violation of the federal Clean Water Act for releasing animal waste into the nearby waterways that eventually ran off into the ocean. A lawsuit ensued, resulting in Big Island Dairy announcing the closing of its operations this spring.

In January 2019, Big Island Dairy and Hawai‘i State Department of Health reached a settlement. One of the stipulations of the settlement is for Big Island Dairy to reduce and eliminate the number of animals that they have. When a dairy closes its operations, the cows are usually auctioned off and distributed to slaughterhouses and other dairies. Big Island Dairy has roughly 2600 cows, heifers and calves, to remove from the premises. A recent timeline agreed upon as part of the suit will see milking operations end by Feb. 28, 2019.

Members of the Hawai‘i Lava Flow Animal Rescue Network (HLFARN), one of the groups instrumental in the rescue operations of animals in last year’s Lower Puna lava flow, are currently engaged in an effort to save some of these animals. After initial meetings with representatives of the dairy, HLFARN received permission to remove a number of the cows for a negotiated fee.

Source: Big Island Now

Youth Team Announced for Libramont 2019

The Holstein European Championship will welcome two talented and ambitious Holstein Young Breeders who have been selected to represent Holstein UK as part of the Youth Team.

The prestigious competition in Libramont, Belgium takes place on 12th and 13th April 2019 and is held every three years with 19 countries represented.  In addition to over 250 cows and 200 exhibitors the event will also combine exchanges, meetings, innovative products and services for breeders and professionals worldwide.

Organised by the Fair of Libramont with the technical support of the Walloon Association of the Breeding (AWE) and its Herd-Book Holstein, the event aims to promote and sustain international breeding making it a highly anticipated diary date for international breeders.

Meet the Youth Team:

Junior Competitor: Robert Morley (Border & Lakeland HYB Club)

Robert has been involved with HYB since he can remember and started going to ABAB and competing from the age of 13.  He is currently in his second and final year of sixth form studying for A levels in Biology, Chemistry and P.E. with plans to study for a degree in Agriculture. As well as studying he works behind the bar of the local pub and on the family farm which has 200 pedigree Holstein cows with 100 followers under the Petteril prefix.  The herd averages 10,800 litres and in 2018 were awarded Master Breeder status.  Robert has represented Holstein UK at the 2016 Cremona Open Junior Show and winning the overall stock judging was the stand out moment. He has also won the senior showmanship and reserve champion at the 2018 ABAB Calf Show. Being part of the Youth Team at Libramont will enable Robert to further his knowledge of clipping, showmanship and preparing show cattle. He is also looking forward to meeting new friends, learning from Europe’s best and seeing some of the highest quality Holstein cattle in the world at the European Championships.

Senior Competitor:  Jonny Woodhouse (Lancashire HYB Club)

Twenty one year old Jonny has been an HYB member for eight years and works on the family farm, prefix Shoreline, in Cumbria.  The herd comprises of 100 cows averaging 33kg milked twice a day.  They bull everything with sexed semen, sell surplus heifers and the bottom animals go for beef.  In November 2018 the herd was classified 20 EX and 51 VG which Jonny wants to keep building and improving.  The notable greatest achievements for Jonny were winning overall Honourable Mention at the ABAB National Calf Show on two occasions with home bred calves, winning the clipping at both HYB Weekend Rally and the 2016 European championships in Colmar. Selected to represent the UK in Libramont is such an exciting opportunity for Jonny to showcase his extensive experience gained over the year both in this country, at European competitions both Cremona and Colmar as a junior and at the HYB Weekend Rally.

The judges for the Young Breeders Competition casting their professional eye over competitors from 19 countries will be Michael Halliwell (UK) and Cord Horman (Germany).

Hannah Williams, Head of Events & Marketing for Holstein UK, comments, “We are delighted to have such amazing talent amongst the Holstein Young Breeders movement and being in a position to select two individuals to represent the society at this prestigious event.  Robert and Jonny have excelled across all areas of HYB throughout recent events and are a credit to Holstein Young Breeders.  We wish them all the very best of luck in the competition and Holstein UK will be sharing team updates and results on the social media platforms whilst they are competing at Libramont.” 

For further information on the 2019 Holstein European Championships visit:

American Embryo Transfer Association Winter News

Greetings to you from the American Embryo Transfer Association (AETA). The AETA held its 2018 annual convention in beautiful Montreal, Quebec, Canada, with veterinarians and embryo transfer practitioners from around the globe. The AETA and CETA (Canadian Embryo Transfer Association) host a joint conference, which has been a huge success for many years and attracts the elite and certified members at the vanguard of this industry.

Education is our first priority. The AETA continues to improve the quality of all embryo transfer practices by providing direct links among science, the laboratory, and the field. We support diverse learning opportunities so members can experience best practices and high levels of industry standards. Our certification process develops and maintains a gold standard of excellence.

The following individuals were elected for the 2019 Executive Committee and Board of Directors: Dr. Matt Iager (Boonsboro, MD), president; Dr. Matt Dorshorst (Marshfield, WI), vice president; and Dr. Bill Croushore (Berlin, PA), secretary-treasurer. Other board members include Dr. Kory Bigalk (Rochester, MN), Dr. Clay Breiner (Westmoreland, KS), Dr. Pat Comyn (Madison, VA), Dr. Dave Dixon (Rensselaer, IN), and Dr. Jeremy VanBoening (Alma, NE). We thank our outgoing president, Dr. John Prososki (Wausau, WI), and board members, Dr. Kirk Gray (Westmoreland, KS) and Dr. Mark James (Wolcottville, IN), for their outstanding leadership in 2018.

The AETA presented Dr. Richard Whitaker (Turner, ME) with the Lifetime Achievement Award. “Whit” has dedicated his lifetime and career to the embryo transfer industry and has greatly contributed to the success of AETA, distinguishing himself among his peers. The AETA also presented 10 student scholarship awards to future practitioners, who attend colleges and universities around the USA and Canada. We congratulate all of the outstanding applicants on their achievements.

AETA—“Experience, Quality, Professional.” Let our members work for you to enhance your genetic success! Visit AETA for information and to search for a practitioner in your area. While you are there, be sure to check out the video “Global Genetic Improvement through Embryo Technology.” The AETA works closely with USDA-APHIS to qualify and meet specific protocols for export of USA bovine embryos to foreign markets.

The 2019 AETA-CETA annual convention will be held in October in Colorado Springs, Colorado. Please contact us for more information. From the members and leaders of AETA, we wish all of you the best of success in 2019.


Source: Cowsmopolitan

Janet Keller named PDPF Executive Director

The Professional Dairy Producers Foundation (PDPF) Board of Directors announced Janet Keller as Executive Director during their December 2018 meeting. Keller began her duties Jan. 7, assuming the leadership position held by Deborah Reinhart who will officially retire June 1, 2019.

Keller will lead the Foundation in raising funds and awarding grants for educational programs in the dairy community. Created to ensure dairy farms remain viable and socially responsible for generations to come, PDPF places a high value on education, continuous improvement and programs that encourage the next generation of dairy leaders.

“I welcome Janet to the PDPF family,” said John Kappelman, PDPF board chairman. “Everyone in dairying is fully aware of the financial and emotional challenges farmers and industry stakeholders are facing today. Our board feels that Janet is the right person to lead PDPF into the future. She has the integrity, talent and experience we’re looking for to continue building a legacy of learning for the next generation of dairy.”

Keller brings more than 30 years of dairy industry career experience, with 23 of those years in management positions. Most recently, she was CEO and president of Accelerated Genetics, assisting the cooperative’s board of directors in preserving producer-member equity and on-farm services. She led the merger process and transition plan that resulted in a unified cooperative with Select Sires, Inc. Keller’s other dairy industry experience includes positions at World Dairy Expo, Semex, Agri-Graphics, Mapleleaf Genetics and Tri-State Breeders.

Keller currently serves on the Board of Directors for National Dairy Shrine and is Past President of the Wisconsin FFA Foundation and Stoughton Fair; she was also an executive committee member for Wisconsin Farm Technology Days and Wisconsin Agribusiness Council. Keller and her husband, Steve, own K-Manor Holsteins and Keller Cattle Sales.

Commenting on Reinhart’s upcoming retirement, Kappelman said, “The PDPF Board wishes to thank Deb for her leadership in growing PDPF from its infancy to the first-rate, non-profit organization it is today. Deb’s passion and tireless contributions to the organization have truly allowed PDPF to have a positive impact on the lives of countless dairy producers, their families and communities.”

Reinhart will work with Keller through May 2019 for a seamless transition of responsibilities.

The Professional Dairy Producers Foundation was established by Professional Dairy Producers of Wisconsin (PDPW) in 2002 as a vehicle to raise funds and award grants for educational programs and initiatives. The Foundation is a charitable, 501(c)(3) organization. Donations are tax-deductible. For more information, visit


Fire burns down dairy barn at Ridgedale Farm

The Ames Fire Department was alerted to a dairy barn fire at Ridgedale Farm, Maring Road, in the town of Canajoharie at 11:15 p.m. Thursday. 

About 40 milking cows and 10 to 15 young stock were removed from the barn by the farm’s owners and the first firemen on scene, with the animals being safely moved to a neighboring farm.

No animal or human injuries were reported.

“We had manpower from a number of departments,” Ames Fire Chief Shawn Bowerman said Friday, explaining, “The biggest issue was getting water to the scene and freezing temperatures.”

“Our original water source, the county pond, did not work out,” he said, so tankers were requested from a variety of fire departments, including Canajoharie, Fort Plain, South Minden, Rural Grove, Cobleskill, Sharon Springs, Ames, Carlisle, Cherry Valley, Springfield, and Ephratah.

Also responding to the blaze, which burned for hours overnight, were Montgomery County Emergency Management, Montgomery County Sheriff Jeffery Smith, and the county fire coordinator.

Continued Bowerman of Friday’s early morning freezing conditions, “We never had a truck freeze up where it wouldn’t pump, but we did have freeze-up problems,” including issues filling the tankers. 

While the fire was largely extinguished by Friday afternoon, the hay inside continued to smolder, with Bowerman explaining “it’s going to smolder for days.”

The Ames Volunteer Fire Department returned to the scene on Friday afternoon to deal with a re-kindle, upon request of the homeowner’s insurance adjustor “who wants to save as much of the milk house as possible,” Bowerman noted, “to try to keep intact what’s left so they could do a further investigation,” on Monday.

Bowerman stated of the fire’s potential origin, “It appears to be electrical, but I can’t make that determination,” as the investigation remains ongoing.

Thanking all responding departments, Bowerman added. “I really appreciate all the help.”

On Friday, Ridgedale Farm’s official Facebook page posted a message, stating, “A barn can be rebuilt. Our hearts will mend. There’s no energy left to be sad, just thankful. Last night was a living nightmare, today we are grateful for our friends, the firemen, the cows safety and that no one was hurt.

We appreciate everyone that has reached out. To be a small part of such a tightly woven farming community is special and we wouldn’t trade it, for better or worse.”

Source: The Recorder

Februdairy campaign highlights benefits of milk

Farmers are using the whole of February to celebrate all things dairy and the work that goes behind the humble glass of milk.

The social media campaign Februdairy – which is running throughout February to celebrate the dairy industry – has got off to a flying start.

Milk producers and supporters are promoting all things dairy across social media platforms such as Instagram, Facebook and Twitter. Farmers are encouraged to share tweets using the hashtag to help promote the dairy industry to a wider audience.

The brainchild behind the initiative, livestock sustainability consultant Dr Jude Capper, said she’s proud to work with “many wonderful people” who care for their cows and produce milk and dairy products.

Dr Capper, who was awarded Dairy Industry Woman of the Year 2017, said on social media: “Let’s make #Februdairy happen this year. 28 days, 28 positive dairy posts.

It follows a month-long Veganuary campaign during which vegan activists urged people to stop consuming animal products and adopt a plant-based diet instead.

Farmers insist plant-based dairy products shouldn’t be referred to as milk.

The Februdairy initiative first gained momentum following a tweet from independent livestock sustainability consultant Jude Capperin 2017.

She is backing the campaign again this year.

Other farmers are showing innovative ways of getting the best from milk.

Another user, Hailey explained: “As a dairy farmer, I have no problem with people who chose a vegan lifestyle. What I do have problems with is those who try to slander the dairy industry when they know nothing about livestock or farming.”

Some producers are tweeting cows walking through fields.

They are keen to show the industry at its best.

Last month dairy farmer and marketing consultant Andy Venables called for an overhaul in the way milk is promoted – describing it as “a complete mess”.

“It frustrates the hell out of me that milk is so poorly marketed,” said Mr Venables, who milks 300 cows on his family farm and runs Hillsgreen Marketing in Cheshire.

“It is seen as a loss leader and the lowest of the low.”

The dairy industry could learn a lot from the vegan movement, which had attracted huge media coverage despite accounting for just 1.16% of the UK population, said Mr Venables.


Send this to a friend