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Groups call for ‘mega-dairy’ moratorium

A coalition of groups is asking Oregon leaders to put a moratorium on large, commercial dairies, claiming inadequate oversight by state regulators and insufficient laws to protect the environment, animal welfare and small farms.

The request comes after the highly publicized breakdown of Lost Valley Farm near Boardman, Ore., which was permitted in March 2017 for up to 30,000 cows, making it the second-largest dairy in Oregon.

A dozen groups are now seeking to halt new or expanded “mega-dairies.” The coalition includes Columbia Riverkeeper, Environment Oregon, Friends of Family Farmers, Friends of the Columbia Gorge, Human Voters Oregon, Oregon Rural Action, WaterWatch of Oregon, Animal Legal Defense Fund, Center for Biological Diversity, Center for Food Safety, Factory Farm Awareness Coalition and Food & Water Watch.

Ivan Maluski, policy director for Friends of Family Farms, said the proposed moratorium would cover any dairy with more than 2,500 cows, or dairies with at least 700 cows that do not provide the animals with seasonal daily access to pasture. It would apply only to new permits, Maluski said, and not existing operations.

“We’ve always believed the real issue here is these huge operations that have thousands, if not tens of thousands, of cows,” Maluski said.

Exhibit A in the argument for a moratorium is the state’s approval of the ill-fated Lost Valley Farm over the objections of critics who submitted more than 4,200 comments against the facility. Lost Valley began racking up violations of its wastewater management permit almost immediately after opening, with offenses ranging from overflows at open-air lagoons to improperly applying manure as fertilizer.

The Oregon Department of Agriculture and Department of Environmental Quality jointly oversee the state’s Confined Animal Feeding Operation, or CAFO, program, and moved to revoke Lost Valley’s permit earlier this year. The dairy’s owner, Greg te Velde, meanwhile filed for bankruptcy. Court documents revealed he owed $162 million to creditors.

A bankruptcy judge put a trustee in charge of Lost Valley in September, finding that te Velde has continued his long-standing pattern of illegal drug use and gambling. The trustee, Randy Sugarman, announced he will shut down and sell the dairy by early 2019.

Maluski said the debacle — coupled with a “catastrophic decline” in small and mid-size dairy farms — make it clear the state should freeze new mega-dairies until lawmakers can consider stronger protections. He pointed to a report in August by the Oregon Employment Department that highlights the trend toward fewer but larger dairy farms since 1990. According to that report, the number of Grade A licensed dairies in Oregon fell from 520 in 1990 to 228 in 2017, a 56 percent decline.

“We’d like to see the state look at the economic impact of these mega-dairies on small and mid-size family dairy farms and also tighten up the environmental rules on these mega-dairies as well,” Maluski said. “There may need to be legislative action.”

Other groups cited air and water pollution as factors for a moratorium. Celeste Meiffren-Swango, state director with Environment Oregon, said vast quantities of concentrated manure release gases such as methane into the atmosphere, while contaminating surface and groundwater with nitrates, pharmaceuticals and pathogens.

“We simply cannot allow these industrial factory farms to continue polluting in Oregon — they are bad for our health, our climate and our environment,” Meiffren-Swango said.

Tami Kerr, executive director of the Oregon Dairy Farmers Association, said Oregon dairies are already subject to some of the strictest CAFO laws in the country. Every Grade A licensed dairy in Oregon is required to have a permit and wastewater plan, regardless of size, Kerr said. All dairies are inspected at least once every 10 months or more, depending on size.

“Oregon producers have met and exceeded the requirements of the state,” Kerr said. “Our producers as a whole do a good job.”

The Oregon Department of Agriculture conducted 880 inspections at 509 CAFOs in 2017, with less than 1 percent resulting in violations that led to civil penalties or injunctive relief.

The issue at Lost Valley, Kerr said, was not due to size, but rather the quality of management. The Oregon Dairy Farmers Association is now participating in a work group assembled by state Sen. Michael Dembrow, D-Portland, chairman of the Senate Environment and Natural Resources Committee, to study and propose legislation based on “lessons learned” from Lost Valley.

“The CAFO program works,” Kerr said. “We stand behind it. We support it.”

Andrea Cantu-Schomus, a spokeswoman for ODA, said the agency “respects the views and opinions of all groups concerned about clean air, clean water, animal welfare and Oregon’s farms,” and is continuing its regulation of Lost Valley Farm. She said the agency looks forward to working with the group put together by Dembrow.

“To date there is no evidence of any discharge to surface water or evidence that discharges have yet contaminated groundwater,” Cantu-Schomus said. “Throughout the revocation process, ODA will remain committed to monitoring Lost Valley Farm to protect human health and the environment.”


Source: Capital Press

Holstein Association USA accepting applications for the 2019 Distinguished Young Holstein Breeder Award

Holstein Association USA is now accepting applications for the Distinguished Young Holstein Breeder Award. The purpose of this award is to recognize significant accomplishments of young Registered Holstein® breeders. Recognizing young Registered Holstein breeders for their commitment to preserving the dairy industry and for achieving excellence in their daily lives. Motivating other dairy producers to achieve similar goals by creating awareness of the successes young breeders have with Registered Holsteins.


  • Applicant(s) can nominate themselves, or be nominated.
  • The nominee(s) must be between the ages of 21 and 40 (as of January 1 of the award year) and must be a member of the Holstein Association USA, Inc. Applicants applying as a couple or as business partners must all meet the age requirements. Herd ownership and/or management responsibility are required, and the herd they manage must be on DHIA test.
  • Two letters of recommendation must accompany application.
  • Person(s) being nominated by someone other than themselves will be expected to complete the application and submit two letters of recommendation.
  • Employees of Holstein Association USA, Inc. and their immediate families are ineligible to enter.

The winning applicant will receive travel and lodging expenses (for up to two people) to the National Holstein Convention, complimentary tickets to the Convention banquet, a $2,000 cash award, and the Distinguished Young Holstein Breeder plaque. Their name will also be engraved on a permanent plaque that hangs in the Holstein Association USA headquarters in Brattleboro.

Applications are available for download online, or by calling the national office or your state association. Your submission must be postmarked no later than January 31, 2019 and sent to:

Holstein Association USA, Inc.
Attn: Distinguished Young Holstein Breeder Award Committee
1 Holstein Place
PO Box 808
Brattleboro, VT  05302-0808

For more information visit Holstein Association USA.

FCC contributes $114,250 to 4-H clubs across Canada

 4-H Canada is proud to announce that the Farm Credit Canada (FCC) 4-H Club Fund has provided $114,250 to 233 clubs across Canada to support various activities and local events.

The Club Fund is part of FCC’s $250,000 annual commitment to 4-H Canada. In addition to supporting local 4-H club activities through the Club Fund, this contribution supports national as well as provincial 4-H initiatives.

Helping to develop thriving and vibrant agricultural communities is a shared goal of FCC and 4-H Canada, reflecting an enduring partnership that has supported Canadian communities for more than 25 years. With this funding, 4-H Canada can continue to offer programs and activities that help develop responsible, caring and contributing young Canadians who will effect positive change in the world around them.

“4-H Canada is extremely grateful for our longstanding partnership with FCC, and for its continued support of the 4-H Club Fund,” said 4-H Canada CEO, Shannon Benner. “The 4-H movement in Canada continues to thrive through the generosity of visionary partners like FCC, who share the same values and commitment to engaging young leaders at the grassroots level in communities across Canada.”

The FCC 4-H Club Fund awards up to $500 for a wide range of projects including achievement days, skill-building workshops, field trips, public speaking competitions, and the purchase of club supplies.

“This is a long-term investment in a national organization dedicated to developing leadership, confidence and values in young people who want to contribute to this vibrant and dynamic industry,” said Todd Klink, executive vice-president and chief marketing officer at FCC. “By supporting 4-H clubs across Canada, the FCC 4-H Club Fund is helping plant the seeds for the next generation of successful farmers, agri-food and agribusiness entrepreneurs.”

The next application period for FCC 4-H Club Funds opens in August 2019.

For more information on the FCC 4-H Club Fund, please visit


Source: 4-H Canada

Farmer fury over Gary Helou’s ‘lenient’ milk fine

Happier times: Former Murray Goulburn managing director Gary Helou in 2016. Mr Helou knew MG made “false or misleading” representations to dairy farmers that the final farmgate milk price would be $5.60 a kg of milk solids. Picture: David Geraghty

DAIRY farmers are outraged over a lenient penalty handed out to former Murray Goulburn managing director Gary Helou over misleading milk suppliers on the 2015-16 milk price.

Mr Helou was hit with a $200,000 fine and barred from managing a dairy company for three years for his role in setting a farmgate milk price in 2016 that was false or misleading.

In the Federal Court of Australia in Melbourne last week, Justice Jonathan Beach found Murray Goulburn had made representations to dairy farmers that the final farmgate milk price would be $5.60 a kg of milk solids but these were “false or misleading”, contravening Australian Consumer Law.

He also found Mr Helou knew that to be the case.

Justice Beach said Murray Goulburn would have to sell 56,000 tonnes of 1kg sachets of adult milk powder to achieve the final FMP of $5.60 a kg but had never sold more than 15,000 tonnes and was behind its targets in January and February 2016.

The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission also took action in the Federal Court of Australia against former Murray Goulburn chief financial officer Brad Hingle for engaging in deceptive and misleading conduct in setting the 2015-16 farmgate milk price.

Mr Hingle was fined $50,000.

Dairy farmers have rounded on Mr Helou and Mr Hingle.

United Dairyfarmers of Victoria president Paul Mumford, himself a former Murray Goulburn supplier, said it was appropriate the judgment and blame was laid firmly at the management of the co-operative. But Mr Mumford said it was “a little bit disappointing” a small fine of $200,000 and $50,000 had been meted out to Mr Helou and Mr Hingle, respectively.

“Considering the devastating effect it had for farmers and shareholders of Murray Goulburn, it doesn’t seem equitable,” he said.

Crossley dairy farmer Karrinjeet Singh-Mahil said a fine of $200,000 meted out to Mr Helou was “not enough when you think what has happened to the industry”.

“I would love to see some of these people spend a few years in jail to teach them a lesson,” she said.

“When you take on a position that impacts on other people’s lives, you cannot think that it is OK to play with their money,” Ms Singh-Mahil said.

“Our society doesn’t punish people in these situations well enough.”



Crossley. Was supplying Fonterra in April 2016 before switching to MG. Now with Saputo

Karrinjeet Singh-Mahil, Crossley. Picture: Andy Rogers

“He (Gary Helou) has permanently damaged the industry. But it wasn’t just him. There were others involved. He would not have been able to do what he did if there had been proper governance (at MG). The $200,000 is not enough when you consider what happened to the industry.”


Boorcan. Former MG supplier, now with Saputo

John Hateley, Boorcan. Picture: Zoe Phillips

“Gary Helou was part to blame. I think he had great visions, which is what we would expect from a leader. But the board should have had more control over him. There were enough accountants on the board who should have known what was going on. Under the circumstances, the penalty is pretty light considering what he walked away with. It’s a slap on the wrist.”


Princetown. Former MG supplier, now with Saputo

Vince Beekman, Princetown. Picture: Zoe Phillips

“The bastard should have been hung. He got away scot free. He’s buggered up my retirement.”


Got milk? There’s an abundance of options

Before milk is bottled, all the cream is removed by centrifugation, a spinning process that separates the denser fat from the milk.

There are more choices than ever in the dairy aisle. Besides the abundance of plant-based beverages disguised as milk, cow’s milk options are plentiful. Nutritionally, cow’s milk is hard to beat. One cup provides eight grams of high-quality protein and 30 percent of our daily calcium need. Milk also has potassium, B12, B6, magnesium and vitamin A and is fortified with vitamin D.

Before milk is bottled, all the cream is removed by centrifugation, a spinning process that separates the denser fat from the milk. Later, the cream is added back to the right concentration: 3.5 percent cream for whole milk; 2 percent cream for reduced-fat or 2% milk; 1 percent cream for low-fat or 1% milk; and less than .2 percent cream for fat-free or skim milk. None of the milks are “watered down” or diluted. Regardless of fat content, these types of cow’s milk all contain the same essential nutrients and vary only in fat content. Because cream floats to the top, commercial milks undergo homogenization to break the fat into smaller molecules so the cream stays suspended throughout the milk. Homogenization is not a chemical treatment and does not add anything to the milk.

All commercial milks are pasteurized to kill harmful bacteria that can be in raw milk. Pasteurization is a process in which the milk is heated to 161 degrees, held for 15 seconds and then quickly cooled. Pasteurization does not change the milk nutrient composition or add anything to the milk.

Here are some cow’s milks that you are likely to see in the dairy case, including a couple of newer products.

Lactose-free milk has been a staple in most stores for years. Lactose is a natural sugar found in milk. Our bodies make an enzyme called lactase to help digest lactose in our diet. If your body doesn’t make enough lactase, you may not be able to digest milk properly, causing gastrointestinal discomfort. It’s estimated that as many as 65 percent of adults are lactose intolerant. To make lactose-free milk, an enzyme is added to the milk that breaks down the lactose for you. Lactose-free milk has the same essential nutrients as regular milk but tends to taste a little sweeter.

Organic milk comes from cows that graze on pastures at least 120 days a year. If you buy organic milk, make sure it is marked USDA certified organic. Organic milk may have slightly more omega 3 fat content, depending on the cow’s diet, but it is not a significant source of this nutrient and otherwise the nutrition is the same as regular milk.

Ultra high temperature (UHT) milk undergoes a special pasteurization and packaging process that gives the milk a shelf life of several months. Once opened, the milk has the same shelf life as refrigerated milk, seven to 10 days. Nutritionally, it is the same as regular milk.

Fairlife milk is one of the newer milks on the market. This milk is ultra-filtered by a patented process that separates milk into its five parts: water, vitamins/minerals, lactose, protein and butterfat. The parts are then recombined in a way that makes the final product lactose-free with 50 percent more protein, 30 percent more calcium and half the natural sugar as regular milk. It also has a longer shelf life. This might be a good choice for someone wanting to increase the protein or calcium in their diet.

A2 milk is the newest addition to the dairy case. Milk has two main types of milk proteins. One protein, beta casein, comes in two forms: A1 and A2. The A1 or A2 content can vary with the breed of cow producing the milk, but most milk contains both A1 and A2 proteins in about the same proportions. New studies indicate that some milk intolerances may not be due to lactose intolerance but rather to an allergy or intolerance to the A1 beta casein protein. A2 milk comes from cows that produce only the A2 protein, making the milk easier to tolerate for some people. The nutrition of A2 milk is the same as regular milk. Although the studies are limited, A2 milk might be worth a try if you do not tolerate regular milk.

It is recommended that adults get three servings of dairy daily. A serving of dairy would be one cup of milk, one cup of yogurt, or one and a half ounces of cheese.


Source: Lake News Online

PC government reverses ban on chocolate milk, juice sales in New Brunswick schools

The new Progressive Conservative government relaxed some requirements of policy 711

Students in New Brunswick schools will once again be able to sell chocolate milk and fruit juice after the provincial government made changes to its nutrition policy Wednesday.

The previous Liberal government updated the decades-old Policy 711 in June with stricter guidelines that prohibited food and beverages with “lower nutritional value that contain few nutrients and are higher in saturated fats, sugar or salt.”

The requirements extended beyond the school cafeteria and applied to breakfast programs and fundraisers.

The policy was met with backlash from school officials and after-school programs.

On Wednesday, the Progressive Conservative government unveiled the rewritten policy that reverses the ban on chocolate milk and 100-per cent fruit juice sales in schools.

Schools can choose to continue the ban, according to Dr. Jennifer Russell, the province’s chief medical officer of health.

The policy will also allow for flexibility for breakfast and after-school programs as well as fundraisers.

“I don’t want to see kids, who because of their income level, going to school hungry,” said Dominic Cardy, minister of education and early childhood development.

“I don’t want to see schools that depend on extracurricular supports lose that funding.”

Cardy said explaining the changes to students who’ve only been under the policy for three months will mean admitting there was a mistake.

“Sometimes, just like kids make mistakes, so do grown-ups,” he said.

“I think this case is an example of a policy where we pushed it a little too far and didn’t think about the consequences and now we’re just tweaking a bit.”

Russell praised the ban back in June, saying that most Canadians get most of their sugar intake from sugary drinks. 

She said Wednesday the evidence hasn’t changed. 

Russell has said in order to reduce sugar consumption in Canadians, sugary drinks would have to be a target. She said she treated many patients as a family doctor for diabetes, heart disease and obesity. 

She said that she provides the research for making decisions, but the ultimate decision is up to the government. 

“The government has the right to make changes to policies and my job is promote and protect the health of the public,” she said.

Milk sales impacted

The change is welcome news to the dairy farmers who supply milk to the local schools in the province.

Paul Gaunce, chair of the Dairy Farmers of New Brunswick, said sales have taken a hit in the three months the policy banned chocolate milk.

He said in the first three months sales dropped by 40 per cent. Gaunce said there was no increase in consumption of white milk and that created more problems for the industry. 

He was glad to see the changes reversed, something that was promised to him during the election campaign.

“I’m very happy,” he said.

The decision also pleases the principal of Barker’s Point Elementary School in Fredericton.

Jennifer Ward said she is glad the school will once again be able to have fundraisers that can sell sugary treats.

“Events like the Halloween Howl bring in fundraising monies for us,” she said. “So, now we have the flexibility that we can continue those.”

Opposition disagrees with changes

If the government is going to reverse some of the policy rules, MLA Chuck Chiasson, who is also the Liberal policy advocate for education, said it needs to provide the proper education about nutrition.

“I think they’re making a mistake,” he said.


Source: CBC News

Idaho dairy farmers support immigrant legal services

A worker at a dairy milks cows on a rotating carousel system. Idaho Dairymen’s Association has awarded $60,000 to the Community Council of Idaho to assist with the council’s recently formed immigration legal services program. Mateusz Perkowski/Capital Press File

The Idaho Dairymen’s Association has awarded $60,000 to the Community Council of Idaho to assist with the council’s recently formed immigration legal services program, Familias Unidas.

The program, launched in September of 2017, offers legal services to Idaho’s immigrant workforce community and expands on the many services the council has offered to immigrant families since the early 1970s.

“We strongly believe in supporting these services, which are important to the workforce on dairies throughout Idaho,” Rick Naerebout, CEO of Idaho Dairymen’s Association, said.

The program offers assistance with anything from DACA (Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals) to gaining legal status, and IDA wants to show its support for the immigrant community, he said.

“Organizations and businesses like ourselves recognize the value they bring to our communities. These families are important contributors to Idaho’s economy and vital to our dairy industry,” he said.

There is plenty of opportunity for them to feel unwelcome given all the bad press, he said.

“But we do welcome them with open arms for the value they bring to our communities,” he said.

Ninety percent of the workforce on Idaho’s dairy operations is foreign-born, he said.

“You can’t get much more dependent than we are on a foreign workforce,” he said.

The donation provides an opportunity to partner with Idaho Community Council to offer dairy employees free or low-cost services, and employers can receive vouchers for those services for their employees through IDA, he said.

If an employee is trying to gain legal status, for example, the program allows him to have that conversation in a safe environment, he said.

Because immigrant families have had a relationship with the council through its other programs — such as housing, medical clinics, Head Start and workforce preparation — they feel they can rely on the council’s advice and not be subject to fraudsters or incompetence, Brandy Perez, Familias Unidas program director, said.

But funding to run the program has been tight. The program mostly relies on service fees and an annual gala. Without the IDA award, the council didn’t know how long it could keep offering the legal services, she said.

“We’re immensely grateful for their support. The dairymen’s association pretty much doubled the available funds we had,” she said.

And the council is hoping it will spur more grant opportunities and funding for events in the coming year, she said.

Familias Unidas offers services on a sliding scale to low-income families, from pro-bono to full fees, which are still 25 percent below average Idaho attorney fees, she said.

It provides legal consultations and assistance for family-based petitions and applications, citizenship, DACA and TPS (Temporary Protection Status). It also assists victims of certain violent crimes, who by law are offered protection from immigration action to help law enforcement investigate and prosecute cases such as murder and trafficking.


US Senate Approves The 2018 Farm Bill

The Senate on Tuesday voted overwhelmingly to approve an $867 billion farm bill, as Congress appeared poised to pass legislation that will help an agriculture industry battered by President Trump’s trade war.

In an 87-to-13 vote, the Senate approved legislation that allocates billions of dollars in subsidies to American farmers, legalizes hemp, bolsters farmers markets and rejects stricter limits on food stamps pushed by House Republicans.

The legislation will now head to the House, where it is also expected to pass, after lawmakers worked out a House-Senate compromise this month. President Trump expressed support for the legislation on Tuesday and said he expects it will be signed into law.

Congressional negotiators said they faced increasing pressure to complete the bill from farmers and ranchers who have suffered steep declines in commodities prices amid Trump’s ongoing trade war with China.

“We’ve been trying to point out this is no time for a revolutionary farm bill,” said Sen. Pat Roberts (R-Kan.), chairman of the Senate Committee on Agriculture, Nutrition and Forestry. “It’s time to get a bill done so our farmers have predictability and certainty during a very difficult time. We just have to do that.”

Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue expressed support for the legislation in a statement Monday night.

“The farm bill is moving along nicely,” Trump said Tuesday during his meeting with congressional Democratic leaders. “We think the farm bill is in very good shape.”

Still, the bill has faced criticism, including from conservative Republicans. Sen. Charles E. Grassley (R-Iowa), one of two farmers in the Senate and a member of the Agriculture Committee, said he would vote against the package over its expansion of federal subsidies to more-distant relatives of farmers, such as cousins, nephews and nieces. Grassley joined eight other Republicans in opposing the measure, which was supported by every Senate Democrat.

“I’m very disappointed the conferees decided to expand the loopholes on farm subsidies,” said Grassley before the vote. “I’ve been trying to make sure the people who get the subsidies are real farmers. … I’ve been trying for three years, and it gets worse and worse and worse.”

The full text of the farm bill was released on Monday night. Here’s what’s in and what’s out.

Cuts to food stamps are not in the bill. The most controversial element of the farm bill debate has been over differences between the House and Senate approaches to food stamps, or the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP).

House Republicans’ farm bill would have forced states to impose work requirements on those ages 49 to 59 who get food stamps. It would have also forced states to impose work requirements on parents with children ages 6 to 12, among other changes. One estimate found those proposals could mean that 1.1 million households would face cuts to benefits, although conservatives and Republicans contested those numbers.

The Senate version of the farm bill made none of those changes. The farm bill requires Democratic support to get the 60 votes it needs to pass the Senate, and those cuts are not in the final package, Roberts has confirmed.

Liberal groups have cheered the news. “The negotiators appear to have achieved a bipartisan compromise that maintains and modestly strengthens SNAP, ensuring that millions of struggling Americans will continue to be able to count on SNAP to help them put food on the table,” Robert Greenstein, president of the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities, a left-leaning think tank, said in a statement.

The bill includes SNAP revisions, although they won’t shrink individual benefits. The final bill does include several new changes to the SNAP program, though none will restrict families’ food stamp benefits, according to congressional aides.

Among them is a new National Accuracy Clearinghouse, which would prevent individuals from receiving food stamp benefits in multiple states. The final farm bill also eliminates an awards program that gave states up to $48 million a year in federal funding for high performances related to program access and payment accuracy.

The projected savings from these changes will be plowed back into food banks and other nutrition assistance programs, aides said.

Congress is not binding the White House on food stamps. The Trump administration has signaled its intention to cut food stamps without approval from Congress, and the farm bill does not bind the White House’s hands, according to congressional aides. The Agriculture Department has already floated weakening the waivers it gives states to temporarily suspend some food-stamp work requirements.

Some expanded farm subsidies. The farm bill mirrors at least some provisions in the farm bill passed by House Republicans, including in expanding some federal agriculture subsidies to nieces, nephews and first cousins of farmers — even if those relatives do not directly work on the farm.

The Environmental Working Group, which tracks federal farm subsidies, has criticized this provision as a wasteful giveaway to those who don’t contribute significant labor to farms. Congressional Republicans have defended the expansion as helping to encourage more people to be involved in farming.

No additional impact on the deficit. At close to $1 trillion a year, the farm bill’s price tag is high. But the bill’s drafters used the baseline set by the Congressional Budget Office under existing spending levels of $867 billion over the next 10 years, meaning it will not increase the federal deficit from prior projections. Congressional aides said late Monday night that they were awaiting a final score from the CBO.

Provides permanent funding for farmers markets, local food programs. The final farm bill also provides permanent funding for a number of programs that Congress had agreed to finance only on a temporary basis, of five years at a time.

For instance, the farm bill permanently secures funding for a program that funds and promotes local farmers markets, as well as a program to research challenges facing organic farmers. It also permanently allots money for organizations that work to train the next generation of farmers at a time when experts have raised concerns about the aging of the industry.

The bill also provides permanent funding to help veteran farmers and farmers who are minorities.

Conservation program preserved. The farm bill proposed by House Republicans had also proposed merging the Conservation Stewardship Program, which pays farmers to strengthen conservation efforts on their farms, into another branch of the Agriculture Department. The program will survive under the final version of the bill, aides said.

Legalizes hemp. The farm bill also legalizes the production of hemp, a form of cannabis with lower THC levels than marijuana. Analysts told CNBC that hemp could grow into a $20 billion industry by 2022.


Early snow causes manure spreading challenge for Vermont dairy farmers

Paul Doton urges his Holsteins into the milking parlor on his farm in Barnard. Photo by James M. Patterson/Copyright Valley News

An early start to winter is causing manure storage problems for dairy farmers trying to comply with required agricultural practices.

The state Agency of Agriculture has given permission to 66 farmers and eight manure applicators to spread manure on snow — a practice that is ordinarily banned, said Ryan Patch, deputy director of water quality for the agency.

Dairy farmers have a limited window of time for manure spreading after the fall harvest and before the Dec. 15 winter spreading ban. The ban, which lasts until April 1, has been in effect for decades. But the 2016 overhaul of on-farm water quality practices under the state’s Clean Water Act put further restrictions on manure spreading.

Farmers are now prohibited from spreading manure on frozen or snow-covered fields as manure cannot percolate through the soil properly and could more easily runoff. Spreading manure on “saturated” fields where it could runoff into adjacent ditches, streams or other bodies of water is also forbidden.

This fall, dairy farmers in much of Vermont have had to contend with both soggy and frozen fields in short succession. After a drought that lasted into October in some parts of the state, many farmers saw above average rainfall after harvest and had to wait until their fields dried to spread manure, according to Patch.

The cold weather and record-breaking snowfall this November left some farmers with limited options for spreading manure, and increasingly full storage areas, before the winter ban goes into effect.

“What we’re dealing with is farmers that have had waste storage facilities that have been filling up since the middle of the summer, waiting for the corn to come off,” said Patch. “It’s honestly the worst fall for farming and getting these storages unloaded.”

Dairy farmers that receive permission from the Agency of Ag to spread manure on snowy fields have to take additional precautions, such as only spreading manure on flat fields and leaving wider setbacks from streams, said Patch. Farmers are are not granted an exemption unless they have manure storage areas that could overflow and are still required to ensure that manure does not runoff their fields.

Patch said his department has fielded roughly 30 calls from members of the public concerned about manure being spread on snow. In most cases, people had not actually seen manure running off fields. Agency staff have been doing spot checks on manure application and looked into four complaints of manure flowing off fields, he said.

“If anyone does see manure running off, we go out and investigate,” said Patch.

Farmers seeking to spread manure after the Dec. 15 ban would have to apply for an “emergency exemption” be submitting a written plan that would have to be approved by the agency, he said.

Paul Doton, who operates a Barnard dairy farm with 70 milkers, said he has faced challenges this fall.

“We got 20 inches of snow and our manure storage is almost filling up,” he said.

Doton was able to spread some manure earlier in the fall on his farm but has also had to stack frozen manure to prevent his normal storage from filling up. While he has not been spreading manure on his snowy fields, he said he knows some nearby farmers who have sought permission to do that.

The new required agricultural practices have not been burdensome for Doton, who said he has had a nutrient management plan for 30 years and has fewer required practices as the owner of a small farm.

He said communication between farmers and the agency has been improving, which he feels is key to reducing agricultural water quality problems.

“I think most everyone tries to make sure they don’t pollute,” he added.


Wisconsin farm groups say trade deal won’t have big effect

Wisconsin agriculture organizations are applauding President Donald Trump’s signing of a revised North American trade pact with the leaders of Canada and Mexico, but agricultural industry members said they don’t expect it to have an impact on prices.

Wisconsin Farm Bureau Federation President Jim Holte told Wisconsin Public Radio that the new U.S. Mexico Canada Agreement won’t be transformative.

“While it’s a positive move, it certainly isn’t the big change we’re going to need for dairy farmers across Wisconsin and across this country to return to a more profitable level,” said Holte.

The agreement will create “a return to the status quo,” said John Holevoet, the government affairs director for Edge Dairy Farmer Cooperative.

“When the initial agreement was announced, there was some slight reaction in the market for milk price,” he said. “Since then, that small gain has been eroded away again in the intervening time period.”

Dairy groups said the deal does include protections for the export of some Wisconsin cheeses. Mexico has agreed not to restrict the use of cheese names to certain geographic areas, similar to France’s right to the term “champagne.”

Holevoet said Mexico buys a majority of Wisconsin’s cheese exports, so the name protections are a “hidden gem” of the trade agreement.

“That’s a big victory for us and frankly, one that hasn’t really gotten that much attention but probably actually has a bigger impact overall on the dairy export side of things than anything we can do with the Canadians,” Holevoet said.

Congress will likely consider the deal in late winter or early spring, Holevoet said. Lawmakers from all three countries must approve the agreement before it can take effect.


Source: The News Tribune

How spending time with cows helped Michigan State students de-stress before finals

“I am absolutely loving it. I do not want to leave,” MSU junior Deanna Blair said as she connected with “Bunnie,” an adult Holstein cow, Wednesday, Dec. 5, 2018, at MSU’s Dairy Cattle Teaching Research Center in Lansing. The farm offered students a unique way to de-stress while studying for finals. Ten dollars got them 30 minutes of cow brushing and petting time. Blair spent most of those 30 minutes with Bunnie.(Photo: Matthew Dae Smith/Lansing State Journal)

The therapy dogs have competition. 

With finals starting next week, Michigan State University students can unwind by spending quality time with the school’s dairy cows at the Dairy Cattle Teaching and  Research Center.

Ten dollars gets them 30 minutes of cow brushing time. 

‘Finals Stress mooove on out!’

The event — which started this week and goes through next — is called “Finals Stress mooove on out!”  It’s the first time the center has done an event like it. 

But farm manager Andrea Meade said cows make ideal therapy animals.

“They’re very calm, very sweet,” she said. “It takes a lot to get them riled up. They’re like dogs.” 

This student befriended one of the cows 

Zoology student Alicia Gamache became fast friends with a cow named Sunday on Tuesday evening. She’d visited the dairy barn because she was intrigued by the idea of getting close to animals she had only seen at school events and county fairs. 

Sunday stretched out on her bed of hay as Gamache brushed her, ridding the Holstein of dust that had settled into her coat. Gamache tried to encourage her to roll over to her other side. Sunday was too relaxed to bother. 

Gamache joked that she’d take a cow brushing class if MSU offered it. 

“I miss my dog,” she said. “I miss interacting with animals.” 

The brushing both keeps the cows clean and relaxes them, Meade said.

Some dairy farms have automated mechanical brushes, and, in some countries, such as Denmark, providing cows with access to resources that promote coat care is required by law. 

Why it’s also good for the cows 

As students visit the barn, Mead gives them pointers about how to not spook the animals and talks about the milking process. She answers questions about cannulas — a porthole-like device that gives researchers easy access to the first chamber of a cow’s stomach — and what happens when the cows stop producing milk.  

Psychology senior Meryn Mostrom beamed as she wandered, brush in hand, through the barn with her boyfriend Tuesday evening.Her boyfriend, Alex Lafler, surprised her by taking her to the event. 

Mostrom was glad to see that the cows appreciated the extra attention. 

“They enjoy it too,” she said. “That makes me happy.” 

MSU has about 400 cattle, 200 of which are milking cows. They all have names. There’s Emerald and Penny and Isabella. And Martha and Finally and Ava and Alise and Bunnie and Viper and others, too. 

The milking cows are milked two times a day, once at 2:30 a.m. and again around 2 p.m. The facility employs about 50 students, who work anywhere between an hour to 30 hours a week cleaning and taking care of the cattle. 

 Meade said the finals-focused event is a good chance to get students who wouldn’t otherwise be at the cattle research center to interact with the animals. Most MSU students never need to visit the barn. 

And she’s seen firsthand the way they can turn someone’s day around. 

“When I get tired of working on budgets, I come out and brush the cows,” she said. 


Hi-tech cow dung-busting scheme hits the fan in New Zealand

William Mook’s hi-tech project was going to solve the dairy industry’s effluent problems and make investors millions.

A sophisticated bio-digester combined with an algae system would clean up cow manure and turn it into valuable products like fertiliser, bio-diesel, high protein feed and perhaps even face cream.

A number of already developed technologies would work together to produce a world-beating zero impact system that would please both environmentalists and bank managers.

While the scheme has not died, the company behind the project is in liquidation owing $2.6 million to unsecured creditors with at least another $2m owed in the United States for legal and accounting work.

Mook and his backers have fallen out spectacularly.

The backers claim Mook, who is from Columbus, Ohio, and retired to New Zealand in 2010, made irresponsible decisions while he claims he has been unjustifiably sidelined. 

Mook claims to have invented the computer cash register, have connections to Nobel prize winners at Stanford University, and to have advised the White House on finance and energy issues. He says he created the field of ultra-high “concentrated photovoltaics (solar panels)”. He has also been an active commentator on Bitcoin.

After starting the project in 2011 he was joined, in 2013, by Christchurch businessman Tony Baxter, who promoted the system to investors and South Island farmers.

In Baxter’s view, Mook “is brilliant but he made some bad egotistical decisions. He said, ‘I’m going to do it my way’.”

Baxter claimed he invested $350,000 and was owed another $400,000 for his work over the last four years. He had attracted investment from four large South Island dairy farmers including South Canterbury Federated Farmers stalwart Willy Leferink and the Geddes family.

Last year, the project bought the electrical contracting firm JLE Holdings, based in Mangere, Auckland, for its expertise in switching and automation systems. The purchase was funded by a $10m loan from the United States and led to the formation of Florida company Zeecol Finance LLC which owns the shares in JLE Holdings. Another company called JLE Sustainable Solutions was formed in May.

Mook claimed to have assets that he could use for security to obtain finance for the purchase but they were never produced, Baxter said. 

After the relationship between Mook and his investors became untenable, Baxter led the effort to liquidate the company. Mook resisted but the High Court placed Zeecol in liquidation on July 4. Insolvency practitioner Brenton Hunt has been appointed liquidator.

Baxter said investors had not received any return but, with the support of some of the investors, work was continuing to resurrect a less ambitious project. The algae part of the system was feasible but far too expensive to install, he said.

“New Zealand needs this. It will happen.” 

Mook said his legal advice was that he should not comment on the liquidation but wanted it made clear he had no control over Zeecol Finance.

Before he was pushed out, he had 19 farms lined up to lease the bio-digesters, he said. He had organised the $10m loan but lost control of the money due to actions taken by his former advisors and backers.

“I invested every dime I had in creating this company (Zeecol Ltd). I am doing all I can to bring this right and do the things I know can be done to clean up New Zealand’s water supply and break its dependence on foreign oil.”


Source: Stuff

World Dairy Expo Seeks Nominations for Recognition Awards

World Dairy Expo®is accepting nominations for the 2019 Expo Recognition Awards now through February 1, 2019. Producers, organizations, academic staff and others involved in the dairy industry are encouraged to nominate individuals to recognize their outstanding work and dedication to the dairy industry.

Expo Recognition Awards will be presented in the following categories:

Dairyman and Dairy Woman of the Year: These two awards, the Dairyman of the Year and the Dairy Woman of the Year, are presented to active dairy producers whose primary source of income is derived from their dairy farm. The producers selected to receive these honors excel in efficient production and the breeding of quality dairy animals while incorporating progressive management practices. Award recipients’ community, government, marketing and World Dairy Expo involvement will also be considered.

Industry Person of the Year: This award is presented in recognition of an individual’s excellence in research, development, education, marketing, manufacturing or other fields, which are a part of an industry or institution that provides goods or services to the dairy industry.

International Person of the Year: Living primarily outside of the United States, the individual who receives this award will be recognized for their contribution to improving international relations or the development of the dairy industry internationally.

The nomination form, along with lists of past winners, is available at or by contacting the Expo office at 608-224-6455 or The four individuals selected to receive the awards will be recognized at Dinner with the Stars on Wednesday, October 2 during World Dairy Expo 2019 at the Alliant Energy Center in Madison, Wis.


Holstein Association USA Seeks Nominations for Annual Awards

Nominations are now open for the 2019 Holstein Association USA annual awards including Distinguished Young Holstein Breeder, Elite Breeder, and Distinguished Leadership awards.

The Distinguished Young Holstein Breeder Awardrecognizes significant accomplishments of young Registered Holstein® Breeders, ages 21 to 40. Submissions can be made for individuals, a couple, or business partners.

The Elite Breeder Award honors a living Holstein Association USA member, family, partnership, or corporation who has bred outstanding animals and thereby made a notable contribution to the advancement of U.S. Registered Holsteins.

The Distinguished Leadership Award is given to an individual who has provided outstanding and unselfish leadership that has contributed to the improvement of the Holstein Association USA and/or dairy industry.

Applications for the Elite Breeder and Distinguished Leadership awards are considered for three years after submittal.

Download award applications on the Holstein Association USA website, Nomination applications must be postmarked by January 31, 2019. Honorees will receive their recognition during the 2019 National Holstein Convention, June 24-27, in Appleton, Wisconsin.

Additionally, a scholarship is available to students interested in agriculture who plan to pursue their master’s degree in business administration. The Robert H. Rumler MBA Scholarship awards $3,000 to a qualified individual pursuing their MBA at an accredited university. Applications for this scholarship must be received by April 15, 2019.


Thorncrest Farm cows lend delicious flavor to its artisanal chocolates

Renowned chocolatier and author Chloe Doutre-Roussel has a famous quote: “Chocolate is like my best friend and the most intense pleasure at the same time, perhaps not the most intense, but the most regular and reliable one.”

The “milk chocolate” that many people are conditioned to, especially in the U.S., is often a poor excuse for the term. Commercial chocolate manufacturers can add powdered milk, liquid milk, or condensed milk. The U.S. requires a standard, a meager 10 percent concentration of chocolate liquor (European Union regulations meanwhile usually specify a minimum of 25 percent cocoa solids).

U.S. chocolate producers are also thought to use a process (which remains a trade secret) that gives its chocolate a specific taste. The process involves partially lipolyzing milk (degrading the milk fat), according to the 2008 New York Times article, “Dark May Be King, but Milk Chocolate Makes a Move.” This process produces butyric acid, which is then pasteurized as part of the milk-chocolate-making process. This gives U.S. commercial milk chocolate the slightly sour taste that has lowered countless palates for years.

The milk chocolates sold at Thorncrest Farm and Milk House Chocolates at 280 Town Hill Road, Goshen, couldn’t be more different from the commercial chocolate-making process.

Co-owner Kimberly Thorn said at the farm’s dairy barn on a recent Saturday: “We don’t do that (hydrolization). We make everything chocolate, from 100 percent to 40 to 42 percent. We give serious amounts of cocoa flavor married with the milk.” She added, “I have a batch going right now in the shop that is 100 percent chocolate.”

Manning the farm’s small, busy chocolate and dairy shop, Kimberly further highlighted the difference between her chocolates and, say, Hershey’s: “We use heavy cream and butter from the cow’s milk, that has been pasteurized. We use the single-cow way we originated in 1997.” She added, regarding the fresh herbs used: “We are all about farm ingredients. There are no extracts. We get the mint right from the garden. We use the pie pumpkins we grow. It is like they did in the 1700s. We are making it in the same way still today.”

Nearby, her husband and co-owner Clint Thorn, who describes the business as “cow-to-chocolate,” introduced visitors and their children to the friendly Holstein cows Kay and Kate. During a break, Clint said, “Even if we didn’t have the cows, Kimberly would still be in the one percent of chocolate makers in the entire world who do what she does.”

The Thorn family has run Thorncrest Farm for more than two decades years now. Thorncrest Farm sells small-batch varieties of artisanal bonbons (with 15 holiday flavors) at their chocolate shop, as well as fresh milk, yogurt, and butter, all derived from their own cows. But the difference at Milk House Chocolates is that specific cows’ breeding and diet determine which chocolate flavor they contribute to with their milk. The farm’s holiday offerings include Jolly Snowmen white and dark chocolate centerpieces; the Centerpiece Santa (a combination of white and dark chocolate); and the Treasure Chest of Truffles (with truffles in flavors of dark orange, almond, caramel, and cabernet sauvignon).

Non-holiday items can make notable gifts as well. Inside a customized dark chocolates sampler box were some of the following delectable flavors: the oval Dark Chocolate Lavender, with a ganache (whipped filling) blended with English culinary lavender; Daydream’s Dark Chocolate Soft Caramel Hearts, which were lightly salted; and the white-swirled Brigadoon, a hand-dipped ganache finished with a white chocolate swirl. All this is delicious enough to cause one to become a Blanche, hungrily devouring a box of chocolates in the 1962 film “What Ever Happened to Baby Jane?”

The farm also offers gifts that do not involve chocolate at all. In addition to the dairy cows and the milk chocolate shop, cheese-making and wine pairing classes run at the farm year round. The farm also operates a wood mill and furniture/sculpture shop named The Open Talon.

Of Thorncrest Farm and Milk House Chocolates, Kimberly said, “We have two focuses, or passions. One is caring for the cows; the second is the freshness of the chocolate based on the ingredients.”

Clint said, “The way it is made, this is the same chocolate you got back in 1780. The method hasn’t changed in what we are doing.”

The business is a family affair. The Thorn’s sons Garret and Lyndon, who are in their mid-20s, also play big parts on the farm. Lyndon works at the farm’s saw mill and harvests hay while learning about operating the creamery. Garrett assists with milking the cows and a variety of other jobs. Both sons were home-schooled from the earliest of ages. Clint has remarked previously: “They were doing chores and learning while playing with their toy tractors.”

The 22 primarily Holstein cows on the farm inhabit a relaxed and stress-free environment, which the farm’s owners say produces a more tasteful dairy product. Stress yields acidic milk, they said. Of the cows, they have groups of five flavors. For example, there are the dark chocolate cows, and there is one of three Jersey cows, Daydream, whose milk is used to make the caramel-based chocolates. The milk is all-natural and pasteurized but not homogenized.

The Thorns said that all farm activities revolve around the comfort of “the girls,” as they call the cows. Clint said that the cow feed is produced with no pesticides. The bovines’ water fountains are fitted with aerators that operate when prompted by a drink of water, simulating the consistency and noise of a rippling freshwater stream. The barn’s dairy parlor, where the cows are milked, was built so two rows of the cows’ heads or tails (rows are opposite one another with a walkway in between) are aligned with the Earth’s magnetic field. Come summertime, the open barn doors allow a cooling cross-breeze.

The girls’ daily routine starts early. Cows are milked each morning at 4:30 a.m. and then put out to roam the pasture to relax if it is not too cold outside. In the afternoon they return to the dairy barn and are milked again. Clint said Thorncrest does not use the pumps, tubes, or hoses utilized at larger commercial dairy farms. Instead, each cow is milked with individual stainless-steel pneumatic pails.

The idea for the cow-to-chocolate business started when Kimberly visited Ireland in 1984. She noticed an old man riding into town with milk totes on his bicycle every day. When asked about the totes, the old man explained that he delivered his farm’s fresh milk and cream to a chocolate shop that used it for certain chocolates. Later, when joined in Ireland by Clint, the future Mr. and Mrs. Thorn explored small artisanal chocolate shops in 14 European countries. The trip laid the groundwork for Kimberly’s future unique chocolatier craft. “Now we get people who have been to Belgium coming here and saying they have never had chocolate like ours,” added Clint.

The pair started the Thorncrest Farm’s chocolate business in 1997 but only officially opened as a business in 2011. This was after the Thorns “moo-ved” their cow herd from Ives Road to the current Town Hill Road farm in Goshen that had been in Clint’s family. The first cow, the great-grandmother of the herd, was a Canadian-born Holstein named Hanoverhill J. Koral, whose commemorative photo from 1987 hangs on the wall near a table in the dairy barn. “All the Holsteins, Kurrant, Kashmere, came from her,” Clint said. “The herd is different and the feed is different for each.”

On Saturday, Kimberly served visitors from a tray of holiday chocolates and exhibited a Nutcracker-themed chocolate statuette, which she said was 90 percent solid. Speaking of chocolate bars made with 100 percent cocoa nibs, Kimberly said: “The bars are silky, smooth, full-flavored and not too bitter.” Some of the chocolate truffles she served as samples included Madagascar Vanilla Cream and Honey Cinnamon Cream.

Kimberly pointed out later, “Goshen is known as the Land of Milk and Honey, so the Honey Cinnamon Cream is fitting.” She mentioned the farm sources its honey locally at West Street Farm on North Street in Goshen.

After tasting the delicious confections, visitors pronounced the chocolates as “simply bovine.”

Thorncrest Farm and Milk House Chocolates are located at 280 Town Hill Road. The shop’s hours are Wednesday through Saturday, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.; Sunday, 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.; and closed some holidays. The stable and farm hours are Thursday through Sunday, 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. The telephone number is 860-390-2545. Visit for more information.

Source: Countrytimes

Former Murray Goulburn MD Gary Helou to pay $200,000 penalty

The Federal Court has ordered former Murray Goulburn Co-operative Managing Director Gary Helou to pay $200,000 in penalties for being knowingly concerned in Murray Goulburn’s false or misleading claims about the farmgate milk price it expected to pay dairy farmers during the 2015-16 milk season.

“The penalty imposed against Mr Helou reflects his seniority at Murray Goulburn and involvement in misleading representations about the farmgate milk price,” ACCC Deputy Chair Mick Keogh said.

Murray Goulburn admitted to making false or misleading representations in breach of the Australian Consumer Law when it represented to farmers in Victoria, South Australia and southern New South Wales on 29 February 2016, and subsequently until 27 April 2016, that it could maintain its opening milk price of $5.60/kgms.

Mr Helou has admitted he was involved in the misleading representations made by Murray Goulburn. This included not informing farmers of risks known to Murray Goulburn and making unfounded assumptions that Murray Goulburn could achieve its milk powder sachet sales targets.

“Murray Goulburn’s misrepresentations meant farmers were not informed of the likelihood the final milk price would fall below the opening price. This was important information for farmers as it would have influenced the business decisions each farmer made,” Mr Keogh said.

“Farmers were denied the opportunity to plan for the impact of the reduced milk price on their businesses between February and April 2016, including implementing measures to reduce their exposure to a decrease in the milk price or shopping their milk around to other dairy processors.”

The ACCC did not seek a penalty against Murray Goulburn because as it was a co-operative, any penalty imposed against it could end up being paid by the very farmers that were misled.

“We were conscious not to seek penalty orders that would adversely affect farmers for the wrongs committed by Murray Goulburn, so we focused on obtaining appropriate orders against the individuals involved in the conduct,” Mr Keogh added.

As part of the resolution of the proceedings, Mr Helou has undertaken to the Court that he will not be involved in the dairy industry for three years.

In August 2018, the ACCC resolved its proceedings against Murray Goulburn’s former Chief Financial Officer, Mr Bradley Hingle, after he consented to an order that he pay a contribution to the ACCC’s costs and gave an undertaking to the Court that he wouldn’t be involved in the dairy industry for three years.

The Court also ordered by consent that Murray Goulburn and Mr Helou pay a portion of the ACCC’s legal costs.


The farmgate milk price (FMP) was a weighted average price that Murray Goulburn paid to dairy farmers from whom it acquired milk. It was stated as a dollar amount per kilogram of milk solids (kgms)

Before the start of each financial year, Murray Goulburn would announce an ‘opening price’ FMP, being the average FMP that it would pay to farmers from the start of the financial year.  The opening FMP was expected to be the average minimum price farmers would receive during the financial year, and it was set at a conservative amount to facilitate increases, known as ‘step-ups’, throughout the year.

At or before the start of a financial year, Murray Goulburn also announced its ‘forecast Final FMP’, which was the average FMP that it expected to pay to a farmer for premium quality milk acquired from them that financial year, and which was calculated at the end of that financial year. Throughout the financial year, the forecast Final FMP was updated, typically by way of ‘step-ups’.

Murray Goulburn exclusively set and revised its opening and forecast final FMP for the season.

On 1 May 2018, the operating assets and liabilities of Murray Goulburn were acquired by Saputo, a Canadian multi-national. Murray Goulburn continues to exist as a legal entity but only to deal with the ACCC and ASIC proceedings and current and future class actions.

Murray Goulburn retained approximately $200 million to deal with these liabilities, with any unspent money to be distributed to farmer shareholders and unitholders.

Through an inquiry into the dairy industry, the ACCC made a number of recommendations, including for a mandatory code of conduct, which it hopes will address problems caused by bargaining power imbalances between processors and farmers.

The maximum penalty available per contravention under the ACL at the time of the conduct was $1.1 million for corporations and $220,000 for individuals.


Source: ACCC

Fire destroys barn at Hazenberg Dairy near St. Paul

A barn at the Hazenberg Dairy burned on Friday, Dec. 7, 2018. Damages were estimated at $150,000(Photo: Courtesy of the St. Paul Fire Department)

A wood and metal barn at the Hazenberg Dairy, 5828 Champoeg Road NE, near St. Paul was destroyed by a fire Friday night.

The St. Paul Fire District arrived at the scene around 8:45 p.m. where they found the 130-foot-by-50-foot barn engulfed in flames.

Due to extreme heat, the roof collapsed shortly after the first engine arrived.

Crews battled the flames for more than four hours, with assistance from Tualatin Valley Fire and Rescue, Aurora, Dundee and Woodburn fire departments.

Canola and straw stockpiles fueled the fire, which destroyed more than $150,000 of farm materials. No one was injured.

The cause of the fire is unknown, according to a press release from Mt. Angel Police.

This story will be updated as more information becomes available. 

The Australian Company Selling China on Easier-to-Digest Milk

Global dairy giants have reaped a windfall in China since a 2008 tainted-milk scandal sent parents scurrying to buy infant formula from foreign suppliers. Multinationals including Danone SA and Nestlé SA today control more than half the $23.4 billion Chinese market. But lately a different health concern has provided entree for a scrappy challenger from Down Under.

A2 Milk Co., with offices in Australia and New Zealand, has more than doubled its Chinese market share over the past year, to 5.6 percent. Its selling point: milk from New Zealand dairy herds that produce only a protein known as A2, which the company contends is easier to digest than the blend of A1 and A2 proteins found in most European and U.S. herds. The naturally occurring variation in protein content stems from genetic differences among cattle breeds.

A2 “is building a passionate following from consumers,” says Jayne Hrdlicka, the U.S.-born chief executive officer. “We see a huge opportunity”—not only in China, where it sells powdered infant formula, but also in the U.S., where the company has started selling chilled fresh A2-only milk at retailers including Costco, Walmart, and Whole Foods.

Founded in 2000 by a New Zealand scientist and a wealthy dairy producer, A2 Milk started its push into China about five years ago after building a following in Australia and New Zealand and listing on stock exchanges in both countries. Its U.S. business is relatively small and unprofitable, but it’s pushing for growth, with about 8,000 stores now carrying milk that it sources from A2-only U.S. herds.

An A2 Milk Co. facility in Sydney, Australia.

An A2 Milk Co. facility in Sydney.

Photographer: Brendon Thorne/Bloomberg

The company’s global sales rose 68 percent in the year through June, to $610 million. Bloomberg Intelligence estimates that China accounts for at least half of that revenue, equally divided among purchases within the country and those made in Australia and shipped to China, often by professional shoppers known as daigou. The globe-trotting daigou thrive by giving mainland consumers access to foreign branded items, from foods to high-fashion handbags—sometimes sidestepping customs duties that raise the cost of imported goods.

Chinese parents, spooked by health and safety scares, including an infant vaccine scandal early this year, are splurging on premium goods for their kids. A2 Milk’s Platinum formula is positioned near the top of the market, with a week’s supply generally selling online for 209 yuan to 228 yuan ($30-$33), about the same as Danone’s Chinese best-seller Aptamil. Claims about digestibility are another attraction for China, where lactose intolerance is prevalent. Small-scale studies in China and Australia found that lactose-intolerant people experienced less intestinal discomfort after drinking A2 milk compared with an A1-A2 blend, but the scientists said more research was needed.

A2 Milk’s fast growth contrasts with a 20 percent drop in Chinese formula sales by Danone from June 30 to Sept. 30. The market leader, with an estimated 24 percent share, Danone blamed the decline in part on lower birthrates and stepped-up customs enforcement on cross-border sales of formula. U.K.-based Reckitt Benckiser Group Plc, which owns formula maker Mead Johnson, also suffered a third-quarter drop in China sales. It cited technical problems at a Dutch factory but said it expects sales growth to weaken. Nestlé’s China sales are still rising, though its market share has remained at about 15 percent for the past few years. Nestlé recently launched its own A2 protein-only formula in China.

The Australian upstart faces big challenges. It’s more dependent than competitors on the daigou trade, making it especially vulnerable to customs enforcement, although the company says many of its daigou vendors already pay required import duties and wouldn’t be affected by stepped-up enforcement. A2 Milk also needs to enlarge its distribution network in China; about 12,000 specialty stores around the country now stock its formula. “Questions remain about the sustainability of growth,” Sam Teeger, a Sydney-based Citigroup analyst, wrote in a recent client note.

In the U.S., dairy producers dispute the Australian company’s marketing claims that A2 milk is “easier on digestion” and “may help some avoid discomfort.” The National Milk Producers Federation says the claims aren’t adequately supported by research and filed a complaint with the national advertising division of the Better Business Bureau. In October, the bureau referred the matter to the Federal Trade Commission without commenting on the merits of the complaint.

A2 Milk says its advertising has passed muster with regulators in California, as well as in other countries. “The dairy industry has done what big incumbents do when they get a little uncomfortable,” says CEO Hrdlicka. “They try to create some noise. We’ve got very substantial science that sits behind our business.”

Hrdlicka, 56, took over as A2 Milk’s CEO in July after eight years as a top executive at Australian airline Qantas Airways Ltd. She says the fast-growing company is ready to take on competitors in China and the U.S. “Competition is good, it draws more attention to the category,” Hrdlicka says. “The first mover is the very significant beneficiary.” —With Angus Whitley, Rachel Chang, and Weiyi Qiu

BOTTOM LINE – A2 Milk is winning converts in China and elsewhere. But U.S. dairy companies are contesting claims that the Australian company’s milk can be easier to digest.


Dairy Industry Curbing Greenhouse Gas Emissions through Gains in Efficiency

New analysis from the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) demonstrates a decrease in dairy emissions intensity. These findings were presented today in Poland at the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) 24th Conference of the Parties (COP24) during an event hosted by the Dairy Sustainability Framework and the Global Dairy Platform.

The analysis calculates GHG emissions from the dairy sector over a ten-year period (2005-2015) and reports reductions in all regions of the world. On average, GHG emitted in the production of milk has decreased in ‘emissions intensity’ (emissions per unit of product) by almost11% from 2.8 to 2.5kg CO2 equivalents per kg of product produced.

Over the same time period, global dairy production has grownby 30% to meet consumers demand for high-quality nutritiousfood products. This growthhas been achieved through increasing milk yields and numbers of cows. As a result of increased global output, absolute emissions roseby 18% globally. Importantly, the FAOnotes that without the efficiency improvements made by the sector, total emissions from dairy would have increased by almost38%.

The largestreductions in emission intensity occurred in low and-middle-income countries with traditionally low productivity. While developed dairy geographies also reduced the intensity of emissions, the FAOnoted that the percentage improvement was not as substantial as these systems were already operating atmuch lower rates.

In presenting the analysis, MartialBernoux, with FAO’s Climate and Environment Divisioncommented “Theanalysis quantifies the progress of the sector in improving the efficiency of production while increasing output by 30% over the period 2005 –

2015. The report also recognises there is more for the sector to do to play their part in mitigating climate change. We encourage the dairy sector to build on the progress to date, by using this analysis and others like it to identify and implement appropriateand sustainable solutions that provide nutritious food for the growing world population”.

With 363 million dairy cows on 133 million dairy farms around the world,supporting the livelihoods of 1 billion people, the importance of dairying to socio-economic and nutritional outcomes must be balanced against the need for improved environmental outcomes.

Robin Mbae, Deputy Director of Livestock Production,State Department of Livestock, Kenya underlined the important role of the dairy sectorin addressing climate change and other broadergoals. “TheKenyan government is committed to meeting its climate change commitments which seek to reduce 30% of Kenya’s GHG emissions by 2030. As such, Kenya is movingahead with the development of NationallyAppropriateMitigationActions (NAMAs) for its dairy sectorbecause we recognize that investing in productivity improvements in smallholder dairy systems is an efficient way to simultaneously balance our national development priorities and climate change commitments.”

Mr. Donald Moore, Executive Director of the Global Dairy Platform and Chairman of the Dairy Sustainability Frameworkwho commissioned the study noted “More than 6 billion people around the world regularly consume milk and dairy foods as an affordable, accessible, nutrient rich food, supplying energy and significant amounts of high-quality protein and micronutrients.Analysis from independent authoritiessuch as the UN FAO,provide important guidance for the sectorin its efforts to responsibly produce high quality nutrition in ways that respect the environment, the farmers that produce it and the animals it comes from. The dairy sectorrecognises the responsibility it has to continuously improve its performance. We are on the righttrack, but there is still more to do and the importance of timely, quality data to help track and manage performance cannotbe under estimated.

“The work of initiatives such as the Dairy Sustainability Framework(DSF), established in 2013 as the vehicle for improving and quantifying the sectors sustainability performance, demonstrates that dairy is committed to continuously seeking ways to reduce GHG emissions from farms and businesses by all economically viable means, regardless of where they are operating or their stage of sustainability development”added Moore.

The results of the new study were presented ata side-event entitled “FAOAnalysis of the Dairy Sector GHG Emissions 2005-2015”, that took place at9:30am on December 4, at the Pacific and KoroniviaPavillion as part of COP24 in Katowice, Poland.

For more information on the Dairy Sustainability framework:

For more information on the Dairy Sustainability framework:

The Holstein UK President’s Medal finalists have been announced

Three Holstein Young Breeders (HYB) members have excelled during the judging for the Holstein UK President’s Medal.  James Doherty (Shropshire Club), Jess Hurren (North East Club) and Jessica Mills (Derbyshire Club) were selected as finalists by the judging panel on Wednesday 28th November and are invited to attend the Semex Conference in January where one will be crowned winner.

Sponsored by Semex, the Holstein UK President’s Medal is regarded as an ‘Oscar’ of the dairy world; it recognises and rewards young talent and highlights individuals who are the dairy farmers of the future. The Award is presented to a HYB member who has made an outstanding contribution to the breed, Holstein Young Breeders, and, in particular, their own Club. 

The entry process starts with each HYB Club asked to nominate one young breeder aged between 23 and 26 years of age. Six young breeders were shortlisted for interview with the panel of judges, which this year included Peter Waring (Holstein UK President), Darren Todd (Holstein UK Geneticist) and Rodger Mather (Semex Representative) who all commented on the high quality of this year’s interviewees.

Applicants were also required to submit an essay titled “Nine years after the first genomic bulls were used female genomic testing is on the rise. Discuss the role of this technology within modern dairy farming and how you could use this data within your own herd management.” The essays written by the three finalists will be published on the Holstein UK website. The winner’s essay will also be featured in Holstein UK’s membership magazine, The Journal.  

The judges said, All the candidates interviewed were very impressive and came across as particularly hard-working, dedicated young people.  We were very impressed by their passion and enthusiasm for the industry as a whole, but in particular pedigree breeding.  They displayed some very innovative thinking in their quest to improve their herds.  HYB has obviously been a great experience for them, both socially and in terms of developing their knowledge of dairying.  With the future of our industry in the hands of such capable young people, we should be confident that British dairying will progress and thrive in the years to come.”

The winner will be officially announced in January at the Semex International Dairy Conference, the must-attend dairy event held at Glasgow’s 5-star Radisson Blu Hotel from 13thto 15thJanuary. The 2019 conference is titled ‘Agents of Change’ and, by attending, delegates will be able to gain cutting-edge guidance, engage in topical debate and be fully informed about the industry’s future. Full of practical and progressive dairy solutions, it’s famous for its political, economic and technical perspective.

The award is presented on the first day of the Conference during the evening of Monday 14thJanuary. Once crowned, the deserving winner will receive an engraved medal and an all-expenses paid trip, kindly sponsored by Semex, to the Royal Winter Fair in Toronto in November 2018. The sponsorship of this award and visit to the Royal Winter Fair is a key element of the annual principal sponsorship of HYB by Semex supporting the next generation of dairy farmers.

Miriam Bagley, Events & National HYB Coordinator for Holstein UK, commented, “We are very excited to once again announce an exceptionally high calibre of finalists for the coveted President’s Medal Award.  This prestigious accolade not only recognises the contribution of our young members to HYB and the Holstein breed, but also opens up avenues for them in the future, allowing them to network with a wide range of dairy farmers and professionals working within the industry.  We wish the three finalists an enjoyable and informative time at the Semex Conference and looking forward to seeing the winner crowned at this event.”


Source: Holstein UK

‘Carbon will be the dairy quota of the future’ – Hogan

Carbon emissions will be the new quota system for the future of Irish farming, the EU Commissioner for Agriculture and Rural Development, Phil Hogan, has stated.

Pointing to the culling of 160,000 cows in the Netherlands last year due to a “phosphorus explosion” arising from increasing cow numbers, Commissioner Hogan has warned Ireland’s dairy farmers that there will be limits to herd expansion.

Climate and the environment are issues that are not going away and we have to deal with them upfront.

“Soil, water and air quality – those three issues – farmers must embrace those issues a little bit more and it will justify additional payments and also hopefully it will justify additional payments in the market place as well.

“Carbon is something that will ultimately have to be priced,” Commissioner Hogan told a room full of farmers at the Irish Creamery Milk Suppliers’ Association’s (ICMSA’s) annual general meeting in Limerick last Friday (November 30).

‘Worse Than Inspectors’

The commissioner advised farmers that “life could be made easier” in the future through the incorporation of carbon sinks on farms.

“Every minister in Europe is agreeing with this because they see in the market place that there is no choice.

“It will take some Chinese buyers to walk around a few farmers’ yards without any invitation – worse than the inspectors – and they will see what’s going on and they will say ‘there is a problem here, it’s against our food law in China and therefore they are going to ban all of our exports from Ireland to China’ – which is our biggest market for infant formula and the biggest market for dairy exports.

You have to be mindful that this is a very sensitive issue for consumers. The limits and the targets that we’re setting have to be met by the member states.

“You saw the issue in the Netherlands where they had a phosphorus explosion arising from increasing the number of cows and they had to cull 160,000 cows this year.

“This is going to be the new quota of the future – you can only go so far; you can’t go anymore depending on the environmental conditions and that’s what we have to work out as soon as we possibly can,” the commissioner said.

While emissions from Irish agriculture have generally been on the decline since the late 1990s, the recent growth in Irish agricultural output – and in particular the expansion of the dairy sector – has seen emissions begin to increase.

Teagasc’s Analysis of Abatement Potential of Greenhouse Gas Emissions in Irish Agriculture 2021-2030 report projects that agricultural greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions could increase by 9% relative to 2005 by 2030 in the absence of mitigation.

Ireland has an EU commitment to reduce overall GHG emissions by 20% by 2020 and 30% by 2030 relative to the 2005 level.


Source: AgriLand

Wisconsin Proudly Claims the Title “State of Cheese”

New Brand Elements from Dairy Farmers of Wisconsin bring Wisconsin Cheese Brand to Life

Wisconsin is taking steps to boldly claim its rightful place as the state of cheese and answer the question, “Why Wisconsin?” As Florida is to oranges and Maine is to lobster, Wisconsin is to cheese. Stated in the new brand anthem video that launches today in major media outlets, “Wisconsin is one of those places with certain people who do a certain thing better than anyone else, anywhere.” That thing is cheese.

The launch of the first-ever commercial for Wisconsin cheese highlights the story and heritage of Wisconsin cheesemakers — the pioneers, explorers and dreamers — and their internationally acclaimed cheeses.

This shouldn’t come as a surprise to Americans as research indicates 86% of consumers think of Wisconsin when they think of cheese. However, Wisconsin wants to help deepen their knowledge. Most Americans are shocked to learn that Wisconsin wins more awards than any other state or country, that Wisconsin has the only Master Cheesemaker Program® outside of Europe, and that Wisconsin makes nearly half of the specialty cheese in the United States.

“As the nation’s leader for specialty cheese, we are proud to launch this first-ever commercial to highlight the story and heritage of our Wisconsin cheesemakers — the pioneers, explorers and dreamers — and their internationally acclaimed cheeses,” says Suzanne Fanning, Dairy Farmers of Wisconsin SVP and Chief Marketing Officer.

The new video ad showcases Wisconsin cheesemakers with beautiful wheels, blocks and cuts of cheese from companies across the state; they take center stage around a 25-foot-long farm table in one of Wisconsin’s most scenic fields with a picturesque sunset as the backdrop. Viewers will see the ads in digital publications such as Saveur, Epicurious, Bon Appétit, Food & Wine, Martha Stewart, and on Food Network, and Food52, as well as on the website beginning on November 19.

The video is the latest addition to an entire portfolio of updated brand elements that bring Wisconsin cheese to life for consumers across America. From a fresh website to an educational and entertaining web talk show featuring Alex of French Guy Cooking and Elena Santogade, Host of Heritage Radio Network’s Cutting the CurdWisconsin is determined to take cheese lovers on the ultimate cheese journey to help them understand and appreciate cheese in a new way. Just last week, Wisconsin also launched a new ambassador program called Cheeselandia. Lastly, as consumers are looking for Wisconsin cheese in stores across the nation, they will also begin seeing the new Proudly Wisconsin Cheese™ logo that resembles a ribbon to represent the world’s most awarded cheese.

“This is a very exciting day for everyone connected to the Wisconsin dairy industry as we re-introduce ourselves to the world with our first national digital campaign,” says Chad Vincent, CEO for Dairy Farmers of Wisconsin. “Cheese isn’t just something we do in Wisconsin; it’s who we are. We are proud to be the state of cheese.” 

You’ll know it’s one of ours when you see the Proudly Wisconsin Cheese badge.


Source: PR Newswire

4-H Canada receives multi-partner investments in helping youth thrive in rural communities

4-H Canada is proud to announce a two-year multi-partner agreement that supports the emotional and physical well-being of rural youth across Canada through the creation of the 4-H Canada Healthy Living Initiative, beginning in spring 2019.

Employing the 4-H Canada positive youth development approach, the first year of the initiative will see the creation of resources and tools that will support youth facing mental health challenges and communicate how to access resources or recognize when a peer needs support.

The second year of the initiative will focus on physical health, nutrition and well-being. This approach will help support youth, not only in navigating the challenges they face, but offer opportunities to develop their strengths and focus on wellness.

The healthy living initiative is in response to the critical needs of youth in rural communities in Canada. Young people living in rural and remote communities are at greater risk of experiencing struggles related to their mental and physical well-being and also lack the resources and services that might be available to those in more urban areas. The goal of this initiative is to support the 25,000 4-H youth members across Canada to lead lives that balance emotional, mental and physical health and remove barriers to access.

As part of the two-year commitment, 4-H Canada will also deliver webinars and workshops and assist in the creation of resources that will be made available for the over 7,700 4-H volunteer leaders that are critical mentors and role models in adult-youth partnerships. These resources will train volunteers and offer resources that help recognize youth in distress and provide the access to support they need. Thanks to the generous support of initiating partner Farm Credit Canada along with UFA Co-operative Limited, Corteva Agriscience™ Agriculture Division of DowDuPont, and Cargill, who have agreed to put over $150,000 collectively toward this ambitious initiative.

“The Healthy Living Initiative means offering youth not only the tools and resources to face challenges, but also opportunities to learn how to thrive,” says Shannon Benner, 4-H Canada CEO.  “As a positive youth development organization, 4-H Canada continually strives to understand our members and develop programming that meets their needs. We are truly grateful that so many partners have joined us in helping to create the resources that leaders can use to make a difference in the lives of youth across Canada.”

“This is an investment in young people who will play a large role in shaping the future of Canadian agriculture,” says Michael Hoffort, FCC President and CEO. “To help them reach their full-potential we are supporting a program that contributes to the mental and physical well-being of our next generation of farmers and agribusiness professionals.”


Source: 4-H Canada

Cargill’s #PutYourHerdFirst Campaign Donates 100,000 Milk Servings To Feeding America

In August, Cargill launched the #putyourherdfirst campaign to support The Great American Milk Drive. More than 65,000 people engaged with the campaign on Facebook and Cargill is extremely proud to announce that all 200 food banks in the Feeding America network will receive 500 servings of milk!

“We received a tremendous amount of support for the HerdFirst® campaign, and are very thankful to everyone who helped us reach the goal of 100,000 servings of milk,” says Justin Howes, strategic marketing lead for Cargill’s U.S. dairy feed business. “Our dairy farmers work tirelessly to produce high-quality milk, and we are happy to help provide it to families and children in need.”

Each year, 46 million people, including 12 million children, rely on Feeding America food banks for regular access to milk, which is one of the most-requested, but least-donated, items. On average, these food banks are only able to provide the equivalent of less than one gallon of milk per person per year.  The Great American Milk Drive was created to help address this specific need, and is the first-of-its-kind national program.

“As the largest hunger relief organization serving the United States, Feeding America knows first-hand the critical importance of getting nutritious food to people in need. We are grateful to our partners at Cargill and the #putyourherdfirst campaign; this partnership puts milk on the tables of families in need,” says Kelli Walker, director of corporate partnerships, Feeding America.

This campaign was a unique way for Cargill to raise awareness for HerdFirst®, a new line of advanced calf and heifer nutrition, while living their mission of nourishing the world, and supporting the industries and communities they serve.

“Cargill’s campaign was an easy option for anyone and everyone to be able to give back by simply changing their profile picture to the HerdFirst® frame, and then they did the rest,” says Tara Vander Dussesn, owner of Rajen Dairy, based in New Mexico. Vander Dussen is a well-known dairy social media personality who goes by the moniker New Mexico Milkmaid. “Many dairy farmers cannot afford to make donations right now, but we all care about our communities and want to give back when we can. This campaign gave us a great opportunity to provide that support while also showing how much we care for our animals,” she added.

To learn more about Cargill’s campaign and HerdFirst® branded line of products visit To donate directly to The Great American Milk Drive, visit//


Source: Perishable News

World Dairy Expo 2019 Judges Announced

World Dairy Expo® is pleased to announce the eight individuals who will serve as official judges during the 2019 World Dairy Expo Dairy Cattle Show, October 1 through 5. The official judges are responsible for the evaluation and placing of more than 2,300 cattle at the annual event with the help of their associate judge.

Nominated and selected by Expo’s dairy cattle exhibitors, the official judges for World Dairy Expo 2019 are as follows:

  • International Ayrshire Show – Phillip Topp, Botkins, Ohio
  • International Brown Swiss Show – Joe Sparrow, Worthville, Ky.
  • International Guernsey Show – Seth Johnson, Tunbridge, Vt.
  • International Holstein Show – Chad Ryan, Fond du Lac, Wis.
  • International Junior Holstein Show – Eddie Bue, Kaukauna, Wis.
  • International Jersey Show – Jack Lomeo, Jr., Sylvan Beach, N.Y.
  • International Milking Shorthorn Show – Keith Topp, Botkins, Ohio
  • International Red & White Show – Jamie Black, Brushton, N.Y.

Serving as the meeting place of the global dairy industry, World Dairy Expo brings together the latest in dairy innovation and the best cattle in North America. Crowds of more than 65,000 people, from nearly 100 countries, will return to Madison, Wis. for the 53rd annual event, October 1-5, 2019, when the world’s largest dairy-focused trade show, dairy and forage seminars, a world-class dairy cattle show and more will be on display. Visit or follow WDE on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Snapchat or YouTube for more information. 

Mother fatally pinned by hay bale

The Norman County Sheriff’s Office has released more details of a farm accident last month that fatally injured a 28-year-old mother.

Katherine Brommenschenkel Vilmo, of Ada, was feeding cattle Friday, Nov. 16, on her family’s farm in Hendrum along Minnesota Highway 200. It was about 9 a.m. when a large hay bale pinned Vilmo against a cattle feeder, according to a sheriff’s office report.

Vilmo’s mother, Diane Brommenschenkel, told Sheriff Jeremy Thornton that her daughter was outside doing chores when the mother got a call from her daughter. When Brommenschenkel answered the phone, however, “there was nothing there,” the report stated.

Brommenschenkel looked outside and didn’t see any movement, so she went outside to check, the report said. She told the sheriff that she found her daughter unresponsive, with a hay bale pinning her against the rail of the cattle feeder.

The mother told the sheriff that she didn’t know how to move the hay loader, but managed to use the loader to lift the bale off of her daughter.

There were apparently no witnesses to the accident, so exactly how Vilmo became pinned is unknown. Brommenschenkel told the sheriff she believed her daughter was cutting twine on the bale and it slid and pinned her.

The time span between Brommenschenkel receiving the call from her daughter and lifting the bale off of her was about five minutes, Sheriff Thornton told Forum News Service.

The sheriff’s office received a 911 call from Brommenschenkel reporting the accident, the report said. A member of the Halstad rescue squad was the first emergency worker to arrive on scene and started CPR. Thornton arrived shortly before 9:30 a.m. and called for an air ambulance.

Highway 200 was blocked off so the helicopter could land. Vilmo was breathing on her own when the helicopter took off, the report said. She was flown about 30 miles south to Sanford Medical Center in Fargo.

Vilmo died Sunday, Nov. 18, from injuries suffered in the accident, according to her obituary. Her funeral was the following Saturday at Grace Lutheran Church in Ada. She’s survived by her husband and 3-month-old daughter, as well as her parents and sisters.

“Farming is the most dangerous occupation there is,” said Rick Schmidt, a farm safety expert with the North Dakota State University Extension Service in Oliver County, northwest of Bismarck.

Schmidt said more farmers are killed on the job than any other occupation. High-risk factors include heavy equipment, animals and their feed — hay bales can weigh 1,300 to 1,600 pounds — as well as fatigue, stress and inclement conditions.

Every day, about 100 agricultural workers suffer an injury that results in time lost from work, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

In 2016, the CDC found that 417 farmers died from work-related injuries. The leading cause of death was tractor rollovers, while other hazards included pesticides, all-terrain vehicles, grain silos and bins.

Idaho owes $260,000 in legal fees to lawyers who brought ag-gag lawsuit

An animal welfare group on Tuesday applauded a court ruling ordering the state of Idaho to pay $260,000 to attorneys for animal rights groups after federal courts said the state’s law banning spying at farms, dairies and slaughterhouses violated free speech rights.

“We hope this award sends a strong message that Ag-Gag laws, which are designed to insulate factory farms from public scrutiny, are not only bad policy but illegal as well,” said John Seber of Mercy for Animals in a statement to The Associated Press.

U.S. District Court Chief Judge B. Lynn Winmill issued the order Friday as part of a settlement between Idaho Attorney General Lawrence Wasden and the Animal Legal Defense Fund and others.

The attorney general’s office declined comment.

The dairy industry pressed for the law after Los Angeles-based Mercy For Animals in 2012 released videos that showed workers at Bettencourt Dairy in southern Idaho beating and stomping cows, and using a tractor to drag a cow by a chain attached to her neck.

Idaho lawmakers in 2014 passed the law making it a crime to surreptitiously videotape agriculture operations after the state’s $2.5 billion dairy industry complained that the videos made public by Mercy For Animals unfairly hurt their businesses.

The measure passed easily in Idaho, where agriculture is not only one of the leading businesses but also the occupation of many state lawmakers. People caught surreptitiously filming Idaho agricultural operations faced up to a year in jail and a $5,000 fine. Animal welfare groups, civil rights groups and media organizations sued.

Winmill in late 2015 blocked the law as an unconstitutional infringement of the First Amendment of the U.S. Constitution safeguarding free speech, the first time such a law had been struck down.

The Ninth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals rejected Idaho’s appeal.

U.S. Circuit Judge M. Margaret McKeown wrote that the law “criminalized innocent behavior, was staggeringly overbroad, and that the purpose of the statute was, in large part, targeted at speech and investigative journalists.” But the panel also ruled Idaho’s law correctly criminalized those who made false statements to either obtain records at an agricultural facility or to obtain employment with the intent to inflict harm.

Security guard knocked unconscious while patrolling California dairy farm

A security guard was knocked unconscious while on patrol at a dairy farm in central California. (Ontel Security Services)

A security guard at a rural dairy farm in central California was found lying unconscious after being attacked Friday night, officials said.

Ontel Security Services, INC said one of their guards was on a routine patrol check at a dairy farm in Stanislaus County late Friday night when he was ambushed from behind.

In a lengthy post on its Facebook page, the company said the guard noticed a vehicle was following him when he arrived at the dairy farm. After completing his patrol the officer noticed the vehicle was parked near the entry – seemingly waiting for him.

While the officer locked up the exit gate, he heard a sound behind him before he was hit in the head.

David McCann, security chief at Ontel, told FOX40 the guard somehow managed to hit the panic button on his radio – alerting backup, which arrived at the dairy farm minutes later.

“The first Ontel unit arrived on scene and found the guard unconscious behind his car,” he added.

The guard was taken to a local hospital for treatment and was later released, Ontel said.

According to the company, the guard’s dash camera was completely ripped out of the vehicle and his body camera was also stolen.

McCann told FOX40 the guard suffered a concussion along with cuts and bruises, but is expected to make a full recovery.

“Waking up to hear this, it’s very difficult to deal with,” he said. “I don’t want anything to happen to our personnel just like I don’t want anything to happen to anyone else.”

The company said they don’t believe the guard was targeted and have handed the investigation over to the Stanislaus County Sheriff’s Department. It wasn’t immediately clear if anything had been taken from the dairy farm.


Canadian farmers no longer allowed to buy animal antibiotics over the counter

The move is part of a broader government effort to enforce more stringent control and oversight of antibiotic use, as much in humans as in animals.

New federal rules aimed at combating a growing global health risk will require farmers to get a veterinary prescription before purchasing antibiotics for their animals.

The regulations, which come into effect Saturday, mean agricultural producers will no longer be able to buy antibiotic drugs over the counter at their local farm supply store. About 300 products — including tetracyclines, penicillins and other drugs used to treat common animal ailments like foot rot, pink-eye, and respiratory infections — are affected by the new rules.

The move is part of a broader government effort to enforce more stringent control and oversight of antibiotic use, as much in humans as in animals.

Science has proven repeated exposure to an antibiotic can lead bacteria to become resistant to that drug, rendering it useless. There is already evidence this is happening, with drug-resistant infections popping up in both humans and animals around the globe. The World Health Organization has called antibiotic resistance a “global crisis,” warning that if these drugs lose their effectiveness, many common infections, such as strep throat, could become life-threatening and the success of major surgery and cancer chemotherapy would be compromised.

“The measures that are being taken today are just the start,” said Keith Lehman, chief provincial veterinarian for the province of Alberta. “We will have to continue to analyze this and see what measures we can take to preserve the use of these antibiotics for as long as possible.”

According to the Public Health Agency of Canada, approximately 80 per cent of medically important antibiotics sold in Canada go toward livestock use. Critics contend the improper use of some of these products is contributing to antibiotic resistance. On poultry farms, beef feedlots and in hog barns, animals are given antibiotics not only to treat illnesses but sometimes to prevent disease before it starts. Certain types of antimicrobials are also added to animal feed to promote growth and improve overall efficiency of livestock production.

Lehman said while many farmers already work closely with veterinarians to diagnose illnesses and treat animals, there are some who prefer to go it alone — misusing antibiotics as a result.

“When they face an animal health problem, they’re basically trying to make a diagnosis themselves, using a product they can get over the counter and hoping it works,” he said. “They’re the ones who are going to be most affected by this (the rule changes) and will notice the change most.”

Darcy Fitzgerald, executive director of Alberta Pork, said there are ongoing industry efforts to educate producers about the appropriate use of antibiotics. He emphasized farmers already have a strong business incentive not to overuse the drugs because they are expensive.

Fitzgerald added while the industry supports the new prescription requirement, it is concerned about access. The new rules limit the dispensing of products to veterinarians and pharmacies, meaning farmers will no longer be able to run out to their local UFA or Peavey Mart to pick up a dose. Farmers will still be able to buy feed pre-mixed with antibiotics from certified feed mills, with a prescription.

“We’re just trying to grasp the idea of on Dec. 1, where do we actually purchase our antibiotics from? Because not all vets carry these products … and I don’t think any pharmacies do,” he said.

“In some areas, it’s a really big concern because your vet clinic may be really far away,” said Karin Schmid, beef production specialist with Alberta Beef Producers. “What changes is the amount of forethought that has to be put in place to make sure that you have the proper prescriptions for the proper products on file so they can be filled when you need them.”

The government of Alberta is currently working on its own provincial strategy to combat antimicrobial resistance. Areas of focus include improved surveillance programs to track antimicrobial-resistant bacteria in humans, animals and retail meat; research into antibiotic alternatives, such as probiotics; and better infection prevention and control to lessen the need for antibiotics overall.

Schmid said the agriculture industry is keen to co-operate because it knows it has skin in the game when it comes to antibiotics.

“Just like when kids get sick in daycare, you mingle a bunch of cattle together in a feedlot and some of them are going to get sick,” she said. “So we need access to these products to protect animal health and welfare, and we also need to demonstrate that we are using these products appropriately so we can maintain that privilege to use them.”

According to the World Health Organization, 490,000 people developed multi-drug resistant tuberculosis globally in 2016, with drug resistance starting to complicate the fight against HIV and malaria as well.

Antibiotic resistance is known to be present in every country in the world. A study from the United Kingdom released in 2014 estimated that by 2050, as many as 10 million deaths a year due to antibiotic resistance are possible if significant action is not taken.


Source: Calgary Herald

Man buried under cattle feed on Michigan dairy farm dies

A 35-year-old Middleville man has died after being buried beneath cattle feed on a dairy farm in southwestern Michigan.

The Herald-Palladium of St. Joseph reports that a 30-foot-high corn silage stack broke loose about 6:30 a.m. Friday on the farm in Van Buren County’s Hartford, southwest of Grand Rapids.

The county sheriff’s office says the man was a sub-contractor for a Grand Rapids company that was at the farm to conduct testing. Another worker found the man buried. He was pronounced dead at a hospital.

The incident is being investigated by the Michigan Occupational Safety and Health Administration.

Source: Detriot Free Press

Siemers Holsteins Leads The Way with Most Animals Receiving GMD, DOM & Gold Medal Sire Status in 2018

Holstein USA has released the names of the animals for 2018 who will be awarded the Gold Medal Dam, Dam of Merit and Gold Medal Sire honors. Congratulations to Siemers Holsteins, WI, who lead the pack with the highest number of cows recognized on this year’s lists!

This year, 377 females will receive their Gold Medal Dam status, while 332 will receive Dam of Merit. The Gold Medal Dam recognition was first awarded in 1957 with the goal of acknowledging superior brood cows in the industry. In order to be eligible, a cow must have a minimum of three daughters classified and she and her daughters must meet certain requirements for both conformation and production.

The Gold Medal Dam recognition began in 1957 in an effort to identify superior brood cows. The program was designed to award cows with at least three offspring that met certain production and type performance levels.

The Dam of Merit was first awarded in 1988. The award recognizes females who transmit elite genetics and is measured using the Total Performance (TPI) index.

The Gold Medal Sire award will recognize 29 bulls this year. The award is given out annually to bulls that meet a minimum TPI level which is updated semi-annually, have reliabilities of at least 90% for PTA Fat and PTA Type, and are free of any undesirable recessive and enzyme deficiencies. Many of the names on this year’s list are no stranger to the top-ranking lists at proof time including Delta, Rubicon, Josuper, Montross, Modesty and Jedi.

To view the complete list of Gold Medal Dam & Dam of Merit Recipients – HERE
To view the complete list of Gold Medal Sires – HERE

Jersey Island Dairy Farmers to receive £175,000 subsidy for winter feed

Dairy farmers are to receive £175,000 of taxpayers’ money to feed the Island’s herds after this year’s exceptionally dry weather caused fodder crops to fail.

Treasury Minister Susie Pinel has announced that the members of the Jersey Milk Marketing Board co-operative, who own and supply Jersey Dairy, will receive £100,000 from her department in drought relief funding. The remaining aid is coming from Economic Development’s budget.

This will match £175,000 paid to members by the dairy to help them import an estimated £450,000 of hay and straw from the UK from the summer and over the winter. It came from increased sales of their ice cream in the UK during the hot weather.

Economic Development Minister Lyndon Farnham, who backed the industry’s request for matched funding from the States made in August, said he was pleased to be able to help the dairy sector when it faced such a critical challenge.

‘The States are always prepared to assist the vital sectors of our agricultural industry as we understand and appreciate its value to the Island, and we are always keen to offer assistance when we need to,’ he said.

Jersey Dairy chairman and farmer Andrew Le Gallais said the industry was grateful to Senator Farnham and Economic Development officers for supporting the bid for aid.

‘We were faced with a really exceptional and serious situation and this was one of those occasions when government and farmers came together. We worked on a thorough and detailed application which went through due process and this money is going to make a big difference to our business.

‘Our farmers will be able to get through the winter and it will give them the confidence to know that they will have the feed to bring their milk up to the quality required by Jersey Dairy.’

The Island’s herds are now largely indoors for the winter. Mr Le Gallais said the unseasonably mild weather of the past six weeks had been a boost for the industry as grass had continued to grow and animals had been able to stay outside longer to graze.

Farmers have also been able to reseed pasture land and plant fodder crops ready for next year.


Dairy farmers across Canada ask the PM not to sign USMCA until US oversight clause has been removed

In an open letter to the Prime Minister of Canada, dairy farmers warn the PM that the current US text of the United States Mexico and Canada Agreement (USMCA) still contains a provision that would grant the US oversight into the administration of the Canadian dairy system.  This, farmers say, will undermine Canada’ssovereignty and the ability to manage the Canadian dairy industry without US intervention.

The open letter, signed by DFC’s president and chairs of all 10 provincial dairy associations, states that government officials had reassured dairy farmers following the signing of the USMCA and release of the US text that the issue of US oversight had not been agreed to by Canada, and would not be part of the final agreement. Farmers remain concerned that they have not yet seen a final text with the oversight clause excluded.

In the letter, farmers ask that the Prime Minister not sign the USMCA until the clause granting US oversight of the Canadian dairy system has been removed from the agreement. “This is a matter of Canadian sovereignty; Canada’s dairy farmers are counting on you to remain steadfast,” the letter concludes.


Lawmakers Reach Farm Bill Deal by Dumping Food-Stamp Rules

Democrats and Republicans said they reached a tentative deal on farm legislation after jettisoning controversial work requirements for food stamp recipients demanded by President Donald Trump and conservatives in the House.

Lawmakers said Thursday they expect both chambers to take up the legislation as soon as next week after House-Senate negotiators resolved differences between their versions of the agriculture measures. The bill would renew farm subsidies, federal crop insurance and food aid for low-income families for five years.

House Agriculture Chairman Mike Conaway of Texas and Senate Agriculture Chairman Pat Roberts of Kansas, along with the top Democrats on the panels, said they reached a tentative deal without detailing all the provisions. Farm programs under current law began to expire Sept. 30.

“The certainty that the farm bill brings to the table for the next five years is the win,” Conaway said.

Work Rules

The biggest stumbling block in the debate over the farm bill, H.R. 2., has been over expanding work requirements for many people who receive food stamps. House Republicans had proposed making older food stamp recipients and those with older children comply with work requirements, while Senate negotiators opposed those changes.

The House provisions were left out of the final bill, according to Roberts. He said the bill strengthens existing work requirements without adding new ones and without shifting food stamp funding into job training.

“It’s more the Senate version than the House version,” Conaway said, adding that the bill will include more provisions to root out food-stamp fraud. “Everything we had in the House bill was important but we made the compromises we needed to make to get this deal done.”

Another snag resolved by negotiators was a push by Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue and Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke to enact more permissive logging regulations. Roberts said the compromise involves easing the ability of loggers to salvage wood from fire-damaged areas.

Small Changes

Minor changes may be made once the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office evaluates the bill’s impact on the deficit. Lawmakers said the final version will be made public next week. Roberts said the deal hasn’t yet been presented to Trump.

Collin Peterson of Minnesota, the top Democrat on the House Agriculture Committee, predicted the bill would get strong support from lawmakers in his party.

Conservatives indicated displeasure. Asked what he thought about the farm bill, GOP Representative Ted Yoho of Florida said “not much” when he came out of a briefing on the agreement.

In September, Trump tweeted: “Pass the Farm Bill with SNAP work requirements!” SNAP refers to the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, formerly known as food stamps.

The bill doesn’t include a provision championed by Senator Chuck Grassley, an Iowa Republican, aimed at preventing wealthy absentee landlords from collecting farm subsidies.

“You are going to have Wall Street bankers getting subsidies who aren’t actively engaged in the business of farming, they don’t have dirt under their fingernails,” he said.

The bill includes a provision that would make hemp a legal agricultural commodity after Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell of Kentucky championed the proposal, even joining the farm bill conference committee to ensure it would be incorporated. Among other changes to existing law, hemp will be removed from the federal list of controlled substances and hemp farmers will be able to apply for crop insurance.


US lawmakers reach tentative farm bill deal after months-long impasse

Key lawmakers said Wednesday they have reached a tentative deal on a massive farm bill, breaking a months-long impasse over legislation that doles out more than $400 billion in federal funds for farm subsidies, food stamps and conservation efforts.

Lawmakers have been at odds over a House GOP proposal to boost work requirements for food stamp recipients, but Sens. Pat Roberts (R-Kan.) and Debbie Stabenow (D-Mich.), the leaders of the Senate Agriculture Committee, said they had resolved the debate over the work requirements and other outstanding issues.

The senators declined to offer details of the emerging compromise, cautioning that it was not final and could change pending completion of cost analyses and legislative language. Nonetheless, both expressed optimism the legislation could pass before the conclusion of Congress’s lame-duck session next month.

“We have an agreement on the outstanding issues,” Roberts said. “But until you get that language on the bill, and you know where we are with the scoring, it’s premature to say that we have a complete agreement.”

A massive legislative package that oversees a range of farming, conservation and nutrition programs, the farm bill is reauthorized every five years — generally on a bipartisan basis. Separate bills passed the House and the Senate over the summer, and negotiators have spent months trying to reconcile the differences between the two versions, even as the existing farm bill expired Sept. 30.

The compromise bill now being developed must pass each chamber again before heading to the president’s desk.

The biggest debate over this year’s farm bill was over food stamps, as House Republicans pushed much stricter work requirements for “able-bodied” adults seeking to benefit from the program.

The Republican plan would have added new work requirements for those between age 49 and 59 and made it more difficult for states to waive some food stamp work requirements. Among other changes, the GOP plan would have also removed the existing work requirement exemption for parents with children older than 6.

But those positions ran into opposition in the Senate, where the bill requires votes from Democrats to be approved. Between 800,000 and 1.1 million households would have faced food stamp benefit cuts under one of the House Republican proposals, according to a study by the Mathematica Policy Research, a policy research organization.

Sen. John Thune (R-S.D.), the No. 3 Senate Republican, said that his understanding was that the compromise language on food stamps was likely to hew closer to the initial Senate version of the bill — which did not have the new work requirements.

“It was pretty clear you weren’t going to get a single Democrat vote in the Senate for what the House had passed,” Thune said.

Stabenow and Roberts said both parties should be able to live with the compromise legislation and that their House counterparts also had signed off.

Lawmakers faced pressure from farmers and ranchers to get a deal done, particularly amid a steep decline over the last several years in farm incomes as commodity prices have sagged, said Dale Moore, executive vice president of the American Farm Bureau Federation, an industry group.

“Reaching an agreement gives farmers and ranchers certainty that a farm bill is getting done and will help them weather the economic storms in their way,” Moore said. “It’s especially important as banks are beginning to look with farmers at the next financial year.”

Negotiators also feuded over a forestry section of the farm bill, as the White House made a late push for provisions that would have allowed for the clearing of material from forests that they argued help spread fires. That push emerged in response to the California wildfires earlier this month.

Stabenow said the pending agreement would provide much-needed stability to farm country.

“Farmers and ranchers need certainty right now with everything that’s going on, and trade and tariffs and everything, prices, you know,” she said. “Rural America needs certainty, and this would give them that.”


Family of Slain Idaho Rancher Receives $2.6 Million Settlement

Three years after two sheriff’s deputies shot and killed a Council rancher, a wrongful death lawsuit filed by the family has been settled for $2.6 million.

Adams County sheriff’s deputies Brian Wood and Cody Roland shot and killed Jack Yantis on Nov. 1, 2015, while the rancher was attempting to put down his bull that had been severely injured in a car crash.

A car driven by a Nampa couple struck the bull on U.S. 95 in front of the Yantis ranch north of Council. County dispatchers had called Yantis, 62, at home to tell him to take care of the injured animal. He went to the road with his rifle to euthanize it. The deputies said Yantis held his rifle in a threatening manner and refused commands to lower it. They shot him 12 times.

Following a nine-month investigation by Idaho State Police, the Idaho Attorney General’s Office and the FBI, both state and federal prosecutors announced they did not have enough evidence to file criminal charges.

The two deputies no longer work for Adam County. Roland resigned one month after the shooting. Wood left after being on paid leave for 10 months following the shooting. County representatives would not say if he resigned or was terminated.

The family filed a wrongful death lawsuit against the county, Wood and Roland in October 2017. A federal judge dismissed the case on Nov. 20 because a settlement had been reached.

The Statesman confirmed the settlement amount Tuesday via a public records request with the Idaho Counties Risk Management Program, a self-insurance pool that insures local governments, including Adams County.

When the settlement was announced earlier this month, Yantis’ widow, Donna, told the Associated Press that the end of the legal action didn’t bring closure. “No amount of money can replace him,” she said of her husband.


Swiss voters reject proposal to end dehorning of cows

Swiss voters have rejected a proposal to subsidize farmers who let the horns on their cows and goats grow rather than removing them with a red-hot iron in a procedure which critics say causes pain.

Three-quarters of Swiss cows, a national symbol and tourist attraction, are dehorned or genetically hornless.

Hornless animals are easier and cheaper to keep because they cause fewer injuries and need less space. They do not have to be tied in separate pens to prevent accidents, but this means farmers can keep fewer animals.

The initiative to preserve “the dignity of livestock” was led by farmer Armin Capaul, who has sparked a national debate on animal rights following a campaign which began nine years ago after he “listened” to his herd.

But the campaign was defeated, with nearly 55 percent of Swiss voters rejecting the proposals in the final result, the Swiss government said.

Swiss Economy Minister Johann Schneider-Ammann said the result demonstrated animal welfare standards were already high.

“Swiss agricultural policy today to a large extent already meets the expectations for the wellbeing of animals,” he told a press conference in Bern.

“Farmers should have the freedom to operate their business as they wish. They should not be driven with incentives into a less modern direction.”

The government had opposed the motion, which would have enshrined subsidies into the constitution, but agricultural workers were split, with even the Swiss farmers’ union refraining from giving a recommendation to its 52,000 members.

Capaul collected more than 100,000 signatures to trigger a national vote after years of political lobbying failed. His supporters liken the dehorning to castrating cats or dogs.

The Swiss government opposed Capaul’s move to get a 190 Swiss franc ($191.65) annual subsidy per horned animal for farmers, saying it would drain up to 30 million francs from its 3 billion franc annual agricultural budget.

“When you look at them they always hold their head high and are proud. When you remove the horns, they are sad,” Capaul, a bearded 66-year-old, told Reuters last week on his small farm in northwestern Switzerland.


Source: Reuters

Dairy farmer son who ‘hates cows’ loses out on £1m inheritance

A dairy farmer’s workshy son who “hated the herd” and “made cows nervous” will be thrown out of his home after losing a High Court claim to inherit his parents’ £1million farm.

Clive Shaw, 56, said his parents, Walt and Gill, went back on promises they made to him when they completely wrote him out of their wills last year.

The couple said he did not deserve it as he did not work hard enough and could not be trusted to get up in time for work.

After a High Court trial, Judge John Linwood agreed with the parents and said Clive was more interested in trucks than the cattle. 

On top of being hit with a £100,000 court bill, the judge gave Clive and his partner, Lesley Hollis, only six weeks to pack up their belongings and leave Whaley Farm, in New York, Lincolnshire, where they live.

Giving judgment, Judge Linwood said: “Clive was promised the farm would be his inheritance from about 1978 onwards, but those assurances were conditional upon Clive working properly on the farm in the manner of a dedicated, long-term farmer.” 

“However, Clive was not sufficiently interested and his lifestyle choices were such that he did not want to take on the farm and dedicate himself to it, as his interests were elsewhere, in driving and engineering.”

Clive insisted he worked long and hard enough during the years when he was at the farm full-time and returned to help out whenever free afterwards.

But his sister, Cheryl Hughes, 43, told how he would often say things like cows were “stinking, horrible, rotten creatures”. 

Earlier, the court heard that Walt and Gill, both 78, wrote Clive out of their wills after a family falling out at Christmas 2016.

The parents told the judge it would have been their “biggest dream” if Clive had eventually taken over the farm and continued a long family tradition.

Clive’s barrister, Leslie Blohm QC said he had performed “arduous” work for relatively little money over many years on the understanding that he would eventually inherit the business.

“He cannot go back and have his life again,” he told the judge, adding: “He should therefore be entitled to the farm and the farmhouse.”

But the judge rejected Clive’s claim and said he and Miss Hollis would have to leave the land, taking their horses and trucks with them, in six weeks.

The farm will be split between the couple’s daughters. 


Farm bankruptcies on the rise according to new report

Farm bankruptcies are on the rise in the Upper Midwest, according to a new report from the Federal Reserve, doubling from their recent lows in 2014.

At least 84 farms filed for bankruptcy from June 2017 to June 2018 in Wisconsin, Minnesota, Montana, and North and South Dakota, according to analysis from the Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis.

The report released earlier this month shows that over the same time period in 2014, 32 farms filed for bankruptcy.

The numbers have increased steadily since then, with 46 bankruptcies reported in 2015, 60 bankruptcies reported in 2016 and 67 reported in 2017. 

In 2010, 70 bankruptcies were reported in the five states, but that was following the financial collapse of 2008–2009 and a brutal recession.

Some experts fear the worst is yet to come amid falling commodity prices and the Trump administration’s battles with China and other countries on trade.

“Current price levels and the trajectory of the current trends suggest that this trend has not yet seen a peak,” wrote Ron Wirtz, an analyst at the Minneapolis Federal Reserve Bank.

More than 60 percent of the reported bankruptcy filings for the region were in Wisconsin, which could suggest a large number of dairy farm bankruptcies. Wisconsin is the country’s second largest producer of milk.

Depressed prices on farm goods such as corn, dairy and soybeans are also likely leading to a spike in Chapter 12 filings, according to the report. China has also largely closed its market to U.S. soybeans amid the fight over trade.

Chapter 12 allows repayment of debts over as many as five years. It was set up after the farm crisis during the 1980s.

President Trump pledged $12 billion in aid for farmers impacted by global tariffs. A recent report in The New York Times found the aid had done little to help farmers, however.


Coulinge Cyred 2018 French Cow of the Year

Coulinge Cyred has been crowned the new French Cow of the Year for owner Jean-Bernard Girard (Doubs). The September daughter with EX-96, is the highest scoring Red Holstein in the country and has produced 101,047 kg in six lactations (one of only two cows in the final to exceed 100,000kg). Nr.2 in the competition became Damion daughter Michard Escale EX-97 from Gaec Michard in the 7th edition of this competion. For the second time in his career, Jean-Bernard Girard is named Best Breeder of the Year.  This is the first time that the best breeder is also the breeder who owns the cow of the year.  This competition organized by Prim’holstein France highlights the best dairy of the breed and the careful genetic work of their breeders.

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