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Chipotle’s Road to Redemption Includes Milkshakes

Chipotle Mexican Grill Inc. isn’t the fast-food joint most diners visit when they’re craving a milkshake. Its new CEO is trying to change that.

The restaurant chain known for its burritos is preparing for what could be its biggest menu expansion in company history. Chipotle announced Thursday that it will add five new food items — Mexican chocolate milkshakes, avocado tostadas, quesadillas, nachos and a salad with avocado-citrus dressing — at its test kitchen in New York City.

“We wanted something snacky,” Chad Brauze, the chef who runs the test kitchen, said during a Thursday afternoon preview of the new items. Brauze said some of the smaller additions are designed to boost spending by existing customers who might, for example, tack on a side of nachos to their regular order. The chain also hopes the new offerings will bring in diners at off-peak hours when they weren’t craving a full burrito.

Comeback Tour

The fast-casual chain is on a hunt for growth after multiple illness outbreaks linked to its stores in recent years sickened hundreds and damaged the chain’s image. Earlier this year, Taco Bell veteran Brian Niccol took over as chief executive officer and is already shaking things up. He’s partnered with DoorDash to offer delivery and is moving Chipotle’s headquarters to Newport Beach, California, from Denver. Niccol also is looking at doing drive-through restaurants.

In its most recent quarter, Chipotle reported same-store sales that topped analysts’ projections, providing a nice welcome for the incoming CEO. It also signals that the beleaguered chain may finally be starting to recover from years of negative headlines.

Chipotle has recently dabbled with more experimentation on its menu — it has tested frozen margaritas, along with a fried-tortilla dessert dish. Last year, it added queso cheese dip as a permanent menu item. It’s also testing out a frozen paloma cocktail in New York, the company said Thursday.

“We hope these things will become permanent,” Chief Marketing Officer Chris Brandt said at the event, noting that the next step will be to test at additional restaurants — though it’s too early to say whether they’ll all be rolled out nationwide.

Source: Bloomberg

Is deer milk the next big thing?

Deer milk is the sort of innovation the agriculture sector needs to invest in to make sure it remains competitive, Pamu chief executive Steve Carden says.

Pamu deer milk won the Grassroots Innovation award at the national field days at Mystery Creek earlier this month.

“As an industry, agriculture needs to be changing and evolving what we produce in response to consumer demand.

“Pamu deer milk is one of the ways that Pamu is investing in innovation, with like-minded partners, to take the milk industry forward,” Mr Carden said.

With its high fat content and protein levels, it was ideal for food service, cosmetics and other uses that were being explored, he said.

The field days award was the culmination of three years of trialling and testing by Pamu (formerly known as Landcorp) with partners Sharon and Peter McIntyre, who farm near Gore.

While still early days for the product, the win was an “acknowledgement” for the team at Pamu, and Mr and Mrs McIntyre, with support from AgResearch, Agmardt, Asure Quality and the Food Hub.

Pamu was always looking for how it could drive value and innovation in its business and partnerships, such as the deer milk one, were a key part of that strategy, Mr Carden said.

“We are seeing a unique product like Pamu deer milk turned into the sort of potentially high-value, niche export product that is the ‘holy grail’ for the primary sector. It provides an earnings multiplier way above selling the product at the farm gate.”

Top Auckland chefs tasted deer milk for the first time at a tasting event in the city recently and a “buzz was in the air”, chef Geoff Scott said.

“It is rare for chefs to work with a completely new product which has never been used before. For most of us, tasting Pamu deer milk, a world first, was an opportunity we don’t often get in our careers.”

The sensation that the milk created on the palette was what made it so special.

“It is like drinking extra-silky cream and that was the general reaction among the chefs we had at the tasting event. It was a special moment and the invited chefs, from some of Auckland’s top restaurants, were immediately buzzing with how they could use it in their restaurants.”

Ben Bayly, of Baduzzi and The Grounds, said feedback from his guests and front-of-house was “one of bewilderment, in a good way”.

“This is definitely a world-class ingredient.”

Deer milk was at present only available through restaurants in Auckland and Wellington.

Mr Carden said while the testing with the Auckland chefs got positive feedback, the challenge — as always — was making such a product commercially viable.

“We believe we are on the cusp of something very exciting.”

Westpac’s latest Agri Update focused on the deer industry, saying it was enjoying a run of strong demand and high prices for its meat.

Like other New Zealand producers of agricultural exports, deer farmers were benefiting from  solid global growth, particularly in the United States.

That, along with an expected further depreciation of the NZ dollar against the greenback and tight supplies should continue to underpin firm venison prices, senior economist Anne Boniface said.

The outlook for velvet prices was probably more uncertain with greater risk from the concentration of export markets. However, over the long term, the sector would need to continue to innovate, she said.

The MPI’s latest Situation and Outlook for Primary Industries report showed deer numbers rose slightly to 836,000 as at June 30, 2017, the first annual increase in deer numbers since 2004.

Increasing revenue from both venison and velvet had spurred increased confidence in the sector and was forecast to result in further herd rebuilding over the next few years.

Venison export revenue was forecast to reach $200 million in the year ending June 2018 thanks to an uptick in volume and prices being over 18% higher than last year.

Exports to the US were a significant part of that story, having increased 50% in the past year. The US was now New Zealand’s largest single destination for venison, although the combined EU market remained the largest export destination overall.

Velvet export revenue was likely to exceed $70 million in the year ending June 2018, marking the fifth straight year of export growth over 10%.


Source: Otago Daily Times

More than 30 dairy cows now part of the prison farm program in Kingston

The cows are coming home to Kingston’s two prison farms at the Collins Bay and Joyceville Institutions.

It’s a long time coming for advocates of the program. The former Harper government shuttered the initiative back in 2009, sparking outcry from the public — and the creation of a group called “Save the Prison Farms.”

Jeff Peters, a farmer from the Kingston area, has been fighting this from the start.

“If you fight long enough and you have a following of people that are dedicated to the cause, you will win,” Peters said. The battle has been brewing ever since the program was cancelled. In August of 2009, hundreds of protesters blocked the removal of dairy cows, with several being arrested by police.

“It definitely had to have a change of government,” Peters said. “This government believed in rehabilitation, but more importantly they believed in consulting with stakeholders.”

Mark Holland, MP and parliamentary secretary for Ralph Goodale, was on hand to deliver the news to people at the Joyceville Institution. Holland, who says he was devastated to hear when the farms were closed, claims the people have spoken.

“To me, that is a great representation of democracy,” Holland said. “Something was shut down, the community came forward and fought for it tirelessly.”

Mark Gerretsen, MP for Kingston and the Islands, was also on hand. It’s his hope that with the reopening of the prison farms, they can expand the program once again.

“This is where it’s starting,” Gerretsen said. “We’re always looking at new opportunities into the future and I think it’s a matter of assessing this in a couple of years.”

One thing for sure is that advocacy groups will be keeping watch to ensure the prison farms are here to stay.

“We want to make sure the commitment they have given us today is followed though,” Peters said. “They know who they’re dealing with. If something got in the way, I wouldn’t stand idly by.”

On Thursday, the federal government laid out the details of the plan for the two Kingston-area prison farms. They will be home to both dairy cows and goats. The Liberals already announced the prison farms would reopen earlier this year, but only using goats for milk production. Holland says they recognized the cows were also needed for the experience.

“We know the dairy herd was an important part of what had been happening here on the prison farms previously,” he said.

Holland tells CKWS it was also thanks to research that helped them realize there was a real need for the initiative. “I heard from inmates who came out of the program, the correction officials who worked in it about just what a great job it did, and [it] made no sense when it was shut down,” Holland remarked.

Corrections Canada says more than thirty dairy cows will be brought to the prisons, with the goat operation built over time. They say the program will also include agricultural and horticultural activities, allowing inmates to learn life-long skills to carry with them. CEO for Corrections Canada Kelly Hartle says there will be several things offenders can take part in on the prison farm.

“Our offenders will be involved in helping with land maintenance, repair, crop production as well as the infrastructure in buildings,” Hartle said.

55-year-old Shaun Shannon is a former inmate at Frontenac Institution. He has been a strong advocate of the prison farms program, even after he was released. Shannon says without programs like this, he wouldn’t be who he is today. “Before I went to Frontenac, I was broken, and it fixed me, Shannon says. “You get a connection with the animals, and you learn there’s other things worthwhile out there and you learn responsibility. You’re responsible for a life.”

Officials hope to have the program back in operation by next spring.


Source: Global News

Australia, EU open ‘mutually beneficial’ trade deal talks

Australia and the European Union (EU) opened talks on a free trade deal on Monday which has the potential to unlock a market of half a billion consumers for Australian products.

EU Trade Commissioner Cecilia Malmstrom was in Canberra on Monday for meetings with Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull, Foreign Minister Julie Bishop and other senior members of the government, and high on their agenda was rising protectionism in some parts of the world.

“In these times we really need to send positive signals that we believe in mutually beneficial trade,” Malmstrom said in her meeting with Bishop, according to local media reports.

“I think we know where we are, we know the difficulties, we know the challenges, but also we know that in many areas it will be quite straightforward.”

Bishop said the free trade talks were a chance to set a “gold standard” for trade agreements.

“It’s also an opportunity for us to send a very powerful signal to the world that Australia and the EU are committed to open trade and free markets and transparent rules,” Bishop said on Monday.

Meanwhile, Australian Trade Minister Steve Ciobo pointed to the potential for Australia’s job market. “The more Australian produce, products and services sold to the world, the more Australian jobs created.”

“I want to see more Australian premium produce on plates from Prague to Paris,” the trade minister said.

Australia believes an agreement with the European bloc will help push back against rising protectionism.

Agriculture tariffs are likely to be a major sticking point, especially beef, lamb and dairy exports from Australia.

The first round of negotiations will be held in Brussels in early July and an agreement with the European bloc would make a statement against the shielding of domestic industries and the escalation of trade taxes.

Malmstrom will deliver the Schuman Lecture at the Australian National University on Monday about the opportunities, benefits and challenges stemming from a EU-Australia Free Trade Agreement, and how this relationship will help strengthen the global trading system.


Nervous Australian farmers bracing for a trade war

Australian farmers are watching the escalating trade war between the United States and China nervously, with growing fears Australian food and fibre exports could get caught in the crossfire.

National Farmers Federation chief executive Tony Mahar said there was little upside for Australia’s $47 billion rural export trade — 25 per cent destined for China — in the latest threats by US President Donald Trump to impose new 10 per cent tariffs on $US200bn ($270bn) of US imports from China.

The move follows China’s 25 per cent tariffs slapped on $US50bn of American exports to China of mainly agricultural produce, including soybeans and beef.

Mr Mahar said although there might appear to be replacement market opportunities for Australian beef into China, for example, the risks of massive world trade disruption and a return to high tariff regimes more than outweighed any short-term opportunistic benefits of an all-out US-China trade battle.

“No one wins from a trade war, however distant it might appear; our hope is that this volatile issue can be resolved without escalating tariffs and setting the global trade agenda back decades,” Mr Mahar said last night.

“Given Australia exports 80 per cent of the food we produce and has had a long commitment to free trade and liberalising markets, the reintroduction of increasing tariffs anywhere does not bode well for Australia.”

Gippsland vegetable and beef cattle producer Emma Germano also fears the repercussions of a potential trade war.

Ms Germano, 32, worries that while there may be short-term gains in the price of her export beef, Australian farmers eventually will face unintended consequences in other foreign markets.

“Everything in agriculture is about supply and demand in world markets, so producers and growers have to be mindful that when anything in world trade changes, it’s going to have an impact on us, including right down at the farm level,” says Ms Germano, who is president of the Victorian Farmers Federation horticultural division.

“While we have cultural and historical ties to the US, when it comes to trade, China is so much more important to us, especially with the rising middle class and their preference for clean, green and safe Australian food and produce; we can’t afford to take sides,” she said.

China is Australia’s largest agriculture, forestry and fisheries export market, with Australian food and rural produce valued at more than $12bn exported last year, up from $10.6bn in 2016.

Ms Germano, who has just bought her first farm — 200ha near Thorpdale — and is diversifying into heritage vegetables, beef and farm tourism, would like Australian politicians to watch their words, as the trade war intensifies, so as not to offend China.

She points to the ban three years ago by Russia on dairy imports from the EU following the shooting down of flight MA17 over Ukraine.

Australian dairy farmers originally thought the ban would help their own exports, but when the EU could not sell its butter, cheese and milk powder to Russia, it looked for other world markets.

A large volume was sold at reduced values to Asia, where Australia and NZ dairy exports were hit, crashing global dairy prices and contributing to the April 2016 dairy crisis and collapse of the biggest processor, Murray Goulburn.

“It’s dangerous times; hopefully Australia stays nimble and neutral enough to take advantage of things when we can, but not caught up in it all,” Ms Germano said.


Source: The Australian

House Passes Farm Bill 213-211

The House narrowly approved an $867 billion farm bill with controversial provisions that could stop millions from receiving food stamps and toughen work requirements for program participants.

The House’s 213-211 vote means the legislation will go to conference with the Senate version of the bill. This marked the second attempt by the House to pass the farm bill after it failed to approve the legislation last month, due to an immigration squabble among Republicans.

There are nutritional program cuts in the House farm bill that could face problems in conference with the Senate version. The Senate Agriculture Committee’s farm bill passed out of the panel June 13 and didn’t include major changes in food stamps, or the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP).

“This bill does nothing to actually strengthen agriculture programs or help farmers caught in the president’s trade war,” said Rep. Jim McGovern, D-Mass, in a release. “I hope the bipartisan process in the Senate leads to a better bill that strengthens our farm safety net and anti-hunger programs so this attack on our most vulnerable never reaches the president’s desk.”

But the Republican chairman of the House Committee on Agriculture hailed at passage of the 2018 farm bill.

“Today’s vote was about keeping faith with the men and women of rural America and about the enduring promise of the dignity of a day’s work,” Rep. Mike Conaway, R-Texas, said in a statement. “It was about providing certainty to farmers and ranchers who have been struggling under the weight of a five-year recession and about providing our neighbors in need with more than just a hand out, but a hand up.”

The House farm bill includes cuts of more than $20 billion in SNAP benefits over 10 years. The legislation also contains provisions that could see more than 2 million low-income Americans lose their benefits or experience declines in financial assistance. Critics of the legislation also contend the legislation could result in nearly 265,000 children losing access to free school meals.

Total benefits paid out last year by SNAP exceeded $63 billion, and went to more than 42 million participants.

The House’s farm bill — formally known as the so-called Agriculture and Nutrition Act of 2018 — includes new work requirements for SNAP participants that tighten existing rules. The White House also has been pushing for tougher work requirements for public assistance programs that target low-income Americans, including food stamps and public housing assistance.

“They’re trying to find ways to cut back on people who have access to SNAP, and frankly they’re trying to do it by putting in new work requirements” said Steve Taylor, senior vice president and counsel for public policy with United Way Worldwide, a global nonprofit based in Virginia. “United Way agrees in the value and dignity of work. We want people to be able to be able to work and pull themselves out of even needing services and needing things like food stamps.”

Taylor said there was United Way staff from all around the country on Capitol Hill on Thursday ahead of the farm bill vote in the House.

“What we found was there were a lot of congressional offices voting on this bill that didn’t know that SNAP already has work requirements,” he said. “So I think there may be some misunderstanding about exactly what the requirements are in SNAP, which is unfortunate when you’re vote on a bill that is just creating obstacles for needy people.”

However, some Republican members of Congress applauded the SNAP changes in the bill.

“I am especially supportive of the reforms made to SNAP, which require able-bodied individuals aged 18-59 to participate in employment training or work a minimum of 20 hours a week,” said Rep. Ralph Norman, R-S.C., in a statement. “By refocusing reforms on work requirement, those who depend on SNAP, like the elderly and disabled, still have access to the support they need, but significant steps are taken to ensure that Americans are entering the workforce and no longer dependent on federal government assistance.”

The farm bill also contains changes that have angered environmentalists who claim the new rules would undermine clean water rules and exempt pesticide pollution.

The farm bill covers everything from farm subsidies and food stamps to trade and rural development policy. Farmer assistance includes commodity payment programs, as well as subsidized crop insurance. The bill is usually renewed every five years, and the current version is set to expire Sept. 30.

“Passage of a long-term Farm Bill allows farmers and ranchers to plan ahead and make decisions to improve their business,” said Rep. David Valadao, R-Calif., in a release. He represents a congressional district in California’s Central Valley, a region known for its extensive agriculture production.

“Passage of the House farm bill today is a big win for America’s farmers and ranchers,” American Farm Bureau Federation President Zippy Duvall said in a statement. “Our grassroots Farm Bureau members clearly made their voices heard. By approving the 2018 Farm Bill today, members of the House recognized the serious economic challenges facing farmers and ranchers across the country.”

Duvall said the farm organization will now turn its attention to the Senate version of the farm bill and work with Senate Agriculture Committee leaders. Last week, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., indicated he wants to get the farm bill through the upper chamber before the July Fourth recess.

“The Senate bill also addresses the challenges our farmers and ranchers are facing today,” said Duvall. “We will also continue to focus our attention on other areas important to farmers, such as finding a solution for the very serious ag labor shortage, increasing market opportunities through trade and cutting the burdens of regulations that have piled up during previous administrations.”

The Sierra Club issued a press release after the farm bill’s passage slamming what it called “a package that weakens the SNAP anti-hunger program and includes provisions undermining bedrock environmental safeguards for clean water, wildfire and forests.”

Specifically, environmentalists say farm bill includes rollbacks on the Clean Water Act requirements as it relates to pesticides by easing rules on permits. They also called out provisions in the legislation that would speed up logging and mining in forests.

Tillamook Creamery’s New Visitor Center Is a Monument to Dairy

A new visitor center has opened at the Tillamook Creamery.

Let them eat cheese — and ice cream, yogurt, butter and probably sour cream. The new Tillamook Creamery opened to the public on Wednesday.

The renovated visitor center — at about 42,800 square feet — was designed by the Seattle-based architecture firm Olson Kundig and offers an abundance of new features.

A larger dining area has more indoor seating and a spacious outdoor patio. There is an expanded ice cream counter and new coffee and yogurt bars. A revamped menu has grilled-cheese sandwiches, wood-fire pizzas and Pacific Northwest wine and beer.

The monument to dairy has been under construction for the past year and a half. The farmer-owned cooperative typically draws about 1.3 million visitors a year.

“This new visitor’s center will serve as a greeting card not just for Tillamook but the entire state of Oregon,” Gov. Kate Brown said at a ribbon-cutting ceremony Tuesday. “Tillamook Creamery is proudly and uniquely Oregon. (It) has grown to be one of the most renowned dairy companies.”

Brown, who confessed her two favorite foods are cheese and ice cream, spoke of the dairy industry’s impact on the state. The governor gave accolades to Bruce Cardin’s 1997 sixth-grade class for helping make milk Oregon’s state beverage.

Eight-year-old Juliana McCoy traded in a day at camp for a visit to the grand opening with her mom that included a picture with Brown. Her visit was sweetened with one of Tillamook’s famous ice cream cones, and in the visitor center’s Farm Room, she tried to beat the average 21 seconds it takes a professional to prep a cow for milking.

“It was worth it,” McCoy declared.

With $778 million in gross revenues last year, the Tillamook County Creamery Association is the largest co-op in Oregon, employing nearly 900 people. Its approximately 90 farm families — mostly from the Tillamook area — own the cooperative and provide the milk for the cheese, ice cream, yogurt and other products.

“This is our modern day commitment to growth and giving back,” said Patrick Criteser, the president and CEO of the creamery association. “We can all agree the end result far exceed expectations.”


CowManager introduces Fertility Insights and sets next steps towards big data platform

CowManager, the leading cow monitoring company, announces the introduction of Fertility Insights and sets next steps towards a big data platform. Its new data integration capabilities accelerate cow fertility insights and have been designed to collect, manage and process the enormous amount of data being created 24/7 about a cow’s fertility status.

With the average herd size increasing, producers are facing more and more challenges in detecting cows in heat and finding sick cows. Accurate information about cow health is essential to success in dairy farming. CowManager monitors the cows’ condition with great precision, to enable producers to give their cows the attention they need. To be able to provide producers with the most accurate information about a cow’s fertility status, CowManager has created a smart algorithm, which continuously combines fertility data from CowManager and various management systems that are available worldwide. The data from CowManager’s ear sensors are combined with cow events and alert intervals into a new set of alerts in the CowManager system named, Fertility Insights. 

The data is synced continuously and can be configured specifically for every business. Combining cow data gives clear answers about the fertility status of a cow; is she cycling or cystic? What is her heat interval? Was the insemination successful? Is she still pregnant or has she aborted? Is her uterus clean after calving? All this data can be downloaded in reports, which are easy to use for reproductive management and vet checks. A quick overview of all cow data enables producers to make faster and more balanced decisions. It will support producers in selecting for insemination, minimize pregnancy checks and stress, and save management time.

The pie chart in figure 1 is based on lactating cows only. The combination of heat detection with Fertility Insights provides producers a total overview of their herd’s repro status. For example, the 14% fertility issues are being picked up and based on a couple of Fertility Insight statuses. It shows that CowManager basically detects every cow’s fertility status; even when a cow is not coming in heat or when she aborted.

Koen van Meurs, Head of Research & Development at CowManager, explains: “CowManager is continuously developing ways to improve the support systems for producers that enables them to make better business decisions. We listen to the wishes of the modern producers who need innovative solutions and insights to overcome the challenges they are faced with. In our 8-weeks update cycle we deploy as many requests as possible. Fertility Insights has been available since our last global update in June. Customers already using the fertility module now also have access to Fertility Insights. With Fertility Insights CowManager supports producers in a very practical way, day by day.” 

52 More New York Dairy Farmers Without Contracts

According to CBS New York, 52 farmers in New York are being released by Marcus Dairy, a fluid milk processor in Danbury, Conn. Dozens of those producers will be out of business by the end of the month when their contracts expire on June 30.

“We’re scrambling to find another creamery to take us on and buy our milk wholesale,” said Alice Diehl. Adam Diehl is generation number five to run the milking operation with his wife, Alice. Their daughter, Michaela, hopes to be generation six.

“It’s in their bloodstream, it’s part of their DNA to be farmers” said Alice Diehl. “It’s what they do, it’s what they love to do.”

Family matriarch Alice Diehl says the twice daily milking ritual is weeks away from a reckoning.

Farmer Tom Bose is the local supervisor who is working to help the six Sullivan farmers.

“Probably the most difficult time I’ve seen in my lifetime,” said Bose. “Mentally, physically, emotionally, horrible.”

Global forces are hitting local farms, everything from increased production in China, to Walmart bottling its own milk in Indiana. Tastes are changing too. The average American drinks 37% less milk today than in 1970.

On their Facebook page, the Diehl family is encouraging their neighbors and friends to contact their local legislators. Many of the farmers who were dropped by Marcus are small farms and would like to see some kind of supply management system put in place in the U.S. They say the Margin Protection Program has done nothing but put more money into the National Treasury.

Dairy farmer sees 54 cows die overnight

A dairy farmer has told of the “worst night of his career” after more than 50 dairy cows died in a suspected water contamination case.

Tom Rawson, co-founder of the Evolution Farming dairy and agri-consultancy business, has posted devastating news on social media that 54 cows died at his Leicester farm.

Writing on Facebook, Mr Rawson said: “After the worse night in my 20 years of dairy farming, daylight has broken on 54 dead cows at our Leicester site.

“Originally thought to be bloat, it is now believed external water source contamination is the likely cause. A long and emotional night for all the farm team, their families, ourselves and the vet Henry.”

Mr Rawson went on to thank his team and firefighters from Leicestershire Fire and Rescue Service, who worked to save 30 cows.

“Thanks to the quick thinking of our amazing team of people, 30 cows that were down were saved. Also thanks to the fire brigade who were called when it became clear it was a water issue to get water to the cows to flush their systems.”

He added: “I guess now the clear-up operation begins, plus the investigations will start. It will be a long day…”

Pioneering farmer

A former Farmers Weekly Farmer Focus writer, Mr Rawson is a co-director of Evolution Farming, an organisation strongly focused on milk from forage and low-cost block-calving systems. 

Currently managing about 2,400 cows across six sites, Evolution Farming recently added the Leicester dairy, which has opened its doors to farmers and the public, becoming an AhHDB Monitor Farm and taking part in Open Farm Sunday.

Mr Rawson still oversees the management of his home farm near Dewsbury, Yorkshire, as well as the Leicester site and one Lincolnshire farm. 


Source: Farmers Weekly

Cheeky Drive-By Robbery From Milk Delivery Truck

A milk snatcher is caught red-handed stealing from a delivery wagon in a cheeky drive-by robbery.

He struck when a Renault Megane pulled up alongside the truck in a slow line of traffic heading into a city centre.

 A passenger in the Renault Megan casually leans out in a line of slow-moving traffic in Birmingham to start the cheeky robbery

A passenger in the Renault Megan casually leans out in a line of slow-moving traffic in Birmingham to start the cheeky robbery

A motorist in a car behind films on his phone as a passenger – wearing a smart blue business shirt – calmly leans out and grabs a plastic container of six milk cartons before the Megane carries on.

The milk truck driver who had been delivering supplies to a 24-hour convenience store on the main Hagley Road into Birmingham at 5.20am was around the other side of the truck and unaware of the theft.

The driver who recorded the incident said: ‘It all happened so slowly and calmly.

“I couldn’t believe what I was seeing.

 The milk truck driver who had been delivering supplies to a 24-hour convenience store on the main Hagley Road into Birmingham was on the other side of the truck and unaware of the theft

The milk truck driver who had been delivering supplies to a 24-hour convenience store on the main Hagley Road into Birmingham was on the other side of the truck and unaware of the theft

 The passenger who was wearing a smart blue business shirt - calmly leans out and grabs a plastic container of six milk cartons before the driver carries on

The passenger who was wearing a smart blue business shirt – calmly leans out and grabs a plastic container of six milk cartons before the driver carries on

 The driver who recorded the incident said it was as if the milk snatchers had gone fishing and were 'trying to hook a fish'

The driver who recorded the incident said it was as if the milk snatchers had gone fishing and were ‘trying to hook a fish’


How to out-Trump Trump in dairy negotiations

It is time to out-disrupt the disrupter and be more Trumpian than Donald Trump.

The U.S. President has been complaining about high tariffs on dairy products and the inaccessibility of Canada’s market for U.S. dairy producers. Our opening position should be to propose a fully competitive market without any tariff and government regulations (i.e. remove supply management in Canada). This may seem like an impractical starting point, but this position would change the underlying narratives within the United States and, more importantly, among Mr. Trump’s supporters. Here’s why:

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The global dairy industry is highly regulated. In almost all cases, these regulations evolved long before global trade liberalization, which started with the Uruguay round of trade negotiations in the late 1980s. Regulations are mainly driven by unique supply and demand relationships, rather than by the desire to protect domestic markets. In the dairy industry, supply takes a long time to respond to changes in demand. If left to market forces, milk markets tended to fluctuate between gluts or shortages. As a result, governments across the world have been using regulations to steady the supply of milk for consumers. Both Canadian and U.S. dairy markets are highly regulated – albeit using very different tools.

In Canada, we use supply management, while the United States uses an administered price set by the U.S. Department of Agriculture – Federal Milk Marketing Orders (FMMOs). FMMOs set the price of fluid milk after considering regional cost differences. The entire FMMO system can also be thought of as a type of cartel. By establishing the relationship between minimum prices across regions, the FMMO system creates a certain distribution of producer benefits across regions. These administered regional pricing differences help the United States maintain viable dairy farming across the country. To manage excess demand or supply in the U.S. market, the government also intervenes through subsidized production insurance and purchases of dairy products. Canada, under supply management, regulates both prices and the volumes to be produced.

Now, if we insist on removing all government regulations as a bargaining position, then certainly Canadian dairy farmers will be adversely affected – but so too would U.S. dairy farmers. Milk production in the United States would move from high-cost states to low-cost states in the south and west of the country. Wisconsin dairy farmers certainly do not like tariff and non-tariff barriers imposed at Canada’s border, but they would hate the idea of losing the protection of FMMOs.

Globally, the U.S. dairy sector is not as competitive as the Trump administration would have us believe. Currently, both countries allow for dairy product imports up to predetermined amounts under low-tariff quotas (TRQs). Anything above the quota limits faces prohibitive tariffs. As such, both economies have significant trade barriers to foreign dairy products. So, a proposal to abolish tariffs will hurt both sides and change the political support among dairy farmers for the U.S. proposal. In fact, if we add the remaining Group of Seven countries, European Union dairy farmers will be the key beneficiaries under dairy trade liberalization. Reciprocity in tariffs and removal of trade barriers may not be as beneficial as Mr. Trump thinks − and, in many cases, will adversely affect the President’s voter base.

It is possible that a counter argument from the U.S. side would be that Canada should dismantle its supply-management system and adopt the U.S.’s seemingly market-driven administered-pricing system. But we can also suggest the U.S. dairy sector will do better with a supply-managed system. Given current hardships and gluts in the market, it is likely Wisconsin dairy farmers, for example, would overwhelmingly support such a move.

It is difficult to predict exactly where we will end up, but being aggressive with our initial negotiating position will challenge the current Trump narrative that the U.S. dairy industry is an open and competitive sector. In his view, allies such as Canada take advantage of this openness and dump products to hurt U.S. dairy farmers. And at the same time, we put up trade barriers to deny access to our market. Most U.S. farmers almost certainly prefer more government regulation going beyond FMMOs. On the other hand, our highly inefficient supply-management system needs to change, otherwise the dairy sector will always be the weakest link in our future trade negotiations.

If both sides can harmonize regulations then we can in fact create an environment for what Mr. Trump trumpets as “fair trade”. On both sides of the border, dairy sectors need optimum regulations, and not complete and unconditional dismantling of regulations.


Dairy Forage Seminars Part of World Dairy Expo

The 2018 Dairy Forage Seminars, held in conjunction with the World Forage Analysis Superbowl at World Dairy Expo, will once again provide further educational opportunities this year.

Led by professors, researchers, producers and industry representatives, the seminars will feature various topics related to forage production, harvest, storage and feeding.

The Dairy Forage seminar schedule includes:

** October 3: Strategies to Reduce Feed Costs on the Dairy – Mike Hutjens, Professor Emeritus, University of Illinois

** October 3: Dairy Nutrition Research Update – Ken Kalscheur, Geoff Zanton and Mary Beth Hall, Research Dairy Scientists, USDA-ARS, U.S. Dairy Forage Research Center

** October 4: On-farm Feed and Forage Management for a 44,000-Pound Herd – Tom Kestell, Ever-Green-View Farms; and Steve Woodford, Nutrition Professionals, Inc.

** October 4: Corn Silage for Dairy: Past, Present and a Look to the Future – Randy Shaver, Professor, University of Wisconsin-Madison

** October 5: New Insights on Alfalfa-Grass Mixtures for Dairy – Jerry Cherney, Professor, Cornell University

** October 5: Corn Silage Mycotoxins – Phil Cardoso, Assistant Professor, University of Illinois

** October 6: Seeing the Total Financial Picture of the Dairy Puzzle, of Which Forage is One of the Pieces – Gary Sipiorski, Dairy Development Manager, Vita Plus, Inc.

In addition to the Dairy Forage Seminars, the World Forage Analysis Superbowl is once again seeking entries for the ever-growing forage competition with more than $22,000 in cash prizes to be awarded. Producers wishing to enter corn silage samples must have entries submitted by July 1.

All other category entries must be received by Aug. 30. For more information about entering the World Forage Analysis Superbowl, visit

Trudeau Has Billions of Reasons to Dig In Against Trump on Dairy

Justin Trudeau’s defense of Canadian dairy tariffs isn’t just about farmers and politics — it’s about debt, too.

The prime minister squared off with Donald Trump this month over Canada’s “supply management” system, which sets quotas for dairy, eggs and poultry and charges high tariffs above that threshold. Despite a U.S. surplus on dairy trade with Canada, the president wants to blow apart the Canadian system.

Trudeau is digging in for a variety of reasons, including the financial fallout. Canada’s protected dairy system caps production to avoid oversupply and maintain stable prices for farmers. Permits to sell within supply management’s cap, known as quota, have grown in value and are now worth C$35 billion ($26 billion), with about C$30 billion in dairy specifically. Farmers use quota as collateral, and total farm debt across Canada amounts to C$102 billion — nearly one-third of it lent through a federal agency.

If Trudeau bowed to calls for supply management to be dismantled, he’d be eroding a key asset in a sector to which his government is a key lender.

“It’d be catastrophic because we’ve gone through and assessed and included that value in our business plans and business operations,” said Ralph Dietrich, chairman of the Dairy Farmers of Ontario, an industry group in Canada’s most populous province. “The increased value is because of the desire to be involved in a system that works.”

It’s unclear precisely how much debt is secured by the value of Canadian dairy quota. Farm Credit Canada, a lender owned by the federal government, oversees C$31 billion in loans, as of its last annual report. Of that, C$5.7 billion is in dairy loans. The agency declined an interview request, but said in a statement most dairy loans are secured by a combination of quota and other assets, and just over 1 percent are secured by quota value alone.

Chartered banks also hold about C$38 billion in total farm debt while credit unions hold another C$15 billion, according to Statistics Canada. The agency doesn’t break out dairy debt loads specifically.

Trump, meanwhile, isn’t the only person who has called for an end to the system.

“The value of quota now completely distorts the ability to be productive,” Martha Hall Findlay, president of the Canada West Foundation think tank and a former lawmaker, said in a BNN Bloomberg interview last week. “We should do what we need to do in moving away from supply management with compensation, transition — nobody wants to harm anybody.”

Canada’s biggest cheesemaker also says Trump’s criticism of certain parts of Canada’s dairy system has merit. “I understand the frustration of the U.S. side and quite frankly I think they have every reason to be upset,” Saputo Inc. Chief Executive Officer Lino Saputo Jr. said Monday in a phone interview.

Nafta and TPP

Amid intensifying trade tensions with China, Trump continues to lash out against Canadian dairy tariffs. The U.S. is pressing to abolish supply management altogether in North American Free Trade Agreement talks, which Trudeau’s government expects will continue through summer. Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue said the U.S. doesn’t want to “do away” with the system, but would like “more access.” Foreign Minister Chrystia Freeland will update lawmakers on Canada’s position in the talks Tuesday afternoon in Ottawa.

When Canada signed the Trans Pacific Partnership, it gave up a sliver of its market — 3.3 percent on dairy, and other concessions — and washed it down with C$4.3 billion in announced funding for farmers, including C$1.5 billion to support quota value.

Supply management can be lucrative. While the average net worth of a Canadian farm is C$2.8 million, the average poultry and dairy farms are worth C$5.8 million and C$3.8 million respectively, according to Statistics Canada. To be sure, these types of farms also carry more than double the dollar value of liabilities of an average farm in Canada. Still, the expense-to-receipt ratio for dairy operators is 0.77, the most favorable among farming businesses; for all other types of farms, the average is 0.86.

There were 10,525 dairy farms in Canada in 2016, representing 5.4 percent of all farms. Recent farm income data from Statistics Canada show dairy products make up around twice that proportion when it comes to sales — cash receipts from dairy products were C$6.6 billion in 2017, or 10.7 percent of total farm cash receipts.

‘Stupid Policies’

Other countries have included transition funding for farmers to move away from similar systems, according to Jack Mintz, a fellow at the University of Calgary’s School of Public Policy who calls supply management “completely nonsensical” and urges Trudeau to get rid of it.

“It’s of course uncomfortable when you make policy changes, which is why I feel it’s very important to avoid stupid policies in the first place,” Mintz said. Some farmers had to borrow money to buy quota, he said. “That’s why you end up doing something like having transition” funding.

Lyle Vanclief, who served as Canada’s agriculture minister from 1997 to 2003, said neither the Clinton nor Bush administrations pressed to abolish supply management, though countries like New Zealand criticized it and it was always a thorn in trade talks.

“I certainly had some spirited debates and discussion at the WTO,” he said. Trump and others don’t understand supply management, he said. “What’s Trump prepared to give up in order to get it? Nothing, nothing. So I think our government has to stand up.”


Wolfe Family and Ovaltop Farms win McKown Master Breeder Award

The philosophy at Ovaltop has always been to breed a top herd of registered Holsteins while improving each generation by pursuing exceptional type, outstanding production, and enhanced genetic potential. The Wolfe family has surely accomplished those goals.

Ovaltop Holsteins of Richfield Springs, N.Y., has been selected by the Klussendorf Association as the tenth recipient of the Robert “Whitey” McKown Master Breeder Award. This award recognizes a well-managed breeder and herd that has been successful at showing and judging dairy cattle. Winners exemplify all qualities of the Klussendorf Award, including ability, character, endeavor, and sportsmanship. The Wolfe family will be formally recognized at the 52nd World Dairy Expo in Madison, Wis.

The Wolfe Family has been recognized as Premier Breeder and Exhibitor at the New York State Fair, New York Spring Red and White Show, New York International Spring Holstein Show, and Pennsyvania All-American Red and White Shows Shown (L to R) are: Doug, Mike, Howard, and Ginny.

Howard, Ginny, Doug, and Mike Wolfe have developed Ovaltop Holsteins into the highly recognized herd it is today. Ovaltop Holsteins’ prefix dates to 1929 and has bred 170 Excellent cows. They have bred four Excellent 94-point cows, 13 Excellent 93-point cows, 23 Excellent 92- point cows, 43 Excellent 91-point cows, 87 Excellent 90-point cows, along with 427 cows scored at Very Good. In addition, they have developed 25 other Excellent cows that were purchased from other herds.

The Wolfe family was originally from New Jersey but relocated to Richfield Springs, N.Y., in 1977 where they milk 90 cows. The herd is 100 percent registered Holsteins and they farm 500 acres of land. The Ovaltop herd is a 28-time Progressive Breeder of Registry (PBR) herd, which is currently the longest winning streak in the state of New York. The Wolfe’s lactation average on the 90-cow herd is 26,519 pounds of milk and they have a Breed Age Average (BAA) of 110.3. BAA, of course, compares all herds on confirmation and their 110.3 rating ranks in the top 100 herds in the entire United States.

One of their favorite cows that just finished its career is Ovaltop Chesapeake Nikita-ET (4E-93). She is part of a multigenerational homebred Excellent group that started with Lemax Valiant Nada (3E-94-DOM) and was one of Mike Wolfe’s best show cows.

The Wolfes also bredone Gold Medal (GM) Sire, 8 Gold Medal Dams (GMD), and 11 Dam of Merits (DOM). Never afraid to add foundation genetics to their herd, Ovaltop has integrated members of the most prestigious cow families of the breed. Cow families include C Glenridge Citation Roxy (EX-97-GMD), Cherown SY Delilah (EX-96), C Alanvale Inspiration Tina (EX-95 GMD-DOM), KHW Regiment Apple-Red-ET (EX-96-DOM), and many others.

Howard and Ginny have also been honored by the New York State Holstein Association along with the national association for their dedication and commitment to the Holstein industry. They were the 2000 New York State Active Master Breeders, New York Holstein Association’s highest honor. Ginny was named “Friend of New York Holstein” in 2011.

Many times, the family has been honored with Premier Breeder and Premier Exhibitor on the local and regional level, New York State Fair, New York Spring Red and White Show, New York International Spring Holstein Show, Pennsyvania All-American Red and White Shows, and other prestigious shows, along with numerous All-New York and Junior All-New York awards.

Several Ovaltop bred animals have also been nominated for All-American honors. The Ovaltop show team also takes pride in their multiple herdsmanship awards at shows. Their display is always attractive, neat, and appealing to visitors.

The entire family has been active in the local Otsego-Herkimer-Montgomery (O-H-M) Holstein Club and all its activities. Mike and Monica Wolfe, representing the next generation, have four children, the oldest of which are very involved in the local Holstein Club and 4-H. They enjoy showing and cows as much as the rest of the family.

Mike’s brother, Doug, currently serves on the Show Committee for the New York Holstein Association, which he chaired for several years, and Ginny is chairperson of the Publications Committee. Ovaltop is a longtime, monthly advertiser in the New York Holstein News. Both Doug and Mike are accomplished judges and have officiated at shows throughout New York and the Northeast.

The entire Wolfe family is passionate about agriculture and breeding an outstanding herd of registered Holsteins. Their dedication to their farm, their local and state Holstein associations, and their community have earned them the honor of being named the 2018 McKown Master Breeder.

Past winners of the Robert “Whitey” McKown Master Breeder Award include: Wendon Holsteins, Innisfail, Alberta, Canada, 2017; Ferme Jacobs Inc., Cap-Santé, Quebec, 2016; Walk-Era, Wisconsin Dells, Wis., 2015; Pond View Farm, Danville, Vt., 2014; Quality Holsteins, Vaughan, Ontario, 2013; New Windsor Farm, New Windsor, Md., 2012; Moondale, Monona, Iowa, 2011; Snider Homestead, New Enterprise, Pa., 2010; and Windy Knoll View, Mercersburg, Pa., 2009.

The Robert “Whitey” McKown Memorial Breeder Award was made possible by the family and friends of the 1997 Honorary Klussendorf honoree after his passing in 2009. Whitey joined the Holstein World staff in 1956 and became widely respected as he traveled nationally and internationally, reporting on shows, sales, meetings, and other Holstein events. The 1987 National Dairy Shrine president also developed MooKown Holsteins at Belleville, N.Y. Whitey had great admiration for the farmer breeder.

The Klussendorf Memorial Association, considered by many as the Hall of Fame for Dairy Cattle Exhibitors, began in 1937 in memory of Arthur B. Klussendorf, considered the outstanding dairy cattle showman of his time. Each year, the Klussendorf Association votes to add a new dairy cattle exhibitor to its rolls with lifetime membership for their cumulative works including ability, character, endeavor, and sportsmanship.

Fire causes more than $250,000 in damage at Vanderstappen Farms

A fire Tuesday morning caused $250,000 in damage at Vanderstappen Farms in Hebron.

On the Vanderstappen farm, 4:30 a.m. is chore time.

When David Vanderstappen woke up at 4:30 a.m. Tuesday, he left behind his wife, Katie – who is pregnant with twins – and walked up a dirt hill toward the barn to milk the cows, but something was wrong.

David returned to the house in a hurry, his wife said.

“Call 911,” he said. “The barn’s on fire.”

Firefighters were dispatched at
4:52 a.m. to Vanderstappen Farms in the 12000 block of Hebron Road, Spring Grove Fire Chief Rich Tobiasz said. When crews arrived, they found the farm’s old barn engulfed in flames – an incident that caused more than $250,000 in damage.

The farm is in a rural area, and crews could not find any hydrants, forcing the department to bring a tanker truck full of water. Firefighters used a bulldozer and crawler with backhoe to pull apart the main structure to put out hot spots and smoldering straw, Hebron-Alden-Greenwood Fire Protection District officials said.

The cause of the fire remains undetermined, but authorities said the blaze is not suspicious.

Cattle trailers joined fire trucks on the property to take the farm’s cows to the Kooistra Dairy Farm in Woodstock. None of the 93 cows were harmed, and no people were injured, but the barn was a total loss, officials said.

“It’s just awful,” Katie Vanderstappen said, watching crews knock down the charred barn remains. Due with twins in August, she snacked on an apple. “It’s just awful.”

As crews worked to control and extinguish the fire, Jim Vanderstappen shifted between tears and shock.

“I cried already, but I’m still crying on the inside,” he said. “It’s been a lot of work. I remember building this.”

His father opened the farm on Hebron Road in 1942. Jim Vanderstappen was 9 when he moved to the farm. He helped build the barn that crumbled into debris and ash Tuesday morning.

He sold the farm to his son, David, in March 2016. It was important to keep the farm in the family. Farm life is good for kids when they’re growing up, he said.

“I didn’t want his kids to live in the subdivision and miss it,” Jim Vanderstappen said.

He said insurance should help the family rebuild the barn.

“I’ve got to find a bright spot somewhere,” Jim Vanderstappen said.

In the meantime, cattle will live on the dairy farms of friends. David Vanderstappen spent the morning milking his cows at the Kooistra Dairy Farm while his family watched the flames smolder. The Northwest Herald could not reach him for comment Tuesday.

The cows are milked twice a day, with a 12-hour break between sessions. Catastrophes do not cancel dairy production, said David’s sister, Kelly Vanderstappen.

“Those cows gotta get milked,” she said.


DAIRY IS SCARY: 60 Billboards Launched In LA As Part Of Major Vegan Campaign

One of the billboards in Los Angeles (Photo: In Defense of Animals)

A vegan charity has launched a major anti-milk campaign across Los Angeles – putting up 60 billboards across the city in a bid to educate people about the cruelty of the dairy industry.

In Defense of Animals teamed up with vegan YouTuber Erin Janus, who is best known for her viral video ‘Dairy is Scary’ for the initiative.

According to the  charity: “In both English and Spanish, the billboards invite onlookers to watch Erin’s video exposing common dairy industry practices of forcibly impregnating cows, stealing their babies, and turning them into veal and hamburgers long before their 25-year natural lifespan.”

Dairy month

June is National Dairy Month across the US – an industry initiative aimed at promoting cow’s milk-based products. In Defense of Animals said: “Since 1937, the dairy industry has…used [the scheme] as a marketing tool to promote the consumption of dairy products. But consumers are getting wiser, and thanks to recent studies by the Harvard School of Public Health and many others, we now know that dairy is not necessary or even beneficial to our health.”

The billboards want to battle this pro-milk message by sharing Erin Janus’ video, which calls on viewers to take a 21-day dairy-free challenge and try some of the plant-based milks available.

“In our fight for animal welfare, the environment, and our own personal health; making the decision to go dairy-free is one of the most impactful steps that we as individuals can take,” says the charity.


A Canadian-made artificial intelligence-powered system set to maximize a farmer’s profitability

Dairy cows are shown in a barn on a farm in Eastern Ontario on Wednesday, April 19, 2017. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Sean Kilpatrick

Get ready for the “internet of cows.” Generations of farmers have relied on knowledge and family expertise to grow food, but the sector is set for a surge of disruption at the hands of made-in-Canada artificial intelligence-powered systems.

AI is now helping farmers across the country to increase yields, save costs and minimize environmental damage. Instead of spreading fertilizer across acres of fields or spraying entire orchards with herbicides, they can now target their efforts for maximum effect.

SomaDetect Inc. of Fredericton, New Brunswick, is preparing to deliver commercial systems this fall that will test milk and use AI to provide insights to maximize a farmer’s profitability, dairy farmers monitor their herds through the “internet of cows.”

Sensors installed at each milking stall identify each cow, test their milk and quickly provide farmers metrics such as protein and fat counts, indicators of disease, hormones that manage reproduction and antibiotic residuals.

“We are in a fourth revolution in agriculture and AI is absolutely critical,” said co-founder Bethany Deshpande.

However, Deshpande said the use of the technology is at an early stage where farmers are just starting to understand its power and the potential difference it can make on their operations.

“A lot of farmers have been demanding better technology, demanding better products for a long time and I think AI is huge part of how they’re going to get that.”

Montreal-based Motorleaf Inc. has developed a system that acquires data from indoor growing operations and applies artificial intelligence and machine-learning algorithms to identify growing patterns in the greenhouse, which can then be used to predict the size of future harvests.

It’s like giving farmers a virtual assistant, said co-founder and CEO Alastair Monk, who formed the company two years ago with Ramen Dutta, an agricultural engineer.

“All of those ingredients are going to get mixed up into soup and out the other end comes an algorithm specifically for that greenhouse … so they can make smarter decisions instead of rolling the dice and risking what happens after they make those decisions.”

Yield forecasts are crucial for growers because they indicate how much produce will be available for pre-sold contracts.

Traditional counting methods can be off by 20 to 30 per cent because farmers estimate the yield for the entire crop after counting samples of vegetables, leaves and flowers in a small area.

SunSelect, a California greenhouse customer that cultivates tomatoes, is one customer that abandoned manual predictions after Motorleaf’s algorithms doubled the accuracy of its weekly yield projection, resulting in significant savings for the grower, Motorleaf said.

Systems incorporating machine learning, a type of artificial intelligence, are able to make millions of calculations to detect patterns imperceptible by humans that are required for precision planting, autonomous vehicles and robotics, says Graham Taylor, associate professor of engineering at the University of Guelph and faculty member at Toronto’s Vector Institute for Artificial Intelligence.

AI researchers are largely focused on applications for deep-pocketed businesses and tech firms, but its use in agriculture is attracting global interest because of the pressing need to feed a growing global population amid increasing water shortages and a changing climate.

“Everybody’s interested in AI right now and agriculture is a major concern for us as humanity,” he said.

“When faced with these sorts of really scary potential problems that’s going to make (the adoption of AI in agriculture) move a little quicker,” Taylor said in an interview.

A combination of drones and AI technology have helped to alleviate stress on California pistachio and almond crops by watering only where it’s needed, said David MacMillan, CEO of Toronto-based Deveron UAS, that is building one of North America’s largest network of drones.

“In a place like California where your water costs are over $1,000 an acre, there’s all these different value propositions,” he said.

The technology can also be used in Ontario corn fields to target the use of fertilizers to areas that require extra help, saving farmers money.

Canada is well-positioned to be a leader in the field because it has disproportionate strength in artificial intelligence that is supported by government, Taylor believes.

The federal government has earmarked $950 million in funding on technology “superclusters” designed to encourage academia and businesses to work together on strategies to boost fast-growing sectors.

The five selected superclusters include an agriculture group based in the Prairies that will work to make the country a leading source of plant proteins.

The technology carries a potential downside, however: the systems could eventually replace farm jobs such as manual picking and weeding, Taylor said.

Robots can milk cows, pick apples and weed cabbage patches. Yet farming jobs that require physical activity or the operation of machinery in unpredictable environments are moderately threatened by automation, according a McKinsey report.

“Things like weeding, those tasks might be replaced,” Taylor said.

“But I don’t think you’re going to see completely automated farm facilities in the near future.”


Source: CTV News

Missing 3-year-old Lost in Missouri Cornfield Found with Her Dog Who Stays By Her Side Whole Time

A mother from Butler County, Missouri is thrilled her daughter is safe after she went missing near their home in Qulin, Mo. around 8 p.m. Thursday night.

It took police and volunteers almost 12 hours to find three-year-old Remy Elliott and her pet Yorkshire Terrier, Fat Heath, in the rows of a cornfield Friday morning.

“I feel a lot better, especially since we know she is okay. She is back to her normal self now,” said Timber Merritt, Remy’s mom.

The mother of three says the entire experience of searching for her lost daughter was stressful from the very beginning.

“I looked for her by myself thinking maybe she was just in the woods or somewhere where I just couldn’t see her,” Merritt said. “And I was calling for her and calling for her, and when she wasn’t calling back I realized I don’t think I’m going to find her on my own.”

That is when Merritt started calling friends, family, and local law enforcement to form a search party, which grew beyond the family’s expectations.

“It went from five people to about 75 to 100 people out here by the time we were done,” Merritt said.

A search and rescue team, volunteers from nearby communities, even a few helicopters spread out over a cornfield surrounding the house to actively search the area.

John Copp, a family friend, was one of the first people to start helping Thursday night.

“It was stressful and emotional,” he said. “We were all just walking back and forth from one end to the other just yelling her name. All the flashlights started dying and the sheriff’s office decided to call if for the night.”

As morning broke the search continued around 6 a.m. and other volunteers like Makayla Hardcastle joined the group to walk the rows of corn.

“The corn feels like razor blades cutting you, especially for a child,” Hardcastle said. “And you don’t hear well in the corn either, so when somebody is yelling your name you can hear them but you don’t know where it is coming from.”

Merritt’s brother, Quinlin, drove all the way from western Kentucky to help, and was the one who found Remy and her dog about half a mile away from the house lying down on some broken corn stalks.

“They said that she was asleep when he picked her up,” Ms. Merritt said. “She was definitely exhausted, hot, really sweaty and it took a while to drink anything. She said she wasn’t scared because Fat Heath was there. If he wasn’t I think she would’ve been terrified.”

After being checked out at the Black River Medical Center in Poplar Bluff visit the young girl is back to her normal self, and has some itch cream to treat her mosquito bites.

“I’ve never seen that many mosquito bites. We are going to give her a bath and keep putting medicine on it.”

Merritt has a few plans for how to prevent any of their children from getting lost in the cornfield off County Road 243 again.

“Hopefully put a fence around the yard, or keep her inside,” the mom said with a laugh.

Parrott said officials believe she wandered off on Thursday night when she went missing around 8 p.m.

About 50 people and two helicopters were searching in the field on County Rd. 243.


New Zealand farmers taking massive blow from disease cull to protect others

OPINION: This time last year few of us had even heard of Mycoplasma bovis and now this disease is proving devastating to a group of cattle farmers.

We have seen the heart-wrenching scenes of farmers loading otherwise healthy cows onto trucks headed for slaughter and have listened to the descriptions from farmers who have to wake up every morning to the silence of farms devoid of livestock.

Last month, the Government with industry support made the decision to pursue a phased eradication of this production-limiting disease.

Knowing the pain it was going to cause some farmers meant that it was not a decision made lightly.  These farmers are taking a massive blow to protect the 99 per cent of farmers who don’t have Mycoplasma bovis (M. bovis) on their properties. We, as an industry, need to do everything we can to support these people both financially and emotionally.

At the time of writing, around 200 farms are under movement control. This is out of 24,000 sheep beef and dairy farms wand their long-term productivity could be severely impacted if this disease was left to spread unchecked.

Yes, it is going to cost us and while some of this cost will be front-loaded, ultimately attempting eradication is a good investment to protect the industries that underpin this country’s economy.

While Government will pay the lion’s share of the cost, DairyNZ and Beef + lamb New Zealand will contribute and this contribution will be calculated on an industry-specific basis, reflecting both the size of the industries and the relative impacts on the industries.

Having been around the table representing the beef industry during many of these discussions, I have been impressed with the way the stakeholders – particularly the government, DairyNZ, and Beef + Lamb New Zealand –  have been able to come together and agree on a way forward.

Through the Government Industry Agreement (GIA) model, industry and government are able to co-govern the response and through this co-governance, ensure transparent decision making.

This co-governance group is being guided by a Technical Advisors Group (TAG) made up of 10 international epidemiologists who have looked at the technical feasibility of eradicating M. bovis in New Zealand – and they believe it can be done.

There will be trigger points along the way to take stock of progress, ensure we are all the right track and assess new information as it becomes available.

While the co-governance group is doing its best to prevent the disease spreading, it is up to all of us individual farmers to play our part in protecting our businesses.

There is a raft of information and resources on the Ministry for Primary Industries (MPI), DairyNZ and Beef + Lamb New Zealand websites about how to do this and farmers are encouraged to phone their vets or MPI with any questions or concerns.

Most importantly, look after each other and support those who through no fault of their own are having to deal with this disease on their farms.


College students awarded Klussendorf and McKown Scholarships

The Klussendorf Association and McKown Fund are excited to announce the seven $1,500 scholarship recipients totaling $10,500 in awards. These scholarships are presented annually to students in their first, second, or third year at a two-year or four-year college or university in the United States or Canada majoring in dairy science, animal science, agri-business, or other related majors that will develop the skills needed to pursue a career in the dairy industry. In all, over 80 students applied for these prestigious scholarships.


McGehee, Olufs, and Sweeney announced as Klussendorf scholarship recipients

Mary McGehee did not grow up on a dairy farm, but she says that dairy cattle have been a part of her life as long as she can remember. Most of her experience with dairy farming comes from working with her father, who is a bovine veterinarian, and conducting her own research with dairy cattle and farm environments. She has been a three-time finalist at the International Science and Engineering Fair for her research on the isolation of Mycoplasma bovis in dairy cattle. McGehee hails from Okeechobee, Fla., where she and her two older brothers own a small herd of show cattle. She just finished her first year at Illinois’ Kaskaskia College and is thankful for the opportunities she has to be a part of the dairy industry.


The dairy cow has played an important role in Carly Olfus’ life. Being a dairy farmer, she has learned how to be responsible, manage her time, manage her finances, and help others whenever the opportunity arises. Olfus resides in Petaluma, Calif., and is a junior at Oklahoma State University. She has a passion for breeding quality Jersey and Holstein cattle. She has bred and developed her own herd of 20 registered Jerseys and Holsteins and bred the Grand Champion Jersey Cow at the All-American Jersey Show in 2015. In the future, she looks forward to working with dairy farmers to enhance the production capabilities of their cows.


A native from Appleton, N.Y., Christopher Sweeney grew up showing dairy cattle with his cousins in 4-H. Sweeney is a senior at Cornell and has found internships through college where he was able to work on a 1,000-cow dairy farm one summer and assist with planting and harvesting 1,500 acres another summer. He is excited to be a fifth-generation dairy farmer on his family farm. He intends to incorporate new practices and technologies that he has learned about while in college. His favorite quote by author Og Mandino, who he says has shaped him into the person he is today: “Always do your best. What you plant now, you will harvest later.”


McKown scholarship awarded to Allen, Gambonini, Krull, and Morrison

Katelyn Allen is the third generation on her family’s dairy, Glen-Toctin Farm, in Jefferson, Md. She is a senior at Virginia Tech where she is an active member of the dairy science club and competes on the college’s dairy judging team. Her involvement in many different aspects of the dairy industry, from showing and production to advocacy and networking, has taught her the value of dairy farming and milk. Allen believes there is a need to improve agricultural literacy for people removed from the farm. In the future she plans to work for transparency in agriculture and help build consumer trust, and therefore hopefully demand too.


Dairy judging, showing, and dairy bowl are all some of Alexandra Gambonini’s favorite hobbies. She is the fifth generation on her family’s dairy, Gamlake Dairy, located in Petaluma, Calif. Her involvement on the farm as a young girl is what sparked her interest and passion for the dairy industry. She is most active with their show animals and keeping up on bull proofs to genetically advance her and her family’s herd. Gambonini owns 66 registered Holsteins and two Brown Swiss. She has no doubt that her future career will be in the dairy industry, and she believes that her studies at Cal Poly have given her the hands-on experience to be successful in whatever she does.


Carly Krull is happiest when she is near her cows. She says growing up on a dairy farm has made her into the leader she is today. In the future, she wants to ensure that young people are able to have the same experiences as she did in the dairy industry. Krull is from Lake Mills, Wis., where her family has registered Holsteins, Red and Whites, and Jerseys. She is a junior at Iowa State University studying dairy science and international agriculture. After college, she would like to work with dairy reproduction, animal health, or farm management. Her drive to pursue a career in the dairy industry comes from the many true-life lessons she learned growing up, as well as the joy and happiness she experiences around cows.


Tanner Morrison has many great mentors in the dairy industry, and he hopes to be one himself in the future. Morrison grew up in Peterson, Minn., and is currently a junior at the University of Minnesota. He feels incredibly blessed to have grown up working with his family on their dairy farm, Esperanza Cattle Company. His family’s herd is 100 percent registered Holsteins, and he owns eight animals himself. His interest is in dairy cattle genetics and nutrition. Morrison has a passion for developing high-type show cattle and knows that formulating correct diets is part of developing elite cattle. In the future he wants to give back to the dairy community and coach youth dairy judging and serve as a volunteer for the Junior Holstein Association.


The Klussendorf scholarships are made available as a result of a gift from the late Klussendorf member Chris Kampf, who won the Klussendorf award in 1956. Money raised by the McKown family and friends of the late “Whitey” McKown, named an honorary Klussendorf member in 1997, make up the funds available for the McKown Scholarship. The Arthur B. Klussendorf Memorial Association honors those who most nearly exemplify the character and ethics of the late, legendary showman and dairy cattle fitter.


For more information about the individuals being recognized at the National Dairy Shrine awards banquet on Thursday, October 4, in Madison, Wis., or for banquet tickets, contact Executive Director Dr. David Selner at

Behind Trump’s dairy rant

President Trump’s weekend rant against Canada’s dairy policies has deep roots in electoral politics — namely, those of Wisconsin, a state that responded to Trump’s “America First” trade rhetoric and helped him win the White House.

It was there, in April 2017, at a Snap-on tools factory, that Trump chose to unveil his “Buy American, Hire American” executive order aimed at giving domestic manufacturers preference in government contracts. And that was when Trump first blasted “some very unfair things” in Canada’s dairy trade regime.

Trump, who has been prone to a bit of magnification, in this case actually understated the Canadian tariff during last week’s Group of 7 summit in Quebec — it’s as high as 313.5% for butterfat, compared with the “270% on dairy” the president cited.

From there, though, the situation gets a lot more complicated.

Despite any tariffs, Canada remains the second-biggest foreign market for U.S. dairy products — it bought $792 million in U.S. cheese, milk protein isolates, butter, whey and other milk derivatives last year, according to the U.S. Dairy Export Council.

Canada exported much less — $149 million — to the U.S., according to the Canadian government. (There is ample dispute over how much of that southward traffic consists of dairy products made from U.S. ingredients.)

For those keeping score — and that would certainly include Canadian dairy farmers — that’s roughly a 5:1 trade imbalance in favor of the U.S.

The escalating statistical war may have consumers’ heads spinning fast enough to churn butter. Nearly everyone knows Canada is a partner in the North American Free Trade Agreement. So, why isn’t dairy trade “free?”

It turns out some exports are freer than others.

“Let’s not pretend we’re in a global free market when it comes to agriculture,” Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau told Bloomberg shortly after Trump’s Wisconsin remarks.

For instance, Canada has complained regularly that U.S. subsidies on corn and other crops give U.S. growers an unfair advantage.

NAFTA’s “free” trade elements have rolled out slowly over decades, and the pact never fully opened Canada’s dairy market. Ottawa was allowed to keep its tight control of dairy supplies and prices, a program it calls “supply management.” Canada can dun U.S. imports severely once they exceed about 10% of the market.

U.S. farmers have gained a lot more from trade with Mexico, whose imports of U.S. dairy products skyrocketed under the agreement, to $1.3 billion.

Canadian dairy farmers on Monday goaded their U.S. counterparts for producing vastly more than the market demands. That has swelled U.S. cheese and butter reserves to hundreds of millions of pounds. Wisconsin alone produces more dairy products than all of Canada, noted Pierre Lampron, president of Dairy Farmers of Canada.

“Clearly, the Canadian market is too small to make a dent in U.S. overproduction,” Lampron said.

California exported $1.4 billion in dairy products in 2016, about 12% of which went to Canada, according to the state Department of Food and Agriculture.

U.S. dairy exports, however, have largely plateaued at about 15% of production. The industry has launched an ambitious plan to increase exports to 20% by 2020.

The effort is being pushed by the export council, headed by President Obama’s former agricultural secretary, Tom Vilsack, an Iowa native. While Vilsack glowingly referred to Mexicans as “our brethren” in dairy trade, he said the U.S.-Canadian relationship “can best be described as heavily strained,” during congressional testimony last year.

Canada’s dairy lobby spends an estimated $80 million to $120 million to keep the relationship just so, making it a “political third rail,” according to the CanadaWest Foundation, a policy think tank.

Last year, Canada extended its supply management rules to cover an ultra-filtered milk powder used in cheese production, limiting U.S. imports in hopes of boosting domestic production. That move lopped millions from U.S. trade, predominantly from neighboring Wisconsin and New York, and tripled Canadian exports of the milk classification, according to the National Milk Producers Federation.

That change fueled dairy support for renegotiating NAFTA, which already had been a core tenet of Trump’s trade policy. Another was abandonment of the Trans-Pacific Partnership, a 12-nation accord that would have given the U.S. an additional, albeit thin, slice of the Canadian dairy market.

Both NAFTA 2.0 and a revamped TPP, without the U.S., have drawn the ire of Canada’s dairy industry, which is centered in the eastern portion of the country where its political support is highest.

Asked about retaliating to U.S. tariffs on aluminum and steel, Trudeau said in a news conference at the end of the G-7 meeting that while Canadians are known to be polite, “we will not be pushed around.” Trump responded with tweets characterizing Trudeau as “dishonest and weak,” and followed later with a tweetstorm from Singapore, where he was preparing for a summit with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un.

“Sorry, we cannot let our friends, or enemies, take advantage of us on Trade anymore. We must put the American worker first!” Trump wrote. “Fair Trade is now to be called Fool Trade if it is not Reciprocal.”



Minnesota dairy farm with highest-quality milk sold its herd

The Schlangen family on Oct. 17, 2017, in Dan and Jolene’s dairy barn about a month before they auctioned their herd. From left to right: Corine, Jolene, Travis, baby Everett, Kayla, Liz, Brad and Dan Schlangen.(Photo: Courtesy of Liz Schlangen)

Stearns County dairy farms made up 22 percent of the herds highlighted by the state for top-quality milk this year.

But the top producer on the Department of Agriculture’s newest list, a Stearns County family farm, sold its cows last November after four years in the red. 

For more than 10 years, the Minnesota Department of Agriculture has celebrated farms with the lowest somatic cell counts, a measure for milk quality. Lower counts are better for cheese production and shelf life for bottled milk, according to department.

Daniel and Jolene Schlangen have kept low somatic cell counts and been recognized for their efforts by the state and dairy cooperative First District Association for 15 years, Daniel Schlangen said.They were at the top of the state list released this month

“We just loved what we did,” Schlangen said Thursday. “We were extremely proud of what we were doing.”

The couple sold off their herd late last year — about 170 red and white Holsteins, he said. “Four consecutive years of complete red ink, you can’t survive that.”

It’s a tough time to be a farmer in the U.S. Labor prices are high and milk prices are low. First District Association has had more than the average number of farm quits this year, said CEO Clint Fall. 

Lower somatic cell counts make milk more valuable to producers, according to a Wednesday press release from the Department of Agriculture. 

“It’s especially important to recognize these dairy farmers at a time when milk prices are low and the dairy industry is struggling,” said Department Commissioner Dave Frederickson in the release. “Despite this adversity, these producers have worked hard to improve the management of their herds to reach this level of excellence.”

Minnesota groups have worked with dairy farmers for 15 years to lower somatic cell counts in an initiative called Quality Count$. It’s not a matter of food safety, but quality, and relates to a cow’s resistance to mastitis, inflammation of the mammary glands and udder tissue.

There’s been a big drop in those cell counts, as Minnesota farmers have worked to meet international standards from the European Union, said Fall.

“I take my hat off to those farms that are in the top 100. It’s quite an honor,” Fall said of the list of farms with the lowest counts. The co-op tests producers’ somatic cell counts upon delivery of the milk and average the counts for the state. 

“(The Schlangen’s) were always our number one in First District,” Fall said. “They managed their cell counts like a hawk.”

The couple bought the farm from Daniel Schlangen’s mother 19 years ago. His father brought in dairy cows 12 years prior to that, he said. And four years ago he and his wife invested and added on to their barn. 

“You lay it all on the line as a small farmer,” he said.

Unlike in other industries, farmers don’t get to set their own prices, and they are losing $5 on every 100 pounds of milk, Schlangen said.  “It makes a grown man lay down and cry, but you can’t do anything about it.”

The couple still owns their farm in Eden Lake Township, near Paynesville, which they continue to run with help. They both have non-farming jobs now. He drives a truck from Wisconsin to South Dakota,  and she works at Coldspring.

They took a camping holiday over Memorial Day weekend for the first time in about two decades. He loves that they get regular paychecks and health benefits. 

“We don’t know how to act some days. We’re enjoying the weekends,” Schlangen said. But his heart remains with small businesses and family farmers. 

“I really feel sorry for all our coworkers, I would call them,” he said. “Co-farmers.”

Stearns County milk producers with the lowest somatic cell counts in Minnesota: 

  • 1. Dan and Jolene Schlangen
  • 5. Felling Dairy LLC
  • 10. Gregory Dairy LLC
  • 16. Joe and Kim Engelmeyer
  • 17. Paul Mehr
  • 18. Jeff Middendorf
  • 21. Schefers Bros LLC
  • 22. Herdering Farms Inc
  • 27. Merdan Dairy Inc
  • 37. Gary and Anne Meyer
  • 44. Nicholas and Annie Stalboeger
  • 45. Andy Varner
  • 62. Travis and Angela Scherping
  • 65. Phillip Schmiesing
  • 69. Ron or Cindy Middendorf
  • 73. Evergreen Acres Dairy LLC
  • 82. Reuben & Janice Stommes
  • 89. Schiffler Dairy LLC
  • 91. SOO Line Dairy, Inc
  • 92. Robert and Ann Cremers
  • 98. Marvin Rademacher
  • 103. Kuechle Dairy LLC
  • 110. Brian Weyer
  • 111. Frank and Ione Patrick

From the Minnesota Department of Agriculture’s June 2018 list of 111 dairies


Wisconsin farmer fears he’ll have to sell dairy herd after losing milk buyer

Pat and Linda Rodriguez chose the name for their 40-acre homestead, Aisling Farm, on their aspirations and their Irish-Scottish lineage. After a lengthy search, they found their dream farm near Viroqua 16 years ago — and branded it Aisling, which is Gaelic for dream.

The couple now fears that dream could be dashed, since their milk buyer, NFO, notified them last week that it would terminate their agreement on June 30. If they don’t find a buyer by July 1, they will have to sell their 40 dairy cows, Rodriguez said.

Even though he said he has been losing $30,000 a year in recent years, he wants to keep the farm because he will have it paid off in 2020.

“I won’t be rich by any stretch of the imagination,” he said, but getting rid of the loan payment will help stanch the bleeding.

The Rodriguezes, who have six grown children, have fiscal lifelines through Linda’s disability payments through Social Security, food stamps and being on Badgercare until they recently lost that because of changed eligibility formulas, Pat said.

The difficulty in finding another buyer, he readily acknowledged, is that “nobody is taking milk on right now.” Depressed milk prices are bankrupting many family operations and are cited as a contributing factor in the increasing number of suicides among farmers.

Other dairy farmers in the region and throughout the country have experienced canceled contracts in recent months, forcing them to scramble to find new outlets — sometimes succeeding, sometimes failing.

NFO, the acronym for the National Farmers Organization, is based in Ames, Iowa, and is unlike many buyers, who also process the milk into various types of milk, cheese, cottage cheese, yogurt and other dairy products. Instead, it is a marketing service, acting as a conduit from between producers and processors.

Rodriguez, whose herd was organic and whose milk NFO sold to Organic Valley for several years until he had trouble getting suitable feed, switched to conventional milk production. Selling to Organic Valley no longer is an option, he acknowledged.

With a 40-acre farm and a grass-fed herd, he said, “We buy a lot of feed … and it was almost impossible to source good feed.”

Aisling Farm is Rodriguez’s third career, after he had been a mechanic initially and then became a teacher for eight years in the Chicago area.

After his parents divorced and his mother remarried, his stepdad had a farm, so Rodriguez took agriculture classes and was in Future Farmers of America at Big Foot High School in Walworth, in southeast Wisconsin. However, with nobody else in his immediate family involved in farming at the time, he got an associate degree in auto repair at a community college after high school.

Since some members of his mother’s family had farmed as far back as the 1630s, Rodriguez said he still felt the pull, and he felt the pull nearly 20 years ago.

“I’m the first generation to go back to farming,” he said.

“Before we started, I wanted to take a shot, but I knew the learning curve would be harsh,” he said, adding that he studied for two years at the Wisconsin School for Beginning Dairy and Livestock Farmers in Madison.

Finding a farm they liked proved tedious, and the search included many day trips to check out possibilities and their surroundings until they found the small acreage near Viroqua.

The farm was in poor condition when the couple bought it, so it took three years of work until they could begin to sell milk 13 years ago, he said.

Having struggled to make a go of it, and with a dedication to agriculture that included cross-breeding to develop more efficient milk producers in his herd, Rodriguez is frustrated not only to lose his buyer but even more so that NFO did not offer a reason in the letter — just a few short sentences he received via registered mail.

Numerous calls to NFO’s Ames headquarters and its Fond du Lac office where his milk checks originated have provided non-answers or phones that have gone unanswered, he said.

“I think this is outrageous,” he said. “Whatever the reasons were, no reasons were given. I find that appalling.”


A representative at one NFO office said she would have someone return a Tribune call about Rodriguez’s case and whether it is isolated or one of several. However, the call wasn’t returned, and messages left with several other NFO representatives went unanswered.

“This is not the way to treat people in a time of crisis — in such a cavalier fashion,” said Rodriguez, who also noted that the number of farm bankruptcies in the Western District of Wisconsin is the highest in the country. “Aside from farmers out there killing themselves like it’s going out of style, a support network is not reaching them.”

Last year, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in Atlanta released a study reporting that people with jobs in agriculture — including farmers, farm laborers, ranchers, commercial anglers and lumber harvesters — take their own lives at higher rates than any other occupations.

The suicide rate for agricultural workers in 17 states, including Wisconsin and Minnesota, was nearly five times higher than in the general population, according to the report on 2012 statistics, the most recent available.

Low market prices, coupled with the typical year-to-year stress farming entails, lead to depression that evolves to suicide as angst mounts, officials say.

The $16 a hundredweight Rodriguez was receiving for his Class III milk — used to make hard cheeses — was inadequate, he said, adding, “Most anyone can sort of make a half-assed cash flow at $17.”

But that price point has been elusive, with U.S. Department of Agriculture figures for Class III milk barely clearing $15 last month.

On the spot market, buyers are able to pay $3 under class, and Rodriguez said his most recent paycheck was for $13.47 a hundredweight, he said.

The U.S. Department of Agriculture figures that the average cost of production is $23.86 a hundredweight, and “profit begins north of $24,” Rodriguez said.

“I’d be willing to say, ‘Rodriguez is a loser’ and walk away,” he said, “but the answer is in supply and more an issue of a community helping each other.”

Source: La Crosse Tribune

New Brunswick bans chocolate milk, juice sales in schools

Education Minister Brian Kenny says changes will teach students ‘what a proper meal looks like’

New Brunswick’s public schools are getting rid of chocolate milk and juices in a revamped nutrition policy that Education Minister Brian Kenny announced on Wednesday.

The province unveiled reforms to Policy 711, also known as the “healthier school food environment” policy, at a news conference in Fredericton.

The minister said the updated policy will give students access to healthier foods starting in September.

“We’re working together to teach children and youth what a proper meal looks like and encourage them to live a healthy lifestyle,” Kenny said.

Students spend more than half of their day at school and consume 30 to 60 per cent of their daily food during that time, he said.

It’s important to give youth the idea “you are what you eat,” he said.

“In light of that, schools should strive to serve foods and beverages that are whole, minimally processed, locally sourced when seasonably available, and prepared in a healthy way,” he said.

Flavoured milk and juices will no longer be offered in breakfast, lunch or hot lunch programs, in vending machines, as à la carte items or snacks, in canteens or at fundraisers.

The ban applies to items that are not for sale, such as foods and beverages offered to students during classroom or school-wide events.

Dairy farmers not happy

Claiming the new policy will have no impact on dairy farmers, Kenny said the industry will simply sell more white milk to schools.

But Paul Gaunce, chair of the Dairy Farmers of New Brunswick, was doubtful.

Chocolate milk makes up 75 per cent of milk sales to New Brunswick schools because kids like the flavour, he said.

Gaunce said he’d be surprised if students switched to white milk when the policy comes into effect.

“It’s going to alienate a generation of children from drinking milk,” he said. 

“And five years from now, they’ll come back and say, ‘Oh my goodness, our children are still obese and they have weak bones and bad teeth, I guess it wasn’t the milk.’ By then it’ll be too late.” 

Gaunce said 250 millilitres of chocolate milk is nutritious.

“The little bit of sugar in milk is nothing compared to the nutrition the kids get from it,” he said. “It’s the same milk — it’s just got added chocolate for the flavour.”

Positive student reaction

Ava Campbell, a Grade 3 student at Barker’s Point Elementary School who was at the announcement, suggested she’s fine, for the most part, without chocolate milk and juice.

“It’s not so good for you, it’s not really real food,” she said. 

But Ava admitted that the drinks will be hard habits to shake.

“I know that there’s sugar in it, but sometimes I like it.”

Eddie Badiu, a Grade 2 student at the school, said he liked the policy change.

“I’m fine with that because I don’t really like all of it,” he said.

If Eddie does get a hankering for chocolate milk, he’ll have to consume it at home.

“I don’t really like orange juice, but I kind of like flavoured milk.”

Expand the ban, prof says

Gabriela Tymowski-Gionet, an associate professor in the kinesiology department at the University of New Brunswick who’s researched ethical issues affecting children, said it’s a positive step considering the province’s high level of childhood obesity. 

According to the Heart and Stroke Foundation, 36 per cent of children in New Brunswick are either overweight or obese.

Tymowski-Gionet said children are consuming “empty calories” by choosing drinks with added sugar. Juice, she said, doesn’t contain the fibre present in the fruit, while concentrated orange juice is like eating five oranges, and all that sugar, in one sitting. 

She said the ban could instill healthier habits in students because behaviours and palate are developed during childhood, possibly reducing the chances they will seek sugary drinks in other settings. 

The professor said she would like to see similar action in places other than schools where children congregate — arenas, for example — and also at workplaces and universities. Adults have a part to play too, she said.

“Adults need to be healthy living role models. If it’s important children don’t take in all these added sugars, it’s important adults don’t, either,” Tymowiski-Gionet said.

She said she hopes more changes will occur in schools to promote healthy choices, adding it would be best to have healthy options, such as whole-grain and plant-based foods, as the default. 

“In order to see significant differences in New Brunswick, we need to make significant changes,” she said.

Reducing chronic illness 

The Department of Education and Early Childhood Development partnered with the Office of the Chief Medical Officer of Health and dietitians from the public health unit to revise the food policy.

The policy addresses vegetables, grains, milk and alternatives, mixed entrées and beverages.

Foods within each category fall under one of two lists: “higher nutritional value,” which are OK as school offerings, and “lower nutritional value,” which are not.

Foods on the acceptable list are lower in saturated fat, sugar, and sodium. 

Following ‘best practices’

The province said its revised policy would reflect the most recent evidence and best practices in school nutrition.

“The majority of the population, their sugar intake, most of it comes from sugary drinks,” said Dr. Jennifer Russell, the province’s chief medical officer of health.

“If we’re trying to reduce the sugar consumption of Canadians in a general sense, then we would really want to target the drinks.”  

When she was a family doctor, Russell said, people would come into her office with chronic health issues such as diabetes, heart disease and obesity.

“Healthy eating is a huge contributor to those issues in terms of prevention,” Russell said. “We know that unhealthy eating habits are the leading risk factors for chronic disease development.”  


Source: CBC

Judges named for 2018 All American Jersey Shows

The judges have been selected for The 66th All American Jersey Shows, sponsored by the American Jersey Cattle Association of Reynoldsburg, Ohio.

The largest exhibition of Registered Jersey cattle in the world, the three shows of The All American will be held November 3, 4 and 5, 2018 in conjunction with the North American International Livestock Exposition in Louisville, Ky.

Herby Lutz, Chester, S.C., returns to Freedom Hall to judge The All American Jersey Show on Monday, November 5. He judged this show in 2011, having previously placed the All American Junior Jersey Show in 2009 and the National Jersey Jug Futurity in 2000. Lutz has judged numerous Jersey shows across the U.S.; the 150th Celebration Show in the home of the breed, Jersey, in 2016; and also the Colombian National Jersey Show and Australia’s National Jersey Show at International Dairy Week, both in 2005. His consultant will be Lynn Harbaugh, Marion, Wis.

Kevin Lutz, Lincolnton, N.C., will place the 65th National Jersey Jug Futurity on November 4. This will be his second time to judge the prestigious class of three-year-olds, which he did in 1999. Since then he has judged the All American open show twice, in 2003 and 2012, and the All American junior show in 1998 and 2017. Lutz has judged the 2011 Royal Melbourne (Australia) Show, as well as many state fairs across the United States over the years. Louie Cozzitorto, Turlock, Calif., will be the consultant.

The National Jersey Jug Futurity is the oldest and richest class for dairy cattle in the world. There are 227 cows are eligible for the 2018 show, which is expected to offer $8,500 in premiums.

Judge for The All American Junior Jersey Show on Saturday, November 3 will be Tammie Stiles Doran, Woodstock, Va. She has extensive judging experience including state shows in Georgia, South Carolina, Tennessee, Virginia and West Virginia, the North Carolina Mountain State Fair, and junior shows at Kentucky and North Carolina State Fairs. Sean Johnson, Glenville, Penna., will be the consultant.

The first and second place winners in each class of these shows will become the 2018 All American and Reserve All American honorees of the American Jersey Cattle Association.

For information on show entry fees and deadline, visit


Is the future of dairy farming declining?

An ongoing struggle for farmers: Low milk prices.

John Peck says, “After three years of it there’s just very little cash flow and very little reserve to take care of expenses.”

Since 2014 the cost of milk has dropped significantly, affecting farmers like Stanley Horning. ” There’s some upgrades and improvements we would like to do that we just been putting off for a couple of years until hopefully the milk price comes up Again.”

With over 25 years in the industry Stanley has been forced to cut down on farm production costs. “We keep saying well hopefully next year when the milk prices get better, we’ll replace them but it hasn’t gotten better and the cows are still sleeping on worn out cushions,” says Horning.

Stanley isn’t alone. John Peck from Peck Homestead Farms says the depression of milk prices has also taken a toll on his business.”There’s not much left to cut and you’re cutting bone. That’s why a lot of farmers are walking away,” says Peck.

Many farmers say they’re looking into selling their own milk and cheese products, which can bring in more money.

“The milk that we sell by the jug we get a little bit better price for it than if we sell it to the cooperative,” says Horning. 

An alternative that still won’t make up for the financial loss. Horning says “The main problem is theres just way too much milk on the market and we somehow we need to bring that under control.”

And with the high Canadian milk tariffs recently making headlines, even catching the attention of the President, many are concerned about the future of dairy farming.

Hoping lawmakers will take real action. “They are putting Band-Aid’s and safety nets that are unproductive instead of tackling the problem that we have, ” Peck says.


Donald Trump doesn’t really want to kill supply management. Neither do American farmers

For longtime critics of Canada’s farm supply management system, President Donald Trump’s latest disjointed ramblings about unfair Canadian trade practices are a bit of a gift. Many are leaping at the opportunity to call for an end to the marketing boards that keep prices artificially high for staples like milk, eggs and chicken.

But experts on agricultural trade between Canada and the U.S. are pretty sure the American dairy sector—evidently Trump’s prime concern—isn’t actually eager to see Canada trash supply management and create a truly free-trading environment for milk, yoghurt, butter and cheese.  “Trump might not know what he really wants,” says Toronto-based trade lawyer Cyndee Todgham Cherniak. “But there’s certainly no way he wants us to do away with supply management.”

In the highly unlikely scenario that Canada abandoned supply management, throwing its borders open to import competition, Todgham Cherniak says U.S. milk and dairy-product companies likely wouldn’t fare all that well. What they are really seeking, she suspects, is an increase in their guaranteed share of a tightly controlled market—a far cry from true free trade.

“Dismantle supply management? That’s not what Trump wants,” she says. “He is all about managed trade and how he can get more of it. If we dismantle supply management, that allows the Europeans to send more cheese, in competition with the American cheese, which isn’t anywhere near as good. Australia and New Zealand would want to sell us more milk and more butter. So Trump is going to want to keep everybody else where they are, just get more access for the U.S.”

But what about that ocean of milk in Wisconsin alone—just waiting to flow across the border at cheap prices if Ottawa’s tariffs are eliminated—that Canadians keep hearing about? Indeed, the U.S. Department of Agriculture tracks millions of litres of American milk that can’t be sold that are dumped in farm fields annually, along with massive cheese surpluses piling up in warehouses.

However, Todgham Cherniak says that if U.S. producers were suddenly allowed to try to ship unlimited quantities into Canada, they would immediately face dumping and countervailing duty actions from Canadian competitors. That means the Canadian Border Services Agency would investigate to see if they were exporting at prices lower than their cost of production, or lower than the prices they get in their home U.S. market.

And that investigation would probably find grounds for slapping duties on those U.S. imports. “Not only would [U.S. dairy exporters] have to say who they sold to, how much for, all that information, they would have to break down all their costs of production, their overhead, their financing costs—everything.” In the end, they might find themselves in the same position as, say, Washington State potato farmers who have faced steep duties on any spuds they sell into British Columbia since 1983.

Sorting out exactly how much government support American dairy farmers receive is notoriously complicated. Mike Von Masson, a professor at the University of Guelph’s food, agriculture and resource economics department, says direct subsidies are often less important than U.S. federal and state government programs to buy up surplus milk and cheese, along with tariff protections not unlike Canada’s.

Still, some support is obvious. On Wednesday, Trump’s Agriculture Secretary, Sonny Perdue, gave U.S. dairy producers extra time to sign up for something called the Margin Protection Program. Under that program, dairy farmers receive government payments based on the difference between milk prices and what they pay to feed their cows. The program reportedly paid out US$89 million in February, March and April. And the U.S. Congress boosted support for dairy farmers under the scheme earlier this year under the Bipartisan Budget Act.

Whatever the U.S. dairy industry and its supporters in the Trump administration are after, they surely aren’t looking to end that kind of support at home as they rail against Canadian protectionism abroad. Von Masson said shipping fresh milk to Canada isn’t that appealing to them anyway, since it is “heavy, perishable, needs refrigeration, and is expensive to transport.”

They are more likely hoping to negotiate a bigger quota for Canada for U.S. industrial milk products and perhaps butter. “This president wants managed trade between Canada and the U.S.,” says Todgham Cherniak, “whereby he gets a bigger piece of the pie.” Trump might have given opponents of supply management a chance to restate their argument, but he’s not really on their side.


Experts advise a version of Canada’s supply management could help save U.S. dairy farms

A group of dairy farmers and experts argued Wednesday that to save family farms from going out of business, the U.S. needs to adopt some form of supply management like Canada has.

Farmers across the country have experienced a drop in earnings from their milk in recent years as rising milk production across the U.S. and other countries has flooded domestic and international markets. Increased milk production has resulted in a market oversupply. Northeast farmers have been struggling through their fourth year of low milk prices.

In order to provide farmers with enough markets for their milk, Jim Goodman, president of the National Family Farm Coalition, and Ralph Dietrich, chairman of the Dairy Farmers of Ontario board, both said on Wednesday during a conference call that the U.S. should follow Canada’s example and implement methods to curb milk production.

Mr. Goodman, an organic-dairy farmer from Wisconsin, also said a milk price floor should be established so farmers can earn at least enough to keep their businesses afloat.

“Serious times call for serious measures,” he said. “In the long-term, it is in our best interest.”

Canada implemented its own supply management system in 1972 for dairy, eggs and poultry to combat unstable pricing.

According to an online publication from the Canadian Library of Parliament, farmers from these sectors were dealing with oversupplied markets in the 1960s caused by increased production due to advances in technology. The overproduction of dairy products led to price instability and disputes between farmers and processors, including some that were interprovincial.

The later system established quotas for farmers’ eggs, poultry and dairy goods, which are enforced by initiating penalties against farmers who produced more or less than their quotas, according to the publication. Farmers can collectively negotiate minimum prices for their products with processors through their provincial marketing boards.

Mr. Dietrich, who is also a dairy farmer, said that before implementing the quota system, some farmers were left without consumers for their products during periods of flooded markets. While dairy prices have fluctuated up and down with demand, Mr. Dietrich said Canadian farmers were still guaranteed a stable income, which has attracted prospective farmers to the industry.

“We think it’s a win for the government and a win for the people,” he said.

Panelists Patty Lovera, policy director for Food and Water Watch, and Ed Maltby, executive director of Northeast Organic Dairy Producers Association, said they also believe the U.S. would benefit from a supply management system.

Ms. Lovera said the current milk pricing system in the U.S. encourages farmers to continue increasing milk production when prices are low, which leads to flooded markets.

Mr. Maltby said organic dairy farmers, who have also been dealing with an excess of organic skim milk in their markets, attempted to implement a supply management system in 2010, but “were not successful” in persuading buyers. Both he and Mr. Goodman, however, said all large dairy cooperatives would need to initiate and abide by any supply management system for it to work.

“By looking at the issue from a supply management point of view, we can ensure a viable and sustainable industry,” Mr. Maltby said.

Farmers and lawmakers have been pushing Canada to lower, if not eliminate, its tariffs on dairy exports through North American Free Trade Agreement negotiations to access its markets.

Mr. Dietrich, however, said Canada’s markets aren’t as large as some U.S. producers and lawmakers believe, and the those markets could not consume an ever-growing supply of U.S. products. The surplus from just a few states amounts to more than the output of the entire province of Ontario, he said.

“A policy solution is not attacking another country’s successful policy,” Ms. Lovera said. “That’s a political cop-out.”


Source: Watertown Daily Times

Fire destroys dairy barn in Nova Scotia, kills cows

Some of the herd of 100 dairy cows saved by firefighters, but farm loses $500K in milking equipment.

What remained of the barn was still smouldering by afternoon. (Elizabeth Chiu/CBC)

A family farm in Antigonish County has lost some of its herd of dairy cows and $500,000 in robotic milking equipment after a fire swept through a large barn overnight and burned it to the ground.

Firefighters were called to the scene in Tracadie around 12:30 a.m. Wednesday. What remained of the barn was still smouldering by afternoon.

“I’m thinking, ‘Where do we start? How can we rebuild with all this mess?’,” said Toni van den Hoogen, a relative of the owners. “It all has to be accounted for, cleaned up and then started new.”

She said the farm, which had 100 cows, is owned by Aaron Rovers and Nicole van den Hoogen-Rovers. It’s not clear how many cows died in the fire, but at least some survived. A neighbour is caring for them.

Toni van den Hoogen, who is from Mabou in nearby Cape Breton but came to the scene the Wednesday, said no human lives were lost. The Rovers are in their 40s and are from dairy farming backgrounds, she said.

She said they had two robotic milking machines — each worth $250,000. Both were destroyed, she said.

Little remains of a large dairy barn that caught fire overnight. (Steve Lawrence/CBC)

Toni van den Hoogen said she survived a fire at a dairy farm in 1969 and knows how devastating it can be. She lost her barn and said it was an experience she will never forget. She said it could happen to anyone and it’s always in the back of her mind.

“But the grass will grow again. And they’ll have time to put up new buildings before winter.”

Toni van den Hoogen is a dairy farmer in Mabou and is related to the couple on both sides. (Steve Lawrence/CBC)

Dave Boudreau, deputy chief of the Tracadie and District Fire Department, said the fire was raging by the time crews arrived. The barn was more than 70 metres long.

“She was pretty well from end-to-end on fire,” he said.

Tracadie is about 25 kilometres west of the Canso Causeway. Boudreau said fire crews from Havre Boucher and Pomquet were called in for backup.

“Basically, we just set up our pumpers and started hauling water and just try to protect the adjacent barns and house,” he said.

Dave Boudreau, deputy chief of the Tracadie and District Fire Department, said the call came in around 12:30 a.m. Wednesday. (Steve Lawrence/CBC)

Boudreau said he wasn’t sure how many cows were in the barn at the time, but they were able to save “quite a few of them.”

An excavator was brought in Wednesday morning to help rip some of the structure apart to get at hot spots that are still smouldering.


From farm to factory, Canadian dairy industry has no time for Trump

Peter Strebel inherited his dairy farm from his father, who started with 50 cows in 1976. It’s since grown to a herd of 150 cows, and Strebel hopes to one day pass the business on to his sons. (Jaela Bernstien/CBC)

A generation after Peter Strebel’s father started a farm in 1976 with 50 Holsteins, Canada’s dairy sector is at the heart of a mounting trade war, and Strebel fears the survival of farms like his is at stake. 

It’s a sunny day in June, and normally Strebel would be spending every moment working in the fields on his farm in Saint-Blaise-sur-Richelieu, Que.

But he’s given up his precious time to speak with CBC News, because he says it’s important to defend supply management.

“It’s really stressful,” Strebel said, referring to U.S. President Donald Trump’s sustained attack on Canada’s dairy sector.

Probably within five years half the farms in Canada would disappear.– Peter Strebel , Quebec dairy farmer

Yesterday, in Singapore, the American president repeated what he’d tweeted earlier from Air Force One, after leaving the G7 summit in La Malbaie, Que.

“They don’t take our farm products — many of them. They charge what was 270 per cent, but somebody told me the other day that a few months ago they raised it to 295 per cent for dairy products,” Trump said.

“It’s very unfair to our farmers.… They have tremendous barriers up. They have tremendous tariffs,” Trump said.

But those so-called barriers — part of what’s known as supply management — have been enshrined in Canada’s dairy sector for more than 40 years. 

“If you really dismantle the whole supply management system, I guess probably within five years half the farms in Canada would disappear,” Strebel said.

“The other half would probably just kind of imitate the American system — getting larger, having over-production, needing to have government support or subsidies to keep the industry alive.”

Nearly 37 per cent of Canada’s dairy cows are in Quebec, on family farms like Ferme Strebel et fils. Dairy producers say that without supply management, they’d struggle to survive. (Jaela Bernstien/CBC)

The largest concentration of Canada’s dairy cows(nearly 37 per cent) are in Quebec, where most are on family-owned farms like Ferme Strebel et fils.

Before 1971, when supply management came into effect, Strebel said, dairy farmers had no stability. Price and demand could change drastically from one day to another.

But the introduction of tariffs on imported dairy, as well as quotas and fixed prices, allowed family-owned farms like his to thrive. 

Strebel said it’s partly why he’s been able to grow his father’s business into a 150-cow herd.

Growth hormone in U.S. dairy

From the farm to the factory, Canada’s dairy sector has no time for the American president’s threats.

Ashley Chapman, of Chapman’s Ice Cream, says he would never want to use American dairy in his products because it contains bovine growth hormone. (CBC )

Chapman’s Ice Cream, based in Markdale, Ont., uses roughly 1.5 million litres of Canadian cream each year, and wants to keep it that way.

Canadian dairy is far superior in my opinion.– Ashley Chapman, vice-president of Chapman’s Ice Cream

While eliminating tariffs on dairy imports would mean lower costs, vice-president Ashley Chapman remains against it, as a matter of principle.

“Canadian dairy is far superior in my opinion. Our entire industry is far superior in quality, animal husbandry rights, anything you could possibly think of.” he said.

He said he’s 100 per cent in favour of keeping supply management in place, even if it’s a competitive disadvantage. 

Chapman isn’t comfortable using American milk, partly because the U.S. allows its cows to be injected with bovine growth hormones — a practice that has never been approved in Canada.

“We would never want to get into a position where we were selling our products to Canadians with all this garbage in the dairy,” he said.

Time for supply management 2.0?

Canada’s dairy producers also criticize Trump for cherry-picking his facts in the trade dispute, and glossing over the fact that American farmers get a leg up through subsidies. 

We are the only industrialized country in the world with a system like this.– Sylvain Charlebois, professor in food distribution at Dalhousie University

Yet Trump’s words still sting, and have already contributed to some political fallout in Canada.

“It is a sacred cow — no pun [intended] — in Canada. And he’s taking advantage of it,” said Sylvain Charlebois, a professor in food distribution and policy at Dalhousie University.

Charlebois calls Trump’s attacks a short-term problem, but said it might be time to start thinking about supply management 2.0.

“We can no longer say that the system works and needs to be protected. It needs change. It needs to be modernized,” he said. 

“We are the only industrialized country in the world with a system like this. We’re the only one left.”

Strebel has no qualms with modernizing supply management, as long as its core remains.

He says the industry continues to adapt and change — his father wouldn’t recognize the farm the way it is today, he said.

Change is fine, Strebel said, as long as the next generation can survive it.

Canadian dairy producers defend their practices compared with those south of the border, where they say the animals’ quality of life — and the quality of the product — suffers. (Jaela Bernstien/CBC)


Australian Dairy Farmer stunned after people’s generosity with Adopt-A-Cow campaign saving his herd

A DROUGHT-stricken farmer has been astounded by people’s generosity after his social media SOS saved his herd in just six short weeks.

Faced with having to pay to bring in feed, sixth-generation farmer John Fairley had the brainwave of adopting out his cattle rather than closing the family dairy.

The Adopt-A-Cow campaign was so successful, Country Valley dairy farm in Picton will now be able to feed its 130-strong herd, at a cost of $1350 per cow, until the end of September.

“I thought ‘Wow, this is going to work’,” Mr Fairley said as the donations began to roll in, with the entire herd now adopted.

“Some people put in $10, some $1350 and someone adopted five cows, one for each of his grandchildren.”

In return, Mr Fairley offered adoption certificates, naming rights and a farm visit to milk a cow and feed the calves, saying he had to “give back a bit”.

“Farmers don’t really like asking for help,” Mr Fairley said.


Source: The Daily Telegraph

Men Face Jail Time for Cattle Pharmaceutical Thefts

Texas and Southwestern Cattle Raisers Association (TSCRA) Special Rangers today announced the indictment of John Russell Baird, 44, of Amarillo, and Israel Tapia, 41, of Muleshoe, on felony theft charges. The indictments and arrest are the result of an investigation led by TSCRA Special Ranger Dean Bohannon.

In April, Bohannon was contacted by Frontera Feedyard in Muleshoe who alleged that an employee had stolen multiple bottles of Draxxin, an antibiotic used to treat sick cattle. The victim identified Baird as the culprit and noted that each bottle of stolen medicine was worth approximately $1,700.

Bohannon immediately initiated an investigation along with assistance from the Bailey County Sheriff’s Office. Soon after Bohannon visited Baird at Frontera Feedyard where he agreed to an interview with investigators. In the subsequent interview at the Muleshoe Police Department, Baird admitted to taking the medication and identified Tapia as a co-conspirator.

The evidence against both men was presented to a Bailey County grand jury who elected to indict Baird and Tapia on June 6, 2018. Both now face charges of felony theft. If convicted each could spend up to two years in prison and pay fines up to $10,000. As of writing the suspects were not yet in custody.

“Recently we have seen more and more agricultural thefts perpetrated by employees who take advantage of easy access to steal their employer’s cattle, supplies or equipment,” said Bohannon. His message to would be miscreants is simple, “it doesn’t matter how or from whom you steal, rest assured we will track you down and put you in prison.”

TSCRA and Bohannon would like to thank the Bailey County Sheriff’s Office, Muleshoe Police Department and Bailey County District Attorney’s Office for their assistance in the case.

Source: The Fence Post

Long-running BSE class-action lawsuit grinds on

It’s now hoped the suit against the federal government will go to trial in September 2019

A class-action lawsuit seeking compensation for losses cattle producers suffered during the BSE crisis is now expected to go to trial in September 2019.

The lawsuit is seeking $8 billion in damages from the federal government for losses incurred when the U.S. border was closed to Canadian cattle from 2003 to 2005. It has been filed in four provinces, but the case is being dealt with by an Ontario court. In late April, Ontario Superior Court Justice Paul Perell set a trial date and made some other rulings, said Duncan Boswell, a senior partner with Gowling WLG in Toronto and one of the lawyers in charge of the class-action suit.

“He ordered a couple of findings including replacing the representative plaintiff because (Ontario rancher) Mr. Bill Sauer has unfortunately passed away,” said Boswell.

Flying E Ranch Ltd. from Alberta is the new representative plaintiff, he said.

“We finally finished up the fine tunings of the pleading that we have been doing discoveries on,” said Boswell, adding it is hoped the remaining discoveries (pre-trial procedures for obtaining evidence) will be completed by this fall.

The class-action suit includes all ranchers and dairy farmers — about 135,000 in all — who were in business from May 2003 (when the first case of BSE was confirmed and the U.S. border abruptly closed to Canadian cattle) until July 2005 (when export of live cattle under the age of 30 months to the U.S. was again allowed).

“We’re hopeful this will get to trial,” said Boswell. “By then, we can finally get this resolved for all producers.”

The lawsuit against the federal government centres around cattle imported from the U.K. and Ireland from 1982 to 1990, when Ottawa banned the importation of live cattle from countries with BSE. The suit alleges that despite promising to monitor an estimated 198 cattle imported during that time, at least 80 of those animals were “potentially rendered… and then entered the cattle feed system.” It was known that the prions that cause BSE could be transmitted via feed, the lawsuit says, and the federal government was negligent because it didn’t prevent the imported cattle from being used for feed ingredients.

“It comes down to basically 200 cows that had been imported into Canada prior to the ban in 1990,” Boswell said in an interview in early 2017. “The government recognized the issue of BSE and recognized that it had an obligation to prevent BSE from coming to Canada, so it implemented a ban in 1990.”

But the government should have done much more, the suit alleges. It says Britain banned using bovine meat and bone meal in feed in 1988 to prevent the spread of BSE, but federal officials didn’t do the same until 1997 (even though a purebred cow imported from the U.K. in 1987 was diagnosed with BSE).

The suit alleges 80 of the 198 imported U.K. cattle — “at least 10 of which came from herds known to have BSE” — entered the animal food chain between 1990 and 1994 and were the “most likely source of the first generation of BSE in Canadian cattle.”


Source: Alberta Farmer Express

Walmart Starts Production at its Own Dairy Plant

Walmart Inc. is now producing food.

“It’s our first entry into food production,” Walmart spokeswoman Molly Blakeman told TheStreet on Wednesday, June 13, following the grand opening the same day of the company’s dairy processing plant in Fort Wayne, Ind.

When fully operational, the plant will be the largest for “fluid milk” or drinking milk, in the country. It will employ 200 workers, earning $19 an hour, and another 100 third-party contractors to drive trucks. The plant will serve some 500 Walmart stores in Illinois, Indiana, Ohio, Michigan and Northern Kentucky.

The milk will be sold under Walmart’s private label Great Value in half-gallon and full-gallon jugs of whole, 2%, 1% and skim plain and 1% chocolate milk.

Blakeman said the plant is working with nearly 30 dairy farms in Indiana and Michigan, with dairies on average 140 miles away.

She declined to say what the company had spent on the plant, but said it is a major investment. She would not discuss what’s Walmart next food production operation may be. 

This isn’t the only new venture for the world’s largest retailer. The Indiana plant opens on the heels of its largest acquisition. Walmart recently decided to take a 77% stake in Flipkart Online Services Pvt. Ltd, a fast-growing e-commerce group that dominates online retail in India, for $16 billion.

The stock closed down slightly on Wednesday at $84.09.


Paul Peetz adds experience to Lely team

Lely North America is proud to welcome Paul Peetz to its team. Recently named the Milking Technology Manager, Peetz brings more than 20 years of experience working within the dairy industry to the Lely team.

Born and raised on a dairy farm in Wisconsin, Peetz received his bachelor’s degree in Science-Agricultural Mechanization in 1987. He entered the dairy industry as a Division Sales Manager for Hanley Implement. Most recently, Peetz was the Territory Sales Manager for Milkrite Interpuls, a position he had been in since 2012.

“I think robots are the future,” said Peetz when asked about his decision to join Lely North America. “From what I can tell, Lely has the robot portion of milking figured out better than anybody.”Peetz will focus a lot of his work on how dairy producers can fully utilize the information generated by the milking robot. Citing the many capabilities it offers, he wants to narrow down what data is most important for producers to pay attention to and why they are important.

“I think the robot gives us the ability to milk a cow just like my grandfather would have,” Paetz said. “The robot offers the ability to see, hear and feel how each individual cow is responding. It takes us back to the individual cow rather than seeing them as groups of cows without higher costs for time or labor.”

Albert (Bert) Velthuis Obituary

It’s with great sadness we share that Albert (Bert) Velthuis.Bert passed away peacefully in his sleep, at home on Sunday June 3, 2018, in his 89th year. Dearly loved husband of Ann (Herbrink) for 63 years. Cherished father of Henry (Rita), John (Karen), Linda (Dr. Donald Merrett), Janet (Gerald Van Bokhorst), Gerald (Arlene), Paul (Laurie), Steven (Colette), Irene (Jack Toonders) and Shirley. Predeceased by one infant son. Bert was the proud Grandfather of 22 and Great-Grandfather of 3. Brother of Hein, Marietje, Miny, Tiny and the late Gerrit.

Family and friends are invited to pay their respects at the Daley Family Funeral Home, 6971 bank St. (between Scrivens Dr. and Metcalfe Corner) from 2-4 & 7-9 pm Friday. Funeral Saturday to St. Catherine of Siena Church, 2718 8th Line Rd. for Mass of Christian Funeral at 11 am. Interment Parish Cemetery. Memorial donations made to the Osgoode Care Center would be appreciated.

To leave your condolences for the family please click here.

Trump’s beef with Canada’s dairy industry, explained.

America’s relationship with Canada has sunk to a surreal new low thanks to tensions over trade/Donald Trump. And when anybody asks Donald Trump to explain why he’s so furious at Ottawa, he almost always circles back to one topic: The dairy industry.

The dairy industry! Our neighbors to the north have long used high tariffs to shield their domestic milk producers from foreign competition, and the issue seems to have become a fixation for the president. Trump tweetedand talkedaboutitincessantly before and after last weekend’s disastrous G-7 summit. “I love Canada,” he toldreporters, “But they treat us unfairly on trade. Very, very unfairly. You see the numbers. Almost 300 percent on dairy.” The president even went so far as to suggest that he imposed steel tariffs on Canada in retaliation for the country’s protectionist stance on butter and cream. (This seemingly contradictedthe administration’s official line, which was that the steel tariffs were necessary for U.S. national security).

The president isn’t necessarily wrong to criticize Canada’s dairy policies, which are antiquated and harmful for the country’s own consumers, as well as American farmers. But his obsession with the subject is yet another example of his rhetoric on trade being broadly misleading, even when it gets specifics right.

Trump is peeved about Canada’s so-called “supply management system” for dairy products and poultry, which sets prices and then limits production by farmers to keep the market from flooding. The government then keeps out cheaper imports using stiff tariffs, ranging from 168 percent on eggs to 270 percent on milk to 298 percenton butter. These days, the Canadian government exempts a small share of imports from the tariffs, but not much—with yogurt, for instance, it works out to about a teaspoonper Canadian per year.

Many in Canada complain that the system, which dates back to the 1970s, is an anachronism that lets the country’s shrinking number of dairy farmers profit on the backs of everyday families. Canadians pay far morefor their milk than Americans, and the policy is especially burdensome for the poor; one recentestimate suggested, for instance, that lower-income households end up spending an extra $339 a year for groceries due to supply management. But the policy has survived because Canada’s 11,000 dairy farmers are a powerful interest group overwhelmingly located in the politically influential provinces of Quebec, where Prime Minister Justin Trudeau is from, and Ontario. The issue is so sensitive that Canadian dairy and poultry were entirely exempted from the North American Free Trade Agreement’s tariff reductions. As the Toronto Star’seditorial board put it last year: “The folly of our continued commitment to supply management is widely accepted in policy circles, yet it persists in part because risk-averse politicians fear the purportedly powerful dairy farmers lobby.”

The issue seemingly came to Trump’s attention for the first time in 2017, after a controversy flared up between U.S. farmers and Canada over ultrafiltered milk, a protein product used to make cheese. The stuff had essentially been exempt from Canada’s tariff system, allowing American dairies to work up a nice business exporting it North. But the Ontario dairy board eventually used its regulatory powers to shut out the imports, outraginga group of dairy state politicians, including Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker, House Speaker Paul Ryan, and New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo, leading Trump to tweet about the unlikely international flashpoint in April.

He’s been on the warpath over the price Canadian of milk ever since.

Some have argued that Trump lacks the moral high ground to criticize Canada for its dairy policies. Many of have called attentionto the fact that he walked outof the Trans-Pacific Partnership, which cracked open 3.25 percent of Canada’s dairy market to foreign competition, a small but meaningful step towards liberalization. Its been pointed outthat the U.S. puts its own high tariffs on dairy that could theoretically block imports (agricultural economists told me that the main reason Americans don’t buy much foreign milk is that American farmers are extremely good at producing it for cheap). And some have pointed outthat U.S. has its own agricultural sacred cows—they just tend to be more metaphorical. For instance, our sugar industryis protected by an elaborate system of price supports and tariffs that puts Mexico at an enormous disadvantage, and forces Americans to pay more for their sweets.

But the real issue here isn’t whether Trump has the right to attack Canada for protecting its farmers. It’s that he’s using the dairy industry, which is a bit of an edge case, to paint a wildly inaccurate portrait of trade between the U.S. and Canada, and how it affects our farmers. NAFTA, and the Canada-U.S. Free Trade Agreement that preceded it, eliminated most tariffs on farm goods. As a result, American farmers do quite a lot of business across the northern border. Most years, we run a small trade deficiton agricultural goods with Canada; in 2017, we ran a small surplus, exporting $24 billion worth of products and importing $22 billion, according tothe U.S. Trade Representative. Neither side is getting robbed. Dairy isn’t everything.

Trump, of course, would have you believe otherwise. Trump likes to harp on specific, high tariffs to make it seem as if America’s trade partners are deeply protectionist when, in fact, most of them keep trade barriers very low overall. He uses the dairy issue to make a broader case that Canada is waging a war on all American farmers when, in fact, our agricultural systems are pretty deeply entwined. And he deploys it over and over again, probably because there aren’t many other great examples to support his case. Trump has found his talking point. And, as usual, he’s going to milk it for all it’s worth.


Bank seizes California congressman’s dairy farm

Rep. David Valadao, right, leaving a meeting of House Republicans at the Capitol in October. (Bill Clark / CQ Roll Call)

A bank has seized a Tulare County dairy farm owned by Rep. David Valadao and his family to resolve more than $8 million in loans that have not been repaid, according to court documents.

In November, agriculture lender Rabobank sued Triple V Dairy in Fresno County Superior Court alleging failure to repay loans for cattle and feed totaling about $8.3 million. The Republican congressman is named in the suit along with his wife, four other family members, two other farms and 50 unnamed defendants. Also listed in the suit is a separate farm owned by the family, Lone Star Dairy, in which the congressman has no stake.

Both sides agreed March 28 to hand control of the farm over to the bank until it is sold. The bank appointed a local business owner to oversee the daily operations of the farm and begin to sell off livestock and farming equipment to settle the debt.

“Like so many family dairy farms across the country, burdensome government regulations made it impossible for the operation to remain open,” Valadao said in a statement. “While this has been an especially difficult experience, I remain hopeful that sharing my story will help those going through similar situations.”

The next court session in the case is scheduled for July 16.

House rules prohibit Valadao from having an active role in the day-to-day operations of the farm, which was largely managed by his brothers. Valadao lives on the property of Valadao Dairy near Hanford, which is managed by his father and is not involved in the lawsuit.

According to the California Department of Food and Agriculture’s annual summaries, almost 36% of dairy farms in California shut down between 2001 and 2017. In the last five years, at least 50 dairies in Fresno, Kern, Kings and Tulare counties have closed.

Valadao grew up in the dairy business and in 1992 became a partner in the family’s Central Valley dairy. Lobbying for local agricultural interests through the California Milk Advisory Board and the Western States Dairy Trade Assn. spurred an interest in politics, and Valadao was elected to Congress after serving in the state Assembly.

Valadao’s stake in the Triple V and Valadao dairies has consistently made him one of the poorest members of Congress. According to his annual financial disclosure report, Valadao’s stake in each dairy is worth between $1 million and $5 million, but lines of credit against the farms and equipment give him an estimated net worth of negative $17.5 million.

Valadao is currently seeking a fourth term representing the 21st Congressional District, which stretches across rural portions of Fresno, Kings, Tulare and Kern counties.


Dairy Farmers of Canada putting pressure on Liberal Government over commments made by Prime Minister Trudeau

The Canada-U.S. trade war bled into farm fields on Monday as Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s government faced dual attacks from Canadian dairy farmers, and President Donald Trump.

The Dairy Farmers of Canada branded as “troubling” and “worrisome” comments Trudeau made on NBC’s Meet the Press that Canada was considering allowing U.S. dairy greater access to the Canadian market as part of the renegotiation of the North American Free Trade Agreement.

Trump, meanwhile, broadened his trade tirades on Twitter into agriculture, writing: “Canada has all sorts of trade barriers on our Agricultural products. Not acceptable!”

The attacks came as the government is already reeling from Trump’s imposition last week of steel and aluminum tariffs on Canada, part the president’s broader tariff attack on Mexico and Europe.

Trudeau also faced pressure Monday to speed up Canada’s tariff retaliation on U.S. steel and aluminum imports, while it consults on imposing levies on other American consumer goods.

Speaking on the NBC Sunday news show, Trudeau called the tariffs on Canadian steel and aluminum “insulting and unacceptable.”

Trudeau was also asked about possible concessions the U.S. is seeking in the NAFTA talks.

“I think they want a better deal on their auto sector from Mexico and I think they want more access on certain agricultural products like dairy to Canada,” the prime minister said.

Asked if he was willing to give that, Trudeau replied: “We were moving towards flexibility in those areas that I thought was very, very promising.” But he said the U.S. insistence on a five-year sunset clause was a deal breaker.

Pierre Lampron, president of the Dairy Farmers of Canada, sent Trudeau a letter on Monday, demanding a meeting and questioning his support for the dairy industry.

“These comments are deeply troubling for our dairy farmers, as you and your government’s representatives have repeatedly stated that you support the supply management system and our sector,” Lampron wrote.

“Your comments, in addition to political meetings between your staff and President Trump’s advisers, for which there has been little information provided to us, are quite worrisome.”

Trudeau’s office declined direct comment on the letter and instead referred to comments Monday in question period, in which Agriculture Minister Lawrence MacAulay once again defended Canada’s supply management system.

“The prime minister, myself, the minister of foreign affairs, cabinet ministers and caucus, and, indeed, the trade negotiators of NAFTA have clearly indicated the Canadian direction,” MacAulay said.

“The Liberal government is the government that put supply management in place and it is the Liberal government that will protect supply management.”

Canada has already granted some access to its dairy markets in its other big free trade deals with the European Union and the re-booted Trans-Pacific Partnership, the 11-country Pacific Rim pact that does not include the U.S.

Trudeau also faced calls Monday to speed up the imposition of retaliatory tariffs on U.S. steel and aluminum, but he rebuffed them.

Trudeau said he wants to respect the government’s 30-day consultation period on its proposed $16.6-billion tariff package, retaliation for the Trump administration’s decision to impose 25 per cent import duties on steel and 10 per cent on aluminum.

The federal government wants to consult Canadians before enacting its response, which targets not only U.S. steel and aluminum, but also a wide variety of goods from orange juice to playing cards to toilet paper.

Joseph Galimberti, the president of the Canadian Steel Producers Association, said he urged Trudeau in a meeting Monday to immediately impose the retaliatory tariffs on metals while it consults on the other products.

Galimberti said American steel continues to flow into Canada tariff-free while Canadian steel now faces tariffs.

“This is a very live situation,” Galimberti told reporters after the meeting, add that companies are “experiencing damages and interruptions today, supply chains are going to change going forward.

“This is something that the government is going to need to pay attention to.”

Conservative Leader Andrew Scheer also urged Trudeau to accelerate the retaliation.

“The American tariffs went into effect immediately and Canadian shipments of steel are already being turned back from the border,” said Scheer. “Why is the prime minister waiting three weeks to impose these counter-measures specifically on steel and aluminum when the U.S. tariffs came into effect right away?”

Trudeau replied he wants to follow through on the consultations while trying to persuade the U.S. to drop the tariffs.

“One of the fundamental realities is that nobody wins in trade wars,” he said.

“We continue to believe that by working thoughtfully and firmly with the American administration we are going to be able to move forward in a positive direction.”


Source: Burnaby Now

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