Archive for News

Introducing DeLaval OptiDuo™ Robotic Feed Refresher

The fully automated system pushes and remixes feed making rations more appealing – helping increase consumption and improve milk production.

DeLaval announced today the launch of OptiDuo™ robotic feed refresher – an automated feed pusher and remixer working twice as hard to help improve farm productivity.

Not only does it push feed back to the feed bunk, but it remixes it, making it more appealing to cows by avoiding compression and helping to reduce waste. More visits to the feedbunk may also mean better cow traffic and less competition and stress while eating.

  • Optimized productivity. With OptiDuo, cows can consume more, resulting in higher milk yields of up to 4.4 lbs. per day.* OptiDuo is the only feed pusher on the market with an optional concentrate dispenser, further enticing cows to eat more.
  • Increased work efficiency. OptiDuo runs around the clock, giving cows consistent access to appetizing feed and saving producers up to $2,500 per year in labor.* It can make up to 10 trips a day, helping reduce weigh back to 1%* and save money.
  • Adapt to feed changes. The unit’s Adaptive Drive system gives producers the flexibility to feed their herds seasonally as OptiDuo can effectively handle varying amounts and types of feed, including total mixed ration, straw, hay and fresh grass.
  • Operates safely. OptiDuo’s smart navigation system helps ensure it is always where it is supposed to be, and safety bumpers on all sides automatically stop the unit if it senses a person, object or animal.

DeLaval OptiDuo works well with barns of all types, perfect for both conventional and robotic milking systems. “It’s a great addition to any DeLaval VMS operation because it complements the dairy producer’s feeding strategy between the milking robot and the feed bunk,” Muhieddine Labban, Robotics Solution Manager, said. “The DeLaval body condition scoring system, which helps monitor cow health, can maximize OptiDuo’s efficiency by delivering the right feed ration to cows.”

DeLaval OptiDuo was previewed at popular dairy industry tradeshows in the U.S. and Canada, and is now available for sales in North America. For more information about OptiDuo, contact a local DeLaval dealer.

About DeLaval


DeLaval is a worldwide leader in milking equipment and solutions for dairy farmers, which make sustainable food production possible, warranting milk quality and animal health. Our solutions are used by millions of dairy farmers around the globe every day.

DeLaval was founded more than 135 years ago in Sweden, when the visionary Gustaf de Laval patented the cream separator. Today, DeLaval has 4,500 employees and operates in more than 100 markets. DeLaval, alongside Tetra Pak and Sidel, is part of the Tetra Laval Group. See more at


Vegans target Australian Dairy

Vegan activists targeted a Queensland dairy farmer in a recent national campaign against livestock farmers.

Vegan protesters  launched a cross-border campaign targeting a busy Melbourne street, plus abattoirs and farms in Victoria, NSW and Queensland.

It resulted in scores of arrests, criminal charges and a renewed call for farmers to take action, with the federal government committing to underwrite legal claims.

Queensland Dairyfarmers Organisation Vice President Matt Trace said the actions followed threats of a widespread protest.

“The demonstrators’ signs said that these were peaceful protests,’’ Mr Trace said.

“That they may not have resorted to active violence is neither here nor there. Their very presence in such numbers was enough to cause concern.

“These groups swarm over properties, ignore requests of being asked to leave, terrify the livestock in the yards and harass farmers, their family and staff.,’’ Mr Trace said.

“The calmness and restraint shown by those who were attacked should be praised.’’

“The demonstrations were designed to gain public sympathy for the vegan movement and to supposedly show inhumane practices of intensive farming. From the footage shown yesterday, the demonstrations did anything but what they were intended.’’

Activists entered the property of a Darling Downs dairy farmer, who appealed to the protesters to leave his calves alone.

A popular cafe in West Gippsland announced on Sunday it has closed, blaming “threats from abusive vegan activists”.

 Federal Attorney-General Christian Porter wrote to Privacy Commissioner Angelene Falk to consider investigating Under the Privacy Act the group allegedly behind the activism.

“There are strong grounds to conclude that Aussie Farms Inc is engaging in a systematic effort in collecting, using and disclosing personal information to the detriment of farmers and agricultural producers,” the letter states.

Mr Porter also wrote to the state and territory attorneys-general and police ministers to urge them to tighten up their criminal trespass laws.

Privacy laws were changed last Friday which exposed Aussie Farms’ website to significant penalties for publishing farmers’ addresses and contact details.

Source: Dairy New Australia

Introducing Lactanet: Integrating Herd Management and Genetic Services

The Lactanet Board of Directors (from left to right): Mr. Yvon Boucher (QC), Mr. Gert Schrijver (AB), Mr. Tom Pasco (ON), Mr. Pierre Lampron (QC), Ms. Barbara Paquet (QC), Mr. Matt Flaman (SK), Mr. Ed Friesen (MB), Mr. Korb Whale (ON), Mr. Gilles Côté (QC) and Mr. Harm Kelly (ON).

Today a progressive new partnership in the dairy industry was announced to come into effect on June 3rd, 2019.

CanWest DHI, Valacta and Canadian Dairy Network will work together at the management of the new organization known as Lactanet Canada.

This partnership brings together leading dairy herd improvement organizations responsible for milk recording, genetic evaluations and knowledge transfer in Canada.

“Today is a milestone for our industry”, announced newly appointed Lactanet Chair, Barbara Paquet, “Lactanet is an example of workingogether across the country, and in different areas of our industry, for the betterment of the Canadian dairy sector”.

Lactanet will leverage the strengths of the founding companies to more fully integrate herd management, genetics and extension into a distinct suite of services for Canadian dairy farmers. In addition, blending the partners’ research and development resources will ensure a strong future for Lactanet.

“By combining key elements of profitable dairy herd management services, Lactanet provides Canadian dairy farmers with tools to help them succeed, while ensuring our global leadership position for both efficient milk production and dairy cattle genetics”, announced newly appointed CEO, Neil Petreny.

The Lactanet name and logo represent innovation and collaboration – a reflection of what the partnership is today, but more importantly, what it will strive to be in the future.


The new organization has a producer-driven governance structure consisting of up to eleven board members. Six of these members are appointed by the organizations that provide dairy herd management services, while one director is appointed by each of Dairy Farmers of Canada, Holstein Canada and Semex Alliance, all of which are also governed by Canadian dairy producers. The Board may also have up to two external members, recommended for their particular expertise.

The team of the three founding partners of Lactanet is comprised of 500 staff members dedicated to providing services to more than 10,000 dairy farms across Canada. The new organization will operate from existing business locations in Guelph, Ontario and Ste-Anne-de-Bellevue, Quebec, and will continue to manage four lab operations across the country.

A website portal has been developed to present Lactanet news and information while linking users back to each partner’s respective website. For more information visit

The island of Sark is looking for a new dairy farmer

There’s one thing applicants need to qualify

The small, car-free island of Sark in the Channel Islands is looking for a new dairy farmer to help with its farming — but in order to qualify for the job, the successful applicant must bring their own cows along with them.

Sark is home to around 400 people who have been relying on imported milk for more than a year, but now want to swap back to locally-sourced produce, including milk, cream and cheese.

The successful applicant needs to have a wealth of farming experience and be able to manage their own business. “We need people with dairy farming experience. Ideally, a couple who are wanting to develop a new business,” explains Richard Axton, organiser of the Sark community dairy, in a BBC video report.

The production of milk, cream and cheese on Sark would benefit local businesses who came to rely on the products when they were being made on the island. A Sark chocolate-maker, for example, needs the unique flavour of Sark cream to satisfy her recipe.

Known as the ‘jewel of the Channel Islands’, Sark has unspoilt landscapes and beautiful unpaved roads. There are no cars here and also no airport, so the only mode of transport for locals is by horse and carriage, making it a true escape from modern life.

The old dairy was originally run by Chris Nightingale but was shut down after he retired.

Could you be fit for the role? The BBC report says: “If you think your cows can handle a ferry trip, maybe this is the job for.” For more information, visit


Source: Country Living

Fire destroys family dairy farm south of Othello (WA)

Franklin County firefighters are looking into the cause of a fire that destroyed a family’s dairy farm.

Around 10:00 p.m. Sunday, fire crews responded to the Degroot family dairy farm at 755 Radar Hill Road, south of Othello. When they arrived, the inside of the building was actively burning.

A second alarm was issued by Fire Chief Steve Cooper due to the remote location of the fire. Fire trucks from Adams County Fire District #5 and Franklin County Fire District #1 responded.

Firefighters were able to save the building, but the contents inside are a total loss such as milking equipment and other machinery. Propane tanks were near the building, and the fire was put out before it could reach the tanks. No cows were inside the building or injured.

Cooper said at least 18 fire trucks were at the scene. The clean up lasted until about 1:30 a.m.

Today, the family started moving cows to another location. Cooper said the farming community came together and used their cattle trailers to help the family relocate. 

The cause is under investigation.

Be the first to know with the YakTriNews app. Breaking news alerts, watch live newscasts and get the most up-to-date local news on the go.  Click here to download for iOS and Android.

BASF Innovations In The Field Podcast Series

This month we highlight Brent Lassiter, who has operated ProAg Services in Newport, Arkansas, since 1996.


Beef, Dairy Collaboration Launches HOLSim™ Program

First-of-its-kind branded program promises to reshape beef-on-dairy opportunities.

The American Simmental Association (ASA) and Holstein Association USA (HAUSA) have announced the formation of the HOLSim™ branded program.

The program identifies elite SimAngus™ bulls with specific production attributes as mating solutions for dairy producers who breed some of their herd to beef.

The program’s objective is threefold: to provide additional revenue to dairy producers through the production of value-added terminal calves; to offer new marketing avenues for progressive beef seedstock operations; and to offer a consistent supply of high-quality calves better situated to capture market premiums.

“Holstein producers now have the opportunity to easily participate by simply selecting from the list of HOLSim bulls carried by their semen provider,” says Chip Kemp, ASA Director of Commercial and Industry Operations. “Through the International Genetic Solutions platform, we took a breed agnostic look at what type of beef bulls make the most sense to complement a Holstein female to add the most profitability to the terminal calf.”

Qualifying for the sire list is not easy, and bulls that do so represent an elite group of beef genetics. All bulls in the program will be required to include the HOLSim logo in all marketing and promotional material.

“The bulls must be homozygous black, homozygous polled, have a minimum birth weight accuracy of .4, and meet a minimum threshold in the HOLSim Index,” Kemp explains.

The HOLSim Index uses the IGS Feeder Profit Calculator™ (FPC), the industry leader in feeder cattle evaluation, as the foundation for this effort.

The results from the FPC are then adjusted for the unique economic situations relevant to Holstein cattle, namely, the need for added calving ease, muscle conformation, grading ability and sensitivity to carcass length.

John Meyer, CEO of Holstein Association USA, says the HOLSim program has the potential to change the beef-on-dairy dynamic.

“Instead of just breeding Holsteins to a black beef bull, now dairy farmers can breed to a SimAngus bull that ranks high on the HOLSim index. By doing that, they can raise more profitable offspring coveted by both the feedlot and the consumer,” Meyer says.

The program is underpinned by HAUSA’s industry-leading animal identification program, something that will add increasing value in the marketplace as consumers require more information about where their food comes from. Because dairy operations calve year-round, a continuous and steady supply of high-quality beef will be available to distributors, retailers and restaurateurs that have struggled historically with seasonal fluctuations of supplies.

To qualify for the program, all animals must have a Registered Holstein® dam, and be bred to SimAngus bulls identified through the IGS Feeder Profit Calculator.

The HOLSim program is the first of its kind and offers dairy farmers a unique opportunity to build new profit centers.

“To my knowledge, this is the first time that a beef and a dairy breed association have collaborated to have a specific program to benefit both organizations and their respective members and industries,” Meyer says.

Access a list of bulls eligible for the program online. Those wanting to learn more can visit or, or contact Darin Johnson at 802.451.4048,

Semex Renews Sponsorship of Holstein Young Breeders

Semex, the innovative genetic solutions company, invests for a sixth year in the future of young dairy farmers by renewing its principal sponsorship of Holstein Young Breeders (HYB).

The support from Semex makes a significant contribution to the advancement and success of HYB by supporting aspiring young breeders who are the future cornerstone of the dairy industry.  Semex has an active presence at all major HYB events, including the Weekend Rally and the All Breeds All Britain Calf Show, as well as supporting a plethora of prestigious HYB Awards such as the Littlestar and President’s Medal Award. In addition to the sponsorship, Semex pay for the three HYB President’s Medal finalists to attend the Semex International Dairy Conference and also fund a trip for the winner to the Royal Winter Fair in Toronto.

Semex have the opportunity to sit on the judging panels for national awards and competitions, host workshops and seminars and be at the forefront of the organisation’s ethos to engage, innovate, educate and equip the future generation of dairy farmers – many of who have the potential to progress onto international cattle breeding platforms – for a prosperous future.

Michael Dennison, UK National Sales Manager for Semex said, “We are delighted to sponsor HYB for a sixth year. It is important for Semex to invest and support our young breeders who are the future of our industry. Supporting HYB enables us to engage, educate and encourage the next generation”.

Cerys Petrie, National HYB Coordinator for Holstein UK, said, “The support from Semex is a vital asset to HYB at a national and local level. Their sponsorship enables us to carry out numerous events, awards, activities and learning experiences for our members. Working in partnership helps us to support, educate and shape the future for young dairy farmers and breeders.”

HYB, part of the wider Holstein UK organisation, has over 1500 members up to 26 years of age and 24 regional clubs throughout England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland.   HYB aims are to educate, inspire and support the next generation of individuals choosing the dairy industry as their future career. The events programme shares knowledge and understanding about cattle breeding, stock judging and linear assessment, as well as helping members learn vital husbandry and showmanship skills, to compete and, importantly, to make friends and have fun.

National movement to rebuild a viable dairy industry

Hundreds of farmers have been gathering for Dairy Together Road Show events across Wisconsin this month. Organized by the National Farmers Organization (NFO) and Wisconsin Farmers Union (WFU), the events are engaging farmers on proposals to rebuild a viable dairy economy. Meetings have been held in Oshkosh and Eau Claire and another is planned tomorrow, April 4, in Platteville before the Road Show treks onward to Michigan, Minnesota, New Mexico and California. Farmers also gathered for Road Show stops in New York and Vermont.

“The plans we’re presenting today move the industry away from consolidation and help level the playing field so independent farmers have a fighting chance,” Wisconsin Farmers Union President Darin Von Ruden said to the crowd of 100 farmers gathered at an April 2 Dairy Together Road Show meeting in Eau Claire.

WFU and NFO are presenting several potential pathways forward for a national movement on dairy reform. Though the family farm organizations’ plans differ in some details, they are united in aiming to give the dairy industry more control over production. Addressing direly needed structural changes and reducing volatility are key goals, while the groups note that other oft-covered topics like exports, school lunches, dairy labeling and milk mustaches have been purposefully set to the side.

“Although export markets are important, we are certain that we cannot export our way out of this problem,” Von Ruden said. “We’ve heard over and over from dairy farmers that they don’t want to put their fate in the hands of global dairy markets that they cannot control.”

A need for structural change – and short-term relief

“We have what policy people call a structure problem,” said NFO’s Dick Levins, professor emeritus of ag economics at the University of Minnesota. “By that we don’t mean barns falling down, we mean the mix of farmers out there is changing so dramatically that pretty soon there won’t be room for the family farmer.”

Levins noted that between 2000 and 2017, the U.S. lost 63,702 dairy farms with herds of 200 cows or less, a decrease of 65.6 percent. Meanwhile, operations with over 1,000 cows increased by 109 percent and those with over 2,000 cows by 268 percent.

“As those family-sized dairies leave, the particular benefits they provide to rural economies, the environment, and food security go with them,” Levins said.

Recognizing the staggering rate at which the nation is losing family-sized farms, NFO is proposing The Family Dairy Farm Relief Act, a voluntary program that would base emergency relief payments on different tiers that recognize variations in operating costs for different size farms. Monthly payments would be set according to a farm’s level of production, with smaller farms receiving relatively higher payments per hundredweight. The plan is modeled off of the Maine Dairy Relief Program, which was implemented in 2004 and has effectively slowed the loss of dairy farms in the state.

Levins stressed that the program would not impact milk prices and is intended to be a short-term bridge until a more market-oriented, long term program – one not dependent on government payments – could be implemented. He added that the already existing model is one that could be easily and rapidly enacted by Congress.

Proposals for long-term solutions

Bobbi Wilson

While The Family Dairy Farm Relief Act could provide short-term relief, WFU Government Relations Associate Bobbi Wilson echoed the point that it would be only a lifeline until long-term solutions can be implemented.

“What we’re hearing from farmers is that they’d rather have a fair price from the market than a handout,” Wilson said.

A long-term plan proposed to curb overproduction, improve milk prices and provide long-term stability is the Dairy Price Stabilization Plan, which was originally proposed in the lead-up to the 2014 Farm Bill. Dairy economists Chuck Nicholson from Cornell University and Mark Stephenson from the University of Wisconsin recently unveiled research on the impact this program might have had in current market conditions.

“The bottom line on what we found was generally pretty positive in terms of thinking of what these programs could do,” Nicholson said. “We saw reduced variation in prices and also some price enhancement, increased net farm operating incomes, reduction in the rate of farm exits across farms of all sizes, and a reduction in government expenditures on dairy programs.”

Through the DPSP, farmers who choose to expand beyond an allowable growth rate (based on market demand) must pay a market access fee. That fee would then be distributed among all the farmers who chose not to expand. Two versions of the plan are currently on the table – one that would operate continuously and another that would be triggered when the milk:feed ratio drops below a certain level.

Under the plan, farms could choose to expand production and pay the market access fee (ranging from $0.015/cwt to $3/cwt) or limit their expansion and receive a market access fee disbursement (ranging from $1.50/cwt to $1.88/cwt).

Wilson noted this plan looks to better balance milk supply and demand and cause farms to reconsider expansions, an important effort considering milk production continues to climb despite continued farm loss and a glut of dairy on the market. The USDA recently forecasted 219.7 billion pounds of milk production for 2019, up more than 2 billion pounds over 2018.

Dick Bylsma

The Road Show also offers up the Structured Dairy Pricing Program as a potential long-term solution to the dairy crisis. Research on the plan has been spearheaded by NFO Director of Dairy Sales Dick Bylsma, who also brings to the table a dairy farming upbringing and a strong background in milk bottling and cheese processing.

The Structured Dairy Pricing Program looks to curb production by establishing a national Federal Milk Marketing Order with a $4/cwt price adjuster for up to one million pounds of monthly production for every dairy farm in the country. The proposal would help reduce the cost of production difference between small and large farms in a way similar to FMMO procedures that account for different class prices.

“We have created a scenario where every dairy farmer has a positive margin,” Bylsma said. He also stressed that the Structured Dairy Pricing Program would not increase costs to consumers or impact the price a cheese processor or milk bottling company pays for their milk.

He reiterated the importance of addressing the continued loss and growing consolidation in the American dairy industry, citing an April 25, 2017 Hoard’s Dairyman article by Jack Britt that projects the U.S. could have as few as 1,300 to 1,900 dairy farms by the year 2066. That scenario is a direct contradiction to consumer preferences which trend toward a desire for family farms on the American landscape, Bylsma noted.

“We recognize that if we let these family farmers go out of business, we won’t get them back,” Bylsma added. “Our proposal makes rural communities stronger and helps keep this treasure we call the family farm in business.”

It’s going to take a movement

In closing, the groups recognized that any meaningful change in the dairy industry is going to require strong coalition building.

“We know that to get anything changed at the federal level, we’re going to need people power,” said WFU Special Projects Director Sarah Lloyd. “It’s very encouraging that we’re packing the rooms for these meetings – now we need to spread the word to our elected decision makers, implement our people power through our co-ops, and get everybody on board – processors, veterinarians, seed sales representatives. These proposals are strong enough to make a difference and move the industry away from consolidation.”

Find handouts, videos and more resources about the proposals, details on upcoming events, and a sign-up to keep informed at

Top Dairy Industry News Stories from April 6th to April 14th 2019

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Brennan Topp and Abigail Grimm Named Fred Stout Experience Award Recipients

Brennan Topp, Orrville, Ohio, and Abigail Grimm, Milaca, Minn., have been selected as the 2019 recipients of the Fred Stout Experience Awards.

The fund supporting these awards was created in 2000 in memory of Fred J. Stout Sr., Mt. Carmel, Ill., a lifelong Jersey breeder and member of the Jersey Marketing Service staff from 1978 to 1997. Stout was instrumental in the growth of JMS marketing activities, and later added duties as a type evaluator and in customer field service for the American Jersey Cattle Association (AJCA).

Stout believed that the best learning experiences happen in the everyday world. These awards honor that conviction by providing financial support for two paid internships each year, one on-farm and the other with Jersey Marketing Service.

JMS Internship Recipient: Brennan Topp

Brennan Topp will begin his internship with Jersey Marketing Service on May 22. He will assist with the preparation, staging and wrap-up work for the company’s public auctions, online and private treat sales including the 62nd National Heifer Sale, June 28 in Saratoga Springs, N.Y.

Brennan is a student at the Ohio State University Agricultural Technical Institute (OSU-ATI) and will graduate in 2020 with an associate of applied science degree in dairy production and management. He actively works with registered dairy cattle on his family’s dairy, Toppglen Farms, and others while being at school. His responsibilities include assisting with the daily chores, management, feeding, milking and fitting show stock.

Since his youth, Brennan has participated in the show ring and dairy judging activities on the local, state and national levels. In 2018, he placed among the overall top 10 in the Post-Secondary Dairy Judging Contest at World Dairy Expo.

Farm Experience Recipient: Abigail Grimm

Abigail Grimm’s internship supported by the Fred Stout Experience Fund will be at Broumley Dairy, Hico, Texas with a focus on herd management, something she hopes to pursue in her professional career.

Abigail is a freshman at Ridgewater College majoring in dairy management. Since 2012, she has worked as an assistant herd manager at Brickton Genetics where she oversees the herd’s feeding, youngstock records and reproduction. Over the years Abigail has had the opportunity to work with different crews at a national Jersey shows and sales. She has also exhibited her own Registered Jerseys at local, state and national levels. At the 2017 World Dairy Expo she placed third in the Youth Fitting Contest.

An active FFA member, Abigail received her Minnesota State Degree in 2018. That same year she placed second in the state’s Dairy Placement Proficiency. She helped restart Minnesota’s Parish IV Jersey Association and ran for state Jersey Queen, an experience she plans to repeat.

Abigail is a member of the upcoming Class VI of Jersey Youth Academy which will be held July 14-19 in Columbus, Ohio.

About Jersey Youth Programs

Previous recipients of the Fred Stout Experience Award are Tara Bohnert, Illinois (2003), Allison Waggoner, South Carolina (2004), Dan Bauer, Wisconsin (2005), Aaron Horst, Pennsylvania (2006), Jacob Pieper, Maryland (2007); Katie Albaugh, Maryland (2008); Brady Core, Kentucky (2009); Ivy Roberts, Florida, and Kim Wilson, Missouri (2010); Amy Maxwell, Iowa, and Joseph Fjarlie, Wisconsin (2011); Robert McGarry, Vermont, and Lyman Rudgers, New York (2012); Meagan Bolen, Ohio, and Wyatt Smith, Minnesota (2013); Meagan Chittenden, New York, and Olivia Pearson, North Carolina (2014); Gerret Boer, Texas, and Tyler Stiles French, South Carolina (2015); and Laura Bell, Tennessee, and Austin Woods, Wisconsin (2016); Tyler Kirchdoerfer, Missouri and Blake Koehn, Oklahoma (2017); and Amanda LoRusso, Connecticut (2018).

The Fred Stout Experience Fund is among 13 educational awards for Jersey youth managed by the American Jersey Cattle Association, Reynoldsburg, Ohio. Contributions to these funds are recognized by the Internal Revenue Service as 501(c)(3) tax deductible charitable gifts and may be made at any time during the year. Applications for 2019-20 academic scholarships will be available May 1 on the USJersey website and are due July 1, 2019. Applications for the 2020 Stout Experience Awards are accepted through December 1, 2019. For more information, visit, or contact the AJCA Communications Department at (614) 861-3636 or email


Tauchen Hired as Assistant Director Communications at American Jersey Cattle Association

Kaila (Wussow) Tauchen, Cecil, Wis., has been named Assistant Director of Communications for the recently restructured Communications Department of the American Jersey Cattle Association.

Tauchen grew up on her family’s operation Milk N’More Farms and was involved in numerous Jersey youth activities. She was the 2017 National Jersey Youth Achievement winner and a past winner of the Pot O’Gold and National Jersey Youth Production Contests. She also was a member of the National Jersey Queen Court in 2017 and attended Jersey Youth Academy the same year. She is a December 2018 graduate of University of Wisconsin-River Falls with a Bachelor of Science in both Dairy Science and Agriculture Marketing Communications and a minor in agriculture business.

Kaila brings a wealth of Jersey knowledge and passion to the Communications team. In her role she will work with the Director of Communications to create communications materials, assist in maintaining the company websites, produce the annual report, coordinate the Green Book, help with the national Jersey youth development programs, as well as help develop trade show displays for USJersey. Her experience includes technical writing, video production, and advertisement design through her various internships at Alta Genetics, East Central/Select Sires and Accelerated Genetics.

Tauchen’s hire is part of an overall growth and restructuring within the Communications department. Kim Billman, with USJersey for 25 years, has been named Director of Communications and will oversee all publications and activities of the department, including youth programs and the All American activities.

Michele Ackerman, a 16-year member of the team, has been named Website Coordinator and Editorial Editor. In her role, she will work with the director of communications and the full team to design, create and maintain the USJersey organization websites, beginning with the Jersey Journal site to be released in June. She will continue to utilize her writing and editing talents while working with the Editor to create feature articles and website content.

Tracie Hoying, a staff member of 14 years is the new Managing Editor of Jersey Journal. In this role she will take on more of the daily management of the magazine while continuing to build the advertising program. She will assume responsibilities of creating the monthly editorial planner, directing staff in designing advertising, work with the Editor and Editorial Editor to plan the feature stories for each month in the print and online magazine.

Jaclyn Krymowski, Communications Specialist has been with Jersey Journal since last June. She will continue to develop our social media platforms for the USJersey organizations, as well as provide content for the website and printed magazine. Jaclyn also helps with advertisement design and coordinates the USJersey press releases.

Hannah Meller, Administrative Assistant for Jersey Marketing Service (JMS) and Jersey Journal, joined the team in July 2018. Her responsibilities with the Communication Department have been expanded to also include Subscription Manager for the online and print magazine. In addition to producing JMS catalogs, Hannah also works with the JMS social media platforms and helps with designing advertising for the magazine and JMS sales.

The American Jersey Cattle Association, organized in 1868, compiles and maintains animal identification and performance data on Jersey cattle and provides services that support genetic improvement and greater profitability through increasing the value of and demand for Registered Jersey™ cattle and genetics.

“It is an exciting time for the USJersey organizations,” says AJCA executive secretary and CEO Neal Smith. “We are pleased to announce these changes in the Communications Department to help serve our customers and team members more efficiently.”

For more information on the association’s complete line of services for dairy business owners, visit the website or connect on Facebook.

Lawmakers hope US-Mexico-Canada deal will aid struggling farm industry

A deal to replace the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) has been agreed upon by the US, Mexico, and Canada but it won’t be formally put in place until Congress passes the bill and it is signed by President Donald Trump.

The US-Mexico-Canada Agreement (USMCA) will eventually replace NAFTA if it makes through Congress. Lawmakers say the deal will bring relief to the agricultural industry which is currently struggling.

Congressman Tom Reed, R-New York and a member of the Problem Solvers Caucus, met with Trump regarding the need for Congress to act on this.

In upstate New York, dairy farmers have struggled because Canada refused to import their products, according to Reed, but he says the deal will open up more markets to them.

Veronica Nigh of the Farm Bureau says dairy prices have been low for five years.

“Most of the time with ‘ag’ prices you typically think that things hit a low price and then there’s some rebound,” she said.

But for dairy farmers, that rebound never happened, according to Nigh. The Farm Bureau says the USMCA would go a long way in adding extra security for farmers.

“That’s real money to real farmers where they’re actually making money, they’re actually investing in their farms, and they’re putting a little bit aside for a rainy day,” Reed said.

With the three countries agreeing to a deal, some relief could be in sight. But supporters like Reed must still sell the bill to a divided Congress.

“American workers, manufacturers, supply chains for our auto industry, rebuilding the core of U.S. steel back in the U.S. ground is something that is going to be a benefit of this agreement going forward,” he added.

Reed says Democrats and Republicans should be united on this issue to support American workers and farmers.


Source: WPRI

Birthday surprise: Woman gets to milk cow for 100th birthday

A Pennsylvania woman celebrated her 100th birthday by milking a cow named Greta thanks to Scranton Health Care Center. Now a centenarian, Ann Randazzo said she wanted people to know she was still young at heart.

Fonterra set to get tough on rogue farmers

The focus on sustainability is part of a new strategy being headed by Fonterra chairman John Monaghan (right) and chief executive Miles Hurrell.

Fonterra is signalling a tougher stance on farmers who persistently fail to meet minimum standards of sustainability.

The co-op last week said it plans to become more sustainable in five key areas: environment, animals, milk, people and communities, and co-op and prosperity.

The new approach to sustainability onfarm is part of a new programme, The Cooperative Difference, unveiled last week. This stems from strategy, now being developed by the board and management, that will put sustainability at the heart of everything the co-op does, empowering it to maximise its New Zealand heritage and uniqueness and remain globally competitive.

Full details of The Cooperative Difference programme will be announced at the MyConnect conference in Dunedin next month.

Fonterra cooperative affairs managing director Mike Cronin says sustainability for the co-op is about more than the environment. 

“It’s about looking after our people, caring for animals, adapting to changing customer and consumer expectations, and respecting the communities and land where we live and work.

“We are proud of the global reputation Fonterra farmers have for producing high quality milk. 

“Farmers have made tremendous progress onfarm to date and The Co-operative Difference will help us take that good work to the next level so we can continue to create goodness for generations to come.”

For milk suppliers, a clearer edition of the co-op’s Terms of Supply and Farmers’ Handbook will be delivered in time for the 2019-20 season, outlining the minimum requirements onfarm. 

“We will streamline processes for managing non-compliance and ensure farmers are adequately supported in minor non-compliance issues,” the co-op says.

The existing demerit scheme for milk quality issues, the liquidated damages regime and a number of issue-specific consequences for failing to meet required standards will remain in place. 

“The co-op will take a firmer line with [farmers who] persistently fail to meet minimum standards, ultimately suspending collection when justified,” it says.

Cronin says consumers and customers increasingly want to know that their food choices support a sustainable future. “How we farm and make our products needs to reflect these aspirations so we can remain a globally competitive NZ cooperative,” he said.

“Our cooperative’s strong dairy heritage and pasture-based system seperates us from the pack but we must continue to earn our customers’ and consumers’ trust and loyalty.”

Making a difference

The Cooperative Difference will support Fonterra’s new strategy by:

– Recognising farmers who go beyond the minimum requirements to supply high-quality milk, care for their animals, protect the environment, support their people and community, and engage in their co-operative

– Helping other farmers follow suit by making existing onfarm requirements easier to understand and by providing tailored, industry-leading support services to those who want to improve

– Providing more information and advance notice to farmers about our future aspirations so they can plan and progress towards our shared ambitions

– Streamlining reporting and auditing to save farmers time and energy, and help the co-op protect its market position, strengthen its sustainability claims and drive demand for products that customers and consumers value most

– Supporting farms wanting to improve, while taking a firmer line with those who persistently fail to meet minimum standards, and exercising our rights to suspend collection.


Hawaii’s Taxpayers Take Loss on Failed Kauai Dairy Plan

Some Hawaii taxpayers lost money following a private investment firm’s failed plan to establish a dairy on Kauai.

The Honolulu Star-Advertiser reported on Monday that Honolulu-based Ulupono received $875,000 in state tax credits under a 2008 law that created incentives for landowners to preserve prime farmland for agricultural use in perpetuity.

Ulupono, owned by billionaire eBay founder Pierre Omidyar, qualified for the tax credit by investing in an agricultural operation on land it leased from another company that had its property preserved under Hawaii’s Important Agricultural Lands law.


Ulupono said in a written statement that it is disappointed that Hawaii Dairy Farms didn’t succeed but that the tax credit program provided an incentive to take on risk with the project it estimated would cost $17.5 million.

Ulupono scrapped the farm plan in January.


Information from: Honolulu Star-Advertiser,

I’m a Australian farmer – I have a problem with the vegan protests

By: William Crockford

This morning, vegan protestors disrupted the country, stopping traffic, annoying the police and forcing the Prime Minister to comment. I have a problem with this.

A couple of weeks back, a group of vegan activists stormed a farm in rural Queensland. The media outlets shouted militancy, illustrating the angry statements by the farmer. It was trespass, it was activism, it was probably both. As a farmer myself, I’ve come to my own conclusions. As the industry is small, we tend to talk, so we’ve discussed this amongst ourselves. It’s easy to pick a side, which is what we’re for.

This morning, we’ve witnessed yet more vegan activism, with protestors blocking an abattoir in Geelong and disrupting traffic outside Flinders Street Station. Now, it is easy to malign a collection of people you don’t know, turning the vegan activist into a thing in order to hate it. After all, our Prime Minister said this to 2GB radio this morning: “It is shameful, it is un-Australian…this is just another form of activism that I think runs against the national interest, and the national interest is being able to farm their own land.”

I have two issues with this. First, Scott Morrison is wrong, as there’s nothing more us than unison protest. Second, the objective nature of the conversation (farmers vs activists) allows you to twist both parties into what you need them to be. Using the example of Morrison, we farmers are the victims, the activists, the problem. We are not, and neither are they.

A couple of years back, protestors came to my property, armed with placard and repeated slogan, looking to make headlines, or perhaps trouble. I assumed that was certainly the vibe. Now, I grant you that it is infuriating to try and converse with someone who is busy hearing themselves talk, or worse, who chooses to talk over you with the same repeated statement, but once we looked beyond that (or endured it), it became a matter of conversation. It may be easy to judge solely relying on the headlines, what with animal activists dumping blood on celebrities, or with PETA shitting on the grave of Steve Irwin, but that’s certainly part of the problem. They’re only a problem if you make them a problem. Those kids asked to be shown around the farm, I could have said no, but I had nothing to hide. They took photos, they asked questions, they wanted my take on the industry, they wanted to know how I felt about animals. I told them. We shook hands and parted.

The trouble, I believe, is in the aftermath. When cost is measured, and points must be scored. Media agencies need headlines, the protestors need to register their event as a win, politicians need to advance their career. Even we farmers feel the need to twist the narrative. I certainly did, thinking that I taught those kids a lesson. It’s an easy trap to fall into, but if we remove ego from the situation, and indeed, what we’d like to personally gain, we see the truth. These people are just that. People. They’re standing up for what they believe in. That is perfectly fine. We all have the right to protest. So, if you consider demonising these people, casting them off as either crazy, unwell or entitled; the target of their criticism says that you need to let them have their say.

We don’t need you fighting our battles for us, and that goes for you too, Scott.


fairlife to Expand and Build a New Production Facility in Arizona

fairlife, LLC announced plans today to increase overall production capabilities with the construction of a new 300 thousand square foot production and distribution facility in Goodyear, Arizona – a suburb of Phoenix. fairlife currently produces multiple varieties of dairy-based beverages at its production plant in Coopersville, Michigan, and distributes the highly nutritious beverages to retailers in the United States and Canada.

“I’m extremely proud that the demand for our milk has grown so much that we now need another manufacturing site! In choosing a new plant location, it is essential that the new facility be built in an area where dairy farms are willing and able to follow fairlife’s responsible animal care and sustainable farming practices while producing the highest quality milk. Not only are there amazing dairy farmers in and around Goodyear, its location enables competitive domestic and international production,” said Tim Doelman, Chief Operating Officer for fairlife, LLC.

The new $200+ million facility, which is slated to begin operation in the back half of 2020, will house production lines that will play a key role in meeting the growing demand for fairlife. Working with the United Dairymen of Arizona (UDA) to source milk from numerous dairy farmers in Goodyear, the new fairlife plant will enable increased production of all fairlife products, including the different varieties of fairlife ultra-filtered milk®, Core Power®, fairlife® YUP!™, fairlife® smart snacks™, and fairlife® nutrition plan™.

“fairlife is a pioneer in the dairy industry and having their new plant here will not only encourage innovation in Arizona, it will contribute to our efforts to grow our advanced manufacturing sector in our community,” stated Mayor Georgia Lordof Goodyear, Arizona.

Located at the corners of Cotton Lane and Thomas Road in the west valley of Phoenix at the Palm Valley 303 Business Park, the new facility will incorporate advanced manufacturing technologies and efficient, energy-saving equipment to reduce power consumption. It will create more than 140 jobs locally and augment benefits within the local economy, from the development and construction of the facility to the continuous resources and suppliers needed to support daily operations.

“Sometimes, I think back to that day over 20 years ago when Mike and I sat at our kitchen table and came up with the idea of cold-filtering our milk for higher nutrition. We dreamt of a more nutritious milk for consumers. It is extremely rewarding to see the results of our hard work pay off and make this dream a continuing reality, thanks to the great dairy farmers here in Arizona. We look forward to working with all our amazing partners and are committed to supporting the economic growth in the southwest region,” disclosed Sue McCloskey, dairy farmer and co-founder of fairlife.

For more information about fairlife® and its complete portfolio of fairlife products, please visit

about fairlife, LLC
fairlife, LLC produces and markets nutritious and great-tasting milk beverages made using a cold-filtration process that removes lactose and sugars while concentrating the natural proteins, nutrients, and minerals found in cow’s milk. The company was founded in 2012 by Mike and Sue McCloskey of Select Milk Producers, Inc.®, a group of dairy farmers dedicated to using exceptional cow care and sustainable farming practices to yield higher quality milk. The line of delicious, creamy, lactose-free fairlife® products includes: fairlife® ultra-filtered milk, cow’s milk with 50% more protein and 50% less sugar than regular milk for the whole family; fairlife® with DHA, an ultra-filtered milk with DHA Omega-3 fatty acids to support brain health; fairlife® YUP!™, a line of flavored milks; Core Power® High Protein Shakes, a sports drink for athletes and fitness enthusiasts to help build lean muscle and support workout recovery; fairlife® smart snacks™, a drinkable snack with honey and oats to help curb hunger between meals; and the newly launched fairlife® nutrition plan, a high protein meal replacement shake. In partnership with The Coca-Cola Company®, fairlife ultra-filtered milk and Core Power high protein shakes are distributed throughout the United States (U.S.) and Canada; all other fairlife drinks are available nationwide in the U.S. To learn more about fairlife and its collection of products, please visit or follow the company on FacebookInstagramYouTube, and Twitter.

About City of Goodyear
Goodyear, Arizona has a diverse blend of amenities with abundant business, cultural, educational and entertainment resources. Today, the city’s population is more than 84,000 and features a highly educated and skilled workforce, just minutes from the heart of Downtown Phoenix. The low cost of doing business, robust transportation options, fiber connectivity and a lot of southwest charm create the right economic conditions to power any business. Goodyear is one of the most dynamic and rapidly growing regions in the nation and spring training home to MLB’s Cleveland Indians and Cincinnati Reds. Fortune 500 companies, including Amazon, Lockheed Martin, Ball, Dick’s Sporting Goods, UPS, and Darden Restaurants have chosen Goodyear as the place to be.  For more information, visit or call Goodyear City Hall at 623-932-3910.

Holstein Association USA Honors Junior Members

The National Junior Holstein Association is a dynamic organization for youth under the age of 21, with over 8,000 active members in 48 states.

Semifinalists in the 97th Annual Holstein Association USA Distinguished Junior Member contest, a competition recognizing excellence in the Junior Holstein Association, are announced.

Established in 1922, this contest is the longest running Holstein youth program. The Distinguished Junior Member award is the highest honor given to members of the National Junior Holstein Association, ages 17 to 21, in recognition of a commitment to the Holstein breed and involvement in a variety of agriculture related activities.

The 2019 Distinguished Junior Members Semifinalists are:
–        Nathan Arthur, Sumner, Iowa
–        Madeline Beaudry, Walpole, New Hampshire
–        Allison Breunig, Sauk City, Wisconsin
–        Kalista Hodorff, Eden, Wisconsin
–        Brock Irwin, Belvidere, Illinois
–        Cady McGehee, Okeechobee, Florida
–        Courtney Moser, Westby, Wisconsin
–        Sierra Swanson, Hutchinson, Minnesota
–        Sarah Thomas, Pittsboro, North Carolina
–        Zachariah Tolzman, Dodgeville, Wisconsin        
–        Taylor Wolfe, Milton, Pennsylvania
–        Lora Wright, Verona, Missouri

The twelve semifinalists will interview at the National Holstein Convention, June 23-27, 2019 in Appleton, Wisconsin. Six finalists are announced during the Convention Gala Banquet, June 27, 2019 at the Red Lion Hotel Paper Valley in Appleton, Wisconsin.

Eight finalists have been named in Holstein Association USA’s annual Young Distinguished Junior Member (YDJM) competition.

The YDJM recognition is designed to reward youth, ages 9 to 16, who demonstrate a firsthand working knowledge of the dairy industry. Applicants must participate in Registered Holstein®, dairy and other activities, be role models for other youth and good spokespeople for the dairy industry.

The 2019 Young Distinguished Junior Members Finalists are:
–        Caroline Arrowsmith, Peach Bottom, Pennsylvania
–        Delana Erbsen, Lanark, Illinois
–        Austin Holcomb, Lithia, Florida
–        Kylie Konyn, Escondido, California
–        Brianna Meyer, Chilton, Wisconsin
–        Ainsley Noble, Lancaster, Wisconsin
–        Addison Raber, Gridley, Illinois
–        Clarissa Ulness, Valders, Wisconsin

The 2019 Young Distinguished Junior Members Finalists will be recognized during the 2019 National Junior Holstein Awards Luncheon on June 27, 2019 in Appleton, Wisconsin.

2019 National Holstein Convention tickets are available by registering online,

For more information about the YDJM contest or other Holstein youth programs, visit, or contact Kelli Dunklee at 800.952.5200, ext. 4124 or

Pennsylvania State police investigating dairy farm accused of abusing cows

A Guilford Township dairy farm is facing animal cruelty allegations after a video was released late last week depicting the alleged abuse of its cows and calves. 

The footage, provided by an undercover investigator for the animal activist group Compassion Over Killing, showed several gruesome scenes, including workers tying down cows and using a hot iron to burn their skulls, spraying them in their faces with hot water and fatally shooting them in the head. The group also noted its investigator followed a truck from the farm to a Nestlé ice cream facility, which owns Dreyer’s, Edy’s, and Häagen-Dazs brands

As the Public Opinion previously reported, Pennsylvania State Police said in a release Thursday officers and the state police animal cruelty liaison were investigating these claims, which occurred between Oct. 17, 2018 and Dec. 7, 2018. 

Spokeswoman Trooper Megan Frazer said that, as of Monday morning, there were no updates available on the investigation of the Chambersburg-area farm. The release stated staffers at the business have been fully cooperative.

In addition, several other organizations have responded to the accusations against Martin Farms. 

Compassion Over Killing said on its website when Nestlé was alerted to the abuse, it immediately cut ties with the dairy farm. However, the group noted this small step “fails to address the systemic nature of the issues COK’s investigation uncovered.”

The farm is also undergoing a Farmers Assuring Responsible Management’s (FARM) animal care audit, which was initiated by the Maryland and Virginia Milk Producers Cooperative, of which Martin Farms is a member. In an online statement, the organization said it initiated this step after the farm notified it of the alleged animal abuse. 

“(The cooperative) takes all claims about animal mistreatment very seriously, and we assert that any evidence of animal abuse should be immediately reported and investigated,” it continued. “Neither Maryland and Virginia, the dairy industry or our individual farmer owners tolerate animal abuse of any kind.” 

The audit has already identified “several areas in need of immediate improvement,” and the farm has been placed on probation and will need to meet the requirements outlined in the FARM’s Mandatory Corrective Action Plan and Continuous Improvement Plans, the cooperative said. Members farms are required to follow the guidelines set forth by the FARM program and those that fail to comply with these standards and the probation process could have their membership terminated. 

Upon being alerted to the footage captured at their business, Martin Farms said in its own statement that it is “appalled that these incidents took place on our farm.” 

“We take full responsibility for the activities on our dairy,” the company added. “We are disappointed that these actions were not immediately brought to our attention.”

Martin Farms also said all employees shown in the video mishandling the animals have been terminated, and it has taken immediate steps to address “management issues,” as well as other improvement areas outlined in the FARM audit. 

“We believe in continuous improvement, and we are revising our existing monitoring and employee training protocols to determine where changes need to be made to prevent future incidents from occurring,” the company continued. 

To view the complete footage posted online by Compassion Over Killing, visit its website at


Quality Holsteins Tops Holstein Ontario’s Annual Highest Classifying Herds List

Quality Holsteins from Woodbridge topped Holstein Ontario’s annual highest classifying herds with an average final score of 86.14.  The top 20 herds with 60+ registrations per year are recognized below.  

Chaos when activists scare Australian dairy farmer’s stock

Freestone Australia dairy farmer Phil Christensen has spoken out about the chaos that erupted when “brainwashed” vegan activists approached his cattle.

The incident, which occurred at about 7am this morning, was filmed and posted online.

It was the second attack on the Queensland agriculture industry today, with protesters having already stormed Carey Bros Abattoir at Yangan, east of Warwick, before dawn.

Mr Christensen had heard news of what was happening at Yangan, about 20 minutes away, and was concerned for the safety of his stock.

When protesters began to approach his farm, his fears were confirmed.

“When they arrived the heifers ran towards them because that’s where they were being fed,” he said.

“I saw three calves out on the road with them and we started trying to get them back in.

“The (protesters) were all over the place, they had no idea what they were doing.”

The activists’ boisterous presence startled some of the herd and caused one calf to jump through the fence in fear.

Mr Christensen said the protesters were swearing at him.

“They started telling me, ‘you are not going to be here much longer, it’s a vegan world’,” he said.

“I said ‘not while I’m alive’,” he laughed.

He was also questioned on why he didn’t grow vegetables.

“I told them I don’t have the water for it, they don’t really understand how much water and how much chemical it takes to grow vegetables,” he said.

“We only got 20 inches of rainfall last year.”

Mr Christensen said the activists appeared to be young, and people who hadn’t “experienced life yet” or were “brainwashed”.

“They want to get their views across in the wrong way and expect the world to eat just grass,” he said.

“If we don’t have dairy farms here, I can tell you, you will be getting milk from overseas, then they have no control of it.

“We look after our animals, we keep them fat — we haven’t even sold off our bull calves in ages.

“We keep them or sell them on Facebook as pets, why are we all being tarred with the same brush?”


Source: The Weekly Times

Holstein UK Announce Winners of 2019 Master Breeder Awards Classified as a ‘Master Breeder’

Holstein UK is delighted to announce the winners of its 2019 Master Breeder Awards. A record 18 high-performing herds have surpassed qualification and claim this prestigious breeder recognition.

Master Breeder rewards Holstein members whose herds achieve a high standard in both classification and production and therefore breed productive, trouble-free long living cows that display desirable traits and conformation. Cows and heifers in each herd are allocated points according to set criteria and only animals carrying the member prefix, and which are recorded as having produced a lactation within the last two years, are eligible for inclusion in the calculation. A herd achieving an average score of 4 points or more and a total point score of 150 or more, will qualify the member as a Master Breeder.

The Master Breeder Winners 2019

  • ALIANN, J D & J A Holgate, North Yorkshire
  • ARDS, H Patton & Sons, County Down, Northern Ireland
  • BANNISTREE, D & E Monk, Lancashire
  • CLANDEBOYE, Clandeboye Estate Co Ltd, County Down, Northern Ireland
  • CLWCH, W J & H Williams, Gwynedd
  • ENCHMARSH, J & G Allsop, Shropshire
  • HAVENDALE, T H Flower & Sons, Derbyshire
  • HAYVALLEY, D W & G N Renfree, Cornwall
  • HILLTARA, S M McCormick, County Down, Northern Ireland
  • KILLINGTON, J & R Waller, Lancashire
  • LAN, R & E Bowen, Carmarthenshire
  • MOORSHARD, R K & S G Miller & Sons, Somerset
  • MOREE, R J V & A R J Kelso, County Tyrone, Northern Ireland
  • NEWBIRKS, A Lawson & Son, West Yorkshire
  • PENNINE, Drinkall Bros, Lancashire
  • SAINTCLEAR, P E & D M Thomas, Dyfed
  • STEVEACRE, Cox Farming Company, Staffordshire
  • WORMANBY, Wormanby Farms Ltd, Cumbria

Over 120,000 type classifications have been completed in the last 12 months, highlighting the continued popularity of this service as a tool for identifying cows which thrive in modern production systems.  Most classifications are carried out for private farmers but many are also undertaken on behalf of the AI industry to progeny test UK Holstein sires.

Sue Cope, Chief Executive Officer for Holstein UK, commented; “The Holstein UK Master Breeder is an important status which carries credibility and desirability. It demonstrates the breeders’ strengths in rearing and progressing cattle to an outstanding standard and offers the herd a level of superior ranking and greater value.  Congratulations to the 2019 Master Breeders who I look forward to meeting during the year as we present the certificates and plaques at their nominated events.” 

Fire Claims Life of New York Farmer

Authorities confirm to WKTV that Henry Synakowski, 93 died shortly after escaping a fire in Trenton. High winds fueled the fire at a farm Wednesday, where fire officials say the house, barn, workshop, and some of the field all caught fire.

Fire officials believe that the cause of the fire may have been the wood stove within the workshop of the property located behind the house.

Fire officials were called to Route 365 near Mapledale Road just after 4pm Wednesday afternoon. Responding fire fighters reacted quickly and arrived on scene in under 5 minutes.

When they arrived, the were met with heavy flames. They did try to fight the fire from the inside of the house, but the fire became too intense and they were forced out.

“At that time we experienced a flash over of the structure on the second floor. We had to pull an emergency evacuation and account for our personel. No fire fighters were injured at this time,” said Chief Kevin Kalk of the Barneveld Fire Dept.

The wind gust reached a peak of 48 mph which ultimately caused the fire to spread so quickly to all 3 structures on the property. All 3 buildings a total loss.

“Between the house the barn the shop and the equipment probably close to 750,000 dollars,” said Chief Kalk.

Authorities said six people lived on the farm. Troopers identified the man as Henry Synakowski, 93. They said he managed to escape the flames, but later died after repeated lifesaving efforts.

Officials said 40 cows made it out of the barn safely. They were unsure if their were any more animals in the barn during the fire.

Crews were on the scene well past 7:30 p.m.

Determination & offers of help will get UK team to Libramont next week

Holstein UK is delighted to announce that there will be a UK Team of cattle at The European Championships Libramont, Belgium on 12th and 13th April 2019.

Sadly Holstein UK had to announce on Monday that due to the recent outbreak of Bluetongue in Belgium the team had made the disappointing decision to not attend the show . After the announcement was released numerous offers of help were received from breeders in Belgium to help with the required post event quarantine. 

Sue Cope Holstein UK CEO said “I am delighted that we have managed to achieve our goal of getting a team of cows to Libramont. I want to personally thank the exhibitors for the absolute commitment and determination they have shown throughout and also to everyone else involved who have worked tirelessly over the past few months.”

Holstein UK would like to wish the team the very best of luck along with our two young members Jonny Woodhouse and Robert Morley.


Source: Holstein UK

Should Fonterra list before it’s too late?

The proposed sale of Westland Co-operative Dairy Company Limited to the Mongolian-based Yili Group for $246 million has focused attention on the structure and ownership of our dairy sector.

Westland is the country’s second largest dairy co-op and if the Yili offer goes ahead, the country will have only two remaining co-ops — Fonterra and the Waikato-based Tatua Co-operative Dairy Company.

Westland chairman Pete Morrison said: “the board believes that the proposed transaction represents the best available outcome for our shareholders and has the unanimous support of the board.

The acquisition price represents an attractive price to the Westland shares’ nominal value.

Westland will seek shareholder approval for the proposed transaction at a special shareholder meeting which is expected to be held in early July 2019”.

Under a scheme of arrangement, the Yili acquisition must receive the approval of 75 per cent of shares voted as well as a simple majority of shares held by shareholders entitled to vote.

This co-op structure may be on its last legs as Westland’s and Fonterra’s performance illustrates that these farmer-owned structures are struggling in a highly competitive consumer market environment.

Dairy co-operatives have played a huge role in New Zealand.

An estimated 60 of them were operating in the late 1800s, rising to a peak of 500 in the 1920s. The benefits of economies of scale led to a raft of mergers including the amalgamation of the Westland Cool Storage and Dairy Company Limited, Kokatahi Co-operative and Waitaha Co-operative into the Hokitika based Westland Co-operative Dairy Company in 1937.

The Karamea Co-operative Dairy Company joined Westland in 1987.

By the late 1990s there were only four remaining dairy co-ops — Westland, Tatua, the New Zealand Dairy Group and Kiwi Co-operative Dairies. The latter two merged in 2001 to form Fonterra.

Westland stayed on its own as farmer-shareholders were determined to maintain their independence and have total control of their destiny.

This allowed the co-op to begin developing and marketing its own products under the Westland Milk Products brand name.

Westland is proud of its underdog status and during its 75-year anniversary in 2012 chairman Matt O’Regan said: “We are often billed as a David to the Goliath that is the dominant force in the New Zealand dairy industry.

In a way it is an apt metaphor, but it’s also worth remembering that by New Zealand standards we are pretty big in our own right.

“We might be a smaller player on the New Zealand dairy scene, but nationally we are in the top 100 New Zealand businesses by turnover, and we market to more than 70 customers in more than 40 different countries around the world”.

O’Regan went on to write: “The key reason for this success is that we have stuck with a truly co-operative model that has proven to be adaptable and resilient.

“The co-operative gives farmers the security of knowing their milk will always be processed, and they have direct access to the value that is added to their milk beyond the farm gate. As part of a co-operative, farmers have the market power rather than handing it to someone else down the value chain”.

These comments have been invalidated since then, as Westland has struggled to meet the aspirations of its farmer-shareholders.

Westland’s problems had already begun when the co-op held its 75th Jubilee celebrations in July 2012.

The co-op’s underlying problem is its lack of permanent capital, as shareholders can redeem equity when they cease supplying the co-op.

Because of this, Westland had to finance its expansions and developments through debt and its borrowings have increased dramatically since 2011 (see accompanying table).

In the four years ended July 2015, the co-op’s borrowings soared from $63.1 million to $227.6m while its net equity decreased from $113.5m to $99.3m.

The co-op reported Ebit (earnings before interest and tax) of $35.0m for the July 2015 year but that was only because it slashed its payment to farmers from $522.0m in the July 2014 year to $319.4m.

Nevertheless, chairman O’Regan wrote in the 2015 annual report: “Our co-operative structure presents a tremendous opportunity”.

The co-op’s 2016 result was a shocker, even though farmers took another huge haircut with milk purchases falling again, from $319.4m in the July 2015 year to only $264.2m.

O’Regan indicated a confusing attitude towards corporate governance with the following 2016 annual report comments: “Our growth strategies are strongly linked with the Westland approach of fostering direct engagement by directors and senior management with overseas customers.

“First-hand experiences gained from director and management visits to China and Europe proved invaluable”.

How could Westland even partially base its growth strategy on relationships between board members and foreign customers when it has had 24 different directors since 2009?

Pete Morrison, who replaced Matt O’Regan as chairman, wrote in the 2017 annual report: “With Westland finishing the 2015-16 year in the unenviable position of offering its shareholders the lowest payout of any New Zealand dairy company, we began the new financial year under considerable financial pressure”.

Morrison had the following capital review comments in the 2018 annual report: “However, full implementation of the strategy is likely to require significant new capital. The board is conscious we have relatively high debt levels and limited financial flexibility”.

The chairman’s 2018 report had an air of despondency and a few months later he announced that the board unanimously supported the purchase of the company by Mongolian based Yili.

Yili, which is listed on the Shanghai Stock Exchange, is China’s largest dairy producer with an estimated 22 per cent market share in its home country. Yili purchased Timaru-based Oceania Dairy in 2013.

Co-operatives have an inherent conflict between the desire of farmers to maximise their short-term milk revenue and the need for long-term investment in value-added products.

The high short-term milk payout argument usually wins and, as a result, dairy co-operatives have a strong focus on low-margin commodity products rather than high-value-added products.

This is illustrated by Westland’s Ebit margin of 1.9 per cent and Fonterra’s Ebit margin of 1.3 per cent for its July 2018 year.

By comparison, NZX-listed Synlait Milk and a2 Milk had Ebit margins of 12.9 per cent and 30.5 per cent for their 2017/18 financial years, although a2 Milk has a materially different business model from the other dairy companies.

Co-operatives that have evolved into limited liability companies are generally more profitable and more successful, as demonstrated by Kerry Group and Glanbia, two former Irish dairy co-ops now listed on the Dublin Stock Exchange.

Kerry Group has an Ebit margin of 10.4 per cent and a sharemarket value of €17.0 billion ($28.3b) while Glanbia has an Ebit margin of 11.9 per cent and a sharemarket value of €5.1b ($8.5b).

By comparison, Fonterra has a significantly lower Ebit margin and an effective sharemarket value of only $7.0b.

The big questions now are:

• Why did Westland borrow so much money and why didn’t it transform itself into a limited liability company long before directors were forced to recommend the sale of the co-op to overseas interests?
• Will Fonterra transform itself into an NZX-listed limited liability company before it is too late?
• If Fonterra doesn’t, will the country’s dairy sector end up in foreign control just as our banking, insurance, forestry and pulp & paper sectors have?


Fonterra resetting its strategy in China

Fonterra is putting its China investment setbacks behind it, writes Fran O’Sullivan.

Fonterra chief executive Miles Hurrell acknowledges talk of tension at a geopolitical level and at the most senior level between China and New Zealand. “But from a Fonterra perspective we are seeing it as a completely business as usual.

“We’re still getting very good support out of our customers and consumers in those markets and while we watch with interest to see how the relationship goes there’s nothing to concern us in the immediate term,” explains Hurrell. “We obviously watch, at a bigger level the China-US relationship, and though that may open short-term opportunities there are no long-term winners in trade wars.

“Given the importance of that market — Fonterra has 25 per cent of its business with China — we just need to stay close to it and understand how China works more.”

Hurrell says Fonterra needs to be seen as an investor in the Chinese dairy market. The question the company is pondering — as part of a strategic review — is whether that investment needs to be in nutrition companies and online developments and whether it needs to be investing upstream — like farms and processing.

“Investment doesn’t need to be cash,” explains Hurrell. “But I think the relationships we’ve developed with some of the large digital companies up there now, through online and with e-commerce solutions also hold a significant weight as investment — in inverted commas — in China.”

In April 2018, Alibaba and founding partners, including Fonterra and NZ Post, announced a project to use blockchain technology to improve supply chain traceability for Chinese customers, who are increasingly focused on the quality and safety of what they buy.

“In Fonterra’s case that might involve the NZ dairy company selling product on to Alibaba’s growing platforms in South Asia, and ultimately India, as Alibaba begins building an e-commerce platform with its partner there.” visiting Alibaba CEO Daniel Zhang told the Herald.

To help build that vital trust among Chinese consumers, Fonterra has developed Trace — a system that can track the company’s products back to the daily farm milk collection.

Strategic reset

Fonterra is actively considering how to ensure it is a globally competitive New Zealand dairy co-operative. Hurrell says the company’s belief is that China will remain a key market — if not the key market — for “us into the long term”.

Fonterra’s focus is now on value rather than volume as it plans to prioritise its NZ milk supply and earn a premium from its heritage and provenance. Its global portfolio will be refocused to concentrate on where it has a competitive advantage, and there will also be an increased focus on return on capital.

The results of the strategic reset will be announced with the 2019 annual results. There have been challenges in China but the key short-term decisions from an investment perspective relate to its loss-making China farms and its 18.8 per cent stake in Beingmate.

China Farms: sell or hold?

Fonterra’s China Farms business is a strong candidate for the axe after posting a 43 per cent increase in direct loss to $17 million in the first half of the year. The total loss from the seven farms was $21m.

There are two farming hub operations producing fresh milk for Fonterra’s Chinese ingredients, food service and consumer markets.

The decision is a tough one.

Retaining the farms means Fonterra can continue to supply premium fresh milk to customers like Alibaba’s Hema Fresh, which stocks its Daily Fresh milk range. A new Anchor co-branded fresh milk product with Carrefour has also been launched which rated as the number two fresh milk in the last quarter in Shanghai.

“The trajectory is heading in the right direction,” says Hurrell.

“The question we now need to ask ourselves is how important are the farms to our long-term strategy in China, and that is the focus for the short-term thinking right now.”

“Do we go for an integrated play in China in which the farms become critical, or do we become more of a finished play? But we haven’t made that determination just yet.”

Critical to this decision is Fonterra’s decision to play up the New Zealand provenance story, the pasture-based system and animal welfare standards. Hurrell expects as that evolves there will be a heightened interest in NZ-sourced product.

Fonterra is not actively looking for buyers for the farms. If the call is made to maintain the farming operations a key pillar of that would need to be a downstream investment in processing, Hurrell says.

Beingmate: buy, sell or hold?

Fonterra’s $775m investment in Chinese infant formula maker Beingmate has been written down to just $204m.

Fonterra has officially unwound its joint venture arrangement with Beingmate, taking back full ownership of the Darnum manufacturing plant in Australia and the marketing of its Anmum brand in China. Beingmate paid A$102m for a 51 per cent stake in the Darnum plant but the unwinding was done at no cost to Fonterra.

Fonterra’s head of greater China operations Christina Zhu has also resigned from the Beingmate board.

Hurrell says the Anmum brand has grown significantly since it was taken back under Fonterra’s direct control.

“China is a very important market to us and the performance of our consumer and food service business deserves local senior management’s singular focus,” he says. “With the untangling, it really does lead to a very simple decision because it’s only an equity stake… that can be done at pace should that be the decision.”

Fonterra faces key strategic decisions

China Farms:

sell or hold?

Volume LME:

113m down 15%

Gross margin:

$(10m) up $6m; (7.8%) up from (13%)


$(21m) — no change

Source: Fonterra’s interim results presentation.

On the block?

Fonterra’s 18.8% stake in Beingmate

Invest further?

Digital and e-commerce relationships and/or downstream manufacturing.


Source: NZ Herald

Nestle dairy supplier accused of animal abuse; cows being punched, kicked, stomped on

Drone Trak 7 over Martin Farms outside Chambersburg, Pennsylvania. Months before, late last Fall, an undercover investigator with the D.C. based animal advocacy group, Compassion Over Killing or COK, on the ground for six weeks with a hidden camera capturing disturbing video.

Cows being punched, kicked, stomped on and prodded in sensitive areas.

“Why are they shocking her?” asks I-Team Reporter Scott Taylor.

“To get her to move forward into the head trap so she will stay still,” says the Compassion Over Killing investigator who captured the video.

The investigator, who asked not to be identified, posing as a farm worker, capturing what Compassion Over Killing calls eye opening footage that’s heartbreaking to see.

Medical procedures using hot irons and tools without any visible sedation.

“And they yell, they kick and they buck,” says the COK investigator.

Plus, cows unable to walk hoisted by their hips or feet and then dragged.

“I just remember how heavy her breathing was after that and the scared look in her eyes. At what cost are we getting all these products and who is suffering these animals,” says Johnny.

Martin Farms follows the National Dairy Farmers Assuring Responsible Management or FARM Program.

It’s Animal Care Reference Manual prohibits willful mistreatment of animals described acts that maliciously cause pain, injury or suffering.

The video captured on the farm includes cows being sprayed with scalding water to make them move and a botched attempt at putting down a cow. A 2nd shot to the head needed because the first gunshot didn’t do the job.

Who inspects Martin Farms? The Maryland & Virginia Milk Producers Cooperative Association, which is also owned by Martin Farms and 1.100 other dairy farms on the East Coast. The cooperative says animal welfare inspections are conducted every three years, though 7 On Your Side was not given inspection records to confirm that.

After obtaining the video, Compassion Over Killing viewed it and filed an animal abuse complaint with the Pennsylvania State Police, who confirm they are aware of the allegations of animal cruelty. Police say Martin Farms has been fully cooperative and no charges have been filed in the ongoing investigation.

PA State Police Report:

“What we are seeing here is going to be shocking to the public and that’s the key component. When you are there day to day you might become acclimated to what’s happening. It doesn’t make it ok,” says Erica Meier, Executive Director of Compassion Over Killing.

Watch more video of what was captured on the farm.

While the I-Team was off property shooting aerial shots of the farm with Drone Trak 7 dairy owner Joshua Martin, rolled up in front of our camera.

“We can show you the video,” says Scott Taylor.

“Well, I’m not doing anything on camera,” says Joshua Martin.

“Well, you are on camera right now,” says Scott Taylor.

“I am not aware of this, if it is I need to look into it and I’m going to,” says Joshua Martin.

Veterinarian Holly Cheever with Village Animal clinic in New York is a nationally-known animal welfare expert. She has consulted with numerous national animal protection organizations including Compassion Over Killing and has assisted law enforcement agencies in animal abuse cases. Dr. Cheever watched the undercover video.

“The very brutal way they did the dehorning of the young calves and the other thing is actual abdominal surgery without any anesthesia, without any pain killers, without any local blocks of nerves and in a filthy environment with a terrified animal,” says Dr. Holly Cheever DVM.

Martin Farms has been raising dairy cows for the past 45 years.

“I don’t want animal abuse. We go through the Farm Program and all that stuff,” says Joshua Martin.

“Yes, Sir,” says Scott Taylor.

“My boys get trained and all of that,” says Joshua Martin.

Martin Farms asked the Maryland & Virginia Milk Producers Cooperative Association to respond to us.

They sent four people to watch the video at our ABC 7 studios who declined to answer our questions on camera. Their spokesperson did answer questions on the phone and issued a statement:

The Maryland and Virginia Milk Producers tell us previously there were no animal welfare concerns at Martin Farms and the Farm had never been placed on probation.

Martin Farms through the Maryland and Virginia Milk Producers issued a statement:

Four employees identified in the video mishandling animals were immediately fired as was the foreman.

Martin Farms supplies milk to Nestlé Dreyer’s Grand Ice Cream plant in Laurel, Maryland. ABC 7 reached out to Nestlé, which took quick action.

We are deeply disturbed and shocked at the mistreatment of dairy cows shown in this video, and strongly condemn it. Consumers trust us to hold our suppliers to strong standards, and these actions violate that trust. As soon as we learned of this issue, we immediately stopped accepting milk from Martin Farm.

Our company is strongly committed to ensuring the highest possible level of farm animal welfare in our supply chain. In addition to complying with our own high standards, we insist that our dairy suppliers comply with the industry-wide Farmers Assuring Responsible Management (FARM) animal care program. When we find non-compliance, we take decisive action. This can include work to eliminate those practices, removing a farm from our supply, and suspending or ending the relationship with a supplier.”

Kim Peddle Rguem


Ice Cream Division at Nestlé USA


State House panel cuts funds to inspect Alaska’s last dairy

During its review of more than 100 amendments Thursday, the state House Finance Committee removed funding to inspect the state’s last dairy farm – the Havemeister Dairy in Palmer.

House Rep. Kelly Merrick, R-Eagle River, successfully advanced the amendment to cut the $180,000 expense from the state’s budget.

Last month, Ty Havemeister told KTVA he was not sure how the farm would continue without the funding and the inspections. He said state inspectors come to the farm four times a year; milk gets tested in a lab once a month.

“There are federal regulations. I cannot inspect myself, I cannot pay someone to inspect me. The state has to do that,” said Havemeister, a third generation dairy farmer and manager of the dairy’s on-site creamery.

Thursday’s decision is not the final word for the Havemeisters. The 40-member House can still amend that cut next week when it is expected to begin debating the bill.


The Luster from a Gold Find No Longer Shiny Enough to Keep Milking for Australian Family Dairy farm with a Colourful History

The lure of gold in the 1800s, losing a property in a card game, and fudging the numbers to keep a school open, are all part of a farm’s history on the New South Wales mid north coast.

The property with its colourful history is about to enter another chapter with the commercial dairy operation ending after 60 years.

After spending his 73 years on the family farm at Brombin, 15 kilometres west of Wauchope, Bert Bradford has decided it is no longer worth milking his beloved Illawarra cows.

“It starts at the top. By the time everyone else has got their cut there is nothing left for the farmers.

“I don’t think I’ll miss it that much because I have done it for so long.

“A change is as good as a holiday they reckon. I don’t want to be going into a dairy with a walking stick.”

A history rich in gold

While primarily a dairy operation for the past 60 years, the farm on the Hastings River since 1863 has produced potatoes, pigs, beef and corn all originally financed by gold.

His Irish great grandfather Jim Gurney like many of his compatriots took off to the colonies hoping for a better life.

“My great grandfather, went to Hanging Rock. He got a fair bit of gold up there,” Mr Bradford explained standing behind the dairy which at its height milked 90 cows.

“When he came here to Brombin he saw the land for sale. So he bought it off the Crown.”

Big stakes in card game

The gold find was such that he wanted more land.

But the law of the day restricted how much land an individual could own.

This did not deter Mr Bradford’s ancestor.

Although his move to get his hands on the neighbouring 11 hectares later led to a split in the family.

“He dummied it up in his brother-in-law’s name. But his brother-in-law lost it in a card game,” Mr Bradford explained while in sight of the block in question.

“There was a bit of a rift in the family for a while but they got over it. It healed up.”

Despite the block being “a nice bit of land,” he is not tempted to try and buy it back all these years later.

He is even more reluctant to chance his hand and try to redeem it in the manner that it was lost — through the fall of the cards.

“I’ve got all the land I need. A card game, I’d probably lose more,” he said with a laugh.

For Mr Bradford, his life has revolved around the farm where he still has free range chooks and also pigs, which were a standard on any dairy in the district.

Rules are for bending

That involvement in the district began early with him attending the local one teacher school at the age of three.

His early start in formal education was to circumvent regulations which could have led to the school closing.

The bending of the rules is probably not surprising given the family’s history of flouting the earlier law which led to the shonky purchase of the land later gambled away.

The school’s number was below what was required for it to remain open

His mother who had left the farm for Newcastle to be educated to be a nurse and then on to Sydney had returned to the farm after marrying a merchant seaman.

She wanted the school to remain and so enrolled Bert who enjoyed his early start.

Although because he was a lot younger than many of the other pupils, part of his school day included a nap after lunch in the home of the school’s teacher.

His mother’s willingness to buck the system over schooling does not surprise Mr Bradford.

Mother knows best

He credits much of the farm’s success in later years to the abilities of his mother who was leading an active life up to her death aged 95.

Although he believes his mother would understand this latest move.

“She would be disappointed, but would understand the way farmers are being treated.

While the dairy will no longer hum early morning and late afternoon, Mr Bradford plans to keep some pigs, run the chooks and raise cattle for processing.

Although he won’t be buying supermarket milk, as he plans to keep some cows for domestic use.

“I like me good raw milk. That’s the best milk you can get. Raw milk. Not this pasteurised buggered stuff.”

US-Mexico border shutdown threat: Supply dangers for avocado and dairy, experts warn

The supply of key fresh produce to the US could be under threat following President Donald Trump’s ominous warnings about abruptly closing the US-Mexico border. The President claims shutting down the border is the only way to stop immigrants crossing and stem the flow of drug smuggling – but if he actually does follow through with his threat, what does that mean for trade across the border, in particular, the availability of products – such avocados and dairy? Experts warn consumers and producers on both sides could be severely hit.

A border closing would wreak further economic havoc for the US dairy sector, according to leading US dairy organizations, the National Milk Producers Federation (NMPF) and the US Dairy Export Council (USDEC).

As the world’s largest producer of the crop supplying 45 percent of the international avocado market, Mexico has a long-established trade relationship supplying a large proportion of avocados to the US, which has become heavily reliant of avocado cultivars such as Hass and Fuerte, known for their good quality, size and taste. 

Speaking with FoodIngredientsFirst, Monica Ganley, Principal at Quarterra, a consultancy specializing in Latin American agricultural issues and trade, says if the border does close, retailers will first work through their remaining avocado stocks, then as supply tightens, prices would begin to move upward as a result.

“I can’t quantify retailer stocks but we can assume that as fresh produce, they wouldn’t be large and the effect would be felt quite soon. Significant volumes of avocados are imported from Mexico throughout the year, but over the past few years we have seen import values peak in April and September. In 2018, the peak was in April with over US$200 million worth of avocados imported during the month,” she explains.

Trade is a very serious issue for agricultural stakeholders, says Ganley. “However, in the current political environment, I think it can be tricky to determine which threats are serious and which are just a bit of political posturing.”

There are dozens of products that would be affected, particularly fresh fruit and vegetables, she stresses. “In addition to avocados, the US imports millions of dollars worth of tomatoes, peppers, berries, cucumbers and other produce. Apart from produce, other imported products include beef, nuts and consumer products such as snack foods and alcohol. This doesn’t even begin to address the issues that agricultural producers in the US would lose a major market for their products if the border was closed,” Ganley adds.

Food cannot be used as a bargaining chip in solving immigration issues, say some, while the US Chamber of Commerce warns that closing the US-Mexico border is a sure fire way to tank trade markets. 

A border closure would also send shock waves through the US dairy industry, closing off access to its largest dairy export market, according to the NMPF and the USDEC. The dairy industry is suffering through one of its worst economic periods in history, as low milk prices are already creating hardship for farmers, and further supply disruptions would only prolong producer difficulties. 

Dairy exporters already have diminished access to export markets due to high tariffs and lack of progress on US trade agreements and closing the US southern border to Mexico would set the industry back by a decade or more, according to industry organizations. 

“It’s difficult to gauge the likelihood of this proposal becoming reality, but the ramifications of it would be serious enough that it is important for us to speak out now,” Alan Bjerga, Senior Vice President, Communications at NMPF, tells FoodIngredientsFirst

“Every day, US$3.8 million of US dairy products cross the border into Mexico, and nearly 16,500 US jobs are directly tied to dairy exports to dairy’s largest export destination. Finding new customers for those products would not happen overnight.” 

The NMPF is on standby to engage the administration on this issue and work with other sectors who share its concerns. “We will point out the importance of dairy trade with Mexico and the ramifications that would be felt across the dairy economy, as well as the broader US economy, should actions be taken that would seriously damage commerce with our southern neighbor,” Bjerga explains. 

Mexico is US dairy’s largest export customer, purchasing US$1.4 billion in 2018. There is not a ready alternative market for the millions of gallons of milk that are converted into the thousands of tons of dairy ingredients and cheese shipped to Mexico. 

“It’s very difficult to fathom the impact closing the US-Mexico border would have on US agriculture, and both the American and Mexican food industries,” says USDEC President and CEO Tom Vilsack. 

US dairy exports totaled US$5.59 billion in sales in 2018 – an increase of 619 percent since 1995. Mexico and Southeast Asia are America’s top two dairy export markets, accounting for 39 percent of total annual export value.

USDEC has spent more than two decades building the market for US dairy products in Mexico. Vilsack also notes that as bad as a southern border closing would be for the US dairy industry, it will negatively affect their friends and colleagues in Mexico, given the dependence of its consumers on US products.

Could avocado supplies be toast?
A border shutdown would seriously disrupt the trade of food with the US reportedly at risk of running out of avocados within three weeks. A border closure would inevitably hit consumers, push up prices, disrupt market conditions and lead to shortages of the whole fruit as well as avocado products such as guacamole – a firm favorite in US households and in the foodservice arena. 

Despite California state being known as a large cultivator of the fruit, the US still imports from the Avocado Belt of the Mexican Republic including Michoacán and the State of Mexico, to keep pace with consumer demand. The exports of avocados from Mexico in the US reached 1.7 billion in 2016, according to avocado trade body Avocados from Mexico (AFM), as US per capita consumption of avocados has increased seven-fold from 2000-2016. 

Other avocado products such as avocado pulp, avocado paste and guacamole are also extremely popular exports.

Billions of dollars worth of trade would be impacted as a result of a border shutdown with approximately US$137 billion of that being food. Other products that could be impacted by a border shutdown include Mexican limes and tequila. There are also concerns about Mexican grown fruit and vegetables, including cucumbers, tomatoes, raspberries and blackberries. 

“The US exported over US$19 billion worth of agricultural products to Mexico in 2018. It is completely unrealistic to believe that we could cut off trade with Mexico without US producers being hurt in the process,” Ganley adds. 

President Trump does have the power to pursue the border closure, but this highly controversial proposal will likely face multiple legal challenges on behalf of the people and interests that would be affected. 

However, many reactions to Trump’s border closure threat are much more prudent, claiming a common sense approach is needed and not to overreact to such a threat as this is another example of posturing by President Trump. On the other hand, President Trump did go through with his threats to shut down the US government for four weeks from December 22, 2018, until January 25, 2019.


Source: Food Ingredients 1st

Fonterra to crack down on below par farmers but no milk premium for the best

Fonterra ought to focus more on punishing farmers who pollute or abuse their livestock, a farming leader says.

Commenting on the dairy giant’s new strategy called the Co-operative Difference, Federated Farmers Golden Bay president Wayne Langford said he believed a “bigger stick” needed to be used on poor performing farmers.

Fonterra has announced it will reward the best farmers by “recognising” them, although it will not pay them a premium for their milk, as Synlait and Miraka do.

It would punish poor farmers by suspending milk collection but did not say what other measures it would introduce, other than “taking a firmer line with those that persistently fail to meet minimum standards”.

Sandra and Rod McKinnon were the supreme winners at last year's Waikato Farm Environment Awards. Rod would like to see good farmers being financially rewarded by Fonterra.

Sandra and Rod McKinnon were the supreme winners at last year’s Waikato Farm Environment Awards. Rod would like to see good farmers being financially rewarded by Fonterra.

A farmer with the average herd size of 414 would suffer a loss of about $5000 a day if Fonterra refused to take his or her milk, Langford estimated.

Fonterra has been increasingly exercising its right not to take milk. In 2017, it suspended collection from 78 farms, rising to 106 last year, but gave no details as to how many days each farmer suffered not having their milk picked up.

Co-operative affairs managing director Mike Cronin said more details of the strategy would be announced in May.   

However, he outlined some of the ways farmers might be rewarded who went beyond the minimum requirements to supply high-quality milk, care for their animals, protect the environment, support their people and community, and engage in their co-operative.

More and more farmers are being penalised by not having their milk collected, which could cost someone with the average herd size about $5000 a day.

More and more farmers are being penalised by not having their milk collected, which could cost someone with the average herd size about $5000 a day.

These included: a certificate, plaque or award; a digital dashboard and annual scorecard; regional recognition such as local award events; farm recognition by way of gate signage; mention in a publication such as an annual report; Farm Source reward dollars and access to exclusive products with Farm Source reward dollars.

“Sustainability for our co-op is about more than the environment. It’s about looking after our people, caring for animals, adapting to changing customer and consumer expectations, and respecting the communities and land where we live and work,” Cronin said.

Waikato farmer Rod McKinnon said he would prefer to see Fonterra move towards a system of rewarding farmers with a premium price.

“The hope is there will be a financial reward but extracting the value from milk is the hardest part. But the intention of the co-op is to do that, when they can prove they are earning something from a specific product.

“Synlait does it with their ‘lead with pride’ programme but they could easily be taking some of the payout off one farmer and giving it to another. As a co-op we can’t do that,” McKinnon said.

Fonterra head of corporate affairs Mike Cronin, right, says sustainability is more than about the environment. He is pictured with general counsel David Mathews.

Fonterra head of corporate affairs Mike Cronin, right, says sustainability is more than about the environment. He is pictured with general counsel David Mathews.

But he said he was fully supportive of farmers being taken to task for polluting or abusing animals.

“There are farmers who are dragging the chain and that’s having an impact on our social licence to operate.”

Langford said he was cautious about having a system where some farmers were paid more than others.

“Lifting the value of our milk shouldn’t be done through rewarding our top farmers because as soon as you do that you send a message to other farmers that their milk isn’t as good.

“All our milk goes into the same tank and gets made into the same product. We just need to reach a standard and if we achieve that we ought to tell people they are making a great quality milk,” Langford said.

Fonterra said the Co-operative Difference was developed in consultation with farmers who wanted their co-op to simplify and reduce complexity of requirements, provide direction on priority on-farm improvements, and increase pride in the co-op by recognising high performing farms in a way that aligned with its values.

However one farmer who did not want to be named said he attended a meeting on the subject where the majority called for harsher penalties for wrongdoers, rather than awards for good farmers as there were enough of those already.


Does America Want Walmart Milking Its Cows?

Joe Kelsay’s family has been dairy farming for more than a century. He said President Martin Van Buren originally granted the family their land just south of Indianapolis, Indiana, in 1837, as part of a program to settle what was then considered “the West.”

But the milk business, like the broader agriculture industry, is struggling. It’s become more difficult for dairy farmers to turn a profit thanks to low prices for their product.

Last year, Kelsay Farms lost its biggest customer, dairy processor Dean Foods, which had bought and distributed their milk for 25 years. Dean would pasteurize the milk and then sell the finished, packaged product to retailers like Walmart. But Walmart decided to cut the middleman and build its own milk processing plant to serve its stores in the Midwest.

In November, Kelsay and his brother Russ sold their 370 cows to another farm. Watching the semi-trucks pull up to take their cows away was gut-wrenching.

“My family and I gathered in the barn and were watching our herd leave,” he said. “I’ve got three kids, and there wasn’t a dry eye in the house.”

Walmart’s new milk processing plant, a 250,000 square-foot facility in Fort Wayne, is the most recent and dramatic example of a decadeslong trend of consolidation and vertical integration in the agriculture industry. While other grocers, such as Kroeger, operate their own milk plants, and poultry companies have long controlled most aspects of production, experts said a retailer as large as Walmart has never built a plant as large as the one in Indiana.

Austin Frerick, an Iowa native and fellow at the Open Markets Institute, a think tank that advocates against concentrated corporate power, called it a harbinger of the future for small family farms ― unless the U.S. takes steps to limit the growth of huge agribusinesses. Big, efficient companies can keep prices low for consumers, but there may be negative tradeoffs for farmers, workers and rural communities overall.

“Do you want this much power in one family [the Waltons] or do you want family farms?” Frerick said. “That is kind of where the American economy is going unless we stand up and say, ‘Enough’s enough.’”

On Saturday, HuffPost is teaming up with Open Markets, as well as the Iowa Farmers Union and the Storm Lake Times, for the Heartland Forum, a discussion with 2020 candidates on rural issues.

Tune in to our livestream on HuffPost at 1 p.m. CDT Saturday to hear from four 2020 candidates ― former Housing and Urban Development Secretary Julián Castro, former Rep. John Delaney (Md.), Sen. Amy Klobuchar (Minn.) and Sen. Elizabeth Warren (Mass.) ― as well as Rep. Tim Ryan (Ohio), who has been considering a bid, about their vision for rural America.

Farm incomes have dropped nearly 50 percent since 2013, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture, even as the broader economy has thrived. And for decades, production has been shifting to much larger farms, which doubled their share of American cropland between 1987 and 2012.

The companies that sell farmers things like seeds and fertilizer, and those that buy the food they grow, have been getting bigger and more consolidated, meaning smaller farmers are less and less able to get favorable prices. The four largest firms controlled 85 percent of the market for corn seeds in 2015, for example, and the four biggest companies controlled 70 percent of the hog slaughtering market.

There’s increasing support among progressive activists and Democratic members of Congress for curtailing the power of bigger agribusinesses. The Open Markets Institute says the federal government ought to impose a moratorium on new corporate mergers in the agribusiness sector and break up vertically-integrated firms, among other things. It’s an agenda that would require federal agencies to use antitrust power that has lain dormant for years, and Congress would have to step in with new legislation.

And Democratic presidential hopefuls are proposing plans to do just that. This week Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) announced legislation that largely resembles the Open Markets plan.  

“I will appoint trustbusters to review ― and reverse ― anti-competitive mergers, including the recent Bayer-Monsanto merger that should never have been approved,” Warren wrote in a Medium post.

Sen. Cory Booker (D-N.J.) has also called for an agricultural merger moratorium, and Sen. Amy Klobuchar (D-Minn.) wants to give federal antitrust regulators more power to stop mergers.

Meanwhile, thousands of dairy farmers every year are giving up, despite strong sentimental attachment to a way of life many inherited from their parents. There were more than 80,000 dairy farms in 2003. In 2018, there were just 40,000.

Jim Goodman, a former dairyman in Wisconsin, wrote in a December op-ed that he couldn’t watch the trucks take away his cows last year after he milked them for the last time. He said “being able to remember them as I last saw them, in my barn, chewing their cuds and waiting for pasture, is all I have left.”

Wisconsin Farmers Union spokeswoman Danielle Endvick described saying goodbye to her family’s herd in a 2017 op-ed. “When the cattle trailer backed up beside the milkhouse, our big Brown Swiss, Brownie, was among the first to load,” Endvick wrote. “I paused to scratch her head one last time before nudging her across the gutter and out the door. One by one the cows filed out, closing a chapter on the farm.”

Part of the problem is that Americans are drinking less milk, but a bigger part is that there’s just too much supply, which pushes prices down and is a particular challenge for smaller farms. That’s why Wisconsin Farmers Union supports creating a system to limit the supply of milk on the market, which would boost its price. Congress considered such a policy in 2014 but backed off in the face of strong opposition from then-House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio), who called it “communism.”

Walmart’s new milk processing facility in Indiana is one of the largest in the U.S., producing white and chocolate milk for 600 Walmart and Sam’s Club stores across the country. It sources raw milk from 31 farms that are all within 210 miles of the plant, meaning the company is saving on freight.

“By operating our own plant and working directly with the dairy supply chain in the Midwest, we’ll further reduce operating costs and pass those savings on to our customers so that they can save money,” Walmart’s Tony Airoso said in a 2016 press release when the company announced it would build the plant.

As opening day approached, Dean Foods reportedly sent notices to more than 100 farmers in eight states that it would cease buying their milk. In a disclosure to investors Dean Foods said Walmart alone accounted for more than 17 percent of its business, and that now that Walmart has its own plant it will buy 125 million fewer gallons of milk annually from Dean Foods. The company declined to provide specific details about how many contracts it canceled.

Forty-two farmers in Pennsylvania received termination notices last year, according to Jayne Sebright of the Pennsylvania-based Center for Dairy Excellence, and seven or eight of those have since exited the industry while the rest found new markets for their milk.

Joe Kelsay may have inherited dairy farming from his forebears, but he threw himself into the work. He studied agricultural economics at Purdue University and used his farm to help make videos and teach tour groups about farming.

He said he called Walmart to ask if they would buy his milk, but they said they already had enough. So did everybody else.

“We made every call that we could, more than a dozen to milk brokers, to co-ops, to other processors, and got one ‘maybe’ out of a dozen or 15 calls,” Kelsay said.

He and his brother still raise crops on their farm and are trying to figure out how to reorganize their business. Kelsay says he’s a fan of free markets and isn’t sure how much he wants government involved.

“From a conceptual standpoint I think that it’s dangerous to artificially hold a business up,” he said. “When it happens to you, it gets to be a little more difficult pill to swallow.”


Attack by extremists on Australian dairy farm

Southern Queensland lot feeder and dairy farmer David McNamee has described a protest on the family property in March as extremely distressing.

More than one hundred activists, representing Animal Activists Collective, created a serious biosecurity breach when they entered Lemontree Feedlot at Millmerran, Qld.

“This incident has been extremely distressing for our family and our staff,” Mr McNamee said.

“We follow industry best practice, the safety of our staff and livestock are a priority – as well as adhering to the stringent biosecurity protocols for our industry.

“However, the actions over the weekend of those who illegally trespassed on our property put our family, staff and livestock at risk.

“It remains unclear why our family business has been targeted by this group of activists.”

Lemontree Feedlot is currently a 20,000 SCU capacity operation and mainly feeds cattle for an average of 105 days to target the export market.

The McNamee family also operate a large scale dairy at the same site.

Mr McNamee reinforced their commitment to industry best practice protocols, operating to alleviate the risk of ill health and to limit mortality.

“For farmers, the loss of livestock does occur and is sadly a reality of farming from time to time,” he said.

Mr McNamee said the family appreciated the support they had received from other producers, the industry and the local community.

“We will continue to work with the relevant authorities and Queensland Police, who attended our property over the weekend, to ensure the future safety of our family business.”

Queensland Police confirmed they responded to a protest on Saturday, March 23, at 11.45am.

In a statement released to Queensland Country Life, a police spokesperson said officers from Millmerran and Dalby responded to reports that up to 100 protesters had arrived at Lemontree Feedlot.

The protesters entered the feedlot, took photographs of animals and then left the site.

“No damage was sustained, there were no injuries or threats and therefore no arrests. However, investigations are continuing,” the spokesperson said.

A van driven by a group of activists had its tyres slashed by an unknown, unregistered motorbike rider, which is being investigated by local police.

Queensland Agriculture Minister Mark Furner said the footage of the activist invasion at Millmerran was disturbing and he had written to the Police Minister Mark Ryan asking for an urgent briefing on the situation.

“All people have an obligation to obey the law and I expect people who breach the law will face consequences,” Mr Furner said.

“Disrupting farming operations in this way carries significant biosecurity risks and puts lives in danger.”

LNP agriculture spokesman Tony Perrett while Mr Furner had come out and criticised the activists, he continued to do nothing to strengthen or increase penalties for those who blatantly break the law.

“Nothing is being done to protect these lawful and legitimate Queensland farms from these activists who are willing to terrorise, in the face of this soft on crime Labor government,” Mr Perrett said.

“It’s time to strengthen our biosecurity regulations to protect our farmers and their businesses from malicious animal extremists.”

Member for Southern Downs James Lister also condemned the action.

“It makes me angry that these irresponsible green terrorists trespassed and terrorised the McNamee family and their farm workers,” Mr Lister said.

“Queenslanders everywhere stand with our farmers like the McNamee family.”

Queensland Country Life has contacted Police Minister Mark Ryan and Animal Activists Collective for comment.


Why full fat milk is the best thing you drink


When I was a child almost everyone drank full-fat fat milk. Then, in the 1970s, we were warned saturated fats found in dairy would block our arteries and make us fat.

Concerned about our health, many made the switch to foul-tasting skimmed milk, or gave up cow’s milk altogether. Me included.

As a result, Britons are drinking a third less milk than they were 30 years ago, and consumption rates continue to fall. A recent survey found a third of people under 35 are now considering cutting back on dairy, citing health or moral reasons. Instead, they opt for plant-based alternatives such as soya, almond or coconut ‘milk’.

My 18-year-old daughter Kate is one of them. Cow’s milk makes her uncomfortable and bloated, so in a bid to reduce her symptoms, she made the switch to almond milk.

Kate’s problem is surprisingly common. About 60 per cent of the global population lack the enzyme lactase that helps us digest the sugars in cow’s milk, called lactose. For these people, guzzling milk can lead to unpleasant symptoms such as stomach irritation, gas and bloating. However, the vast majority have minor symptoms and even those with severe lactose intolerance can usually tolerate a tiny splash in their tea.

But for some people, even the odd builder’s tea can cause crippling stomach cramps, not to mention embarrassing wind. So I understand why the alternative milk market is booming. But I also have concerns.

If you are thinking of switching away from dairy, for health reasons, then there are a few things to know, because unless you really understand what it is you are doing, switching from dairy could actually be bad for your bones, heart and brain. And, rather ironically, opting for skinny versions could even make you fatter. After weighing up the evidence, I’ve recently switched to the full-fat variety again – and after reading this you may want to do the same.

Almond milk won’t protect your brain

Cow’s milk contains lots of essential nutrients that nut or oat milks don’t; high levels of protein and Vitamin B12, for instance.

Everyone knows dairy is an excellent, natural source of calcium, essential for healthy bones, but not many are aware of another, equally important nutrient, called iodine. One small glass of cow’s milk (full-fat, semi-skimmed or skimmed) contains almost 70 per cent of our recommended daily intake of iodine – essential for brain development in babies and regulating mood and metabolism in adults.

Studies have shown ‘milk’ derived from plants contains just two per cent of the amount found in cow’s milk. You can also get your iodine ‘fix’ from eating seaweed and it’s abundant in shellfish and other white fish. But cow’s milk remains by far the main source of iodine in the average British diet.

One small glass of cow’s milk contains 70 per cent of our recommended daily intake of iodine, whereas plant based ‘milk’ contains only two per cent of the vital ingredient 

Given the fact that we are one of the most iodine-deficient countries in the world, many of us need every scrap we can get.

Sadly, young women tend to have the lowest levels – and this is the same demographic most likely to shun animal foods in favour of plant-based alternatives. A 2011 study of British teenage girls found nearly 70 per cent had iodine levels well below the acceptable minimum. Iodine is needed to make thyroxine, a hormone released by the thyroid g land that controls how effective your body is at converting food into energy, also known as metabolic rate.

Persistently low levels of iodine lead to depletion of this hormone and the slowing down of vital bodily functions, including burning energy. It is what is known as a ‘hypothyroid’ state, which leads to weight gain and mood swings. More worryingly, iodine deficiency in a pregnant woman can impact the brain of her foetus – a 20-year study of 14,000 pregnant and post-pregnant women discovered that if an expectant mother was mild to moderately iodine-deficient, this had a significant effect on her child’s reading ability and IQ scores.

Another study, looking at almost 50,000 babies, found both maternal and new-born iodine intake to have a significant impact on the child’s neuro-development at three years of age. Low levels of the mineral were associated with delayed language development, behavioural problems and reduced motor skills in children. This happens because a lack of thyroid hormones dramatically halts the brain development of the foetus.

The extra fat can curb your hunger pangs

I witched from full-fat milk to skimmed in the 1980s, amid fears that saturated fat could impact my heart health and my waistline. The trouble was, I found skimmed milk (which is about 0.3 per cent fat) so watery I couldn’t stomach it, so chose semi-skimmed (1.6 per cent fat) instead. This green-top milk remained my go-to for many years until last year. I returned to blue-top after reading a number of recent studies which showed the sorts of saturated fat you find in milk and dairy seems to be protective rather than harmful.

One of the reasons we’ve been told to go for low-fat options, like skimmed milk, is because consuming saturated fats raises level in the blood of LDL, often thought of as ‘bad cholesterol’. High levels of LDL are associated with a greater chance of heart disease.

It was also assumed that because skimmed milk has less than two-thirds of the amount of calories, per glass, of full-fat milk, it would be less fattening.

But we now know it is more complicated than that.

The saturated fat in milk does indeed boost LDL but it also boosts levels of ‘good cholesterol’ known as HDL, and this appears to balance out the damage done by higher LDL.

HDL picks up excess cholesterol in the blood and takes it back to your liver, where it’s broken down and removed from the body.

To many people’s great surprise (including me), there have been a large number of recent studies demonstrating that full-fat milk drinkers not only tend to be slimmer than those on lower-fat varieties, but also have a lower risk of metabolic syndrome – or raised blood pressure, elevated blood sugars and raised levels of fats in the blood that can increase your risk of heart disease.

A recent study of 1,600 healthy middle-aged Swedish men found those who ate butter and drank full-fat milk were half as likely, over the 11-year study period, to become obese than those who went for skimmed milk and low-fat spreads.


And a study of 18,438 American women found those eating the highest amount of full-fat dairy were the least likely to gain a lot of weight over 11 years.

The likely explanation, according to studies, is that consuming high-fat dairy products keeps you fuller for longer, reducing the lure of sugary snacks.

So why not just go one step up to semi-skimmed? Well, you certainly could but it has lower levels of some essential fatty acids, like omega-3, which is linked to slowing cognitive decline and reducing anxiety and depression.

Full-fat milk may have three times the fat content but it also contains 90 times the amount of omega-3 fats as found in skimmed milk, and about twice as much as semi-skimmed, not to mention that the fat-removal process rids the finished product of a host of vitamins, such as Vitamin A and Vitamin D. Some of these vitamins are added back in afterwards, but by no means all.

I like the flavour of full-fat milk and those extra few grams of fat curb my hunger pangs.

I believe my brain, bones, heart – and taste buds – will thank me for it.

I am a coeliac and must avoid all gluten – which makes shopping for your recipes challenging. I’m desperate to lose a stone before my summer holiday. Can coeliacs do your diet too?

Those with coeliac disease can do the 5:2 diet – although it may be trickier when buying ingredients. 

Choose foods labelled ‘gluten-free’. 

Unfortunately, many are expensive and include lots of added sugar. Read the labels very carefully and opt for low-sugar versions if possible.

Most packaged foods highlight ingredients that may cause intolerances.


Find my Cow now worldwide available

CowManager’s new module Find my Cow is now officially worldwide available. Searching for cows in heat, sick cows, cull cows, and cows in wrong pens using Find my Cow saves you time and money.

Find my Cow is the latest addition to the smart cow monitoring solution of CowManager. The module is fully integrated with CowManager’s other unique modules Fertility, Health and Nutrition. This combination makes it easy to find cows in heat and intervene fast after receiving health alerts.

Saving labor and costs
During the entire Find my Cow project, CowManager kept its focus on the company’s vision to develop smart and easy to understand solutions to make producers’ lives easier, saving labor and costs. Find my Cow comes with a user-friendly cow locator device, which enables producers to find cows in the barn and outside on pasture quickly. The installation is very easy, no need for extra beacons or calibrations and the module is backwards compatible to all CowManager’s operational systems.

When using the CowManager web-application or mobile app, users can select the cow number(s) they want to find. The ear sensor will receive a signal that they have to present themselves to the Find my Cow locator. The locator can find cows up to 300-meter free line of sight. When walking into the barn or pasture, you will be guided via the easy to understand 7-colored user interface. Red means that you are far away from the cow and the greener it gets, the closer you are. Find my Cow also shows which employee found which cow at what time. The daily work-lists available on the locator are easy to use. Watch the Find my Cow product video.

Benefits of Find my Cow

  • Ease of use – simplicity of system and installation
  • Saving time – labor and costs in daily routines
  • Accuracy in finding cows
  • Full integration with CowManager
  • Available for herds from 10 to 10.000+ cows
  • Works inside the barn AND outside on pasture

Highlights from our test panel
“CowManager made my life unreal. Find my Cow is very easy to use. It made things so efficient to find out where your cow is instead of walking back and forth and looking at all your cow numbers. You hold it in your hand and it literally lights up. It helps saving labor and time and my employees love it!” View the full video testimonial. Katie Falk, Southern Ridge Cow Palace, United States, 600 cows

Sander Penterman from Dutch Dairy LLC also piloted Find my Cow. He believes this will help him and his employees spend less time looking for cows that need to be bred, treated or given special attention. “I’ll be able to walk by and find cows just standing in front of the feedline,” he says. Read more about Sander Penterman’s experiences with CowManager. Sander Penterman, Dutch Dairy LLC, United States, 850 cows.

Also Dimitry Gruppen from Dittmannsdorfer Milch GmbH in Germany has tested Find my Cow during its pilot phase. He says: “I started testing Find my Cow a few months ago. My experience with Find my Cow is that it really saves me time I can now spend somewhere else at the farm. Find my Cow makes CowManager complete.” Dimitry Gruppen, Dittmannsdorfer Milch GmbH, Germany, 3000 cows.

Get in touch and take advantage of 10% introduction discount on Find my Cow. 
To introduce Find my Cow you now get a 10% discount on the software. The CowManager system is available all over the world, distributed and supported by several dealers. Fill out the form on our website to be contacted by a sales representative in your area.


Farmers say “enough is enough” as Australian legal system lets activists run rogue

Since the Aussie Farms map went live in January the farming community have seen a dangerous rise in activist intrusions on agricultural properties, and the industry has had enough.

When animal rights activists illegally trespass on private agricultural properties, it’s not just farmers’ privacy that’s at risk. The biosecurity of our farms and the welfare of farmers’ livestock is also threatened.

Last week, a repeat trespasser James Warden received one third of the maximum fine following a two hour break-in to a Western Australian piggery, which he live-streamed on Facebook.

In the same week a Queensland court fined an activist $150 and no criminal record for her part in the 100 person raid on a piggery at Beerburrum last year.

This “peaceful” protest forced the piggery to go into lock down as 30 activists were inside the facility while another 70 gathered outside.

The day after that verdict was handed down, on Saturday 23 March, up to 100 activists trespassed onto a feedlot near Millmerran, Queensland, claiming to have sourced the farm details from the Aussie Farms activist map.

The protesters were forced to leave the property after Queensland police were called to the scene.

“For police from surrounding towns to be called to protect farming families is a waste of resources, a broader public safety issue and an absolute disgrace,” Agriculture Minister David Littleproud said.

Activists at feedlot near Millmerran, QLD. Photo: Animal Activist Collective Facebook Page

This also follows a $1 fine for activists who stole a goat in Gippsland, Victoria, and a $200 fine for a second time offender who broke into a piggery on the Sunshine Coast in Queensland.

The penalty imposed on trespassers are nowhere near equivalent to the risk imposed on farming businesses and families according to National Farmers’ Federation’s (NFF) President Fiona Simson.

“Farmers are rightly alarmed that their farms can be invaded at the dead of night, streamed live on the internet, only for offenders to walk away with a slap on the wrist.

“This is not just a matter of basic privacy. These intruders are placing the biosecurity of our farms and the welfare of our livestock at risk.

“Our legal system is to blame. It’s simply failing us,” she said.

The NFF have called for Federal leadership in strengthening the trespassing laws and penalties to protect Australian farmers.

Ms Simson emphasised that the industry welcomes transparency, and has nothing to hide.

“We’re as concerned as anyone about the disconnect between our farms and our end customers.

We’re proud of how we farm and love to show it off to those who are interested.

“I’d encourage you to visit a real farm, but do it safely and legally,” she said.

The NFF have launched a campaign calling for the Federal Government to strengthen trespass laws and penalties.

On Friday the 22 March, the NFF launched an online petition, which has already attracted more than 4,500 signatures, calling for Federal intervention.

“This issue is red hot among a farming community that is sick of seeing its privacy and property rights take a back seat to the activist’s agenda.

“Enough is enough, we need a solution to this yesterday,” Ms Simson said.


UK Team withdraw from Libramont 2019

Holstein UK is very disappointed to announce that the UK Team of cattle that were destined to take part in The European Championships Libramont, Belgium on 12th and 13th April 2019 will not be attending.

Following discussions with the UK Team exhibitors, they have decided that the risk in attending this event has become too high following a recent bluetongue outbreak in Belgium. Belgium was moved into a restricted area on Wednesday 27th March with 4 confirmed cases of the BTV8 Strain of Bluetongue within very close proximity to the event venue.

“This has been a devastating decision to have to make” commented Holstein UK CEO Sue Cope. “I have the greatest sympathy with the UK team as I know how much time and effort has gone into getting these animals ready for the show. It was always going to be a challenge to get the team there and the exhibitors have worked with Holstein UK and the veterinary advisors very closely to make sure the animals met all the strict health conditions of the Belgium Animal Health Authorities.”

Bluetongue has been creeping through Europe over the last few months and despite aggressive efforts by a number of parties to get hold of the BTV4 & BTV8 vaccine throughout the end of last year and this year this it has proved impossible. Despite APHA issuing the UK team licenses to import the vaccine due to the unavailability in the UK the increased demand in Europe for the vaccine meant retailers and exporters of the vaccine were unable to supply the UK with the required doses. 

The two Holstein Young Breeders Jonny Woodhouse & Robert Morley will still be heading out to Belgium to compete in the young breeder competition and we wish them the greatest of success.

Dairy farmers weigh growing hemp as market struggles continue

Rob Barley, partner of Star Rock Farms and chairman of the Pennsylvania Milk Marketing Board, said it’s been a “tough” several years for the industry.

Dairy farmers continue to work through a stretch of at or below cost prices in the dairy market.

As some farmers search for additional revenue, could the now-legalized hemp crop be an option?

Barley said they have applied and received a state permit to potentially grow hemp.

He believes it offers an opportunity.

“I think it’s coming. Actually, I don’t think, I’m sure it’s coming. But as of today, it’s somewhat of a challenge,” said Barley.

The challenge, he said, is a limited number of hemp growing contracts on a small scale, right now.

He said the bulk of the current interest is in the ability to produce CBD oil, an advertised medicinal supplement, through Hemp.

Barley said a farmer needs to evaluate acreage and labor before committing to growing the crop, made legal by the 2018 federal Farm Bill, because it requires intensive labor.

“It’s not ideal, necessarily, for large acreages but may work for small, smaller operations and may be a way for them to get a little extra income to help them through,” said Barley.

As the potential for a Hemp market continues to develop, Barley said farmers need to know if they can sell or grow hemp before investing in it.

“There’s really no hemp marketplaces out there that you can specifically go to tomorrow and say, I got hemp, what are you going to give me for it?” said Barley.

Lisa Graybeal of Graywood Farms said they, as a farm family, aren’t considering growing hemp “in the near future.”

“This is something that needs to be tried by a few first to see how it goes. [There are] not many local markets for hemp products but they are gaining a little traction. It’s a wait and see crop,” said Graybeal.

She also said she believes growing Hemp isn’t going to help struggling dairy farmers “at the outset.”

“Anything new has a learning curve, can be expensive and have unexpected results…Perhaps once it becomes a more established crop, it could be something worth consideration to help diversify your farm,” said Graybeal.

Shannon Powers with the state Department of Agriculture said there are still a number of unknowns about hemp after researching it for a couple years.

She said they’re hopeful a market can rise through a number of hemp uses, including fabrics, building materials and auto parts.

“There’s some risk inherent in farming but trying to minimize that risk and help people give farmers the tools that they need to manage that risk and to understand that risk, that’s where we are right now is trying to help farmers have the tools they need to make these business decisions,” said Powers.

Barley said they’re currently in discussions with Groff North America on potential hemp growing contracts.

He said their permit becomes official once they official plant hemp.

He explained that the process requires site specific markings, including the latitude and longitude of the growing site.

He also said testing is required to ensure the plants are at an appropriate level of THC.

He believes Pennsylvania has an opportunity to take the lead, nationwide, when it comes to growing the legalized crop.

“We just need to be careful and make sure it’s done correctly and you know, also that you have a quality product and that meets the market’s demand,” said Barley.

He said he expected hemp growing season to come in mid- to late May.


Manure is big business at Oregon’s largest dairy with conversion to natural gas

As milk prices plummet, Oregon’s largest dairy hopes to cash in on another kind of commodity produced by its cows:


Boardman’s Threemile Canyon Farms is partnering with a Portland investment fund in a $55 million project to convert methane from the waste produced by its 70,000 cows into natural gas, which will be sold to power buses and garbage trucks in Southern California.

Because it’s designated renewable energy, the manure-produced biogas sells for 10 times more than fossil fuel natural gas, Threemile general manager Marty Myers told a state Department of Treasury panel last summer, as the company sought tax-exempt state bonds to help pay for the project.

That’s because fossil fuel companies need to buy carbon offset credits, produced by renewable energy projects like Threemile’s, to mitigate their greenhouse gas emissions.

“The most valuable product that we have out there is natural gas,” Myers told the panel.

Threemile spokeswoman Anne Struthers declined to expand further this past week on the project’s financing or sales strategy, saying it is premature to comment.

The move comes as the Tillamook County Creamery Association, which buys Threemile’s milk, signals a possible expansion of its Boardman cheese factory along the Columbia River.

It also comes as the Oregon Legislature considers whether to ban new and expanded megadairies, following an environmental and regulatory disaster at the now-closed Lost Valley Farm, another Boardman-area Tillamook supplier.

The Legislature also is considering a carbon cap-and-trade program that could make the manure-generated biogas even more valuable.

The public can weigh in on the new manure digester’s proposed air pollution permit until April 25.

Oregon’s largest dairy

Threemile started its farm and dairy in 2001, to supply milk to the Tillamook County Creamery Association’s new Boardman cheese factory.

Since then it’s drawn praise for its closed-loop system, which uses manure from the cows to fertilize crops and its state-of-the-art irrigation system that helps conserve water.

At the same time the dairy, one of the largest in the country, has drawn criticism for the sheer amount of wastewater and air contaminants its thousands of cows produce.

Tillamook, meanwhile, has been on an expansion tear: In 2004, it doubled the size of its Boardman creamery; in 2013 it partnered with Threemile to add a whey processing plant to the Boardman factory; in 2017 it opened a new Portland office; and last year it rebuilt and expanded its iconic tourist center in Tillamook.   

The company grew its revenues from $477 million in 2012 to $800 million in 2017, according to the trade magazine Food Navigator. It’s expanding its distribution east of the Rocky Mountains, adding 6,000 outlets in recent years. Now, three-quarters of Tillamook Cheese is made in Boardman.

A year ago, Tillamook purchased 18 acres bordering its current Boardman site, effectively doubling its footprint there. Tillamook officials did not respond to questions about its plans for the property.

Pilot digester project

Threemile Canyon Farms already is home to the largest cow manure digester in the western United States, producing electricity, not natural gas.

It started in 2009 with a small digester demonstration project. In 2012, Threemile added a larger digester, which feeds a 4.8-megawatt electric generation facility.

The digester captures methane that otherwise would rise off the dairy’s manure lagoons and escape into the atmosphere, and uses it to produce biogas that creates renewable energy.

Myers told the treasury panel the dairy’s digester so far has broken even financially.

The digester cost $31 million to build. Threemile received about $7 million in federal grants for construction under the 2009 American Recovery Act, and an additional $2 million from Oregon’s controversial Business Energy Tax Credit (BETC) program.

NW Natural gas customers who chose the Smart Energy option, a voluntary carbon offset program, also helped pay for the digester’s construction and operation. Pacific Power electricity customers who choose the Blue Sky Renewable Energy option also support the digester.

Threemile also has received two kinds of renewable energy credits for the digester:

In 2007, the Oregon Legislature established the Biomass Tax Credit program. Among other things, it provided a tax credit, of about $70 per cow per year, for dairy manure digesters.

Between 2014 and 2018, while the program was administered by the Oregon Department of Energy, Threemile received $10.9 million in biomass tax credits. That’s about half the total amount awarded during that period.  

Public outcry: Salem street may not qualify for speed bumps following deadly crash

The controversial biomass tax credit was set to sunset on Jan. 1, 2018, along with the energy department’s other tax credit programs. But the 2016 Legislature partially extended the credit, just for animal manure and rendering, until Jan. 1, 2022. It will be capped at a total expenditure of $5 million per year.

In 2017, the Legislature moved the tax credit program under the authority of the Oregon Department of Agriculture.

Threemile also has sold more than 200,000 metric tons of carbon offset credits to The Climate Trust, a nonprofit that administers the Oregon Carbon Dioxide Standard, created by the Legislature and aimed at curbing emissions of carbon dioxide.

The process of creating energy from methane creates and emits carbon dioxide, said Sheldon Zakreski, The Climate Trust’s chief operating officer.

But methane has a much higher global warming impact than carbon dioxide, so Threemile is paid for the difference between the two, Zakreski said.

The price paid for the credits is confidential, Zakreski said. But at the current credit price of $13.25 to $13.50 per metric ton, they would be worth at least $2.7 million.

“It’s been a successful project,” Myers told the treasury panel. “Now we’re looking at what the marketplace really desires today out of renewable energy.”

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Natural gas conversion

Now, Threemile has partnered with Equilibrium Capitol Group to convert the digester to produce natural gas, and to extend a natural gas pipeline to the facility.

Equilibrium is an Oregon benefit company, which means that it considers its impact on society and the environment in addition to earning a profit. Its investors include retirement funds held for teachers, public servants, clergy and religious orders.

The company’s Wastewater Opportunity Fund, founded in 2015, specializes in food, agricultural and municipal wastewater infrastructure. It’s completing a similar dairy waste to natural gas project in central Arizona.

“Threemile Canyon’s project is world class,” said Bill Campbell, a company principal. “It is great to be able to do things like this in our home state.”

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Threemile’s anaerobic digester works by providing an oxygen-free environment for microorganisms to break down the organics in the manure, as well as in vegetable waste trucked in from area food processing companies. That produces a biogas that’s about 60 percent methane and 40 percent carbon dioxide.

Currently, the biogas is combusted to produce electricity. When the conversion is complete, the biogas instead will be routed to a gas treatment system that removes hydrogen sulfide, then separates the biogas into pipeline grade natural gas and tail gas.

The digester will employ 13 workers, with an average annual compensation of $70,000, including benefits, Struthers said.


California’s dairy cows are the biggest source of methane in the country, according to experts. Buzz60

Threemile has asked the state Department of Environmental Quality for a new, five-year air pollution permit for the modified digester’s emissions.

Its emission limits will stay about the same, even falling slightly for two pollutants. However, the digester so far has not come close to meeting those limits, so there is room for emissions to increase.

For example, the permit allows the digester to emit 74,000 tons of greenhouse gases, the equivalent of about 57,608 passenger vehicles driving for one year. Last year, it emitted 32,529 tons.

Other pollutants covered by the permit are particulate matter, sulfur dioxide, nitrogen oxides, carbon monoxide and volatile organic compounds.

More: Protect Oregonians and their health; end field burning now

Like the pilot project, the new digester will get some public help.

Last summer, the Oregon Treasurer’s office approved issuing $40 million in state tax-exempt bonds to help finance the project.

Private Activity Bonds help construct critical facilities that benefit the public throughout the state.

There’s no cost to taxpayers, but there is a limited amount of money available. That means Threemile competed with affordable housing and other projects for the money. It also gives Threemile an advantage over competitors who finance projects with taxable instruments.

More: Calls for megadairy moratorium increase as new owner takes over troubled Lost Valley Farm

In January, Threemile asked that the bond be reduced to $15 million, for tax reasons.

The project also has been approved for an Enterprise Zone tax abatement. That means it won’t pay any property taxes for five years.

And it will continue to receive Oregon’s Biomass Tax Credit until that program expires, Myers told the state panel.

But the biggest revenue stream will come from taking advantage of incentive structures like Oregon’s Clean Fuels Program and California’s Low Carbon Fuel Standard, Mary Macpherson, then an Equilibrium vice president, told the panel.

The technology will provide a huge environmental benefit to the entire state, Myers told the panel. It also will be profitable business, he said.

“We think we’ve got a good runway for 5 to 10 years, Myers said. “It’s going to stabilize our dairy business.”

Contact the reporter at, 503-399-6779 or follow at

Air pollution permit

The public can weigh in on a proposed five-year air pollution permit for Threemile Canyon Farms’ manure-to-natural-gas project.

The Oregon Department of Environmental Quality will hold a public hearing on the proposed permit at the request of at least 10 people or a group representing 10 people.

Comments must be received by 5 p.m. April 25. Mail to Nancy Swoffard, air permit coordinator, DEQ Eastern Region – Bend Office, 475 Bellevue Drive, Suite 110, Bend, OR 97701; fax to 541-388-8283; or email


Canadian Olympian coming to Canadian Dairy XPO

What does dairy cows and daring shooters to beat you five-hole have in common?

More than you’d think. Sami Jo Small, a goaltender with a storied career, including multiple stints with the Canadian Olympic team, will be bringing her puck-stopping prowess to Stratford next week in an attempt to motivate Canadian dairy producers to work more efficiently. She will be the keynote speaker at this year’s edition of the Canadian Dairy XPO, and Jordon Underhill, the two-day event’s general manager, explained how Small’s knowledge of kick saves will translate to better milk output.

“We wanted to have a strong female that has experience in assembling teams and motivating teams because, as these dairy operations grow, producers need to fine-tune their teams and grow their teams and motivate them and get them communicating,” he said Thursday over the phone from his farm north of Guelph. “That was the thinking behind having her.”

While not speaking specifically about the dairy industry, the 42-year-old Winnipeg native will be conveying a message of teamwork, motivation and communication while behind the mic inside the Stratford Rotary Complex Wednesday and Thursday mornings.

“In general, in the ag industry, we’re trying to bring outside people to bring fresh ideas and fresh thinking,” Underhill said.

Automation and robotics continues to be a fresh aspect of both the industry and the show, he noted. About 33 countries were represented on that front last year and more than 40 will be on hand next week, many focusing on how technology relates to milking, nutrient management and feeding.

“That’s definitely what keeps the show fresh, that automation that advances on an annual basis,” he said.

A total of 16,400 people showed up over 48 hours in 2018, with a third from outside the province. Organizers anticipate between 16,000 and 18,000 this spring. It’s a unique scene having that many farmers, salespeople and experts under one roof.

“There’s just something magical about bringing like-minded people that are passionate about the same thing together,” Underhill said. “It definitely comes down to the people.”

Cheesefest, a free community event featuring local processors and live bands, runs Wednesday from 4 p.m. to 7 p.m.

For more information on activities, tickets and a full schedule, visit


WHAT: Canadian Dairy Xpo

WHEN: April 3-4

WHERE: Stratford Rotary Complex



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