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‘Robot milking saved my dairy farm’

For many dairy farmers in the UK, milking involves getting up before dawn to take the cows from the paddock and into the milking shed – a process that often has to be done again in the afternoon.

But on Neale Sadler’s farm in the Midlands they have relied on robots to do the milking for the past 13 years.

He shows how his unconventional dairy farm works.

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‘Just writing cheques’: Liberals’ dairy payout could deepen competitiveness concerns, critics say

Canada’s $1.75-billion compensation package for dairy farmers will be based on “hypothetical losses” rather than hard evidence of lost profits due to trade deals, food policy analysts say.

What’s more, the payouts risk exacerbating competitiveness issues in the industry by failing to link compensation to productivity benchmarks.

“We’re setting out $1.75 billion to ‘quote-unquote’ compensate dairy farmers without really having a strategy to understand what the implications are from a trade perspective,” said Sylvain Charlebois, a professor in food distribution and policy, and scientific director of the Agri-Food Analytics Lab at Dalhousie University. “That’s a key thing. We know that market access will increase and it’s likely we’ll need less domestic milk but we don’t know how much. So we’re just writing cheques.”

The package for dairy farmers, unveiled by Agriculture Minister Marie-Claude Bibeau on Friday, is intended to offset lost sales caused by the expanded market access granted to foreign producers under the Canada-European Union Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement (CETA) and the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership (CPTPP). Those pacts will open up roughly eight per cent of Canada’s highly protected dairy market, where prices have long been kept high by a complex system of supply management involving production quotas, fixed prices and import tariffs and quotas.

Supporters of the system say it is critical to ensure U.S. products don’t flood across the border, threatening food sovereignty and putting Canadian dairy farmers and farms at risk of being pushed out by competition. Critics point out that Canada is the last industrialized country to operate such as system and its dairy industry has failed to keep up with some of the productivity gains and expansions that have taken place in other countries. It also raises prices for consumers, they argue.

A 2014 study by the IFCN Dairy Research Center at the University of Kiel in Germany found the cost of milk production by mid- and large-size farms in Canada was the second-highest in the world after Switzerland.

With that in mind, the government’s compensation dollars would have been better spent if they were tied to clear sustainability and competitiveness goals, Charlebois said.

… if we want to keep (the quota system) we have to make sure it’s serving the country well

Sylvain Charlebois, scientific director of the Agri-Food Analytics Lab at Dalhousie University

“I’m not saying we should get rid of our quota system, but if we want to keep it we have to make sure it’s serving the country well,” he said. “Some dairy farmers are doing very well and reinvesting in their farms and becoming more competitive, but others are just drifting and that’s costing a lot of money. If farmers want to stay in the industry they should be made accountable for their productivity or they should be enticed to exit.”

The market access granted under Canada’s latest trade deals represents a direct loss of profits that the government promised to cover, said Murray Sherk, chair of the board for the Dairy Farmers of Ontario.

“Dairy doesn’t like to look to the government for payments; we’d rather have the market share but we’re very pleased with the package,” he added. “And supply management provides a system of predictable pricing that encourages farmers to invest more in their operations, to be more efficient.”

The extra cash flowing into dairy farms comes when they are already overcapitalized — creating a problem for the next generation of farmers, said Al Mussell, research lead at Agri-Food Economic Systems in Guelph, Ont. Indeed, though an ideal return on assets like land and equipment is roughly five per cent, the data suggest Canadian farmers are currently realizing returns of just two to three per cent.

“They’re over-capitalized and drowning in their own capital,” Mussell said. “That might not seem like a problem but it’s sitting there in the land and all these assets. When it’s time to transfer the farm to the next generation, how are they going to afford it?”

The federal cash injection also comes as Canada’s grain farmers are struggling with depressed prices and demand due to the trade wars, he added. Ottawa granted grain farmers hit by direct Chinese trade measures an extra six months to repay cash advances under the Advance Payments Program. The government also strengthened the APP by increasing the maximum loan limit for all farmers to $1 million from $400,000 with additional interest-free loans for canola producers.

“Grain farmers could be in for a long haul of low prices and a sobering trade outlook,” said Mussell. “They look at this and say dairy farmers got $1.75 billion and what did we get? Debt.”


Meet The Company Turning Old Milk Into Sustainable Clothing

Reducing waste, recycling resources and promoting conservation are three of the major pillars of any sustainable business model. In recent years, environmentally-conscious companies have found innovative ways of recycling waste and creating new products. Mi Terro, a startup based in Los Angeles, aims to draw attention to the amount of waste produced in the dairy industry by creating sustainable fabrics from unused milk. The company sources excess milk from a dairy farm in China before processing it and turning milk into fibers capable of being used in durable, lightweight clothing.

“Do you know that 128 million tons of dairy products are dumped every year globally? I am really upset by such a tremendous amount of dairy waste,” Mi Terro founder Robert Luo explains to me, “our goal is to educate the public that we are consuming too many dairy products and we need to cut down on our food waste.” In his bid to tackle the waste from the dairy industry, the sustainable entrepreneur saw an opportunity to upcycle the unused milk that would be thrown out and turn it into a high-quality shirt.

The new technology from Mi Terro uses waste milk to create an environmentally-friendly t-shirt.

The new technology from Mi Terro uses waste milk to create an environmentally-friendly t-shirt.

Mi Terro

Sustainability Through Innovation

The entire milk-to-clothing process takes about two months to complete with one glass of milk corresponding to five shirts. Mi Terrocollects milk from its dairy farm partner, skims it to remove fats before dewatering it to become powdered milk. It is then dissolved and purified to remove and substances that are not casein – the proteins that make up a large proportion of milk. Once the casein is isolated, it is immersed in an alkali solution and passed through a spinneret to solidify the proteins into fibers. After this, it is removed from the alkali solution and the fibers are stretched, spun into yarn and ready to be used in the manufacturing of clothing.

“There are only two manufacturers in China that has the craftsmanship and capability to turn unwanted milk into clothing fabric,” Luo continues, “Our next step is partnering with supermarkets, so we can collect the so-called expired, or past sell date, milk from them.” Upcycling milk to turn it into shirts isn’t Mi Terro’s first foray into sustainable fashion, having previously createda travel bag made from ocean plastics and natural cork. “Mi Terro’s vision is to make Earth green again. In order to do so, we need to teach people to shop eco-friendly products and to live with minimal waste. We want to make green fashion affordable to almost everyone.”

As part of its goals for sustainability, Mi Terro partners with the Eden Reforestation Projectto plant 10 trees for every product they sell, planting over 2,700 so far. The Eden Project is a non-profit that operates eighty different sites in five different countries. Intending to provide fair wage employment to impoverished villagers by enabling them to become foresters, they seek to reduce inequality, increase local biodiversity and protect the environment. Mi Terro has committed to planting a million trees with the Eden Reforestation Project in the next five years.

Investing in the Future

As an example of sustainable development and green innovation that reduces waste, raises awareness of environmental issues and promotes conservation, Mi Terro is part of a new generation of responsible startups that want to create a better world on top of providing a high-quality product. As Luo illustrates: “I want my children and grandchildren to live in a world where they don’t have to count days of blue sky, wear a face mask to school, or learn about beautiful animals that only exist in the textbook.”

Responsible companies and consumers ensure a more sustainable business market that spurs more innovation and helps startups like Mi Terro to pioneer new products and pathways to reach them. With people striving to become more sustainableand companies beginning to transition towards more environmentally-friendlybusiness models, there has been a shift towards reducing waste and sourcing sustainable resources. Being aware of the issues and challenges created by consumerism goes a long way in shaping the decisions people make regarding their own habits.

Investing in the future of the planet through responsible products will not only reduce waste but help raise awareness about how people can live more sustainable lives. Mi Terro’s Kickstarter for its upcycled milk shirt was funded within two hours of launching and will continue to be open for pledges until September 15, 2019.


Nearly 17,000 Enrolled in New Dairy Margin Coverage Program

The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) today announced that producers of nearly 17,000 dairy operations have signed up for the Dairy Margin Coverage(DMC) program since signup opened June 17. Producers interested in 2019 coverage must sign up before Sept. 20, 2019.

DMC offers protection to dairy producers when the difference between the all-milk price and the average feed cost (the margin) falls below a certain dollar amount selected by the producer.

“We’re encouraged by the number of dairy producers who have signed up for this new program, but we are hopeful that we will get more folks in the door,” said Bill Northey, USDA’s Under Secretary for Farm Production and Conservation. “At this point in the signup process, we are well ahead of the number of producers covered at this time last year under the previous safety net program, with more producers enrolling every day. As we move into the homestretch, we expect more producers across the country to get coverage through DMC and our team at FSA is really going above and beyond to make sure we get the word out there, the returns this year to-date should speak for themselves.”

In June, when the DMC signup was announced, Secretary Perdue said, “For many smaller dairies, the choice is probably a no-brainer as the retroactive coverage through January has already assured them that the 2019 payments will exceed the required premiums.”

To date, more than 60 percent of dairies with established production histories have enrolled in the program. Wisconsin has seen the most participants with more than 4,832 dairy operations, followed by Minnesota (1,865), New York (1,779), Pennsylvania (1,511) and Michigan (702).

USDA’s Farm Service Agency (FSA) began issuing program payments to producers on July 11. DMC provides coverage retroactive to Jan. 1, 2019. The producers who have signed up to date will receive more than $219.7 million in payments for January through June, when the income over feed cost margin was $8.63 per hundredweight (cwt.), triggering the sixth payment for eligible dairy producers who purchased the $9 and $9.50 levels of coverage under DMC.

To view weekly enrollment, production and payment reports (posted each Monday at 2 p.m. Eastern), visit FSA’s DMC webpage.


Theo Spierings’ Fonterra payout slammed

Former Fonterra chief executive Theo Spierings is under fire for receiving a $4.6 million payout when he left the company last year.

Theo Spierings, Fonterra CEO

Former Fonterra chief executive Theo Spierings. Photo: RNZ / Diego Opatowski

This was revealed as the dairy co-operative forecasts a loss of up to $675 million, and has announced it will not be paying a dividend this financial year.

No one from Fonterra would be interviewed about Mr Spierings’ payout, but a Fonterra statement said he was given the $4.6m when he left the co-op last August.

It said the payment covered the final part of a deferred bonus dating back to 2017 and Mr Spierings’ final remuneration for this year including his base salary, superannuation, and holiday pay.

Mr Spierings’ annual annual salary was $2.5m a year but he earned over $8m for each of the last two years with bonuses.

Regional Economic Development Minister Shane Jones called the amount “offensive” considering the role Mr Spierings played in “bringing our national co-operative to its knees”.

“The fact that the directors signed a contract, enabling him to wander off with such a gross amount of money which he never earned, and we in New Zealand are left with this fiscal carnage. It’s just beyond belief.”

He called the Fonterra board “dysfunctional” and said it seemed incapable of reigning in corporate excess.

“I can tell you today that the Dutchman, the former CEO, is celebrating a famous Dutch saying, ‘It’s as if an angel is peeing on your tongue’. But he’s richly relieved himself on the tongue of Fonterra and the rest of us in New Zealand, not just farmers, are left with the cost.”

Regional Economic Development Minister Shane Jones, also Forestry Minister, Infrastructure Minister, Associate Finance Minister, Associate State Owned Enterprises Minister, Associate Transport Minister

Regional Economic Development Minister Shane Jones. Photo: RNZ / Dom Thomas

Simplicity managing director Sam Stubbs said Mr Spierings should give the money back.

“It would be the honourable thing to do. Of course, there’s a contractual obligation there, which means he probably doesn’t have to. And given that he’s no longer working in New Zealand I wouldn’t expect him to.

“But it would be very nice if he did, given that the decisions he was involved with clearly have, effectively, destroyed so much value over a long period of time.”

Mr Stubbs said the case highlighted a fundamental problem with executive compensation, when someone could receive millions of dollars “at a time when so much farmer value and shareholder value has been lost”.

Agricultural economist Peter Fraser said while Mr Spierings certainly made some big mistakes, Fonterra’s problems couldn’t only be put down to him.

“They seem to blame everything that’s gone wrong, either directly or indirectly, on Theo Spiering.

“Look, Theo’s made some whoppers, but he’s not entirely to blame. Fonterra’s Australian business has been a dog for years. Farmers have complained about it for years because it doesn’t make cost of capital.

“The fact that they have droughts over there and the fact they have had to close down down a plant. That’s not Theo’s fault.”

A Fonterra statement said the incentives scheme which gave Mr Spierings his bonuses has been discontinued.


Holstein Association USA Launches Red Book Plus Online

Holstein Association USA launches Red Book PlusTM Online, a web-based bull search and information program. Users can quickly and easily find comprehensive information on Holstein bulls, build and save tailored lists based on criteria that is important to them, and create customized selection indexes to rank bulls.

“One of the most important decisions dairy producers can make in terms of improving their herd genetics is selecting the right bulls to use,” said Lindsey Worden, Holstein Association USA Executive Director of Holstein Genetic Services. “Red Book Plus Online provides modern, flexible and customizable searching and reporting tools to help Holstein breeders find those right bulls to fit their goals. Our program is designed to not just allow users to simply find information, but also help them interpret and understand it. Breeders have been asking for an update to our Red Book Plus software program for some time now, and we are thrilled to make this available today.”

Red Book Plus Online is backed by the power of the Holstein Association USA herdbook – the gold standard in stewarding pedigree, genetic and performance information for Holstein cattle. Users will find complete information on all genetic traits, pedigree information, ancestor and progeny performance information, and more, for over 50,000 bulls, including the thousands of bulls being marketed by artificial insemination companies today.

Video user guide tutorials are available for every aspect of the program, helping new users get acquainted with all the tools and features at their fingertips. Because it is web-based, Red Book Plus Online can be accessed from any computer, tablet or smartphone with an internet connection.

Anyone with a current subscription to the desktop software version of Red Book Plus/MultiMateTM may create a log-in for no additional fees. Other new users may subscribe to Red Book Plus Online for $99 per year, billed as three payments of $33 at each official genetic evaluation. Access to Red Book Plus Online is an option for those enrolled in Holstein COMPLETE®.

For more information, visit, or contact your Holstein Association USA Regional Sales Representative. Those with an active subscription can visit to start using the program today! With questions, contact software help or call 800.952.5200, ext. 4003.

Investing in the Future: Research on U.S. Registered Holsteins®

Every great scientific discovery begins with an idea. Innovative research is the backbone of progress in any industry — and that includes the dairy community.

Holstein Association USA is currently accepting research proposals for the next round of funding. The applications must include expected outcomes to benefit the profitability of Holstein cattle. Submit applications for research grant funds by August 15, 2019.

Supporting research is a top priority for Holstein Association USA, the world’s largest dairy breed association. Roger Shanks, the organization’s genetics consultant, explains.

“I’m excited about the research program that Holstein Association USA has ongoing,” Shanks says. “We are getting into our third year, our third request for proposals this year. The overall objective of the whole program is really to try to increase the amount of research that’s done on Holstein cows, so we can then help Holstein members be able to implement and take advantage of those research results as they come along.”

Holstein Association USA is currently funding two projects. One at North Carolina State University that’s looking at how genomic information can be used to manage inbreeding; and a second project at the University of California-Davis exploring the opportunity to breed Holstein cows for heat tolerance using the slick hair gene. Both hold great potential for future progress with U.S. Registered Holsteins.

More details about the Research Grant Program guidelines and process can be found on the Holstein Association USA website,

The plight of a US dairy farm

The Voelker family’s dairy farm in Wisconsin has been around since 1942. But economic pressures have led the family to sell off their remaining cows.

Ferme Jacobs Rocks the Dairy Industry with Incredible Sale

In what was a litmus test for the tanbark trail, the outstanding team at Ferme Jacobs that has dominated the show scene over the past decade, put the weight of the industry on their shoulders to hold this momentous sale to see if the industry was going to survive.  With three cows over $200,000 and a sale average of 12,900 on over 150 lots the resounding answer is….YES!

Topping the sale at $250,000 was PIERSTEIN CICERO TIME OUT, the EX-95 MS Chassity OBS Cicero daughter from 2011 All-Canadian and Res. All-American Senior Three-Year-Old, Pineland Goldwyn Tidbit EX.  This extraordinary five-year-old is considered to be an early favorite for World Dairy Expo and was purchased by Randy Fraser.

Selling for $215,00 to Duckett Holsteins was IDEE DOORMAN LYSA, a stunning Junior Three Year Old, the Doorman daughter of none other than Idee Winbrook Lynzi, the 2017 Intermediate Champion and HM. Grand Champion at the Royal. Lysa looked extremely impressive as she named Grand Champion at the recent Expo Rimouski being named Grand Champion for owners ferme Jacobs, Pat Conroy, and JM Valley Holsteins.

Rounding out the top sellers at $200,000 to Milksource Genetics was JACOBS DOORMAN VICTOIRE, a stunning Senior three year old for 2019.  In what may prove to be one of the greatest show cows ever bred by Ferme Jacobs, Victoire’s 2nddam, Jacobs Dundee Voltage was All-Canadian and All-Quebec Milking Yearling in 2008, and her 3rddam, Jacobs Spirit Valsie was All-Canadian 4 year old in 2004.

In what was a very touching moment of the sale, JACOBS GOLDWYN BRILLIANT, the own daughter of Jacobs Goldwyn Brittany EX-96 was sold for $40,000 as a fundraiser for Charly Jacobs who has been suffering from severe dystonia caused by a genetic mutation of the EIF2AK2 gene. 

For a complete listing of the results click here

Wisconsin Dairy Generates $45.6B Impact

Wisconsin crafts more varieties, types and styles of cheese than anywhere on earth and holds a 48 percent share of the nation’s specialty cheese category.


The overall economic impact of Wisconsin’s dairy industry is bigger than ever, according to new research conducted by the University of Wisconsin—Madison.

Dairy continues to lead Wisconsin agriculture, the new report shows, generating nearly half of Wisconsin’s annual industrial agricultural revenue – and represents 16.4 percent of the state’s total. Despite recent milk price challenges, the report shows dairy continues to make a significant impact on local Wisconsin communities.

The report is based on the most recent data available (2017) and updates research conducted every five years by UW—Madison under the direction of Professor Steven Dellerat the Department of Agricultural and Applied Economics and Extension’s Center for Community Economic Development. Total agricultural economic impact grew from $88.3 billion to $104.8 billion with dairy’s impact growing to $45.6 billion.

“To put this in perspective, dairy’s economic impact is twice that of another key growing industry, Wisconsin tourism. It also shows dairy is Wisconsin’s signature industry and is central to our state’s identity,” says Deller.

The report shows that from farmers’ milk 154,000 Wisconsin jobs are created and $1.26 billion in state and local taxes are generated. Every dollar generated by Wisconsin’s dairy industry generates another $1.73 in additional revenue for the state, according to the report.

“This report reflects the importance of cheese and dairy in our state and is why we are America’s Dairyland,” says Dairy Farmers of Wisconsin CEO Chad Vincent. Additionally, the report identifies foreign export markets as a primary source of new growth for Wisconsin agriculture. As a state, Wisconsin exported over $2.5 billion in agriculture products last year with dairy products as the second-largest contributor at $451 million.

“Consumers from around the world need and want protein in their diet. With Wisconsin’s abundance of protein-rich dairy products, it’s easy to see why we are an international leader in the dairy industry,” said Secretary-designee Brad Pfaff of the Wisconsin Department of Agriculture, Trade and Consumer Protection (DATCP). 

Additional key findings from the report include:

  • Dairy generates 43.5 percent of the state’s total agriculture activity.
  • Dairy, combining both on-farm and dairy processing, contributes $45.6 billion to industrial revenues (7.1 percent of the state total), 157,100 jobs (4.2 percent), $9.0 billion to labor income (4.5 percent) and $15.1 billion to total income (4.7 percent).
  • Dairy processing accounts for roughly two-thirds of dairy’s total contribution.
  • 90 percent of Wisconsin milk is devoted to cheesemaking while the remaining is deployed to butter, ice cream and cultured products such as yogurt, cottage cheese and kefir.

Wisconsin’s dairy heritage dates back generations and is rooted in European traditions. Wisconsin crafts more varieties, types and styles of cheese than anywhere else on earth and holds a 48 percent share of the nation’s specialty cheese category.

To see the full report and access media assets including B Roll package with interviews, visit

Wisconsin Holstein Association Hosts 33rd Annual Futurity

Judge Mandi Bue of Freedom placed 12 outstanding young cows on Saturday, August 10 at Wisconsin State Fair Park during the first All-Breeds Futurity. Since 1987, the Wisconsin Holstein Association has hosted an annual Holstein Futurity at the Wisconsin State Fair, but this year was the first year all seven dairy breeds were eligible to show.

Taking top honors and Best Udder was Floydholm MC Emoji-ET, exhibited by Shawn and Seth Nehls of Hustisford. They took home a $1,500 check sponsored by Compeer Financial and $50 from CentralStar Cooperative.

Second and Best Bred and Owned was Milgene Defyin Jackolantern, exhibited by the Hildebrandt family from Hustisford. The Hildebrandt family was awarded $750 sponsored by International Protein Sires and the Best Bred and Owned award sponsored by Lirr Farm, the Nigh family.

Rounding out the top three and the production and combined fat and protein winner was Crestbrooke A Cabernet-ET exhibited by Kyle Natzke of Fond du Lac. Agropur sponsored the $500 third place award and Brian Greenman, Rural Mutual Insurance Agent sponsored a prize for the production awards.

The first-place junior was Dreamfix Summer Fling exhibited by Landon and Mylie Wendorf, Dawson and Kylie Nickels, and Christian Sachse of Ixonia. They won an award sponsored by Angela Davis-Brown of Ma-Brown Holsteins and Jerseys and a cash prize sponsored by the Wisconsin Junior Holstein Association.

The Nigh family of Lirr Farm also sponsored the Best Junior Bred and Owned award. This award went to Colton and Ashley Brandel of Lake Mills exhibiting Brand-New Iron Man Allis.

Although the cows are the stars of the show, the exhibitors dress their best in competition for the Best Dressed awards. The Best Dressed junior was Carly Strauss of Lake Mills, who won an award sponsored by the Barron County Junior Holstein Association. Brett Hildebrandt of Hustisford was awarded Best Dressed male and received an award from Robert and Karyn Schauf. Yvonne Preder sponsored the Best Dressed female award, which was awarded to Kayla Wright of Johnson Creek.

The night was led by the Master and Mistress of Ceremonies, Kevin and Peggy Coffeen of De Pere. They announced the winning cows and introduced the dignitaries that were present as well as sharing Wisconsin dairy facts with the crowd. Representing the sponsors were Jill Armbruster from Compeer Financial, Ron Sersland of International Protein Sires, and David Hitner from Agropur. Royalty from across Wisconsin also attended the event and helped present awards including Wisconsin Holstein Association Princess, Lauren Siemers; Wisconsin Holstein Association Princess Attendant, Mikayla Endres; Wisconsin Brown Swiss Queen, Natalie Roe; Alice in Dairyland, Abigail Martin; and Wisconsin Fairest of the Fairs, Meghan Buechel.

The Wisconsin Holstein Association All-Breeds Futurity would not have been possible without the generous donations from our major sponsors, Compeer Financial, International Protein Sires, Agropur, and Brian Greenman, Rural Mutual Insurance Agent. In addition, we would like to thank all of the committee members, volunteers, and additional sponsors that helped make the show a success.

We hope to see everyone at the 2020 WHA All-Breeds Futurity at next year’s Wisconsin State Fair on August 15, 2020.

Wisconsin Holstein Association is a not-for-profit membership organization with the purpose of promoting the Wisconsin Registered Holstein breed, its breeders and owners. Established in 1890, it has grown its junior and adult membership to become the second largest state Holstein association in the nation. For more information visit the WHA website at

Hundreds of cows die in massive barn fire near Steinbach

A massive fire at one of Manitoba’s largest dairy farms has destroyed multiple barns that held about 1,000 cows, of which only 200 animals survived.

Four connected farm buildings at Pennwood Dairy, northeast of Steinbach, Man., were destroyed in the blaze, which was reported at 4:40 a.m. CT on Monday, and most of the animals are assumed to have died, said Jean-Claude Normandeau of La Broquerie​ Fire Department​​​​​​.

About 60 firefighters from La Broquerie​ and four other communities — the Steinbach, Blumenort, New Bothwell and Ste. Anne fire departments — were all fighting the blaze at 36169 Clearsprings Rd. The farm is about 50 kilometres southeast of Winnipeg.


About 60 firefighters battle the fire Monday at the farm, which is about 50 kilometres southeast of Winnipeg.(Steinbach Online)

About 800 cows died in the fire, the Steinbach fire department said.

“There was probably about 1,000 animals in the barn at the time, and they were able to get 200 out,” Steinbach’s fire Chief Kelvin Toews said.

He said it was “probably the largest barn fire” he has dealt with.

“We’ve had barn fires where we’ve lost one or two barns, but this is quite a sizeable loss,” Toews said.

The farm is one of the biggest milk producers in the province, Dairy Farmers of Manitoba said. An average dairy farm has 130 cows, the dairy farmers’ organization said.

Normandeau said, “the dairy barn represents approximately 2.5 per cent of the Manitoba milk production, so quite the severe impact.”


About 800 cows died in the blaze, the Steinbach fire department says. (Lyza Sale/CBC)

The Steinbach fire chief said the barns are wood frame structures with tin covering the outside.

“What happens is the wood frame burns, the tin falls in, and you’ve still got pancakes of stuff burning inside,” Toews said.

Most of the fire was out, he said shortly before noon, although firefighters were still tending to some hot spots and a smouldering pile of silage.

‘Cows just screaming’

Christina Braun, who lives on a neighbouring farm, said she wasn’t sure what was happening when she first heard the sirens.

“I go to open my door, and I heard cows just screaming,” Braun said.

She could see flashing lights and a bright orange glow, as if the sun was setting over the treeline between her place and the neighbours, she said.

“It sounded really close. I thought it was at my farm. Thank God it wasn’t, but it was my neighbours.”


Roads are blocked in the area as emergency crews fight the dairy barn fire. (Lyza Sale/CBC)

A server at the nearby Quarry Oaks Golf Course said roads in the area were blocked off as she drove to work around 6 a.m.

“On my way here, I saw fire trucks, and I just saw a huge cloud of smoke,” Jaylene Stoesz said.

The golf course is a few kilometres away from the fire, Stoesz said.

The office of the fire commissioner is investigating the cause of the fire.

Source: CBC


Don’t let EU have its whey on cheese name ban, dairy industry warns

Major dairy producers and processors have come out swinging against the European Union’s proposed ban on the use of cheese names, warning it will cost the local industry tens of millions of dollars in lost sales and added compliance and marketing costs.

But artisan producers have welcomed the restrictions, saying it is an opportunity for cheesemakers to shed a “cultural cringe” and proudly promote Australian-made products.

Melbourne cheese shop owner Olivia Sutton says Australian consumers will adapt to restrictions on cheese names. Eamon Gallagher

European trade negotiators want to protect almost 60 different types of cheeses with geographical indicators as part of a free trade deal with Australia.

While in many cases these refer to the use of specific locations where the cheese originated from and will allow the generic use of names such as brie or camembert to continue, a handful of products such as feta, gruyere and gorgonzola are under threat.

Olivia Sutton, who owns specialist cheese shop Harper & Blohm in Melbourne’s Brunswick, said Australian consumers had a snobbish belief that European cheeses were superior but believed ultimately they would adapt, just as they did when the use of the word champagne was banned.

“People have a perception that buying a French brie is better than buying an Australia brie but there are some good Australian cheeses coming through, it’s just taking time,” she said.

“If you look at a jar of feta and it was called Gibson’s Road feta and suddenly it was called Gibson’s Road marinated goat’s cheese, I don’t think you’d notice.”

The Australian Dairy Industry Council, which represents both producers and major processors, warned products with total sales values of more than $650 million were at risk because of the proposed restrictions.

Research conducted on behalf of the council estimates the direct impact of strict enforcement of geographical indicators on dairy manufacturers could cost them between $70 million and $90 million in lost sales, rebranding and repackaging products and educating consumers in the first few years of an EU FTA.

Australian Dairy Farmers chief executive David Inall said the industry was also alarmed by the EU’s clampdown on evocation.

“Manufacturers of cheese products won’t be able to use related imagery like flags or colours or writing to connect it back to the original location,” he said.

Mr Inall said the production of a wide range of cheeses reflected Australia’s migrant history, with many producers bringing their skills and methods from Europe to establish flourishing businesses that created jobs.

Australian Specialist Cheesemakers Association secretary Alison Lansley said the changes would mostly affect mass-produced cheeses sold in supermarkets.

She said artisan producers had already moved away from using European names, in a sign of maturity for the local industry.

She gave the example of how one Gippsland producer called a Roquefort- style cheese Venus Blue, which took its name from a local bay.

“To me it’s a bit of a cultural cringe that people want to use those European names. It’s relying on a European name to sell a product whereas we should be able to sell it under its own local name,” she said.

Ms Lansley agreed feta would be the most problematic cheese name to resolve.

She said the name “feta” was not really a true geographical indicator linked to a specific location in Greece, as the word meant “sliced”, while Bulgaria and Macedonia also tried to claim its provenance. It was also a relatively simple cheese to produce.

Ms Lansley said she understood Europe was insisting that “feta” could not be used at all, even as “Australian feta” or “feta-like”.

“Feta has become common use. What would you call it if not feta?” she said.


Small Organic Dairy Farmers Say the Rules are Stacked Against Them.

Organic dairy farmers are often isolated and don’t get to connect to each other, said Liz Pickard, a farmer at Twin Oaks Dairy in Truxton, New York. But right now, when they do, the National Organic Program’s (NOP) “Origin of Livestock” rule is a hot topic.

“Everyone’s talking about it. It’s a huge deal,” she said on a recent phone call from her farm, as she cursed a stalled tractor. “This is probably one of the biggest things that’s putting a drag on the milk market right now.”

Just like crops cannot be certified organic until the soil they’re grown in has been under organic management for three years, the Origin of Livestock provision was included in the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) organic regulations to specify how long an animal must be under organic management before its milk can be called organic. But many farmers say the rule is being interpreted differently by different certifiers, putting small, family-owned dairies at a disadvantage.

While the provision requires livestock to be raised organically since before birth, it offers a one-time exception for farmers who want to convert a conventional herd.

The controversy is over that exception—farmers say some certifiers allow large, industrial organic dairies to repeatedly add cheaper-to-feed, conventionally raised calves to their herds and then convert them to organic over a shorter time period. Able to grow their herds quickly and inexpensively, small farmers say the dairies that operate this way flood the market with cheap milk, undercutting dairies that are held to a different standard.

A diverse group of stakeholders in organic food and agriculture agree that the rule should be updated for clarification, and they’re pushing for the USDA to finalize an updated rule proposed in 2015 that would fix the discrepancy. In April, the Organic Farmers Association (OFA) sent Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue a letter on the issue, and more than 60 groups signed on, including organic certifiers from across the country, industry groups, farmer associations, and environmental organizations (some of which are rarely aligned). Perdue responded with a letter that did not commit the USDA to any action, stating that the agency, “continue[s] to review stakeholder feedback on this topic.”

On July 17, at a House Committee on Agriculture hearing on enforcement of organic standards, Representative Chellie Pingree (D-Maine) grilled Agriculture Undersecretary Greg Ibach on the topic. “I discussed this with Secretary Perdue … earlier this year, and he said to me, ‘Well there are some opinions on either side,’” Pingree said. “No, there are not a lot of opinions on either side. This is a real consensus item.”

And while groups such as the Northeast Organic Dairy Producers Association (NODPA) have been working on the issue since as far back as 2006, it’s coming to a head now because, while large organic dairy operations in the South and West have grown, many small and mid-sized organic dairy farms are struggling to survive.

More than half of the roughly 125,000 (conventional and organic) dairy farms that operated in the U.S. in 1997 have disappeared, with more than 15,000 lost just between 2012 and 2017 (and many more in the two years since those numbers were reported in the latest Agricultural Census). For a long time, organic dairies were shielded from that shrinking market, as demand for organic milk rose and companies paid a premium to farmers. But that has changed in the last several years.

NODPA president Ed Maltby, a dairy farmer for 40 years, said New York’s farmers are now being paid five to six dollars below the cost of production for organic milk. He adds that some farmers who belong to NODPA (a membership-based nonprofit) are retiring or switching back to conventional milk, since it costs less to produce. He points to the Origin of Livestock misinterpretation as a core problem.

“That unfair playing field has an impact, and it’s on quite a few different levels,” he said. “One of the prime reasons that we’re pushing so hard is partly the economic sustainability for our members and all organic dairies. It’s also to maintain the integrity of the organic label.”

How Dairies Raise Organic Cows

“We never bring in new cows,” Liz Pickard said, and that’s true of the majority of small organic dairies, unless they’re going through a significant expansion.

In fact, since dairy cows give birth once a year in order to continue producing milk, most dairies have extra calves they sell annually. If they’re in need of new milking cows to replace those that are aging out, they raise the calves according to organic standards from birth, feeding them exclusively organic milk and organic grain. After two years, those cows reach breeding age and can start producing organic milk.

When the animals are raised in that way, their milk is eligible for organic certification under the Origin of Livestock rule. And the NOP allows for one exception, which is where the controversy begins. Essentially, the rule was written with an exception, to allow farmers with existing conventional dairy herds to transition an “entire, distinct” herd to organic certification over a period of one year.

Farmers and advocates say that the rule was always meant to allow for that transition one time, to create a pathway for conventional dairy farmers to convert to organic management with the expectation that growers would then raise calves organically from birth once they had an organic herd in place. But the language in the rule was vague, and evidence started to emerge showing some certifiers, which are responsible for making sure farms are meeting the organic standards, were allowing large organic dairies to “continuously” utilize the exception, purchasing and transitioning conventional cows to organic whenever they needed them.

In an audit conducted by the USDA in 2013, the agency found that three of the six certifiers the agency interviewed interpreted the rule in this way, in that they “allowed organic herds to continue to be transitioned and producers to add cattle to organic herds.”

The Cost of an Organic Calf

That interpretation hurts small organic dairies raising calves organically from birth, explained Fay Benson, a dairy farmer for 20 years who now works for Cornell University’s Organic Dairy Initiative. “The [organic] feed is the biggest cost of raising a heifer, since you’re raising it for two years without any kind of return,” he said. (A heifer is a young cow that has not yet borne calves.)

At a New York Organic Dairy Task Force meeting in March, the group talked about the Origin of Livestock issue and directed funding to Benson in order to allow him to study what that cost differential really looked like.

While Benson has not completed the research yet, he has been gathering data from three organic dairy farms and comparing it to research that had already been done at Cornell on the cost of raising a conventional calf. At one of the farms in his study, he found that the cost of raising a heifer for its first 60 weeks was $3,628 or nearly triple the $1,274 cost of a conventional heifer.

In other words, if a certifier allowed a farm to continuously transition in new cows, those cows would cost much less for that first year, up until the farm began feeding organic feed in the second year for the transition period.

Why would a farm even need a continuous supply of cows if it was raising a herd organically and producing new calves each year?

Essentially, a large-scale operation could sell off the organic calves being born on its farm and buy in cheaper conventional heifers to transition over one year. Being able to cheaply rotate in new cows also allows farms to produce more milk. Small organic dairies generally keep production at a rate that maximizes a cow’s life span, because intensive production causes the cows stress that many people consider inhumane, and the cost of raising heifers is so high.

“[Large dairies] maximize production by feeding large amounts of grain, which shortens the cow’s life,” Benson said, “and then they need to replace those burned-out cows.”

A particularly egregious example is reported in a letter that CROPP Cooperative, the coop behind Organic Valley, sent to Secretary Perdue in November 2018 in support of fixing the Origin of Livestock loophole. In the letter, Chief Mission Officer Melissa Hughes reports that one state agriculture department, which is an accredited organic certifier, “permits an organic cow … to give birth to a heifer calf, rear the calf conventionally, and then transition it back to organic status for organic milk production.”

All of this is compounded by the fact that small organic dairies already have a hard time competing with large industrial operations, Maltby said. “The cost of organic milk we produce on a small operation, it’s higher than some of the larger operations that have economies of scale when it comes to labor, feed, etc.,” he said.

Clarifying the Rule

After the 2013 USDA audit, the Office of the Inspector General recommended that a proposed rule be issued to clarify that the Origin of Livestock provision only allowed for a one-time transition of a dairy herd.

In 2015, the USDA posted the proposed rule and opened it for public comment. However, after the comment period ended, the rule was never finalized.

In addition to the letter the Organic Farmers Association sent to Secretary Perdue, director Kate Mendenhall said OFA made the issue a policy priority for 2019 and testified about the rule at the last meeting of the National Organic Standards Board (NOSB), which advises the NOP on rulemaking.

The pressure from all of these groups, including legislators, may bring the issue back to the fore. A USDA spokesperson told Civil Eats the agency “is moving forward with the Origin of Livestock rulemaking process and exploring the best ways to get that completed. We hope to have a draft for inter-agency review this year.”

Of course, many advocates bristle at repeating that process, just four years later. “It’s completely unacceptable,” Rep. Pingree said at the July hearing. “We had a proposed rule in 2015 … there should be a final rule this year.”

Mendenhall put it even more bluntly. “[Organic] dairy is suffering right now,” she said, “and it’s a direct result of a lack of proper enforcement by the National Organic Program.”


Fonterra bombshell: $675m loss looms, no dividend

Fonterra is signalling a full-year loss of up to $675 million for 2018-19.

The co-op has also announced that no dividend will be paid out this year; it has also written down $820m to $860m in asset value.

The co-op will announce its full-year results on September 12. However, it’s now clear that the co-op will deliver its second straight annual loss. Last year, the co-op declared its first ever loss of $196m.

Chief Executive Officer Miles Hurrell said that as a result of the full review of the business which has taken place across the year, as well as the work done so far to prepare its financial statements for FY19, it has become clear that Fonterra needs to reduce the carrying value of several of its assets and take account of other one-off accounting adjustments, which total approximately $820-860 million.

“Since September 2018 we’ve been re-evaluating all investments, major assets and partnerships to ensure they still meet the cooperative’s needs. 

“We are leaving no stone unturned in the work to turn our performance around. We have taken a hard look at our end-to-end business, including selling and reviewing the future of a number of assets that are no longer core to our strategy. The review process has also identified a small number of assets that we believe are overvalued, based on the outlook for their expected future returns.

“While the co-op’s FY19 underlying earnings range is within the current guidance of 10-15 cents per share, when you take into consideration these likely write-downs, we expect to make a reported loss of $590-675 million this year, which is a 37 to 42 cent loss per share.”

The co-op made a commitment to provide information to update farmers and unit holders as it comes available. 

“The numbers still need to be finalised and audited but we now have enough certainty overall to come out in advance of our annual results announcement in September,” he says.

Chairman John Monaghan said that in-light of the significant write-downs that reflect important accounting adjustments Fonterra needed to make, the board had brought forward its decision on the full year dividend for financial year 2019 (FY19). 

“We have made the call not to pay a dividend for FY19. Our owners’ livelihoods were front of mind when making this decision and we are well aware of the challenging environment farmers are operating in at the moment.

“Ultimately, we are charged with acting in the best long-term interests of the co-op. The underlying performance of the business is in-line with the latest earnings guidance, but we cannot ignore the reported loss of $590 – $675 million once you look at the overall picture. 

“Not paying a dividend for the FY19 financial year is part of our stated intention to reduce the co-op’s debt, which is in everybody’s long-term interests.”


Source: Rural News  Group

ACCC flags concerns with Saputo’s $280 million cheese deal

Saputo CEO Lino Saputo jnr.

The competition watchdog has raised concerns that dairy farmers could be paid less for their milk under a proposed $280 million deal that would transform the Tasmanian dairy market.

Under the deal, announced earlier this year, the Canadian-based dairy giant Saputo would buy the Tasmanian-based cheese business owned by Lion Dairy and Drinks.

The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission said the deal would combine the processing plants of the state’s second and third biggest buyers of raw milk from Tasmanian dairy farmers.

“We are concerned that combining these two operators may lead to Tasmanian dairy farmers being paid lower prices,” ACCC deputy chairman Mick Keogh said.

“If Saputo acquires the Burnie and King Island Lion plants, we will be left with a structure where two companies, Fonterra and Saputo, buy more than 80 per cent of the raw milk produced in Tasmania.”

The competition watchdog also examined the impact of the proposed deal on Australia’s cheese market and expressed a preliminary view that the deal was unlikely to raise competition concerns.

Saputo is one of the biggest dairy players in the world and which last year successfully completed the purchase of the historic dairy cooperative Murray Goulburn. It controls major cheese brands in Australia including Coon, Devondale and Sungold.

The ACCC’s “preliminary concerns” with the deal were unveiled in a statement of issues released on Thursday.

“The ACCC’s preliminary view is that the proposed acquisition may substantially lessen competition in the acquisition of raw milk from farmers in Tasmania by removing an effective competitor in an already concentrated market,” it said.

The ACCC move is another challenge for Lion, which has also been attempting to sell its dairy and drinks business in Australia.

We are concerned that combining these two operators may lead to Tasmanian dairy farmers being paid lower prices.

Mick Keogh, ACCC deputy chairman

Asahi had been considering Lion’s dairy and drinks business, but in a recent interview with The Age Asahi’s local executive chairman Peter Margin said “at this point in time we’ve elected not to proceed with that…We’ve got a bit more on our plate at the moment”.

Last month Asahi announced a $16 billion deal under which it would buy the iconic local beer maker CUB. This deal has ramifications for Lion, which is one of Australia’s biggest brewers, because it would suddenly propel Asahi to about a 50 per cent share of the value of domestically produced beer.

The ACCC said that under the proposed deal between Saputo and Lion, Saputo would acquire processing plants at Burnie and on King Island, two farms on King Island, and other related assets to make and supply cheese.

In a statement Saputo said it would “carefully review the ACCC’s statement of issues and will continue to work closely with Lion Dairy and Drinks and the ACCC with a view to securing the ACCC’s approval as soon as practicable”.

A Lion Dairy and Drinks spokeswoman said the company had provided information to the ACCC to assist its understanding and consideration of the relevant issues.

“We remain focused on doing what we can to achieve a successful sale in the coming period, and we reiterate our view that the sale of the specialty cheese business to Saputo is in the long-term interest of all stakeholders,” she said.

The ACCC has asked interested parties to provide submissions to it by August 22. A final ACCC decision is scheduled for September 26.


Source: The Sydney Morning Herald

Farmers want fake `meat’ and `milk’ labelled truthfully

Farmers support choice, says the National Farmers’ Federation, but when it comes to the emerging fake meat industry, “we just want honest labelling”.

With the rise of vegan and vegetarian lifestyles in Australia also comes the rise of “fake meat” – food which looks and tastes like meat, but is actually plant-based.

In 2016, 2.1 million Australians had a diet that was all, or almost all, plant-based.

More than 11 per cent of Australians classify themselves as vegetarian or vegan.

Veggie patties and rashers of ‘facon’ can be so realistic they even appear to bleed when cooked like meat from a slaughtered animal.

We’re not worried about the fake meat industry taking over – we’re worried about the truth in the labelling of these products– Tony Mahar, National Farmers Federation

Another product of the fake meat industry is synthetic meat grown in laboratories.

It involves harvesting stem cells from a live animal and essentially being able to grow a steak in a lab environment.

This new industry has ruffled the feathers of the Australian meat industry.

Organisations like the NFF argue these products aren’t in fact meat and are misleading to consumers.

“The official definition of meat is “‘the flesh of an animal carcus”, and these products aren’t that,” said NFF chief executive officer, Tony Mahar.

“We’re not worried about the fake meat industry taking over – we’re worried about the truth in the labelling of these products.

“We want transparency.

“The two products – meat and plant-based proteins – can coexist, but we want people to be informed about what they are buying through accurate and honest product labelling.”

These products are misleading consumers to believe these plant-based products have a nutritional equivalency with dairy– David Inall, Australian Dairy Farmers

The issue of food labelling is also a challenge in the dairy industry with Australian Dairy Farmers (ADF) recently launching a campaign calling for the government to ban the use of the term milk on soy and nut-based drinks.

“Products made from soy, nuts, coconut and rice are using the term milk in their title even though they do not use milk as an ingredient,” said CEO David Inall.

“This strategy misleads consumers into believing these plant-based products have a nutritional equivalency with dairy.

“A Dairy Australia survey showed 54 per cent of respondents bought plant-based milk alternatives because the perceived them to be healthier than dairy milk,” he said.

Meat and dairy producers in the US are fighting the same battle as Australian primary producers, endeavouring to give definitive answers to the questions like: What does “meat” mean and who has the right to use the term “meat”?

At the moment 25 US states are working on food labelling laws with the aim to restrict the use of the words traditionally associated with meat and milk.

The state of Missouri was the first US state to pass a labelling law to regulate the use of the term “meat”, restricting the term to mean the flesh from a slaughtered animal.

“We need to make decisions around what is meat, what is milk, what we classify them as and how that should appear on a product label in Australia,” Mr Mahar said

“We need to work out what the government’s role is in this to make sure we can pursue a labelling regime that is beneficial to consumers and producers.”

Despite all this, Aussies still love their real meat and dairy products.

On average each Australian annually consumes between 10 kilograms of lamb, 20kg to 30kg of beef, veal and pork; and a whopping 40kg of chicken.

Dairy Australia estimates on average we each drink 106 litres of fresh milk a year.

Australia is one of the biggest meat-eating countries per-capita in the world with beef production valued at more than $11 billion, sheep meat at more than $4 billion, chicken is worth $2.4b, and dairy is worth around $4b.


Source: Queensland Country Life

Dairy calf shot with arrows by trespasser in ‘gut-wrenching’ surveillance video

A man and woman can be seen in the surveillance footage standing at the far left of the enclosure near the calf. (Eagle Acres Dairy/Facebook)

Brian Anderson walked into his dairy farm last Thursday morning expecting to see Scorcher, a five-day-old calf who he left sleeping in its enclosure the night before.

The calf was gone. In its place were puddles of blood and a broken arrow.

That arrow was apparently used in an attack against the calf, which was caught on surveillance footage at Eagles Acres Dairy, a small, family-run farm in Langley, B.C. 

RCMP are now investigating.

The footage, which Anderson reviewed shortly after the discovery, shows a man and a woman entering the barn at about 4:45 a.m. PT.

For eight minutes, Anderson said, the man shot the calf with up to six arrows using a crossbow. When the animal remained alive and standing, the man stabbed it repeatedly with an arrow.

Watch the man approach the enclosure and roll under the gate:

RCMP say they’re investigating footage from a Metro Vancouver dairy farm that shows a couple attacking and killing a calf. The attack is not shown here in this edited version. 0:38

The man dragged the body out of the farm and placed it in the trunk of a black luxury SUV, before driving off with the woman.

“Looking at the video was a gut-wrenching experience,” Anderson said.

“It was disturbing to us even being farmers who understand what death is.”

The calf was five days old when it was attacked. (Submitted by Brian Anderson)

Motive not known

The case garnered attention Thursday after Anderson posted stills from the surveillance footage on the farm’s Facebook page.

RCMP Cpl. Holly Largy said investigators reviewed the surveillance video and are hoping the public can help identify the two trespassers.

The motive for the attack is unclear, she said.

“Potentially they took it for a veal for a restaurant or there could be more sinister type of things that I couldn’t begin to conceive,” Largy said. “But I honestly don’t know why they did it.” 

Anderson said the male and female trespassers appeared to be Asian and in their mid-to-late 20s or early 30s.

A camera captured the couple driving away, but the licence plate is not visible.

The footage shows the man and woman placing the carcass in the trunk of a luxury SUV and driving off. (Eagle Acres Dairy/Facebook)

The farm, which opened in 1999, offers tours to schools and drop-in visits in a wide, open space.

Anderson installed the cameras to monitor cows giving birth, he said, but the farm remains largely unsecured at night.

“To surround ourselves with a gate and a fence is just not practical,” he said.


Expo Seminars to Focus on Finances and Other Key Dairy Topics

Tools for Dairy’s Progress, the 2019 World Dairy Expo theme, is a fitting description of this year’s Expo Seminars to be held during the annual event, October 1-5. Presented daily by industry leaders in the Mendota 2 meeting room of the Exhibition Hall, these seminars address topics centered around finances, climate, management practices and dairy markets.  

Each Expo Seminar is approved for one continuing education credit for members of both the American Registry of Professional Animal Scientists (ARPAS) and the American Association of State Veterinary Boards – RACE Program (RACE).

Sponsors of the 2019 Expo Seminars include Dairy Management, Inc., Diamond V, Feed Supervisor Software, McLanahan Corporation, Page & Pedersen International, Ltd., Quality Liquid Feeds, Inc. and SOP S.r.l.

The following is the schedule of 2019 Expo Seminars:

Tuesday, October 1, 1:00 p.m.
Domestic and Global Beverage Trends: How U.S. Dairy Innovation Can Seize the Opportunity
Paul Ziemnisky, Executive Vice President of Global Innovation Partnerships, Dairy Management, Inc.
Kristina Alexander, Manager, Knowledge and Insights of Global Innovation Partnerships, Dairy Management Inc.
Sponsored by: Dairy Management, Inc. 

Wednesday, October 2, 11:00 a.m.
What Drives Financial Success on a Dairy
Steve Bodart, Senior Dairy Lending Specialist, Compeer Financial
Sponsored by: McLanahan Corporation 

Wednesday, October 2 at 1:00 p.m.
The Makeup of Your Milk Check
Calvin Covington, Chief Executive Officer (retired), Southeast Milk, Inc.
Sponsored by: Page & Pedersen International, Ltd 

Thursday, October 3, 11:00 a.m.
Proactive Management Practices to Reduce Antibiotic Usage on Your Dairy
Dr. Michael Capel, Partner, Perry Veterinary Clinic 

Thursday, October 3, 1:00 p.m.
Climate Change – Reducing the Dairy Industry’s Carbon Footprint and Greenhouse Gas Emissions
Dr. Frank Mitloehner, Professor, University of California-Davis
Sponsored by: SOP S.r.l. 

Friday, October 4, 11:00 a.m.
Why Heifer Maturity Matters
Dr. Gavin Staley, Technical Services Specialist, Diamond V
Sponsored by: Diamond V 

Friday, October 4, 1:00 p.m.
Are You Buying Your Milk Production?
Dr. Bill Weiss, Professor, Department of Animal Science, Ohio Agricultural and Research Center, The Ohio State University
Sponsored by: Quality Liquid Feeds, Inc. 

Saturday, October 5, 11:00 a.m.
Dairy Farm Financial Decision Making in Turbulent Times
Dr. Chris Wolf, Professor, Agricultural Economics and Management, Cornell University
Sponsored by: Feed Supervisor Software 

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

Wisconsin Holstein seeks Director of Sales & Membership

The Wisconsin Holstein Association is seeking an energetic, outgoing and self-motivated professional to join our team as the Director of Sales and Membership. The ideal candidate will have a high level of attention to detail, is determined and quality focused with excellent written and verbal communication skills, and has the ability to multi-task. A background in sales and/or fundraising is desired. 


Qualified candidates will be expected to assume these responsibilities:

  • Maintain and update membership database to ensure accurate information is entered in a timely matter and complete necessary reports as needed.

  • Identify and develop membership recruitment and retention collateral materials.

  • Assist WHA staff in efforts to expand revenue generating activities to support existing programs and identify new ones.

  • Lead all sponsorship efforts and educational programming through the Wisconsin Holstein Foundation, Inc.

  • Assist in event planning of conventions, shows and meetings, all of which may involve travel and attendance at after-hours functions in order to assist the staff for set-up and tear down at events.

  • Identify guest speakers, arrange for appearances, and assist with exhibits in order to build awareness and enhance the brand of Wisconsin Holsteins.

  • Identify sales prospects for each issue of the Wisconsin Holstein News and solicit ads through various methods, including but not limited to email, phone sales, personal contact at events and farm visits.

  • Work with Executive Show Committee in order to coordinate sponsorship efforts to include maintaining current sponsor relationships and assist in recruiting new sponsors.

  • Travel and attendance at events, some after hours, will be required in order to promote the Association and build strong relationships with members and partners.

The Director of Sales and Membership should have a strong work ethic with a positive attitude and must have the ability to work with a diverse group of people while managing WHA membership and fundraising duties. Dairy industry experience is preferred.

Submit resume with qualifications, references, and salary requirements by August 31, 2019 to or mail to: 902 8th Avenue, Baraboo, WI 53913. For a complete job description, visit the WHA website at or call the office at 1-800-223-4269.

About the Organization

Wisconsin Holstein Association is a not-for-profit membership organization with the purpose of promoting the Wisconsin Registered Holstein breed, its breeders and owners. Established in 1890, it has grown its junior and adult membership to become the second largest state Holstein association in the nation. For more information, visit the WHA website at


The Importance of County Fairs

Some of the best days of my youth were spent at the Dawes County Fair in Western Nebraska. Four days each August, the culmination of weeks spent rinsing heifers, walking lambs and taking endless photographs to mount on poster board, would finally come, as we took these projects and others to Chadron. I even entered my house cat, Joe, so he wouldn’t be left behind while we were 30 miles from the ranch.

County fairs differ from county to county and state to state. But the common thread they all share are the lessons learned including hard work, perseverance, sportsmanship, public speaking, animal husbandry and volunteerism. Perhaps the most valuable takeaway is that county fairs are about creating lasting friendships.

I recently caught up with one of the friends that I competed with and against at the Dawes County Fair, Samantha Dyer. Although I moved away from Dawes County, Sam and I remained close, primarily due to our ties formed through the fair and junior Hereford programs and later through collegiate livestock judging. The advent of social media has helped us follow each other’s adult journeys through marriage and now parenthood.

Sam is an alumna of Dawes County 4-H and had the good fortune to return to her roots after time away. We agree that some of the best times and best memories that we had at that fair are the friendships we formed. Another favorite memory for her, one I vaguely remember as we moved away after my freshman year of high school, is the water fights after the beef show. They started small but grew over time.

“Everybody looked forward to the water fights on the wash rack after the beef show. And they got so big, they called the fire department out with their water trucks and big hoses. It was a lot of fun,” she recalls.

Now, as an adult, Sam gets to experience the fair in a different light – as a parent and volunteer. She and her husband Don Edelman are first-year 4-H parents, a role she has been anticipating with excitement. Their son, Teague, will take two steers and two pigs to the same fair his mom and grandpa exhibited at. Their daughter, Skyler, will be able to participate in the Clover Kids program for pre-4-Hers.

“I’ve waited a long time for this. Teague has a lot of interest in technology and anything with a motor, but he’s really taken an interest in his beef project this year, and he’s really good at showmanship and practices a lot at home. I’ve really enjoyed watching my kids with their animals this year,” Sam said.

She said she is looking forward to spending the week at the fair with many of the same people she grew up with, except this time, they are parents, helping the next generation grow, learn and succeed.

One of the best attributes to the Dawes County Fair, according to Sam, is its ability and desire to bring in high-quality judges who are relevant to the industry and take time to teach their youth. Since most kids in the county bring in home-raised animals, she said she appreciates that their livestock committee and fair board does find judges who are industry savvy and take time with the kids who have devoted much of the spring and summer to their projects.

As a first-time county fair mom, I too can relate to a lot of what Sam shares. Our daughter, Lily, showed two barrows in the open show at our local county fair this July. It was both nerve-racking and exciting to see her show her barrows, high-five the judge and make new memories.

Here are five opportunities that Sam and I believe the county fair provides.

Teach responsibility. Sam is in her 15th year as a Financial Advisor for Farm Credit, and she and her husband own two grocery stores, which he manages, so their kids have had to step up with their livestock projects this summer. Caring for livestock every day in the barn and getting them ready for the county fair is a great way to teach responsibility. If you don’t feed and water your animals, who will?

“Our kids have done a lot of the work on their own this summer from feeding to rinsing steers,” Sam said.

Teach respect. I learned from my dad at an early age that the judge is the paid professional for the day, and I needed to respect his or her decision. Sometimes that is a tough pill to swallow, but it is also a lesson I’m trying to teach my recently-turned-4-year-old daughter. All summer long, we’ve been working on shaking the judge’s hand as her pig is talked, and finally at the fair, she remembered with both barrows! It didn’t matter if she was first place or seventh, she knew she needed to shake his hand, and show respect to him for his time and opinion – although the first-place opinion did warrant a high five, not just a handshake.

Instill appreciation for agriculture. Like most areas in the countryside, there are not a lot of opportunities for young people to return to production agriculture in Dawes County, according to Sam. However, she estimates that about 50% of those who compete at the fair eventually do make their way into some type of agricultural field, either education, sales or business. She used her niece as an example; she enjoys the rural lifestyle and wants to help on the family ranch as she can, so she is going to study nursing, a career that is always needed in the rural areas. Not only does her niece have an appreciation for agriculture, but Sam said the work ethic she’s developed and long hours she puts in on her livestock will help her be a successful nurse.

Teach to give back. Just like Sam and her brother are volunteers and leaders at the same fair they showed in the late 80s and 90s, many of their friends that they were involved with are right beside them, because they all know the lessons and the camaraderie formed at the fair are so valuable.

“Everybody looks forward to fair week to see the friends we made 30 years ago, some are the same and some are new, except now we are the parents making the decisions, on fair board, as leaders and superintendents,” Sam said.

As someone relatively new to our community, I too am looking forward to getting involved with and contributing to the county fair so Lily will have a great experience and learn the value of giving back to others.

Create a network. The agricultural world, especially in the livestock business, is a small space. Whether you are in Nebraska or Illinois, friendships will be created at the county fair. Besides Sam, I am still friends with several of the “young” people I was in 4-H with and am thankful for social media and our annual quick visit at the National Western Stock Show, usually just by chance.

One of the best memories of our daughter at her first fair this year was watching her cheer on her friends as they showed their pigs. Most kids don’t get shout-outs from the outside of the ring, but there was Lily, “Good job, Avery! Go Brice,” as she cheered on friends that she’ll be showing against and with for years to come.

County fairs are a part of the history of livestock shows. For some kids, the county fair may be the only show they participate in all summer, and for others, the county fair might be a stepping stone between jackpots and state fair. The one thing that is important to remember is that they are a memory-making experience that teaches young people many positive lessons and builds friendships that will last a lifetime.


IDFA Seeks Nominations for the 2020 Innovative Dairy Farmer of the Year Award

The International Dairy Foods Association (IDFA) announced today that nominations are now being accepted for the 22nd Innovative Dairy Farmer of the Year, an annual award co-sponsored by IDFA and Dairy Herd Management magazine. The winner will be honored at Dairy Forum 2020, January 26-29 at The Westin Kierland Resort in Scottsdale, Ariz. Nominations must be submitted by Sept. 30, 2019, and there is no fee to enter.

IDFA and Dairy Herd Management are seeking nominations of active U.S. dairy farms that have embraced innovation and technology, as well as industry collaboration and partnerships, to achieve greater productivity and growth. Nominees will be judged on current methods as well as their positioning to meet future economic and business challenges.

“There is a story of innovation, sustainability and smart growth happening in the dairy industry, and much of that story begins with dairy farmers,” said Michael Dykes, D.V.M., IDFA president and CEO. “We are excited to highlight and honor those farmers who through the use of new technologies, partnerships, and sustainable practices, are making important contributions to the future of the dairy industry.”

The award recipient will receive an all-expenses-paid trip for two to Dairy Forum 2020 to attend a special presentation ceremony held during the event. (Winner will be responsible for all tax liabilities.) The person nominating the winner will receive complimentary registration to Dairy Forum 2020.

In addition, the winning operation will be highlighted in the January 2020 issue of Dairy Herd Management. Dairy Forum is widely recognized as the most important conference of the year for dairy industry leaders. The 2019 event drew an impressive crowd of 1,000 industry participants.

The 2019 winner was Foster Brothers Farms near Middlebury, Vt., nominated by Ed Townley, CEO and president of Cabot Creamery Co-op. Previous winners were Schrack Farm Resources LP of Loganton, Pa.; Jer-Lindy Farms LLC of Brooten, Minn.; Holsum Dairies of Hilbert, Wis.; Hilmar Jerseys in Hilmar, Calif .; Milk Source, LLC, in Kaukauna, Wis.; McCarty Family Farms, Rexford, Kan.; Sweetwater Valley Farm, Philadelphia, Tenn.; Brubaker Farms of Mount Joy, Pa.; Haubenschild Dairy Farm, Princeton, Minn.; High Plains Dairy of Friona, Texas; Mason Dixon Farms, Gettysburg, Pa.; Clauss Dairy Farms, Hilmar, Calif.; Baldwin Dairy/Emerald Dairy, Emerald, Wis.; Si-Ellen Farms, Jerome, Idaho; Pagel’s Ponderosa Dairy, Kewaunee, Wis.; C Bar M Dairy, Jerome, Idaho; North Florida Holsteins of Bell, Fla.; KF Dairy of El Centro, Calif; Joseph Gallo Farms of Atwater, Calif.; and KBC Farms, Purdy, Mo.

Complete award criteria and a nomination form are available on the IDFA website.


Source: IDFA

Bonnie Cooper Wins 2019 Dairy Cattle Improvement Industry Distinction Award

On behalf of all organizations involved in the Canadian dairy cattle improvement industry, Lactanet Canada is pleased to announce Bonnie Cooper as the 2019 recipient of the Dairy Cattle Improvement Industry Distinction Award.

“Bonnie Cooper is a well-known and highly respected journalist that has dedicated her distinguished career of over 45 years to the Canadian dairy cattle improvement industry”, states Lactanet Board Chair, Barbara Paquet, “and she is therefore most deserving of this prestigious industry award”.

Bonnie was born on a Wisconsin Holstein dairy farm and received her B.Sc. degree majoring in agriculture journalism at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. In 1973, she moved to Canada to work at the Holstein Journal where she spent her entire career. Bonnie was one of only two Editors of the Holstein Journal in the 81-year history of the magazine. She has also been Secretary of the Curtis Clark Achievement Award Committee for 25 years. Bonnie has devoted her life to promoting all aspects of the industry with accuracy and integrity and her passion for the industry and its producers is evident in all her work.

Throughout her distinguished career of over 45 years, Bonnie has been recognized for her excellence in communicating to producers the events, people, animals and developments that have helped shape the Canadian dairy industry. Through her work, Bonnie helped make the Canadian Holstein Brand the envy of the world. Bonnie is respected and trusted to work hard, research points thoroughly and deliver the facts in a complete, clear and concise manner. Among her many achievements in her role, Bonnie performed exceptional work to communicate the breed improvement developments of Holstein Canada, CDN and key industry partners to producers in Canada and around the world. Holstein breeders trusted Bonnie to sort through the highly technical subjects and report them in a way that was easily understood and focused on the subjects that mattered most to them. Her accuracy, integrity and attention to detail is second to none among industry journalists.

Lactanet Canada is a producer-led organization, providing innovative dairy herd management and genetic services to more than 10,000 dairy farm customers and professional advisors throughout the country.  We are a national organisation created by a partnership of Canadian Dairy Network (CDN), CanWest DHI and Valacta. This “Industry Distinction Award” was established by CDN in 2008 and Bonnie Cooper becomes the eleventh recipient of this prestigious recognition. The award presentation to Bonnie will take place during the 2019 Dairy Cattle Improvement Industry Forum on September 17-18 at the Westin Bear Mountain Resort in Victoria, BC.

For more information, contact:
Brian Van Doormaal
Chief Services Officer
Lactanet Canada

Wisconsin farmers in crisis; mental health funding delayed

From falling prices, to rising tariffs, Wisconsin farmers are seeing more and more challenges. That’s leading some to struggle not just financially, but also with their mental health.

80-year-old Richard guy, a dairy farmer from Sparta has seen those challenges. “Can’t pay the bills, that’s all there is to it,” he said. “With dairy price like it is, we’re getting less for milk than we did 40 years ago.”

In a few years, he’s hoping to pass on the family farm to his 18-year-old grandson, but they question whether that’ll happen.

“I hope that I’ll be able to take it over, but with the way things are going now and you see all your neighboring farmers getting out of business, every day you wake up and wonder when will we be next,” said Hunter Guy.

With stress and bills piling up, the crisis is causing mental health issues within the farming community. An increasing number are becoming depressed, according to experts.

State lawmakers have discussed funding, so farmers can seek mental health services, however Republicans and Democrats couldn’t come to an agreement.

“Unfortunately, the joint finance committee didn’t release that money for us to use it, and it seems like something that would make common sense,” said Gov. Tony Evers.

Funding is currently on hold, awaiting further committee approval, which could happen in the fall.

Meantime, farmers like Guy feel something needs to be done right away. “I’m beginning to wonder if the politicians have a real idea what it’s really like, that’s what gets me.”


Source: CBS58

Plant milks worse for environment than cow milk

The climate change situation is only worsening.

If you are drinking plant-based “milks” because you think they are better for the environment, think again says a Fonterra scientist.

Nielsen Scantrack data shows sales of alternative milks have taken off in the past two years, with 25 per cent of total market share of all milk categories. In 2017 Kiwis spent $52 million on them, but that has risen to $144m in the last 12 months, with almond milk the most popular, followed by soya.

The value of the alternative milk market is growing at 7.6 per cent a year, while cow milk value is flat.

​But milk substitutes such as soy, almond, oat and rice have double the greenhouse gas emissions of Fonterra’s milk produced in New Zealand, when compared on the basis of their nutrient content.

The climate change situation is only worsening.

If you are drinking plant-based “milks” because you think they are better for the environment, think again says a Fonterra scientist.

Nielsen Scantrack data shows sales of alternative milks have taken off in the past two years, with 25 per cent of total market share of all milk categories. In 2017 Kiwis spent $52 million on them, but that has risen to $144m in the last 12 months, with almond milk the most popular, followed by soya.

The value of the alternative milk market is growing at 7.6 per cent a year, while cow milk value is flat.

​But milk substitutes such as soy, almond, oat and rice have double the greenhouse gas emissions of Fonterra’s milk produced in New Zealand, when compared on the basis of their nutrient content.

“Nutrients from effluent run-off also contribute significant damage to our natural environment and ecosystems. Plant-based milks have the benefits of being much kinder to our planet, human health and animals,” Safe’s head of education Nichola Kriek said.

Fonterra said fake milks were also inferior nutritionally to cow’s milk and cost more. Milk protein was up to 30 per cent higher in nutritional quality than the quality of the highest scoring plant proteins and over three-fold higher in nutritional quality than the worst scoring plant proteins. 

The top scoring plant protein is soy at 28.1 grams per litre, but macadamia (6.1g/l), rice (7.4g/l) and almond (8.1g/l) rate much lower. Cow’s milk produces 32g per litre of protein.

Fonterra’s chief technologist Dr Jeremy Hill said a collaborative study by United States and Swedish universities examined cow’s milk and others for their environmental impact, based on nutrient content.

The study looked at 21 essential nutrients in a range of retail drinks available in Sweden and found that the GHG production to nutrient content of cow’s milk was significantly less than all other beverages. 

Swedish milk had GHG production to nutrients content less than half that of the soy-based milk substitute and less than 10 per cent of the rice-based milk substitute. 

Hill said New Zealand milk had a 30 per cent lower GHG footprint than Swedish milk. 

“The Eat-Lancet report showed plant-based agriculture was responsible for 70-80 per cent of nitrogen application, 70-80 per cent of phosphate application, 90 per cent of freshwater use.”

The findings come at the same time that Federated Farmers has called for a ban on the term “milk” if it comes from plants.

The US dairy industry has also been clamouring for a ban, but the Food and Drug Administration has resisted on the grounds it has tacitly endorsed terms such as “almond milk” for decades.

Food Safety Minister Damien O’Connor also recently said it would be a big challenge to change the labelling.

“We’re absolutely committed to ‘true to label’ labelling, so if products are made from plants that should be stated clearly.

“The issue of whether it’s called ‘meat’ or ‘milk’ is a difficult one. It’s something I’m prepared to look at and see what’s happening internationally but at this point there’s no move to restrict the use of those words,” O’Connor said.

Kriek said the dairy industry was inherently cruel to animals.

“Plant-based milks are kinder to animals, as it doesn’t require cows to be forcibly impregnated or have their babies ripped away from their mothers at a young age.”

The Feds dairy group chairman Chris Lewis said Safe’s statement was “rhetoric” compared with Fonterra’s science.

Many almond milks only have 2.5 per cent almonds in them.
Many almond milks only have 2.5 per cent almonds in them.

He said the trend in food was towards raw ingredients and less processing.

“They like the produce New Zealand farmers produce because it’s the real deal. If it’s not a milk from an udder of a mammal, then don’t call it a milk.

“If it’s been highly processed with lots of water added, it’s probably more like a juice and should be called that,” Lewis said.

Source: Stuff

Cyberbullying by vegan activists adds to farmers’ growing list of mental health problems, psychologists say

Dust clouds over fields means the soil is finally drying up, as farmers rush to plant their crops in southwestern Ontario earlier in June. Farmers suffer from the same mental health problems as non-farmers: depression, anxiety, panic attacks, burnout.Postmedia

Cyberbullying by vegan activists is a growing source of stress for farmers and agricultural producers who already face significant mental health challenges linked to the job, a farmer and a psychologist working in the agriculture sector say.

Farmer Mylene Begin, who co-owns Princy farm in Quebec’s Abitibi-Temiscamingue region, created an Instagram account a few years ago to both document daily life on the farm and combat what she calls “disinformation and the negative image,” of agriculture. Today, she describes herself as the target of bullying from vegan activists.

Begin recently changed the settings on her account after having to get up an hour early to delete more than 100 negative messages a day — some of which made her fear for her safety, she said.

“There was one that took screenshots of my photos, he shared them on his feed after adding knives to my face and writing the word ‘psychopath’ on my forehead,” the 26-year-old said. “It made me so scared.”

She said some of the messages compared artificial insemination of cows to rape, while others used the words “kidnapping” and “murder” to describe the work of cattle breeders.

The problem, she said, is that many city people don’t understand agriculture but become severe critics nonetheless.


“It affects you psychologically. It’s very heavy even if we try not to read (the comments),” she said. “The population has become disconnected from agriculture. We all have a grandfather who did it, but today in the eyes of many people we’re rapists and poisoners, and that’s what hurts me the most.”

Pierrette Desrosiers, a psychologist who works in the agricultural sector, said bullying on the part of hardcore vegan activists on social media is a new source of stress for a growing number of farmers.

“At school, the children of farmers start to be bullied and treated as the children of polluters, or else the kids repeat what they see on social media and say breeders rape the cows (when artificially inseminating),” she said.

“It’s now a significant source of stress for producers, and it didn’t exist a year or two ago.”

Desrosiers, a farmer’s daughter and wife, is critical of the communications strategy used by certain animals rights groups and vegan associations.

“They use words like ‘rape’ and ‘murder’ to strike the imagination,” she said. “It’s anthropomorphism,” she added, referring to the attribution of human traits and emotions to animals and objects.

Beginning last year, the Standing Committee on Agriculture and Agri-Food spent several months studying the mental health challenges facing farmers, ranchers and agricultural producers. The report, completed in May, found that farmers are vulnerable to mental health problems due to “uncertainties that put them under significant pressure,” including weather and environmental challenges, market fluctuations, debt, and paperwork.

“The isolation that many farmers experience and the stigmatization they sometimes face, particularly on social media, amplify this stress,” the report stated.

Their recommendations included an education campaign to combat cyberbullying and threats against farmers, as well as updating the Criminal Code to include cyberbullying against groups of Canadians based on their job or place of residence.

At school, the children of farmers start to be bullied and treated as the children of polluters, or else the kids repeat what they see on social media and say breeders rape the cows

Frederic Cote-Boudreau, who recently completed a philosophy doctorate at Queen’s University and who studies animal ethics, said he’s a vegan who would like to see animals recognized as equal to humans.

However, he said, the language used by some animal rights defenders on social media is “counterproductive” to the cause.

“I’ve rarely seen someone get convinced by this kind of divisive approach,” he said. “When we’re told we’re cruel, we’re less receptive to what the other side is saying.”

But while he believes a peaceful approach is a more effective way to grow the movement, he said he shares the activists’ concerns and their strong emotions when faced with a society that appears to accept exploitation and violence towards animals.

His doctoral thesis defended the idea that animals should have the right to make choices, including where to live, who to develop relationships with and how to spend their days.

“We have ample scientific proof about the emotional life and capacity to suffer of animals,” he said. “It’s well-demonstrated that being coldly mutilated, crammed together, not being able to move normally, not being able to develop healthy social relationships, we know that it has enormous psychological and physical impacts on animals.”

Source: National Post

Lab-grown ice cream presents a labelling challenge for Canadian dairy

I scream, you scream, we all scream for … whey protein?

Yes, when we line up for a scoop or a cone on a hot summer weekend, what we’re really craving is the taste and texture of whey, a protein that is only found in milk. Combine it with sugar, fat and flavourings and, on a chemical level, you have ice cream — even if a cow was never involved. And it will taste way (whey?) better than the soy, oat or coconut-based ice cream substitutes of yore.

At least, that’s what the California-based start-up Perfect Day is betting. Last month, the company sold out of its first run of what it calls “animal-free ice cream.” The dessert, which comes in chocolate, vanilla-blackberry-toffee and vanilla-salted-fudge flavours, contains sugar, coconut oil, and whey protein produced using genetically modified yeast.

It’s a similar to concept to lab-grown meat, but does not require any starter cells from actual milk. Taste-testers say it’s much like the real thing — because as far as our tastebuds know, it is. Unlike regular ice cream, though, it did not require any living, breathing, land-using, greenhouse-gas-releasing cows to make.

Whether such a product would ever become available in Canada, and how it would be labelled and marketed, is a “highly politically charged” question, given the regulatory environment and supply management in the dairy industry, said Sylvain Charlebois, director of the agri-food analytics lab at Dalhousie University.

Desserts made by Perfect Day, or any other lab-grown dairy company, would likely look much different if they ever came to Canada. The company uses the term “non-animal whey protein” in its ingredient list. According to Canadian food regulations, whey is a milk product, and milk is the “normal lacteal secretion, free from colostrum, obtained from the mammary gland of an animal.” In Canada, you can’t milk yeast — not yet, anyway.

If they call it something other than milk or dairy or ice cream how will they communicate what it is? Good luck with that

The Perfect Day slogan, given pride of place on its packaging, is “Dairy Made Perfect,” another no-no. Our labelling regulations say “Dairy products are foods produced from the milk of mammals.”

The Dairy Farmers of Canada did not respond to request for comment. Perfect Day also did not respond to emails, and so was not able to provide a statement about any potential plans to expand to Canada or internationally.

However, recent history shows that dairy marketing boards will kick up a legal fuss against “anybody who uses the word dairy or milk, if milk or dairy products are not used. Dairy farmers will think it is misleading consumers, and the law will give them a case,” Charlebois said. For example, this year, following up on a growing number of complaints, the Canadian Food Inspection Agency ordered producers of vegan cheese alternatives to stop using the word cheese or even “cheeze.”

Non-dairy ice cream made with genetically engineered milk proteins presents a unique labelling challenge. “If they call it something other than milk or dairy or ice cream how will they communicate what it is? Good luck with that,” Charlebois said.

Will the meaning “dairy” just have to change with the technological times, given a possible product that is chemically identical, and tastes just the same, as traditional ice cream?

“No chance. No way,” Charlebois said. Because of tariffs and import quotas, relatively few imported ice creams or other dairy products are sold in Canada. In practice, he said, if it’s not from a Canadian dairy farm, it’s not going to be labelled as dairy, milk or ice cream, “Regardless of where the proteins are coming from.”

Even if lab-grown ice cream comes to Canada, it’s a mystery at the moment how consumers will react, Charlebois said. On one hand, there’s growing demand for familiar protein foods that don’t involve animals. Just look at the gangbusters growth and impressive initial public offering of Beyond Meat, whose pea-based meat substitute is now served at Tim Hortons and A&W, and the success of its competitor, the Impossible Burger, a soy-coconut-potato concoction found at Burger King.

On the other hand, a 2018 survey showed lab-grown meat is still surrounded by a yuck factor for Canadian consumers — only 14 per cent were willing to consider it as a meat alternative. It’s not clear if lab-grown milk proteins would be seen similarly.

On top of that, Charlebois concluded, is the complication of a regulatory system set up to “defend the natural wholesome, traditional milk extracted from Canadian cows” — not yeast.


GoFundMe account created to help return body of child killed in Wisconsin Dairy farm accident in Nicaragua

A GoFundMe account has been set up to help cover the funeral expenses of a little boy killed during a farming accident.

The money raised will also help return Jefferson Rodriguez to his home country of Nicaragua.  The 8-year-old and his father had recently moved to Dane County from the Central American nation and do not have any other family in the area. According to the GoFundMe account, the boy’s mother still lives in Nicaragua.

Responding officers determined the boy was accidentally run over by a skid-steer loader while he was working on the farm.

The child’s father was operating the machine.

According to the GoFundMe account, people on the farm remember Rodriguez as a happy boy who loved to wear American flag attire.

You can visit the GoFundMe account by clicking on this link.


Trump Ratchets Up Trade War With New Tariffs on Chinese Imports

President Donald Trump abruptly escalated his trade war with China, announcing that he would impose a 10% tariff on $300 billion in Chinese imports that aren’t yet subject to U.S. duties after setbacks in negotiations with Beijing.

The new tariff will be imposed beginning Sept. 1, he said in a tweet. Another $250 billion in Chinese goods are already subject to a 25% U.S. tariff.

Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin and U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer returned from talks with Chinese counterparts in Shangai this week without reporting much progress. Negotiations have been at an impasse since May after the U.S. said the Chinese reneged on provisions of a tentative deal.

State-run Chinese media called the Shanghai talks “pragmatic.” The two sides confirmed they had discussed increasing Chinese imports of U.S. agricultural products, which have fallen dramatically this year, and that they would meet again in September in Washington.

U.S. stocks pared gains on the news, while yields on 10-year Treasuries fell to the lowest since 2016.

Trump and Chinese President Xi Jinping met at the Group of 20 summit in Osaka, Japan in June in what the U.S. said was an effort to get the talks back on track. But Trump said that China failed to fulfill a handshake agreement with Xi to buy more U.S. agricultural products.

Trump also said that Xi hasn’t met a promise to crackdown on U.S. shipments of fentanyl, a dangerous opioid that has killed tens of thousands of Americans in recent years. “Many Americans continue to die,” Trump said in a tweet.


Remains found on farm as investigators search for missing Wisconsin brothers

Human remains were found in Missouri as investigators search for two Wisconsin brothers who disappeared during a business trip, the Clinton County sheriff said Wednesday.

The remains were found on a farm in Braymer, a town of around 870 people about 50 miles northeast of Kansas City, Sheriff Larry Fish said at a news conference.

The remains have not been identified and a cause of death has not been determined. The sheriff did not elaborate on how investigators made the discovery and did not indicate if the remains are thought to belong to one or two people.

Local and federal law enforcement agencies are investigating the disappearance of brothers Nick and Justin Diemel, 35 and 24, who never made a scheduled flight home to Wisconsin on July 21.

Missing brothers Justin, left, and Nicholas Diemel.
Brothers Justin, left, and Nicholas Diemel.Clinton County Missouri Sheriff’s Office

Last week, authorities announced that the missing persons case had turned into a death investigation.

Garland “Joey” Nelson was arrested Friday in the case and charged with tampering with an automobile, NBC affiliate KSHB of Kansas City reported.

Nelson, 25, was ordered held without bond Monday. He is not charged in anyone’s death. Online court records do not list an attorney for him. A bond appearance hearing is scheduled for Thursday, according to the records.

Nelson, who helps run farm operations at a Braymer address where the brothers went, is accused of driving the Diemels’ rental truck from the farm to a commuter lot in Holt, where it was found running with the lights on July 22, according to the station. Holt is about 30 miles southwest of Braymer.

There have been no other arrests in the case, officials said.

The missing brothers own Diemel Livestock in northeast Wisconsin and were in Missouri for business when they went missing, officials have said.


Crews put out barn fire at Walworth County (WI) dairy farm

A barn is damaged after a large fire in the Village of Sharon Thursday night, according to a fire official with Sharon Fire and Rescue.

Chief Bruce Vander Veen said crews were called to N1998 Peters Road at about 7:30 p.m. for a reported barn fire.

All animals were out of the two-story dairy barn when firefighters got there.

The fire was put out within an hour of arrival, but crews stayed for several more hours “overhauling the barn and contents.”

Livestock was moved to a neighbors farm.

One firefighter was taken to the hospital for exhaustion. No other injuries were reported.

The cause of the fire remains under investigation.


WALWORTH COUNTY (WKOW) — Firefighters from multiple departments worked to put out a barn fire in rural Walworth County Thursday evening.

Video sent to WKOW shows a large plume of gray smoke rising from the large red barn.

County emergency dispatchers say they received reports animals were inside the barn when the fire started. It’s not clear if any were injured. Nobody has reported any injures to people.


Source: WKOW

Junior Members Receive Scholarships from Wisconsin Holstein Association

The Wisconsin Holstein Association is honored to award scholarships to 18 deserving youth members. These scholarships are awarded to members that are or will be attending two or four year universities and pursuing a degree in an agriculture-related field. The members will be receiving the award at the 2020 Wisconsin Holstein Association Junior Convention.

Kaianne Hodorff of Eden will be receiving the $1,000 John Selz Memorial Scholarship. This scholarship fund was established in honor of John Selz of Humbird. Selz managed his family farm, Selz Farm, which was in his family for more than 125 years. He was an active Wisconsin and National Holstein Association member in various capacities for numerous years. Hodorff is the 17-year-old daughter of Tommy and Corey Hodorff. She is a senior at Campbellsport High School with plans to pursue a dairy degree.

Geneva Nunes of Chippewa Falls is the recipient of the $1,000 Doris Morris Memorial Scholarship. This scholarship is in honor of Doris, who was a long-time Wisconsin Holstein member. Doris and her husband Arden, and Arden’s brother, Maldwyn, and his wife, Inez, owned and operated Arwyn Farms in Waukesha County for more than 40 years. Nunes is the daughter of Matt and Mandy Nunes. She is a sophomore at the University of Minnesota-Twin Cities, where she is majoring in animal science and agricultural communications and marketing. She looks forward to continuing to breed and develop her herd of Registered Holsteins.

Kylie Nickels of Watertown is the recipient of the $1,000 Marlowe Nelson Memorial Scholarship. This scholarship is given in memory of Marlowe whose passion was to teach and mentor young enthusiastic breeders to become more involved in the Registered Holstein business. Through his lifetime, Marlowe paved the way in many aspects of the Registered Holstein breed and its impact on the United States, Japan, Germany and Holland. Nickels is the daughter of Thomas and Penni Nickels. She is a senior at Watertown Public High School and will be attending the University of Wisconsin-Madison this fall to pursue a degree in dairy science.

Receiving the $1,000 John Klossner Memorial Scholarship is Benjamin Buske of Mayville. This scholarship honors John – an active member of the Green County Junior Holstein Association and served on the Wisconsin Junior Holstein Junior Activities Committee. This scholarship was established by John’s parents, Richard and Roxanne Klossner, to a student who is considered a role model to other junior members. The son of John and Cheryl Buske, Benjamin is a junior at the University of Wisconsin-Madison majoring in dairy science. After graduation he wants to work with a bull stud working with producers to make breeding strategies.

Collin Wille of Rice Lake will be receiving the $1,000 Gordon Berg Memorial Scholarship. Gordon was a long-time Wisconsin Holstein member and an excellent Holstein breeder from Brownsville. This scholarship is awarded to a student enrolled in a technical college, two-year or short course agricultural program. Wille is the son of Jeff and Debbie Wille, and is a freshman at Northeast Iowa Community College. After graduation he plans to return home to the farm.

Jared Baudhuin of Brussels is the recipient of the $1,000 Bradley Fust Memorial Scholarship. This scholarship is given in memory of Brad, who was an enthusiastic member of the Junior Holstein Association from Wausau. The scholarship was established by Brad’s parents, Brian and Wendy Fust, with the sale of one of Brad’s heifers. Baudhuin is the son of Noel and Christina Baudhain. He is a freshman at the University of Wisconsin-Madison majoring in dairy science. After graduation he plans on having a management position on his uncle’s farm.

Claire Olson of Sturgeon Bay is the recipient of the $1,000 Maurice and Geraldine Cooper Memorial Scholarship. This scholarship is given in memory of Maurice and Geraldine Cooper, lifelong Registered Holstein breeders from Moss Oak Farm. Love of family, Holsteins, service to the community and support of youth activities were paramount in their lives. Olson is the daughter of Richard and Shelly Olson and is a sophomore at the University of Wisconsin-River Falls. Olson wants a future in agriculture promoting the industry and educating the public.

Eleven other outstanding youth will be receiving scholarships from Wisconsin Holstein Association. Recipients include Colin Uecker of Watertown; Josh Gerbitz of Milton; Nathan Daniels of Cobb; Jared Vander Weele of Waldo; Ariel Graveen of Merrill; Carly Strauss of Lake Mills; Morgyn Haumschild of Milladore; Levi Kindschi of Loganville; Korlen Dittrich of Alma; Sarah Henschel of Elkhart Lake; and Megan Breuch of Stoughton.

Wisconsin Holstein Association is proud of these deserving youth. All Wisconsin Holstein Association members that are attending a two or four-year university to apply for scholarships, as you can be awarded up to $1,000.

About The Organization

Wisconsin Holstein Association is a not-for-profit membership organization with the purpose of promoting the Wisconsin Registered Holstein breed, its breeders and owners. Established in 1890, it has grown its junior and adult membership to become the second largest state Holstein association in the nation. For more information visit the WHA website at


Dairy Girl Network is Now Enrolling for the Inspire Mentor Program!

Dairy Girl Network (DGN) is excited to announce the national roll-out of Class II of Inspire, a mentoring program. This program facilitates and encourages women to connect through an organized mentee-mentor experience; expand personal networks of role models, coaches, sounding boards and friends, deliver resources for personal and professional development and ultimately help more dairy women achieve their personal and professional goals.

Applications are now being accepted for mentors and mentees. The application deadline is August 16, 2019, with the pairing process to be completed by the first week of September.

The mission of DGN is to help our members connect, inspire and achieve. This mentoring program will create an opportunity for all three of our values to be realized. “This program is especially important because our members have expressed interest in building more meaningful relationships through DGN. They enjoy the new connections and interaction that our Connect networking events provide, however, it can be difficult to find the right mentor without help. The long-term partnership created by Inspire fills that gap.” stated Laura Daniels, Founder and President of Dairy Girl Network.

Prior to Class II of Inspire, this program went through a beta-phase and the first national rollout in January 2019. For the beta-phase, a select group of women were paired to help further nurture Inspire and allow it to go through a growth, evaluation and redesign stage. Afterwards, DGN rolled the program out nationally to 50 mentor-mentee pairs earlier this year. During these times, our mentor-mentee pairs established and built long standing relationships. “It was instant friendship as we had so much in common, especially our love of dairy cattle. The conversations were easy, even as time got away from us. As a fellow working mom and wife, I respect and trust her personal and professional opinion. Participating in the Inspire program has been an amazing experience, one I highly recommend.” shared by beta participant mentee Mary Mackinson Faber.

Members of DGN can sign up for Inspire at

Membership is free for all dairywomen. If you are interested in becoming a member of the Dairy Girl Network, go to It’s fast, free and easy to sign up. If you have any questions about the application process or the program, please contact Andrea Brossard, Educational Resource Lead for Dairy Girl Network.

Dairy Girl Network is made possible by Vision sponsors: Dairy Herd Management and Mycogen Seeds, in addition to support from Sustaining sponsors: DeLaval, DMI and Land O’Lakes.

The Dairy Girl Network connects all women of the dairy industry, encouraging ideas and camaraderie in an effort to achieve personal and professional development. Designed as a welcoming network of passionate women involved in dairy, relationships will grow through shared experience, support and inspiration.


Norm Atkins of Continental Holsteins Passes

It’s with deep regret that we share our condolences to the family and friends of Norm.  Sadly, on July 27, 2019, at the age of 71, Norman John Atkins from Millet, Alberta passed away. Norm and his wife Marj ran the prestigious herd Continental Holsteins. With Norm’s passing, the Canadian dairy industry has lost a true legacy.

Beloved husband, brother, brother-in-law, step-father/grandfather/great-grandfather, uncle/great-uncle, and friend – passed away on Saturday, July 27, 2019 at Leduc, Alberta at the age of 71 years.  Norman was born in Calgary on November 14, 1947 and grew up on a dairy farm at Springbank, Alberta.  Norman attended Springbank High School where he developed athletic skills in curling, hockey, and basketball, graduating in 1966.  He was an avid member of the Springbank 4-H Dairy Club where he developed many of his judging skills and he farmed with his parents at Springbank, Red Deer, and Priddis until 1973.

In 1974, Norman married his soulmate, Marjorie Haynes (nee Schaber), and they purchased a farm south of Leduc where they settled with Marj’s children, Jack and Carolyn.  Over the years, Norm and Marj developed an outstanding herd of Holsteins under the prefix Continental resulting in great success on the show circuit including Grand Champion wins at the Royal Winter Fair and World Dairy Expo.  Marj’s son, Jack, and grandson, Bill, were part of the Continental team and, along with Norman and Marj, gained the reputation for breeding some of Western Canada’s most outstanding Holsteins helping to put Western Canada on the map as a supplier of elite genetics.  They were honoured to receive the coveted Master Breeder award in 1988 from the Holstein Association of Canada.  Continental Farms hosted provincial and national judging schools for twenty years.

Norman was a skilled cattleman and well-respected leader in the dairy industry in Canada.  He was an Official Judge with Holstein Canada and judged many shows across Canada and internationally.  Norman served as President of the Alberta Holstein Association in 1987.  Between 1984 and 2004 he was a member and past-chair of the Alberta Milk Recording Board which, after collaboration with the provincial government resulted in the Alberta Dairy Herd Improvement Service and ultimately CanWest DHI.

One of Norman’s Holstein mentors was the late Curtis Clark of Acme Holsteins and in 1991 he was privileged to be the recipient of the Curtis Clark Achievement Award at the Royal Winter Fair.  The Award honours leading Holstein breeders in Canada for their skills in breeding and showing cattle combined with good sportsmanship.

Norman and Marj were honoured by the Holstein Association of Canada with the prestigious award “Certificate of Superior Accomplishment” in 2016.  The award was for their exceptional contribution in the marketing and promotion of the Holstein Breed through leadership and mentorship as respected ambassadors of the Canadian Dairy Industry.

Norman was passionate about all aspects of the cattle industry and served as a dairy 4-H leader for many years.  In later years, Norman’s love of great livestock extended beyond Holsteins and led to his partnership with Hamilton Farms in the breeding and showing of Angus cattle, several of which achieved Supreme Champion status.

Norman was hard-working, dedicated, kind, generous, friendly, and a true friend.  He was always willing to help neighbours and fellow breeders.  He had a great sense of humour and enjoyed spending time with family and friends.  He has left us with many wonderful memories and an exceptional legacy in the Holstein industry.

Norman is survived by his brother Gordon Atkins (Jo Anne), step-children Jack Haynes and Carolyn Haynes (Tom DeWaal), step-grandchildren John Haynes (Anna Zorisky) and Bill, step-great-grandson, Kaiden Zorisky-Haynes, Nephew Doug Atkins (Esther), Niece Kerry Atkins (John Webb), Niece Christine Goodwin (Sean), and numerous great-nieces and nephews.  Norman was predeceased by his wife, Marjorie Atkins (June 25, 2019) and his parents, John and Elizabeth (Betty) Atkins.

Roger Turner shares that ” It was an honor to work with Norm & Marj, they were great mentors. Their influence has made a permanent impact on the industry. They received numerous awards through the years , my fondest are with you and Acme Star Lily. Love you both, let the Continental Holsteins trail be felt forever.” 

“A herd where cows were bred for longevity, frame, dairyness, udder quality and outstanding traits that made Canadian cattle renowned and sought-after world wide.” commented Wendy Weir. “Contintental Holsteins was part of the golden age of the Canadian Holstein industry.”

Callum McKinven shares, “Norm and Marj were two of the most Knowledgeable and passionate cow people you could ever know, anybody’s life’s they touched are truly blessed.”

Doug Brown from Browndale comments that “Anyone that got to know them became friends. Great couple, great team and great friends to so many of us.”

A celebration of life will be held on Tuesday, August 13th 2019 at 1:00 PM at 5290 45 Ave, Millet, AB. Contributions in memory of Norman can be made to the Rollyview 4-H Dairy Club c/o Heidi de Lange (club leader), 49079 Range Road 230, Leduc County, Alberta T0B 3M3 or, or to your local 4-H Club.

Millions went to Idaho after trade war. Farmers say it’s pennies on the dollar

The federal government paid Idaho farms and dairies $24 million in the last year under a special program that’s supposed to help them survive the Trump administration’s trade war.

But whether they got $300,000 or $2, farmers and industry leaders say it’s not enough compared with what they lost.

“It’s not even worth coming to town for,” said Gordon Gallup, a wheat farmer in Ririe, who received $4,728 in October 2018.

Farms and dairies in Idaho are still feeling the effects of last summer’s trade war, when several countries placed retaliatory tariffs on U.S. agricultural products in response to the Trump administration’s tariffs on imported products like steel.

The retaliatory tariffs on products like milk, wheat and cherries hit Idaho particularly hard. Some farmers and dairies were losing thousands of dollars a day last summer, industry leaders said. In response, the U.S. Department of Agriculture rolled out a “trade mitigation” program, giving money to farmers who suffer the most under the retaliatory tariffs.

The first round of payments for the 2018 crop year sent $24 million to Idaho farms and their local and out-of-state owners. On Thursday, the USDA said an additional $16 billion will be distributed to U.S. farmers this year.

Idaho’s wheat producers and dairies have benefited the most so far from the tariff relief program. Roughly 98% of the money distributed in Idaho farms and farmers went to wheat and dairy farmers, according to data obtained by the Associated Press and analyzed by the Idaho Statesman.

Payments ranged from $395,084 to a dairy in the Magic Valley to $2 mailed to a farmer on Bureau of Indian Affairs land in Lapwai.


Dozens of Idaho dairy farmers have abandoned the business since the trade war began.

“It’s frustrating from our dairymen’s perspective, knowing the losses to be 10 times as great as that tariff relief payment,” said Rick Naerebout, executive director of the Idaho Dairymen’s Association in Twin Falls. “They didn’t ask to get in the middle of this trade war, but they are being asked to bear the burden — a far greater burden than other people.”

Naerebout said 20 Idaho dairies have closed so far this year. Fifteen dairies closed in 2018.

“They weren’t able to stick around long enough to be able to see the cure,” Naerebout said. “They weren’t able to make it to the other side, and this trade dispute was definitely a factor, in the financial losses that they may have been experienced.”

Canyon County payments totaled nearly $1.4 million, while Ada and Owyhee county payments totaled a little more than half a million dollars each.

Total subsidies by county

The Magic Valley received the most money in the first round, with more than $2 million each sent to dairies and farms in Gooding, Jerome and Cassia.

Gallup, who produces roughly 400,000 bushels of wheat, barley and grain a year, said that the few thousand dollars paid to farms his size barely make a dent in operational costs.

“As far as helping out, for a $2 million operation to get $4,000, you do the math,” he said in a telephone interview.


The three highest payouts went to dairies in the Magic Valley. Box Canyon Dairy in Wendell received $395,000. Big Sky Dairy in Wendell received $332,000. Double A Dairy in Jerome received $250,000.

Each of those dairies received far more than the USDA’s established cap for the first round of the program. The program capped payments at $125,000 in each of three categories of commodities: soybeans and other row crops, pork and dairy, and cherries and almonds.

But each qualified family member or business partner gets her own $125,000 cap for each category, according to the Associated Press. Farmers who produce both soybeans and hogs, for example, would have separate caps for each and could thus collect $250,000. Farms with two partners and two types of commodities could theoretically get $500,000.

Many Idaho farmers received far less than Gallup, the Ririe farmer who said it wasn’t worth the trip to town to pick up his check. About 1,600 payments were less than $1,000, about 230 were less than $100, and 15 farmers got $10 or less.

Search our database: How much did the Trump administration give Idaho farms in subsidies for the trade war?

Nationwide, 83 percent of the aid has gone to soybean farmers because they’ve suffered most under China’s retaliatory tariffs, according to the Associated Press.

Idaho doesn’t grow many acres of soybeans. Instead, top payouts went to wheat and dairy — $13 million and nearly $11 million. The highest payment to a wheat grower was $166,596 to the Lance and Lisa Funk Partnership in American Falls. The farm received an additional $4,168 for their corn crop.

It costs Idaho dairymen roughly $16 to produce 12 gallons of milk, Naerebout estimated, and the relief payments only offered 12 cents for each 12 gallons. Wheat growers got 7 cents a bushel, though the National Association of Wheat Growers estimated the average wheat farmer lost 70 to 80 cents.

“If you’re going to have a program, we’re hoping for meaningful payments,” said Stacey Katseanes Satterlee, the executive director of the Idaho Grain Growers Association, based in Boise. “Farmers are suffering. The acknowledgment is nice, but the bottom line is a big deal. If you’re going to have payments to offset some of these losses, hopefully it offsets some of the losses.”


Satterlee told the Idaho Statesman that her organization hoped barley growers would be included in the 2019 program. Growers last year were allowed to apply for compensation only for wheat losses, which had a retaliatory tariff, while barley didn’t. But barley prices are tied to wheat prices, Satterlee said, so barley growers took the same hit as wheat growers did.

On Thursday, the U.S. Department of Agriculture said barley and several other crops would be eligible in the 2019 program.

Ultimately, Satterlee said farmers prefer that Congress ratify the United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement, signed last year, and that the administration resolve the trade war with China. Otherwise, small payments won’t make a difference to farmers.

“Idaho farmers have suffered tremendously because of our inability to trade and compete on the foreign marketplace without barriers,” Satterlee said.

Idaho tariff subsidies by product

Despite the losses, Idaho agribusiness leaders said they support Trump’s goal of creating a “level playing field” for producers on the international stage.

Chanel Tewalt, spokeswoman for the Idaho Department of Agriculture, said no payment plan is an adequate replacement for a stable, open market.

“I think all of us — whether at ISDA or industry — we want issues resolved, and that just doesn’t mean a return to normal,” Tewalt said by telephone. “That would also include some resolution on long-simmering trade issues.”


Source: East Idaho News

Why vegan activists should switch gears

Vegan groups have been using billboards in Canada’s Atlantic region to denounce dairy farming practices and warn consumers that dairy is scary.

Some of these ads show a picture of a young calf, saying that someone took its mom, its milk and then its life.

All this is meant to encourage people to switch to a plant-based diet. But these tactics also risk widening the divide between anti-meat advocates and barbecue enthusiasts, especially during these summer months.

Canada is home to about 460,000 vegans, according to the latest estimates by Dalhousie University; the study also finds there are almost 2.7 million vegetarians in Canada. That number is increasing, and it’s estimated that the number of Canadians going meatless or eating less meat could exceed 10 million by 2025.

The rise of plant-based diets — and the growing number of vegans — has allowed them to openly embrace their food preferences and restaurants and food manufacturers are obliging them. For years, most consumers adhering to a strict dietary regimen without meat had to make most of their meals at home.

With the help of Beyond Meat and other players, plant-based diets are now socially normalized.

Plant-based diets are trendy, hip — and they’re threatening the meat industry across the country.

Meatless menace is real

Beef producers in Québec are now challenging the nomenclature of the plant-based category, stating that Beyond Meat, the name itself, is unlawful. It will be interesting to see how the Canadian Food Inspection Agency deals with the complaint. Given that Beyond Meat is in fact a brand and would be out of the agency’s scope of action, the Beyond Meat name will probably remain. The menace for the cattle industry is real, and many should expect a slew of plant-based products to enter the market.

But vegans — consumers who follow a strict lifestyle and are perceived by some to be on a mission — have not been terribly vocal these past few years. Most of them were going about their business as the plant-based wave was building.

Historically, this group marched on a “meat is murder” campaign, and it worked for a small minority. Even if meat remains a moral issue for vegans, moral appeals can work on some people but backfire with others. Such an approach by vegan activists is very 1980s, and passé. Vegan groups should remember that some believe veganism is a type of cultdriven by ideology.

We’re all different, and we look at the ethical and moral issues around meat eating in different ways. Studies have shown that brain scans of vegans and omnivores differ from one another when test subjects are exposed to images of animal violence or suffering.

Food manufacturers are now looking at proteins overall as a new frontier. Maple Leaf, Cargill, Tyson and Nestle are all bracing for the plant-based tsunami and are trying to figure out what the protein market will look like in the future.

Plant-based diets going mainstream

The world has changed, and there’s no going back. Plant-based diets are slowly going mainstream. The entire food supply chain, from farm to fork, is adapting to consumer demand for alternative sources of protein.

But the “dairy is scary” ads used by some vegan groups ignore what the food industry is trying to accomplish — that is, offering a more diverse supply of proteins to a highly fragmented marketplace. I believe vegans tarnish their cause when activists put the livelihoods of farmers at risk and use guilt tactics on consumers celebrating whatever food they choose to eat.

When consumers aren’t respected for the food choices they make, and when farmers aren’t appreciated for the work they do and instead are publicly shamed, everyone loses.

If pro-veganism campaigns are in bad taste, veganism could have a lot to lose, as we all do. I’m convinced the market needs vegan activists who are rational and present their ideas thoughtfully, with the intent to educate, so that we can learn from each other.

For the longest time, vegans were so provocative that they were, for the most part, systematically suppressed.


Source: The Conversation

Dairy Cares Hosts Record-Setting Event

Kaitlyn Hitt gives a gentle kiss to “Marcy” during the 2019 Dairy Cares ninth annual garden party, which raised $241,500 for Children’s Hospital of Wisconsin.

In a record-setting evening, Dairy Cares of Wisconsin raised $241,500 for Children’s Hospital of Wisconsin.

On Saturday, July 27, the non-profit organization hosted its ninth annual Garden Party on behalf of the statewide medical system and, in the process, achieved its highest-ever donation total.

Dairy Cares has transcended its name: What began as a passion project for a small group of dairymen and women now encompasses a broad coalition of agriculture professionals, including producers, processors, logistics, retail, finance and other industry-related fields.

“What unites virtually all of us is that we have either been personally touched by Children’s Hospital or know someone who has,” said Jim Ostrom, dairyman and Dairy Cares co-founder.

“In 2018, we reached a milestone, having raised a lifetime total of more than $1 million for Children’s Hospital,” he said. “And now, in 2019, we reached another milestone with nearly a quarter of a million raised at the garden party.”

Children’s Hospital is a Milwaukee-based medical system that provides health care services to some of the most critically ill children. Last year, the hospital named its new simulation lab in honor of Dairy Cares for the group’s ongoing support. The lab is an experiential learning space that helps doctors and nurses practice and prepare for medical crises and worst-case scenarios.

How to give to Dairy Cares

The garden party may be over, but interested individuals can still support the cause. To give online, visit For more information on becoming a Dairy Cares sponsor, visit, or contact Laurie Fischer (; 920-366-1880). Sponsorships can also be mailed directly to Dairy Cares of Wisconsin, Inc., 1835 E. Edgewood Drive, Suite 10571, Appleton, Wis., 54913.

About Children’s Hospital of Wisconsin

Headquartered in Milwaukee, the Children’s Hospital of Wisconsin provides statewide care through 40 different locations. These various sites provide a range of specialized services, from dealing with childhood terminal illness and cancer to psychological disorders. Experts in premature birth, the neonatal intensive care unit is ranked top in the nation. For more information, visit the website at

Keeping livestock in the yard just might help your baby’s immune system

Amish babies’ gut microbes lead to more robust immune development in newborn pigs

Getting up close — and a little dirty — with farm animals just might help us fend off illness, say researchers who’ve further demonstrated the benefits of early exposure to a wide variety of environmental bacteria.

Scientists from The Ohio State University found that bacteria and other microbes from rural Amish babies was far more diverse — in a beneficial way — than what was found in urban babies’ intestines. And, in a first-of-its-kind experiment, they found evidence of how a healthier gut microbiome might lead to more robust development of the respiratory immune system.

The study was published this month in the journal Frontiers in Immunology.

“Good hygiene is important, but from the perspective of our immune systems, a sanitized environment robs our immune systems of the opportunity to be educated by microbes. Too clean is not necessarily a good thing,” said the study’s co-lead author Zhongtang Yu, a professor of microbiology in Ohio State’s Department of Animal Sciences and a member of the university’s Food Innovation Center.

The research team collected fecal samples from 10 Ohio babies who were around 6 months to a year old. The five Amish babies all lived in rural homes with farm animals. The other five babies lived in or near Wooster, a midsize Ohio city, and had no known contact with livestock.

The samples revealed important differences — particularly a wide variation in microbes and an abundance of beneficial bacteria in the Amish babies’ guts that wasn’t found in their city-dwelling counterparts. The researchers expected this, based on the infants’ exposure to the livestock and the fact that the Amish tend to live a relatively less-sanitized lifestyle than most other Americans.

“The priming of the early immune system is much different in Amish babies, compared to city dwellers,” said Renukaradhya Gourapura, co-lead author of the study and a professor in Ohio State’s College of Food, Agricultural and Environmental Sciences and Food Animal Health Research Program.

What they really wanted to know was how these differences might affect development of the immune system, setting the groundwork for a body’s ability to identify and attack diseases and its resistance to allergies and other immune-system problems. Previous studies in the U.S. Amish population and to comparable populations throughout the world have drawn a clear connection between rural life and a decrease in allergies and asthma, Gourapura said.

This connection has led to a theory called the “hygiene hypothesis,” which is built on the idea that hyper-clean modern life — think antibacterial soap, ubiquitous hand sanitizer and scrubbed-clean homes and workplaces — has led to an increase in autoimmune and allergic diseases.

Given that the trillions of microbes in the human gut are known to play an important role in health and disease progression, the Ohio State researchers wanted to explore how different gut microbiomes might contribute to immune system development. To do this, they used fecal transplants from the babies in the study to colonize the guts of newborn pigs.

“We wanted to see what happens in early immune system development when newborn pigs with ‘germ-free’ guts are given the gut microbes from human babies raised in different environments,” Gourapura said. “From the day of their birth, these Amish babies were exposed to various microbial species inside and outside of their homes.”

The researchers saw a connection between the diverse Amish gut microbes and a more-robust development of immune cells, particularly lymphoid and myeloid cells in the intestines.

“Indeed, there was a big difference in the generation of critical immune cells,” Gourapura said.

Previous research into the connection between the microbiome and immunity has been conducted in mice, and this study showed that pigs — which have anatomy, immune systems, genetics and physiology that is more similar to humans — are a viable option for further study, Gourapura said. This is an important step because it opens the door to better exploring details about the microbial links between the gut and the respiratory tract immune system in infants, he said.

“Researchers know that the gut microbiome likely plays a significant role in development of the immune system and in the onset of various metabolic processes and infectious diseases, but we need better models to discover the details of that process so that we can use that information to improve human health,” Gourapura said.

For instance, it could be that certain probiotics could improve gut health and immune development, Yu said.

Though the primary difference between the babies in the study was their exposure to a farming environment, the researchers also noted that two of the non-Amish babies were only formula-fed, while all of the Amish babies in this study were breast-fed. Another important difference that could contribute to gut microbiome differences between the groups is that the Amish families grew and routinely ate their own produce.


Source: ScienceDaily

No bull calf left behind for Morrisons’ dairy farmers

The 200 dairy farmers supplying Morrisons for Arla are for the first time being guaranteed a home for all bull calves produced.

Farmers will have the right to sell all healthy dairy- and beef-sired calves to Buitelaar Production, Morrisons’ calf-rearing partners, as Arla moves to eliminate the practice of shooting healthy bull calves.

The move is part of the Arla UK 360 scheme of enhanced animal and environmental welfare standards, with which Morrisons’ suppliers are obliged to fully comply by October in return for a premium.

The farmer-owned dairy co-op, which also supplies Aldi, came up with the six principles last year in addition to its Arlagarden assurance schemes.


Source: Farmers Weekly

Farmers harvest wheat crop for neighbor battling stage 4 cancer

A 1,200-acre farm in Ritzville, Washington, was invaded over the weekend by around 60 neighbors. It was harvest time for Larry Yockey’s wheat.

But Yockey, 63, is battling stage 4 skin cancer and could no longer work his fields. When fellow farmers in Adams County found out, they got to work organizing a harvest for the fourth-generation farmer. Mike Doyle was among them.

“I’m just glad to be here and help where I can and where I’m needed,” Doyle said.

The neighbors did three weeks worth of work in just six hours as Yockey, his wife and their three daughters looked on in awe.

“It’s not describable the gratitude I have for what’s going on,” Yockey said.

Between Yockey and his daughters, their family knew everyone who came to help.

“I plan to be the fifth generation out farming our grounds some day, so yesterday we had a few moments that were bittersweet for the both of us,” Yockey’s daughter Amanda said.

Turns out he had a bumper crop of good neighbors in the heart of wheat country.

Source: 10TV

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