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National Farmers talk NAFTA and dairy at national convention

National Farmers President Paul Olson at expressed his worries about pulling out from NAFTA during his presidential address at the National Farmers National Convention recently in Mason, Ohio.

Olson, a Taylor, Wisconsin, farmer, emphasized his top priority lies with farmers, but the trade agreement needs to stay.

“I believe it helps the industry more than it helps the producers. But now, having had it so long, if we don’t have it, I think we’ll be worse off without it,” Olson said.

Olson pointed out that Mexico is the top importer of U.S. corn. USDA Foreign Ag Service numbers indicate in 2016, that amounted to $2.6 billion.

Olson said supply and demand struggles are paramount in the dairy industry and producers are facing worries about markets for their milk, Olson cited a guest column in Hoard’s Dairyman Dec. 27. A Massachusetts dairy producer asked where to start the conversation about control over the market and brought up the topic of supply management, which National Farmers has proposed and supported during the last several years.

“It’s time for a change,” he said. Olson again suggested a supply management system, because producing high-quality milk in great quantities, “produce to prosperity,” is not working, he said.

National Farmers Vice President Paul Riniker, Greeley, Iowa, agreed with Olson. In his address, he pointed out that he is a former dairy producer himself and he underscored the concern about milk transported from the Northeast to the Mideast and Midwest dairy regions, being processed at $6 per hundredweight to $8 per hundredweight below its value.

Riniker said National Farmers continues to work to find new milk markets.

“There is hope when producers work together,” he said.


Source: High Plains Journal


Mike Berry chosen to judge the 2018 National Jersey Show at the Royal Agricultural Winter Fair

Mike Berry of Albany, Oregon was recently voted in by exhibitors and selected as the Judge for the 2018 National Jersey Show at the Royal Agricultural Winter Fair. 

Nomination du juge de la Royale
Mike Berry, d’Albany, en Oregon, a récemment été élu par les exposants et a été choisi comme juge pour l’Exposition nationale Jersey de 2018 à la Royal Agricultural Winter Fair.

Youth of Distinction

Congratulations to Caleigh Van Kampen of Amaranth, Ontario – our 2018 Youth of Distinction! Caleigh will receive her award at the Jersey Canada AGM on March 17, 2018 and be recognized in the May issue of the Canadian Jersey Breeder magazine.

Jeune de distinction
Félicitations à Caleigh Van Kampen d’Amaranth, Ontario – notre Jeune de distinction 2018! Caleigh recevra son prix à l’AGA de Jersey Canada le 17 mars 2018 et sera présentée dans le numéro de mai du magazine l’Éleveur Jersey canadien.

Lactalis failed to report salmonella on a product -government official

French dairy group Lactalis, facing a growing scandal over salmonella-tainted baby milk, did not report the bacteria had been found on products in the same factory in 2011, a government official said on Tuesday.

FILE PHOTO: The logo of Lactalis Group is seen at the entrance of the French dairy group Lactalis headquarters in Laval, western France, January 12, 2018. REUTERS/Stephane Mahe/File Photo

Dozens of babies fell ill after drinking baby milk contaminated with so-called Salmonella Agona produced by Lactalis, one of the world’s largest dairy groups, prompting the recall of 12 million tins.

“There has been a lag between elements given to inspection services and the self-checks that we have been able to recover as part of the crisis,” the head of the French government’s food department, Patrick Dehaumont, told a Senate commission.

    “Salmonella Agona had been found in 2009, 2014, one on products in 2011 and other serotype in 2013 and 2014,” he added.

Lactalis Chief Executive Emmanuel Besnier said earlier this month in an interview that Salmonella Agona had been found in the environment between 2005 and 2017, so it could not be excluded that babies had consumed contaminated milk over that period.

The company had made no public reference to positive tests on products.

Lactalis spokesman Michel Nalet declined to comment.

Companies in France must report to the authorities tests that show salmonella in a product that has already reached the market. They are under no obligation to do so for tests on products that have not yet reached the market or for tests showing bacteria in the environment. But they must provide test results if asked to do so.

Asked to confirm that positive Lactalis self-checks had not been handed to the authorities, he replied: “That’s it”.

“What’s unfortunate, is that there was no questioning by the company about the fact that it was still amazing to find a Salmonella Agona several times over the years after it was found in 2005,” Dehaumont said.

More than 200 babies in France have been contaminated with Salmonella Agona since 2005, including 38 between mid-August and December last year, as well as 25 between 2006 and 2017 and 141 in 2005, said the Institut Pasteur, a French organization that monitors micro-organisms and diseases.


14 worms pulled from Oregon woman’s eye after she walks through cattle field

Have you ever experienced “floaters” — those little strands that you can see in your eyes when looking at something close-up?

Now imagine floaters that wriggle. Like worms.

Yes, that is what an Oregon woman experienced in a case reported Monday in the American Journal of Tropical Medicine and Hygiene.

And it wasn’t just one — a total of 14 worms were pulled from Abby Beckley’s left eye during the 2016 episode, according to the report.

Beckley first discovered the infestation after a week of mild irritation. Looking into her eye, she could see a translucent creature wriggling around.

“I pulled that worm out and I just was shocked. I was absolutely shocked,” Beckley told the Associated Press. “I stared at it and it was alive.”

It lived for about five seconds, she told the Oregonian newspaper, and then it died.

Beckley, then 26, then sought medical help and another 13 worms were extracted. The local doctors, however, did not know what to make of the infection and passed the case on to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in Atlanta.

According to the Washington Post, scientists at a special laboratory that deals with parasitic diseases determined that she had been infected by a species of eye worm often found in cattle but rarely seen in humans.

“We never expected to see this particular species in a human,” medical parasitologist Richard Bradbury told the paper. “Until now, this type of worm, Thelazia gulosa, had only been found in cattle.”

And that’s when they put two and two together — it turned out that in the weeks before her infection, Beckley had been walking through cattle fields in southern Oregon. It was very possible, she told the Post, that a fly landed on her eye and infected her.

Bradbury then started digging back in medical records and found references to the Thelazia worm infecting humans.

“There’s only ever been in the history of the published literature 11 cases of in America, so it’s very rare and unusual,” Bradbury told CBS News.

Fortunately, the worms did not cause permanent harm. Rather than burrowing into the eye, they are mostly content to feed on tears and other secretions. However, they can cause inflammation if not discovered early.

“We were able to tell her this was very localized,” said Erin Bonura, an infectious disease specialist who treated her in Oregon. “She was worried they would crawl into her brain,” she told the Post.

Source: USA Today

Ad featuring Olympian shot at Quail Ridge Dairy

Mary Kraft, left, tells Olympic skeleton racer Katie Uhlaender about the small hotels that young calves live in at Quail Ridge Dairy until they are old enough to be in larger pens or pastures. Kraft was giving Uhlaender a tour of the dairy while they also were shooting a commercial promoting milk in November 2017. (MilkPEP / Courtesy photo)

Fort Morgan’s Quail Ridge Dairy has a connection to the 2018 Olympic Winter Games in PyeongChang, South Korea.

Skeleton racer Katie Uhlaender of Team USA visited the dairy last fall and now is featured in advertisements promoting the benefits of drinking milk.

Mary Kraft, co-owner of Quail Ridge Dairy, said she had been surprised to get the call last September asking her dairy to be involved in the “My Focus” ad campaign.

“We were pretty excited when they called and asked us if they could do it with us,” she said. “We’d never played with Olympics people before.”

This campaign was being put together by MilkPEP, which is one of the organizations that puts together educational advertising on behalf of milk producers.

Katie Uhlaender, a skeleton racer for Team USA, visits with Quail Ridge Dairy owner Mary Kraft, right, during a tour the Fort Morgan dairy in November

Katie Uhlaender, a skeleton racer for Team USA, visits with Quail Ridge Dairy owner Mary Kraft, right, during a tour the Fort Morgan dairy in November 2017. They are being filmed by a crew from MilkPEP for a video promoting the benefits of drinking milk for Olympic athletes like Uhlaender. (MilkPEP / Courtesy photo)

“They were looking for a dairy that’s well managed because the athletes are well managed,” Kraft said.

Such athletes depend on milk for the nutrition to drive them in their training and competition, she said.

Also, Kraft is an athlete herself, riding horses and competing in dressage.

Those were some of the criteria MilkPEP and Team USA used for picking out the locations for shooting such commercials for this campaign.

Another bonus was that they had a female Olympic athlete in mind, and Quail Ridge Dairy had a female running it.

Kraft was quick to give her husband, Chris Kraft, credit for being involved with running the dairy, too.

“Chris and I are exceptionally involved together in making things work,” she said.

Quail Ridge Dairy was also chosen as the location because so many Olympic athletes from Colorado were expected to go to South Korea to compete.

“Colorado has the most Olympic athletes going,” Mary Kraft said.

When Uhlaender travelled from Colorado Springs, where she trains, to the Fort Morgan dairy for the shoot, Mary Kraft encountered an athlete who was also excited about the science going on at the dairy.

That makes sense in light of Uhlaender having studied animal science and behavioral science at Colorado Mountain College.

But she also wanted to learn more about the process of producing milk and how dairies like Quail Ridge ensure it will be of high quality and be good for fueling athletes, Mary Kraft said.

“She was so enthusiastic and got more enthusiastic as the day went on,” the dairy owner recalled.

As they roamed the dairy, moving from spot to spot set up for shooting the video, Mary Kraft and Uhlaender spoke about how the science used for raising dairy cows meshed with the science of training athletes, since there were science-based concepts used for everything going on at the dairy.

Of course, they also spoke about what Uhlaender gets from drinking milk and how that helps her with her training.

“I feel like I go sledding for a living, so I don’t know if I really work,” she said. “But I definitely put a lot of work into prepping for that. Part of that is my nutrition.”

Because of its vitamins and protein, Uhlaender called milk a “nutrient powerhouse.

“Protein is huge for maintaining muscle mass and recovering from all of my workouts,” she said. “I train every day for Team USA, and so it is filling me with joy and pride to see all of this hard work and how much goes into feeding those cattle to produce what helps me become a great athlete.”

“We feel like it’s a whole team effort,” Mary Kraft replied to Uhlaender. “Our job is to make everything well-fueled.”

The video also shows Uhlaender even getting to attach the milking machine to a cow’s udders.

Thinking back to the day of shooting brought a happy note to Mary Kraft’s voice.

“We shot the whole thing in one day,” Mary Kraft said. “It was a pretty short day because Katie was training. We filmed between one and six in one afternoon. It was pretty grueling. They had shots lined up, but part of it was pretty fun – just a rolling conversation.”

Mary Kraft said she spoke with Uhlaender about how cows needed exercise, the right nutrition and enough sleep, just like Olympic athletes.

“It was interesting,” Mary Kraft said. “Cows spend some time doing their job and then recovering, matching up closely to what Katie was doing.”

The day of shooting felt “kind of like a reality TV show,” Mary Kraft said. “We just fed on each other’s energy, talking about things we love. Anytime you can find someone you mesh that well with, it’s a lovely day.”

Mary Kraft said she planned to follow closely how Uhlaender does at the 2018 Olympic Games.

The women’s skeleton event is set to begin the middle of this week, with training heats scheduled for Wednesday and Thursday and then competition heats set for Friday and Saturday.

“The interesting thing is with Katie, there was some controversy in the last Olympics,” Mary Kraft said, with the skeleton racer coming in fourth place and missing out on a bronze medal by only .04 seconds.

And thanks to a doping scandal that involved the 2014 Russian medal winner, for almost four years Uhlaender thought she then had gotten the bronze, even mentioning it in the video. But in early February, the Court of Arbitration for Sport overturned Olympic bans for the Russian athletes, which could mean reinstating the bronze medal to Uhlaender’s competitor. It could be years before that issue is finally settled.

But that could be strong motivation for the American skeleton racer in the 2018 Olympic Games, since she only would have needed a little bit more at the 2014 Olympic Games to have the medal be hers outright.

“A little more is always doable,” Mary Kraft said.

The Fort Morgan dairy owner also was excited to be able to showcase both her dairy and the importance of milk through the video and ads, which she and the dairy volunteered to do, not as a money-making endeavor.

“For everything we do, we’re interested in how the community moves forward,” she said. “If I could turn it into a revenue stream, I sure would, but I think the revenue stream is people drinking milk.”

And she is excited for people to watch the video or see the ads.

“There should be quite a number of things showing cows and how important milk is to fuel (the athletes’) bodies,” she said.

To view the video, visit

Oregon dairy fined $16,800 for manure spill that shut down Tillamook Bay

Tillamook Bay at Garibaldi.

An Oregon dairy has been fined $16,800 for a massive manure spill that shut down Tillamook Bay last spring.

About 190,000 gallons of liquid manure were released from an above-ground storage tank at Tony Silveira Dairy on April 12, the Oregon Department of Agriculture said.

The manure pooled in a field near the dairy barns, flowed across three other landowners’ properties, and ended up in a slough that connects to a drainage system that pumps water into the Tillamook River, which then enters the bay.

Health officials closed the bay to recreational and commercial shellfish harvesting for more than a week, affecting at least one commercial oyster grower.

Tony Silveira Dairy operates at 1445 Tone Road and 1245 Matejeck Road in Tillamook.

It supplies the Tillamook County Creamery Association, which makes Tillamook brand cheese. Officials there did not respond to a request for comment.

The dairy was cited for 12 violations. Dairy officials also did not respond to a request for comment.

The Oregon Department of Agriculture revoked the dairy’s wastewater permit in October after years of environmental violations. Wochit

Volbeda Farms, at 8105 Wallace Road NW, Salem, was fined $95,480 for repeatedly allowing manure to flow into Spring Valley Creek.

Volbeda Farms, at 8105 Wallace Road NW, Salem, was fined $95,480 for repeatedly allowing manure to flow into Spring Valley Creek. (Photo: Tracy Loew/Statesman Journal)

The dairy was among eight farms, ranches and feedlots the state agency fined for water quality violations during 2017. Four of those were in the Willamette Valley.

  • Volbeda Farms, at 8105 Wallace Road NW, Salem, was fined $95,480 for repeatedly allowing manure to flow into Spring Valley Creek. The agency also revoked the dairy’s wastewater permit, making it the first Oregon dairy to lose its permit. Volbeda Farms historically has supplied Willamette Valley Cheese Company with its milk.
  • White Buffalo Ranch, a swine and cattle facility at 6653 Shaw Highway in Aumsville, was fined $1,800 for repeatedly allowing liquid manure to flow off its property, threatening both groundwater and surface water.
  • Troost Dairy, at 41175 Cole School Road in Stayton, was fined $800 for an overflowing manure lagoon.
  • Cloud Cap Farms, at 30207 SE Kelso Road in Boring, was fined $3,120, for allowing liquid manure to enter a ditch that flows to Deep Creek.
  • Sunset Canyon Jerseys, at 26755 Blaine Road in Beaver, was fined $36,280, for allowing liquid manure to run off its property into the Nestucca River.
  • Geo Farms, at 4555 Alderbrook Road in Tillamook, was fined $4,816, for allowing liquid manure to flow into nearby sloughs.
  • Valley Oaks Dairy, at 17805 Highway 101 S. in Tillamook, was fined $680 for failing to report its annual report for 2016.

The ag department regulates manure discharges from the state’s approximately 509 confined animal feeding operations, such as dairies and feedlots.

Last year, agency staff members performed 880 inspections at those facilities, up from 763 in 2016.

In addition to the eight civil penalties, the state issued 50 notices of noncompliance/plans of correction, or citations without fines, in 2017.  

In 2016, the state fined three confined-animal operations a total of $7,060, and cited 27 more.

California dairy producers seek USDA action on marketing order

USDA said Supreme Court proceeding on administrative judges is holding up its decision on a federal milk marketing order.

The U.S. Department of Agriculture is being urged to move forward in the rule-making process for the establishment of a federal milk marketing order (FMMO) in California by releasing its final decision.

“Given the number of dairy operations that have closed in California and the chronic decline in milk production here, the more than three-year rule-making process for a FMMO in California should not be delayed,” according to a letter from the California Dairy Campaign, Milk Producers Council and Western United Dairymen.

Earlier in the week, it was revealed that USDA was waiting to make a decision on the marketing order until the Supreme Court renders a decision on the Lucia vs. Securities & Exchange Commission case, which has to do with administrative law judges (ALJs). Judge Jill S. Clifton, the judge who proceeded over the 2015 California hearing proceeding in Clovis, Cal., was an administrative law judge.

Annie AcMoody, Western United Dairymen director of economic analysis, explained that, in short, there is ambiguity around ALJs and if they should be nominated or simply appointed. According to USDA’s release, “at the time of the hearing, USDA believed ALJ Clifton to be an employee of the department, and her appointment was completed in accordance with agency procedures. However, if the court determines that ALJs are inferior officers of the United States rather than employees, then ALJ Clifton’s original appointment as an ALJ would be brought into question.”

The U.S. Department of Agriculture is being urged to move forward in the rule-making process for the establishment of a federal milk marketing order (FMMO) in California by releasing its final decision.

“Given the number of dairy operations that have closed in California and the chronic decline in milk production here, the more than three-year rule-making process for a FMMO in California should not be delayed,” according to a letter from the California Dairy Campaign, Milk Producers Council and Western United Dairymen.

Earlier in the week, it was revealed that USDA was waiting to make a decision on the marketing order until the Supreme Court renders a decision on the Lucia vs. Securities & Exchange Commission case, which has to do with administrative law judges (ALJs). Judge Jill S. Clifton, the judge who proceeded over the 2015 California hearing proceeding in Clovis, Cal., was an administrative law judge.

Annie AcMoody, Western United Dairymen director of economic analysis, explained that, in short, there is ambiguity around ALJs and if they should be nominated or simply appointed. According to USDA’s release, “at the time of the hearing, USDA believed ALJ Clifton to be an employee of the department, and her appointment was completed in accordance with agency procedures. However, if the court determines that ALJs are inferior officers of the United States rather than employees, then ALJ Clifton’s original appointment as an ALJ would be brought into question.”


The latest data (third quarter of 2017) showed a loss of 64 cents/cwt. of milk produced. While costs may not have moved much since then, the price of milk dropped by $2/cwt. in January 2018.

“The grim economic situation facing California dairy producers demonstrates the urgency of moving forward in the FMMO processing by releasing the final USDA decision,” the letter noted.

According to USDA’s “Regulatory Economic Impact Analysis of the Recommended California Federal Milk Marketing Order,” the all-milk price estimated change from the baseline for California would be 48 cents/cwt. The numbers illustrate California dairy families’ eagerness for a final decision to consider.

“While we can recognize USDA’s inclination to wait for the Supreme Court decision in the Lucia vs. Securities & Exchange Commission, before publishing a final decision on a California FMMO, it is not something we can support,” the letter concludes. “California dairy producers cannot wait until the Supreme Court renders a decision on this matter, which ultimately may not prove relevant to the FMMO proceedings. We urge USDA to release the final decision so that California dairy producers who are suffering under the uncertainty the delay in this process is creating have the opportunity to consider a pricing system that will be in alignment with rest of the major milk-producing regions in the country.”


Source: Feedstuffs

Federal Court rules controversial cattle genome patent invalid

Australia’s cattle industry has scored a win against the US-based owners over a patent application it feared would put the brakes on improvement in Australia’s cattle herd.

The Federal Court rejected the patent application, saying it was unclear in its scope, that it failed to adequality describe what the invention was, and whether there was an industrial application for it.

Meat and Livestock Australia spends hundreds of millions of dollars on genetic research in cattle, and feared the patent application threatened Australian farmers’ access to important genomic testing.

The Australian cattle industry is on the cusp of using the powerful tool to achieve rapid improvements in meat quality, disease resistance and even cutting methane emission in cattle.

As more farmers adopt genomic testing, it is on the verge of becoming affordable across the industry.

“There’s many things that we’re trying to do, and genomics, particularly for those hard to measure traits is crucial for us to be able to make good breeding advancements,” said Victorian angus breeder Tom Gubbins.

“Any pigs that get their nose in the trough, so to speak, are going to make it more expensive for the people on the ground who are trying to make a real difference to the value proposition of breeding cattle.”

Court battle

American companies Cargill USA and Branhaven LLC lodged an application for a patent that described a way of finding valuable genetic traits in cattle using DNA.

In 2016, Meat and Livestock Australia opposed that application, but was unsuccessful, so it took the further step of appealing the decision in the Federal Court.

In a Federal Court hearing last year, MLA argued the patent did not meet any of the requirements to be valid under Australian law.

On Friday, Justice Jonathan Beach said while he was unconvinced of many of those arguments, on three points he was.

“Accordingly I would uphold MLA’s appeal to this extent,” he wrote.

Not over yet

The court has asked Cargill USA and Branhaven to file amendments to their patent application consistent with Justice Beach’s judgement.

“I will not, however make any final orders until Branhaven has been given the opportunity to consider whether to apply or amend any of the claims to address the concerns I have expressed in these reasons,” he wrote.

In a statement, MLA said “both parties are due to return to court in 21 days to address the Court on the issue of amendment of the patent application.

Shelston IP principal Grant Shoebridge told the ABC the decision may not end up in MLA’s favour.

“I think although technically this is a victory for MLA, I think ultimately it will be a loss, and it remains to be seen whether they will appeal this decision.

“I think the main point here is that given that the judge has made a clear indication about how he thinks the claim should be amended to address the lack of clarity, ultimately it will be amended.”

Luigi Palombi, formerly of the Australian National University, believed the decision vindicated MLA’s opposition to the patent application.

“MLA has successfully opposed the patent being granted.

“What the court said today was that it is invalid in its current form.”

Dr Palombi said whether the patent applicants can overcome the Federal Court’s rejection was a matter of speculation.

“It depends on whether amendments are filed and what happens to those amendments.”

Who are Cargill USA and Branhaven?

Cargill USA is a sprawling private US agribusiness with annual revenue totalling around $US110 billion last financial year.

Through its Australian subsidiary, Cargill Australia, it owns 50 per cent of Australia’s second largest meat processor Teys, but the Australian arm did not actively defend the appeal in the Federal Court.

Little is known about Branhaven, which described itself in press releases as a “private holding company”.

Branhaven bought biotechnology company Metamorphix Inc in 2011 after it declared bankruptcy.

The company holds the patent for BeefGen genomics (DNA) tools in the United States.

During last year’s hearing, Branhaven was represented by law firm K&L Gates.

K&L Gates is now pursuing their former client in the Supreme Court for unpaid legal bills, and has sought freezing orders and injunctions on the patent application until it retrieves the money it alleges it is owed.

Senator Barry O’Sullivan indicated in 2016 he would push for a Senate inquiry into the matter, but nothing has happened since.


Source: ABC

Your Wisconsin Dairy Checkoff Dollars at Work

Wisconsin Milk Marketing Board Helps Drive Holiday Cheese Sales

Cheese sales increased by 23% during the month of December compared to the rest of the calendar year. The Wisconsin Milk Marketing Board (WMMB) helped boost Wisconsin cheese sales at retail with seasonal specific marketing programs.

This December sales lift resulted in an extra 70 million pounds of cheese moving off grocery store shelves, an equivalent of 700 million pounds of milk, according to IRI data. WMMB capitalized on anticipated December cheese purchases by releasing Grate.Pair.Share. online magazine, targeting local and national media, and building custom promotions with key retailers.

Grate. Pair. Share. Magazine
The Holiday issue of Grate.Pair.Share magazine was the most successful issue to date, using seasonal recipes and gift ideas as the core content to target dairy consumers.

·The 2017 Holiday issue has seen 5.9 million impressions to date, which is a 68% increase from the previous year.

·Grate.Pair.Share highlighted unique Wisconsin specialty cheese gift sets including one from Sartori Cheese that was featured on the TODAY show in December.

·Recipe videos from the magazine were also featured on Wisconsin Cheese social channels, including YouTube, Facebook and Instagram.

Increased Publicity
As trends show people demanding more specialty varieties, WMMB leads the conversation by directing consumers to purchase Wisconsin specialty cheese.

·The New York Times featured Deer Creek’s The Blue Jay from the Artisan Cheese Exchange, based in Sheboygan, Wisconsin.

·Continued local and national media outreach also included press releases announcing the debut of the Holiday edition of Grate.Pair.Share. and an annual consumer trends release that includes Wisconsin cheese.

·In 2017, WMMB doubled media coverage value. All of WMMB’s media mentions are showcased on

Partnering with Key Retailers 
To create a nationwide custom promotion of Wisconsin cheese, WMMB partnered with key retailer Sam’s Club.

·Custom video content highlighted six brands of Wisconsin dairy products for the Sam’s Club website, where consumers could purchase it online.

·Research detailing the shopping patterns of targeted audiences helped to develop partnerships with key customers to drive retail sales for Wisconsin dairy products online and in-store.

·Wisconsin identified cheese is found in nearly 80,000 stores across the country, due in part to the programs funded by checkoff dollars.


Source: Hoards

Dairy Farmers of Canada will participate in Front-of-Package consultations

The Government of Canada announced it is moving ahead with its Front of Pack Warning Labeling public consultation (Gazette 1). By exempting whole milk from this proposed policy, Health Canada recognizes the scientific evidence demonstrating the nutritional value of milk as a key contributor to the health of Canadians. However, as currently proposed, many other dairy products, rich in essential nutrients, will be stigmatised by a warning label that may confuse consumers as to which products are healthy and which are not.

“Dairy Farmers of Canada supports the education of Canadians on the benefits of a balanced-diet. We are concerned that this approach to labelling may come with the unintended consequence of deterring Canadians from seeking more information on the nutritional value of dairy products, at the expense of a balanced-diet for Canadians,” said Pierre Lampron, President of Dairy Farmers of Canada. “We are pleased that the Government is recognizing the nutritional benefits of whole milk, however given the importance of dairy to the overall health of Canadians, we want to make sure that as the Government goes through the consultation process, they take a more holistic approach. DFC will be fully engaged in the consultation on Front-of-Package warning labelling, to ensure that Canadians can continue to enjoy nutritious dairy products as a part of a healthy, balanced diet. Canadian dairy farmers will make their voices heard in this important debate.”

DFC shares the overall goal of promoting healthy eating for all Canadians, so long as it is supported by evidence-based policy. One of the main objectives of Front-of-Package warning labelling is to reduce chronic diseases including heart disease, stroke, and type 2 diabetes. Health Canada’s own 2015 Evidence Review for Dietary Guidance identifies the scientific evidence showing that milk products are beneficial for bone health, and are associated with a reduced risk of heart disease, hypertension, stroke, type 2 diabetes, and colorectal cancer.  The report also states that Canadians do not consume enough vitamin D, calcium, magnesium, zinc, potassium, Vitamin A, Vitamin C and fibre – milk is a valuable source of six of these nutrients.

“The intent of Health Canada’s Healthy Eating Strategy is to help consumers make informed healthier choices.  The best way to do this is to drive them to the Nutrition Facts Table. What assurances can Health Canada give that this type of warning labelling will not simply deter consumers from the products themselves?” said Lampron. “This approach runs the risk of alarming consumers, and ultimately preventing them from learning more about the nutritional benefits of a food. This is completely contrary to the stated intent of Health Canada. How will they address this issue for Canadians?”


Source: News Wire

Holstein UK Chief Executive Officer (CEO) Appointed

Holstein UK, Europe’s largest independent dairy breed society, is delighted to announce the appointment of a new Chief Executive Officer (CEO), bringing extensive knowledge and experience to the group.

Based at the Group head office in Telford, Sue Cope has been promoted from Managing Director of CIS to CEO for the Holstein UK Group of Companies. The Group of Companies comprises of Holstein UK, the Cattle Information Service (CIS) and the National Bovine Data Centre (NBDC).

Having worked for the group for over 20 years, Sue has a wealth of experience and an in-depth understanding of how each business operates. Brought up on a dairy farm in the Midlands, Sue’s knowledge of the dairy sector and her industry links will be invaluable in driving the Group forward.

Sue Cope, CEO says,“I am privileged to be offered the opportunity to work with members, industry and colleagues to take the Society forward to meet the needs of the ever changing dairy and agricultural sector.  I am looking forward to delivering the future strategy and exploring new opportunities for the Group of Companies and stakeholders.”

Andrew Birkle, Holstein UK Chairman, comments, “We are delighted to appoint Sue Cope as CEO for the Holstein UK Group.  The appointment places the Group in a very strong position to take the business forward.  Sue’s knowledge of the industry is a major asset to the Group, and the Board of Trustees looks forward to working with her and the senior management team. The appointment now brings stability to the business to focus and deliver the Group strategy.


Source: Holstein UK

Canadian Legend Bert Stewart Passes

It’s with great sadness me share the passing of Bert Stewart. From his first 4-H club project more than 60 years ago, Bert Stewart has dedicated his life to 4-H, youth and leadership. World renowned as Canada’s pioneer in preparing and exhibiting dairy cattle, Bert’s vision, initiative and commitment to leadership and the national 4-H organization has inspired generations of youth across Canada.

Reaction to the passing of this legend has poured in on social media:

  • Tom and I have had the great support of Bert for many years! Always happy to see us and share in our successes and always such a great voice of reason and opinion. This deeply saddens us but very thankful to have had called him friend. – Kelli Cull Budjon Farms
  • What a great loss. A true friend Always with the will to share his many experiences and knowledge. The breed has very close ties with this great person. – Claudio Aragon, Semex Brazil
  • Great show man he set standards for judging showmanship his work with 4H will long be remembered I’ve known Bert for 50+yrs a great competitor just a good guy. – Bob Brown
  • An amazing person who lived his life to mentor 4-H members. I know he helped me immensely during my show years. I won’t forget him and my sympathies go out to his family. – Karyn Daynard
  • Bert taught me how to show when I was 16…my first 4h calf Rock Ella Remake Goldie won a few places that year. Lorne Ella, I remember being at Ontario spring discovery in old Brampton fairgrounds and hed holler at me for getting her nose too high. Many years in barns in Halton county my heart raced giving reasons to him as my 4h leader. He was harsh with his criticism…but I learned a lot. He coached me for many years to follow.  :) rest in peace. Bill Edelstein will be happy to see you too. – Kerry Fraser 
  • I have spent the night thinking of Bert after seeing this. One thing keeps coming to mind, his desire to help others better themselves and the industry as a whole. From the first time one would meet Bert he was willing to help you become better at what you do. He had time for everyone and his conversations were about 4H kid or friends, very humble about his own life. Truly a competitor, yet a man who wanted you to do your best if he was on another team. The world needs more like Bert, so sad we lost a great one today. And yes Gary, I will miss those showbox mornings! – Richard Caverly

Peacefully, at the Groves Memorial Hospital in Fergus, Ontario at the age of 85, surrounded by family, Bertram G.H. Stewart, beloved husband of the late of Hazel Stewart(2011) of Elora, formerly of Hornby, Ontario and loving father of their four children, Paul, Lynne (Jim Moore), Donna (Tom Dolson), and Kelly French & Jason French. Proud grandfather of Kristen (Scott Greenhill) & Adam (Erin) Dolson; Brian (Kim), Brent (Laura) & David (Alex) Moore, and Connor & Blaire French. He was blessed with great-grandchildren, Caden Greenhill, Evelyn Moore, Porter Moore and Andrew Dolson. Bertram was the seventh child of Ernie and Jennie Stewart of Bolton. Mourning his loss are his brothers Henry (Jean), Murray (Marnie), and his sister Dorothy (Lorne Paisley-deceased) He was predeceased by his brothers Andrew (Adele), R.J. (Betty-June), Hillard (Marguerite) and his sister Isobel(Elmer Russell). He was a loved brother-in-law to Hazel’s brothers and sisters: Mary (Bob Grant-deceased), Ruth (Russell Graham-both deceased), Laura (Ed Armstrong-both deceased), Gwen (David Armstong-both deceased), John Speirs (Helen) – both deceased and Ken Speirs – deceased (Lonna). He was also a great “Uncle Bert” to his many Stewart and Speirs nieces and nephews and their families.

Bertram has many accomplishments. He was inducted in the Agricultural Hall of Fame for Canada and into the Milton Walk of Fame as well. He has been credited with promoting Canada’s world leading dairy genetics winning both the Klussendorf Trophy in the United States and was made an Honourary Lifetime Governor of the Royal Agricultural Winter Fair. He judged the Royal Winter Fair five times and judged the World Dairy Expo seven times. Bertram travelled as he consulted and judged in the Dairy Industry and other events in 17 other countries around the world. He even led 16 Royal Winter Fair grand champions.

Youth and 4-H were very important to Bertram so he not only lead for over 60 years but became the President of the Canadian 4-H Council. He also coached the Ontario 4-H Dairy Judging Team for 30 years held at the World Dairy Expo. Bertram also actively coached softball, winning seven Ontario Championships. Curling was a favourite winter pastime for Bert winning numerous awards and he became President for the Milton Curling Club. The family would like to express their gratitude to the Fergus hospital staff for their unfailing kindness and exceptional care of Bertram during these last difficult weeks. We will never forget the love and concern shown to our family as well as our wonderful Dad. Also a sincere and special thank you to the many friends and relatives that went above the call – your generosity was overwhelming.

Visitation to be held at Graham A. Giddy Funeral Home, 280 St. David Street South, Fergus on Friday, February 23rd , 2018 from 1:00 – 4:00pm & 7:00 – 9:00pm & at St. Andrew’s Presbyterian Church, 325 St. George St. West, Fergus on Saturday, February 24th, 2018 from 10:00 to 10:45am. A Memorial Service will take place at the church beginning at 11:00 am.
In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to The Bertram & Hazel Stewart 4-H Dairy Education Award and Bursary c/o Ontario 4-H.

Militant vegans send death threats to farmer whose cow had triplets

A family of dairy farmers have received death threats from a group of vegans after one of their cows gave birth to triplets.

Jonny and Dulcie Crickmore said that even their children had been targeted by the ‘militant vegans’ who have abused them repeatedly for five days.

Farmer Jonny, who runs Fen Farm Dairy in Bungay, north Suffolk, said: ‘We have had some really horrible comments. It kicked off from a post we put on Facebook and Twitter when we had calf triplets born.

‘We put a message out and some vegans found it and posted it onto these activist groups in America – and within a few hours last Thursday it escalated.’

He contacted police after they targeted his sons Arthur and Ottilie and an officer went to speak to the family.

However, the barrage of abuse appeared to backfire with people coming out in support of the award-winning Fen Farm Dairy.

Sales have gone up and they have received hundreds of five-star reviews.

Mr Crickmore added: ‘They sent loads of questions across to us but we didn’t reply to any of them. It just got worse and worse.’

The farm later wrote on Facebook: ‘We never, ever slaughter calves. All of our calves, both male and female, including the beautiful triplets in my last post, stay with us on our own farm into adulthood and live free ranging low-pressure lives.

‘The females join our free ranging milking herd. The males join our free ranging beef herd. Our adult beef animals are sent to our closest slaughter house, to minimise travelling time and to help reduce food miles.

‘Our milking cows are well cared for and are allowed to produce a comfortable amount of milk. We don’t push them to over-produce. This means they are happier, healthier, live longer and their bodies are comfortable.’

Jonny said he ended up blocking hundreds of people after he was overwhelmed by the number of messages he was getting from angry vegans.

He said: ‘I’m quite thick-skinned but my wife didn’t like it at all. We have been careful to lock all our doors, etc. We have never had nasty things like this said about us before.

‘A few of our customers even got abuse back as well,’ said Jonny, whose 880-acre farm produces rare natural whole raw milk and cheese.

‘We chose to delete the post. We wrote a new post explaining to everyone who had seen this what we do at our farm and off the back of that this post got shared over 400 times.’

Jonny won the highly-coveted Best Artisan Producer award at the Great British Cheese Awards last October.

He was crowned just days after scooping Farmer’s Weekly prestigious Diversification Farmer of the Year Award.

A Vegan Society spokesman said: ‘Veganism rejects violence and encourages compassion towards living beings and this incident is not representative of the vegan movement as a whole.

‘We certainly condemn any threats of violence and encourage vegan activists to share their messages peacefully and positively.

‘Vegans rely on farmers for food. We are not against them.

‘But we do want to see an end to animal agriculture as a whole and a transition to a more sustainable, healthier and compassionate farming system.’


Source: Metro



The Capones’ Foray Into the Dairy Business

In legend and literature, Al Capone is often name-checked as a shrewd bootlegger and a gangster. But Capone’s proclivity for dairy products may have not only impacted the cheese that tops some New York City pizzerias’ signature pies, but also is thought to have helped shape the industry’s labeling system as we know it today.

The Eighteenth Amendment outlawed the sale, manufacture, and transportation of alcohol during the United States’ brief, unsuccessful Prohibition era, which ran from 1920 to 1933. Back then, the alcohol flowed more than ever, though, thanks to an illicit web of corruption and bootlegging ushered in by mobsters such as Capone. Alcohol’s restriction had not only made him extraordinarily wealthy, but it also established him as the reigning kingpin of Chicago’s organized crime network, which also included gambling and prostitution rackets.

Capone’s interests weren’t just relegated to alcohol, though. In the early 1930s, he extended his Midwestern empire by making moves to acquire a milk processor, Meadowmoor Dairies, Inc., along with his brother and other gangsters. According to the Douglas County Museum of Illinois, the hustle was that Ralph Capone would ship in milk from neighboring Wisconsin, which was cheaper. They then bottled it in Meadowmoor’s facilities. That way, the Capones could bypass local fixed dairy pricing and also halt the milkmen’s union from distributing only local milk. Former Chicago police officer and mafia associate Fred Pascente corroborates this in his memoir, detailing how Meadowmoor “was actually a Capone front organization designed to undercut the city’s reigning milk cartel.”

The milk union, in turn, tried to stop the Capones’ operation altogether, which led to what Pascente calls “the ensuing milk wars.” The conflict eventually pushed out mom-and-pop distributors, who couldn’t compete with the Capones’ reach and extra muscle from their own teamsters. It didn’t help that Al’s crew had reportedly kidnapped the milk union’s president, then used the ransom money to buy Meadowmoor and gift it to their attorney, William Parrillo. None of the Capones apparently faced charges from this particular kerfuffle, though Al did get locked up around that time for income tax evasion.

Capone’s interest in squeezing the milk industry for all it was worth is rumored to have altruistic origins. Conflicting stories claim that either Capone or his brother Ralph had been moved by a story about a family member—or was it a family friend’s son?—who had gotten sick after drinking expired milk. At the time, the dairy industry had few indicators of quality control for their products, particularly when it came to knowing when milk went bad.

The sunny version of this story is that Capone, who was seen by some as a kind of common man’s hero, took pity on children’s unknowing consumption of bad milk, and pushed for safety dating on labels. Alcatraz prison acknowledges in its historical pages that Capone, perhaps their most famous, banjo-playing resident, “lobbied for milk bottle dating to ensure the safety of the city’s children” to the Chicago city council. In his book The Outfit, mafia historian Gus Russo reports that Capone’s cronies indeed strong-armed the city council into enforcing a definition for Grade A milk, to the point where inferior grades couldn’t be sold within the city. They also helped pass a dated-milk ordinance, which “allowed mothers to protect their children’s health by screening the milk they ingested.” It’s still unconfirmed if Capone’s clamoring definitively led to the industry’s more stringent labeling guidelines. But Ralph Capone’s granddaughter, Deirdre, insists that her grandfather’s lobbying not only caused the dairy industry to start slapping the bottling date on milk, but also earned him the nickname “Bottles.”

Ralph "Bottles" Capone in 1935.
Ralph “Bottles” Capone in 1935. Sueddeutsche Zeitung Photo/Alamy Stock Photo

The reality is probably closer to this: The enterprising Capone brothers saw dollar signs in the dairy industry’s lack of controls on milk production and distribution. Rumor has it that the industry seemed so profitable and untapped that Capone once uttered to his associates: “Honest to God boys, we’ve been in the wrong racket all along!”

While Meadowmoor became the Richard Martin Milk Company in the 1960s, its impact may even be more widespread than we realize. The late investigative journalist Jonathan Kwitny reported that Capone’s hand in the dairy industry also meant that New York pizzerias had to use what the Village Voice described as “his rubbery mob cheese.” That’s a far cry from the cheese that Naples immigrants had been making since the early 20th century, when they arrived in New York.

As Kwitny’s 1981 book, Vicious Circles: The Mafia in the Marketplace, revealed, the distribution system for the cheese available at a number of New York pizzerias could be traced back to Meadowmoor and Capone’s, erm, light suggestion that these pizzerias start using the low-moisture cheese from his Wisconsin dairy farms. Legend has it that if local, old-school joints wanted to keep slinging their own mozzarella, they could as long as they didn’t serve individual slices. The awning at John’s Pizzeria, in Manhattan, still warns of “no slices,” and it isn’t because they’re total killjoys against slices. They apparently used it as a signal that they were following mob rules, and thus didn’t want to be firebombed, please.

John's Pizzeria in New York City. They advertise "no slices" on the other side of their awning.
John’s Pizzeria in New York City. They advertise “no slices” on the other side of their awning. MsSaraKelly / CC BY 2.0

The “no slices” bit might be mafia lore, but the mob shaking people down over mozzarella is on the record. Joseph Bonanno, a mafia godfather, partially owned Grande, a cheese company based in Fond du Lac, Wisconsin. That’s where Capone’s handful of dairy farms were, too. A March 1980 report from the Pennsylvania Crime Commission states that Bonanno “initiated a conspiracy to control the specialty cheese business in the United States in the early 1940s” and that, at that point in time, “he and his associates control[led] the activities of the largest and most prosperous specialty cheese companies.”

But as Antonio Nicaso, an author and authority on organized crime, told Munchies, Capone’s role here has significant implications. “Al Capone was one of the first to impose cheese and other ingredients on businesses,” he says. “They used to ask places like pizzerias for ‘top money’ every month.” Capone and Bonnano’s policies shifted a trend, and with time, more and more organized crime has moved into the area of “agro-mafia.” Instead of pressing restaurants for protection money, they more often suggest they use mob-certified ingredients—or else.

Still, a lot of “maybes” persist when it comes to the Capones and all things dairy. Maybe the law-shirking brothers helped shape the bottling date system that’s ubiquitous in the United States dairy industry today, maybe not. And perhaps some New York City pizzerias’ signature gooey cheese started out as owners being force-fed mob cheese. Either way, dairy is yet another thing to consider as the Capones’ legendary lives (and especially long rap sheets) continue to loom large in the public consciousness.


Dairy farmer gets his dying wish fulfilled

Dutch Dairy Fraud Case Forces Temporary Ban On 2,100 Cattle Farms

Signs of fraud in the registering of dairy cows were found at 2,100 cattle farms, Minister Carola Schouten of Agriculture, Nature and Food Quality announced in a letter to the Tweede Kamer on Thursday. These farms are blocked, which means that no animals can be transported or removed, while further investigation is done, the Minister said.

In the Netherlands each dairy cow must be registered on the Identification and Registration (I&R) system as a livestock unit. A heifer, which hasn’t birthed a calf yet and therefore hasn’t started producing milk, counts as half a livestock unit. The farmers of the 2,100 now blocked farms are suspected of fraudulently registering multiple calves as being birthed to a single cow, so that they could underreport the size of their herds.

“The past week we got a better picture of the companies who tampered with the I&R and it appears to be a considerable number. I have asked the NVWA and to investigate all possible deviations in the I&R”, Schouten said. “Any form of fraud is unacceptable and must be tackled hard. We must prevent companies that do keep to the rules from becoming victims of companies that tamper with the system.” In addition to facing additional levies and cuts to their subsidies, farmers found committing fraud may face criminal prosecution.

Farmers register the milk production of their cows and date of births of calves in various administration systems. By comparing the data on these systems with information on the I&R, Dutch food safety authority NVWA found irregularities pointing to fraud. So far the NVWA and analyzed 150 farms, and the investigation continues in the coming period.

The Netherlands won a special exemption from the EU to use more manure on farms as long as it reduces the amount cattle in the country. The reduction is supposed to equal 8.3 percent fewer livestock units than were in the Netherlands on 2 July 2015, according to a government statement in December.

That statement praised the Dutch agricultural sector for being on a path to meet European phosphate limits. It is not yet clear how the suspected fraud affects the Netherlands ability to hit the EU’s target. The European Commission is expected to rule in April on granting the Netherlands another exemption through 2021.


SourceNL Times

Team USA Athletes Fueled by Milk

Our growing roster of Team Milk athletes is ready for the world’s largest stage at the 2018 Olympic Winter Games in PyeongChang. These elite Team USA athletes— U.S. Olympians, Paralympians, hopefuls and legends – are fueled by milk, and know what it takes to become a champion.

Athletes who have joined Team Milk include champions who have reached the pinnacle of play in their respective sports and on the podium, including:

  • Kristi Yamaguchi: Skating since age six, the two-time World Champion and 1992 U.S. Champion also won a gold medal in figure skating at the 1992 Olympic Winter Games in Albertville. She was inducted into the U.S. Olympic Hall of Fame in 2005.
  • Maddie Bowman: One of the most decorated female freeskiers in history started on the slopes when she was only two years old. Her impressive credentials include winning the first-ever Olympic Gold Medal in Women’s Halfpipe Skiing at the Olympic Winter Games Sochi 2014.
  • Rico Roman: The retired U.S. Army Staff Sergeant and Purple Heart recipient made his U.S. National Sled Hockey Team debut in 2011. He won a Gold medal for Team USA in Sled Hockey at the Paralympic Winter Games Sochi 2014 and is a two-time World Champion sled hockey player.
  • Joss Christensen: He started skiing at age 3 and credits his parents for his love of the sport. One of the most distinguished male freeskiers in history, Joss won the first-ever Olympic Gold Medal in Men’s Slopestyle Skiing at the Olympic Winter Games Sochi 2014 and also is the Grand Prix champion three years in a row.
  • Jamie Anderson: The most decorated slopestyle snowboarder in X Games history also won the first-ever Olympic Gold Medal in Women’s Slopestyle Snowboarding at the Olympic Winter Games Sochi 2014.

How Athletes Fuel Their Path to the 2018 Olympic Winter Games in PyeongChang

Did you know that the U.S. Olympic Training Centers serve tens of thousands of gallons of milk to Team USA athletes every year? Milk contains a package of nutrients that is hard to find in any other single food or beverage, a nutrient powerhouse that athletes trust — with 9 essential nutrients, including 8 grams of natural protein in every 8-ounce serving.

Team USA athletes have always trusted milk. In fact, nine out of 10 Team USA athletes said they drank milk while growing up,1 and many said their moms’ encouragement was the reason why milk was an important part of their diet.

This continues for the next generation of athletes as well. It’s a delicious choice that elite athletes, like Kristi Yamaguchi and Rico Roman, serve their own kids to ensure they have nutrients they need to be their best every day.

“Growing up as an athlete, my mom always had milk on the table because she knew the importance of nutrition as part of my training,” said U.S. Olympic Gold Medalist Kristi Yamaguchi. “Now, being a mom of two young daughters – and athletes themselves – milk is an essential part of their meals, to help ensure they have nutrients they need to fuel them every day.”

What Is Important for an Athlete’s Diet?

Ninety percent of Team USA athlete respondents consider their diet more important than the intense training schedules they keep, and more than 80 percent consider getting enough protein and other nutrients a key factor in their diets while training.

Milk is a trusted way for Team USA athletes to fuel up before their training sessions. From serving an 8-ounce glass with their snacks or meals, or making smoothies and oatmeal with milk, adding natural high-quality protein and the other essential nutrients milk provides helps to create the healthy and balanced eating plans elite athletes need to perform at their best.

Follow Team Milk to the Olympic Winter Games

To learn more about milk’s role at the training table on the road to the 2018 Olympic Winter Games in PyeongChang and to watch exclusive videos from our Team Milk athletes, visit Fueling Team USA.


Judges names announced for the Holstein shows at the 2018 Royal Agricultural Winter Fair

The names of the judges for the National Holstein Show and National Red & White Holstein Show at the 2018 Royal Agricultural Winter Fair have been released by Holstein Canada.

Congratulations to Jamie Black who will be judging the Holstein show and Jack Lomeo who will be judging the Red & White Holstein show. Stay tuned for more information and details as they come available.

Agri-mark milk check arrives with information for mental health support and suicide prevention agencies

For dairy farmer Will Rogers, it was just too much to take in one envelope.

His most recent milk check from farmer-owned cooperative Agri-Mark was paltry, paying only about $17 per 100 pounds of milk — not even close to the $20 per hundredweight he needs to break even. A 2018 forecast included with the check was even worse, with the price of 100 gallons expected to fall to $15.98.

And in a move that filled Rogers with a weary sense of exasperation, the Andover-based co-op also included contact information for mental health support and suicide prevention agencies. New York farmers were also told of that state’s Ag Mediation Program which can help debt issues, loan restructuring and financial counseling.

“We have reached the halfway point of a particularly stressful winter while also facing falling milk prices,” the letter reads. “Farm families are incredibly resilient, but some members may want to take advantage of helpful programs where they can talk with experts about work and financial stress, depression and anxiety, grief counseling, substance abuse and family relationship issues.”

The issue hits Rogers especially hard. His father, Earl, died by suicide in 1986 on a day Will had come home from classes at the Stockbridge School at the University of Massachusetts Amherst to help out on the farm. A downswing in milk prices was partly to blame for his father’s state of mind.

“Now I am reliving that all over again,” he said.

Farmers have the highest suicide rates of any profession, with 84.5 suicides per 100,000 people each year, according to the Centers for Disease Control. Men in the industry kill themselves at an even higher rate: 90 per 100,000.

Rogers said consumers need to know the stress the men and women who grow their food are under.

“They meant well by sending out this letter,” he said. “Things could have been handled differently.”

He suggested sending a separate mailing, so the bad financial news doesn’t come with talk of suicide. Or, he said, perhaps an Agri-Mark representative could broach the subject with farmers in person.

The letter was Agri-Mark’s way of addressing what could become a crisis among its farm families, said Douglas DiMento, Agri-Mark’s director of corporate communications.

“We know from our past experience that dairy farmers tend to be alone on the farm,” DiMento said. “They tend to work alone. They tend to keep a lot of their problems to themselves”

Agri-Mark, which owns the Cabot and McCadam brands, has 1,000 farmer-owners in New England and New York, including 60 in Massachusetts. The company is also about halfway through a $17 million expansion at its plant at 958 Riverdale St. in West Springfield. When the expansion opens later this year, the plant will be able to accept more milk to make more product, such as butter and cheese.

But the problem is that the worldwide market is awash in excess milk, DiMento said.

Agri-Mark tries to keep prices up by making as many different dairy products as possible, and by selling those products under its own brand name for a premium price.

When prices go down, though, farmers increase production to make the money they need to survive. This leads to even more supply, DiMento said .

Prices, meanwhile, are set by the federal government using a complex formula.

Rogers has 75 milking cows right now, and grows crops on 420 acres of land he owns and rents. Side businesses help him make ends meet. He sells sweet corn, pumpkins, decorative corn stalks and hay or firewood, depending on the time of year. He also sells composted cow manure.

But some farmers aren’t on busy roads with ready customers for corn or compost. Some are faced with the choice of giving up not just their business, but a farming heritage passed to them over generations.

“There is going to be a mass exodus of dairy farms. There will be some loss of life,” Rogers said. “People need to be made aware. We work awfully hard to produce the food on people’s tables. And we have no control over the prices we are paid.”



American dairy farmers depend on government subsidies

Today, Grey, Clark, Shih and Associates, Limited (GCS) released an updated report detailing how the American government continues to provide massive levels of support to its agri-food sector at federal, state, and local levels. The study, which focuses on changes introduced by the 2014 Farm Bill, shows that in 2015, the American government doled out approximately $22.2 billion dollars in direct and indirect subsidies to the U.S dairy sector. Peter Clark, from GCS, spoke about his findings at the Annual Policy Conference of Dairy Farmers of Canada, who provided him with an unconditional grant for this research.

“The support is completely ignored,” said Mr. Clark. “When it comes to farm support, the U.S. has the deepest pockets; deeper even than the European Union. Our study provides detail nationally, and on a state basis, the losses to U.S. dairy farmers. USDA data reveals that for more than a decade, U.S. farm gate prices for milk fail to cover costs of production. Some of the billions spent on support programs that benefit the U.S. agri-food sector does not necessarily end up in the farmers’ pockets, either.”

The report estimates that in 2015, the support granted to U.S dairy producers represented approximately C$35.02/hectolitre – the equivalent of 73% of the farmers’ marketplace revenue.  USDA data also reveals that US dairy farmers operate at a loss, and have a cost of production that is higher than what they earn from the marketplace. In fact, the difference between the U.S national average farm-gate price received by farmers, and the U.S. national average costs of production, in every year from 2005-2016, represents a loss to the farmer. Clearly, the ability of processors to purchase milk at prices below the costs of production offers a significant competitive advantage to the American dairy industry.

While the American dairy industry has repeatedly pointed fingers and demanded increased access to Canada’s dairy market, the extent of subsidies to the U.S. dairy industry is an 800-pound gorilla in the room.

“U.S. politicians have been quick to demonize Canada for its different system. Fair trade is in the eye of the beholder. For example, some 41 countries, including the U.S., has WTO approved tariff-rate quotas. The U.S. challenged Canada’s rights to use their quotas within NAFTA over 20 years ago. The U.S. lost. But the U.S. does tend to cast a very broad net when they complain about trade,” concluded Clark.


Source: Markets Insider

Dairy farmers mailed suicide prevention resources

Donald Pouliot has been working on his dairy farm in Westford for 44 years. He says it’s much different from when he started.

“When I grew up in Westford there was probably a hundred Farms that shipped milk,” said Pouliot who is now the only dairy farmer that ships milk in Westford, a reflection of the unstable dairy industry in the Green Mountain State.

“Right now with the economic times the way they are, it’s just as good as it can be,” said Pouliot who is a part of the Agri-Mark family of dairy farms. It also includes Cabot. When Agri-Mark paid their farmers at the beginning of February, the check included a letter that listed crisis hotlines with people to call if farmers are feeling financial stress, depression, anxiety, and thoughts of suicide.

“It was kind of shocking at first but the more and more I think about it, the shocking thing is the reason they felt they had to write it because the economic times are so rough,” said Pouliot.

Agri-Mark says it is a real concern. “Unfortunately it is because there is so much stress on the farm. Milk prices in 2018 are expected to be lower than the last few years,” said Doug DiMento from Agri-Mark. He says they’ve heard varying opinions about the letter from the thousands of farmers that are a part of the CO-OP. But the group stands by the decision to send it because they say several of their members have committed suicide due to financial stress.

“We are trying to be proactive and get out ahead of it. If it’s one person or one family that can help start the discussion and prevent one bad event or a catastrophe on the farm. Then we feel it was worth it sending the letter out,” said Dimento.

Poiliot says Agri-Mark is doing what they can and he hopes other farmers like him remain positive.

“I hope everybody’s all right you know it’s kind of scary to see a letter like that it must be a concern,” said Pouliot.

The Agency of Agriculture has looked into issues that can assist dairy farmers and the industry here in Vermont. Those recommendations will be brought to congress for the 2018 Farm Bill and will include suggestions on ways to enhance and stabilize the dairy industry. One of those examples is changing the labeling and marketing of plant based beverages by removing the word milk from soy and almond milk.

Source: WCAX

Farmers worry Trump could leave them in tough spot on immigration, trade

Wisconsin farmers gave Donald Trump their vote, and many still support him, but there’s growing angst about some Trump administration decisions and unresolved issues such as immigration reform and foreign trade deals.

As the president approaches his first year in office, some worry that time is slipping away while the farm economy falters. That’s even as Trump, on Monday, gave a speech to a largely receptive audience at the American Farm Bureau Federation annual conference in Nashville.

“We’re streamlining regulations that have blocked cutting-edge biotechnology, setting free our farmers to innovate, thrive and to grow. … To level the playing field for our great American exporters – our farmers and ranchers, as well as our manufacturers – we are reviewing all of our trade agreements to make sure they are fair and reciprocal. Reciprocal, so important,” Trump said in his speech to the nation’s largest farm group.

Yet farmers are worried that Trump has threatened to withdraw from the North American Free Trade Agreement if the U.S. can’t reach a winning deal with Canada and Mexico, our two largest trading partners.

Loss of NAFTA would hit grain and livestock markets at a time when farmers are already hurting. U.S. farm income fell 50% from 2013 to 2016, and when the numbers are finalized, farm income for 2017 is expected to be only about 3% higher, primarily on livestock profits.

“Commodity prices are going to be down for just about everything again this year. … As other countries are producing more of their own food, there’s less need for them to buy from the U.S,” said Darin Von Ruden, president of the Wisconsin Farmers Union.

“You watch your neighbors go out of business and hope that you can make it through the next round,” Von Ruden said. 

American farmers want Canada to ease restrictions on U.S. dairy products, and they also fear losing easy access to the Mexican market.

One of every nine tanker loads of milk from Wisconsin ends up in dairy products out of the country, with much of it going to Mexico. Millions of bushels of Wisconsin corn are exported, putting any type of trade dispute in perspective. 

“By and large, we are starting to see a lot of frustration from farmers who are tied into the economy at that level,” said Chris Holman, a farmer from Stevens Point. 

“We have a major problem of overproduction in this country, and we use exports as the relief valve to maintain market price,” said Michael Slattery, a Manitowoc County farmer who spent nearly 20 years working in domestic and international finance, including 12 years for Japan’s largest bank.

Is agriculture a priority for Trump?

In April, Trump himself weighed in on a dairy trade dispute with Canada, strongly criticizing Canadian government policies, yet some experts say that aside from trade agreements and immigration, the nation’s farms haven’t been on his priority list.

“I don’t think the Trump administration has really done anything related to agriculture at all,” said Steven Deller, a rural development economist at the University of Wisconsin-Madison.

“Right now, all of the discussion on immigration and trade is causing a lot of angst because we don’t know what is going to happen” Deller said.

“Businesses hate uncertainty. What drives them nuts is when rules are haphazardly enforced or keep changing,” he added.

Deller said he’s hopeful that U.S. Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue, rather than Trump, will take charge of the administration’s decisions regarding farm policies. 

The son of a Georgia farmer, Perdue has owned several agricultural businesses but is not associated with the food company Perdue or the poultry producer Perdue Farms.

When Perdue was governor of Georgia, he took a holistic view of rural development and understood the farm economy, according to Deller. 

“My hope is that Trump lets Perdue do what needs to be done,” he said.

Mixed reviews

Some farm groups have applauded the president for recent actions that included rescinding the Waters of the United States rule defining which rivers, streams, lakes and marshes fall under the jurisdiction of the Environmental Protection Agency and the Army Corps of Engineers.

And they’ve been grateful that Trump has acknowledged the need for farms to have an immigrant labor workforce, especially as farming operations have gotten bigger and hired help has been hard to find. 

“To us, that is really huge. … It’s very difficult to bring someone in, right off the street, to take care of animals,” said Lori Fischer, CEO of the American Dairy Coalition, based in Green Bay.

Yet some farm groups have been critical of recent Trump administration decisions, including one that said livestock labeled “USDA Organic” need not be treated any more humanely than other farm animals.

The decision reversed years of federal policy, but Trump’s policymakers argued that the USDA Organic label doesn’t allow “broadly prescriptive, stand-alone animal welfare regulations.”

The change gives large organic poultry operations an unfair advantage over smaller poultry farms, as they no longer have to give their birds access to the outdoors, said Mark Kastel, co-founder of The Cornucopia Institute, a Wisconsin-based group that studies food policy issues and the organic food industry.

“The bottom line was the power of the agribusiness corporate lobby had more clout than the entire organic community,” Kastel said.


Source: Journal Sentinel


Contaminated silage kills dairy cows at an Australian farm

Contaminated silage is being blamed for a recent case of botulism in which a number dairy cows died in the Shoalhaven.

The South East Local Land Services said the cause of the infection at the commercial dairy had been diagnosed by the NSW Chief Veterinary Officer.

Botulism is a relatively rare condition that crops up from time to time, particularly on dairies and in feedlots, with Local Land Services South Coast manager Paul Lyddiard, saying there was no public health risk from the incident.

Botulism is a paralysing disease caused by a potent nerve toxin produced by the bacteria Clostridium botulinum.

C. botulinum and its spores are widely distributed in the environment in soils, sediments, and in the gastrointestinal tracts of fish and animals. They can also be absorbed via contaminated feed.

Once the toxin is absorbed it travels via the bloodstream to the nerve endings and blocks the transmission of nerve impulses to muscles resulting in paralysis. Animals die of respiratory failure from paralysis of the breathing muscles.

Feed contamination can be caused by bodies of small animals such as lizards, snakes, turtles or mice that are inadvertently trapped in grain, hay or silage during the harvesting or storage stage.

“The land manager involved in this local incident has been in constant contact with their vet, industry contacts, Local Land Services and the NSW Department of Primary Industries throughout the event,” Mr Lyddiard said.

Local Land Services vets and NSW DPI worked with a private vet to collect samples and establish a diagnosis, which has been communicated to the relevant government and industry bodies.

Mr Lyddiard said the deceased cattle were removed and disposed of at an approved waste facility, with the advice and assistance provided by the NSW EPA and Shoalhaven City Council.

“Remediation works on the property have been completed to EPA’s standards and satisfaction, with Local Land Services providing support and assistance,” he said.
Mr Lyddiard said the suspected contaminated silage was being composted in line with Australian standards.

The land manager has been offered support and counselling from NSW Health.

What is botulism?
Botulism is a paralysing disease caused by a potent nerve toxin produced by the bacteria Clostridium botulinum. Most cases are due to contamination of the feed or water by rotting organic matter containing the botulism toxin or bacteria.

Bodies of small animals such as lizards, snakes, turtles or mice that are inadvertently trapped in grain, hay or silage during the harvesting or storage stage are some of the common types of rotting organic matter that contaminate feed.

High moisture feeds such as silage or brewer’s grains when allowed to rot rather than ferment can provide an ideal anaerobic environment for botulism growth.
Seven types of toxin have been identified, designated A to G. Vaccination programs are available to minimise risk.

Some of the highest mortalities have occurred where mixing wagons were used in preparing dairy rations and the toxin was evenly distributed throughout the mix.
Once the toxin is absorbed it travels via the bloodstream to the nerve endings and blocks the transmission of nerve impulses to muscles resulting in paralysis.
Botulism causes a progressive paralysis and animals die of respiratory failure from paralysis of the breathing muscles.

Animals are usually found sitting down, unable to rise and their breathing becomes progressively more laboured. Losses can be seen for up to 17 days after ingestion of a contaminated feed. Botulism can be confused with hypocalcaemia or milk fever.


Source: Illawarra Mercury


Holstein Foundation Graduates Young Dairy Leaders Institute Class 10

Fifty-one young adults from across the United States, Mexico, and Canada took part in Phase III of Holstein Foundation’s tenth Young Dairy Leaders Institute (YDLI) class held January 31 – February 3 in Phoenix, Ariz.

YDLI participants engaged in in-depth workshops covering topics of advanced media relations skills, conflict management, and the public policy process. They cultivated skills they gained during Phase I, along with what they have practiced and accomplished over the past twelve months to become effective spokespeople and advocates for the dairy industry with consumers and media. 

The theme for this YDLI Class was “Charting Your Course.” In addition to hearing presentations from every class member about their Phase II advocacy projects, the Phase III session featured speakers and workshops including: 

· Ty Bennett delivered a keynote about the “Power of Influence.” His message left the class encouraged and feeling motivated to continue charting their course for lasting influence on people they interact with. 
· Bonnie Burr, YDLI Class 1 graduate and 2004 YDLI Distinguished Alumni Leader, led a session on understanding public policy and had participants see how they could be more involved in the governmental process. 
· Joan Horbiak presented “Leading Out Loud” which focused on conquering interviews with the media, handling consumer questions, and sharing their dairy story. 
· Dr. Wes Jamison
 led a workshop on conflict management that focused on understanding conflict sources and styles. Dr. Jamison also moderated a session with guest Gene Baur on the topic of animal welfare. Baur is the president and co-founder of Farm Sanctuary, nation’s largest and most effective farm animal rescue and protection organization. 
· Pete Kappelman, 
Holstein Foundation board of trustees’ chairman and 2001 YDLI Distinguished Alumni Leader, conducted a workshop, “Get Ready to Run…For the Board!”, that taught participants about gaining confidence in their leadership abilities in a board setting. 

The Holstein Foundation and Young Dairy Leaders Institute participants would like to sincerely thank the many gracious sponsors who made the experience possible. 

Platinum sponsors include Allflex USA, Inc.; CHS Foundation; Holstein Association USA, Inc.; Northeast Agricultural Education Foundation; and Zoetis. 

Gold-level sponsors
 were Cargill Animal Nutrition; Dairy Farmers of America, Inc.; DairyBusiness Communications; Dean Foods Foundation; Deere & Company; Farm Credit Council; Hoard’s Dairyman; and Land O’Lakes, Inc. 

Silver sponsors were Dairy Management, Inc. and Farm Credit Northeast AgEnhancement. 

Bronze-level sponsors included Ag Inspirations, LLC; COBA/Select Sires; GEA Farm Technologies, Inc.; Merial Ltd.; and Paul Mueller Company. 

Read more about Class 10’s YDLI journey on our official YDLI blog, . A complete list of the graduating dairy leaders can be found below, along with the official class photo. 

Front row (l-r): Jessica Peters, Shannon Seifert, Lindsey Woodrum Reddish, Melanie Herman, Shawna Weller, Amy Yeiser Leslie, Andrea Dicke, Alexa Cabral, Regina Grover, Ariane France, Patricia Gilbert, Carolyn Abbott, Kelsey Flowe, Courtney Halbach, Rebecca Shaw  · Middle row (l-r): Pete Serne, Benjamin Newberry, Mandy Schmidt, Amanda Mitchelltree, Emma Watry, Amanda Waite, Brandon Thesing, Mitch Kappelman, Jessica May, Corey Kayhart, Alejandro Torres, Michael Azevedo, Mary Faber, Rayne Ives, Maija Haggith, Adam Geiger, Katherine Nissen, Lindsey Rucks, Nick Randle, Ellie Fleming  · Back row (l-r): Daren Sheffield, Erin Carter, Amanda Hauck, Aaron Harris, Ashley Sears Randle, Lyndsey Frey, Brandon Kruswick, Maggie Seiler, David Pyle, Marco Juarez, Michael Oosten, Holley Weeks, Alena Pacheco, Heather Hunt, Tera Baker, and Jacob Pieper 

Applications for YDLI Class 11 will be due August 1, 2018. With questions or for more information about YDLI, visit , or contact Holstein Foundation Programs Manager Jodi Hoynoski at 800.952.5200, ext. 4261 or .


Dairy Farm Blows Open South Africa’s Expanding Corruption Probe

Two armed security guards man a 10-foot-high steel gate at the entrance to a dairy farm in South Africa’s central Free State province that’s at the heart of a graft scandal embroiling some of President Jacob Zuma’s closest allies.

The state-owned farm near the tiny hamlet of Vrede was leased to little-known company, Estina Pty Ltd., under a free 99-year contract in 2012 and the regional government agreed to help develop it, ostensibly to create 200 jobs. Now prosecutors say most of the 220 million rand ($18.5 million) in public funds transferred to the company ended up in the hands of the Gupta brothers, who are in business with one of Zuma’s sons.

African National Congress Secretary-General Ace Magashule

“Hearing about the corruption has been extremely disappointing,” said Jabulile Mthombeni, a 30-year-old mother of two, who lives in a township on the outskirts of Vrede. “This project was something that I and some of the people in the surrounding communities saw as the hope we need to have jobs and benefits to help us survive and maybe even overcome the poverty we live in. We are still not benefiting.”

Asset Freeze

The High Court on Jan. 19 gave the National Prosecuting Authority’s asset forfeiture unit permission to freeze the project’s assets, and bank accounts belonging to Atul Gupta, who allegedly received a direct payment of 10 million rand. A week later the police’s Hawks investigative unit raided the office of Ace Magashule, the newly elected ruling African National Congress secretary-general and outgoing Free State premier, and the provincial agriculture department.

The crackdown, which came just weeks after Cyril Ramaphosa replaced Zuma as head of the ANC, is the authorities’ most decisive action yet to deal with allegations of what’s known in South Africa as “state capture” — the looting of billions of rand from the government by politically connected businessmen. While probes by parliament and a judicial commission are also underway, they’re likely to last months and will need prosecutors to follow up on their findings.

“We suddenly see a new lease on life in the NPA,” said Wayne Duvenhage, chief executive officer of civil rights group Organization Undoing Tax Abuse. “Improved governance is not going to happen overnight — it’s going to take a number of years. But we believe a lot of very wealthy people who got rich out of state capture are going to be held accountable and face the music.”

Lavish Wedding

At the center of most of the graft allegations are the Gupta brothers — Atul, Ajay and Rajesh — who immigrated to South Africa from India and built up a business empire with interests ranging from mining to information technology.

Emails leaked to the amaBhungane Centre for Investigative Journalism and Scorpio, the Daily Maverick news website’s investigative unit, show money flowed from the provincial government to Estina, to bank accounts in the United Arab Emirates and back again to the Gupta’s business accounts.

Some of it was used to pay for a four-day family wedding at a luxury resort west of Johannesburg in 2013 when guests landed at the high-security Waterkloof air force base, breaching the law.

The Democratic Alliance, the main opposition party, last year filed criminal charges against the Gupta brothers, their associates, and Mineral Resources Mosebenzi Zwane, who championed the project in Vrede, his home town, when he served as the Free State’s agriculture minister.

No Arrests

The Guptas, Zwane, Magashule, Zuma and his son all deny wrongdoing. NPA spokesman Luvuyo Mfaku said investigations are ongoing and no decision had been taken on whether to charge anyone. Zuma is facing mounting pressure from within the ANC to step down before his current terms ends next year, with some of the party’s top leaders likely to discuss plans for his exit at a meeting on Monday.

At the farm, the security guards denied Bloomberg access, and more than a dozen workers who were leaving the property at the end of their shift declined to be interviewed. Four metal cowsheds were visible through the gate, and a truck and tractor were seen driving along its dirt roads that traversed fields planted with corn. No cows were visible from the perimeter.

ANN7, a broadcaster formerly owned by the Guptas, reported on Jan. 30 that the 4,439-hectare (11,000-acre) farm employs 45 people and is milking about 200 cows.

Most Vrede residents remain in the dark about what will happen to the farm or why the project was so poorly handled.

“This whole process has been frustrating,” said Eric Kubeka, a 53-year-old father who was on a list of people identified to profit from the operation. “I really believed I would benefit through training or at least a job. I think a lot of people who were in charge of this project knew exactly what they were doing in their corrupt acts or the misuse of money. The law must take its course.”

Source: Bloomberg

Elkhorn family wins appeal in dairy farm expansion dispute

Adam and Jennifer Friemoth have done their best to be good neighbors to those living in the vicinity of their dairy farm.

Each fall for the past 11 years, the couple has invited nearby residents to an “open barn” event, where their non-farm neighbors tour the farm, watch the evening milking and share a meal with them.

“It’s always been an enjoyable time for everyone,” Jennifer Friemoth said.

Friemoth admits to feeling blind-sided when one of their neighbors – Cary and Laurie Glenner, the owners of a vacation home located south of dairy farm on Bowers Road – challenged the family’s quest to expand their dairy operation up to 944 animal units.

“I didn’t realize there was so much dislike out there for our farm,” Friemoth said. “Luckily it all worked out in the end.”

Last month the state Livestock Facility Siting Review Board sided with the Friemoths, determining that Walworth County had not only overreached its authority when issuing a conditional use permit to Friemoth Farms but failed to follow state procedures in approving the permit.

Trouble on the horizon

Friemoth said the trouble started last summer when the Glenners returned to their summer home for the Fourth of July weekend. After spying the bright orange sign posted at the Friemoth’s farm notifying adjacent property of the family’s plans for a proposed expansion, Cary Glenner made a visit to the farm.

“He accused us of sneaking behind the back of the neighbors,”Friemoth said, “when, in fact, we were doing everything the county had told us to do – legally.”

Glenner said that he and his wife purchased their Walworth County property 25 years ago, knowing from the start they were moving into an agricultural community.

“At that time there was only corn and soybeans growing (on the property adjacent to the Glenners),” Glenner said. “It went from no animal units to 500 and now (the proposed) 944.”

After Walworth County officials issued a conditional use permit in September 2017 allowing the Friemoths to expand their herd from 300 to over 900 animal units, the Glenners filed an appeal with the state review board a month later, on Oct. 18, citing concerns over possible water runoff onto their adjacent property.

“We’re just trying to find a balance between good farming and protecting the environment,” Glenner said. “We’re not doing anything to their property, we’re just trying to coexist and be good neighbors.”

The Friemoths subsequently filed a separate appeal contesting several conditions that Walworth County officials had included on the farm’s permit including daily cleanups of manure left on town roads, limiting manure hauling between the hours of 6 a.m. and 6 p.m. and requiring the farm to provide ample manure storage facilities.

According to the board’s final decision issued on Jan. 29, Walworth County failed to comply with state statutes regarding the hauling times, road cleanup and storage of manure and reversed the county-imposed conditions.

That board also opined that an existing feed storage structure found to be in compliance for its use.  The claim filed by the Glenners pointed out that the structure was not evaluated for compliance with state standards for runoff management. The board pointed out that particular standard in question applies only to feed storage structures holding high moisture feed and are one acre or more in size.

While the original expansion permit was reversed  by the board, Friemoth says the family is working with county officials to amend the permit before reissuing it.

“We’ve had a good working relationship with the county throughout the process,” Friemoth said. “Hopefully we can move forward.”

Friemoth said before the appeals put the brakes on the expansion process, she had builders lined up for the project and ready to go.

“Those bids that were on hold are no longer good. Hopefully the delay won’t cost us more money in the end,” she said.

Creating awareness

During the appeals process, a handful of neighbors living on Bowers Road submitted comments to the state Livestock Facility Siting Review Board. While some complained of odor issues, others took issue with what they perceived was lack of oversight.

“We feel that our government has failed us once again by allowing farmers whatever they want simply because, after all, we are in a farming community,” wrote Mark and Gayle Bong. “What is the point of setting limits on farmers in the first place when nobody monitors them? What is the point of requiring them to apply for a variance if the board grants their petition regardless of the many legitimate concerns of the community?”

Glenner said he and other residents in the neighborhood had hoped they could have had a dialogue with the Friemoths about the pending expansion.

“My neighbors and I reached out to the Friemoths and their legal counsel on multiple occasions to discuss options for the Friemoths’ expansion while also protecting the public’s health and welfare,” he said. “However, the refused to engage in any discussion.”

Friemoth hopes that members of the non-farming community were enlightened to the bevy of regulatory hoops that farms are required to jump through during the permitting process.

“I hope during the hearing that they were made aware that we do have to adhere to strict guidelines and regulations. We just can’t do whatever we want” she said. “We’ve talked to all the engineers and land conservation people because we realize that agriculture must be sustainable.

Source: Wisc Farmer

Purebred Publishing Acquires Holstein World Magazine

The legacy that began in 1904 when the Holstein-Friesian World published its first magazine bringing Holstein breeders across the country together in one publication. Now 115 years later – a new chapter is beginning as the family owned company passes the torch of ownership to publishers, Purebred Publishing, publishers of purebred dairy cattle publications since 1999. 

Purebred Publishing CEO Doug Granitz says, “This acquisition is a very important step in our plan for expanded service to livestock breeders. ContinuingHolstein World’s 115-year commitment to the Holstein breed is fundamental to our growth strategy. We are energized to see the great things the Holstein breed brings and the influence the breed has within the dairy industry. 

“The Purebred staff has an ongoing commitment to the success of the dairy industry as most of our team are active breeders and exhibitors themselves. We are committed to move forward with this product and continue building the legacy of excellence that is the Holstein World.” 

“It is an honor, once again, to produce and now own, a communication and marketing magazine with so much history and continued potential surrounding the registered Holstein industry. Purebred Publishing is dedicated to bringing the news of the purebred dairy industry to the breeders across the country, to provide dairy breeders with a go-to spot for marketing and communications. 

“Many of our existing clients have multiple breeds including Holsteins, so we are excited to be able to offer even more services to all of them for that one-stop shop for marketing. Our goals for the Holstein World products will be to continue to offer the great news stories about cow families, shows and the Holstein breeders themselves as well as offer an exciting vehicle of communication for the breed,” said Cheri Oechsle, Managing Editor of Purebred Publishing. 

Effective with the February issue now in production, and going forward, the print publication and its related digital activities will be owned and operated by this media service firm that has been producing high quality publications for dairy breeds since 1999. 

The Holstein World products will be operated by Purebred Publishing under the direction of Cheri Oechsle, the managing editor. Oechsle grew up with Registered Holsteins on her family’s farm and continues owning and developing, with her husband and sons, both Black and White and Red and White Holsteins. She and the Purebred team will continue the legacy established so many years ago. 

Longtime editor and publisher Joel Hastings says, “After three generations of my family’s involvement in the World, it’s gratifying to see the magazine move to a new home where service to purebred dairy cattle breeders is fundamental. We know Purebred Publishing is uniquely suited to build on our traditions, providing new opportunities to benefit readers, advertisers and the Holstein industry at large. We’re delighted Holstein World has a very suitable new home!” 

Hastings confirms that DairyBusiness Digital media also owned by HFW Communications, Inc., formerly the parent company of Holstein World, will continue under his direction. Included here are twice-monthly DairyBusiness digital magazines, a weekly e-newsletter and an active website – – providing news and management information for dairy producers, agri-service personnel and suppliers. 

Purebred Publishing adds the products of the Holstein World to their growing roster of multiple breed magazines and news sites including, the Ayrshire Digest, the Brown Swiss Bulletin, the Guernsey Breeders’ Journal and the Milking Shorthorn Journal

Purebred Publishing is headquartered in Columbus, Ohio. 


Furious viewers blast vegan campaigner

Viewers tore into a militant vegan who claimed the dairy industry rapes and ‘sexually violates’ cows on This Morning as he sat next to two farmers who received death threats after posting photos of their calves online.

Joey Carbstrong, 31, an Australian ‘celebrity’ vegan activist with tens of thousands of YouTube and Instagram followers, lectured dairy farmers Jonny and Dulcie Crickmore about their rearing methods.

The campaigner, who just days ago attacked Jeremy Vine for eating a ham sandwich, claimed artificial insemination – during which semen are injected into the female cow’s ‘reproductive tract’  – was equivalent to ‘sexual abuse’ as the animal could not give consentt.  

Joey Carbstrong, 31, an Australian 'celebrity' vegan activist with tens of thousands of YouTube and Instagram followers, lectured dairy farmers Jonny and Dulcie Crickmore about their rearing methods


Joey Carbstrong, 31, an Australian ‘celebrity’ vegan activist with tens of thousands of YouTube and Instagram followers, lectured dairy farmers Jonny and Dulcie Crickmore about their rearing methods

Carbstrong said: ‘Cows are artificially inseminated with a fist up their anus. When she can’t produce any more, she is murdered for her body.’

When asked by presenter Philip Schofield if the process could really be described as ‘rape’, as activists had said online, Carbstrong said: ‘If the victim is a human being we would call it that.

‘It is sexual abuse. We are sexually violating a sentient being against their will. That is amoral – they cannot give consent to this.’

Carbstrong’s comments were savaged by viewers on Twitter, who accused him of behaving in an unreasonable and aggressive manner.

‘Jess’ said: ‘If you want to be vegan, absolutely fine. If you don’t want to be, again, absolutely fine. Leave people alone for god sake.’

Another viewer wrote: ‘This militant vegan on This Morning has me howling. His eyes are going to pop out of his head any minute.

The campaigner, who just days ago attacked Jeremy Vine for eating a ham sandwich, claimed artificial insemination - during which semen are injected into the female cow's 'reproductive tract' - was equivalent to 'sexual abuse'. He is seen on the programme next to Mr and Mrs Crickmore


The campaigner, who just days ago attacked Jeremy Vine for eating a ham sandwich, claimed artificial insemination – during which semen are injected into the female cow’s ‘reproductive tract’ – was equivalent to ‘sexual abuse’. He is seen on the programme next to Mr and Mrs Crickmore

‘He doesn’t even listen. Just looks for a moment to interject & shove his views, quite aggressively, down everyone’s throats. What an arrogant man.

And Jennifer Down, a farmer, tweeted: ‘We’re not forcing vegans to eat meat so why are they forcing us to be vegan!? We farmers have no issues with the lifestyle they choose.’

Farmers are Jonny and Dulcie Crickmore also defended their trade against Carbstrong’s slurs.

Mrs Crickmore said: ‘We uploaded a social media post showing three triplets, and quickly received a lot of abuse from vegans.

‘Words like rape, murder and slavery were consistent.

‘Rape is an act of sexual predation; murder is one human being purposely killing another human being; and slavery is one human being enslaving another human being.’

Carbstrong's comments were savaged by viewers on Twitter, who accused him of behaving in an unreasonable and aggressive manner

Carbstrong’s comments were savaged by viewers on Twitter, who accused him of behaving in an unreasonable and aggressive manner

Mr Crickmore: ‘I find those words like “rape” and “murder’ very offensive.

‘We have billions of people in this world and they have to be fed. Like 270-odd other species on this planet, we eat meat.’

Carbstrong recently hit the headlines after lecturing BBC Radio 2 host Jeremy Vine for having a ham sandwich on his desk.

The self-proclaimed ‘vegan educator’ has come to prominence recently because of his clashes with farmers who he has likened to ‘slave owners’.

Carbstrong, from Adelaide in south Australia, is currently touring the UK and Ireland because he has an ‘obligation’ to convert meat eaters to veganism.

He said: ‘If you stand by and watch, that’s akin to standing by and watching someone abuse their wife and not saying anything. If you didn’t intervene, then you become complicit.’

Carbstrong was set to discuss that but was instead distracted by the ham sandwich Vine had brought in for his lunch.

Who is militant vegan Joey Carbstrong?

The 31-year-old, a former gang member, spent time in prison before turning his life around and turning 'full vegan' for both ethical and health reasons

The 31-year-old, a former gang member, spent time in prison before turning his life around and turning ‘full vegan’ for both ethical and health reasons

Joey Carbstrong, whose real name is Joey Armstrong, is a ‘celebrity’ vegan activist from Australia with tens of thousands of YouTube and Instagram followers.

The 31-year-old, a former gang member, spent time in prison before turning his life around and becoming ‘full vegan’ for both ethical and health reasons.

After dropping out of school aged 14, Mr Carbstrong fell in with the wrong crowd, eventually turning to ‘more serious, hardcore, organised crime gangs’ and dealing drugs to support his own habit.

He is said to have spent much of his youth using methamphetamine and drinking alcohol.

Aged 26, he spent six months in jail for possession of a firearm, which he had hidden down his trousers while on house detention.

Discussing his gang related crime, he said: ‘I still had compassion in my heart but it was clouded by the environment that shaped me and people around me.’

While holed up in prison he had ‘an epiphany’ and became determined to turn his back on the criminal world.

He said: ‘It was the longest I’d been sober for the past 12 years of my life. I began seeing my life with new eyes. I’d seen all the other prisoners in there and didn’t want to be there, I wanted to leave the gangs.’

Mr Carbstrong turned to the teachings of Dan McDonald, an American advocate for raw food and fasting who formerly had a drug problem.

Following his release from prison he then went ‘full vegan’.

The 31-year-old said: ‘I’d always said that it’s hypocritical to say you love animals – save the whales, dolphins, dogs – but then have a piece of an animal that’s suffered and had a bolt gun to the head on your plate. I was a walking hypocrite…I decided to align my actions and my morals.’

Since then he has become a militant vegan campaigner and has been touring the world to encourage people with his radical message.

He is currently on tour of the UK and Ireland, attending daytime vigils and protests alongside fellow activists.

He hit the headlines this week because of his clashes with farmers, likening them to ‘slave owners’.

He has posted YouTube videos showing him confronting farmers and meat industry workers, saying they ‘should be scared’. 

Inspecting it, the former gang member who spent six months in prison, said: ‘I’m a bit upset to see your sandwich has a piece of a pig’s body in there. A dead pig that didn’t want to die.

‘Ham is a euphemism that actually comes from the flesh of a dead pig.’

Commenting on the incident, Carbstrong said: ‘The passion was justified, Jeremy has not spent as many hours as I have seeing pigs being lowered into gas chambers and thrashing around as they die.

‘If he had seen things I have seen he wouldn’t have been so insensitive about it and pointed out this piece of dead meat.’

Source: Daily Mail UK

Take Action to get Students Delicious Milk

After hearing from many throughout the country about schools only being able to provide skim milk and skim flavored milk in school lunch programs and the lack of student consumption of these milk choices, USDA has acted. This summer Sonny Perdue, U.S. Secretary of Agriculture, announced that schools could apply for a waiver and provide 1% flavored milk in their school nutrition programs.

This sounded like great news until I actually looked into what it would take to get a variance. The form required a district to document loss of milk consumption compared with previous years or the number of student complaints from previous years (details I doubt were ever recorded) and parent complaints from prior years (if I knew anyone kept tract of complaints to this degree, I would have complained a lot more).

Our school district decided to conduct a Student Food Waste Audit, you can actually go to the EPA website for guidance on setting up this study. This was a rather involved process. When I first proposed the idea of applying for the wavier, the food services director and I estimated there was 20% milk refusal. To carry out the audit and test our hypothesis, all the un-opened and unfinished skim milk was collected and weighed over several days. Students were also asked why they did not drink their milk with many stating they did not like the taste of skim milk.

You may be wondering why students always take milk even though they do not like the taste. Being a school board member, I remember a meeting where it was indicated that all students must have a milk carton on their tray. If the school were to be audited and this wasn’t happening, the school would get a reduction in school nutrition funding. Wow, shouldn’t we be more concerned about whether students are drinking the nutritious milk that schools provide rather than just pushing it out and having it end up in the trash? This is why our schools end up with garbage pails filled with unopened milk cartons.

The Great News

In late November 2017, our school received the news that we were issued a variance. I was so excited! Our nutrition director contacted our milk vender to get 1% flavored milk. The response however, was maddening. Our school was told they could not get 1% flavored milk because none of the suppliers were set up to do so as a result of the previous regulations prohibiting 1% flavored milk in schools.

On November 29, 2017 USDA issued an interim ruling for the 2018/19 school year allowing schools to provide 1% flavored milk for breakfast and lunch and in milk vending machines. I keep hearing that fluid milk consumption in the U.S. is on a steady decline with young people drinking less milk. Is it any surprise why this is happening, when our students are only provided milk that one student described as, “gross watered-down milk”?

What Can You Do?

Here are some ways you can get 1% flavored milk back into the hands of growing kids:

  • Contact local school board officials, school administration or the school’s food service director. Many schools are unaware of this option and how effortless it is now. As a school board member, I know that if people contact me about school issues, I take their concerns very seriously and they become top of mind. It often takes only a few people to make a big difference.
  • Consider providing a comment to the USDA on the interim ruling so they know how important it is for our students to receive the nutrition that delicious milk provides.
  • Just spread the word (For example – share this blog post!). The more people we talk to, the greater impact we will have.

The Time is Now!

Please do not wait to take action as many schools will be considering their school milk and bread contracts in the next few weeks. Our school district received notice on January 18 that our milk bids would be coming due the next few weeks. If we do not act quickly this opportunity to make a positive difference for our students could be lost.

When flavored milk in schools was substituted with plain milk a 35% reduction in milk consumption resulted, 7-8% of fluid milk in the U.S. is consumed through school lunch programs. Let’s be a leader in the effort to get milk consumption back up in our schools. After all, we are America’s Dairyland!

If not us then who?

Top Dairy Industry News Stories from January 27th to February 2nd 2018

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Reese Burdette Update February 2nd 2018

Reese’s aunt Laura shares the following update:

A long overdue update on our Reese…so many have been asking so I am here to deliver! In short, Reese is doing fabulous! Since her kidney transplant in late November, she has been healing well at home. She is still in isolation and not in school as her body’s immune system strengthens. I don’t have to tell any of ya’ll about the horrible flu circulating, but we certainly don’t wish that on Reese. Reese’s spirits are as high as they have ever been as she feels as good as she has felt in years, all in thanks to Alyssa and the kidney she so generously donated. Reese was able to enjoy Christmas at home with family and her normal annual traditions that included a visit from Santa, daily Elf on a Shelf pranks, baking, gift wrapping and all the things that Christmas brings. Reese is attending school through “Double” the robot which she did while hospitalized at Johns Hopkins. She made the A/B honor roll even while schooling at home…remarkable we think! On December 21, just before Christmas, Reese had her dialysis catheter removed at Johns Hopkins. This was a biggie as it’s one step closer to being free from support she no longer needs. Her trach removal will be next but that’s a few months away as doctors hope to see her through the flu season and just wait to see her improve each day, as she is doing. Medically, Reese reports to Johns Hopkins three times a week for blood work, to ensure her new kidney is doing its job. We hope that soon, this blood work can be done at a more local hospital to save Claire, Justin and Reese the hours on the road to Baltimore. Reese has the task of drinking a tremendous amount of fluids each day and it’s an absolute chore. 3 Liters a day is a lot of fluid, regardless of what kind of drink it is. Bless her, we hope this amount will be lessened soon. Recently, Reese was invited to partake in a day of skiing at Whitetail, sponsored by Two Top Mountain Adaptive Sports Foundation. What a special day that was for Reese that resulted in lots of laughs and smiles. Reese wasn’t able to maneuver on traditional skis but was able to use an adaptive-sit-on ski. She loved every minute of it. Reese enjoys all of her favorite foods each day like all things potato (fries, hash browns, cheesy potatoes), dairy products and bananas. She is so happy to not have limitations on the foods she had to do without for so long. Like the rest of us, Reese has put on a little winter weight so she has recently taken up walking on the treadmill each day. This has been great for her lungs and we hope she builds her stamina as well as keeps her weight in check – something that is no stranger to so many of us. Alyssa seems to be doing well too – she is back to her normal routine of teaching each day and feeling good enough to enjoy her favorite pastimes as well. We do thank each of you for your continued interest in both Reese and Alyssa. Your well-wishes, prayers and good thoughts have gotten our entire family through so much. We thank you and hope you all stay healthy this winter season.

Outstanding Individuals to be Honoured at AGM

Holstein Canada is pleased to announce that both a Certificate of Superior Accomplishment and a Certificate of Recognition will be presented at the Annual General Meeting in Quebec City, QC on April 14, 2018. Doug Blair of Cobble Hill, BC will receive the Certificate of Superior Accomplishment, while Jean Touchette of Sainte-Françoise-de-Lotbinière, QC will receive the Certificate of Recognition.

Doug Blair received a degree at UBC specializing in animal breeding, genetics and economics. He had a long career in Artificial Insemination, starting as a sire analyst at BCAI. Doug co-founded Western Breeders Services (WBS) and was a founding member of Semex Canada. WBS became Canada’s largest exporter of frozen embryos. Doug remained CEO of WBS, which became Alta Genetics, for 35 years. After his retirement, he remained a Board Member allowing him to continue to serve in the industry. His passion and interest in cattle breeding will never retire.

Doug served as chairman of many Canadian and International Associations such as National 4-H Foundation of Canada, Alberta Dairy Herd Improvement Board and CDN. Doug is a risk taker and was never afraid to initiate, grow and develop the market. Doug is a believer in Canadian genetics and always promoted the Canadian cow and programs that verified that she is a great cow. He is one of Canada’s greatest advocators for our dairy industry. Doug is a mentor to many people in the industry; many would love to have his memory for cow families, his ability to see the genetics that breeding can create and his entrepreneurial skills to become a success in our industry. Doug was presented with many outstanding awards including the Order of Canada in 1993, Canadian Agriculture Hall of Fame in 2003, Honorary Klussendorf Award at World Dairy Expo in 2007, and CDN industry Distinction Award from CDN in 2008. It is Holstein Canada’s honour to commemorate the accomplishments of Doug Blair with the Certificate of Superior Accomplishment.

Jean Touchette’s guiding principle for his exceptional career as a Holstein Breeder is “personal achievement is not enough; success must be shared.” He developed a deep passion for purebred Holsteins in 1961 when he bought a farm and a few purebred Holstein heifers. For Jean, shows are a privileged place and time full of encounters, stimulation, celebration and a very important place of learning, especially for the next generation. As an official judge, he travelled to all corners of Quebec, to Ontario, the United States, Morocco and to several countries in Europe. Jean was involved in several committees for selecting and training judges, as well as show ethics.

Jean was an active member of his local Holstein Club for many years, and became provincial President in 1977. He was the founding father of Expo Printemps Québec which celebrates 40 years of success in 2018. Under the well-known prefix Duregal, Jean received his Master Breeder Shield in 1989 and bred the very popular Duregal Astre Starbuck. Jean is visionary, daring and persistent. He has always convinced his fellow producers to get involved new projects. His motto is Love + Dedication + Tenacity = Success. By being true to his convictions, Jean opened doors that have helped the recognition and the marketing of Quebec Holstein cattle around the world, including taking the first “State Herd” to the World Dairy Expo. It is Holstein Canada’s honour to commemorate the accomplishments of Jean Touchette with the Certificate of Recognition.

Both incredibly prestigious and distinguished awards, the Certificate of Superior Accomplishment and the Certificate of Recognition have only been awarded a combined total of 25 times since 1954. Both awards recognize qualities and activities such as: enhancing working relationships; promoting the breed, the Association, and/or Association programs; mentorship and leadership; education; and time and contribution significantly over and above what is considered “part of the job”. The Certificate of Superior Accomplishment recognizes these qualities and activities with a national/international impact, while the Certificate of Recognition recognizes these same qualities and activities with more of a provincial or regional impact.


Large numbers of Pennsylvania dairy farmers may sell cows soon

The long, proud tradition of Lancaster County as the state’s dairy capital may take a hit in the next six months as milk farmers like Elmer K. King reluctantly empty their barn stalls.

The Ronks-area dairyman recently began shopping for a buyer for his 48 milking cows, an unwilling step to exit the dairy business forced by a three-year-downward spiral in milk prices and a new projection that 2018 might be the worst yet.

“I’d rather keep on going,” the longtime dairyman says, “but I don’t see any milk futures as being profitable, so there’s no sense in keeping cows. It’s not profitable.

“It does make me sad. I got into the dairy business with my dad and have been doing it all my life.”

Local agriculture lenders, ag leaders and politicians fear the next six months may bring an unprecedented sell-off of dairy herds in Lancaster County.

The exits are expected to be mainly by younger dairy farmers and those renting farms who don’t have the equity built up to weather the storm any longer.

“As farmers use up the forage they produced last fall and are stored in silos, you’re going to see them just sell their cows. It’s the young farmers trying to start up. They’re not going to stick around,” predicts state Rep. David H. Zimmerman of East Earl.

“In Lancaster County you won’t get dairy cattle back into those farms. The farmland will be cash-cropped or used for produce farming, maybe tobacco. We could lose a whole generation of young farmers.

No short-term solution

Zimmerman, who grew up on a dairy farm and spent most of his career in ag sales, has been meeting in recent weeks with dairy groups, dairymen and Pennsylvania’s agriculture secretary in an urgent attempt to head off the exodus.

But he does not have much hope in the near term.

At the recent Pennsylvania Farm Show, Zimmerman heard ag financial lenders and other experts predict “several hundred” herds may be sold off around the state in the next six months.

“These people are just fed up and tired of not knowing about the market and are tired of the hassle of sticking with it and are now venturing into something else.”

“That’s the talk,” agrees Christ Taylor, a real estate agent and auctioneer for Beiler-Campbell Realtors, which handles farm sales in 30 counties.

“These people are just fed up and tired of not knowing about the market and are tired of the hassle of sticking with it and are now venturing into something else.”

So dire is the situation that Amish leaders and dairymen from around Lancaster County will meet Monday with state Agriculture Secretary Russell Redding and Zimmerman in New Holland.

How to bring a milk-processing plant to Lancaster County is near the top of the Plain Sect community’s questions. So is what dairymen can do to keep from losing a cherished livelihood.

Selling cows, not farms

Most of the impending selloffs will be of dairy cows and equipment, not the farms themselves, local experts say.

“Selling farms would be a last resort. There are other things they will check into before liquidating,” observes Christ.

For example, King, the Ronks dairyman preparing to unload his cows, will keep his farm, renting out part of it, growing produce and possibly getting a nonfarm-related job.

He had hoped his 21-year-old son, the eldest of seven children, would join him in the dairy business, but his son chose to go into the fence-building business instead.

Dad understands.

“He sees too much debt loads on farms,” King says.

Low prices for cows

With interest in expanding milk production waning, local farmers who do decide to bail out will not get good prices for their cows and equipment.

With no demand for milk cows, most farmers will be forced to sell their herd as beef cattle at prices much lower than what they originally paid.

With little return on big investments because of low milk prices, dairy farmers are in a particularly bad spot, agrees Mike Firestine, senior vice president of Fulton Bank, which does considerable ag lending.

“We’re encouraging farmers to look at every opportunity to get through the next several months. But, unfortunately for some farmers, it’s an exit strategy.”

“It is very sobering to say the least. Our family dairy farms are capital intense, whether buying cows or equipment, and the returns on investments are not immediate. Basically, they are buying retail and selling wholesale,” he says.

At the Center for Dairy Excellence, a nonprofit group created by the state to make dairy farming more profitable, more calls than ever are coming in for help in holding off the hard times.

“We’re encouraging farmers to look at every opportunity to get through the next several months. But, unfortunately for some farmers, it’s an exit strategy,” says Jayne Sebright, the center’s executive director.

Requests by farmers to use the center’s financial consultants to get through the hard times — or prepare an exit plan — were up 15 percent last year and have never been in such high demand, Sebright says.

Converging factors

It is a convergence of factors that has put dairy farmers across the United States in a bind.

One huge factor, simply put, is that demand for whole milk is down while production continues high. In short, there is a glut of milk.

“There’s too much milk around,” says Earl Fink, executive vice president of the Pennsylvania Association of Milk Dealers.

The last good year for high milk prices that benefited dairy farmers was in 2014, when exports of milk were robust. Since then, foreign milk has ramped up, decreasing the need for U.S. milk, even while consumption has fallen at home.

The milk industry blames federal rules in 2012 that eliminated low-fat flavored milk from school meal and a-la-carte programs as an unnecessary step that has drastically reduced milk demand in the U.S.

In November, the feds began allowing 1 percent flavored milk in school meals. And U.S. Rep. Glenn Thompson of Bellefonte in October introduced legislation to further expand milk consumption and choices in schools.

Soy and almond milk also has cut into the nation’s appetite for cow milk.

“A lot of consumers are being misled by soy and almond milk,” says Dave Smith, executive director of the Pennsylvania Dairymen’s Association. “It’s really a juice, and it doesn’t have the nutrient value of milk.”

Bad outlook for 2018

Not unexpectedly, the prices that dairy processors pay farmers for milk have fallen steadily. And the projection for 2018 is that milk prices will fall even more.

Scant profit margins particularly pinch small dairy farmers, such as those in Lancaster County, that lack the economies of scale of large milk operations elsewhere in the country.

Also hurting Lancaster and Pennsylvania dairy farmers is the fact that there are fewer milk-processing plants located in the state.

Even with one of the heaviest concentrations of milk in the United States, much of the milk produced here has to go out of state to be processed. That means higher transportation fees paid by dairymen, cutting into their profits.

Impact of PA plants

A recent study by the state Department of Agriculture and the Center for Dairy Excellence says that two cheese plants, perhaps in Reading and State College, would reduce overall supply-chain costs for farmers and use 4 million pounds of milk a day at each plant.

Both Gov. Tom Wolf and state Agriculture Secretary Russell Redding say they have been trying to get dairy processors to build milk or specialty processing plants.

Zimmerman notes that Pennsylvania in recent years lost a yogurt plant to New York and a cheese plant to Michigan.

“We have to compete and we’re not. And now we’re doing it at the cost of a Lancaster County tradition.”

“Pennsylvania has to do a better job than that,” Zimmerman says. “We have to compete and we’re not. And now we’re doing it at the cost of a Lancaster County tradition.”

Exports of milk to Canada and foreign countries have fallen sharply, which also has contributed to lower milk prices. At the same time, countries such as New Zealand are competing with domestic dairies.

Even in Pennsylvania, milk produced in other states is flooding into the state because of favorable minimum in-store prices.

Some dairymen blame cooperatives that they feel have gotten so large and powerful that they no longer represent small dairy farmers.


Prize awarded to researchers for breeding climate-friendly cows

The Innovation Fund Denmark’s Grand Solutions Prize has been awarded to three researchers for their work involving breeding of climate-friendly cows.

Peter Løvendahl from the Department of Molecular Biology and Genetics at Aarhus University, Jan Lassen from Viking Genetics and Henrik Bjørn Nielsen from the Technical University of Denmark have received the Innovation Fund Denmark’s Grand Solutions Prize for breeding climate-friendly cows. This can reduce methane emissions in Denmark by a CO2-equivalent of 90,000 tonnes CO2 per year. The prize was awarded by Søren Pind, Minister for Higher Education and Science on January 26, 2018.

Every time a cow burping, it emits methane and contributes to global warming. Methane emissions from cattle represent 6 per cent of the total greenhouse gas emissions from Denmark. A group of Danish researchers have worked on fining a way to reduce the amount of methane emitted from cows.

After four years of study supported by Innovation Fund Denmark, the researchers managed to reduce methane emissions by 5 per cent, equivalent to 90,000 tonnes of CO2 annually, while at the same time reducing feed consumption by 1per cent. Since Denmark is the leader in export of climate-friendly bull semen, the results have great prospects.

Researchers from the Department of Molecular Biology and Genetics (Senior Scientist Peter Løvendahl), the Cattle Breeding Association Viking Genetics (Project Manager Jan Lassen) and DTU (Chief Scientific Officer Henrik Bjørn Nielsen) have achieved these results by mapping several thousand cow genes and analyzing milk yield and feed consumption. They then selected those cows with the most optimal inheritance.

– A reduction of 5 per cent may not seem like much, but it should be remembered that it is achieved through genetic selection, and will therefore increase in future generations as hereditary changes accumulate. Over time, we will see really big changes. It should be added that feed consumption is also reduced. This means that climate-friendly cows are also advantageous for cattle farmers, says Peter Løvendahl.


Source: EurekAlert

CDCB 2018 Summer Internships

Subject: CDCB Internship in Dairy Cattle Research


The work opportunity provided for dairy or animal science students will include learning and using research techniques to analyze dairy cattle genetics and management data. The work to be performed on location in Prince Georges County of Maryland is to benefit the mission of both the Council of Dairy Cattle Breeding (CDCB) and USDA’s Animal Genomics and Improvement Laboratory (AGIL). The two organizations have a long history of performing quality research and publishing the findings as evident by six members of their staff1 having been recipients of the J. L. Lush Award in Animal Breeding from the American Dairy Science Association and/or the National Association of Animal Breeders’ Research Award. Five of those are still employed.

Primary missions of the CDCB is to maintain the national dairy database plus calculate and verify accuracy of the genetic evaluations for the U.S. dairy industry. The primary mission of AGIL is to perform genetic and management research and develop the genetic evaluation methodology to be used by the CDCB. Much of the group’s research is in support of genomic prediction, so exposure to this topic is expected. The student can expect to receive research exposure in several other areas as well.

The student will work a 40-hour week from Monday to Friday, primarily in an office environment. Weekly communication meetings are held at CDCB and AGIL and joint meetings periodically between the two organizations to exchange information on research activities and coordinate operations. Staff at CDCB include geneticists Joao Durr, Ezequiel Nicolazzi, Duane Norman, Kristen Parker-Gaddis, Kaori Tokuhisa, and George Wiggans. Geneticists or Animal Scientists at AGIL are John Cole, Suzanne Hubbard, Jana Hutchison, Daniel Null, Melvin Tooker, Curt Van Tassell, and Paul VanRaden, plus visiting scientists.


The internship will be tailored to satisfy the interest of the student and the needs of the staff. The student will become involved in one or more projects in an area which is a priority focus of the CDCB’s and AGIL’s research effort. The student will work with one or more staff members to plan, conduct, and summarize their projects. At the end of the summer, the student will prepare an oral or written report summarizing their internship achievements.


This program is available to dairy or animal science students in their junior, senior, or graduate study program. Students have the option to register (or not) for college credit at their home institution. Students are responsible for making arrangements for credits if they so choose. Their 2018 program can begin in May or June and run through the summer. The student’s wage during the internship is $775 per week2. The students will arrange for his/her own housing although the CDCB staff can assist in providing contacts.


Applicants should have the following sent to Joao Durr, Chief Executive Officer, Council on Dairy Cattle Breeding, One Town Center, 4201 Northview Drive, Suite 302, Bowie, MD 20716, Phone: 240-334-4164: Ext. 331.

  • Biographical information (1-2 pages)
  • A copy of their college transcript (an unofficial copy is acceptable)
  • Two letters of support including one from a college advisor or department instructor.
  • Letter outlining career goals and reasons for applying; include any research experience or computer software skills you might have.

The CDCB offer equal employment opportunities without discrimination.

1 ADSA J. L. Lush Award Recipients:  H. Duane Norman (1995), George R. Wiggans (1996), Rex L. Powell (1997), Paul M. VanRaden (2000), Curtis P. Van Tassell (2012), and John B. Cole (2015). NAAB Research Award Recipients:  H. Duane Norman (1993), Rex L. Powell (1994), George R. Wiggans (1996), Paul M. VanRaden (2002), and Curtis P. Van Tassell (2014).

2Could be more, depending on qualifications.

Drought officially declared in Southland New Zealand

Drought has officially been declared in Southland and parts of Otago, a day before heavy rain is expected to lash the south for a sustained period.

Minister of Agriculture and Rural Communities Damien O’Connor has declared drought in the whole of Southland and Otago’s Queenstown Lakes, Central Otago and Clutha districts.

The “medium scale adverse event” drought classification, made on Tuesday – triggers additional funding of up to $130,000 for the local rural support trusts and industry groups to coordinate recovery support.

“We’ve been working with local farming groups, councils and NIWA to monitor how the drought has been progressing and the impact on the farming communities,” O’Connor.

“Anticipated rain that could have provided respite just hasn’t fallen in the right areas to mitigate the effects of the early hot dry summer.”

Farmers had been unable to grow sufficient feed for winter and had been using stored feed and brought in supplements for stock, as well as selling off animals.

Heavy rain is predicted this week, but the drought had already taken its toll on farms and would take time to recover from, O’Connor said.

“While rain now would allow pasture to grow, this can take a month to translate into feed for animals, and many are now well behind in preparing for winter.

“So the recovery assistance measures are as important as ever, even when we finally get decent rain.”

The formal request for the classification was made by drought committees and rural communities in a letter to O’Connor – in which they highlighted the extremely unusual event for Southland.

Organisations in the regions were gearing up to assist farmers with feed budgets, technical information and farm management, and stress management.

The early start to a hot dry summer had taken its toll on the groundwater and rivers in the south of the country, and farmers were working hard to look after their animals in a challenging climate.

The Inland Revenue would also consider hardship situations but farmers should contact their accountants in the first instance, he said.

The drought was originally classified as a medium-scale adverse event in the North Island across Taranaki, western parts of Manawatu-Whanganui and Wellington, and the Grey and Buller districts of the South Island’s West Coast over the Christmas period.

Significant rain has improved soil moisture in some of those areas, but recovery from the drought is an ongoing process.

Clutha-Southland MP Hamish Walker said the official drought declaration would offer some relief to those affected.

“This is recognition that we are now … into an extreme event – I’m pleased [Damian O’Connor] has listened to our communities’ calls for action.”

The declaration of drought coincided with Environment Southland upgrading the low water situation in Southland from “concerning” to “serious” on Tuesday.

Environment Southland senior staffer Graham Sevicke-Jones said the sustained low rainfall was starting to have a wide-reaching impact on the region.

“With the river levels continuing to drop, we’re now at the stage where not only those in rural areas are feeling the bite of the low water levels, but people in all our towns and the city are also subject to council restrictions.”

The Oreti River was measured at 2.73 m3 per second at Wallacetown on Tuesday, an extremely low flow that occurred on average only once every 15 years.

The Mataura has fallen below 11 m3 per second at Gore, triggering a number of consent restrictions.

There had been little rainfall around the region in the past week, however the Metservice has issued a severe weather warning for Fiordland and a severe weather watch for Southland, with heavy rainfall forecast for the entire region for Wednesday evening and Thursday.

Global weather models are predicting 80 to 165mm of rainfall in the headwaters and western areas, while coastal areas are expected to receive about 50 to 80mm.

“If that happens, it will change the situation very quickly for our rivers, and we would have around one to two weeks grace before rivers could again be at the current low flows,” Sevicke-Jones said.

As a next step, Environment Southland could issue a water shortage direction, which would put further restrictions on water takes and discharge consents throughout the region. This would however be considered very carefully, Graham said.

“If the current weather continues, we could be in a situation where the water flows will be so low that they will be seriously affecting domestic water supplies, stock water and firefighting reserves. We’re very aware that we need good support available for farmers and other businesses if there’s a need to put on further restrictions.”


Source: Stuff

Women Farmers in Kenya Beat Drought With Native Grass

While farmers around Kenya struggle to grow enough maize to feed their families and their cattle, some women dairy farmers are boosting milk production and making money by growing and selling native grasses as cattle feed.

Since July, Wilfrida Olaly has been paying 8,000 Kenyan shillings ($78) a month for her health insurance. This is the first time the 52-year-old farmer has ever been able to afford to pay for health coverage. It’s because she changed what she feeds her cows.

For years, Olaly had fed the animals on her farm in Muhuroni, in Kenya’s Kisumu County, on traditional corn stover – the leaves, stalks and maize cobs left in the field after a harvest. But since May, her cows have been feeding on two types of indigenous grass instead: Boma Rhodes, a drought-resistant tropical grass used mainly for pasture and hay, and the native Brachiaria, also known as signal grass. And their milk production has almost doubled.

“Milk production since July this year has improved from 4 liters to 7 liters a day (1-1.8 gallons),” says Olaly. “I never knew milk sales would ever fetch me 12,000 Kenyan shillings ($116) a month.”

Corn stover is the most popular cattle feed in much of Africa, mainly because most small dairy farmers depend on maize for their livelihood and usually have a surplus of stover they need to get rid of, making it cheap and easily available. But as the recurrent drought in East Africa continues to kill off maize crops, some farmers in the region are turning to alternative cattle feed, such as grass. And for some women farmers in Kenya, swapping corn stover for native grasses has given them a reliable source of food and a path out of poverty.

Greener Than Corn

Olaly’s sudden milk production boost is down to digestibility. Grasses are easier than corn stover for a cow’s digestive system to break down, says John Goopy, a research scientist at the International Livestock Research Institute (ILRI).

“The animal gets more energy from the tropical grasses and benefits from the nutrients, resulting in increased productivity,” he says.

Feeding cattle on grass instead of stover also has another benefit, Goopy says: reducing the amount of methane cows emit and slowing the effects of climate change.

As cows break down their food to produce energy, they also produce methane, which accounted for 16 percent of global greenhouse gas emissions in 2014. Goopy says that while cows in sub-Saharan Africa do not necessarily produce more methane per head compared to cows in developed countries, they produce disproportionately high amounts of the gas in relation to how little milk they make.

Using grass fodder instead of corn stover makes cows more efficient and better for the environment, he says.

“Feeds that are easily digestible help improve the levels of productivity per cow compared to the levels of emissions they produce, making them more producers than polluters.”

Thriving Through the Drought

Olaly had been struggling with low milk yield since she started keeping livestock in 1998. Her fortunes turned once she joined a program run by Heifer International and ILRI, which promotes the production and consumption of Boma Rhodes, Brachiaria and other grass varieties as a way to help cows make more milk and less methane.

Wilfrida Olaly says her cows are making almost twice as much milk since she started feeding them native grasses instead of corn stover. (Sophie Mbugua)

With funding from USAID, the program works with women in five Kenyan counties. As well as improving the diets of their own cattle, some of the women farmers involved have discovered they can make a good living selling grass feed to others.

In Lukuyani village in Kakamega County, Nancy Onyino, a widowed mother of five, sells hay made from Boma Rhodes with the 26 other women and four men who make up the Hema women’s Savings and Credit Cooperative Society. At first, the group was buying the grass from other farmers to dry into hay, but they quickly realized they could make more money growing it themselves.

“After we saw the high demand from within western Kenya and beyond the counties, we encouraged each member to plant depending on their land capacity,” says Onyino, 55. “Some now grow it to feed their animals while others grow commercially.” Most of their repeat customers are farmers who rely on maize to feed their cattle but regularly find their crops destroyed by drought, she says.

Unlike maize, which can usually only be harvested once a year, the fast-maturing Boma Rhodes grass is ready to harvest every four months. Onyino invested in an acre of it in March 2017 – by June, she had harvested her first 180 bales and then harvested another 200 bales in October. She sells each bale for 300 shillings ($3), and plans to plant another acre in February.

To help each other out in times when their yields are not so successful, every member of the Hema cooperative contributes five bales per year to sell as a group. Onyino says the proceeds enable members in need to apply for loans, and the group saves 500 shillings a month that goes to paying young people to help harvest and bail the hay.

More Milk, More Money

In a region where women make up as much as half of the agricultural labor force but get only a fraction of the financial gain, the women of the Hema cooperative are seeing numerous benefits to growing grass. Along with selling Boma Rhodes, some of the group members also feed it to their dairy cows, which produce enough milk to sell to Brookside Dairy Limited, the largest processor of its kind in East Africa.

“Selling as a group has given us bargaining power, as we no longer sell to middlemen,” Onyino says.

For George Ochuodho, a project manager at Heifer International, the successes of farmers like Olaly and Onyino show the value that women can add to Kenya’s economic health. He says the future of the country’s agriculture lies with women.

“For the dairy industry to succeed, women must be actively involved not just in labor but within the entire value chain,” he says.

Olaly, who now teaches other farmers how to grow and harvest grass fodder, says changing to a more sustainable and efficient cattle feed means she no longer has to borrow money from her husband. And now he no longer dismisses her ambitions as a farmer.

“He is not only supporting my farming, but it has motivated him to fence off the entire land to prevent animals from trespassing on the grass, and more importantly he has allowed me to allocate more land to fodder production,” she says. “I never thought this would happen.”

Source: ND

Zoetis Hosts U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue and Michigan Governor Rick Snyder as Company Celebrates Fifth Year as the Leading Global Animal Health Company

Zoetis Inc. (NYSE:ZTS), the leading global animal health company, today celebrated its fifth anniversary since becoming a public company by hosting U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue and Governor Rick Snyder of Michigan for a special town hall meeting at the company’s global research and development headquarters in Kalamazoo, Mich. Zoetis Chief Executive Officer Juan Ramón Alaix; Dr. Catherine Knupp, Executive Vice President and President, Research and Development; and Kristin Peck, Executive Vice President and President, U.S. Operations, led the event, which was attended by more than 500 colleagues.

The event was held to recognize the significant contributions Zoetis makes to improve the health and productivity of livestock, defending against the threats of foreign animal diseases, and helping pets live longer, healthier lives, all of which bring value to society.

Zoetis CEO Juan Ramón Alaix thanked Secretary Perdue and the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) for its effective oversight of vaccines and biological therapeutics for animals. “We appreciate the leadership of the USDA in providing a strong regulatory framework that promotes innovation, and ensures the health and safety of animals as well as people,” said Mr. Alaix. “USDA has paved the way for continuous improvements in vaccine technology that help protect livestock and companion animals from endemic diseases.”

Alaix expressed appreciation to Governor Rick Snyder for creating a positive business climate that has made Michigan an attractive location for Zoetis’ global research and development headquarters and one of the largest manufacturing sites in its global manufacturing and supply network. He said that Michigan provides continued access to a highly skilled and diverse workforce which is essential to managing a global animal health company.

Zoetis has its world headquarters in Parsippany, N.J., and markets its products in more than 100 countries. It employs 9,000 colleagues worldwide and approximately 4,000 in the United States. Zoetis has approximately 1,000 employees in greater Kalamazoo at its global manufacturing and supply facility and its research and development headquarters there. Zoetis also has U.S. operations in California, Nebraska, Pennsylvania, and Iowa. The company is dedicated to supporting its veterinarian and livestock producer customers and their businesses with solutions to their most pressing challenges.

Also attending the 5th anniversary event were State Senator Margaret O’Brien, Michigan 20th State Senate District; Jamie Clover Adams, Director Michigan Department of Agriculture and Rural Development accompanied by Gordon Wenk, Chief Deputy Director and Kenneth McFarlane, Deputy Director ; and Carl Bednarski, President, Michigan Farm Bureau.

About Zoetis

Zoetis (NYSE:ZTS) is the leading animal health company, dedicated to supporting its customers and their businesses. Building on more than 60 years of experience in animal health, Zoetis discovers, develops, manufactures and markets veterinary vaccines and medicines, complemented by diagnostic products, genetic tests, biodevices and a range of services. Zoetis serves veterinarians, livestock producers and people who raise and care for farm and companion animals with sales of its products in more than 100 countries. In 2016, the company generated annual revenue of US$4.9 billion with approximately 9,000 employees. For more information, visit

Holstein UK Members Judge on the International Stage this February

Two privileged Holstein UK members have been selected to judge on the other side of the world at the prestigious New Zealand Dairy Event in February 2018. Edward Griffiths and Claire Swale will be flying the flag for UK Holstein breeders in New Zealand!

Edward, from South Yorkshire, represents Yorkshire and the North East on the Holstein UK board of trustees, and is also Chairman for the Show & Sale Committee. He will be judging the Holstein Friesian Breed in New Zealand. He’ll be joined by Claire, from Lancashire, who has been judging showmanship competitions for over 20 years, officiating in Canada, England, Ireland, Italy, Luxembourg, and Switzerland. At the New Zealand Dairy Event she will overseeing the Youth Handlers Competition.

Celebrating its 10th year anniversary, the New Zealand Dairy Event at Manfeild Agri-Centre comes alive as the very best cattle from all over New Zealand compete for national praise and recognition. It is regarded as the leading dairy event in the country and an invitation to judge at the acclaimed event is a huge opportunity for those connecting to Holstein breeding.

Edward Griffiths – Judging Holstein Friesian Breed

Edward Griffiths farms with his wife and three daughters Frances, Sally and Lydia. The family milk 180 Holsteins plus a few Jerseys and Ayrshires which all share the Coachgate prefix. The 270 acre farm is 750 feet above sea level and is predominantly grass and wheat. Edward’s past judging appointments include; The UK National Holstein Show, Irish National Holstein Show and All Ireland Baileys Championships, Royal Highland, Royal Welsh, Royal Ulster, Royal Bath and West, UK Dairy Event, Agriscot and National shows in Sweden and Slovenia.

Edward Griffiths, said; “I am thoroughly looking forward to the challenge of judging and placing cattle at the New Zealand Dairy Event – this is an exceptional opportunity and one that I feel very honoured to be part of. It will be interesting to see the best of New Zealand dairy cattle and to meet the breeders. I look forward to working with judges from around the world, including Canada, Australia and New Zealand – it really is a great honour to represent Holstein UK at such an internationally admired event.”

Claire Swale – Judging Youth Handlers Competition

Married to Dave, with two children, Jack and Harvey, Claire owns 40 head of registered Holsteins under her own Heavenly prefix. These operate alongside the family run Joylan Farms, which farm over 800acres, milks 500 cows, and retails all their own milk independently. Claire is the sales and marketing manager for PrimeVal Genetics in the Netherlands, a company which has invested heavily in to the Genomics business and is now beginning to put world-class bulls into international A.I. She is a familiar sight in and around the show ring, whether it be showing or judging or as a valued part of the Cowsmopolitan team providing global show coverage. 

Claire Swale adds; “Having been involved in the pedigree business since an early age, I consider myself extremely fortunate to have a career in an industry that I love, working with great cows and fantastic people. Passionate about the next generation of our industry, I am excited to be working with the youth of New Zealand at the New Zealand Dairy Event and cannot wait to experience the standard of competition.” 


Source: Holstein UK

MSNBC Analyst Mocks Devin Nunes for Being Former Dairy Farmer

MSNBC analyst Elise Jordan mocked House Intelligence Chairman Devin Nunes (R., Calif.) on Wednesday for being a “former dairy farmer” before host Joe Scarborough jumped in to say there was nothing wrong with them.

According to NBC News, Nunes is a third-generation Portuguese-American who grew up working on his family’s dairy farm, and he previously told people on the campaign trail in 2002 that’s all he originally wanted to do.

Nunes has come under fire from Democrats for writing a memorandum reportedly detailing alleged abuses by the Department of Justice regarding its surveillance of former Donald Trump campaign adviser Carter Page. The committee voted on party lines to release the memo, and Democrats and others have framed it as a nakedly partisan attempt to undermine special counsel Robert Mueller’s Russia investigation.

Panelist John Heilemann hammered Nunes on “Morning Joe” for leading a “partisan investigation of the FBI. It’s disgraceful.”

He called the Republicans’ behavior “disgraceful.”

“Why are Republicans trusting Devin Nunes to be their oracle of truth?” Jordan asked. “A former dairy farmer who House Intel staffers refer to as ‘Secret Agent Man,’ because he has no idea what’s going on.”

Scarborough said Nunes had already been busted as a “courier” for Trump.

“This is Devin Nunes the Republicans are staking their credibility on, a guy that, I’m sorry, I wouldn’t trust as far as I could throw him,” Jordan said.

As Mika Brzezinski prepared to go to commercial, Scarborough quickly said, “By the way, there’s nothing wrong with dairy farmers. I like them.”

Source: FreeBeacon

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