Archive for News – Page 2

USDA funds study of dairy cattle’s environmental footprint

Dairy farmers have improved the efficiency and reduced the environmental impacts of their farms over the recent decades, but consumers, policymakers and others are still concerned about cattle’s effects on water and the climate.

A new open-source computer model being developed by a Cornell University-led interdisciplinary team will simulate production and quantify the environmental effects of management decisions made on dairy farms.

The Ruminant Farms Systems Model project is funded by a four-year, $1 million grant from the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s National Institute of Food and Agriculture.

“A next-generation, whole-farm, dairy sustainability simulation model allows us to understand interactions in these complex systems and how the outcomes from one part of the system influences other parts of the system,” said Kristan Reed, assistant professor of animal science, and principal investigator of the project.

“For example, if you are increasing milk production on a given fixed landscape, you’re likely going to increase manure production,” she said, “and so what are the outcomes on the landscape that would go along with that increased milk production?”

Scientists and dairy farmers will need such tools to make economic and environmentally balanced management decisions, while industry personnel and policymakers can use them to inform policies for improving the sustainability of the dairy industry.

Dairy cows are among the biggest agricultural contributors to both climate change and water pollution. Methane, a potent greenhouse gas, is released directly from cows as they digest grass and grain. Additionally, decomposing manure creates methane, nitrous oxide and ammonia. While nitrous oxide is also a greenhouse gas, ammonia contaminates water and contributes to acid rain. Additionally, nutrients such as phosphorus and nitrogen in manure pollute groundwater, streams and lakes.

A team of animal scientists, agronomists, soil scientists, microbiologists, engineers and computer scientists at Cornell; the University of Wisconsin, Madison; the University of Arkansas; the University of California, Davis; and the USDA Agricultural Research Service, began working on the model three years ago. Since then, they have combined and interconnected animal, manure, crop and soil, and feed storage modules into their computer code.

They have been in dialogues with local farmers to get feedback on the types of information most relevant to those farmers’ decision-making processes and will run pilot simulations in commercial settings.

Some main objectives include addressing limitations of current farm management models by writing clean and clear computer codes and making the system flexible so it can incorporate new management practices. Daily weather data is also being added to the model in order to simulate future climate scenarios. 

In the future, the team may expand the model to incorporate meat production and possibly create a simple non-technical interface for farmers and others.

For additional information, see this Cornell Chronicle story.

Top Dairy Industry News Stories from July 18th till 24th 2020

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Checkoff Support Helps Taco Bell Launch Menu Items

Thanks to dairy checkoff support, Taco Bell recently unveiled the Grilled Cheese Burrito, its cheesiest new offering of the year, and a Pineapple Whip Freeze beverage that contains real dairy.

Mike Ciresi, a Dairy Management Inc. (DMI) senior dairy scientist who works at Taco Bell’s headquarters in Irvine, Calif., co-managed both projects. He said the Grilled Cheese Burrito, which was unveiled on July 2, resulted from a brainstorming session at the company’s office. The goal was to put Taco Bell’s signature spin on a comfort food and grilled cheese fit the bill nicely.

The burrito features a blend of mozzarella, cheddar and pepper jack cheeses in addition to sour cream, beef, rice, crunchy red strips and chipotle sauce. A layer of cheese is then grilled around the tortilla to offer a truly unique experience for Taco Bell fans and cheese lovers, Ciresi said.

Taco Bell faced initial challenges in finding heat-resistant paper that the cheese wouldn’t stick to, but Ciresi led efforts to identify a solution that allowed the chain to successfully launch the product.

“Grilled cheese is a classic that everyone knows and loves,” Ciresi said. “What makes it so special is not only does it have classic Taco Bell fillings on the inside, it features a flavorful layer of indulgence on the outside that gives you a delicious, gooey, grilled cheese experience.”

The Pineapple Whip, released May 21, is the chain’s first beverage to contain dairy since Taco Bell and DMI formed a partnership in 2012. Ciresi said the beverage also faced several hurdles that needed to be addressed, beginning with Taco Bell restaurants not having refrigeration capacity near their drink stations to store dairy products.

So, Ciresi and Emil Nashed, who leads DMI’s Global Innovation Partnerships science team, joined DMI’s Product Research Team and the Midwest Dairy Center at the University of Minnesota to collaborate on a solution. Midwest is part of the National Dairy Foods Research Center program that receives national and local checkoff support. Its six centers encompass the expertise and resources of 17 universities.

The team worked to create a dairy-based, shelf-stable creamer that consists of real cream and met Taco Bell’s product requirements.

“Taco Bell has always wanted an indulgent beverage to fill a menu gap, but the setup of its restaurants made it challenging,” Ciresi said. “That caused us to think differently because we knew we could make a delicious dairy beverage that didn’t need refrigeration. We were convinced there was a way to do it and our work with the Midwest Dairy Center proved that it was possible.”

Ciresi also credits Taco Bell for having patience along the way.

“It took three years and lot of companies might have said, ‘OK, we’re done. Let’s move on,’” he said. “Taco Bell also could have gone with a non-dairy creamer, but they had a lot of passion for real dairy that brought us across the finish line.”

The Pineapple Whip Freeze has exceeded the chain’s expectations. It is available for a limited time or until supplies run out.

The Grilled Cheese Burrito also is a limited time offering, which fits Taco Bell’s strategy.

“Taco Bell is known for its limited-time offerings,” he said. “They keep the menu fresh and exciting for an audience that’s always expecting something new.”

Ciresi said these projects show the benefit of having dairy scientists on site at a major chain’s headquarters. DMI’s team of dairy scientists also support foodservice partners including McDonald’s, Domino’s, Pizza Hut and KFC.

“Having scientists on site every day is valuable because we hear the conversations; we understand not just the product development direction, but the brand overall,” Ciresi said. “We can leverage our resources and dairy knowledge to help solve problems because we know firsthand where the limitations and hurdles exist. Bringing solutions to the table and identifying new opportunities is really what benefits the dairy industry.”

For more information about the dairy checkoff, visit

Minnesota Farm Families of 2020 to be Honored Virtually

Though COVID-19 has forced the cancellation of the annual Minnesota Farmfest, where the awards are presented each August, this year’s honorees will be celebrated in an online video tribute. The recognition, led by University of Minnesota President Joan Gabel, will be available online at 1 p.m. on Aug. 6.

Each year, University of Minnesota Extension committees chose one family per county to honor for their demonstrated commitment to their communities and to enhancing and supporting agriculture.

“We will miss the face-to-face ceremony for the 2020 Farm Families of the Year, but nothing diminishes the pride we take in celebrating their accomplishments,” said Extension Dean Bev Durgan. “These families represent the best in agriculture. They are innovative and dedicated to their communities. They are stewards of the land.”

A complete list of the 2020 Farm Families of the Year will be available soon at Here are just a few of them:

Roger and Rita Krause Family, Lake of the Woods County

Roger and Rita have operated their farm near Baudette since 1969. The farm was home to a 50-cow dairy until the cows were sold in 1997. The family raised beef for the next 20 years. Today, the Krauses grow soybeans, wheat and hay. The hay is sold locally to area beef and equine operations.

Roger manages the Krause farm with help from Rita and their sons and grandsons. Roger and Rita have three sons: Donald and his wife, Kathy; Gene and his wife, Jeni; Dean and his wife, Diana. The Krauses have 12 grandchildren and two great-grandchildren.

Roger serves on the local soil and water conservation board and Rita is secretary of the Lake of the Woods County Historical Board. Both served many years on the county fair board, the county Extension committee, and as 4-H leaders. Roger used to teach welding for high school and adult education classes. He served on the Northern Farmers Co-op Board and the FSA board. Rita worked for 30 years for the county social services department and served on the local school board.

Paul and Brenda Zeug Family, Redwood County

Paul’s family originally ran a dairy operation, but it was transitioned to a farrow-to-finish swine business. The current Zeug farm is a small operation focused on sustaining the rural way of life as much as the land itself. The family raises corn, soybeans and alfalfa in rotation. The farm is mainly a cow-calf beef operation. The Zeugs sell feeder cattle; they finish some and sell beef directly to consumers. Paul also does some custom work and is employed full time on another farm.

Paul and Brenda have three kids, Lance, Lauren and Matthew. Paul and Brenda were 4-H leaders. Paul is currently superintendent of the 4-H beef project and serves as chair of the Redwood County 4-H Livestock Auction and Purple Ribbon Club. The Zeug family is very involved in the Redwood County Fair.

Delaney Herefords, Lincoln County

Jack and Dorothy Delaney started Delaney Herefords in 1969 with their six children. Delaney Herefords is now owned by Jack and Dorothy’s son, Jerry, and his wife, Shelley, with their five children.

The family raises registered Herefords and calve out 185 females yearly. They also manage 1,800 acres of corn and soybeans and maintain about 500 acres of pasture. The Delaneys have a strong focus on sound, efficient, and fertile females believing they are the foundation of the family’s herd. They strive to breed cattle that are both predictable and productive while preserving eye appeal and style. Delaney Herefords uses embryo transfer, artificial insemination, total performance records, and ultrasound data to improve and grow their herd.

The Delaney family is very active in cattle shows in Minnesota, including the State Fair 4-H cattle show, and in other states as well. The Delaneys have five children, all of whom help on the farm.

Jerry took his father’s place on the Lincoln County Fair Board in 2002 and is currently serves as president. He is past president and director of the Minnesota Hereford Breeders as a lifetime member of the Minnesota and American Hereford Associations. Jerry served on the executive committee of the Minnesota Beef Expo for many years. The Delaneys are members of the Southwest Minnesota and State Cattlemen’s Associations.

Robert and Colleen Doucette, Morrison County

The Doucette farm was homesteaded by Colleen’s grandparents. In 1958, Robert’s parents purchased the farm from them. Robert’s father continued dairy and crop farming until 1969. It was then that he put up his first turkey barn. He continued to milk cows and raise turkeys over the next four years and then sold his dairy cows and switched to beef cows. Robert’s father put up a second set of turkey barns in 1973. In 1983, Robert and Colleen were married and became part of the operation. Three years later, the families built a third set of turkey barns. Robert’s father retired in 1997.

Robert and Colleen currently raise turkeys for Ferndale Market in Cannon Falls. The Doucettes receive about 20,000 male turkeys at a time. The birds are raised to 19 weeks and marketed. Robert runs the farm operation and Colleen provides valuable help with the birds, books and equipment. She also provides meals to the farm’s workers. Their son and his wife help on weekends.

Robert has been a member of the Flensburg Volunteer Fire Department for 36 years, serving as the department’s secretary for most of that time. He has been part of the Culdrum Town Board for three decades. Robert serves on the Swanville First Response Team and for 24 years served part-time for the county ambulance service.

Tom and Adie Wolcyn, Isanti County

Wolcyn Tree Farms and Nursery began as a hobby and has become one of the largest evergreen operations in Minnesota. Tom Wolcyn has been growing and selling Christmas trees for over 50 years. He started in the tree business after graduating from the University of Minnesota — where he was a pitcher on the Gopher baseball team — with a forestry degree.

Tom and Adie purchased the headquarters farm in 1982 and have grown the operation to include 1,200 acres of evergreens and shade trees for wholesale and retail sales. Three of their sons, Nick, Ben, and Bobby, help manage operations in all areas. Another son, Clint, manages one of the Christmas tree lots. Tom and Adie’s daughters-in-law are also involved in the business in many areas.

Tom and Nick are past board members of the Minnesota Christmas Tree Association and Ben is currently on its board of directors. Tom is a board member on the National Christmas Tree Growers Association and Minnesota Grown. The family is involved with the Minnesota Deer Hunters Association, Pheasants Forever, Minnesota Farmers Union and local churches. Ben and Nick are frequent speakers at schools on conservation days. Bobby is on the Spectacle Lake Association board.

Source: UM Extension

National Dairy Shrine Names New Executive Director

National Dairy Shrine is pleased to announce that Mike Opperman will become Executive Director for the organization on August 1, succeeding Dr. David Selner who is retiring on July 31.

Opperman comes to National Dairy Shrine with more than 30 years of dairy and agriculture-industry experience, including 15 years with the marketing communications agency Charleston|Orwig, and nearly 4 years as Director of Dairy Content for Farm Journal. He currently owns his own communications and public relations firm, Black Dirt Communications, in Fort Atkinson, Wis.

“Dr. Selner has worked tirelessly for National Dairy Shrine throughout his career, especially over these last 13 years as Executive Director. His passion and knowledge of the dairy industry is second to none,” says Nate Janssen, National Dairy Shrine board president. “We knew the day would come when Dr. Selner would want to retire, and we are confident that Mike, with his extensive industry experience, will continue to build on the strong foundation laid by Dr. Selner.”

Dr. Selner took over leadership of National Dairy Shrine in 2008. Over his tenure the National Dairy Shrine has seen significant growth, including the number and amount of scholarships awarded to young people. In addition, Dr. Selner oversaw renovations to the National Dairy Shrine Museum to improve educational opportunities and the visitor experience.

“I have considered it a great honor to serve as the NDS Executive Director,” says Selner. “I believe that NDS mission goals have evolved, improved, and grown over the last several years but it is now time to move forward with a younger Executive Director with new enthusiasm and ideas.”

“I’m humbled to be chosen as Executive Director and follow in a long lineage of dairy dignitaries that have held this position,” says Opperman. “The National Dairy Shrine has a rich history and I look forward to preserving that tradition with a focus toward future development and improvements that fit the mission and vision of the organization.”

The office headquarters for National Dairy Shrine will transfer from Denmark, WI to Ft. Atkinson, WI commencing on August 1, concurrent with Opperman assuming the Executive Director position. The new contact information for the National Dairy Shrine office is as follows:

National Dairy Shrine, PO Box 68, Fort Atkinson, WI 53538 Phone: (920) 542-1003

International food fraud operation nets 320 tonnes of dodgy dairy products

The ninth operation of its kind, it ran from December 2019 to June 2020 and involved law enforcement authorities from 83 countries and was also supported by the European Anti-Fraud Office (OLAF), the European Commission, the European Union Intellectual Property Office (EUIPO), national food regulatory authorities and private sector partners.

Counterfeit and substandard food and beverages can be found on the shelves in shops around the world. The increasing online sale of potentially dangerous products poses a significant threat to public health, the authorities said.

Operation OPSON was created to combat organized crime involved in this area. This year’s operational activities have found a new disturbing trend to address: the infiltration of low-quality products into the supply chain, a development possibly linked to the COVID-19 pandemic.

This year’s operation OPSON led to the dismantling of 19 organized crime groups involved in food fraud and the arrests of 406 suspects. More than 26,000 checks were performed. As a result, about 12,000 tonnes of illegal and potentially harmful products worth about €28m ($32.4m) were seized.

With more than 5,000 tonnes seized, animal food was the most seized product, followed by alcoholic beverages (more than 2,000 tonnes), cereals, grains and derived products, coffee and tea and condiments.

The focus on dairy products involved authorities in Bulgaria, Italy, France, Greece, Portugal and Switzerland.

The project resulted in the seizures of 320 tonnes of smuggled or substandard dairy products. National authorities seized rotten milk and cheese, which posed a threat to consumer health. Additionally, 210 tonnes of cheese were seized, which did not meet the conditions to be labelled with a protected geographic denomination.

A Bulgarian investigation into an unregistered warehouse revealed seven samples of cheese tested positive for starch and E. coli​. The authorities seized 3.6 tonnes of unsafe dairy products, which were supposed to be processed into melted cheese.

Jürgen Stock, INTERPOL secretary general, said, “As countries around the world continue their efforts to contain COVID-19, the criminal networks distributing these potentially dangerous products show only their determination to make a profit. The scale and variety of food and drink seized during this operation serves as a reminder for members of the public to be vigilant about what they buy, and the need for continued vigilance and action by law enforcement.”


Fire Destroys 120-Year-Old Burnett Dairy Co-Op, Causing Setback For 200 Farmers

A dairy co-op in western Wisconsin will rebuild after a fire on Monday night destroyed a piece of its 120-year-old history.

News that the Burnett Dairy Co-op was burning spread fast across western Wisconsin.

Dawn Bengston has a cabin nearby and over the years watched the co-op expand to a cheese shop, beer barn, and general store. It was a source of pride for the area. She stopped by to watch the fire crews as soon as the flames were going through the roof.

“My great uncle was a butter maker at the creamery across the street,” said Bengston, who grew up in Grantsburg. “It was kind of a special place for our family.”

Siren’s Police Chief said 20 people were working inside when the fire started. It’s believed a mechanical issue with the original part of the plant could be to blame. Ammonia tanks only added to the concern, keeping 14 all-volunteer fire departments on the scene.

“It was a tough, tough 12, 14 hours,” said Siren Police Chief Chris Sybers.

For now, everybody is safe, according to Burnett Dairy Cooperative CEO Dave Gaiser.

As CEO, Gaiser has made more recent changes for COVID-19 safety. What happened last night will be another setback for the 200 farmers who rely on the co-op to make a living.

“We have a lot of work ahead of us but everyone will pull together,” he said.

Gaiser says he’s already heard from other cheese makers stepping in to help.


Owner of shuttered Chambersburg dairy sentenced to 10 years in $60M fraud

The owner of an award-winning organic dairy who pleaded guilty to defrauding investors of nearly $60 million was sentenced Monday to 10 years in federal prison.

Philip Riehl, an accountant and the majority owner of Trickling Springs Creamery, ran a long-running Ponzi scheme that preyed on hundreds of Amish and Mennonite investors, according to federal prosecutors. He pleaded guilty in February to securities and wire fraud and conspiracy.

Chambersburg-based Trickling Springs Creamery opened in 2001 and produced milk, cream, butter, ice cream, yogurt and cheese. The dairy’s products were sold up and down the East Coast.

Court documents said Riehl lured investors to a fund that made most of its loans to Trickling Springs and paid off older investors with money from new investors. He and a co-conspirator also sold promissory notes in an effort to prop up the struggling creamery, lying to investors that it was profitable when in reality it was losing money, according to court documents.

The business abruptly closed its doors last fall.

“The people who invested their money, sometimes their entire life’s savings, with Philip Riehl believed implicitly that they could trust him because he was one of their own,” U.S. Attorney William McSwain said in a written statement. “Riehl preyed upon that trust, swindling them out of tens of millions of dollars in an effort to keep his creamery business from going under.”

A federal judge ordered Riehl to pay restitution, though authorities acknowledged that Riehl’s victims won’t be made whole.


Dietary Guidelines Reaffirms Dairy’s Crucial Role

The National Milk Producers Federation (NMPF) said it was pleased that the Dietary Guidelines Advisory Committee’s final report reaffirms dairy’s crucial role in a nutritious diet but expressed concern that the committee failed to recognize newer, broader science that shows the benefits of dairy foods at all fat levels.   

“The Dietary Guidelines Advisory Committee (DGAC) today restated what consumers already know – that regular dairy consumption offers essential nutrition that nourishes people throughout their lives,” said Jim Mulhern, president and CEO of NMPF, the largest organization of U.S. dairy farmers and the cooperatives they own.

“Across different types of diets and throughout all stages of life, dairy products provide the nutrients people need to be healthy.” 

But Mulhern said it was disappointing that the committee largely reflected long-held assumptions on saturated fat, despite numerous studies that have called traditional anti-fat guidance into question. 

“We repeatedly called on the committee to take a fresh look at multiple studies that show beneficial or neutral effects of dairy on chronic disease risk at all fat levels,” Mulhern said. “Unfortunately, the DGAC report does not reflect this newer science.” 

The DGAC’s final scientific advisory report, submitted to the secretaries of Agriculture and Health and Human Services and released today, notes that Americans overall need more dairy in their diets, with 88% falling short of recommendations. That figure includes 79% of 9-13-year-olds, who rely heavily on the school-lunch program to meet nutritional needs. The report also highlights dairy’s unique place as a provider of key nutrients that otherwise would be under-consumed in American diets.  

Dairy is recommended for consumption within all three healthy eating patterns featured in the report, with three servings per day recommended in the Healthy U.S. style eating pattern and Healthy Vegetarian Style patterns and two servings per day in the Healthy-Mediterranean pattern. The committee recognized milk as a nutrient-rich beverage that contributes positively to under-consumed nutrients, including potassium, calcium, phosphorus, magnesium, vitamins A and D, and others; Low-fat and nonfat dairy foods are recommended as nutrient-dense building blocks of a healthy diet; and in the committee’s first-ever recommendations for birth through 24 months, yogurt and cheese are recognized as complementary feeding options for infants ages 6-12 months, and dairy foods (milk, cheese and yogurt) are included in healthy eating patterns for toddlers 12-24 months.

Source:Southeast AgNet

Adopt a Cow program mooo-ving into Pennsylvania classrooms

Adopt a Cow, a year-long, interactive, education program of the dairy industry, will open August 1 for enrollment by Pennsylvania classrooms for the 2020-21 school year.

Offering students with inside looks at dairy farms in their communities, the program pairs each enrolled classroom with a calf on a dairy farm.

Teachers and students receive photos, video updates, and activity sheets throughout the school year that allow them to watch their calves grow.

Through immersive, hands-on learning activities and free curriculum provided by Discover Dairy, students gain an understanding of the dairy industry and where their food comes from.

Several of the lessons in the curriculum follow Common Core standards in math, reading, and science.

Discover Dairy is an educational series managed by the Center for Dairy Excellence Foundation of Pennsylvania in partnership with American Dairy Association North East, Dairy Farmers of Wisconsin, Midwest Dairy and The Dairy Alliance.

“As we approach the upcoming school year, we realize the learning environment looks very different for teachers and students across the nation. Whether your classroom will be in-person or virtual, or a mix of both, the Adopt a Cow program includes activities and curriculum that can be incorporated into every mode of instruction,” said Brittany Snyder, dairy education program manager at the Dairy Excellence Foundation.

“Through virtual chats, videos, photo updates, and more, the program is an exciting way for students to watch a calf grow throughout the year and learn how dairy farmers are impacting our communities.”

The Adopt a Cow program also offers live virtual chats and farm tours that allow students to talk directly with a dairy farmer, meet their calves, tour the farm, and ask questions about milk production.

More than 25,000 elementary and middle school students from across North American participated in the program last year.

Schools from both rural and urban areas can enroll, bringing dairy farming to life for students of all ages and demographics.

Adopt a Cow

Becky Kleinfelter, an elementary teacher in Eastern Lebanon County School District, and her students participated in the Adopt a Cow program during the 2019-20 school year. (Contributed photo)

“It has been really nice having the lesson plans laid out and focused on vocabulary, so I can be sure I’m teaching students the correct terms to use when they’re speaking about farms and different animals,” said Becky Kleinfelter, an elementary teacher in Eastern Lebanon County School District.

During the live video chats, “the kids actually came up with some really good questions that I couldn’t always answer. It was nice to give them the chance to ask the farmer themselves.”

After registering for the Adopt a Cow program, teachers will receive an introductory kit in the fall with details about their calf.

Classrooms will receive bi-monthly updates, including suggestions on components of the Discover Dairy curriculum that teachers can incorporate into their virtual or in-person lesson plans.


Oatly: ‘Now we want to challenge the whole dairy industry’

The new shareholders, who include Oprah Winfrey, Jay-Z and Natalie Portman, as well as former Starbucks CEO Howard Schultz and Rabobank Group’s investment arm, will own about 10% of the business – reportedly giving Oatly a total value of around $2 billion.  

In a statement, the company said it will use the new funds to expand in its existing markets in Europe, the US and Asia to tap into the “growing community of health and environmentally conscious consumers worldwide​”.

“It is my belief that capital has to turn green and do so for the right reasons,”​ Oatly CEO Toni Petersson said in the statement.

He added that support from Blackstone “is a clear indication of where the world is heading, which is in a new, more sustainable direction​”.

‘A 30-year overnight success’

Speaking to FoodNavigator, Petersson denied the company’s growth was down to good timing alone. Oatly was in fact founded as far back as the early 1990s by two brothers at Lund University in Sweden who wanted to develop a plant-based alternative to cow’s milk.

Their patented solution, based on enzyme technology that turns loose oat fibres into liquid whilst retaining the nutritious benefits of the oat beta-glucans, is used in the manufacturing of Oatly’s range of oat-based dairy products today. One of the brothers, Professor Rickard Öste, remains the company’s head of science.

Petersson arrived as CEO in 2012 and re-launched the brand a year later, with a focus on the message of health and sustainability. He said the company’s backstory gave it the “authenticity​” to be able to capitalise on demand for plant-based products from mainly younger consumers concerned about the greenhouse gas emissions generated by the traditional dairy industry. 

Last year, Oatly’s sales nearly doubled to $200 million and the Swedish company now sells its products in 20 countries.

“Our authenticity shines through, especially with the Gen Z and Millennials,”​ he said. “The plant-based dairy category was initially driven by lactose intolerance. What you see today is a conversion from cows’ milk and interest in sustainability from passionate young people who want to change the world… We want to be one of the thought leaders in this global movement.”

Clément Pointillart, Executive Director at Oatly’s majority-owner Verlinvest, added: “When you talk about Oatly you talk about a 30-year overnight success. It has over a 50% market share in Sweden where it’s been around for 30 years and where it has created and developed the dairy alternative market. For the last five years we’ve seen expansion into a global audience, but the success is also deeply rooted in the authenticity that it has created from a product standpoint and sustainability standpoint for those last decades in its own market. So this has been in the works for a very long time.”

Cracking the mainstream without selling out

Pointillart believes the deal with Blackstone is proof that Oatly’s mission “is now being embraced by mainstream funds​” that will continue to help bring it to a global audience. But despite ‘going mainstream’ Pointillart said the company hasn’t lost its challenger brand ethos.

We were a challenger at the beginning of the oat milk category; then we became a challenger in the dairy alternative category. I think now the next challenge for us to be a disrupter and challenger in the overall dairy category and have an impact at a global scale in a much larger category. That’s a very exciting mission.”

Marketing over matter?

Oatly’s disruptor mindset is especially visible in its irreverent and often provocative guerrilla-style marketing.  

We made this ad look like street art so you would like it better than if it was just an ad,”​ is one eye-catching example that was emblazoned on the outside of a Berlin building.  

It uses similar tactics in its labelling. Last year, it added a carbon footprint label to its products in Europe beside which read: “Hey, food industry: show us your numbers!”

All of which begs the question: what’s more revolutionary – Oatly’s marketing or its oaty products?

Both, said Petersson. “We couldn’t have done one without the other. You can’t separate them.”​ The marketing strategy, he explained, aims to give the brand a strong, unique voice which allows it to better communicate with its audience.

“A brand needs to have voice. That’s why we can have a conversation with our consumers in a different way. Sometimes it’s about really serious topics, sometimes it’s about pure nonsense – but it’s a voice and you always recognise it. But it could never have happened without the product.”

He says to have established a whole new category in three continents “has been amazing​”. But does he fear those new cohorts of customers disappearing as quickly as they have adopted the plant-based crusade, particularly given the brand’s premium price?

“I don’t fear it becoming a fad… young people in five years aren’t going to say: ‘it doesn’t matter anymore and let’s start to consume more meat-based or dairy products’.”

Health concerns, accelerated by COVID-19, are another tailwind. According to Pointillart, the health benefits of oats are second to none. “Moving away from cow’s milk, the only thing you give up is protein – and it so happens [people] have way too much protein intake but don’t eat enough fibre. Oatly has an amazing fibre and beta glucan content… we’re ideally positioned to grow from a nutritional standpoint.”​ 


Pence touts USMCA to Wisconsin dairy farmers

Vice President Mike Pence spent the day campaigning in Wisconsin, where he touted the new USMCA trade pact with Mexico and Canada, saying it “leveled the playing field” for American dairy farmers.


Crews Continue To Battle Flames At Burnett Dairy Cooperative In Western Wisconsin

Crews are battling a fire Tuesday morning at a dairy cooperative in western Wisconsin.

The fire at Burnett Dairy Cooperative, located just east of Grantsburg on State Road 70, started around 10:30 p.m. Monday night, with eight fire departments responding.

Employees were inside the building when the flames began to spread. All made it out unharmed.

Officials believe the fire started as a result of a mechanical issue. Still, the exact cause remains unknown.

The Burnett Dairy Cooperative dates back more than 120 years. The cooperative is one of the largest employers in Burnett County.

Source: CBC Local

Coca-Cola’s Fairlife dairy brand expands into ice cream

It was only this year that Coca-Cola acquired the remaining stake in Fairlife, and now the beverage giant is using the dairy brand as a springboard to step completely out of the beverage space and dip its toes into frozen desserts.

Although this is a significant change of pace for Coca-Cola, the purveyor of iconic soda has been working aggressively under CEO James Quincey to diversify its portfolio and become a “total beverage company” by expanding its portfolio into more teas, coffees, sports drinks and waters. However, the company’s stated goal does not align itself with Coke’s latest move.

The decision to move into ice cream can be explained in large part by peer pressure. In its announcement, Fairlife — which operates as a stand-alone business in Chicago, although it is wholly-owned by Coca-Cola – said consumer requests through social media and online channels prompted it to investigate branching into the frozen dessert world.

Social media has become a powerful voice during the last decade, prompting companies to find new and creative ways to interact with their consumers. Today, innovation from crowdsourcing has become a popular way for brands to discover exactly what consumers crave while collecting instantaneous feedback.

While it can sometimes be a slippery slope, companies have largely found success, and new products, by polling their fan base. Mondelez, for example, launched limited edition Oreo cookies based on submissions through a social media contest where it incentivized creative ideas through a cash grand prize. 

Clearly, Fairlife took these fan requests to heart when it partnered with Boardwalk Frozen Treats, a sales, marketing and distribution partner for national ice cream brands. The California company also works with Dunkin’ Brands to distribute Baskin Robbins ice cream to grocery stores nationwide. For Coca-Cola, Boardwalk offers a unique partner who is familiar with the competitive ice cream space and knows how to help large companies navigate through it.

The ice cream category is worth $14 billion, according to Mintel data cited in the release, but it is also a crowded one. However, Fairlife has already proven to be successful in milk, another challenging category that has befuddled bankrupt competitors such as Borden Dairy and Dean Foods. Fairlife has posted double-digit growth each year since its launch in 2012, according to Coca-Cola.

While Fairlife has grown from filtered milks to high-protein recovery and nutrition shakes and drinkable snacks, milk remains central to the brand’s success. The key to the product’s appeal is its high-protein, lactose-free and low-sugar profile — product attributes popular with consumers that will be carried over to the ice cream launch. 

It is possible these qualities also will be in demand when the dairy is frozen into a pint-sized container. Halo Top has shown consumers are keen on indulgent but better-for-you treats, and that popularity has attracted the interest of corporate buyers. Similar to Fairlife’s own sale to Coca-Cola, Halo Top, the #1 selling pint of ice cream in the U.S., was sold last year to Wells Enterprises, the owner of the Blue Bunny brand. 

It’s interesting that even with the success of Fairlife — sales reached $500 million last year, according to Nielsen AMC figures — that Coca-Cola did not put its name on this product announcement. The beverage giant has so far allowed the milk brand to operate relatively autonomously, and this ice cream release is the most recent manifestation of its commitment to support the company from a distance.

It also may be a way to stay on the sidelines and watch a trial run of a new product in a different category. Fairlife’s reputation was hit last year following the release of undercover videos of animal abuse taken at a Fairlife supplier dairy in Indiana. The brand and Coca-Cola were hit by lawsuits accusing the companies of consumer fraud and deceptive marketing. This new product line demonstrates Fairlife will not be daunted by bad publicity and by giving consumers what they want,  it may even win space in a few more shopping carts.


Severe weather wreaks havoc on dairy farm in Lambton Shores

It was a frightening experience at a Thedford, Ont. dairy farm Sunday morning when a strong storm ripped through the farm and destroyed several structures.

Some of the damage caused by a tornado at Van Engelen Dairy Farms Sunday morning. (Submitted by Connie Van Engelen)

It was a frightening experience at a Thedford, Ont. dairy farm Sunday morning when a strong storm ripped through the farm and destroyed several structures.

“I wasn’t thinking, I was just running,” Eddy Van Engelen, owner of Van Engelen Dairy farm, said. “We were just shocked to see how much damage there was.”

Severe weather prompted Environment Canada to issue tornado warnings across much of Southern Ontario but it could not immediately determine if it was a tornado that hit in the area of the farm or if it was just storm-force winds. 

The weather agency said a team from Western University’s Northern Tornado Project will be travelling to the area in the coming weeks to help make that determination.

Van Engelen said he was expecting a storm, but not until later in the afternoon. He said the strong winds hit the farm at about 10 a.m.

“It was a total surprise to us. We didn’t expect it.”

Van Engelen said the storm was over within minutes, but it destroyed a dry shed and a dairy barn. It also snapped several trees, did some damage to a house and took the blades off a wind turbine that belongs to the farm across the road. 

  • Damage done at Van Engelen Dairy Farms in Lambton Shores on Sunday.

  • Damage done at Van Engelen Dairy Farms in Lambton Shores on Sunday. (Submitted by Connie Van Engelen)

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“We have a lot of other barns, it actually just took our smallest barn,” he said. “We’re going to rebuild and it’ll just take time, but the cattle will be fine inside the barn, I think, we just won’t have a roof on it.” 

Thankfully, Van Engelen said, neither the five people who were at the farm when it happened, nor the up to 400 cattle were hurt.

“I can’t really say that I saw the tornado but it was very powerful winds,” Van Engelen said. “I went inside a dry shed and looked back and everything was gone.” 

Following the storm, neighbours came by the farm to help with the damage, Van Engelen said, adding that the farm does have insurance that will hopefully cover the damage. 

“It’s still a disaster area, but we’re piling it all up and I think by tonight, most of it will be cleaned up.” 


2020 RWDCA Albrecht Memorial Scholarship Recipients

Every year, the Red and White Dairy Cattle Association presents 3-$1,000 scholarships to deserving members continuing their education to pursue careers in the dairy industry.

Receiving Scholarships this year are;

Cael Hembury from Muncy, PA. Cael is the son of Ron and Lori Hembury. His family owns and operates Cherry-Lor Holsteins. At Muncy High School, Cael was involved in football, wrestling, and baseball. He was also a member of the National Honors Society, Technology Club, as well as a repeat state qualifier for the FBLA. In the fall, he will attend Penn State, pursuing a degree in Engineering.

Jacob Schaefer from Little Falls, MN, is the son of Tracy Schaefer and Karla Smieja. Jacob most recently held the GFW Pioneer Express FFA president position and was involved with Golf and Band while in high school. He is a member of the Minnesota Junior Holstein AssociatIon and was recently named Historian. In the fall, Jacob will attend South Dakota State University majoring in Dairy Production.

Courtney Schrader from Earleville, MD, is the daughter of William and Kerry Schrader. Courtney attended Bohemia Manor High School and was active there with choir, track, tennis and soccer. She was a member of the National Honors Society, Tri-M Music Honor Society, as well as a state qualifier with her FBLA chapter. Courtney is active within her community and volunteers at several outlets. Cortney will be attending Salisbury University, MD, where she is majoring in Management with a minor in Communications.

National Dairy Shrine Announces Merton Sowerby Junior Scholarships

The National Dairy Shrine is pleased to announce the recipients of the Merton Sowerby Junior Merit Scholarships for 2020. These scholarships are designed to encourage qualified Junior status undergraduate students to pursue careers in the dairy industry or related occupations. This scholarship is named in honor of National Dairy Hall of Fame Pioneer and Klussendorf honoree Merton Sowerby.

Kathryn Bosley of Malone, New York, has been awarded the top scholarship of $1500. Kathryn is majoring in Animal Science at SUNY Cobleskill. Ms. Bosley has been very active in the College Dairy Club, Sigma Alpha, Tri-Beta Biological Honors Society and a Student Ambassador. Kathryn placed 16th at the National 4-H Judging contest and 21st at the International Post-Secondary Judging Contest. Ms. Bosley also has a strong passion for the Jersey breed. This year she is serving as a teaching assistant for a genetics course which is a start on her plans for the future of obtaining a Masters’ and PhD in Dairy Science with a career in genetics or dairy health research.

Additionally, four other undergraduate students have been awarded $1000 scholarships. They are,

Sydney Jewell from Spencer, New York a major in Animal Science at Penn State University. At Penn State Ms. Jewell is President of the Penn State Dairy Science Club and Co-Chair of the Holiday Cheese Box Sale Committee. She serves as a Penn State AG Advocate Ambassador for the college. Sydney belongs to the Gamma Sigma Delta Honors Society. With a great interest in science Ms. Jewell has had an internship with Cornell Cooperative Extension, done a research project on Holstein lineages and fertility, and this summer will intern with CDCB and USDA AGIL. Ms. Jewell plans a career as a professor and researcher in dairy genetics.

Brock Irwin of Belvidere, Illinois, who is attending the University of Wisconsin-River Falls majoring in Dairy Science. Brock has served as the Illinois PAS state president, Kaskaskia College Ag Club President as well as being active in the UWRF dairy club, UWRF Collegiate Farm Bureau and the UWRF Collegiate Dairy Judging Team. Mr. Irwin has also been involved in dairy bowl, and junior dairy breed activities. Brock is planning on a career as a dairy herd management consultant and will always continue his passion for educating consumers on the benefits of dairy products and the humane treatment of dairy animals.

Todd Allen of Jefferson, Maryland, who is attending Virginia Tech majoring in Dairy Science. Todd is serving as the Dairy Club Treasurer, is part of the Virginia Tech College Mentoring Program, and a member of Alpha Zeta. Todd has been successful in dairy judging and dairy bowl. Todd has received recognition from the Maryland Junior Holstein Association as well as the National Holstein Association, being a Distinguished Junior Semifinalist. Participating in Dairy Challenge provided a new interest in Todd combing data analysis and managing a dairy herd. This summer he will be interning with Lely working on automated milk processing technology. In the future Todd plans on becoming a precision dairy analytics analyst.

Lindsey Sarbacker of Edgerton, Wisconsin who is attending the University of Wisconsin-Madison double majoring in Dairy Science and Life Sciences Communication. Lindsey is President of the National Agri-Marketing Association on campus, an officer in the Association of Women in Agriculture, active in Collegiate Farm Bureau & Badger Dairy Club and is a co-host of Ag Chat Radio. Her summer internship this year is with the Wisconsin Department of Agriculture as a Food Export Intern. With Lindsey’s passion for public speaking and marketing she plans a future in the Agri-Marketing industry.

For more information about the students being recognized by National Dairy Shrine or details about a future NDS Awards Banquet, contact the NDS office at Additional information on National Dairy Shrine membership or other activities is also available at Dairy enthusiasts are encouraged to become a part of the most important dairy organization helping to inspire future dairy leaders, honor current or past dairy leaders and preserve dairy industry history.

Brown Swiss Association Names Award Winners

In an unprecedented move due to the current standings with COVID-19, the Brown Swiss Cattle Breeders’ Association held the Annual Meeting on July 1-2, 2020 at the National office in Beloit, WI. The meeting was held with only Board Members and office staff in attendance. The Annual Meeting was held after the Summer Board monthly meeting with some in attendance at the National Office and others remotely in attendance. To make sure there was a quorum, ballots and proxies were mailed out to active National Members. The number returned to meet the quorum was more than doubled, far exceeding what was needed. Mitch Kappelman, Manitowoc, WI was in attendance to report from the Nominating committee. The Tally committee met June 29th consisting of Caleb Heck, Freeport, IL and Bryan Voegeli, Monticello, WI. They were assisted by Roger Neitzel, Allicia Horn and Norman C. Magnussen. Results were reported to the board of directors by Caleb Heck on July 2, 2020.

During the Annual Meeting, the next President of the National Board was announced, Tom Portner, Sleepy Eye, MN. Also elected to the board as Directors were: District I: Richard Hill, Cattaraugus, NY; District V: Laurie Winkelman, Appleton, WI; and Re-elected District VII: Roger Read, Lyle, MN. Stepping down from the President’s seat was Richard Sparrow, Owenton, KY along with VP Board Director District V: Dan Rieder, Monroe, WI. The following awards were also revealed:


Ira Inman PTPR Trophy for Group 1 (10-29 cows): Larry and Jennifer Meyer, Chilton, WI

Ira Inman PTPR Trophy for Group 2 (30-49 cows): Richard Sparrow & Family, Owenton, KY

Ira Inman PTPR Trophy for Group 3 (50-99 cows): Cozy Nook Farm, Waukesha, WI

Ira Inman PTPR Trophy for Group 4 (100+ cows): Dennis Mashek, Calmar, IA

Progressive Genetic Herd Award for Group 1 (10-29 cows): Joseph Ploeckelman, Athens, WI

Progressive Genetic Herd Award for Group 2 (30-49 cows): Clint & Carlton Miller, Spartansburg, PA

Progressive Genetic Herd Award for Group 3 (50-99 cows): Jeff Kennedy, Butler, PA

Progressive Genetic Herd Award for Group 4 (100+ cows): Double W Farm, Holyoke, CO

Protein Genetic Herd Award for Group 1 (10-29 cows): Travis Kamper, Riverdale, CA

Protein Genetic Herd Award for Group 2 (30-49 cows): Loehr Dairy LLC Mt. Calvary, WI

Protein Genetic Herd Award for Group 3 (50-99 cows): Cozy Nook Farm, Waukesha, WI

Protein Genetic Herd Award for Group 4 (100+ cows): Roger & Lori Read & Family, Lyle, MN

2019 Continuous Test Award – 60 years Gold Bar: Leon Button, Rushville, NY

2019 Continuous Test Award – 45 years Silver Bar: Switzer Tal Farm LLC, Prairie du Sac, WI

2019 Continuous Test Award – 35 years Silver Bar: Calvin Nisly, Partridge, KS


·2019 Living Lifetime Cow Award – ECM: Kaisers Ace Ola owned by Tom Kaiser, Cuba City, WI

oLifetime: 4,224d 2x 341,664m 14,305f 11,945p ECM: 388,353m

·J.P. Eves Trophy: Spring Acres Joel Petra owned by Tanner Mashek, Calmar, Iowa

o5-03 305d 3x 42,100m 5.7% 2,414f 3.5% 1,465p

·H.R. Searles Trophy: Jonlee Secret Langwathby owned by Dalton, Dillon & Breanne Freeman, Bremen, IN

o8-02 305d 3x 38,690m 6.3% 2,467f 4.0% 1,571p

·Protein Award: Jonlee Secret Langwathby owned by Dalton, Dillon & Breanne Freeman, Bremen, IN

o8-02 305d 3x 38,690m 6.3% 2,467f 4.0% 1,571p

·Top ECM (Energy Corrected Milk) Award: Jonlee Secret Langwathby owned by Dalton, Dillon & Breanne Freeman, Bremen, IN

o8-02 305d 3x 38,690m 6.3% 2,467f 4.0% 1,571p ECM: 56,617m

·White Cloud Award: Hilltop Acres Cad Angel owned by Dennis Mashek, Calmar, IA

o1-11 305d 3x 30,430m 4.6% 1,410f 3.2% 984p EMC: 35,737m

·Vernon C. Hull Total Performance Award: La Rainbow Bfly Sunkist ETV owned by Richard Sparrow & Family, Owenton, KY

o6-01 305d 2x 40,620m 3.4% 1,371f 3.3% 1,342p 273 Points

·Cow For All Seasons: La Rainbow Bfly Sunkist ETV owned by Richard Sparrow & Family, Owenton, KY

o6-01 305d 2x 40,620m 3.4% 1,371f 3.3% 1,342p ECM: 41,303m

The board also announced the 2019 Young Breeder Award Recipient, Mitch Kappelman of Manitowoc, WI. Minutes of the 2020 Annual Meeting along with the annual report for 2019 can be found on the website,

The Brown Swiss Cattle Breeders’ Association was established in 1880, registers 9,000 animals per year and serves about 1,800 combined adult and junior members. All cattle in the registry descend from the initial importations of 25 bulls and 140 females from Switzerland, where the breed was developed around 4000 B.C. The world population of Brown Swiss is reported to be about 4 million, which ranks in the top two in world-wide population of dairy cattle. For more information about the Brown Swiss Cattle Breeders’ Association, visit

National Dairy Shrine Announces Senior Student Recognition Scholarships

The National Dairy Shrine is pleased to announce the recipients of the Student Recognition scholarships for 2020, this award recognizes graduating seniors planning a career related to the dairy industry who have demonstrated outstanding leadership, academic ability, and a sincere interest in dairy cattle. Every university can nominate up to two candidates for this recognition in any given year. The highest recipient receives a $2000 award, the second a $1500 award and the other recipients receive $1000 awards.

The top scholarship recipient of $2000 is Emily Annexstad of St Peter, Minnesota. Emily double majored in Animal Science and Agricultural Communication & Marketing at the University of Minnesota. Emily was President of the campus National Agri-Marketing Association, serves as a Midwest Dairy Ambassador, was vice president of the Beta of Clovia Sorority and is active in the Gopher Dairy Club currently serving as President. Ms. Annexstad had also served as the 64th Princess Kay of the Milky Way. Emily plans on a career in dairy communications or marketing championing the positives of the dairy industry.

The second award of $1500 goes to Sanne de Bruijn of Vicksburg, Michigan who attended South Dakota State University double majoring in Dairy Production and Dairy Manufacturing. Sanne was a student ambassador for the Ag College at SDSU, Head Mentor of the freshman dairy seminar class, on the SDSU Student Council and Vice President of the SDSU Dairy Club. She has worked with the Midwest Dairy Association, attended Agriculture Future of America Conferences and is a member of the SDSU Dairy Products Evaluation team. Sanne’s future involves moving to France for a 2-year apprenticeship and Masters’ Program for Lactalis. Upon completion she will relocate to the Lactalis cheese facility in Buffalo, New York.

Additionally, five other students have been awarded $1000 scholarships. They are Shoshana Brody from Baltimore,Maryland a major in Animal Science at Penn State University. At Penn State Ms. Brody was President of the Penn State Dairy Science Club, Vice President of the Penn State Coaly Society, and Vice President of the Penn State Reproduction Research Team. She is a member of Gamma Sigma Delta and a Schreyer Honors Scholar. With a great interest in science and biology Ms. Brody will be attending the University of California Davis School of Veterinary Medicine.

The next $1000 recipient is Summer Henschel of Plymouth, Wisconsin. Summer is a student at the University of Wisconsin-Madison majoring in Dairy Science with a Pre-Vet Emphasis. Ms. Henschel has been secretary of the Badger Dairy Club, Collegiate Farm Bureau President, and House Manager of the Association of Women in Agriculture on campus. Summer has also been active in Holstein and Brown Swiss breed activities. Summer is preparing for her future as a large animal veterinarian by attending the University of Wisconsin School of Veterinary Medicine.

Another $1000 recipient is Bailey Larson of Alma Center, Wisconsin. Bailey majored in Dairy Science at the University of Wisconsin-River Falls. On campus she served as Vice President of the Dairy Club and has been active in the Block & Bridle club, Collegiate Farm Bureau, and the Midwest Student Affiliate organization. Bailey is still very involved in Jackson County Dairy activities and manages their Facebook page. With a strong interest in dairy nutrition and after a fulfilling summer internship, Bailey will be starting her career as a dairy nutrition consultant with Purina Animal Nutrition.

The next $1000 recipient is Jack Myers of Fowler, Michigan. Jack majored in Dairy Science with a Food Science minor at Iowa State University. He served for two terms as the National President of the ADSA Student Affiliate Division and as an ISU CALS senator. Jack has been very active in the ISU Dairy Products Evaluation club serving as President and is completing a book chronicling the history of dairy at Iowa State. Jack was named the outstanding senior for the ISU dairy club and is a member of Alpha Zeta. Jack plans on continuing his education in the dairy product field with the goal of becoming an educator.

The final senior recognition honoree is Kelly MacRae from Grove City, Pennsylvania who was a major in Animal Science at Penn State University. Kelly has been involved in dairy cattle judging, Dairy Challenge, and the Northeast Student Affiliate of ADSA. She served as the Vice President of the Penn State Dairy Club and was the Student Coordinator of the Pennsylvania Junior Dairy Show. After programs with ADM and URUS Kelly plans on starting her career in Western Pennsylvania in dairy sales with the intent to become an on-farm dairy profitability consultant.

For more information about the students being recognized by National Dairy Shrine or details about a future NDS Awards Banquet, contact the NDS office at Additional information on National Dairy Shrine membership or other activities is also available at Dairy enthusiasts are encouraged to become a part of the most important dairy organization helping to inspire future dairy leaders, honor current or past dairy leaders and preserve dairy industry history.

Top Dairy Industry News Stories from July 11th till 17th 2020

Top News Stories:

State fair cancellation has impact on NY dairy farms

Ken McEvoy, an owner of Mac Mara Holsteins in the Cortland County town of Marathon, walked toward the back of the barn and to a stall where a large cow named Sissy lay on the floor. He walked in the stall and began petting Sissy.

She was one of the cows the farm had planned to bring to the New York State Fair to participate in a cow show competition.

Gov. Andrew Cuomo announced July 6 the fair was canceled because of the coronavirus pandemic. Besides the lost midway rides, the lost concerts, the lost bit of Americana for a year, it’s lost potential income.

Horse shows, cattle shows, dairy shows. Sheep, flowers, farm products. For hundreds of competitors, the shows aren’t just a bit of fun. They’re an investment that can pay off in extra income.

“The competition is putting our best against the best in the state, but it was marketing,” McEvoy said. People would attend the fair to also buy or sell heifers or calves to other farmers. Depending on the cow, it could sell for anywhere from $2,000 to $50,000.

“Not having it does hurt that way,” he said. “It also hurts marketing milk to the general public who went to the state fair and didn’t know much about where their products come from.”

McEvoy said he had planned to bring nine or 10 cows this year, noting he thought they would do very well in the competition.

“We’ve got one of our best show strengths we’ve had in a couple years — our young cows and heifers are really good,” he said. “It’s like a fashion show or a Miss America pageant — they have to be right there, perfect, and if they’re longer in their lactation where they’re not making much milk or a little bit heavier, it takes away from their show rank appearance.”

It means cows who could have participated this year may not be able to next year.

Matt Sharpe of Footbridge Farm in Truxton faces the same problem.

“It’s just like a sports season kind of being lost,” he said.

But it isn’t just the state fair show they lost. The World Dairy Expo — the biggest show of the year — was canceled, although he said some shows locally and regionally are in the works.

A show typically planned for the Independence Day weekend in Cortland was postponed.

“We wanted to still try and make something happen,” he said. “We decided to push it back to plan a little better.”

Social distancing guidelines were taken into account, the public was not going to be allowed and the number of participants was decreased. He said that he had to turn down 14 people Tuesday because they had reached their limit on participants.

He said some other groups are also trying to plan for larger shows in September or October.

Source: Auburn Pub

National Dairy Shrine Announces Lancaster Sophomore Scholarships

Nicholas Seitzer of St. Peter, Minnesota. Photo provided.

The National Dairy Shrine is pleased to announce the recipients of the Mike Lancaster Sophomore Merit Scholarships for 2020. These scholarships are designed to encourage qualified sophomore status undergraduate students to pursue careers in the dairy industry or related occupations. This scholarship is named in honor of National Dairy Hall of Fame Distinguished Dairy Cattle Breeder and Klussendorf honoree Mike Lancaster.

Nicholas Seitzer of St. Peter, Minnesota has been awarded the top scholarship of $1500. Nicholas is a student at the University of Minnesota majoring in Animal Science and Agricultural Food & Business Management. Mr. Seitzer has been active in the Gopher Dairy Club, NAMA, and currently serves as the Delta Theta Sigma Chapter President. He has been active in 4-H, FFA and is an Eagle Scout award winner.  Nicholas’ plans for the future include possibly attending graduate school or securing a position in production agriculture.  

Additionally, three other sophomore students have been awarded $1000 scholarships. They are:

Sarah Lehner of Delaware, Ohio. Photo provided.

Sarah Lehner of Delaware, Ohio who is a student at the Ohio State University double majoring in Animal Science and Agribusiness & Applied Economics. Sarah is a National Brown Swiss Ambassador, serves as the Buckeye Dairy Club treasurer, and a member of the Crops & Soils Club. In 2019 Sarah was a member of the first-place team at the National Intercollegiate Dairy Cattle Judging contest. With a passion for dairy genetics and business Sarah hopes to have a career with a genetics company as a dairy business analyst or manager.

Gaelan Combs of Verona, Wisconsin. Photo provided.

Gaelan Combs of Verona, Wisconsin who is attending the University of Wisconsin-Madison majoring in Dairy Science. Gaelan has served as Wisconsin FFA State Sentinel, UW-Madison Collegiate 4-H Vice President and an active member of the Badger Dairy Club and Collegiate Farm Bureau. Mr. Combs is very active in the Alpha Gamma Rho fraternity. After working in the Nutrition lab of Dr Heather White, Gaelan plans on attending graduate school to obtain his PhD in dairy nutrition and become a nutrition consultant.

Matthias Annexstad of St Peter, Minnesota. Photo provided.

Matthias Annexstad of St Peter, Minnesota who is majoring in Animal Science at the University of Minnesota. Matthias is an active member of the Gopher Dairy Club serving as co-chair of Gopher Dairy Camp, he is Treasurer of NAMA, and currently President of Delta Theta Sigma. He has competed in dairy judging becoming the high individual and member of the high team at the NAILE contest in Louisville, KY. Matthias plans after graduation include obtaining a position in the dairy industry serving dairy producers with the ultimate goal of returning to the home farm to continue this multi-generational operation.

For more information about the students being recognized by National Dairy Shrine or details about a future NDS Awards Banquet, contact the NDS office at Additional information on National

Dairy Shrine membership or other activities is also available HERE. Dairy enthusiasts are encouraged to become a part of the most important dairy organization helping to inspire future dairy leaders, honor current or past dairy leaders and preserve dairy industry history. 

Improved conditions boost Australian farmer confidence and milk production amidst COVID-19 uncertainty

The end of the 2019-20 season has been anything but ordinary.

On one hand, the global economy and commodity markets have been thrown into turmoil following the COVID-19 outbreak.

While on the other, many Australian regions saw a turnaround in seasonal conditions, leading to a recovery in milk production.

Dairy Australia’s recently released June Situation and Outlook report highlights how a timely turn in seasonal conditions has provided a more optimistic outlook for the season ahead, while the social and economic impacts brought on by the spread of COVID-19 continue to pose risks for the months ahead.

Heading into the new season the tables had begun to turn; many regions experienced an early break and indications of ongoing wet weather.

As a result, demand for purchased feed decreased and hay prices eased across the south-eastern states.

Despite general improvements, conditions remain varied across the country.

A dry start to the year in south-west Western Australia sustained high hay prices and lowered the crop production forecast (compared to last year).

Meanwhile, limited fodder availability in Tasmania has kept hay prices elevated.

Overall, with more favourable conditions and a return to near average crop production, the outlook for next season’s purchased feed market has improved.

With more manageable input costs, favourable seasonal conditions and a relatively strong farm gate milk prices this season, overall industry confidence has improved.

According to data from the National Dairy Farmer Survey, conducted in February, 44 per cent of farmers were reportedly positive about the industry’s future, up 10 per cent from last year.

Own business sentiment appears to be closely correlated to a farmer’s reliance on the purchased feed market and weather.

Improved confidence and positive weather developments have resulted in a significant recovery in Australia’s milk pool.

National milk production has increased year-on-year for consecutive months leading to April.

Given the extent and persistence of this turnaround, Dairy Australia has moderated its milk production outlook for 2019-20, to indicate a drop of between one and three per cent, compared to 2018-19.

This would equate to an annual total of between 8.5 and 8.7 billion litres.

The production recovery remains localised to a few regions and is mainly driven by strong growth in Tasmania and Victoria.

In comparison, high input costs have constrained production in other regions, such as WA and Queensland.

As seasonal conditions have continued to rally, Dairy Australia’s initial forecast for the 2020-21 season anticipates a modest rebound in milk production, up between one and three per cent.

While on-farm conditions turned more favourable, the outbreak of COVID-19 has caused widespread market disruption both locally and internationally.

The virus has led to significant change in consumer purchasing behaviour with implications on demand for dairy both domestically and internationally.

Locally, this led to a temporary overall increase in dairy sales, as consumers stocked up pantries and fridges in preparation for restrictions.

Since then sales through retail outlets have stabilised, but demand for fresh milk, yellow spreads, cheese and yoghurt remain elevated.

In comparison, sales of dairy products through non-grocery channels, such as food service, restaurants and cafes have plummeted.

As the non-grocery sectors typically act as a significant value generator for the dairy industry, this drop is likely to impact value creation opportunities throughout the supply chain.

Meanwhile, overseas the ongoing restrictions saw demand for dairy ease, particularly from the food service sectors and price-sensitive markets.

While the initial panic that followed the outbreak has begun to settle, global dairy demand remains under pressure. Particularly as economic outlooks around the world deteriorate and national and per-capita incomes are likely to decrease in many countries.

This is expected to impact demand for premium-priced dairy products.

During this time when global dairy markets have been increasingly volatile, the Australian dairy industry has started to show signs of a timely turnaround.

Sustained improvement to input costs and an increased number of farmers feeling confident about the new season, will be crucial for continued milk production growth for the season ahead.


Cozy Nook Farm Recognized by National Association

The Brown Swiss Cattle Breeders’ Association recently recognized Cozy Nook Farm of Waukesha, WI as the recipient of two National Awards for their Brown Swiss dairy herd. Operated by Tom and Joan Oberhaus along with their son Charlie, the family has been milking cows full-time since 1985. They have approximately 63 milking Brown Swiss, 65 up-and-coming Brown Swiss heifers and a handful of Guernseys on the farm.

Cozy Nook Farm received the Ira Inman PTPR Trophy, which is based on a total progressive dairy program including breeding, feeding and management. Winners are determined by assigning point values to protein, butterfat, milk, classification, percentage records received and number of years on DHIR official test.

Cozy Nook Farm was also awarded the Protein Genetic Herd Award. This award is presented to the herd with the top genetic level in the past year based on Actual PTA protein of all cows with the same herd code calving within the past two years.

Both of these awards have four divisions, based on herd size. Cozy Nook falls into Group 3, milking 50-99 cows. Since 2014, Cozy Nook Farms has won the Ira Inman PTPR Trophy three times, the Protein Genetic Herd Award six times and the Progressive Genetic Herd Award once.

According to Tom, he realized in the early 1980s that protein numbers are very important to maintaining a profitable farm. He also knew that Brown Swiss cattle are the best at producing high numbers of protein, which was his main reason for owning and breeding Brown Swiss cattle. Tom’s advice to others is to “have a goal and keep striving for it.” While he focuses on genetics, he says he always remembers his main goal, which is to breed for longevity.

Would you try ‘milk’ made from avocados?

Avocado isn’t just for eating — in guacamole, atop tacos, on toast — it’s for drinking, too! At select grocery stores in the U.S., consumers can now find avocado milk on shelves. The nondairy milk alternative is set to satisfy our need for all things avocado, and is trying to give other milk alternatives such as soy milk, almond milk and oat milk a run for their money.

The brand Avocadomilk posted an update to their Instagram page, letting avocado lovers know to look out for it in many U.S. supermarkets.

“Thank you very much to everyone that asked for avocadomilk to come to your town,” read the message posted May 4. “We have just been picked up by a major distributor called KeHE and included into their elevate program. we will be in your town soon. thanks very much and stay healthy.”

Avocadomilk is made primarily of freeze-dried avocados and oats, and the brand just came out with a vegan version of the drink, which is basically the same as the original except without any animal products, like honey. At the same time, the company also launched a low-sugar chocolate version of the drink.

The drink is selling for $3.99 per 12.8-ounce bottle, $7.99 per 27-ounce bottle and, on its website, $23.94 for a 6-pack of 12.8-ounce bottles.

“We created the new vegan version of avocadomilk because we listened to our customers,” Terry Daly, President and CEO of Avo88 and avocadomilk told TODAY Food. “We have been selling avocadomilk in the USA since last November and it has been going really well. We wanted to move our production to the USA and it gave us a chance to review the formulation. We have amazing customers who talk to us and give us lots of feedback and when we asked what they wanted most, it was a 100% vegan product. The new formulation, is a bit smoother and actually has come out tasting a little bit sweeter (but still low sugar). Our customers keep a bottle in the fridge and add it to their cereal in the morning or make a smoothie out of it.

“We introduced a chocolate version as well. That one is designed to drink as a guilt-free chocolate milk.”

And you don’t have to worry about it going brown and mushy, like the avocado that’s probably sitting for a little too long on your kitchen counter. According to the company’s website, “avocadomilk has a 11 month shelf life.”

But what exactly does Avocadomilk look and taste like? The website explains that the makers sought to create “something that looks like avocado, tastes like avocado and is good for you like avocado.”

Avocadomilk is, according to the company, “dairy free, preservative free, artificial colours and flavors free, cholesterol free, lactose free, vegetarian milk, that contains a minimum of 20% of the goodness of an avocado in every bottle.”

The brand says they are socially-conscious, making their drink with “ugly” avocados — imperfect-looking fruits that otherwise would not be sold. Its bottles are made from 100% recycled plastic, too.

Available in original and cacao flavors, the beverage can be used anywhere you’d normally use soy, oat or nut milk — in cereal, smoothies and beyond. At 2 grams of protein per cup, the drink has more protein than almond milk but less than its soy or oat counterparts.

Still, if you’re the type of person who delights in a perfectly cut avocado or think nothing of paying extra for guac, it might be worth a shot!

Source: Today

National Dairy Shrine Announces Core Scholarships

The National Dairy Shrine is pleased to announce the recipients of the 2020 Maurice Core Scholarships. These $1000 scholarships are given in honor of Maurice Core, the long-time Executive Secretary of the American Jersey Cattle Association, and former Executive Director of the National Dairy Shrine. The funds for this award were donated by the friends of Maurice Core. The Core Scholarships are given to freshman status students working toward a degree in dairy/animal science or related majors and demonstrating growing leadership skills.

Receiving Maurice Core $1000 Scholarships are:

Ashley Hagenow of Poynette, Wisconsin. Photo provided.

Ashley Hagenow of Poynette, Wisconsin, is a student at the University of Minnesota, where she is majoring in Agricultural Communications and Marketing with a minor in Animal Science. Ashley has been very active in 4-H and FFA attending leadership conferences and participating in dairy judging and showing. She spent a year serving as the Wisconsin State FFA Reporter. On campus she has been active in the Gopher Dairy Club, Midwest SAD, Agricultural Education, Communication & Marketing club, and NAMA. Ashley plans on a career as an editor or as a communications specialist.

Mikara Anderson of Three Springs, Pennsylvania. Photo provided.

Mikara Anderson of Three Springs, Pennsylvania who is a student at Penn State University majoring in Animal Science with a Business Option. Mikara was named the 2019 Pennsylvania FFA Star Farmer, 2019 Pennsylvania Fair Queen, and has been active in Huntington County 4-H, FFA, and County Fair organizations. At college she is a member of the Dairy Club, Northeast SAD, and an active Junior Holstein Association member.  Mikara plans on becoming an agricultural lawyer and work with the Pennsylvania Department of Agriculture.

Kendra Waldenberger of Spring Grove, Minnesota. Photo provided.

Kendra Waldenberger of Spring Grove, Minnesota, is majoring in Animal Science and Agricultural Communications & Marketing at the University of Minnesota. Kendra did not grow up on a dairy but started her dairy career by leasing Brown Swiss calves to show. She quickly developed a passion for dairy and has been involved in Brown Swiss activities as well as Houston County Dairy Activities (serving as Houston County Dairy Princess). Kendra has had numerous leadership roles in youth organizations and loves being a mentor to younger members. Kendra has a goal of attending graduate school and becoming a dairy cattle geneticist.

Alexis Payne of Glenfield, New York. Photo provided.

The final recipient is Alexis Payne of Glenfield, New York who is majoring in Animal Science at the State University of New York-Cobleskill. Alexis served as President of the New York Junior Holstein Association, a New York State Dairy Princess and as an Ambassador for the New York State Agricultural Society. At school Alexis is involved in the Dairy Club, Agricultural Business Club, and the NE American Dairy Association’s Dairy Food Advocacy Program. Ms. Payne is going to follow her passion by enjoying a career in the dairy industry either in dairy management or communications.

For more information about the students being recognized by National Dairy Shrine or details about a future NDS Awards Banquet, contact the NDS office at

Additional information on National Dairy Shrine membership or other activities is also available HERE. Dairy enthusiasts are encouraged to become a part of the most important dairy organization helping to inspire future dairy leaders, honor current or past dairy leaders and preserve dairy industry history. 

Wholesale milk prices have nearly doubled since pandemic lows, expert on dairy policy explains why

Dairy farmers are seeing some relief in wholesale milk prices after hitting five-year lows during shutdowns.

The price of wholesale milk has nearly doubled, going from $13 per cwt. to $24 per cwt.

Mark Stephenson, the director of dairy policy analysis at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, said the increase in prices is due to government buying food boxes, restaurants opening back up and low cheese prices driving up the export market.

Now, wholesale cheese prices have tripled what they were.

“We are expecting that those prices are going to moderate fairly rapidly on into the fall but to prices that are more normal for us, not that are necessarily low,” Stephenson said. “These are very high prices right now.”

Before prices go down to $16 to $18 per cwt. Stephenson said farmers should think about refilling cash reserves and paying off some debt, but he said this is good relief for now, especially since 2020 was projected to be a recovery year before the pandemic hit.

Stephenson said the price fluctuations are not expected to be very noticeable to consumers.

71-year-old saved from grain bin

A 71-year-old man was rescued Monday morning after being trapped in a Grant Co. grain bin for approximately two hours.

According to the Grant Co. Sheriff’s Office, deputies responded around 8:20 a.m. to reports of a man, who was identified as David Reiter, trapped in a grain bin in Stitzer.

When rescue teams arrived at the farm, in the 3200 block of Grandview Road, they found Reiter trapped in a bin that was half-filled with approximately 10,000 bushels of shelled corn. The Sheriff’s Officer report the corn came up to his chest and he was unable to get out.

Rescuers say Reiter was conscious and alert the entire time he was stuck in the bin. He was pulled to safety around 10:20 a.m. and flown by helicopter to UW-Madison hospital.

The Sheriff’s Office did not release any other information on his condition.


Whole Milk Debate: Dairy coalition calls on federal agencies to change stance

The American Dairy Coalition (ADC) is calling on the federal government to reconsider its stance on saturated fats, specifically whole milk.

The plea comes as the dairy industry has faced challenges during the COVID-19 pandemic, forcing many to dump milk since consumer, school, and restaurant demand had dropped.

The ADC is calling on the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) and U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) to listen to the concerns of farmers before publishing the Dietary Guidelines for America (DGA) which sets policies. The DGA -published once every 5 years- is set for another publication and could continue its stance regarding saturated fatty acids.

According to the DGA, there is “strong evidence” which demonstrates “diets lower in saturated fatty acids and cholesterol during childhood result in lower levels of total blood and low-density lipoprotein cholesterol throughout childhood, particularly in boys.” Given the recommendations specify childhood, the American Dairy Coalition says these policies influence public policy including WIC, SNAP, school programs, and hospital nutritional programs.

“Despite an abundance of science that demonstrate that full-fat dairy products reduce chronic disease in children and adults and promotes learning readiness in children, the DGA continue to set caps on saturated fats, effectively banning whole milk from daycares and school nutrition programs,” the DGA says.

The organization has sent letters to the heads of the USDA and HHS, asking them to intervene and delay the publication of the new DGA since it would set the tone for another five years. They also add the most recent evidence shows there are health benefits to saturated fats. ADC points to reports from The Nutrition Coalition (TNC), a non-profit, non-partisan educational organization focused on U.S. nutrition. In June, the organization cited a study published in the Journal of the American College of Cardiology which found recommendations to limit saturated fatty acid intake has “persisted despite mounting evidence to the contrary.”



Alice Cooper Brand Chocolate Milk is Coming

Nothing screams rock star like getting your own line of chocolate milk!

Alice Cooper has really softened up in his old age. He spent decades beheading himself on stage…and now he’s ready to settle down with a nice cold glass of chocolate milk.

He’s getting his own brand of chocolate milk. Cooper has teamed up with Danzeisen Dairy to produce the beverage and it’ll be available solely in Arizona at stores and for home delivery come the fall. Maybe if it does well, he’ll bring it to Canada.

Cooper’s face will be featured on the bottles and proceeds will be going to his nonprofit Solid Rock.

Cooper mentioned in a comment on this post that they’re working on an empty bottle promotion, which would allow people to order the bottles online.

Source: Rock95

NCBA hits back at new Burger King campaign

NCBA CEO Colin Woodall highlights the misleading claims of Burger King’s #CowsMenu campaign.

Members of the National Cattlemen’s Beef Association are disappointed by the release of Burger King’s #CowsMenucampaign today. The nation’s burger restaurants can, and many of them do, play a vital role in helping improve beef’s sustainability and reducing its environmental footprint. Unfortunately, Burger King has chosen a different path, relying on kitschy imagery that misrepresents basic bovine biology – cattle emissions come from burps, not farts – and on the potential impact of a single ruminant nutrition study that was so small and poorly conceived, it was dismissed by many leading NGOs and beef industry experts.

The US is already a leader in sustainable beef production. The EPA attributes just 2 percent of greenhouse gas emissions to the American cattle industry, and yet cattle farmers and ranchers remain committed to continuous improvement and producing beef more sustainably. America’s cattle producers are disappointed that Burger King has decided to follow a path that is misaligned with those who are already making real-world efforts to reduce beef’s environmental footprint, opting instead to score easy points with consumers by launching a misleading public relations campaign.


Hilltop Acres Farm Recognized by National Association

The Brown Swiss Cattle Breeders’ Association recently recognized Hilltop Acres Farm of Calmar, IA as the recipient of three National Awards for their Brown Swiss dairy herd. The family, Dennis and Barb Mashek along with their sons, Josh and Tanner, milk 400 registered Brown Swiss three times a day. The passion for Brown Swiss runs deep in this family as Dennis and Barb’s grandchildren will be the 8th generation of dairy farmers. According to Dennis, the fat to protein ratio; longevity; sound feet and legs; as well as their temperament are the best-selling reasons to own a brown swiss.

The Mashek family received the Ira Inman PTPR Trophy, which is based on a total progressive dairy program including breeding, feeding and management. Winners are determined by assigning point values to protein, butterfat, milk, classification, percentage records received and number of years on DHIR official test. This award has four divisions based on herd size. The Mashek’s fall into Group 4, milking 100+ registered Brown Swiss cows.

Tanner Mashek’s cow, Spring Acres Joel Petra, was awarded J.P. Eves Trophy. This award is given to the highest 305-day actual milk record of all DHIR records received during 2019 regardless of times milked. His cow, Petra, was recorded at 5-03 305d 3x 42,100m 5.7% 2,414f 3.5% 1,465p. This is the second year in a row that one of Tanner’s cows has earned this award.

Dennis Mashek’s cow, Hilltop Acres Cad Angel, was awarded the White Cloud Award. This award is presented to the cow that has calved at 1-11 or less with the highest 305d ECM record completed in 2019 regardless of times milked. Mashek’s cow recorded 1-11 305d 3x 30,430m 4.6% 1,410f 3.2% 984p ECM: 35,737m. This is the second year in a row that Dennis has won this award with one of his cows.

Dennis strongly believes that milking his cows three times a day is the reason for his cows having high production. “We strive for cow comfort,” says Dennis and he attributes that as the reason they are still milking 10 or so cows between the ages of 10-15 years old.

Lawsuit accuses DFA leadership of ‘extortion’ and ‘cartel’ tactics after Dean Foods sale

A new lawsuit filed against 75 members of the Dairy Farmers of America’s leadership claims that the co-op has been operating “a milk cartel which has shattered our nation’s crucial dairy industry.”

A Dean Foods shareholder, 17 farmers and a supply business argue in the complaint that the U.S. dairy industry was already facing a collapse with a record amount of farms drowning in red ink and rural communities suffering before the pandemic hit. Now, the plaintiffs claim DFA is unfairly expanding its reach even further with its recent acquisition of the majority of Dean Foods’ assets.

“During the height of the pandemic, this collapse spread from Main Street, Rural America to Wall Street, New York City as Defendants extorted substantially all assets from publicly-traded Dean Foods Company after forcing its Bankruptcy,” the lawsuit said. “Defendants’ solution to the failed U.S. milk system presents the ultimate extortion: either the federal government subsidizes the production and sale of the cartel’s product, or the cartel oversees the collapse of the centralized U.S. consumer dairy supply chain.”

Attorney Joshua Haar filed the complaint under the Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act seeking divestiture and dissolution with all available damages. It was filed last week on behalf of 19 plaintiffs, including dairy supply business New York Animal and Farm, in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of New York.

Monica Massey, executive vice president and chief of staff at Dairy Farmers of America, told Food Dive in a statement that the complaint is “ridiculous and without merit.” Massey said DFA is proud of its staff and will vigorously defend them.

“It is yet another frivolous filing and allegation the plaintiffs’ attorney, Joshua Haar, has made in relation to DFA and the dairy industry, as he searches for others to support his personal agenda,” Massey said. “It is unfortunate that farmer time and money must now be spent defending claims made by someone with an agenda to try to dismantle the Cooperative.”

Dean Foods filed for bankruptcy in November, and announced then that it was in advanced talks to sell to Dairy Farmers of America. About five months later, DFA bought the majority of Dean’s assets for $433 million in a bankruptcy sale. 

“With DFA’s takeover of the Dean plants, their ability to continue the extortion, which they’ve already been up to as detailed in the complaint in new ways and more extensively, is tremendous,” Haar told Food Dive.

Concerns continue to mount 

Antitrust concerns have clouded DFA’s purchase of Dean Foods since before the sale was approved. Despite the issues raised and DFA losing its position as lead bidder in the auction after complaints, the Justice Department approved the deal, and only required the co-op to divest three Dean plants.

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DFA has about 14,000 members, which is nearly half of all U.S. dairy producers, that produce more than 30% of U.S. milk. Farmers have sued DFA and Dean before for monopolizing the milk market, including Haar, who is the son of dairy farmers Jonathan and Claudia Haar. 

The complaint says that DFA’s sales personnel used “predatory pricing to eliminate competition from smaller cooperatives and secure control of milk plants in Midwestern states,” which gave them the funds to buy Dean.

“DFA was financially able to undertake this purchase due to income and assets obtained through extortion of milk income from dairy farmers including Plaintiff Dairy Farmers,” the complaint said.

The suit claims that since Dean gave up most of its assets to DFA, its bankruptcy estate was nearing insolvency and its shareholders, bondholders and unsecured creditors were left with hundreds of millions in losses.

The complaint is seeking divestiture of all processing operations owned by DFA, damages and costs for all fees accrued by the defendants and for DFA to be dissolved with any equity returned to its member farmers.

Dean Foods shareholder Susan Poole, who is a plaintiff on the complaint, previously told Food Dive the Dean sale would create a “monopoly on milk prices.” Poole said that she and other shareholders believe DFA and Dean pre-planned the bankruptcy. Poole said the filing was not necessary because the company had liquidity and stockholders’ equity. 

“Dairy Farmers of America, basically, I think they were in collusion to have this bankruptcy and it wasn’t warranted,” she said before the deal was approved. 

Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection is usually a voluntary filing intended to help struggling businesses restructure financially. According to the company’s most updated quarterly report before the sale, Dean had more than $1.1 billion in long-term debt. Many in the milk space are struggling, Borden Dairy filed for bankruptcy just two months after Dean. 

This isn’t the first suit filed after the sale closed. An antitrust lawsuit was filed against DFA in federal court last month challenging its acquisition of the majority of Dean’s assets. Food Lion and the Maryland and Virginia Milk Producers Cooperative Association filed the suit in North Carolina. In June, DFA urged the court to toss the suit, arguing it was too speculative. 

“With capability to wield market power at two levels of the supply chain, DFA now has both the ability and the incentive to wipe out any remaining pockets of competition,” the suit filed in North Carolina said.

Source: Food Dive

Farmer sentiment rebounds amid ongoing COVID-19 concerns

Farmer sentiment rebounds amid ongoing COVID-19 concerns. (Purdue/CME Group Ag Economy Barometer/James Mintert)

Farmer sentiment improved in June for the second month in a row, rebounding from sharp declines that took place in both March and April, according to the Purdue University/CME Group Ag Economy Barometer. The index was up 14 points from May to a reading of 117. The Ag Economy Barometer is based on responses from 400 U.S. agricultural producers with this month’s survey conducted June 22-26.

Ag producers became more optimistic about both their current and future farming operations compared with a month earlier. The Index of Current Conditions rose 19% from May to a reading of 99, and the Index of Future Expectations climbed 12% from May to a reading of 126. Over the last two months, farmers’ perspective regarding making large investments in their farming operations improved markedly. The Farm Capital Investment Index recovered to a reading of 60 in June, compared with just 50 a month earlier and a reading of 38 in April. Although much improved since bottoming out in April, the recovery still left the Farm Capital Investment Index 12 points below the 2020 high established in February, before coronavirus impacted markets.

“This month’s survey was conducted after the USDA announced details regarding the Coronavirus Food Assistance Program (CFAP),” said James Mintert, the barometer’s principal investigator and director of Purdue University’s Center for Commercial Agriculture. “A more favorable spring planting season combined with assistance from CFAP helps explain this month’s improvement in farmer sentiment, yet a majority of producers believe additional economic assistance will be needed in 2020.”

Despite their concerns, when asked about the impact of the virus on their farms’ profitability, 64% of respondents indicated they were “very worried” or “fairly worried,” down from 71% in May. The June survey provided the first opportunity to survey farmers after details about the CFAP were made available. Sixty percent of surveyed farmers indicated that CFAP “somewhat” (53%) or “completely” (7%) relieved their concerns about the impact of the virus on their 2020 farm income, while just over one-fourth of respondents (26 %) responded “not at all.” However, 64% of farmers surveyed indicated that they think it will be necessary for Congress to pass another bill to provide more economic assistance to U.S. farmers.

When asked about their short-run outlook for land values, farmers’ perspective improved over the last two months. Respondents expecting land values to decline over the next 12 months fell to 21% in June, down from 29% in May and 35% in April. The shift in perspective was even more pronounced when farmers were asked about farmland values in five years. Fifty-five percent of respondents said they expect farmland values to rise over the next five years, up from just 40% in May. Meanwhile, just 17%of farmers surveyed who rent farmland said they expect to ask their landlords to lower their cash rental payments in 2021 as a result of COVID-19, down from 27% that planned to do so in May.

Read the full Ag Economy Barometer report at This month’s report includes insight into farmers’ profitability expectations, their plans for machinery purchases in the upcoming year and their concerns about the ethanol industry’s future. The site also offers additional resources – such as past reports, charts and survey methodology – and a form to sign up for monthly barometer email updates and webinars. Each month, the Purdue Center for Commercial Agriculture provides a short video analysis of the barometer results, available at For even more information, check out the Purdue Commercial AgCast podcast. It includes a detailed breakdown of each month’s barometer, in addition to a discussion of recent agriculture news that impacts farmers. It is available now at

The Ag Economy Barometer, Index of Current Conditions and Index of Future Expectations are available on the Bloomberg Terminal under the following ticker symbols: AGECBARO, AGECCURC and AGECFTEX.

About the Purdue University Center for Commercial Agriculture

The Center for Commercial Agriculture was founded in 2011 to provide professional development and educational programs for farmers. Housed within Purdue University’s Department of Agricultural Economics, the center’s faculty and staff develop and execute research and educational programs that address the different needs of managing in today’s business environment.

About CME Group

As the world’s leading and most diverse derivatives marketplace, CME Group ( enables clients to trade futures, options, cash and OTC markets, optimize portfolios, and analyze data – empowering market participants worldwide to efficiently manage risk and capture opportunities. CME Group exchanges offer the widest range of global benchmark products across all major asset classes based on interest ratesequity indexesforeign exchangeenergyagricultural products and metals. The company offers futures and options on futures trading through the CME Globex® platform, fixed income trading via BrokerTec and foreign exchange trading on the EBS platform. In addition, it operates one of the world’s leading central counterparty clearing providers, CME Clearing. With a range of pre- and post-trade products and services underpinning the entire lifecycle of a trade, CME Group also offers optimization and reconciliation services through TriOptima, and trade processing services through Traiana.

CME Group, the Globe logo, CME, Chicago Mercantile Exchange, Globex, and E-mini are trademarks of Chicago Mercantile Exchange Inc. CBOT and Chicago Board of Trade are trademarks of Board of Trade of the City of Chicago, Inc. NYMEX, New York Mercantile Exchange and ClearPort are trademarks of New York Mercantile Exchange, Inc. COMEX is a trademark of Commodity Exchange, Inc. BrokerTec, EBS, TriOptima, and Traiana are trademarks of BrokerTec Europe LTD, EBS Group LTD, TriOptima AB, and Traiana, Inc., respectively. Dow Jones, Dow Jones Industrial Average, S&P 500, and S&P are service and/or trademarks of Dow Jones Trademark Holdings LLC, Standard & Poor’s Financial Services LLC and S&P/Dow Jones Indices LLC, as the case may be, and have been licensed for use by Chicago Mercantile Exchange Inc. All other trademarks are the property of their respective owners.  

About Purdue University

Purdue University is a top public research institution developing practical solutions to today’s toughest challenges. Ranked the No. 6 Most Innovative University in the United States by U.S. News & World Report, Purdue delivers world-changing research and out-of-this-world discovery. Committed to hands-on and online, real-world learning, Purdue offers a transformative education to all. Committed to affordability and accessibility, Purdue has frozen tuition and most fees at 2012-13 levels, enabling more students than ever to graduate debt-free. See how Purdue never stops in the persistent pursuit of the next giant leap at

Writer: Torrie Sheridan, 765-496-6032,

Source: James Mintert, 765-494-7004,

Media Contacts:

Aissa Good, Purdue University, 765-496-3884,

Matt Stroud, CME Group, 312-561-2269,

Related websites:

Purdue University Center for Commercial Agriculture

CME Group

Agricultural Communications: 765-494-8415;

Maureen Manier, Department Head,  

Agriculture News Page

Iowa farm billionaire’s companies receive US pandemic aid

Iowa-based seed companies owned or partially owned by billionaire Harry Stine won approval for at least six loans from the US Paycheck Protection Program.

Reuters reports that government data shows that the companies received loans totalling between $2.55 million to $6.35 million in the first round of the federal government’s pandemic aid programme for small businesses.

Stine Seed, one of the largest independent US seed companies, produces and sells corn and soybean seeds to farmers around the Midwest. So far, the coronavirus outbreak has not caused serious disruptions for commodity seed companies or dealers, trade groups and industry analysts said.

“I genuinely don’t know what challenges they could have faced in general,” Bernstein analyst Jonas Oxgaard said, adding, “as far as I know, corn and soybean dealers weren’t really impacted by corona at all.”

The loans to Stine’s companies, which have not been previously reported, highlight broader concerns about how the Trump Administration has managed the $660 billion Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) and how wealthy individuals and well-connected companies had greater access.

Stine, chief executive of Stine Seed Company, told Reuters the loans were appropriate because they were used to retain employees, including those who stayed home because they were afraid to go to work during the pandemic.

Stine did not know how many jobs were saved by PPP funding.

“Because of this deal, we paid every single one of our people all the time,” Stine said.

Stine Seed Company and Stine Seed Farm Inc had loans approved on 16 April, the data show.
Midwest Oilseeds Inc, a soybean plant breeding company that Stine controls; Eden Enterprise Inc, a corn breeding company that Stine controls; MS Technologies, in which Stine has a financial interest; and Cheesman Seed Company, a subsidiary of Stine, also had PPP loans approved in April, according to information from Stine and the federal government.

Applicants to the taxpayer-funded aid programme, such as Stine Seed, had to certify they needed the cash to cover basic needs like salaries and rent. The government disclosed recipient names for PPP loans of $150,000 or more, and ranges for loan sizes.

US seed companies in general did not face many problems from the initial blow of the pandemic, said Bethany Shively, spokeswoman for the American Seed Trade Association.

Stine said he did not know exactly how much money his company and its related entities received from the programme, and that his banks encouraged them to apply.

Stine said a slowdown in international shipping due to the pandemic created headaches for Stine Seeds, which grows seeds in Argentina, Chile and Uruguay while it is winter in the United States. Cargo ships that normally transport these seeds from South America were cancelled, forcing Stine Seed to send them to the United States.

Read more about this story here

May Margin Triggers Dairy Margin Coverage Program Payment

The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Farm Service Agency (FSA) today announced that the May 2020 income over feed cost margin was $5.37 per hundredweight (cwt.), triggering the third payment of 2020 for dairy producers who purchased the appropriate level of coverage under the Dairy Margin Coverage (DMC) program.

“This payment comes at a critical time for many dairy producers,” said FSA Administrator Richard Fordyce. “DMC has proved to be a worthwhile risk management tool, providing dairy producers with much- needed financial support when markets are most volatile.”

To date, FSA has issued more than $176 million in program benefits to dairy producers who purchased DMC coverage for 2020.

Authorized by the 2018 Farm Bill, DMC is a voluntary risk management program that offers protection to dairy producers when the difference between the all-milk price and the average feed price (the margin) falls below a certain dollar amount selected by the producer. Over 13,000 operations enrolled in the program for the 2020 calendar year.

Although DMC enrollment for 2020 coverage has closed, signup for 2021 coverage will begin October 13 and will run through December 11, 2020.

All USDA Service Centers are open for business, including some that are open to visitors to conduct business in person by appointment only. All Service Center visitors wishing to conduct business with the FSA, Natural Resources Conservation Service, or any other Service Center agency should call ahead and schedule an appointment. Service Centers that are open for appointments will pre-screen visitors based on health concerns or recent travel and visitors must adhere to social distancing guidelines. Visitors may also be required to wear a face covering during their appointment. Field work will continue with appropriate social distancing. Our program delivery staff will be in the office, and they will be working with our producers in office, by phone, and using online tools. More information can be found at

For more information, visit DMC webpage or contact your local USDA Service Center. To locate your local FSA office, visit

New Zealand’s first carbon-zero milk launches

New Zealand’s first carbon-zero milk launched on Tuesday.

A collaboration between Fonterra and Foodstuffs North Island, Simply Milk was certified carbon-zero through the purchasing of carbon credits from Toitū Envirocare, a wholly-owned subsidiary of Manaaki Whenua – Landcare Research. 

The product is the first of its kind in the Southern Hemisphere and one of just a handful worldwide.

Becky Lloyd, chief executive of Toitū Envirocare, said the certification comes after an analysis took into account the carbon footprint of producing the milk.

“First, we evaluate the carbon emissions of making Simply Milk. Right from the farm via store fridge to the customer’s home – the footprint includes farming, production, distribution as well as eventual consumption and disposal,” said Lloyd.

“Fonterra and Foodstuffs North Island then worked with Toitū to identify projects to offset the emissions.”

Carolyn Mortland, director of global sustainability at Fonterra, said the milk will support the regeneration of 7.5 square kilometres of native forest near Kaikoura, as well as renewable energy programmes in overseas markets where Fonterra sells its products. 


Meyers Recognized by National Association

The Brown Swiss Cattle Breeders’ Association recently recognized Jenlar Holsteins and Brown Swiss, of Chilton, WI as the recipient of a National Award for their Brown Swiss dairy herd. Operated by Larry and Jennifer Meyer, the family has been milking cows for more than four generations. While they milk a total of 130 head, only about 20 of them are Brown Swiss using robots.

This is the second year in a row that the Meyers have received the Ira Inman PTPR Trophy, which is based on a total progressive dairy program including breeding, feeding and management. Winners are determined by assigning point values to protein, butterfat, milk, classification, percentage records received and number of years on DHIR official test. This award has four divisions based on herd size. The Meyer’s fall into Group 1, milking 10-29 registered Brown Swiss cows.

According to Jennifer, the brown swiss are a part of their family heritage as the family descended from Switzerland, where Brown Swiss originated. “We enjoy showing the Brown Swiss,” says Jennifer. “The kids love working with them.” The Meyers believe in breeding for a balanced cow. They like to see high type with the ability to perform. “They need to work hard and produce well in order to stay in the herd,” adds Jennifer.

Researchers Develop Improved Diagnostic Test and Strategy for Control of Bovine Leukemia Virus

CentralStar researchers recently developed a new test to identify cows with the highest probability of transmitting Bovine Leukemia Virus (BLV), a virus that causes bovine leukosis and negatively impacts profitability in 89 percent of U.S. dairy herds.

The BLV Super-Shedders (SS1) polymerase chain reaction (PCR) assay determines the concentration of the proviral DNA of BLV in a cow’s blood, identifying the most infectious cows (super-shedders) in a herd. In collaboration with Michigan State University (MSU) and funded by grants through the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) and the Michigan Alliance for Animal Agriculture (MAAA), CentralStar research demonstrates that identifying and prioritizing management of super-shedders is an effective strategy in a BLV control program.

The BLV SS1 PCR measures proviral load (PVL), an indicator of how many viruses a cow is shedding. Test results rank cows in order from highly infectious, with advanced disease, to non-infectious herdmates. Animals with a BLV DNA:cow DNA ratio >1.0 are considered super-shedders with advanced disease and are most likely to transmit the virus to herdmates.

BLV influences herd profitability by reducing milk yield, altering cow immunity, and shortening productive lifespan. BLV hijacks a cow’s white blood cells, mainly B-lymphocytes, and incorporates its own DNA into the bovine DNA, therefore allowing detection in the animal’s blood. According to the USDA, BLV in the U.S. has an average herd prevalence of 45 percent.

“The ‘test and cull’ method previously used for BLV eradication in other countries is not feasible in the U.S., given that almost half of U.S. dairy cows are infected,” said Dr. Kelly Sporer, Research Scientist and Diagnostic Technical Specialist, CentralStar Cooperative. “Using results from the BLV SS1 PCR test, we have been able to work hand in hand with producers to implement effective management decisions and practices to significantly lower the risks of transmission within their herd.”

Data collected through a seven herd, 3,000-cow, field trial were used to identify super-shedders using the BLV SS1 PCR assay. Test results used in combination with prioritizing segregation or removal of the most infectious animals, resulted in several study herds decreasing prevalence to levels at which “test and cull” strategies can be implemented toward full eradication. With over 10,000 tests in validation studies, the BLV SS1 PCR assay has shown to be an effective tool to detect advanced disease in BLV antibody-positive cows, allowing rapid implementation of management decisions for the control of BLV.

CentralStar Cooperative Inc was established May 1, 2019 as a result of the merger between NorthStar Cooperative Inc. and East Central/Select Sires. The cooperative’s goal of enhancing producer profitability through integrated services is fulfilled by incorporating an array of products and services critical to dairy and beef farm prosperity. CentralStar’s product and service offerings include Accelerated Genetics, GenerVations and Select Sires genetics; extensive artificial-insemination (A.I.) service; genetic, reproduction, and dairy records consultation; DHI services; diagnostic testing; herd-management products; research and development; and more. CentralStar’s administration and warehouse facilities are located in Lansing, Mich., and Waupun, Wis., with laboratories in Grand Ledge, Mich., and Kaukauna, Wis. For more information, visit CentralStar Cooperative Inc. at 

Saving family dairy farms benefits all of us

My day-to-day work with family dairy farmers keeps me in touch with some of the finest people you can imagine. They produce wholesome food and provide social benefits we all enjoy. Family dairy farms are good for rural economies, good for food security and good for the environment.

But all of this is in danger of being lost forever. Family farmers have been enduring an economic pandemic for decades. Poor prices and lack of markets have had us measuring dairy losses in farms per day long before COVID-19 was in the news. The get-big-or-get-out perspective is ushering in a system in which remaining farmers are losing their independence in ways that are encouraged by agribusiness, ignored by our political system and lost to the American public. Already, pork and poultry farmers raise animals they do not own in ways determined by multinational corporations. I worry the dairy stage is being set for business models in which we have plenty of milk but no independent family farmers.

Each of the farm families that, through no fault of their own, is pushed aside by the corporate bulldozer has a tragic story to tell. I remember one, in particular, that finally gave up long after the economy left them with no other choice. When the truck came to take the cows, the family was heartbroken by the way the frightened and confused cows, those beautiful animals that had provided the family with an honest living, were being prodded and forced onto the truck. Finally, the farmer couldn’t take it anymore and insisted he be allowed to load the cows in a gentler and more respectful way. As he led them up onto the truck, he wept. When will we come to our senses?

Unlike giant, investor-owned operations that buy direct from remote Big Ag sources, each family farm supports local implement dealers, animal sales, truckers, veterinarians, seed sales, grain elevators, fuel and oil dealers, insurance companies, equipment repair shops, building maintenance operations and farm suppliers of all types. I recently did a rough spending survey of four family dairy farmers. Together, they invested more than $2 million into our local economy. One already has gone out of business. That alone meant our local economy was reduced by the roughly $265,000 the family invested annually. Multiply this loss by the several thousand dairies we lose every year, and the scope of the economic hit to rural America starts to sink in.

We also compromise our food security as Big Ag pushes a business model best described as putting all our eggs in one basket. Family farms I work with are scattered across the countryside. Each herd and each family works at what we now call a (generous) social distance from each other. Compare this to some of the largest farms I have seen. More cows are on one site than I see on dozens of family dairies combined. More animals and more workers confined in such cramped quarters multiply our chances of diseases spreading unchecked among both cows and those who care for them. We are seeing the awful consequences of this as livestock processors are shut down by COVID-19 infecting workers.

More animals on fewer farms means more manure in one place. When spills and other accidents happen on very large farms, the environmental consequences are widespread and severe. Admittedly, smaller farms can have manure spills. But damage of these spills is more confined and not to broad watersheds.

We must begin by recognizing past policies have not been up to the job of saving the family dairy farm. Family farmers need a level playing field in the market and a government that does more than give them lip service while promoting larger and larger farms. If giant corporate / investor-owned factory farms continue to go unchecked, both rural and urban Americans will lose a unique and vitally important human and natural resource. Our leaders can no longer afford to ignore the family farm. They must act before it’s too late.

Michael Mackey is dairy field operations director for National Farmers. National Farmers is a member organization that markets milk, livestock and crops for thousands of American farmers.


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