Wisconsin farmers head to New York for ‘Dairy Together Movement’

Farmers from across the Wisconsin are leaving their cattle for a few days to head to New York for the ’Dairy Together Movement.’

Paul Adams’ dairy farm has been functioning in Eleva, near Eau Claire, since 1872.

Adams said he’s had industry concerns all of his life, especially the “come and go” of industry pricing.

Two years ago he took a 25-percent cut in pay and said it has been nearly impossible to survive.

The trip to New York is organized by the Wisconsin Farmers Union and Agri Mark Cooperative.

“Personal goal is to meet with some people that might have the same ideas and get ideas on what can or will work. Maybe now we might have enough going on that we can all get together and do something positive for the country,” said Adams.

Adams leaves bright and early tomorrow morning, then returns with the rest of the Wisconsin farmers on Tuesday.


Source: WBAY


USDA rolls out new dairy insurance plan

Sign-up for the revenue protection plan, which will function similarly to crop insurance policies, opens Oct. 9.

USDA Risk Management Agency on Wednesday announced a new insurance plan for dairy producers that insures against unexpected declines in quarterly milk sales.

Sign-ups for the new Dairy Revenue Protection plan (Dairy-RP) begins Oct. 9, with the first available coverage starting the first quarter of 2019.

Dairy-RP was developed by American Farm Bureau Federation, American Farm Bureau Insurance Services and other collaborators and was approved by the Federal Crop Insurance Corp., John Newton, AFBF director of market intelligence told Capital Press in a recent interview.

The insurance plan is different from other USDA risk programs for dairy, which focus on income over the cost of feed and don’t directly manage revenue risk. It provides insurance for the difference between the final revenue guarantee selected by producers and actual milk revenue if prices fall.

It will function similar to crop revenue protection policies in that the revenue guarantee would be based on futures prices, expected production and market-implied risks, Newton said.

A dairy producer can decide the value of milk protected either based on a combination of Class III and Class IV milk prices or component milk prices for butterfat, protein and other solids.

He would choose the amount of milk production to cover, the level of revenue coverage to insure (from 70 percent to 95 percent) and which quarterly contracts he wants to cover.

The expected revenue is based on futures prices for milk and dairy commodities and the amount of covered milk production elected by the dairy producer. The covered milk production is indexed to the state or region where the dairy producer is located.

The actual ending milk or component values are based on the monthly average prices announced by USDA Agricultural Marketing Service. Milk yields are based on USDA National Agricultural Statistics Service monthly milk production report.

Like other crop insurance products, a premium subsidy is available and is based on the coverage level selected. The subsidy would range from 59 percent of the premium for 70 percent revenue coverage to 44 percent for 95 percent revenue coverage.

On Wednesday, Newton said the final plan is the same as the product developed by American Farm Bureau Federation and Insurance Services.

Preliminary analyses indicate a policy covering 90 percent of milk revenue could cost 5 cents to 40 cents per hundredweight of milk, depending on the quarter of the year covered and other policy parameters, he said in an earlier summary of Dairy-RP.

Participating producers are not precluded from participation in the USDA’s Margin Protection Plan. They are also not precluded from participating in USDA’s Livestock Gross Margin for Dairy program, but only on policy (either Dairy-RP or LGM-Dairy) can have endorsements in effect for the quarterly insurance period.

Dairy-RP only provides revenue insurance and does not insure against the death, other loss or destruction of dairy cattle or any other loss or damage.


Source: Capital Press

Bloomer dairy farm sues Cornell electric company

A group of Bloomer dairy farmers is suing Cornell-based Chippewa Valley Electric Cooperative, claiming that stray voltage from the cooperative’s equipment is harming the dairy herd.

The lawsuit was brought by LaGesse Dairy Farms. Thomas C., Catherine J. and Deanne M. LaGesse and Conrad Willi, all of Bloomer.

Stray voltage levels are small degrees of voltage traveling through parts of livestock buildings or equipment, according to a 2010 report from the nonprofit Midwest Rural Energy Council.

Farmers may find stray voltage when animals are reluctant to touch or go near part of a barn or piece of equipment, or refuse to drink from certain containers, according to the MREC report.

Animals can receive a tiny electric shock if the stray voltage levels are high enough, according to the MREC.

The cooperative’s stray voltage levels caused “decreased milk production, injury and damage to the dairy herd … lost profits and income (and) incurred veterinary and other expenses,” according to the lawsuit.

The cooperative was negligent in “construction and maintenance” of equipment and did not warn LaGesse Dairy Farms and others of stray voltage, according to the lawsuit.

The LaGesse farm is asking for damages, costs, disbursements and attorney’s fees.

The cooperative denies the claims in the lawsuit, according to a court filing from its attorney Rhea Myers of Wheeler, Van Sickle and Anderson, S.C. of Madison.

“Any damage is due to the plaintiff’s fault,” Myers wrote in a court document.

The LaGesse farm failed to “provide timely notice of their claims, allegations and/or alleged damages” in time for the cooperative to investigate, Myers wrote.

The lawsuit was moved to Chippewa County from Taylor County Monday.

CVEC resides and does “substantial business” in Chippewa County, and the LaGesse farm is also in Chippewa County, according to a court filing from the cooperative.

The LaGesse farm protested the move, saying a Taylor County court would be more likely to find an “unbiased jury pool.”

Federated Rural Electric Insurance Exchange was also named as a defendant in the lawsuit.

As of Tuesday evening, no court date in Chippewa County has been set.


Futures Lower, Cash Dairy Higher Monday in Chicago

At the Chicago Mercantile Exchange Monday, Class III milk futures closed lower to take back Friday’s gains. August milk fell 2 cents to $15. 02 per cwt. while September through December dropped 11-17 cents. The September through December average now stands at $16.14. per cwt. 

Product markets during the CME’s spot session had a positive outcome. Barrels traded 17 loads and 2 and ¾ cents higher to $1.64 and ¾ cents per lb. The block price grew by ¼ cent despite just one trade to $1.66 per lb. The block to barrel spread now stands at 1 and ¼ cents.

Animal Welfare in Dairy System Design

Modern dairy shelters provide the five freedoms of animal welfare that are essential to cow comfort and animal husbandry.

Instead of looking for what we do wrong in the dairy industry maybe we should look at what we do right. The “Five Freedoms of Animal Welfare” are as follows:

  1. Freedom from hunger or thirst by ready access to fresh water and a diet to maintain full health and vigor.
  2. Freedom from discomfort by providing an appropriate environment including shelter and a comfortable resting area.
  3. Freedom from pain, injury or disease by prevention or rapid diagnosis and treatment.
  4. Freedom to express (most) normal behavior by providing sufficient space, proper facilities and company of the animal’s own kind.
  5. Freedom from fear and distress by ensuring conditions and treatment which avoid mental suffering.

To me these are the basics of good animal husbandry. I can’t think of a dairy producer, nutritionist, veterinarian, ag builder, or anyone involved in the industry as a whole that does not want to provide these freedoms to their animals. The health and welfare of the animals is a known barometer of the health and welfare of the dairy business. Simply said, healthy cows are more productive.

As I look through the above list, all of the design standards for modern dairy shelters can be reflexed. Freedom from hunger and thirst means providing 3+ inches per cow of waterer space, feed space of 30 inches for prefresh cows, 20+ hours per day of access to feed and water, and minimizing total milking time per day to less than 3 hours.

Freedom from discomfort means good stall design, making neck rail modifications, making stalls longer in older barns, using more bedding, sand bedding, proper grooving/texturing of concrete, maximizing lying time, and minimizing standing time. It means providing proper ventilation for the season and heat abatement in the summer months.

Freedom from pain, injury, or disease is the design and use of treatment systems/pens, installation of rubber or resilient flooring, and development of vaccination and treatment protocols with the oversight of the veterinarian. It includes proper design and construction of alleyways, floors, and stalls.

Freedom to express normal behavior just means freestall design with adequate lunge room, feed bunks that present feed at 4 to 6 inches above the animal’s front feet, 4 to 6 inches of water in the water trough, and providing adequate floor space for animals to move throughout the shelter and around animals at the feed bunk or waterers.

Freedom from fear and distress may be the hardest to measure and really know if we are doing our best. I think as an industry we are moving in the right direction with management tools like pain medication at dehorning, stockmanship training for employees, and protocols for downed cows.

I don’t think we should live in fear of the animal welfare topics that seem to lurk on the horizon. Rather, I think we should be proud of the comfort and care we provide day in and day out to the animals of the US dairy industry.

To learn more about Animal Welfare in Dairy System Design take a look at Penn State Extension’s recent Technology Tuesday Webinar.


Cow tails: Keep them clean and safe

Follow these tips for your automated alley scraper system

Dirty cows have a negative impact on milk quality, including greater chances of mastitis and a high somatic cell count (SCC). Dirty cows usually mean a dirty tail and dirty tails can come from dirty stalls. Long tails are here to stay since the ban of tail docking. But thankfully, managing manure for cow hygiene is more automated than it’s ever been.
“Automated alley scraper systems have been successfully used on livestock farms for decades to keep freestalls and cows clean,” says Andy Lenkaitis, GEA product manager for manure equipment. “I work with many farmers who produce high-quality milk and have cows with long tails. They make management of their automated alley scraper systems a priority to avoid tail entanglement or animal injury.”

Manage your alley scraper system to help ensure your cows are safe and clean with these tips:

Scraper system

  • Check your control panel load sensor seasonally to monitor the scraper system’s power. Monitoring its power will limit the chance of creating extremely high cable tension and help you notice abnormal power spikes.
  • Manage the control panel settings for proper sensitivity, especially during dry conditions or when you bed stalls.
  • Properly adjust the tension of your scraper cable, rope or chain system to prevent scrapers from jumping around and potentially pinching a tail against the curb. Your local equipment dealer can assist you with this task if needed, or check the manual for detailed instructions.
  • Leave 1 inch between your scraper wing and the curb to help prevent pinching tails.
  • Consider having a scraper wing with a roller for offset alleys or if you want to keep the blade tip touching the curb.
  • Choose a blade that has smooth surfaces near the stall beds as they make it more difficult to snag a loose strand of hair.
  • Take care of sharp edges, protruding bolts or pinch points immediately to reduce injury to your cows.


  • Be sure your brisket board is in its proper position for your herd (typically 65–72 inches ahead of the rear curb) to allow cows to move ahead in the stall. This adjustment will allow cows to have more of their body in the stall. Note: It may require more frequent cleaning of the stall bed as the chance of manure in the rear third of the stall may increase.
  • Maintain a fly abatement program and ensure proper airflow to reduce the presence of flies. This reduces the likelihood of a cow to swing her tail and leave it in the alley.
  • Adjust scraper run times to align with milking, feeding or pushing up feed to reduce the chance of a cow lying in the stall at scraping times.
  • Alter feeding pattern to align with the scraper position in pens.

Other management considerations include having safety glasses for your employees to prevent tail switches from harming their eyes during milking. Having a tail trimming protocol that works for your dairy’s schedule is also beneficial. For example, you may consider trimming every cow’s tail when she calves.

“A clean environment is key for high-milk quality,” says Lenkaitis. “By taking care of your automated barn scraper system, you will take care of your cows and your cows will take care of you.”

About GEA

GEA is one of the largest suppliers of process technology for the food industry and a wide range of other industries. The international technology group focuses on process technology and components for sophisticated production processes in various end-user markets.

In 2017, GEA generated consolidated revenues of about EUR 4.6 billion. The food and beverages sector, which is a long-term growth industry, accounted for around 70 percent. The company employs almost 18,000 people worldwide. GEA is a market and technology leader in its business areas. The company is listed on the German MDAX stock index (G1A, WKN 660 200) and included in the STOXX® Europe 600 Index. In addition, the company is listed in selected MSCI Global Sustainability Indexes. Further information is available at

Oat milk is so hot right now and edging out soy and almond milk

A selection of lattes from Coffee for Sasquatch in Los Angeles that use milk alternatives such as soy, oat, almond and macadamia.(Photo: Sandy Hooper)

As I squeezed the remaining liquid out of my cheesecloth filled with blended oats and water into a glass and poured my freshly made vegan oat milk into my coffee, my colleagues avoided making eye contact with me in the kitchen. I was embarrassed to be eschewing the office creamer for a nondairy, oat alternative. 

But I’m not the only one doing it. The trend of using liquefied oats in lattes has quickly become more vogue than using almond milk, which already outshone soy milk as the hip, health-conscious way to drink creamy espresso.

Oat milk is hot right now, led by the U.S. arrival of Swedish company Oatly. The company, which was formed in the early ’90s, brought its oat drink to the states starting at Intelligentsia coffee shops last year. Now the gluten-free and sugar-free product is available in upwards of 2,200 coffee shops and 1,000 grocery stores across the country from Seattle to Northwest Arkansas and Brooklyn, says Oatly’s general manager Mike Messersmith.

Starbucks started offering oat milk in Europe this year but has yet to bring it to America. Meanwhile, Oatly is looking to expand to more shops in the Southeast U.S.

“(Customers) get angry and won’t come in if we don’t have oat milk,” says Andrew Robbins, the assistant manager at West Hollywood spot Coffee for Sasquatch, which opened last October with a menu that includes Oatly’s oat drink. “Most times if I’m getting a phone call, it’s over whether we have Wi-Fi, making a to-go order or asking about oat milk.”

Messersmith knows that his “really small company” is not meeting demand. “We’ve been doing this for about a year and a half in the U.S., and the growth has been phenomenal,” he says. “Candidly, faster and more significant than we could even hope for. The rate of adoption exceeded our expectations.”

Oatly didn’t come to America with a major marketing plan; it was presented to baristas looking for an alternative to cow’s milk that is creamy, latte-art-capable, healthy and sustainable. Almond milk and soy milk were no longer fitting the bill.

The soy milk controversy

As for soy, the high-protein nondairy milk has been available at coffee chains from Dunkin’ Donuts to The Coffee Bean & Tea Leaf for more than a decade, but in the past few years it’s been taken off many baristas’ healthy list.

Food and Drug Administration Commissioner Scott Gottlieb mentioned an extreme soy case in a statement last month, when he was addressing how the FDA is considering dropping the word “milk” as a way to identify nondairy liquids.

“There has … been a case report of a toddler being diagnosed with rickets, a disease caused by vitamin D deficiency, after parents used a soy-based alternative to cow’s milk,” Gottlieb said, without getting into specifics.

Soy milk has quickly waned in popular opinion compared with Oatly’s oat drink – a vegan alternative that promises no GMOs and, as the website announces, a sustainable manufacturing process.

Almond milk’s challenges

It’s that last factor that likely has helped oat milk eclipse almond milk, a drink that requires much more water to make and is largely produced in California. Although almond milk rose in popularity in 2013 with chains like Peet’s Coffee introducing the option, in 2015, almonds became something of a scapegoat for the California drought.

So despite researchers saying in the Journal of Food Science and Technology last year that “in a few cases, (almond milk) was found to be even better than the generally followed alternatives like soy-based meals and protein hydrolysate formula,” almond milk is no longer the hot nondairy coffee creamer.

How to get, or make, oat milk

Oat milk is in, and it’s mostly supplied by Oatly – though brands including Pacific Foods and Elmhurst offer versions, too. Most coffee shops charge an extra dollar for the specialty option, which Oatly sells online for $25 per six-pack of 32 oz. cartons, when it’s in stock. 

Don’t have access to a specialty coffee shop or grocery store that sells oat milk yet? You can make it at home by combining water and oats in a blender, then squeezing the liquid mixture through a cheesecloth. Add sweetener if you desire.

My homemade oat milk tasted like liquid cardboard before I poured it into coffee and added vanilla and cinnamon. But as part of a hot drink, it was shockingly tasty and smooth. I’ve already convinced friends to adopt my wholesome new habit.


Milk in bottles is not just about ‘the good old days’ in Sydney Australia

You don’t have to be an old fogey to remember when milk came in bottles, but you do need a memory that stretches back to the last century: milk bottles started to be replaced by cartons in the early 1970s when supermarkets took over from the milkman, and by the late 1980s they were just about history.

But milk bottles will be history no more if Timboon dairy farmer Simon Schulz has any say in the matter.

For the past nine months Schulz has trialled selling his organic, unhomogenised milk in glass bottles at farmers markets around Melbourne. And people want it: he often sells out, even at $3.50 for a one-litre bottle plus a $2 deposit.

Now Schulz has launched a crowd-funding campaign to raise $60,000 so he can install a bottling line at the dairy, with the idea of increasing production to 10,000 bottles a week.

That would make only a small dent in the estimated 2 billion plastic milk containers Australians discard each year, but Schulz hopes selling his milk in glass will inspire other farmers to do the same.

Milk in glass bottles is a lovely idea, and not just for the nostalgia value: glass is non-reactive, so it’s perfect for keeping foodstuffs pure (unlike plastic, which, Schulz says, infuses milk with unpleasant flavours).

Milk bottles are not like other bottles: they give milk a feeling of being real that’s unlike the processed foodstuffs that come in cartons. That might look like marketing, but it’s also symbolism and storytelling.

Bottles are reusable and glass is recyclable: anything that shakes us out of our use-it-once-then-chuck-it-away mindset has to be worthwhile.

OK, you say, it’s all right for people in the inner-city who live near a farmers market or a food store to get their milk in bottles, but what about the millions who shop at supermarkets?

Supplying them with milk in bottles a la Simon Schulz would take thousands of dairy farmers or small co-operatives around the country bottling their milk rather than feeding it into the production stream that ends up in plastic containers in the fridges at Aldi, Coles and Woolworths: a huge change in how we make and sell milk.

Plastic bottles are cheap to manufacture, light to transport and convenient for consumers: when they’re empty, they go into the yellow bin. Could we replace 2 billion of them with glass bottles that people would have to take back to the shops? I don’t know how to do the maths, but the answer sounds like several hundred million milk bottles. That would take some scaling up and taking back.

If selling homogenised milk in plastic containers seems like the most practical and convenient way to do it, that’s partly because we are used to thinking that the way things are now are the way things have to be, and partly because “practicality” and “convenience” are defined by industrial methods of making and selling food.

But Simon Schulz’s milk in glass bottles – with the cream floating on the top – invites us to think again.

Source: The Sydney Morning Herald

Bachman Joins WDE as Trade Show Coordinator

World Dairy Expo is pleased to welcome Becky Bachman to the staff as Trade Show Coordinator. Bachman’s responsibilities include assisting with all aspects of sponsorship and Trade Show management, from corresponding with past, present and prospective exhibitors, to floor plan design and sponsor deliverables.

Bachman joins the WDE team with first-hand experience as a Trade Show exhibitor at the annual event through a previous role with Fabick Cat. For more than a decade, she planned, promoted and executed the company’s participation in up to thirty trade shows per year, while also planning grand opening events and annual open houses. Most recently, Bachman has worked as the Event Marketing Manager with Sonic Foundry in Madison, Wis. where she continued to hone her event planning skills.

“Becky brings to WDE first-hand experience participating in trade shows at a national and international level,” says Scott Bentley, WDE General Manager. “She is acutely aware of the importance of generating impactful show leads for the exhibiting companies, and the role the event and venue play in ensuring a successful trade show. She is an experienced team player who will work effectively with the staff, leadership, sponsors and commercial exhibitors to ensure that World Dairy Expo remains the world’s finest dairy trade show.”

Wisconsin’s old dairy barns are becoming its trendiest wedding venues

Newlyweds Kevin and Maggie Krug share their first dance at Eron’s Event Barn in Stevens Point.(Photo: Chris Kohley/Milwaukee Journal Sentinel)

When Kevin and Maggie Krug started planning their wedding several months ago, they knew they wanted to get married in a barn.  

“We like the rustic theme,” Maggie Krug said. “It seems like every wedding you see on Pinterest with the burlap and the lace and the baby breath and Mason jars. So why not just take it to the next level and have it in a barn instead of a banquet hall?”

The Krugs are part of a fast-growing number of couples who are choosing to celebrate their wedding or their reception — or both — in renovated or converted barns. The setting allows couples to be as casual and creative as they want, personalize their event, and take advantage of nature as a backdrop and a roof in case of inclement weather.

Last year, 15 percent of American couples held their wedding reception at a barn or farm, up from just 2 percent in 2009, according to The Knot’s annual wedding survey. 

Meanwhile, the number of couples choosing to hold their wedding reception in a banquet hall dropped from 27 percent to 17 percent in that time frame. 

“We can easily say this is a legitimate social and business trend,” said Steve Nagy, owner of Homestead Meadows, a farm and event barn near Appleton. 

The result is new life for old dairy barns in Wisconsin’s countryside. Farm owners are finding they can get a second income, and in some cases even outside investors are coming in to do renovations and meet the demand.

“When we first started we didn’t have to do any marketing,” said Lorin Humphrey, who opened The Enchanted Barn in Hillsdale in 2004. “People who were looking for this type of venue kind of had nowhere else to go.”

Now the Wisconsin Agricultural Tourism Association says Wisconsin has at least 150 “event barns.” 

Looking for something different

The majority of barns already are booking weddings for two years from now; some say they are almost completely booked through 2020.

Couples say they pick these venues for the picturesque views, the convenience of having the ceremony, reception and dance at one location, and the freedom to make their vision come to life on the blank wooden walls of the barn. 

But event barn owners and couples say overall this is part of a cultural shift toward more casual weddings as people search for unique experiences.

“It’s not just another wedding at the hotel that six of your friends have had weddings at,” Maggie Krug said.

The Krugs, who reside in the village of Vesper, were married at Eron’s Event Barn outside nearby Stevens Point on July 14. At their wedding, drinks were served in plastic cups with the couple’s initials, and guests wrote messages on a wooden sign instead of in a guestbook. 

The decorations were simple. Baby’s breath in Mason jars replaced elaborate centerpieces. Fairy lights were strung around the wooden beams as an extra touch. 

Kevin and Maggie are both firefighters, so the wedding party arrived by firetruck. 

“Having our wedding in a barn was unique in the way that we got to truly set the mood for our guests,” Maggie Krug said. “Like we got to bring our firetrucks there. There are so few venues that would have allowed such equipment on their grounds.”

Many other couples also want to showcase their personality at their wedding. 

“We really appeal to the DIY (do-it-yourself) brides who want to design their wedding,” said Melissa Eron, who owns Eron’s Event Barn barn with her husband, John.

At other barn weddings, carefully mismatched plates replace fancy china, and dinner could be artisan pizza or barbecue. If the weather is nice, guests can take a break from dancing to play yard games, and the evening may end roasting s’mores around a fire.

“Every wedding here is different,” Melissa Eron said.  “There’s different decorations, different table layout, different people.”

Each barn is different too. Eron’s Event Barn has modern amenities such as air conditioning, heat and flushable toilets. Other barns do not. 

“Many brides want super rustic,” John Eron said. “Having A/C is not as big of an advantage as you may think.”

Concerns over licensing, codes

The blossoming business is not without some concerns and controversy.

Some wedding websites caution brides to make sure their dream barn venue is safe and won’t be shut down before their big day. There are fears that old barns could collapse under the weight of dancing guests, injuries could be easy (think rusted nails and uneven boards), and fire can spread quickly without proper renovations and safety precautions. They may not be handicapped accessible and may not meet up-to-date building codes.

 “There are big engineering differences between a banquet hall and an old barn,” John Eron said.

Guidelines released in 2015 from the Wisconsin Department of Safety and Professional Services require repurposed agriculture facilities used as public buildings to be brought into compliance with the state’s commercial building code. 

The guidelines also state barn owners should work with local municipalities on other requirements such as zoning and licenses. 

The guidelines do not require agriculture venues used for private purposes to meet the commercial building code, which provides a loophole for some barn owners. 

Weddings are considered private events, and the barn is private property. Critics say barn owners should meet the building code regardless, but other barn owners say the extra regulations would hurt business.

Traditional wedding venues and their advocates say this gray area is not only unsafe but also unfair.

“We’ve created this tremendous disadvantage to licensed businesses like this,” said Scott Stenger, a lobbyist for the Tavern League of Wisconsin.  

The majority of local municipalities do not require barns to have a liquor license or use licensed bartenders, a fact that Stenger believes many couples do not understand. 

“The public has an expectation that when they go to these events that the food will be safe and that there will be licensed bartenders, but that’s not the case,” Stenger said.

Several bills relating to event barns have come before the state legislature in recent years, but they did not pass. One required event barns to have liquor licenses and another outlined safety requirements.

Barn owners suggest Stenger’s concerns are a smokescreen. Nagy said event barns are taking enough safety precautions and noted that there haven’t been any accidents at these venues for decades.

“If you owned a traditional banquet hall and business was way down, then naturally you would be looking for ways to bite the competition,” Nagy said.

Creating other revenue streams

As people look for unique experiences, farms also are benefiting from an increased interest in other forms of agriculture tourism, or agritourism. 

Event barns are hosting craft nights, farm-to-table dinners and concerts, in addition to weddings, birthday parties and corporate retreats.

Other farms offer agriculture education programs where farm-goers can pick their own produce or milk a cow. Some take advantage of holidays; Halloween is a particularly big draw, with farmers offering corn mazes and hayrides and pumpkin patches.

All are bringing more revenue to family farmers who are struggling under low commodity prices and an overall depressed agriculture economy. Just last year, Wisconsin lost 500 dairy farms. 

“So many families struggle to maintain the family farm,” said Sheila Everhart. “With the diversification of agritourism, it can help provide money to pay the bills.”

Everhart and Nagy, both from the Wisconsin Agricultural Tourism Association, said most farm families invest the revenue they generate from weddings and agritourism back into the farm.

“Many are not soaking in cash,” Nagy said. 

The economic benefits of agritourism are also extending beyond farmers to help other businesses in rural communities. 

“A wedding is a relatively high-cost activity, and the venue is a relatively modest part of that total,” Nagy said. 

The average cost of a wedding in Wisconsin is $26,000, and about $12,000 of that total is normally put toward the venue, according to The Knot. 

Couples also pay thousands of dollars for catering, a disc jockey, a photographer and a wedding cake, often from local vendors. Nearby hotels, bars and restaurants can benefit from the influx of people.  

“This really helps the rural economy,” Everhart said. “When the market crashed in 2008, these rural economies were the last to recover.”

Event barn owners said they’re not worried about this extra revenue stream leaving anytime soon.

Both barn owners and couples said they believe the trend will stick around, even after Pinterest users move onto something else. 

“I think to a degree it will peak and then settle down,” Humphrey said. “But it won’t go away.”

Maggie Krug agreed and said there will always be brides like her who want a casual and simple wedding. 

“This is a great choice for the brides and grooms who want to have a nice, fun and rustic, lower-key kind of thing,” she said.

And if the goal is to create a unique experience, both event barn owners and couples agree that there’s just nothing else like it. 

“Guests say it’s a beautiful experience and that they have never experienced anything like that before,” Humphrey said. “That’s what makes memories last a long time versus a regular wedding.”


The Planned Destruction of the American Dairy Farmer

A public hearing was held at the Fire Hall in Lairdsville, Pennsylvania, on July 24 to voice concern over the current financial crisis facing dairy farm families throughout America–aptly termed, the economic “Dairy Depression”. Organized by Farm Women United (FWU), the event called for similar hearings to be held across the countryside to gather testimonies that “Congress itself should be gathering but refuses to do so in what is the most outrageous and blatant example of dereliction of duty by federal legislators in modern American agricultural history that is patently undermining the Constitutional rights of American family dairy farmers.” The plea is for Congress and the current Administration to intervene with a “$20 Emergency Floor Price” for milk and mandatory federal hearings to investigate and resolve the crisis.

Gerald Carlin has authorized his written testimony to be published on (reproduced here by permission with minor formatting and punctuation edits). In his closing, Gerald addresses the many politicians who have failed to respond to the dairy crisis, to whom he says, “Your silence and excuses are deafening and damning.”

Testimony for the Dairy Farm Family Crisis Hearing, Lairdsville, PA

July 18, 2018

I want to thank everyone for taking time out of your busy schedules to attend this important hearing. I also want to thank my wife Tina for all of her hard work in helping to organize this hearing.

My name is Gerald Carlin. My wife Tina and I are former dairy farmers and are now raising beef cattle and vegetables on our century farm in Susquehanna County, PA.

I was asked to speak today on some of the history of events leading to this dreadful state of affairs in the dairy farming business and farming in general. The list of events is too long to cover, but I will mention some of the important ones.

In the period following the Civil War, a number of industries became monopolized including: Railroads by Vanderbilt, Oil by Rockefeller, Steel by Carnegie, and there were efforts by some to take control of agriculture. The Sherman Anti-trust Act of 1890 made monopolizing trade a felony and gave the Attorney General and US Attorneys the responsibility to prosecute those who monopolize, attempt to monopolize, or conspire with others to monopolize trade among the several states. Enforcement of Anti-trust has been lacking at best.

Farm owners are not allowed to unionize but in 1922 Congress passed the Capper-Volstead Act which enabled farmers to form marketing cooperatives to market their products as a group and to bargain for fair prices. The farmer-owned co-ops were granted special protections. As cooperatives have merged and morphed into giant corporations–distant, detached, and unaccountable to their farmer-owner members–these giant co-ops now hide behind their protections granted to them by the Capper-Volstead Act, while they abuse their farmer-owner members with immunity.

In 1937, Congress passed the Agricultural Marketing Agreement Act (AMAA) which established the Federal Milk Marketing Orders (FMMO) that created equal pay for farmers through pooling within the orders to create a uniform price for milk regardless as to how the milk was used. The provision in 7 U.S.C. Section 608 (c) 18 of the 1937 AMAA mandated that the Secretary of Agriculture consider regional production costs in the raw milk pricing formula. FMMOs still exist as a result of the 1937 AMAA but the “cost of production” part has been ignored and scorned for the last 37 years.

In July 1962, the Committee for Economic Development (CED)–made up of some 200 corporate executives, economists and other distinguished experts (not one farmer)–released An Adaptive Program for Agriculture with a stated goal of reducing the farming population by one third within five years. The report complained about wasted resources in farming, particularly labor, as technology increased productivity in agriculture and the large public expenditures for vocational training for young farmers in public schools. They proposed a policy of actively discouraging young people from getting into farming as well as actively trying to coax existing farmers to exit agriculture and even proposed public funds be spent to assist farmers in moving expenses to relocate their families off of the farm.

Kenneth E. Boulding, Ag Economist with the Department of Economics at the University of Michigan and member of the research advisory board for the CED, stated the following:

The only way I know to get toothpaste out of a tube is to squeeze, and the only way to get people out of agriculture is likewise to squeeze agriculture. If the toothpaste is thin, you don’t squeeze very hard, on the other hand, if the toothpaste is thick, you have to put real pressure on it. If you can’t get people out of agriculture easily, you are going to have to do farmers severe injustice in order to solve the problem of allocation.

Although this quote does not appear in the text of An Adaptive Program for Agriculture, the sentiment is still evident. The sentiment expressed by these distinguished experts was that farmers were merely disposable pawns in an economic plan. If the inefficient farmers would just leave farming, the farmers who are left will prosper. Efficient farmers will produce food more cheaply, people will spend less money for food, leaving more disposable income to spend on consumer goods, which will cause economic growth and increase income for all, or so the theory goes. Of course, consumer food prices have continued to rise even as farmers get less and less of the retail dollar. I guess there is a fly in the ointment somewhere.

There were 1.1 million farms with dairy cows in the United States in 1964, 600,000 in 1969, and some 40,000 today; so those who are left are really prospering, right? Oh wait, they are struggling more than ever before. Obviously there are still too many. You get the point.

The official belief that there are too many farmers has grown and become entrenched in public policy evidencing itself in numerous ways, not the least of which are burdensome and senseless regulations on many fronts. Technology, including patented GMO and Terminator seeds, limits farmers’ ability to preserve seeds while increasing the power and control of corporate seed giants. Food additives extend yields of “food” with less raw product. Irradiation and Ultra-pasteurization, along with other questionable practices, ruin the real nutrition of food while extending shelf life. The list could be endless, but the goal is to put food under corporate control, with as few farmers as possible. This, of course, is called “progress”.

The belief that farmers are not important is evidenced in the attitudes and actions of both co-ops and processors as they believe that they are turning worthless raw product into something of value–(Some believe that milk has no value until it is at least pasteurized). Dairy farmers are lucky that the milk truck stops at the farm, takes the hazardous material, and actually pays them for it. No wonder farmers are strapped with paying “make allowances” to insure that the processor can make a profit, and of course, farmers have to pay the hauling charges, advertising fees, and all other appropriate fees, as a co-op or processor sees fit. Countless rural communities that rely on agriculture and provide Ag-related services have been decimated. Social impacts are obvious.

On April 26, 1971, US Secretary of Agriculture Clifford M. Hardin announced the formation of the Young Executives Committee which consisted of 15 members, each of which represented an agency of the Department of Agriculture. They were asked by the Secretary to undertake a review of the farm income question. The following is quoted from their report:

Agriculture should be viewed as an industry which consumes resources, provides employment, and produces goods of value to society. The Committee believes that national agricultural policy should aim at creating an environment which would enable the industry to provide adequate supplies of food and fiber at reasonable prices to meet domestic needs and compete in world markets. The level of farm income earned from the production of agricultural commodities, either per farm or in aggregate, should not be an end in itself. That is, the Department’s objective should not be to assure any particular level of income from farming for the nation’s farmers. Income from farming should be of concern only to the extent that it affects the level of resources attracted to the industry, and, hence, the industry’s ability to produce efficiently, adequate supplies of food and fiber. The industry should not be evaluated on its ability to provide an adequate level of living for all participants regardless of the size of their operation or managerial ability. If adequate supplies of food and fiber are being made available at reasonable prices, we should conclude that the nation has a healthy, viable agricultural industry. . . Agricultural policy should be directed toward maintaining agriculture as a viable industry and not as a way of life . . . Given these conditions, agriculture cannot and should not be expected to provide employment opportunities sufficient to preserve the nation’s rural towns and communities. If these towns and communities are to grow, additional off-farm employment opportunities must be found.

The Committee also called for the elimination of parity pricing.

In April 1973, Agricultural Trade and the Proposed Round of Multilateral Negotiations (aka the Flanigan Report) was published. This document basically sought the elimination of any and all protections and trade barriers for farmers domestically and worldwide. It was their dream and goal that eventually no country on earth would be able to offer any special protections for their farmers. Farmers would be forced to be “efficient” and would no longer be able to be such a pesky, if not powerful, lobbying force in Washington, DC, or any other country in the world. Eventually through a number of trade agreements, negotiated by “esteemed” and unaccountable experts, the farmer has essentially lost all protections and all rights to seek redress of wrongs because international trade agreements supersede farmers’ rights and domestic food policy. Politicians can throw their hands in the air and declare that there is nothing that they can do, or, as most have chosen, just ignore the concerns of farmers, because, after all, there are more important issues to deal with and more important people to talk to.

On April 1, 1981, President Ronald Reagan signed legislation that decoupled farm milk prices from parity and incrementally decreased the support price from $13.60 at that time down to $9.90 and eventually the support price was eliminated in the 2014 Farm Bill.

In 1996, the United States Congress instructed Secretary of Agriculture Dan Glickman to reform the Federal Milk Marketing Orders. In July 1999, USDA put their order reform up for producer referendum. Only Option 1B was offered. Although many did not like 1B, the referendum passed because cooperatives like Dairy Farmers of America (DFA) used the “block voting” option. Several dairy cooperatives sought an injunction against the proposed order reform on the basis that 1B would financially harm milk producers in most of the country. In the St. Albans Cooperative Creamery, Inc., et al., Plaintiffs versus Dan Glickman, Secretary of Agriculture, Defendant case an injunction was granted. U.S. District Judge William Sessions III did not focus on the merits of 1A vs. 1B but rather cited Dan Glickman for failure to consider dairy farmers’ cost of production. Judge Sessions made clear in his “Opinion & Order” that ”. . . this Court looks to the direct language of the statute to determine the sufficiency of the Secretary’s consideration, which makes no mention of indirect consideration being adequate in meeting the requirements of 608c(18). The record shows no direct consideration of regional costs in feed, feed availability, or other region specific economic factors.”

Judge Sessions also stated that “. . . the Court finds the Secretary’s Final Order and Decision violates Congress’ mandate under the 1937 Agricultural Marketing Agreement Act (AMAA) . . . “ and “. . . that Plaintiffs have a likelihood of success in their claim that the Secretary’s Final Order and Decision violates the AMAA by failing adequately to consider economic factors regarding the marketing of milk in the regional orders across the country.” Furthermore, Judge William Sessions found “. . . that the balance of hardship weighs heavily in favor of the Plaintiffs.” Judge William Sessions, III made no fewer than five references to USDA’s failure to act according to the 1937 Agricultural Marketing Agreement Act, section 608c(18). In his “Opinion and Order” statement, one such discussion spans seven pages. In late 1999, Congress instructed USDA to implement Option 1A. This satisfied the Plaintiffs, (were the Plaintiffs following the intent of the Capper-Volstead Act?) and the case was dropped without resolution of the cost of production issue.

In May 2000, USDA held hearings on Class III and IV pricing in which testimony was offered in support of implementing a cost of production factor in these formulas. In December 2000, USDA released the Tentative Decision on Proposed Amendments for Class III and IV pricing. Once again, USDA ignored the mandates of 7 U.S.C. 608 (c) 18 maintaining that the Class III and IV prices “. . . are such prices as will reflect the aforesaid factors. . .” [General Findings (b)]. This is ludicrous in light of the volatility of Class III and IV prices. However, USDA did concede that “if a sound mechanical concept could be advanced that overcomes the objections relative to supply and demand, it should be considered.”

United States Department of Agriculture issued an invitation for proposals on changing Class III and IV pricing in the summer of 2006. Approximately 40+ proposals for cost of production were submitted. National Family Farm Coalition submitted a somewhat detailed proposal to base Class III and IV pricing on a national average cost of production. In the pre-hearing, February 2006, USDA officials insisted that they do look at 608c (18) regularly and implied that they are following it. USDA turned down NFFC’s proposal. As a result, several members of the Dairy Sub-committee, particularly Arden Tewksbury and Gerald Carlin of Pro Ag, drafted legislation using the NFFC proposal as its basis. Senator Arlen Specter’s office put the draft into bill form, and it was introduced in the Senate on June 27, 2007, by Senator Arlen Specter and Senator Robert Casey, Jr. The bill is known as the Federal Milk Marketing Improvement Act of 2007 or S1722. Senator Casey, who is on the Senate Agriculture Committee, was unable to get support for S1722 to become part of the Farm Bill. The Bill was reintroduced in 2009 as S889 and then after a few changes introduced again as S1645. The Bill was introduced again in 2011 as S1640.

Forward Contracting appeared in the 2002 Farm Bill as a pilot program which was to expire on December 31, 2004. The industry and lenders continue to pressure farmers to forward contract in an effort to undermine Federal Orders and secure milk at lower prices.

In late 2004, a massive investigation of DFA and Dean Foods was launched by the United State Department of Justice in conjunction with over 20 state Attorneys General. The investigation focused mostly on abusive, anti-competitive market practices in the Southeast, where farmers were paid less than minimum FMMO prices. Small co-ops were coerced, gobbled up, or controlled by DFA and farmer members were sucked into DFA and its affiliates against their will. Some 200 file boxes of evidence were reportedly collected along with scores of sworn affidavits. The investigation ground to a halt in the fall of 2006. It may have been completed by that time but no action was taken by the Department of Justice in spite of numerous calls to do so from politicians and others.

Another investigation of dairy co-op Anti-trust issues was started during the Obama administration then promptly terminated.

The 2014 Farm Bill eliminated the MILC program and Dairy Price Supports and replaced them with the failed MPP Program and the meaningless Dairy Product Donation Program.

On January 8, 2018, the Report to the President of the United States from the Task Force on Agriculture and Rural Prosperity was released, with five main objectives related to agriculture: (1) increase e-connectivity, (2) improve H-2A visa program to facilitate more H-2A work visas, (3) expand biotechnology and public acceptance of genetically modified products, (4) increase ag exports, (5) increase access to capital. No mention of farm price or consumer choice in the report.

The 2018 Farm Bill continues the globalist agenda with apparently no intention of correcting low farm product prices and bad farm policy.

On the trade front, President Nixon pushed for expanded trade with China. Ag trade surpluses were to offset trade deficits in manufactured products. This never happened.

On January 1, 1994, NAFTA went into effect. US investment went south for cheaper wages and Mexican wages actually decreased as our trade with Mexico went into deficit.

In a 1994 lame duck session of Congress, the massive General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade (GATT) passed, putting more control of our economy in the hands of unelected and unaccountable people.

In 2000, the US Congress approved Permanent Normal Trade Relations (PNTR) with China, and as many predicted, our trade deficit with China exploded as companies invested in China for even cheaper labor. China has become a growing threat to our nation’s security even as we have lost our ability to produce basic necessities for our own people.

In dairy trade the United States imported far more dairy products than we exported from the late 1990s to early 2000s. The USDA has become much less transparent on dairy imports as they tout increased dairy exports. Even so, we are still importing a large amount of dairy products. The “oversupply” in dairy has been created in large part by the use of Milk Protein Concentrate (MPC), Milk Protein Isolate (MPI), and Ultra-filtered Milk (UF). I will talk more about MPC later.

So where does this leave dairy farmers? Dairy farmers have lost their equity, lost their retirement, lost their ability to pay their suppliers in a timely manner, lost their dignity, feel misunderstood, marginalized, and scorned. They have lost their next generation of dairy farmers, lost their hope, in some cases lost their marriages, and some have lost their lives. They have been scoffed at by their cooperatives and experts. They have been ignored by politicians. The list of politicians ignoring farmers is long, but to save time I will just say that not one of the 66 member of the House and Senate Ag Committees had the decency to respond to a thoughtful survey sent to them by Farm Women United (FWU). Also, Governor Wolf and Governor Cuomo have not had the decency to respond to letters sent to them by FWU. Agri-Mark was also sent letters, but they too have failed to respond. It doesn’t matter what a politician may say in private. If they do not openly and publicly declare their support for Dairy Farm Families and offer constructive solutions to this crisis, there is no other choice but to conclude that they simply do not care. If they cared, they would speak out. Further, if dairy cooperatives cared, they too would take constructive steps to solve this crisis. Your silence and excuses are deafening and damning.

We urge support for a $20 Emergency Floor Price and hearings to determine a path forward to create a sustainable future for the dairy farms that remain. Failure to act will result in the near total destruction of traditional family dairy farms as we have known them and the continued decline in access to locally produced wholesome food.

Thank you for your time and patience
Gerald Carlin, Meshoppen, PA
2 Attachments – see posted below

How Much Milk is MPC/Ultra-filtered Milk Displacing

by Gerald Carlin – July 22, 2018

No one really knows how much milk MPC/Ultra-filtered Milk is displacing since the Federal Milk Marketing Orders (FMMO) do not collect data on MPC/Ultra-filtered Milk production and use. This is considered proprietary information. MPC and Ultra-filtered Milk are now being used in all four classes of milk products.

MPC and Ultra-filtered Milk are not approved ingredients in standardized cheeses, but the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has “exercised discretionary enforcement” in this area, as reiterated on August 11, 2017. FDA went further and stated, “. . . we do not intend to take action against companies that manufacture standardized cheeses and related cheese products that contain fluid Ultra-filtered Milk or fluid Ultra-filtered Non-fat Milk without declaring them in the ingredient statement, as long as their labels declare milk or non-fat milk in the ingredient statement.”

We can, however, look at cheese production compared to Class III utilization in the FMMOs and California Class 4b (cheese) utilization to gain some insight. The traditional yield factor for cheese is 10.01 lbs. per 100 lbs. of fluid milk containing 3.5% butterfat and 2.99% true protein. Higher average components may yield 11 lbs. of cheese per 100 lbs. of milk. National cheese production last year (2017) for cheese falling under Class III or California Class 4b was approximately 12.4 billion lbs. Class III utilization (weighted average) in all Federal Orders was 41%. If this rate of utilization is true nationally, the average cheese production would be 14.1 lbs. per 100 lbs. of milk. The Class 4b utilization in California for 2017 was 46.2%, making an average cheese yield of 13.66 lbs. per 100 lbs. of milk. Given this information, it seems unlikely that the national average cheese yield is less than 13.5 lbs. per 100 lbs. of milk. This translates into at least 20 billion pounds of farm milk being displaced by the use of MPC/Ultra-filtered Milk in cheese. Low-fat and Non-fat dairy products are being promoted. The fat that traditionally would go into these products is used with MPC/Ultra-filtered milk to produce substandard cheese. Much of this use violates cheese standards. How much milk is being displaced in other dairy products because of MPC/Ultra-filtered Milk? Prices are in the gutter because of a supposed 4 or 5 billion pound surplus.

How much effect does farm milk price have on retail price?

US City Retail Price
Natural Cheese August 2014 — $5.56#
Natural Cheese June 2018 — $5.23#

Ice Cream August 2014 — $4.75 ½ gal.
Ice Cream June 2018 — $4.66 ½ gal.

Whole Milk August 2014 — $3.67 gallon
Whole Milk June 2018 — $2.88 gallon

US Average FMMO Mailbox Milk Price
May 2014 — $24.37
March 2018 — $15.04

California Dairy Statistics Annual 2017
Market Summary and Utilization Report Agricultural Marketing Service
Dairy Products 2017 Summary USDA NASS
Milk cows and production by state and region NASS and ERS
Dairy Market News

The four classes of milk products are: (1) fluid milk, (2) soft dairy products like yogurt and cream, (3) cheeses, and (4) butter and dry milk products like nonfat dry milk.

Thoughts Concerning Free Market in Dairy

By Gerald Carlin – May 6, 2018

In a functional free market system for dairy, dairy farmers form cooperatives to give them both bargaining power and marketing ability. The co-op would be owned by, and controlled by, its farmer-members.

Today, National Milk Producers Federation (NMPF) is the only voice for dairy farmers in Washington, as it claims to represent some 75% of the nation’s dairy farmers. NMPF is made up of “farmer-owned” co-ops and processors who are associate members.

Let’s examine the current “benefits” of being a farmer-owner of a large modern-day co-op. The farmer-owner, hereafter referred to as owner, pays the dairy cooperative management, hereafter referred to as employees, to market the owner’s milk. The employees are not required to pay the owner the Federal minimum milk prices.

  • The owner has no right to know what the employee’s salary is.
  • The owner has no right to know where his milk is going on any given day.
  • The owner has no right to know who all of the other co-owners are.
  • The owner can lose his market if he is critical of, or even questions his employees, therefore, most owners remain silent in fear of retaliation. Employees make examples out of owners who get out of line.
  • The employees vote in Federal Order referendums without the consent of the owner.
  • The employees have been seen at Federal Order hearings trying to get more money out of the owner without the owner’s knowledge.
  • The owner has no ability to call a meeting of fellow owners.
  • The owner has no practical ability to fire an employee.
  • The employees try to dictate how the owner runs his business.
  • The employees have plenty of lobbyists at all levels of government to ensure that their control over the owners continue.

This is the unseen and untold story of “farmer-owned” co-ops.

Farm Women United Mission Statement
Farm Women United seeks to maintain a serious, honest, and open dialogue, giving a voice to farmers who are the real stewards of the earth and the foundation of any free and civilized society. Farmers produce food that sustains life. We are a culture of life. Farm Women United seeks to restore cultural respect for farmers which will result in a just and equitable value being placed on the life sustaining food which we produce and allow farmers to continue to produce food with dignity.



Gleann Brady Privateer Takes Grand at Atlantic Summer Classic

Grand Champion: Gleann Brady Privateer

August 11, 2018 at Charlottetown, P.E.I.
Judge: Paul Trapp, Taylor, Wis.
103 Head

Premier Breeder
Cobequid Holsteins
Lower Debert, N.S.

Premier Exhibitor
East River Farms
Marshfield, P.E.I.

Grand Champion
Gleann Brady Privateer
1st Second Latation Cow 41-47 Months
Sire: Butz-Butler Atwood Brady-ET
Bruce Thomson
Antigonish, N.S.

Reserve Grand Champion
Weeksdale Absolut Vodka
2nd Second Latation Cow 41-47 Months
Sire: Apples Absolute-Red-ET
Weeksdale Holsteins, Frank A. & Diane Borba, Ferme Intense Inc. & Rocky Allen
Breadalbane, P.E.I., Modesto, Calif., Sainte-Brigitte-des-Saults, Que., & Cobargo, New South Wales, Australia

Intermediate Champion
Bernadale Goldwyn Indigo
1st First Lactation Cow 30 Months & Over
Sire: Braedale Goldwyn
Bernadale Holstein
Richmond, P.E.I.

Reserve Intermediate Champion
Woodmansees Harris Jora
1st 2nd Lactation Cow 40 Months & Under
Sire: Hazels Ashock Harris
East River Farms
Marshfield, P.E.I.

Junior Champion
Lanormande Highoctane Lilly
1st 6-8 Months of Age Heifer
Sire: Stantons High Octane
Westcoast Holsteins
Chilliwack, B.C.

Reserve Junior Champion
Goldenflo Jacoby Rickshaw
2nd 6-8 Months of Age Heifer
Sire: Cycle Doorman Jacoby-ET
Beckholm Holsteins & Blair Weeks
Sunderland, Ont., & Pleasant Valley, P.E.I.

Milking cows on an industrial scale arrives in western Minnesota

Louriston Dairy, built and operated by Riverview LLP, is home to 9,500 cows, 40 times more than the average U.S. dairy, and part of its fast-growing network of farms.

The milking carousel at the Louriston Dairy turns 22 hours a day and milks more cows in half an hour than most dairies do all day.

Cows step onto the slow-moving merry-go-round in single file. A worker sprays disinfectant on each cow’s udder, another wipes the teats clean with a paper towel, and another secures suction cups onto the teats for milking during a seven-minute trip around the room. Gleaming silver tanks in the next room fill with flash-cooled milk as 106 cows are milked at once.

The farm 18 miles west of Willmar is home to 9,500 cows, 40 times larger than the average U.S. dairy operation. It is part of a fast-growing network of giant farms built and run by Riverview LLP, a Morris, Minn.-based firm that is a game-changer for the Minnesota dairy industry. The company owns 92,000 milk cows — more than all the farmers in Illinois or Virginia — and 60,000 of them are in western Minnesota, where it has nine dairies and is building more.

“We are really bullish on the dairy industry, especially in the Upper Midwest,” said Brad Fehr, one of the company’s founders.

But farmers at smaller dairy operations are aghast. How, they ask, can a company build such huge operations when milk prices yield meager profits and many of their neighbors are leaving the business?

“All the large dairies — not just the ones in Minnesota, all over the country — they’re just flooding the market with milk,” said Heidi Beyer, who raises beef cattle near Clontarf, about 18 miles from Murdock, and helps her parents run the 60-cow dairy where she grew up. “Why are they doing this to other dairy farmers?”

For 30 years, farms in the Upper Midwest have gotten bigger and farmers who used to work a couple hundred acres now work a couple thousand. In that time, new methods of raising livestock emerged to take advantage of efficiencies of scale. Hogs, poultry and beef cattle disappeared from fields and were moved into massive barns.

This upsizing has come more slowly to dairy farming, but as the number of U.S. dairy farms shrinks, milk production continues to rise. Amid low milk prices and a trade war threatening exports, Riverview is placing massive bets: $50 million in construction and startup costs for each new dairy.

The basics of Riverview’s farms are not so different from other dairies, but in Minnesota, their scale is unprecedented. The cows at the Louriston barn drink enough water to drain an Olympic-sized swimming pool in just over two days, and produce enough manure to fill one every three days. For each new dairy, the Fehrs must show they can get sufficient feed and water and process and distribute the manure without harming the environment.

The local consolidator

Riverview started in 1995 when brothers Gary and Brad Fehr, with the help of their father, Lloyd, decided the only way for them all to stay in farming was to expand. They were raising beef cattle then, but they decided to shift into dairy.

“If you’re going to add people, you have to add work,” said Brad Fehr. “One of the reasons we chose the dairy industry is it was one industry that hadn’t consolidated.”

The Fehrs studied dairies in other states and built big, then bigger. The company, which now employs 1,200 workers and offers ownership to employees, owns cows in Minnesota, South Dakota, Nebraska, New Mexico and Arizona. It builds dormitories at new dairies to house workers. It contracts with nearby farmers to assure a steady supply of feed for its cattle. And it processes manure from its cattle into fertilizer that those same nearby farmers can use to help grow more feed.

And each day, an average of 25 new calves are born at each dairy. Half of them are dairy cattle that will be shipped to New Mexico to grow up in warm weather for about 18 months before returning to Minnesota to be milked and bred for several years. The other half are beef cattle that get sold to beef feedlots, mostly in South Dakota.

All of the milk that’s trucked away from Riverview’s nine dairies in Minnesota goes to make cheese. Riverview is a major source of milk for five cheese factories in western Minnesota and South Dakota.

“All the processors in the region work with them, and to a good extent, because of Riverview’s expansion over the last two decades, we haven’t seen as many cheese plant closures as we might have otherwise seen,” said Marin Bozic, a dairy economist at the University of Minnesota.

An Agropur cheese factory in Lake Norden, S.D., that’s a chief customer for Riverview is tripling its capacity by early next year. Riverview is building a new dairy in Swenoda Township, a few miles west of the Louriston Dairy, that will also supply the Agropur expansion at Lake Norden.


There are other large dairies in the United States: in California, Idaho and even Wisconsin. The most famous dairy in the country is probably Fair Oaks Farms, halfway between Indianapolis and Chicago, where 36,000 cows are milked across 11 barns. It’s also something of a tourist destination.

In Minnesota, Riverview is by far the biggest player, but its rapid growth frustrates some other farmers.

Within the past year, three smaller dairies in Swift County — home to three Riverview dairies and another under construction — have closed. Beyer said she worries milk prices won’t rise, that small dairies won’t survive and that their demise will ripple out in rural communities, hurting local farm-implement dealerships, veterinarians and feed companies.

Riverview already has a dairy operating 2 miles northwest of the Beyers’ farm. She and her husband helped push back a proposal from the company to build another one a mile to the southeast. They didn’t want to be sandwiched between two massive farms.

“Have some compassion for somebody else in the industry, who loves the dairy industry, who’s been working in it their whole life, taken it over from their father, their grandfather,” Beyer said. “You’re forcing them out. Nobody can argue that.”

Fehr said he hears that concern a lot, but he said all sizes of dairy are necessary to meet market demand. No cheese plants are turning away milk, he added.

“I do understand the perception,” Fehr said. “I don’t agree with that argument, because I don’t think us adding 9,000 cows changes the global milk market. It just doesn’t.”

A gut punch

Milk cows drink around 30 gallons of water a day, so abundant groundwater is critical when Riverview builds one of its farms.

The company had to drill an extra well near a dairy in Campbell to make sure it wasn’t pumping too much from the aquifer under the dairy. Riverview has also been scrutinized for its role in depleting the aquifer in a heavily farmed valley in southeast Arizona, where it operates a dairy and grows its own feed to supply it.

But Riverview is also admired for the tidiness of its operations — the stalls are cleaned thoroughly when the cows head out to be milked — and its work with other local farms. The Minnesota Pollution Control Agency monitors the company’s operations and, once in 2014, put a halt to one of its proposed farms by seeking a deeper, more expensive review. Each new proposal from Riverview is accompanied by soil, water and air-quality studies done by contract inspectors that are available for public review and comment.

Fehr said the company will build a new dairy typically only when nearby farmers support it, or even request it. When Riverview floated the idea of building a dairy near the Beyer farm, the township board pointed to an ordinance that capped the number of cows at a dairy farm and the company backed out without making a formal proposal.

“We have no desire to fight,” Fehr said. “If the core group of farmers around the site aren’t excited about it, it doesn’t work.”

Fehr believes Minnesota is well-positioned for the milk business because of its cool climate and abundance of water and corn. “Dairy cattle like to eat corn and corn silage, and most of the corn in the U.S. is grown in the Upper Midwest, so generally speaking we have a cheaper feed supply,” Fehr said. “We’re also from here.”

Change accelerates

While the vast majority of dairies in the U.S. are still small with an average of about 240 cows, farmers have been quitting for decades. The number of U.S. dairies fell from 678,000 in 1970 to fewer than 40,000 this year. Just under 3,000 are in Minnesota, the nation’s seventh-largest milk producer.

The balance of production in the industry shifted to large farms from small farms in the last decade. In 2001, dairy farms with fewer than 500 cattle produced two-thirds of the nation’s milk. By 2009, their share fell to 40 percent. The large farms also proved to be more productive, yielding more milk per cow, according to federal data.

Today, milk prices are down by a third since their most recent peak in 2014. Growth in demand has lately been driven by exports, mostly to Mexico, which have plateaued. Now President Donald Trump has launched an international trade war and cheese factories in the region are already running at full capacity, so they are not bidding up prices for local milk, said Bozic, the U dairy economist.

Bozic shocked many in the state’s dairy sector when he estimated in legislative testimony at the State Capitol earlier this year that 80 percent of the remaining dairies in Minnesota are “last generation” farms. He suggested that small farmers get out of the business to preserve their wealth, saying, “The sooner they exit the sector the more equity they will preserve.”

In an interview, Bozic said he regrets not expressing sympathy for “the little guy” and noted the federal farm bill provides a safety net for many dairy farmers. But the upsizing and consolidation of the industry will go on, he said.

‘You hope so’

Brothers Chris and Andy Emmert run a dairy with a quonset-shaped white barn east of Hancock, just a few miles southeast of Morris, where Riverview and the Fehrs started. Two robotic, Dutch-made machines handle milking of the Emmerts’ 140 cows. The machines spray and scrub their udders and, guided by lasers, position milking cups onto the cows’ teats.

Even with such high-tech efficiency, Chris Emmert said the business is tough. “We’re break-even right now at $14 milk,” he said, referring to the price of 100 pounds of milk, or hundredweight.

The Emmerts’ father bought the farm in 1959, and Chris Emmert’s wife grew up on a dairy, too. He said he knows all his cows individually by sight, and some have lived on the farm for 16 years.

Twenty miles to the southeast, near Clontarf, John Beyer, Heidi’s husband, said he wonders whether his children will be able to carry on their grandparents’ dairy legacy. “That’s the question I ask every day,” he said. “You hope so.”

Asked why Riverview needs to keep growing, Fehr said that drive comes from the company’s employees, about 15 percent of whom own a stake in the firm. When he and his brothers floated the idea of getting into dairy, their father could have said no, but he was “all in.” And for that, Fehr is grateful.

Now a similar dynamic is at work. New owners in the partnership want to expand, and Fehr isn’t going to stand in their way, he said.

“They want to be owners. They want to grow. I’m with them,” he said. “That’s some of the why. Truthfully, that’s a lot of the why.”


Trade war hits Idaho dairies


Cows line up in a feed barn at Sunridge Dairy in Nampa, Tuesday, July 31, 2018. The family dairy milks 2,900 cows in the Treasure Valley, sending roughly 250,000 pounds of milk down the road to the Sorrento Lactalis cheese plant every day. As a result of retaliatory tariffs, co-owner Adrian Kroes and other local dairy producers saw a 15 percent drop in milk prices below what was projected for July. Kroes estimates they’ll close the month of July with a $150,000 loss, and stand to lose at least $100,000 more in August.

SunRidge Dairy in Nampa says it’s losing more than $4,000 a day. 

The family dairy milks 2,900 cows in the Treasure Valley, sending approximately 250,000 pounds of milk down the road to the Sorrento Lactalis cheese plant every day. Co-owner Adrian Kroes and other local dairy producers saw a 15 percent drop in milk prices below what was projected for July. Kroes estimates they’ll close the month of July $150,000 under projected revenue, and stand to lose at least $100,000 more in August.

State dairy associations say SunRidge Dairy isn’t alone, and despite ongoing industry labor shortages, there’s one obvious reason for the loss.

Story continues below video

“Our dairymen have sustained tremendous losses already,” said Rick Naerebout, CEO of the Idaho Dairymen’s Association. “We were starting to see a resurgence — but then the trade war started.”

Tariffs impacting key Idaho trade partnerships

Earlier this year, the Trump administration placed tariffs on steel, aluminum and billions of dollars of Chinese goods, prompting retaliatory tariffs on U.S exports from key trade partners.

Idaho businesses — especially in the agricultural industry — are already paying for these retaliatory tariffs. Canada, China and Mexico were among Idaho’s top foreign export destinations in 2017, according to the Idaho Department of Commerce.

In June and July, Mexico put tariffs on cheese, pork, apples, potatoes, steel and aluminum, among other products; Canada put tariffs on steel and aluminum; and China upped its tariffs on dairy, beef and other agricultural products an additional 25 percent. The European Union in June also imposed tariffs on several U.S. exports with significant Idaho industries — the largest being kidney beans, according to an analysis by the Idaho Department of Commerce.

Before retaliatory tariffs, the U.S. enjoyed extensive free trade with both Canada and Mexico under the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA). Renegotiations of trade agreements with both countries are ongoing, with rumors of agreements looming.

In 2017, Idaho exports to Canada and Mexico topped $1.07 billion, with $353 million more in exported goods to China.

Idaho State Department of Agriculture spokeswoman Chanel Tewalt said the tariffs have an undeniable effect on Idaho’s economy. Twenty percent of all sales in the state come from agriculture, Tewalt said. Their department has been fielding worried calls from businesses across the state.

“When you look at all states in the United States and you see how much GDP is agriculture generated, we are the fourth highest in the nation,” Tewalt said. “When there are disruptions in the ag market, it will be felt in a state like this.”

‘Tremendous amount of stress’ for dairy producers

Before tariffs were imposed, Idaho’s dairy industry was already feeling the strain. Low unemployment is difficult for an industry that has no access to a temporary worker visa program, such as the H-2A agricultural visa program increasingly used by Idaho farmers. The lack of access to foreign worker visas means Idaho’s dairy industry has historically employed more undocumented foreign workers than in other industries, Naerebout said. A national crackdown on immigration threatening a sparse workforce creates uncertainty for dairy producers and employees alike.

The dairy industry represents about one-third of Idaho’s agricultural sector, according to an analysis by the Idaho Dairymen’s Association.

“There is a tremendous amount of stress for the average dairy producer right now,” Naerebout said. “Our dairymen are growing increasingly frustrated that their voices are not heard.”

Mexico alone imported more than $14 million in Idaho cheese and whey products in 2017. Representatives from Sorrento Lactalis are expecting the tariffs to hurt their Nampa cheese plant. Ninety percent of the milk they use comes from Treasure Valley producers.

“Mexico is an important export market for our cheese, and the majority of the products we export to Mexico are manufactured at our Nampa facility,” spokesman Pierre Lorieau emailed to the Idaho Press. “The tariffs imposed by Mexico in retaliation for U.S. tariffs on Mexican steel and aluminum are likely to have a significant impact on our business to Mexico, and therefore will adversely affect our Nampa facility.”

Naerebout estimated Idaho dairy producers have lost $1 to $2 a cow every day since 2018 began. That matched with SunRidge Dairy in Nampa.

“It’s been few years since it’s been a good year,” Kroes said. “There was hope that the second half of this year would see a recovery in milk prices, but that’s kind of been pushed back.”

The trade war has cut both ways, however. While Idaho milk producers are suffering from retaliatory tariffs, some Treasure Valley businesses are dealing with the impact of Donald Trump’s tariffs on Canadian aluminum.

Steel and aluminum tariffs hit local businesses

Treasure Valley businesses have seen a recent increase in steel and aluminum prices significant enough to cause concern. Local metalworking companies and brewers have both seen production costs go up.

President Trump imposed a 25 percent tariff on steel and 10 percent tariff on aluminum metal imports this year. The administration cited a national security risk as justification for the steel and aluminum tariffs, according to the Associated Press.

Price jumps may be directly tied to the tariffs, or indirectly based on regular market fluctuations. Either way, Treasure Valley businesses say the changes are noticeably larger than normal.

“If anyone is in the metal business here, it’s affecting them,” said Jeremy Adams, president of Excalibur Metal Design in Meridian.

Excalibur Metal Design, which sells products mostly within the United States, makes a variety of custom railings, gates and furniture among other metal fabrications. Since January, Adams said, the price of flat steel has increased 60 percent.

“There’s no telling what the effects are going to be if prices are going up and the tariffs continue,” he said.

Other Boise metalworkers confirmed seeing drastic price increases for steel and aluminum products.

Local brewers are seeing a rise in aluminum packaging products. Suppliers point to the tariffs by way of explaining the cost hike.

Mother Earth Brew Company brews and cans 750,000 cases of beer in Nampa. Eighty percent of that ends up in either aluminum cans or stainless steel kegs, said owner Daniel Love, so the 10 percent U.S. tariff on Canadian aluminum and steel makes an impact.

“If this continues over an indefinite amount of time, it might affect 1 percent of bottom line,” Love said. “Whether I believe tariffs are good or bad, they aren’t great for my business.”

Love said Mother Earth had no plans to raise prices, but instead plans to absorb the costs to keep their beer affordable.

Bart Watson, chief economist for the Brewers Association, a craft brewers trade group, said they are hearing from members that this is a trend nationwide. In the brewing industry, aluminum cans make up 28.5 percent of packaging products.

Mike Francis, owner of Payette Brewing Company, said an increase in aluminum material for packaging is on their radar.

“Over time if prices go up for raw materials,” he said, “prices are going to go up for consumers.”

Fruit growers feel the impacts of apple and cherry tariffs

Chinese tariffs on apples and cherries as of July 6 have risen to 50 percent from the previous 10 and 25 percent tariffs imposed in April, according to the Idaho Department of Commerce.

Idaho is one of the top five cherry-producing states along with Washington, Oregon, California and Michigan. In 2017, China became the top market for Northwest cherry exports with nearly 3 million 20-pound cases imported, according to the Northwest Horticultural Council.

Sally Symms, vice president of sales and marketing at the Symms Fruit Ranch in Caldwell, said the tariffs have forced farmers to reduce their prices in order to sell their fruit. The Chinese market is now significantly less accessible for farmers, creating an over-supply of cherries within the U.S. markets.

“You can’t have the third-biggest market closed without affecting all other markets,” Symms said.

Cherries that are shipped to China are grown specifically in size and quality for their market. Now, farmers have had to find other options to sell.

Other nations have also imposed tariffs on apples and cherries. Mexico’s 20 percent tariff on apples has been in effect since May. Last year alone, Mexico imported nearly 14 million 40-pound cartons of apples, according to the Northwest Horticultural Council.

“Everyone is very hopeful that the tariffs will be removed,” Symms said, “and not only in China.”

Idaho ag still uncertain about promised relief

The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s announcement that it will dole out $12 billion in emergency relief to farmers and producers impacted by the retaliatory tariffs wasn’t a comfort to some Idaho farmers.

“I’m not a big fan of subsidies,” Kroes from SunRidge Dairy said. “I think they end up harming the industry at the end of the day. I can understand that there may be a need for it. It all depends on how it’s done.”

Symms declined to comment on the possible relief because of the lack of details provided so far. She wasn’t sure if it would help Symms Fruit Ranch.

Naerebout said he and other dairy producers remained skeptical the plan will help Idaho dairies, although details of the emergency relief program remain sparse. The average herd size for Idaho dairies is 1,400 cows, Naerebout said, compared to the national average of 300 cows. Naerebout said such relief programs usually have a subsidy cap based on that national average.

“They won’t have as much impact on Idaho producers as across the country,” Naerebout said.

Naerebout said there’s already a “misconception” that dairies are a heavily subsidized industry, but independence is point of pride for the average dairy producer. Instead of subsidies, Idaho dairies would prefer the federal government broker a rapid solution to the trade dispute, reopening the markets they’ve enjoyed access to for more than a decade.

But while Idaho businesses are suffering the consequences of the trade war, the solution is still out of their hands.

Idaho has been losing about 10 to 15 dairies a year, according to Naerebout. If the trade dispute isn’t resolved quickly, Naerebout thinks they could see double that number close by the end of 2018. There are currently 472 dairies and more than 500,000 milk cows in Idaho, according to the Idaho Dairymen’s Association.

“The end result is going to be the loss of family business in Idaho,” Naerebout said. “We’d like to try to avoid that in Idaho. We can only do that at the federal level. There is nothing we can do to fix this at the local or state levels.”


Blondin knocks it out of the park with high scores in three different states/provinces



It was a busy week of classifications for Ferme Blondin of Saint-Placide, QC.  Leading the way was AL-SHAR DEMPSEY ALISON now scored EX-96-2E for Blondin and partner Yvon Sicard. While in Vermont Walkerbrae Doorman Locket scored EX-95 for Blondin and partner Borderview Genetics. She is a daughter of Gloryland-I Goldwyn Locket (2E-94), a 10th gen VG/EX from the Roxys. Doorman Locket was Nominated All-Canadian and All-American Junior 3yr Old in 2016 and was Grand Champion at the Vermont State Holstein Show in 2017. Meanwhile back home in Quebec they had success with the classifier as well, which included 25 VG 1st lactation cows.


BASTE AFTERSHOCK MARILOU VG-87-2YR (Owned with Patricia Fontaine)
HIGH POINT ROX VIVACIOUS VG-87-2YR (Owned with Ferme Glauser et Fils)
FORTALE DOORMAN ALYNA VG-86-2YR (Doorman X Alana owned with Ferme Fortale Holstein)
MS APPLE ANARA-RED-ET VG-86-2YR (Integral X Apple)
BRENLAND SOLOMON DEZI VG-2YR (Owned with Brenland Farms)


MACLAND HAMMER N CHISELD-ET VG-89 (Owned with Hodglynn Holsteins)
MS SHERONA-HILL RAIN-ET VG-88 (Owned with Hodglynn Holsteins Ltd)



Robin-Hood Pretty In-Red Named Grand Champion at Iowa State Show

ROBIN-HOOD PRETTY-IN-RED (Photo New York Spring Show 2018)

Judge Pat Conroy selected 4-year-old Robin-Hood Pretty In-Red (Action-Advent), exhibited by Rick Demmer for his Grand Champion at the the Iowa State Show. For his Reserve Conroy opted for the homebred Aged cow winner, Moondale Tam (Windbrook-Damion).

Indiana State Board of Health Investigation underway for Walmart milk

Many local customers have had with Walmart’s Great Value brand of milk going bad before the expiration date on the container.

Cynthia Flanagan told NewsChannel 15 that she has had 3 cartons of milk go bad before the expiration date in the last 5 weeks. Her daughter has had 2 cartons expire early as well.

Flanagan said that when she tried to pour her most recent carton over her cereal that clumpy expired milk came out, 5 days before the expiration date.

“They have a lot of dedicated Walmart shoppers and they’ve taken the choice away as well.. my main goal would be to find out what the problem is and clean it up.” Flanagan said about her social media post. Her post has over 150 shares, and about 150 comments of people sharing similar stories. 

Walmart Media Relations, Molly Blakeman said “We appreciate this being brought to our attention, and we are committed to providing our customers the quality products they expect. We take this claim seriously and are looking into it as part of our ongoing quality control tests to ensure milk is good through its expiration date.”

The Indiana State Board of Health Dairy Divisions’ spokesperson Denise Derrer told NewsChannel 15 about the process they go through to inspect dairy farms, storage of milk on the farms, the trucks used to transport the milk, and the dairy processing facilities. 

“The expiration date is really not regulated. It’s at the discretion of the processing plant to put that on there.” Derrer said.

She said the board is not hearing about this being a widespread issue and happening in other locations at this time.


$510 million in dairy facilities coming to mid-Michigan, creating nearly 300 jobs

Two new dairy facilities, totaling $510 million in investments, are coming to mid-Michigan with plans to reduce high shipping costs and improve the oversupply of milk.


The facility in St. Johns, north of Lansing, comes from a collaboration of farmers, private investors, state and local economic developers. Construction will begin in September and be completed by 2020.

Glanbia, a global nutrition group, partnered with Select Milk Producers and Dairy Farmers of America to form a new limited liability corporation, Spartan Michigan. That group will develop a $425 million dairy procession facility in St. Johns on 146 acres. It will process more than 8 million pounds of milk per day and create 259 jobs.

On top of that, Proliant Dairy Michigan is investing $85 million in an adjoining facility which will manufacture why permeatepowder and employ up to 38 new workers.

“Once again, Michigan’s national reputation as the best place to grow jobs is bringing new investments to our thriving agriculture sector,” Gov. Rick Snyder said in a release. “Michigan’s dairy industry is an essential economic driver in our state, and this new investment elevates and expands our potential to rise even higher while bringing new jobs and opportunities to this region.

When it’s finished, the new site will be one of the largest dairy processing facilities in the country. Glanbia will oversee the commercial, technical and business operations to help produce cheese and whey products.

“The support of local and state agencies demonstrates why Michigan is such a great location to invest,” said Brian Phelan, CEO of Glanbia Nutritionals. “We are looking forward to getting up and running with our partners and farmers providing world-class dairy products while bringing jobs and economic development to the area.”

The funding for the projects came from several grants, investments and more from the Michigan Strategic Fund, Michigan Department of Agriculture and Rural Development and Michigan Department of Transportation.

The state currently has an oversupply of high, and combined with high transportation costs, milk producers lost more than $164 million last year.

Both the Dairy Farmers of America and Select Mil Producers will supply milk to the processing plant.

“Michigan is ripe for growth with a surplus of quality milk, so there’s tremendous opportunity to not only benefit the dairy farm families in this area but also the local economy and region,” said DFA CEO Greg Wickham.

Currently, there are more than 1,700 farms in the state and nearly 1,500 Grade A farms. The average has 176 cows and 98 percent of them are family-owned farms. The state ranks fifth in the nation for total milk production with dairy farmers contributing $15.7 billion to the Michigan economy.

Source: WXYZ

Rare heifer triplets thriving on Taieri farm

Holy cow – it’s a girl. Or in the case of a heifer calving on a Taieri dairy farm last week, it was a gaggle of girls, handful of heifers.

The first-calver produced a very rare set of heifer triplets on the Miller family’s farm at Maungatua. Andrew Miller and his father Jim had never encountered triplet calves before.

Andrew was particularly amazed the Kiwi-cross calves had all survived and were now doing well in the calf shed.

While exact figures on the probability of a dairy cow having triplets were difficult to find, it was an extremely unusual occurrence and the suggestion was made that there was a better chance of winning Lotto.

Clutha Vets Milton-based veterinarian Tom Wallbank had not encountered triplets before and he reckoned it was “probably in the hundreds of thousands” when it came to probability.

Then the fact the heifer was a first-calver, that there were three heifer calves and that they all survived, added up to being a particularly unusual occurrence. Dairy cows were also less likely to have triplets than beef cows, he said.

Calving was going well throughout the region and the weather was much better than the “horrendous” conditions last year. There had been reports of some big calves, Mr Wallbank said.


‘True type with extra bit of style’ – says judge

The judge of the forthcoming Diageo Baileys Champion Dairy Cow competition says he will be looking out for “a cow that emulates the true type model, not necessarily big, but balanced with that extra bit of style.”

He is David Hodgson and farms 350 acres just outside Carlisle, in partnership with his wife Louise and his parents. Their Wormanby Herd consists of 190 milking cows with an average of 11,000kg on twice a day milking. The Herd won the prestigious Holstein UK Premier Herd in 2015 and has been a Master Breeder Herd since 2009.

David has been on the Holstein UK National Judging Panel for the last 15 years. He has judged the UK National Herd Competition Final (2015), ABAB Calf Show (2015), South West Dairy Show and the Celtic Showcase. This will be David’s third time judging in Ireland, having judged Charleville a number of years ago and the All Ireland Calf Show just last year. He also said he was ‘honoured to be asked to judge the Diageo Baileys Champion Cow because it was one of the most prestigious shows to be held in the UK and Ireland’.

The Diageo Baileys Champion Cow has a 10,000 Euro prize fund. It is co-sponsored by Glanbia Ireland, suppliers of cream to Diageo for Baileys and takes place on 22nd August at the Virginia Show in Co. Cavan.


SourceFarming Life

Dr. Robert Moore Named 2018 Dairy Cattle Improvement Industry Distinction Award Winner

On behalf of its industry partners, the Board of Directors of Canadian Dairy Network (CDN) has announced its selection of Dr. Robert Moore, Scientific Manager at Valacta, as the recipient of the Dairy Cattle Improvement Industry Distinction Award for 2018. This award recognizes his many contributions to the Canadian dairy cattle sector throughout his 39-year career.

Robert Moore is a graduate of McGill University and the University of Guelph. He started his career at PATLQ/DHAS with Dr. John Moxley, as well as in the Animal Science Department of McGill University, in 1979. PATLQ (Quebec Dairy Herd Analysis Program) became Valacta, the Dairy Production Centre of Expertise, in 2006. Dr. Moore works as the Scientific Manager (R&D) and in this capacity he has greatly contributed to the development of the technical specifications for the national milk recording database, which has close and essential ties to CDN.

Since 1982, Dr. Moore has been fully committed to the advancement of milk recording services, and his contributions to the high quality of data used for national genetic evaluations are remarkable. He has been a member of the Genetic Evaluation Board (GEB) and DairyGen Council of CDN for several years. Dr. Moore’s important contribution to the development of the centralized Canadian DHI database (Vision2000) is little-known and must be acknowledged today. He has not only played a key and pivotal role in the establishment of the Vision2000 business requirements, but he is also one of the key resource persons contributing to its development and ensuring the smooth data exchange with CDN and industry partners. The quality of data collected by milk recording and supplied to CDN serves as the foundation of the Canadian genetic evaluation system. Dr. Moore’s technical understanding of genetic evaluation methods and models, as well as his knowledge of the operational and transactional nature of milk recording, paired with his practical understanding of what dairy producers record (and why), make him a unique and exceptionally valuable contributor to the genetic improvement of dairy cattle in Canada. In 2001, he received the Valacta John Moxley Award for his exceptional contribution to the development of Vision2000.

“Dr. Moore’s studies and his entire career have been devoted to the dairy cattle improvement industry and for this reason, we think that he fully deserves this recognition,” says Norm McNaughton, Chairman of the CDN Board of Directors.

Canadian Dairy Network is the national genetic evaluation centre for dairy cattle and provides services to Canadian dairy producers and member organizations including breed associations, DHI agencies, A.I. organizations and Dairy Farmers of Canada. The award will be presented to Dr. Robert Moore during the 2018 Dairy Cattle Improvement Industry Forum on September 19th at the Château Vaudreuil Hotel & Suites, Vaudreuil, Que., in advance of the 23rd Annual General Meeting of CDN the next day.

Top Dairy Industry News Stories from August 4th to August 10th 2018

Genetic Evaluations

Top News Stories

Saputo criticises Canadian milk scheme

Lino Saputo Jr: “I’m not against the milk supply management system in Canada, it works well for Canada.”

The owner of Australia’s largest milk processing company Lino Saputo Jnr has lashed out at a Canadian dairy export support scheme.

Speaking after the release of Saputo’s quarterly results on Tuesday, Mr Saputo said he backed concerns of United States, Australian and New Zealand farmers about the scheme.

But he supported Canada’s milk supply management system.

The system sets domestic production quotas and the milk price paid to farmers, while Canada blocks imports from other countries by imposing high levels of tariffs.

In 2016, a new Class 7 pricing scheme was struck, which allowed processors to pay lower prices for domestic milk ingredients used to make cheese and yoghurt and to export the rest.

Mr Saputo said Canadian producers were trying to have their cake and eat it too.

“I’m not against the milk supply management system in Canada, it works well for Canada,” he said.

But Mr Saputo said he was opposed to the Class 7, which was behind the 1.5 billion litre increase in Canadian milk production to 9.5 billion litres in the past two years.

The excess production was being sold as powder into international markets.

“So what I am saying is if Canada wants to have a supplied milk system, you’ve got to manage that supply to domestic consumption, which is what the milk supply managed system is all about,” he said.

“So perhaps that means that 1.5 billion litres of milk has to come off the table from Canada.

“So Canada cannot have a two-tier system, which is what they have with the Class 7 – that’s not fair trade.”

Mr Saputo also blamed Class 7 for difficulties at the farmgate that had prompted the Canadian Dairy Commission to impose a 4 per cent increase in the price paid to farmers.

“The suppliers are complaining about lower revenues,” he said.

“Well, Class 7 has contributed to lower levels at the farm level because Class 7 is set at international prices and suppliers are getting a blended price.

“So, of course, the economics at the farm level aren’t making sense.

“But Class 7 is a culprit there.”

Mr Saputo said the Canadian dairy industry would have to give something in the negotiations for the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA).

“If we think that there is going to be a NAFTA deal signed and there is going to be no change to the dairy industry, then I think we are all crazy. That’s not going to happen,” he said.

Removing Class 7 would be better than offering incremental import licences to the US.

Mr Saputo also lashed out at what he called irrational behaviour by companies in the US in the wake of the Trump-led tariff war.

US processors initially panicked and, concerned that export markets might be closed to them, started to look to place more product domestically, he said.

The international supply pipeline also filled up as buyers moved to sure up supply before tariffs were imposed.

US stockpiles of product had subsequently grown to 1.4 billion pounds.

This had led to dairy processors in the US trying to sell their products at lower prices.

“We are seeing things going on in our industry we haven’t seen before,” Mr Saputo said.

But he said Saputo was not prepared to fight for every market segment.

If it was a long-standing customer in a market for a product it could produce competitively, Saputo “will have to fight”, but if it was less profitable, “we will cut those products loose”.

“We’ve got deep enough pockets that we can fight the good fight wherever we choose to go,” he said.

“Sometimes we choose to fight and sometimes we choose to walk away depending on the importance of customer and divergence of the product mix.”


SourceThe Australian Dairyfarmer

Canada braced for hard bargaining on dairy when NAFTA talks resume

It’s unclear when trilateral negotiations will resume on a revised NAFTA deal. But it’s quite clear Canada’s negotiation won’t be easy. (Jonathan Ernst/Reuters)

Lost quota meant for U.S. in the TPP likely to resurface at NAFTA table

The United States has unfinished business with Canada’s supply-managed dairy, egg and poultry sectors if bargaining to modernize the North American Free Trade Agreement gets down to the short strokes this fall.

U.S. farmers could have sold more of their products into Canada under the Trans-Pacific Partnership, a trade agreement between 12 Pacific Rim countries negotiated during the Obama administration. But President Donald Trump pulled the U.S. out of the deal in his first week in office.

Now he’s out to redeem himself at the NAFTA table — or force even more out of Canada, after imposing previously-unthinkable tariffs on steel and aluminum and threatening to do the same to cars.

“Canada knew going into TPP that the price of entry was going to be doing something on dairy,” said Bob Wolfe, a professor emeritus at Queen’s University who has studied agriculture trade policy since the 80s.

“Everybody in [the United States Trade Representative’s office] knows that Canada blinked on [supply management] before, and will blink again — and given CPTPP, has a pretty good idea what the Canadian blink will look like.”

Under the CPTPP — the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership, the modified version of the TPP being ratified by the remaining 11 countries — Canada creates 20 new tariff rate quotas (TRQs) allowing limited quantities of dairy, poultry and egg imports, to be phased in over 11 to 19 years. They’re worth about 3.25 per cent of Canada’s market.

In CPTPP consultations now underway, farms and businesses can describe how they’ll be affected by the quota changes and state what government help they’ll need to adapt — through the allocation of import permits, for example (recall last summer’s debate over who gets to import European cheese) or financial assistance.

Dairy farmers are known for insisting “the sky will fall because of this and we’re going to need a lot of compensation,” Wolfe said.

America’s share unused?

It’s easy to imagine Fonterra, New Zealand’s dairy monopoly, already packing its first shipping containers of butter.

But not all products covered by Canada’s supply-management system are ideal for shipping across the Pacific. Fresh milk doesn’t travel well. A carton of eggs is a low-margin commodity unlikely to absorb huge shipping costs.

“Negotiators are highly conscious of who can supply in any given tariff line,” Wolfe said. When the TPP was negotiated, in other words, Canada knew that the increased quota space for the most perishable supply-managed products was going to be filled solely by American farmers a short drive away from key Canadian markets, like southwestern Ontario.

Last month, Donald Trump began waving around “Make Our Farmers Great Again” hats, even as his administration’s trade policies threatened U.S. farm export markets. (Evan Vucci/Associated Press)

When the remaining TPP countries decided to proceed without the U.S., no TRQ was revised or suspended. Without American suppliers, it’s hard to imagine all of that quota being used.

Instead, American expectations are “simply (being) transferred to NAFTA,” Wolfe said.

Al Mussell, research lead for Agri-Food Economic Systems in Guelph, Ont., said it’s in the United States’ interest to “completely disassociate themselves with what they obtained in the TPP … just pretend that it never happened.”

That’s what seemed to be happening last fall, when CBC News reported a source saying that an early U.S. negotiating position asked Canada to give up 10 times what it conceded on milk in the TPP talks, and to phase out supply management entirely within a decade. The pitch was dismissed by Canadian negotiators.

The U.S. needs to export milk to deal with its chronic oversupply problem — one that Canada avoids with its strict production quotas. Mexico recently added a new tariff on American milk in retaliation for U.S. steel and aluminum tariffs, making Washington’s push for more exports even harder.

One possible Canadian response to another American request for market space could be “we gave at the office,” Mussell said.

“We gave you access and you walked away, so no — if you want to come back, it’s there [in the TPP].”

In the meantime, other countries will supply most of the CPTPP imports, he said — raising the possibility that Canada won’t have room to concede much through NAFTA, at least based on its TPP-era calculations of what Canada could afford.

Cows in the street

A big American ask, followed by a smaller Canadian give, would mirror what played out in the TPP’s endgame in 2015.

Canada was in the middle of a federal election campaign at the time. A report that the U.S. wanted 10 per cent of Canada’s dairy market brought farmers, and their cattle, into the streets in Ottawa. That provided Canadian negotiators with a helpful visual to drive home the message they had to deliver to the Americans: large concessions are politically impossible.

Dairy farmers tossed milk onto the street in front of Parliament Hill and led their cattle along a line of protest signs during a protest against the Trans-Pacific Partnership negotiations in the middle of the 2015 federal election. (Chris Wattie/Reuters)

Quebec voters head to the polls this fall, and the next federal campaign is just a year away. Up to now, it’s been Mexicans and Americans eyeing electoral consequences. Soon, it will be Canada’s turn.

Quebec nationalists have always been staunch defenders of Canada’s supply management system. A Bloc Québécois media release this week warned about the views of former prime minister Brian Mulroney, who has advised the Trudeau cabinet on the NAFTA talks. In a February speech in Winnipeg, Mulroney said ending supply management would be good for processors and make food more affordable, but farmers would have to be offered enough compensation to make them “very happy.”

“Getting rid of it means getting rid of $25-30 billion in quota values,” Wolfe said. “From the standpoint of the federal budget, you wouldn’t want to absorb that … I’ve yet to see a realistic policy as to how you could unwind the quota in a way that wouldn’t blow the fiscal framework.”

A joint statement from Quebec Premier Philippe Couillard and Ontario Premier Doug Ford at last month’s summer premiers’ meeting “emphasized the importance of supply management to the Canadian economy.”

‘We are the weaker partner’

Since Quebec dairy farmers helped a Conservative win a riding away from the federal Liberals in a June byelection, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau appears to have been paying more attention to the supply management file. He recently recorded a message for the Dairy Farmers of Canada saying his government would “protect and defend” supply management, “and that includes at the NAFTA table.”

“I think Canada will have to concede plenty in order to have an agreement with the U.S. because we are the weaker partner,” said Sophia Murphy, a B.C.-based senior adviser with the Institute for Agriculture and Trade Policy.

“Understanding that the politics are complicated … my impression is that the trade negotiators find [supply management] slightly embarrassing. You know, it’s not very 21st century [to have a protectionist system.]

“In the end, this is a losing game if, every time there’s a negotiation, they give up another two, another three and another four per cent,” she said. “There’s a larger question eventually about whether this works for us.”

And yet, Canada’s marketing boards do prevent overproduction — something that plagues countries that liberalize their agriculture trade and depresses world prices. U.S. farmers get huge subsidies from the taxpayer to stay afloat.

“The United States is not about trying to get Canada to ditch its supply management system,” U.S. Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue told CBC News in June.

Other alternatives?

Two aspects of Canada’s dairy system do frustrate the Trump administration, and congressional leaders like New York’s Chuck Schumer and Wisconsin’s Paul Ryan.

The first is what’s referred to as “class 7,” a recent pricing change based on an agreement between farmers and dairy processors to lower the price of ingredients.

It made Canadian products price-competitive, squeezing out U.S. diafiltered milk that had been coming in tariff-free by exploiting a loophole in the tariff schedule.

Earlier this year, Couillard met with Americans and, in a later interview with Bloomberg News, floated the idea of doing something about class 7 while making sure farmers were “adequately compensated.”

Quebec Premier Philippe Couillard travelled to Washington last spring to make the case for his province’s farmers and other businesses. He’s only a couple of weeks away from running for re-election. (Jacques Boissinot/Canadian Press)

But the ingredient pricing change is key to stabilizing Canada’s market. Without it, high processor demand for butterfat creates unsustainable surpluses of skim milk products.

Because of that, ending class 7 would be “really costly,” Mussell said. “More costly than an access play.”

Tariff cut?

Instead, Mussell pointed to another possible source of trade concessions. It’s Trump’s other obsession: the “270 per cent tariff” Canada imposes on U.S. dairy products.

That tariff applies to imports above the TRQ volumes. Its purpose isn’t taxation; no one really pays it because it basically blocks imports.

Mussell pointed to research by Larry Martin at the Macdonald-Laurier Institute suggesting the tariff rates that protect supply-managed sectors are so large they could withstand a cut without substantially harming Canada’s industry. 

In a NAFTA context, global trade rules may allow Canada to have a special tariff rate for the U.S. alone, Mussell said. 

Rather than being guaranteed a designated slice of the market (the liberalizing argument goes), Americans would have to compete for it at new rates, offering the domestic industry incentives to innovate. And Trump could brag about winning a big tariff cut.

But supply management’s defenders say that’s the top of a slippery slope, one that could undermine Canada’s production and price controls.

Currently, NAFTA consists of three separate bilateral agreements on agriculture — one Canada-U.S. deal (dating back to their first free trade deal), one U.S.-Mexico deal and one between Canada and Mexico — reflecting the fact that, when it comes to farm goods, each trading relationship is unique.

This week, the U.S. and Mexico continued to meet over serious differences on the automotive chapter. An American concession on something Mexico wants for its horticulture sector may grease those wheels.

As what trade negotiators call the “sequencing” of a complicated trilateral trade negotiation unfolds, a conversation between the U.S. and Canada may follow.

That’s when Canadian negotiators may find themselves weighing potential gains against continuing to play defence on dairy.


New dairy organization signs ‘Contract with Producers’

To: U.S. dairy producers
As U.S. dairy producers, business owners and multi-generational farmers in America, as well as members of the board of directors of the National Dairy Producers Organization Inc., we come to every dairy producer in America seeking your support of a national effort to organize the producer sector of the U.S. dairy industry.

We have established and are committed to growing and funding a national organization that represents the needs and financial interests of all dairy producers in America.

We offer a viable, business-oriented and profit-driven alternative to the more than four decades of severe instability and losses that have, to date, resulted in the elimination of thousands of dairy producers nationwide. Producer profitability is our number one priority and our number one responsibility.

While change is never easy, it is time for every dairy producer to make a decision. Do you stay with the status quo or do you take full control of and responsibly for your financial future, as well as the economic vitality of the vendor businesses that support the dairy industry and the continued economic growth of your communities, your counties and your states who rely not only on your survival, but your ability to produce milk and get paid a profit for doing so?

We offer the following “Contract with Producers,” and stand committed to provide the necessary leadership, expertise and management team to ensure the success of each proposal in this contract. We say to every producer in the country, “The time for decision is now; the time for action is today.”

In keeping with our resolve to reach these goals in the shortest time possible, we the founding members make a solemn commitment to every producer in the U.S. and the entire dairy industry to rapidly move forward with organizing the entire producer sector as the first step toward accomplishing the following tasks:

We pledge to thoroughly and immediately review and study each of the issues that impact the price of milk paid to producers in order to determine and facilitate needed changes that may be required to reach our stated purpose of producer profitability, for now and in the future.

Having determined what needs to be done, we will hire and manage qualified personnel and specialists with specific expertise as may be necessary to accomplish the goals of the organization, including the implementation or change of national policies, so as to accomplish the required work in the shortest possible time.

We stand committed to working with and supporting organizations and their agendas who will likewise assist us in our efforts to reach these stated goals and who are willing and able to support our agenda, keeping the financial interests and needs of producers as the prime motivation.

We pledge to establish and maintain an effective communication network in keeping with the needs of producers across the country that will provide both the organization and the producers with a needed free flow of information in order to maximize the efforts of all parties.

We are committed to influencing changes and/or additions to the laws and policies governing the U.S. dairy industry, so as to maximize producer profits, minimize government involvement, remove government assistance and provide for the smooth and easy market management of the industry.

We agree to always maintain a strong spirit of cooperation with our partners in the dairy industry – co-ops, processors, retailers and the consumers of milk and milk products.

We recognize them as vital to our own success and stand committed to shoulder our share of the responsibility and hereby commit our resources to work in harmony with these important partners as we push toward the realization of our goals and purposes.

We agree to work closer than ever with political leaders, national organizations, national, state, county and city legislators across the country to expand the level of knowledge, communication and understanding amongst those parties who play such a vital role in the long-term health and vitality of the dairy industry, holding them and ourselves to the same high standards of support for and accountability to the U.S. dairy producers.

We pledge to establish and maintain a much higher level of industry education, participation and understanding amongst the producers and all of the dairy industry, so as to foster maximum contribution to the greater good by all of the resources that exist within the dairy industry, thereby facilitating the growth of existing producers as well as the development of the next generation of dairy producers.

In consideration of the support of all U.S. dairy producers, we commit to immediately beginning the process of implementing the following 10 changes within the dairy industry in support of the financial needs of dairy producers.

1. We support working with any and all organizations throughout the country who truly demonstrate a concern for and the will to restore and maintain dairy producer profitability nationwide.

We stand willing and able to support well-managed and effective programs that ensure dairy producer profitability and sustainability.

2. We will work to establish and/or assist in the establishment of a national supply management program.

History has clearly and repeatedly demonstrated that there has never been market stability for producers in the dairy industry, nor will they ever reach or maintain producer profitability until there is a supply management plan in place that will effectively reduce volatility.

We support the immediate implementation of a well-managed national supply management program focused on producer profitability and long-term sustainability.

3. We support an overhaul of price discovery to better reflect the true value of milk on the farm.

We are committed to studying the various producer pay price discovery alternatives, to secure a permanent and improved change in how milk is priced on the farm.

In our opinion, the existing CME system has not been a fair system for producers, while processors and retailers have been allowed to earn substantial profits in stark contrast to the record losses recorded by most dairy producers.

We stand steadfast with other producer organizations in support of retaining the current method of calculating the Class I Mover which uses the “higher of’’ the Advanced Class III or IV price calculated by product price formulas.

4. We support immediate federal legislation to further regulate the importation of milk and milk products, including milk protein concentrates (MPCs) that might prove detrimental to producer profitability.

We will work to correct deceptive milk importing practices that dramatically impact the value of milk produced domestically. The continued importation of concentrated milk products and ingredients have displaced the use of U.S. domestic production by as much as 10 percent.

These practices have created oversupply issues that have had a dramatically negative impact on the value of all domestic milk. As a result, U.S. producers are penalized for the oversupply of raw milk.

5. We will seek improved legislation for “Country of Origin Labeling (COOL),” “100% American” labeling and improvement of U.S. inspection standards as important tools to ensure food safety as it relates to milk imports intended for U.S. consumers.

Most, if not all imported items, require country of origin labeling, so why not dairy products? From the producer perspective, we should not allow milk protein concentrates to be imported into the country, which are then used in the production of “American cheese.”

Loose or nonexistent standards provide a free pass on country of origin labeling on all dairy products imported into the U.S.

We call upon Congress to enact mandatory country of origin labeling policies for all dairy products being imported into the U.S., which identifies product origin and classifies for import tariff purposes, milk products, milk components and/or other milk ingredients, including milk protein concentrates, casein, caseinates, starters and mixed milk products, etc.

6. We will seek legislation to improve Grade A Milk Standards from the current 750,000 Somatic Cell Count (SCC) level to a 400,000 count.

This important change is not only needed to match standards that have been set by world marketers, but should be addressed because it will provide consumers with a more flavorful and healthy milk product. There are however, material costs involved in producing high-quality, low-bacteria raw milk.

We are not only in favor of adopting the 400,000 SCC standard but will develop a plan for paying producers more money for their milk to compensate them for the increased costs that must be invested to ensure that the entire country participates in producing cleaner and healthier milk.

7. We support the continuation and the expansion of the exportation of U.S. milk and milk products that actually provide a profit to U.S. dairy producers.

We support and will seek methods to improve or establish producer profitability from the exportation of U.S. dairy products.

While we are in full support of expanding our ability to meet a growing world demand for milk and milk products – certainly American producers could and would produce all the milk the world needs.

However, recent history has shown that producer profitability never precedes the words “dairy exports.” All U.S. producers are in favor of “profitable dairy exports.”

8. We support the reform of or elimination of the processor “make allowance.”

The processor “make allowance,” which is sometimes referred to as a “processor guaranteed profit,” has been acknowledged as one reason for the overproduction of dairy products, which are eventually sold through domestic or export markets at low prices.

Of equal concern is that overproduction has now fostered the need to subsidize export transactions with producer funds just to enhance sales and to promote increased product disappearance.

9. We will pursue the return of the 8.7 percent and 3.5 butterfat milk standard for all U.S. milk.

These recommended standards return the milk standard to what most cows naturally produce. Processors have enjoyed the profit from harvesting milk components from naturally produced milk and diverting those components into other manufactured milk products, reducing the milk quality sold to consumers, thereby adding to the surplus of other dairy products.

Under the current system, processors gain direct benefit and extra profit at the direct expense of dairy producers.

10. We support the immediate review of government subsidies and protective tariffs currently in place that artificially support the production and blending of ethanol in the U.S.

Current U.S. fiscal policies have made our dollar weaker, allowing U.S. grain to be more easily exported at a time when Russia and China have become big players in the grain markets. Combine these conditions with the current U.S. energy policy which subsidizes the production and blending of ethanol at a higher rate than ever before.

The dairy industry has become an unintended victim due to the dramatic impact on grain prices, speculative or otherwise, that have occurred in the past six months.

These issues have also been given “Top 10” status due to their overall impact on current conditions in the dairy industry, especially as they relate to the financial needs of dairy producers.

However, it is critical that producers understand that the list of issues that need attention does not end with the Top 10 that have been addressed in this contract. Our board of directors and members have identified 10 other issues that have been placed on our working agenda.

We are well aware that higher input prices will continue to impact producer operations from almost every source imaginable. Producers must have a plan and a management team in place working specifically for producers to achieve long-term profitability, stability and growth.

We advocate that the most intelligent solution is for every U.S. dairy producer to support a national organization that is working every day to ensure producers receive their fair share of every retail dollar, while working hand-in-hand with each of our partners in the U.S. dairy industry.

The following list comprises 10 additional issues our board of directors and members have identified and that have been placed on our working agenda.

• We support stricter enforcement of the Pasteurized Milk Ordinance.

• We support a producer-funded and producer-operated charitable food program as part of a comprehensive national supply management program.

• We support compliance standards regarding animal care and the ethical treatment of animals.

• We support immediate dialogue to review producer-funded assessments in order to provide a more direct benefit to producers.

• We support every effort to minimize government involvement in the U.S. dairy industry, thus making the whole industry more self-reliant and self-regulated.

• We support proper labeling and accurate promotion of all dairy products and will take steps to stop the improper promotion of non-dairy products.

• We support needed effort as may be required to assist in local and regional issues affecting dairy producers.

• We oppose block voting within dairy organizations and will take steps to secure a one producer, one vote process.

• We support a .15 per hundredweight (cwt) assessment on all imported gross milk equivalents paid to a producer-controlled fund.

• We support the reduction of the national dairy herd through beef breeding, Johne’s eradication, a producer-funded cow cull program, and we will work to provide other producer/compliance incentives as part of a comprehensive national supply management program.

In conclusion
We are confident that over time some issues will fade into insignificance and others will rise to the level of major concern. But we remain steadfast in the knowledge that our members and our board of directors possess the will, the skills and the determination to resolve these and every issue as they are brought forward.

Rooted in this knowledge and our own determination, we toffer this “Contract with Producers” for the study, the review and ultimately the support of every dairy producer in the U.S. and commit on behalf of the membership and ourselves to doing everything in our power to bring to reality the solutions offered in this document.

In doing so, we respectfully ask for the same level of commitment from every dairy producer in America to do their part; to learn, to listen and then decide on their own acceptance and support of this contract, so that from their support and collective membership the whole industry can survive and prosper together.

Nearly 60 dairy farms in Indiana have closed since the start of the year

Nearly 60 dairy farms in the state of Indiana have closed down since the beginning of the year and many local dairy farms in Michiana are facing the same threat.

Doug Leman, Executive Director of Indiana Dairy Producers, explained this threat is nothing new. It all boils down to economics. Leman said over the last 50 years, dairy farmers have been producing more milk than is being consumed.

Dairy farmers who have been running family farms for generations are now facing the tough decision whether or not to close down for good.

“It’s a very hard thing to have to go through,” said Leman. “It’s emotionally, mentally and physically tough when you reach that point.”

Many farmers are blaming the decline on larger corporations like Walmart, who partner with farms for direct shipping to their stores. “They have some direct shippers now, which is farms,” said Leman. “So some people will say it’s a Walmart farm. Basically that means Walmart is their market. They are their farms, by no means do they own them. They have an agreement with that farm.”

The National Milk Producers Federation estimates tariffs imposed by the Trump Administration will cost U.S. dairy farmers close to $1.8 billion through the end of 2018.


Source: WNDU

11 VG 2yr Olds for COOKIECUTTER MOG HANKER in one day

Cookiecutter Mog Hanker, EX-94

Siemers Holsteins has recently completed one of their three annual classification runs with some fantastic results, including 50 new EX and 75 new VG 2yr olds.  Donor phenom COOKIECUTTER MOG HANKER-ET is credited with 11 of those new VG-2YR olds sired by five different bulls.

Excellents include:


Highlighting 2-YR-OLDS:


Siemers Holsteins is a 5th generation family farm in NE Wisconsin. RHA 2700 cows over 37,000M 1,400F 1,100P. Check out their website HERE.

Farmers stand by Trump despite trade pain

Despite the pain farmers are feeling from the current trade dispute, most of them still support President Trump.

According to survey of 19 farm states conducted by Morning Consult exclusively for CNBC, 10 states saw the president’s approval ratings improve from May 1 through July 31, his approval in 7 states stayed the same and in Idaho his approval declined.

Source: CNBC

Herd of Cows Help Police Catch Suspect on the Run

Video captured by an SCSD helicopter shows Kaufman stumbling upon a herd of about 20 cows who promptly start galloping after her

A herd of cows chased down a suspect that was fleeing a police pursuit on foot in Florida. The Seminole County Sheriff’s Office’s helicopter captured the cows herding the female suspect toward waiting police officers. (Published Wednesday, Aug. 8, 2018)

Green Bay Packers Jaire Alexander spends day as a dairy farmer

On the eve of his first NFL training camp, Packers rookie cornerback Jaire Alexander spent some time on a Wisconsin dairy farm, milking cows and racing tractors.

Dairy Prices Up Thursday in Chicago

At the Chicago Mercantile Exchange Thursday cash dairy prices were mostly higher and milk futures were sharply higher. Class III market jumped 18 cents for an average from now through the end of the year to finish at $15.98. All contracts in the fourth quarter added to their $16 plus prices while the September contract alone rose 29 cents to finish just under $16 at $15.99.

Thursday’s trade was all about cheese. Blocks advanced another 4 cents higher without a trade taking place but moving the final price to $1.64 and ½ cents. That is the highest price that’s been witnessed since May 10, and is only 5 and ¾ cents from the highest price paid for block cheddar all year.   Barrels followed suit trading five loads moving 5 and ¼ cents higher and finishing at $1.56 and ¾ cents. Whey was more neutral finishing unchanged at 44 cents. However, that still maintains its highest price since whey entered the spot trade back in March. Butter rose 2 cents to finish at $2.34. Seven loads traded hands there. Grade A nonfat dry milk moved in the opposite direction, falling ½ cents on three loads to finish at 81 and ½ cents.

UK Legend John Gribbon Passes

It’s with great sadness we announce the passing of John Gribbon after a long battle with health issues over the past 10 years. He spent his entire life involved in the dairy industry. John lived a full life that was dedicated to the dairy industry, in particular, the show ring.   He worked alongside his father David, who was a herd manager for the Faham Holstein herd in Norfolk.  John showed and milked cows for almost 40, winning more than 200 championships at all the major shows in the UK. He has judged at shows all over the world, including The Uk, Holland, Sweden, Kenya, Portugal, Hungary, Belgium, Finland, Ireland, Czech Republic France, Azores, Romania, Estonia, Jersey, Argentina and Italy. His biggest honour is being the only person in the world to have judged both Black and White and Red and White Holstein at the 2011 European Holstein Show in Cremona, Italy, where 15 countries competed. In 2014, he received the John Dennison Lifetime Achievement Award. Margaret Dennison, wife of the late John Dennison, said this about John, “John Gribbon is a perfect match for the award. It is presented to someone who supports and encourages the next generation, as my husband John himself did. He has all-round ability, and is respected and recognised by fellow members of the industry.” John will be remembered for his presence both in and out of the show ring, and will be missed ringside at numerous shows.

65 bred cows stolen from a New Zealand dairy farm

A West Otago farmer is furious after recently discovering the theft of 65 in-calf dairy cows – worth about $130,000 – from his property.

Ivan Roulston, who with son Joseph operates the 386hectare Toropuke dairy farm just outside Kelso, said he first detected something was amiss in mid-June, on return from family holiday.

“We were starting the cows out on crop, and there just didn’t seem enough. We’d had a suspicious incident with cows loose through an open gate back in April, so I thought we’d better check. Well you hear about the odd few cows go missing, but we couldn’t believe it when we counted 65.”

The missing cows, valued at about $2000 each, comprised nearly 10% of the Rouslton’s herd of 660.

Unfortunately, the stock were not insured, Mr Rouslton said.

“You’re left in the position of taking a loss on the stolen cows, then having to replace them as well. It’s pretty annoying, and puts you on edge that something like it might happen again.”

He said friends and neighbours had been shocked the theft could even occur, but reflection on the particular circumstances made it clear “how exposed” many farms were.

“We’ve got 30-odd gates on to two rural roads, and the mob I think was stolen was right by one of those roads. Then you add in Gypsy Day on June 1, and nobody would think twice about seeing another truck full of cattle driving up the road. They could be in the North Island by now.”

However, Mr Roulston’s hope, and that of Tapanui police Senior Constable John Mawhinney, was that the cows were still in the South somewhere, and had joined another herd with or without the new farm’s knowledge.

Snr Const Mawhinney said that due to modern stock recording techniques, anybody attempting to sell the cows would face considerable challenges.

“This is a pretty uncommon crime to involve cows locally, although there are always a few sheep go missing. Due to the simple logistics of relocating this number of animals, somebody must have seen or know of something out of the ordinary occurring, and we’d appeal to those people to get in touch.”

He described the theft as “devastating” for the Roulstons.

“We’re very keen to determine who did this.”

• Tapanui police (03)203-0040; Crimestoppers 0800555-111.

Source: Rural Life

Australian dairy farmers plan to walk away from industry after years of financial uncertainty

Steve Dalitz is a third generation dairy farmer.

Dairy farmer Steve Dalitz loves his cows and knows them all by name, but he is preparing to say goodbye to them.

Mr Dalitz has made the tough decision to put his dairy farm on the market.

“I’ll miss the cows but one day I just decided it,” he said.

The combination of low milk prices and high feed and water costs have put enormous financial pressure on the Dalitz family.

“None of our boys are interested in milking cows and I’m 50 now, and it’s just getting harder and harder to make a living from it,” he said.

With a $70,000 annual interest bill just to keep the farm running, the third generation farmer is not surprised the next generation does not want to follow in his footsteps.

“I’m happy for our kids to do whatever they want to do, and they’ve probably seen the worst ten years of dairy farming that there’s been,” he said.

“Our oldest son is 20 so he would’ve been 10 when the drought started and all that sort of stuff, so I don’t blame them for not going into dairying.”

Mr Dalitz is not alone.

A recent national survey of dairy farmers found less than half remain confident about the future of the industry, down from 75 per cent four years ago.

In some parts of the country, over a quarter of dairy farmers are thinking about quitting.

Tensions between farmers and milk processors

Dairy farmers say part of their lack of confidence is due to the past behaviour of milk processors.

In 2016, Murray Goulburn and later Fonterra announced sudden and retrospective milk price cuts to farmers, sparking a crisis across the dairy industry.

Gary Kerr from the lobby group Farmer Power said it destroyed the trust between suppliers and processors.

“The impact was huge on dairy farmers, it really was,” he told 7.30.

“As a result there was suicides, there was family split ups, there was farmers walking off the land and that’s been ongoing since then.”

The Government asked competition watchdog ACCC to investigate, and earlier this year it released its long-awaited report.

One of the key recommendations was a mandatory code of conduct for dairy processors, which it claimed would “address problems arising from the large imbalance in bargaining power and information that exists between dairy farmers and processors”.

Mr Kerr said the Government should legislate the mandatory code of conduct.

“It means that farmers can change processors, if they want, without any penalties or breach of contract or anything like that if those processors aren’t offering a decent price,” he said.

Mandatory or voluntary code of conduct?

Almost every state dairy industry lobby group in the country has backed the mandatory code, except for the Victorian and national peak body.

Terry Richardson, from the national dairy farmer lobby group Australian Dairy Farmers (ADF), said it was reviewing the existing voluntary code first.

“ADF hasn’t backed a mandatory code or a prescribed voluntary code,” he said.

“We’ll continue with a review of the voluntary code of practice, which has been agreed or been put in place with the agreement or support of all the processors and all the state farming organisations.”

ADF receives around $1 million of funding from milk processors every year — double what farmers contribute.

Mr Richardson disputes claims that this influences the organisation’s policy positions.

“It’s not a bad look because there is a clear line of accountability for that money or the funds that we receive from processors,” he said.

He also denied recent media reports that two processors had threatened to withdraw their funding unless the ADF opposed the mandatory code of conduct.

Agriculture Minister David Littleproud said he was open to a mandatory code of conduct if there is broad industry consensus on the issue.

ADF said it hoped to declare its position to the minister by the end of the year.

Processors have been ‘despicable’

Ben Govett is a third generation dairy farmer, but like Mr Dalitz he thinks he will probably be the last in his family on the land.

“If there’s not major changes then I definitely wouldn’t want [my son] to go down that path,” he said.

“For the amount of work you put in, the reward’s just not there and I think there’s a lot easier ways to live your life and have a better life than dairy farming at the moment.”

He said dairy was a tough industry at the best of times, but the behaviour of milk processors had made it even tougher.

“The processors have been pretty despicable in their actions over the last couple of years, particularly Murray Goulburn and Fonterra with their clawbacks,” he said.

“While the other processors didn’t follow the same suit they still used it to their advantage and cut their own prices in the following seasons. I think that’s the big issue.”

Mr Govett is hoping the mandatory code of conduct will be introduced to restore the faith of farmers before too many more leave the industry for good.

“There’s always days where you think, ‘why am I doing this and why should I keep continuing in an industry where I’m not making any money and I’m working you know 100 hours a week in the rain and the heat and the cold mornings?’.

“But I do really enjoy the industry, I love cows, I love farming. So as long as I can hold on and the banks will keep dealing with me, I guess I’ll keep trying.”

7.30 contacted both Fonterra and Murray Goulburn but they declined to comment.

High Ranking Net Merit Sire Report – Sire Proof Central 08/18

USDA Evaluations for All Holstein Sires Sorted by Net Merit August, 2018

IDNAABBirthNameNM$REL NM$PTA Milk lbsPTA Fat lbsPTA Fat %PTA Protein lbsPTA Protein %REL YieldPTA SCSPTA DPRPTA PLHerdsDaus
HO840003142332589029HO1900020180223PINE-TREE HEROIC-ET11637212581340.31570.07752.772.97.100
HO840003142332722507HO1425020170623PINE-TREE CW LEGACY-ET11337317211110.16690.06762.473.28.700
HO84000315060723820180603DENOVO TORQUE 15158-ET11307113511270.27570.06742.571.28.400
HOUSA000074345956551HO0352920161228HURTGENLEA RICHARD CHARL-ET11077319961160.14660.02762.83.6800
HO840003143060701029HO1901020180308DENOVO 2800 PRINCE-ET11027311371250.29610.09762.673.37.600
HO84000315030701820180624BOMAZ MEDLEY 2437-ET11017211561170.26620.1762.7537.500
HO840003146922986029HO1898420171121BOMAZ MONTREAL-ET10867310561310.33640.11763.032600
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HO840003141559586614HO1422620170502DE-SU FRAZZLD ROME 14192-ET10807317491160.18670.05772.512.97.500
HO84000315060720020180518DENOVO MEDLEY 15120-ET1079722451920870.04752.92.58.100
HO84000314620281520170929GENOSOURCE WORTH THERISK-ET10717216691130.18570.02752.782.98.100
HO84000314568610320180628T-SPRUCE 102210717117861110.15680.05742.72.37.300
HO84000314155983120170826DENOVO ACHIEVER 14437-ET10707318411220.19670.04762.691.36.600
HO840003141494131029HO1886820171003DENOVO 7545 DIVERSITY-ET10687314891260.25620.06762.831.7700
HO84000314204119920170715TTM ACHIEVER EPITOME-ET10637216511200.2580.03762.841.97.300
HO840003143060697029HO1899420180220DENOVO 2796 ATLANTIC-ET10627215401050.17630.06752.7437.800
HO840003145288698029HO1890620170808MR RI-VAL-RE FREE BILLY-ET10617315221320.26740.1762.941.35.300
HO840003141494296029HO1869320170226ABS CRIMSON-ET10607316091150.19660.06772.722.67.300
HO840003141559794029HO1878320170812DENOVO 14400 ADVANCE-ET1059731409990.16590.06762.683.68.900
HO84000314933684620180614PEAK ZNITH FSCNTR 61506-ET10597117421200.19760.08742.7626.300
HO840003143060606029HO1887020170919DENOVO 2705 VENTURE-ET10577314091200.24550.04762.712.66.900
HO840003132353072551HO0360020170704MR DYNASTY NASHVILLE-ET1056741989970.08770.06772.6947.400
HO840003142332520029HO1896020171125PINE-TREE ACURA-ET10517318931010.11710.05762.83.58.300
HO840003145627479029HO1894720180115DENOVO 14805 ARMADA-ET10507313761080.2600.06762.983.67.900
HO840003146922965011HO1234520171012BOMAZ ALTASOHOT-ET10487317781280.21730.07772.781.55.800
HO840003145627373029HO1893120171209DENOVO 14699 AURA-ET10487219191210.17700.04752.962.86.400
HO840003143383922011HO1219420170423BOMAZ ALTACABOT-ET10477311681130.25610.09772.612.47.500
HO84000314306076720180622DENOVO FRAZZLED 2866-ET10477218651190.17640.02752.851.96.500
HO84000314933686220180626PEAK ZNITH FSCNTR 61522-ET10477114821140.21650.07742.7237.300
HO840003147839948011HO1235620171211PEAK RKSTR ROBSN 80896-ET10467315401090.18680.07762.712.4700
HO840003145628940029HO1893720171127DENOVO 9367 BUNDLE-ET10457312891120.23600.07762.762.57.200
HO840003143627842029HO1896720170911NO-FLA MERRIMAC-ET10447216481030.15670.06762.691.98.100
HO84000314874762620180516LEANINGHOUSE ROLAN 24532-ET10427113701010.18610.07742.641.78.100
HO840003141494670029HO1885820170924DENOVO 8084 ENTITY-ET10417313711160.23580.06762.73.36.800
HO840003142181099011HO1215720170414PEAK ALTALAWSON-ET1040736331140.33580.14762.763.76.600
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HO840003146922985029HO1898320171117BOMAZ MONTELLO-ET1040739381230.32610.12762.760.9700
HO84000314892908520180604SANDY-VALLEY R FEARLESS-ET10407214521060.18680.08752.832.96.200
HO840003145627245029HO1888520171024DENOVO 14571 WYOMING-ET10397310801080.24530.07762.783.27.500
HO84000314306076320180616DENOVO FRAZZLED 2862-ET10397215401070.17550.03752.571.78.600
HO840003128557482029HO1829620151115ABS ACHIEVER-ET1037789311190.3480.07802.782.76.800
HO84000314798768420180119MIDAS-TOUCH 936-ET10377213451030.19600.07762.662.87.800
HO84000314943225920180313WINSTAR ACHIEVER 190-ET10377213501250.26570.06752.722.26.700
HO840003141494299029HO1870220170228ABS BALBOA-ET10347322331240.14700.01762.790.9600
HO84000314943229020180329WINSTAR MEDLEY 221-ET10337214531020.17670.08752.752.17.700
HO84000314933684820180619PEAK ZNITH FSCNTR 61508-ET10327111241200.28580.08742.862.86.300
HO840003144911712029HO1885020170712FB 6871 ACHV CELTIC-ET10317310481120.26420.04762.642.7800
HO84000313617649520180516LARSON 9861031722019870.04650.01752.754.48.700
HO840003137661397029HO1882320170627SEAGULL-BAY BRAVE-ET10307313771240.26580.06762.911.26.200
HO84000313235366820171120MR 79834-ET1030721273930.16590.07752.663.67.800
HOCAN00001292356620180109STANTONS CHARLEY YOUR CALL10307217791150.17650.04762.812.67.100
HO84000314722349420180517SSI-TOG W2491029711328910.15500.03742.455.78.900
HO84000315030702120180627BOMAZ FRAZZLED 2440-ET10297016911120.17600.03742.612700
HO840003142181491011HO1217420170411PEAK ALTAEXPLOSION-ET10287312751050.2590.07762.793.77.600
HO84000315060725320180611DENOVO ACHIEVER 15173-ET10277216031190.21660.06752.811.76.900
HO840003142332725029HO1881220170701PINE-TREE ADVISOR-ET10267413151140.23600.07782.72.97.300
HO84000314892901320180405SANDY-VALLEY P EMPIRE-ET10267215451010.15670.07752.92.56.600
HO840003141562680507HO1419420170102MELARRY FRAZZLED MOOLA-ET10257318291000.11620.02762.382.28.100
HO840003140985513507HO1445120170426A-S-CANNON FRZZLD BIG AL-ET10257315241200.22640.06762.751.76.400
HO84000319970103620180524OCD RASMUS DAHLIN-ET1025721329900.14580.06752.675.38.700
HO840003139490455614HO1408520170222FUSTEAD S-S-I SOLUTION-ET10247321301100.11690.01762.640.56.400
HO840003141494322029HO1869720170308ABS SASSAFRAS-ET1024739151220.31530.09772.872.46.200
HO840003145627213029HO1886720171009DENOVO 14539 HARMONY-ET10247321771090.1730.02762.816.800
HO84000314648493220180614CO-OP UPD FRAZZLED CHAOS-ET10247217501040.13700.06752.582.17.500
HO84000314692305920180410BOMAZ FRAZZLED 2394-ET10247018371150.16730.06742.72.16.200
HO84000313292388920180212PENN-ENGLAND BARB 1367A-ET10237319341160.15690.03762.872.36.200
HO84000313235343220171004ST GEN 79598-ET1022738241160.31550.11762.7336.300
HO84000314562897620180114DENOVO ACHIEVER 9403-ET1022726291100.31450.09762.7147.500
HO840003128013733551HO0363720170715TJR EVEREST WATSON-ET10217313771210.25580.06762.81.67.200
HO840003147839960011HO1235820171214PEAK RKSTR ROBSN 80908-ET10217314121020.17610.06762.623.77.600
HO84000314536946720171231LEANINGHOUSE PNNCL 23968-ET10217218581130.15740.06752.890.65.900
HO84000314928228820180322MAHR BROTHERS 8088-ET10217111951030.21600.08752.693.57.700
HO84000314784020120180211PEAK MSTIQUE CURRY 61249-ET10207314061130.21650.08772.834.25.900
HO84000314233266020180523PINE-TREE 5976 YODA 272-ET10207215421010.15640.06762.771.87.700
HO84000314722383420180613MELARRY W78310207112161040.21610.08742.6927.700
HO840003140616169200HO1102820170102SANDY-VALLEY CHALLENGER-ET10197313561070.2540.04762.663.57.700
HO840003143407598614HO1445320170626MELARRY FRAZZ ARROWHEAD-ET1019731515930.13560.03762.585.1900
HO840003142490309507HO1445420170522MR T-SPRUCE FRAZZ LIONEL-ET10197328511240.06870762.771.15.300
HO840003141608169507HO1443620170721KINGS-RANSOM BIG DOLLARS-ET101973244891073-0.01762.671.28.500
HO84000313235326320170815ROSYLANE-LLC 79429-ET10197216091130.19580.03762.773.76.200
HO84000314943224020180301WINSTAR MEDLEY 171-ET1019721843930.08690.04752.752.78.200
HO84000315060725620180611DENOVO FRAZZLED 15176-ET1019721671980.12560.02752.673.88.300
HO840003141559811029HO1883620170819DENOVO 14417 GOOGLE-ET10187310121120.27540.08762.643.17.100
HO840003145627240029HO1888420171020DENOVO 14566 CROSBY-ET10177319161090.13720.05762.521.86.900
HO84000314959534320180409MR FB 7355 ACHV 182303-ET10177212991180.25570.06752.811.96.600
HO84000315060718920180514DENOVO 15109 AUDIBLE-ET10177224841200.09760752.77-0.1600
HO840003141494589029HO1878420170822WILRA ABS AMPLIFY-ET1016739301000.23520.08762.652.98.300
HO840003143383981029HO1892320170827BOMAZ SAIGE-ET1016731724960.11640.04762.712.57.400
HO840003145627326029HO1890320171124DENOVO 14652 ROYAL-ET10157418501230.19750.06773.121.84.500
HO840003146922993029HO1901420171215BOMAZ PIERCE-ET10157312011040.21620.09772.822.86.700
HO840003145627647029HO1898020180207DENOVO 14973 STANWOOD-ET1015722401910.01730752.737.800
HO84000314233264420180428PINE-TREE 625 ACHIEV 256-ET10157215681240.23670.07752.7205.800
HO84000314692303820180224BOMAZ ROCKSTAR 2373-ET10157112481190.26630.09742.762.16.100
HO84000314892908020180526SANDY-VALLEY LONGRANGE-ET10157114271120.21590.05742.812.46.600
HO840003133120549614HO1422020170518S-S-I BG FRZZLD RIVETING-ET1014731478790.08580.05762.484.88.800
HO840003143060687029HO1898820180212DENOVO 2786 ASBURY-ET10147211721100.24560.07752.672.37.200
HO84000314943223820180227WINSTAR RAYBAN-ET1014725721060.31420.09752.824.27.900
HO84000315060724320180608DENOVO FRAZZLED 15163-ET10147218261050.13640.03752.731.77.500
HO840003145627323029HO1891120171117DENOVO 14649 GODIVA-ET10137312401060.21590.08772.783.17.100
HO84000314798767220180107MIDAS-TOUCH RADAR10137315611140.2680.07762.940.95.700
HO84000314562727920171105DENOVO ACHIEVER 14605-ET10137222421100.09730.02752.972.96.500
HO84000313919818720180530IDEAL 126171013711570940.12610.05742.73.37.600
HO840003132352541551HO0359020170315MR SUPERHERO DEDICATE-ET1012751570910.11650.06782.744.1800
HO840003145627552029HO1899320180217DE-SU 14878 MUSTANG-ET10127220081040.1750.05752.931.5700
HO84000314233264220180427ROSY-TREE 10090 ACHI 254-ET101272613780.2450.1752.825.59.400
HO840003141428758007HO1431220170316OCD FRAZZLED TERMINATOR-ET10117321261290.17690.01762.62-0.35.200
HO840003140616509029HO1901720180111SANDY-VALLEY CREAMER-ET10117311671270.3530.06762.740.55.300
HO840003133088559029HO1892520170910ROSYLANE-LLC TENUOUS-ET1010731336970.17540.05762.753.37.900
HO84000314933508920180619PEAK JOLIE MNTYA 81234-ET10107114241060.19680.09742.741.8700
HO84000315030700520180527BOMAZ FRAZZLED 24241010701679940.11600.03742.692.87.800
HO84000314722399920180521BOMAZ YODA 80279-ET10107017541070.14690.05732.773.57.600
HO840003142041203029HO1885220170723TTM ACHIEVER EMERGE-ET10097314991280.25530.03762.981.76.100
HO840003143383995029HO1892420170923BOMAZ FOXTROT-ET10097312051260.29630.09762.8315.500
HOCAN000012949044200HO1133620171219PROGENESIS CROSSWORD1009738761110.28520.09762.652.67.300
HO840003145627528029HO1897920180203DENOVO 14854 SLINGER-ET1009722101960.06770.04752.733.97.400
HO840003145627565029HO1899620180222DENOVO 14891 MECCA-ET10097217361000.12600.02752.813.46.600
HO84000315003966720180428N-SPRINGHOPE MEDLEY 3144-ET1009721801960.1740.07752.832.5700
HO840003137878481029HO1861120161122BOMAZ SKYWALKER-ET1008761629860.09750.09792.864.57.100
HO840003141494507029HO1877220170703DENOVO 7921 ATRIUM-ET1008738711090.27470.07762.74.47.300
HO84000314608328320171203TTM REASON ADVANTAGE-ET10087224931210.1910.05752.832.6500
HO84000314943225220180310WINSTAR MEDLEY 183-ET1008721667970.12700.07752.763.27.900
HO840003150607172029HO1903620180506DENOVO 15092 ACOUSTIC-ET10087215921110.18560.03752.711.6700
HO840003143383926011HO1219520170501BOMAZ ALTAOUTLET-ET10077311111020.22540.07772.663.67.900
HO840003146083256029HO1890420170929TTM ACHIEVER ENERGY-ET10077313121240.27530.05762.792.5600
HO840003132098771029HO1892220171023GOLD-N-OAKS ARABIA-ET1007738681080.27500.08762.73.16.700
HO84000314880080120180301MATCREST ACHIEVER ACE-ET10077316521110.17600.03762.872.56.800
HO84000314914999820180622DYKSTRA 31305-ET10077118631010.11720.05742.843.57.700
HOCAN000012857831200HO1124120170906PROGENESIS TOURNAMENT10067320051010.09710.03762.561.67.800
HO840003145627321029HO1890120171113DENOVO 14647 ELECTRA-ET1006731633950.12600.04772.83.47.500
HO840003142332528029HO1896320171130PINE-TREE AGENCY-ET10067318741010.11660.03762.782.9700
HO84000314810037020180117AURORA LEDYARD1006721410930.14570.05752.833.87.900
HO84000314233263820180421PINE-TREE 5976 KENNE 250-ET1006728621030.25510.09762.853.6800
HO84000314155950320170324DE-SU EVEREST 14109-ET10057312311260.28580.07762.912.6500
HO840003143721718007HO1420220170507WILRA S-S-I DSIRE DECLAN-ET10057319491140.14670.03762.81-0.57.400
HO840003145627447029HO1892620171223DENOVO 14773 FEATURE-ET1005732220980.05760.03762.842.66.400
HO84000313524757220171203BOMAZ SAMURI 3-ET10057211751000.2580.08752.633.47.700
HO840003141559498507HO1422920170323DE-SU FRAZZ TAHITI 14104-ET10047321171040.09740.03762.92.5600
HO840003141559593507HO1423020170507DE-SU SYR ST LUCIA 14199-ET1004737781080.28420.07772.62.27.500
HO84000313876689920170823AARDEMA VELVET NINJA-ET1004731882980.1660.03762.782.17.500
HO840003145627257029HO1889220171030DENOVO 14583 SPECULATE-ET100473910990.23430.05762.714.47.200
HO840003142332549001HO1387920171227PINE-TREE ACHIE KORBEL-ET10047318051030.12680.05762.772.76.900
HO84000314753609520180408OCD LOPEZ CIAO10047314361170.22530.03762.772600
HO84000314562897520180112DENOVO ACHIEVER 9402-ET10047212781080.21530.05762.752.6700
HO84000314493452420180117MELARRY RESOLVE TRY ME-ET1004721702810.06720.07752.654.98.700
HO84000314169366720180304HARTS KENNEDY ROYALCROWN-ET1004727401080.29470.09752.853.17.800
HO840003150607177029HO1903520180502DENOVO 15097 MIDLAND-ET1004722001940.07660.02762.791.87.800
HOUSA000143796927011HO1228620170619SCHOENE-KUH ALTAROBERT-ET100373770910.22490.09762.655.48.500
HO84000314233276420170819PINE-TREE ERA ACHIEV 977-ET10037318621040.12680.04772.882.37.100
HO840003135379079029HO1896820171117RONJANCO ANTIGO-ET10037321281160.1358-0.02762.822.26.600
HO840003145288771029HO1900120171226RI-VAL-RE APPLEBEES-ET10037312211070.22450.03762.623.47.400
HO840003146203621029HO1895020171101WINSTAR HONOR CODE-ET1003723891020.32390.1762.744.77.900
HO84000314061621720170212SANDY-VALLEY DOPPLGANGER-ET10027310361060.24570.09762.622.87.600
HO840003142490264507HO1412520170204T-SPRUCE FRAZZLED HUEY-ET10027316031050.16630.05772.582.47.100
HO840003142181392614HO1453920170518PEAK POLYMER-ET10027310761080.24530.07772.642.87.800
HO840003145627195029HO1886420171003DENOVO 14521 OSCEOLA-ET1002738841070.27470.07762.813.57.400
HO84000314620284220171010GENOSOURCE DYNASTY MANEUVER10027316531000.13640.05762.712.47.400
HOCAN000012857797200HO1122220170829PROGENESIS DETROIT10027223131170.11770.02762.76-0.36.100
HO84000313919819820180625COOKIECUTTER HISTANDARD-ET10027122201040.07760.03742.642.36.400
HO840003141494450029HO1874020170530ABS NIKO-ET10017314551120.2580.05762.732.36.500
HO840003140371520029HO1884320170503FB 6860 SPECTRE PERK-ET10017315681220.22670.07762.771.15.400
HO840003145627343029HO1891720171122DENOVO 14669 CHARADE-ET10017313291050.2490.03762.7937.200
HO84000314943224920180307WINSTAR ACHIEVER 180-ET10017214081180.23590.06752.811.86.500
HO84000314588550420180328HOLLERMANN ACHIEVER 5060-ET1001721396980.16580.05752.662.97.500
HO84000313235362120171108ST GEN 79787-ET10017118531180.17670.04752.811.35.600
HO840003141559861029HO1883020170906DENOVO 14467 RANCHO-ET10007312601070.21550.06762.762.56.800
HOCAN000012857898200HO1125120170926PROGENESIS WIMBLEDON1000735081140.35540.14762.663.26.700
HO84000314528872820171109RI-VAL-RE ASCARI-ET1000739571240.32550.09762.783.15.600


High Ranking Net Merit Proven Sire Report – Sire Proof Central 08/18

USDA Evaluations for Proven Holstein Sires Sorted by Net Merit August, 2018

IDNameNM$REL NM$PTA Milk lbsPTA Fat lbsPTA Fat %PTA Protein lbsPTA Protein %REL YieldPTA SCSPTA DPRPTA PLMost Daus# of CtrysHerdsDaus
HOUSA000070726929UECKER SUPERSIRE JOSUPER-ET999963309110-0.0493-0.03992.81-0.26.1USA109705440
HOUSA000072128125EDG RUBICON-ET9539512801200.26550.06992.810.84.8USA55222307
HOUSA000072128216MR MOGUL DELTA 1427-ET928961716940.1560.01992.892.46.1USA23712747
HOUSA000069560690CO-OP ROBUST CABRIOLET-ET91798995990.22520.08992.891.46USA7110012996
HOUSA000072254526WOODCREST MOGUL YODER-ET9049611711050.22510.05993.041.85.2USA27615877
HOUSA000072128196MR MCCUT DANTE 1407-ET875912446900810.02972.851.34USA139316
HOUSA000071990009CO-OP BSF GATEKEEPER-ET86092518850.24330.06972.623.47.8USA185362
HO840003011816330CO-OP PRINCETON-ET8499326911070.02810982.81-4.14.1USA1172804
HOUSA000069981349SEAGULL-BAY SUPERSIRE-ET841991938970.09610.01992.820.15.9USA22417627725
HO840003011001300S-S-I SUPERSIRE TETRIS-ET841932166940.0564-0.01982.740.85.7USA1119619
HOUSA000072128215MR MOGUL DENVER 1426-ET8409423161090.08730.01993.020.32.9USA2220992
HO840003012130314S-S-I GRIN TONKA-ET839871098940.19440.04932.821.36USA147108
HO840003012574855MR MOGUL DION 15008-ET83494954760.14550.09992.652.75.4USA163996
HOUSA000071813417DE-SU ALTALEAF-ET834942482940.0169-0.02992.750.94.5USA11891090
HO840003013654627BACON-HILL PETY MODESTY-ET82790952660.11410.04963.073.36.7USA258217
HO840003008328791S-S-I SHAMROCK MYSTIC-ET826951283660.06490.04982.656.98USA176580
HO840003010356026MR OAK DELCO 57279-ET82692253380-0.0568-0.03972.851.85USA155362
HOCAN000108559119BRYHILL ALTAHOTSHOT-ET823901557850.0944-0.01962.883.65.8USA295368
HO840003012503493APRILDAY EQUINOX 654-ET823876351030.29360.06922.6115.9USA15499
HO840003011001301S-S-I SUPERSIRE BALLGAME-ET818892150940.05710.02942.80.45.1USA163135
HOUSA000072851793DE-SU ROCKFORD 12250-ET816871077750.12390.02922.634.48.1USA148112
HOUSA000069763382VIEW-HOME MANDATE-ET813911738920.09560.01972.6714.4USA192329
HOUSA000072754110PEN-COL SS AMBITION-ET812911852820.05600.01972.620.55.9USA185370
HOUSA000072615015MR BOMAZ ALTAMEGLO-ET810931962730620.01983.153.66.2USA254688
HOUSA000073757159L-L-M-DAIRY POND PASSAT-ET810811536820.09480842.893.75.9USA11116
HOUSA000071451893CO-OP MINTMAKER TALISMAN-ET80693931970.22490.07982.723.24USA1123517
HOUSA000072128224MR MOGUL DRAMA 1435-ET80492205475-0.01630982.9814.9USA125515
HO840003012574853MR COIN DRACO 15006-ET80393194056-0.06620.01982.732.67USA2149565
HOUSA000072851617DE-SU MILLINGTON 12074-ET8019211841010.2490.05972.620.63.9USA2119468
HO840003123886035S-S-I MONTROSS JEDI-ET80192250955-0.13820.02982.783.76.5USA2149447
HOUSA000073709027LARCREST COLLUDE-ET80191863650.12490.08962.62.46.9USA191368
HOUSA000071909652MYR-MATT MOGUL PLATINUM800951773870.07580.01992.691.75USA15312819
HO840003012162041J-MOR SS HOMER-ET798892271910.02690942.830.54.4USA159145
HOCAN000107533377TRANQUILLITY AC PRIDE79494871910.21360.03983.062.15.6USA288548
HOUSA000072128234MR DAY DEARING 1445-ET794931856710.01600.01982.971.45.5USA175764
HOUSA000072923374VIEW-HOME LITTLEROCK-ET794921086650.09520.07972.723.76.3USA178427
HOUSA000071090714COASTAL-VIEW MOOKIE-ET78695491060.39270.09992.911.14.1USA43062054
HOUSA000071703378BACON-HILL MAGUIRE-ET7849314621130.21560.04982.76-1.22.8USA1172628
HOUSA000072923368VIEW-HOME CC MONTGOMERY-ET78189165459-0.01510942.762.66.5USA156130
HOUSA000072064184PINE-TREE ALTABARK-ET77991289492-0.0586-0.01972.96-1.23.5USA137412
HO840003008897582S-S-I SNOWMAN MAYFLOWER-ET77897262758-0.13810992.82.55.4USA77657099
HOUSA000070626097DE-SU LTM PONDER 11345-ET77896158848-0.0441-0.03992.696.98.3USA24833458
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Letting Hay Rot In A Failing US Dairy Farm Economy

In recent years, milk prices have dropped. And dairy farms — including some in western Massachusetts — have sold off their cows. Some say their hay customers are disappearing along with the animals.

Dairy farmers often grow feed, like hay or corn, for their own cows, along with extra to sell.

As I trudged up a pasture on a dairy farm in Shelburne, Massachusetts, Pete Williams’s Jersey cows ambled towards me. Since they’re about 1,000 pounds each, it was a bit unnerving.

“You might actually want to stand by that post,” said Williams. “They will stampede behind me.”

As Williams moved a fence to give his “girls” — as he calls his cows — a fresh slice of pasture to eat, the animals followed him, tearing into the red clover, timothy and orchard grasses.

These hills were alive not with music, but with munching.

Williams explained how cows digest grass with four stomachs, one of which is like a fermentation tank.

“They can keep the grass in and they’ll bring it up,” he said. “They’’ll re-chew it actually, chew their cud and re-swallow it. Over time they get quite a bit of nutrition out of that.”

Dairy cows, beef cattle and horses also get nutrition out of hay — grass that’s cut and dried. Williams grows 100 acres of it. And he gathers it into huge round bales.

“They weigh just shy of 1,000 pounds,” he said. “I have gotten $50 reliably.”

Williams used to sell $6,000 to $8,000 worth. He calls it his “butter and egg money” — extra cash the farm could rely on.

“I lost very big, good customers of mine last year, and I have not been able to find a replacement,” he said. “Nothing that sold more than a dozen bales.”

Williams attributes his loss of hay sales in part to horse and beef farms that have gone out of business. And to the loss of dairy farms.

Since 2014, more than 14 percent of Massachusetts dairy farms have gone out of business. It’s been that long since farmers were paid anything close to the cost of producing milk.

“While the milk price has been crashing… so many farms have gone out,” Williams said. “Not only does that mean there are less animals eating hay, but a lot of those farms figured they could sell the cows, and get by just selling feed for a few years. And that’s collapsed the hay market.”

In other words: there are fewer cows, but still just as much hay.

Data in the above chart comes from the Massachusetts Department of Agricultural Resources. Chart by Heather Brandon for NEPR.

This year, with hardly any sales, Williams stuffed as much hay as he could into his barn. Then he dumped nearly 75 tons in a pile to rot. That was hay he spent time and money growing and baling.

Other dairy farmers in Franklin County, including those who have sold off their herds, also said they’ve lost hay customers.

Just up the road, Norm and Lisa Davenport pointed out their farm’s sweeping view. Until recently, for more than 100 years, the family milked cows there.

“It starts at the stone wall,” Norm Davenport said. “The cows over in the corner — those are the steers and now yearlings of what’s left of my milking herd.”

The Davenports sold most of their milk cows in 2005, and the last of them six months ago.

“It is very tough bookkeeping to say we were making money. We were treading water at best,” Norm Davenport said.

Not milking cows has been rough.

“It’s still difficult,” said Lisa Davenport. “It’s as much watching him, ’cause this has been his livelihood. It’s been his whole life. But yeah, it’s hard.”

The Davenports still grow hay. Last year, they sold only two-thirds of their crop.

The golden unsold remnants stretched atop a green hill. Norm Davenport pulled it out of the barn.

“Put it on the edge of the field, let it compost or rot, simply so you could get this year’s crop in,” he said. “Into the barn.”

This year, Davenport is growing a third less. Still, he’s got 500 fresh bales in. It’s worth $30,000, if he can sell it.

Ten years ago, he sold twice as much.

“Now we are in a position where everybody has hay,” he said. “Nobody has the animals to consume the hay. So that price is going to start dropping.”

And it’s not just hay that’s not selling.

The milking machines at Yazwinski Farm in Deerfield kept a steady pulse as Sam Yazwinski moved from cow to cow.

The Yazwinskis have sold another kind of cow feed since 1971: fermented field corn, called corn silage. They’ve also slowly lost customers over the last five years.

“We were selling corn to some farmers in Conway and in Colrain,” Yazwinski said. “And they both, due to different reasons, have sold. With the milk economy, finding a market for more is going to be a challenge.”

This year, the farm is growing only about a quarter to half of the corn for silage that they normally grow.

Chet Yazwinski, Sam’s cousin, said that at $65 a ton, selling less is a big loss to the farm — especially as milk prices drop.

“It helped pay off a lot of the bills,” Chet Yazwinski said. “It helped pay us to do a lot of things — expand, put in the new barns.”

Chet Yazwinski said that without that income, they have to be careful.

“You are not looking to expand, and you’re not looking to go out and buy anything new,” he said. “You’re slowly backing yourself into a hole, because you got to replace. Do our own repairs. Make sure you don’t break things, and be smart what you buy.”

Claire Morenon of Community Involved in Sustaining Agriculture said that when dairy farms constrict their spending, there’s a ripple effect in the broader farm economy.

“Even though there are not as many dairy farms here as there are other types of farms, they are spending a lot more money on feed, on veterinary bills, on repair for their equipment — that sort of thing,” she said.

She added that the challenges in the hay market are an example of that secondary impact.

“[It’s] the sort of not-enormously-visible-to-consumers impact that can happen when there’s a certain important piece of the agricultural system that starts to falter,” she said.

Pete Williams, whose family started a farm in 1871, says that if left untouched, hayfields would grow into brush, and eventually forest. Or in some cases, they’d be developed.

“They say it’s more than just the cows that we are losing,” he said.

Even though he will lose money, he said he’s “loyal” to the land, and will keep it open by haying it.

“But at this point, it’s a kind of a losing proposition, unless that market can perk up,” he said. “And I really don’t see a future where that could happen.”

Norm Davenport, who sold off his milk cows, wants to bet on that future.

“The whole notion of selling the hay is to keep the land open, with the hopes that someday we could get back into livestock farming, and generate income to sustain ourselves,” he said.

But it’s not clear how much longer these land stewards can make hay without making money.

New Zealand dairy farmers face a potential $78,000 income cut

Dairy farmers will not welcome a fall in Fonterra’s farmgate milk price. An update is expected later this month.

The average Fonterra farmer might be $78,000 less well off a year if dairy prices fall as predicted.

ASB analyst Nathan Penny said the dairy giant has forecast farmers will receive $7 per kilogram of milksolids for the 2018-19 season, but that is under threat after a 9 per cent fall in global dairy auction (GDT) prices in recent months.

Penny predicted the price would drop to $6.50.

Dairy NZ economist Matt Newman said while a 50 cent fall might not appear a lot, it did when translated into an average farmer’s annual earnings.

For a farmer with the average milking herd size of 414, producing 157,000 kg of milksolids, the “loss” would amount to $78,000. However, because farmers have not yet received payments at the $7 level, it is a loss of expectation.

ASB rural economist Nathan Penny says the bank's own lower prediction of $6.50 is also under threat.ASB rural economist Nathan Penny says the bank’s own lower prediction of $6.50 is also under threat.

Prices following Wednesday’s GDT were largely unchanged, but the result confirmed that key Chinese demand had shifted lower and taken prices with it, Penny said.

“In dairy terms the 9 per cent drop isn’t huge, it’s an adjustment but not a material change in markets.”

“Initially, with global demand still firm, the fall looked like it could prove temporary. But this no longer appears the case.”

“The catalyst for change has been the escalation in US-China trade tensions, but the mechanism through which dairy prices have been impacted has been currencies. In particular, the Chinese yuan has fallen against not just the US dollar, but also the New Zealand dollar,” Penny said.

Prices would come under further pressure once milk production came on stream in the next three months.

Penny said ASB’s own forecast of per $6.50 was under review.

Rabobank analyst Michael Harvey was more optimistic, saying the GDT result would be encouraging for dairy exporters given it brought to an end four consecutive falls at the previous trading sessions.


Net Merit $ Index Updated to Include Health Traits

With the August U.S. dairy genetic evaluations, Net Merit $ and the other lifetime profit indices have been revised to factor in disease resistance and to update the economic values used in calculations. Net Merit (NM$), Cheese Merit (CM$), Fluid Merit (FM$) and Grazing Merit (GM$) were revised for the triannual genetic evaluations released August 7 by the Council on Dairy Cattle Breeding (CDCB).

“It is exciting to incorporate these direct measures of disease resistance, so that Net Merit continues to evolve and provide the most relevant information for dairy producers as they work to breed and manage healthy, productive herds,” said João Dürr, CDCB chief executive officer.

In April 2018, evaluations for genetic resistance to six health disorders were launched by CDCB. For Holstein males and females, genetic and genomic evaluations then became available for six common and costly health events – Displaced Abomasum (DA), Hypocalcemia (MFEV), Ketosis (KETO), Mastitis (MAST), Metritis (METR) and Retained Placenta (RETP).

CDCB collaborates with the Animal Genomics and Improvement Laboratory (AGIL) to ensure that cutting-edge research is used to produce quality genetic evaluations. The research of AGIL, a division of the United States Department of Agriculture, was critical to establish appropriate economic values and weightings of the individual traits within the Net Merit index.

“Dairy producers can select for any combination of traits, but total genetic progress will be fastest using an index,” said Dr. Paul VanRaden, Research Geneticist at USDA AGIL. “Because many traits affect profitability, total profit usually increases when more traits are included in the selection index if the evaluations are accurate and correct economic values are used.”

Emphasis of Health Traits in Net Merit 

The six disease resistance traits were incorporated in NM$ through the new sub-index, Health Trait $ (HTH$), at a relative value of 2.3% for NM$, 1.9% for Cheese Merit (CM$), 2.3% for Fluid Merit (FM$) and 2.1% for Grazing Merit (GM$). The new Health Trait $ sub-index is not published separately, similar to the calving trait sub-index (CA$).

Relative emphasis on most other traits reduced slightly due to the addition of HTH$; however, yield trait emphasis increased slightly and somatic cell score (SCS) emphasis decreased greatly because of correlated health costs now assigned directly to HTH$.

“The actual benefits from adding health traits may not appear as large as some expect – because other traits such as productive life, SCS, fertility, livability and calving ease also directly or indirectly account for impacts on animal health,” stated VanRaden.

Additional Evaluation Changes

A handful of other changes were implemented by CDCB for the August evaluations, as part of the mission to apply current research and drive continuous improvement. These changes are described on the CDCB website. Most significantly, the model for female fertility traits was changed to address unexpected variability and heterosis procedures were updated to utilize exact Expected Future Inbreeding (EFI) as possible.

Access to Genetic Evaluations

The CDCB website includes a wealth of dairy genetic summaries, tables and lists, in addition to publicly-available queries on individual animals. The site is updated with lists for all sires, elite cows and heifers for Net Merit, and high-ranking grade cows and heifers, as well as comparative summaries. Further information will be available August 9 at 1 p.m. (EDT) to reflect the status of semen availability for sires in AI (artificial insemination). Additionally, the official CDCB evaluations will be published in various formats by breed associations, artificial insemination and genetic suppliers, dairy herd information (DHI), dairy magazines and other industry sources.

The next triannual evaluation will be December 4, 2018, and the 2019 release dates are April 2, August 13 and December 3. These triannual releases provide the genetic evaluations for individual animals used by dairy producers, genetic suppliers, breed associations and other dairy stakeholders.

Feds compel dairy farmers to label natural milk ‘Imitation Milk Product’

A Maryland creamery is suing the federal government over what it’s telling them to put in their “all-natural” milk.

The farmers refuse to pour vitamin serum into their milk. So, the government says it must be labelled “imitation milk product.”

For more than 30 years, early every morning, farm owners Randy and Karen Sowers have been milking more than 100 dairy cows.

Later in the morning, their employees at South Mountain Creamery in Middletown, Maryland sanitize and bottle the milk.

But one thing the Sowers refuse to do is to add in the government-mandated vitamins to skim milk.

“You buy it by the gallon,” Randy Sowers says. “You draw it up in a syringe and squirt it in a tank and mix it up. But that’s not what we’re about. We’re about all natural.”

Whole milk includes Vitamins A and D. Cut out the fat to make skim milk and you cut out the two vitamins. Federal regulations say farmers need to buy and pour vitamin serum into their milk to make skim milk have as many vitamins as whole milk.

“Milk is the most perfect food in every way,” Randy Sowers says. “It’s got calcium and riboflavin and all these things naturally in there that your body can absorb and use where a product that you put in there that’s man made or extracted is not the same.”

While they can sell skim milk in Maryland, the Food and Drug Administration requires the Sowers family to label their skim milk as “imitation milk product” if they want to sell it across state lines.

The Sowers refuse. And with the help of the Institute for Justice, a legal advocacy group, they are suing the FDA in federal court.

“It is not imitation,” Karen Sowers says. “It is the real thing.”

The FDA declined to answer our questions about the Sowers lawsuit, pointing us to read federal regulations about fortifying milk with vitamins.

The USDA led the effort to require Vitamins A and D in milk during the 1930’s to fight back against child bone diseases.

Dairy farming is a daily struggle.

“We want to do the midnight milking,” Karen Sowers says. “We usually get up pretty easy compared to getting up a second time, it’s our harder time getting up at the 8:30 one.”

And the Sowers look to pass their farm onto family. But before that, there’s one more struggle, which could have legal impact for farmers nationwide.


Source: WJLA

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