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Major reform needed to buoy Canada’s dairy supply management system: report

Canada needs to make major changes to its dairy supply management system to help the industry combat declining milk consumption and the incursion of more foreign dairy products through free trade agreements, according to a new report.

The report, released on Thursday by a group of agri-food researchers at Dalhousie University and the University of Guelph, argues that supply management has held back innovation in the dairy sector by providing a steady price and relieving the pressure to respond to shifting consumer habits and industry trends.

Both the number of dairy farms in Canada and sales of fluid milk have been steadily declining for decades, the report notes, and the dairy farming sector could contract by as much as half in the next decade, to roughly 5,500 farms.

“We can actually grow the dairy sector, instead of just managing its decline,” said Sylvain Charlebois, the director of Dalhousie’s Agri-Food Analytics Lab, who co-authored the report with Dalhousie research associate Jean-Luc Lemieux and Simon Somogyi, who holds the University of Guelph’s Arrell Chair in the Business of Food.


To grow the sector, the report is calling for a 20-year plan to establish “Supply Management 2.0” by slowly reducing tariffs and opening up the domestic dairy market to more imports, while also voluntarily buying out struggling farmers and building up an international brand for Canadian dairy to give the strongest operators a bigger market for their products.

But Charlebois said they are not advocating for an end to supply management, a divisive system used in the dairy, egg and poultry sectors to control the domestic output and price of a commodity while limiting the amount of imports allowed into the market.

Proponents of that system argue it protects farmers from dramatic price fluctuations, while allowing for a steady supply of safe milk. Opponents note the system has also led to higher prices, compared to markets such as the United States, while also hampering Canada in free trade negotiations.

“Dismantling supply management is not a viable solution currently,” the report said. “If trade were liberalized tomorrow, cheaper American milk would likely flood the Canadian market, our farmers would not be able to compete, and eventually the entire dairy industry would be dependent on imported milk.”

Dismantling supply management is not a viable solution currently

Dairy supply management report

But the Dairy Farmers of Canada, the main industry association, called Charlebois’ recommendations “theoretical” and “hard to reconcile” with the existing environment.

“After being one of supply management’s staunchest opponents, Mr. Charlebois now admits there is value in this model, including for consumers,” Jacques Lefebvre, the association’s chief executive, said in an emailed statement provided by the organization’s spokesperson.

Charlebois said he has been critical of the supply management system, but hasn’t advocated for its demise.

“It’s important that we talk about the future,” he said.

Canada’s recent free trade agreements — including the Canada-European Union’s Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement (CETA) and the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership (CPTPP)  — will collectively open up about eight per cent of the dairy market to international exporters, according to the report.

To compensate, the federal government has pledged $1.75 billion in support for farmers over eight years, with more support promised following the ratification of the Canada-United States-Mexico Agreement (CUSMA).

It’s very complicated for a farmer and processor to get a new artisanal product into the system, the report says.

But the funding only amounts to “a Band-Aid on a wound that needs sutures,” the report said. “The reality is unpleasant for farmers and, unfortunately, if we are to act appropriately, some farmers will have to exit the industry to make room for new foreign competitors.”

The report’s authors recommend the government offer a voluntary buyback program that would compensate farmers for their dairy quota and provide an off-ramp for those struggling to turn a profit. The report also calls for reforms to the Canadian Dairy Commission, specifically to make the governing body’s decisions on setting dairy quotas and prices more transparent and focused on processors and retailers, not just farmers.

To boost innovation in the sector, the report suggests significantly reducing barriers to interprovincial trade to give upstart regional operations offering innovative or niche products access to a broader market to sell their wares. Currently, dairy production is heavily consolidated in Ontario and Quebec.

“A dairy farm and a processor who want to come together to produce an artisanal cultured grass-fed butter that they can then sell into specialty grocery stores … it’s extremely complicated for them to do that,” Simon Somogyi, the report’s co-author, said.

The report also calls for a gradual reduction in protectionist measures, opening up the Canadian market to imports while also allowing domestic producers to have more access to international markets. More export opportunities, the report argues, would give more reason for dairy farmers and producers to innovate.

“It’s very difficult to support a (research and development) agenda when you only have 38 million mouths to feed,” Charlebois said.

But the Dairy Farmers of Canada said the call to expand exports for Canadian dairy products “ignores the fact that the federal government has imposed the equivalent of worldwide caps on exports of key Canadian dairy products in response to U.S. demands in CUSMA.”


Mexico bans global brands’ dairy products for breaching standards

Mexico’s economy ministry has suspended the sale of over 20 dairy products for breaching standards, including items sold under Mondelez International Inc’s Philadelphia brand and natural yogurt made by France’s Danone.

Of the 19 cheese brands affected, the violations included erroneously claiming to be “100% milk,” using vegetable fat to replace milk, and providing a lower net content in grams than advertised on the packaging, the ministry said late on Tuesday.

Mondelez said on Wednesday the ministry’s order did not affect Philadelphia soft cheese and related to two types of processed cheese marketed under that label.

Mondelez said it was surprised by the order, calling it “totally unfounded,” and damaging to the brand.

It said it had not been promptly notified by the ministry on the start of the administrative procedure and that it would hold a “cordial dialogue” with authorities to clear things up.

Other companies affected by the cheese ban included Grupo Lala, a major Mexican producer of dairy produce.

The economy ministry said the bans on natural yogurt applied to the Danone Bene Gastro and Danone Natural products.

The products were identified due to the addition of sugars and for failing to meet minimum milk content, it said.

Danone said it had earlier this month replaced the labels on the two products singled out by consumer protection officials, and had communicated those modifications to the authorities.

In light of that step, the decision to suspend the products was “untimely,” Danone said in a statement. The company remained open to resolve any outstanding issues, it added.


Enrollment Begins for Agriculture Risk Coverage and Price Loss Coverage Programs for 2021

Agricultural producers can now make elections and enroll in the Agriculture Risk Coverage (ARC) and Price Loss Coverage (PLC) programs for the 2021 crop year. The signup period opened Tuesday, Oct. 13. These key U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) safety-net programs help producers weather fluctuations in either revenue or price for certain crops, and more than $5 billion in payments are in the process of going out to producers who signed up for the 2019 crop year.

“Although commodity prices are starting to show a glimmer of improvement, recent depressed prices and drops in revenue compounded by the effects of the pandemic have seriously impacted the bottom line for most agricultural operations,” said Richard Fordyce, Administrator of USDA’s Farm Service Agency (FSA). “Through safety-net programs like ARC and PLC, we can help producers mitigate these financial stressors and keep the ag industry moving forward. Make time over the next few months to evaluate your program elections and enroll for the 2021 crop year.”

Enrollment for the 2021 crop year closes March 15, 2021.

ARC provides income support payments on historical base acres when actual crop revenue declines below a specified guaranteed level. PLC provides income support payments on historical base acres when the effective price for a covered commodity falls below its reference price.

Covered commodities include barley, canola, large and small chickpeas, corn, crambe, flaxseed, grain sorghum, lentils, mustard seed, oats, peanuts, dry peas, rapeseed, long grain rice, medium and short grain rice, safflower seed, seed cotton, sesame, soybeans, sunflower seed and wheat.

2021 Elections and Enrollment

Producers can elect coverage and enroll in crop-by-crop ARC-County or PLC, or ARC-Individual for the entire farm, for the 2021 crop year. Although election changes for 2021 are optional, enrollment (signed contract) is required for each year of the program. If a producer has a multi-year contract on the farm and makes an election change for 2021, it will be necessary to sign a new contract.

If an election is not submitted by the deadline of March 15, 2021, the election defaults to the current election for crops on the farm from the prior crop year.

For crop years 2022 and 2023, producers will have an opportunity to make new elections during those signups. Farm owners cannot enroll in either program unless they have a share interest in the farm.

2019 Crop Year ARC and PLC Payments

FSA began processing payments last week for 2019 ARC-County (ARC-CO) and PLC on covered commodities that met payment triggers on farms enrolled for the 2019 crop year. In addition to the $5 billion now in process, FSA anticipates it will issue additional payments by the end of November for 2019 commodities covered under ARC-Individual (ARC-IC) and additional commodities that trigger PLC and ARC-CO payments for which rates have not yet been published.

Producers who had 2019 covered commodities enrolled in ARC-CO can visit the ARC and PLC webpage for payment rates applicable to their county and each covered commodity. For farms and covered commodities enrolled in 2019 PLC, the following crops met payment triggers: barley, canola, chickpeas (small and large), corn, dry peas, grain sorghum, lentils, peanuts, seed cotton and wheat.

Oats and soybeans did not meet 2019 PLC payment triggers.

2019 PLC payment rates for the following covered commodities have not been determined: crambe, flaxseed, long and medium grain rice, mustard seed, rapeseed, safflower, sesame seed, sunflower seed and temperate Japonica rice. Payment rates for these commodities will be announced at a later date.

Web-Based Decision Tools

In partnership with USDA, the University of Illinois and Texas A&M University offer web-based decision tools to assist producers in making informed, educated decisions using crop data specific to their respective farming operations. Tools include:

·Gardner-farmdoc Payment Calculator, the University of Illinois tool that offers farmers the ability to run payment estimate modeling for their farms and counties for ARC-County and PLC.

·ARC and PLC Decision Tool, the Texas A&M tool allows producers to analyze payment yield updates and expected payments for 2021. Producers who have used the tool in the past should see their username and much of their farm data already available in the system.

More Information

For more information on ARC and PLC, including two online decision tools that assist producers in making enrollment and election decisions specific to their operations, visit the ARC and PLC webpage.

For additional questions and assistance, contact your local USDA service center. To locate your local FSA office, visit

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

Premier POV Board Gets to Work

There’s a brand-new customer advisory board at Premier Select Sires, and it’s called the Premier Owners’ Voice (POV). Board members have been selected for a one-year term, and will discuss cooperative values, programs, and direction for the next 12 months. Early conversations have revolved around the value of being a member-owned cooperative and beef x dairy programs that Premier offers, such as HerdFlex beef embryos, TD Beef, and PowerGenetics.

“We feel very strongly about giving our members a way to interact with staff, give us feedback on how we’re operating in today’s market, and provide direction in terms of future plans and ideas we should be focusing on,” explained Premier Chief Executive Officer, Mark Carpenter. “Being a farmer-owned cooperative since 1938, it’s imperative that we operate as a true cooperative, and involve our owners. Their feedback on current topics has been tremendous, and we’re only just getting started!”

Board members were chosen to represent all facets of Premier, including dairy and beef owners, large and small-scale operations, and both male and female owners and operators.

“The mix of people on our new POV Board is a great example of the diversity in our 23-state member area,” stated Kirk Sattazahn, Vice President of Marketing and Development. “It’s not a new concept to ask for feedback from customers, but many companies forget to do it. We feel it’s certainly a great tool for us to continue growing and serving our customer base in the best possible way.”

Board members for the 2020/2021 Premier Owners’ Voice Group include: Bradfield Evans (AL), Joe Elliott (TN), Megan Fry (MD), Justin Veazey (ME), Emma Currie (NY), Jessica Slaymaker (PA), Barb Nedrow (NY), Jim Houser (PA), Larkin Moyer (VA), Denise Dickinson (NY), Johan Heijkoop (FL), Christy Hartman (VA), Josh Rottinghaus (KS), Kelvin Hatch (PA), and Matt DeBaugh (MD). The next scheduled POV meeting will be in early January.

Any questions about the advisory board, or about becoming future POV members, can be directed to Mark Carpenter ( or Kirk Sattazahn ( Inquiries can also be made by phone by calling the Premier Select Sires office at 570.836.3168.

Premier Select Sires is a farmer-owned cooperative that serves beef and dairy producers in its 23-state member area. Dedicated to providing its members with all they need to achieve success, Premier provides:

  • Industry-leading genetics from the Select Sires, Accelerated Genetics, and GenerVations brands
  • Effective herd health and management products, as well as artificial insemination supplies
  • Reliable services and programs backed by years of success
  • Knowledgeable industry experts who are easily accessed for consultation, advice, and on-farm assistance

Together with its five sister cooperatives across the United States, Premier owns and controls Select Sires Inc., the world’s most recognized name in bovine genetics.

CWT Assists with 462,971 Pounds of Dairy Product Export Sales

Cooperatives Working Together (CWT) member cooperatives accepted six offers of export assistance from CWT that helped them capture sales contracts for 304,238 pounds (138 metric tons) of Cheddar and Monterey Jack cheese, and 158,733 pounds (72 metric tons) of butter. The product is going to customers in Asia and will be delivered from December 2020 through February 2021.

CWT-assisted member cooperative export sales contracts for 2020 total 26.306 million pounds of American-type cheeses, 8.443 million pounds of butter (82% milkfat), 1.982 million pounds of anhydrous milkfat, 5.898 million pounds of cream cheese, and 35.036 million pounds of whole milk powder. The product is going to 29 countries in seven regions. These sales are the equivalent of 788.5 million pounds of milk on a milkfat basis. Totals have been adjusted for cancellations.

Assisting CWT members in moving dairy products overseas through the Export Assistance program is critical during the challenging times U.S. dairy farmers and cooperatives are facing. The Export Assistance program helps to strengthen and maintain the value of dairy products that directly impact producers’ milk price. The program is helping member cooperatives grow and maintain world market share for U.S dairy products and is a significant factor in maintaining the total demand for U.S. dairy products and the demand for U.S. farm milk.

Dairy product and related milk volume amounts reflect current contracts for delivery, not completed export volumes. CWT pays export assistance to bidders only when export and delivery of the product is verified by required documentation.

All dairy farmers and dairy cooperatives should invest in CWT. Membership information is available on the CWT website.

Minecraft influencers to partner with dairy industry

The dairy checkoff wants to reach Generation Z where they are and believe new partnerships in the gaming space will do just that.

Joanna Hunter with Dairy Management Inc. says nearly 90 percent of Gen Z classify themselves as gamers and a test partnership will enlist the help of four influencers with a combined reach of 120 million followers.

“They’re going to visit farms from across the country, different sizes, different sustainability practices, and then after that farm visit, they’re going to build a dairy farm in Minecraft.”

She says the goal of the gamers is to engage followers in the dairy sustainability story.

One of the virtual farm tours will be on Aric DeJager’s 2,000 cow Colorado dairy.

“They’ll have 40 million people watch them build a dairy on Minecraft and you have all of these young people watching this—it’s going to be insanely impressionable.”

Gen Z includes early teens to early ‘20s and the checkoff says it is also testing partnerships with NFL Madden and retail, and, if successful, will amplify future gaming investment. 

This first $2 million project includes partnering with Mr. Beast – Jimmy Donaldson, Brianna Playz – Brianna Arsement-Barnhart, and her husband Preston Playz – Preston Arsement.


Removal of dairy cows may reduce essential nutrient supply with little effect on greenhouse gas emissions

The US dairy industry contributes roughly 1.58 percent of the total US greenhouse gas emissions; however, it also supplies the protein requirements of 169 million people, calcium requirements of 254 million people, and energy requirements of 71.2 million people. A suggested solution to increasing food production worldwide while reducing greenhouse gas emissions has been to eliminate or reduce animal production in favor of plant production. In an article appearing in the Journal of Dairy Science, scientists from Virginia Tech and the US Dairy Forage Research Center studied the effects of dairy product removal on greenhouse gas emissions and nutrient availability in US diets under various removal scenarios.

The authors of this study assessed three removal scenarios—depopulation, current management (export dairy), and retirement. In depopulation, consumers would stop consuming , resulting in depopulation of the animals; in current management (export dairy), the cattle management would remain the same and milk produced would be used for products other than human food or exported for human consumption; in retirement, the cattle would be retired to a pasture-based system but reduced to numbers that could be supported by available pastureland.

“Land use was a focus in all animal removal scenarios because the assumptions surrounding how to use land made available if we remove dairy cattle greatly influence results of the simulations,” said lead investigator Robin R. White, Ph.D., Department of Animal and Poultry Science, Virginia Tech, Blacksburg, VA, USA. “If dairy cattle are no longer present in US agriculture, we must consider downstream effects such as handling of pasture and grain land previously used for producing dairy feed, disposition of byproduct feeds, and sourcing fertilizer.”

Greenhouse gas emissions were unchanged in the current management (export dairy) scenario, with a decrease in nutrient supplies, as expected. Emissions declined 11.97 percent for the retired scenario and 7.2 percent for the depopulation scenario compared to current emissions. All 39 nutrients considered in human diet quality were decreased for the retired scenario, and although 30 of 39 nutrients increased for the depopulation scenario, several declined.

The results of the study suggest that the removal of dairy cattle from US agriculture would only reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 0.7 percent and lower the available supply of essential nutrients for the human population.

Professor White added, “Production of some essential nutrients, such as calcium and many vitamins, decreased under all reallocation scenarios that decreased greenhouse gas emissions, making the dairy removal scenarios suboptimal for feeding the US population.”

This study illustrates the difficulties in increasing supplies of critically limiting nutrients while decreasing .

More information: D.L. Liebe et al, Contributions of dairy products to environmental impacts and nutritional supplies from United States agriculture, Journal of Dairy Science (2020). DOI: 10.3168/jds.2020-18570

Problems On The Farm: Pandemic Impacting Dairy Farmers Ability To Move Product

The pandemic has taken a toll across all spectrums of our lives and had trickle-down effects to places most of us don’t even think about.

When the schools and restaurants shut down during the “stay at home” months earlier this year, the impact hit like a hammer on dairy farms.

Suddenly there was nowhere for their milk to flow but it was still coming out of the cows.

So farmers were forced to dump milk and lose thousands of dollars.

On the Clayholm Farm just outside Worthington in Armstrong County, they were having to dump milk a couple of times a week to the tune of about $10,000 lost each time.

Six months later Rebecca Claypoole says: “It didn’t get any worse for us but I think instead of dumping after that we just got the really really low prices and they are going on they are not ending.”

Her sister-in-law Margaret adding: “It’s not even enough to break even.”

Margaret goes on to say: “The government programs have helped a lot to offset these bad prices.”

More specifically Rebecca adds, “A lot of the COVID relief that President Trump gave really saved us. If we didn’t have that we’d probably be out of business by now.”

With the restaurants partially reopened and schools back in session, Margaret says: “Fluid consumption sales are up but it hasn’t helped with level everything else out.”

Rebecca says: “I think the bulk cheese and bulk stuff from the restaurants, even though the restaurants are going. It’s just not enough to move all that backed up product that we had and I think cheese plants aren’t making near what they used to take in.”

Meanwhile, costs on the farm are not easing up.

Rebecca says: “Feed actually came up since the pandemic so our big cost are up.”

Margaret points out: “A lot of that is we haven’t had the rain this year there’s not going to be the hay and crops there usually is that we can bank on that we’re going to have to buy.”

But so far, Margaret says the Claypooles and their neighbors are holding on.

“Everybody’s hunkering down and hanging on. I think those payments from President Trump really helped that was our saving grace.”


Fonterra increases farmgate milk price as Chinese demand ramps up

Fonterra Co-operative Group Ltd raised the price range it pays farmers for milk on 15 October as demand from China, its top market, picks up.

Reuters reports that the world’s biggest dairy exporter lifted its farmgate milk price range to between NZ$6.3 and NZ$7.3 per kilogram of milk solids (kgMS), from NZ$5.9-NZ$6.9 per kgMS, implying a midpoint around 6 percent higher than before.

“Despite the initial impact of COVID-19, we have seen demand for dairy in China recover quickly,” Chief Executive Officer Miles Hurrell said in a statement.

“In particular, demand for Whole Milk Powder, which is a big driver of milk price, has been stronger than expected.”

Recovering demand for dairy and the company’s success in refocusing business back to New Zealand has helped Fonterra return to profit and resume paying dividends to farmers, who make up the majority of its shareholders.

At a midpoint of NZ$6.8 per kgMS, Hurrell said, “more than NZ$10 billion ($6.66 billion) would flow into regional New Zealand.”

However, Fonterra said it was “keeping a close eye” on how the global economic recovery could be affected by new waves of COVID-19 infections and restrictions across Europe.

“With increasing demand and supply, we see the dairy outlook as more balanced, but given there are still a number of risks, we are still recommending our farmers be cautious with their decision making,” Hurrell added.

($1 = 1.5020 New Zealand dollars)

Read more about this story here.

Source: Reuters

Lactanet Canada Launches Dairy Cattle Traceability Program

Lactanet Canada has announced the launch of DairyTrace, the national dairy cattle traceability program for dairy farmers in Canada.

DairyTrace includes two new traceability tools; a mobile app and on-line database portal, that will streamline and simplify the recording and reporting of animal identification and movement. In addition to these tools, the DairyTrace launch includes the release of a modern national website at, that hosts information for dairy producers, other custodians of dairy cattle and consumers.

The DairyTrace program also includes customer service support, improved animal tags, and instructional materials in print, on-line and via video.

Under federal regulations and/or proAction requirements, everyone who owns or has the possession, care or control of dairy cattle must record and report animal identity, movement, location, and custodianship information.

“DairyTrace has been developed to provide dairy farmers with easy-to-use tools for managing their traceability obligations.” says Gert Schrijver, dairy producer and Chairman of Lactanet’s DairyTrace Advisory Committee. “All dairy farmers will also have access to a one-stop-shop for ordering their tags and receiving full customer support from the DairyTrace customer services and National Livestock Identification for Dairy (NLID) program offered through Holstein Canada or from Agri-Traçabilité Québec (ATQ) in the province of Québec where producers have successfully practiced this traceability model for many years using the SimpliTRACE system.”

Also, to accommodate non-producer affiliates outside Québec, such as abattoirs, assembly yards and auction facilities, exchange systems have been built to allow information to be funnelled into the DairyTrace database. This will allow affiliates the option of using the new DairyTrace system or CCIA’s Canadian Livestock Tracking System (CLTS).

Traceability affects over 1.4 million dairy cattle on over 10,000 farms.

Lactanet and Dairy Farmers of Canada have been working collaboratively since 2016 towards the common vision of a national dairy cattle traceability program.

Proposed Rule Would Deter Organic Fraud, Strengthen Label’s Integrity

The National Organic Program (NOP) opens economic opportunities and new markets for American farmers – but in the last several years, millions of dollars of non-organic products have been intentionally mislabeled and sold as organic, eroding consumer confidence in the certified organic program and undermining farmers who adhere to the law. To deter and detect this kind of fraud, a rule proposed by U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Agricultural Marketing Service (AMS) would strengthen oversight of the production, handling, certification, marketing, and sale of organic agricultural products.

A strong supporter of clear, consistent, and accurate food labeling, National Farmers Union (NFU) has previously expressed concern about behaviors that threaten the integrity of the organic seal. In comments submitted today and an accompanying statement, NFU President Rob Larew echoed those concerns and urged USDA to finalize the rule.

“While commodity prices have languished, family farmers have pursued opportunities to differentiate their products and maximize profit margins. One such opportunity is organic certification, which allows farmers to earn a premium for certain management practices. However, the financial advantages of certification depend on consumer trust in the label – something that has been undercut by bad faith actors looking to take advantage of price premiums without doing any of the work to earn them.

“Inaccurate organic labeling misleads and cheats consumers, harms the reputation of the label, and cuts into the profits of farmers who play by the rules. We owe it to both food producers and purchasers to enforce organic standards, without exception. By expanding oversight of the organic supply chain, strengthening import certification, and improving traceability, the proposed rule will help prevent fraudulent activities that weaken the organic label. It is essential that these new regulations do not disadvantage small-scale farmers or businesses, who already face significant obstacles to accessing organic markets. With that in mind, USDA should act swiftly to finalize this rule and ensure the integrity of the organic label.”


To download an audio file of Rob Larew’s quotes, click here.

About NFU
National Farmers Union has been working since 1902 to protect and enhance the economic well-being and quality of life for family farmers, ranchers and rural communities through advocating grassroots-driven policy positions adopted by its membership.

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Why Dairy May Actually Help Ease Eczema

It’s a familiar story that many people with eczema have heard: To manage your eczema, you have to stop eating dairy.

This is often the go-to advice for treating eczema. The problem is that many people don’t experience any change in their eczema symptoms even when they eliminate dairy from their diets.

This is because the advice is oversimplified. Not all dairy is the same.

In fact, new research shows fermented dairy could actually help to treat eczema and reduce the chances of developing eczema in childhood, adding another side to the argument.

Dairy products are a common source of food allergies, and consuming dairy may make eczema symptoms worse if you’re allergic.

As a result, many people who experience eczema exclude dairy from their diet. However, the story is more complicatedthan that.

Dairy foods are nutrient-rich, providing a range of vitamins and minerals that are vital to a healthy diet. These include vitamin D, potassium, and magnesium.

A high-dairy diet has also been linkedTrusted Source to lower blood pressure in middle-aged adults.

Dairy is a key source of calcium for children and adolescents. A 2019 study has shown that when dairy is excluded, many people don’t increase their intake of other calcium-rich foods to compensate.

On top of that, simply cutting out dairy completely may not be the most effective way to treat eczema.

While dairy can aggravate symptoms of eczema for some people, a 2019 study has shown that some types of fermented dairy can actually help eczema.

Fermented dairy, such as yogurt, is an important source of probiotics, which can treat eczema by improving the gut and skin microbiome. Daily consumption of yogurt has also been linked to reduced inflammation.

Additional researchTrusted Source supports this theory, showing that children whose mothers consumed fermented dairy during pregnancy were less likely to experience eczema.

Some types of dairy could be more effective at treating eczema than others. A 2020 study has suggested that goat’s milk is easier to digest than cow’s milk and may be linked to a reduced chance of allergic diseases in infants.

Researchers in Turkey found that children living with a cow’s milk allergy and atopic dermatitis were also sensitive to goat and sheep’s milk but had no reaction to camel’s milk.

A Polish study showed that drinking mare’s milk could be beneficial for a range of chronic conditions, such as eczema. This included drinking fresh mare’s milk or fermented mare’s milk, known as kumis, a traditional drink in Central Asia.

Kefir and yogurt are the types of probiotic-rich fermented dairy that have been studied the most.

While not strictly a fermented food, there’s also evidence that raw milk could be beneficial for treating eczema.

There are many types of traditional fermented dairy foods and drinks that are an integral part of folk medicine around the world, including:

  • smen in Algeria
  • kurut in Tibet
  • dadih in Indonesia
  • amasi in Zimbabwe and South Africa

These foods haven’t received a lot of scientific attention. As a result, the evidence for their influence on eczema is only just starting to be explored.

In most modern western diets, there tends to be a limited understanding of fermented dairy products. Most people are familiar with yogurt and kefir, but there’s actually a whole range of fermented dairy products out there.

Many of these foods and drinks have a completely different texture and flavor to most of the products you can find in your local store.

Some fermented dairy products that may be beneficial for your health and your eczema include:

I developed eczema in my first year of college, but over time I’ve learned how to manage my symptoms through my diet. I chose not to cut out dairy, but I do make sure that most of the dairy I eat is fermented.

If you’re looking to increase the amount of fermented dairy in your diet, I recommend looking for some diverse fermented products. Eating yogurt with every meal would definitely get boring!

I like to make my own yogurt, labneh, kefir, and clabber. I also find loads of ways to use whey, a byproduct of making strained yogurt and cheese. I use it for baking, smoothies, and salad dressings.

Try to find artisanal products that haven’t been pasteurized. Make sure you read the label so you know what you’re buying.

You can also get inventive with how you eat fermented dairy by including both sweet and savory dishes. Some ideas include:

Look for these phrases when buying

  • “Raw”
  • “Live and active cultures”
  • “Contains probiotics”

Many popular foods are fermented. However, the beneficial microbes may have been killed off through pasteurization.

In the United States, most of the dairy you can find in stores has been heat-treated to help extend the shelf life and eliminate the risk of potentially pathogenic bacteria.

The downside of this is your body doesn’t benefit from the probiotic bacteria that naturally occur in fermented dairy and help to support gut health.

How can you get around this?

For starters, you can try making your own fermented dairy products at home, including yogurt, kefir, and sour cream.

It’s easier than you think!

Everyone’s body is different, and it’s important to find a diet that works for you. If the chance of a dairy allergy or intolerance has been ruled out, dairy can be enjoyed as part of a balanced diet.

You may find that eating more fermented dairy could help treat your eczema.


Dairy farmers need to register for coverage

With the ongoing COVID-19 crisis teaching hard lessons on risk management throughout agriculture, and with dairy margins expected to be volatile during the next year, the National Milk Producers Federation is urging farmers to register for maximum 2021 coverage under the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Dairy Margin Coverage program. Registration begins today.

The Dairy Margin Coverage emphatically proved its worth this year as payouts rapidly reacted to unprecedented price plunges and protected farmers exactly when they most needed help. Coronavirus-related volatility in dairy markets is expected to continue well into 2021, with Dairy Margin Coverage payments a possibility. That makes it essential that farmers include the coverage in the robust risk-management plans they will need to ensure financial stability.

Dairy Margin Coverage, the main risk-protection tool for dairy farmers enacted in the 2018 farm bill, is designed to promote stable revenues and protect against financial catastrophe on some or all of a farmer’s milk. Despite forecasts in late 2019 predicting that Dairy Margin Coverage assistance wouldn’t be needed by farmers in 2020, margins instead decreased to their worst levels in more than a decade in the first half of this year. That triggered payments that undoubtedly kept many participating dairies afloat. And unlike difficult-to-predict federal disaster assistance that’s provided via specific legislation or administrative action, Dairy Margin Coverage offers certainty in times of need, allowing for better financial planning and faster payment when necessary.

Dairy Margin Coverage offers extra options.

Affordable increased coverage levels permit all dairy producers to insure margins to as much as $9.50 per hundred on Tier 1 production history – first 5 million pounds. Recent margin trends in reference to that $9.50 threshold are included in the graphic.

Affordable $5 coverage offers meaningful catastrophic coverage for farms of all sizes.

Visit for more information.

Futures Drop While Products Push Higher in Chicago Wednesday

On the Chicago Mercantile Exchange milk futures dropped off at midweek as traders corrected overbought positions, cash markets were also mixed.  Class III milk prices traded 13 cents higher to $21.30/cwt.  November lost 14 while December ended unchanged.  2021 prices ranged from 10 cents lower to 2 cents higher.  First half 2021 Class III average is now offering dairy producers a price of $16.58/cwt.  Class IV prices settled 20 cents higher on Wednesday as well.

CME product values proceeded higher once again on Wednesday.  Blocks up $0.0025 at $2.72.  Three trades were made at $2.72 and $2.7225.  Barrels up $0.0650 at $2.2050.  Butter up $0.0250 at $1.50.  One trade was made at that price. Dry whey down $0.0050 at $0.3875.  One trade was made at that price. Nonfat dry milk down $0.0025 at $1.1350.  Eleven trades were made ranging from $1.1350 to $1.14.

Grain prices caught some strength following further dryness in South America.  December corn traded 5 cents higher and ended at $3.965/bu.  Soybeans moved 12 cents in the positive direction to $10.56.  Soybean meal gained $7/ton in December.  The wheat complex was up 1-4 cents as well.

National Mastitis Council updates Post-milking Teat Disinfection Fact Sheet

Teat disinfection plays a key role in the National Mastitis Council (NMC) mastitis control plan. To help dairy producers and their advisers implement the most science-based teat disinfection protocols, NMC Teat Health Committee members updated the organization’s Post-milking Teat Disinfection Fact Sheet. This free resource is available here

The Post-milking Teat Disinfection Fact Sheet addresses various types of post-milking teat disinfectants, including those used for different seasons. Always thoroughly review manufacturer label claims and directions for mixing, use and storage prior to deciding if a product is right for a dairy farm. The Fact Sheet guides users with teat dip application, handling, storage, use and methods for protecting efficacy. This NMC resource also discusses teat dip cups, sprays and automated milking systems.

Why is post teat disinfection so important? The rate of new intramammary infections can be reduced 70 percent or more by disinfecting all teats of all cows with an effective product immediately after every milking, compared with no disinfection. Teat disinfection does not affect existing mammary gland infections, but it may reduce colonization of the teat end by mastitis pathogens and thus reduce the chance of new intramammary infections.

NMC leaders remind dairy producers that good teat disinfectants have efficacy against the major mastitis pathogens, are economical, easy to apply and help maintain or promote good skin condition. Only use products that are registered or licensed with the appropriate regulatory authority in your jurisdiction. For example, regulatory authorities include the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, Veterinary Drugs Directorate of Health Canada, and European Medicines Evaluation Agency. In the United States, FDA regulates teat disinfectants as over-the-counter drugs and does not require proof of effectiveness. In Canada, however, teat disinfection products must complete a full submission and approval process for veterinary drugs. Dairy producers should request information from the manufacturer or supplier on the registration or licensing and results of controlled research studies showing efficacy.

National Mastitis Council is a professional organization devoted to reducing mastitis and enhancing milk quality. NMC promotes research and provides information to the dairy industry on udder health, milking management, milk quality and milk safety. Founded in 1961, NMC has about 1,000 members in more than 40 countries throughout the world.                               

Trump’s trade war hurts dairy farmers

During last week’s debate, Vice President Mike Pence mentioned an improved dairy market because of the United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement, the new North American Free Trade Agreement.

It should be noted that the USMCA, for farmers, was similar to deals with Mexico and Canada as in the Trans Pacific Partnership or TPP. The TPP was negotiated partly by President George W. Bush and finalized by the Obama administration in February 2016. While’s it’s true that Trump’s deal opened up some markets in Canada for Wisconsin dairy farmers, the improvement of the USMCA over the TPP was minimal — equal to the amount of milk produced by just a handful of average Wisconsin dairy farms. Wisconsin lost 818 dairy farms in 2019, alone.

Over the last three years the “trade war” with China resulted in a large decrease in the United State’s share of China’s dairy imports. China’s population of 1.4 billion people was expanding its dairy consumption while we lost out.

Carlton Austin, Fennimore


Tumultuous times for Magic Valley dairy

Ricky Jones, operations manager at Magic Valley Quality Milk Transport, opens up the valve of a milk bulk tank Wednesday. PAT SUTPHIN TIMES-NEWS

The Magic Valley dairy industry has gone through brutal lows and record highs during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Back in early April, restaurant closures tanked dairy demand so dramatically that some Magic Valley farmers had to dump their milk. A lot of Idaho milk ends up as cheese, butter and cream, and about 60% of that goes to restaurants. When restaurants stopped buying, much of the Magic Valley dairy industry started hurting.

“For a short period of time there, milk had zero value,” StoneX Director of West Coast Dairy James Carr said.

Even Magic Valley dairymen who had buyers for their milk struggled. The price of milk dropped from around $16 per hundred pounds to $12. Magic Valley farmers break even at around $16.50 per hundredweight.

Some Magic Valley dairymen feared they’d go out of business. A farmer can only lose thousands of dollars every day for so long.

“We were close to going broke,” Buhl dairyman Richard Azevedo said. “If milk wouldn’t have went up in the next month or two, we would have been done. There’s no doubt about it. It just would have been too big a hole.”

But milk did go up in the next month or two, soared to record highs, in large part due to a massive government dairy purchasing program that buoyed demand.

Peaks and valleys

Many dairymen went into 2020 with high expectations. After six years of prices at or below the break-even point, milk finally got into profitable territory toward the end of 2019. A lot of Magic Valley farmers felt some relief after struggling for more than a half-decade straight.

Then the pandemic happened. When COVID-19 destroyed demand for dairy this spring, some experts thought the industry was facing months of misery.

“To have recovery within two months was not expected at all,” Idaho Dairymen’s Association CEO Rick Naerebout said.

CARES Act payments and food purchasing programs likely prevented many Magic Valley farmers from going out of business.


Congress passed the $2.2 trillion CARES Act in late March in an effort to stave off a complete collapse of the U.S. economy. If you received a $1,200 deposit in your bank account or a $600 boost to your unemployment benefits, those payments were part of the CARES Act.

Agriculture was allocated $16 billion in the CARES Act, and that $16 billion can effectively be broken down into two categories: $13 billion in direct payments to ailing farmers and $3 billion in government purchases of meat, dairy and produce to help feed struggling families. (There were also some programs outside of the U.S. Department of Agriculture, such as Dairy West’s Curds + Kindness initiative. Curds + Kindness donated nearly 1 million pounds of finished dairy products made from 7.5 million pounds of milk — milk that dairymen in Idaho and Utah couldn’t have otherwise sold.)

The direct payments were a lifeline for many Magic Valley farmers.

“I’d be done (without them),” Azevedo said. “That helped tremendously.”

Payments went to most types of Magic Valley producers, although there were snags — potato growers and aquaculture farmers didn’t qualify at first, for instance. According to documents given to the Times-News through a Freedom of Information Act request at the end of July, Magic Valley producers had received $34 million in direct CARES Act payments.

The largest payments went to dairies, which typically have expensive overhead costs. Three Magic Valley dairies received $600,000 each, distributed through the USDA. Most of the bigger payments — the 113 in the six-figure range — went to dairies. The maximum individual payment was $250,000, but some operations are split among multiple partners, so they qualified for multiple payments.

On the other extreme, some producers received just $73.60. The average payment for a Magic Valley farmer was $47,000, while the median was around $9,000. There were 733 payments to Magic Valley producers, but many producers received multiple payments.

A $100,000 payment from the government sounds like a lot, Naerebout said. But it’s important to keep in mind how massive Idaho dairies are, he said. Some Magic Valley dairies have more than 10,000 cows. The bigger operations actually fared worse, Naerebout said, since the payments maxed out at $250,000 per partner for up to three partners and didn’t cover the losses of the biggest dairies.

For some farmers, the payments were enough to make them financially whole, Naerebout said. Others lost money overall, despite the payments. He said the pandemic has probably been a net financial positive for Magic Valley dairymen so far, but there’s still a lot of market volatility expected in the future and each dairyman’s situation is different.

“It depends on the farmer,” Carr said, “whether they’re a cheese guy or a non-fat guy.”

Historic intervention

Fast food sales began rebounding during the early summer. Those restaurants typically have cheese-heavy menus, so their success boosted demand somewhat for Idaho dairy. Restaurant sales as a whole still aren’t where they were, though.

The USDA’s food box program is the biggest reason milk prices are so good right now, Carr said. The government bought hundreds of millions of dollars of meat, dairy and produce each month this summer.

Those purchases have completely changed the dairy market and demand.

According to StoneX’s research, government purchases made up about 0.1% of the U.S. dairy market before the pandemic.

StoneX estimates that the government bought 1.1% of U.S. dairy products in May, more than 2% (around $400 million) each month between June and August and a whopping 3% ($500 million) in September.

“When the government’s using 3% of the milk production in the country, it doesn’t seem like a big number,” Carr said. “But that’s a big number.”


That government intervention is why the price of milk jumped to about $25 per hundredweight in mid-July, the highest price ever. Blocks of cheese hit the $3-per-pound figure in mid-July, too, also a record. For comparison, 40-pound blocks of cheddar averaged $1.10 a pound in April and only exceeded the $2 plateau for two months in 2019.

Those high prices have helped Magic Valley farmers make up for the early-April lows. The sky-high prices didn’t last forever though. They’ve been fluctuating wildly during the past few months, from $25 in July back down to $16 in September, now back around $20 in October.

Natural demand for dairy is still down. The reason milk prices are still strong is because government purchases for food boxes are creating demand that wouldn’t have existed otherwise.

The problem for the Magic Valley dairy industry is that government payments aren’t going to go on forever. October is still a strong month for government purchases, but the situation could change soon.

The extreme volatility in the market causes problems. For instance, the Magic Valley has long needed additional processing capacity. A new processor is unlikely to start a $100-million project in the middle of a pandemic.

“It’s probably going to negatively impact the investment in processing expansion, at least in the short run,” Naerebout said. “Companies are going to be a little less willing to jump into big investments right now.”

At least one major dairy project — Gem State Dairy Products’ $130-million milk bottling facility next to Glanbia in Twin Falls — has been put on hold.

And while today’s prices are good, dairymen have also seen new cutbacks in some cases. Processors are penalizing producers who don’t reduce their production. Naerebout said some Magic Valley dairymen have had to cut back their production between 5% and 20%.

Carr said StoneX is projecting $15-dollar milk prices in 2021, back below the break-even point for Idaho farmers. He also emphasized that while the food box program helped the Magic Valley dairy industry enormously, it also has at least one negative impact: It made it seem like demand was good when it really wasn’t. Production should have gone down, he said, but it didn’t because the prices were so good.

“We should have been reducing production because of the demand destruction that COVID has had on this country,” Carr said. “I worry about what happens when the government purchases are done. Where’s the demand going to come from?”

Will artificial intelligence technology change the dairy industry

The use of artificial intelligence (AI) on ranches and dairy farms represents tremendous potential to benefit the Florida cattle industry. That’s driving a discussion at the University of Florida’s Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences about how to harness this potential with tools that gives ranchers insight on each animal in their herds.

Producers may already get more data from sensors and other technologies than any human mind can make sense of. AI can link and analyze all sorts of data that exist in separate silos. UF/IFAS animal scientists working with computer scientists and engineers could reveal relationships between data points that inform decisions down to the individual animal.

Imagine if we could link an individual cow’s feed efficiency to its unique genetics as we select animals for breeding. Imagine if we could identify the point for each animal on a ranch at which heat stress makes it ill.

Imagine, too, if we could tell by how many steps it takes and how its posture changes day-to-day if a cow is developing sore feet. Imagine the advances in milk production and animal welfare if we could predict and prevent illness by subtle behavioral changes like how often a cow shows up at the feed bucket.

Albert De Vries of the UF/IFAS Department of Animal Sciences is already using a form of AI called machine learning to determine with precision how to better breed cattle. He is also exploring using AI to measure how much a cow eats by analyzing changes in the topography of the grain in the trough.

As an editor of a prestigious international journal, De Vries has familiarized himself with a range of AI applications in cattle and dairy. He believes UF/IFAS needs to go more assertively into this line of inquiry.

The University of Florida took a major step toward unlocking the potential of this game-changing technology when it announced in July a $70 million campus-wide AI initiative.

The announcement specifically mentioned the challenge of food insecurity as one of many possible areas to direct AI-fueled science. AI will become part of the curriculum at the UF/IFAS College of Agricultural and Life Sciences and throughout campus so that our students take some level of knowledge and skills related to AI into their jobs.

The initiative is supported by a $25 million gift from UF alumnus Chris Malachowsky and $25 million from NVIDIA, the technology company he cofounded. UF is investing an additional $20 million in the initiative, which will create an AI-centric data center that houses the world’s fastest AI supercomputer in higher education.

UF/IFAS will be proposing to university administration how an investment of a substantial portion of these funds in agriculture can result in huge payoffs.

All this isn’t going to replace the intuition and responsible management practices ranchers develop from years of experience. AI, though, is one way UF/IFAS is likely to help the Florida cattle industry in the decade to come.

Scott Angle
University of Florida’s VP
Agriculture and Natural Resources


Looking for a change? Try Guernseys

Guernsey cattle originate from Guernsey, a tiny island in the English Channel and can be found in many countries around the world.

The Guernsey cow of today has more potential than ever.

While being very versatile, the Guernsey is a competitive dairy cow able to efficiently and effectively maintain a profit.

For the commercial dairy farmer that needs higher components in their milk to take advantage of component premium prices and who are spending too many nights assisting with difficult calvings, read on because the Guernsey breed has something more to offer.

Milk component advantages

Guernseys produce superior milk in total components, flavour and colour.

The fat to protein ratio in Guernsey milk is very favourable to milk companies that are now using this system to pay dairy farmers for their milk, not to mention the unique golden colour of the milk.

Guernsey milk contains unusually high contents of beta carotene.

Guernsey milk is also higher in vitamins B1 and B12, Vitamin A and has naturally occurring Vitamin D.

Guernsey cows generally have a higher incidence of producing milk with only the beta casein protein A2 and eliminating the A1 gene.

In fact, many people, who think they are reacting to the lactose in milk, are actually reacting to the A1 protein and can easily digest Guernsey milk.

Choosing to use component improvers from the Guernsey sires available will yield impressive results when the offspring enter the milking herd.

Crossbreeding advantages

The Guernsey cow can be crossed with any breed to take advantage of their ease of calving.

They can be bred to calve at two years of age.

Their offspring will inherit the Guernsey quality of milk and increase the hybrid vigour in the resulting offspring, which will typically improve reproductive performance and longevity.

The calf that results from using a Guernsey sire on a black and white cow is nearly indistinguishable from a typical commercial calf.

Almost always black and white, it will be of similar frame size to an average to small commercial animal.

Using a Guernsey sire is similar to using an extreme calving ease sire and will result in a healthier, more vigorous calf and a dam that starts its lactation without the stress of a difficult calving.

Bull calves will not be discounted at the market as they are identical to 95 per cent of the other bull calves that pass through the market on a normal day and better value in body weight than some of the other crossbred or coloured-breed calves.

Economical advantages

The Guernsey cow is an efficient converter of feed to product.

Guernseys require less feed than their Holstein counterparts and convert that feed into more protein and butterfat per unit of body weight resulting in several economical advantages.

Bottom line in profit comes from the amount of solids your cows produce less the amount of feed that you input into your cows.

The Guernsey cow is also an excellent grazer.

It is a cow that is made for pasture-based milk production.

Because of its grazing abilities, gentile disposition, calving ease and the ability to efficiently produce milk with less feed than other breeds, it is the ideal candidate for intensive grazing.

Dairy producers can realise her profit potential while reducing management costs.

Calving advantages

The Guernsey female reaches reproductive maturity at an early age and can be bred to calve between 22 months of age to two years of age.

This provides an early return on investment.

Guernsey cows experience fewer calving problems and this calving ease will be passed onto Guernsey crossbreds as well.

In addition to the direct calving ease realised from using a Guernsey sire on a cow or heifer prone to calving problems, the crossbreds themselves will experience easier calvings.

Other advantages

A moderate temperament and disposition make the Guernsey cow easy to work with.

Dairy farmers who have mixed herds note that the Guernseys are very compatible with the other breeds, as well as easy to milk and keep clean.

As proven by Guernseys in Australia, this cow is adaptable to any climate.

It has flourished in southern, northern, hot and cold climates.

Her fawn and white coat enhances her heat tolerance and reduces heat stress, which adds to her ability to maintain production levels anywhere.

Guernsey semen is available from semen distributors throughout Australia and includes overseas and Australian bulls.

Semen costs per straw are also competitively priced and semen is available in both sexed and non-sexed.

Agri-Gene is the distributor of Guernsey progeny test semen for the Guernsey Society.

For further information, contact Guernsey Cattle Society of Australia federal secretary Joyce Cleggett, or (08) 8739 4368 or federal president Laurie Dunne, or (07) 5544 2198.

Visit the Guernsey Society website at or find them on Facebook.

UK dairy farmers successful in dismissing injunction

A group of 16 dairy farmers had a significant win in the High Court earlier last week following a dispute with milk processor, Watson’s Dairies Ltd. 

The Judge, The Honourable Mr Justice Smith, comprehensively dismissed an application for an interim injunction brought by Watson’s Dairies (part of the Medina group) against Meadow Milk, a milk production cooperative.

The application was made by Watson’s Dairies as part of a wider dispute between the milk processor and the farmers. This litigation was initiated by Watson’s Dairies following the farmers’ service of notices to terminate their milk supply contracts with the processor.   These notices expired on 30 September and Watson’s Dairies sought and obtained on Wednesday 30 September a short interim injunction restraining the farmers from selling their milk elsewhere, causing significant difficulties for the farmers who had signed new milk supply contracts. However, on return to the court on Tuesday 6 October the Judge refused to allow that injunction to continue to trial and dismissed the application leaving the farmers free to supply their milk to their new processors.

Agriculture specialists at national law firm Clarke Willmott LLP, an NFU Panel Firm, are representing the group of 16 farmers.

Dispute Resolution Partner Esther Woolford said: “We are delighted with this result for our clients.

“The applicant’s case for the injunction was that its long-term financial viability depended on the supply of milk from our clients. The judge did not accept this argument pointing to the fact that the applicant could obtain the milk that it needs from elsewhere in the market. 

“The Judge also noted that a deal had been reached between two of the members of Meadow Milk who had also given notice (and against whom the litigation had not been brought) on better terms and that tying the remaining 16 farmers to a more disadvantageous relationship would be to subvert the free market.  The Judge commented that this underlined the pernicious nature of granting an injunction.

“The on-going litigation between Watson’s Dairies and our clients is a reflection of the unfairness that prevails in the dairy industry today. Dairy farmers are expected to bear the risk of contracts that are weighted heavily in favour of the milk processors who unilaterally introduce revised contract terms, pricing mechanisms and price cuts without negotiation. In the case of our clients, when the notified milk price went below a safety net basket of prices, they served three months’ notice in accordance with the terms of their contracts. The validity of these notices is being contested by Watson’s Dairies in the main litigation which our clients wholeheartedly defend.”

Esther continued: “Whilst we are delighted that the injunction has been dismissed, we must now focus our attention on continuing to robustly defend our clients’ case in the continuing litigation but we are relieved that our clients are no longer tied into unfavourable contracts with Watson’s Dairies and are free to send their milk elsewhere and under better terms and conditions.

“The farmers have received significant financial assistance from the NFU and its Legal Assistance Scheme in defending their position.  This support was given in part due to the nature of the application for injunctive relief (having been issued on the very last day of supply on a without notice basis) and also due to concerns in relation to fairness in the dairy industry more generally, which has been subject to a recent government consultation.  In addition to financial support, the NFU also supported the farmers by their Chief Dairy Advisor, James Osman, giving witness evidence explaining the operation of the dairy industry and the NFU’s concerns as to fairness in contracts, particularly in relation to pricing and the length of notice periods.”

Mr Proctor of Meadow Milk Limited said: “We would like to thank our legal team, the NFU and its Legal Assistance Scheme for their support and input, without which we could not have successfully achieved this fantastic outcome in pursuing these injunctive proceedings for the benefit of both Meadow Milk Limited and the many other dairy farmers.”

For more information visit


Dairy Markets Climb Higher Tuesday in Chicago

On the Chicago Mercantile Exchange milk futures were again higher Tuesday on spillover optimism from traders. Class III futures sold off as the day went on.  October milk gained 2 cents to $21.19/cwt.  November was able to post a 13 cent gain to $20.61 after trading as high as $20.89.  December milk turned 6 cents lower to $18.09/cwt.  January through June saw +1 to -8 cents on the day.  First half 2021 average is $16.62/cwt.  Class IV moved higher with November climbing 26 cents to $14.19.  January also saw strength, settling 32 cents higher to $14.72/cwt.

Blocks and barrels added to their Monday gains in the CME Cash Dairy Product Trade.   Blocks up $0.0250 at $2.7175.  One trade was made at that price.  Barrels up $0.03 at $2.14.  One trade was made at that price.  Dry whey down $0.0025 at $0.3925.  One trade was made at that price. Butter up $0.06 at $1.4750.  Seven trades were made ranging from $1.4350 to $1.4750.     Nonfat dry milk up $0.0075 at $1.1375.  Two trades were made at $1.13 and $1.1375.

The grain complex was a mixed bag today.  December corn finished 2 cents higher to $3.9125/bushel.  November soybeans rebounded after yesterday’s loss, gaining 10.25 cents to $10.44/bushel.  October soybean meal was up $1.80 to $358.50/ton.  December Chicago Wheat fell ¼ of a penny to $5.94/bushel.

Calf rearing bottlenecks headlines Dairy Calf and Heifer Association October 20 webinar

The next Dairy Calf and Heifer Association (DCHA) webinar features “Calf Rearing Bottlenecks.” Presented by Kelly Reed, Diamond V ruminant technical specialist, this free webinar starts at 2 p.m. Central time on Oct. 20.

During the webinar, Reed will discuss the value of investing in the milk-fed calf and how health challenges impact future performance. Next, she will explain the value of calf audits – a systematic evaluation of a calf program to identify key bottlenecks limiting performance. Reed’s bottleneck discussion will focus on colostrum and maternity management, sanitation and cleaning, milk delivery, milk total solids and volume, calories, dry bedding, air quality and ventilation. Furthermore, she will offer helpful tools, key performance indicators and practical examples.

As a ruminant technical specialist, Reed is responsible for providing technical and research assistance, and sales support. Prior to joining Diamond V, Reed served as herd manager for five years and advanced to general manager for a leading dairy in Washington’s Yakima Valley. She managed 75 employees and used her veterinarian training to identify bottlenecks and implement tangible solutions. In addition to her responsibilities at Diamond V, Reed owns and operates Reed Dairy Veterinary Services, Prosser, Wash. She earned her Doctor of Veterinary Medicine degree from Cornell University in 2009.

The American Association of Veterinary State Boards granted one Registry of Approved Continuing Education (RACE) credit for this DCHA webinar. Thus, veterinarians who attend will earn one CE credit.

To register for the webinar, go HERE and follow the prompts. As the webinar approaches, you will receive an e-mail with information on how to log in to participate.

This webinar is sponsored by Diamond V. The Dairy Calf and Heifer Association does not support one product over another and any mention is not an endorsement by DCHA.

If you are a DCHA member and cannot attend the live program, you may access the webinar through DCHA’s online Member Center. To access the webinar, DCHA members need to visit HERE and enter their username and password.

For more information about DCHA’s webinars, e-mail Sue Schatz, DCHA member services director, at: Follow DCHA on social media or visit the DCHA website to learn about future webinars.

The Dairy Calf and Heifer Association was founded in 1996 based on the mission to help dairy producers, calf managers and those professionally focused on the growth and management of dairy calves and heifers. With a national membership of producers, allied industries and research leaders, DCHA seeks to provide the industry’s standards for profitability, performance and leadership, serving as a catalyst to help members improve the vitality and viability of their individual efforts and that of their business.

Government of Canada funds Ontario dairy processors

The Canadian government has announced more than $2.5 million in its latest funding to support Ontario dairy processors in enhancing productivity and protecting their workers’ health.

The Government will support Empire Cheese Co-operative, the only cheese manufacturing plant operating in Northumberland County, Kawartha Dairy – which operates ten retail stores and specialises in ice cream and fluid milk manufacturing – and Ontario’s second largest manufacturer of goat cheese, Mariposa Dairy.

There are currently over 500 dairy processors in Canada with 164 based in Ontario, accounting for almost 40% of total Canadian dairy sales and more than 8,000 jobs.

Through the Dairy Processing Investment Fund, the Canadian government has approved over $28 million in funding for 29 projects across Ontario that will benefit cheese, yogurt, cream and butter processors.

The fund is designed to help dairy processors modernise their operations and improve productivity and competitiveness.

Kawartha Dairy and Mariposa Dairy will also receive a total of more than $85,000 under the Emergency Processing Fund to enhance worker safety in their facilities in response to the Covid-19 pandemic.

“These investments will help to modernise Ontario’s dairy processing operations, which will increase productivity and enhance competitiveness,” said Neil Ellis, member of parliament for Bay of Quinte and parliamentary secretary to the minister of agriculture and agri-food.

He added: “By providing for the urgent health and safety needs of workers in these facilities, we are helping these essential operations maintain food production and meet new public health protocol requirements.”

Brian Kerr, CEO and general manager of Kawartha Dairy, said: “Kawartha Dairy is proud to partner with Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada to bring more of our products to Ontarians, strengthen Canada’s food supply and create more jobs in the rural communities of Bobcaygeon and surrounding area.

“This support is especially important to our farming partners, our employees and communities during these uncertain times.”

Source FoodBev

A Strong Relationship With Your Elective Officials Is Key in Protecting the Future of Dairy

The Animal Agriculture Alliance released their report outlining observations from the “Taking Action for Animals Conference” (TAFA),” which took place September 19-20th. The event, featuring speakers from the Humane Society of the United States (HSUS), Humane Society International and the Humane Society Legislative Fund, stressed the need for attendees who pride themselves as animal activists to become highly engaged in changing current legislation throughout the U.S. by working directly with legislators to pursue “animal-friendly” legislation in federal, state, and local government levels.

Attendees were urged by HSUS leadership to become one of the “go-to people” in the legislator’s district, who he or she will reach out to when they have a question about animal protection.

HSUS is deceitful, preying on emotions and the good intentions of Americans to fund the HSUS agenda of ending animal agriculture and putting farmers out of business. According to HumaneWatch, “HSUS raises millions of dollars from American animal lovers through manipulative advertising… However, HSUS doesn’t run a single pet shelter and only gives 1 percent of the money it raises to pet shelters while sucking money out of local communities. HSUS’s own donors and local shelters feel wronged.”

Animal activists, who intend to end animal agriculture, are using this new strategy to position themselves to provide direct input on the policies which regulate how you operate your dairy operation. It is more important than ever to ensure you have a strong relationship with your officials at all levels of government, regardless of their political affiliation. Your legislator must hear directly from you to better understand the care you provide to your animals, the methods that keep your employees and the environment safe, and the direct contribution your hard work provides to the economy and to your local community. We cannot let those who wish to end animal agriculture have a stronger voice than us regarding agriculture legislative policy.

These same activists are blaming animal agriculture for the pandemic and destroying the “livability” of our planet. While activists accuse farmers of ruining the environment, dairy and livestock producers are hard at work growing and raising quality, affordable and safe food to nourish families across the nation. There are many who do not know where their next meal will come from and who do not have the luxury of excluding affordable complete protein sources like dairy and meat.

Find out who your federal and state legislators are below. Take a minute and send an e-mail, tell them about what you do and ask them to contact you anytime with questions they may have. Monthly emails and repetitive contact are critical to building and maintaining relationships with your legislators. YOU need to be their resource on information regarding the dairy industry.

Maintaining a close dialogue with your representatives is key in influencing the narrative and ensuring ideological beliefs are not mistaken for scientific facts.

What are the key farming issues in the upcoming US election?

Despite President Trump enjoying wide support among US farmers, some have reservations about the impact his trade policies on crop prices and international movement of US farm products.

In an in-depth analysis from Reuters, journalists outline how international trade, biofuels and the environment are shaping the US farm vote.

Opinion polling shows that farmers across the United States tend to support President Trump. However, the impact of his trade wars and biofuel policies have caused economic uncertainty and hardship on some farms.

The Democrat challenger Joe Biden is capitalising on the biofuel issue and will likely have a more multi-lateral approach to international trade. He has also promised to make farming more environmentally friendly.


As part of President Trump’s “America first” policy, he challenged the trading status quo between the United States and many of its top commercial partners. These challenges have often impacted farmers’ access to key export markets. The trade war with China, which is a top buyer of US soybeans, pork and dairy has been a sore spot for the president among rural voters.

Economists estimate that the tariffs imposed on Chinese goods since 2018 have resulted in billions of dollars in lost crop sales. To help alleviate the losses, the administration rolled out a nearly $30 billion cash aid scheme for US farmers. The USDA has also rolled out billions in COVID-19 aid.

Read the full analysis here.

Source: Reuters

2020 RWDCA All-American Entry Forms Now Online

WOW, 2020 has been a roller coaster! We’ve almost made it to the end. As the show season wraps up please know that all Red and White Shows this year qualified for the All American and Junior All-American contests. Should you have any questions, please feel free to reach out.

Today also marks the last day for entries for the NAILE show.

The All-American Forms can be found HERE.

CDCB industry meeting: focus on genetics, sustainability of feed efficiencey

Dairy producers and genetic enthusiasts are invited to participate in the Council on Dairy Cattle Breeding (CDCB) Industry Meeting on November 2, which will focus on feed efficiency, genetic selection and impacts on sustainability. Meeting participants will have an early opportunity to understand the collaborative data collection, genetic methodology and expected results for the new trait, Feed Saved, being launched by CDCB with the December 1 genetic evaluations.

This annual meeting – the sixth for CDCB – will be held virtually on Monday, November 2, from 2:00-4:00 p.m. EST. Attendees may register here to participate via Zoom.

With feed generally accounting for one-half of total dairy farm costs, the ability to genetically select for feed efficiency has been a long-time goal.

“There is tremendous potential to improve feed efficiency through genomics and genetic selection,” said João Dürr, CDCB Chief Executive Officer. “It’s a ‘win-win’ for producers and for dairy customers who expect more sustainable milk and animal proteins. Genetic selection for Feed Saved can improve farmer profitability and help reduce the greenhouse gas footprint of the dairy industry. We can make the same amount of milk with less feed and fewer natural resources to produce that crop.”

Along with Feed Saved, CDCB will introduce Heifer Livability and six new genomic type traits on December 1.

The November 2 meeting will be opened by CDCB Chair, Neal Smith of the American Jersey Cattle Association. Three renowned geneticists – Dr. Kent Weigel, Dr. Paul VanRaden, and Dr. Kristen Parker Gaddis – will start the conversation with brief presentations on the research, data collection, genetic methodology, and expected results for the new Feed Saved trait. Weigel, VanRaden, and Parker Gaddis will then answer audience questions on a panel moderated by Dr. John B. Cole of USDA’s Animal Genomics and Improvement Laboratory (AGIL).

Dr. Frank Mitloehner will share insights on consumer and dairy customer expectations, connecting the approaches that dairy producers and processors are utilizing for continuous improvement in environmental impact.

Mitloehner will be joined by Corey Geiger, Lloyd Holterman and Dr. Juan Tricarico in a panel discussion to unpack the improvement opportunities through genetic selection, productivity gains and other approaches. Corey Geiger is Managing Editor of Hoard’s Dairyman, President of Holstein Association-USA, and a current member of the CDCB Board of Directors. Lloyd Holterman is Chair of the CDCB Producer Advisory Committee and owner of Rosy-Lane Holsteins, recipient of a national award in April 2020 for Outstanding Dairy Farm Sustainability. Juan Tricarico is Vice President of Sustainability Research at Dairy Management Inc., Rosemont, Ill.

The agenda for the November 2 meeting (2-4 PM EST) is as follows:

•Welcome, Neal Smith, CDCB Chair

•Genetics of Feed Efficiency, Kent Weigel, University of Wisconsin-Madison

•Feed Saved Methodology, Paul VanRaden, USDA AGIL

•Feed Saved Results, Kristen Parker Gaddis, CDCB Geneticist

•PANEL AND Q&A: New Feed Saved Trait
Kent Weigel, Paul VanRaden, and Kristen Parker Gaddis, moderated by John Cole, USDA AGIL

•Sustainability Expectations for U.S. and Global Dairy, Frank Mitloehner, University of California-Davis

•PANEL AND Q&A: Importance of Genetic Tools to Improve Sustainability of Dairy
Frank Mitloehner, Corey Geiger, Lloyd Holterman and Juan Tricarico, moderated by João Dürr, CDCB

•Closing Remarks, João Dürr, CDCB CEO

All dairy producers, industry members and genetic enthusiasts are invited to register here for the November 2 meeting. Questions about CDCB or the industry meeting can be directed to CDCB Chief Operating Officer, João Dürr.

Dairy margin coverage enrollment for 2021 opens

The U.S. Department of Agriculture has started accepting applications for the Dairy Margin Coverage (DMC) program as of Oct. 13 for 2021 enrollment.

“This year has been a market roller coaster for the dairy industry, and the Dairy Margin Coverage program is a valuable tool dairy producers can use to manage risk,” said Bill Northey, USDA’s under secretary for Farm Production and Conservation, during a roundtable at a dairy in Chippewa Falls. “We were excited to roll out this new and improved program through the 2018 Farm Bill, and if you haven’t enrolled in previous years, we highly encourage you to check it out.”

Signup runs through Dec. 11. DMC is a voluntary risk management program that offers protection to dairy producers when the difference between the all-milk price and the average feed price (the margin) falls below a certain dollar amount selected by the producer. DMC payments triggered for seven months in 2019 and three months so far in 2020. More than 23,000 operations enrolled in DMC in 2019, and more than 13,000 in 2020.

Find more signup details.

Milk markets show optimism to start week in Chicago

On the Chicago Mercantile Exchange milk futures continued their optimism into Monday’s trade as did cash markets.  Class III milk surged higher along with Cheese – October gained 26 cents to 21.17, November gained 75 cents to 20.48 and December gained 22 to 18.15. 2021 was more mixed, moving 3 lower to 2 higher.  Class IV milk failed to trade outside of November that gained 5 to 13.93. October held at 13.45, and December at 14.13/cwt. 

Monday had all our CME spot products jump higher on light volumes.  Blocks up $0.0450 at $2.6925.  Barrels up $0.0550 at $2.11.  One sale was made at $2.0850.  Butter up $0.0025 at $1.4150.  Six trades were made ranging from $1.4150 to $1.4350.     Nonfat dry milk up $0.0050 at $1.13.  One trade was made at that price. Dry whey unchanged at $0.3950. 

The grain complex followed up a  surge higher Friday with a correction back on Monday. Corn fell 6 to 3.89, Chicago wheat actually moved half a penny higher to 5.94 ¼, Soybeans dropped 31 ¾ cents to 10.33 ¾, and soybean meal gave back $6.40 to 356.70/ton. 


Dairy Defined Podcast: Sustainability, in All Its Forms, Key to Dairy’s Future, Vold Says

On National Farmer’s Day, dairy farmer Suzanne Vold is highlighting dairy’s commitments to the environment and a net-zero future, noting that her colleagues are already effective stewards and are committed to doing more.

“We need to work with our partners in government. We need to work with partners in academia, dairy science departments, and agronomy departments and our colleges and universities. And we need to work with our cooperatives, the companies that process our milk into products to sell,” said Vold in the latest Dairy Defined podcast, released today. “But we have to start the work somewhere, and we have to start the work now.”

Vold, with her husband, brother-in-law and two part-time employees, runs Dorrich Dairy, a 400-cow, fourth-generation dairy farm in western Minnesota. In the podcast, she also discusses specific practices on her farm that save money and create potential revenues as well as improve water and soil health – as well as the importance of other initiatives important to dairy and agriculture, from the Dairy Margin Coverage program to rural broadband.

The full podcast is here. A transcript of the podcast is here. You can also find the podcast on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, SoundCloud and Google Play. Broadcast outlets may use the MP3 file. Please attribute information to NMPF.

‘Living The Dream’: Father-Son Dairy Farmers Keep It Small, Simple In Essex County

With schools and restaurants closed at the beginning of the pandemic, the milk industry lost some of its biggest customers. Independent producer Erica Heilman visited a small farm in Essex County to see how they are faring.

Stephen Russo and his son Stephen Russo run the Russo Farm on Route 102 in Brunswick, which is in Essex County. Stephen Sr.’s been farming this land for over 36 years, and his son has been working on it his whole life and hopes to take it over one day. They have 63 Holsteins, and they milk 30 at any given time. And they’re still milking into pails, which get dumped into holding tanks, and then the milk gets sucked up into lines that take it to the milk house.

I went up to talk with them about how they’re surviving COVID, and why size really does matter.

Here’s Stephen Jr.  

Stephen Russo Jr.: “The bulk tank holds 545 gallons. But it holds 4,800 pounds of milk. So you take the 4,800 pounds of milk, divide it by 100, and then you times that by the milk price, and that’s what you get paid.”  

Me: “What do you have to break to be OK?” 

Stephen Russo Sr.: “It costs $18 a hundred weight to make a hundred weight of milk. So if they pay ya $12, you’re going backwards, ain’t ya? But you’ve gotta be savvy.” 

Me: “And the price now of milk now is…? Or tell me about what happened through COVID to the price of milk.” 

Stephen Sr.: “Well it dropped like a rock. Went down $13. ‘Cause they said all the schools were closed, all the restaurants were closed. You know, pizza joints and stuff. It really put a damper to it. But we don’t spend a lot of money either. That makes a big difference. And we don’t buy a lot of new paint.  

Me: “Paint?” 

Stephen Sr.: “Yeah. New tractors, new equipment. When it’s brand new, you know, don’t it look shiny?… We try to run everything as long as I can. We got a real strict maintenance procedure. The other day I was weed whacking on this bank … and my [weed whacker] head fell off. And that was June 26, 2020. I went up to house and looked in my book to see when I bought it. I bought it June 26, 2000 – 20 years ago.”  

Stephen Jr.: “You gotta keep it simple, and you gotta keep it efficient as possible, so you save in the high spots and hopefully they carry you through the low spots.”  

Me: “Buy why do so many people not go that route? Why do so many try to …”  

Stephen Sr.: “They’re keeping up with the Joneses! I had a banker one time said, ‘Steve. Why don’t you build a heifer barn and milk more cows in the barn?’ I said, ‘No. I wanna sell ice cubes to Eskimos. I don’t want another barn to work in. One barn’s enough.’”  

Stephen Jr.: “When you grow your farm too big, you gotta rely on help, and the only efficient way to feed the cow is you gotta chop everything and put it through a mixer wagon.” 

Me: “So every new cow adds new complexity to how you run the business.” 

Stephen Sr.: “Well we breed our cows. So number one, when I get up, I want to look at a pretty cow. Number two, I been breeding them for quite a few years, and I want them to give a lot of milk. So I don’t want to milk over 30 cows. We milked 30 cows this morning, or last night, and we said 4,554 – 4,554 pounds of milk off 30 cows.  

“Some farmers got overextended. They got the big money on milk, and they went out buying things. We don’t buy nothing. There ain’t really too many little farms left – 30-cow farms, in Vermont. Might be. Might have some Amish. They call me Amish sometimes because I milk with buckets and stuff.

“No, they could get overextended. They could pay too much for the real estate, and you know you’re banking on this type of money for your milk check, and all of a sudden you go down, and what are you gonna do? Go borrow more money to keep your farm afloat? That’s a sinking boat.”  

Me: “Does some of this have to do with willingness to live this close to the bone?” 

Stephen Jr.: “Yeah, I mean most people don’t want to work seven days a week. Something breaks, your supper will be waiting when you get there. Suppertime isn’t always on a regular basis.”  

Me: “And it’s still worth it to you?” 

Stephen Jr.: “I’ve been doing it for 39 years. No sense in stopping now.”  

Me: “If it is such a grind, why do you keep doing it?” 

Stephen Jr.: “Pride. Heart and soul is into it. I like living off the land. You learn how to be a plumber, electrician, a mechanic, a carpenter, soil agronomist — to which grasses you put in what areas of the fields. You learn to know what the weather’s gonna do. I mean if you sit inside a building all day, you don’t experience nothing really, I don’t think.” 

Stephen Sr.: “I like it ‘cause I raise chickens — I raise meat birds and I raise laying hens, and we sell them, and then we get a pig that’s raised, and we eat that, and all the vegetables come off the land, so really we don’t really want for much.

“We didn’t even worry about toilet paper, we had so many. I mean when people had to go run in the stores and they got all panicky, I had two 23-cubit-feet freezers chock-a-block full – chicken, beef. I bought a beef from my buddy that he had, I bought half of it. That went in the freezer, nice hamburg.

“Oh yeah, we’re just living the dream. You set on the porch and watch the cars go by. But I tell you, I never seen so many New York plates as I did the last two years.”  

Me: “What are you most worried about right now?” 

Stephen Sr.: “Nothing. Just getting up every day and going to work and nobody get sick.”  

Stephen Jr.: “Same.”  

Me: “So things are bad and hard and everything but I don’t know. Things here seem pretty good here, I mean, am I right?”  

Stephen Sr.: “We think positive. We had the milkman, he comes in he says, ‘Everybody’s pissing and moaning Steve, and what are you doing?’ I said, ‘I’m living the dream!’ I mean, you can’t beat yourself up. Just go with it. You look at the cows, they’re doing the best of their ability and it’s not their fault. It’s the people that don’t know how to market the milk. The suits. They need to open up the tie. Let oxygen to the brain so they take the CS course. Common sense.” 


What exactly is milk? Depends on whom you ask.

Milk is usually white, brown with chocolate syrup, and occasionally pink. In 2020, that’s where the similarities end.

The dizzying array of milks on local supermarket shelves today comes from very different sources. Pennsylvania dairy cows are in the mix, of course, but so are California almond bushes, Upper Midwest soybeans, and Canadian oats processed in a South Jersey plant by a Swedish-based company founded by a food scientist.

Oatly, a world leader in oat milk production, opened that $15 million plant in Millville, Cumberland County, in 2018 and processes its base product there — oats and water — before adding secret ingredients.

The company is also building a plant in Ogden, Utah, and is in the process of developing U.S.-grown oats.

“Before I started this path to Oatly, I’d never heard of oat milk. I never put those two words together before,” said Mike Messersmith, president of Oatly North America.

Oatly, a Swedish-based oat milk company, opened a plant in Millville, N.J., in 2018


Oatly, a Swedish-based oat milk company, opened a plant in Millville, N.J., in 2018

Get the news you need to start your day

Dairy farmers do not think plant-based beverages should be considered milk and have fought, unsuccessfully, to get a hard definition enforced by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration and have those products moved elsewhere in the supermarket.

“There have been a number of federal and state bills where the dairy farmers are saying the legal definition of milk is an excretion of a lactating mammal,” said David Smith, executive director of the Pennsylvania Dairymen’s Association. “For people to be looking for a natural product and go to oat and almond, it just defies logic because they are all built with fortifications and additives. Milk is just natural.”

Oat milk, according to various news reports, is thicker than other plant-based milks and slightly sweeter than dairy, with, of course, a bit of an oat taste. The website said oat milk is the best alternative to dairy for baking.

The dairy industry was hurting long before the COVID-19 pandemic, with Pennsylvania seeing hundreds of farms close each year or switch to other crops. The state still has 5,730 dairy farms, the second most in the nation, but it has lost more than 1,000 over the last five years. The steepest decline came last year, when 470 dairy farms disappeared.

With schools and restaurants closed during the lockdown, many farmers were left with a glut of supply and were forced to dump milk.

“You work hard to get those cows to produce good quality milk, and then to just spread it on fields,” one dairy farmer told The Inquirer in April.

Milk prices rebounded sharply in the summer, up to $20 per hundred pounds from a low of $11 in the spring.

As the dairy industry in Pennsylvania fell on hard times, an Amish dairy farmer sold his herd in 2018, getting out of the business altogether.

Ed Hille / Special to the Inquirer

As the dairy industry in Pennsylvania fell on hard times, an Amish dairy farmer sold his herd in 2018, getting out of the business altogether.

Messersmith said Oatly was founded in the mid-1990s as an alternative for the lactose intolerant and a more climate-friendly product than dairy. The company entered the U.S. market several years ago by focusing on specialty coffee shops, where soy and almond milk were the dominant alternatives to dairy. A six-pack of 32-ounce “barista edition” Oatly milk retails for $32 on its website.

“We really got great traction early on and while it generated business for us, it also gave people a really positive first experience with oat milk through their local coffee shop and their local barista,” Messersmith said.

Hallie Zimmerman, an assistant manager at Old City Coffee on Church Street in Philadelphia, said oat milk is a standard order today.

“I guess we first started seeing it about a year ago,” Zimmerman said. “It used to be predominantly almond milk, and now it’s oat milk.”

On Wegmans’ website, a 64-ounce container is $4.99.

In July 2018, the Food and Drug Administration proposed a rule that would prohibit any manufacturer from labeling a product as milk unless it was “lacteal secretion … obtained by the complete milking of one or more healthy cows.”

“An almond doesn’t lactate,” then-FDA Commissioner Scott Gottlieb said at the time.

The Pennsylvania Farm Bureau also supports enforcement of the strict definition, contending that the current situation creates confusion, “such as believing that ‘almond milk’ is real milk with almond flavoring,” a spokesman said.

The FDA sought feedback from the public on the labeling of plant-based products and received 13,000 comments. A spokesman said the agency was considering its next steps. Meanwhile, dairy still shares shelves with plant-based products.

Along with competing against those alternatives, a segment of the dairy industry has also been trying to promote whole milk above milks with lesser fat content, such as skim or 1%. On some rural Pennsylvania roads, “Drink whole milk” or “Drink 97% fat free milk” slogans are affixed to trees or spray-painted on hay bales. The “97 Milk” movement was started by Lebanon County farmer Nelson Troutman in 2019 as a pushback against Michelle Obama’s Healthy, Hunger-Free Kids Act of 2010 that revamped school lunches and cut whole milk from most menus.

Lolly Lesher, a Berks County dairy farmer and board member of 97 Milk LLC, said the former first lady’s program simply resulted in kids drinking much less milk and, in turn, decreasing overall milk sales.

“We’ve lost a whole generation of milk drinkers,” she said.

Dairy farmer Lolly Lesher at her Way-Har Farm Market in Bernville, Berks County. She supports consumption of milk from cows.

ALEJANDRO A. ALVAREZ / Staff Photographer

Dairy farmer Lolly Lesher at her Way-Har Farm Market in Bernville, Berks County. She supports consumption of milk from cows.

Way-Har Farm Market, Lesher’s storefront in Bernville, does sell reduced-fat milk, along with chocolate and strawberry. She doesn’t sell plant-based alternatives, though, and believes those products don’t belong on the same shelves as dairy.

“It needs to be on the shelf with juices,” she said.

Oat milk and other plant-based alternatives aren’t going anywhere, a welcome boom for vegans, vegetarians, and people with lactose intolerance. Messersmith said supermarkets are simply responding to consumer demand.

“Cow’s milk, ice cream, and dairy-based yogurts are still far and away the largest owners of that shelf space,” he said. “There’s shifting consumer preference for more plant-based options. People are more cognizant of their choices, how it affects the climate, and it’s shifting how the grocery store works.”

Dairy farmer Lolly Lesher in the dairy section at her Way-Har Farm Market in Bernville, Berks County. She doesn’t sell plant-based alternatives such as almond and oat milk, and believes they don’t belong on the same shelves as dairy products.

ALEJANDRO A. ALVAREZ / Staff Photographer

Dairy farmer Lolly Lesher in the dairy section at her Way-Har Farm Market in Bernville, Berks County. She doesn’t sell plant-based alternatives such as almond and oat milk, and believes they don’t belong on the same shelves as dairy products.


New Heifer Trait in December Announced by CDCB

A new trait, Heifer Livability, will be introduced with the December 1 genetic evaluations.

Genetic progress has been on-going to improve livability in milking herds, with Cow Livability initiated in August 2016. With the new Heifer Livability evaluation on the horizon, the prospects are bright for doing more of the same for calves and yearlings. Genomic evaluation of this trait will increase profitability, and even more importantly will improve animal health and welfare – which will enrich the industry’s image with the public.

Leveraging the National Cooperators Database maintained by CDCB, disposal codes were studied from 3.4 million heifer records of all breeds with birth dates between 2009 and 2016. Differences in breeds and sires confirmed the presence of a genetic component for heifer livability. The mean recorded death loss was 4%, based on deaths between two days of age and when the heifer left the herd, or until the maximum imposed of 18 months. (Stillbirths and deaths in the first two days were excluded as they are accounted for in stillbirth evaluations.)

Genomic predicted transmitting abilities (GPTA) for Heifer Livability in Holsteins ranged from   ̶ 1.6% to +1.6% and had a standard deviation (SD) of 0.5%. GPTAs for Jersey ranged from   ̶ 0.5% to +0.5% and had a SD of 0.2%. Normally about two-thirds of the observations fall within one SD.

The reliabilities (accuracies) for young animals with genomic tests averaged 46% for Holsteins and 30% for Jerseys. The accuracies for traditional parent average averaged 16% and 12%, respectively, which would be typical for those without genomic tests.

The BV trend for Heifer Livability was +1.4 for HO and +0.7 for JE between birth years 2010 and 2015, corresponding to the other base changes reported recently. Heifer Livability had a favorable genetic trend in recent years, likely because of selection for correlated traits. Correlations of Heifer Livability were 0.44 with productive life, 0.34 to 0.36 with yield traits, and 0.36 with early first calving on proven Holstein bulls. When the Net Merit index is next updated (in 2021), Heifer Livability could get 1% of emphasis.

Click here for the complete story, including future developments in heifer health and livability data.

Source: CDCB

The Importance of the Dairy Industry in 2020 With Leading Experts in the Era of COVID-19

Tell our readers about the reach of the dairy industry, what they might not be aware of in terms of populations served and livelihoods supported?

Donald Moore (Executive Director of the Global Dairy Platform, which works to promote the nutrient richness of dairy products, bring balance and research to the role of milk fat in the diet and provide clarity on how dairy is managing its relationship with the environment):

In 2015, Global Dairy Platform (GDP) worked with the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) of the United Nations to determine just how far the dairy sector reaches, the people’s lives we impact. We all knew it was a big industry, but we didn’t know just how big.

They [the FAO] determined that there were 133 million dairy farms in the world. That’s a big number and it also conveys a lot in terms of the families that rely on the industry and the importance behind the nutrition dairy provides.

However, beyond the numbers, let’s talk scale – Based here in the U.S., we tend to think of dairy farms as reasonably large-scale, but in reality, the average dairy farm around the world hosts about three cows. Dairy farms are located in virtually every country in the world, including some small island nations and countries in the Middle East where you would assume the conditions weren’t viable for dairy, yet there they are.

There are some 600 million people living on those dairy farms around the world and if you take into account people who work upstream and downstream from the dairy farm, there’s another 400 million people whose livelihoods depend upon dairy.

We often talk about dairy as being a ‘billion-person community’, so suffice it to say, we support the livelihoods of one billion people, plus.

There are some 240 million full time jobs created by the dairy sector; of those jobs, approximately 80 million are held by women, so it’s a sector that actually has quite a large gender population balance. Of the 133 million dairy farms, 37 million are led by women. One of the things that we like to talk about is the role that dairy can play in bringing gender equality to the global agriculture and livestock sectors.

Jay Waldvogel (Senior Vice President, Strategy- Dairy Farmers of America): Around the world, annually, there are some six billion people who consume dairy. Now obviously, some consume more than others, but six billion people from a consumer perspective are aware of, are touched by, or have some relationship with dairy when it comes to their nutritional intake.

Donald Moore: Roughly ten percent of the world’s protein comes from the dairy sector. In many parts of the world, people lack protein in their diets. One of the things about the dairy sector that I admire is that it provides high-quality protein as well as many other micronutrients that are essential for healthy growth.

Margaret Munene (Co-founder of Palmhouse Dairies and a founding trustee of the Palmhouse Foundation): The Global Dairy Platform ultimately brings the global dairy sector together on a pre-competitive basis, to build evidence on dairy’s impact in a sustainable food system and significant role in the future of food. GDP membership includes more than 95 leading corporations, companies, associations, scientific bodies and other partners. GDP’s members have operations in more than 150 countries around the world and it’s important to note also, that GDP members collectively produce a third of all the world’s milk.

In times of crisis, such as this ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, we often talk about maintaining security by maintaining supply. Tell me about the security of supply pertaining to the dairy industry and its commitment to sustainable food systems…

Donald Moore: Sustainable food systems is a term very much de rigueur at the moment. We’ve been promoting the idea that you need to think about a food system in its totality. Some people started maybe six, seven years ago talking about sustainable diets. Yet diet is just one piece of the food system puzzle.

If you think about agricultural land around the world,  approximately 70 percent of agricultural land is regarded as marginal land. In other words, it’s not land where you can plough and plant beans, corn, wheat, or anything else. It’s land that only becomes part of a productive food system when it’s grazed. So, the way we make that a useful contributor to the food system is by grazing it, either with dairy cows or buffalo, goat, sheep, a herd of some form. Those animals then turn that land into nutritious food that humans can consume.

In many parts of the developing world, livestock ownership can be the difference between dietary security / nutritional security and nutritional insecurity. We as a sector remain concerned about some of the discussions that go on at the moment about plants versus animals. We need to leverage all the tools that are available to secure nutrition for future generations. That includes making sure that all of this marginal land is being used as optimally as possible. Food security requires both plants AND animals.

That doesn’t mean that we as a dairy sector have not got our challenges. We recognize our sustainability challenges and have done a lot of work to improve the sustainability performance and the sustainability credentials of the dairy sector.

What is the Global Daily Platform’s approach then to this commitment to sustainability?

Jay Waldvogel: Let’s start at the very beginning when the Global Dairy Platform was created nearly 15 years ago. At that point in time, we were, fairly, being criticized for our environmental footprint. There wasn’t a lot of attention globally on it and it wasn’t that dairy farming necessarily was consciously bad, we just weren’t being as consciously good as we could have been.

Donald Moore: Since GDP’s inception, we’ve been doing a lot of work on how we improve dairy’s sustainability performance.

Together with the global dairy sector, we developed the Dairy Sustainability Framework (DSF) to track 11 strategic criteria to report on the progress dairy is making in areas such as greenhouse gas emissions, animal care, water quality, soil nutrients, among others.

The really good news is that we are seeing continuous improvement in dairy’s sustainability performance. For instance, analysis conducted by FAO found dairy’s emission intensity, or the volume of greenhouse gas emitted per kilogram of product, declined 11% from 2005-2015.

GDP has also been tackling how best we can help the developing world improve similar to, or perhaps even more so than the so-called developed world. If you think about greenhouse gasses, from here in the U.S. or in Europe, we produce roughly 1.2 to 1.4 kilograms of greenhouse gas per kilogram of dairy product produced. In parts of Africa, that’s somewhere between 12 to 18 kilograms of greenhouse gas per kilogram of product produced. So we recognize the opportunity for us to enhance the practices in the developing world and in doing so, reduce the environmental impacts of the dairy sector as a whole while improving farmer livelihoods and farm outcomes.

Margaret Munene: The dairy industry is also truly committed to taking the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) from theory to reality.

Clearly, when farmers have cows, they have milk, which is nutritious and provides them with Vitamin A and protein, among other impactful nutrients. From the milk those farmers sell, they now have the capital to purchase other foods. A cow also, importantly, produces manure which farmers use to fertilize their land, to produce other crops.

So, dairy farmers are often not hungry farmers. I have seen it with the many farmers I work with; they have money in their pockets. They can do many, many things, and actually have better livelihoods. Because they have money, they can take their children to school. Then they have bank accounts and from them, can acquire micro-credit loans. They can improve their herds and therefore, their lives cyclically actually become much better.

I see dairy as a very important sector, driving sustainable development in the developing world and also in the developed world.

Jay Waldvogel: We have an incredible commitment to improving collectively as an industry across numerous metrics. I think if you were to talk to the people at the UN and other agencies about how dairy is pursuing this versus other sectors, you’ll find we’re quite ahead of the curve.

It doesn’t mean we’re perfect at it. It doesn’t mean we’ve got it all solved, but we know our challenges, we know what we need to do, and we’re really actively engaged in measuring and understanding how we can get better.

How has the COVID-19 (coronavirus) pandemic impacted the operations of the global dairy sector?

Donald Moore: In some of the more developed countries, there have been challenges to our value chain because of the amount of dairy product that was previously going into food service; in restaurants, hotels, schools, etc. So, in that channel, the impact has been significant.

On the other side of the coin, however, consumer buying at a retail level had increased quite markedly. It hasn’t made up for losses in the food service area, mind you.

It is difficult for the sector to transition quickly from making 25-kilogram boxes of shredded cheese intended for the foodservice channel, for example, to putting that cheese into consumer-friendly sized packages for retail shelves.

The developing world didn’t really feel the challenge in the same way that those in the more developed world marketsdid. In the developing world, their challenges were probably more around transporting milk to processing facilities and so on.

Jay Waldvogel: While we had this rather painful moment immediately after COVID-19 broke out here in the U.S., today, we’re actually seeing a forward trajectory that is in fact quite positive, as people are reintroduced to dairy, reintroduced to its flexibility and nutrition and are reintroduced to the fact that there’s an awful lot of dairy products that actually taste quite good!

Margaret Munene: I think for me, COVID-19 has shown us how fragile supply chains can be within the global food system. It has spotlighted that disruption in one link can hurt many other links of the supply chain. And this is not just relegated to the dairy industry. This is, I think, applicable to all sectors for food and nutrition, including meat, fruits, and vegetables.

We run a dairy processing company in rural Kenya, for example. There, we partner with 500 small-scale farmers. Notably, 85% of those farmers are women. We collect milk, process it to make yogurt, and send that yogurt to the very high-end markets of Nairobi. However, at the moment, Nairobi’s five-star hotels and major restaurants have almost come to a standstill. And therefore there has been market disruption throughout, especially for processing companies.

But all is not lost, because we remain adaptive and very innovative. The dairy sector is well-positioned for the future because we are dealing with a product with a high nutritional value and now, more than ever, we need nutritional products like milk to boost our immune systems.

Milk is safe, it is nutritious, it is affordable, and therefore, looking into the future and past COVID-19, though there has been a disruption today, tomorrow still looks bright for the dairy industry.

Where do you envision the global dairy sector in the future?

Donald Moore: I see the dairy sector becoming more effective, more efficient.

From an industry perspective, we really see a bright future for the role that dairy plays. Milk consumption around the world continues to grow at just under two percent per annum. When you consider the size of the dairy sector, two percent is enormous growth in terms of volume.

We’re also actively involved in an initiative we call, “Dairy Nourishes Africa (‘DNA’)”. The idea behind this initiative is to use the dairy sector in such a way that we can tackle the issues of childhood malnutrition.

About 30% of children under the age of five in certain African countries suffer from malnutrition and particularly stunting and wasting. Wasting you can recover from, with appropriate intervention, but stunting is something that has very long-term effects.

Making sure that a child under the age of five has adequate nutrition and high-quality protein in their diet is extremely important to alleviate stunting. We’re looking at how we can use the dairy sector to help tackle those kinds of issues of malnutrition.

We have a series of pilots, which we’ve just literally in the last few weeks signed off on, which will happen in Tanzania and those pilots are intended to enhance the productivity of the sector, make milk more available locally, and for it to then be directed into school nutrition programs.

[To Margaret’s previous point], we are focused on the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and how the dairy sector can help to address those key challenges. With regard to our ongoing collaboration with FAO, we [GDP] developed a research paper in conjunction with them 18 months ago about the impact that the dairy sector has on reducing poverty, which is SDG-1. Earlier this year, GDP again collaborated with FAO to publish a paper on SDG-2, emphasizing dairy’s role in ending hunger.  And we’re in the process at the moment of preparing a paper on the impact that dairy has on disadvantaged groups; in particular, women and youth, and the role that dairy can [and already] plays in reducing inequalities.

So, there’s quite an active role that we think the dairy sector can take in helping to deliver on some of the key issues that are affecting society at large.

Jay Waldvogel: Dairy will play a lead role going forward. The question is, how big a role?

If dairy continues to improve on its environmental footprint, and I believe it will, if we can help explain to people the holistic impact dairy provides, this food system approach where you take into account, not just the impact you have environmentally, not just the nutritional benefits you bring, but those greater, critical societal issues, those economic issues, then dairy has an opportunity to remain a vital part of society going forward.

Margaret Munene: When you consider all that dairy provides, the nutrition and its health benefits, serving as a driving force for social and economic development in the process and taking into account further the progress that the sector is making in terms of reducing its impact on the planet; for me, I see the future of dairy looking extremely positive.

Dairy is a critically important sector in many ways; I really can’t imagine a future without dairy.


Farm Bill change, COVID-19 cost dairy farmers millions

The 2018 farm bill modified milk pricing rules to facilitate improved risk management for beverage milk processors, cooperatives and dairy farmers.

While the goal of improving risk management was achieved, American Farm Bureau Federation Chief Economist John Newton says the change cost dairy farmers millions of dollars.

“It got rid of what was the higher-of, in the pricing formula, and replaced it with a simple average of the Class III and IV milk prices. And because of COVID-19 price volatility that milk price is a lot lower than what it would have been otherwise, to the effect of around $400 million in lost revenue for dairy farmers.”

He adds it was something that was to provide new risk management tools for the beverage milk industry to allow them to use futures contracts for milk to hedge their beverage milk price risks, but unfortunately because of COVID-19 price volatility, it revealed some of the unintended consequences on farmer income.

Source: NAFB News Service

Dairy Margin Coverage Program Enrollment for 2021 Opens Oct. 13

The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) will begin accepting applications for the Dairy Margin Coverage (DMC) program on Tuesday, October 13, 2020 for 2021 enrollment.

“This year has been a market roller coaster for the dairy industry, and the Dairy Margin Coverage program is a valuable tool dairy producers can use to manage risk,” said Bill Northey, USDA’s Under Secretary for Farm Production and Conservation, during a roundtable at a dairy in Chippewa Falls, Wisconsin. “We were excited to roll out this new and improved program through the 2018 Farm Bill, and if you haven’t enrolled in previous years, we highly encourage you to check it out.”

Signup runs through Dec. 11, 2020. DMC is a voluntary risk management program that offers protection to dairy producers when the difference between the all-milk price and the average feed price (the margin) falls below a certain dollar amount selected by the producer. DMC payments triggered for seven months in 2019 and three months so far in 2020. More than 23,000 operations enrolled in DMC in 2019, and more than 13,000 in 2020.

Updated Dairy Decision Tool

To determine the appropriate level of coverage for a specific dairy operation, producers can utilize the recently updated online dairy decision tool. The decision tool is designed to assist producers with calculating total premium costs and administrative fees associated with participation in DMC. An informational video is available, too.

Improvements to the decision tool, made in cooperation with representatives from the University of Minnesota and University of Wisconsin, include historical analysis that illustrates what DMC indemnity payments might have been had the program been available over the previous two decades. The analysis indicates that over the course of time, DMC payments made to producers exceed premiums paid. These decision tool enhancements provide a more comprehensive decision support experience for producers considering DMC.

Additional Support for Dairy Producers

In addition to DMC, USDA offers a variety of programs that have helped dairy producers, including insurance, disaster assistance, and conservation programs. Most recently, the Coronavirus Food Assistance Program 1 provided $1.75 billion in direct relief to dairy producers who faced price declines and additional marketing costs due to COVID-19 in early 2020. Now, signup is underway for the Coronavirus Food Assistance Program 2, which provides another round of assistance for dairy producers and many other eligible producers.

More Information

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

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

Will Australian supermarkets make their own milk?

US grocery giant Walmart is opening its own dairy processing plant supplying milk to 500 stores, and perhaps modelling a next-step pathway for Australian supermarkets.

Walmart will take milk at the Indiana plant from 25 farms, produce half-gallon and gallon containers of whole and skim milk products under its private label brand, US reports say.

“It’s our first entry into food production,” Walmart spokeswoman Molly Blakeman told reporters.

Will Australian supermarkets follow suit and invest vertically?

They will need to invest more in processing plants if they wanted a decently reliable supply chain under such terms, particularly after suppliers have taken a battering due to low prices driven by the supermarkets.

The current practice is for Coles and Woolworths to enter a number of 10-year supply agreements with a variety of processors.

Also, Walmart in this case also got about $US4 million in start-up tax credits, partly tied to hiring plans, as well as a $US10.7 million saving over 10 years thanks to further tax abatements, US reports say.

What are Aussie farmers doing to counter price pressures?

A group of Victorian dairy farmers is trying to reclaim bargaining power in a fight for a better milk price by offering processors a collective pool of milk.

The farmers, based in northern Victoria, are concerned about the future of the dairy industry and have decided to act and form a collective bargaining group, United We Stand.

In less than a month, the group has had 85 million litres of milk pledged from more than 40 farmers, who supply the major processors Fonterra and Saputo as well as Australian Consolidated Milk, Tatura and Parmalat.


Duncan Mackenzie Winner Ralph Gushee Passes

Our condolences to the Ralph Gushee family on his recent passing.  Ralph was the Duncan Mackenzie award at WDE in 2006 and has been a fixture in the dairy industry his entire life . A full obituary will be posted when it becomes available. 

More space for climate and cow in dairy barn

Future stables are expected to be more in line with the natural behavior of cows, climate control, limiting emissions, reuse of waste, quality of manure and capital efficiency. That says Paul Galama of Wageningen Livestock Research. Together with colleagues and an international team of scientists, he mapped out stables of the future.

The aforementioned factors, including climate control, the behavior of cows and the reuse of waste, influence each other. That is why, according to the researchers, it is important to make a conscious decision. A larger house leads to higher construction costs, an adapted landscape and possibly higher emissions. For example, bedded pack barns seem to be good for animal welfare due to the large amount of space, less ammonia emission and longer cow life.

What options does a farmer have?

The first important consideration is: how much space do I want to give my cows (see figure). In a bedded pack barn, the space to lie is about 4x as much as in a cubicle barn. If the cows were to graze all day, you could even use this space for horticulture, pigs or chickens. A multifunctional building. Another consideration is which fertilizer products fit my company. Floors that separate manure into faeces and manure and a cow toilet offer opportunities to limit emissions and fertilize more precisely on grassland and arable land. Bedded pack stables with wood chips, sawdust, elephant grass or sea grass as a soil material offer opportunities to produce manure with a lot of organic matter.

What now?

The main challenge is to see the barn more as part of a business system, because it has an impact on the entire business and manure chain of barn, storage and use. It must fit in with the vision of nature management, closing cycles, precise agriculture and appreciation by society. There are still many technical challenges. Think of: low-emission and easily walkable floors, techniques of manure removal and storage, alternative free-run bottoms, sustainable building material, flaring of methane or floating stables with maximum use of residual flows from nearby cities.

The “Multi climate” building is a sketch by architect Sprecher that needs further thought. Galama finds this a very interesting challenge. The idea is to capture the air in the barn or free-stall barn or the air from manure basements and blow it through the soil material in the free-wheeling area. The free lying and walking area for the cows can then be used even more as a biofilter.

In any case, the researchers believe that combining stable systems and innovations is the future. “There are already many techniques available to reduce emissions in existing houses.” Galama says, “We expect more physical space for natural animal behavior is win-win for farmers and animals.”


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