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

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

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

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

Now, wholesale cheese prices have tripled what they were.

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

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

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

71-year-old saved from grain bin

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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



Alice Cooper Brand Chocolate Milk is Coming

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

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

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

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

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

Source: Rock95

NCBA hits back at new Burger King campaign

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

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

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


National Dairy Shrine Announces Lancaster Sophomore Scholarships

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

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

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

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

Sarah Lehner of Delaware, Ohio. Photo provided.

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

Gaelan Combs of Verona, Wisconsin. Photo provided.

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

Matthias Annexstad of St Peter, Minnesota. Photo provided.

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

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

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

Hilltop Acres Farm Recognized by National Association

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Despite general improvements, conditions remain varied across the country.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


Cozy Nook Farm Recognized by National Association

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

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

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

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

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

Brown Swiss Association Names Award Winners

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Checkoff Support Helps Taco Bell Launch Menu Items

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

For more information about the dairy checkoff, visit

Farming safely through COVID-19

Farms, ranches, and other production agriculture worksites are essential to powering America’s food supply chain. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and U.S. Department of Labor have introduced joint guidelines and accompanying checklists to help agricultural employers keep workers safe and healthy while continuing to work during the COVID-19 outbreak.

The diverse nature of agriculture in the United States means that older teens and young children can also be found in ag work sites, some of which are family-owned and not subject to labor laws. The National Children’s Center for Rural and Agricultural Health and Safety worked with colleagues at CDC/National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health to ensure that special conditions for children were addressed in the new guidance document.

“Taking children to a work site not only exposes them to the hazards in the environment, but also distracts adults from their tasks, increasing the risk of injury for children and adults,” said Barbara Lee, Ph.D., director of the National Children’s Center, Marshfield Clinic Research Institute.

Child supervision challenges have been further exacerbated by the COVID-19 pandemic, with many child care centers and schools closed, and activities canceled.

“We hear from parents who are juggling farm work, off-farm work, home-schooling and child care,” Lee said. “And yet, children are still depending on adults to keep them safe.”

The CDC recommends these guidelines regarding children:

  • Advise farmworkers to continue sending their children to child care while they are working at the farm, if possible. Please see: Guidance for Child Care Programs that Remain Open.
  • Establish and enforce policies for farmworkers that restrict children from work sites. If child care programs and K-12 schools are not open, the work site is not an acceptable alternative.
  • Even when homes and work sites overlap, continue to restrict children from the work site.
  • If youth farmworkers are hired, ensure you are following labor laws and assigning age-appropriate tasks, including as required by child labor regulations at 29 CFR Part 570.
  • For hired youth, provide extra supervision and guidance, especially highlighting protection methods to minimize their exposure to COVID-19.

The National Children’s Center has produced a child-specific checklist to help parents and other responsible adults ensure that children are kept safe on the farm.

Click here for full release.

National Dairy Shrine Names New Executive Director

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Support Hungry Albertans and the Stampede Spirit with a Click

Alberta Milk and Dare Foods Ltd. are keeping the Calgary Stampede spirit alive by continuing to pledge their support to feed hungry Albertans by transitioning the Milk and Cookies Shack that’s normally found on the Stampede midway to online. Everyone can help support those in need from the comfort of their own home. The groups have committed to donating the cash equivalent of a serving of milk and a Dare Wagon Wheel to the Calgary Food Bank for every share or like the post receives on the Alberta Milk Facebook page. The campaign will run for the duration of Stampede, July 3-12, 2020.

“These are uncertain times right now for a lot of Albertans, but local dairy farmers are proud to give back to our communities” says Alberta Milk Chair and dairy farmer Tom Kootstra. “Now more than ever we need to come together and support each other.”

“Dare Foods has a longstanding partnership with Alberta Milk and the Calgary Stampede, providing Stampede attendees with a fun spin on a classic refreshment – a glass of milk and delicious Wagon Wheels cookies – with all proceeds going to the Calgary Food Bank to reduce food insecurity in local communities. Fortunately, this partnership can continue this year, keeping the Stampede spirit alive by taking our Milk and Cookies shack virtual,” says Scott Chapman, brand manager at Dare Foods.

“The Milk and Cookies Shack is so much more than a place to get a great treat on the Stampede midway,” says Dana Peers, president and chairman of the Stampede Board, “for years it has also been supporting the fight against hunger.”

“The Calgary Food Bank is grateful for the continuous support of Alberta Milk each year during Stampede. Typically, we see donations taper off during the summer months, so the Milk and Cookie Shack comes at a wonderful time. Over the years, they’ve donated more than $200,000 in much needed food and funds to ensure that no Calgarian goes hungry,” says Shawna Ogston, communications and media relations supervisor at the Calgary Food Bank.

About the Shack For over 20 years, the Milk and Cookies Shack at the Calgary Stampede has offered a single serving of milk and a cookie for $2 for Calgary Stampede goers. All the proceeds from the Shack are donated to the Calgary Food Bank totalling over $206,000 since 2003 (data prior to 2003 is not available).

How to Help the Hungry
To donate a serving of milk and a Dare Wagon Wheel to the Calgary Food Bank, go here and simply hit the “share” or “like” button on the post. The donation amount of each has a value of about $2. The maximum donation value is $14,000.

Can we get a Ya Hoo?!

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Concerns continue to mount 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Source: Food Dive

Farmer sentiment rebounds amid ongoing COVID-19 concerns

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

About the Purdue University Center for Commercial Agriculture

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

About CME Group

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

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

About Purdue University

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

Writer: Torrie Sheridan, 765-496-6032,

Source: James Mintert, 765-494-7004,

Media Contacts:

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

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

Related websites:

Purdue University Center for Commercial Agriculture

CME Group

Agricultural Communications: 765-494-8415;

Maureen Manier, Department Head,  

Agriculture News Page

Iowa farm billionaire’s companies receive US pandemic aid

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Read more about this story here

May Margin Triggers Dairy Margin Coverage Program Payment

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

New Zealand’s first carbon-zero milk launches

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


Meyers Recognized by National Association

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Saving family dairy farms benefits all of us

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


Vilsack says U.S. Dairy “Cautious” About USMCA

After years of negotiations, the U.S.-Mexico-Canada Agreement (USMCA) has finally replaced NAFTA.

One of the biggest agricultural sticking points between the U.S. and Canada was dairy. U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer said that he will ensure Canada will live up to its promise for dairy reforms.

That sentiment is backed by U.S. Dairy Export Council (USDEC) CEO and former Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack.

“He needs to keep a close eye on the Canadians because what they have announced and what they intend to do with reference to these tariff quotas does not appear to us to be consistent with the spirit of the letter of the USMCA.”

In June, both USDEC and the National Milk Producers Federation (NMPF) criticized Canada’s allocation of tariff-rate quotas under the agreement. Vilsack said the goal of USMCA was to open the market to U.S. products for retail and the food chain.

“It appears as if the Canadians are trying to steer these quotas into the current system that provides for a limited number of purchasers of products who don’t potentially need the product that we are now having a greater access for. The result would mean potentially fewer sales anticipated.”

The Dairy Export Council and NMPF are asking the U.S. government to hold Canada accountable to enforce USMCA provisions as they were intended.

“There’s demand out there for our product, but if we have to funnel it through the existing system, essentially we don’t necessarily get our product sold in the levels we think they’ve been called for. This is a wake-up call—this is an opportunity for us to see how the USMCA is different than NAFTA in the sense that there is a provision that allows our government to call into question the performance and implementation.”

The dairy industry is looking for business opportunities across the world. However, Vilsack said there is an air of caution within the industry on USMCA.

“The bottom line here is that we’re excited about the implementation of USMCA,” he said. “We think that if it’s implemented as intended, it will result in additional market access. It’s important to keep an eye on our Canadian friends because they’ve done this before with other trade agreements where they’ve redefined the implementation stage in agreement which gives us less access than we thought.”


Madison Dyment Wins National Dairy Shrine Kildee Scholarship

The National Dairy Shrine is pleased to announce the recipient of the Kildee scholarship for 2020. This scholarship has been awarded since 1950 to an outstanding graduate student in a dairy related field. Dean H.H. Kildee was a renowned educator at Iowa State University and this scholarship honors his great service to the future of the dairy industry.

Receiving a H.H. Kildee Graduate Studies $3,000 Scholarship is Madison Dyment of Lexington, Kentucky. Laura attended the University of Kentucky and will be entering graduate school at the Ohio State University in Agricultural Communications. Madison has been very successful in dairy cattle judging as a youth and in 2019 was the high individual in oral reasons and high individual overall at the National Intercollegiate Dairy Cattle Judging Contest. Ms. Dyment has been an excellent student belonging to the Phi Sigma Theta Honor Society and the UK Chellgren Fellows Honors Program. Madison’s ultimate goal is to become a professor in agricultural communications at a Canadian University. She would like to train future agriculture communication advocates throughout Canada.

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

The Red & White Dairy Cattle Association Welcomes new Board Members

The Red & White Dairy Cattle Association would like to welcome their new board members, Nick Randle, and Graisson Schmidt. With these new board members joining, we thank Bonnie Van Dyk, and Jason Miley for their six-year commitment to the breed and the RWDCA members.

Nick Randle, Sterling, Massachusetts

Nick is a Red and White breeder from central Indiana now residing in Massachusetts with his wife, Ashley. Growing up on a dairy farm in Indiana is where he established his passion for Holstein genetics. Nick and his family own and operate Starlight Genetics (Prefix: STAR-GEN). They exhibit their cattle Nationally and are fortunate to have achieved success in their breeding stock and in the show ring. Nick is a graduate of Cornell University and works for Zoetis as their Marketing Manager of Dairy Genetics in the US. When not attending cattle events, Nick and Ashley enjoy traveling the country and abroad.

Graisson Schmidt, Riverdale, California

Graisson is from Riverdale, Calif., where he lives with his wife Mandy. They own and operate Grai-Rose Cattle Co. where they have bred, owned, or sold numerous All-American and All-Canadian Holstein and Red and White Holstein Nominees. Graisson manages the show cattle and boarding business for RuAnn Genetics. He is a big part of their genetic marketing team and works very closely with donors and individual matings in the RuAnn Genetics herd.

Prior to being employed at RuAnn Genetics, Graisson worked as a professional cattle fitter for ten years. As a fitter, Graisson traveled throughout North America preparing some of the top cattle in the industry. He was honored at the 2019 Western Spring National Holstein Show as the recipient of the Al Hay Memorial Award. Graisson grew up on his family’s 50 cow Registered Holstein farm, Indies-View Holsteins, in Melrose, Wis. Indies-View exhibited their cattle at the county, state, and national level; which helped Graisson develop his passion for the Holstein Industry.

Provided by: RWDCA

Holstein Marketplace Sires Seeking Potential New Bulls

Holstein Marketplace Sires, which provides a unique avenue for Holstein breeders to market their own genetics, is seeking potential new bulls for their line-up. Under the program, bull owners retain ownership of the bulls, and Holstein Marketplace Sires coordinates marketing and sales.

Ideal candidates are genomic tested bulls with strong genetic merit, deep maternal pedigrees, and free of haplotypes impacting fertility and any other undesirable genetic conditions. Holstein breeders with interest in submitting a bull for consideration should contact Jodi Hoynoski ( or 800.952.5200 ext. 4261) with the bull’s name and registration number by August 1.

To see the strong line-up of Holstein Marketplace Sires available today, visit The site features complete pedigree and genetic information with many generations of photos from their maternal lines, and commentary from the bull owners.


Cheesemakers Across Virginia Are Using Dairy Proceeds to Raise Money for Black Farmers

A group of cheesemakers and cheesemongers from Virginia and West Virginia is organizing a week-long fundraising effort to support the social justice movement rising across in the country. Drawing inspiration from Bakers Against Racism, the worldwide virtual bake sale that started in D.C. and collectively raised more than $1.85 million, members of the Virginia Cheese Guild are pledging to donate a portion of their sales from July 12 through July 18 to support Black farmers and other anti-racist causes of their choice.

“We have a major racial justice issue in this country, one that we all must pitch in and deal with before it gets worse,” says Kat Feete, a cheesemaker at Meadow Creek Dairy in southwestern Virginia. “We live in a rural community, so spreading the word and donating is our best option [for] showing our support for this necessary change.”

According to research Megan Horst conducted at Portland State University, from 2012 to 2014 white people in America generated 98 percent of all farm-related income from land ownership and 97 percent of the income that comes from operating farms. From 1920 to 2012, the percentage Black owner-operators dropped from 14 percent to 1.5 percent. Structural racism against Black farmers has manifested in the form of discriminatory laws, a lack of labor protections, and unequal funding.

In Virginia, each cheesemaker and monger has come up with their own giveback. Meadow Creek will donate 20 percent of sales of its newest cheese, an extra-aged Appalachian, to F.A.R.M.S., a nonprofit dedicated to helping Black farmers keep their land. The Appalachian cheese is made with the milk of Jersey cows that roam the mountainous region. It debuts in Meadow Creek’s online store next week.

Cheesemaker Molly Kroiz, an eighth-generation farmer at George’s Mill in Loudoun County, says supporting the Black farming community feels especially important right now. The farm will donate a quarter of its sales at the Takoma Park Farmers Market to the Southeast African American Farmers Organic Network (SAAFON), an organization that supports Black farmers in the South. Sara Adduci, cheesemonger at Belmont Butchery in Richmond, will give SAAFON 100 percent of proceeds from sales of its Jùscht, a tender, rich, raw cow’s milk cheese from Switzerland.

Ballerino Creamery in Staunton will donate proceeds from sales of its Starfall cheese to Soulfire Farm, a which has an anti-racist mission and claims a BIPOC (Black, indigenous, or other people of color) ownership group. Twenty Paces, a four-person, raw-milk dairy and creamery in Charlottesville, will donate 25 percent of sales of its Round Bale cheese to Sylvanaqua Farms, a BIPOC-owned farm in Virginia’s Northern Neck.

Caromont Farm cheesemaker Gail Hobbs-Page, who first came up with the idea for the fundraiser several weeks ago, pledges 5 percent of next week’s total sales to the Randolph Farm at Virginia State University, a historically black, land-grant university in Petersburg, just south of Richmond. She hopes the effort won’t end there.

“This is just the beginning of a sustained initiative to support people of color in our industry,” Hobbs-Page says. She points out she doesn’t know of a single Black cheesemaker in America with ownership stake in a creamery, and she’s been a fixture on the artisanal cheese scene since 2007.

Hobbs-Page is hoping this fundraiser will shine a light on the issue and encourage people within the industry to create more opportunities for Black cheesemakers, cheesemongers, and dairy farmers. She also plans to work with VSU to provide education and mentoring, including learning days on the farm for BIPOC students who are interested in tending to animals and cheesemaking.

This grassroots approach relies on each participant to identify their own way to make a meaningful contribution toward identifying and dismantling systemic racism. To that end, queer-owned Clover Top Creamery in Charlottesville will take a different approach: For the week of the fundraiser, cheesemaker Madison Horn will use her platform on social media to highlight Black-owned businesses in her area. Horn says by dedicating her accounts to representing others, she can make an impact “without centering myself and without being performative.”

At the end of the week, Clover Top will make a donation to The Okra Project, which funds meals for the Black trans community, regardless of the week’s sales.

The Virginia Cheese Guild is hosting a Facebook event page where it will provide updates and information about the participating cheesemakers and mongers throughout the week. Other listed participants include Main Street Farmstead(Stuarts Draft); Culpepper Cheese Co., and Shepherd’s Whey Creamery (Martinsburg, West Virginia, Leesburg Farmers Market on Saturday, Dupont Circle Farmers Market on Sunday)


Wis. Dairy State Cheese factory owner convicted of stealing more than $20,000 from 83 farmers

The owner of Wisconsin Dairy State Cheese Company was convicted in federal court for stealing $21,250.97 from 83 farmers in Wood County.

Michael Moran was sentenced to one year of probation, 100 hours of community service, and more than $9,000 in fines and other costs.

The clerk of courts received the money Moran stole, which will go back to the farmers who are owed the restitution. Moran then owes a $5,000 fine, plus applicable fees, costs, surcharges, which total about $9,442.65.

“I’m proud of the work Wisconsin Department of Justice did to get justice for these hard-working Wisconsinites,” said Attorney General Kaul. “This case has ensured that 83 farmers got the money they were owed and hopefully will deter future theft from Wisconsin dairy farmers.”

Moran was convicted of forging the names of farmers on underpayment checks. He then would take the checks and put them in the cash register at the cheese store in Rudolph and use them for himself.

“Processors, such as cheese plants, write underpayment checks to producers, such as dairy farmers, when the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) sets the price of milk higher than what a processor initially paid for the milk. USDA auditors determine the amount of underpayment and order processors to issue the underpayment checks,” the Wisconsin Department of Justice stated.


Reese Dairy Farm closes after 70 years

Many of his herd are related to the original cow that started the farm, Reese said. And that cow’s DNA was shared around the world — its offspring were shipped all over the U.S. and overseas to Ecuador, Trinidad, Chile, Puerto Rico, Mexico and Turkey. Reese hopes with more time in retirement, he might be able to visit the farms where his herd has landed. At the very least, the ones in the U.S., he said.

“Running a dairy farm is a seven-days-a-week operation,” Reese said. “I never had a day off. Now I’d like to go see some bigger farms out west.”

Reese is also looking forward to fewer 2 a.m. calls when there’s trouble during the early milking.

Over the decades, Reese Dairy Farm weathered many changes to the dairy industry and a decline in the industry in North Carolina. Milk prices have dropped, making it difficult to make a living, Reese said. Still, the toughest challenges have come from changing and increasing regulations, Reese said.

“The regulations have taken a lot of fun out of it,” he said.

The farm let him spend time with his family. Wanda helped out whenever she was needed and even his young granddaughter took an interest in the animals, he said. But the decision to close means even more time for friends and family.

“At some point I knew that it had to go and I wanted to do it while I was still able to do things,” Reese said.


Mike Hellenbrand Obituary

Everyone at The Bullvine would like to send our condolences to the family and friends of Mike.

Michael Herbert “Mike” Hellenbrand, age 67, of Cross Plains, WI, passed away peacefully on Wednesday, July 1, 2020, after a long illness. Mike was born on Aug. 1, 1952, in Verona, WI, the son of Charles and Shirley (Paradise) Hellenbrand. Growing up in Cross Plains, Mike cultivated his passion for baseball, business, and bovines. In his youth, spending time on his grandparents’ dairy farm sparked a desire that would later become his second career. Mike loved playing baseball. With his father’s coaching Mike became an accomplished pitcher. Newspapers headlined his no-hitter games played at MATC and with local Home Talent Leagues.

Mike graduated from Middleton High School and received a bachelor’s degree from University of Wisconsin-Whitewater. His successful career began in the banking business in Madison. Mike’s hard work, expertise, and high standards of excellence and integrity, qualities that were a constant in all his endeavors, quickly led to promotions and seats on community boards. His career ambitions took him to Boston, then New York City, where for the next 10 years Mike led the Mortgage Securitization Group at Bear Stearns, a major Wall Street investment bank. At his wedding in NYC where he married his wife, Linda Brown, Mike danced and sang with the band playing “New York, New York.” He made it there, now he could make it anywhere.

Following the events of Sept. 11, 2001, Mike and Linda decided to move back to his early roots of Cross Plains. Mike gave up the “rat race” of Wall Street for the “cattle race” and a budding new dairy cattle technology called embryo transfer. Their farm called “City Slickers” with a prefix of “Hillpoint” on the cattle registration papers became widely known throughout the industry in a remarkably few short years. Journalists intrigued with the success of the city to farm career shift would often ask Mike during interviews what was most challenging. He would say, “In my old life, I could always negotiate a transaction… but with farming, you are up against Mother Nature, and she doesn’t negotiate.”

Mike’s unbridled Wall Street energy was transferred to creating some of the dairy breed’s best calves that went on to be show and genetic winners in the US and internationally. City Slickers Farm owned Jr. and Grand Champions at the World Dairy Expo along with countless All-American nominations. Yet, Mike’s real joy was helping youth get into the dairy industry through the competitive showing of their animals. Aspiring dairymen and women point to Mike as their “inspiration” in starting their dairy future.

For those that had the fortune of visiting City Slickers Farm at calf feeding, those gentle moos are now silent on the passing of Michael Hellenbrand, a man that achieved astounding accomplishments for the US dairy industry in a short 17 years. Mike had an infectious love of cows. The health, well-being and promotion of dairy cattle were priorities on the farm, with his cattle partnerships, veterinarians, and in his position on the Executive Board of World Dairy Expo. Combine these traits with his leadership, vision, decisiveness, and his tireless support of youth in agriculture and you begin to realize the breadth of Mike’s impact on the lives he touched. He made so many wonderful friends who he would describe as “great people who I learned so much from”.

Mike will be greatly missed by his wife and her family; mother; brothers, Tom (Patti Woodman) Hellenbrand, Paul (Sandy) Hellenbrand, Ken (Beth) Hellenbrand, Greg (Sherri) Hellenbrand and Scott Hellenbrand; seven nieces and nephews; a great-niece and nephew; and many friends, partners, and colleagues. He was preceded in death by his father.

Due to COVID-19, there will be a private family Mass. A celebration of life is being planned at City Slickers Farm for the fall. Please return to the Gunderson webpage for updated details.

In lieu of flowers, please consider a memorial in Mike’s name to Agrace HospiceCare or an organization that supports and inspires youth in agriculture. Online condolences may be made at

USJersey Staff Changes Announced

Neal Smith, Executive Secretary and CEO of National All-Jersey Inc., recently announced changes in the Southeast and Deep South area representative territories.

Effective July 1, 2020, Jason Robinson assumed the Southeast territory vacated by Erica Davis. In this full-time position Robinson will provide on-farm service in Alabama, Florida, Georgia, Louisiana, Mississippi, North Carolina, South Carolina, Tennessee, east Texas, and Virginia.

Robinson has worked for the American Jersey Cattle Association and National All-Jersey Inc., since December 2011 in strong roles with Jersey Marketing Service and most recently as an area representative in the Deep South.

Prior to beginning his career with the USJersey organization, Robinson had more than 20 years experience in livestock marketing. He established Orion Cattle Services as a professional service provider to purebred cattle marketers in 1998, and steadily grew the business to work from 30 to 35 tie-up and commercial sales annually. Clients of the company included: Guernsey Breeders Association; Modern Associates, St. Paris, Ohio; Brown Swiss Sale Service LLC, Lake Mills, Wis.; and since 2005, Jersey Marketing Service.

Jason has served as a 4-H leader and as secretary-treasurer for the livestock and sale committees in Fayette County, Ohio, and a director of the Ohio Milking Shorthorn Society. He bred and owned the unanimous 2010 All American Junior 3-Year-Old, Blue Spruce HTA Melody Mya. She was Reserve Intermediate Champion of the 2010 International Milking Shorthorn Show at World Dairy Expo.

The American Jersey Cattle Association, organized in 1868, compiles and maintains animal identification and performance data on Jersey cattle and provides services that support genetic improvement and greater profitability through increasing the value of and demand for Registered Jersey™ cattle and genetics. National All-Jersey, formed in 1957, works to increase the value of and demand for Jersey milk and to promote equity in milk pricing. For more information about services offered by AJCA and NAJ, visit USJersey or connect on Facebook at USJersey.

Australian dairy farmer survey shows an industry in recovery

I’m feeling confident about the future of the Australian dairy industry.

Yes, there are a lot of issues affecting us, such as the lingering impact of drought, production costs, discount dairy products, the misleading labelling of non-dairy alternatives as “milk”, and shifts in the global market.

But if there is one thing the COVID-19 pandemic has showed us, with all the panic buying that occurred earlier this year, it is that dairy will always be a staple household item.

And it appears confidence is rising across the industry.

The National Dairy Farmer Survey, conducted annually by Dairy Australia, has confirmed that farmer confidence in their own businesses and the future of the Australian dairy industry as a whole has risen over the past 12 months.

While overall confidence remains lower than in 2018 and 2017, 44 per cent of farmers reported feeling good about the future of the industry.

This is a marked improvement from last year, when just 34pc felt positive about the industry’s future in the survey’s worst ever result, but still far below the historic high of 78pc recorded in the 2008 survey, before the Global Financial Crisis.

Even more encouragingly, more than two-thirds of farmers surveyed (67pc) reported feeling positive about their businesses, a massive 22pc jump from last year.

This is the highest level reported since Dairy Australia started measuring own business sentiment in 2017.

We can feel buoyed by the fact there has been an improvement in farmer sentiment on every score since last year, when the ballooning cost of feed and water eroded farm profitability despite stronger than average opening milk prices.

Nearly two-thirds of farmers surveyed in 2019 said they were concerned about the cost and availability of feed, while just 43pc expect to make an operating profit.

Encouragingly, 70pc of farmers surveyed this year expected to make a profit, while 48pc of farms anticipated an increase in production volumes for the year ending June 2020.

Significantly more farmers in all but one region reported they were expecting higher profits in 2020 than have been achieved on average over the past five years.

Unsurprisingly, regions with the largest share of profitable farmers also reported the highest levels of confidence in their own business.

All of this comes even as prolonged drought, bushfires and high feed and water costs continued to be major concerns prior to the survey.

It seems farmers are ready to invest in their businesses, buoyed by a favourable start to the season.

As has been reported, these statistics show a dairy industry in recovery, although it is unclear whether this confidence will continue to grow in a post-pandemic environment.

What has been confirmed by Dairy Australia’s June Situation & Outlook Report is that demand for dairy remained strong during the panic buying that accompanied the COVID-19 pandemic.

But while farmers are feeling more positive about their individual businesses, there has only been a modest boost in confidence since last year for the future of the industry.

Last year, just 34pc of farmers surveyed felt optimistic about the industry’s future – the worst result in the survey’s history.

While there has been a 10pc jump in overall confidence this year to 44pc, there is still a long way to go before we can approach pre-GFC levels of confidence.

That is the challenge facing the Australian Dairy Plan.

A confident industry is one of the Dairy Plan’s key objectives, with a goal to boost milk production up to 9.3 billion litres per year by 2024-25.

This would generate more than $600 million annually in extra value at the farm gate and stimulate the growth of at least 1000 direct new jobs, mostly in rural and regional areas.

There are a lot of factors involved in sustaining a confident industry.

But if the trend in farmer confidence continues, I have no doubt that we will go a long way towards achieving our goal over the next fi ve years.


Top Dairy Industry News Stories from July 4th till 10th 2020

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Barnum Honored with National Dairy Shrine’s Pioneer Award

National Dairy Shrine is recognizing four respected individuals this year with their Pioneer Award. An award honoring an individual’s significant contributions to the dairy industry, they join a distinguished group of industry leaders whose portraits are displayed at the National Dairy Hall of Fame at the National Dairy Shrine Museum in Fort Atkinson, Wisconsin.

Among the Pioneer honorees in 2020 is Harold J. Barnum (1902-1981), a leading authority on milk sanitation and the inventor of the Whirl-Pak® sterilized sample collection and processing bag which transformed quality assurance systems in the dairy and food industry.

Born in Colorado, Harold Barnum earned a Bachelor of Science degree in Agriculture from the State College of the University of Montana (now Montana State University) where he majored in Dairy Manufacturing. He went on to get a Masters’ Degree in Dairy Husbandry from Michigan State University in 1929. Following graduation, for the next 26 years he served as Milk Sanitarian for the cities of Detroit and Ann Arbor, Michigan. In 1947, he became Chief of the Health and Hospitals, Milk Sanitation Division for the city and county of Denver, Colorado. Barnum retired from this position in 1969 but remained actively involved in promoting dairy sanitation all across the country.

Before the 1950s, milk was being delivered from farms to processing plants in “cans” where samples of the milk were then taken for testing purposes. With the advent of bulk milk tanks in the early 1950s, and the co-mingling of milk in large transport trucks, the identity of the milk was being lost when it left the farm. This resulted in milk plants having to send representatives out to each farm to collect milk samples for testing. Barnum began studying this problem in 1954. His vision and leadership led to the “Universal Sampling Procedure” in which the milk truck driver picked up the samples of milk at each farm for use in testing for butterfat, protein, Somatic Cell Count, sediment, added water, etc.

Glass bottles were used initially to collect these samples, but keeping the bottles sterilized and unbroken was a problem. In 1957, Barnum consulted with many authorities in the dairy field to ascertain if they could help him develop a single service, sterile container for milk sampling that would be inexpensive, non-breakable, and meet all the sanitary requirements. Barnum became the “driving force” behind the effort which eventually led to the development of the Whirl-Pak® Sampling Bag. “This revolutionized the entire industry!” says Arthur W. Nesbitt, retired CEO of Nasco International, the company that still markets the product. “This world class system significantly reduced costs for obtaining and transporting samples to testing laboratories. Whirl-Pak bags soon became the iconic, Universal Sampling System.” John Meyer, CEO of Holstein Association USA, says, “Today, the Whirl-Pak Bag is used by dairy farms, food and dairy food processors, hospitals, medical labs, water testing systems and veterinarians. Nasco’s Whirl Pak bags come in 100 different options providing the consumer an opportunity to choose the one for his special needs. Over 30% of Whirl Pak production is exported globally.” As Phil Niemeyer, another nominee supporter, states, “Anywhere a sterile container is needed for lab analysis you will find the product Harold helped design and promote.”

Barnum moved to Fort Atkinson, Wisconsin, in 1973, where he worked as a consultant for Nasco on Whirl-Pak until his death in 1981. Whirl-Pak marked its 60th anniversary in 2019.

An accessory to Whirl-Pak that Barnum was instrumental in creating was the Nasco Milk Sampling Ice Chest that ensures that farm milk samples are maintained at a constant temperature from the farm to the laboratory. Almost every milk transport truck now has one of these ice chests in their truck.

Barnum was highly respected by his peers in milk sanitation, dairy foods and food quality assurance, and health departments. He was widely acknowledged as a national authority on milk sanitation. He was appointed to the committee that revised the U.S. Public Health Services Milk Code, and in 1962 led a nationwide study of milk standards and regulations. A leader and active member of many organizations in his sector, Barnum was president of the International Association of Milk, Food and Environmental Sanitarians in 1953. In 1957, he was recognized with that organization’s “Sanitarian of the Year” award. He served as secretary-treasurer of the Michigan Association of Milk Sanitarians for ten years and authored many articles and papers.

For more information about National Dairy Shrine, the banquet, or the students and dairy industry leaders being recognized this year, contact National Dairy Shrine’s office at or visit their website.

Class of 2020 Sustainability Award Winners Announced

The U.S. Dairy Sustainability Awards, which honor dairy farms, businesses and partnerships whose practices improve the well-being of people, animals and the planet, have recognized six winners for 2020.

The program is managed by the Innovation Center for U.S. Dairy, which was established under the leadership of dairy farmers (through their checkoff) and dairy companies. Winners represent U.S. dairy’s commitment to sustainability and demonstrate how transparency and ingenuity lead to sustainable and scalable practices that benefit their businesses, communities and the environment.

More than 70 U.S. dairy farms, businesses and collaborative partnerships have been honored since 2011.

“This year’s winners add to our rich history of recognizing the true innovators and visionaries of U.S. dairy,” said Dairy Management Inc. (DMI) Executive Vice President of Global Environmental Strategy Krysta Harden. “The program shines a light on the many ways our industry is leading the way to a more sustainable future.”

The awards are judged by an independent panel of dairy and conservation experts who consider innovation, scalability and replicability when choosing winners. Among the criteria to apply for the awards is participation and good standing in the Farmers Assuring Responsible Management (FARM) animal care program and use of the FARM Environmental Stewardship online tool for determining their GHG and energy footprint. Both initiatives are part of the U.S. Dairy Stewardship Commitment, U.S. dairy’s social responsibility pledge to consumers, customers and other stakeholders.

“Now more than ever we are recognizing the value and the fragility of supply chains, and both companies and producers are looking for ways to reduce their environmental impact while building resiliency,” said World Wildlife Fund-U.S. Senior Vice President, Fresh Water and Food Melissa Ho, who served as one of this year’s judges. “These award winners show that the dairy community is actively working to put its commitment to environmental stewardship into action with the ultimate goal of achieving a healthy and sustainable future for people and planet.”

Added Marilyn Hershey, Pennsylvania dairy farmer and chair of the DMI board of directors: “This class of winners once again exemplifies how farms and companies of all size, scope and philosophy can make a difference that benefits dairy, the planet and our communities. U.S. dairy is more than rising to the occasion to provide consumers and customers with products and practices that meet their expectations.”

The 2020 U.S. Dairy Sustainability Awards winners are:

Twin Birch Dairy of Skaneateles, New York (Outstanding Dairy Farm Sustainability)

Dirk Young relies on a combination of practices to maximize his operation’s resources—from using an anaerobic digester to make cow bedding and crop fertilizer out of cow manure to using no-till and strip cropping in his fields. Young explores ways to better adapt to climate change, and the results of his work are evident. He partnered with an environmental group to ensure good water quality in New York’s Finger Lakes. The findings? Water quality immediately downstream of his dairy farm was generally the same, if not slightly better than, upstream water quality. He collaborates with researchers and elected officials—and the next generation of dairy farmers—on sustainable farming.

Rosy-Lane Holsteins of Watertown, Wisconsin (Outstanding Dairy Farm Sustainability)

Healthy cows and a healthy planet go hand-in-hand at Wisconsin’s Rosy-Lane Holsteins dairy. The emphasis on cow health started with incorporating cattle genetic technologies, breeding cows that live longer and are less susceptible to disease and illness. Genetics has helped the farm produce 1.7 pounds of milk for every 1 pound of feed for the milking herd. The average U.S. dairy attains 1.5, according to Cornell University. Rosy-Lane is at 1.67 for 2019, meaning it produces about 70 more semi-tankers of milk a year using the same inputs as other dairy farms. Another benefit is the farm has not used antibiotics on its milking herd in over seven years.

Threemile Canyon Farms of Boardman, Oregon (Outstanding Dairy Farm Sustainability)

Oregon’s largest dairy farm produces food with little to no waste, thanks to its closed-loop system. This has been achieved in part with setting high standards in animal care and ensuring the wellbeing of Threemile’s employees and their families. Highlights from the operation’s system include: mint harvest byproducts are included in the cows’ feed, manure is used as fertilizer, and its methane digester produces renewable natural gas. It powers natural gas vehicles, which reduce fuel emissions by 80% compared to diesel fuel. And the farm’s reputable internship program ensures dairy community leaders for the future.

Turkey Hill Clean Water Partnership, Pennsylvania (Outstanding Supply Chain Collaboration)

Runoff and pollution from six states including Pennsylvania was severely affecting the Chesapeake Bay’s habitat. Turkey Hill Dairy partnered with the Alliance for the Chesapeake Bay and the Maryland & Virginia Milk Producers Cooperative to bring together local farms and the private and public sectors to help dairy farmers develop and adopt conservation plans to better manage soil and water on their farms. Solutions like modern housing for cows, manure storage, tree planting, stream fencing, cover crops, conservation tillage and nutrient management will improve the farms’ soil, water and manure management, improving local waterways and the Chesapeake Bay.

Sustainable Conservation, Netafim, De Jager & McRee Dairies, Western United Dairies of California (Outstanding Community Impact)

California dairy farmers are always innovating ways to re-use water. One of those methods includes flood irrigation, where water is applied to the soil surface and distributed throughout a crop using gravity. But applying manure nutrients in this method can be tricky and even pose a risk to groundwater supplies. In 2014, Sustainable Conservation, Netafim and De Jager Dairy got together to develop a new way: a subsurface drip irrigation that uses manure effluent. This system means crops can benefit from manure’s nutrients, which are applied closer to the rootzone for improved growth. It also means less water is applied and drinking water is protected.

Leprino Foods Co.’s Greeley, Colorado Plant (Outstanding Dairy Processing and Manufacturing)

This dairy plant exemplifies environmental sustainability with replicable processes that ensure all precious resources are maximized. Built on an abandoned sugar-processing factory’s site, it relies on a combined heat and power system with electricity from two natural gas turbines—meeting about 75% of the plant’s power needs. The plant also employed technology that uses water from milk during the cheesemaking process to clean the facility, reducing the need for fresh water. Further, that recycled water goes through treatment that results in feedstock for the plant’s anaerobic digester—which in turn creates renewable biogas. This and more adds up to $4.5 million in estimated annual energy cost savings from onsite natural gas turbines after a five-year payback.

Generous sponsors of the U.S. Dairy Sustainability Awards help make it possible to recognize farmers, companies and organizations for their commitment to improving communities, the environment and their businesses. The Innovation Center for U.S. Dairy is pleased to recognize the following companies and organizations for their support of this year’s awards program: DeLaval, Zoetis, Phibro Animal Health, Syngenta and USDA.

Schultz Elected President of PDPW Board

Katy Schultz of Fox Lake, Wis. was elected president of the Professional Dairy Producers® (PDPW) Board of Directors for the 2020-2021 year. Joining her on the executive committee are Janet Clark, Rosendale, Wis. – vice president; John Haag, Dane, Wis. – secretary and Jay Heeg, Colby, Wis. – treasurer.

Schultz owns Tri-Fecta Farms Inc. with her siblings Kari and Nick. Katy is the on-farm manager for daily operations, including livestock and employees. Clark and her husband Travis joined her family’s dairy, Vision Aire Farms, LLC in 2010. Janet manages the financials and calves. Heeg is dairy manager and human resource manager at Heeg Brothers Dairy LLC, which he owns and operates with brothers Mark and Gary. Haag owns and operates Haag Dairy, LLC, with his son Josh.

Other PDPW Board members include Dan Scheider, Scheidairy Farms, Freeport, Ill.; Ken Feltz, Feltz Family Farms Inc. and Feltz’s Dairy Store Inc., Stevens Point, Wis.; Corey Hodorff, Second-Look Holsteins, LLC, Eden, Wis.; Andy Buttles, Stone-Front Farm, Lancaster, Wis.; and Steve Orth, Orthland Dairy Farm LLC, Cleveland, Wis.

The newly elected advisor is Roger Olson, Zinpro Corporation. Joining Olson as advisors are Dr. Paul Fricke, Professor of Dairy Science and Extension Specialist in Dairy Cattle Reproduction, Department of Animal and Dairy Sciences, University of Wisconsin-Madison, Kurt Petik, Rabo AgriFinance and Andrew Skwor, MSA Professional Services, Inc.

The PDPW board, elected by fellow dairy farmers, meets throughout the year to plan activities and establish other ways to achieve their mission of building a better dairy industry. Each board member, who are also active dairy farmers, serves on boards and committees outside the dairy sector, as well.

PDPW is the nation’s largest dairy producer-led organization of its kind, focusing on producer professionalism, stakeholder engagement and unified outreach to share ideas, solutions, resources and experiences that help dairy producers succeed.

Congress Urges U.S. Government to Secure Greater Dairy Access in Japan by Swiftly Pursuing Phase Two Agreement

Members of Congress representing dairy districts from across the country joined together today to send a letter to U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer and U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue asking them to work together to build upon the successes secured in a Phase One agreement with Japan and swiftly pursue a Phase Two agreement that addresses any remaining gaps and inequalities in market access and establishes robust commitments on nontariff issues that can significantly impact dairy trade.

This bipartisan letter was led by Reps. Ron Kind (D-WI), Lloyd Smucker (R-PA), Josh Harder (D-CA) and Roger Marshall (R-KS). They were joined by numerous House colleagues, amounting to 51 in total, writing, in part:

“Given the fact that our domestic market is a top destination for Japanese exports, Japan must ensure that the terms of trade offered to the United States are better than those offered to other, less valuable, markets. We wholeheartedly endorse Ambassador Lighthizer’s assessment during his testimony before the House Ways and Means Committee in June 2019: ‘You cannot treat your best customer worse than you treat people from all these other countries in Europe and all the other TPP countries.’”

“America’s dairy industry is ready to meet Japan’s growing demand for wholesome dairy products. However, in order to fully secure necessary market access, the U.S. must act swiftly to break down the remaining trade barriers that have left our producers at a disadvantage in this important dairy market. America’s dairy farmers applaud the leadership and engagement of Congressmen Kind, Smucker, Harder and Marshall and their colleagues as they advocate for America’s dairy industry in a fully comprehensive agreement with Japan,” said Jim Mulhern, president and CEO of NMPF.

“Congress has made their message clear: A comprehensive agreement with Japan is needed to secure additional opportunities for U.S. dairy and progress should resume on its pursuit,” said Tom Vilsack, president and CEO of USDEC. “The Japanese market is too valuable to America’s dairy farmers and processors to let trade negotiations continue to idle. We appreciate this bipartisan coalition for their robust support of securing additional tariff concessions, science-based sanitary and phytosanitary measures, and enforceable commitments to protect common cheese names.”

A 2019 U.S. Dairy Export Council study underscored the importance of a strong comprehensive trade agreement with Japan, finding that if the U.S. were given the same market access as our competitors, we could roughly double our share of the dairy market.

Virginia dairy farmers adapting after years of declining market

Virginia’s dairy industry has been declining in recent years as consumer preference has changed. 

“Paying bills was an issue and I guess the biggest one, the next generation, my sons, said they really didn’t want to be tied to this lifestyle for the rest of their lives,” Leigh Pemberton, a former dairy farmer, said. “We’ve been milking cows as a family since 1898, so long history…… see the cows go was emotional, but in the end it was the right decision.” 

Leigh and his sons now raise hay and beef cattle and say they now have less financial worries.  

Hundreds of other families have been like the Pemberton’s and gotten out of the dairy business, and those who haven’t, have been forced to make changes. 

Ingleside Dairy Farms is one of those making changes. They have used technology by installed the state’s first robotic milking system. 

Jennifer Leech, one of the dairy farmers, said they were initially skeptical of robotic milkers until seeing how they worked on farms. The high-tech approach has allowed them to milk more cows and lower labor costs. 


Bringe Honored with National Dairy Shrine’s Pioneer Award

Four respected individuals are being honored this year with National Dairy Shrine’s Pioneer Award in recognition of their significant contributions to the dairy industry. They join a distinguished group of industry leaders whose portraits are displayed at the National Dairy Hall of Fame at the National Dairy Shrine Museum in Fort Atkinson, Wisconsin.
Photo supplied.

Among the Pioneer honorees is Dr. Allan N. Bringe (1935-2018), a Dairy Extension Specialist and Professor for the Dairy Science Department at the University of Wisconsin (UW) in Madison, who helped drive the adoption of somatic cell testing by dairy producers.

Allan Bringe grew up on a dairy farm in Wisconsin. He earned his Bachelor of Science, Master’s and Ph.D. degrees from the UW-Madison.

From 1959-66, Bringe served as Wisconsin’s Dairy Youth Specialist, conducting education programs through 4-H, FFA and dairy breed organizations. He developed the District 4-H Dairy Days program that continues to flourish and from 1965-73 was coordinator of the National 4-H Dairy Conference.

After completing his Ph.D. in 1968, Bringe transitioned to work in the areas of milk quality, mastitis, herd health, and milking management as Wisconsin’s Milk Quality Specialist. Under his leadership, Wisconsin became the pioneer in the development of monthly somatic cell testing of individual cows in collaboration with the Wisconsin Dairy Herd improvement (DHI) Cooperative. Dr. L.H. Schultz of the UW Dairy Science Department had developed a novel, low-cost method for determining somatic cell concentration (SCC) in milk. Bringe and Schultz worked together to prototype the test in DHI labs. By 1976, four DHI labs had implemented the test. Bringe worked with DHI staff to develop effective methods of reporting SCC results to dairy producers. Through Bringe’s tireless promotion and education, the program grew rapidly and within 10 years SCC testing had been adopted by 85% of the herds in Wisconsin’s DHI program. Wisconsin was the first to offer statewide somatic cell testing in DHI. As Dr. Mark Mayer, Professor Emeritus, UW-Extension, says, “Bringe was very instrumental in getting dairy producers to adopt SCC testing in Wisconsin. The impact of his actions resulted in the average SCC in Wisconsin dairy herds being reduced by over 50%. This reduction has resulted in higher milk production, better quality milk and increased profits for both dairy producers and cheese makers.” As nominator Dr. George Shook, Professor Emeritus, UW Dairy Science Department, states, “Although Allan did not accomplish this change single-handedly, it is clear that through his vision, energy and position as Extension Dairy Specialist, he mobilized the industry to attain this change.”

Bringe was instrumental in helping Wisconsin Dairies Cooperative become the first U.S. dairy cooperative to implement milk quality premium payments to producers based on SCC in 1976, and then in making both quality premiums and protein payments on a differential basis in 1983. These milk quality premiums were a strong contributor to the rapid growth of monthly SCC testing in DHI herds.

Bringe’s ability to take university research and apply it in a practical way that farmers could understand, and use was one of his greatest strengths. He was a tireless supporter of ongoing professional development for county extension agents. From 1975-87, Bringe conducted milking management seminars in all of Wisconsin’s major dairy counties. In 1987, Bringe created Milk Quality Councils to promote and provide education in quality milk production. Thirty-six Wisconsin counties organized a council. These councils, which utilized local expertise and developed valuable contacts for participants, proved highly effective in changing producers’ management practices. Also, extremely beneficial was Bringe’s approach of bringing together advisory teams of people to solve udder health problems on individual farms.

Late in his career, Bringe became actively involved at the national level in working on drug residue avoidance programs in milk. He was a key player in the development of the Milking Research and Instruction Laboratory that opened at UW-Madison in 1992. The only laboratory of its kind in the U.S., it remains a leading center for research, instruction, and outreach on the principles of milking system function, sanitation, and operation.

Bringe was active in many organizations. He was President of the National Mastitis Council in 1983 and Founding Chair of their Research Foundation. He was presented with the National Mastitis Council’s Distinguished Service Award in 1984. He received the American Dairy Science Association’s Dairy Extension Award in 1988 and the UW Extension Career Excellence Award in 1992.

For more information about National Dairy Shrine, the banquet, or the students and dairy industry leaders being recognized this year, contact National Dairy Shrine’s office at or visit their website

Great American Milk Drive Secures Nearly $382,000 to Provide Milk to Families in Need

During National Dairy Month in June, American Dairy Association North East joined the Milk Processor Education Program (MilkPEP) and Feeding America to support the Great American Milk Drive that raised $381,926 to get about 96,000 gallons of milk to local families.

“Families need milk all year long, not just during a pandemic, and programs like the Great American Milk Drive help make that happen,” said ADA North East CEO Rick Naczi. “By combining efforts with national organizations and local retailers, we can keep those dollars here to help in our local communities.”

The milk drive secured funds from consumer donations at Safeway stores in the District of Columbia, Maryland, Virginia and Delaware during June. Last year, Safeway donations totaled $193,000, which is approximately 48,350 gallons of milk.

Dairy farmer Walter Rutledge of Jarrettsville, Md., participated in a video to help promote the campaign in Safeway stores, helping shoppers make the connection between the product on the shelves and the farmer who produces it.

“Local dairy farmers like me are committed to working every day to provide our communities with a nutritious and wholesome product,” Rutledge said. “During this challenging time, we are working harder than ever to ensure that your local dairy aisle and food pantry is stocked with fresh, local milk.”

Since 2014, the Great American Milk Drive has delivered more than 2 million gallons – or more than 33 million servings – of milk to children and families in need through member food banks and pantries, soup kitchens, shelters and feeding programs.

For more information about American Dairy Association North East, visit, or call 315.472.9143.

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