Deputies are investigating after a man’s body was found in a pile of manure at a dairy farm outside Galt.
Deputies describe the discovery as suspicious. A spokesperson for the Sacramento County Sheriff’s Office said a worker at the farm discovered the body when they were moving manure around. The investigation is still very broad at this point.
“We’re not able to tell at this point if it was accidental or if this is a homicide investigation,” said Sacramento County Sheriff’s Office Spokesperson Tess Deterding.
Deterding said the body has been identified is a missing person from another county. There was no visible trauma found on the body.
But the mystery is far from over. People want to know what happened to this man and how did he got there
“There’s certainly that worry or fear, or jump to the conclusion, that this body was possibly dumped there and killed somewhere else,” Deterding said.
Owners of the dairy farm said he was not one of their employees.
Jerry Friend is one of the closest neighbors to this farm. He calls the situation scary.
“I was just thinking ‘Wow, that’s really strange.’ This doesn’t happen,” he said.
Friend said the area has been a popular dumping grounds in the past, but never for a body
“People dump trash on the side of the road. We had a problem with people dumping stuff at the cemetery. You know, full cars and RV’s,” Friend said.
The name of the man found is not being released until the coroner notifies his family.
Dairy farmers have said the “constant attack” on their livelihoods by “arrogant elements” of the environmental movement will be a key issue in the general election.
The Irish Creamery Milk Suppliers Association (ICMSA), which has 14,000 members, published its Guide to General Election 2020 on Wednesday. ICMSA president Pat McCormack said a copy would be sent to all candidates in rural constituencies.
The main issue facing farmers, he said, was the “relentless pressure on farmer income and farmer margin”, which was central to the protests and blockades that farmers have been involved in around the country since the summer.
However, Mr McCormack was also heavily critical of elements of the “environment movement” and said any election candidates who utter “glib” messages will be challenged.
“The second issue that is going to dominate this election for farmers is the constant attack on their livelihoods and the economic viability of rural Ireland by the most aggressive and arrogant elements of the environmental movement,” he said.
“Farmers accept the reality of climate change and accept the need for change, but we reject absolutely the idea that farmers alone will have to change their way of life.
“Every part of society will have to contribute to the increased costs of changing the way we produce food. Any candidate that comes out with ill-informed, glib anti-farmer messages will be challenged on their grasp of the facts.”
Mr McCormack said the ICMSA is a “categorically non-political organisation and does not endorse specific candidates or a specific political party”.
But he added that the group “will not tolerate a campaign where farmers are made the whipping boys for anyone’s pet projects or concerns”.
On the beef crisis, Mr McCormack said farmers across all sectors are “receiving the same prices as their parents received 30 years ago”.
“Everyone sympathises, but we don’t want sympathy anymore,” he said. “We want fair prices. We want action. Politicians who go to farmers’ yards and doors are going to be told that forcefully and straight out.”
Cows stand ready to be milked May 31, 2016, at the Lake Breeze Dairy farm in Malone, Wisconsin. The state is in the midst of a dairy crisis that’s caused a loss of one-third of its dairy farms since 2011. (Daniel Acker / Bloomberg)
Gov. Tony Evers on Thursday called the Republican-controlled Legislature into a special session beginning next week to consider an $8.5 million package of bills designed to help rural Wisconsin in the face of a crisis that’s caused a loss of one-third of the state’s dairy farms since 2011.
The Democratic governor told reporters that he was confident the Legislature would move quickly on the plan he unveiled in his State of the State address Wednesday night. He also dismissed criticism from Republican Assembly Speaker Robin Vos that the proposals show he has ignored rural Wisconsin before now.
“That’s just baloney,” Evers said, noting that many of the ideas had been included in his budget last year but rejected by Republicans. “We need to move forward. Our farmers need us.”
Wisconsin loses an average of two dairy farms a day as farmers suffer under low milk prices.
Vos said late Wednesday that the plan shows Evers has “finally turned his attention to rural Wisconsin.”
“He has ignored that part of the state for most of last year since he’s been elected governor,” Vos said. “If he’s a newfound convert that rural Wisconsin has problems, of course we’re going to listen.”
While Vos was wary of the plan, Republican Senate Majority Leader Scott Fitzgerald said Wednesday night that he was “all ears.”
“We’re all looking for ways to do better when it comes to ag,” Fitzgerald said. “There have been a number of proposals by the Legislature but I’m all ears on what the governor has to offer. It sounds like he’s been working on something comprehensive so absolutely I think the Legislature should take time to see what the special session includes and work on those bills.”
Evers said he expects the Legislature to meet starting Tuesday to take up the bills. Republican leaders have not said if they will do that. Vos and Fitzgerald did not immediately return messages Thursday seeking comment.
Yesterday, Kevin Johnson, CEO of Starbucks Coffee Company, published a letter to partners, customers, and stakeholders outlining plans to make the company more sustainable in the coming decade.
“Our aspiration is to become resource positive, storing more carbon than we emit, eliminating waste, and providing more clean freshwater than we use,” he wrote.
The first action item on Johnson’s list reads, “We will expand plant-based options, migrating toward a more environmentally friendly menu.”
In an interview with Bloomberg News discussing the company’s efforts, Johnson said, “Alternative milks will be a big part of the solution. The consumer-demand curve is already shifting.” Starbucks currently offers dairy alternatives including soy, coconut, and almond milk. Oat milk is also available in some areas. According to Business Insider, Starbucks uses more than 93 million gallons of milk per year.
The company’s environmental impact report lists animal protein as its highest contributor to carbon and water usage. Starbucks says dairy made up 21% of its carbon footprint in 2018.
In a response to the Starbucks announcement, Krysta Harden, the executive vice president of global environmental strategy for Dairy Management, Inc., writes, “We share Starbucks’ commitment to environmental sustainability. In fact, in 2008, the U.S. dairy community was the first agricultural sector to commission a full lifecycle assessment to understand our environmental footprint, which showed that fluid milk accounts for only 2% of total greenhouse gas emissions in the U.S. Since then, due to innovative farm practices and new technologies, the environmental impact of producing a gallon of milk in 2017 shrunk significantly since 2008, involving 31% less water, 21% less land, and a 20% smaller carbon footprint.”
Johnson listed other ways the company plans to improve its environmental practices, including shifting to reusable packaging, focusing on regenerative agriucltural practices, better managing waste, and developing more eco-friendly stores and operations, but Harden argues dairy can be part of a sustainable way forward.
“Dairy can and will play an important role in achieving sustainability in supply chains and global food production,” she says. “From an environmental and nutrition standpoint, it is not an either-or; both plants and animals play a critical role in the health of the people and the planet. There is no one-size-fits-all solution to making environmental progress and frankly, it will take public-private partnerships and value-chain collaborations to achieve greater collective and positive impact. U.S. dairy is committed to doing its part and will soon be sharing a framework for achieving meaningful progress in carbon neutrality, soil and water health.”
Dairy Managment, Inc., is funded by dairy farmers in the U.S. and dairy importers. It manages the National Dairy Council and American Dairy Association.
On the Chicago Mercantile Exchange milk futures were mostly higher Thursday ahead of a mostly neutral milk production report but reduced class and component prices for February. The Class III dairy markets found another bid on Thursday as February jumped 21 cents, March was up 25, and April gained 15. May also traded 7 cents stronger and June was up a penny. Second half 2020 ranged from even to 5 cents lower. Class IV markets watched March through may fall 9-15 cents per cwt.
Dry whey up $0.0025 at $0.36. Twenty-two sales were made at $0.3575 and $0.36. Blocks unchanged at $2.0025. Two trades were made at that price. Barrels up $0.0050 at $1.63. Six trades were made at $1.63 and $1.6325. Butter up $0.0025 at $1.8675. Three trades were made ranging from $1.86 to $1.8675. Nonfat dry milk down $0.0075 at $1.29. Ten trades were made ranging from $1.2850 to $1.2950.
The USDA released its December milk production report on Thursday. Milk production was reported beneath most expectations as production rose just 7/10 of a percent. Many Midwest states were down once again year over year, 3 states that continue to put out milk included Texas, Colorado, and Kansas. The milking herd totaled 9.339 billion in December which was unchanged from November after accounting for a revision in November.
Today, EPA Administrator Andrew Wheeler and Assistant Secretary of the Army for Civil Works R.D. James will announce the new “waters of the U.S.” (WOTUS) rule. The rule revises an already repealed Obama-era version, reducing federal jurisdiction over wetlands and streams. The revised definitions protects the nation’s navigable waters from pollution and is expected to result in favorable economic growth for the country.
EPA Administrator Wheeler was quoted saying, “After decades of landowners relying on expensive attorneys to determine what water on their land may or may not fall under federal regulations, our new Navigable Waters Protection Rule strikes the proper balance between Washington and the states in managing land and water resources while protecting our nation’s navigable waters, and it does so within the authority Congress provided” (Source: US EPA, Office of Public Engagement).
The previous rule was commonly associated with confusion in regards to the implementation of the Clean Water Act and was known to a lack common sense approach. The revision is expected to alleviate the widespread uncertainty of where federal jurisdiction begins and ends. Sources say the new rule will recognize the difference between federally protected and state protected wetlands, adhering to the statutory limits of the agencies authority, and ensuring protections of U.S. water.
American Dairy Coalition CEO Laurie Fischer, expressed support of the change by stating, “Ultimately, the revision of this rule empowers the states to manage their waters in ways that best safeguard natural resources and local economies. We’re eager to see this step moving forward, increasing common sense factors and alleviating the continuous confusion and legal ramifications the previous version has inflicted.”
About The American Dairy Coalition:
The American Dairy Coalition (ADC) is a farmer-led national lobbying organization of progressive, modern dairy farmers. We focus on federal dairy policy. For more information, contact CEO Laurie Fischer at 920-965-6070.
VikingGenetics is expanding its range of services with the launch of female genomic testing and corrective mating packages.
The services promise to offer the United Kingdom (UK) dairy producers the benefits which have helped earn Nordic dairy cattle their reputation as both the healthiest and highest producers of fat plus protein in the world.
The genomic testing service will not only provide UK producers with an overall economic index with which to rank the youngstock in their herds. It will also provide genomic figures for over 40 different traits, including unique VikingGenetics indexes, such as hoof health and general health.
The genomic testing service will also help producers make better decisions about which females to rear, to inseminate to sexed semen or breed to beef. It will allow them to see how their cattle rank on the economic index, Nordic Total Merit (NTM).
Alongside genomic testing comes the launch of VikingGenetics’ corrective mating service. Called VikMate, the service will enable producers to quickly and easily identify bulls which complement each animal in their herd. The service will help minimise inbreeding and avoid undesirable recessive genes.
A particular innovation of the mating service is its flexibility. This allows farmers to use a pre-defined genetic index or to customise their own to meet their specific breeding goals. These could be to maximise milk price under their particular payment structure or to focus on issues in need of correction within their herd.
“VikingGenetics has been selling cattle semen in the UK for over 10 years and we are delighted our bulls now feature highly on the UK’s national rankings for all of the major dairy breeds,” says Kenneth Byskov, Senior Project Manager at VikingGenetics. “To us, it is a logical extension that we introduce services which will help our customers make the best use of these genetics within their herds. It is also notable that the breeding programmes in our respective countries have never been more similar.”
Matthew Stott, Director at VikingGenetics UK Ltd, adds: “We are all striving to produce an efficient, sustainable cow with innate good health and resistance to disease which produces high quality milk.”
VikingGenetics is a farmer co-operative spanning Denmark, Sweden and Finland which has had a long-term focus on breeding for health. Driven by a highly regulated veterinary framework and a requirement to minimise the use of medicines, the co-operative leads the way on improving many health and related traits through genetic improvement.
In the Holstein breed, VikingGenetics boasts three of the top 10 daughter fertility improvers in the highly competitive UK and international proven bull ranking. For the Ayrshire/Red and Jersey breeds, the co-operative completely dominates with eight and nine out of 10 respectively in the breed rankings for the UK’s Profitable Lifetime Index (£PLI).
“The UK’s £PLI and NTM have extremely similar formulae,” adds Mr Stott. “Both indexes reward milk quality, fertility, health and efficiency and help raise a herd’s profits through breeding.”
Australian Army officer Lieutenant Aiden Frost with dairy farmer Tim Salway and his wife Leanne. Photo: Sergeant Max Bree
Tim Salway’s father, Robert, and brother, Patrick, died trying to defend their properties in a New South Wales bushfire, but Tim’s daily chores at the dairy farm could not be ignored.
A raging inferno killed Tim Salway’s brother and father when bushfires tore through the family dairy farm near Cobargo, NSW, on New Year’s Eve.
As Mr Salway returned to their ravaged 600-acre property, milking came first.
“I knew my old man and brother were lying there just over the hill, but we had to get the cows in,” Mr Salway said.
“You can’t afford to miss because they start getting udder issues.
“That was the hardest milking I’ve ever had to do, but you couldn’t just stop and say ‘that was a bad fire’.”
About 170 of the Salways’ 350 cows were lost in the blaze.
Help arrived in the fires’ wake, including an Army strike team to clear and pile up fallen trees from the paddocks, saving the family an estimated month’s work.
“They ripped in with chainsaws, they smashed through, their bosses kept asking me ‘what next?’,” Mr Salway said.
“We’re able to get back in these paddocks, we’re able to work the land again. In time we’ll be able to burn these heaps [of wood].
“They cleared our driveway and just driving in makes you feel better. Things like this keep you going, as tough as it is for our family.”
Lieutenant Aiden Frost, of the 2nd/17th Battalion, Royal New South Wales Regiment, commanded the strike team that arrived for two days of work on January 14.
They also brought water and an Army chaplain to counsel the Salways.
“The intensity of the fire basically ripped all of the trees out of the ground and created huge amounts of debris which rendered the paddocks sort of unusable,” Lieutenant Frost said.
“The farmers have been overwhelmed. We can’t solve the whole problem, but in a couple of days our guys have been able to clear significant amounts of the property, which will eventually allow their cattle numbers to recover.”
Strike teams, such as those commanded by Lieutenant Frost, are working to assist communities in south-east NSW in the wake of the bushfires.
His team has 26 soldiers from Army’s 5th Brigade, mostly infantrymen and combat engineers supported by a medic and signaller.
Four of the infantrymen completed an Army chainsaw course while the team was staging at Holsworthy.
“One minute we’re helping fix fences to stop cattle getting on the road and the next minute we’re out doing engineer tasks like inspecting culverts and bridges, or felling and cutting up trees” Lieutenant Frost said.
“Even if it is just basic, manual labour, the team is really glad to be able to help.”
The Salways’ farm provides milk to Bega Cheese, the same company that makes canned cheese for Australian Army ration packs.
The company couldn’t process the Salways’ milk for 10 days after the fires, meaning it had to be dumped, but Bega Cheese still paid for it. The company also provided the family with generators, to keep things running until power was restored.
“We take for granted where everything comes from,” Lieutenant Frost said.
“Guys like these farmers provide milk to make cheese for ration packs or the supermarket; everyone knows the struggles they’ve had.
“Then to have a fire devastate your farm and lose family members is the last thing any of these people needed. At least we can show that the people of Australia and the Army cares about them.”
When the team finished at the Salways’ property, Tim’s family had worked for 15 days straight to recover, with no end in sight.
“It wasn’t a fire, it was a monster, like a tornado; it’s something I don’t want to see again,” he said.
“The family down the road lost five houses. Up the road, out of about seven houses, there’s only one left.
“I’ve been trying to say it’s not that bad, but when the Army turns up to help you it must be pretty bad.”
Ontario Provincial Police (OPP) is investigating after 150 cows were killed in a barn fire in Haldimand County.
Emergency crews were called to a fire on Smithville Rd. around 2:25 p.m. Tuesday.
Firefighters arrived on scene and found a barn fully engulfed in flames.
OPP says all of the dairy cattle that were in the barn died in the blaze.
Smithville Rd. in Canborough was closed between Canborough Rd. and South Chippewa Rd. for roughly eight hours while emergency crews were on scene.
Investigators are still trying to determine the cause of the fire but it is not considered suspicious.
The Office of the Ontario Fire Marshal has been notified.
#HaldimandOPP and @HaldEmerg crews on scene for barn fire Smithville Rd. in #Canborough. Approximately 148 dairy cattle perished. Cause of fire is under investigation. Smithville Rd. is closed between Canborough Rd. and South Chippewa Rd. Please use alternate route.^rl
The latest blow to the downtrodden dairy industry was delivered by none other than Starbucks Corp., with the coffee giant looking to condition customers to use milk alternatives in a bid to reduce its carbon footprint.
While Starbucks accounts for just 0.3% of U.S. milk production, the decision to formally declare an emphasis on non-dairy options may encourage other food-service outlets to follow suit. That could add momentum to the shift toward oat, nut, soy and other alternative beverages for health and environmental reasons. American cow-milk consumption has fallen about 2% each year since the 1970’s, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture.
It’s a trend that has helped put plenty of American dairy farmers out of business and led to two big U.S. processors — Dean Foods Co. and Borden Dairy Co. — into bankruptcy. Dean is one of Starbucks’ key suppliers, data compiled by Bloomberg show.
Marketing group Dairy Management Inc. said that while it shares Starbucks’ commitment to sustainability, the industry’s environmental footprint is small and shrinking due to innovative farm practices and new technologies. “Both plants and animals play a critical role in the health of the people and the planet,” the group said.
The number of licensed dairy farms in Minnesota continues to drop at a steady pace. New data out from the Minnesota Department of Agriculture says 315 dairy farms left the business between January first of 2019 and New Year’s Day of 2020. That’s the second year in a row the state has lost more than 300 dairies. Further back on January first of 2017, Minnesota had 3,258 licensed dairy farms. As of January first of 2020, that number is down to 2,448 licensed dairy farms. That’s a three-year total of 810 dairy operations that are out of business. Margaret Hart, communications director for the MDA, says, “The number of farms going out of business over the last five years has been higher than normal, due in large part to a drop in prices.” It’s worth mentioning that at least some of those businesses have ceased their operations temporarily, which is referred to as “dried off.” For example, 47 dairies that stopped operation between December first, 2019, and January of 2020, are dried off. That means they intend to resume milking within 60 days.
Canada could be the last of the three North American countries to ratify a new trade deal, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said on Tuesday, indicating that his plan to match the U.S. timetable was set to fail.
Trudeau’s Liberal government said from the start it wanted TO work in tandem with Washington to formally approve the U.S.-Mexico-Canada Agreement (USMCA), which was signed last year.
The United States, Mexico and Canada agreed last week to revised terms for the USMCA to replace the 1994 North American Free Trade Agreement.
Mexico has already ratified the deal and the U.S. House of Representatives will consider legislation on Thursday to implement the pact, a senior Democrat said.
Canadian legislators, however, are not due back from a winter break until Jan 27. The Liberals lost their majority in an October election and must work more closely with opposition parties to push through legislation.
“We might – because of our parliamentary calendar – be the last parties to ratify, so we’re going to have to try to get to it as quickly as we can,” Trudeau told Toronto’s Citytv channel.
Trudeau said he was reasonably confident his government would find enough votes to approve the treaty.
Eleanore Catenaro, a spokeswoman for Trudeau, said Ottawa still wanted to work with the United States as much as possible on ratification. She declined to say whether Trudeau might call lawmakers back to work ahead of schedule in January.
Canada’s two main opposition parties suggested last week they could move to delay ratification, accusing the Liberal government of botching revisions to the treaty.
It is estimated that between 2013 and 2019, over 4,900 cattle died in barn fires in the US. We speak to the Animal Welfare Institute about what’s needed to protect cattle in the future.
In 2018, the Animal Welfare Institute (US) released its official barn fire report which presented a detailed analysis of data compiled from barn fires that occurred between 2013 and 2017 in the US. In those five years, there were 326 deadly barn fires where at least 2,763,924 farm animals died and these numbers are not on the decline.
Catastrophic fires can occur in farms of any size, housing any species of animal, yet in the US there are no federal or state laws designed to protect those animals from barn fires. There is no obligation to install fire prevention, detection or suppression systems in animal housing which Dena Jones, AWI farm animal programme director, believes is the main reason these fires get out of hand and, in the process, kill millions of animals each year.
“We have to put this into perspective here,” says Dena Jones, AWI farm animal programme director.
“Usually these fires start out very small and if a small fire was to start in any other type of building – whether that be an office, a hospital or school – then it wouldn’t usually spread so quickly and would be controlled before it could spread further. It wouldn’t kill all of the occupants.
“So why are ban fires so catastrophic?
“When these fires start, they’re either not detected or detected too late, so they spread very quickly. Add to this the lack of suppression and by the time the fire department get there – usually in the middle of the night – the barn is engulfed and the animals inside will have been lost.
“It can start as just a small event but because of the lack of detection and suppression, the fires are catastrophic.”
Causes of barn fires
In AWI’s 2018 report, research showed that out of 326 fatal barn fires, the cause or likely cause was only reported in 106 cases. The damage generated by fires makes determining the exact cause very difficult. This said, in cases where the cause was known, the majority were electrical faults: heaters, automatic ventilation systems and machinery.
“Heating devices in particular have a higher fire risk and have been responsible for a large proportion of the electrical fires we’ve had reported,” says Dena.
Dena explains that a pattern can be observed in the frequency of fires and their location, and that farms in Northern Europe and Canada are experiencing similar issues.
“Our research indicates that cold weather and confinement are the main links between the frequency and severity of fires in the US.
“Whether these farms are housing cattle, poultry, pigs or other species, most reported barn fires occur in colder states (and during the winter months) and the greatest number of animal deaths occur in the larger, intensive farms, primarily in the Upper Midwest, West and Northeast.”
Health and safety for farm staff
Raising awareness of this issue is a primary focus for the Animal Welfare Institute but farm workers should also be proactive in ensuring on-farm safety measures are established
“These fires are a risk for workers as well so if they have any concerns about the practices used on farm, they should feel confident to speak up,” says Dena.
“If they suspect any on-farm practice might be contributing to the risk of fires starting, or that there isn’t enough detection and suppression on farm – even just from a workers rights perspective – they should speak up.
“It’s in everyone’s best interest to deal with this problem. Even neighbouring houses and communities.”
Regulation and protection for farm animals
Barn fires are a primary focus for the Animal Welfare Institute in 2020 as it is predicted that the frequency and severity of these fires will not drop unless action is taken by authorities to establish on-farm standards that protect the animals inside the barns.
Dena says that the lack of regulation at a local and state level is a contributor to the high death toll when these barn fires occur.
“There are no laws that cover farm animals in barn fires whereas there are protective codes for people and property,” she explains.
“In addition to that, none of our agricultural trade associations have standards (or have very little in terms of standards) that address prevention, detection and suppression.”
To minimise the risk of fatal fires AWI recommend the following fire protection methods:
Install sprinkler systems.
Install smoke or heat detection systems.
Install carbon monoxide detectors.
Request annual inspections from the fire department.
Place fire extinguishers in barns.
Institute frequent fire prevention training for employees and routine fire drills.
Frequently check, repair, and replace heating and other electrical equipment.
They are also urging the trade associations to, as a minimum, adopt the standards of the National Fire Protection Association. The AWI says that it would be a positive step to establish a special code that solely addresses animal welfare.
“If we then go on to draft legislation, we would ask for provisions that cover the three areas previously mentioned.
“Prevention: which should include regular annual inspection from a local fire authority, training of workers and an emergency plan that includes evacuation of animals
“Detection: accurate smoke detection technology connected to an alarm system that notifies the local fire authority and the farm manager immediately.
“And suppression: sprinklers are costly but are the most effective method of controlling death rates.
“In some rural areas with limited water supply, we’re also advocating the option of on-site water storage. Inadequate water costs lives as barns burn faster. This water storage could supply both sprinkler systems and the attending fire authorities.”
Barn fires represent a significant animal welfare issue, says Dena, and we believe it currently gets inadequate attention both from state officials and the public, and with the industry itself. We’re trying to draw attention to the issue. Our priorities are poultry, pig and cattle due to the scale of deaths and the number of fires.
On the Chicago Mercantile Exchange milk futures continued higher for the week while cash markets were mixed as butter stocks provide some pressure. Class III milk liked what it saw and rallied across the board. January gained 2 to $17.05, February gained 26 to $17.80, and March gained 19 to $17.95. Second half of 2020 gained 4-16 cents and is averaging at $18.00 even for July – December. Class IV didn’t fare as well, Jan fell 2 to $16.71, Feb fell 17 to $16.95 and March fell 7 to $17.42.
Dry whey down $0.0050 at $0.3575. Three sales were made at that price. Blocks up $0.0375 at $2.0025. Two trades were made at $2.0075 and $2.0150. Barrels up $0.0275 at $1.6250. Six trades were made ranging from $1.62 to $1.6250. Butter down $0.0150 at $1.8650. One trade was made at that price. Nonfat dry milk up $0.0025 at $1.2975. Nine trades were made ranging from $1.2959 to $1.30. The USDA says cheese stocks are declining slightly while butter inventories are building over year-ago levels. Cheese stocks totaled more 1.3 billion pounds, down half of percent on the month and two percent on the year. Natural cheeses are down more than seven percent while American and other types of cheese are up five percent from last year. Butter inventories were up five percent from November and up almost six percent from last year at more than 190 million pounds.
Family members of U.S. Rep. Devin Nunes have filed a $25 million defamation lawsuit against former Esquire correspondent Ryan Lizza, following his 2018 investigation into their Sibley, Iowa, dairy farm.
Lizza’s story places NuStar in the context of the Midwestern dairy industry’s reliance on undocumented labor, and cites two anonymous sources with firsthand knowledge in reporting that NuStar had employed undocumented migrants.
The Nunes’ lawsuit dismisses Lizza’s story as a “scandalous hit piece” and a “legion of lies,” written to “retaliate” against Devin Nunes for “exposing corruption” during his tenure as chairman of the House Intelligence Committee.
“The defendants’ misconduct is egregious,” Nunes attorneys Joseph Feller and Steven Biss wrote in the complaint. “They should never be permitted to attack the reputations and standing of anyone, especially hard-working private individuals.
“They should be punished for their unlawful actions and a very strong message needs to be sent to prevent other so-called ‘journalists’ from acting in a similar way.”
The lawsuit contests Lizza’s description of the Nunes dairy farm’s little-reported move to Iowa, from Tulare, Calif., in 2006, as a “secret,” citing from conservative news sites Breitbart and the Federalist.
Nunes’ attorneys also note several times that Lizza in December 2017 was fired from the New Yorker magazine over sexual misconduct allegations, and suggest that he wrote about NuStar to distract from his “negative image and history as a sexual predator.”
Lizza publicly denied the allegation and multiple media outlets that investigated his conduct, including CNN and Politico, concluded there was no reason to bar him from employment, the Fresno Bee reported.
The Nunes’ attorneys and Lizza, now Politico’s chief Washington, D.C., correspondent, did not return emails Tuesday requesting comment.
The $25 million lawsuit from Anthony Nunes Jr. and Anthony Nunes III partially duplicates an earlier lawsuit against Lizza and Hearst Magazines, filed in September 2019 by Devin Nunes himself.
In that case, which remains active in the Northern District of Iowa, the U.S. representative is seeking $75 million on counts of defamation and common law conspiracy.
Devin Nunes has filed multiple lawsuits within the past year against perceived critics, including a $150 million case against McClatchy, owner of his hometown newspaper, the Fresno Bee, and a $250 million case against Twitter parody accounts “Devin Nunes’ cow” and “Devin Nunes’ Mom.”
“Dou’s team sees their circular, agro-food system model as a key to providing consumers with a healthy diet.” Pic: Getty/branex
UPenn’s School of Veterinary Medicine (Penn Vet) has been working on a dairy-focused project called ‘The Amazing Cow.’ It documents the types, amounts and variations of dairy cow feed, characterizing important nutritional attributes.
Led by Dr. Zhengxia Dou, Professor of Agricultural Systems, the project is meant to give dairy producers insights on how food that falls under indigestible, unpalatable, or unsellable biomass (IUUB) can be better implemented on dairy farms.
According to PennVet, dairy farmers, along with beef, poultry and pork farmers, have been evolving techniques to produce milk, meat and eggs as efficiently and sustainably as possible, minimizing agriculture’s climate-contributing footprint.
“Animals are natural bio-processors. By maximizing the use of IUUB, the livestock sector of agriculture actually contributes to this societal issue in a very positive way,” Dr. Dou said.
A chunk of these processing byproducts are generated from the production of plant-based dairy alternatives, as well as everyday products like soybean and canola oils, orange juice and ethanol. Feeding these IUUBs to cows keeps them from going to landfills.
It’s estimated that every year, about 80 million tons of byproduct in the US that is generated from food and drink production is consumed by animals.
“Besides empowering farmers to make sustainable, but sensible, animal husbandry decisions, Dou’s team sees their circular, agro-food system model as a key to providing consumers with a healthy diet while reducing the issues some associate solely with livestock production,” Penn Vet said.
Dou told DairyReporter that her team has studied several dairy farms in Pennsylvania employing creative feed solutions. One farm receives daily deliveries of apple waste from a nearby processing facility that supplies apple slices for school lunches.
Another gets three truckloads of produce discards and expired bread products delivered every week from area distribution centers. Producers have even started using waste from brewers, which is usually sour mash that results from beer production.
In November, several dairy farmers spoke publicly about using their cows to dispose of excess and rotted pumpkins leftover from Halloween.
“Working with area farmers as well as a large fruit and vegetable wholesale centers, we have recognized some practical issues that need to be addressed in order to grow the adoption of this model further – primarily the logistics of transport and costs, and the safe use of the materials on the farm, given their perishable natures,” Dr. Dou said.
These issues are the reason Penn Vet is looking for more sustainable solutions. Dou’s team is developing technology to unlock the resources in highly perishable IUUB materials, an initiative that’s consisting of creating a database, conducting research trials and assessing relevant nutritional, environmental and climate impacts.
“Dou’s circular agro-food system model doesn’t just focus on utilizing what goes into an animal, but also what comes out. Improving the practices of recycling manure back to cropland remains a key consideration,” Penn Vet said.
“The management impact is twofold: the value of manure nutrients for growing crops, and mitigation of water quality issues from spreading manure.”
Dou said that the US should support these practices, and showing the research to the public and to policymakers is critical to furthering the industry and combating challenges from climate change.
Global dairy prices surged again in the second auction of 2020 on Wednesday, as prices increased across almost all products, with dry weather in the coming months seen as putting further upward pressure.
The GDT Price Index climbed 1.7%, with an average selling price of $3,434 per tonne, following on from a 2.8% surge in the previous auction earlier this month.
Prices gains were broad-based across products, jumping 2.4% for whole milk powder and 0.7% for skim milk powder, while butter prices rose strongly by 5.5%.
The result was likely due to a lift in demand from North Asia and the Middle East, said Robert Gibson, analyst at NZX.
A total of 33,165 tonnes was sold at the latest auction, the auction platform said on its website https://www.globaldairytrade.info.
Analysts said the dairy prices have now largely recovered ground lost at the end of 2019, and said drought risks could lend further support.
“Looking over February and March, emerging dry weather could put further upward pressure on prices,” ASB Bank Senior Rural Economist Nathan Penny said in a note.
“However, it’s still early days in the NZ summer and we maintain our 2019/20 production growth forecast at 0%. In other words, we are noting the drought risks at this stage,” he added.
The auction results can affect the New Zealand dollar as the dairy sector generates more than 7 percent of the nation’s gross domestic product.
The positive dairy prices, however, took a back seat as concerns over the spread of a pneumonia-like virus in China weighed on Asian currencies, with the kiwi currency staying largely flat at $0.6596 on Wednesday morning.
OPINION The phrase “big dairy” is often used to depersonalize dairy farmers and imply some large, faceless force foisting an agenda. Consolidation has occurred in agriculture for generations and family farms are expanding. But about three-quarters of U.S. dairy farms have fewer than 100 cows on them, according to the 2017 Census of Agriculture.
The largest farms produce the most milk, but even the biggest ones – 189 dairies with more than 5,000 cows – are too numerous and geographically dispersed to create a monolithic giant, the federation stated. More than 95 percent of all dairy farms, regardless of size, are operated by families.
“Big dairy” also appears to be a misnomer when one takes into account corporations. Land O’Lakes is ranked 212 on the Fortune 500. Dairy Farmers of America would make the list if it were publicly traded. Both are farmer-owned cooperatives. The cooperatives are tiny compared to health care, with four entries among Fortune’s top-10 companies, or oil with four in Fortune’s top-25.
Maybe big dairy is a myth invented by those who want to make farmers seem “big” to advance some contrasting image. Some competitors might want to be viewed as small-company, plant-based upstarts.
Perfect Day is selling tubs of imitation ice cream at $20 per pint. The company received funding from Temasek – a venture-capital arm of the government of Singapore – and Archer-Daniels-Midland, with $64 billion in annual sales. Other plant- and cell-based alternatives are financed by Jeff Bezos, whose net worth is about $115 billion, and Bill Gates, whose net worth is more $100 billion.
The gross receipts of all 40,000 dairy farmers in the United States – an estimated $39.9 billion – represent just two-fifths of Jeff Bezos’ net worth.
Dairy is a significant U.S. industry. The sector as a whole is responsible for about 3 million U.S. jobs and has an overall economic impact of more than $620 billion, including indirect effects, according to research commissioned by the National Milk Producers Federation and other dairy groups.
The dairy industry is comprised of family farmers, cooperatives and companies of all sizes and types. They believe in the health and nutrition of their products and support them against opponents. Those opponents usually aren’t anywhere near the underdogs they pretend to be.
The matchup is set for Super Bowl LIV. Quarterback Patrick Mahomes and the Kansas City Chiefs will take on his counterpart Jimmy Garoppolo and the San Francisco 49ers for the National Football League’s ultimate prize on Feb. 2 at Hard Rock Stadium in Miami, Fla. On the field, the game is chalk full of storylines.
For the Chiefs, for example, this Super Bowl appearance marks the team’s first since defeating the Minnesota Vikings in Super Bowl IV (4) in January 1970.
And the 49ers will look to capture its first Super Bowl victory since Super Bowl XLVII (47) in February 2013 when the team bested the Baltimore Ravens.
While football analysts will spend the next few weeks dissecting play calls and other in-depth stats, Farms.com does its own game analysis using stats from the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s National Agricultural Statistics Service.
Based on this analysis, Farms.com predicts the San Francisco 49ers will be this year’s Super Bowl champions.
On the Chicago Mercantile Exchange milk futures continued higher supported by global optimism. Class III futures jumped double digits February through December 2020 and three months even touched $18 per cwt on Tuesday. February through June closed with an average price of $17.66 per cwt while second half prices are offering $17.92 per cwt. Class IV markets fell 6 cents in March but added 1-5 cents in the second half of the year. Class IV February to June is offering $17.72 per cwt and the second half is pricing out at $18.37 per cwt respectively.
Dry whey down $0.0050 at $0.3625. Nine sales were made at $0.3625 and $0.3650. Blocks up $0.0025 at $1.9650. Three trades were made at $1.9475 and $1.9550. Barrels up $0.0350 at $1.5975. Four trades were made at $1.5975 and $1.6025. Butter unchanged at $1.88. Nonfat dry milk up $0.0050 at $1.2950.
A group of California Central Valley dairies have announced their participation in the nation’s largest effort to convert methane from cow manure into biogas. The potential for methane to warm the atmosphere is 30 times greater than that of carbon dioxide, and California cattle account for half of the state’s methane emissions, according to its Air Resources Board.
The biogas project, a joint effort between Calgren Dairy Fuels and Southern California Gas, is expected to yield 3 million to 4 million gallons of renewable natural gas (RNG) a year. The RNG processed by Calgren is injected into the utility’s system.
“This facility alone will eventually capture methane produced from the manure of more than 75,000 cows, preventing about 130,000 tons of greenhouse gas emissions from entering the atmosphere each year, the equivalent of taking more than 25,000 passenger cars off the road annually,” said Lyle Schlyer, president of Calgren Renewable Fuels.
The expansion is the latest response to a 2016 law passed in California, the nation’s largest dairy producer, calling for a 30 percent reduction in methane emissions from dairies by 2030. The mandate was supported by funding to support the creation of methane digesters on dairy farms.
A “digester” is a manure pond covered by a flexible membrane. The membrane keeps oxygen out, with the result that bacteria in the manure “think they’re still in a cow’s stomach,” says Daryl Maas of Maas Energy, a digester developer and operations company that is working with farmers in in the region.
“They eat the remaining calories and they emit methane gas,” he adds. The gas is captured and then processed into RNG, a transformation that is colloquially referred to as “poo to power.”
This transition can also involve “poo to profit,” as farmers receive income for the gas they provide for processing. These payments can be in the range of six figures, according to Maas.
“Over the last five years, renewable natural gas use in the transportation sector has grown by almost 600 percent,” said Sharon Tomkins, SoCalGas vice president and chief environmental officer. “We’re looking to build on that success by delivering more renewable energy options to our customers, including renewable natural gas produced at farms, hydrogen made from surplus solar energy, and advanced fuel cell systems that can provide energy in extreme weather events.”
Jaime Evers, a current Oregon Tech student, was crowned the 2020 Oregon Dairy Princess Ambassador on Saturday.
Jaime Evers, a student at Oregon Tech in Klamath Falls, was crowned as the 2020 Oregon Dairy Princess Ambassador during a ceremony on Saturday in Salem, according to a news release.
Held at the Salem Convention Center, the 61st annual coronation event was hosted by the Oregon Dairy Women (ODW) on Saturday evening, Jan. 18. Evers, representing Klamath County, was among three candidates representing an entire county in Oregon – Taysha Veeman, representing Marion County, was named an alternate as Oregon Dairy Princess Ambassador.
Evers, 20, is a 2017 graduate of Banks High School, where she was raised in the Tualatin Valley on a dairy farm. She is currently pursuing a bachelor’s degree in Biology-Health Sciences at Oregon, with aspirations to attend chiropractic schools after graduation.
Since 1959, the Oregon Dairy Women’s Dairy Princess Ambassador Program has served as the premier advocate for the Oregon Dairy Industry in collaboration with the Oregon Dairy Farmers Association and the Oregon Dairy Nutrition Council. The ODW award scholarships and provide financial support to 4-H and FFA programs, Agriculture in the Classroom, Ag Fest, Summer Ag Institute, Adopt-a-Farmer, and judging teams.
Her speech during the contest, titled “Telling Our Story: How Farmers Can Help Educate Consumers,” discussed ways that farmers can connect with consumers to promote dairy farming and dairy foods. Evers spent two days in interviews, answering impromptu questions and interacting with three judges before she was selected for the Oregon Dairy Princess Ambassador honor. The title comes with a $3,000 scholarship.
Evers will spend the year informing and educating the public about the dairy industry as a representative of Oregon dairy farmers, particularly in Oregon schools delivering educational presentations about life on dairy farms and the nutritional benefits of consuming dairy products.
Starting with the 2020 show season, Holstein Association USA has changed the Junior transfer “received by” deadline to July 15 for both heifers and cows. In order to be eligible to participate in Junior Holstein Shows, the animal must be registered in a youth’s name by July 15.
Changing the transfer deadline to July 15 puts the date more in line with all of the other dairy breed associations. Allowing Juniors an extra month and a half to purchase their show calves provides additional marketing opportunities.
“We are excited with the Junior transfer date change which allows youth more opportunities to purchase show animals later in the summer and the rule is now unified with the Red & White Dairy Cattle Association,” states Kelli Dunklee, youth programs specialist. “It is important to remember that this change only impacts Junior Holstein Shows – 4-H and other youth shows may have different deadlines.”
This is a “received by” deadline – any ownership transfer not received by the Holstein Association USA office on or before July 15 will not be eligible for Junior Holstein Shows. Adding or dropping any owner after the deadline will disqualify an animal for Junior recognition. If there is a question as to whether a Junior ownership transfer has been completed, be sure to contact the Holstein Association USA customer service or visit Holstein USA to check the ownership status and ensure the transfer was received before the deadline.
Holstein Association USA, Inc., provides products and services to dairy producers to enhance genetics and improve profitability–ranging from registry processing to identification programs to consulting services.
The Association, headquartered in Brattleboro, Vt., maintains the records for Registered Holsteins® and represents approximately 30,000 members throughout the United States.
On October 25, 2019, USDA abruptly halted its animal ID plan, and suspended the timeline it presented earlier in the year for the transition from metal ear tags to radio frequency identification (RFID) tags for cattle and bison. That plan set January 1, 2023 as the date all animals moving interstate, and falling within certain categories, would require individual, official RFID tags.
Although the Animal Disease Traceability (ADT) implementation plan has been withdrawn, USDA acknowledges the continuing need for a national animal ID plan and encourages the use of electronic identification for animals moving interstate under the current ADT regulations.
Holstein Association USA urges RFID tags for members that have cattle moving interstate, are merchandising or showing cattle, or have on-farm management systems that utilize RFID technology.
When Randy Roecker learned that his neighbor, Leon Statz, had died from suicide, all the feelings from his own struggle with depression roared back.
It was Oct. 8, 2018.
In the parking lot at St. Peter’s Lutheran Church, three of Roecker’s friends were discussing what had happened that day to Statz, whose dairy farm was a few miles from town.
Roecker broke down and cried.
“You guys just don’t know what it’s like dealing with this,” he told them.
Roecker, who is also a dairy farmer, understood the severe depression that Statz experienced when his farm was in trouble. He’d been through it himself.
“You have this burden that you carry,” he said. “I kept feeling all the time that I was a failure, that I had let everybody down.”
Some parishioners at St. Peter’s, where Statz was a member, knew he was battling depression. But since he was receiving out-patient treatment, they assumed he wasn’t at risk of dying from suicide.
Statz had suffered from depression for years. He felt deeply responsible for keeping his third-generation farm afloat through hard times – including the dairy crisis triggered after milk prices collapsed in late 2014.
In his mind, difficulties on the farm would quickly slip from “bad to catastrophic,” said Brenda Statz, his widow and wife of 34 years.
She and Leon hadn’t lost their farm, but they had struggled some as they transitioned from dairy to beef and grain farming. For Leon, the change represented a huge failure.
“He would say, ‘I’m a dairyman, not a grain farmer,'” Brenda recalled.
This year alone, about 800 dairy farmers in Wisconsin quit or were forced out of the business, a rate of more than two per day. Some left in despair, having lost not only their livelihood but the home they grew up in, which their parents or grandparents had built.
“You feel like you are letting down all the previous generations of your family if you don’t farm anymore,” Roecker said.
Success can be costly, stressful
At Roecker’s Rolling Acres, you’d never know anything was amiss. It’s a showcase operation that has hosted many foreign visitors touring Wisconsin dairy farms.
The 300-cow operation has been in Randy Roecker’s family since the 1930s. He’s an experienced farmer and board member of Dairy Management Inc., the national organization that promotes dairy products through ad campaigns such as “Undeniably Dairy.”
Thirteen years ago the farm underwent a major expansion costing about $3 million.
It was aimed at keeping the farm up to date, and to bring Randy’s two children, now adults, into the operation as his parents, now in their 80s, ease out.
“It’s not all gloom and doom in the dairy industry,” Roecker said. “But in order to survive, in any business, you have to grow. If you don’t, you’re falling behind.”
Still, the debt, and the recession that followed the expansion, triggered financial stress that became unbearable. The farm was losing up to $30,000 a month, undermining years of hard work and careful planning for the future.
That’s when Roecker’s depression kicked in.
“I just felt so alone. There was nobody to help me get through all this stuff,” he said. “It got to the point where I wanted to die every day.”
He couldn’t turn it off at night, either.
“All of this starts playing with your mind,” Roecker said. “You try to sleep, and it gets worse because it’s all going through your head. You feel like everything’s spiraling out of control.”
And, that’s exactly what happened.
One time he found himself in the barn, looking up at some ropes in the hayloft. More than once he had contemplated ending his life by suicide, and it scared him.
“I never had problems with depression before, but when this hit me, it was bad,” he said.
Farmers push back against depression
Roecker was hospitalized three times for depression. Over a period of about seven years he battled it with therapy and antidepressant medications which, as a side-effect, can increase suicidal thoughts.
Some people knew he was struggling but didn’t step up to help. His wife of 32 years, overwhelmed with the stress from the farm, filed for divorce.
“I felt like all of my friends just dropped me, that no one wanted anything to do with me,” Roecker said. “I felt like I was suffering alone in silence. The awareness of depression is out there, but we still have to shed this stigma of not talking about it.”
With help from a therapist, he gradually started getting his life back in order. Then the 54-year-old farmer heard about Statz’s death.
“It just put me back where I was,” Roecker said. “I told my therapist, that since I have gone through this myself, and there is just nobody out there helping farmers deal with this, I feel like it’s my calling to do something.”
Roecker, Brenda Statz and fellow church member Dale Meyer, a retired police detective, organized “Farm Neighbors Care” events at St. Peter’s church.
At one of those meetings in early December, farmers talked openly about their struggles with stress, depression and financial hardships.
About 40 people, including some who were not St. Peter’s parishioners, met in the church basement for a lunch of turkey sandwiches, soup and cookies served in exchange for a free-will offering.
They chatted about the wet fall harvest and how challenging it had been for farmers to get crops out of the fields. There was a lighthearted, humorous presentation from Ben Bromley, a former Baraboo News Republic columnist.
Then the discussion turned serious, with presentations from farmers, parishioners and public health officials who offered resources for anyone experiencing mental health issues.
“Leon was a member of this church. He was stressed out, but we felt that we didn’t do what we should have for him,” Meyer said. “And in Randy’s situation, people knew about it, but nobody got around him and said ‘Randy, how can we help?'”
One of the takeaway messages was that farmers could also help each other because they understood the unique challenges in agriculture, where the weather and global markets, out of a farmer’s control, can turn their world upside down.
“We’ve had low milk prices for five years … you burn through the equity in your farm because you’re borrowing money to keep going,” Roecker said. “I tell my friends in town, ‘You don’t know what it’s like. We have no savings, no benefits.'”
The handful of meetings this year have drawn farmers from hours away and have been replicated at other churches in Wisconsin, Minnesota and North Dakota.
“I want other farmers to be able to reach out to me,” Roecker said. “I have gotten calls from people in four or five states. The biggest thing is to just listen.”
Help is available for farmers
For some, the notion of friends, neighbors and relatives knowing about their mental health issues is simply too much, even if they would understand. But there are confidential services anyone can turn to for help, and that includes places that understand farmers.
The Wisconsin Farm Center, part of the state agriculture department, has a staff very familiar with farming. The Madison-based agency offers a wide range of free services including help sorting out farm finances. They offer vouchers that farmers and their families can use to get counseling at clinics across the state.
“We want farmers to feel like they’re being understood. You’d be surprised at how much just spending an hour with someone can help,” said Angie Sullivan, the Farm Center’s agriculture program manager.
The agency has a mediation service that can give farmers some relief from creditors. Also, there’s help available for settling family disputes, like when different generations disagree on their farm’s path forward.
“Let’s talk about some ways you can manage this really difficult time in your life,” Sullivan said. “We can sit at your kitchen table as many times as you need us, to go over your financial picture or your transition plan.”
Some of the agency’s staff are ex-farmers or are still farming. Some have 30 years’ experience in agricultural banking and other areas of agribusiness.
“What we’re seeing, unfortunately, is many farmers have not been able to pay back their operating loans for the last couple of years. Many are stressed to the limit credit-wise,” Sullivan said.
The group Farm Aid offers similar assistance. Its (800) FARM-AID crisis line provides services to farm families, and its Farmer Resource Network connects farmers to organizations across the country.
“In the last two years we have seen a pretty drastic increase in the number of calls, as well as the number of calls that have a crisis component,” said Madeline Lutkewitte, manager of the Farm Aid crisis line based in Cambridge, Massachusetts.
“We have had a lot of calls from people in dairy farming who just haven’t been able to keep up with their bills and can’t get loans for the remainder of the year and next spring,” she said.
This winter, Wisconsin farm couples can attend workshops in Mineral Point, Wausau, Appleton, Waupun, Eau Claire and Rice Lake, aimed at helping them manage stress associated with financial problems.
The workshops, sponsored by the state agriculture department and University of Wisconsin-Madison Division of Extension, will include a segment on how to talk with children about problems on the farm, and decision-making when the farm may have to shut down.
“Our mission is to keep people farming … but sometimes there are no options except to leave, so we want to do whatever we can to help people be prepared for that, and to make it through that time as a couple and a family,” Sullivan said.
Dairy farmers are especially vulnerable
Leon Statz’s identity was in being a dairy farmer, and it showed in everything he did.
Year after year, he won awards from his cooperative, Foremost Farms, for producing high-quality milk. His wife, Brenda, displayed those awards at his funeral, thinking Leon would have liked that.
“His pride was in producing a quality product,” she said.
And he lived for the challenge.
So when Leon’s depression became so bad that he hadn’t worked in months, he sank in despair.
“His philosophy was, if you weren’t working, you weren’t worth anything,” Brenda said.
He would try to help out a neighbor on their farm but would be overcome with anxiety that he might do something wrong, that some machinery might break while he was operating it.
“He would leave me notes and say, ‘I am trying to do the best I can,’” Brenda said.
Since Leon’s death, she has become an advocate for farmer mental health and suicide prevention.
There aren’t many reliable statistics on farmer suicide rates, but experts say that dairy farmers are especially vulnerable because their lives are inseparable from their work – cows must be milked two or three times a day, 365 days a year.
“We only went on one vacation, ever, with our kids when they were little,” Brenda said.
Often, farmers experiencing depression will isolate themselves. They don’t visit with neighbors as much as they used to, or they may spend more time in the barn alone. Some will make their death look like an accident.
Farmers are private people, and if they reach out for help, you had better take it seriously, Brenda said.
At the Farm Neighbors Care meeting at St. Peter’s church in Loganville, ex-dairy farmer Steven Rynkowski opened up about his story and delivered a heartfelt rendition of the song “Take Heart My Friend.”
For much of his adult life he had experienced episodes of depression. Then, his farm ran into trouble following an expansion that pushed him into financial difficulties.
He overdosed on alcohol and pills, maybe not a suicide attempt, but it sent him to the hospital.
Three years after his overdose, and 30 years after he started dairy farming right out of high school, Rynkowski quit the business.
“It was very hard on me because farming was my way of life,” he said.
He’s since helped other farmers face the end of their career.
“I don’t wish what I went through on anybody. But because I went through it, I am a different person, a better person. … It’s not going to be an easy road out of it, but there is life after dairy farming,” Rynkowski said.
He added: “My faith has a lot to do with it. You are a child of God, and you have worth well beyond farming or whatever it is you do for a living.”
If you or anyone you know is struggling with thoughts of suicide, please call the National Suicide Prevention Hotline, at (800) 273-8255, for immediate help.
President Trump has touted his new US-China trade agreement as a boon for America’s farmers, who have suffered under a nearly-two-year tariff standoff with Beijing. But what do they think?
A summary of the new agreement says that Beijing will now “strive” to purchase an additional $5bn (£3.8bn) of US agricultural products over the next two years.
“That will result in greater prosperity for farmers all across the land,” Mr Trump said as he signed the agreement.
But farmers in Wisconsin – the swing state proudly billed as America’s Dairyland – remain uncertain. And as the president seeks re-election, that could matter.
In 2016, Mr Trump clinched the state by a 0.8% margin, becoming the first Republican to do so since Ronald Reagan in 1984.
In Wisconsin, such a razor’s-edge victory is typical.
In three of the five past presidential elections, victory in Wisconsin has been decided by less than one percentage point. In 2000, this margin was made up of 6,000 votes, in 2004 about 13,000.
Farmers make up about 11% of the electorate in Wisconsin, says Charles Franklin, director of the state’s leading poll at Marquette Law School.
“They’re a modest bloc,” Mr Franklin says. But even a modest bloc “could be responsible for tipping a one-point election”.
So how are farmers feeling about the future?
‘It’s a slow death’
“Every year you lose a few farms, every year you lose a few farmers who don’t want to keep doing this,” says Will Hsu, president of Hsu Ginseng, a ginseng farm in central Wisconsin’s Marathon County.
The region is reliably Republican – Marathon County went for Trump over Clinton by an 18 point margin in 2016 – and is home to more than 95% of the United States’ ginseng, almost all of which is shipped to China.
In the 1990s there were 1,000 ginseng farmers in Wisconsin, Mr Hsu says, growing more than 2m lbs of ginseng.
“There are only about 180 farmers left,” he says. “It’s death by a thousand cuts.”
It’s hard work. Ginseng takes three to five years to reach maturity and cannot be farmed on the same land twice.
And it’s been made harder by the trade war, Mr Hsu says, which has pushed tariffs up from 8% to 38%, a punishing reality for farmers who rely on Chinese consumers for their survival.
Many farmers are bearing costs themselves – lowering prices to offset the added tax.
It’s not quite devastation, he says, but the pressure on farmers is building.
“It’s a slow death,” he says.
Hsu’s criticism of the president’s trade war has raised eyebrows from some in his community, he says.
“I hear from a lot of farmers who say I’m a little too vocal against Trump’s policies, that I should be supportive of him.”
But even though Hsu might support Trump ideologically, “there’s also the realistic part of me,” he says. And “realistically, it’s hurting everyone and our pocketbooks.”
‘Farmers are always the pawns’
Joel Greeno, 52, grew up on a dairy farm in Monroe County in west Wisconsin. It was “pretty much assumed” he would continue the family tradition, he says.
In 1990, he did, buying a 160 acre dairy farm and 48 cows of his own.
But after twenty years of business, staring down economic ruin, he was forced to sell.
“It was just excruciating,” he says.
To Mr Greeno, who now farms vegetables in addition to nightshifts at Wisconsin’s Ocean Spray cranberry factory, Mr Trump’s trade war has added needless stress to an already fragile industry.
For years, Wisconsin has led the US in farm bankruptcies. In 2019, the state lost one in 10 of its dairy farms, marking the biggest decline on record.
Exports of US dairy products to China declined by over 50% in 2019, and the US Dairy Export Council estimated last year that retaliatory tariffs from China could cost US dairy farmers $12.2bn by 2023 if they remain in place.
“Tariffs only hurt us,” he says. “There was no thought process whatsoever.”
He continues: “Our labour is stolen, our lives are stolen, our families are broken and it’s all because we have politicians who are absolutely clueless to the reality of farming.”
“Farmers are always the pawns.”
‘Ray of hope’
“We’ve dealt with declining prices before, but it hasn’t lasted this long before,” Katy Schultz says as she walks through the barn at Tri-Fecta farms, the 400-cow dairy farm she owns with her two siblings just outside of Fox Lake.
The US-China trade war added “insult to injury” during a difficult period for farmers, she says. “It was already not great times and not great prices.”
“I won’t sugar coat that… We struggled. We struggled with everyone.”
In the weeks before the agreement was signed, people in her community had been talking about the possibilities of a new deal. For some, Mr Trump’s promises gave them a “ray of hope” to hang on through difficult conditions.
Just one door over from 2,000 acres, a neighbour boasts a towering flag pole on the front lawn, adorned with a massive Trump 2020 flag. It’s not unexpected in Dodge County – which went for Trump in 2016 by a 30-point margin.
Ms Schultz doesn’t say who she voted for, disclosing only that her siblings were “divided” at the ballot box.
“I don’t care if they’re Democrat or Republican. I just want to know that they’re rowing in the same boat that I am,” Ms Schultz says. But there are some things the president has done that “you can’t really deny”, like the record-low unemployment rate.
“Is [the deal] the answer to everything? Probably not,” she says. But, “I think there’s some optimism now.”
For fifth-generation dairyman Jeremy Visser, 2014 was a record-breaker. Amid soaring global demand for U.S. milk products, Visser made about $500 on each of the 4,000 cows he was running in Stanwood and four other Western Washington dairy operations.
But a year later, as those sweet trade conditions began to sour, Visser’s fortunes also turned. In both 2016 and 2017, milk prices fell so low that Visser lost $100 on each cow. By 2018, the per-cow losses topped $300.
Visser pulled through, in part by mortgaging “everything I owned.” But at least 50 dairy farmers he knows have left the business. The last few years “have been tremendously difficult on us,” says the 42-year-old father of three.
Visser could be speaking for most of the roughly 350 dairy farmers still in business in Washington, which as recently as 2007 boasted more than 800 dairy farms, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture.
Fourth-generation dairy farmer Jeremy Visser, seen here in 2017, says he mortgaged “everything he owned” to stay in business. (Dan Bates / Herald file)
With a steady stream of new technologies — including ones that focus on milking, breeding, nutrition and genetics — dairy farmers have seen impressive gains in output. From 1993 to 2018, milk yields from the average Washington dairy cow climbed 25 percent, to more than 12 tons, according to the USDA. And unlike many other businesses, where output often can be adjusted for changing demand, a dairy farm cannot simply idle a herd if prices fall.
“It’s very hard to turn a cow off,” Visser jokes.
But all that new milk has put downward pressure on milk prices — and on dairy farm incomes.
For years, many dairy farmers — especially those at smaller operations — have taken off-farm jobs to help their businesses survive and “keep doing what they love doing,” says Dan Wood, executive director of the Washington State Dairy Federation.
Some dairy farmers have adopted new business models that rely less on maximizing volume.
At the Twin Brook Creamery in Lynden, just south of the Canadian border, Larry Stap, a former Darigold member — and Visser’s distant cousin — has refashioned his dairy business around smaller batches of high-end “craft” milk.
While most commercial dairies use the high-output Holstein breed, Stap’s 200 Jerseys produce less milk, but it contains more butterfat and other solids — and, Stap says, more flavor. That’s a key selling point for his products, which include whole and other milks, fresh cream, and sweetened milks.
Yet even with Stap’s niche, he hasn’t ignored big industry changes.
To control costs in the Northwest’s tight labor market, Stap began switching to robotic milkers in 2015. The machines, which let cows give milk as often as they like, have reduced his labor costs and personnel headaches.
“They’re never late to work and they’re never hung over,” Stap jokes.
But they’re not cheap: each milker costs $200,000, and Stap’s herd needs four.
Much of the innovation in the dairy industry has focused on scaling up, not down. Visser’s dairy enterprise, for example, has roughly doubled since 2014 as many of his friends, neighbors, and others have sold their operations to him on their way out of the business.
That greater size has advantages. A larger operation lets farmers spread costs over more cattle. And a bigger revenue stream makes it easier to pay for those robotic milkers and other technologies — including systems to manage the dairy industry’s other big “output”: each Holstein cow generates 115 pounds of manure every 24 hours.
But going large has downsides, too. Greater output and falling milk prices — they dropped 32 percent between 2014 and 2018 — puts more pressure on dairy farmers to find new ways and places to sell their milk. In some cases, that has meant developing new consumer products. Darigold, for example, has introduced a higher protein, lower-sugar milk, called Fit, which CEO Stan Ryan says is “moving people from things like almond milk back into dairy milk.”
Increasingly, however, Northwest dairies have looked abroad to offload their extra output. From 2000 to 2014, Washington’s dairy exports jumped from $32 million to $232 million. In 2018, the most recent year for which data is available, Washington exported more than a seventh of its total dairy output by dollar value, according to the USDA. The share is even higher at Darigold, which exports 40 percent of its output and hopes to top 50 percent in the near future.
Washington state’s proximity to Asian trading partners gives state dairy producers a key advantage over Midwestern competitors. “We can get products to China or Singapore cheaper than we can get them to Chicago,” Ryan says.
Darigold has invested heavily in boosting its exports — for example, by producing more powdered milk, which is in high demand overseas — and is counting on exports for three quarters of future sales growth.
But relying more on foreign buyers can be risky. From 2014 to 2018, the dollar value of Washington dairy exports plummeted 24 percent as trade disputes cut overseas sales, according to the USDA. Federal relief payments to farmers hurt by the disputes — projected to be around $9.7 million for 2019 — will cover only a fraction of the losses.
The trade disputes also appear to have extended the milk price slump. Though milk prices rose through much of 2019, they’re still 8 percent below the 2014 peak.
The recent rapprochement on trade between the U.S. and China, and the U.S. Senate’s ratification of the American trade pact with Canada and Mexico, have raised industry hopes for a boost in U.S. dairy exports. But trade tensions could easily resurface.
And some of America’s dairy trade partners aim to rely less on U.S. imports. “Russia and China are building their own internal dairy supply,” Neibergs says.
Visser expects more turmoil for the industry. By 2021, he thinks the milk market will likely shift back to its typical 3-year price cycle, where dairy farmers “make money for a year, break even for a year, then lose a lot of money.”
Although 2020 will be a good year, Visser says, “I’m positive that’s about all we’ll get.”
President Donald Trump thanked farmers Sunday for supporting him through a trade war with China as he promoted a new North American trade agreement and a separate one with China that he said will massively benefit farmers.
“We did it,” Trump said, recalling his campaign promises to improve America’s trading relationships with other countries.
At one point during his address to the American Farm Bureau Federation’s convention, Trump said he has strong support among farmers following his signing last week of a preliminary trade deal with China.
When Trump spoke to the American Farm Bureau Federation’s last year, he urged farmers to continue supporting him even as they suffered financially in the fallout from his trade war with China and a partial shutdown of the federal government.
His follow-up speech Sunday at this year’s convention in Austin, Texas, gave him a chance to make the case to farmers that he kept promises he made as a candidate to improve trade with China and separately with Canada and Mexico.
He thanked farmers for staying “in the fight.”
“You were always with me,” Trump said. “You never even thought of giving up and we got it done.”
The Republican president wants another term in office and is seeking to shore up support among his base, including farmers.
Trump announced he is taking steps to protect the water rights of farmers and ranchers by directing the Army Corps of Engineers to immediately withdraw a new water supply rule and allow states to manage water resources based on their own needs and what the agricultural community wants.
“Water is the lifeblood of agriculture and we will always protect your water supply,” Trump said.
Trump signed a preliminary trade deal with China at the White House last Wednesday that commits Beijing to boosting its imports of U.S. manufacturing, energy and farm goods by $200 billion this year and next. That includes larger purchases of soybeans and other farm goods expected to reach $40 billion a year, the U.S. has said, though critics wonder if China can meet the targets.
In Austin, Trump described the trade agreement with China as “groundbreaking” and said, “We’re going to sell the greatest product you’ve ever seen.”
Also last week, the Senate voted overwhelmingly in favor of the U.S.-Mexico-Canada Agreement, a successor to the 1994 North American Free Trade Agreement. The administration designed the new agreement to return some factory production to the United States, mostly automobiles.
Trump said in Austin that U.S. farmers will also benefit under USMCA, which he said will “massively boost exports” for farmers, ranchers, growers from “North to South” and “from sea to shining sea.”
NAFTA had triggered a surge in trade among the three countries, but Trump and other critics blamed it for U.S. job losses brought about when American factories moved production south of the border to take advantage of low-wage labor in Mexico.
The House passed the U.S.-Mexico-Canada deal in December. Trump said he would sign it after he returns from a trip to Europe this week.
In his remarks to farmers, Trump claimed his administration is doing things no other administration has ever done.
“And what do I get out of it? I get impeached,” he said. “That’s what I get. By these radical-left lunatics, I get impeached. But that’s OK. The farmers are sticking with Trump.”
The president’s trial in the Senate gets underway in earnest on Tuesday.
The personal trainer turned professional milkman is not shy about his special advantage in this city of moo-vers and shakers. “I capitalize on my looks to get clients,” Acosta, 40, who is single, tells The Post.
And customers can’t wait for the shaggy-haired delivery guy to get their lattes steaming.
“He’s such a hunk,” longtime customer Lia Shire, of the Upper West Side, tells The Post.
“I have not bought milk or eggs from a grocery since I started with him,” adds the married mom, who says she’s referred smitten friends.
Frank Acosta is the co-founder of Manhattan Milk delivery service.
Annie Wermiel/NY Post
Acosta, a FiDi resident, co-founded Manhattan Milk in 2006, along with business partner Matt Marone. The pair bottle and deliver country-fresh cow juice to eager clients across four boroughs and New Jersey. A single gallon costs $8, though some families spill up to $100 per week on the single-herd, grass-fed, low-temperature pasteurized milk from an upstate New York farm. (Delivery is included with a $25 order minimum, with items such as heavy cream, eggs and New York state maple syrup also available.)
Even though Manhattan Milk has a few competitors, Acosta says he’s proof that milk “does a body good.”
“I had to drink it with every meal since growing up,” says Acosta, who was raised in Michigan and graduated from the University of Michigan, where he studied pre-law. Now, he downs a glass of whole milk before his daily workouts and chugs chocolate milk chasers after pumping iron at the gym.
That’s not the only way Acosta stays buff. He helps hand-deliver up to 600 cases of milk a day. Prep at the Westchester warehouse often starts at 11 p.m. before he’s on the road to get into Manhattan by 1 a.m. to make corporate deliveries. He shows up at private residences after dawn.
The udder-ly demanding all-nighters can take a toll, especially when his clients expect him to stick around and chat in the morning: “Being the face of the company has its repercussions. They want to talk to you all the time,” he says.
And although Manhattan Milk employs other delivery guys, he knows who his clients want to see him at their doors bright and early.
“Do people want it from me? 110%,” he says. “I don’t take vacations.”
While he does get hit on by eager customers, Acosta says he keeps things professional, even when his Instagram DMs are getting flooded. “I keep my head down and make my deliveries,” he says.
He even thinks crushes have cost him some of his regulars. “There were a few instances when we had cancellations, and I think [jealous husbands] are the reason why. I had that happen with training, too. You have wives who train with you and the minute the husband sees you — no more sessions.”
Acosta, who had a brief but memorable role on the “Real Housewives of Orange County” when he was linked to cast member Kelly Dodd, insists that there’s no real dating stigma to being a modern-day milkman.
“Being a milkman is a badge of honor,” he says.
But he confesses he has a dating dealbreaker of his own — namely women who don’t drink milk. “I wouldn’t trust them,” he says.
Australian trade negotiators will push China to match dairy trade concessions made to the United States in a landmark trade deal, as Australia’s $4 billion dairy industry looks to ram itself into the world’s largest market.
As part of phase one of its trade deal with the China, the US secured relaxed inspection, licensing and technical regulations on dairy products in what analysts have described as one of the more substantial concessions of the negotiations between the two superpowers.
The same regulations have hampered Australian dairy exporters. In June up to $1 billion was wiped from shares in a2 Milk after China announced tougher restrictions on importing baby milk formula in a bid to bolster its local market.
Yun Jiang, co-editor of China Neican and a former federal public servant, said it appeared unlikely the same treatment will be extended to products from other countries given the clauses specifically refer to US regulators and “Australia may be adversely affected by this trade deal”.
The negotiations have become more urgent as the Chinese economy slows to its lowest rate of growth in 29 years and Australian producers like a2 Milk compete with global companies for a share of China’s burgeoning middle class.
Official figures released on Friday showed China’s economy grew by 6.1 per cent in 2019, as the trade war with the United States hit business and consumer demand. The rate still places it well above western economies and remains within the Chinese Communist Party’s target range.
Trump, China sign ‘Phase 1’ of trade deal
President Donald Trump signed a trade agreement Wednesday with China that is expected to boost exports from US farmers and manufacturers and is aimed at lowering tensions in a long-running dispute between the economic powers.
Trade Minister Simon Birmingham said Australia “would expect common regulatory standards to operate without favouring the US over other nations”. He said he would also be encouraging other counterparts to make that point to China.
“Australia always encourages trading partners to remove unnecessary non-tariff barriers, and as far as this deal leads to a reduction in administrative barriers, we would welcome it,” he said.
“Australian exporters can or are already meeting these technical standards.”
a2 Milk said on Thursday any improvement in the global trading environment were a positive sign for companies engaged in China.
Industry bodies including Australian Dairy Farmers are expected to lobby the government to ensure that Australian producers do not lose further market share in China to international giants, Nestle, Danone and Mead Johnson.
What some might see as a chore, Kurt Kaser sees as a blessing.
“I don’t like to sit around,” Pender farmer Kaser said.
This hard-working farmer is used to making tracks until a nearly fatal mistake stopped him dead in his.
“My leg went in and I knew it was not going to be good,” Kaser said.
One false step into the opening of his grain auger and Kurt knew that he had lost his leg, but he was determined not to lose his life.
“For some reason, I thought of my pocket knife. No hesitation,” Kaser said.
As the auger pulled at his leg, Kurt pulled out his knife and cut through muscle and nerves, freeing himself from the machine.
“Headed to the house on my elbows, dragging myself. About gave up where I was going because I was getting worn out,” Kaser said.
But giving up is something Kurt has ever been known to do. He made it 200 feet army crawling to a phone and called for help.
“When we went down to the hospital to see him first things out of his mouth was ‘Why are you guys not working?’ At that point, I knew it wasn’t going to take him long,” farm hand Tyler Hilkemann said.
“They told me I wouldn’t have a leg in 6-8 months,” said Kaser.
Proving doctors wrong and the ones that know him right, Kurt was on two feet again in half the time they predicted and back to work before anyone could have expected.
“Ever since he got his leg you can’t stop him,” Hilkemann said. “One of these days we might steal it from him, but other than that we aren’t going to be able to stop him and he’ll probably be going until the day he dies.”
Putting one leg in front of the other, it might take him a little longer, but Kurt has tried to get back to his normal work schedule. Even running the auger that almost took his life.
“It just makes you go if he can do it, I can do it,” said Hilkemann.
“You have to have the determination to do it and if you want it bad enough, you can do anything,” Kaser said.
As the Trump administration promises the third tranche of its Market Facilitation Program (MFP) payment is coming soon, U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue says the administration is “hoping and expecting” that recent and upcoming trade deals will mean further MFP payments won’t be necessary.
In particular, Perdue says he thinks the phase one agreement with China announced last week, which the administration expects will bring as much as $80 billion in purchases over the next two years, will curb the need for supplementing farmers’ income. MFP payments are intended to financially assist farmers and ranchers who have been directly and adversely impacted by foreign retaliatory tariffs imposed because of the trade war with China, and a the third upcoming payment has been estimated at $3.625 billion.
Perdue, who made his comments Monday during a press conference at the annual American Farm Bureau’s conference in Austin, Texas, says he thinks the trade deal with China, as well as other countries, will bring enough fiscal benefit to the agriculture community in 2020. “It may be the summer or fall before we see the full benefit of that $40 to $50 billion. The president has demonstrated his ability to do what it takes to preserve the ag sector in this country,” Perdue says.
The administration will begin immediately begin working with China on phase two of its trade deal, Perdue says, as it also enters into discussions with countries such as India and in the European Union. Last week, the Senate passed the U.S.-Mexico-Canada Agreement (USMCA), which is expected to be signed by President Donald Trump this week.
Trump also appeared at the conference Sunday night to speak about the various trade agreements he has made and in the works, arguing that his negotiations earned the U.S. greater respect in China and elsewhere. “We have a formula that I think is working out very well. If it’s not, call me directly and I’ll give Sonny hell,” Trump said Sunday.
Perdue didn’t have a timeline on when the third MFP payment would be coming, other than to say it is assured and imminent.
On labor, Perdue says that he has been pushing the administration to implement a temporary legal guest worker program for farmers who need workers. “That’s what agriculture needs, and that’s what we want. It doesn’t offend people who are anti-immigrant because they don’t want more immigrant citizens here,” he said during closing remarks for the conference.
There had been speculation that the administration might make an announcement about a replacement for the Waters of the United States (WOTUS) rule, which the Obama administration expanded in 2015 to allow the regulation of a broader set of waterways, much to the consternation of the agricultural community. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and the Department of the Army announced in September a repeal of the 2015 rule. The move restored the previous regulatory standards.
While a replacement rule wasn’t announced, Trump did bring up the topic Sunday.
“I terminated one of the most ridiculous regulations of all: the last administration’s disastrous Waters of the United States rule,” Trump says. “As long as I’m President, government will never micromanage
America’s farmers. You’re going to micromanage your own farm, and that’s the way it should be.” Trump also says that he is removing a water supply rule that allowed the federal government to restrict farmers’ access to water.
“I am directing the Corps of Engineers to immediately withdraw the proposed rule and allow states to manage their water resources based on their own needs and based on what their farmers and ranchers want,” Trump says.
Jim was born on April 10, 1938, to Andrew and Lydia (Seifert) Armbruster, Mequon, Wis. After his father’s death in 1950, the family grew the farm into a registered dairy operation and began Armbruster Brother’s Farms. Jim credits his brother, Edgar for his success and the family’s survival. Upon graduation in 1963 from the University of Wisconsin-Madison, Jim worked for mentee Lyle Spencer in Eagle, Wis., selecting premium dairy cattle for Red Brae’s registered Brown Swiss herd. Jim married Mary Lee Zimmerman of Burlington, Wis. in 1970.
Jim was a dedicated and prominent cow man. He judged major dairy cattle shows throughout the US, Latin America, and Europe. A beloved fixture of World Dairy Expo, he was the first recipient of the A.C. “Whitie” Thompson Award, recognizing exemplary showmanship and leadership.
Jim’s lifelong career in Agriculture was highlighted by his service to his alma mater. As Dairy Herdsman for the University of Wisconsin-Madison, Jim was a recognized and awarded coach, teacher, and mentor. He had an impact on scores of students during his tenure and beyond.
After retiring, Jim farmed, raising and assembling dairy heifers for sale and export. He enjoyed travelling to visit his children, cheering on Wisconsin sports, spending time with his dear friend Patricia Rohloff and her family, and taking adventures of all kinds. Friends and family will remember his charisma, humor, and generosity.
Jim is survived by daughter, Heidi; sons, Troy (Jessica) and Chad (Ellen); and grandson, Walter. He leaves behind his brother, Edgar (Phyllis); nephews, Steve, David, and Eric; and nieces, Jill (Chuck Jinkins), Lea Ann (Jeff) Bleck (children, Elise and Brady), and Beth (David) Storms (children Calli and Wyatt). He was preceded in death by his brother, Andrew.
A Funeral Service will be held on Sat., Jan. 25, 2020 at noon at First Presbyterian Church, 5763 County Rd. Q, Waunakee with Pastor Kirk Morledge celebrant. Visitation will be held from 10 a.m. until the time of service at the church. A reception to celebrate Jim’s life will follow at Rex’s Innkeeper, Waunakee. The family thanks the caregivers at UW Health, UW Hospital, and Agrace Hospice for their compassionate care. In lieu of flowers, charitable donations can be made to the organization of your choice in Jim’s name.
The Dairy Farmers of Wisconsin board of directors appoint dairy farmer Rick Roden, Roden Echo Valley, LLC, to serve as the representative for District 18 covering Sheboygan, Ozaukee, Washington, Waukesha, Milwaukee, Racine and Kenosha Counties.
Roden farms with his wife, Melissa, and his parents Bob and Cindy Roden near West Bend. Rick’s sister Jacki owns and operates Roden Barnyard Adventures on the family dairy.
“Rick has been involved with agriculture groups over the years and is very eager to learn more about dairy promotion,” says Jeff Strassburg, Wittenburg dairy farmer and Dairy Farmers of Wisconsin board chair. “His experience and passion for the industry will complement the current board members.”
This appointment comes following the death of Sheboygan Falls dairy farmer and former DFW board member Dean Strauss. Roden will serve District 18 through the remaining term.
There were three candidates interested in the district seat, which will be open for election in 2022.
About Dairy Farmers of Wisconsin: Funded by Wisconsin dairy farmers, Dairy Farmers of Wisconsin is a non-profit organization that focuses on marketing and promoting Wisconsin’s world-class dairy products. For more information, visit our website at WisconsinDairy.org.
The nomination deadline for the Jersey Canada Individual Awards is January 17th! These awards, presented at the 2020 Jersey Canada AGM, recognize outstanding contributions to the Jersey Breed from outstanding people. More information about the awards is below, and nomination forms can be found on our website.
Nominations close January 17th, 2020
YOUTH OF DISTINCTION
This award is presented at the Jersey Canada AGM to youth aged 18 to 25 years of age who are involved with the Jersey breed in Canada. Eligible aged candidates with strong leadership and involvement in agriculture, the community, and the Jersey breed are encouraged to apply.
HONOURARY LIFE MEMBER
This award recognizes long-term leadership contribution to the Jersey breed. Nominations must be accompanied by a résumé outlining the nominee’s Jersey involvement through the years.
DISTINGUISHED SERVICE AWARD
Periodically the association will present a Distinguished Service Award. This award recognizes a unique long-term commitment to the betterment of the Jersey cow in the areas of leadership, promotion, genetic improvement, and marketing – and is open to any member of the Jersey fraternity. This is the highest honour given by Jersey Canada and is therefore given when deemed appropriate.
CERTIFICATE OF APPRECIATION
A Certificate of Appreciation is awarded periodically to people within the agricultural industry who render a particular service above and beyond the call of duty to the goals and the objectives of the Association. Recipients have often been employees of industry partner companies.
JERSEY YOUNG ACHIEVERS
This award recognizes the accomplishments of Jersey breeders under the age of 40. The application must be accompanied by a résumé of accomplishments with Jerseys, the community and family.
Seattle from Marco Hellwig & Stefan Siepermann, sold for €50.000.
There was a lot of enthousiasm for the 47 lotnumbers at the HighlightSale last Friday in Hamm, Germany. From this total of 47 sale heifers 41 were sold for a tremendous average of € 8.066! Salesmasher was RZH SIE Seattle. With such an amazing genomic profile it was already certain before the sale that she would be the topseller this year. But nobody expected that she would be sold for € 50.000. The second highest seller was HET Charlene (Soundcloud-Sound System) at €29,000. Charlene, who tests well on many total indexes (2743 gTPI/400 gNVI/160 gRZG), comes from a cow family that needs little introduction: the Cosmopolitans. The sale averaged €8,066.
The prices at this sale were amazing. Two GenHotel members, Hof Am Sylvert and Wilder Holsteins, both striked to get the best animals. They paid the highest and second highest price during this sale.
The top 5 best sold heifers at the HighlightSale :
RZH SIE Seattle
Hof Am Sylvert (Olaf Rörden), Duitsland
HET SC Charlene
Wilder Holsteins (Norbert Holtkamp), Duitsland
RZN Carmelia P RDC
Paul Steinebach, Duitsland
ETG Summertime Red
Rinder-Union West eG, Duitsland
There are nine lotnumbers sold to The Netherlands, four found their new owners in Italy, one animal has been sold to a buyer from Malta and the other animals were bought by German, Danish and French dairyfarmers.
More than 25 dairy farmers left the industry north of the border in 2019, according to the Scottish Dairy Cattle Association (SDCA).
Figures from the association reveal 879 dairy herds were in operation at the start of this year, which is down from 5,735 herds when records began back in 1903.
Although the industry lost 27 herds, 15 new ones appeared through either new set-ups or farms being bought and dairying restarting, which meant there was a net loss of 12 herds last year.
SDCA secretary, Janette Mathie, said: “In 2019 we saw a lot of uncertainty for some dairy farmers within Scotland, but many others have made the commitment to make dairying their future and for the generations that follow.”
She said Aberdeenshire lost two herds, while Lanarkshire and Wigtownshire showed a net loss of three and four herds respectively. Ayrshire showed a net increase of three herds over the year.
SDCA figures also reveal the total number of dairy cow numbers decreased by 1,048 to 178,490, however the average herd size was up by two to 203.
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NFU Scotland’s milk committee chairman, John Smith, said it was the first time in many years when dairy herd and dairy cow numbers both fell.
He said: “The reduction in herds has been a long-term trend but to see cow numbers falling is more of a concern.
“On a positive note, new herds continue to be established which underlines our belief that there is a great future for dairy production in Scotland.”
Regional herd numbers and average herd size included: Aberdeenshire 25, 199; Angus, seven, 213; Argyllshire, 10, 173; Caithness, two, 61; Inverness, one, 128; Moray, five, 358; Orkney, 17, 114; Ross and Cromarty, one, 120; and Shetland, four, 54.
This question is getting tougher to answer as the number of dairy farms in Florida has dropped by 30 percent in recent years, according to federal agriculture reports. At the same time, a second major milk company with nationwide ties has declared bankruptcy.
Florida remains a top southern dairy state and is in the top 20 for production in the nation. The credit belongs to the farmers who work the land as job security remains uncertain.
“Lot of long days,” Cheryl Finney said, “I normally put in 12 to 14 hour days.”
Finney is a second-generation dairy farmer. Her father, Carl Wainwright, started working the land in Suwanee County after years as a milk delivery driver in Jacksonville.
The first farm the family had went bust. It took years to recover, but eventually, Wainwright would buy another parcel just across a dirt road from the old land.
He changed the model for how the diary farm would work. Decades later, it’s a success story in an industry that hasn’t seen too many.
“By the vison of my dad, he knew a long time ago that one we needed to grow our own feed and number two, he knew we had to get direct to the customer,” Finney said.
She added the dairy farm is committed to quality and because they control everything in the chain of production and distribution, it’s only theirs to lose.
The U.S. Department of Agriculture reports the number of dairies dropped from 108 in 2015 to 71 last November for the same milk-producing counties in Florida.
Borden’s Dairy and Dean Foods – producers of nationwide brands – have filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy recently. Both companies are looking to restructure and reduce debt.
Finney says she was surprised by the announcements. Her focus is on her own business, which continues to thrive. The hours put in to make it succeed, a trade-off for stellar views.
“It’s peaceful. It’s a good feeling just to be away from it all,” Finney said.
In the last few years, Wainwright Dairy has added to its list the products and the number of consumers.