Archive for August, 2010

 PDPW releases 2010-11 calendar

The Professional Dairy Producers of Wisconsin (PDPW) has released its 2010-2011 Calendar of Events, with events open to members and non-members.

“Each and every workshop, conference and additional events were designed by dairy producers for dairy producers,” said PDPW president Eric Hillan, a dairy producer from Ladysmith,  Wis. “This calendar of events represents what dairy producers and other industry professionals are asking from PDPW, dairy’s professional development organization. PDPW accepted the charge to create a year’s worth of events that answered the needs of dairy producers in Wisconsin and across the United States.”

PDPW is a dairy-producer founded organization that provides educational programs and services to fellow dairy producers. PDPW’s mission is “to share ideas, solutions, resources, and experiences that help dairy producers succeed.”  To learn more about a specific event, contact PDPW at 800-947-7379, e-mail mail@pdpw.org or visit www.pdpw.org

PDPW 2010-2011 Calendar of Events

AUGUST

11-12ACE Twilight Meetings

Aug. 11 at the Joe Bragger Farm, Buffalo County

Aug. 12 at the Karl Klessig Farm, Manitowoc County

Community leaders and dairy producers will gather together to discuss important issues that affect their local towns and counties.

18 –  Dairy Price Forum
Kalahari Conference Center, Wisconsin Dells

This educational forum will address milk price volatility in a global dairy market featuring dialog and information to help dairy prepare for the 2012 Farm Bill and beyond.

SEPTEMBER

14-15Herdsperson Training:
Focusing on Cow-Side Care

Sept. 14, Mead Inn Conference Center, Wisconsin Rapids

Sept. 15 at the Crowne Plaza, Madison

This one-day program, held at two convenient locations, provides exceptional training focusing on cow-side management and animal care.

16Hispanic Herdsperson Training

Arlington UW Research Farm, Arlington

Participants will receive a full day of hands-on training covering a wide spectrum of topics that face every herdsperson. This training will be taught exclusively in Spanish.

20World-Class Webinar Series

Class #1 of a three-part series: Maximize Your Business Margins

This web-based seminar led by Dr. David Kohl will help dairy producers to diagnose their business from a financial and management standpoint and will assist them in fine-tuning their operations. Producers can participate in this seminar right in the comfort of their office or home.

28Wisconsin Counties Association on-Farm Dairy Tour

Hosted by PDPW at Sunset Farms (Dan and Ellen Wolf), Allenton

This tour is for elected officials and will give them a “real” look at a “real” dairy farm.

OCTOBER

4Wisconsin Towns Association on-Farm Dairy Tour

Hosted by PDPW and held at Norse Star Jerseys (Mike and Merna Fremstad) in Westby

This tour is for elected officials to get a “real” look at a family dairy.

7PDPW Blogging 101 Pilot Program

WMMB Headquarters, Madison

Participants will learn blogging basics and find out how to make your dairy story visible to the world.

12-13Calf Care Connection

Oct. 1, Fox Valley Technical
College, Chilton

Oct. 13, Sleep Inn/29 Pines
Conference Center, Eau Claire

This one-day workshop, conducted at two convenient locations, will provide new information that will challenge even the most seasoned and astute calf care providers.

18World-Class Webinar Series

Class #2 with Dr. Dave Kohl

This webinar will give you the knowledge and skills to view your business through the eyes of ag lenders and see what new financial regulations are affecting how they view your business.

27-28Dairy Policy Summit

Sheraton Hotel, Madison

Top-of-mind issues facing state and national policy will be center stage as the dairy industry gathers to hear facts, ideas and experiences from those who know.

NOVEMBER

6-7Youth Leadership Derby

DeForest High School, DeForest

This fast-paced and fun learning adventure is sure to wet the appetites of anyone curious and interested in the dairy industry. Open to students ages 15-18.

10-11Management Assessment Center Pilot Program

Arkdale

Coach-minded trainers will serve as mentors and help you assess your attributes to management in nine core areas.

18The Middle Manager: How Do You Measure Up?

Kalahari Conference Center, Wisconsin Dells

Your management style matters, and this seminar will help you perform at the top of your game … all the time.

29World-Class Webinar Series

Class #3 with Dr. Dave Kohl

This class will focus on benchmarking and best management practices that will make your business sustainable, regardless of the economic climate or stage of the business cycle.

DECEMBER

2Commodity Marketing

AgStar Farm Credit, Baldwin

This class will introduce you to marketing and explain why marketing is an important part of your business and how it can work for you to minimize risk. You’ll also have the opportunity to sign up for the 2011 Commodity Marketing Workshop series.

9-10ZOOM: Dairy Financial Management

Madison

This two-day seminar will teach you how to sharpen your pencil and put your financial AND management skills to the test as you build a stronger sustainable business.

JANUARY 2011

18-20Managers Academy

Albuquerque, New Mexico

This three-day conference is executive-level training for CEO-minded individuals looking to improve skills and gather ideas that help them lead, create and manage a successful business.

FEBRUARY

24ACE Education Seminar

State &  local officials will gather with individuals from the dairy industry to examine issues and actions that affect all of us.

MARCH

15-16Dairy’s Business Conference

Alliant Energy Center, Madison

Dairy’s premier educational event will deliver a vast host of topics, trainers and keynote speakers who will inspire, educate and train so you can continue with success in the industry.

APRIL

12-13Hoof Care Brings Victory over Lameness

April 12 in Marshfield

April 13 in Chilton

Each one-day workshop will zero in on proper hoof care that wards off the long lasting affects of lameness and keeps healthy cows moving along.


USDA, DuPont collaborate on foodborne pathogen test

DuPont and USDA have agreed to collaborate on the development of a new test for detecting hard-to-identify strains of toxin-producing E. coli that are not currently regulated and have been causing increased instances of food contamination and illness.
DuPont was among the first to develop tests for E. coli O157:H7, the type of shiga toxin-producing E. coli (STEC) most frequently associated with global food contamination outbreaks. USDA’s Food Safety and Inspection Service uses the DuPontTM BAX® System to monitor for this pathogen.
In recent years, other types of STEC have been identified as agents of foodborne illness, and these are a growing concern in the United States, Europe, Japan and food safety agencies worldwide. The Agriculture Research Service of the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA ARS) will collaborate with DuPont Qualicon to develop an effective test for the “Big 6″ non-O157 STEC pathogens in food, and also will expand the diagnostic tools offered for use in the DuPontTM BAX® System. For more information, visit www.qualicon.com

Milk Products launches Sav-A-Caf® Ultra Start® 150 colostrum replacer

Milk Products added a complete colostrum replacer, Ultra Start® 150.

Milk Products added a complete colostrum replacer, Ultra Start® 150, to its Sav-A-Caf® product line.  The new colostrum replacer offers a guaranteed 150 grams of IgG in a single, concentrated dose (11.8 oz.). An instantized formula that mixes easily and completely, it enables dairy and beef producers the greatest success to consistently achieve passive transfer of immunity for their calves. Ultra Start® 150 is guaranteed to be clean and disease-free. For more information,  visit savacaf.com or call 800-657-0793.

Coburn EasiDipper

The Coburn Company introduced the EasiDipper automated dairy sanitation dipping system, combining the speed of udder spraying with the coverage, accuracy and economy of dipping.

The Coburn Company introduced the EasiDipper automated dairy sanitation dipping system, combining the speed of udder spraying with the coverage, accuracy and economy of dipping. The patented EasiDipper applicator has been designed with similar ergonomics to a manual dip cup for ease of hand movement and to provide easy access to the cows’ teats – but without the hassle of constantly refilling the bottle and without the squeezing. Vacuum-operated EasiDipper is connected to the bulk teat dip container to bring a continuous supply of teat disinfectant to the applicator with a simple touch of the lever. Refilling bottles and the repetitive action of squeezing bottles is no longer necessary. EasiDipper features an adjustable pressure nozzle to accommodate a range of teat dip viscosities. Dipping provides for thorough teat coverage and less chemical consumption than spraying. Two colors are available, blue and green, for pre- and post-dipping differentiation. Complete system includes power unit, coils, connectors, three applicators and all necessary hoses and fittings. For more information, visit www.coburn.com or phone: 800-776-7042.

Quality quarrel: Longstanding U.S. debate gets global pressure

Milk quality export paper trail would go all the way back to individual U.S. farms under EU requirements

By Dave Natzke

The U.S. dairy industry has gained some time to discuss and avert a potential disruption of some dairy product exports.

As of early August 2010, it was unclear how or when the United States would deal with new European Union (EU) dairy product export certificate requirements. Under those requirements, dairy products entering EU countries must be made from milk with less than 400,000 cells/milliliter (cells/ml), certified at the individual farm level. The EU has accepted dairy products made from commingled tankers or silos with less than 400,000 cells/ml since 1997.

The EU Food and Veterinary Office (FVO) announced the requirements in early April 2010, originally setting an Oct. 1, 2010 deadline. However, both the National Milk Producers Federation (NMPF) and U.S. Dairy Export Council (USDEC) asked the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to intervene, saying requiring individual farm certification would create hardships for U.S. dairy farmers and processors. Furthermore, NMPF and USDEC said the 400,000 cells/ml standard raises both scientific and World Trade Organization trade questions.

EU and U.S. food and agriculture officials met in early July, agreeing to extend implementation of the revised SCC certificate program to Dec. 1, 2010. Even that, however, is a “soft” deadline, as the EU and U.S. work out details.

Current U.S. standard: 750,000

The current U.S. legal limit for bulk tank SCC, established under the Pasteurized Milk Ordinance, is 750,000 cells/ml. California’s legal SCC limit is 600,000 cells/ml.

By one measure, most U.S. dairy producers already meet the EU standards. Regional and seasonal variations exist, however. Based on latest Dairy Herd Improvement (DHI) herd records, SCC levels fluctuate by geography – presumably related to regional climate – as well as season and, to a lesser extent, herd size.

Somatic cell scores (SCS) of milk are reported to USDA’s Animal Improvement Programs Laboratory as part of an individual cow’s test-day yield information. The test-day data is reported annually for all herds (including owner-sampler herds) enrolled in DHI SCC testing (97% of all DHI herds in 2009).

The SCS are converted back to a milk SCC for calculating herd and state averages. Nationally, average test-day herd SCC during 2009 was 233,000 cells/ml, down 29,000 cells/ml from 2008. Most states (42) had lower average SCC than reported a year earlier; only six states had higher averages.

According to DHI test-day data:

• Highest average annual SCC levels were in Southeast states, where heat and humidity can combine to pose the biggest milk quality management challenges (see Table 1). Nine of the top 10 states with highest 2009 average test days greater than 400,000 cells/ml were in the Southeast. Three states in the region had annual herd test-day averages of more than 400,000 cells/ml for 2009: Alabama, Arkansas and Louisiana.

Although climatic conditions likely contributed to regional SCC differences, differences between adjacent states were substantial, suggesting herd size and mastitis-control practices, including genetic selection, impacted state differences as well, according to the report’s authors.

• As expected, the seasonal pattern for milk quality is shows the biggest challenges in April-July. The highest quality milk is produced in November and December (Table 2).

• Herds of 100 cows or less tended to have a greater number of test days above 400,000 cells/ml (see Table 2). Herds of <200 cows averaged more than 10% of all test days above 400,000 cells/ml.

• The United States has been making progress on lowering average SCC. Annual SCC for test herds averaged above 300,000 between 1995-2003, but fell to 233,000 in 2009. The decline from 2008-09 was the largest annual year-to-year decrease since the downward trend started in 2001-02 (Table 2).

Debate continues

The SCC discussion has been a national debate for at least two decades. The National Conference on Interstate Milk Shipments has tried – and failed – to lower U.S. SCC limits from the current 750,000 cells/ml on several occasions since the mid 1990s.

The argument often used against the lower limits – and one used by NMPF and USDEC against EU’s new requirements – is that SCC between 400,000-750,000 cells/ml do not pose a human health threat, especially since exported dairy products are from pasteurized milk.

In the letter to FDA commissioner Margaret Ann Hamburg, NMPF and USDEC contend the EU standard of 400,000 cells/ml for individual farms is “inappropriate,” and may be motivated more by trade issues than concerns over product quality or safety. Even within its own member countries, the EU enforces acceptance of milk that is “out of compliance” on an individual basis, and differently for products such as cheese aged more than 60 days, the letter states.

The letter states the U.S. dairy industry will discuss the feasibility of a revised EU certification program for SCC testing with FDA and the other relevant agencies, seeking a plan that is viable and non-burdensome for U.S. dairy producers, cooperatives and processors.

What impact on exports?

While the Southeast faces the largest SCC challenges, that area is not currently a major export supplier. USDA’s latest dairy export data shows just one Southeast state – Tennessee – recorded any dairy exports in 2009, and just two – Tennessee and Kentucky – were sources of dairy exports in the past decade. (USDA said about $548 million in dairy exports were “unallocated” in 2009, without a state designated as a source. USDA bases export share estimates on each state’s dairy product production, instead of using data from export shipping locations.)

We know, however, that milk moves much greater distances than in the past, and may move to other regions under federal order balancing. In addition, the EU requirements cover not just primary products, but also byproducts, such as whey. Several processors have already implemented standards meeting EU requirements.

Measurement differences

We’re all aware the U.S. measures length, weight and area using different units than the EU. Turns out there’s also a difference in how SCC is calculated, too, noted Jeff Reneau, professor of dairy management at the University of Minnesota.

The EU uses the “geometric mean” a calculation made by taking the cube root of the three monthly SCC. In the U.S., the arithmetic mean calculation is normally used. According to Reneau, the geometric mean reduces the influence of the occasional high SCC spike, yielding a lower number (Table 3).

Another question, Reneau said, is how monthly SCC will be determined. Fewer bulk tank SCC tests are done (bimonthly) in the EU than in the Upper Midwest, for example, where SCC tests are run on every pickup. Therefore, using the single “official” SCC test or some random selection of a single bulk tank SCC test done during any month would be comparable to what is done in the EU.

FYI

■ Read “Somatic cell counts of milk from Dairy Herd Improvement herds during 2009,” at http://aipl.arsusda.gov/publish/dhi/current/sccrpt.htm.

■ Visit the NMC (National Mastitis Council) website,  www.nmconline.org.

2010 ‘dairy state’ land values a mixed bag

Local conditions influenced most dairy state land values in 2010, with common trends less evident across regions.

By Dave Natzke

Changes in major dairy states’ land values were a mixed bag in 2010, with overall movement slightly higher than 2009, according to USDA’s annual Land Values and Cash Rents report. The value of agricultural real estate and cropland increased just over 1%, while the average value of pasture was unchanged. Rental rates for cropland were marginally higher, with pasture rent essentially unchanged (see Table 1).

U.S. farm real estate values, a measurement of the value of all land and buildings on farms, averaged $2,140/acre on Jan. 1, 2010, up 1.4% from 2009. Regional changes in the average value of farm real estate ranged from a 4.9% increase in the Northern Plains to a 3.3% decline in the Southeast. The highest farm real estate values remained in the Northeast, at $4,690/acre. The Mountain region had the lowest farm real estate value, at $911/acre.

Among major dairy states, largest farm real estate declines (on a percentage basis) were in Idaho, Florida and Virginia. Largest increases were in Texas and Kansas.

U.S. average cropland values increased 1.1%, to $2,700/acre. In the Northern Plains and Delta regions, the average cropland value increased 6.9% and 6.1%, respectively. However, in the Southeast and Mountain regions, cropland values decreased by 5.3% and 5.0%, respectively.

Among major dairy states, largest cropland value declines (on a percentage basis) were in Arizona, Idaho, Virginia and Vermont. Largest increases were in Kansas, Minnesota, New York and Texas.

U.S. pasture values were unchanged from 2009, at $1,070/acre. The Southeast had the largest percentage decrease, down 5.6% from 2009. The Northern Plains region had the largest percentage increase, up 3.8% from 2009.

Among major dairy states, largest pasture value declines (on a percentage basis) were in Florida and Virginia. Largest increases were in Illinois, Utah and Arizona.

Cash rent

Nationally, 2010 cash rent for cropland rose 3.0%, while pasture rents remained unchanged.

The increase in cropland rental rates are the result of producers receiving strong commodity prices, while pasture cash rent is affected less by commodity prices and more by land values.

FYI:

For the full report on U.S. farmland values and land rental rates, visit  http://usda.mannlib.cornell.edu/usda/current/AgriLandVa/AgriLandVa-08-04-2010.pdf.

DPAC: More frequent dairy reporting needed

The Dairy Policy Action Coalition is pleased to see Congress moving forward on mandatory electronic price reporting for dairy via the Senate Agriculture Appropriations Bill and through language included in the House and Senate Agriculture Committees’ reauthorization of existing electronic reporting for beef and pork.

“Testimony at the USDA / DOJ Dairy Competition Workshop in Madison, Wis. last month identified the CME cash cheese exchange as being too thinly traded and not a good price discovery vehicle,” said DPAC chair Cliff Hawbaker, a dairy producer from Chambersburg, Pa. “We are pleased to see Congress taking important steps in the right direction to establish electronic reporting for dairy, and we urge lawmakers and USDA to continue moving forward to achieve price reporting that is daily, not weekly, and which reflects more of the products in the marketplace that are made with the milk produced by America’s dairy farmers.”

On Tuesday, July 27, the House Ag Committee passed H.R. 5852—The Mandatory Price Reporting Act of 2010. The five-year reauthorization bill directs USDA to establish an electronic reporting system for dairy products within one year of passage.

“Mandatory price reporting programs ensure that producers have access to transparent, accurate and timely market information that helps them make the best decisions for their businesses,” said chairn Collin Peterson (D-Minn.), who introduced H.R. 5852, in an official statement about the committee’s approval of it.

On July 28, Senate Ag Committee chair Blanche Lincoln (D-Ark.) and ranking member Saxby Chambliss (R-Ga.) introduced a bill with similar language for dairy, stating that the purpose of the Act is to “guarantee transparency… and help improve producers’ ability to access fair market prices.” (According to the National Milk Producers Federation, that bill was approved by the Senate Ag Committee, Aug. 4.)

While the reporting is daily for wholesale beef cuts—and the new mandate for wholesale pork cuts is also daily—the new language on reporting for wholesale dairy products, on the other hand, is described as weekly in H.R. 5852, and would be released every Wednesday for the previous week’s sales.

The Senate Appropriations Committee, on July 15, also included a section on Dairy Price Reporting within its Agriculture Appropriations bill, encouraging the Secretary of Agriculture to consider the recommendations of the Dairy Industry Advisory Committee (DIAC) regarding implementation of Section 1510 of the 2008 Farm Bill, which already provides the authority for electronic reporting of dairy products that is “more frequent” (daily) versus weekly, and auditing the reports quarterly instead of yearly.

The July action by the Senate Ag Appropriations Subcommittee, chaired by Sen. Herb Kohl (D-Wis.), follows a May 3, 2010 letter authored by Sen. Arlen Specter (D-Pa.), a member of the Subcommittee, and Rep. Tim Holden (D-Pa.), vice-chair of the House Ag Committee, and signed by 24 members of Congress from 12 states. The letter conveyed bipartisan support for the inclusion of $1 million to fund the “more frequent” electronic reporting system.

“Congress wrote Section 1510 into the last Farm Bill, with the words: ‘pending funding.’” said Dennis Wolff, a consultant for DPAC who worked on this issue as a former state ag secretary and who is also a lifelong dairy farmer. “DPAC has been working to move that funding forward so this section of the last Farm Bill can be implemented.”

According to Dairy Industry Advisory Committee (DIAC) vice-chair Erick Coolidge, who was in Elizabethtown, Pa. for a community forum hosted by the local Grange on July 27, the DIAC’s subcommittee on dairy profitability meets in Washington D.C. next week, and dairy price reporting is on the agenda.

In June, Wolff and DPAC vice-chair Rob Barley, a dairy producer from Lancaster, Pa., presented DPAC’s “Cornerstone for Change” to the full DIAC at their second meeting in Washington, D.C. The primary focus of their comments was market transparency and price discovery and the role of daily electronic reporting to improve the timeliness and accuracy of USDA-reported prices and sales volumes for wholesale dairy products.

According to the DIAC June meeting minutes, USDA officials said the cost to dairy processors is estimated at $381 per plant per year to electronically submit sales data on a daily basis, as is currently done by beef processors.

“The value centers in the dairy industry are changing with new products and new uses,” said Barley. “To make business decisions as dairy producers, we need price reporting that reflects daily negotiated trades, not a volatile and thinly-traded CME exchange, where less than one percent of U.S. cheese and less than 2% of U.S. butter is traded. Under the current system, this market of last resort is captured in the weekly NASS Survey that is a week old by the time we farmers see it.”

*********

DPAC is a coalition of grassroots dairy producers actively participating, with a unified voice, in the policies and issues affecting milk pricing. The coalition, formed in November 2009, is organized into action groups and is funded by donations to represent the grassroots community of dairy farmers across the U.S. DPAC has a 20-member charter board made up of active dairy producers from Pennsylvania, Ohio and New York, along with ad hoc members—to-date—from Maryland, Virginia, Tennessee, Kentucky, Georgia, Indiana, and Wisconsin. They have contracted the consulting services of Dennis Wolff, a former state ag secretary and lifelong dairy farmer who is now a partner in Versant Strategies. DPAC is corresponding with producers and organizations in 23 states. In its first eight months of existence, the coalition has received donations by individual dairy farmers and producer organizations, accounting for a combined 6,500 dairy producers in 12 states. DPAC has also received substantial donations from agribusinesses that supply and provide services to the nation’s dairy farms. Combined, these contributing businesses account for thousands of jobs. For more information, visit www.dpac.net or call 800.422.8335.

NMPF supports mandatory dairy pricing reporting measure

Mandatory dairy price reporting bills approved by the House and Senate agriculture committees represent an important improvement in the transparency of the dairy industry, the National Milk Producers Federation said.

Last week, the House Agriculture Committee approved the Mandatory Price Reporting Act of 2010, H.R. 5852, while the Senate Agriculture Committee approved an identical piece of legislation, S. 3656. The bills reauthorize mandatory price reporting programs run by USDA for five years. Most importantly for the dairy sector, the bills include language authorizing mandatory weekly electronic reporting for dairy products.

NMPF president and CEO Jerry Kozak welcomed the passage of the bills because “NMPF has been working since 2000 to improve the open, transparent discovery of dairy prices, but we’ve been frustrated by the stumbling blocks that have prevented the implementation of mandatory reporting. These bills make it clear, in no uncertain terms, that USDA will have to do what it takes to establish dairy price reporting.”

NMPF helped include mandatory price reporting language in the 2008 Farm Bill. But that measure was contingent on available funding at USDA, and the agency has never had adequate funding to implement price reporting. These new bills will ensure that USDA collects and reports pricing data that is currently surveyed.

The bills contain the follow specifications:

  • Amending section 273 of the Agriculture Marketing Act of 1946 to require the Secretary to establish an electronic reporting system for dairy.
  • Directing the Secretary to publish the information reported through the electronic reporting system by 3 p.m. (ET), each Wednesday.
  • Requiring the Secretary to implement the electronic reporting system for dairy not later than one year following enactment of this Act.

House Ag Committee chair Collin Peterson (D-Minn.) said that “Mandatory price reporting programs ensures that producers have access to transparent, accurate and timely market information that helps them make the best decisions for their business. There is broad support from producer, packer and processor groups to reauthorize these programs.”

Sen. Blanche Lincoln (D-Ark.) said the bill would “better maintain transparency and certainty in our livestock markets. This effort will ensure that family farmers and ranchers can remain confident that they are receiving fair market value for their livestock they have worked tirelessly to bring to the market. We also include additional measures to improve dairy reporting that will help farmers.”

Court rulings – and common sense – confirm dairies are on track to protect water quality

Dairy Cares Report – July 2010

In two separate, important court rulings in June and July, a state judge upheld water quality regulations adopted three years ago for Central Valley dairies. Hopefully, these recent rulings in favor of Central Valley water quality officials and dairy groups will bring an end to another chapter of wasteful, misguided litigation by activist groups.

There has always been broad agreement that water quality regulations adopted by the Central Valley Regional Water Quality Control Board (“Regional Board”) in May 2007 are the strictest in the United States. Among the many requirements, dairy operators must:

• Develop and implement plans to ensure that manure is applied to crops at proper rates, complete with a program of soil, water, manure and plant-tissue testing;

• Submit engineered plans to ensure that all water and manure is properly contained and managed on the facility, and that proper drainage and flood prevention measures are in place; and

• Conduct routine environmental monitoring, including well testing, to ensure that management practices in place are providing environmental protection.

All of the above come with extensive record-keeping requirements and submittal of annual reports to the Regional Board. The Regional Board also sends inspectors to dairies routinely to ensure compliance.

Though the regulations play an important role in protecting water resources that Central Valley residents all share, they are also quite expensive. Compliance costs have been calculated at $30,000 to $50,000 per year, per dairy when direct costs and increased labor are considered. In some cases, the costs are actually much higher when facility improvements are needed to comply with the new standards.

It was therefore disappointing and disheartening that, even before the new regulations were given a chance to work, activist lawyers challenged the new regulations, first before the State Water Resources Control Board and finally in the courts. This was especially disappointing because the rules were developed in a broad, public process that lasted more than a year and considered broad input from stakeholders. In a signal that showed strong support for the new regulations, the Regional Board voted unanimously (9-0) for adoption of the rules in May 2007. Ironically, those most burdened by the costs and requirements of the new regulations – the dairy operators – chose to accept the decision of the Board and honor the public process that led to the decision, even though it resulted in requirements more burdensome and expensive than many had hoped for.

But the toughest regulation in the nation – and a unanimous decision by the Regional Board after a year-long public process – wasn’t good enough for activist groups. They asked the State Water Resources Control Board to review the decision, but were again denied in February 2008.

Not deterred, activist groups filed two lawsuits in March of 2008, repeating many of the arguments previously brought before the Regional Board and the State Board. But in unequivocal decisions issued on June 11 and July 23, the Superior Court (County of Sacramento) dismissed both cases, ruling in favor of the Regional Board and Dairy Cares, and against the activist groups. In doing so, the judge completely rejecting a laundry list of arguments made by the activists: That the regulations should have been tougher, more expensive or at the very least, should have been designed to make it easier for activists to file more lawsuits in the future against individual dairy families.

These meritless lawsuits have wasted hundreds of thousands of dollars in legal fees – much of which was tax dollars that could have gone to better uses during these troubling times. Meanwhile, dairy families have been struggling to survive economically, while also complying with the new water quality regulations. They’re doing their part to protect the environment while also providing affordable, nutritious dairy products to millions of American families. Enough is enough. Let’s hope these misguided lawsuits have come to an end.

Dairy Cares (www.dairycares.com) is a statewide coalition supporting economic and environmental sustainability and responsible animal care. Members include the Alliance of Western Milk Producers, Bank of the West, Bar 20 Dairy Farms, California Dairies Inc., California Dairy Campaign, California Farm Bureau Federation, Dairy Farmers of America-Western Area Council, Dairy Institute of California, Hilmar Cheese Co., HP Hood, Joseph Gallo Farms, Land O’Lakes, Milk Producers Council, Ruan Transport Corp., Western United Dairymen, and others. For information, visit www.dairycares.com or phone 916-441-3318.


Western Pulse – Aug. 2, 2010

Livestock Gross Margin-Dairy Insurance Workshops scheduled, Aug. 11-13

The California Center for Cooperative Development is conducting three, single-day educational workshops, on Livestock Gross Margin-Dairy (LGM-Dairy) insurance.

Workshops will be held at the following locations:

• Wednesday, Aug. 11, Petaluma Community Center-Conference Room 2, 320 N. McDowell Blvd., Petaluma, Calif.

• Thursday, Aug. 12, Stanislaus County Ag Center, Harvest Hall, 3800 Cornucopia Way, Modesto, Calif.

• Friday, Aug. 13, Tulare Ag Center, Conference Dining Room, 4450 S. Laspina Street, Tulare, Calif. 
LGM-Dairy insurance is a federal program new to California that allows producers to manage price risk on both feed and milk prices. These workshops are targeted towards producers, dairy and feed supply co-ops, insurance providers, lenders and agricultural agencies.

The program will be taught by Dr. Brian W. Gould, University of Wisconsin-Madison dairy economist.  Registrations for the workshop are due on Aug. 6.  Fees for each workshop are $20.  A wireless-enabled laptop is required and can be rented for $25 upon registration (each laptop will be shared by two people). Scholarships are available upon request.  The workshops will include lunch and a hands-on workshop on how to optimize LGM-D contracts.

Attendees may register online at www.cccd.coop/events/LGMDairy or contact CCCD at (530) 297-1032 or info@cccd.coop with any inquiries.

Animal care workshops set Aug. 18-19 in Chino

Two workshops that will introduce dairy producers to a new animal care and well being initiative will be held Aug. 18-19,  at Brinderson Hall, Chino Fairgrounds, 5410 Edison Avenue, Chino, Calif. The National Dairy Farmers Assuring Responsible Management (FARM) workshops will be conducted by the California Dairy Quality Assurance Program.

The Aug. 18 workshop, 1-4 p.m., will provide an introduction to FARM and cover such topics as calf care issues and care and movement of special needs animals.

The Aug. 19 workshop, 9 a.m. to noon, will discuss performance-based monitoring for dairy well being and what to expect during a FARM evaluation.

Workshops will also offer practical information on animal care and employee training and provide sample plans for euthanasia, handling of non-ambulatory animals and other standard operating producers. The workshops are free of charge on a first-some, first served basis. Reservations are not required. Producers are strongly encouraged to attend both workshops.

Cal Poly Dairy Symposium is Oct. 15-16

The Cal Poly Dairy Science Department and Cal Poly Dairy Farm Advisory Team are hosting the Third Annual Cal Poly Fall Dairy Producer Symposium, “Future of Milk Price ” and first Cal Poly Symposium sale. The Symposium and sale will be held at Cal Poly and the Embassy Suites Hotel in San Luis Obispo, Calif., on the weekend of Oct. 15-16.  The symposium will focus on milk pricing issues, including information about HR 5288, authored by Rep. Jim Costa (D-Fresno). Panelists will include industry and academic experts on how milk price became so volatile and what is being proposed to fix this difficult problem. Visit http://www.calpoly.edu/~dsci/

2010 Risk and Profit Conference set at K-State

A Risk and Profit Conference, to be held Aug. 19-20, 2010 at the Kansas State University Alumni Center in Manhattan, Kan., is designed to give agricultural producers and affiliated businesses a competitive edge in their operations. Presentations on farm management, technology, marketing and policy issues in agriculture are scheduled by the Department of Agricultural Economics faculty and specialists.

The conference will begin Thursday, Aug. 19 with a trade show of displays and information by vendors specializing in goods and services for producers and agribusinesses, followed by the first keynote speaker at lunch on Thursday. Breakout sessions will take place in the afternoon, with an evening speaker following.

After breakfast, Friday morning’s general session will feature Extension marketing specialist Glynn Tonsor, who will share his Livestock Outlook, and Dan O’Brien will offer his Grain Outlook. Breakout sessions with numerous contemporary and relevant topics will take place on Thursday afternoon, Friday morning and Friday afternoon. Attendees may choose up to eight of these sessions.  The conference concludes Friday afternoon.

For more information, visit https://commerce.cashnet.com/cashnetg/selfserve/BrowseCatalog.aspx or contact Rich Llewelyn: Phone: 785-532-1504  E-mail: rvl@ksu.edu

World Ag Expo 2011 international registration open

International registration is now open for those planning to attend 2011 World Ag Expo, set for Feb. 8-10, 2011, in Tulare, Calif.

Out of the more than 1,100 registered international guests, more than 100 attendees attended the 2010 Expo from each of these three countries; Mexico, Canada and Iran. There were also more than 200 exhibitors from Canada and 17 exhibitors from Israel.

To register as an international guest, attendees need to first go online to worldagexpo.com and answer a list of questions which will then be used to generate a Letter of Invitation. Once the process is complete, the letter will be automatically generated and emailed to the applicant. International guests can use the letter as compelling evidence for immigration officials to issue a passport.

Additional information about International Letters of Invitation and World Ag Expo registration can be found at www.worldagexpo.com/General-Info/International-Visitors.htm.

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