Archive for March, 2011

Genex releases genomic MAP program

A new Genex Cooperative, Inc. program can determine the best mating option for a cow or heifer based on the animal’s genomic PTAs (GPTAs) rather than phenotypic scores, performance, parent averages or pedigree indexes. This genomic mating program, G-MAP, is the newest technology available in the genomic revolution.

G-MAP, released April 1, is available to any dairy producer with genomic test results (3K or 50K) on their cow(s) and/or heifer(s). G-MAP can provide mating recommendations for an individual genomic-tested animal, a group of genomic-tested animals or a whole herd with GPTAs.

G-MAP has all the convenience and features of the traditional Genex MAP program. The mating focus can be customized to meet each producer’s breeding goals. Inbreeding and lethal recessives continue to be controlled. Mating recommendations are available via e-mail, the Web or paper. Mating recommendations can easily be imported into dairy management software. Producers can divide animals into various groups for specific breeding strategies and mate each group to different sires accordingly.

For pricing information or to receive the new G-MAP mating recommendations, contact your local Genex representative.

 

Merial adds training module to ‘Best in Class Dairy’ website

Merial’s Best in Class Dairy website, www.BestInClassDairies.com, features a milker training module as part of a new comprehensive educational initiative. The Web-based audiovisual training module, which addresses pre- and post-milking procedures, is the first in a series offered to dairy operation workers. All materials will be available in both English and Spanish.

Employees can access the training module at any time, and at their own pace. A quiz follows the video, keeping employees engaged and helping ensure an accurate understanding.

The online training program also enables managers to track progress and test scores of individual workers, identifying employee strengths and weaknesses, and helping design individual training needs.

Other training modules – “Mastitis 101” and “Dairy as a Profit Center” – will be added in the next few months, both offered in English and Spanish. Additional training modules will follow in the second half of 2011. New elements, such as a text-to-audio function, will also be available for those who prefer to listen to the information and quiz questions (English version only).

Producers can get more information about the Best in Class Dairies program by contacting their Merial sales representative or visiting www.BestInClassDairies.com.


Business News: People

12 selected for FFA International Collegiate Agricultural Leadership Program

Twelve agriculture students were recently selected for the 2011 International Collegiate Agricultural Leadership (I-CAL) Program. These students were required to complete an application and answer numerous essay questions regarding their understanding and thoughts on international trade and marketing.  They will travel to Panama and Columbia May 15–27, 2011 to study international grain marketing and trade and global agriculture.

The selected students are: Matt Barnhill of North Carolina State University, Adrienne Bradley of the University of California-Davis, Andrew Carpenter of the University of Wyoming, Chelsy Coen of Kansas State University, Kelli Fulkerson of South Dakota State University, Lauren Geiger of Kansas State University, Dakota Hoben of Iowa State University, Sarah Marten of Kansas State University, Thomas Marten of Southern Illinois University, Jarvis Pace of Utah State University, Caleb Wurth of Kansas State University, and Gracie Weinzierl of Illinois State University.

The I-CAL program was developed as a partnership with the U.S. Grains Council and The Grains Foundation.

 

CoBank names regional executive

CoBank, a leading cooperative bank serving agribusinesses and rural infrastructure providers throughout the United States, named Mike Hechtner as central region president for the bank’s Regional Agribusiness Banking Group. In this new role, Hechtner will oversee relationship management, marketing and credit administration for cooperative customers in the Dakotas, Iowa, Michigan, Minnesota, Nebraska, Wisconsin and Wyoming.

Headquartered outside Denver, Colo., CoBank serves customers from regional banking centers across the U.S. and maintains an international representative office in Singapore. For more information about CoBank, visit the bank’s web site at www.cobank.com.

 

Pioneer Hi-Bred announces new leadership positions

Pioneer Hi-Bred announced two new leadership positions to continue to deliver improved products and services for customer success.

Alejandro Munoz was named vice president, Americas Group and Global Production, with commercial business responsibility for the United States, Canada and Latin America regions. In addition, Munoz also will have global responsibility for seed production and safety/risk management. He reports to Paul E. Schickler, president – Pioneer.

Judd O’Connor is named vice president, regional director for the U.S. region. He will be responsible for Pioneer operations within the six business units in the United States and PROaccessSM Genetics, focusing on providing leading-edge seed genetics and services to growers on a targeted, local basis.

Munoz and O’Connor will continue to be based in Johnston, Iowa.

 

Select Sires honors Super Achievers

Twenty-eight members of the Select Sires Inc. sales and service team from throughout North America have been named Super Achievers. This prestigious Select Sires achievement award is given to employees that demonstrate sales growth and provide exemplary service to their customers with a high level of passion for their customers’ success. Managers of the 10 Select Sires member cooperatives and Select Sires Canada choose sales representatives, technicians and service specialists from their organizations to receive this award. Select Sires Inc. also chose an individual to recognize for his exemplary service.

The Select Sires Super Achievers are: All West/Select Sires, Darryl Olson, Stayton, Ore., Glen Felske, Onaway, Alberta; Cache Valley Select Sires Inc., Dusty Adams, Paul, Idaho, Victor Israelsen, Young Ward, Utah; Brad Meek, Preston, Idaho; COBA/Select Sires, Paul Detwiler, Marysville, Ohio, Cormac Irwin, Big Prairie, Ohio, John Lee, Seymour, Texas, Tad Chapman, Muleshoe, Texas; East Central/Select Sires, Tom Turner, St. Cloud, Wis., Gary Fredrick, Mayville, Wis., Sue Bos, Waupun, Wis., Robert Radke, Bangor, Wis., Ryan Besaw, Omro, Wis.; KABA/Select Sires, Kevin Armstrong, Shelbyville, Ky.; Minnesota/Select Sires Inc., Mike Wilson, Pierz, Minn., Casey Anderson, Watkins, Minn., Daren Johnson, Grove City, Minn., Jayne Lochen, Kimball, Minn.; Northstar Cooperative, Wayne Westrich, Unity, Wis., Scott Woepse, Kiel, Wis; Prairie State/Select Sires, Glen Sachtleben, Hoyleton, Ill., Chad Baker, Hoyleton, Ill.; Select Sire Power Inc., Greg Casey, Lexington, N.C.; Southeast Select Sires, Al Funk, Nortonville, Kan.; Select Sires Canada, David Massey, Smith Falls, Ont., John,Wassink, Listowel, Ont.; Select Sires Inc., Bill DeLong, Marysville, Ohio.

America’s Farmers Mom of the Year nominations sought

Monsanto is honoring America’s Farmers Mom of the Year for her contributions to her family, farm, community and industry.

Applications will be accepted through Mother’s Day at AmericasFarmers.com. Five regional winners will be announced on May 16, when winners’ profiles and nominations will be posted on the website. Each regional winner will receive a $5,000 cash prize from Monsanto, and the farm mom receiving the most online votes by May 26 will receive an additional $2,500 and the title of America’s Farmers Mom of the Year 2011.

To be eligible, a mom must be at least 18 years of age and work on a working farm or livestock operation. Anyone can submit a nomination by visiting the America’s Farmers website and explaining in 300 words or fewer how their favorite farm mom embodies the farm family way of life. Nominations will be judged by Monsanto and American Agri-Women (AAW), a national coalition of women’s farmer, ranch and agribusiness organizations.

Complete eligibility requirements and official rules for America’s Farmers Mom of the Year can be obtained online at www.AmericasFarmers.com or by sending a self-addressed, stamped envelope to America’s Farmers Mom of the Year Program, 914 Spruce Street, St. Louis, MO 63102.

 

Dairyland Seed announces National Yieldmaster Contest winners

Dairyland Seed recently announced national and state winners for its annual Corn and Soybean Yieldmaster Contests.

The title of National Corn Yieldmaster was awarded to Scott Nelson of Brook, Ind.  Scott had a yield of 278.20 bushels per acre with Stealth-9615.  Owens Brothers of Woodhull, Ill., were awarded National Soybean Yieldmaster with a yield of 94.68 bushels per acre with DSR-3265/RR.

The Early Zone Soybean Yieldmaster was awarded to John and Linda Worm of Young America, Minn., with a yield of 66.71 bushels per acre with DSR-1807R2Y.  The Early Zone Corn Yieldmaster was awarded to Lawrence & Mike Huppert of Hager City, Wis., who entered Stealth-9196 with a yield of 242.54 bushels.  Individual state winners were also awarded.

 

AgriLabs announces scholarship winners

Steve Schram, AgriLabs President and CEO, announced the winners of AgriLabs academic scholarships for 2011-2012.

The AgriLabs/Dennis Feary Scholarship Fund was established in 1997 in honor of the late Dennis Feary, former president of AgriLabs. The annual scholarship awards commemorate Mr. Feary’s dedication to education, agriculture and the people that helped build the company he led. The scholarship was endowed to provide funding for eligible students enrolled in or entering a two or four year college degree in any field of study, and are available to employees and immediate family members of AgriLabs and its shareholders. These annual, non-renewable, scholarships provide $2000 per student, per academic year. Recipients were:

• Rita Carolina Portillo, Greeley, Colo., Lextron Animal Health, is attending the Institute of Business & Medical Careers to become a medical assistant.

• Justin Wayne Bonnell, Gig Harbor, Wash., Justin’s father, Stanley Bonnell, works for DVM Resources (Walco Intl). He plans on attending the University of Washington to pursue an engineering degree.

• Jessica Dee Allen, Columbus, Ohio. Jessica’s father, Jeffery Allen, works at Veterinary and Poultry Supply. She attends Ohio State University where she is studying health sciences and plans on becoming a physical therapist.

The AgriLabs Dennis Feary Memorial Scholarship in Agriculture was endowed to provide funding for eligible students enrolled in or entering college. The $2000 scholarships are awarded exclusively to students in pursuit of a two- or four-year college degree in agricultural studies. Recipients include:

• Ashlie Marie Chase, Strasburg, Colo. Ashlie’s mother, Roberta Chase, works for MWI Veterinary Supply. Ashlie is attending Colorado State University studying for a degree in animal science and pre-vet.

• Taylor Renee Wilson, Beattie, Kan. Both parents, Thomas and Sandra Wilson, are employed by Valley Vet Supply in Marysville, KS. Taylor wants to pursue a degree in biology.

•  Symmantha Maryan Page, Massillon, Ohio. Symmantha’s mother, Joann Page, is employed by R. J. Matthews Co. she wants to study biology in a pre-vet program.

The AgriLabs Herman Haenert Scholarship was established in 2005 to honor and recognize the contributions that Mr. Haenert made as both a founder of AgriLabs and as vice-president of business development from 1992-2005. The award provides $5000 per academic year and was endowed to provide funding for eligible students enrolled in or entering a two or four year college degree in any field of study; it is available to employees and immediate family members of AgriLabs and its shareholders. The recipient is:

• Miles Andrew Barber, Marysville, Kan. Miles’ mother, Ellen Barber, works for Valley Vet Supply. He will attend Grace College studying pre-vet medicine.

AgriLabs Scholarships are managed by The Greater Kansas City Community Foundation, which is solely responsible for qualifying and selecting applicants. Applications for AgriLabs awards are available at www.agrilabs.com/scholarships.

 

Bauer joins CRV as area sales manager

Dan Bauer

Dan Bauer, Oconto, Wis., joined CRV USA as area sales manager for the Wisconsin area.  He is a University of Wisconsin-Madison graduate with a bachelor degree in Dairy Science.  In his spare time, Dan stays involved with the industry and help at cattle auctions throughout the year. He also owns a small group of registered Jerseys. To learn more about CRV products or to get in contact with the CRV team member in your area, please visit www.crv4all.us or give us a call at 1-800-400-crv4all.

CRV, the parent company of CRV USA and formerly Holland Genetics, is an international cattle improvement organization with operations and breeding programs in Oceania, South America, Africa, Europe and the USA.

 

 

Alltech restructures global headquarters marketing team

Alltech restructured its global headquarters marketing team based in Nicholasville, Ky.

New managerial appointments include:

• Elizabeth Bagby, Strategic Partnership Manager.

• Susanna Elliott, Corporate PR Manager, North America.

• Billy Frey, Advertising and Digital Marketing Manager.

• Jorge Gotuzzo, Global Ruminant Marketing Manager.

• Alan Henthorne, Corporate Media Manager.

• Suniti Mujumdar, Global Poultry Marketing Manager.

• Lauren Ashley Pope, Corporate Events Manager.

• Laci Poulter, Consumer Communications Manage.

• Paulo Rezende, Project Manager, Education

 

Borman earns National DHIA leadership award

The National Dairy Herd Information Association (DHIA) recognized Harlan Borman, Kingdom City, Mo., with the H. Victor Joachim Distinguished Leadership/Martin A. Wilson Memorial Award, in conjunction with the association’s annual meeting. This award goes to a DHI dairy producer and/or spouse who has held a leadership position in DHIA or the dairy industry, and rendered outstanding and unselfish service for many years, along with a notable contributions to advancing DHIA in the United States; or, is a worthy person who has been employed in a DHI management position for at least five years and has been dedicated to improving DHIA.

From 1997-2006, Borman served as a National DHIA director, including the roles of president and vice president. Also, he was a director for Mid-South Dairy Records, Springfield, Mo., with terms as president, vice president and secretary.

A Registered Holstein breeder, he has managed a dairy operation since 1963. Today, Borman farms in partnership with his wife, Judy, son, Tim, and daughter, Kate. In addition to the Holsteins, they raise beef cattle, corn, alfalfa, soybeans and wheat.

National DHIA, a trade association for the dairy records industry, serves the best interests of its members and the dairy industry by maintaining the integrity of dairy records and advancing dairy information systems.

 

DairyProfit Thursday, March 31, 2011

An (almost) daily recap of dairy information: March 31, 2011

USDA: More corn acreage, less soybeans

With many crop marketing analysts portraying the 2011 planting season as “acreage wars,” two of the more highly anticipated USDA reports were released on Thursday, March 31.
According to the Planting Intentions report, corn is the early leader in the battle for acreage. USDA forecasts growers intend to plant  92.2 million acres of corn in 2011, up 5% from last year and 7% more than 2009. If realized, it would be the second largest area planted to corn since 1944, behind only 2007.
Soybean planted area for 2011 is estimated at 76.6 million acres. While down 1% from last year, it would still be the third largest on record.
Based on the Grain stocks report, corn stored in all positions on March 1 was estimated at 6.52 billion bushels, down 15% from a year ago. Soybeans totaled 1.25 billion bushels, down 2% from March 1, 2010.
Estimated corn acreage came in somewhat higher than many market analysts had predicted, but corn inventories came in slightly lower. Soybean acreage and stocks estimates came in slightly lower than many forecasts.
The Planting Intentions report provided good news for dairy producers who feed cottonseed. All cotton plantings for 2011 are expected to total 12.6 million acres, 15% more than last year and increasing in every cotton-growing state.

MARKETS: Corn futures ‘limit up’ after USDA report

Closing on Thursday, March 31:
Cheddar barrels: down 1.25¢, to $1.6050/lb.
Cheddar blocks: down 0.75¢, to $1.6250/lb.
Butter: unchanged, at $2.00/lb.
Extra Grade nonfat dry milk: unchanged, at $1.80/lb.
Grade A nonfat dry milk: down 3.5¢, to $1.70/lb.
Class III milk futures: +2¢ to +20¢/cwt. through March 2012.
Corn futures: +30.0¢/bushel through September 2012.
Soybean futures: +29.0¢ to +38.2¢/bushel through September 2012.
Soybean meal futures: +$6.40 to +10.20/ton through September 2012.

AMPI sales growth continues
Sales growth continued in 2010 for Associated Milk Producers Inc. (AMPI), a dairy marketing cooperative owned by 3,000 Midwest dairy producers. More than half of the cooperative’s $1.7 billion in sales came from consumer-packaged dairy products.

DAIRYLINE RADIO

Thursday: National Milk Producers Federation

In Thursday’s DairyLine broadcast, National Milk Producers Federation’s Chris Galen discusses the upcoming National Dairy Producers Conference (formerly known as the National Dairy Leaders Conference), to be held May 15-17, in Omaha, Neb.

Friday: DairyProfit Weekly

In Friday’s DairyLine broadcast, DairyProfit Weekly editor Dave Natzke reviews Thursday’s USDA Grain Stocks and Planting Intention reports. Corn is the early leader in the 20111 “crop wars.”

To read the DairyLine broadcast comments, visit www.dairyline.com under “Today’s Dairy News.” Or, listen to the conversation with DairyLine’s Lee Mielke by clicking on “DairyLine Daily Broadcast.”


EASTERN DAIRYBUSINESS

Beginning a career in dairy is still possible
There’s no doubt that getting started in the dairy business is not always the easiest task, but two individuals shared how it can be done. During the Professional Dairy Producers of Wisconsin annual conference in Madison, Matthew Berge and Mark Mayer explained how they were able to begin their careers using perseverance, hard work and some creative business planning.

Check for daily DPW news updates at www.dairybusiness.com.
For a sample copy of Dairy Profit Weekly, or subscription information, visit www.dairyprofit.com or phone: 800-334-1904, ext. 244.
Dave Natzke, Editor

 

AMPI sales growth continues

Delegates review co-op performance, policies at annual meeting
Sales growth continued in 2010 for Associated Milk Producers Inc. (AMPI), a dairy marketing cooperative owned by 3,000 Midwest dairy producers.

More than half of the cooperative’s $1.7 billion in sales came from consumer-packaged dairy products. AMPI processes milk, manufactures dairy products and packages them for customers at 12 plants throughout the Upper Midwest.

“AMPI product sales have grown for five consecutive years,” AMPI President and CEO Ed Welch told some 400 delegates and guests gathered for the co-op’s annual meeting at the Sheraton Bloomington Hotel, Bloomington, Minn.

Sales of packaged and processed cheese grew 5%, and butter sales were up 7%. Other areas of increased product sales included pudding and cheese sauce, 10%; and ice cream mix, 19%.

In detailing AMPI’s 2010 results, Welch said the industry saw increased global demand for dairy proteins, which led to improved milk prices following the depressed markets of 2009. AMPI sold more than 28 percent of its powdered dairy products internationally.

Despite strong sales and profitable operations, a year-end market drop devalued product inventory and resulted in a $1.5 million loss for the cooperative. AMPI members still shared $12.9 million from the previous year’s earnings and member equity.

Following the performance review, AMPI Chairman of the Board Paul Toft outlined the cooperative’s policy priorities. “We stepped up our policy-making efforts this past year, urging lawmakers to enact legislation that would decrease milk price volatility and increase dairy farmer profitability,” he said.

Additional AMPI 2010 operational highlights:

·       Producing 6 billion pounds of milk, matching quantity with ever-increasing quality.
·       Investing in the cooperative’s manufacturing network, upgrading whey drying, cheese processing and butter packaging equipment.
·       Serving customers like McDonalds, Sysco and ALDI who continue to rely on AMPI to make the product marketed under their label.

New leadership

Steve Schlangen, a dairy farmer from Albany, Minn., will lead AMPI. He was elected chairman by the board of directors immediately following the close of the dairy marketing cooperative’s annual meeting. Schlangen owns and operates a 65-cow dairy farm and has served on the AMPI Board of Directors since 2001 and has been an elected official for 20 years. Schlangen succeeds Paul Toft, who retired after serving as AMPI chairman for the past decade. Toft farms near Rice Lake, Wis.

The AMPI Board of Directors also elected the following members to serve as officers of the board: Doug Temme, Wayne, Neb., vice president; Phil Johnson, Holmen, Wis., secretary; and Brad Nevin, Rice Lake, Wis., treasurer. In addition to the officers, other executive committee members include: Bruce Brockshus, Ocheyedan, Iowa; John Grafenberg, West Union, Iowa; Bruce Maas, Walnut Grove, Minn.; Harvey Phelps, Cornell, Wis.; and Dave VanderKooi, Worthington, Minn.

Joining the AMPI Board of Directors in 2011 are Mark Kaeding, Augusta, Wis.; James Koser, Almena, Wis.; and Dave Sullivan, Oelwein, Iowa.

About AMPI: Associated Milk Producers Inc. (AMPI) is a dairy marketing cooperative with 3,000 member farms, 6 billion lbs. of milk and $1.7 billion in annual sales. Members operate dairy farms located throughout the Midwest states of Wisconsin, Minnesota, Iowa, Nebraska, South Dakota and North Dakota. They own 12 manufacturing plants and market a full line of consumer-packaged dairy products, including the Cass-Clay® brand. For more information about AMPI, visit the cooperative’s website at www.ampi.com.

 

USDA reports: Some surprises

Issued by Darrel Good
Department of Agricultural and Consumer Economics
University of Illinois

The much anticipated USDA Prospective Plantings and Grain Stocks reports were released this morning and contained a few important surprises. For a review of the USDA methodology for the Prospective Plantings report, see our recent Marketing and Outlook Brief.

For the crops included in the report of planting intentions, total planted acreage is expected to increase by 8.276 million acres from that of 2010. That increase is in line with expectations. Harvested acreage of hay is expected to decline by 889,000 acres. Compared to last year, producers intend to plant more corn, sorghum, spring wheat other than durum, canola, and cotton. Winter wheat seedings were 3.9 million larger than acreage seeded for harvest in 2010. Fewer acres are planned for oats, rice, soybeans, sunflowers, durum wheat, and dry edible beans.

Planting intentions for corn were reported at 92.178 million acres, 3.986 million more than planted last year. Intentions are within the range of expectations. The largest increases are expected in Iowa, North Dakota, Nebraska, Kansas, Ohio, Illinois, and Minnesota. Fewer acres are expected in South Dakota and Texas. The implication of the planted acreage estimate for the size of the 2011 crop hinges on yield expectations. In general, the market may still have too high of an expectation for the trend yield in 2011 and therefore too high of an expectation about actual yield. For a discussion of yield implications for production and price, see our recent Marketing and Outlook Brief.

Planting intentions for soybeans were reported at 76.609 million, 795,000 fewer than planted in 2010. Intentions are within the range of expectations. The largest declines are expected in Iowa, Kansas, Ohio, and Mississippi. More acres are planned in Missouri, Tennessee, and North and South Dakota.

The surprises in today’s report were in the estimates of March 1 stocks. At 6.523 billion bushels, March 1 inventories of corn were 1.171 billion bushels smaller than last year’s stocks and 167 million less than the average trade guess. In the last few days there was a lot of chatter about the corn market not having the “feel” of tight stocks and some had expected the March 1 stocks estimate to be much larger than the average guess. The stocks estimate implies a very high rate of feed and residual use of corn in the second quarter, and now, the first half of the year. Just when it looked like the rationing job had been completed, this report suggests that corn is still being used too rapidly. The weaker old crop prices going into the report may now have to be reversed.

March 1 stocks of soybeans were reported at 1.249 billion bushels, 21 million bushels smaller than stocks of a year ago. The average trade guess was for stocks to be about 30 million larger than stocks of a year ago. The stocks estimate implies a large residual use of soybeans in the second quarter and first half of the year. Like the corn stocks estimate, the estimate of soybean stocks implies that more rationing of the 2010 crop is required.

With such tight inventories of corn and soybeans, the size of the 2011 crops takes on even more importance.

 

 

USDA: More corn acreage, less soybeans

With many crop marketing analysts portraying the 2011 planting season as “acreage wars,” two of the more highly anticipated USDA reports were released on Thursday, March 31: The Grain Stocks report estimated current grain inventories; and a Planting intentions report providing a glimpse of what farmers intend to plant this spring.

Indications are that corn is the early leader in the battle for acreage. USDA forecasts growers intend to plant  92.2 million acres of corn in 2011, up 5% from last year and 7% more than 2009. If realized, it would be the second largest area planted to corn since 1944, behind only 2007’s 93.5 million acres.

Acreage increases of 250,000 or more are expected in Iowa, Kansas, Nebraska, North Dakota, Ohio, and South Dakota. The largest decrease is expected in Texas, down 150,000 acres.

Soybean planted area for 2011 is estimated at 76.6 million acres. While down 1% from last year, it would still be the third largest on record. Compared with last year, planted acreage declines of 100,000 acres or more are expected in Iowa, Kansas, Mississippi, Nebraska, and Ohio. If realized, the planted area in New York and North Dakota will be the largest on record.

Looking at the Grain Stocks report, corn stored in all positions on March 1 was estimated at 6.52 billion bushels, down 15% from a year ago. Of the total stocks, 3.38 billion bushels are stored on farms, down 26% from a year earlier. Off-farm stocks, at 3.14 billion bushels, are down slightly from a year ago. The December 2010-February 2011 indicated disappearance is 3.53 billion bushels, compared with 3.21 billion bushels during the same period last year.

Soybeans stored in all positions on March 1 totaled 1.25 billion bushels, down 2% from March 1, 2010. Soybean stocks stored on farms are estimated at 505 million bushels, down 17% from a year ago. Off-farm stocks, at 744 million bushels, are up 13% from last March. Indicated disappearance for the December 2010-February 2011 quarter totaled 1.03 billion bushels, down 4% from the same period a year earlier.

Estimated corn acreage came in somewhat higher than many market analysts had predicted, but corn inventories came in slightly lower. Soybean acreage and stocks estimates came in slightly lower than many forecasts, so we’ll probably see some futures price reaction as the week closes.

The Planting Intentions report provided good news for dairy producers who feed cottonseed. All cotton plantings for 2011 are expected to total 12.6 million acres, 15% more than last year and increasing in every cotton-growing state. The largest increase, at 548,000 acres, is expected in Texas. Acreage increases of more than 100,000 acres are expected in North Carolina, Georgia and Mississippi.

 

Responses, reactions

The Renewable Fuels Association (RFA) provided early reaction to the Planting Intentions report, noting corn and wheat numbers are higher than the trade expected, while the soybean number is slightly below the average trade estimate.

Based on this acreage estimate, RFA said corn yields would need to average 159.7 bushels per acre to maintain current carry-out levels. To increase carry-out stocks to near 1 billion bushels, an average yield of 163.5 bushels per acre would be needed.

“Such a yield is entirely possible and in line with trend yield growth from the last 15 years,” according to an RFA release. “In 2009, American farmers set the all-time yield record at 164.7 bushels per acre. (USDA’s) acreage estimate clearly shows that American farmers  respond to signals from the marketplace.  There is every expectation that farmers will once again produce the corn that is needed to meet all demands.”

Expanding Corn  Belt

“We’re seeing a greater increase in the western part of the Corn Belt,” noted odd Davis, crops economist with the American Farm Bureau Federation. “Iowa is projected to increased planted acreage by 500,000 acres, while Nebraska is expected to increase planted acres by 350,000 acres. The Corn Belt is expanding to non-traditional regions. Acreage is projected to expand by 450,000 in North Dakota, and by 850,000 in South Dakota with an increase of 310,000 acres in the southern Unites States as well.”

While USDA is projecting a 4-million acre increase for corn over last year, Davis notes that at current trend yields, corn stocks are not expected to build tremendously. Stocks are expected to increase by just 200 million bushels, if the weather cooperates.

“The story is we are expected to keep stocks relatively tight, under 10 percent, and that’s going to keep the market concerned,” Davis said. “The market is going to be watching closely the planting progress and weather throughout the growing season.”

 

(Check back for additional reaction later.)

 

PDPW Foundation announces new fundraising campaign

The Professional Dairy Producers Foundation has launched a new campaign to allow dairy producers to easily contribute to support its programming. The “Two Cents for Tomorrow” campaign seeks to raise at least $2 million annually to help bolster the industry through producer-driven education programs. The campaign invites producers to contribute up to 2¢/cwt. of milk from their farms.

Foundation Board Chair Deb Reinhart announced the campaign at the 2011 Business Conference of the Professional Dairy Producers of Wisconsin (PDPW). The Professional Dairy Producers Foundation is a separate, charitable Foundation started by PDPW to focus on long-term education projects and give dairy producers and industry supporters the opportunity to “give back” to their profession.

Reinhart said the campaign began early this year and already has the support of all the producer leaders who serve on the boards of PDPW and the Foundation, about 20 farms.

“We are directing the funds toward projects that we believe raise the bar for producer professionalism,” Reinhart said. “We believe we are building something that will last for future generations, and this is an easy way to allow producers to get involved.”

Reinhart says it will take about 400,000 cows to generate the Foundation’s goal of $2 million dollars. Wisconsin currently has about 1.26 million cows milking in the state. She stressed, however, that the Foundation belongs to the entire dairy industry. Funding the Foundation provides for education programs is industry-wide.

She described the kinds of programs the Foundation has already funded, including the PDPW Youth Leadership Derby, Mentor Program, and the National Dairy Animal Well-Being Initiative. In addition, the Foundation initiated a competitive grant program to surface new ideas, resulting in grants being awarded for producer education programs in Maryland and North Carolina.

Reinhart says interested farmers can contact the Foundation to make arrangements if they would like to participate. All proceed that go to the Foundation are tax-deductible. More information is available at www.dairyfoundation.org.

The Professional Dairy Producers Foundation was established by the Professional Dairy Producers of Wisconsin in 2002 as a not-for-profit vehicle to raise funds and award grants for educational programs and initiatives.

 

Beginning a career in dairy is still possible

There’s no doubt that getting started in the dairy business is not always the easiest task, but two individuals have shared how it can be done. During the Professional Dairy Producers of Wisconsin annual conference, Matthew Berge and Mark Mayer explained how they were able to begin their careers using perseverance, hard work and some creative business planning.

Berge returned to his 5th generation dairy farm after graduating from college in 2000. With help from legal professionals, he was able to enter into a partnership with his father by creating a separate entity called Badger Pride Dairy, LLC. The plan is for Matt to slowly earn up to 51-percent of the farm’s total ownership over a ten year period through the process of gifting. At that time, he will be able to afford to purchase the other half of the business.

“There were many factors that made this transition successful, but the most important one was communication,” Matt said. “Other important keys were sharing a common vision with my dad, defining each others’ roles, and doing proper estate planning.”

He said the arrangement worked out better for his father, too, as he will be paid more for his equity when he fully retires, while not putting Matt into additional debt. The once 60-cow dairy now milks over 800 cows.

Meanwhile, Mayer talked about how he began his enterprise from scratch without growing up on a farm. He was able to start M.M. Dairy by renting his grandparents’ dairy farm, while purchasing a small herd of dairy cows under a personal payment agreement. Once he paid off his debt and built up some equity, he was able to rent a larger farm for several years before purchasing a 50-acre farm and built a free-stall operation in 2006.

“I took many little steps and kept my debt low and affordable,” Mark said. “After accomplishing a series of short-term goals, I was able expand the herd as I could afford to and have plans to bring my brother into the operation.”

Both producers say it took patience to achieve what they have and said it was never intended to be an overnight process. They also said consulting with professional advisors in finance, nutrition and animal health were essential to their success.

 

OSHA looking to do more on-farm safety inspections

The Occupational Safety and Health Agency hasn’t spent a lot of time in recent years inspecting farm operations for worker safety compliance, but that’s about to change thanks to a new initiative being announced by the state OSHA office. During the Professional Dairy Producers of Wisconsin annual meeting, Mary Bauer, an OSHA compliance assistant specialist, explained that a recent increase in on-farm fatalities is prompting the agency to add dairy farms to its list of inspection sites throughout the state.

Under current OSHA regulations, farms are exempt from OSHA inspections if they employ 10 or less workers at any given time of the year. But Bauer says farms of any size can be inspected if they offer temporary housing for its workers on the property.

“The bottom line is we want all farms to do what they can to create a safe environment for its workforce,” Bayer said. “OSHA won’t go and inspect every farm in the state. But we do want to stress that all farm employers are obligated to comply with OSHA regulations—no matter what size they are.”

Bauer says OSHA visits are always unannounced. A farming operation is defined as any business involved in the growing or harvesting of crops, raising livestock or poultry, or related activities conducted by a farmers on rural sites, according to the agency.

Matt Kiefer, an occupational health specialist with the National Farm Medicine Center in Marshfield, also weighed in on the topic. His group is helping farmers to become compliant if the producer feels they aren’t doing enough to implement proper safety measures on the farm.

“Farm safety isn’t just about injury prevent, it also involves disease control,” Kiefer said. “It’s the responsibility of the owner to identify any hazards on the property and to provide safety tools to their staff to keep them safe.”

The NFMC has also hired a new staff member to assist farms that need help with becoming OSHA compliant. Kiefer also says owners may have to do more of their own research on farm safety in the future because ag and rural safety funds have been cut in the proposed federal budget being considered by Congress.

 

background_banner