Midwest Dairy Digest: March 20, 2011


Professional Dairy Producers set policy, pricing information meetings

The Indiana Professional Dairy Producers is partnering with the Indiana State Department of Agriculture, the Indiana Corn Marketing Council and the Indiana Soybean Alliance to hold two informational meetings in Indiana to help educate dairy farmers and others interested in learning more about the complexities of milk pricing.

“We are vulnerable as an industry because often we don’t understand how our milk price is determined,” said LuAnn Troxel, IPDP president and LaPorte County dairy farmer. “This is a critical time in dairy policy. Legislators need to hear from dairy farmers.”

Meetings will be held:

•   Friday, March 25, at the Bartholomew County Fairgrounds, Family Arts Building, 750 W 200 S, Columbus, Ind.

• Saturday, March 26, at the Elkhart County Fairgrounds, Ag Hall, 17746 E CR 34, Goshen, Ind.

These meetings will address the National Milk Producers Federation “Foundation for the Future,” as well as other plans developed to implement policy changes in the 2012 Farm Bill. Sherry Bunting, writer for Farmshine newspaper, will be the keynote speaker at both meetings.

Registration for both meetings begins at 10:30 a.m. (Eastern). Each meeting will run from 11 a.m.-2 p.m., and a complimentary lunch will be served. There is no charge, but reservations are requested by March 22. Call the Indiana Professional Dairy Producers at 317-695-8228 and leave a message stating which meeting you wish to attend and how many attendees from your farm, or email info@IndianaDairy.org with that same information.

The Indiana Professional Dairy Producers is the organized voice for Hoosier dairy farmers. Membership in IPDP is not required to attend the meeting. More information about the Indiana Professional Dairy Producers can be found at www.IndianaDairy.org.


Lucey named UW-Madison Center for Dairy Research director

John Lucey, professor of Food Science, University of Wisconsin-Madison, has been named Director of the Wisconsin Center for Dairy Research (CDR). The dairy research center focuses on research, applications, outreach and education geared  towards partnering with the Wisconsin and U.S. dairy industries.

John Lucey

Lucey joined the UW-Madison Food Science department in 1999. Over the  past 20 years, he has worked in food science departments or research  centers in four different countries, (Ireland, the Netherlands, New  Zealand, and the U.S.) each with a strong dairy foods emphasis. Lucey’s  research interests cover a wide range of dairy technology and products  including cheese texture/chemistry, gelation of milk, cultured  products like yogurt, and the production/functionality of milk protein ingredients. In 2001 he received the American Dairy Science Association (ADSA) Foundation Scholar award, and in 2005 the DSM award for Cheese and Cultured Products Research from ADSA.

Anaerobic digester operator training program is April 13

Fond du Lac, Wis. – In response to an increased use of digesters, an Anaerobic Digester Operator Training Program will be offered, April 13-15, in Fond du Lac, Wis. The program is designed to provide design, process and safety information for digester operations.

The training program highlights design options and optimization of system operation with a focus on safety, including an on-farm safety assessment and walkthrough. Detailed operational and trouble-shooting information will include system start-up, process control, and monitoring to provide a framework to maintain operator safety while achieving consistent biogas production.

An operator panel composed of industry, municipal, and on-farm digester operators will provide real-world experience and expertise for digester operation and management. Biogas and digestate end use, regulations and permits, and environmental issues will complete the training to provide the comprehensive systems knowledge required to make informed decisions concerning digester management.

The program provides a systems perspective for digester operator safety and digester management critical in maintaining digester operation. This program is a collaborative effort from UW-CALS, UW-Extension, MSU Extension, Solid and Hazardous Waste Education Center, and the Michigan Department of Agriculture. The program will be held at UW-Extension Fond du Lac County, 400 University Drive, Room UC 113/114, Fond du Lac, Wis. Additional information, brochure and registration is available at: http://fyi.uwex.edu/digesteroperatorprogram/

Dairy farm management team program applications accepted

The Wisconsin Department of Agriculture, Trade and Consumer Protection (DATCP) encourages farmers to apply now for the Dairy Farm Management Team program. This program is designed to assist producers with future planning to innovate and modernize their farms to increase profitability.

“Dairy Farm Management Teams are an additional tool producers can use to improve their operating efficiency by identifying challenges and opportunities,” said DATCP Secretary Ben Brancel. “The purpose of this program is to help dairy farmers strengthen their management tools and provide the resources needed to move forward.”

Participating producers will work with a facilitator, who will bring together a team of professionals tailored to the farm’s individual situation.  The management team may include lenders, agronomists, nutritionists, veterinarians, and other specialists. Over three meetings, the team will discuss issues, develop a strategy, and provide input for decision-making and long-term planning.  Technology, growth, herd health, milk quality, financial success, and sustainability are some issues that may be considered.

The cost-share program will provide up to $2,000 to cover costs such as consultant fees and agronomic, milk quality, or veterinary testing.  Capital expenses are not eligible.  Farmers will contribute 10 percent of these costs as part of the program.

All Wisconsin dairy farmers, who do not already have management team advisors in place, are eligible to apply, regardless of herd size or set-up.  The application is only one page.

Sixty-five Dairy Farm Management Teams have been formed since this program launched in late 2009. This program is made possible through the Value Added Dairy Initiative, which is funded by a Federal-State Marketing Improvement Program (FSMIP) grant from the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Agricultural Marketing Service. In-kind contributions are provided by the Wisconsin Milk Marketing Board and DATCP.

The Dairy Farm Management Team program is a joint effort of DATCP; the Wisconsin Department of Commerce Dairy 2020 program; the University of Wisconsin-Extension Dairy Team, Farm and Risk Management Team (FARM), and Center for Dairy Profitability; and Wisconsin Technical Colleges.  For application materials, visit http://www.growwisconsindairy.org/apply_grants/dairy_management/default.asp.

For questions or more information, contact Jim Cisler at james.cisler@wisconsin.gov or 608-224-5137.

Wisconsin records 1 millionth RFID number

On Feb. 28, 2011, the Wisconsin Livestock Identification Consortium recorded the state’s millionth Radio Frequency Identification Number (RFID), a milestone in Wisconsin animal identification. RFID, also known as electronic ID, is an ear tag that has a unique number which can be read both visibly and electronically.

“Wisconsin farmers have really stepped up to the plate when it comes to using RFID,” said Ben Brancel, Secretary of Agriculture, Trade and Consumer Protection. “Using RFID improves traceability and opens doors to international markets.”

RFID use has grown considerably over the past few years. In March 2008 there were 138,260 RFID numbers recorded. Just a year later in March 2009 that number increased to 405,134, and today there are over one million RFID numbers being used amongst various species across the state. As consumers become more source conscious of their food and the agricultural industry presses for more traceability due to residue and disease issues, use of RFID is expected to grow. Currently, Wisconsin Livestock Identification Consortium (WLIC) estimates show that 16% of the milking dairy herd in Wisconsin is identified by RFID.

“We’ve seen a dramatic example of how RFID can save producer headaches and taxpayer dollars,” said Brancel. “When we had to TB-test a 3,000-cow herd that had been exposed by imported cattle, it was an RFID herd. We needed to process 360 animals an hour to avoid disrupting the milking operation. If we’d had to manually read and record identification for that many animals, we would have needed 36 staff members and it would have cost $84,000. With RFID, six people did it, it cost $22,000, and the producer’s operation just kept right on with no interruption. Those are results you can take to the bank, and we’re glad Wisconsin farmers know that.”

Over the past few years, WLIC has worked with producers, county fairs, veterinarians, and other livestock groups to promote the value of animal identification and RFID for herd management as well as animal health and traceability purposes. WLIC also offers tag programs where producers and county fairs looking to implement RFID can apply to receive RFID tags at no cost. These tags are distributed on a first-come, first-serve basis, to qualified applicants.  For more information on these programs, call 888-808-1910 or send information requests to info@wiid.org.

The mission of the Wisconsin Livestock Identification Consortium is to create a secure livestock identification system to protect animal health and market access, and to offer opportunities that enhance the marketability of Wisconsin livestock products. Representing more than 50 businesses, organizations and livestock producer associations, WLIC draws upon the collective strength of its diverse membership to help strengthen and advance animal disease traceability in Wisconsin and the nation as a whole. To learn more about WLIC visit www.wiid.org.


Dairy research, promotion board directors elected

The Minnesota Department of Agriculture (MDA) announced the recent elections of board members to serve on the Minnesota Dairy Research and Promotion Council. Members elected to serve two-year board terms are Peter Ripka of Ogilvie, (District 2); Ken Herbranson of Clitherall, (District 4); Ron Rinkel of Hillman, (District 6); Corrine Lieser of Belgrade, (District 8); Kathleen Skiba of North Branch, (District 10);  Charles Krause of Buffalo, (District 12); Paul Fritsche of New Ulm, (District 14); Keith Knutson of Pine Island, (District 16); Dave Schwartz of Slayton, (District 18); Christine Sukalski of Leroy, (District 20); Carolyn Freese of Lanesboro, (District 22).