← Return to Home Page

Southwest DairyBusiness: August 2011

(Highlights featured in the August 2011 edition of Western DairyBusiness)


Discovery zone highlights DPNM show


RUIDOSO, NM – Dairy MAX’s new Dairy Discovery Zone (DDZ) exhibit brings the dairy industry right to the doorstep of the consumers. The high tech exhibit brings dairy industry education to urban settings for a hands-on learning experience.


The DDZ was at the Dairy Producers of New Mexico annual meeting and trade show held in early June at the Ruidoso Convention Center.


The DDZ was visited by more than 45,000 consumers at the San Antonio Livestock Show and Rodeo, and more than 50,000 consumers learned about the world of dairy when the exhibit was on display at the Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo.


DDZ also was at the Rock ‘N Roll San Antonio Marathon, American Heart Association Heart Walk in Oklahoma City, Okla., and Main Street Days in Grapevine, Texas. Dairy MAX officials estimate more than 111,000 consumers visited the DDZ and learned about a wide range of milk products and dairy practices for animal health and welfare.


Numerous interactive exhibits and games inside, and severak outside in the expanded footprint of the DDZ. A computer sign-up within the DDZ has allowed Dairy MAX to compile an extensive deatabase of consumers who want to learn more about dairy. 



  To contact Dairy MAX, call 866-306-1449 or e-mail McKinzieM@dairymax.org.



Lombardi receives first NM Dept. of Ag Legacy Award

RUIDOSO, NM – Larry J. Dominguez, director of industry and agency programs for the New Mexico Department of Agriculture (NMDA), was on hand at the Dairy Producers of New Mexico (DPNM) annual meeting and trade show in June at Ruidoso to pay tribute to recently retired executive director, Sharon Lombardi. 


Dominguez stressed dairy is a major contributor to the state’s economy with it’s milk production representing ranked No. 2 commodity that generates $950 million in cash receipts. NM is home to 157 family owned and operated dairies, milking 330,000 lactating cows. 


Dominguez talked about how the DPNM organization got its start with the goal of being a strong advocate for the dairy industry at the state and national level. Much of the success that DPNM has enjoyed over the years was the work of Sharon Lombardi as the first full-time DPNM executive director. For her dedication and passion for the dairy industry, the NMDA director/secretary, Jeff M. Witte named her the first recipient of the NM Secretary of Agriuclture’s Legacy Award. 



Hagevoort awarded NMSU first Endowed Dairy Chair 

RUIDOSO, NM – Lowell Catlett, Dean of New Mexico State University, College of Agricultural, Consumer and Environmental Sciences (ACES) presented Dr. Robert Hagevoort, Extension dairy specialist with the newly Endowed Dairy Chair at NMSU.


NMSU’s College of Agricultural, Consumer and Environmental Sciences established a $1 million Endowed Dairy Chair to focus on the dairy industry and a committee of industry representatives was formed and selected one of its own – Robert Hagevoort as the first recipient.


Hagevoort, Clovis, NM, will use his position to address specific needs of the dairy industry – and also build upon and strengthen NMSU’s current dairy program.


“NMSU is clear in its commitment to support the dairy industry in New Mexico with assistance as needed, because that’s the flexibility the Endowed Dairy Chair has,” Hagevoort said. “It is able to focus on those issues the industry needs help with, and which will provide sound science and technical support for the many increasingly tough regulatory issues the industry is facing, both at state and federal levels.”


Because of the visibility the Endowed Dairy Chair will have and the attention it will draw, it can create unique funding opportunities, especially in today’s competitive grant-funding environment, Hagevoort said. For example, NMSU’s Southern Great Plains Dairy Consortium, co-coordinated by Hagevoort, is being utilized as the wraparound tool for the research and teaching component of a recently-announced $9.2 million USDA – Agriculture and Food Research Initiative Bovine Respiratory Disease grant.


“It puts NMSU – because of its unique dairy industry characteristics – in the driver’s seat as it relates to potential funding for research and the development of cutting-edge innovative hands-on teaching and training programs for students and industry professionals,” Hagevoort declared.


Lewis Topliff, former NMSU dairy general manager, said dairy has grown to the point where the average production of dairy cows in New Mexico is the highest in the nation and is No. 1 in terms of economic importance in the state.


Before shutting down nearly 30 years ago, NMSU had a self-supporting dairy that came at no cost to taxpayers. Topliff said he remembers a time when the university processed its own milk in glass bottles, and homemade cottage cheese and ice cream was sold out of the dairy office at the Las Cruces campus. Topliff said he was grateful when he learned Dean Catlett planned to re-establish some of the most effective dairy-related programs and activities.


“Robert has proven NMSU’s commitment to dairy, and has been instrumental in pulling together national university partners while working to ensure the New Mexico dairy industry is well positioned for growth,” said Catlett. “This appointment solidifies the college’s long-term plans to recognize and build upon the dairy industry’s leading role in New Mexico.”


Hagevoort, a native of the Netherlands, earned his bachelor’s degree in tropical animal production from the Deventer College for Tropical Agriculture. He received a master’s degree in range nutrition and a doctorate in animal nutrition from Texas A&M University. 



National dairy exhibit opens in XIT Museum in Dalhart

DALHART, Texas – The XIT Museum now features a hands-on dairy section as part of partnership with Hilmar Cheese Company, Dairy MAX and the Southwest Dairy Museum. The exhibits are part of a national dairy exhibit program sponsored by Dairy Management Inc.


The exhibits opened the evening of June 30 with a ribbon cutting ceremony and dairy festival on the Dallam County courthouse lawn. Representatives from the Dalhart chamber, city, county and hundreds of local people joined the celebration.  


“We are excited to have these new hands-on activities, they are fun for guests of all ages,” said Nick Olson, director of the XIT Museum. “This is a great addition and it will give visitors a chance to learn about the growing dairy and cheese industry in our area.”


The XIT Museum contains exhibits on the XIT Ranch and ranching equipment, wagons and several period rooms, a wedding chapel, and diorama of area wildlife. A newly renovated art gallery features different artists’ exhibits throughout the year. The museum also hosts changing exhibits on collections of hats, guns, cameras and other historical items. 


The new dairy exhibit features videos of actual dairy farms, real items used on the farm and activities to educate families on the origin of milk, the care dairy farmers provide to the environment, their animals, and the quality and safety of the milk they produce. The exhibit also educates on the health benefits of dairy.  

“We offer a “dress up” area and kids love to try on the clothes of a dairy farmer, veterinarian and cheesemaker. They especially love their free souvenir hairnet.” explained Denise Skidmore, director of education and public relations for Hilmar Cheese Company. “The exhibit also has dairy items to touch like a calf bottle, buttons to push to light up different parts of the dairy model and a chance to feel the real filters that Hilmar Cheese Company uses to recycle our water.”


The exhibits were designed by Dairy Management, Inc.™ as part of their Dairy Farmer Image Program  to help narrow the information gap between dairy producers and the general public. The exhibits were built by Acme Scenery.


 “We get calls about touring the cheese plant and tours are just not practical with today’s biosecurity rules,” commented Jim McDaniel, site director of Hilmar Cheese Company’s Dalhart facility. “The dairy industry is growing and we hope this exhibit will teach people about the many careers opportunities and encourage them to explore jobs in the dairy industry.”


“We are very grateful for the partnership with the XIT Museum, Dairy MAX and the Southwest Dairy Museum to help us have this exhibit here. The exhibit is similar to the one in Hilmar Cheese Company’s visitor center in California, with a few changes to be sure it reflects the Texas dairy industry and the great things we do here,” Jim added with smile.