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Updated January 1, 2014.

To have your news included here, please send potential news links, press releases, or articles to Dave Natzke at dnatzke@dairybusiness.com.

 

 

High Plains Irrigation Conference set for Jan. 16 in Amarillo

AMARILLO – The annual High Plains Irrigation Conference will be held Jan. 16 in the Regency Room of the Amarillo Civic Center, 401 S. Buchanan St., Amarillo.

The program, hosted by Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service and the Texas Agricultural Irrigation Association, will address a wide variety of topics of interest to the general public, as well as to agricultural producers, landowners, crop consultants and irrigation professionals, said Dr. Dana Porter, program coordinator and AgriLife Extension agricultural engineering specialist-irrigation and water management, Lubbock.

“We wanted to offer farm owners and managers information on economic risk management tools for limited irrigation conditions, as well as research updates and new recommendations for crop-specific irrigation management,” Porter said.

A concurrent trade show also will provide opportunities for attendees to see new products and technologies, and to visit with experts from industry, non-profit organizations and agencies.

Registration will be onsite only, beginning at 8 a.m., with the program starting at 8:30 a.m. The fee is $30. Irrigation Association – five certified irrigation designer – and certified crop adviser continuing education units – 4.5 in soil and water management and one in crop management – will be offered.

Topics and speakers for the program will be:

- Regional Water Issues, Kyle Ingham, Panhandle Regional Planning Commission Regional Water Planning director, Amarillo.

- Texas Water Development Board Programs: SWIFT Updates and Agricultural and Rural Water Conservation.
- Trends in Agricultural Irrigation, Dr. Kevin Wagner, Texas Water Resources Institute associate director, College Station.

- Crop Insurance and Irrigation Best Management Practices, Jay Yates, AgriLife Extension economist-risk management, Lubbock.

- Risk Management Tools for Limited Irrigation, DeDe Jones, AgriLife Extension risk management program specialist, Amarillo.

- Applied Research Panel: Irrigation Management Strategies for High Plains Crops, Dr. Qingwu Xue, Texas A&M AgriLife Research crop stress physiologist, Amarillo; Thomas Marek, AgriLife Research senior research, Amarillo; and Jim Bordovsky, AgriLife Research scientist and agricultural engineer, Halfway / Lubbock.

- Irrigation Management Tools, Porter.

The meeting will conclude after 4 p.m. with a wrap-up, evaluation and CEU distribution.

For more conference information, go to the Texas Agricultural Irrigation Association website, http://taia.org/HPIC_2014.html. Questions about the program can be directed to Porter at dporter@ag.tamu.edu . Trade show questions should be directed to Kern Stutler at 806-786-5644.

 

 

Ag plastics recycling conference planned

A two-day conference on agricultural plastics recycling will be held Feb. 4-6 2014 in San Diego.  Sponsored by The Pesticide Stewardship Alliance, the conference is aimed at agricultural plastics recyclers, plastics manufacturers, and those who develop or sell plastic cleaning, baling or processing equipment.  

Sessions include global recycling markets, emerging routes for recycled plastics, cleaning, collection logistics, information exchange and policy roundtables. 

Participants also have the opportunity to share information about a product or process of interest to the agricultural plastics community.

For more information about the conference contact The Pesticide Stewardship Alliance at 11327 Gravois Road, #210, St,. Louis, MO 63126, (314) 849-9137 or email: info@tpsalliance.org. Visit the web site http://tpsalliance.org.

The Pesticide Stewardship Alliance is a non profit organization that brings together technical experts, researchers, pesticide applicators, regulators, the crop protection industry and hazardous waste industry, agricultural plastics recyclers and environmental and public health advocates to support improvements in the stewardship of pesticides and agricultural plastics in the United States and internationally.

 

‘Dairy Heat Stress Road Show’ travels again

The Dairy Heat Stress Road Show was a big hit two years ago and the road show will travel again in the  spring of 2014 bringing new answers to the problem of heat stress in dairy cows.  

    Dr. Todd Bilby, dairy technical services manager with Merck Animal Health, said heat stress on dairies not only affects cow comfort, but also lowers milk production and fertility, which costs the dairy industry millions of dollars annually.

    Surveys conducted of participants in the last Dairy Heat Stress Road Show showed that dairy heat stress costs dairy operators over $81/cow/year. Producers at a road show event also reported that by attending they estimated that implementing the strategies they learned, their dairy operation could save over $40/cow/year.  

     “The Dairy Heat Stress Road Show, financed by the U.S. Department of Agriculture in collaboration with several universities, is a series of educational programs that will travel to four states and Puerto Rico,” Bilby said. “The effort’s purpose is to teach producers how to overcome some of the negative effects of heat stress by implementing strategies such as nutritional changes, hormonal treatments and facility improvement.”

Upcoming dates and locations this fall include:  

• April 1, Texas A&M AgriLife Research and Extension Center, Stephenville, Texas.

• April 2, Hilton Garden Inn, East Elwood St., Phoenix, Arizona 

 • April 4, Consumer Education Pavilion, Vet Medicine Center, Tulare, California.

All the sessions will run from 10 a.m.- 2:45 p.m. with lunch provided.

Topics and speakers include: Nutritional Additives and Facility Modifications to Reduce Heat Stress, Dr. Robert Collier, Professor, University of Arizona; Should We Cool Dry Cows?, Dr. Geoffrey Dahl, Professor and Head of Department, University of Florida; and Current and Future Opportunities to Reduce the Impact of Heat Stress, Dr. Pete Hansen, Distinguished Professor, University of Florida.  Dr. Bilby will speak on Tools and Technologies to Assess Heat Stress on Commercial Dairies.

    Along with on-site instruction, the road show will provide the latest research technology, software tools and proceedings in English or Spanish at each program. The road show is free and open to the public, Bilby said. 

    Learn more about the Dairy Heat Stress Road Show, managing heat stress in dairy cattle or the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Research and Education initiative by contacting Dr. Todd Bilby at todd.bilby@merck.com.

 

High Plains Dairy Conference is March 5-6

The 2014 High Plains Dairy Conference will be held March 5-6 at the Overton Hotel and Conference Center in Lubbock, Texas.

Presentations will begin at 8 a.m. each day

Speakers and topics include Implications of groundwater minerals in dairy cattle nutrition by Charlie Elrod of Vi-COR; Feeding Calves for Performance by Jon Robinson of Fresno State; and Using Technology to Improve Calf Raising by Leon “Sam” Barringer of Merck.

A panel discussion on Managing our Water Resources will be led by Jay Lazarus of Glorietta Geosciences, independent consultant Chuck Grimes, Troy Grimes of A+ Ag Consulting and Scott Johnson of Scott Johnson Farm Service.

Rapid fire topics will include LED lighting, farm bill dairy decision aid, economic impacts of employee turnover, heat stress “apps” and an update on HR training and safety programs.

Online registration and other conference information is available at www.highplainsdairy.org or by calling 785-532-2370.

 

Western Canadian Dairy Seminar in March 11-14

“Strategies to Optimize Performance” is the theme of the 2014 Western Canadian Dairy Seminar which will be held March 11-14 at the Sheraton Red Dear in Red Deer, Alberta.

The seminar will open with a tour of three local dairy farms with the focus on innovative dairy management. There will also be a pre-seminar conference for nutritionists led by Robert Corbett, dairy health consultant. Also on the 11th will be a workshop for producers on mastitis prevention. The opening reception will begin at 8 p.m.

This seminar is designed for people who want to improve their knowledge and decision-making abilities in dairy production and management. Dairy producers, extension specialists, researchers, and dairy service and supply representatives will find this seminar extremely valuable. Each year a wide variety of topics are presented ranging from nutrition and reproduction to dairy policy and challenges facing the dairy industry.

The Wednesday morning session will focus on efficiency – in both feeding and breeding. Speakers for the session will be Frank Mitloehner from University of California Davis; Mike Vandehaar from Michigan State University, Diane Spurlock from Iowa State University and Victor Cabrera from University of Wisconsin. All speakers will participate in a panel discussion.

Afternoon concurrent sessions will focus on dairy herd health and the pre-weaned calf.

Nutrition to Optimize Performance and Economic Returns is the Thursday morning session with speakers Barry Robinson of Great Northern Livestock Consulting; Alex Bach of IRTA Spain, Tim McAllister of Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada and Conrad Ferris of the AFBI Northern Ireland. The afternoon concurrent sessions include breeding and reproduction and “The People Side of Dairying.”

Friday’s morning session will include disease issues and management.

To register and for a complete list of topics, contact:

 Western Canadian Dairy Seminar, c/o Department of Agricultural, Food & Nutritional Science 

4-10 Agriculture/Forestry Centre

 University of Alberta Edmonton, AB, T6G 2P5 Canada.

Phone: (780) 492-3236

Fax: (780) 492-5771

E-mail: wcds@ualberta.ca

Twitter Follow us on twitter @wcds_dairy

 

BCF offers ultrasound training course and CE opportunities

Veterinarians – are you looking to improve upon the services you provide your producer clients? Learning the basics or advanced skills of bovine ultrasound are key to providing thorough diagnostics during herd health visits. BCF Technology, the manufacturer of Easi-Scan, is sponsoring a veterinary continuing education course on ”Practical Reproduction Ultrasound” in Lodi, California on January 10, 2014.

Dr. Jill Colloton will lead a lecture followed by a hands-on wet lab where attendees will gain valuable, cow-side, ultrasound training and experience. This course is RACE approved for 6 CE credits. And we’ll even throw in lunch! Course fee is $200 and limited to 10 participants.

At the course you will gain in depth knowledge of the benefits of bovine pregnancy diagnosis with ultrasound, fetal and embryonic loss, twin diagnosis, ovarian structures, and basic fetal sex determination.

Visit the learning section of the BCF website for registration information and other details.http://bit.ly/1jHk1m3

This course is being held in conjunction with the UC-Davis Large Animal Symposium being held on January 11, 2013 at the university. The symposium will host Dr. Temple Grandin, advanced ultrasound topics, and other CE seminars. Make the most of your time by attending both events. (1 hour away from Davis, CA and both are even closer to Sacramento).

 

CDL XII class visit DMI

The six-member California Dairy Leaders Class XII traveled in September to Chicago, Indianapolis and Washington D.C. during the fourth session of the comprehensive dairy industry leadership program.

For the first time, this year’s class members were treated to a day with Dairy Management Incorporated (DMI) in Chicago. Time was spent discussing new brand partnerships to promote the consumption of dairy products domestically, the exploration of an expansion into foreign markets, a tour of the brand-new social media newsroom, as well as a workshop on the different types of social media we could use to tell the story of our farms. Following the day with DMI the class traveled to Indianapolis to learn from Elanco. Hosts provided the group a day of discussion on emerging technologies, dairy’s role in reducing hunger worldwide, a tour of the facility and a workshop on the six practices of persuasion.

The tour of D.C. began with a visit to National Milk Producers Federation and the US Dairy Export Council, Where the group had the opportunity to learn much more about NMPF’s legislative work, the revitalization of the “REAL” milk seal, and USDEC’s work opening in the area of export markets.

Our next stop was at the USDA, where the group discussed dairy policy, FMMO and the impending Farm Bill with Under Secretary Ed Avalos and Dana Coale of the AMS-Dairy Marketing Branch. The Under Secretary shared with us his concern for the industry as a whole, and related that he has witnessed the tough dairy economy first hand in his home state of New Mexico.

Two days were spent on Capitol Hill discussing a variety of issues with members of the California delegation. Topics ranged from Farm Bill, immigration reform, to trade and ethanol policy. The lawmakers and staff were from a variety of backgrounds and political affiliations, but all were sensitive to our concerns. The group was very fortunate to spend an evening with California congressman David  Valadao discussing the above issues over dinner and an evening tour of the Capitol.

California Dairy Leaders Class XII members are: Elysha Bergwerff, Bergwerff Farms Inc., Oakdale; Deanna Martin, USDA Farm Service Agency, Stockton; Katherine Nissen, Nissen Dairy Inc., Escalon; Paul Van Puijenbroek, De Snayer Dairy, Lodi; Cristina Vieira, A&C Vieira Dairy, Turlock; Melissa Lema, Western United Dairymen, Ferndale.

 

WUD legislative update

Source: Western United Dairymen 

Legislation that would provide direction to the Secretary of Food and Agriculture regarding study areas in the dairy marketing programs were stymied but remain alive in the legislative process. Authors of bills include Assemblyman Richard Pan (D-Sacramento), Assemblyman Adam Gray (D-Merced), Senator Cathleen Galgiani (D-Stockton), Senator Tom Berryhill (R-Modesto), and Senator Anthony Cannella (R-Ceres). One bill moved out of the Senate unanimously to the Assembly only to be held up by a negative Appropriations Committee ruling.

The Dairy Institute of California has retained a Sacramento lobbying firm to thwart provisions introduced by producer organizations that would have brought needed amendments to California’s Class 4b pricing formula. Provisions would specifically tie a dry whey value factor to reported dry whey values, similar to that found in federal milk marketing order pricing formulas. 

Dairy legislation will be revisited in January 2014, upon the Legislature return to session. 

 

Water board adopts reissued WDR for dairies 

The Central Valley Regional Water Quality Control Board on Oct. 3 adopted Reissued Waste Discharge Requirements General Order No. R5-2013-0122 for existing milk cow dairies. A copy of the Reissued Dairy General Order may be downloaded at www.waterboards.ca.gov/centralvalley/water_issues/dairies

The water board was mandated by a court order to set aside the Dairy WDR adopted in 2007 and reissue the Order once it complied with the court's writ of mandate. The reis-sued order strengthens the language within the document and makes it clear that the practices that dairy producers having been implementing for several years meet the requirements of the State's antidegradation policy. One of the requirements of the antidegradation policy is that permitted facilities implement Best Practicable Treatment or Control (BPTC) practices. The reissued order explains in greater detail how the existing requirements meet BPTC. For example, the reissued order clarifies that for existing ponds that the process of BPTC is an iterative process of evaluation and assessment and the implementation of management practices and/or activities that may be necessary to further protect water quality. For those dairies that are members of the Representative Monitoring Program (RMP) that program will continue to meet the requirement for groundwater monitoring. 

 

Texas A&M creates Texas-size genomic grant program

Intending to empower the next generation of cutting-edge genomics research, members of The Texas A&M University System have contributed monies to create the largest internally funded genomics research grant program of its kind, officials said.

The funds, totaling $1.26 million, come from Texas A&M University and its College of Agriculture and Life Sciences, Dwight Look College of Engineering, Division of Research, Whole Systems Genomics Initiative and Texas A&M Health Science Center, along with the A&M System’s Texas A&M AgriLife Research and Texas A&M Engineering Experiment Station.

“This is truly an exciting period at Texas A&M. We are bringing together world-class scientists from across the system to explore the very foundations of life and solve some of the greatest challenges facing mankind, from human health to world hunger. This program serves a unique role for our scientists, providing those all-important funds to grow our genomics and bioinformatics research programs” said A&M System chancellor John Sharp. “Joint efforts such as this pave the way for basic and applied research discoveries that will benefit all of humankind.”

Grants from the fund will target the generation of preliminary data, building collaborative teams and/or training programs in genomics and bioinformatics, according to Dr. Charles D. Johnson, director of Genomics and Bioinformatics Services for AgriLife Research, and associate director of the A&M System’s Center for Bioinformatics and Genomic Systems Engineering.

“The program goals are to provide faculty with preliminary results for future grants submissions that will allow them to begin using or expanding their work in human, plant and animal genomics and the associated societal challenges,” Johnson noted.

The program will include a suite of four subcategories of grants. Each category focuses on a specific funding need. The details and request for proposals for the individual grant programs and eligibility requirements will be announced in the coming weeks.

 •       Texas A&M Genomics Seed Grant: Funding for next generation sequencing and bioinformatics support through the AgriLife Genomics and Bioinformatics Service.

•       Genomics Technology Seed Grant – Funding computational and systems biology research, and genomics and computer technology development through the Engineering Experiment Station and Look College.

•       Whole Systems Genomics Initiative Catalyst Grant: Supporting genomic research spanning discovery science to the ethical, social, legal and policy challenges that arise as new genomic discoveries profoundly impact animals, people and the environment on a global scale.

•       Genomics of Plant Water Use: Funding for next generation sequencing and bioinformatics support through the AgriLife Genomics and Bioinformatics Services.

Questions about the overall program should be directed to Johnson at 979-862-3287, Charlie@ag.tamu.edu.

 

Corn oil production by Pacific Ethanol

Pacific Ethanol of Sacramento has a new revenue stream flowing from its plant in Stockton’s inland seaport industrial park. 

It’s corn oil, being made with Visalia-based Edeniq Inc.'s “Oil Plus” proprietary process. 

"We are pleased to be producing corn oil at our Stockton plant,” says Neil Koehler, Pacific Ethanol’s president and CEO. “Corn oil is a high value co-product with multiple markets including animal feed and biodiesel. Corn oil production at our ethanol plants is an important strategy to further diversify our plant revenue streams and significantly improve operating income." Corn oil production by ethanol plants that use raw corn to make ethanol, is becoming more common in the industry.

 

DCC’s Mobile Dairy Classroom headed back to schools

The Dairy Council of California’s Mobile Dairy Classroom is kicking off 2013-14 academic year visits to elementary schools throughout California. The free farm-to-school learning program teaches students about the important role agriculture and milk play in their lives and health.

 To help ensure students throughout California are able to experience the Mobile Dairy Classroom traveling assembly, numerous California dairy producers provide Dairy Council of California with cows and calves to bring to school campuses. 

California dairy producers contributing cows and calves for this school year’s assemblies include: VanderSchaaf Dairy in Bakersfield; Sweeney Dairy in Visalia; Bay Meadow Farms and Cal Denier Dairy in Galt; Moonglow Dairy in Moss Landing; Hinkley Dairy in Hinkley; Ontario Ranch Holsteins in Chino; Moreda Valley Farms in Tracy; and Mission Viejo Future Farmers of America (FFA), Covina FFA, Santa Paula FFA and California State Polytechnic University, Pomona.

On average, Mobile Dairy Classroom conducts 170 assemblies a month throughout Southern and Northern California and in the Central Valley and Central Coast. Visit HealthyEating.org/MDC. If you are interested in providing a cow, call 310.342.6122.

 

NMC Annual Meeting is Jan. 26-28 in Texas 

Make your plans now to attend the NMC 53rd Annual Meeting, to be held Jan. 26-28, 2014 in Fort Worth, Texas. The meeting is expected to draw about 400 people from around the world to share information and network with friends and colleagues.

A schedule of events, list of short courses, and an outline of the general sessions can be found on the NMC website. The detailed program will be available in mid-October. Information on how to register will be available at that time also. Watch the website, Facebook and Twitter for updates!

For a sneak-peak of the program, click here

 

Livestock groups hail passage of wildfire legislation

The Public Lands Council (PLC), the National Cattlemen’s Beef Association (NCBA) and the Arizona Cattle Grower’s Association (ACGA) hailed the U.S. House of Representative’s passage of legislation that will improve federal forest management to prevent catastrophic wildfire and support rural economies. The Restoring Healthy Forests for Healthy Communities Act, H.R. 1526, passed with resounding support on a 244-173 bipartisan vote. Sponsored by House Natural Resources Committee Chairman Doc Hastings (R-Wash.), it includes measures from various previously-introduced bills designed to expedite the removal of hazardous fuels from national forests while simultaneously increasing the economic productivity of those forests. 

H.R. 1526 includes measures to improve current forest management in a number of ways. It would expedite the regulatory review process in high-risk areas, allowing needed fuel-reducing activities such as livestock grazing and logging to go forward without delay; increase state and local involvement in wildfire prevention; and improve rural schools, infrastructure and overall economies by increasing timber harvests.

 

Dairy Producers of New Mexico set 2014 Annual Convention

The Dairy Producers of New Mexico scheduled its annual convention/trade show and golf tournament, June 6-7, 2014 in Ruidoso, N.M.

The Trade Show will be held at the Ruidoso Convention Center, June 6, 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. The golf tournament is June 7, 7:30 a.m., at the Inn of the Mountain Gods Golf Course.

Information/registration forms will be sent in April. To receive information/registration forms, email your contact information (name, company name, mailing address, phone number, fax number) to dpnm@juno.com.

 

CDFA introduces Ecosystem Services Database

The California Department of Food and Agriculture introduced the Ecosystem Services Database, available at http://apps.cdfa.ca.gov/EcosystemServices
Ecosystem Services are defined as the multiple benefits gained from farming and ranching, including crop and livestock production. Many of these benefits extend into environmental stewardship and conservation. For example, the maintenance of wildlife habitats, biodiversity enhancements on working lands, renewable energy use and production, increased nutrient cycling and storage, soil enrichment, water conservation, and support for pollinating insects are some of the benefits. A more comprehensive list of ecosystem service benefits in agriculture can be found at http://www.cdfa.ca.gov/EnvironmentalStewardship/EcosystemServices.html

“California’s working farms and ranches are an important part of our natural landscape,” said CDFA Secretary Karen Ross. “The commitment to ecosystem services demonstrates clearly that beyond the productivity of fields and pastures, resource management decisions by farmers and ranchers provide us with wildlife and pollinator habitat, contribute to clean water and air, provide recreational and tourism connections, and much more.”

The database contains nearly 400 farms and ranches. It is intended to easily communicate to a broad audience the multiple benefits provided by agriculture in California. The database can be queried by key word, county, crop type, and type of ecosystem service. An interactive map allows users to view where the services are taking place.

The purpose of the database is two-fold. It helps the department discuss the multiple benefits provided by California agriculture, and it assists growers, ranchers, and stakeholders who want to learn more about ecosystem services.

California dairy digester proposals due Nov. 1

The California Department of Food and Agriculture (CDFA), U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and their partner agencies in the California/Federal Dairy Digester Working Group have announced a joint solicitation for dairy digester concept proposals.

California’s approximately 1.7 million cows produce more than 3.6 million dry tons of manure per year. Manure can be processed by anaerobic digesters to produce biogas, a flexible renewable source of energy. The ultimate goals of the collaboration are to see the widespread adoption of digester systems to better manage manure and nutrients, help address air and water quality concerns, reduce greenhouse gas emissions, and produce renewable energy, fertilizer, and other value-added products.

“California farmers and ranchers are innovators by nature,” said CDFA Secretary Karen Ross. “Dairy digester technology is an idea whose time has come, and that is largely due to work done right here on California’s dairy farms. We are at a point where focused funding can help us make the transition to wider adoption and implementation of digesters in our state.”

“Dairy digesters can benefit the environment by reducing greenhouse gasses and generating renewable energy”, said Jared Blumenfeld, EPA’s Regional Administrator for the Pacific Southwest. “EPA is optimistic that this call for proposals will result in unique and innovative technologies that will benefit California, the nation’s number-one dairy state.”

In 2011, EPA, USDA and CDFA convened the California/Federal Dairy Digester Working Group. This partnership of state, federal and local agencies, academia, industry, non-profits and utilities came together to identify and remove barriers to the development and permitting of dairy digester systems in California. The work has culminated in specific recommendations to reduce the economic, technical and regulatory hurdles currently in place, making digester systems more feasible in the nation’s No. 1 dairy state (http://www.cdfa.ca.gov/EnvironmentalStewardship/pdfs/StatemntOfPrinciples-CA-FederalDairyDigesterWorkGroup.pdf). This joint solicitation for dairy digester concept proposals is another important result of the working group (http://www.waterboards.ca.gov/centralvalley/dairy_digester_proposal/).

Proposals should include development, installation and operation of dairy manure digester and co-digester projects and may include processes for the treatment and disposal of waste streams from the digester operations to address environmental impacts. Dairy digester and co-digester development is expected to take place on individual dairies or at centralized facilities located within California.

Funding may be provided by various participating agencies of the California/Federal Dairy Digester Working Group for proposals that are deemed most viable with the greatest measurable outcomes. Individual digester projects will have to qualify for funding on a case-by-case basis and projects can potentially receive financial support from multiple participants. To assist in identifying potential funding sources, the California/Federal Dairy Digester Working Group has put together a Funding Matrix document. The matrix identifies potential funding sources along with general criteria for the types of projects that would qualify for the funding. A copy of solicitation and the funding matrix can be found at http://www.waterboards.ca.gov/centralvalley/dairy_digester_proposal/dd_solicitation_guidance_v4.pdf 

For more information on dairy digesters, visit http://www.calepa.ca.gov/digester/Dairies/default.htm and http://www.cdfa.ca.gov/EnvironmentalStewardship/Dairy_DigesterS.html

 

Top O’ The Morn Farms a winner at World Dairy Expo Dairy Product Championship

Top O’ The Morn Farms, Inc., a farm-fresh bottled milk home delivery company located in Tulare, Calif. recently received two prestigious awards at the World Dairy Expo Championship Dairy Product Contest in Madison, Wis. Top O’ The Morn Farms took first place with Reduced Fat White Milk in the Open Class Pasteurized Milk category and third place in the Low-fat Chocolate Milk category with Reduced Fat Chocolate Milk. 

The wins capped off a stellar year for the company, which was started by Ron and Evie Locke in October 2012 as a glass-bottle home delivery milk business in the heart of California’s dairy country and now delivers fresh milk and other dairy products in six cities. 

“Our family has always taken pride in the milk our cows produce and the way we treat our animals. Now that we are processing and marketing our own milk it is an honor to receive this recognition. To do so against products from throughout North America makes us especially proud,” said Ron Locke, CEO of Top O’ The Morn Farms. “It really validates that our efforts have created a high quality and great tasting product.”

The World Dairy Expo Dairy Product Championship Contest received a record-number 820 entries for cheese, butter, fluid milk, yogurt, cottage cheese, ice cream, sour cream, sherbet, cultured milk, sour cream dips, whipping cream, dried whey and creative/innovative products from dairy processors throughout North America.

Top O’ The Morn Farms beginnings start with Evie’s father, Fred De Boer, who was born in Friesland, Holland. In 1962, Fred and his wife Jennie, bought Top O’ The Morn Farms, in Southern California, and were quick to learn about the milk home delivery business. Fast-forward to 2000, Evie, their youngest daughter decided she wanted to re-establish the Top O’ The Morn Farms name. By 2004, she and her husband, Ron, were in the dairy business in Tulare. With a lot of heart and a tremendous amount of consumer research focusing on the growing interest in local and farm fresh foods, Ron pitched the family on the idea of bringing back the “cash and carry” business. Today Top O’ The Morn Farms delivers award winning milk to doorsteps and the Locke’s pride themselves on hearing from consumers that “this is how milk used to taste.” 

Top O’ The Morn Farms bottles their milk in half gallon and quart glass bottles. Available milk varieties include white (2%, skim and whole), 2% Chocolate Milk, 2% Strawberry Milk, Half and Half, Heavy Cream and seasonal Eggnog. Top O’ The Morn Farms offers many other fresh, local products that customers can add to their weekly orders including jams and jellies by Farm Girl, European-style butter by Plugra, Borden Cheeses, Vintage by Bravo cheeses, dried fruits and nuts from The Naked Nut, Maverick Coffee, honey from Terra Bella, Cooksey eggs and barbeque sauce made with local honey. 

 

Federal judge grants FDA request for consent decree with Idaho farm

Source: U.S. Food & Drug Administration

The U.S. District Court for the District of Idaho entered a consent decree of permanent injunction against owner Gregory T. Troost, doing business as T&T Cattle and T&T Cattle Pearl, and manager Mark A. Mourton of Parma, Idaho for violations including illegally administering animal drugs for uses that are not approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA).

During FDA inspections in January 2002, January 2006, September 2010, and October through November 2012, investigators determined that the defendants had violated several provisions of the Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act (the Act). These violations included the failure to keep adequate medication records to prevent unsafe drug residues in cattle offered for slaughter, failure to review treatment records prior to offering an animal for slaughter, and the use of medications for unapproved uses not specified on the drug label and in a manner that does not comply with FDA regulatory requirements. 

The defendants offered for slaughter seven dairy cows with illegal levels of drug residues. These included cows with tissues that tested positive for elevated levels of penicillin and sulfadimethoxine. Ingesting food containing excessive amounts of antibiotics and other drugs can cause severe adverse reactions among the general population even at very low levels and can harm consumers who are sensitive to antibiotics. To date, no illnesses have been reported.

The decree prohibits the defendants from selling animals for slaughter for human consumption until they have implemented record-keeping systems to identify and track animals that have been treated with drugs. These records must also note the drug used, dosage, time of administration and how long before slaughter the drug needs to be discontinued. If the defendants offer any animals for sale or slaughter, they also must provide written information about the animals’ drug treatment status to the recipient of the animals.

The FDA may order the defendants to cease operations if they fail to comply with any provisions of the consent decree, the Act, or FDA regulations. Failure to obey the terms of the consent decree could result in civil or criminal penalties. 

 

WUD launches 2014 convention website

Western United Dairymen (WUD) has launched a website its 2014 convention, set for March 5-7, 2014 at the Embassy Suites in San Luis Obispo.  For the latest convention updates, visit www.WUDconvention.com.  You can also access the website link at www.WesternUnitedDairymen.com  on both the main page and the “About Us” page.  Contact Heidi Savage at hsavage@westernuniteddairymen.com for additional information or feedback.

 

Retrofit technology cuts fuel use, emissions

New technology is allowing California dairy producers to save energy, while reducing emissions.

“We’re always open to new technologies,” said dairy producer Steve Maddox, Jr., who hosted a demonstration at Maddox Dairy, Riverdale, Calif., July 29. On display was a 535-hp Cummins diesel engine, retrofitted to burn a combination of diesel fuel and propane gas by California Clean Air Technologies (CCAT).

Maddox Dairy operates 10 stationery pumps to irrigate more than 5,000 acres of forage crops, almonds and grapes. The pumps have been powered by natural gas, electricity or diesel fuel. Now, two of the diesel engines are retrofitted to use propane in combination with diesel.

Not only has his fuel consumption been lowered, Maddox said, but reduced nitrous oxide (NOX) emissions enable him to run the engines  longer when necessary, while staying below regulatory emission limits.

Michael Avery, CCAT CEO and founder, said the patented technology is the first to be certified by the California Air Resource Board for heavy-duty stationery and off-road diesel engines. CCAT has been in the retrofit business for over eight years, working in ag, forest products, mining and cargo handling equipment for the Port of Los Angeles.

The retrofit process involves three steps, according to Roger Toale, CCAT technician: 1) installing the injector assembly in the engine block allows propane substitution for up to 80% of the diesel fuel by weight; 2) adding a computerized engine control unit monitors the fuel mixture and reduces total fuel consumption up to 12%; and 3) installing the oxidation catalyst on the exhaust system further reduces emissions.

The technology may only be used on older engines ranging from 100 to 650 hp which are no longer under warranty, he said. There has not been a single instance of engine damage,  and the control unit allows a default to diesel if there is any problem. Visit www.CaliforniaCleanAirTech.com.

Cost of the retrofit is $25,000 to $35,000. Depending on engine size and use, payback may result in as little as a year.  The Propane Education and Research Council helps provide grants; Maddox received $4,000 for the conversion project. Visit www.propanecouncil.org.

 

Maddox Dairy uses conversion technology

California Clean Air Technologies (CCAT) displayed its patented retrofit conversion system allowing stationary diesel engines to burn propane with diesel, resulting in both fuel savings and reduced emissions. Shown (left to right) are: Dr. George Malouf, CCAT vice president; Steve Maddox, Jr. of Maddox Dairy; Roger Toale, CCAT technician; and Michael Avery, president & CEO of CCAT. The Propane Energy and Research Council is assisting engine owners with grants to fund the conversions. 

DairyBusiness photo

 

Turlock farmer appointed to California Air Board 

John Eisenhut of Turlock, Calif. will represent agribusiness and the San Joaquin Valley as Gov. Jerry Brown's appointee to the California Air Resources Board, the governor's office announced. Eisenhut, 67, replaces Dorene "DeeDee" D'Adamo, also of Turlock, who was named to the State Water Resources Control Board in March. 

Eisenhut has owned Eisenhut Farms since 1975, and has managed Hilltop Ranch Inc.'s grower relations since 1994. 

 

July Iowa-Nebraska dairy budgets better, but ...

July Iowa and Nebraska dairy producer income margins may have improved slightly in July, but they remained below breakeven levels, according to Robert Tigner, Extension Educator. Prices for all feeds declined from June, but the average milk price and the Milk Income Loss Contract (MILC) program payment were also down.

Tigner's analysis provides budgets for tie-stall and freestall operations at two production levels. Following are averages for a freestall dairy with a 24,000-lb. herd average.

With lower feed costs, July total costs (excluding labor and management) decreased 93¢/cwt., to $18.81/cwt. 

The average milk price declined 32¢/cwt. from June, to $19.03/cwt. Adding the average Milk Income Loss Contract (MILC) payment of 8¢/cwt. (down from 24¢ in June), the July milk price/MILC total was $19.11/cwt., down 48¢ from the month before.

Affecting milk prices, butterfat, protein and total solids prices were down from June. The Producer Price Differential (PPD) was up, but the average somatic cell count score (SCC) was also higher, impacting quality premiums. The average cull cow price ($77.00/cwt.) was up $4.50/cwt.

The budgeted break-even price for a freestall dairy with a 24,000-lb. rolling herd average (RHA) declined  about $1.12/cwt., to $21.00/cwt.

Based on this budget, herds producing 24,000 lbs. of milk per cow per year saw a $2.63/cwt. return over variable costs in July. Adding fixed costs, labor and management, the return dropped to 52¢/cwt. Adding a charge for returns to management resulted in a loss of $1.80/cwt. 

Contact Tigner at robert.tigner@unl.edu.

 

Dairy REAP recipients named

USDA recently announced funding for 631 projects to help agricultural producers and rural small businesses reduce their energy consumption and costs, use renewable energy technologies in their operations, and conduct feasibility studies for renewable energy projects. Grant and loan funding is made available through USDA’s Rural Energy for America Program (REAP), which is authorized by the 2008 Farm Bill.

Four REAP grant recipients are using funds to construct or install anaerobic digesters at their sites:

  • Dovetail Energy, LLC (Ohio)
  • Green Lane Energy, Inc. (Oregon)
  • Statz Brothers (Wisconsin)
  • Butler Farms (North Carolina)

Under the terms of REAP, up to 25% of an eligible energy production or conservation project can be funded through a grant, and additional support can be provided in the form of a loan. These federal funds leverage other private funding sources for businesses. 

View the current list of recipients for REAP grants and loans, or visit http://www.rurdev.usda.gov/RD_Grants.html for more information about the REAP program.

 

Nebraska: Veterinarians, emergency responders train on livestock emergency disease issues

Nearly 100 veterinarians and emergency responders from across Nebraska teamed up with the veterinarian staff from the Nebraska Department of Agriculture (NDA) and the USDA Animal Plant Health Inspection Service Veterinary Service (APHIS/VS) to attend the annual Livestock Emergency Disease Response System (LEDRS) meeting held in Hastings last week.

The two-day meeting provided attendees with updates on homeland security issues, foreign animal diseases, responder credentialing and animal disease traceability and surveillance.

The LEDRS Veterinary Corps also completed a Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) approved course that focused on agroterrorism and how animal emergency responders integrate into the overall response structure with other response entities, such as the Federal Bureau of Investigation. For more information, click here.

 

 2013 Texas agricultural custom rates survey now available online

The Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service has published online the 2013 Texas Agricultural Custom Rates Survey of regional and state rates charged for custom agricultural operations.

A survey was distributed to select farmers, ranchers, landowners and custom operators across Texas. The results helped establish a baseline of rates statewide to further assist with questions related to custom-hire activities.

The online publication is 32 pages. It includes data on tractor rental, tillage operations, planting operations, application of fertilizer, lime and chemicals, harvesting, hauling and drying, combining and hauling grains, haying and silage operations, land preparation, brush control, other farm and ranch operations, miscellaneous livestock operations, and consulting services.

To view rates for custom operations, visit http://agecoext.tamu.edu/resources/custom-rate-survey.html.

 

Bansen to be honored as Southwest Farmers’ ‘Mom of the Year’

Mary Ann Bansen, Ferndale, Calif. and a member of Western United Dairymen, has been selected America’s Farmers ‘Mom of the Year’ for the Southwest. She is one of five regional winners nationwide selected by American Agri-Women and America’s Farmers, based on an essay submitted on her behalf by her daughter, Jessica. 

Bansen will be publicly recognized on Thursday, Aug. 22, at the Humboldt County Fair for her contributions to her family, farm and community, as well as the leadership roles she has taken to promote agriculture and to educate consumers on the path their food and milk take from farm to table. Monsanto will award her $5,000 in prize money. 

Mary Ann and her husband Pete are the owners and operators of a pasture-based dairy farm which has been in their family for almost 100 years. They milk 500 Jersey cows. 

She was nominated for the award by her daughter Jessica. In her nomination letter, Jessica wrote of her mother: “She is responsible for all of the bookwork and paperwork. In addition, she is in charge of raising all the calves on the farm. In the spring and early summer, my Mom spends a lot of her time helping make silage. Mom takes great pride in promoting agriculture and her life as a dairy farmer. Every year, there are up to 1,500 school aged children who come to visit the dairy. My Mom has always inspired those people around her. I can think of no other Mom who is as deserving of this award as she is.” 

 

Dairy WDR requirements reissued by Central Valley Water Board 

In accordance with a Writ of Mandate issued by the Sacramento County Superior Court following the decision of the Third District Court of Appeal in Asociación de Gente Unida por el Agua v. Central Valley Regional Water Quality Control Bd. (2012) 210 Cal.App.4th 1255, the Central Valley Water Board is proposing tentative general waste discharge requirements that will rescind and replace Order R5-2007-0035, Waste Discharge Requirements General Order for Existing Milk Cow Dairies (the “Dairy General Order”). 

These revisions include modifications to the Waste Discharge Requirements (WDRs), the Revised Monitoring and Report Program, the Information Sheet, and readjustments made to attachments C, D, and E to reflect the modifications of the WDRs.

The documents are posted on the water board website at www.waterboards.ca.gov/centralvalley/ board_decisions/tentative_orders/index.shtml#other. Central Valley Regional Water Quality Control Board staff will consider written comments submitted by 5 p.m. on Sept. 9. 

Comments should be submitted via e-mail to Alan Cregan (acregan@waterboards.ca.gov) or hard copy may be submitted to: Attn: Alan Cregan, Central Valley Regional Water Quality Control Board, 1685 "E" Street, Fresno, CA 93706. For more information, call 559-445-6185. 

 

$63K up for grabs in California GOT MILK? Breakfast Challenge 

The California Milk Processor Board’s annual Breakfast Challenge is back! In a partnership with 21 school districts across the Golden State, the GOT MILK? Breakfast Challenge awards the campuses with the greatest breakfast participation with milk in each district $3,000 towards student activities. 

"We continue to grow the GOT MILK? Breakfast Challenge year after year because school districts are on board with our message: it's important for teens to start their day right with a nutritious breakfast to fuel their bodies and minds," Steve James, executive director of the CMPB, said in a news release. "The competition creates an incentive and rewards them for their positive eating habits." 

 

California dairy calf BRD survey underway

California dairy producers recently received a survey titled “Survey of Calf Raising Practices in California.” This survey is the first step in an extensive research project to identify practices associated with reduced incidence of Bovine Respiratory Disease (BRD). Respiratory disease is the primary cause of natural death in U.S. cattle, and a major source of economic loss due to reduced growth in infected calves. The information collected from this study will be combined with future research to develop a risk assessment tool for BRD. This tool will allow herdsmen to identify suboptimal management practices and reduce their losses caused by clinical and subclinical respiratory disease in the calves. The survey is also accessible at http://www.vmtrc.ucdavis.edu.

At the end of the questionnaire, participants will have the opportunity to volunteer to be included in the next phase of our research, which may include an on-site visit by our researchers. All responses to the survey will be handled anonymously. Questions may be directed to brdsurvey@vmtrc.ucdavis.edu.

 

DFA volunteers aid New Mexico food bank

A group of volunteers representing Dairy Farmers of America (DFA) provided a substantial charitable donation to the Roadrunner Food Bank of New Mexico. Volunteers assembled 2,000 lunch bags filled with nutritious, non-perishable foods. 

Nearly 60 DFA volunteers donated their time to fill lunch bags donated to the food bank’s mobile food pantry. The volunteers were in the area for DFA’s annual July board meeting and strategic information conference. 

“Serving our community is a core value for DFA,” said Joyce Bupp, board director and chair of DFA Cares Foundation. “This annual meeting takes place in a different city each year, and it is so rewarding to see our group give back in different ways in each new community we visit.”

Roadrunner Food Bank of New Mexico is a statewide network of nearly 600 partner agencies and four regional food banks. As the largest food bank in the state, last year the agency distributed nearly 26 million lbs. of food to residents throughout New Mexico.

Programs such as the food bank’s mobile food pantry are beneficial for an abundantly rural state such as New Mexico, where food banks are not easily accessible for all its residents, said Stephanie Miller, director of development for Roadrunner Food Bank of New Mexico.

The lunch donations were made possible through the DFA Cares Foundation, which was initially established to assist DFA’s dairy farmer members and others in agriculture communities affected by natural disasters. Today, the foundation has expanded to include community outreach programs, such as this food bank donation, as well as the DFA Cares Hotline, DFA’s Member Assistance Program and DFA Scholarship Program.

Funding for DFA Cares comes from private, public and corporate donations. To donate to DFA Cares Foundation, visit www.dfamilk.com/dfacares or send a check made payable to DFA Cares Foundation to: DFA Cares Foundation, c/o Ron Hilmes, 10220 N. Ambassador Drive, Kansas City, MO 64153.

 

Boyd joins World Wide Sires

Tyler Boyd has joined World Wide Sires as marketing specialist, assisting with market research, promotions and customer service.

Boyd grew up on the family dairy farm, Boyd-Lee Jerseys in Parrottsvile, Tenn., where he was actively involved in the herd’s breeding and marketing program. He has served on several committees with the American Jersey Cattle Association and was a member of the inaugural class of the Jersey Youth Academy. He was the 2009 winner of the National Jersey Youth Achievement contest, the highest award available for youth who own Jersey cattle.

Boyd is active with the American Dairy Science Association’s Student Affiliate Division (ADSA-SAD) and currently serves as the third vice president of the national board. Recently, he placed first in the National Undergraduate Paper Contest of the ADSA-SAD in the Dairy Production Division.

He holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in Biology from Vanderbilt University and a Bachelor of Science degree in Dairy Science from Virginia Polytechnic Institute & State University, and is a past participant in the Dairy Challenge and dairy cattle judging teams.

World Wide Sires, Ltd. is a leading exporter of U.S. livestock semen, representing Accelerated Genetics and Select Sires in Europe, Africa, Asia, the Middle East and Oceania.

 

AEM announces agricultural engineering student awards

The Association of Equipment Manufacturers (AEM) honored the latest winners of its agricultural engineering student achievement awards during special ceremonies at the American Society of Agricultural and Biological Engineers’ (ASABE) recent annual meeting.

The 2013 AEM student award winners are:

  • Large Student Engineering Branches (Group A): Iowa State University, Kansas State University
  • Smaller Student Engineering Branches (Group B): University of Tennessee

The luncheon also kicked off the new student-focused ASABE Agricultural Seatbelt Usage and ROPS Logo Design Contest. The logo will be part of a national ROPS promotion strategy for North America. The contest offers cash prizes; deadline to enter is March 15, 2014. Visit the ASABE website (www.asabe.org) for details.

For more information on the AEM student awards, contact AEM’s Brian Voss (bvoss@aem.org).       

 

Horizon Organic presents ‘HOPE’ scholarships

Horizon Organic® announced the four recipients of the 2013 Horizon Organic Producer Education (HOPE) Scholarships, a program designed to  encourage young people to enter the field of organic agriculture. The students, each of whom will receive $2,500, are children or grandchildren of Horizon’s more than 600 family farmers. For more information about Horizon’s organic dairy products, visit www.horizondairy.com.

 

This year’s four scholarship recipients are:

  • Callie Brodt (Ferndale, Calif.), age 19, is the granddaughter of Horizon farmer Jim Walker of the Walker Dairy in Ferndale, Calif. Callie attends Chico State University, where she is majoring in Agriculture Business.
  • Mieke DeJong (Bonanza, Ore.), age 21, is the daughter of Horizon farmers Arie and Jenneke DeJong, who run the Windy Ridge farm in Bonanza, Ore. This is Mieke’s third HOPE Scholarship, and she plans to graduate in spring 2014 from Oregon State University with a degree in Agricultural Business.
  •  Damen Jeg (Chehalis, Wash.), age 19, is the son of Horizon farmer Heinz Jeg of Jeg and Sons Dairy in Chehalis, Wash. Damen, who is a first-time recipient of the HOPE Scholarship, plans to attend Washington State University to pursue a degree in Animal Science.
  • Sierra Knight (Lisbon, N.Y.), age 19, is the daughter of Horizon farmer Bradley Knight of Knight’s Meadow View Farm in Lisbon, N.Y. Sierra, now a two-time recipient of the HOPE Scholarship, is attending The State University of New York (SUNY) at Potsdam, where she is majoring in pre-veterinary with a minor in biology. She would like to become a veterinarian.

Texas AgXchange Farm and Ranch Show slated Oct. 2-3 in Robstown

The 2013 Texas AgXchange Farm and Ranch Show will be held Oct. 2-3, at the Richard M. Borchard Regional Fairgrounds, 1213 Terry Shamsie Blvd., just east of State Highway 77 in Robstown, Texas.

The show is being produced by VerticalXChange in cooperation with the Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service and Texas A&M AgriLife Research, according to Monty Dozier, AgriLife Extension regional program director for agriculture and natural resources in College Station.

Topics at the AgriLife Extension educational conference on Oct. 3 will include integrated management techniques for handling and treating cattle parasites and rangeland brush, improving reproductive efficiency in the beef herd, pesticide laws and regulations, and potential impacts to ground and surface water quality associated with pesticide movement.

Three Texas Department of Agriculture continuing education units, one in laws and regulations, one in integrated pest management and one general, will be available at no cost.

The show will be open 10 a.m.-5 p.m both days, with more than 200 exhibitors anticipated. There is no admission fee for the show, annual AgriLife conference or field demonstrations.

For more information go to the show website at www.TexasAgXchange.com or call 952-736-9360.

 

CDFA plans trade mission to China, Vietnam

California Department of Food & Agriculture Secretary Karen Ross will lead an agricultural trade delegation to China and Vietnam, September 16-21, as part of the California State Trade and Export Promotion (California STEP) program. This mission will visit Shanghai and Ho Chi Minh City with the goal of providing export business opportunities and sales for California farmers, ranchers and food processors.

California businesses participating in the trade mission will have individual meetings with foreign importers, briefings by U.S. agricultural officials, and visit wholesale/retail market outlets to learn about in-market distribution and sales formats. 

China is California’s third largest export destination for agricultural products, with more than $1.7 billion in exports. Vietnam currently ranks as the 12th largest export destination for California agriculture products, with exports valued at more than $196 million – a 43% increase in exports from the previous year.  On average, California farmers export globally about 25% of their production, generating nearly 115, 000 jobs and $21.6 billion in economic activity. Over the last 10 years, California has more than doubled the value of its agricultural exports. In 2011, California agricultural exports were valued at $16.8 billion.

This trade mission is conducted in partnership with the State Center Community College District, the California Centers for International Trade Development, the Governor’s Office of Business and Economic Development, and the California-China Trade and Investment Office.  Funding for this trade mission will come from a grant administered by the U.S. Small Business Administration. Companies interested in participating in the trade mission should contact the Fresno Center for International Trade Development at (559) 324-6401or visit www.fresnocitd.org

 

WUD sets 2014 convention dates

The Western United Dairymen Annual Convention will be held March 5-7, at the Embassy Suites in San Luis Obispo, Calif. More details will be announced later.

 

Mary Barcellos crowned Kings County Dairy princess 

Hanford resident Mary Barcellos, Hanford, Calif. was crowned as California Kings County’s 2013-14 Dairy Princess. Barcellos, 19, was one of four young women who competed for the title in the District 7 Dairy Princess Contest, a key part of the county’s June Dairy Month festivities. Barcellos was crowned by 2012-13 Princess Eileen DeRaadt. Barcellos is the daughter of Avelino and Mary Barcellos. 

 

Dowell joins Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service as agricultural law specialist

Tiffany Dowell has joined the Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service as an assistant professor and agricultural law specialist. Dowell, who will be based in College Station, specializes in legal issues pertaining to oil and gas, water and property leasing/grazing rights, as well as other issues affecting farming and ranching.

Dowell, who grew up on a family ranch in New Mexico, previously was an associate attorney with the law firm of Peifer, Hanson and Mullins in Albuquerque, N.M. She received her law degree from the University of New Mexico School of Law and bachelor of science degree in agribusiness from Oklahoma State University.

Dowell has started an agricultural law blog at http://agrilife.org/texasaglaw/  that provides regular updates on various topics and weekly recaps on legal issues in the news. She will also provide traditional educational programming through workshops and conferences conducted by the agency statewide.

 

DHI-Provo 59th Annual Herd and Feed Management Conference set

The DHI-Provo 59th Annual Herd and Feed Management Conference will be held Oct. 23-25, at the New York New York Hotel and Casino, Las Vegas, Nev.
Details and registration will be announced at a later date.

 

California Dairy Task Force update

Source: July 2013 California Dairy Reiew

In late July 2012, Karen Ross, Secretary of the Department of Food and Agriculture (CDFA), created the California Dairy Future Task Force to address issues and challenges facing the dairy industry and create an action plan for the future.  Made up of 32 industry leaders from the producer and processor communities, the first meeting was held Oct. 23-24, 2012.

The group identified a set of strategies and established four working groups, designed to improve the California dairy industry in the following areas:

• a 21st century pricing system

• comprehensive domestic and export growth plans

• coordinated industry regulatory strategy

• growing the right processing capacity for California

• a product differentiation and innovation plan.

Four self-appointed work groups of technical experts were organized to collect data, research alternative approaches, analyze their impacts and present options to the Task Force. CDFA secured an interagency agreement with the UC Agricultural Issues Center to assist with economic modeling and analysis of the structural changes necessary, with the timeframe for completion of the UC activities on Dec. 31, 2013.

The latest progress report on the work groups:

• Reforming Class 4 Working Group (21st Century Pricing System). This working group has met three times and has another all-day session scheduled. They are in the process of evaluating pricing options for 4a/4b. Once the field is narrowed to two or three strategies, they will confer with CDFA/UC Davis team in order to run economic models to determine the long-term impacts of each option.

Working Group Members: David Ahlem, Chair; Evan Kinser; Eric Erba; Tom Wegner; Elvin Hollon; Sue Taylor; Geoff VandenHuevel

 

• Quota Working Group. Mike Marsh, chair, is trying to recruit members. Therefore, no meetings

have been held.

 

• Risk Management Working Group. This working group has met three times and another session was

scheduled for the week of July 1. They have identified several issues that warrant analysis: difference in California vs. federal order (FMMO) pricing; lower correlation between FFMO Class III and CA Class 4b; correlation with FMMO Class IV and CA Class 4a; differences in CWAP vs. CME prices for NFDM; diff erences in CME vs. NDPSR for cheese and butter; and need for forward pricing in export sales. Rachel Kaldor, chair, plans to bring in additional members to the group and conduct a survey of producers and processors for the purpose of gathering information on the use of risk management tools, hedging, and impediments to using risk management tools. Once the survey is complete this group is planning on coordinating their efforts with the Class 4 working group.

Working Group Members: Rachel Kaldor, Chair; Mike McCully; Tiffany LaMendola; Rich Denier

 

• Investment Working Group. No report.

Working Group Members: Andrei Mikhalevsky, Chair

 

California quarterly milk production costs higher

California 2013 first quarter (Q1) statewide weighted average total milk production costs were estimated at $17.69/cwt., up $1.06/cwt. compared to the same quarter in 2012, according to the July 2013 California Dairy Review. Including an allowance for management and return on investment, total costs were estimated at $9.16/cwt., up $1.07/cwt. Compared to Q4 of 2012, total costs were down 86¢/cwt., with total costs plus allowances down 92¢.

 

High Desert Farming Initiative hoop house construction begins

Construction is underway on six hoop houses for the High Desert Farming Initiative, a University of Nevada, Reno farming demonstration project.

The business-oriented collaborative will provide applied research and demonstration in hoop-house, greenhouse and organic farming in high desert climates.

The project, under the direction of Jennifer Ott, also based in the Small Business Development Center, is on one acre at the Valley Road Field Lab, one of the University’s Nevada Agricultural Experiment Stations, which is operated as part of the College of Agriculture, Biotechnology and Natural Resources.

The hoop houses are scheduled to be completed this summer and the first plantings will begin in September when students are back in class. 

 

WUD partners with farmers, conservationists to save 65,000 rare Tricolored Blackbirds

Typically it wouldn’t be especially noteworthy that six Tulare and Kern County farmers finished harvesting their silage crops last week, even if it is a little later than usual. However, the actions of these six farmers, with help from conservationists at USDA’s Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) and Audubon California, have resulted in saving more than 65,000 rare Tricolored Blackbirds.

The species is now federally listed as a Bird of Conservation Concern, a California state Species of Special Concern, and also protected under the provisions of the Migratory Bird Treaty Act.

"Western United Dairymen members have once again partnered with NRCS and Audubon California to protect the Tricolored Blackbird,” said Paul Sousa, Environmental Director for Western United Dairymen. “This shows our members' commitment to a sustainable ecosystem on and around their farms.  This voluntary program benefits all parties as conservation is achieved in a way that allows farms to continue to be productive."

For photographs, video, or to schedule a time to see a colony in person, contact Daniela Ogden at (415) 644-4606 or mailto:dogden@audubon.org.

Over 40% of Tricolored Blackbirds choose to nest in Central Valley silage fields that resemble the marshland the birds traditionally inhabited. “You never know for sure where the birds will decide to nest in a given year,” say Jesse Bahm and Keiller Kyle, a team of biologists with NRCS and Audubon respectively. “Tricolored blackbirds are colonial nesters and when they choose a nesting area it can mean everything to the success of thousands of birds—but some headaches to the farmers who find themselves playing host to the colonies.”

Farmers with Tricolored Blackbirds can help the birds by delaying their harvesting until the young can fly away. However this also delays the summer planting, can disrupt the equipment and labor schedules the farmers have negotiated in advance, and also results in a loss of quality to the silage fields hosting the birds. 

NRCS and Audubon work with the farmers to minimize disruptions to farming operations and NRCS offers payments through the Environmental Quality Incentives Program (EQIP), to compensate farmers for the resulting drop in the quality of the grain. This year the farmers who hosted the six colonies of Tricolored Blackbirds saved more than 65,000 birds—about one fifth of the species’ entire global population. One Tulare farm had more than 30,000 Tricolored birds. The birds all successfully fledged by the end of May.

The conservation organizations are working toward a long-term plan that would eventually provide alternative nesting sites to the Tricolored Blackbirds that would be preferable to the farmers’ fields.

 

National Genetics Workshop coming to Phoenix

“Advancing Dairy Cattle Genetics: Genomics and Beyond” will be the focus of a three-day workshop on the future of dairy cattle genetics, Feb. 17-19, in Phoenix, Ariz. It will mark the first time in over a decade that the entire dairy genetic community will gather to discuss the long-term future. Commercial dairy producers and elite breeders, A.I. industry representatives, dairy record specialists, breed association representatives, genetic researchers, dairy consultants, veterinarians, educators and graduate students are all encouraged to attend the program.

Planned discussions include: traits for the future, infrastructure for dairy genetics education, appropriate use of genomics and many more. 

For additional details, go to www.ans.iastate.edu/events/dairygenomics or contact committee chairperson Diane Spurlock at moodyd@iastate.edu.

 

2013 California/Nevada ‘Ag Land & Lease Values’ book published

The California Chapter of ASFMRA (American Society of Farm Managers & Rural Appraisers) has released the 2013 issue of Trends in Agricultural Land & Lease Values. The annual publication, available in both print and electronic formats, is a source for agricultural land sales and rent value data in California and Nevada.

The book is published in full color and contains rural land values based on sales, lease rate ranges, historical data, and commodity editorial background information. Feature articles for 2013 highlight California Regulatory and Compliance Issues and Creating a Modern/Virtual Appraisal Office.

The Trends publication was started in 1991 and has grown over the years into a comprehensive collection of agricultural land value information.  The book is divided into eight geographic regions and then subdivided by county and land use. Through detailed charts and graphs, historical land and lease values are included for each area, going back an average of six years. Editorial overviews are also included for each section, providing useful background information for the stated values and trends.

Copies of Trends in Agricultural Land & Lease Values are available from the California Chapter, ASFMRA for $20 plus shipping and handling. Contact the chapter at (209) 368-3672 or order on-line at www.calasfmra.com.

 

DCC revamps website

Dairy Council of California (DCC) launched a new website, HealthyEating.org, to increase awareness of the health benefits of milk and milk products and introduce its nutrition education offerings to multiple audiences, including teachers and health professionals. 

DCC created the online destination so families can learn to improve eating habits and understand the benefits of consuming milk and milk products; teachers can order nutrition education materials; health professionals can find nutrition information for patients; and members of the dairy industry can access and download helpful tools to use and share with others.

Available resources include consumer-friendly handouts and tip sheets for both students and adults (in English and Spanish) covering anything from basic milk facts to how milk gets from cow to container. All resources can be found in the industry section at HealthyEating.org/Community-Resources.  Producers and processors can also direct consumers to the site’s interactive tools, including Healthy Eating My Way that customizes eating plans based on personalized needs.

 

 Kansas land value, rental rates analyzed

The 2012 Kansas Land Values and Rental Rates paper is now available on Kansas State University’s AgManager website: http://www.agmanager.info/farmmgt/land/county/CountyValuesRents_Jan_2013.pdf.

The paper, featuring analysis by Kansas State ag economists Mykel Taylor and Kevin Dhuyvetter, provides data reflecting actual rental values. The information is more specific than survey values reported by USDA’s National Ag Statistics Service, which generally have a lag and are lower than “market-rates” for rental values, according to KSU Extension assistant Rich Llewelyn.

 

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