HD Notebook

Support shown for temporary extension of MILC program

Date: 
Thu, 10/31/2013

Thirteen senators encourage farm bill committee to provide bridge gap solution.

by Ali Enerson, Hoard’s Dairyman Special Publications Editor

A potential extension to the Milk Income Loss Contract (MILC) program could add some temporary security for dairy farmers. That’s the idea behind a bi-partisan letter signed by 13 U.S. Senators.

Last week, Senator Baldwin (D-Wis.) led a bipartisan effort with 12 other Senate colleagues encouraging members of the farm bill committee to extend the MILC program until a new dairy program is in place. Versions of a margin protection program are proposed in both the House and Senate farm bills. But, even if they can agree and pass the provision, it will take months before dairy farmers can enroll. The senators are aiming to lessen the risk for farmers should there be any dramatic price swings in the meantime. Read more

National FFA Convention begins today

Date: 
Wed, 10/30/2013

Over 55,000 are expected to converge on Louisville, Ky., this weekend.

by Patti Hurtgen, Hoard’s Dairyman Online Media Manager

FFA logoThe National FFA Convention and Expo is a highlight for many FFA members. With nearly 580,000 FFA members in every state, along with Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands, only a small portion of the membership attends this annual event. But, those who do, enjoy educational and fun-filled activities. This year the convention returns to Louisville, Ky. Read more

Moving pasture-based dairy forward

Date: 
Tue, 10/29/2013

Investments in pasture and people are key to a successful grazing program.

cow

by Abby Bauer, Hoard's Dairyman Associate Editor

“Are we still heading the right direction with grazing?” That is the question Joel McNair, editor of Graze magazine, asked the audience at the Missouri Grazing Conference last week in Springfield, Mo.

His observation is that graziers are doing well despite all the challenges farms face. However, he noted that grazing is still operating in a “scientific bubble,” and more research for pasture-based dairy would benefit producers. Other challenges he sees with pasture-based dairying include high land costs, poor quality winter feeds, high feed costs and limited hay supplies, lack of skilled employees, government policy and weather volatility.

McNair offered the following suggestions to graziers to help move their operation successfully into the future: Read more

Animals and humans can coexist

Date: 
Mon, 10/28/2013

Animal agriculture is sustainable and essential to feeding a growing world.

by Ali Enerson, Hoard’s Dairyman Special Publications Editor

cowEven after significant improvements in sustainability and contributions to society over the last several decades, animal agriculture remains under scrutiny by some groups. When engaging others in a conversation about our farms, the September 2013 CAST issue paper points out some of the benefits of our efforts.

Animals are efficient human food sources.
There is a difference between what humans can and cannot eat. Take corn for example, field corn is digestible for cattle and sweet corn is better suited for humans. Read more

Write it down: California will get a federal order

Date: 
Fri, 10/25/2013

Latest price hike denial should be the final straw for producers.

by Dennis Halladay, Hoard’s Dairyman Western Editor

One of Albert Einstein’s famous quotes is, “Insanity is doing the same thing over and over and expecting different results.”

It’s a madness that California dairy producers have lived through for years.

Specifically, they have made multiple petitions for substantive changes in the state’s milk pricing formula to increase the value of whey in its Class 4b (cheese) component. Again and again, however, the answer has been “no,” even as producer support at public hearings has become more and more broad, as testimony has become more vocal and plaintive, and as the number of financially-forced herd liquidations has grown.

Their futility was illustrated again on Tuesday when California Department of Food and Agriculture (CDFA) Secretary Karen Ross denied producers’ latest request made at a September 12 price hearing. Read more

Feed calves to their full potential

Date: 
Thu, 10/24/2013

Intensive management nets an extra $35 per heifer, without considering the value of additional milk.

by Amanda Smith, Hoard's Dairyman Associate Editor

Replacement heifers have long been viewed as a two-year economic sinkhole. “While heifer programs usually rank as the second largest cost of producing milk, the expense associated with feeding and rearing youngstock should be viewed instead as an investment in the future,” noted Michael Overton, Elanco Knowledge Solutions, at the Cornell Nutrition Conference.

In the heifer growth cycle, the most costly portion is the preweaning period. Traditionally, a calf was fed a 20:20 milk replacer at 8 to 10 percent of body weight. Especially in colder weather, this diet burned brown fat and left calves in a semi-starved state. Read more

Promote dairy’s diversity in food

Date: 
Wed, 10/23/2013

Share your dairy-inspired meals with others.

by Patti Hurtgen, Hoard’s Dairyman Online Media Manager

cheese and crackersDairy farmers believe in promotion. Fifteen cents from each 100 pounds of milk sold goes to the checkoff program to educate consumers and promote dairy products, both on the state level and national scene. Some counties have active dairy promotion groups that work with June is Dairy Month events. But, what is being done closer to home? That is up to you. Read more

A small stick can mean big problems

Date: 
Tue, 10/22/2013

Needlestick injuries are actually quite common and can result in injury and loss of work for both workers and veterinarians.

needle

by Abby Bauer, Hoard's Dairyman Associate Editor

Needlestick injuries are a common risk to those working in health care professions, but it is also a danger to those working on farms. Research has shown that more than 80 percent of farm laborers in animal agriculture have accidentally stuck themselves with a needle at work. Similarly, 73 percent of swine veterinarians have had a needlestick injury before.

Needlestick injuries are usually minor, but they can be serious, explained Jeffrey Bender, D.V.M., from the University of Minnesota School of Veterinary Medicine, at the North American Agricultural Safety Summit in Minneapolis, Minn. Read more

Five European countries paid milk quota penalties

Date: 
Mon, 10/21/2013

Fines totaled nearly $63 million. The remaining 22 countries were all under quota limits.

by Corey Geiger, Hoard’s Dairyman Managing Editor

milking machineSince the 1980s, Europe has operated with a quota system to address supply and demand issues associated with surplus production. Europe’s entire quota program is expected to sunset in April 2015.

As part of the current checks and balances, the European Commission tracks quota bases — one for deliveries to processing plants and another for direct sales at the farm level. For the fiscal year ending March 31, 2013, five European countries surpassed milk quotas for deliveries to processing plants. Read more

Another example of why processors bypass California

Date: 
Fri, 10/18/2013

Buy land, build a plant and start processing milk, right? Ha!

by Dennis Halladay, Hoard’s Dairyman Western Editor

Every state, county and city likes to claim it is “business friendly” in hopes of attracting new companies and the economy-sustaining jobs they bring. But backing up those claims is another matter, and one should never assume that friendly means inexpensive.

Nowhere these days does business friendly talk seem to be cheaper than in California, as reflected by the number of dairy firms that have bypassed it in recent years in favor of places like Texas, Colorado, Nevada and Idaho.

The latest example comes from the city of Tulare. Although it is a friendly place, the expense that new businesses face anywhere in the state can be steep — even when the company is a cheesemaker and even though Tulare is the biggest milk-producing county in the universe. Read more

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