September 5, 2017 at 3:32 p.m.

2011 described as a "Healing Year" for dairy farmers

By Don Wick- | Comments: 0 | Leave a comment

For agriculture, 2011 was a good year. AgStar Financial Services President/CEO Paul DeBriyn said it was a good year for dairy farmers to heal from the previous weakness in the milk price. "The dairy producers are getting back to where they were before 2009," DeBriyn said. "The Midwest Model in dairy works the best with producers raising their own feed; frankly, the Minnesota and the Midwest dairy industry is doing better than the rest of the country." DeBriyn said the optimism is evident with more young people returning to agriculture and dairy farming.

Class III price moves higher
USDA reports the November Class III milk price at $19.07 per hundredweight, up $1.04 from October. It was also $3.63 higher than November of 2010.

Farm Bill draft may be used for budget offsets
The super committee deficit reduction effort failed. Rather than focusing on the deficit, Minnesota Congressman Collin Peterson said his colleagues are considering new ways to spend money. Peterson spoke to the American Crystal Sugar Company meeting in a video link from Washington, D.C., saying these proposals would cost $450 billion. Peterson said budget offsets are needed and that could impact the farm bill. "There's a slim chance that the work that we did and the $23 billion reduction may be called upon in that process to help them come up with the money to pay for these other ideas," Peterson said. "I talked to the chairman and we're in a waiting mode now to see how that process plays out; if that doesn't happen, we will have to go back to regular orders and the idea, I think, is to start in early February in the House, probably have a couple hearings and then get into marking up the bill." Peterson believes the work accomplished by the agriculture committee leadership will be used as the foundation for the 2012 Farm Bill. To avoid election-year politics, Peterson would like to have the farm bill done by May.

EWG upset with "secret" Farm Bill
The Environmental Working Group wants the House and Senate Agriculture Committee leadership to make the farm bill draft proposal that was put together for the super committee, available to the public. EWG senior vice president Craig Cox believes a transparent process is needed. "I think a more open process will produce a farm bill that is better for all of American agriculture and also is better for the American taxpayer and the American consumer."

Farm Bill timeline outlined
Senate Agriculture Committee Chair Debbie Stabenow said she'll push the committee to mark up the farm bill in early spring and shoot for passage despite election year politics. Stabenow said the farm bill process will restart in late January or early February with more hearings. Stabenow says the super committee process offered an opportunity to expedite a bill that caught most farm policy experts off guard. She thinks that built a real foundation to go forward. Ranking Member Pat Roberts said there was never any final farm bill language given to senators. Roberts thinks the Senate should go back to regular order and to an open process so members have full availability or access to that process.

Johnson seeks input on Farm Bill
South Dakota Senator Tim Johnson has released the results of his farm bill survey. More than 1,000 people participated in the survey. Of that group, 86 percent want farm payments targeted to small and medium-sized producers. Eighty-four percent of respondents want to limit the ability of large companies to merge and further integrate agriculture production.

Environmental Quality Board challenged to find consensus
At the request of Minnesota Governor Mark Dayton, the Environmental Quality Board is being challenged to streamline permitting and the regulatory process. Chairman Dave Frederickson, who also serves as the state agriculture commissioner, says new life is being breathed into the EQB. "We're going to be looking at an environmental congress in 2013; we're going to be looking at a report card on the state of the environment in Minnesota and I think it's good," Frederickson said. "At my ripe old age, I'm becoming somewhat impatient and I just want to make sure we do right by this state, do right by the environment and do right for future generations." Farmers and environmental activists are often at odds but Frederickson believes the two sides can find consensus. "We're all part of the problem so let's all be part of the solution."

FDA testing for residues
According to the Minnesota Milk Producers Federation, the Food and Drug Administration will begin more residue testing in milk. Double-blind sampling will be conducted on dairy herds with a history of antibiotic residues in meat. The FDA wants to determine if dairy farms with previous violations for drug residues in meat have improper levels of antibiotic residues in milk.

SDSU signature programs unveiled
On the heels of its reorganization effort, South Dakota State University Extension has announced a series of new Signature Programs. These programs will be priorities for SDSU Extension in the year ahead. For agriculture, Signature Programs include Beginning Farmers and Ranchers, Small Acreages and Backgrounding Cattle. Signature Programs will also be created for 4-H, community development and in the area of food and families.

Linn honored
Dr. Jim Linn has been honored by the Minnesota Milk Producers Association with the Bruce Cottington Friend of Dairy Award. Linn is a nationally known dairy expert who served as the head of the Department of Animal Science at the University of Minnesota from June 2007 until his retirement in September 2011.

MN Agri-Growth Council finalizes board roster
Three new directors have been added to the Minnesota Agri-Growth Council board. They are Linda Tank of CHS Inc., Kate Leavitt of SunOpta and Steve Peterson of General Mills. The re-elected directors are Mike Zumwinkle of Cargill, Steven Krikava of Land O'Lakes, Mark Davis of Davisco Foods and Mike Helgeson of GNP Company.

OYF Award goes to Sauk Centre couple
The Minnesota Jaycees Outstanding Young Farmer Award belongs to Nick and Tara Meyer. The Sauk Centre dairy farmers were recognized over the weekend and will now compete for the national award.

Hoffman to lead MARL
Minnesota Agriculture and Rural Leadership has a new executive director. Dan Hoffman, who previously served as a farm management instructor in Austin, Minn., will assume his new responsibilities January 1. Hoffman is a MARL graduate. MARL is an 18-month leadership development program for adults who are already active in agriculture and rural communities.

'We Are'
The Minnesota FFA state officer team is making plans for the 2012 state convention. "Our theme is, 'We Are,'" president Hillary Kletscher said. "Just two words, FFA members are successful because of the people who encourage them; we can't be successful without the help of our advisors, alumni, foundation and the network of people who help us do what we do as FFA members."

Trivia Challenge
Pat Lunemann of Clarissa is president of the Minnesota Milk Producers Association. That answers our last trivia question. For this week, what is the promotion that combines the resources of the Dairy Checkoff and the National Football League? We'll have the answer in the next edition of Dairy Star.
Don Wick is a partner and broadcaster for the Red River Farm Network, based in Grand Forks, N.D. He was the 2004 National Farm Broadcaster of the Year. Don and his wife, Kolleen, have two adult sons, Tony and Sam, and one very special grandson, Aiden. Don Wick can be reached at [email protected].
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