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

Elanco acquires Posilac business from Monsanto

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

Elanco is paying $300 million in upfront money to acquire Monsanto's Posilac Dairy Business. For the past ten years, Elanco has been marketing Monsanto's rBst product outside the United States. President Jeff Simmons said Elanco is committed to the meet the need for wholesome, affordable dairy and food products worldwide. "In the next 40 to 50 years, there is a need to grow meat and food and milk by 40 to 50 percent; the FAO recently reported that 70 percent of that growth has to come from innovation; Posilac is a piece of that." The milk promotant has been mired in controversy since it received FDA approval in 1994. To combat activists, Elanco spokesman Dennis Erpelding said Elanco is engaged with stakeholders throughout the world. "I think we have found out you can very effectively work with stakeholders from the consumers back to the consumer side; I think what we have learned historically by working with them and understanding where they're at, it really helps us." Earlier this month, Monsanto announced its plans to spin off the Posilac business to concentrate on its core seed and trait business. Elanco, which is a division of the Eli Lily company, will acquire all rights to the Posilac brand, its sales force and Monsanto's manufacturing facility in Augusta, Georgia. The deal should be completed by early October.

Milk production moves higher

Despite the heat of summer, U.S. milk production is increasing. During July, milk output was up 1.7 percent from July of last year. Minnesota milk production was up one percent. The size of Minnesota's dairy herd remained the same, but production per cow was up. In New Mexico, milk production was up nine percent; Idaho increased 7.7 percent. Wisconsin milk production increased 0.3 percent. California was down one percent.

Herd buy-out draws interest

According to Minnesota Agriculture Commissioner, the interest in the bovine TB herd buyout program was higher than anticipated. "In the long run, this is good," said Gene Hugoson. "It is something the Governor wanted to see; it is a better way of controlling the problem and getting us back to a TB-free status as soon as possible." Hugoson is hopeful the federal government will allow Minnesota to move to a split-state status by October 1. "The sooner it happens, the less stress it is for the cattle farmers, both dairy and beef, through much of Minnesota."

New BSE case

The Canadian government is investigating its 14th case of BSE. The six-year old beef cow was born after the change in cattle feeding regulations in 1997. The Canadian Food Inspection Agency is searching for the possible source of the disease.

California lawsuit

Californians for Humane Farms has filed a lawsuit against Agriculture Secretary Ed Schafer and the American Egg Board. This group, which is part of the Humane Society of the United States, is sponsoring an initiative on the California ballot. This proposition would ban the use of gestation stalls in the swine industry, battery cages in poultry production and small pens for veal calves. The lawsuit contends USDA and the American Egg Board authorized a $3 million campaign fund to fight the animal rights proposition.

NJ Court looks at tail docking

The New Jersey State Supreme Court upheld the state's regulations for humane treatment of farm animals. That includes the use of sow gestation units and trimming chicken beaks. Justice Helen Hoens wrote the issue "requires a balancing of the interests of people and organizations who would zealously safeguard the well-being of animals with the equally significant interest of those who make their living in animal husbandry." The court did question the practice of tail docking in the dairy industry, saying it was "far from being humane." The court said the state agriculture department must develop stricter rules on who can perform procedures, like castration, on farm animals. Jonathon Lovvorn, who represents the Humane Society of the United States, says there is an emerging concern in this country about the treatment of animals raised for food production. "Just because a practice is conducted by an experienced farmer or taught at a vet school or commonly used does not mean it is necessarily humane."

More focus on ingredient business at DFA

Dairy Farmers of America has formed a new Ingredients and Contract Manufacturing Division. DFA already manufactures products, like cheese powder and casein, but this move is designed to strengthen the cooperative's role in the marketplace.

Hay production declines

Due to fewer acres in production, U.S. hay production in 2008 is expected to total 148 million tons, down more than two million tons from 2007. The all-hay yield is forecast at 2.45 tons per acre, up from 2.44 tons last year. Alfalfa production is expected to decline two percent. Yields are forecast at 3.41 tons per acre for alfalfa. That is slightly higher than the 3.35 tons last year. The alfalfa hay price for 2007-2008 was $138 per ton, which compares to $113 in 2006-2007.

Profits rise at Dean Foods

In the second quarter, Dean Foods had net income of nearly $49 million. That compares to $28 million one year ago. The dairy processor benefitted from higher dairy-commodity costs and stringent cost controls. Due to volatile input costs, Dean Foods offered a conservative forecast for third quarter earnings.

Dairyland Seed Company sold to Dow AgroSciences

Dow AgroSciences should close on its purchase of Dairyland Seed by the end of this month. "We've been in business for over 100 years," said Dairyland Seed CEO Tom Strachota. "Earlier this year, we informed our employees that we were looking to partner with a company that we felt had shared philosophies and biotech expertise to help utilize the world class Dairyland Genetics." The deal includes all crop genetics, brands, plant breeding programs in hybrid corn, soybeans and alfalfa.

Land O'Lakes official on state task force

Minnesota Governor Tim Pawlenty has appointed Sara Mortimore to the Minnesota Food Safety and Defense Task Force. Mortimore is the vice president of quality assurance and regulatory affairs for Land O'Lakes. This 15-member task force advises the state agriculture department and the legislature on food issues.

9,000 and counting

For the first time since 1998, Minnesota FFA membership has gone over 9,000. President Derek Mulhern credits the current state of agriculture. "This is one of the most exciting times in agriculture and it is a great time to get involved with the FFA." State Secretary Caitlin Kasper encourages more students to join, taking advantage of the many aspects of the FFA. "Get involved and try everything; there will be something there for you."

Trivia challenge

New York Jets quarterback Brett Favre played his college football at the University of Southern Mississippi. That answers our last trivia question. For this week, we'll focus on the Great Minnesota Get-Together. How many pounds of butter are used to produce each of the Dairy Princess butterheads at the Minnesota State Fair? We'll have the answer in the next edition of Dairy Star.

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