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

Farm Bill sidelined by "extraneous forces"

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

House Agriculture Committee Ranking Member Collin Peterson said the path forward for the farm bill is unclear. "Republicans, some of them, are saying it is a done deal and they're going to do this and do that and it will work out," Peterson said. "Having been in the room and privy to some of the stuff going on, I have real questions about what is happening here." With the farm bill expiration, the farm program reverts to permanent law. "However, nothing really happens until we face the dairy situation in January, so we've got practically until the end of the year to get this untangled." Milk prices will skyrocket in January, if a new farm bill isn't implemented before that time. In an interview, Peterson said the farm bill has bipartisan support in the House Agriculture Committee and the Senate. "The reason nothing is getting done is because we have extraneous forces from outside the committee with leadership coming in and putting ideology on us that is not going to fly."

Capitol Hill dominated by debt crisis, not farm legislation
The farm bill expired at the end of September, but Washington is focused on the debt ceiling and government shutdown; not farm legislation. National Milk Producers Federation spokesman Chris Galen sees two possible scenarios for the farm bill. "Ultimately, what we're going to end up with is either an extension of either 12 or 24 months of the current programs which we think is unacceptable," said Galen. "We did that last year and I don't think anyone wants to continue having to fight this war for another 12 or 24 months. Hopefully, we can get the stars and planets aligned and get a new bill done." The House and Senate farm bills have different solutions for dairy policy reform, which will need to be addressed in conference.

USDA releases September milk price
The September Class III milk price was $18.14 per hundredweight. That's an increase of 23 cents from August. The benchmark price is 86 cents below September 2012 levels.

Positive attitudes at World Dairy Expo
South Dakota State University Extension Dairy Specialist Tracey Renelt said those attending World Dairy Expo had a positive outlook. "They've seen a decrease in their feed input prices." Corn prices are down from year ago levels. The weather challenges weren't as severe this past year, which was good news for the alfalfa crop. "Good quality hay is still worth quite a bit, but it's still the rule of economic supply and demand. Prices have been hanging in there fairly decent right now." Renelt said a shortage of labor for dairy farms is one of the most immediate challenges facing the industry right now.

Chinese delegation participates in WDE
As the name implies, World Dairy Expo attracts visitors from throughout the globe. World Dairy Expo board president Mike Holschbach said that includes a delegation from China. "I think they're aware of the fact that they want and need to start feeding their own people," said Holschbach. "They don't want to be buying grains and dairy products; I think they're on the fast track to trying to improve their genetics, feeding and the overall dairy industry in China and we can help."

New Holland Pavilion coming to WDE
With the end of World Dairy Expo for 2013, the existing cattle barns are coming down. They will be replaced by two new livestock pavilions, filling 300,000 square feet. Construction will begin in April, and must be completed for next year's World Dairy Expo. New Holland Agriculture and Construction has acquired the naming rights for the new facilities. As part of the agreement, New Holland can showcase its equipment at the facility throughout the year and have access to the site for training and events for dealers and customers.

Dairy checkoff partners with Taco Bell
At World Dairy Expo, the dairy checkoff was highlighting its promotional successes. Brad Scott, who is a member of the National Dairy Board, said the dairy checkoff is leveraging partnerships with major retailers, like Pizza Hut and Taco Bell. Scott has had a preview of the new products coming from Taco Bell. "They have a lot more sour cream and a lot of different kinds of cheeses," said Scott. "Traditionally, we see one kind of cheese, like cheddar. As a dairy producer, I was happy to see the amount of dairy products on their new menu."

Beef checkoff '14 plan recommended
The Cattlemen's Beef Board will invest $38.5 million into beef promotion, education and research programs for fiscal year 2014. This recommendation of the Beef Promotion Operating Committee still must be reviewed by the full CBB and approved by USDA. The operating committee approved checkoff funding for 18 proposals, but had to cut $1.15 million from the requests to meet budget requirements. The 2014 budget includes $8.1 million for promotion, $8.9 million for research, $10.8 million for consumer information programs, $7.6 million for foreign marketing programs and $1.5 million for producer communication and outreach.

New silage research facility opens
Lallemand Animal Nutrition has opened its new Forage Center of Excellence in Chazy, N.Y. This facility, which is being operated in partnership with the William H. Miner Agricultural Research Institute, will focus on forage fermentation and management. Lallemand officials said there is a need for fundamental silage research.

AURI seeks board nominations
Minnesota's Agricultural Utilization Research Institute is seeking nominees for two board of director seats. A nine-member board governs AURI, which helps develop new agricultural products and processes through science and technology. The deadline for submitting a nomination packet is Oct. 31.

WDE success
Minnesota was well represented in the judging results coming out of World Dairy Expo. The grand champion in the International Junior Holstein Show belongs to Rachel Friese and Genavieve Knaup of Wanamingo, Minn. The University of Minnesota took second place in the World Dairy Expo collegiate judging contest. University of Minnesota student Erin Daninger was the top individual in reasons. The Minnesota team took fourth place in the National 4-H Dairy Judging Contest.

Tesch accepts job in D.C.
Julie Tesch is making a career move. Starting in November, Tesch will join the American Farm Bureau Foundation as its new executive director. Tesch is now the executive director of the National FFA Alumni Association. Tesch is a Minnesota native and previously led the Minnesota Agricultural Education Leadership Council.

Trivia Challenge
Dairy Farmers of America is the largest dairy cooperative in the United States That answers our last trivia question. Who is the general manager of World Dairy Expo? 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 two grandchildren, Aiden and Piper. Don Wick can be reached at [email protected].[[In-content Ad]]


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