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

Farm groups call dairy reform plan "inadequate"

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

A resolution passed by the National Farmers Union Board of Directors highlights frustration with the dairy policy reform proposal introduced by Minnesota Congressman Collin Peterson. NFU President Roger Johnson said the proposal is inadequate and does not provide a safety net for all dairy farmers, particularly family-sized operations. The Minnesota Milk Producers Association and Wisconsin Dairy Business Association have also issued a joint statement, citing problems with the Market Stabilization Program in the National Milk Producers Association 'Foundation for the Future' proposal.

Budget cuts must be reasonable
The fate of the 2012 Farm Bill depends on the ongoing budget negotiations in Washington. "We're waiting to see what numbers we get out of the budget negotiations," said Representative Collin Peterson, "Provided they're reasonable, we just want to be treated fair and in the same proportion as everybody else, if they try to make us cut three times more out of the budget, like they've been talking about, it's going to make it a challenge to get a Farm Bill done."

New high for Class III milk
According to USDA, the Class III milk price in July was $21.39 per hundredweight. That's $2.28 higher than June and $7.65 higher than July of last year.

Dean Foods exec forecasts strong milk market
Dean Foods CEO Gregg Engles expects milk prices to remain at current high levels through the balance of 2011. During an update with investors, Engles said strong export demand and a weak U.S. dollar have combined to pull milk prices higher.

Early frost
World Weather, Inc. says the Upper Midwest and Northern Plains are still notably behind normal growing degree days, which leaves the region vulnerable to normal or earlier than normal frost and freezes this fall. World Weather, Inc. thinks the Upper Midwest will not see notably later than usual frost and freezes this year, which puts more pressure on the region to have warm weather this month to advance crop development. Fall temperatures are expected to generate a normal to slightly earlier than normal frost and freeze event in the Northern Plains and Upper Midwest. Wisconsin, southern Minnesota, northern Iowa and South Dakota may be the most vulnerable to earlier than usual frost by as much as a week.

More risk for hay fires
North Dakota State University Extension dairy specialist J.W. Schroeder is warning cattle producers about the increased risk of hay fires, due to wet hay. "With the high humidity, the repeated moisture events, the wet ground and the need to get this hay once it's cut and put into a stack or bale and moved off the field, it is a high pressure event," said Schroeder, "The likelihood of hay being put up wetter than desired for good storage is more likely." Those tightly wound bales can smolder for weeks and should be monitored for the possibility of a fire.

Hay prices rise
Due to the increasing area affected by drought in the Southern Plains, hay prices are at a premium. Since May, alfalfa prices have set record highs in both May and June with the June high at $180 per ton, up 51 percent from a year ago. USDA's National Ag Statistics Service says grass hay prices came in at $113 per ton, up 14 percent from a year ago. NASS says the national all-hay average price settled at $163 per ton, up 43 percent from a year ago.

University of Minnesota President meets with ag stakeholders
New University of Minnesota President Eric Kaler made a swing through southern Minnesota, including a stop at Farmfest. The budget environment is very tight, but Kaler says the 'U' is committed to agriculture. "Well, it requires us to be more creative," said Kaler, "It requires us to put resources where we're going to get the most return. As we've taken budget reductions at the U, agricultural research has not taken as much of a reduction as the University overall." With higher education being squeezed for resources, Kaler said it is important to see collaboration between neighboring institutions, like Iowa State and South Dakota State University.

Consumer education is vital
A new feature at Farmfest this year was the addition of livestock forums. Pfizer dairy veterinary operations senior manager Gary Neubauer was one of those featured, highlighting the importance of residue risk avoidance and the management of antibiotic use. Pfizer's 'Join the Cause' campaign was launched earlier this year, educating dairy farmers and veterinarians about these issues. At this point, Neubauer has been in 17 states, speaking to thousands. "I think that if we can continue to get the message out to the people who don't have an agriculture background that what we are doing is right, hopefully that will give them confidence that we are producing a safe, wholesome product," said Neubauer, "I think we have an obligation to not only treat the cow correctly and to maintain some profitability for our operations, but consumer confidence is a big thing."

Farmers Feed U.S.
For the third consecutive year, Minnesota agriculture groups are behind the Farmers Feed US campaign. Minnesota Farm Bureau Federation executive director Perry Aasness says this effort connects consumers with farmers through online videos. "We've had over 100,000 registrations into this program in the past year, which is good," said Aasness, "One of the things consumers can do is they can opt-in when they get on this website for more information, and one of the things the coalition of agriculture groups in Minnesota is going to be doing is trying to make some additional information available to consumers that want more information on how their food is produced." By clicking on the website, consumers can win a year's worth of groceries.

Dairy firm charged with attempted market manipulation
Due to allegations of attempted market manipulation, Evocal Dairy Trade, Inc. has paid a financial settlement to the Commodity Futures Trading Commission. The Pennsylvania firm allegedly tried to manipulate the daily settlement prices of Non-Fat Dry Milk cash-settled futures contracts at the Chicago Mercantile Exchange. This case dates back to 2007. Evocal Dairy Trade has been ordered to pay a $1,425,000 civil penalty.

Davis Family diversifies
The owner of a St. Peter, Minn.-based dairy operation has purchased Sun Country Airlines. The Davis family, which operates the Davisco Foods cheese operations in Minnesota, South Dakota and Idaho, purchased the charter airline for an undisclosed amount of money.

Trivia challenge
Katie Miron of Hugo, Minnesota is the current Princess Kay of the Milky Way. That answers our last trivia question. For this week, what company sponsors the 'Little Hands' display at the Minnesota State Fair? 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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