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

New report reinforces economic story for MN's dairy industry

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

The new Minnesota Livestock Industry Benchmark Report said animal agriculture provides nearly $8 billion in total direct economic value to the state. The report, which is produced by the Minnesota Agri-Growth Council and the University of Minnesota, says the dairy industry now contributes nearly 15,000 jobs to the state economy through farming, processing and feed manufacturing. The dairy industry has the largest on-farm employment impact for the entire livestock sector. The state's dairy cow inventory has declined, but milk production has stabilized. Every Minnesota dairy cow contributes approximately $4,700 in annual economic activity.

Floor time has not been scheduled for Farm Bill debate
Securing floor time to debate the 2012 farm bill remains a hurdle in the U.S. House. Agriculture Committee Ranking Member Collin Peterson said the House leadership has not scheduled debate for this legislation. "From what I understand there is a considerable number in the Republican conference that don't want this bill to come up," said Peterson. "Some of them want it to be in lame duck; they want to use the savings in the farm bill to try and eliminate the sequestration cuts for Defense and all kinds of different reasons." With a variety of tax cuts expiring at the end of the year, Peterson says the lame duck session will be a mess. "It would be a very bad outcome if we get stuck in that lame duck with the farm bill; I really worry that we'll lose control of it in that process."

Uncertain times for the Farm Bill
House Republican leaders are considering another vote to repeal the controversial health care law. American Farm Bureau Federation Deputy Director Dale Moore said that will not help the farm bill timetable. The amendment process also complicates the schedule. "We've got some big budget numbers, particularly relative to nutrition, that could raise the specter of a whole lot of amendments coming in from kind of the non-ag side of Congress." Moore said the odds of seeing a House-Senate compromise on the farm bill before Sept. 30, when the current law expires, is not good. That would likely lead to a short-term extension of current law and floor action during a lame duck session.

Foundation for the Future proposal included in house plan
The draft farm bill, which was released by the House Agriculture Committee, includes elements of the Foundation for the Future dairy reform proposal. The National Milk Producers Federation developed this plan over the past three years. NMPF President and CEO Jerry Kozak said the organization is "grateful" the language is included in the farm bill draft proposal.

Rabobank forecasts slow growth in milk output
According to Rabobank's quarterly update on the dairy industry, milk production will slow during the remaining months of 2012. Year-over-year growth in U.S. milk production has been slowing since February and by May came in at two percent, the lowest in eight months. Rabobank said the rally in feed prices will pressure the dairy industry. High cull cow prices will also impact milk production.

Butter sales increase
Grocery-unit sales of butter grew 2.2 percent in the year ending May 13. During the same period, olive oil sales rose 0.2 percent and there was a 6.2 percent decline in margarine, spreads and butter blends. According to Advertising Age, butter had sales of $1.5 billion during this time period. Margarine and other spreads followed with sales of $1.4 billion.

Scout those alfalfa fields
Moisture is a big concern over much of the Midwest. Winfield Solutions Alfalfa and Forage Specialist Randy Welch said the dry conditions could impact regrowth for third-crop hay. Insects are also a worry. "Potato leaf hoppers will cause problems for our third crop regrowth, and any of the new seedings; the alfalfa new seedings are really getting hammered right now in much of the Midwest," said Welch. "Insects are probably one of the easiest things to control in alfalfa, but they're also quite often the most neglected thing in alfalfa because we just don't spend the time to go out and look at those fields."

Partnering on forage
Dow AgroSciences and the Royal Barenbrug Group have announced a global strategic relationship for the development and commercialization of advanced germplasm in forage seeds. Under the agreement, Dow AgroSciences will be a minority shareholder in Barenbrug Holding B.V. and will provide Barenbrug access to select hybrid Bracharia germplasm. Barenbrug will form a new entity in Brazil to build a state-of-the-art cleaning, coating and packaging facility to process hybrid Bracharia for Dow AgroSciences.

New name
As of July 1, Pioneer Hi-Bred is now known as DuPont Pioneer. The change in name is designed to strengthen public recognition of the alignment between DuPont and Pioneer. While the branding changes, company officials indicate its commitment to agriculture remains the same.

Ice cream recall
The Cass-Clay Creamery is recalling certain brands of its peppermint bon-bon flavored ice cream. The product may contain eggs that aren't listed on the label. The Minnesota Department of Agriculture says there have been no reports of illness. The ice cream was distributed in Minnesota, North Dakota, Iowa and Wisconsin.

Joint-venture markets yogurt
On the East Coast, PepsiCo is selling yogurt made in Europe by Mueller Quaker Dairy. This project is a joint venture between PepsiCo and the privately-held German dairy company. With this joint venture, a new yogurt processing facility is being built in New York State.

Condolences to Slettom family and friends
A memorial service is planned for July 24 for Edward and Iris Slettom in Glen, Minn. A service will also be held in St. Paul July 26. Ed and Iris were married for 68 years and died within four days of each other this past month. Ed served as the Minnesota State FFA President in 1939. Ed also served as a deputy state agriculture commissioner and the executive director of the Minnesota Association of Cooperatives. Ed was inducted into the National Co-op Hall of Fame in 2009.

Trivia challenge
It takes more than 21 pounds of whole milk to produce one pound of butter. That answers our last trivia question. For this edition, we'll focus on the 2011 Minnesota Animal Agriculture Benchmark Report. What did the Minnesota dairy industry generate in direct economic activity in 2011? 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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