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

USDA to use other sources for milk production report

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

During March, U.S. milk production totaled 16.4 billion pounds. That's down a fraction from year earlier levels. Due to sequester, the National Agricultural Statistics Service is not conducting surveys of dairy producers. In the meantime, various forms of administrative data is being used to produce the monthly milk production reports. In Minnesota, milk production is estimated to be 1.8 percent larger than March 2012. Wisconsin production increased three percent. California is down 3.3 percent.

Record hay prices
Hay supplies remain tight and prices are high. When adjusted for inflation, South Dakota State University Extension risk management specialist Matthew Diersen said hay prices are at record levels. Drought conditions and competition for acres from other high value crops have resulted in the supply situation.

House schedules farm bill mark-up
House Agriculture Committee Chairman Frank Lucas plans to mark up the farm bill on May 15. This raises the possibility that the House Agriculture Committee will mark up the farm bill before the Senate Agriculture Committee. Senate Ag Committee Chair Debbie Stabenow had planned to mark up the farm bill in April, but House Agriculture Committee Ranking Member Collin Peterson said the Upper Chamber is not ready to move forward. "Frankly, I don't think the Senate will be in gear by then, they've got a lot of problems over there."

First step to fixing a broken system
Minnesota Senator Al Franken said the immigration legislation is a good start to fixing a broken system. Franken said the need for immigration reform is clear, especially for the agriculture industry. "This bill will make sure that farmers and ag employers across the country have access to a stable workforce," Franken said. "It creates a path for agricultural workers who are currently in the country to get right with the law and makes it easier for farmers to bring in new workers when they need them. That's good for everyone, because it's good for the economy."

E-Verify system raises concerns
Minnesota Milk Producers Association president Pat Lunemann said the issue of immigration reform has been important to him for quite some time, but he does have concerns regarding the E-Verify system in the recently proposed immigration legislation. "The tools in identifying legal employees are not adequate, including E-Verify. Dairy farms are typically small businesses and we don't have HR departments," Lunemann said. "I am pleased that Senator Franken wants to see E-Verify improved and not make small businesses, like dairy farms, use it."

House and Senate differ on approach to ag appropriations
There are significant differences between the Minnesota House and Senate agriculture appropriations bills. The House bill made no changes in the so-called AGRI fund. The Senate version takes money from the AGRI account and funds specific research projects, various agriculture organizations and provides money to the Second Harvest Food Shelf. According to the Minnesota Milk Producers Association, that results in less money for the Livestock Investment Grant program. Water fees are also a point of difference. In the House version, the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources receives new authority over water usage and permitting. Fee increases for irrigation and livestock water usage are included.

New rules for Minnesota Board of Animal Health
Minnesota Board of Animal Health has adopted new rules that it said will allow the board to control diseases in a way that is sensible for Minnesota's livestock and poultry farmers. Minnesota state veterinarian Dr. Bill Hartman said the biggest changes in the rules are with breeding animals. "We're now requiring breeding cattle that leave the farm to have official identification in them before they leave and cattle producers need to keep records of their purchases and sales at home."

Does 'reduced calorie' chocolate milk need a special label?
A petition has been filed with the Food and Drug Administration to eliminate special labeling requirements for flavored milks that contain artificial sweeteners, such as aspartame. Public comment is being taken on this petition through May 21. announces acquisition, which provides bulk commodity trading services, has an agreement to acquire Blimling and Associates, Inc. The Blimling Companies offer market consulting services, customized training and is a licensed commodity brokerage firm. Blimling will continue to be based in Madison, Wis.

MacDon Industries seeking a buyer
According to Reuters, MacDon Industries is seeking a buyer. The Canadian company manufactures windrowers, draper heads for combines and other agricultural equipment. Goldman Sachs is reportedly advising MacDon Industries on a possible sale.

MFA funds research efforts
The Midwest Forage Association has distributed a record $21,358 for forage-related research projects. The land grant colleges in Minnesota, North Dakota, South Dakota and Wisconsin submitted proposals. Eight proposals were funded, including one evaluating the use of dairy slurry on alfalfa fields and the effect on nutritive value and silage fermentation.

McBeth resigns from Agri-Growth Council
After leading the Minnesota Agri-Growth Council for over 10 years, Minnesota Agri-Growth Council president and executive director Daryn McBeth has announced his resignation. McBeth has accepted a position as Director of State Affairs and Industry Relations with Land O'Lakes. Minnesota Agri-Growth Council has announced it is seeking a replacement for McBeth.

South Dakota elects state FFA officers
The 2013- 2014 South Dakota State FFA officer team was selected at the final session of the 85th annual South Dakota State FFA Convention. The officer team includes Makayla Heisler of Newell; Breanna Bullington of Brookings; Cheyenne Leonhardt of Groton; David Strain of Sturgis; Carrietta Schalesky of Bison and Shala Larson of Webster.

U of M wins NAMA contest
The University of Minnesota won the National Agri-Marketing Association student marketing competition. The NAMA event was held in Kansas City.

Trivia challenge
The holes in Swiss cheese are called 'eyes.' That answers our last trivia question. For this edition, what Minnesota Viking spoke at a recent Fuel Up Play 60 event in Minneapolis? We'll have the answer in the next edition of Dairy Star.
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