When the new Congress convenes next month, Pennsylvania Congressman Glenn “GT” Thompson will be at the helm of the House Agriculture Committee. Thompson said there are three options for the 2023 farm bill. No. 1, the bill could be allowed to expire at the end of September and revert to the language established during the Dust Bowl era of the 1930s. “No. 2, we could kick the can down the road and do an extension,” Thompson said. “But, that’s a failure to do our job because I think there’s improvements to be made.” Crop insurance and updated reference prices were cited as possible improvements for the next farm bill. The ag committee’s third option is to complete the farm bill before the current legislation expires. “Which really in my mind is the only option,” Thompson said.

Dairy industry praises Taylor confirmation
Alexis Taylor has been confirmed as U.S. Department of Agriculture’s undersecretary of trade and foreign agricultural affairs. Taylor is an Iowa native who previously served as the director of the Oregon Department of Agriculture. This action was praised by key dairy leaders. “Her dedication and experience make her the perfect choice to serve American dairy producers,” said Jim Mulhern, president and CEO, National Milk Producers Federation. A similar sentiment was made by the U.S. Dairy Export Council. “So much of the health of American agriculture and the nation’s dairy community is tied to ensuring that our products can reach consumers around the world, (and) we’re thrilled Alexis Taylor will help us lead this effort,” said Krysta Harden, president and CEO, USDEC.

Year end with confirmation of ag trade ambassador
As the lame duck session approached the finish line, the Senate confirmed Doug McKalip as the chief agricultural negotiator for the Office of the U.S. Trade Representative. McKalip was nominated in July, but a hold was put on the confirmation. McKalip was the senior advisor for agriculture and rural affairs with the Biden administration’s Domestic Policy Council.

Canadian dairy farmers receive trade compensation payments
Canadian Agriculture Minister Marie-Claude Bibeau has announced the fourth payment under the Dairy Direct Payment Program is now available. Dairy farmers will receive payments based on the milk quota. The payments are designed to help offset the impact of the Canada-European Union Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement and the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for the Trans-Pacific Partnership. “Our government committed to fully and fairly compensate supply-managed sectors after ratification of the trade agreements,” Bibeau said.

Milk production increases
Milk production in the 24 major dairy states totaled 17. 5 billion pounds in November. That’s up 1.4% from one year ago. Milk production increased 1.3% over the past year in Wisconsin and declined a fraction of 1% in California.

Record milk price
Milk prices are on pace to set an all-time record for the calendar year. The all-milk price is forecast to be at least $25.50 per hundredweight for 2022. That compares to the previous record of $24 per hundredweight that was set in 2014.

IDFA outlines 2023 objectives
The International Dairy Foods Association has identified five key objectives that will define 2023 and beyond. Nutrition, health and wellness tops that list. Global competitiveness and the ability to capture more consumers worldwide is another priority. IDFA cites workforce challenges, sustainability and technology/innovation to round out the list.

Checkoff highlights
Dairy Management Inc. has recapped the dairy checkoff highlights of the past year. Topping that list is a five-year collaboration with the Mayo Clinic and research into dairy’s role in health and nutrition. Social media efforts with foodies and influencers included the butter board craze that became a viral sensation. The checkoff also engaged in programs to help dairy farmers meet its 2050 Environmental Stewardship Goals.

Used equipment market not slowing down
Machinery Pete founder Greg Peterson has been tracking the used equipment market for 33 years. “I’ve never seen anything close to this; the market has just been on fire since late 2020,” Peterson said. Used machinery values increased every month of 2022. “When the calendar flips, we might have a chance to catch our breath, but everything’s in place for used equipment values to remain strong,” Peterson said. The combination of tightness on late-model large equipment and scarcity of new equipment is driving demand.
Develder reflects on career in the dairy business
Donn Develder started his career with Associated Milk Producers Inc. in 1985 as a field representative in northern Minnesota. At the end of this week, he’ll retire as the co-op’s co-president and CEO. Thanks to the global demand for dairy products, Develder sees a bright future for the dairy industry. “If you consider the dairy products that are really in demand, which is cheese, butter and whey, the cheese basket of the U.S. is here in the Midwest,” Develder said. “The proximity to the East Coast, the better off you are. The infrastructure here in the Upper Midwest has always been strong, and it’s done nothing but get stronger.” Sheryl Meshke, who has been AMPI’s co-president and CEO since 2015, will continue to lead the company moving forward.

DNR secretary appointed
Wisconsin Gov. Tony Evers appointed Adam Payne as the head of the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources. Payne succeeds Preston Cole, who retired. For the past 20-plus years, Payne has been the county administrator for Sheboygan County.

WFBF promotes Jacobson
The Wisconsin Farm Bureau has named Melissa (Doyle) Jacobson as its director of young leader programs. Jacobson has been the WFBF District 3 coordinator since 2015 and farms near Mineral Point, Wisconsin.

Trivia challenge
A turophile is the term for a connoisseur of cheese. That answers our last trivia question. For this week’s trivia, what business are you in if you are involved in caseiculture? We will have the answer in the next edition of Dairy Star.
   Don Wick is owner/broadcaster for the Red River Farm Network, based in Grand Forks, North Dakota. Wick has been recognized as the National Farm Broadcaster of the Year and served as president of the National Association of Farm Broadcasting. Don and his wife, Kolleen, have two adult sons, Tony and Sam, and five grandchildren, Aiden, Piper, Adrienne, Aurora and Sterling.