This Farm Service Agency is beginning to make payments under the new Dairy Margin Coverage program. A total of $100 million in payments were made this past week. At this point, about 25 percent of all U.S. dairy farms have signed up for this coverage. The State of Minnesota has a partial rebate program to cover the premiums for Dairy Margin Coverage.

Farm Credit Administration to update risk models
    At its monthly board meeting, the Farm Credit Administration received a report on a new computer-based guidance system. The computer models manage loan risk. The new guidance that is being developed will replace a program that was put in place in 2002. The new guidance will create two tiers; one is a basic platform and the other will evaluate loans with more risk. FCA said the two models will enhance risk management without creating a regulatory burden.

Fed report highlights tough farm economy
    The latest Federal Reserve Beige Book report on the U.S. economy highlights continuing concern about trade. The farm financial situation is also a worry. The Minneapolis Fed said agricultural conditions worsened from an already weak position in this past month. Heavy rainfall and planting delays were considerations. The poor growing season was cited in many Fed districts. Historic flooding on the Mississippi River and its impact on ag shipments was highlighted by the St. Louis district. On the livestock side, the report said cattle prices have dropped. Struggling dairy operations are also sending more cows to slaughter, which is contributing to lower cattle prices.

Co-op consolidation
    Agricultural cooperatives are in a consolidation phase. Those decisions are often done to scale up and increase efficiency, but new factors may also be driving this trend. According to a new report from CoBank, co-ops are also merging to deal with management succession and help recruit employees.

ATCP 51 hearings
    The Wisconsin Department of Agriculture, Trade and Consumer Protection Board has authorized public hearings on proposed rule revisions to the statewide livestock siting standards. The Wisconsin Dairy Alliance responded, asking the DATCP to forego the hearings until the substantial revisions sought by the livestock associations have been addressed.

Promoting WI products in Japan
    Wisconsin Governor Tony Evers will lead a trade mission to Japan in September. Japan is the sixth largest export market for Wisconsin. During the trade trip, Evers will also participate in the Midwest U.S.-Japan Conference.

Immature corn crop in eastern Cornbelt
    With so many questions about the 2019 crop, the farm division of John Stewart and Associates has completed a project to determine unharvestable corn acres and the health of the crop. The group flew airplanes from eastern Ohio to Fort Dodge, Iowa, covering more than 157,000 acres. High resolution photos were taken every 25 miles. With this project, forecasts U.S. harvested acres to be 79.6 million acres. That is four million acres below the latest USDA number. While that data can be debated, hedging strategist Bill Biedermann said the maturity of this crop in the Eastern Cornbelt is a bigger issue. “In some areas, they’ll need to get into November without a frost,” said Biedermann.  “They (the trade) have not realized the magnitude (of the problem).”

Additions made to Holstein registration system
    Holstein USA has added new features to its online transfer system. Sellers can now enter multiple buyers when transferring a group of animals in a single online system. This effort is designed to make the process easier for sale managers.

Alfalfa checkoff funds research
    The U.S. Alfalfa Farmer Research Initiative has funded seven new projects. Those projects include new approaches to improve round bale storage and better understanding about Aphanomyces root rot in alfalfa. Research projects in Wisconsin, California, Kentucky, New York and Washington were funded.

ABS Global expands in WI
    ABS Global is expanding its bull housing at its Dekorra, Wis. site and establishing a new campus at Leeds, Wis. Due to increased demand, ABS Global is building facilities to handle additional bulls.

Luck honored for FTD work
    UW Extension specialist Brian Luck is being honored with the Donald R. Peterson Technology Transfer Award, which is presented each year to individuals who promote education and directly impact Farm Technology Days.  Luck is the director of the Badger Ag Tech Lab at UW-Madison, and helps coordinate field demonstrations, the ride and drive areas and Innovation Square. The award is named for Don Peterson, who served as the executive director for Farm Progress Days for many years.

Farm Aid to be in WI
    Willie Nelson and Farm Aid is coming back to Wisconsin. “With devastating weather, low prices and harmful farm and trade policies, America’s family farmers are facing immense challenges to hold onto their farms,” said the country singer. Farm Aid will be September 21 in East Troy. The last time Farm Aid was in Wisconsin was in 2010.

Trivia challenge
    Chocolate syrup is the most popular ice cream topping. That answers our last trivia question. What state produces the most ice cream? We’ll 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.