Midwest Dairy Groups Form Task Force

Midwest Dairy Groups Form Task Force
Today, six Midwestern dairy groups on a taskforce studying improvements to the Federal Milk Marketing Orders issued a statement in response to the introduction of the Dairy Pricing Opportunity Act.

Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand, D-N.Y., and her colleagues Sens. Leahy, D-Vt., and Susan Collins, R-Maine, introduced the bill, which calls on the agriculture secretary to begin a national hearing process on FMMOs within six months of its passage. The hearings must look at the issue of the Class I mover but may also address any other issues of concern that USDA sees fit.

The task force members are the Dairy Business Association, Edge Dairy Farmer Cooperative, Iowa State Dairy Association, Minnesota Milk Producers Association, Nebraska State Dairy Association and South Dakota Dairy Producers.

“We are pleased to see that federal order reform is top of mind in the Senate. Our task force continues to work on a comprehensive solution to the broad set of issues at hand. The Dairy Pricing Opportunity Act leaves the door open to considering various proposals, such as the Class III Plus proposal put forth early this year, and the ability to address other areas of the system that are just as urgent, such as increasing price transparency. The task force has also supported the creation of an academic dairy pricing study that would aid in this important discussion. We ask lawmakers to support this research effort to help inform whatever emerges from the hearing process. We look forward to working with the Senate and USDA to find a lasting solution for our dairy farmers.”

The Dairy Business Association is Wisconsin’s leading dairy advocacy group, championing smart and sensible regulations affecting the dairy community. The nonprofit organization is comprised of farmers, milk processors, vendors and other business partners who work collaboratively to ensure that dairy farms of all sizes have the support they need to keep America’s Dairyland strong. More information: www.dairyforward.com

Edge Dairy Farmer Cooperative provides dairy farmers throughout the Midwest with a powerful voice — the voice of milk — in Congress, with customers and within their communities. Edge, based in Green Bay, Wis., is one of the top cooperatives in the country based on milk volume. More information: www.voiceofmilk.com

Iowa State Dairy Association is dedicated to building a strong communication link between producers, processors, consumers, legislators and environmental organizations, representing producers at all dairy supply chain levels, from dairy farm to consumer tables. ISDA serves as a cohesive voice on legislative issues and reports the latest industry-relevant information to our members. More information: www.iowadairy.org

Minnesota Milk Producers Association has been the grassroots organization for Minnesota’s dairy industry since 1977. Our strength comes from members working together and focusing on policy, education and membership. More information: www.mnmilk.org

The Nebraska State Dairy Association has been the voice of Nebraska Dairy Farmers since 1885, working to promote growth, success and sustainability for the dairy industry in Nebraska. More information: www.nebraskamilk.org

South Dakota Dairy Producers has been a voice for dairy in South Dakota since being formed in 2009, bringing dairy farmers together with suppliers and processors to represent all dairy farms regardless of size, operating structure, or location to promote success and sustainability into the future. More information: www.sddairyproducers.org


Fed Cattle Prices Stronger Than 2020

Fed Cattle Prices Stronger Than 2020
Prepared and written by Jeff Swenson, DATCP Livestock and Meat Specialist. The Market Update draws information from several sources, including trade publications, radio broadcasts, agricultural news services, individuals involved in the industry as well as USDA NASS and AMS reports.

■ Last week’s estimated cattle harvest of 566,000 head was 11,000 head less than the previous week. With plants being closed for the Thanksgiving holiday, it is a respectable run that shows packers are motivated to move cattle through the pipeline. October harvest was 3.3 percent lower than the same month last year, but 3.2 percent higher year-to-date. Dressed weights are 10 pounds below last year. Beef cow slaughter continues to be higher than a year ago and is 8.4 percent higher year-to-date. Dairy cow harvest is running about one percent higher than 2020 year-to-date. Fed cattle prices were stronger last week and, for the most part, have continued that momentum. Fed beef cattle prices are over $25.00/cwt higher than this time last year, and the $114.00/cwt rut seen most of the summer is in the rearview for now. Whether feedlot operators are in the black at these higher prices is still in question. The Choice beef cutout value was posted at $280.01 on Friday, November 26, 2021 and $270.22 on Wednesday, December 1, 2021.

■ Cash hogs were more than $1.00/cwt higher midweek after multiple weeks of consecutive losses. The most recent export sale report shows orders for 45,500 metric tons of U.S. raised pork, the largest total since the end of October. The higher number, along with China accounting for 12,400 metric tons of the total, may at least stabilize Lean Hog futures in the short term. Last week’s harvest estimate of 2.261 million hogs was 368,000 lower than the previous week and 79,000 head lower than the same week last year. October harvest was 7.8 percent lower than last year with year-to-date totals at two percent below 2020. Hog weights were two pounds less than a year ago. It is easy to make the argument that market hog supplies will decrease in the weeks ahead.

■ Lamb and mutton production was up seven percent from October 2020. Sheep harvest totaled 187,300 head, which is three percent above October 2020. The average live weight was 121 pounds, which is up five pounds from October 2020. The number of mature sheep harvested is running 25 percent higher than last year, while lamb and yearling harvest is nearly two percent below levels a year ago.

■ DATCP invites Wisconsin meat processors to apply for new processor grants through January 14, 2022. These grants were proposed by Governor Tony Evers in his 2021-23 biennial budget, and the funds were recently released by the Joint Finance Committee. DATCP will award grants for up to $50,000 for projects up to two years in duration that help expand capacity or increase throughput. Hosted by We R Food Safety in cooperation with DATCP, a virtual informational webinar about the grants and application process, including a question and answer session, will be held Monday, December 6, 2021 at 1 p.m. You can access the session using this link: http://bit.ly/WiscGrant2. The grant application and materials are available at https://datcp.wi.gov/Pages/Growing_WI/MeatAndLivestockDevelopment.aspx.

■ Choice beef breed steers and heifers at Wisconsin and surrounding state auction markets were sharply higher. High-yielding, high-grading cattle brought $125.00 to $138.00/cwt with reports of some selling in the mid $140.00s/cwt. Choice and Prime Holstein steers were mostly $1.00 to $2.00 higher at $92.00 to $114.00/cwt. Some packages were still selling to $119.00/cwt with a few packages above. Silage fed, under finished, or heavy dairy breed steers brought $70.00 to $92.00/cwt. Dairy x beef steers were mostly $95.00 to $135.00/cwt. Cows were steady to lower at $31.00 to $51.00/cwt. Blemish free cows in fleshier condition sold to $58.00/cwt. Doubtful health and thin cows were bringing $31.00/cwt and down. Dairy breed bull calves were steady to lower, bringing $50.00 to $100.00/cwt with heavier, well cared for calves up to $165.00/cwt. Beef and beef cross calves were bringing up to $320.00/cwt. Market lambs were selling to $240.00/cwt.


Verville Joins Sand County Foundation

Verville Joins Sand County Foundation
Sand County Foundation has named Tricia Verville as its Agricultural Systems Director. Verville will lead Sand County Foundation’s regenerative agriculture initiative in Wisconsin’s Lake Michigan Basin, where she will work with farmer-led groups to achieve water quality and climate resiliency goals. Sand County Foundation, based in Madison, is a national non-profit working with farmers, ranchers, foresters and other private landowners to improve soil health, water quality and wildlife habitat.

“We’re thrilled that Tricia is joining our growing team. Her farm management background makes her a trusted resource across the agricultural community,” said Heidi Peterson, Sand County Foundation’s Vice President of Agricultural Research and Conservation. “Tricia has a strong passion for protecting natural resources, and a true appreciation for the demands on farmers to meet their production goals while also balancing ecosystem needs.”

“Her experience managing agricultural conservation projects and public outreach will be a critical asset to empowering landowners to implement conservation practices that restore watershed health,” Peterson added.

“It is an exciting time to be entering a role that helps farmers improve the natural resources they manage,” Verville said.

Verville previously served as a research project manager and safety lead for the Soil Health Partnership, a project of the National Corn Growers Association. Prior to that, she worked as a crop specialist for GROWMARK’s Insight FS, and as a deputy conservation warden for the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources.

Verville received a Bachelor of Science in soil and land management from the University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point, and is a certified crop advisor and specialist.

Verville will be based in Wautoma, Wisconsin, and will play an active role in projects across the Great Lakes and Mississippi River basins. She began her duties on November 29.


Feeding Wisconsin Welcomes Team Member

Feeding Wisconsin Welcomes Team Member
Feeding Wisconsin, the state association of six Feeding America member food banks and 1,000 local food programs serving all 72 counties in the state, welcomed David Pluymers to its staff on November 1, 2021.

Mr. Pluymers, MSTHA, RS, brings a wide range of high level experience to the position of FoodShare Outreach Program Director, a role focused on optimizing utilization of Wisconsin’s supplemental nutrition assistance program (SNAP) benefits that help people buy food during periods of need and instability. His career has spanned government, academia and the private sector. During his career in public and community health, he has worked for federal, state and local public health agencies and has held leadership roles in the Wisconsin Division of Public Health and SSM Health’s Wisconsin Region.  Immediately preceding joining Feeding Wisconsin, he held the position of Regional Director of Community Health at SSM Health.

Mr. Pluymers has a Bachelor of Science in Biology from Hope College in Holland, Michigan and a Master of Science in Technology and Human Affairs from the Engineering School at Washington University of St. Louis.  He has maintained a Registered Sanitarian credential since 2004.  He  has served on the Board of Directors and Executive Committee of the Wisconsin Public Health Association (WPHA) for six years – serving as WPHA’s President during 2020.

“Dave has spent much of his career focused on improving the health and wellbeing of individuals and communities by addressing underlying social determinants of health,” said Stephanie Jung Dorfman, Executive Director of Feeding Wisconsin. “We are grateful that he brings his experience, relationships, and passion to our ending hunger team.”


Two Wisconsin Cooperatives Unite

Two Wisconsin Cooperatives Unite
Country Visions Cooperative is excited to announce that CHS Larsen Cooperative is now operating together with them as Country Visions. CHS Larsen was a local country operations division of CHS Inc. based in New London, Wisconsin, servicing northeast and central Wisconsin.  Country Visions Cooperative is a farm supply cooperative serving northeastern Wisconsin and the UP of Michigan with their corporate office located in Brillion, WI. The CHS Inc. Board of Directors approved the business partnership with Country Visions and the final documents were completed for the unification to become effective on December 1, 2021.

The agreement between CHS Inc. and Country Visions combines the CHS Larsen business with Country Visions enabling Country Visons to expand its trade territory both west and north of their current area. “Country Visions’ goal is to make the transition from CHS Larsen to Country Visions Cooperative as smooth and seamless as possible for members and employees,” stated Steve Zutz, President/CEO of Country Visions. “The current local CHS Larsen team members will be employed by Country Visions ensuring continuity in service and relationships for local customers. Contact us, and your trusted staff that has served you over the years, will be ready and willing to help you with your needs.”

“As I have been working with employees at Country Visions, I have sensed their excitement about Larsen Co-op joining them,” said David Neal, GM of the former CHS Larsen Co-op. “Change can be difficult, but in this case, I see it as a positive step into the future.”

The acquisition includes agronomy, grain, feed and energy assets. “There are many synergies with the current business structure of our operations along with our common core principles,” said Zutz. “Consolidating these operations will help grow the business and strengthen our ability to continue to provide first class customer service. Country Visions is here to help.”

Country Visions Cooperative is a farm supply cooperative with their corporate office newly located in Brillion, WI. Serving northeastern Wisconsin and the UP of Michigan from 28 business locations, Country Visions offers a unique blend of agriculture and consumer related products and services. The business includes Agronomy, Propane, Refined Fuels and Grain divisions, along with Country Stores, Convenience Stores, and quick food restaurants.

The CHS Larsen Cooperative ag retail business delivers agronomy, energy, grain and feed products and services to Wisconsin ag producers and other customers from eight locations in 22 counties. It was part of CHS Inc., a leading global agribusiness owned by farmers, ranchers and cooperatives across the United States.


WCMA To Hold Young Professional Event

WCMA To Hold Young Professional Event
Build your network at the next Wisconsin Cheese Makers Association (WCMA) Young Professionals event, set for Friday, January 21, 2022 in Marshfield, Wisconsin.  WCMA member employees aged 40 years and younger are invited to register now at WisCheeseMakers.org/Events.

“Through education and connection, WCMA is working to retain our best and brightest,” said John Umhoefer, WCMA Executive Director.  “Our Young Professionals events are designed to offer emerging industry leaders knowledge and new connections with peers.”

The January 21 WCMA Young Professionals’ outing begins at 10:00 a.m. (CT) with a tour of WCMA member Nasonville Dairy, a family-owned business committed to excellence in cheesemaking for more than a century.  Participants will learn the Heiman family’s story, review their varied product line and check out the facilities from intake to shipping. Following the tour, participants will enjoy a networking lunch and a bit of fun at nearby Rose Bowl Lanes.

Registration, which includes the cost of lunch and activities, is just $30 per person. Only 35 spaces are available, so early sign-ups are encouraged. Visit WisCheeseMakers.org/Events for complete details.  Questions may also be directed to WCMA Events Manager Kirsten Strohmenger at [email protected].


Supply Chain Disruptions Here To Stay

Supply Chain Disruptions Here To Stay
Fertilizer prices have jumped to the highest they have been since 2008, which is just one example of the impact supply chain disruptions are having on farmers this year.

Paul Mitchell, Ag Economist with the Renk Agribusiness Institute at UW-Madison, says that farmers and consumers have had a false sense of security when it comes to purchasing. Prior to the pandemic, products were almost always available – this has not remained true over the last year.

Mitchell suggests farmers should do their best to house all essential materials including fertilizer and parts on their farm instead of waiting to purchase them when needed. Placing an order does not guarantee that products will be delivered or available for pickup later down the road.


First Dairy Symposium A Success

First Dairy Symposium A Success
The UW Dairy Innovation Hub held its first annual Dairy Symposium on Thursday, Nov. 18 at Union South on the University of Wisconsin–Madison campus. The event, which drew over 100 in-person attendees, provided scientists a chance to share and discuss the initial results of their Hub-funded research projects with researchers, university students and dairy professionals. Another 100 people attended the event virtually, and videos of symposium sessions are available online.

The Dairy Innovation Hub, funded through a $7.8 million per year investment by the state of Wisconsin, harnesses research and development at UW–MadisonUW–Platteville and UW–River Falls campuses to keep Wisconsin’s $45.6 billion dairy community at the global forefront in producing nutritious dairy foods in an economically, environmentally and socially sustainable manner. Since its launch in 2019, the Hub has funded more than 100 projects across the three campuses.

“This was the first face-to-face event we’ve had [due to the pandemic]. It was nice to finally get to meet in-person some of my colleagues that are part of this huge Dairy Innovation Hub,” said Veronica Justen, professor of crop science from UW­–River Falls, who has a Hub-funded faculty fellowship. “It’s exciting to get to watch presentations on such a wide variety of projects and see the data.”

The symposium started with opening remarks and a plenary talk by Randy Jackson, UW–Madison professor of agronomy, about the $23.2 million NetZero Initiative to help cut greenhouse gas emissions in the dairy industry. This six-year project is funded by a $10 million dollar grant from the Foundation for Food & Agriculture Research (FFAR) and contributions from partners such as Nestlé, and the dairy industry, including Newtrient.

From there, attendees spent the bulk of the day in research sessions. The symposium offered four research session options, one for each of the Hub’s main topic areas: stewarding land and water resources, enriching human health and nutrition, ensuring animal health and welfare, and growing farm businesses and communities. Each session featured three to four researchers, selected to highlight the broad array of work being done through the Hub.

Attendees of the stewarding land and water resources session heard from Hal Evensen, professor of engineering physics from UW–Platteville, about his efforts to develop an automated tumble wheel fencing system for a rotational grazing operation in southwest Wisconsin.

“It may be a busy day at [our partner’s] farm and they don’t have time to [move the fencing],” Evensen explained in his talk. “The idea is that we want to automatically advance the barrier… [so] if it’s a busy day [that task] would still happen.”

In the ensuring animal health and welfare session, Joao Dorea and Jennifer Van Os, both faculty in the UW–Madison Department of Animal and Dairy Sciences, described their separate research projects that utilize new Hub-funded video cameras installed at UW–Madison’s Arlington Agricultural Research Station and Marshfield Agricultural Research Station.

“Having this permanent whole barn system saves time and labor and allows us to get high resolution footage,” said Van Os. “This provides an opportunity to do what I call ‘giving the animal a voice.’ So, if we are clever, we can phrase [a research] question in a way that allows the animal to tell us what she’s experiencing and what she needs.”

In the farm business and communities session, attendees saw data showing how county-level policy changes can positively impact water quality, specifically when nutrient management plans are required for all farms, regardless of size, across a county. The human health and nutrition session covered research topics from yum to yuck—from the mouth feel sensations of ice cream to gut colonization by Listeria.

Attendees came away from these sessions energized by the research findings, scientific discussions—and ideas for future collaborations.

“I spoke with a researcher from River Falls who studies horn removal from calves, and we discussed writing a collaborative research proposal between our two institutions,” said Mark Levenstein, assistant professor of biology a UW–Platteville, who envisions a project utilizing cell culture to identify molecules that inhibit horn growth.

Levenstein’s student advisee Jacob Plumley, a senior studying biology at Platteville, also attended the symposium and participated in the poster session—his first opportunity to participate in a scientific conference and interact with members of the dairy research community in this type of setting.

“Our research is basically to create an on-farm test for mastitis, using shape-based nano filters, that can more accurately identify what [bacteria] are causing disease,” Plumley explained to a symposium attendee. “The goal is to help farmers identify a more targeted treatment instead of just using a broad-spectrum antibiotic.”

The event concluded with a plenary talk by Denise Ney, UW–Madison professor of nutritional sciences, on the health benefits of dairy-derived supplements she helped research and develop, followed by brief final remarks from Heather White, faculty director of the Dairy Innovation Hub.

“It has been exciting and inspiring to see the depth and breadth of funded research from all three campuses,” said White, an associate professor in the UW–Madison Department of Animal and Dairy Sciences. “The Hub started as a big idea and thanks to committed partners at each campus and from the dairy community, it became a reality.”

Video recordings of Dairy Symposium sessions can be watched on the Hub’s YouTube channel. The day before the Dairy Symposium, the Hub held its second annual Dairy Summit, an all-virtual event that focused on introducing new Hub-funded faculty members and their projects, followed by an in-person reception and tours of two UW–Madison dairy research facilities for a select group of participants. Videos of the Dairy Summit are also available on the Hub’s YouTube channel.


Midwest Horse Fair Returns In 2022

Midwest Horse Fair Returns In 2022
A premier event put on by the Wisconsin State Horse Council is set to return to the Alliant Energy Center April 22nd-24th, 2022.

The Midwest Horse Fair has offered an array of educational opportunities and entertainment for visitors since 1979. More than 500 exhibitors travel to Madison, WI each year for the show that hasn’t occurred since April of 2019. Due to pandemic-related restrictions, the Midwest Horse Fair was unable to host their event in 2020 or 2021. 

Megan Hanuschunk, manager of the Midwest Horse Fair, says that the entertainment and learning opportunities of the event will return in 2022 with the help of participants, attendees and partners.

To learn more about the Midwest Horse Fair, visit https://midwesthorsefair.com/


Mark Your Calendars For GrainVantage

Mark Your Calendars For GrainVantage
Compeer Financial, a member-owned Farm Credit cooperative, will host its annual GrainVantage meeting virtually on Tuesday.

At GrainVantage, farmers will gain insights into ag policy, learn about supply chain happenings in the fertilizer industry and get an update on the carbon marketplace. Experts will also share strategies to manage risk during times of volatility and uncertainty.

The Dec. 7 event features speakers Jim Wiesemeyer, Washington policy analyst with Pro Farmer/Farm Journal, Josh Linville, senior risk management consultant and director of fertilizer at StoneX Financial Inc. and Bryan Stanek, VP industry specialist at Compeer Financial.

“As we wrap up another year, now is the time to look at the bigger picture and see how your operation fits in with the latest changes in our industry,” says Stanek. “Grainvantage offers grain producers the chance to gain an edge in 2022.”

GrainVantage begins at 9 a.m. and wraps up at 12:30 p.m. There is no cost to attend, and the first 600 registrants who attend the event will receive a gift box. The meeting will also be recorded and available on demand for those who register.

Register: compeer.com/grainvantage 

Or call Compeer Financial at (844) 426-6733