Dairy producers may now opt out of MPP-Dairy


The USDA Risk Management Agency recently announced that dairy producers can now opt out of the Margin Protection Program for Dairy (MPP-Dairy) for the 2018 coverage year, according to Aaron Gransee of Investors Insurance Services, a division of Investors Community Bank.

“This is an exciting announcement for area dairy farmers as it allows them to opt out of MPP and potentially increase their risk protection,” Gransee said.

MPP-Dairy, administered by the Farm Service Agency (FSA), and the Livestock Gross Margin for Dairy policy (LGM-Dairy), administered by the Risk Management Agency (RMA), offer similar risk management protection for dairy producers. Previously, under the Federal Crop Insurance Act, producers were prohibited from participating in both programs at the same time. MPP-Dairy required producers to maintain coverage through 2018, or until the MPP-Dairy program ended or was modified.

On Aug. 31, FSA announced producers can opt out of the MPP-Dairy program for the 2018 crop year. Producers who opt out of MPP-Dairy for the 2018 coverage year will be eligible to purchase LGM-Dairy beginning with the November 2017 sales period, with insurance coverage beginning in January 2018 in accordance with the Commodity Exchange Endorsement for Livestock Gross Margin for Dairy Cattle.  This will allow producers to transition from MPP-Dairy to LGM-Dairy without a lapse in coverage and will ensure MPP-Dairy and LGM-Dairy coverage do not overlap.  Producers still may not participate in both MPP-Dairy and LGM-Dairy programs at the same time.

Investors Insurance Services offers a variety of agricultural insurance products for farms of all sizes. The ag insurance specialists at Investors Insurance Services are available to work with farmers on everything from choosing coverage to answering questions about policies and filing a claim.

Demonstration network focuses on farm sustainability

By MaryBeth Matzek
MAA Editor

Farmers in Kewaunee and southern Door counties are teaming up with multiple partners to study and demonstrate conservation practices to protect groundwater and surface water in the region.

The Door-Kewaunee Demonstration Farm Network is a partnership between the Wisconsin Department of Agriculture, Trade and Consumer Protection, USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service, the Door and Kewaunee Land Conservation Departments and Peninsula Pride Farms, a farmer-led organization. The network was officially launched with a Sept. 7 field day at the Deer-Run Dairy LLC near Kewaunee, one of four farms participating in the network. The other participants include: Augustian Farms LLC in Kewaunee, Brey Cycle Farm LLC in Sturgeon Bay and Kinnard Farms in Casco.

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Proposed manure rule change worries farmers

By MaryBeth Matzek
MAA Editor

If the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources restricts manure application in certain regions of the state, farmer Rob Kiehneau is afraid his small Door County dairy will close.

Kiehneau, who milks between 60 and 70 cows and grows crop at his Egg Harbor farm, said about 75 percent of his farm rests on land with less than 2 feet of soil to bedrock. Under proposed changes to NR 151, farms with less than 2 feet of soil to bedrock would not be able to spread manure.

“We feel we do a good job with our applications. This rule change would make it hard for us to operate in our present location,” Kiehneau said during a hearing Friday on the proposed rule change at the University of Wisconsin-Green Bay. An estimated 30 people spoke at the hearing, which was simulcast in Madison.

The DNR announced the proposed changes to manure spreading rules in certain parts of Wisconsin to address decades-old groundwater quality issues in areas with Karst topography. Karst topography features shallow soils over heavily fractured limestone bedrock, which makes it easier for water and livestock waste from the surface and human waste from aging septic systems to enter the groundwater.

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Dairy Care founders Ostroms to receive fundraiser award

The Association of Professional Fundraisers will honor Jim and Annette Ostrom of De Pere, Wis., on behalf of Dairy Cares of Wisconsin, with the 2017 Wisconsin “Outstanding Volunteer Fundraiser Award” for their efforts supporting Children’s Hospital of Wisconsin.

The Ostroms will receive the honor on National Philanthropy Day, Nov. 15, at Lambeau Field in Green Bay.

Seven years ago, the Ostroms were among the founding members of Dairy Cares of Wisconsin, a non-profit organization that has since raised $847,000 on behalf of children and families facing medical crises. The group unites professionals from across the dairy and agricultural fields for an annual summer garden party to benefit the cause.

In 2017, Dairy Cares expanded its efforts by hosting the inaugural “Kickin’ It with the Cows” 5K/10K Run/Walk in De Pere. Initially hoping to attract 300 runners, the July 8 event drew more than four times that many participants.

“Annette and I are humbled to accept this on behalf of an amazing team of volunteers,” said Jim Ostrom, adding that about 50 individuals serve on Dairy Cares’ organizing committees. “While we are happy to do our part for a great cause, our fund-raising successes have stemmed from the fact that many people are committing time and energy to help others.”

DBA suing DNR, claims authority overrreach

By MaryBeth Matzek
MAA Editor

A Dairy Business Association lawsuit seeks to stop the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources from overreaching its legal authority on key regulations.
The dairy group filed a lawsuit Tuesday against the DNR centering on how the agency implements new regulations without going through an approval process required by state law.
The lawsuit deals specifically with one example of this pattern of unlawful behavior: changes to how farmers manage rainwater that comes into contact with feed storage or calf hutch areas. Those changes, in which the DNR abruptly abandoned its own earlier directives, are causing costly fixes and still more uncertainty for farmers, said DBA President Mike North.

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Dairy Cares raises $207,000 for Children’s Hospital of Wisconsin

Dairy Cares raised $207,000 for Children’s Hospital of Wisconsin, including $15,000 from its first-ever Kickin’ it With the Cows run/walk.
Over the past seven years, the organization has raised $847,000 for Children’s Hospital.
A group of dairy industry professionals and dairy farmers came together in 2011 to form Dairy Cares as a way for the industry to give back. Dairy Cares chose Children’s Hospital of Wisconsin, which provides care to seriously ill children and support to their families, as the recipient of the funds raised.
Dairy Cares annually holds a garden party to raise funds for the hospital and this year added Kickin’ it With the Cows, which turned out to be a huge success.
Learn more about Dairy Cares of Wisconsin by clicking here.

Feast & Famine in the ag industry

FEAST: It’s a legal victory that took too long in the coming, but we celebrate it nonetheless.

The Court of Justice of the European Union in June ruled that, within the EU, a number of dairy terms must only be used on products that come from an animal. While “milk” is the obvious first product, the ruling also extends to words like “butter,” “cream,” “cheese” and “yogurt.” Additionally, and importantly, attempting to modify these terms by adding a descriptor isn’t allowed either – meaning things like “veggie cheese” or “plant milk” simply cannot exist.

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Poppin good crop: Nebraska leads nation in popcorn production

By MaryBeth Matzek
MAA Editor

Driving past cornfields in the Midwest, drivers likely realize some crops are earmarked for animal consumption – feed corn – while others are grown for people to eat – sweet corn. But there’s another possibility: the plants are grown for their seeds, which when heated to just the right temperature are the perfect movie-time snack.

Discovered thousands of years ago by Native Americans, popcorn is a special kind of flint corn cultivated by farmers. And we like our popcorn: Americans consume 17 billion quarts of popcorn annually. Nebraska leads the nation in popcorn production, followed by Indiana, Illinois, Ohio and South Dakota.

Overall, most popcorn is raised on smaller farms, with most farmers raising between 100 and 250 acres, according to the National Popcorn Institute.

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World Dairy Expo looks to the future

By MaryBeth Matzek
MAA Editor

More than 70,000 dairy professionals from around the world will convene next month in Madison, Wis., for the 51st annual World Dairy Expo.

The World Dairy Expo is the industry’s premiere trade show where many companies debut new products and technologies, said Kristin Olson, media relations manager for World Dairy Expo.

“People come to learn what is happening in the dairy industry, network with other professionals and, of course, see the world’s best cows,” she said.

The 51st World Dairy Expo runs Oct. 3-7 at the Alliant Energy Center.

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Program provides on-farm experience to non-farm professionals

By Leah Call

“Walk a mile in someone else’s shoes” is a familiar lesson in understanding and empathy. The Professional Dairy Producers of Wisconsin (PDPW) offers an opportunity to walk three days in a farmer’s shoes. PDPW’s Agricultural Professional Partnerships (APP) program enables individuals working in the ag industry with limited farm experience an opportunity to roll up their sleeves, throw on some work boots and spend time on the farm.

“Non-farming professionals often come into the industry not knowing anything,” explained Amy Bonomie, PDPW manager of Partnerships & Public Outreach. “This really gives them a safe environment to step back and immerse themselves into modern ag. And they come out of this more knowledgeable, confident and open to listening and working closer with the farmers.”

PDPW launched the program in 2010 at the request of the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources, which wanted to provide training for staff that did not have a farm background. The three-day crash course is ideal for non-farm professionals, such as DNR and other government staff, milk processors, bankers and sales and marketing professionals.

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