Edge praises passage of NAFTA replacement

By MAA
GREEN BAY — Edge Dairy Farmer Cooperative representatives praised Friday’s signing of the United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement (USMCA) — a replacement for NAFTA — but said more needs to be done to resolve tariff issues that continue to hurt farmers. The Co-op represents dairy farmers not only in Wisconsin, but across the Midwest.
According to Edge President Brody Stapel, USMCA includes important provisions for dairy, including retaining market certainty with Mexico, protecting common cheese names in the Mexican market, adding transparency provisions for oversight of Canada’s internal pricing structure and placing limits on certain Canadian exports. The deal still needs to be approved by Congress, a process that will likely push into 2019.

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Dealing with stress on the farm

By Leah Call
MAA
Farming is not for the weak – neither physically nor mentally.
But four straight years of declines in farm income combined with weather extremes and market uncertainty are pushing mental strength to the limit. That stress can lead to depression and contribute to other serious health issues. Fortunately, there are numerous resources throughout the Midwest to help farm families make it through these tough times.
“Farmers are very resilient. They are used to the highs and lows, but this has been too long of a stretch and too severe,” said Rhonda Strebel, executive director of the Rural Health Initiative (RHI).
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New Dairy Revenue Protection plan aids farmers

By Aaron Gransee
Investors Community Bank

A subsidized, pooled, put option is one way to think of the new Dairy Revenue Protection (DRP) plan of insurance. To put it simply, insureds choose when to insure their milk, how much milk to insure, how to price their milk and whether to add a multiplier to increase any indemnity paid. That’s it.
Sales take place every business day beginning at approximately 4 p.m. and end at 9 a.m. the following day. Coverage is available on a quarterly basis and can be purchased up to five quarters out. That being said, insureds who want to insure milk during the first quarter of 2019 would be insuring January, February and March milk, meaning a three-month pool of milk is insured together, per policy written. Continue reading “New Dairy Revenue Protection plan aids farmers”

Fischer: Trade wars trigger crisis for dairy farmers

By Laurie Fischer
For MAA
Times are tough for farmers across the nation, milk prices are low and dairy producers have been hit hard by tariffs on the products they export to some of our major dairy trading partners.
This year, President Trump imposed tariffs on steel and aluminum on Mexico and China to push back on trade agreements deemed unfair by the U.S.  As a result, Mexico retaliated with its own tariffs of up to 25 percent. As a result, third quarter cheese exports to Mexico are down 11 percent from 2017. China also imposed its own tariffs of 25 percent on a large amount of U.S. dairy products, resulting in whey sales to China decreasing 8.2 percent so far this year.

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Dairy Revenue Protection plan makes its debut

By Leah Call
MAA
There’s a new federal crop insurance product that helps protect dairy farms from unexpected declines in milk prices.
The Dairy Revenue Protection (DRP) insurance plan debuted Oct. 9. The new federal crop-insurance offering is the result of a two-year effort spearheaded by the American Farm Bureau Federation, in collaboration with the Risk Management Association of the USDA.
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Program gives lift to Iowa farmers

Bill and Stacey Borrenpohl launched Woven Strong Farm in Jackson County in 2011, then joined Practical Farmers of Iowa and enrolled in the Savings Incentive Program shortly afterwards.

For MAA
AMES, Iowa — Practical Farmers of Iowa’s Savings Incentive Program aims to help beginning farmers succeed by matching up to $2,400 in start-up cash, providing access to an experienced mentor as well as support network and offering resources to build a solid business plan.
Since the popular two-year program launched in 2010, SIP has helped set 138 beginning farmers on the right path to establishing a healthy farm business.
After 24 months and completion of all program requirements, participants earn a dollar-for-dollar match on money saved up to $2,400, for a possible $4,800, that may be used to help purchase a farm asset.
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Tech giant invests in ginseng

By Jesse Cameron
MAA
A Tawainese tech company is looking to transform Wisconsin’s ginseng industry.
Foxconn Health Technology Business Group signed an agreement earlier this fall with the Ginseng Board of Wisconsin and Hsu’s Ginseng to jointly develop Wisconsin’s ginseng industry and grow Foxconn’s Wisconsin-based ginseng brand, Hong Seng.
Foxconn is building a $10 billion manufacturing campus in southeast Wisconsin and is also investing in other parts of the state, such as opening innovation centers in Eau Claire and Green Bay.
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Grants boost Michigan ag-based developments

For MAA
LANSING, Mich. — The Michigan Commission of Agriculture and Rural Development voted to approve Food and Agriculture Investment Fund grants for three food and agriculture projects in Michigan.
The projects will help grow companies focused on cheese-making, asparagus packing and production, and grain processing, as well as support the expansion of consumer-demand driven, value-added Michigan products.
“Despite being relatively new, our Food and Agriculture Investment Program is already having a significant and positive impact on businesses in every corner of the state,” said Gordon Wenk, director of the Michigan Department of Agriculture and Rural Development.

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ADC: New trade deal good for dairy

By American Dairy Coalition
After 13 months of negotiations, which included nine rounds of negotiation discussing 34 separate policy chapters, the United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement (USMCA) finally was agreed upon by all three countries and, if approved by Congress, will replace the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA).
However, the USMCA recently has received criticism from the U.S. dairy industry that it doesn’t do enough for farmers. Some felt this agreement was going to save the sector. Let’s look into this deal a bit more …
A key feature of the USMCA was removing Canada’s Class 7 pricing formula and expanding Canadian dairy markets to U.S. exports. Class 7 pricing was a huge concern in drafting this agreement because the U.S. dairy industry believed this new class pricing saturated the international markets. A win for U.S. producers in USMCA is preventing long-term expansion of Canada’s dairy ingredient pricing strategy.
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Farm Wisconsin Discovery Center debuts

By Jessie Cameron
MAA
After more than eight years of planning, fund raising and then, finally, building, the Farm Wisconsin Discovery Center has come to life along Interstate 43 just outside of Manitowoc.
From the beginning, the center’s goal was simple: To help educate the 98 percent of people who do not work on farms to understand where their food comes from.
“So many people do not know what happens on a modern farm,” says Executive Director Lauren Rose Hofland. “They don’t really know where their food comes from or all of the sustainability initiatives farmers engage in. Farmers are now growing more food using less resources.”

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