News

Planning for potential business disasters vital

By Dave Coggins
For MAA
Recent news showcased how more than 50 dairy farms were nearly devastated by the Canadian trade policies that forced Grassland Dairy Products to drop them as patrons. While that roller-coaster experience has ended with nearly all of the affected farms finding new processors, it should serve as a wake-up call for every farm owner to plan for the unthinkable.
Most farmers are well-equipped in terms of insuring their business against potential acts of nature. But many are not so prepared for other types of disasters that warrant having a “Plan B” if they want their business to survive.
While it’s human nature to want to avoid the unthinkable, planning for all types of disasters is a crucial part of farming operations.

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LaClare grabs spotlight for its goat yogurts

By MAA

MALONE, Wis — LaClare Farms, which helped bring goat cheese to the culinary forefront with a win at the 2011 U.S. Championship Cheese Contest, is at it again.

This time, though, it grabbed the spotlight in a whole new category: Goat yogurts.

The 700-goat farm swept that category at this year’s competition, capturing first, second, third and fourth places with its vanilla, blueberry, original and strawberry flavors, respectively.

“Our yogurt maker, George Roehrig, a 39-year industry veteran, has spent over two years, and dozens of trial batches, developing and creating the perfect recipe,” said cheesemaker Katie Fuhrmann.

“We thought our yogurt was pretty great but this contest validated it.”

The competition, hosted in March at Green Bay’s Lambeau Field, brings together preeminent dairy processors from around the globe.

“The ‘secret’ is great milk,” Fuhrmann said. “Same goes for our yogurt as our cheese. It can only be as great as the milk we start with. It all starts on the farm and we do our best to show off the excellent quality goat milk we get to work with. Or, as I always say to people, my job is to not screw up the fantastic milk I start with.”

Different cheese flavors identified, named

 

By CJ Krueger
MAA

Kay Thomas spends a lot of time reading labels in the grocery store, especially in the specialty cheese display.

“For a long time, I was hesitant to purchase goat cheese because as a child I remember it being so strong tasting. But as I started reading the descriptions on the labels, I became more curious and decided to give it another try,” the Oshkosh woman said while looking at the different cheeses at the LaClare Family Creamery store in Malone, Wis.

“I can’t believe how much has changed over the years. There are so many flavors!”

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Defining flavor: Lexicon develops to define goat cheese taste 

By CJ Krueger
MAA
Kay Thomas spends a lot of time reading labels in the grocery store, especially in the specialty cheese display.
“For a long time, I was hesitant to purchase goat cheese because as a child I remember it being so strong tasting. But as I started reading the descriptions on the labels, I became more curious and decided to give it another try,” the Oshkosh woman said while looking at the different cheeses at the LaClare Family Creamery store in Malone, Wis.
“I can’t believe how much has changed over the years. There are so many flavors!”
Many consumers with a limited exposure to goat cheese often describe the product as tasting “goaty,” or having a strong taste. But as the dairy goat industry has evolved, so has the flavor and
Continue reading “Defining flavor: Lexicon develops to define goat cheese taste “

Dairy farms play key role in Kewaunee County’s economy

By MaryBeth Matzek
MAA Editor

A host of factors play into whether a community is considered healthy.
Things like access to and quality of medical care, the environment, the economy and quality and length of life. Kewaunee County continues to rank among the healthiest in Wisconsin, most recently second in annual state health rankings.
In the economic area, the county’s agricultural community is vital. Agriculture accounts for more than $80 million in economic activity each year. Of that, an estimated $65 million is driven by dairy farming, said Jim Smidel, a member of the Kewaunee County Economic Development Corp.’s board of directors.

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Planning for potential business disasters is vital

By Dave Coggins
For MAA

Recent news showcased how more than 50 dairy farms were nearly devastated by the Canadian trade policies that forced Grassland Dairy Products to drop them as patrons. While that roller-coaster experience has ended with nearly all of the affected farms finding new processors, it should serve as a wake-up call for every farm owner to plan for the unthinkable.

Most farmers are well-equipped in terms of insuring their business against potential acts of nature. But many are not so prepared for other types of disasters that warrant having a “Plan B” if they want their business to survive.

While it’s human nature to want to avoid the unthinkable, planning for all types of disasters is a crucial part of farming operations.

Continue reading “Planning for potential business disasters is vital”

Blueberry growers under intense pressure

By Nikki Kallio
MAA

When Elizabeth White teamed up with the USDA in 1910 to grow blueberry hybrids on her New Jersey farm, it was the beginning of an industry that would eventually have a notable impact on the southwest lakeshore of Michigan.

Growers eventually discovered Michigan’s acidic soil, combined with the moderating effect of the lake on climate, was ideal for blueberry crops. By World War II, the state had a sizable blueberry industry that continued to expand, said Mark Longstroth, Michigan State University Extension small-fruit educator.

In 2014, the state ranked first in acreage of blueberry production. Michigan is consistently one of the top producers of blueberries in the nation, along with Washington and Georgia, according to the USDA.

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Displaced dairies find home for their milk

By MAA
Three processors in Minnesota have stepped up to accept milk from 10 Minnesota farms whose milk buyer gave notice it would no longer take those farms’ milk after April.
The move came as Canada changed its pricing regarding ultra-filtered milk coming from the United States, which caused Canadian buyers to cancel their contracts with U.S. processors. In addition to Minnesota, farmers in Wisconsin and New York have also been affected.
The Minnesota Milk Producers Association worked as a facilitator to raise awareness and connect resources to help producers find a new home for their milk.

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Kewaunee water woes linked to animals, people

By MaryBeth Matzek
MAA Editor

Research shows that human and bovine waste is finding its way into wells in Kewaunee County.

Dr. Mark Borchardt, a microbiologist with the U.S. Department of Agriculture, shared those findings during a presentation earlier this year at the 2017 Midwest Manure Summit in Green Bay. In a study funded by the Department of Natural Resources, Borchardt and his team used DNA sequencing to identify bacteria and pathogens in different Kewaunee County wells to determine if they came from cows or people.

The county has been ground zero in Wisconsin in the battle between some residents and large-scale farmers. In 2014, six environmental groups petitioned the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency to investigate groundwater contamination in the county. The DNR then brought together farmers, neighbors, environmental groups and government officials to find strategies to reduce groundwater pollution risk.

“There has been a lot of finger pointing and politics going on regarding water in Kewaunee County so we took a closer look at this issue to determine the source of the pollution,” Borchardt said. “The evidence shows both people and cows are contaminating the groundwater in Kewaunee County.”

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Canadian trade policy change hits milk processors hard

By MaryBeth Matzek
MAA Editor

When Canada abruptly changed its dairy trade policies last month, Grassland Dairy Products Inc. lost $100 million worth of its annual business.
The Greenwood, Wis.,-based dairy processor previously sold the equivalent of 1 million pounds of milk each day to Canada. After a Canadian buyer said it would immediately stop purchasing from Grassland due to new dairy regulations, family-owned Grassland quickly looked for ways to incorporate some of that 1 million pounds of milk into its operations. The company was able to find use for some of it, but not all. On April 1, Grassland sent a letter to several dozen milk producers informing them that after May 1, it would no longer purchase their milk.

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