Top dairy cooperative rebrands to give farmers an Edge

By MAA
GREEN BAY, Wis.   — Milk is getting a new voice in America’s Heartland. Meet Edge, the dairy farmer cooperative taking a fresh approach to representing its members.

Edge, formerly known as the Dairy Business Milk Marketing Cooperative, has been a game-changer for dairy farmers since its inception in 2010.

“Edge is now representative of the growth and evolution our cooperative has undergone over the past seven years. It’s also a promise of the future,” said John Pagel, a Wisconsin dairy farmer and president of Edge. “We put our members at the forefront of the discussions, giving dairy farmers a voice in matters critical to their businesses and their communities.”

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DBA wins settlement in DNR lawsuit

By MAA 

GREEN BAY, Wis. — The Dairy Business Association secured a settlement in its lawsuit against the state Department of Natural Resources for legal overreach on regulations.

The settlement, reached Wednesday between the association and DNR, will bring immediate relief for dairy farmers facing uncertainty and costly changes, and will provide assurance that the DNR will create future rules only according to the law.

The dairy group prevailed on the central claims of the suit — that the DNR illegally changed rules for how farmers manage rainwater that comes into contact with feed storage and calf hutch areas.

More broadly, the settlement reaffirms the significance of Act 21, a 2011 state law that requires agencies to follow a specific method of rulemaking.

“More than anything, this is a victory for the rule of law,” said Mike North, president of the Dairy Business Association (DBA), a nonprofit that represents hundreds of dairy farmers and other related businesses across Wisconsin. Continue reading “DBA wins settlement in DNR lawsuit”

DBA president rejects call to remove “Dairyland” from WI license plate

GREEN BAY, Wis. — Mike North, president of the Dairy Business Association, rejected a suggestion today by the president of Wisconsin Manufacturers & Commerce that the state consider removing the slogan, “America’s Dairyland,” from state license plates.

“Considering the dairy community’s continuing contribution to the culture and economy of our state, it would be disheartening to make such a change after nearly 80 years,” North said. “We are talking about a $43.4 billion impact on the Wisconsin economy and tens of thousands of jobs. There are few single products in this state that provide more of an economic boost.”

On Monday, WMC Executive Director Kurt Bauer said the state should consider dropping the motto, which has been on the state’s license plates since 1940. He said residents should reimagine their identities for the 21st century and that “Forward” would be a better motto. Continue reading “DBA president rejects call to remove “Dairyland” from WI license plate”

Farmers can attend Dairy Strong for free if registered by Nov. 1

Dairy farmers who register for the fourth annual Dairy Strong Conference  by Nov. 1 will receive two free tickets..
Hundreds of dairy farmers and industry professionals are expected to attend Dairy Strong, an exciting conference and trade show, will be held  Jan. 17-18 at the Monona Terrace in Madison. 
Registration is now open  at dairystrong.org. To receive your two complimentary registrations, you must register prior to Nov. 1. After that date, dairies can attend for $150 for two days or $99 for one day.
Highlights of this year’s event include:
Inspiring keynotes – Dairy Strong provides farmers and dairy professionals with the opportunity to hear from renowned national speakers. This year, Bud Selig will serve as the opening keynote for Dairy Strong. He is the former commissioner of Major League Baseball, the former owner of the Milwaukee Brewers and a Milwaukee native. During his tenure, Selig navigated numerous controversies in baseball and will call on his leadership experience to draw parallels to challenges in the dairy community.
 Valuable connections – None of us got to where we are without relationships. Dairy Strong is where farmers, corporate professionals and representatives from government agencies and universities come together with a united mission to move dairy forward. Attendees will also have the chance to network with the nation’s leading suppliers on the trade show floor in a relaxed setting. Dairy Strong is an inclusive environment where farms of all sizes and management philosophies connect with each other and the dairy community.
Practical sessions – Time off the farm is hard to come by and the schedule for January’s event will be a great use of time.  There will be innovative and practical sessions to help farmers improve their dairies, as well as panels focusing on issues related to dairy market access, economics and trade. Enjoy a few days off the farm and return with new ideas and a fresh perspective.
Hosted by the Dairy Business Association, Dairy Strong is an event for the entire dairy community. Farmers representing farms of all sizes and management philosophies are encouraged to attend the event held each January.

Dairy marketing cooperative backs proposed guestworker bill

By MAA

GREEN BAY, Wis. — The Dairy Business Milk Marketing Cooperative, which represents about 800 dairy farmers throughout the Midwest, have formally endorsed a federal bill aimed at solving an increasingly dire rural workforce situation.

The Agricultural Guestworker Act (AG Act) was introduced in the House  Judiciary Committee by U.S. Rep. Bob Goodlatte, R-Va.

John Pagel, a dairy farmer in Wisconsin and president of the cooperative, said DBMMC applauded the efforts of Goodlatte to help farmers have access to a sustainable workforce.
“Maintaining a reliable workforce is one of the foremost concerns of our nearly 800 dairy farmer members throughout the Midwest. Changes in demographics and labor patterns have made it impossible for growing
farms to fill all available positions with American citizens,” he said. “As a result, dairy farming has become increasingly dependent on foreign-born employees. Unfortunately, there are no agricultural visa programs that meet dairy farmers’ year-round staffing needs, highlighting the importance to quickly move the AG Act forward.

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Dairy producers may now opt out of MPP-Dairy

By MAA

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.

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

By MAA
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.

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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