Schimel: Regulatory certainty key for ag, other businesses

Patrick Flood Photography

By MaryBeth Matzek
MAA Editor

MADISON, Wis. — Since becoming Wisconsin’s attorney general in 2015, Brad Schimel has focused on bringing predictability and stability to the state’s regulatory environment.

Schimel, who spoke to dairy farmers and related agricultural professionals during the Dairy Strong conference Thursday at Monona Terrace, said that when businesses do not know what to expect regarding regulations they become hesitant to add employees or expand operations.

When Schimel issued a legal opinion in 2016 keeping in check the power of the state Department of Natural Resources to regulate high-capacity wells, he was looking to create certainty for state farmers who had been left in limbo. Continue reading “Schimel: Regulatory certainty key for ag, other businesses”

Dairy Strong speakers announced

By MAA
GREEN BAY, Wis.  – One of the Midwest’s premiere conferences for the dairy farming community will be held Jan. 17 and 18 at the Monona Terrace Community and Convention Center in Madison, Wis.
Dairy Strong 2018 will bring together more than 700 farmers, corporate professionals and government and university representatives to explore the future of an integral part of the culture and economy of Wisconsin and the nation.
The conference will include a panel discussion about the changing landscape of milk marketing and trade in the United States and globally featuring a dynamic panel of CEO’s from the Wisconsin Milk Marketing Board, The National Council of Farmer Cooperatives and the International Dairy Foods Association.
Lynne Lancaster, one of today’s foremost cultural translators and an expert on the generations, will be a keynote speaker. Lancaster advises leaders, managers and employees on how to conduct business more successfully by bridging generation gaps at work and in the marketplace. She has been featured on CNN, CNBC and National Public Radio and has worked with companies like Best Buy, Coca-Cola, Disney and Intel to name a few.
Republican strategist and a political analyst for CNN and CNN en Español, Ana Navarro will serve as the legislative keynote. She is also a political contributor on ABC’s The View and has worked extensively with Jeb Bush and Marco Rubio. Navarro is poised to play a big role in the GOP response to immigration reform and Hispanic outreach.
A keynote by Major League Baseball’s Commissioner Emeritus, Bud Selig will kick off the conference. Commissioner Selig, a Milwaukee native and former owner of the Milwaukee Brewers, navigated many challenges during his 17-years as Commissioner including efforts to rid the game of illegal steroids and other performance-enhancing substances. He will draw parallels on his leadership during times of crisis to our own challenges in the dairy community.
Wisconsin Atty. Gen. Brad Schimel, will deliver the state legislative keynote.
In addition to keynotes, the event will feature track sessions, panel discussions and shorter presentations on the Innovation Stage, located in the trade show area. Topics range from sustainable compliance to social media insights and on-cow sensors.
These are trying times for the dairy community. Market access and a fair price are top of mind for all dairy farmers. In 2017, we learned one thing: It’s complicated.
Admittedly, many farmers do not fully grasp where their milk goes when the milk truck leaves the driveway. The time to understand and advocate for the dairy supply chain is now. With this in mind, a panel of CEO’s from the leading marketing and trade organizations in dairy will convene to discuss current trends and future predictions.
Discussion will center on the need for increased exports, broad trade policy challenges and increasing opportunities for Wisconsin dairy. The panel will also explore the growing divide between what consumers want and what farmers need to be successful.
Panelists include: Chad Vincent, CEO Wisconsin Milk Marketing Board; Chuck Conner, CEO National Council of Farmer Cooperatives; and Michael Dykes, CEO International Dairy Foods Association. The panel will be moderated by Mike North, president of Commodity Risk Management Group and president of Dairy Business Association. The panel is open to all registered attendees of Dairy Strong and will be available to view on YouTube after the event via dairystrong.org
 Dairy Strong is also offering three educational tracks for attendees to choose from: legislative and advocacy, consumer trends and dairy technology. Attendees can attend programs from just one track or mix and match depending on their interest.
The legislative and advocacy track includes:
“Participate and persuade: Lobbying to make a difference” presented by John Holevoet and Aaron Stauffacher of Edge and  Shawn Pfaff of Pfaff Public Affairs. Sponsored by Edge.
“VTAs and calf hutch lots: The legal treatment of “process wastewater” presented by David Crass of Michael Best & Friedrich LLP. Sponsored by Michael Best & Friedrich LLP.
The track on consumer trends includes:
“Engaging neighbors and protecting from activists presented by Allyson Jones-Brimmer of the Animal Agriculture Alliance. Sponsored by Quality Liquid Feeds .
“Live feed from inside the brain of social media presented by Leah Beyer of Elanco. Sponsored by Elanco.
The track on dairy technology includes:
“Farm decision making: unlocking the power of data and analytics” presented by Ricardo Daura of Cargill Digital Insights. Sponsored by Cargill.
“Is a robotic system right for your dairy?”  Sponsored by Compeer Financial featuring Mark Berning of Green Waves Farm, St. Michael, Minn.; Tom Oesch of Swisslane Farm, Alto, Mich.; and Steve Bodart of Compeer Financial.
The Innovation Stage, a smaller presentation venue on the trade show floor, is returning this year to Dairy Strong.  This space features timely presentations in a concise 20-minute format focused on emerging technologies and innovations. A full listing of these eight lightning presentations is at dairystrong.org.
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. For more information about Dairy Strong including schedule and registration information, go to dairystrong.org

Continue reading “Dairy Strong speakers announced”

Conaway urges dairy farmers to stay vocal

By MAA

Chairman of the House Agriculture Committee Rep. Mike Conaway, (R-Texas), spoke Dec. 13 at the American Dairy Coalition 2017 annual business meeting.

The meeting was attended by producers and allied businesses of the dairy industry from across the country.  Rep. Conway briefed attendees on progress the Agriculture Committee has made on the upcoming Farm Bill and urged ADC to rally the dairy industry into a united front for the 2018 Farm Bill. He said everything is on track for the Farm Bill to be brought to the House Floor early next year and the final Farm Bill to be completed by next fall.

Conaway addressed the rising concerns over a lack of a reliable safety net tool for the dairy industry. He discussed new policy that is moving forward that will improve current tools dairy producers are using for risk management because of the continued loss of profitability due to depressed milk prices. ADC will release more details as they become available.  Continue reading “Conaway urges dairy farmers to stay vocal”

Interest drives new dairy science major at UW-Platteville

By MaryBeth Matzek
MAA Editor

At a time when some colleges are cutting back on ag-related programs due to fiscal concerns, the University of Wisconsin-Platteville is doing just the opposite. Located in southwest Wisconsin, the university is strengthening its ag-related programs, including creating a dairy science major.

“For more than 100 years, we have had a hands-on ag program, but nothing specifically with the name ‘dairy’ on it,” said Tera Montgomery, associate professor of dairy and animal science in the UW-Platteville School of Agriculture and the animal science program coordinator.  “We had dairy-related classes in our animal sciences area, but employers were looking for students who had the word ‘dairy’ in their degree.” Continue reading “Interest drives new dairy science major at UW-Platteville”

Dairy Strong focuses on industry’s future

By MaryBeth Matzek
MAA Editor

Dairy farmers and industry professionals can personalize their experience by following one of three educational tracks at Dairy Strong 2018, which will be held Jan. 17-18 at the Monona Terrace Community & Convention Center in Madison, Wis.

The tracks feature informational sessions focused on three themes: legislation and advocacy; consumer trends; and dairy technology. If participants have multiple interests, they can choose to attend sessions from the different tracks.

Continue reading “Dairy Strong focuses on industry’s future”

ADC requests FDA to take action over misleading ‘milk’ labeling

By MAA
The American Dairy Coalition (ADC) has requested that the U.S. Food and Drug Administration  take immediate action and prohibit the use of “milk” in product labels used on plant-based alternative products.

Consumers rely on product labels, titles and advertising to make educated decisions on food products their families consume. Plant-based dairy alternatives that use the term “milk” vary dramatically in nutritional content from the FDA Federal Standard of Identity in law for milk products. According to the letter sent from ADC Founder Laurie Fischer to the FDA,  allowing manufactures of dairy-alternative products to imitate true dairy products through use of the world “milk” requires FDA regulatory action. The FDA must stop the intentional imitation these manufactures are using to destroy the reputation our industry has worked so hard to create.
According to the ADC, plant-based alternative dairy products have based their livelihood upon imitating dairy products. Allowing for this continuous misrepresentation is allowing them to mislead customers. Milk is milk, it is natural, consistent and wholesome and has defined compositional characteristics or manufacturing parameters unique to its standard of identity. Plant-based non-dairy alternatives purposely mis-brand products to make consumers believe plant based alternatives meet the same standard of identity as milk does. Any food product that uses a food name established by a FDA standard of identity but does not conform to the standard is deceiving.

Dairy farmers voice support for local communities, sustainability efforts

Peninsula Pride Farms President Don Niles speaks during a gathering Tuesday of Kewaunee County farmers and ag professionals.

By MaryBeth Matzek
MAA Editor

CASCO, Wis. — Farmers and agricultural professionals from Kewaunee County gathered Tuesday morning at a local dairy to voice their commitment to agriculture, the community and the environment.

“We are committed to the belief that agriculture, a strong community and environmentalism can co-exist. Farms are an important part of our local communities,” said Lee Kinnard, the fifth generation of his family to farm in the county. “We take pride in being part of that 1.7 percent of the U.S. population that feeds everyone else in the country and we also take pride in protecting the environment.”

Nearly 100 area farmers and others connected to agriculture attended the gathering at Kinnard Farms Inc. near Casco prior to a state Department of Natural Resources public meeting to collect comments about the water discharge permits for five large farms. Farmers in Kewaunee County have come under scrutiny because of water quality issues. Continue reading “Dairy farmers voice support for local communities, sustainability efforts”

Bills could impact dairy industry’s future

By American Dairy  Coalition

On Oct. 25, two important bills passed through the House Judiciary Committee, both with the potential to have a large impact on dairy producers across the nation who are struggling to find reliable labor.

The first of these two bills is the Agricultural Guestworker Act (AG Act). This bill will discontinue the H-2A visa and replace it with an H-2C program that would allow dairy-operation employers with year-round work to apply. It eliminates requirements that employers provide transportation and housing and allows employers to have contractual or at-will agreements with workers.

While not perfect, this bill could have a huge positive impact on farmers, allowing the industry to move the dial toward a workable guest-worker program that is functional and not bogged down with inefficiencies and bureaucratic red tape. Continue reading “Bills could impact dairy industry’s future”

Kosher milk opens new markets for dairies

By Nikki Kallio
MAA

With just a little extra effort, milk producers can reach into wider consumer markets by offering high kosher products to people who follow Jewish dietary laws.

First, the milk must come from animals considered “kosher,” a term which essentially means “proper” or “acceptable” according to biblical law. Kosher animals include those that both chew their cud and have split hooves. So, yes, dairy cows are generally kosher animals, but there are instances in which they would not be. Continue reading “Kosher milk opens new markets for dairies”

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.”

Continue reading “Top dairy cooperative rebrands to give farmers an Edge”