Feast & Famine in the ag industry — December 2017

By MAA

FAMINE: In the state of Wisconsin, no other industry gets close to the $44 billion annually generated by the dairy industry.

According to the University of Wisconsin, the business of milk has more impact in the state than the citrus industry does to Florida or the potato sector does to Idaho.

So when the head of the state’s largest business lobby — Kurt Bauer of Wisconsin Manufacturers and Commerce — recently floated the idea of removing “America’s Dairyland” from Wisconsin license plates, one can justifiably question whether he’s lost the credibility to lead the organization. Continue reading “Feast & Famine in the ag industry — December 2017”

Column: No, I don’t want the organic version

By Carlie Ostrom
For MAA

It’s rare to walk into an urban restaurant or market without being bombarded by signs touting cage-free eggs, pasture-raised beef, or GMO-free wheat. I didn’t always run into “foodie” culture, however. I grew up in Wisconsin, where I spent my summers showing cattle and giving tours of my family’s dairy farms.

Since my departure from home for college two years ago, I’ve lived in Philadelphia, Chicago and San Francisco. I must admit, it’s still shocking to see how adamant my new urban peers are about food standards considering their lack of connection to the agricultural world. People genuinely believe that their food is better for them and better for the world if its production methods are old-fashioned. I’m going to deconstruct this view: If we’re looking at it from a consequentialist standpoint, modern farming is actually better for everyone  —  farmers, consumers, animals  and the Earth. Continue reading “Column: No, I don’t want the organic version”

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”

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.

Continue reading “Feast & Famine in the ag industry”