ADC shines spotlight on Dairy Revenue Protection program

The current level of risk protection on milk price is obvious with the severe loss of financial stability in the dairy industry. Now, a new program called the Dairy Revenue Protection soon will be available to protect dairy farmers from from low milk prices.
The American Dairy Coalition will discuss the new program during its dairy outlook forum held during the World Dairy Expo from noon to 1:30 p.m. on Oct. 4.
John Newton, chief economist with the American Farm Bureau Foundation, will explain how the Dairy Revenue Protection program works and what farmers need to know. Sign up for the program begins Oct. 9.
Other key topics to be discussed during the forum include:
AG and Legal Workforce Act update: ADC CEO Laurie Fischer will discuss how wage inflation and lack of workers mean the industry can no longer wait for a new H-2C visa program. The AG and Legal Workforce Act would create a way to allow workers already in the U.S. and new workers to use a viable guest-worker program on dairy operations.
The Integrity of Milk: Kim Bremmer, a member of the ADC Executive Advisory Committee and owner of Ag Inspiration, will discuss how plant-based manufacturers continue to tap in to the reputation and nutritional value the dairy industry has built around the word “milk.” She’ll look at whether these manufacturers will be allowed to continue confusing consumers.
To RSVP for the presentation, click here. Seats are limited.


ADC: Enough is enough: Protect milk’s integrity

By American Dairy Coalition
As a dairy farmer, you know the hard work that goes into making that gallon of milk in the grocery story dairy case. Wholesome and nutritious, that gallon of milk represents the culmination of generations of hard work — expanding and growing the family business. Milk is what your life revolves around; milking the cows, working the fields, caring for the animals. So, as a member of the dairy industry, we take that word “milk” seriously.

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Trotter: Supply management for U.S. dairy? We’ll pass

By Tim Trotter
Edge Dairy Farmer Cooperative
Low milk prices. Widespread uncertainty. Vanishing equity.
Dairy farmers have had enough with the prolonged depression in the dairy economy. So much so that some are opening their ears to the clamor for a Canadian-style supply management system.
The willingness of U.S. farmers to even dream of what is being sold as a heavenly solution to the financial turmoil is understandable. For many, their livelihoods and legacies are at stake. But supply management is absolutely the wrong answer for our dairy community.

Hurry up and wait.
In Canada, most days there are waiting lists to become a dairy farmer. If you aren’t the son or daughter of a dairy farmer, good luck getting into the business. Even when a farmer is able to buy in through a government exchange, he or she rarely gets as big of a share as desired.
U.S. agriculture already faces challenges finding labor to run farms today, much less recruiting the next generation to continue. The U.S. Department of Agriculture charts a continued rise in the age of farmers. Between 1992 and 2012, the age rose eight years to 58. The next round of numbers will likely show the same trend. There are also fewer new farmers.
And, oh yeah, the cost of quota for a dairy farm in Canada would start in the tens of thousands of dollars — per cow. Good luck to a young newcomer with limited assets. It is hard to be a new dairy farmer in the United States. It is even harder in Canada. We do not want to head in that direction.

They are from the government and are here to help.
Ask almost any farmer their opinion of government, and you will likely hear that there is already too much of it. Although well intentioned, regulations often do more harm than good and just make life more complicated for farmers. Why would we want another part of our business controlled by the government?
Now, it only makes sense for dairy processors and the farmers who supply them to discuss demand. Cooperatives and private processors are already having those conversations. No farmer can operate in a vacuum. His or her decisions to grow or shift production must be in line with the market for the milk. Those business-to-business conversations should continue, but there is no need for the government to get in the middle. Experience has shown us this does not help.

An eagle and a beaver are different animals.
It is difficult to compare the United States’ dairy economy to Canada’s. The size and scale of each is radically different. Canada has a far smaller population and the domestic market for dairy there is smaller than that of California alone. There is a higher cost of living, high tax burden and elevated government spending. It would be hard to find many fans of any of these.
America is the land of opportunity, where anyone can pursue their dreams. Farmers, by nature, are independent. Why would we want to be beholden to the government to run our farms? We do not want the government to tell us how many cows we have, what we can do with them or who we can sell them to. The beauty of our dairy community is that we are free to farm at the size that works for our family and our goals.

Trade more; do better.
So, then, what do we do to turn things around?
Some dairy groups have been focused on the rebranding and retrofitting of the Margin Protection Program (MPP). It is great if these changes help more dairy farmers. However, our co-op’s lobbying efforts have never been focused on MPP. We believe farmers should have access to more diverse risk management options.
With that in mind, we supported lifting the enrollment cap on Livestock Gross Margin-Dairy and creating the Dairy Revenue Protection program. At the same time, we have tried to empower more farmers to use the financial markets to address risk management. Ultimately, risk management plays a role in profitably farming, but reducing the need for it by creating higher and more stable prices is preferable. There may not be an easy way to do that, but if we’re looking for a fix, history can be our guide.
The last periods of high prices coincided with record growth in exports. Trade alone will not solve all issues with milk price, of course, but it is hard to imagine a recovery that does not have growth in trade at its core. Our co-op has worked with others from agriculture and beyond to safeguard the gains we have made from agreements like the North American Free Trade Agreement, while also looking for new opportunities and markets.
We must look at bilateral trade agreements and can start by focusing on potentially large markets like the United Kingdom and Japan. There is also potential in several rapidly growing markets for dairy products.
There is no doubt that times are tough, but farmers are resilient. We must continue to work hard, adopt new technology and think creatively. And dismiss the calls for government control.
Tim Trotter is executive director of Edge Dairy Farmer Cooperative, which is based in Green Bay, Wis., and represents farms of all sizes in nine Midwestern states on federal dairy policy.

World Dairy Expo returns for 52nd year

By Tim Froberg
MADISON, Wis. — The World Dairy Expo is where the dairy industry connects and communicates.
Roughly 70,000 dairy enthusiasts, company representatives and industry leaders attend the event each year, and the 2018 Expo is expected to be bigger and better than ever. It is considered the world’s largest dairy-focused event and the trade show features exhibits from more than 800 companies across the world.
“It’s a place for people to network and get revitalized and energized about the (dairy) industry,” said Kristin Olson, WDE’s media relations manager.
If it’s dairy related, it’s probably going to be either discussed or displayed at the 52nd annual expo set for Oct. 2-6 at the Alliant Energy Center. The expo showcases North America’s top dairy cattle and the latest technologies in the industry. It features a world-class dairy cattle show and industry-themed contests, displays, exhibits and daily seminars ranging from how to launch a dairy business to robotics designed to create a more efficient business.

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Dairy Cares raises $1M for Children’s Hospital

Donors raise figures showing what Dairy Cares has raised for Children’s Hospital of Wisconsin during the past eight years.

After raising more than $1 million for Children’s Hospital of Wisconsin (CHW) over the last eight years, the simulation lab at the renowned medical center will be named in honor of the Dairy Cares organization.
The dairy community gathered for the annual Dairy Cares garden party on July 28 in De Pere, Wis., with the goal of supporting the Milwaukee-based hospital that provides medical services to all ages with 40 locations around the state. That dream became a reality as generous sponsors contributed $200,000 this year to bring the combined lifetime gift to $1,047,000.

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Editorial: Advice for activist Saratoga officials — Read your own newspapers

The Town of Saratoga in Wood County, Wis., recently received a well-deserved whack across the nose, delivered via the Wisconsin Supreme Court.
For more than five years, community officials attempted to exploit the legal system in an effort to prevent the development of the Golden Sands Dairy, which will eventually house 5,300 animals. They contend the manure will contaminate local drinking water.
In a 5-2 vote, the justices essentially upheld the common sense notion that plaintiffs can’t blame an operation that doesn’t yet exist for a problem that already does.

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Artisan cheesemakers unite, creating Mosaic Meadows

KAUKAUNA, Wis. – Three world-class cheese companies — Wisconsin-based La Clare Family Creamery and Saxon Creamery along with Verona, Pa.-based Lamagna Cheese Co. — have combined forces to create Mosaic Meadows, a company of family-operated cheesemakers.
The merger will allow each creamery to further expand its world-class artisanal product lines, while sharing resources in marketing, service and sales capabilities.

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Dairy Strong 2019 keynote speakers set

Molly Fletcher

GREEN BAY, Wis.  – Hundreds of dedicated members of the U.S. dairy community will gather again Jan. 23-24, 2019, at the Monona Terrace Community & Convention Center, in Madison, Wis., for the fifth annual Dairy Strong conference.
Conference organizers have announced the three keynote speakers for the 2019 event:
Molly Fletcher will serve as the opening keynote for Dairy Strong 2019. She was hailed as the “female Jerry Maguire” as she represented sport’s biggest names, including Hall of Fame pitcher John Smoltz, PGA TOUR golfer Matt Kuchar, broadcaster Erin Andrews and basketball coaches Tom Izzo and Doc Rivers.  Fletcher will call on her business wisdom, relationship experience and unwavering optimism to draw parallels to the dairy community.

Ken Schmidt

Back by popular demand is Ken Schmidt, the former director of communications for Harley-Davidson. He spoke at the first Dairy Strong conference in 2015 and he will return to make connections between the dairy community and his experience with one of the most celebrated turnarounds in corporate history.
Famed geopolitical strategist, Peter Zeihan will close the conference. His worldview marries the realities of geography and populations to a deep understanding of how global politics impact markets and economic trends.

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Dairy group warns of tariff dangers

Brody Stapel

GREEN BAY, Wis. — A group representing hundreds of Midwestern dairy farmers issued a statement today regarding the newly imposed tariffs by the United States on steel and aluminum from Canada, the European Union and Mexico. The tariffs, which took effect today, are causing retaliatory levies, including on U.S. cheese and yogurt exports.
“Dairy farmers and processors simply cannot afford a trade war that will choke off access to major partners,” said Brody Stapel, president of the board of directors for Edge Dairy Farmer Cooperative, who has a dairy farm in Cedar Grove, Wis. “This is especially true of Mexico, which buys nearly a quarter of all dairy products exported by the United States. That amounted to $1.3 billion last year, enough to support 1,500 dairy farms and 25,000 jobs. The stakes are high.

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Dairy-sponsored run/walk aids kids

By Michael Kuehl
Similar to America’s dairy industry, the nation’s running community finds itself in difficult circumstances.
While the competitive running sector doubled in demand and participation between 2005 and 2013, it more recently has struggled to maintain its customer base. While 19 million Americans participated in running events in 2013, the number fell just below 17 million just a few years later.
With these statistics, one probably wonders why, in 2017, would Dairy Cares of Wisconsin – a non-profit that benefits Children’s Hospital of Wisconsin – want to organize a Fun Run/Walk? The answer is simple — opportunity. We had an important story to tell and a critical cause to support, and whether we reached 250 people or 500, we knew we wanted to go beyond the dairy industry and reach out to the wider community.

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