Archive for May, 2011

NDPO Takes Plan to D.C.

Members of the National Dairy Producer Organization (NDPO) will take a draft of proposed dairy legislation to Washington, D.C. this week, hoping to find sponsors in Congress. The plan includes minimum milk prices based on cost of production, establishes base milk production levels, requires lower somatic cell counts and higher fluid milk total solids and butterfat standards, in limits imports.

Read the letter and bill here:


California, Iowa Haystocks Lowest in Decades

USDA estimated all hay stored on U.S. farms as of May 1, 2011 totaled 22.2 million tons, up 6% from a year ago and the largest May 1 total since 2005. The news among major western dairy states wasn’t so good, however.

 While hay stocks increased across much of the nation’s midsection, the largest percentage declines were in the western half of the United States, led by California, Idaho and Nevada. At 160,000 tons, California’s May 1 hay stocks were the smallest since at least 1999; Idaho stocks, at 280,000 tons, were the smallest since 2001; and, at just 46,000 tons, Nevada’s total is the smallest since 1999. Stocks were also sharply lower along the Atlantic Coast. 

Lingering winter weather conditions in many western states forced producers to feed livestock longer into the spring months. Drought conditions in many areas along the Atlantic Coast caused a lack of available winter pastures. 

In contrast, Texas, at 2.5 million tons, had the largest May 1, on-farm hay inventory since 2008; Wisconsin, at 1.12 million tons, had the most since 2007.

 U.S. hay disappearance (a proxy for use) from Dec. 1, 2010-May 1, 2011 totaled 79.9 million tons, compared with 86.3 million tons for the same period a year ago. 

The hay stocks estimates included in USDA’s May 11 Crop Production report.

Dairy, Energy Organizations Announce Research Effort

Rosemont, Ill. — Representatives of the U.S. dairy industry announced an agreement to work jointly with a national energy research laboratory to advance the science and best management practices of renewable energy, environmental stewardship and life cycle analysis of dairy systems and processes.

The Innovation Center for U.S. Dairy™, the Dairy Research Institute™and Idaho’s Center for Advanced Energy Studies (CAES) are working to develop a national research program focused on enhancing the economic viability of dairy farms and rural communities.

“This partnership directly aligns with the dairy industry’s science-based effort to measure and improve the sustainability of the U.S. dairy industry, across every segment of the supply chain,” said Kevin Ponticelli, chair of the Dairy Research Institute and senior executive vice president of the Innovation Center for U.S. Dairy and Dairy Management Inc.™, which manages the dairy checkoff on behalf of the nation’s farmers. “The only way that we can accomplish this commitment is by working with and through partners like CAES to leverage the latest data, current and emerging technologies, and innovative thinking and practices.”

CAES is a national research partnership representing the U.S. Department of Energy, Idaho National Laboratory and the state of Idaho through its research universities. As part of the research program, CAES and the Innovation Center will bring together the science-based information and funding needed to accelerate the development and the commercialization of innovative technologies for the dairy industry.

“I’m pleased that the Innovation Center and our state resources through the CAES national research partnership are working collaboratively on renewable energy, sustainability and environmental impacts of the national dairy industry,” said U.S. Rep. Mike Simpson of Idaho, chairman of the House Appropriations Subcommittee on Interior and the Environment. “The combined effort of private industry with state and federal partners is an example of sound use of public and private resources on behalf of Idaho and the rest of the United States.”

The agreement outlines the following key partnership objectives:

•Collect baseline data on nutrient and manure management practices to assist in the identification of best practices for dairy farms

•Identify opportunities for dairy farms of all sizes to increase renewable energy production through anaerobic digesters, gasification and composting

•Research best management practices for farm-based renewable energy production on small, medium and large farms

•Analyze the U.S. utility grid infrastructure, electric rates and renewable energy incentives applicable to dairy farm operations

•Identify opportunities to increase funding of national research on sustainable dairy practices, manure management, substrates, renewable energy technologies and smart grid applications

•Facilitate technology-based economic development

“The collaboration between CAES, the Innovation Center and Dairy Research Institute will pursue the development of research and pilot project funding sources and facilitate technology-based economic development, which is a priority of the U.S. Department of Energy,” said Dr. Harold Blackman, director of the Center for Advanced Energy Studies. “Through this industrywide effort, CAES will serve as a model for other U.S. Department of Energy labs in the advancement of sustainability research and transfer of technology to the broader industry.”

Mike Roth, an Idaho dairy farmer, president of the Idaho Dairymen’s Association and board member of the Dairy Research Institute, said the outcomes of this cross-industry partnership could greatly benefit dairy farms across the country.

“As one of the largest dairy-producing states in the country, we’re happy to see a national relationship like this develop in our own backyard,” said Roth. “Making the most efficient use of natural resources, such as energy, water and waste byproducts, not only contributes to profitability, it also lessens environmental impact.”


The Center for Advanced Energy Studies (CAES) is a partnership between the Department of Energy through the Idaho National Laboratory and Idaho’s public research universities, Boise State University, Idaho State University and the University of Idaho. Through this collaborative structure, CAES combines its partner’s capabilities to execute energy research, promote education programs, conduct public policy analysis, and facilitate technology-based economic development. Bioenergy is one of CAES’ primary focus areas; each year, CAES commits resources to the study of total biomass solutions such as dairy management technologies that yield both bioenergy and bio-products while mitigating environmental consequences.

Innovation Center for U.S. Dairy™provides a forum for the dairy industry to work together pre-competitively to address barriers and opportunities to foster innovation and increase sales. The Innovation Center aligns the collective resources of the industry to offer consumers nutritious dairy products and ingredients, and promote the health of people, communities, the planet and the industry. The Innovation Center was established in 2008 under the leadership of America’s dairy farmers through Dairy Management Inc.™, a nonprofit organization. The board of directors includes 32 leaders from 30 key U.S. producer organizations, dairy cooperatives, processors, manufacturers and brands.

Dairy Research Institute™ is a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization affiliated with the Innovation Center for U.S. Dairy™ and was created to strengthen the dairy industry’s access to and investment in the technical research required to drive innovation and demand for dairy products and ingredients, globally. The Institute works with and through industry, academic, government and commercial partners to drive pre-competitive research in nutrition, products and sustainability on behalf of the Innovation Center for U.S. Dairy™ and the National Dairy Council®.

WMMB Election Results

MADISON, Wis. (May 9, 2011) — Ben Brancel, Secretary of the Wisconsin Department of Agriculture, Trade and Consumer Protection (DATCP), certified today the results of the Wisconsin Milk Marketing Board (WMMB) 2011 Board of Directors election.

There were 12 candidates running for nine board member positions. Of the 4,672 dairy producers in the election districts, 14.6% returned valid mail-in ballots. That number is down from 25.6% in 2010 and 16.7% during the 2009 elections. Each licensed dairy operation within the affected district received one vote.

Commencing July 1, the following dairy producers will begin to serve a three-year term as elected members of the WMMB:

District 1: Ashland, Bayfield, Burnett, Douglas, Iron, Rusk, Sawyer and Washburn Counties, Benjamin Peterson, Four Cubs Farm, Grantsburg, WI

District 4: Barron and Polk Counties,Lyle Jensen, Jens-Gold Farm, Amery, WI

District 7: Clark County, David Bangart, Viaduct Holsteins, Greenwood, WI

District 10: Brown, Door and Kewaunee Counties, John T. Pagel, Pagel’s Ponderosa Dairy, Kewaunee, WI

District 13: Buffalo, Pierce and Pepin Counties, Lanette Harsdorf, Trim-Bel Valley Dairy, Beldenville, WI

District 16: Fond du Lac, Green Lake and Marquette Counties, David Schmitz, Schmitz’s East Branch Dairy, Fond du Lac, WI

District 19 Columbia and Dodge Counties, Michael Scott Zastrow, West Crest Dairy, Mayville, WI

District 22 Grant County, Mary Wackershauser, Wack-E-View Registered Holsteins, Lancaster, WI

District 25, Green, Rock and Walworth Counties, Stacy Eberle, Eb-Acres, Monroe, WI

WMMB directors guide the organization’s finances, formulate and set its policies and long-range business plan, and maintain its mission: To help grow demand for Wisconsin milk by providing programs that enhance the competitiveness of the Wisconsin Dairy Industry. Through these initiatives, a WMMB director has the opportunity to represent Wisconsin dairy farmers and products, as well as to become involved in activities that inform and educate consumers.

For more information on WMMB and the 2011 election, visit The site also contains newly elected director bio information.





Somatic Cell Count Proposal Defeated by NCIMS

BALTIMORE, MD – The National Milk Producers Federation’s proposal to reduce the maximum level of somatic cell counts in milk – a measure of milk quality – was rejected today by the National Conference on Interstate Milk Shipments (NCIMS), which has just concluded its biennial meeting here in Baltimore.

NMPF had asked the NCIMS voting delegates – a group of state regulators overseeing milk safety rules – to reduce the maximum threshold of allowable somatic cells in milk at the farm level from the current 750,000 cells/mL, down to 400,000, starting in 2014. But on a vote of 26-25, the voting delegates rejected the proposal, meaning that the status quo threshold of 750,000 cells will remain.

“Since it’s been nearly 20 years since the current standard was established, we believed it was time to make changes that improve the nation’s milk supply,” said Jamie Jonker, NMPF Vice President of Scientific and Regulatory Affairs. “It’s regrettable that this approach isn’t the one taken by NCIMS. However, we’re confident that the trend towards lower Somatic Cell Counts will continue, regardless of the vote today.”

Jonker said that legislation to reduce the somatic cell count (SCC) level has been introduced in Congress, and that international buyers are also looking at U.S. SCC levels with greater scrutiny. Those pressures “may result in changes to SCC limits being forced by a process outside of the NCIMS, which would be unfortunate if it results in regulations that are not as workable for dairy farmers.”

The National Milk Producers Federation, based in Arlington, VA, develops and carries out policies that advance the well being of dairy producers and the cooperatives they own. The members of NMPF’s 31 cooperatives produce the majority of the U.S. milk supply, making NMPF the voice of more than 40,000 dairy producers on Capitol Hill and with government agencies. For more on NMPF’s activities, visit our website at

California’s April Class 4 Prices Announced

California’s April 2011 Class 4a milk price was announced at $19.45/cwt., up 39 cents from March 2011, and $5.96 more than April 2010. 

The April 4b price is $14.34/cwt, down $2.42 from March 2011, but $2.04 more than April 2010.

Through the first four months of 2011, price averages and changes compared to the same period of 2010 are:

Class 4a: $18.22, +4.99; Class 4b: $15.13/cwt., +$2.85.