- The Dairy Farmers of Wisconsin marketing team took home a Gold award for their Wisconsin Cheese brand activation at the 2019 Association of National Advertiser’s REGGIE Awards competition. Wisconsin Cheese was recognized for superior brand marketing along with some of the biggest brands in the world including Oreo, Coca-Cola, Cheetos, and Taco Bell. Their winning campaign was The World’s Longest Cheeseboard experience at South by Southwest in March 2018. The team later made history by officially setting a new GUINNESS WORLD RECORDS® title in August 2018.
- The U.S. Department of Agriculture is furthering its overall African Swine Fever preparedness efforts with the implementation of a surveillance plan. As part of this plan, the Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service will work with the swine industry, the states, and veterinary diagnostic laboratories to test for ASF.
- A new U.S. Department of Agriculture blueprint, published in Frontiers and Genetics, will serve as a guide for research and funding in animal genomics for 2018-2027 that will facilitate genomic solutions to enable producers to meet increasing future demands for animal products by a growing world population.
- Pre-registration for the 2019 Cattle Industry Summer Business Meeting July 29 – August 1 in Denver, CO, is now open. Register by Friday, July 12, or on-site beginning Monday, July 29. The Cattle Industry Summer Business Meeting media room is among the best in agriculture, with comfortable work space and ready high-speed internet access. NCBA staff will be available to help you line up interviews and answer questions about current events and industry topics. Full registration cost is provided for working editorial media covering the conference. The only charge is for spouses, guests or any special events. This complimentary registration is reserved for working media on assignment. Find the full conference schedule here.
The American Feed Industry Association (AFIA) honored award winners and elected officers during its annual spring meeting in Orlanda, Fla.
The organization named T.J. Biggs, director of technical services and quality assurance at Global Animal Products, its Member of the Year. The Member of the Year Award is presented to an AFIA member who exhibits outstanding support in achieving the organization’s goals and objectives throughout the year.
Bill Barr, president of Bill Barr & Company, accepted the 2019 Distinguished Service Award. The Distinguished Service Award is AFIA’s highest honor and is typically given to the elite members of the U.S. animal food industry who have provided outstanding support to AFIA and the entire animal food industry throughout their careers.
Tim Belstra, chairman of Belstra Milling Co., is the AFIA new chairman. His one-year term is effective through the end of AFIA’s fiscal year April 30, 2020. Scott Druker of Church & Dwight Company, Inc. is chair-elect of the organization and will succeed Belstra in May 2020.
More plant-based products are entering the marketplace labeled as butter, and the dairy industry wants to put a stop to that practice. American Butter Institute Executive Director Tom Balmer said these products are mislabeled based on the standard of identity that exists for butter.
“The butter standard of identity, which is the only federal food standard established by an act of Congress, and it’s the oldest food standard that’s still in effect in the United States, requires that the product be made from cream and be not less than 80 percent milk fat in the finished product,” said Balmer.
He added that butter has a very simple ingredient list.
“Virtually no product has as clean a label as butter, in the case of salted butter being cream and salt – two ingredients,” he said.
Balmer attributes the increase in these types of products coming into the marketplace to a decline in sales of margarine and vegetable spreads, while per capita consumption of butter continues to increase. He said the dairy industry has no problem with these products, but disagrees with labeling them as butter instead of margarine or some other kind of spread.
Listen to Carrie’s interview with Tom here: Interview with Tom Balmer, American Butter Institute
The program recognizes dairy farms, businesses and partnerships whose practices improve the well-being of people, animals and the planet.
Through creative problem solving, this year’s winners addressed environmentally beneficial production practices, resource and energy reduction as well as the essential role of dairy in bringing quality nutrition to food insecure populations.
The 2019 U.S. Dairy Sustainability Awards winners are:
Outstanding Dairy Farm Sustainability
Cinnamon Ridge Farms (Donahue, Iowa)
Majestic Crossing Dairy (Sheboygan Falls, Wisconsin)
Philip Verwey Farms (Hanford, California)
Outstanding Dairy Supply Chain Collaboration
General Mills and Foremost Farms (Reed City, Michigan)
Outstanding Community Impact
Gleaners Community Food Bank (Detroit)
The U.S. Dairy Sustainability Awards program is supported by generous sponsors. This year’s sponsors are: DeLaval, Phibro Animal Health, Syngenta, USDA and World Wildlife Fund.
ONE: The Alltech Ideas Conference (#ONE19) has some big name keynote speakers but the biggest is Dr. Mark Lyons, President and CEO, Alltech. I spoke with Mark to get a preview of this year’s conference. I’ve been attending this annual event since 2007 and it has continued to grow with an expectation of a record attendance this year according to him. I’m looking forward to seeing many friends from around the world that I’ve met at the annual event. BTW, Cindy will be with me for the first time this year.
Here is some information about what to expect at ONE this year.
ONE: The Alltech Ideas Conference (ONE19) returns May 19–21, 2019, in Lexington, Kentucky, to welcome everyday heroes united by the search for inspiration, motivation and ONE meaningful idea. ONE19 is a unique global conference that transcends culture and industry, presenting innovation-driven solutions for overcoming challenges in agriculture, business, health and wellness, brewing and distilling, and everyday life.
Keynote speakers who will anchor ONE’s 35th annual exploration of transformative ideas include Bear Grylls and Chris Zook.
Alltech’s flagship conference is attended annually by nearly 4,000 people from over 70 countries who gather to dream bigger and explore solutions to improve their businesses and the world around them. The conference experience extends beyond superior presentation content, as attendees are invited to embark on area tours throughout the Bluegrass State and network with peers from across the globe.
While world-class speakers will light up the plenary stage with universal themes of perseverance and achievement, subject- and species-specific breakout sessions with industry experts give attendees an opportunity to explore their particular fields, including aquaculture, beef, crop science, dairy, pig, poultry, equine, health and wellness, business, and brewing and distilling.
Listen to my interview with Mark here: Interview with Dr. Mark Lyons, Alltech
- With research confirming that swine viruses can be transmitted through feed and feedstuffs, new studies are looking at how to prevent the spread of foreign animal diseases, such as African swine fever, via these vehicles. Based on new research, the Swine Health Information Center, the National Pork Board, the National Pork Producers Council and the American Association of Swine Veterinarians have revised the information for feed holding times.
- Plant-based imitations of butter and other dairy products pose an increasing challenge for consumer understanding in the butter sector, which is dealing with proliferating imposters even as butter’s popularity grows. The American Butter Institute filed a lengthy complaint to the FDA in September calling out imitators. It also supports the National Milk Producers Federation’s citizen petition with the agency filed in February, outlining a road map toward a constructive resolution of the problem of mislabeled, fake dairy products. That petition may be accessed here.
- The Innovation Center for U.S. Dairy, established under the leadership of dairy farmers and leading companies, announced its eighth annual U.S. Dairy Sustainability Award winners during a May 8 ceremony in Rosemont, Illinois. The 2019 U.S. Dairy Sustainability Awards winners are: Cinnamon Ridge Farms (Donahue, Iowa); Majestic Crossing Dairy (Sheboygan Falls, Wisconsin); Philip Verwey Farms (Hanford, California); General Mills and Foremost Farms (Reed City, Michigan); and Gleaners Community Food Bank (Detroit).
- An official manual for the Beef Quality Assurance program that is both detailed and extensive is now being distributed nationwide throughout the cattle industry. The manual and the BQA Program are both managed by the producer education team at the National Cattlemen’s Beef Association, a contractor to the Beef Checkoff.
- The U.S. Poultry & Egg Association and the American Farm Bureau Foundation for Agriculture, with funding provided by the USPOULTRY Foundation, have launched a new My American Farm game, along with a supporting lesson plan, an activity sheet and an eComic. The An Egg-Citing Poultry Adventure game and resources were developed to help third through fifth grade students better understand the poultry and egg industry, with students adventuring through the progression of stages in poultry and egg production in the game.
The flood waters may be receding, but the damage from them still remains and Nebraska farmers and ranchers will need help for some time yet to rebuild. “Stay Strong Nebraska” is an initiative created to do just that, providing easy access to the Nebraska Farm Bureau Disaster Relief Fund and Nebraska Cattlemen Disaster Relief Fund with all donations remaining in the state.
Federal officials estimate the bomb cyclone weather phenomenon and subsequent flooding caused $1.4 billion in damages in the state of Nebraska. The damage assessment accounts for livestock, crop loss and infrastructure damage, but does not reflect personal property losses such as homes and farm buildings. Steve Nelson, president of Nebraska Farm Bureau, has met with dozens of families in many of the agricultural communities impacted by the recent storms. Listen to the update he gave on the situation at last week’s Water for Food Conference in Lincoln.
Nebraska Cattlemen is also taking action to help ranchers and cattlemen. Pete McClymont, executive vice president of Nebraska Cattlemen, said the response from the community has been generous and heart-warming. “Gifts received by Nebraska Cattlemen Disaster Relief Fund will be disbursed to cattle producers in need, regardless of membership in Nebraska Cattlemen,” said McClymont. “This entire process has been very humbling knowing some cattlemen and women that were heavily impacted have already turned away assistance. We want every rancher, farmer, producer that has been impacted to know there are monies for qualified applicants. Every dollar given to a fund was donated with those impacted in mind.”
Nebraska-based agency Swanson Russell is helping with the effort and has created some media materials for use, including radio and TV spots, and are encouraging people to use them and spread the word that donations are still needed.
The American Feed Industry Association has Constance Cullman to succeed Joel Newman as president and chief executive officer of the association, upon his retirement later this year. She will also become the president of the industry’s public charity, the Institute for Feed Education and Research. Cullman will officially join AFIA on July 29.
Cullman currently serves as president of Farm Foundation, the seventh person to lead the organization in its 86-year history. She has served as President of the Foundation since June 2016. “Over the past three years with Constance leading the team, Farm Foundation has strengthened its role as a convener of all voices in the food and agriculture sector and as a source of objective analyses,” said Joe Swedberg, Chairman of the Farm Foundation Board of Directors. Swedberg has appointed a search committee to begin the process of finding a successor.
- Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue announced the availability of a new web-based tool – developed in partnership with the University of Wisconsin – to help dairy producers evaluate various scenarios using different coverage levels through the new Dairy Margin Coverage program.
- The National Cattlemen’s Beef Association welcomed the introduction of S. 1255, the Transporting Livestock Across America Safely Act, legislation in the U.S. Senate aimed at reforming federal Hours of Service rules in a way that ensures animal welfare, highway safety, and the well-being of livestock haulers.
- The National Pork Board is accepting applications through May 22 for the Agricultural Marketing Fellowship. Students who are accepted for full-time enrollment in a graduate/professional school program for the 2019-2020 academic year are encouraged to apply.
Former USDA Deputy Secretary Krysta Harden has been named Executive Vice President of Global Environmental Strategy of Dairy Management Inc. (DMI).
Harden will collaborate with DMI and Innovation Center leadership to define an inspiring vision, strategy and plan forward for U.S. dairy’s environmental commitment. She will also provide executive leadership on the Innovation Center’s Environmental Stewardship Committee. The committee convenes the dairy value chain including farmers to identify priorities, goals and metrics, align on best practices, identify gaps in science and innovation, and develop resources and outreach to accelerate adoption and report progress.
Harden most recently served as senior vice president of External Affairs and chief sustainability officer for Corteva Agriscience, an agriculture division of DowDuPont. Before joining DuPont, Harden spent nearly three years as deputy secretary for Department of Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack, helping to shape food and agriculture policy.