Support for Dairy Sustainability Efforts Broadens

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Screen Shot 2014-10-16 at 4.59.34 PMThe Innovation Center for U.S. Dairy®, established under the leadership of dairy farmers, announced that McDonald’s Corporation has joined the U.S. Dairy Sustainability Awards program as a new silver-level sponsor in support of U.S. dairy farmers and the industry’s sustainability efforts. Tetra Pak, Inc. also has committed to a second year of sponsorship.

With two new award categories and an expanded judging panel, the 2015 awards program reflects the fact that organizations, from farm to table, are increasingly working together toward a sustainable food system.

The awards, which launched four years ago, recognize outstanding dairy farms, businesses and partnerships for socially responsible, economically viable and environmentally sound practices. These practices, large and small, are steps that add up to promote the health and well-being of consumers, communities, cows, employees, the planet and business. Nominations are open through Nov. 7, 2014.

“Dairy sustainability is about more than just a carbon footprint. It is about our positive contributions to alleviate hunger, ensure the vitality of our communities, protect natural resources and more,” said Barbara O’Brien, president of the Innovation Center. “We are inspired by the powerhouse of thought leaders who also are committed to solving the country’s food, energy and water challenges, and are joining our effort.”

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Ag Group, award, Dairy Jamie JohansenSupport for Dairy Sustainability Efforts Broadens

Drive with Caution During Harvest Season

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Screen Shot 2014-10-16 at 10.13.48 AMIt’s harvest season in Georgia and more farm equipment will be heading out across the state as farmers transport equipment and produce between fields and processing areas. Because farm equipment is designed to be used primarily in the field and not for typical highway speeds, motorists can be caught off guard when traveling rural roads this time of year.

The Governor’s Office of Highway Safety and the Georgia Department of Agriculture are teaming up for the fourth year to remind motorists and farmers to use caution during harvest time.

“We want drivers who are navigating our rural roads to be mindful of tractors and other farm equipment that may be transporting harvest from field to field,” GOHS Director Harris Blackwood said. “In rural regions around farmland, speed limits are higher, and motorists should be aware that this is the season when field equipment is sharing the asphalt with motor vehicles.”

Motorists are urged to slow down when they approach a slow-moving vehicle. If a vehicle is traveling at 55 mph and comes upon a tractor that’s moving at just 15 mph, it only takes 5 seconds to close a gap the length of a football field between the vehicle and tractor.

“These fatalities are 100 percent avoidable,” said Agriculture Commissioner Gary Black. “Farming is a crucial aspect of Georgia commerce and agriculture. We need to ensure that these farm workers can do their jobs safely to get food on our tables and contribute to a safe and prosperous harvest season in Georgia.”

Farmers should mark any equipment that travels on the road with a slow moving vehicle triangle. The triangle is orange with a red border and is reflective. Unfortunately, fewer than 30 percent of drivers know what this symbol means, but it’s a matter of life and death for motorists and farm equipment operators on rural roads. The symbol is meant to notify motorists that the vehicle travels at speeds of 25 mph or less. It’s a reflector, but also a warning for motorists to slow down.

Ag Group, Farm Safety, Harvest Jamie JohansenDrive with Caution During Harvest Season

Five Nations Beef Alliance Statement on TPP

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ncba-logoThe Five Nations Beef Alliance* concluded a successful meeting and tour in south Texas last week, capped by the unanimous endorsement of a public statement calling for all Trans-Pacific Partnership nations to support ‘gold standard outcomes’ for beef that do not sacrifice important reforms for political expediency.

The annual meeting, hosted by the National Cattlemen’s Beef Association, unites beef industry leaders from the United States, Canada, Mexico, Australia and New Zealand. This year, members of the group toured several Texas beef value chain operations, including McFaddin Enterprises Ltd., a fifth-generation ranch operated by NCBA President Bob McCan; King Ranch; Graham Land & Cattle, a 30,000 head feedlot; and Capitol Land & Livestock, one of the largest livestock dealers in the United States. The group also visited HEB, an important retail partner which offers a wide variety of beef cuts to consumers.

“The opportunity to bring producer leaders from across the world to Texas and showcase the beef industry in the United States was an honor for me and my family,” said McCan. “During the course of the week, we formed working relationships that cross political boundaries and it’s those relationships that will benefit our producers in the United States as we work together to find common ground in the future.” McCan pointed to the endorsement of the TPP statement as a sign that FNBA is already fulfilling the ambitious goals set out for the group.

“The statement we issued this week, calling for ‘gold standard’ outcomes for beef, is an indication of the strength of these relationships,” he said. “Science-based trade standards are something that benefit the global beef industry and if we can agree to place that ambition above political expediency, cattlemen and women in each of the five nations will be better served.”

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Ag Group, Beef, Export, Government, International, NCBA Jamie JohansenFive Nations Beef Alliance Statement on TPP

Winter Calf Barn Ventilation 101

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PurinaCLF_Positive pressure ventilation system_090414Many calf barns rely on natural ventilation to provide clean, fresh air to calf pens. But, as the weather cools down and winter approaches, there can be a tendency to close the doors, windows and curtains on the calf barn in an effort to reduce drafts. Preventing cold air from blowing on calves can help keep calves warm, but when buildings are closed proper air exchange to keep calves healthy through the winter months can be prohibited.

“If you fail to get good ventilation or adequate air exchange in calf barns, you get a build-up of dust, pathogens and moisture in the air,” says Gary Geisler, calf and heifer specialist with Purina Animal Nutrition. “A build-up of ammonia can occur and cause irritation to the respiratory system of calves.”

Geisler cautions that if close attention is not paid to ventilation, a breakout of pneumonia or another respiratory disease could occur. Symptoms that might indicate a respiratory infection include: coughing, nasal discharge and watery eyes.

The goal for wintertime ventilation is to have a minimum of four interior air exchanges per hour in calf barns, which can be provided by a positive pressure ventilation system. A well-designed system will deliver fresh air to the immediate environment of the calf without creating a draft.

“A positive pressure ventilation system supplies fresh, outside air into the calf barn and distributes the air evenly throughout the barn,” says Geisler. “In barns with individual calf pens this is especially important because the system is designed to move air into “dead spots” – areas where the air may be stagnant, such as between solid calf pen panels. Stagnant air can harbor airborne pathogens.”

Positive pressure ventilation systems when designed properly can run 24 hours per day, even in cold weather. While positive pressure ventilation systems can be a great solution for providing air exchange throughout your barn, Geisler cautions that these systems are “not one size fits all.”

“Positive pressure ventilation systems should be designed based on the number of calves, size of building, dimensions of the barn, layout of the calf pens and more,” says Geisler. “It takes precise planning to achieve even distribution of air throughout the facility, but no drafts.”

The Dairyland Initiative, a University of Wisconsin School of Veterinary Medicine outreach program, provides resources that can assist dairy producers in properly planning a ventilation system. A list of trained designed consultants throughout the U.S., Canada and beyond can be found online.

Agribusiness, calf, Calves, Dairy, Weather Jamie JohansenWinter Calf Barn Ventilation 101

Center for Food Integrity at Premier Dairy Event

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Arnot PhotoThe Professional Dairy Managers of Pennsylvania and the Center for Dairy Excellence are gearing up to host the premier dairy educational event in Pennsylvania known as the Pennsylvania Dairy Summit. The 2015 event is being held February 4-5 at the Lancaster Marriot in the historical part of Lancaster City in Penn Square.

On Wednesday, February 4, the general session will feature Charlie Arnot, chief executive officer of the Center for Food Integrity. This organization was established in 2007 to help build consumer trust and confidence in today’s food system.

Arnot will discuss emerging issues and their impact on our food supply. He will discuss GMOs, food safety and security requirements, and other issues that could affect our ability to meet demand. He will also lead an additional breakout session on how to talk to the non-ag public about GMOs and their role in the marketplace.

The Hershey Company will share a business showcase and to look at their best management practices in the marketplace. They are the global leaders in the market for confectionary sugars, employ 13,000 people around the world and have been dedicated to delivering high quality products with excellence for the past 120 years.

Registration information will be available in November, with a block of rooms currently being held at the Lancaster Marriott. Please call 814-355-2467 or email info@padairysummit.org for additional questions and information.

Ag Group, Dairy, Education, Events Jamie JohansenCenter for Food Integrity at Premier Dairy Event

RFS’s Uncertainty Caused by EPA Hurting Communities?

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New Holland ZimmPollOur latest ZimmPoll asked the question, “Are you ready for MyFarmRadio on your mobile device?”

Don’t worry if you are part of the majority and have never heard of MyFarmRadio. We won’t accuse you of living under a rock just yet, because it is still very new. On November 3rd the new platform MyFarmRadio will launch. The 24/7 digital mobile radio channel will focus on a mix of best-in-class news, weather and markets along with entertaining and informative conversation for America’s farmers and ranchers. The app will allow listeners to pick and choose what they want to hear – and when they want to hear it.

Here are the poll results:

  • Yes, plan to get the app – 22%
  • Yes, want to know more – 17%
  • No, only listen on my radio – 6%
  • No, get my farm news other ways – 22%
  • What’s MyFarmRadio? – 33%

Our new ZimmPoll is now live and asks the question, Has the uncertainty for the RFS caused by the EPA hurt your community?

The Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS) has been facing more than a year of uncertainty as the biofuels industry waits for the final 2014 rule that will determine the final renewable fuel volumes. Renewable fuel categories include ethanol, biodiesel, cellulosic and advanced biofuels. What impact has this had on your community?

ZimmPoll Jamie JohansenRFS’s Uncertainty Caused by EPA Hurting Communities?

RaboBank Global Pork Industry Report

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Rabobank_logoRabobank has published a new report on the global pork industry, saying that heated international markets are slowly cooling down.

In the report, the bank’s Food & Agribusiness Research team says that, although the peak of the 2014 porcine epidemic diarrhoea virus (PEDv) outbreak is past, the global pork industry faces another challenge from the Russian import ban affecting EU, U.S., and Canadian markets, which is resulting in a rapidly changing trade landscape.

Rabobank says that beneficiaries of the ban include Brazil, which has seen a 30% per kilogram price surge, while the EU has seen prices drop by 9% with no sign of recovery. Even taking into account the positive impact of declining feed costs on margins, it will be a disappointing year for the EU pork industry, says Rabobank.

“As Russian markets will not open again until July next year, the wildcard next year will be the possible return of PEDv this winter, cutting back available hogs for slaughter in 2015,” says analyst Albert Vernooij.

Regional Outlooks:
– China: In China, subdued supply and rebounding demand will support market recovery and import growth towards the seasonal high in Q1 2015. In addition, with feed costs likely to decline next year, Chinese hog farmers are expected to finally make money.
– U.S.: PEDv induced surging pork prices where further supported by consumers trading down due to higher beef prices, thereby driving one of the highest margin periods in the industry’s history. Producers are looking to increase production in 2015. Risk factor may be the return of PEDv this winter.
– EU: The EU pork industry has experienced a very disappointing Q3, deteriorating from July with the extension of the Russian ban to competing exporters in the U.S. and Canada in combination with pressured consumption. Both consumption levels and export levels will remain under pressure for the remainder of the year.
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Agribusiness, Animal Health, economics, Export, Food, Pork, Swine Jamie JohansenRaboBank Global Pork Industry Report

Alltech Opens IFM Laboratory in China

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AlltechTeam_at_DFI_OpeningGlobal animal health leader Alltech is partnering with Nestlé in the creation of a world class training center, the Dairy Farming Institute in Shuangcheng, Heilongjiang province, China. Along with its participation in numerous educational initiatives and assistance in establishing best practices in Chinese agribusiness, Alltech is bringing its highly successful feed evaluation laboratory to the world’s fastest growing dairy market. The In Vitro Fermentation Model (IFM), a diagnostic tool that simulates rumen fermentation and evaluates the nutritive value of total mixed rations (TMR), will be featured in the Institute and will be one of the ways that Alltech helps to support the continued growth and transformation of the Chinese dairy industry.

The Institute, which officially opened today, will be offering a number of services to further develop future farm managers and professionals within the dairy industry. Through the IFM diagnostics, Chinese dairy nutritionists and farmers will not only be able to get evaluations and recommendations for dairy rations to maximize feed efficiency and combat ever-rising feed costs, but also obtain estimates of the amount of energy lost as methane and methane emissions per animal. In the rapidly developing Chinese dairy industry, such new technology helps dairy productivity to continue to improve while providing insight into new and more precise ways to evaluate feedstuffs and reduce environmental impact.

“We are proud to be part of Nestlé’s magnificent project in one of the most important regions of the Chinese dairy industry,” said Dr. Mark Lyons, global vice president, Alltech and director of Alltech China business operations. “I am confident that Alltech’s contribution, backed by 34 years of experience, will be significant in helping Chinese farmers sustainably increase their production efficiency and become more profitable.”

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Agribusiness, Alltech, Dairy, International, Research Jamie JohansenAlltech Opens IFM Laboratory in China

Molly’s Milk Truck Launches 1st Cold Brewed Almond Milk Coffee

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mollys-milk-truck-blackMolly’s Milk Truck Beverages LLC is thrilled to announce the debut of its café-style almondmilk beverages in select retail location in the New York City metropolitan area.

Molly’s Milk Truck combines creamy, California almondmilk with cold-brewed 100% Columbian coffee and exotic blends of imported chai to create four delicious flavors. Sweetened with organic agave nectar, each 12oz serving is naturally dairy-free, gluten-free, and 90 calories or less.

Years of heavy stress as the Director of Marketing at a security firm had taken its toll on the health of Molly’s CEO and Founder, Hoda Mahmoodzadegan. After gaining over 50lbs and becoming physically ill from stress, Hoda decided to quit her job and take a couple of months to get her health back in check by choosing better food options and exercising. While she was experimenting with healthy recipes, she accidentally invented her Signature Almondmilk Coffee after an early morning workout.

“I began playing with cold-brew coffee and almond milk in my kitchen because I was sick of the sugary garbage I was getting at the quick-serve coffee chains,” said Hoda. “When I came up with the recipe for our Signature Iced Coffee, I knew it was something special.”

In 2012, Hoda decided to open Molly’s Milk Truck, a healthy gourmet food truck, that featured the signature coffee and number of other healthy food and beverage items. The iced coffee, then sold in 16 oz. plastic cups, quickly became the truck’s bestseller. Molly’s Milk Truck has since teamed up with beverage brand managers and consultants Cascadia Managing Brands of Ramsey, NJ, the team responsible for assisting brands like Zico Coconut Water, HINT Water, Snapple, Nantucket Nectars, and Evian.

Molly’s Milk Truck beverages are distributed through Dora’s Naturals and will be available at Whole Foods locations throughout New York, New Jersey, and Connecticut.

Agribusiness, Milk Jamie JohansenMolly’s Milk Truck Launches 1st Cold Brewed Almond Milk Coffee

Farm to School & Cooperative Efforts

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iyffIn celebration of the United Nations’ 2014 International Year of Family Farming, this month National Farmers Union (NFU) is highlighting the importance of family farmers and local communities, as well as some of the tools available to help family farmers increase their economic footprint and clout. A great deal of emphasis is placed this month on cooperatives and farm to school efforts, as October is also both Farm to School Month and Cooperative Month.

“Family farmers are the engines that drive rural America, pumping millions of dollars into local communities as they purchase the inputs they need for their farms,” said NFU President Roger Johnson.

Johnson noted that as a result, farm output continues to rise, with market values of crops, livestock and agriculture products reaching record highs in 2012. According to the recent Census of Agriculture, 87 percent of U.S. farms are owned by families or individuals, and in 2012, there were 2.1 million farms in the U.S, with an average farm size of 418 acres. But according to that same census, those numbers of farms are falling, down more than four percent from 2007, while the average farm size has continued to grow.

“Clearly, NFU has a role to play in ensuring that family farmers remain competitive and productive in the ever-changing and increasingly competitive environment they operate in.” Johnson explained that one of the best tools available to family farmers to pool their resources and multiply both their buying and selling powers is through their involvement in farm cooperatives.

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Ag Group, cooperatives, Education, Farming Jamie JohansenFarm to School & Cooperative Efforts