Cows singled out again on gas emissions
Last year, a couple of scientific organizations in Boulder, Colo., made outlandish claims about gas emissions and cows. They concluded that cows contribute at least as much to the smog problem in Los Angeles, Calif., as automobiles. Read more. Somehow, I just couldn’t let that one slide. For one thing, the prevailing winds in the Los Angeles area are from west to east, which would carry ammonia and other gases away from the city ― toward the dairy farms that lie to the east. And, the study’s numbers on the amount of ammonia emissions potentially contributed by dairy cows didn’t add up... View Blog Post »
Blog: Lack of innovation has hurt milk sales
PHOENIX, Ariz. ― Everyone knows that fluid milk consumption has been declining for years. A major reason: Lack of innovation among milk processors. I want to thank Alan Bernon, senior advisor and president of the affiliate division at Dairy Farmers of America, for providing clarity on this at an industry meeting this week in Phoenix. Bernon participated in a panel discussion on innovation and was brave enough to field the moderator's $64,000 question: Why didn’t milk processors see the need to innovate sooner? For years, processors didn’t think they had to because milk was a product with so many positive attributes, Bernon said.... View Blog Post »
Blog: Something big is coming
MADISON, Wis. ― About 35 people crowded into an outdoor tent last Friday to get an idea where milk prices may be heading. They may have been disappointed when the speaker didn’t predict an exact price, instead giving a possible range of $14 to $22. But the speaker had a point: There is uncertainty ahead and dairy producers need to be ready for every eventuality. There was an additional note: “We don’t know where prices are going, but we really believe something big is coming,” Matt Mattke, commodity consultant with Stewart-Peterson, told those attending the seminar. Things have been fairly quiet the past year, he... View Blog Post »
Humbled by my ability to speak only English
TUMBA, Sweden ― Last week, while attending the Cow Longevity Conference in Sweden, I got to meet people from all over the world. Everyone was fluent in English, which made it convenient for me and some of the other Americans in attendance. I simply don’t know any other languages besides English. One evening, I was at a table of fellow journalists ― three from Germany and one from Russia. Every now and then, the others (even the Russian) would speak in German, but mainly they spoke in English in deference to me. Bottom line: I was humbled by... View Blog Post »
Are we really losing anything with stalled farm bill?
People have joked for decades about the need for caution when the legislature is in session. In fact, the famous phrase, “No man's life, liberty, or property are safe while the legislature is in session,” was written 147 years ago. A recent Gallup Poll showed that 78 percent of Americans disapprove of Congress. And, if you subtract out the people who don’t have an opinion, only 17 percent approve. The farm bill fiasco this summer is just one example of the ineptitude that has the public steamed. The version of the farm bill passed by the Senate included $23 billion in cuts... View Blog Post »
Milk faces branding dilemma
LEXINGTON, Ky. ― Each year, when I attend the Alltech International Symposium, I walk through “The World’s Market” located on the ground floor of the Lexington (Ky.) Convention Center. The market, which is part of the Alltech event, is a testimony to the power of branding. Rather than just any generic ice cream stand, I walk up to “Chaney’s Dairy Barn”; rather than just any café setting, there is “Alltech’s Haitian Coffee Garden of Hope.” Over at the meat counter, the daily special is Lyons Farm New York Strip. The power of branding has served Alltech well over the years, boosting the... View Blog Post »
Are activists really in it for clean air?
The irony is huge: Activists who profess a desire for a clean environment would rather see dairy farmers get in trouble than have the farmers work proactively with regulators on finding solutions. That’s one farmer’s conclusion following a two-year pilot study in Yakima County, Wash., where 12 dairies worked with air-quality scientists and regulators to reduce air emissions. Rather than seeing the farms work proactively with regulators, the activists would prefer to see “us have our names splashed in the newspaper saying we are guilty of something,” Genny DeRuyter told those attending the Western Dairy Air Quality Symposium in... View Blog Post »
More milk in the bulk tank? Just do it!
Approximately 10 a.m. Aug. 3, 2012: I am hiking up Pike’s Peak in Colorado and have reached an altitude where I can no longer get messages on my cell phone. Priceless! It turned out to be the most relaxing day of the year for me. But my hike that day pales in comparison to the climb Wisconsin veterinarian Lance Fox made four years ago when he ascended to the top of Mount Everest in Nepal. Recently, I had the opportunity to hear Fox describe the climb, and I sat there in awe knowing that Mt. Everest at 29,035 feet is more than twice... View Blog Post »
Commentary: I’m excited again!
ORLANDO, Fla. ―Two or three times a year, I go to industry meetings that focus on the exciting things the dairy industry is doing to market products to consumers. Then, in the intervening months, I read about declining milk consumption and how the “milk industry went sour,” as mentioned recently in this story. Following these negative reports, it was refreshing to attend the International Dairy Foods Association annual meeting this week and hear about the really cool things that people are doing with milk, yogurt and cheese. For example: - Grocery stores are responding to changing consumer demographics and... View Blog Post »
Government dysfunction displayed over farm bill
9:45 p.m. Tuesday, Jan. 1: I never thought it would come to this. While watching a New Year’s Day football game on TV, I am also monitoring a live feed of the U.S. House of Representatives on my laptop computer. I’d rather concentrate on the football game. These are not ordinary times. Our increasingly dysfunctional government met over the New Year’s holiday to avert the so-called “fiscal cliff” at the last possible moment. Whether to go over the fiscal cliff or not ― it never should have come to this, noted Rep. Eliot Engel (D-N.Y.) in... View Blog Post »
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