Jahfetsons named MMPA’s Top Quality Award winner

Jacob and Elaine Jahfetson and family of Baraga, Mich. were named Michigan Milk Producers Association’s (MMPA) Top Quality Award Winners at MMPA’s annual meeting earlier this spring.

The Jahfetsons obtained the highest quality records in 2013 among the over 1,300 farms belonging to MMPA. The Jahfestons’ have received MMPA quality awards for the past 12 years.

MMPA is a milk marketing cooperative owned and controlled by dairy farmers in Michigan, Indiana, Ohio and Wisconsin.


MMPA leaders elected

The Michigan Milk Producers Association (MMPA) board elected officers following the delegate meeting held earlier this spring. Elected were: President: Ken Nobis, St. Johns; Vice President: Bob Kran, FreeSoil; Treasurer: Mark Halbert, Battle Creek.

Board members re-elected during district meetings were: Tim Hood, Paw Paw, MMPA District 2; James Reid, Jeddo, District 7 (at-large position) and Bob Kran, Free Soil, MMPA District 11(now known as District 3.) Elected to his first term on the MMPA board was Tony Jandernoa, St. Johns, representing MMPA District 6. Rodney Daniels, Whittemore, was re-elected to an at-large, three-year term.

MMPA is a member owned and controlled milk marketing cooperative serving approximately 2,000 dairy farmers in Michigan, Wisconsin, Ohio and Indiana.


Midwest dairy farmers elected to AMPI board

Brad Dejno, Jerry Geisler, Bob Hart and Dave Peterson were elected to the Associated Milk Producers Inc. (AMPI) board of directors during the AMPI Annual Meeting this spring.

Dejno and his wife, Jackie, farm in partnership with his parents, brother and sister-in-law near Independence, Wis. Their dairy farm is comprised of 270 Holstein cows, 130 head of youngstock and 500 acres. The couple has one daughter, Sydney.

Geisler and his wife, Amy, farm near Bruce, Wis., and have five children: Daniel, Karla, Claire, Casey and Emily. Their dairy farm is comprised of 55 Jerseys and 200 acres.

Hart and his wife, Shelly, farm 240 acres with Shelly’s mother, Linda Frederick, near Galesville, Wis. In addition to a milking herd of 65 Holstein and Brown Swiss cows, they also raise more than 80 dairy steers for their direct-market beef product business.

Peterson farms near Boyd, Wis., with his wife, Brenda, and son, Matthew. The couple also has one daughter, Laurie. Together they operate 340 acres of farmland and milk 65 Holsteins.

Reelected to the board of directors were Tom Jandt, Chetek, Wis.; Mark Kaeding, Augusta, Wis.; and Brad Nevin, Rice Lake, Wis.

Retiring from the board of directors are Phil Johnson, Holmen, Wis.; James Koser, Almena, Wis.; Ed Maliszewski, Arcadia, Wis.; and Harvey Phelps, Cornell, Wis.

Associated Milk Producers Inc. (AMPI) is a dairy marketing cooperative owned by 2,600 Midwest dairy farm families who operate farms in Wisconsin, Minnesota, Iowa, Nebraska, South Dakota and North Dakota. AMPI members own 10 manufacturing plants and market cheese, butter and powdered dairy products, serving foodservice, retail and food ingredient customers. In 2013, these dairy farmer-owners marketed 5.8 billion pounds of milk, resulting in $1.8 billion in sales for the cooperative.

Visit www.ampi.com.


AMPI Young Cooperators elect officers

Dustin Dobberstein of New Richland, Minn., is the 2014 Young Cooperator (YC) chairman for Associated Milk Producers Inc. (AMPI). Fellow YCs elected the dairy farmer during the spring annual meeting of the Midwest milk marketing cooperative.

Dobberstein will be working with YC steering committee members to plan and host events throughout the year. Other members of the committee are: past chairpersons, Aaron and Jessica Radermacher, Brooten, Minn.; vice chairpersons, Jacob and Sarah Enter, Nicollet, Minn.; secretaries, John and Renee Kotek, Bangor, Wis.; and members-at-large, Derek and Marcie Peterson, Black River Falls, Wis.

The YC program provides educational and leadership opportunities to AMPI members age 40 and under. Looking ahead, AMPI YCs will be traveling to the Twin Cities on June 23-24 for the annual YC summer tour. The event will feature tours of the College of Food, Agriculture and Natural Resource Sciences at the University of Minnesota and AMPI’s independent milk testing lab, DQCI.


Two dairy veterinarians among Hall of Fame nominees

Five distinguished cattle veterinarians – including two dairy veterinarians – have been nominated  for the 2014 Cattle Production Veterinarian Hall of Fame. The fourth annual Hall of Fame inductees will be honored at this year’s AABP Annual Conference in Albuquerque, N.M., Sept. 18-20, 2014.   

Dairy nominees include:

• John Dahl, D.V.M., of Waunakee, Wis., served in private practice for more than 20 years and worked for BouMatic for more than 10 years, advancing to serve as president. He then served as director of the teaching hospital at the newly established University of Wisconsin College of Veterinary Medicine. He is a past president of the Wisconsin Veterinary Medicine Association.

• Maarten Drost, D.V.M., is a world-renowned expert in bovine reproduction known for his ground-breaking work in embryo transfer technology, pregnancy recognition and fertility management. He’s worked in private practice and served as captain in the U.S. Army Veterinary Corps and on the faculty of both the University of California Davis School of Veterinary Medicine and the University of Florida College of Veterinary Medicine.

Beef nominees include: David Bechtol, D.V.M., Canyon, Texas; Dallas Horton, D.V.M., Eaton, Colo.; and Ed Johnson, D.V.M., Parma, Idaho.

The Cattle Production Veterinarian Hall of Fame was created in 2011 to honor exceptional individuals who have made lasting contributions to the veterinary profession throughout their careers in preventive health medicine, agricultural policy, rotational grazing, bovine reproduction and milk quality.

Merck Animal Health coordinates the nomination process. Five organizations founded and sponsor the Hall of Fame – Merck Animal Health, the Academy of Veterinary Consultants (AVC), the American Association of Bovine Practitioners (AABP), Bovine Veterinarian and Osborn Barr.

 Voting is currently underway and will remain open until Aug. 5. Members of the AVC and the AABP may vote for one beef and one dairy nominee. AVC members may vote during the organization’s spring and summer conferences or online at www.avc-beef.org/halloffame. AABP members may vote online at www.aabp.org/halloffame.


MDA launches ‘Powered by Dairy’ Pinterest contest

Pinterest users have a new reason to give their Pinterest accounts a workout. Midwest Dairy Association, which works on behalf of 9,100 dairy farm families across the Midwest, has launched the Powered by Dairy Pinterest Contest to provide healthy recipes and nutrition tips for fueling an active lifestyle. One lucky pinner will be randomly selected to win a $100 grocery store gift card, a mini-blender and a fitness-themed Team Dairy prize pack ($30 value). The contest is open to residents of Midwest Dairy’s 10-state area and runs through May 9.

To enter, pinners must fill out the Powered by Dairy Contest form, follow Midwest Dairy on Pinterest by clicking “Follow all” and re-pin a dairy recipe or dairy nutrition tip using the Powered by Dairy Pinterest board as inspiration.

During the contest, pinners will explore how dairy, including milk, cheese and yogurt, is a nutrient powerhouse and an essential means to build strong bodies.

For more information about the Powered by Dairy Pinterest Contest and to view official rules, visit http://tiny.cc/PoweredByDairy.

More delicious dairy recipes and Midwest dairy farm family stories are available at DairyMakesSense.com.


Corn stover gains attention in Iowa for industrial uses

Corn stover, used for decades as silage and bedding, is now being harvested for industrial use. Currently in Iowa, two cellulosic ethanol plants have biomass needs for corn stover. Producers can learn about engineering, agronomic and financial issues related to corn stover harvest in a new series of fact sheets from Iowa State University Extension and Outreach.

The fact sheets, available online at www.extension.iastate.edu/stover, were developed by a corn stover harvest team at Iowa State. The team was formed to address the benefits and constraints of stover harvesting and its sustainable management within Iowa corn production. The Iowa State specialists share the results from several years of research in 21 fact sheets, which were developed with partial funding from the Iowa Energy Center.

According to Kapil Arora, team coordinator, the decision to participate in this industrial supply chain must be evaluated on a field by field basis to ensure stover harvest can be performed sustainably. The publications provide a comprehensive insight for producers into the constraints and the benefits of the industrial scale corn stover harvest process.

Along with the fact sheets, the stover harvest website includes an Ask the Expert function for producers with specific questions. For more information about this or other ISU Extension and Outreach Agriculture and Natural Resources programs, contact a local county extension office.


Missouri alfalfa management meeting set

Growing alfalfa in the Ozarks to supplement beef and dairy diets will be the subject of a University of Missouri (MU) Extension program and farm tour later, April 22, at the Glenn and Toni Obermann farm near Freistatt, Mo.

Alfalfa establishment and management, variety selection, weed and insect control, hay and haylage harvest techniques will be discussed.

A dinner will be served after the tour. To pre-register and reserve meals, call the Lawrence County Extension Center at 417-466-3102 by April 14.


Missouri House Votes to Increase Hauling Limits

The Missouri House of Representatives voted in favor of increasing the hauling limits for livestock and agricultural products across the entire state to 85,500 pounds. The legislation (H.B. 1235), introduced by Representative Denny Hoskins (R-54), is a priority for the Missouri Cattlemen's Association (MCA). 

H.B. 1235 applies the 85,500 pounds weight limitation to any vehicle hauling livestock or agricultural products on Missouri highways. Any business operating a vehicle hauling livestock or agricultural products weighing more than 80,000 pounds must apply to the Department of Transportation yearly for a permit, which will cost $25. Upon renewal of the permit, the applicant must submit to the department a list of roads traveled and the number of miles traveled on each road during the year.

The legislation now moves to the Senate for consideration.


Surveying Minnesota’s organic farmers

The Minnesota Department of Agriculture (MDA) is asking organic farmers about a range of topics from planting to promoting. Minnesota’s 700 certified organic farmers were mailed the Survey of Minnesota Organic Farms in mid-March.  The survey asks them to share their experiences and ideas in 27 questions addressing profitability, production costs and challenges, research needs, marketing, and outlook.

This survey is intended to keep Minnesota’s organic farmers at the front of their field in one of the most rapidly growing sectors in the food industry. “The insights organic farmers share will help us focus programs and resources on areas that make a difference to their bottom line,” said MDA organic program administrator Meg Moynihan.  “Organic market demand is very strong, and we want to do all we can to help existing and new organic farmers capitalize on that fact.”

Certified organic farmers who did not receive a survey in the mail can contact Moynihan at 651-201-6616 to request a copy.  Surveys must be returned to the MDA by Tuesday, April 15.  Results will be available later this summer on the MDA website.  To learn more about organic farming in Minnesota, please visit:  http://www.mda.state.mn.us/food/organic.aspx.


Beef council’s referendum voted down by producers

Minnesota’s beef producers have rejected the Minnesota Beef Research and Promotion Council’s proposed Referendum asking for an increase in check-off dollars.  Sixty three percent of the 1,525 voting producers voted against the referendum.  Thirty seven percent of voting producers voted for the referendum.

The Minnesota Beef Research and Promotion Council had asked the Minnesota Department of Agriculture (MDA) to conduct the referendum proposing to increase the amount of the current state check-off by an additional $1.00 per head on all bovine animals.

The current $1.00 per head check-off supports the state and federal beef councils and will remain in effect.  Half of this fee supports the Minnesota Beef Research and Promotion Council and the other half supports the national beef check-off.

If you have any questions about the referendum please contact either the Minnesota Beef Research and Promotion Council at 952-854-6980 or the MDA at 651-201-6013.

Through the automatic check-off program, farmers pay a percentage of their sale proceeds to their commodity council.  Commodity councils use these funds to pay for promotion, communication and research activities aimed at increasing crop and livestock value for producers.


Farm worker safety exhibit honored for innovative display at Wisconsin Farm Technology Days

Agriculture ranks as one of the most dangerous industries nationally, so when University of Wisconsin educators have the opportunity to reach thousands of farmers and farm workers at Wisconsin Farm Technology Days they take it.

The “Farm to Field Take Safety Along” exhibit which identified farm hazards and provided ways to improve worker safety received the 2013 Donald R. Peterson Technology Transfer Award. Individuals recognized for their efforts with this display were Cheryl Skjolaas, Jeff Nelson and Jenna Sanford, University of Wisconsin-Madison/Extension Center for Agricultural Safety and Health; Richard Straub, UW-Madison Biological Systems Engineering and Brian Holmes, UW-Madison Biological Systems Engineering/UW-Extension; Jerry Clark, UW-Extension Chippewa County and Mary Bauer, Eau Claire Area Occupational Safety and Health Administration.

The award was presented at the annual Wisconsin Farm Technology Days Board of Directors meeting in April 2014.

The farm safety exhibit drew many people to the display and provided opportunities to learn about implements of husbandry and public road safety; risks of tractor overturns and use of rollover protective structures (ROPS); horizontal silo management and safety with a new video released at show; and grain safety.

The Donald R. Peterson Wisconsin Farm Technology (Progress) Days Technology Transfer Award was established in honor of Don Peterson, UW-Madison College of Agriculture and Life Sciences (CALS) emeritus Professor and Associate Dean. Peterson was long-time General Manager of Wisconsin Farm Progress Days.

The award recognizes outstanding educational effectiveness and impact via an interactive exhibit and activities at Wisconsin Farm Technology Days. To receive this award, groups must successfully engage audiences around topics such as: effectively using new management tools, processes, or concepts; incorporating new technologies into a modern farm operation; or issues that challenge contemporary agriculture and our natural resource base. 

The Award memorializes Peterson’s diligent efforts to encourage CALS faculty and staff to convey the fruits of College research and knowledge to the public through Wisconsin Farm Technology Days.


Biery Cheese Co. plans Wisconsin expansion project

The Wisconsin Economic Development Corporation (WEDC) will provide a $1 million loan to the Biery Cheese Co. for a facility upgrade. The Ohio-based Biery Cheese, which has operations in the Town of Sherry in Wood County, plans to invest $19.7 million in equipment purchases and facility upgrades.

Biery, a cheese packaging, processing and distribution company, has been operating in Wisconsin since November 2013, when it purchased the Kickapoo Valley Cheese Corp. in Sherry. The company is currently pursuing options for a new building in the area. Once complete, the project is expected to create 31 full-time jobs and retain 111 positions.

The Biery Cheese Co. was founded in 1929 by Norman F. Biery, who started making Swiss cheese in Louisville, Ohio. The company has evolved from a manufacturing company to one that now provides chunks, shreds, slices, diced, cubes, and snacking cheeses to its customers around the world. Visit www.inwisconsin.com.


Golden Sands Family Farm posts online tool to follow EIR

A Central Wisconsin dairy farm facing vocal opposition to expansion plans posted an interactive online tool to provide public with access to important information from the recently submitted Environmental Impact Report (EIR). Golden Sands Family Farm is being developed by central Wisconsin-based Wysocki Family of Companies and will be located in the Wood County Town of Saratoga.

“For more than 60 years and going on three generations, we have remained committed to environmental responsibility, growing the local economy and providing a legacy for our children and grandchildren,” said Jim Wysocki, chief financial officer of the Wysocki Family of Companies. “Golden Sands Family Farm will add productive farmland to our current operations and helps us continue our tradition of farming and land stewardship.”

The new online tool provides neighbors of the project and people throughout Wisconsin with important facts from the Environmental Impact Report, which was recently submitted to the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources, the agency primarily responsible for processing project permit applications. The EIR provides the DNR with comprehensive information about the science and technology behind Golden Sands Family Farm and answers to many questions the public has raised concerning the planned farming operations.

The new interactive tool can be found online at www.FarmingFullCircle.com. It contains easily accessed data, facts and highlights from the EIR. The EIR is a valuable and comprehensive tool for identifying issues to be addressed as the current red pine plantation, which is regularly harvested for the paper industry, is converted to both agricultural crop fields and a productive dairy. The EIR is an important step in the multi-stage permitting process for Golden Sands Family Farm.

“We have worked tirelessly with scientists and other experts to carefully develop a plan that will be sensitive to the community and the environment and the concerns we have heard. We’re pleased to share highlights from that plan with the public through our new online tool,” said Jim Wysocki. “This online resource allows anyone to get timely and accurate information about the Golden Sands Family Farm project at any time and to avoid confusion and misinformation.”

When it becomes operational, Golden Sands Family Farm will annually produce an estimated 13.5 million gallons of milk, 21,000 tons of silage corn, 22,500 tons of potatoes, 1,500 tons of grain corn, 10,000 tons of alfalfa, 5,500 tons of sweet corn, 3,500 tons of snap beans and 1,100 tons of peas.

Wysocki Family of Companies, a family-farming operation, is an industry leader and key grower/shipper of year-round potatoes and onions. The company prides itself on maintaining a high level of business integrity that includes commitments to environmental sustainability, as well as innovation and retail solutions.


UM to honor Enchanted Dairy 

 The University of Minnesota College of Veterinary Medicine (CVM) will honor Marv, Ron, Jeannie Miller and Enchanted Dairy as recipients of the 2014 Dairy Appreciation Award. The award will be presented to Enchanted Dairy on May 22, during the Minnesota Dairy Health Conference, Minneapolis, Minn.

The Millers operate the 1600-cow dairy farm near Little Falls, Minn. The farm was started by Ron and Marv Miller's grandfather, who purchased the land in 1947. When Ron and Marv's parents came home from the service in 1955, they purchased a farm site across the road and began farming on their own. Their father was a full-time carpenter so the dairy only developed as Ron and Marv began to take interest in it.  Ron began dairying with his father in 1981. Five years later, Ron and Jeannie were married, Marv returned to the farm and their father retired. At that time, Ron, Jeannie and Marv formed a partnership and have been operating the dairy business ever since, growing from the original 75 cows to more than 1,000 by 2005, when the veterinary college first began to work with the dairy.

Enchanted Dairy has been an important partner to the College of Veterinary Medicine for nearly a decade, collaborating with the college to educate both veterinary students and post-graduate continuing education students. The family has hosted teaching exercises at their dairy and provided access to their dairy for research studies to develop better systems to manage and support health initiatives on dairies.

For many students, their experience at Enchanted Dairy marks their introduction to dairy production medicine.  According to John Fetrow, CVM Professor of Dairy Production Medicine, “The Millers have patiently answered students' questions, endured their intrusion, and have been positive and supportive examples of the best in the dairy industry.”

Ron Miller appreciates the opportunity to work with veterinary students. “It has been a real privilege over the years of working with the College of Veterinary Medicine.  We have found so much energy in the students and their passion for their careers. The knowledge they bring and their enthusiasm is uplifting.”

The dairy is a former recipient of Minnesota’s Dairy Producer of the Year by the Minnesota Milk Producers Association. 

The Minnesota Dairy Health Conference is an annual event for dairy veterinarians, dairy industry professionals, and dairy producers on advancements in the dairy field. During the three-day event, nationally renowned speakers give presentations on the latest developments in dairy production science, health management and food quality.  For more information visitwww.cvm.umn.edu/vetmedce/events/MinnesotaDairyHealth

The Dairy Appreciation Award was created in 2011 to recognize individuals who have made outstanding contributions to the dairy industry and supported the college’s education and research missions. Individuals are nominated by members of the Dairy Production Medicine Group and the recipient is selected by a vote.