MMPA returns $2 million of cash patronage refunds to members
Michigan Milk Producers Association recently paid $2 million in cash patronage refunds to its dairy farmer members. This cash allocation represents 25% of the $6.5 million net earnings generated by the cooperative in fiscal year 2013. The cash patronage returned includes 100% of the farm supply earnings and 25% of the milk marketing earnings. All members who marketed milk through MMPA for fiscal year 2013 received a portion of the $2 million.
During fiscal year 2013, MMPA members earned $26 million in total premiums. These premiums are a combination of quality, volume, over-order premiums and a “13th” milk check and serve as a reflection of MMPA’s financial strength.
MMPA members received other cash payments in April 2013 of $4 million through retirement of the cooperative’s 2004 equities. In September 2013, MMPA members received $1 million in cash payments in the form of a “13th” milk check. With the current payment of $2 million, cash payments in the last 10 months total over $7 million.
“The return of cash patronage refunds, premiums and allocated equities continues to occur as a result of MMPA’s successful operating results,” saai Clay Galarneau, MMPA general manager. “Our high-quality milk supply and continuing milk production growth is an attractive combination that has helped strengthen our financial position.”
Cash patronage funds and equity allocations are based on the amount of milk each individual member farm marketed and on the supplies purchased through the cooperative during the year in which the earnings were achieved. Under the current board policy, the non-cash balance of the equity allocation will be revolved back to the members in future years.
Michigan Milk Producers Association is a member owned and operated dairy cooperative serving approximately 2,000 dairy farmers in Michigan, Indiana, Ohio and Wisconsin.
Minnesota Milk Dairy Day at the Capitol is March 5
All Minnesota dairy producers and industry representatives supportive of Minnesota Milk’s legislative priorities are invited to attend this year’s Dairy Day at the Capitol, March 5.
Minnesota Milk has coordinated free charter bus transportation. If interested, register by March 3 online or by contacting Minnesota Milk (763-355-9697). Central MN Bus:
• Dairyland Supply (40563 State Hwy 28, Sauk Centre, MN 56378) – Bus loads at 7:15 a.m. and returns around 9:10 p.m.
• Minnesota Select Sires (6601 Gregory Park Rd, St. Cloud, MN 56301) – Bus loads at 8:15 a.m. and returns around 8:20 p.m. Please park in the back lot.
Southeastern MN Bus:
• AgStar Financial Services (7540 Airport View Rd, Rochester, MN 55903) – Bus loads at 7:30 a.m. and returns around 8:45 p.m. Please park north or northwest of the building.
• DFA (1313 North Star Drive, Zumbrota, MN 55992) – Bus loads at 8:15 a.m. and returns around 8 p.m. Please park in the southern part of the lot.
To view more details about the event, visit www.mnmilk.org/dairyday.
Michigan dairy farmers honored
A trio of outstanding Michigan dairy farmers have been honored by Michigan State University, the United Dairy Industry of Michigan (UDIM) and a national-level organization for young farmers.
Scott and Ali Ferry — National Outstanding Young Farmers
Litchfield-area farmers Scott and Ali Ferry were among the winners at the 58th annual National Outstanding Young Farmers (NOYF) Awards Congress in Rapid City, S.D. National winners were selected from a group of finalists based on their agricultural progress, conservation practices and contributions to the well-being of the community, state and nation.
Five years ago Scott Ferry left his mortgage banking career and returned home to become the family dairy farm's fourth-generation owner, managing employees, finances, crops and cows. He and his wife Ali improved the efficiency of the operation and have grown their acreage, their herd size and their own family, now raising two-year-old Amelia on the farm.
No-till soil conservation practices, crop rotation, buffer strips and soil and manure testing prior to field spreading have all helped conserve water and nutrients on the farm. Participation in conservation programs and an energy audit ensure the farm is practicing good stewardship.
Members of the Hillsdale County Farm Bureau, the Ferrys have embraced their collective passion for agricultural advocacy and outreach. Tapped as exceptional dairy spokespeople by UDIM, Scott and Ali regularly reach out to consumers, hosting farm tours and giving career day presentations. Scott leads the local milk producers' association, is president of the MSU Extension and AgBio Research State Council and president of the Rotary Club. Ali is a volleyball coach, member of the county ag council and documents the farm's activities on a popular Facebook page.
Annie Link — Excellence in Dairy Promotion
Alto-area dairy farmer Annie Link earned this year's Excellence in Dairy Promotion Award at the 12th annual Great Lakes Regional Dairy Conference in Mt. Pleasant. Sponsored annually by UDIM, the award recognizes outstanding Michigan dairy farm family members for their dedication to promoting dairy products. Recipients excel at dairy promotion and dedicate long hours of volunteer service to both the dairy industry and their local communities.
An active member of the Kent County Farm Bureau, Link is the calf manager and event organizer for SwissLane Farms, her family's fourth generation dairy operation, where she says she is "committed to cows, community and environment."
Link is passionate about educating people about agriculture and connecting them with their food. She promotes dairy personally at a wide range of local events and community festivals, as well as SwissLane Farms' own Neighbor Nights and Dairy Discovery tours. A savvy user of social media, her online presence illustrates dairy in words and photos to boost consumer confidence and raise awareness of on-farm practices and dairy-related issues.
Link is active in her community as an agri-business person, through her children's schools, Sunday school, vacation Bible school and world relief activities through her church. She and her husband Jerry are the parents of three dairy-raised children.
UDIM is the umbrella organization for the American Dairy Association and Dairy Council of Michigan, both non-profit organizations that provide dairy product promotion and nutrition education services on behalf of their funding members.
Geert & Gertie van den Goor — MSU Dairy Farm of the Year
Marlette-area dairy farmers Geert and Gertie van den Goor were named Michigan State University's Dairy Farmers of the Year at the recent Great Lakes Regional Dairy Conference. Members of the Sanilac County Farm Bureau, the pair started Goma Dairy Farm in 1999 after moving to Michigan from the Netherlands. The dairy currently has a milking herd of 2,800 Holsteins with an average annual per-cow production of 27,621 pounds of milk.
Goma Dairy is verified in the farmstead and livestock systems of the Michigan Agriculture Environmental Assurance Program (MAEAP), and they participate in the National Dairy FARM Program for animal care.
In 2012 they opened their farm to more than 2,500 community members by hosting a Breakfast on the Farm event, welcoming visitors to tour the milking parlor, learn about the calving system, and explore the everyday operations of a modern dairy farm.
Off the farm, the van den Goors are involved in the Sanilac County Farm Bureau's Farmers CARE program; volunteer with Freedom Riders, a 4-H riding program for people with special needs; and participate in Michigan Milk Producers' Association's large producers group. Gertie is a hospice volunteer.
South Dakota dairy families to co-host ‘Feeding South Dakota’ benefit concert
Dairy farm families will again partner with First Bank & Trust, Hy-Vee and Lewis Drug to help provide nutritious dairy foods to South Dakotans in need.
For the fourth year, dairy farmers will invite the public to “Be Our Guest” at a concert at the annual Central Plains Dairy Expo. For a $10 donation to Feeding South Dakota, people will receive a pass to the “Roots and Boots” tour concert featuring country music performers Joe Diffie, Aaron Tippin and Sammy Kershaw on March 25. Donations will be used to purchase dairy foods to stock food banks across the state.
From February 24 through the March 25 concert, donations will be accepted at First Bank & Trust locations in Sioux Falls, Brookings, Canton and Garretson, Lewis Drug Store locations in Sioux Falls, Brandon, Brookings, Huron and Madison, and Hy-Vee stores in Sioux Falls.
The “Be Our Guest” concert events have been held for three years, generating a total of nearly $29,000 in dairy product donations to Feeding South Dakota.
Dairy is among the top five food items in demand among food bank patrons, yet it only makes up 5.3% of the total pounds distributed in the Feeding America food bank network. The “Be Our Guest” effort by South Dakota dairy farm families helps provide hungry families in South Dakota access to nutritious milk and dairy products. In fact, milk is a natural source of nine essential nutrients, including eight grams of protein per eight-ounce serving.
A special donation event will be held on Saturday, March 1, at the Hy-Vee location at West 10th and Kiwanis. From 10 a.m. to 12 p.m., representatives of Feeding South Dakota and area dairy farmers will accept donations.
Fertilizer industry honors Indiana's Brand Dairy
The Fertilizer Institute (TFI) has named five American farm operations as 4R Advocates for 2014.
Among the recipients was George Brand, Brand Dairy Farm, Waterloo, Ind., who operates a 2,500-acre row crop operation and dairy farm. Variable-rate fertilizer application, plant tissue sampling and erosion control are but three examples of how the Brands boost yield, while protecting groundwater.
The national winners represent farmers and fertilizer retailers across the nation dedicated to the 4Rs of nutrient stewardship — using the right nutrient source, at the right rate, at the right time and in the right place.
Ohio workshop to focus on reducing off-site movement of soluble nutrients
Farmers who plant cover crops and vegetative systems will find that it can tie up phosphorus in a stable form that remains in the soil, which can increase phosphorus use efficiency, says a soil researcher from Ohio State's College of Food, Agricultural, and Environmental Sciences.
That, and the question of whether agriculture can significantly reduce off-site movement of other soluble nutrients, will be discussed by Ohio State University Extension, the Ohio Agricultural Research and Development Center and industry experts in agriculture, climatology and environmental economics during a workshop hosted by the Soil and Water Conservation Society on March 17.
The daylong workshop will focus on discussing technologies and techniques to reduce off-site movement of nutrients and the barriers to their adoption and implementation, said Jim Hoorman, an OSU Extension educator and an assistant professor studying cover crops and water quality issues.
"Recently collected Ohio soil test data using phosphorus speciation is showing that phosphorus is tied up by calcium/magnesium, iron oxides, and aluminum oxides," said Hoorman, who will discuss "New Ohio Data on Cover Crops and Phosphorus" during the event. "However, under certain environmental conditions (saturated soils, no oxygen), the iron oxide is being reduced by the soil microbes hungry for oxygen, releasing soluble reactive phosphorus."
* Management and Treatment Options for Agricultural Subsurface Drainage
* Controlled Drainage
* Near-Zero Discharge Agricultural Systems
* Livestock Manure Application Research and Future Trends
* Landscape Conservation
* Variable Rate Nitrogen Applications in Corn
* Conservation Practices
The event will run from 8:30 a.m. to 4:40 p.m. at the Ohio Department of Agriculture, 8995 E. Main St., Reynoldsburg.
Registration is due March 7 and is $40 per person for members of the Soil and Water Conservation Society and $50 for non-members. Registration for students is $20. Late registration is $60.
Fees include refreshments and lunch. They can be paid by check payable to All Ohio Chapter of the Soil and Water Conservation Society and sent to John Armentano, 3635 Day Spring Drive, Hilliard, Ohio 43026.
Participants are eligible for 5 hours of Soil and Water Management credit in the Ohio Certified Crop Advisor (CCA) Program and 1 hour of Nutrient Management credit, also in the CCA program.
For more information, contact Hoorman at 419-523-6294 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
UW CALS ‘Shadow Day’ is April 4
The University of Wisconsin-Madison College of Agricultural and Life Sciences (CALS) invites high school juniors and seniors to its Shadow Day on April 4. Students will be able to learn about majors and careers in four general areas: environment and energy; agriculture, food and nutrition; business and the community; and animal and human health. Shadow Day will include classroom shadows, extended tours, lunch with advisors, hands-on breakout sessions and more.
Register at go.wisc.edu/calsshadow by March 21. Sign up soon; space is limited. For more information contact a CALS Ambassador at email@example.com.
National AgrAbility workshop set in Kentucky
Farmers and other professionals with disabilities can receive training and learn about issues related to disability in agriculture at the 2014 AgrAbility National Training Workshop.
The workshop will be March 31 to April 3 at the Downtown Lexington Hilton, 396 W. Vine St., Lexington, Ky. Participants can attend preconference sessions, breakouts, tours and special events. Participants can also attend a banquet with a benefit auction for farmer and rancher scholarships.
A keynote address will be given by Josh Bleill, a Marine corporal and community spokesperson for the Indianapolis Colts. Bleill is a disabled war veteran who was activated for a tour of duty in Iraq in 2006 and lost both of his legs. He is author of a book, One Step at a Time: A Young Marine's Story of Courage, Hope, and a New Life in the NFL.
"The AgrAbility National Training Workshop is a great opportunity for farmers, rural health professionals and AgrAbility staff to come together to network with each other and to participate in special tours and breakout sessions regarding farming with disability," said Kylie Hendress, AgrAbility engagement coordinator based at Purdue University.
Session topics include beekeeping; aquaponics; agritourism; marketing products; assistive technology for agriculture; veterans in agriculture; women in agriculture care giving; and how to manage and cope with disability.
Hotel rooms are available at a conference rate of $95 per night. Online hotel reservations must be made by March 7. Participants can get detailed conference information at http://workshop.agrability.org/2014/ and register with the online registration form at www.conf.purdue.edu/agrability. Early-bird registration ends March 7, and final deadline is March 28. There will be no on-site registration.
For more information, contact Hendress at 765-494-6679 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
ISU researchers use new way to measure nitrate in soil
A team of Iowa State University scientists have measured nitrate in soil with a unique infrared sensor system opening the possibility of determining the level of this vital nutrient in real time as fertilizer is being applied to fields.
“We were actually surprised that we could get in the parts per million range with the soil moving past the analyzer,” said John McClelland, a research scientist with the Roy J. Carver Department of Biochemistry, Biophysics and Molecular Biology and Ames Laboratory-U.S. Department of Energy.
The team used a technology, invented at Ames Laboratory, called transient infrared spectroscopy (TIRS) to measure nitrate in soil and then compared those values to ones obtained using traditional soil testing. TIRS works by measuring light emissions in the infrared spectrum after hot air is applied to the surface of the moving soil. The research was published in the journal Applied Spectroscopy.
The research team stressed that this was a preliminary study in the lab and many steps are necessary before a possible commercial tester could be available.
Open forums set for ISU Animal Science Department chair candidates
Open forums are scheduled for three finalists who have applied to be the next chair of the Department of Animal Science at Iowa State University.
The three finalists and the dates of their open forums are:
• Mark McGuire, professor of lactation physiology at the University of Idaho, March 7
• James Reecy, professor of animal science at Iowa State University, March 11
• Andre-Denis Wright, professor of animal science at the University of Vermont, April 4
All the open forums are scheduled for 10 a.m. in Room 1204 Kildee Hall, and are open to the public. The finalists will discuss their leadership style and vision for the department.
Iowa ‘livestock farm inspection’ workshop to be held March 4 in Creston
Iowa farmers concerned about inspections of livestock farms can attend an informational workshop on Tuesday, March 4, 6:30-8 p.m. at the Allied Health and Science Center on the main Southwestern Community College (SWCC) campus in Creston, Iowa. This “DNR Regulations for Your Farm” workshop is free.
Speakers include Dan Olson with the Iowa DNR, CSIF’s Brian Waddingham, and Wayde Ross with NRCS. They will explain the work plan, resources available to help farmers and EQIP funding to help producers make necessary changes.