Raw milk bill fails in California Assembly Agriculture Committee

Legislation that would have significantly relaxed current regulations by allowing the exchange, sharing and direct sale of raw milk at “home dairy farms” failed to get a motion to move out of the California Assembly Agriculture Committee. AB 2505, introduced by Assemblymember Mariko Yamadao (D-Davis), would have allowed farms with three cows or less to sell or give away fresh-from-the-udder, unpasteurized milk without complying with some of the standards that apply to larger dairies. Testimony in opposition came from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, the Health Officers Association of California, and numerous other organizations.

Mary McGonigle-Martin of Murrieta described her then-six-year-old son’s “odyssey through hell” after drinking raw milk and becoming hospitalized at a cost of $550,000. She faulted Yamada’s bill for failing to adequately guard against the spread of pathogens.

”Just because you are milking three cows doesn’t mean a small operation cannot contaminate the raw milk,” McGonigle-Martin said.

Source: Western United Dairymen


Assembly water bond hearing set for April 17 in Modesto

The California Assembly Water, Parks and Wildlife Committee will hold an oversight hearing in Modesto on the need, from a local perspective, for a 2014 water bond. The hearing will be held April 17, 4-6 p.m. at Modesto Junior College, West Campus, Mary Stuart Student Learning Center, 2201 Blue Gum Ave., Modesto.

Public comment will be taken after two panels of speaks offer their testimony. Public comment will be limited to two to three minutes. The committee is chaired by Assemblymember Anthony Rendon (D-Lakewood). He has established an Assembly Water Bond Working Group that crafted a set of principles to set spending priorities and increase accountability to the public. Rendon is the author of AB 1331, The Clean and Safe Drinking Water Act of 2014. This bill, in its present form, includes $2.5 billion for above- and below-ground storage projects, provides $1 billion for water quality, $1.5 billion for protection of rivers and watersheds, a total of $2 billion for regional projects and integrated regional water management (IRWM), and $1 billion for the Delta Sustainability projects. More information on the proposed water bonds can be found at http://awpw.assembly.ca.gov/waterbond


Hilmar Cheese awarded LEED® Green Building Platinum Certification

Hilmar Cheese Company, Inc. announced its new headquarters and Innovation Center in Hilmar, Calif., was awarded LEED® Platinum certification established by the U.S. Green Building Council and verified by the Green Building Certification Institute (GBCI). LEED is the nation’s preeminent program for the design, construction and operation of high performance green buildings.

The Hilmar facility is the first privately-funded LEED Platinum certified building in Merced County, and one of just a few in the Central Valley.

“As far as we know, it is also the first dairy industry LEED Platinum certified building in the United States,” commented David Ahlem, Hilmar Cheese Company Vice President and General Manager - Cheese.

LEED certification is based on a number of green design and construction features that positively impact the project itself and the broader community. The headquarters and Innovation Center achieved LEED certification for energy use, lighting, water and material use, as well as incorporation of a variety of other sustainable strategies.

The Innovation Center, with the latest pilot plant and food application equipment, is focused on delivering greater service and knowledge to U.S. and global customers. Food scientists use the newest equipment and technology to help food companies find success incorporating dairy into healthy foods and beverages.

Hilmar Cheese Company Inc., founded in 1984, is a privately held corporation. More than 1,200 employees process high-quality cheese and whey ingredients from its facilities in California and Texas. Visit www.hilmarcheese.com.


Drost among dairy veterinarians nominated for Hall of Fame

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:

• 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.

• 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.

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.