I often view a deadline to deliver our magazine to the printer every three weeks like I did a project deadline in grade school. This magazine is the result of our reporting over the past three weeks and often many of the articles have been in the works for much longer.
Here’s some scribbles from our notebooks related to things you’ll find in this issue:
• In late November, we learned the USDA had acquiesced to a request from the E.U. to comply with an agreement to measure on-farm somatic cell counts of milk used in products destined for the E.U. The 400,000 limit is what they said they would allow.
Compliance or other arrangements will be required by August. Since then, we’ve been looking for the ripple effects of that announcement. They are just starting to appear. Read the background behind the USDA’s reasoning for agreeing to comply and how it plans to deal with the sticky issues of non-compliant farms in the near future. Click here to read more about this plan.
We’ll be tracking in future issues what this means for the potential to change the U.S. legal limit to 400,000 and how co-ops will be helping their non-compliant.
• Inside this issue of the magazine you will find a folded poster stuck to one of your magazine pages. This is a map of the Farm Credit Dairy Center with dairy exhibitors planning to attend World Ag Expo. Take at look at what this year’s show, including our first-ever live seminars, has to offer.
• We’ve had great response from readers who like hearing from the dairy consumers we’ve been talking to. We’ve asked consumers why they buy dairy products and their perceptions of who produces them – you, the dairy farmers. Click here to read about another one of those consumers.
• Our poll asking about your level of support for the Dairy Security Act has been running for some time now. In our next issue, we’ll report the results. So if you haven’t already commented, please do so soon. We want to make sure to count your vote. Click here to read comments from those who have already expressed their opinions.
• I keep hearing from producers about their discouragement with finding and verifying the legal status of their employees. A producer recently wrote: “I don’t know where to turn for help without drawing unnecessary attention to our farm and staff.”
Immigration reform remains stalled in Washington, leaving producers with few viable options or foreseeable hope. Compliance with current regulations, including I-9 forms, is still best. We’re doing some research about other alternative workforce and recruitment options that have been successful.
• Lastly, Progressive Dairyman extends its condolences to the Maddox family at the passing of its patriarch, Doug Maddox. Click here to read a tribute to his life.
I was most struck by Doug’s comment that he said he lived during the dairy industry’s ‘Golden Era.’ Doug continued to work to the end to see that the industry had a future as bright, or more so, than the one he helped benefit from. He was an example of commitment, heritage and perserverance. He will be missed. PD