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Industry News

Read coverage of current events and news affecting dairy producers and the industry.

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This past year has certainly been one many dairy producers would just as easily like to forget. After a brutal year in 2009, profit margins remained negative through most of last year with depressed milk prices and high feed costs crippling operations.

Increased debt loads and lost equity have been the themes as many dairymen are simply trying to weather the storm and survive this current cycle.

After the past couple of years, one has to wonder if things can get much worse than they have been, as well as when or if the cycle may finally be turning for the better.

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During the month of January, Cooperatives Working Together (CWT) accepted 19 requests for export assistance from Darigold, Foremost Farms, Dairy Farmers of America, and Land O’Lakes for a sales total of 2,019 metric tons (4.451 million pounds) of Cheddar, Gouda, and Monterey Jack cheese to customers in North Africa, the Middle East, Central America, and Asia. The product will be delivered January 2011 through May 2011.

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When Congress last revised the nation's milk-pricing laws in 2008, groups representing dairy farmers and the companies that buy their milk struck a rare deal that sounded counterintuitive: buyers and sellers should be able to agree in advance to prices lower than what the federal government says farmers must be paid.

Farmers aren't biting, the latest numbers from the U.S. Department of Agriculture suggest. Participation in the government's forward contracting program for milk is so meager that the USDA has stopped actively tracking it and has no immediate plans to collect the sort of data that would help Congress decide whether to extend the program in next year's rewrite of federal farm policy.

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NRCS is currently revising the National 590 Nutrient Management Standard. The proposed new national 590 Nutrient Management technical standard was posted on Jan. 11, 2011, on the Federal Register.

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to find out what's concerning local residents.

Farm impact study nixed

A proposed 5,200-cow farm does not create enough risk of increasing already high nitrate levels in Rock County soils to warrant an environmental impact study, according to the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources.

That is the conclusion of an environmental analysis released by the DNR this month. An impact study would have required a more in-depth process than the analysis, had the DNR deemed the study necessary.

The public can comment on the analysis until Friday, Feb. 4.

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to see a related statement from NMPF. And to see talking points from Dairy Management, Inc. that you can use when speaking with consumers. Plus, check out this blog post from Brenda Hastings in Ohio about what the FDA's plan would mean for the nation's dairy farmers.

New York Times articleEach year, federal inspectors find illegal levels of antibiotics in hundreds of older dairy cows bound for the slaughterhouse. Concerned that those antibiotics might also be contaminating the milk Americans drink, the Food and Drug Administration intended to begin tests this month on the milk from farms that had repeatedly sold cows tainted by drug residue.

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