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Industry News

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

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Computer simulation studies by scientists at the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) suggests that a dairy cow living year-round in the great outdoors may leave a markedly smaller ecological hoofprint than its more sheltered sisters.

Agricultural Research Service (ARS) agricultural engineer Al Rotz led a team that evaluated how different management systems on a typical 250-acre Pennsylvania dairy farm would affect the environment. ARS is USDA's chief intramural scientific research agency, and this work supports the USDA commitment to promoting sustainable agriculture. Rotz works at the ARS Pasture Systems and Watershed Management Research Unit in University Park, Pennsylvania.

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The state Environment Department is reviewing plans to investigate soil and groundwater pollution at dairies in southeastern New Mexico. The department's groundwater quality bureau required Cheyenne II and Wild West Farms Dairies to submit plans for addressing pollution associated with their operations.

The plans could be approved within the next few weeks. Wastewater from the Dexter-area dairies is discharged to lined lagoons and is used for irrigation. Monitoring wells show nitrate, chloride and dissolved solids in the area's groundwater has exceeded state standards.

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A federal judge has sentenced Humboldt Creamery's former chief executive to 2.5 years in prison after he admitted covering up severe financial problems that bankrupted the business. The judge also ordered 50-year-old Rich Ghilarducci to pay a $7 million fine.

Ghilarducci pleaded guilty last year to a single count of loan fraud. He admitted falsely inflating the creamery's revenues between 2005 and 2008 to prevent a lender from learning of the creamery's true financial picture. The U.S. Attorney's Office says Ghilarducci ultimately defaulted on the loan, prompting the creamery to file for bankruptcy.

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The Wisconsin Legislature's budget committee has voted to stop accepting applications under a program designed to preserve Wisconsin's farms.

The Republican-controlled Joint Finance Committee voted Wednesday to essentially end the purchase of agricultural conservation easements program and $12 million in borrowing that was approved in 2009 to help fund it.

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Camco International Limited (CAO.L), a developer of clean energy projects, has begun construction on the largest dairy biogas project in North America.

The project, which will be operated by the consortium AgPower Group LLC, involves the installation of anaerobic digesters to convert cow manure at an Idaho dairy farm into enough biogas to fuel 4.5 megawatts (MW) of generation capacity.

Construction of the project is expected to cost under $25 million, and it has been fully financed, according to Camco.

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On May 10, the President traveled to El Paso, Texas, where he delivered a speech on the need for immigration reform. In his speech, the President touted his administration’s work on securing the border and said that, while some politicians will never be satisfied, it is time to tackle comprehensive reform of the broken immigration system.

(In advance of the President’s address, the National Immigration Forum convened a background briefing for press, with national security and border security experts. You can listen to a recording of the press briefing by clicking here (mp3 file)).

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