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Industry News

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

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As June Dairy Month approaches, dairy checkoff tools and resources help producers share their story with consumers on how they care for their animals and the environment while producing wholesome, nutritious milk.

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On April 14, the U.S. Department of Agriculture published an interim rule for Rural Energy for America Program (REAP) in the Federal Register. This interim rule modifies the existing grant and guaranteed loan program for renewable energy systems and energy efficiency improvements. In addition, it adds a grant program for feasibility studies for renewable energy systems and a grant program for energy audits and renewable energy development assistance, as provided in the Food, Conservation, and Energy Act of 2008.

Although effective immediately, USDA is requesting comments on the interim rule. These comments must be received on or before June 13. See the Federal Register notice for instructions on submitting comments.

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The American Society of Agricultural and Biological Engineers (ASABE) has nationally adopted with deviations four international standards concerning milking machines.

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The first of five farm-based biogas plants that convert manure and food scraps into electricity for hundreds of homes will be dedicated in a ribbon-cutting ceremony Tuesday, May 31st at the Jordan Dairy Farm in Rutland, Massachusetts.

Governor Deval Patrick will join local farmers and other project partners to officially open the plant that helps solve several problems for the state's dairy industry: it will allow farms to better manage their manure, lower their energy and operating costs, and sell electricity to the grid to provide a new source of revenue. (One cow will create enough electricity to power a single home for a year.)

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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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