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Weekly Digest: Gillibrand presses for MPP-Dairy premium refunds

Progressive Dairyman Editor Dave Natzke Published on 27 November 2018
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Digest Highlights

Gillibrand presses for MPP-Dairy premium refunds

As 2018 Farm Bill negotiations continue, U.S. Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand (D-New York) called on President Donald Trump to reject any bill that does not refund unused Margin Protection Program for Dairy (MPP-Dairy) premiums to participating dairy farmers.

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Gillibrand’s provision, contained in the Senate version of the farm bill, would ensure that dairy farmers automatically receive a refund check for any MPP-Dairy insurance premium funds not used to pay claims to them ‎during the previous year. Currently, those remaining funds are returned to the U.S. Department of Treasury rather than to the farmers who paid them. The refunds would total an estimated $73 million.

Prior to the introduction of the Dairy Revenue Protection (Dairy-RP) program launched this fall, MPP-Dairy was the main insurance option for dairy farmers to protect milk revenue when the price they receive for their milk fell or feed costs rose.

Idaho dairy farmers back immigrant legal services

The Community Council of Idaho's newly formed immigration legal services program, Familias Unidas, recently received backing from the Idaho Dairymen's Association (IDA) with a financial award to assist with services for migrant families. Familias Unidas provides social and legal assistance to Idaho's immigrant workforce community.

A check for $60,000 was presented as part of the IDA's November board meeting, held in Boise, Idaho. "We strongly believe in supporting these services which are important to the workforce on dairies throughout Idaho," said Rick Naerebout, CEO. "These families are important contributors to Idaho's economy and vital to our dairy industry."

Community Council of Idaho's mission is to assist immigrant families by providing support and counseling for housing, health clinics, workforce preparation, immigration legal services and more, according to Brandy Perez, Familias Unidas program director.

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Holstein Foundation offers ‘Connecting with Dairy Consumers’ workbook

The Holstein Foundation released a new workbook, “Connecting with Dairy Consumers,” created to help youth, their parents and dairy project leaders communicate with consumers about dairy farming.

Connecting with Dairy Consumers identifies key messages and ideas to be an “agvocate,” connect with consumers and promote the dairy industry and its products.

The Holstein Foundation provides a series of free, educational workbooks available to download online. “Showring Ready” and “Dairy Judging” are the most popular topics, but resources are also provided on topics ranging from dairy nutrition and reproduction to genetics.

Download the free workbook or contact Kelli Dunklee at (800) 952-5200, extension 4124, for further information.

North Carolina resources promote dairy knowledge

The North Carolina State University Extension Conference, Nov. 15, gave extension and campus educators an opportunity to learn about the state’s dairy industry and try out interactive tools available through a partnership with the Dairy Alliance.

The dairy session, “Milk Busters: Raising Dairy Awareness,” was presented by Dairy Extension Associate Brittany Whitmire and animal science extension associate Shannon Davidson. Their information helped dispel myths about dairy, describing how milk is produced and processed; compared milk’s nutritional superiority over plant-based alternatives; and sought ways to communicate about the dairy industry in today’s socially charged environment. In addition, Clint Stevenson, with the Department of Food, Bioprocessing and Nutrition Sciences, discussed dairy food safety training resources.

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The “Discover North Carolina Dairy” is a virtual dairy farm tour resource available to producers, agents, educators and others who are interested in learning more about dairy farms in North Carolina and the Southeast. Educational tools include three kiosks, available for events such as school visits or fairs, showcasing a virtual dairy farm. An upcoming partnership with the Dairy Alliance will provide 75 virtual reality headsets, allowing youth and nonagricultural users to see a dairy farm in action.

The virtual farm tours can be accessed here.

The Dairy Alliance is a checkoff-funded organization promoting dairy in nine Southeast states: Alabama, Georgia, Kentucky, Louisiana, Mississippi, North Carolina, South Carolina, Tennessee and Virginia.

Cargill campaign donates 100,000 milk servings

A Cargill social media campaign has donated 100,000 milk servings to support The Great American Milk Drive.

Cargill’s #putyourherdfirst campaign, launched in August, asked Facebook users to change their profile picture to the “HerdFirst” frame. More than 65,000 people engaged with the campaign, with Cargill making a milk donation for each change. Feeding America’s network of 200 food banks will each receive 500 servings of milk.

Each year, 46 million people, including 12 million children, rely on Feeding America food banks for regular access to milk, which is one of the most requested, but least donated, items. On average, these food banks are only able to provide the equivalent of less than one gallon of milk per person per year.

HerdFirst is Cargill’s new line of advanced calf and heifer nutrition products.

California Dairy Quality Assurance program celebrates 20 years

California’s Dairy Quality Assurance Program (CDQAP), a unique, public-private collaboration that combines goals of high-quality milk production with continuous improvement in environmental stewardship, is celebrating its 20th year.

In December of 1996 and January of 1997, a series of subtropical storms hit California, dumping more than 30 inches of rain on already saturated watersheds and leading to widespread flooding as levees failed and rivers overflowed.

Recognizing a need to respond and be proactive, a committee of dairy producers, government agency representatives, industry leaders and university specialists created the CDQAP. In 1998, the CDQAP began delivering environmental stewardship workshops and finalized an Environmental Stewardship Partnership Agreement. The agreement brought together multiple state and federal agencies, the University of California and the dairy industry to address environmental issues and ensure dairy producers had the tools they needed to comply with environmental regulations.

"CDQAP works to provide dairy producers with the tools they need to not only gain regulatory compliance but to make ongoing improvements and show consumers that this industry is serious about sustainability … while maintaining economic viability for the long term," said Denise Mullinax, assistant director, CDQAP and interim director of the California Dairy Research Foundation (CDRF).

To date, nearly 800 dairy farms in California have received CDQAP environmental certification. Certifying producers must complete three program components: environmental stewardship education, farm management planning and reporting, and an on-site third-party evaluation.

a2 Milk Company reports growth

Citing growing momentum in U.S. markets, officials with the a2 Milk Company reported higher revenue and earnings during the company’s annual meeting, held in Melbourne, Australia.

Company officials said global sales were up 40 percent in fiscal year 2018 (ending June 30, 2018), with total revenue up 68 percent to $923 million. Sales of its a2 Platinum infant formula totaled $724 million, up 84 percent.

According to the company, dairy cows produce milk containing two different beta casein protein types, called A1 and A2. The company’s a2 Milk contains only the A2 protein type and is said to help consumers avoid stomach discomfort when digesting milk. The a2 Milk Company works with U.S. dairy farmers to identify cows that naturally produce the A2 protein type and process their milk separately.

Company officials said U.S. distribution has increased by 50 percent since the end of June 2018, to 9,000 stores nationwide.  end mark

PHOTO: Virtual reality headsets, provided by the Dairy Alliance, are part of the educational resources allowing viewers to learn about dairy farms in North Carolina and the Southeast. Photo courtesy of Margaret Huffman, North Carolina State University.

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