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As a follow up to the August 5 multi-state meeting in Athens, Tennessee, dairy producers from Virginia, North Carolina, Georgia, Kentucky, Tennessee, Mississippi and Arkansas returned to the table on Sept. 9 -- this time in Atlanta, Georgia -- where they voted to form the Southeast Dairy Coalition.

Three producers from Florida, and one from Alabama, who had attended the August meeting in Tennessee, were unable to make the September meeting in Georgia; however, they each indicated their keen interest to participate as the coalition moves forward. The group is also reaching out to South Carolina and Louisiana to bring the number of states to 11.

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092310_leontien

Leontien VandeLaar is a member of the Proud to Dairy network. Her family's farm, Four Leaf Clover Dairy, was recently a stop on the Indiana Soybean Alliance Tour. Read her thoughts on the tour and the importance of opening up her operation to the public.

Closing up or opening up, that is the big decision dairy farmers all around America have to make. And it is a very tough decision.

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Dairy producers have a long history of being sustainable. We care about the environment and our cows, and we are constantly working to become more productive and efficient.

In short, we know that sustainability is good business. It is all about making the most efficient use of natural resources – such as energy, water and waste byproducts.

Today, we are presented with new challenges. Increasingly, consumers want products and services that they know are made responsibly. Research conducted by Dairy Management Inc., which manages the national dairy checkoff program, shows that “frequent milk users” – those who drink milk at least once per day – may increase their consumption if they believe dairy products are not only nutritious and good-tasting but also environmentally friendly.

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A federal judge is putting a freeze on a state order that would have generated higher payments to Pennsylvania dairy farmers.

The Patriot-News of Harrisburg reported on its Web site Monday that U.S. Middle District Judge William W. Caldwell issued a preliminary injunction on the higher premium payments for out-of-state milk sold in Pennsylvania.

The paper says about $6 million in annual payments is at issue.

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