Ag briefs: Whole milk powder purchase benefits needy, farmers

Wisconsin State Farmer
National briefs


DPA makes whole milk powder purchase

Dairy Pricing Association, Inc., a Capper-Volstead cooperative in Taylor, Wis., has completed its first purchase of whole milk powder for distribution to humanitarian causes overseas while simultaneously removing milk from a saturated market to boost farmgate milk prices.

DPA President Tom Olson said the cooperative decided on utilizing whole milk powder for donation to Christian Aid Ministries (CAM) because it removes milk from the market in its entirety, and therefore we are not just providing an outlet for the nonfat byproduct of butter manufacturing.

On April 15, DPA secured 41,887 pounds of 28.5 percent milkfat powder manufactured by Michigan Milk Producers Association in Ovid, Mich. The whole milk powder is destined to be distributed through Christian Aid Ministries to those in need in Haiti, Liberia, and Nicaragua.

A group of DPA’s dairy producer members are currently contributing to the co-op with a $0.15/cwt milk check assignment, and those monies are specifically earmarked to secure more whole milk powder for distribution.

DPA is also circulating a petition asking USDA Secretary Sonny Perdue to amend the Dairy Production Stabilization Act of 1983 to let any dairy producer voluntary divert $0.02/cwt. from their existing dairy checkoff funds to support DPA’s efforts to purchase more dairy products to feed families in need while stabilizing dairy markets.


Midwest Buyers Mission set

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ASF spreads to North Korea

African Swine Fever (ASF) has apparently spread to North Korea, according to Sources inside the country say the disease has spread to the outskirts of Pyongyang from mid-February and has led to the deaths of many pigs that had been raised by families.

When ASF began to spread, North Korean authorities prohibited the distribution and sale of pork from late February and there are still prohibitions on the sale of pork at markets and raising pigs, the website reported.

Despite the restrictions, North Koreans are still selling pork at markets, the report said. 


Hemp could join oranges as a Florida ag product

Hemp could join oranges, strawberries and tomatoes as a top Florida crop under a bill unanimously passed by the Senate.

The bill passed Tuesday with glowing praise from senators who want to help an agriculture industry that's taken a lot of hits in recent years.

It would create a state program to administer and oversee the growing of hemp for industrial uses to make everything from ropes to building materials to animal feed.

Republican Sen. Rob Bradley said agriculture has been hit by setbacks ranging from citrus diseases to hurricanes over the last two decades. He said he wants Florida to become a national leader in the hemp industry.

Hemp is related to marijuana but has trace amounts of THC. Bradley said smoking it wouldn't make people high but rather give them a headache.

A companion House bill is awaiting a floor vote.


Super weed that attacks crops makes new inroads in Minnesota

Minnesota agriculture officials say a super weed that can devastate corn and soybean crops has made new incursions into the state by way of livestock feed.

The Minnesota Department of Agriculture says cows have eaten remnants of the weed in feed and it has shown up in manure that farmers spread on fields. The Star Tribune reports that it has been confirmed in six Minnesota counties.

The aggressive pigweed species is native to the desert regions of the southwestern U.S. and northern Mexico, but has spread to more than half the states, including North Dakota, South Dakota, Minnesota and Wisconsin.

North Dakota State University officials gearing up to fight the weed say the spread of Palmer amaranth can reduce yields by up to 91 percent for corn and 79 percent for soybeans.


Jury convicts former SD aquaponics company official of fraud

A federal jury has convicted a former executive of a South Dakota company accused of defrauding investors in a scheme to build an $11 million fish farm.

The jury Monday found Timothy Burns guilty of five charges of wire fraud for his role in soliciting investors for Global Aquaponics in Brookings. He will be sentenced later.

Burns was the one-time chief operating officer of Global Aquaponics. The company sought investors to build an indoor fish farm and hydroponics facility.

But the Argus Leader reports construction on the fish farm never started. Investors who put a minimum of $25,000 each in the project lost hundreds of thousands of dollars.

Businessman Tobias Ritesman earlier pleaded guilty to all 18 counts against him in the alleged scheme. Ritesman also awaits sentencing.