Ag Briefs: WI Herds of Excellence recognized

Wisconsin State Farmer
Midwest briefs


Holstein Association USA recognizes WI Herds of Excellence

Wisconsin dairy farmers captured six of the nine 2020 Herds of Excellence awards bestowed by Holstein Association USA. Started in 2008, this distinction is given to Registered Holstein® breeders who have developed herds excelling in both milk production and conformation at the most elite levels.  

The award is divided into three herd size divisions, based on the number of cows included in the herds’ milk production averages. To be recognized as a Herd of Excellence, a herd must have classified within the last year, have an age-adjusted average classification score of 83 points or higher; have at least 70 % of the herd homebred; and be enrolled in the Association's TriStarSM  production records program as well as meet production criteria.

Small Herd Size Division (10-99 Cows): B-Long Holsteins: Bruce, Brenda & Bret Long, New London, 34,936M 1,364F 1,093P; Ever-Green-View Holsteins, LLC: The Kestell Family, Waldo, 41,171M  1,673F 1,264P; and Hill-Ton Holsteins: The Hamilton Family, Cuba City, 37,164M 1,386F 1,135P.

Medium Herd Size Division (100-499 Cows): Hilrose Holsteins: Joseph A. Brantmeier, Sherwood, 34,384M 1,376F 1,039P and Koepke Farms Inc.: The Koepke Family, Oconomowoc, 34,501M 1,386F 1,016P.

Large Herd Size Division (500+ Cows): Siemers Holstein Farms Inc.: The Siemers Family, Newton, 36,882M 1,472F 1,120P.


Checkoff helps Taco Bell unveil beverage featuring dairy

Taco Bell is unveiling its second frozen beverage featuring dairy at all participating U.S. locations for a limited time, thanks to checkoff support.

The Mtn Dew® Baja Blast® Colada Freeze features a dairy-based creamer made from real heavy cream, with pineapple and coconut flavors to give it a tropical feel. The drink will be available May 20 on a limited-time basis or until supplies run out.

The drink builds off the success of last year’s Pineapple Whip Freeze that used a similar dairy creamer. DMI’s Global Innovation Partnerships science team joined DMI’s Product Research Team and the Midwest Dairy Center at the University of Minnesota to crack the code on the creamer.

The efforts led to a dairy-based, shelf-stable creamer that consists of real cream and met Taco Bell’s product requirements.


Hog prices climb to seven year high

Bloomberg reported on Friday that, “America’s insatiable appetite for ribs and hot dogs pushed hog prices to the highest in nearly seven years as the summer grilling season kicks off.

Plus, hog supplies are already tight from farmers culling herds last year when virus-stricken workers forced pork packers to close plants.”

Reuters reported late last week that, Chicago Mercantile Exchange hog futures rallied to their highest in nearly seven years, with strong demand outstripping supplies on hand as restaurants around the United States have been reopening after COVID-19 shutdowns.

Bloomberg added that inflation is landing in America’s refrigerators — and it’s hitting meat-eaters most of all.


Young pilot killed in small plane crash

A young pilot of a crop-dusting aircraft was killed when his plane crashed into a field in northeast Louisiana, authorities told Associated Press.

The single-engine Air Tractor 502 crashed  May 18 along Highway 425. Sheriff Toney Edwards, identified the pilot as Jakob T. Porter, 22, of Ferriday. 

In a preliminary accident report, the Federal Aviation Administration said the plane was maneuvering during an aerial application when it crashed under unknown circumstances.


Elevator: Normal operations will resume by fall harvest after explosion 

An explosion this month at the Landus Cooperative grain elevator in Jefferson should not affect storage capacity or operations during this fall's harvest, company officials said. 

Jefferson Police Chief Mark Clouse said the May 14 explosion did "catastrophic" damage to the elevator, nearby concrete storage bins and catwalks connecting the structures. He said it blew the tops off of at least four of the six storage bins, toppled walls and caused the catwalks to collapse.

Landus expects grain receiving and corn drying to resume at the Jefferson site by the fall harvest, according to a news release, and storage capacity will be "sufficient to meet farmer expectations."


Farmer's receive just 14¢ of every food dollar

A decade ago, farmers received 17.6¢ of each $1 spent on food by Americans. Their share now is barely above 14¢ while processors, retailers, and others in the food chain take a larger share, according to USDA economists, who have tracked the farmer/marketer relationship for a quarter century.

Successful Farming reported that the farmer’s share of the food dollar has averaged 16.4¢ over the long term and the marketing share has averaged 83.6¢. The farm share is highest during periods of strong commodity prices and lower when commodity prices weaken. The share fell below 15¢ in 2016 and was 14.3¢ in 2019, the most recent year in the database.


Ranchers struggle to find veterinarians for livestock

State, livestock and university officials are hoping Kansas ranchers will help a task force determine how to find more veterinarians to tend the state's crucial livestock industry.

Cattle ranching and related businesses employ nearly 39,000 people and contribute an estimated $8.7 billion to the Kansas economy. But many livestock ranchers cannot find veterinarians to care for the animals. 

The shortage is partly because many veterinary students want to treat smaller animals like cats and dogs, rather than heifers and hogs, officials said.

Deputy Kansas Agriculture Secretary Kelsey Olson says rural veterinarian practice is challenging, often requiring being on call every weekend. Larger practices in cities allow veterinarians to share the demands of the job with others. 


Lawmakers in NE, IA give final approval to bills supporting small meat processors

The Center for Rural Affairs reported that Nebraska and Iowa lawmakers approved bills to assist small meat processors and livestock producers as they work to clear obstacles brought on by the coronavirus pandemic.

Nebraska Legislative Bill (LB) 324 and Iowa House File (HF) 857 received final round approval and now await signatures from Govs. Pete Ricketts and Kim Reynolds, respectively.

LB 324 makes it easier for consumers to buy meat directly from producers or processors. It also creates the Independent Processor Assistance Program to help processors with expansion, modification, or construction of buildings; efficient packaging, processing, and storage equipment; technology to improve logistics or enable e-commerce; and educational or workforce training programs.

HF 857 will establish the Butchery Innovation and Revitalization Fund and Program to provide assistance to new and existing small meat lockers in the form of grants, low-interest loans, and forgivable loans to help them grow.