Ag Briefs: DFA acquires processing facilities from Smithfoods

Wisconsin State Farmer
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DFA acquires processing facilities from Smithfoods

Dairy Farmers of America (DFA) announced the acquisition of two extended shelf-life processing facilities from SmithFoods.

The processing plants, located in Richmond, Ind., and Pacific, Mo., produce a variety of extended shelf-life dairy and non-dairy beverages, ice cream and shake mixes for both retail and food service customers. The facilities will become part of the DFA Dairy Brands division and will operate as Richmond Beverage Solutions and Pacific Dairy Solutions.

“There is increasing consumer interest in extended shelf-life dairy products, and this acquisition aligns with our strategy to increase commercial investments and expand our ownership in this space,” says Pat Panko, executive vice president of DFA and president of DFA Dairy Brands North.


It costs more to farm last year in Wisconsin

It's getting hard to cover costs on the farm nowadays, thanks to higher costs across the board. According to the USDA, farmers paid 8 percent more this year to run their farm in 2021 than they did the previous year.

According to the report, feed led the top production expenditures in 2021 at $2.2B, a decrease of 2% thanks to above average crop yields. Farmers paid 7% more for farm services, the second highest expense. Other expenses include chemicals, labor, fuel, machinery, livestock and more.

Wisconsin AgConnection reported that expenditures per Wisconsin farm averaged $181,591 in 2021, compared with $167,935 the previous year. The average operation spent $34,945 on feed, $24,649 on farm services, $15,445 on fertilizer, and $15,913 on labor.


Ben Styer to represent WI at National FFA Convo

Outgoing Wisconsin FFA State President Ben Styer will represent Wisconsin as he competes for a spot on the national FFA officer team this fall.

Styler, who hails from the Menomonie FFA, served as one of the state FFA vice presidents in 2020-21, and was elected by fellow officers to head the team the following year. 

Styer is currently attending the University of Minnesota-Twin Cities double majoring in Animal Science and Agriculture & Food Business Management. He plans to return to his family's dairy farm upon graduation, according to Wisconsin AgConnection.


Riverside Meats issues recall of Polish sausage

Riverside Meats in Waukesha is issuing a Class II recall for smoked hot Polish sausage sold at stores throughout Wisconsin. The recalled product includes: Smoked hot Polish sausage, 10-lb. boxes, including a packaging date on or before July 27, 2022.

This is a Class II recall. During a routine inspection, state inspectors discovered that the product was misbranded and produced without an approved formula. 

No illnesses have been reported as a result of consuming this product. Anyone with questions about this recall can contact Caleb Pritzlaff, Riverside Meats, at (262) 786-1151.


Compeer Financial awards $228K in general use grants

The Fund for Rural America, Compeer Financial’s corporate giving program, has awarded 34 General Use Grants, totaling $228,340. General Use Grants fund initiatives and organizations whose work enriches agriculture and rural America, aligning with Compeer Financial’s mission.

In total, the 34 grants will directly impact the lives of over 828,000 people, including farmers, youth, high school students and people facing food insecurity.

Wisconsin grants were awarded to: Baraboo Children’s Museum, Inc.: purchasing a milkable cow exhibit; Boys & Girls Club of Dane Co.: Walworth Co. Summer Monthly Meal Distribution Project; CESA 03: Hydroponic Growing System; Feeding America Eastern Wisconsin: scissors lift; Foxhead Regenerative Ag Project: developing a local Land Conservation Program.

GrassWorks Inc: coordinating outreach and implementing regenerative ag conservation education; Jackson Co. Childcare Network: Farm to ECE Mobile Learning Lab; Lafayette Ag Stewardship Alliance: supporting farmer-led conservation and supply chain collaboration; Operation HELP: farmers market and food harvest vouchers; REAP Food Group: supporting REAP's Farm Fresh Atlas, BIPOC farmers, and educational programs; Rooted WI, Inc: infrastructure and capacity building for specialty crop farmers; Second Harvest Foodbank of Southern WI: purchasing commercial canopy tents for the Mobile Pantry Program and YMCA of the North – Camp St. Croix: Camp St. Croix Grow and Gather Farm Fence.


USDA Begins Issuing payments for hog pandemic program

The USDA is increasing the amount of funding available for the Spot Market Hog Pandemic Program (SMHPP) and expects to issue approximately $62.8 million in pandemic assistance payments to hog producers starting this week. SMHPP assists eligible producers who sold hogs through a spot market sale from April 16, 2020, through Sept. 1, 2020. USDA’s Farm Service Agency (FSA) accepted SMHPP applications through April 29, 2022.


USDA announces action to declare Salmonella an adulterant 

he U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS) is announcing that it will be declaring Salmonella an adulterant in breaded and stuffed raw chicken products.

By declaring Salmonella an adulterant in these products, FSIS will be able to ensure that highly contaminated products that could make people sick are not sold to consumers. Since 1998, breaded and stuffed raw chicken products have been associated with up to 14 outbreaks and approximately 200 illnesses. 

Breaded and stuffed raw chicken products will be considered adulterated when they exceed a very low level of Salmonella contamination and would be subject to regulatory action. 

FSIS will be proposing to set the limit at 1 colony forming unit (CFU) of Salmonella per gram for these products, a level that the agency believes will significantly reduce the risk of illness from consuming these products.

The agency will also seek comment on whether a different standard for adulteration – such as zero tolerance or one based on specific serotypes – would be more appropriate.


Students gather to ensure future of ag

In late July,  45 FFA members gathered in Iowa to discuss how agriculture will play a pivotal role in their future during the New Century Farmer conference.

The conference allowed FFA members who plan to remain in production agriculture to work on their secession plans for success.

Wisconsin FFA members attending the conference included Marissa Lung and Grace Zeidler.


Rock Co. Jersey breeders recognized 

Bill and Marion Barless of Janesville were recognized by the American Jersey Cattle Association, earning its Distinguished Service Award.

According to the AJCA, the awards honors individuals who have provided outstanding and unselfish service and made a notable contribution to the advancement of the Jersey Breed in the United States.

Over the past three and a half decades, the couple has built up a 525-head herd of Jerseys. They have also contributed their time and service to both local and national boards. The Barlesses were also among Wisconsin Jersey breeders donating animals to reintroduce the breed to China in the late 90s.


Pen of 3 carcass competition set

Sheep producers competing at the Wisconsin Sheep & Wool Festival on Sept. 11, will have the opportunity to participate in the Pen of 3 carcass competition following live judging.

The event allows sheep producers including 4-H and FFA members to receive both a live evaluation by a commercial lamb buyer and indexing measurements taken after harvest to determine loin eye, back fat, and leg score to assist them with genetic, breeding and feeding decisions for their respective flocks.

The event is open to members of the Wisconsin Sheep & Wool Breeders Cooperative. Lambs should be entered through ShoWorks at Cost is $25/pen.