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News & Press: Minnesota Milk Minute

Minnesota Milk Minute - May 20, 2016

Friday, May 20, 2016   (0 Comments)
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Minnesota Milk Minute 

May 20, 2016

A reliable source of timely market information, news and current events. 

In This Issue

Congratulations Eir!

Legislative Session Winding Down

One More Week to Nominate a Dairy Farmer for Producer of the Year

Updates to FARM Summarized

Hastings Co-op Creamery Considers Move

2015 Minnesota Farm Financial Data Now Available

Apply for Minnesota Milk Scholarships 


Upcoming Events

May 31 - Deadline for Producer of the Year nominations

June 20 - Deadline for Minnesota Milk Scholarship applications

Featured Members

Special thanks to
Minnesota Milk
Associate Members.
This week’s featured members:

DeLaval, Inc.



Dairyland Supply, Inc.

First District Association


Congratulations Eir!

​Eir GarciaSilva of our staff, and her husband, Lucas GarciaSilva, welcomed their son, Rigly, into the world last Saturday. Mom and baby are well, and Eir will be taking some well-deserved time off with the little guy and her other three boys (Truit, Eljay and Paxen) and her husband for a few months. Eir will return in August, and her duties are being shared by the staff. We hope you’ll join us in congratulating Eir and her family.

Legislative Session Winding Down; Issues Still Up in the Air (Lucas Sjostrom and Daryn McBeth)

Not that anyone suspected otherwise, but as this is being written the big legislative items – supplemental budget, transportation, taxes and bonding bills – are still up in the air in terms of passage. The session ends before 12:01 a.m. Monday morning as directed by our state constitution, and all bills must be passed by then. However, ceremonial legislative business can, and likely will, continue into Monday.

On the dairy front, just this morning we reached a global agreement on a bill to allow minimal disruption in laying manure hoses in right-of-ways.

Last year, we worked with the Department of Transportation (DOT) to create an acceptable permitting process along DOT-maintained roads – state and U.S. highways. However, language in the law opened permitting to county and township roads as well. Before this time, manure hoses had not been addressed by the legislature and it was ambiguous whether or not it was legal to lay them in public right-of-ways. This year, we preferred to return the language to state roads only. In the end, a compromise on SF 3368 will:

  • Allow counties and townships to permit manure hoses, but the ordinance would need to be passed at the annual town meeting and no fees are allowed. The permit is valid for a year or longer and must be issued when using a certified animal waste hauler and meet other common-sense best practices for pumping manure.
  • Also allow counties and townships not to permit. In these townships, one business days’ notice is required and can be prevented only if there are maintenance activates in the right of way. It will be up to counties and townships to decide to enforce the notice, and farmers would not need that amount of notice time if they are pumping manure to prevent overflow or in case of a flood or other natural emergency.

At one point in the discussions a bill would have forced five days’ notice whether or a not a county or township wanted permitting authority and could have seen exorbitant fees charged. We are very happy with the compromise, thanking our friends at the Minnesota State Cattlemen’s Association, Minnesota Pork Producers Association, Agri-Growth Council, Minnesota Association of Townships and two county associations for helping us work toward fixing the issue.

Minnesota Milk thanks the conference committee members, Representatives Fabian and Hertaus, Senators Jensen and Dahms, and especially the authors, Senator Koenen and Representative Drazkowski, for their efforts in working toward common-sense reforms on this issue. Senator Koenen is a former dairy farmer and the only representative of that description in the legislature. Representative Drazkowski brought forward important issues as the two sides worked together to create a compromise. The conference committee report should be adopted today or over the weekend by each body and then requires a signature by the governor. We have been in contact with his office and have not heard any opposition from affected government bodies, including the Department of Agriculture, the Pollution Control Agency and the DOT. We also have hope that funding for the City of Litchfield’s backup generator system will be included in a bonding bill, helping First District Association expand its facility.

We thank the many members who helped us make contact on these and other issues during session. All 201 members of the House and Senate will be re-elected this fall, and Minnesota Milk has plans to interact and influence those elected officials, including a tour of dairy farms, one-on-one meetings with key legislators and regular communication to continue making business better for the dairy industry. 

One More Week to Nominate a Dairy Farmer for Producer of the Year

Do you know a dairy farmer worthy of receiving Minnesota’s Producer of the Year Award? Do they play a leadership role in the dairy industry, show a commitment to future generations and are active in their local community? Then nominate them today! Winners will receive a video of their operation to premiere at Minnesota Milk’s Dairy Conference and Expo, along with a $1,000 scholarship, $500 print of their choice and more. Each Minnesota Milk member can nominate one dairy farmer by emailing or calling us with the following information: your name and company, farm name you wish to nominate, and the nominee’s contact information including mailing address, email address, telephone number and cell phone number. Learn more at

Updates to FARM Summarized (Lucas Sjostrom)

During last week's Sustainability Forum held by the Innovation Center for U.S. Dairy in Chicago, one farmer-focused breakout session focused on pending changes to the National Dairy F.A.R.M. (Farmers Assuring Responsible Management) program. Emily Meredith, National Milk Producers Federation (NMPF) chief of staff, told attendees common sense changes are coming forward as the FARM Program Technical Writing Group made edits that will be enacted January 1, 2017. This renewal of the FARM Program Animal Care Manual and Evaluation Form takes place every three years.

The changes were suggested by the writing group made up of 18 producers, animal researchers and industry executives. After a review of best practices and the latest research, along with follow up meetings, NMPF's Animal Health and Well-Being Committee met in November to approve the changes, followed by a public comment period with more than 400 comments received and reviewed. The final manual rolled out in early 2016 and implementation begins January 1, 2017. Most of the changes to the FARM manual were for addition of resources and editing of words.

New for evaluations beginning January 1, 2017, will be two different priority levels of requirements, in addition to the full-farm assessment:

Priority One

  • Veterinarian Client-Patient Relationship (VCPR) forms must be signed by the veterinarian of record. Sample forms will be available.
  • Farm employees must sign a form explaining when and how they received training in stockmanship and animal care, that they will not abuse animals and will report any animal abuse. Sample forms and videos will be available.
  • No tail docking allowed.

A farm not meeting any of these requirements will have a maximum of 14 months to make corrective actions or be suspended from the FARM program.

Priority Two

  • Herd Health Plan - protocols must be available for newborn and milk-fed dairy calves, pain management, training for non-ambulatory animal management and euthanasia.
  • Animal Observations - Lameness, body condition and hock/knee scores.

The items in priority two that are lacking will require a continuous improvement plan that identifies areas to improve and a suggested timeline to complete them.

Hastings Co-op Creamery Considers Move (Dairy Star)

Hastings Co-op Creamery has plans to expand its facility, but is looking at options to move because of the price of the Sewer Availability Charge (SAC) and Water Availability Charge (WAC). The Met Council, a policy-making board that governs the seven-county metro area, oversees SAC, while the WAC is charged by the City of Hastings. According to David Zwart, Hastings’ general manager, the Hastings WAC is among the highest in the region and the city’s lack of incentives means consideration is being given to moving to Wisconsin or greater Minnesota, along with staying in Hastings. Read more.

2015 Minnesota Farm Financial Data Now Available

The annual FINBIN database report of Minnesota farm financial data is now available, showing dairy farm profits declined by 70 percent in 2015. The median dairy farm earned $41,521 compared to $137,962 in 2014. The average price received for milk was $17.94 per hundred pounds, down from $24.45 in 2014. 2,184 Minnesota farms included in the FINBIN database represent a broad cross-section of Minnesota production agriculture. They include a large enough sample to provide a good barometer of commercial farming in Minnesota. FINBIN data is provided by farms that participate in Minnesota State College and University Farm Business Management Education programs and the Southwestern Minnesota Farm Business Management Association. These farms represent about 3 percent of the farms in the state and 9 percent of commercial farms with sales of more than $250,000. Read more.

Apply for Minnesota Milk Scholarships

We’ll be awarding 10 $1,000 scholarships this year to students continuing their education within the dairy industry. At least two of the awards will go to students attending a two-year program. Applications are due Monday, June 20. Read more.

“You yourself, as much as anybody in the entire universe, deserve your love and affection.” -- Buddha


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