California Dairy Industry Headline News

Tuesday, Sept. 30, 2014


 

Environmental News

  • WUD continues opposition to water board fee hike following hearing - - The State Water Resources Control Board on Tuesday, Sept. 23, after hearing testimony from Western United Dairymen and many concerned dairy producers, decided not to include North Coast dairies in the Confined Animal Facilities (CAF) fee program and to not put a cap of $2,500 on the discount given to dairies that have qualified under the California Dairy Quality Assurance Program (CDQAP.) <more> Sept. 26, 2014 WUD Friday Update
  • Dairy families continue work for cleaner air, Valley sees record-low ozone for second summer - - San Joaquin Valley air quality reached a historic milestone last year. For the first time since the adoption of the federal Clean Air Act, the region experienced zero annual violations of the 1-hour ozone standard. Now, it appears that the record-low levels of ozone were observed for a second straight summer. <more> Sept. 30, 2014 Dairy Cares newsletter
  • EPA chief slams critics for misinformation - - Critics of the Environmental Protection Agency's water jurisdiction rule are spreading misinformation, the agency's chief said Monday. McCarthy said the rule was proposed in March to clarify Clean Water Act protections for 60 percent of the nations streams and wetlands, since two court decisions made it unclear. "As with everything EPA does these days, there is some misinformation out there, confusing what our plan is all about," McCarthy said at a conference of water quality officials in New Orleans. <more> Sept. 29, 2014 The Hill
  • How Much of Worlds Greenhouse-Gas Emissions Come From Agriculture? - - Agriculture might seem green by definition, but farming accounts for a lot of greenhouse-gas emissions when the entire food production system is taken into account. Typically, estimates of greenhouse-gas emissions from agriculture are around 11%-15% of global emissions. Estimates discussed earlier this week at the United Nations Climate Summit put that number closer to 50%. This is an important calculation as climate change issues come to the fore, with record greenhouse-gas emissions and international negotiations to halt that rise. The reason for the difference is that the 11%-15% estimates only take into account emissions from the farming part of agriculture, such as plowing and fertilizing. <more> Sept. 29, 2014 The Wall Street Journal
  • California drought and climate warming: Studies find no clear link - - Global warming contributed to extreme heat waves in many parts of the world last year, but cannot be definitively linked to the California drought, according to a report released Monday. The third annual analysis of extreme weather events underscored the continuing difficulty of teasing out the influence of human-caused climate change on precipitation patterns. One of three studies examining the California drought in 2013 found that the kind of high-pressure systems that blocked winter storms last year have increased with global warming. But another study concluded that a long-term rise in sea surface temperatures in the western Pacific did not contribute substantially to the drought. And researchers noted that California precipitation since 1895 has "exhibited no appreciable downward trend." <more> Sept. 29, 2014 LA Times
  • CDFA offers grants to fund water-efficient technology - - The California Department of Food and Agriculture (CDFA) will begin accepting applications on Sept. 29 for a second round of funding for the State Water Efficiency and Enhancement Program (SWEEP), authorized by emergency drought legislation (Senate Bill 103). SWEEP is a unique opportunity for growers to receive financial assistance to install water distribution systems that save water and reduce greenhouse gases. Up to $150,000 will be provided directly to agricultural operations for water and energy conservation projects that benefit all Californians. The funding can support a broad range of irrigation-related projects such as pump improvements, equipment to facilitate water saving measures and other quantifiable water distribution and greenhouse gas reduction management practices. <more> Sept. 26, 2014 Western Farm Press
  • Air board offers ag exempt truck deadline of Jan. 31 , 2015 - - Owners of agricultural trucks that qualify for an identifying AG sticker will have until Jan. 31, 2015, to register with the California Air Resources Board. Mileage limits have been streamlined and increased slightly. CARB is reopening the registration period for those farmers who have not reported and claimed their ag exemption. Farmers who already have the exemption do not need to take any further action. The agricultural vehicle provisions include: Delay compliance for vehicles that operate less than specified mileage thresholds and for a limited number of specialized trucks. Apply to diesel trucks and buses with a manufacturer gross vehicle weight rating greater than 14,000 pounds, thus excluding pickups. Include agricultural vehicles such as trucks and buses owned by log harvest operations or farming businesses and certain trucks that are not farmer owned but are dedicated to supporting agricultural operations. Do not apply to truck tractors that enter ports or intermodal rail yards or transport marine cargo. These vehicles must comply with the Drayage Truck regulation. Additional fact sheets and information are available by contacting your local WUD field representative or online at www.arb.ca.gov/ dieseltruck, by calling (866) 6DIESEL (866-634-3735) or email 8666diesel@arb.ca.gov. Sept. 19, 2014 WUD Friday Update
  • Livestock Producers Urged to Enroll in Disaster Assistance Program by Oct. 1 - - The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) is encouraging producers who have suffered eligible disaster-related losses to act to secure assistance by Sept. 30, 2014, as congressionally mandated payment reductions will take place for producers who have not acted before that date. Livestock producers that have experienced grazing losses since October 2011 and may be eligible for benefits but have not yet contacted their local Farm Service Agency (FSA) office should do so as soon as possible. <more> Sept. 2, 2014 USDA news release
  • Ag Energy Conference and Expo to be held November 12 in Fresno - - The one-day conference and trade show will provide dairy producers and processors the opportunity to learn about timely options for solar and bioenergy projects. More than 20 vendors are expected to be on hand to meet with producers, growers and processors. Industry experts will also be available to provide insight on energy cost projections and why the time is right for producers interested in solar or bioenergy projects. Katrina Rainey of Curtimade Dairy will be one of the solar panel presenters. Solar energy opportunities and benefits have never been better and the window of opportunity is closing fast. Learn about the latest changes and why 2015 may be your last year to take advantage. The event will be held on Nov. 12, from 8:00 a.m.- 4:00 p.m. at the Fresno Hotel & Conference Center (Former Radisson Hotel) 1055 Van Ness Ave, Fresno, CA 93721. Register online at www.agprocessors.org. For more information call AECA at 916-447-6206. Sept. 30, 2014 AECA event flyer

Water News

  • DWR: Progress on delta tunnels - - Californias top water official told a key gathering of south state water representatives that hard-earned progress is being made on the Brown administrations controversial plan to build twin tunnels through the Sacramento-San Joaquin River Delta. The comments by Mark Cowin, director of the state Department of Water Resources, were aimed in part at dispelling rumors that the project, known as the Bay Delta Conservation Plan, or BDCP, had run aground, perhaps permanently. He made the comments last week to a committee of the Metropolitan Water District of Southern California, the huge wholesaler that serves much of the south states water agencies. <more> Sept. 29. 2014 Capitol Weekly
  • Long, difficult summer at Millerton Lake - - The drought summer of 2014 is in the rear view mirror at Millerton Lake, but it will long be remembered -- east San Joaquin Valley farmers were left without water from this lake for the first time in many decades. As part of an agreement dating back to the 1930s, the lakes water has been released all summer long to a group of west Valley farmers who have rights to the water dating back to the 1800s. Never heard of this arrangement? Or, maybe you have, and you dont remember the details. This is the short explanation. <more> Sept. 29, 2014 Fresno Bee

State/Federal News and Politics

  • Nation's Ag Co-ops Set Record for Annual Sales and Income - - Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack today announced that the nation's farmer, rancher and fishery cooperatives set a new sales record in 2013, with total business volume of more than $246 billion. That surpasses the previous record, set in 2012, by $8 billion, a 4 percent gain. U.S. co-ops also enjoyed robust job growth over the previous year. This third consecutive year of record sales by ag cooperatives reflects increased sales in the overall farm economy in 2013. U.S. crop production and livestock sales both increased 6 percent in 2013, while production input (farm supply) sales increased 2 percent. <more> Sept. 30, 2014 USDA press release
  • U.S. Dairy Industry Decries Market Barriers Raised in EU-Canada Trade Deal - - The text of the European Union-Canada Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement (CETA) released at the end of last week contains provisions on geographical indications (GIs) and reallocates a portion of the World Trade Organization tariff rate quota for cheese to the EU. The U.S. dairy industry expressed concern today that these provisions would raise artificial trade barriers restricting market access for American cheeses to the Canadian market. In addition, CETA provides very limited access to many EU dairy products as a result of the agreements prioritization of the GI goals of a few squeaky wheels, at the expense of broader gains across the full EU dairy industry, according to U.S. dairy industry trade groups. <more> 29, 2014 NMPF press release

Pricing/Commodity News

  • September milk prices jump - - USDAs preliminary estimate of the September 2014 U.S. average all-milk price, at $25.00/cwt., was up 90¢ from Augusts revised estimate, and the highest since April. Year-to-date, the 2014 average all-milk price stands at $24.30/cwt., up $4.74 from the same period in 2013. Among the largest milk-producing states, Wisconsins September all-milk price averaged $26.30/cwt., up $1.90 from August. California, at $23.00/cwt., up 80¢; New York, at $26.40/cwt., and Pennsylvania, at $26.80/cwt., were each up 50¢. Idaho, at $24.00/cwt., was up 80¢. New Mexico, at $22.50/cwt., was up 60¢. <more> Sept. 29, 2014 Dairy Herd Management
  • CWT Still Shipping Cheese Out - - Cooperatives Working Together (CWT) accepted 8 requests for export assistance today from Northwest Dairy Association and Tillamook County Creamery Association to sell 1.116 million pounds of Cheddar, Gouda and Monterey Jack cheese to customers in Asia and the Middle East. The product will be delivered December 2014 through March 2015 and raises CWTs Year-to-date cheese sales to 85.642 million pounds, plus 48.189 million pounds of butter and 33.171 million pounds of whole milk powder to 43 countries on six continents. These sales are the equivalent of 2.117 billion pounds of milk on a milkfat basis. Figures are adjusted for cancellations that occurred during the month. Sept. 30, 2014 Dairy Business Update

interestStories of Interest
 

  • Can the world keep up with soaring global food demand? - - A global, and potentially historic, campaign aims to increase the world's food supplies. Launched with little fanfare last week during the United Nations General Assembly in New York, the Global Alliance on Climate Smart Agriculture (GACSA) brought together scores of government officials, industry groups and academics to discuss how to ensure food security around the world as the planet's climate changes. The U.N. Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), which supports sustainable agriculture, says there are several truths that cannot be denied, or ignored. First, whether as part of a natural cycle or through human intervention, the world's climate has changed. Second, that change is taking place as the global population is projected to jump by over 2 billion people between now and 2050, to more than 9 billion. <more> Sept. 30, 2014 CBS Money Watch
     

Meetings of Interest to CA Dairy Industry 
 


 
  • Californias Fertilizer Research Conference Comes to Modesto October 29-30, 2014 - - The California Department of Food and Agriculture and the Western Plant Health Association are hosting their 22nd annual fertilizer research conference at the DoubleTree Hotel in Modesto on October 29-30, 2014. This conference brings together industry professionals and academic researchers to learn about the latest research and sound management of fertilizing materials. This conference is designed to improve educational outreach by communicating the application of fertilizing materials on agricultural lands for food production and the use of those materials in consideration of existing environmental issues. The conference is geared towards a wide range of agriculturalists, including agricultural supply and service consultants, growers, university extension specialists, certified crop advisers, and local, state and national governmental agency personnel. <more> Sept. 18, 2014 CDFA news release
  • Ag Energy Conference and Expo to be held November 12 in Fresno - - The one-day conference and trade show will be a great opportunity for dairy producers and processors to learn about timely options and opportunities for solar and bioenergy projects. More than 20 vendors are expected to be on hand to meet with producers, growers and processors. Industry experts will also be on hand to provide some insight on energy cost projections and why the time is right for producers interested in solar or bioenergy projects. Katrina Rainey of Curtimade dairy will be one of the solar panel presenters. Solar energy opportunities and benefits have never been better and the window of opportunity is closing fast. Learn about the latest changes and why 2015 may be your last year to take advantage. The event will be held on Nov. 12, from 8:00 a.m.- 4:00 p.m. at the Fresno Hotel & Conference Center (Former Radisson Hotel) 1055 Van Ness Ave, Fresno, CA 93721. Register online at www.agprocessors.org. For more information call AECA at 916-447-6206. Sept. 30, 2014 AECA event flyer
  • 2014 California Alfalfa, Forage, and Grains Symposium, Dec. 10-12, Long Beach - - Registration is now open for the 2014 California Alfalfa, Forage, and Grains Symposium scheduled for Dec. 10 12 in Long Beach, Calif. The event will be held at the Long Beach Convention Center. As California grows nearly three million acres of alfalfa, grains, silages, and other forage crops, there is a strong need to share information, says Dan Putnam, Extension agronomist and forage specialist and the 2014 Symposium Chair. This will be a comprehensive meeting to focus on critical issues related to alfalfa and grain crops, particularly global issues, economics, and practical 'how to' talks on crop production techniques. <more> Sept. 19, 2014 Western Farm Press
  • Save the Dates! Western United Dairymen Annual Convention - March 18-20, 2015 at Tenaya Lodge in Yosemite
    For more information, visit: www.WUDconvention.com

 

Monday, Sept. 29, 2014

State/Federal News and Politics

  • Jerry Brown vetoes farm labor bill - - Gov. Jerry Brown vetoed legislation Sunday that would have changed procedures in farm labor disputes to make it harder for California farmers to stall new contracts. Senate Bill 25, by Senate President Pro Tem Darrell Steinberg, D-Sacramento, would have allowed the states Agriculture Labor Relations Board to implement farm labor contracts secured through mandatory mediation even if employers appeal. Proponents of the bill, including the United Farm Workers union, said the legislation was necessary to avoid delays in contract disputes. Opponents argued the legislation would give labor unions unfair leverage in negotiations. <more> Sept. 28, 2014 Capitol Alert
  • Governor's veto message for SB 25 - labor legislation - - Governor Edmund G. Brown - "To the Members of the California State Senate: I am returning Senate Bill 25 without my signature. This bill is designed to expedite prompt enforcement of contracts derived from mandatory mediation. Both contract enforcement and election disputes should be dealt with so the process is balanced and fair. This bill only addresses contract enforcement. We should look at the entire process before making further changes. I look forward to working with the Legislature on these matters."
    *NOTE: WUD strenuously opposed this bill and was active in the coalition against it.
  • Jerry Brown vetoes extra $100 million for UC, CSU - - Citing property tax revenues below budget estimates, Gov. Jerry Brown vetoed part of a budget bill Saturday that would have awarded an additional $50 million each to the University of California and California State University systems for deferred maintenance the systems deem critical. Making investments to maintain the states aging infrastructure continues to be a major priority for my administration, as is paying down the states debts and reducing other long-term liabilities, Brown wrote in his veto message. However, we are nearly one quarter into the fiscal year now and we should not commit additional General Fund monies of this magnitude when we are facing unanticipated costs such as fighting the states extreme wildfires. <more> Sept. 27, 2014 The Sacramento Bee
  • Johnny Tacherra latest in GOP trying to oust Jim Costa - - Burrel dairy farmer Johnny Tacherra is the latest in a long line of Republicans trying to oust incumbent Fresno Democrat Jim Costa from Congress. Nothing illustrates his challenge better than the campaign contributions Costa has received from the Western United Dairymen, the Dairy Farmers of America and the California Dairies Federal political action committee. These aren't just agriculture organizations, they're dairy organizations. And Tacherra is a dairy farmer. That doesn't even count the $900,000 Costa has in his campaign account, and a nearly 16-percentage-point voter-registration edge in the 16th Congressional District, which covers all of Merced and parts of Fresno and Madera counties. <more> Sept. 28, 2014 Fresno Bee

Water News

  • California harvest much smaller than normal across crops - - Its harvest time in much of California, and the signs of drought are almost as abundant as the fruits and nuts and vegetables. One commodity after another is feeling the impact of the states epic water shortage. The great Sacramento Valley rice crop, served in sushi restaurants nationwide and exported to Asia, will be smaller than usual. Fewer grapes will be available to produce Californias world-class wines, and the citrus groves of the San Joaquin Valley are producing fewer oranges. There is less hay and corn for the states dairy cows, and the pistachio harvest is expected to shrink. Even the states mighty almond business, which has become a powerhouse in recent years, is coming in smaller than expected. Thats particularly troubling to the thousands of farmers who sacrificed other crops in order to keep their almond orchards watered.  <more> Sept. 28, 2014 The Sacramento Bee
  • Drying Up? Six Industries at Big Risk in California's Drought - - "We sold out about five months ago," Tony Azevedo, owner of The Double T, a ranch in the heart of the San Joaquin Valley, told NBC News when asked about his organic dairy operation. "We went out of business." Organic dairies, he explained, hinge on the ability to pasture-graze cows. This past winter, the lack of water prevented him from growing his usual lush green pasture for the third year in a row and he was unable to pay his bills. The non-organic, or conventional, dairy business, by contrast, is strong because high milk prices allow those farmers to afford Azevedo's organic feed and still turn a profit. "It is kind of their turn," he said. <more> Sept. 29, 2014 NBC news
  • California's water agencies look to budget water - - As California's severe drought continues, state and local agencies are looking at budgeting water use by creating a daily water allocation for each household. The San Gabriel Valley Tribune reports (http://bit.ly/1xsETsi ) that under such a scheme, a household would be allotted a certain number of gallons for indoor water use and another for outdoor water use. The amount allocated is calculated using census data, aerial photography and satellite imagery to determine a property's efficient water usage amount. Those using above their designated amount would pay extra.  <more> Sept. 28, 2014 AP

Pricing/Commodity News

  • Alfalfa growers want improved USDA crop insurance program - - Alfalfa growers weighed in on federal crop insurance during a listening session held in Woodland, Calif., conducted by the U.S. Department of Agriculture. The USDA Risk Management Agency contracted with Agralytica Consulting of Alexandria, Va., to conduct listening sessions around the country in an effort to improve current federal crop insurance for forage producers. The objective is to provide growers of alfalfa, grass hay, and other forage crops with better protection from weather-related disasters and fluctuations in quality and price. <more> Sept. 25, 2014 Western Farm Press
  • August Milk-Feed Ratio Up on Higher Milk Price/Lower Feed - - The preliminary September milk feed price ratio was up from the revised August level, according to the Agriculture Departments latest Ag Prices report issued this afternoon. The September milk-feed price ratio is at 2.90, up from 2.61 in August, and compares to 1.88 in September 2013. The index is based on the current milk price in relationship to feed prices for a ration of 51% corn, 8% soybeans and 41% alfalfa hay, in other words, 1lb. of milk today can purchase 2.90lbs. of dairy feed containing that blend. The September U.S. average all-milk price was $25.00/cwt., up from $24.10/cwt. in August, and compares to $20.10/cwt. in September 2013. September corn, at $3.38/bushel, was down 25¢ from August and $2.02 less than September 2013. Soybeans averaged $11.20/bushel, down $1.20 from August, and $2.10/bushel below September 2013, and alfalfa hay averaged $197/ton, down $12 from July, but $3/ton more than August 2013. Looking at the cow side of the ledger; the report shows the preliminary September cull price for beef and dairy combined averaged $119.00/cwt., down $2/cwt. from August, but $35.10/cwt. above September 2013. Prices received for milk cows was not available for August but averaged $1970 per head in July. Sept. 29, 2014 Dairy Business Update

 

Environmental News

  • Air board offers ag exempt truck deadline of Jan. 31 , 2015 - - Owners of agricultural trucks that qualify for an identifying AG sticker will have until Jan. 31, 2015, to register with the California Air Resources Board. Mileage limits have been streamlined and increased slightly. CARB is reopening the registration period for those farmers who have not reported and claimed their ag exemption. Farmers who already have the exemption do not need to take any further action. The agricultural vehicle provisions include: Delay compliance for vehicles that operate less than specified mileage thresholds and for a limited number of specialized trucks. Apply to diesel trucks and buses with a manufacturer gross vehicle weight rating greater than 14,000 pounds, thus excluding pickups. Include agricultural vehicles such as trucks and buses owned by log harvest operations or farming businesses and certain trucks that are not farmer owned but are dedicated to supporting agricultural operations. Do not apply to truck tractors that enter ports or intermodal rail yards or transport marine cargo. These vehicles must comply with the Drayage Truck regulation. Additional fact sheets and information are available by contacting your local WUD field representative or online at www.arb.ca.gov/ dieseltruck, by calling (866) 6DIESEL (866-634-3735) or email 8666diesel@arb.ca.gov. Sept. 19, 2014 WUD Friday Update
  • Livestock Producers Urged to Enroll in Disaster Assistance Program by Oct. 1 - - The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) is encouraging producers who have suffered eligible disaster-related losses to act to secure assistance by Sept. 30, 2014, as congressionally mandated payment reductions will take place for producers who have not acted before that date. Livestock producers that have experienced grazing losses since October 2011 and may be eligible for benefits but have not yet contacted their local Farm Service Agency (FSA) office should do so as soon as possible. <more> Sept. 2, 2014 USDA news release

interestStories of Interest
 

  • Thousands gather in Sacramento for second annual Farm-to-Fork Festival - - The farm-to-fork movement gained momentum locally and statewide with Sacramentos Farm-to-Fork Festival taking place Saturday, less than 24 hours after Gov. Jerry Brown signed a bill establishing a California farm-to-fork office. Thousands gathered at Capitol Mall to partake in the second annual Farm-to-Fork Festival, where demonstration tents, music stages and myriad food sellers lined the streets. It was one of the final events in Sacramentos celebration this month as Americas Farm-to-Fork Capital, which culminates Sunday with a $175-a-plate gala dinner on the deck of Tower Bridge. <more> Sept. 28, 2014 The Sacramento Bee
  • World Dairy Expo Kicks off Tomorrow - - Some 70,000 plus dairy producers converge on Madison tomorrow for the 48th Word Dairy Expo, the largest dairy-focused event in the world. This years theme is Designer Dairy. Close to 2,000 attendees were from 92 countries last year. Approximately 2,500 head of world-class dairy cattle from across North America also compete at Expo, with breed cattle auctions throughout the week. The brand new 290,000 square foot New Holland Pavilion makes its debut this year as the new cattle housing facility. The log shows 1,616 dairy cattle exhibitors from 36 states and seven Canadian provinces brought cattle to the famed color shavings at Expo last year and 843 exhi biting companies from 29 countries showed their wares. Youth contests and dairy cattle judging is a highlight of Expo, along with the World Forage Analysis Superbowl. Complete details are at www.worlddairyexpo.com. Sept. 29, 2014 Dairy Business Update
  • Benefits of Joining the Herd - - Four years ago, Mr. Cieri traded Wall Street talk of structured credit derivatives for this kind of cattle banter. He owns Stonewall Pastures outside East Meredith, N.Y., about three hours northwest of Manhattan, and is one of 36 members of the Adirondack Grazers Cooperative. While New York has been a haven for dairy cooperatives, the Adirondack Grazers Cooperative is something much less common in the state a co-op for grass-fed beef. Its members inhabit farms from the Adirondacks south to the Pennsylvania border and east into Vermont. In addition to helping farmers with tangibles like the marketing and sale of their beef, the cooperative is also providing something more elusive call it hope in a state where, according to the Agricultural Stewardship Association, a nonprofit land trust, one farm is lost to development every three and a half days. <more> Sept. 27, 2014 The New York Times
  • Fresno Fair changes livestock rules for drought - - The Big Fresno Fair is mindful of the drought that continues to grip California, laying waste to farms and suburban lawns alike, and is taking water-saving actions. Fresno Fair deputy manager Lauri King said this will be the first year in which students from local 4-H and FFA clubs will only be allowed to fully wash each animal once per show session, which lasts either five or six days. This poses a particular problem for the pigs, which don't have sweat glands and must rely on the pavilion's new cooling system of misters and fans, she said. "We realize the dire situation our community faces," King said. "I realize this affects a lot of kids in our barn, but we have to educate not only them but the public as well on just how bad this drought is." <more> Sept. 27, 2014 Fresno Bee
     

Meetings of Interest to CA Dairy Industry 
 


 
  • Sept. 30 deadline for direct farm ownership loan program - - USDAs California Farm Service Agency (FSA) Executive Director Val Dolcini says farmers and ranchers still have time to apply for low interest 2014 loans available through FSAs di-rect farm ownership program. The deadline to submit applications is Sept. 30, 2014. Eligible producers can borrow up to $300,000 in direct farm ownership loans to buy or enlarge a farm, construct new farm buildings or improve structures, pay closing costs, or promote soil and water conservation and protection. The interest rate on select loans can be as low as 1.5 percent with up to 40 years to repay. FSA encourages all interested applicants to apply for direct farm ownership loans. For more information about the program and other loans administered by FSA, visit any FSA county office or www.fsa.usda.gov.
  • Californias Fertilizer Research Conference Comes to Modesto October 29-30, 2014 - - The California Department of Food and Agriculture and the Western Plant Health Association are hosting their 22nd annual fertilizer research conference at the DoubleTree Hotel in Modesto on October 29-30, 2014. This conference brings together industry professionals and academic researchers to learn about the latest research and sound management of fertilizing materials. This conference is designed to improve educational outreach by communicating the application of fertilizing materials on agricultural lands for food production and the use of those materials in consideration of existing environmental issues. The conference is geared towards a wide range of agriculturalists, including agricultural supply and service consultants, growers, university extension specialists, certified crop advisers, and local, state and national governmental agency personnel. <more> Sept. 18, 2014 CDFA news release
  • 2014 California Alfalfa, Forage, and Grains Symposium, Dec. 10-12, Long Beach - - Registration is now open for the 2014 California Alfalfa, Forage, and Grains Symposium scheduled for Dec. 10 12 in Long Beach, Calif. The event will be held at the Long Beach Convention Center. As California grows nearly three million acres of alfalfa, grains, silages, and other forage crops, there is a strong need to share information, says Dan Putnam, Extension agronomist and forage specialist and the 2014 Symposium Chair. This will be a comprehensive meeting to focus on critical issues related to alfalfa and grain crops, particularly global issues, economics, and practical 'how to' talks on crop production techniques. <more> Sept. 19, 2014 Western Farm Press
  • Save the Dates! Western United Dairymen Annual Convention - March 18-20, 2015 at Tenaya Lodge in Yosemite
    For more information, visit: www.WUDconvention.com

Friday, Sept. 26, 2014

Water News

  • La Grange Dam relicensing public hearing set for Oct. 6 - - The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) determined that the La Grange Project falls under its jurisdiction and has ordered the Modesto and Turlock Irrigation Districts to apply for a license. The districts strongly disagree with FERC's determination and are appealing the decision. In the meantime, the districts are required to follow the steps to apply for a license for La Grange. There will be a Proposed Study Plan meeting on the La Grange license process on Monday, Oct. 6 at MIDs downtown office, 1231 11th Street, beginning at 10 a.m. At this meeting state and federal agencies and interested parties will discuss proposed studies they believe the Districts should perform in order to inform the FERC record on project conditions and future license requirements. Most of the current proposed studies are related to providing fish passage facilities for salmon and steelhead at both La Grange and Don Pedro dams and determining the suitability of habitat in the Tuolumne River upstream of Don Pedro Reservoir for salmon and steelhead. It is important to recognize that La Grange isnt part of the Don Pedro Project, but is a separate facility that pre-dates Don Pedro. At this meeting the public will have the opportunity to hear firsthand what others believe should be studied and required, as well as the Districts responses to these study requests. There will be an opportunity to ask questions about the appropriateness of the studies and their costs and discuss their potential impacts to our community. Sept. 26, 2014 WUD news
  • So far, more rain today than past 5 months combined - - In a matter of minutes this morning, Stockton saw more rain than the past five months combined. This morning's storm has dumped eight times as much precipitation as the National Weather Service originally expected, with exactly half an inch of rain at the Stockton Metropolitan Airport as of 10 a.m., officials said. The storm was moving east at a slower-than-expected speed, which might account for the additional rain, forecaster Cindy Matthews said. "You guys are not out of the heavy stuff yet," she said at 10:40 a.m. This won't be a record-setting rain, and wet storms like this aren't terribly unusual in late September. But it might seem unusual given recent dry years. "This is a great start to the winter season," Matthews said. "We just need it to continue like this." Sept. 25, 2014 Stockton Record

State/Federal News and Politics

  • Terry Lehenbauer: Dairy herd health is paramount - - While growing up on a small dairy farm in Oklahoma, I could not have imagined that someday I would work as a veterinarian caring for dairy cows in California the No. 1 dairy state. But after earning my veterinary degree, I took the opportunity to pursue advanced veterinary training at the University of California, Davis School of Veterinary Medicine to become a specialist in dairy cattle herd health. This specialty focuses on keeping cows healthy by preventing disease before it occurs. I was drawn to California because UC Davis is and was then the world leader in advanced training for preventive veterinary medicine. Veterinarians in California had become recognized as innovators and leaders changing the way that we keep our cows healthy by visiting dairy herds on a scheduled basis for "well-cow" examinations, regular check-ups and routine vaccinations. Veterinarians were no longer waiting for the phone to ring to alert them about a cow that had become sick or needed medical care. In the decades that have followed, California has continued to lead the way by producing the most milk in the nation. <more> Sept. 25, 2014 The Fresno Bee
  • Beyond GMOs: The Rise of Synthetic Biology - - Thousands of researchers will descend on Boston this fall for an event billed as the worlds largest gathering of synthetic biologists. The field is evolving so rapidly that even scientists working in it don't agree on a definition, but at its core synthetic biology involves bringing engineering principles to biotechnology. Its an approach meant, ultimately, to make it easier for scientists to design, test, and build living parts and systemseven entire genomes. If genetic sequencing is about reading DNA, and genetic engineering as we know it is about copying, cutting and pasting it, synthetic biology is about writing and programming new DNA with two main goals: create genetic machines from scratch and gain new insights about how life works. <more> Sept. 25, 2014 The Atlantic
  • Immigrant families fail to report to agents - - Tens of thousands of young families caught crossing the border illegally earlier this year subsequently failed to meet with federal immigration agents, as they were instructed, the Homeland Security Department has acknowledged privately. An official with U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement revealed that about 70 percent of immigrant families the Obama administration had released into the U.S. never showed up weeks later for follow up appointments. <more> Sept. 25, 2014 AP
  • Jeff Denham: Creating jobs key to Central Valleys future, health - - As a Valley small-business owner and farmer, I grew up on a farm and want my children and generations of Valley kids to come to have the same lifestyle I had. Thats why my top priority is creating jobs here at home, helping kids born and raised here to stay here and begin successful lives where they can find work. Business owners know that the last few years have been tough. Our economy continues to struggle and unemployment remains high. Overreaching environmental regulations and health care mandates pose an ongoing threat to small businesses as they try to comply. The Stanislaus Alliance Worknets recent survey of small business owners in the county found that environmental regulation and the Affordable Care Act were their top two concerns, with water not far behind. <more> Sept. 26, 2014 Modesto Bee

Pricing/Commodity News

  • Milk Production Costs Down from July & 2013 - - The Agriculture Departments National Milk Cost of Production report, issued this afternoon, shows August total costs were down slightly from July and a year ago. Total feed costs averaged $13.06/cwt., down 74¢ from revised July estimates, 29¢ below June, and $1.42 below August 2013. Purchased feed costs, at $6.65/cwt., were down 50¢ from July, 16¢ below June, and $1.33 below August 2013. Total costs, including feed, bedding, marketing, fuel, repairs, hired labor, taxes, etc., at $24.85/cwt., were down 63¢ from July, up 10¢ from June, but $1.45 below a year ago. Feed costs made up 52.6% of total costs, compared to 54.2% the month before and 55.1% a year ago. Read the complete report at: http://www.ers.usda.gov/data-products/milk-cost-of-production-estimates.aspx. Sept. 26, 2014 Dairy Business Update
  • NMPF Provides Narrated Slide Presentation Explaining How Farmers Can Take Advantage of New Dairy Safety Net - - The National Milk Producers Federation has posted a slide presentation on YouTube to help dairy farmers understand the new federal dairy safety net, known as the Margin Protection Program (MPP), as part of its ongoing effort to educate farmers about the new program.There are links to the narrated presentation on both the NMPF website, and the Future for Dairy website serving as NMPFs information hub for the new MPP program, which was launched by the U.S. Department of Agriculture September 2nd.The 21-minute, 34-slide presentation walks the viewer through the details of the program, including who is eligible, how to sign up, and what the fees and payments might look like under various scenarios. <more> Sept. 25, 2014 NMPF press release

 

Environmental News

  • California wants to restrict widely used farm pesticide - - Use of all pesticides containing the active ingredient chlorpyrifos would be restricted under regulations being proposed by the California Department of Pesticide Regulation. This would mean only trained, licensed professionals who have a permit from a local county agricultural commissioner would be able to use these products. The county could place further conditions on use through the permit. The proposed regulation is a very important step to further safeguard the people and environment of California, says DPR Director Brian Leahy. Chlorpyrifos is one of the most widely used old organophosphate classes of pesticides. This key action is intended to reduce the widespread use of chlorpyrifos and help limit unintended exposures to the public. <more> Sept. 26, 2014 Central Valley Business Times
  • Air board offers ag exempt truck deadline of Jan. 31 , 2015 - - Owners of agricultural trucks that qualify for an identifying AG sticker will have until Jan. 31, 2015, to register with the California Air Resources Board. Mileage limits have been streamlined and increased slightly. CARB is reopening the registration period for those farmers who have not reported and claimed their ag exemption. Farmers who already have the exemption do not need to take any further action. The agricultural vehicle provisions include: Delay compliance for vehicles that operate less than specified mileage thresholds and for a limited number of specialized trucks. Apply to diesel trucks and buses with a manufacturer gross vehicle weight rating greater than 14,000 pounds, thus excluding pickups. Include agricultural vehicles such as trucks and buses owned by log harvest operations or farming businesses and certain trucks that are not farmer owned but are dedicated to supporting agricultural operations. Do not apply to truck tractors that enter ports or intermodal rail yards or transport marine cargo. These vehicles must comply with the Drayage Truck regulation. Additional fact sheets and information are available by contacting your local WUD field representative or online at www.arb.ca.gov/ dieseltruck, by calling (866) 6DIESEL (866-634-3735) or email 8666diesel@arb.ca.gov. Sept. 19, 2014 WUD Friday Update
  • Livestock Producers Urged to Enroll in Disaster Assistance Program by Oct. 1 - - The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) is encouraging producers who have suffered eligible disaster-related losses to act to secure assistance by Sept. 30, 2014, as congressionally mandated payment reductions will take place for producers who have not acted before that date. Livestock producers that have experienced grazing losses since October 2011 and may be eligible for benefits but have not yet contacted their local Farm Service Agency (FSA) office should do so as soon as possible. <more> Sept. 2, 2014 USDA news release

interestStories of Interest
 

  • Major food brands go after a once-ignored customer: Men - - In the race to attract consumers, major American food companies are tweaking their playbooks to go after a once-ignored group: men. Men are now the primary grocery shoppers in about four in 10 households. But men, food companies have found, have their own priorities. They often do not look closely at prices or carry a coupon book. They want to get in and out of the store quickly. Men are also more likely to be enticed by bold flavors and high-protein meals, companies have found. Just as retailers have made efforts to reach a wider, more diverse audience of shoppers including a larger Hispanic population and millennial-generation consumers with more adventurous tastes men too have become a bigger priority. <more> Sept. 25, 2014 The Washington Post
  • New Zealand - Dairy delegation heads to US - - A group of 30 large-scale New Zealand dairy farmers and industry representatives are heading to the United States of America tomorrow to see what lessons they can bring home. The country is increasingly being punted as New Zealand's major competition in the Chinese market. The USA's milk supply is around four times that of New Zealand, according to DairyNZ statistics, 40 per cent of which comes from 800 ''mega-dairies'', with 2000 or more cows. <more> Sept. 26, 2014 NZ Farmer, New Zealand
  • Calif. strawberry crop on pace for record - - Strawberry producers in California appear to still be weathering the effects of the drought while making the most of their acreage. As the peak season for strawberries is drawing to a close, the Golden State is still on a pace to set another production record. So far this year, the states growers have turned out more than 160.5 million flats, up from about 156.3 million flats by the same point last year and 155.4 million for the same period in 2012, according to the California Strawberry Commission. <more> Sept. 26, 2014 Capital Press
     

Meetings of Interest to CA Dairy Industry 
 


 
  • Sept. 30 deadline for direct farm ownership loan program - - USDAs California Farm Service Agency (FSA) Executive Director Val Dolcini says farmers and ranchers still have time to apply for low interest 2014 loans available through FSAs di-rect farm ownership program. The deadline to submit applications is Sept. 30, 2014. Eligible producers can borrow up to $300,000 in direct farm ownership loans to buy or enlarge a farm, construct new farm buildings or improve structures, pay closing costs, or promote soil and water conservation and protection. The interest rate on select loans can be as low as 1.5 percent with up to 40 years to repay. FSA encourages all interested applicants to apply for direct farm ownership loans. For more information about the program and other loans administered by FSA, visit any FSA county office or www.fsa.usda.gov.
  • Californias Fertilizer Research Conference Comes to Modesto October 29-30, 2014 - - The California Department of Food and Agriculture and the Western Plant Health Association are hosting their 22nd annual fertilizer research conference at the DoubleTree Hotel in Modesto on October 29-30, 2014. This conference brings together industry professionals and academic researchers to learn about the latest research and sound management of fertilizing materials. This conference is designed to improve educational outreach by communicating the application of fertilizing materials on agricultural lands for food production and the use of those materials in consideration of existing environmental issues. The conference is geared towards a wide range of agriculturalists, including agricultural supply and service consultants, growers, university extension specialists, certified crop advisers, and local, state and national governmental agency personnel. <more> Sept. 18, 2014 CDFA news release
  • 2014 California Alfalfa, Forage, and Grains Symposium, Dec. 10-12, Long Beach - - Registration is now open for the 2014 California Alfalfa, Forage, and Grains Symposium scheduled for Dec. 10 12 in Long Beach, Calif. The event will be held at the Long Beach Convention Center. As California grows nearly three million acres of alfalfa, grains, silages, and other forage crops, there is a strong need to share information, says Dan Putnam, Extension agronomist and forage specialist and the 2014 Symposium Chair. This will be a comprehensive meeting to focus on critical issues related to alfalfa and grain crops, particularly global issues, economics, and practical 'how to' talks on crop production techniques. <more> Sept. 19, 2014 Western Farm Press
  • Save the Dates! Western United Dairymen Annual Convention - March 18-20, 2015 at Tenaya Lodge in Yosemite
    For more information, visit: www.WUDconvention.com

 

 

Thursday, Sept. 25, 2014

Water News

  • USDA: 42 Calif. counties declared drought disaster areas - - The U.S. Department of Agriculture has designated 42 California counties, including most of the Central Valley, as primary natural disaster areas due to damages and losses from the drought. Fresno, Kings, Madera and Tulare counties are included in the designation, which makes qualified farm operators in the region eligible for low interest emergency loans from the USDA's Farm Service Agency. Farmers in the counties have eight months from the Sept. 17 declaration date to apply for loans to help cover part of their actual losses from Jan. 1 of this year on. <more> Sept. 22, 2014 The Business Journal
  • Farmers may need to measure water from Delta - - Accused of stealing water released from upstream reservoirs, more than 1,000 Delta farmers may soon be required to report exactly how much water theyve been diverting a request that their attorneys argue could be burdensome and unnecessary. Earlier this summer, the state and federal governments complained to regulators that water released from reservoirs wasnt making it all the way to giant export pumps near Tracy. The missing water, they reasoned, was likely being pumped along the way by Delta farmers. Those farmers do have senior water rights, but they are not entitled to water that has been stored upstream. They can take only what is considered to be natural flow. Delta advocates have contended that since there is always water in the tidal estuary, there is always natural flow. <more> Sept. 24, 2014 Stockton Record
  • Parched California expected to miss out on typical fall rains - - N orthern and Central California typically receive 30% to 40% of their precipitation over the next three months, but this year, forecasters say the upper two-thirds of the state can expect to miss out on much of that badly needed moisture. The lack of significant rain will mean little relief for thousands of firefighters battling a series of destructive wildfires in Northern California, although a weather system is expected to bring some showers to the region later this week. And even if an El Niño weather pattern does develop later this year, it is only expected to deliver below-median rainfall for Northern California, according to U.S. Seasonal Drought Outlook from the National Weather Service's Climate Prediction Center. <more> Sept. 24, 2014 LA Times
  • Global warming will turn California snow to rain, hurting water supply, federal report says - - A first time study by the Department of the Interior predicts less snow in the California Sierras over the next century due to global warming, potentially hammering drinking water stores for the drier months. The Sacramento and San Joaquin Basins Climate Impact Assessment, released WHEN, predicts temperatures in Californias Central Valley will rise more than three degrees by the end of the century. That means some precipitation that would normally fall as snow and stick to the mountains will instead wash out as rain. That snow does more than provide recreation for skiers. Its like a bank account for future water withdrawals. <more> Sept. 24, 2014 KPCC

State/Federal News and Politics

  • USDA Unveils Key New Programs to Help Farmers Manage Risk - - U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Secretary Tom Vilsack today unveiled highly anticipated new programs to help farmers better manage risk, ushering in one of the most significant reforms to U.S. farm programs in decades. Vilsack also announced that new tools are now available to help provide farmers the information they need to choose the new safety net program that is right for their business. "The 2014 Farm Bill represented some of the largest farm policy reforms in decades. One of the Farm Bill's most significant reforms is finally taking effect," said Vilsack. "Farming is one of the riskiest businesses in the world. These new programs help ensure that risk can be effectively managed so that families don't lose farms that have been passed down through generations because of events beyond their control. <more> Sept. 25, 2014 USDA news release
  • UC Davis study: No problems from GMO livestock feed - - The performance and health of food-producing animals eating genetically engineered feed, first introduced 18 years ago, has been comparable to that of animals consuming non-GE feed, concludes a new scientific review from the University of California, Davis. The review study also found that scientific studies have detected no differences in the nutritional makeup of the meat, milk or other food products derived from animals that ate genetically engineered feed. <more> Sept. 25, 2014 Central Valley Business Times
  • Supporters say immigration law could pass with a GOP Senate - - Pro-immigration reform Republicans say there's a better chance that Congress will produce an immigration overhaul if their party wins control of the upper chamber in November. GOP lawmakers say that, with Republicans in charge of both chambers, leadership in the House would have a negotiating partner across the Capitol they could trust. Republicans also would have more leverage with President Obama in negotiating a bill to secure the border and deal with the estimated 11 million illegal immigrants already in the United States. <more> Sept. 25, 2014 The Hill
     

Pricing/Commodity News

  • Dairy Cows Delaying Retirement, Culls Down 37,000 from 2013 - - Commercial red meat productionfor the United States totaled 3.80 billion pounds in August, down 10 percent from the 4.20 billion pounds produced in August 2013, according to the Agriculture Departments Livestock Slaughter report issued this afternoon. Beef production, at 2.02 billion pounds, was 10 percent below the previous year. Cattle slaughter totaled 2.50 million head, down 11 percent from August 2013. The average live weight was up 19 pounds from the previous year, at 1,329 pounds. January to August 2014 commercial red meat production totaled 31.2 billion pounds, down 4 percent from 2013. Accumulated beef production was down 6 percent from last year, veal was down 12 percent, pork was down 2 percent from last year, and lamb and mutton production was down 1 percent. High milk prices and low feed prices are keeping dairy cows in the milking string. An estimated 229,000 dairy cows were slaughtered under Federal inspection in August, down 3,000 head from July and 37,000 below August 2013. Sept. 25, 2014 Dairy Business Update
  • Butter Price Not Scarring Domestic Demand - - Central butter prices are mostly steady, according to USDAs Dairy Market News. The market tone has some uncertainty as market participants are cautious about the risk of falling prices. As a result of current historic high prices, several butter manufacturers are producing on contract or made-to-order basis. Cream supply decisions vary with the barometer leaning towards selling additional volumes as existing cream prices are at a losing proposition for some plants to manufacture butter. Retail demand is entering the peak season with large orders anticipated in the coming weeks. Some manufacturers are being told retailers may not promote butter as much as in previous years due to the higher prices. U.S. butter prices are significantly higher than international markets, which is impeding new export orders. Retail butter needs continue to fuel production schedules for churns in the West. Demand is good with contract buyers often asking for additional loads if available. Record butter prices are having less of a deterrence to purchases as buyers look to fill fall holiday demand. Sept. 25, 2014 Dairy Business Update
  • Record crop expectations pressure corn, soybeans - - Corn was lower on commercial and technical selling. Corn also saw more pressure tied to this years expected record crop. Weekly export numbers were solid, with sales topping expectations, but again, the fundamentals are bearish and weather looks mostly good for late development and early harvest. Ethanol futures were lower. <more> Sept. 24, 2014 Brownfield Ag News
  • New Generation of GM Crops Puts Agriculture in a Crisis Situation - - With the first of a new generation of genetically engineered crops ready to hit the market, the battle lines are being drawn. Food safety activists have promised to fight the cropscorn and soybeans designed to tolerate multiple herbicidesin court. They and many scientists argue that these crops will harm environmental and possibly human health. The companies that make them say theyre providing a much-needed tool to fight the growing scourge of herbicide-resistant weeds. Lawsuits aside, these crops and others like them may force a showdown between conflicting approaches to farming: one that depends on chemicals to fight weeds, and another that embraces ecologys lessons. <more> Sept. 25, 2014 Wired

 

Environmental News

  • DPR air sampling reveals good news and concerns - - Air quality samples in three key California regions where agricultural pesticides are used continue to show levels well below health concern benchmarks, according to a report issued by the California Department of Pesticide Regulations (DPR). Air monitor network (AMN) studies from 2013 for all the major fumigants and Chlorpyrifos suggest that regulatory efforts are working to reduce human and environmental impacts to key chemicals used by agriculture and other industries. This is the third consecutive year that DPR has found levels of many of the sampled pesticides below the threshold for public health concern at sites it surveys in Salinas, Ripon and Shafter. <more> Sept. 23, 2014 Western Farm Press
  • Air board offers ag exempt truck deadline of Jan. 31 , 2015 - - Owners of agricultural trucks that qualify for an identifying AG sticker will have until Jan. 31, 2015, to register with the California Air Resources Board. Mileage limits have been streamlined and increased slightly. CARB is reopening the registration period for those farmers who have not reported and claimed their ag exemption. Farmers who already have the exemption do not need to take any further action. The agricultural vehicle provisions include: Delay compliance for vehicles that operate less than specified mileage thresholds and for a limited number of specialized trucks. Apply to diesel trucks and buses with a manufacturer gross vehicle weight rating greater than 14,000 pounds, thus excluding pickups. Include agricultural vehicles such as trucks and buses owned by log harvest operations or farming businesses and certain trucks that are not farmer owned but are dedicated to supporting agricultural operations. Do not apply to truck tractors that enter ports or intermodal rail yards or transport marine cargo. These vehicles must comply with the Drayage Truck regulation. Additional fact sheets and information are available by contacting your local WUD field representative or online at www.arb.ca.gov/ dieseltruck, by calling (866) 6DIESEL (866-634-3735) or email 8666diesel@arb.ca.gov. Sept. 19, 2014 WUD Friday Update
  • Livestock Producers Urged to Enroll in Disaster Assistance Program by Oct. 1 - - The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) is encouraging producers who have suffered eligible disaster-related losses to act to secure assistance by Sept. 30, 2014, as congressionally mandated payment reductions will take place for producers who have not acted before that date. Livestock producers that have experienced grazing losses since October 2011 and may be eligible for benefits but have not yet contacted their local Farm Service Agency (FSA) office should do so as soon as possible. <more> Sept. 2, 2014 USDA news release

interestStories of Interest
 

  • Soda fights last stand - - Here in one of the most liberal corners of the nation, health advocates are preparing for what could be their last stand in the battle over taxing soda. Voters in San Francisco and Berkeley will consider a 1 or 2 cents per ounce sin tax on sugar-sweetened drinks on the ballot in November. If the tax passes in one of the two cities, as polls show it might, itll be the first loss for the beverage industry, which has emerged undefeated in more than 30 similar fights in states and cities, from Maine to El Monte, California in recent years. The industry is all in, pouring at least $2 million into the fight already, to hold its perfect record. <more> Sept. 24, 2014 Politico
  • National Teach Ag Day celebrates with a recruiting mission - - Thursday is National Teach Ag Day and the agricultural community will celebrate by encouraging students to enter the profession, which is facing a critical shortage while dealing with important issues such as sustainable food production, a growing global population, the state of the environment, and improving public health. The agriculture classroom is where we can begin to solve these really big picture questions, and those classrooms won't exist without our best and brightest minds choosing to become agricultural educators, said Ellen Thompson, National Teach Ag campaign coordinator. <more> Sept. 25, 2014 Agri-Pulse
     

Meetings of Interest to CA Dairy Industry 
 


 
  • Sept. 30 deadline for direct farm ownership loan program - - USDAs California Farm Service Agency (FSA) Executive Director Val Dolcini says farmers and ranchers still have time to apply for low interest 2014 loans available through FSAs di-rect farm ownership program. The deadline to submit applications is Sept. 30, 2014. Eligible producers can borrow up to $300,000 in direct farm ownership loans to buy or enlarge a farm, construct new farm buildings or improve structures, pay closing costs, or promote soil and water conservation and protection. The interest rate on select loans can be as low as 1.5 percent with up to 40 years to repay. FSA encourages all interested applicants to apply for direct farm ownership loans. For more information about the program and other loans administered by FSA, visit any FSA county office or www.fsa.usda.gov.
  • Californias Fertilizer Research Conference Comes to Modesto October 29-30, 2014 - - The California Department of Food and Agriculture and the Western Plant Health Association are hosting their 22nd annual fertilizer research conference at the DoubleTree Hotel in Modesto on October 29-30, 2014. This conference brings together industry professionals and academic researchers to learn about the latest research and sound management of fertilizing materials. This conference is designed to improve educational outreach by communicating the application of fertilizing materials on agricultural lands for food production and the use of those materials in consideration of existing environmental issues. The conference is geared towards a wide range of agriculturalists, including agricultural supply and service consultants, growers, university extension specialists, certified crop advisers, and local, state and national governmental agency personnel. <more> Sept. 18, 2014 CDFA news release
  • 2014 California Alfalfa, Forage, and Grains Symposium, Dec. 10-12, Long Beach - - Registration is now open for the 2014 California Alfalfa, Forage, and Grains Symposium scheduled for Dec. 10 12 in Long Beach, Calif. The event will be held at the Long Beach Convention Center. As California grows nearly three million acres of alfalfa, grains, silages, and other forage crops, there is a strong need to share information, says Dan Putnam, Extension agronomist and forage specialist and the 2014 Symposium Chair. This will be a comprehensive meeting to focus on critical issues related to alfalfa and grain crops, particularly global issues, economics, and practical 'how to' talks on crop production techniques. <more> Sept. 19, 2014 Western Farm Press
  • Save the Dates! Western United Dairymen Annual Convention - March 18-20, 2015 at Tenaya Lodge in Yosemite
    For more information, visit: www.WUDconvention.com

 

 

Tuesday, Sept. 23, 2014

Water News

  • Drought to Continue in West - - Forecasters say severe drought will continue into next year across much of the West, including parts of western Utah, most of Nevada and practically all of California. Less precipitation than usual and normal or above-normal temperatures are forecast in the week ahead, according to the National Weather Service, and experts say the three-year drought isn't likely to be relieved in October, November and December. In Reno, Nev., the Truckee River already is a trickle, flowing at its lowest level in two decades for this time of year. Officials say Lake Tahoe is close to dropping to its natural rim for the first time since October 2009. <more> Sept. 21, 2014 The Wall Street Journal
  • Alan Heathcock : Zero Percent Water - - Welcome to the Central Valley, ground zero of the water war. Outsiders take heed for this is a troubled land. Before we get to what this drought means??the anger and paranoia, the heartbreak and bitterness??its important to remember the Central Valley isnt just any valley. Its one of the most productive agricultural regions in the world. Our countrys breadbasket. Our primary source for tomatoes, almonds, grapes, cotton, and dozens of other products. Im scheduled to see all of it, on what Im told will be a tour of destruction. My first stop is a beer with a man named Mule. <more> Sept. 22, 2014 Medium.com
  • Quest for ag water has wacky outcome - - The search for water to irrigate thirsty crops has led to one of the most twisted, unexpected and bizarre results imaginable, and wouldnt you know, it involves the Delta. Because the results of an investigation into this scenario have not been released it has to be classified as preliminary, perhaps even hearsay. Even so it serves as a strong reminder of how intense the efforts can be and have been to procure precious water supplies as they dwindle and the need for them intensifies. <more> Sept. 22, 2014 Visalia Times-Delta
  • Reserves narrowing for California water wholesaler - - The giant wholesaler that provides drinking water for half the California population has drained two-thirds of its stored supplies as the state contends with a punishing drought, officials said Monday. Without plentiful rain and snow in coming months, the Metropolitan Water District of Southern California could consider cutbacks to its regional distributors next year. If such limits are approved, that could lead to rationing or cuts for households in portions of Southern California. <more> Sept. 22, 2014 AP
     

State/Federal News and Politics

  • CFBF president's message: Farm Bureau will be actively engaged as new groundwater laws take effect - - The groundwater bills that passed in the final hours of the two-year legislative session have now been signed into law by Gov. Brown (see story). For a few weeks, the deliberations around Assembly Bill 1739 and Senate Bills 1168 and 1319 became the focus of our entire state, as we dealt with a severe drought year on the heels of two below-normal rainfall years. The passage of the groundwater bills came just 16 days after the Legislature adopted a revised water bond for the November ballot. While the Legislature is to be applauded for finally recognizing the water challenges facing California, by putting the bond before voters with near-unanimous, bipartisan support, the expedited development of overreaching and counterproductive groundwater legislation could result in a significant loss of water for farming, long before a successful bond can deliver one drop of additional water. <more> Sept. 24, 2014 Ag Alert
  • Webinar seeking Johnes Disease vaccine feedback tomorrow - - Michigan State University is hosting a free webinar tomorrow, Sept. 24, addressing the development of a new vaccine for Johnes disease (in ruminants) to gain feedback from industry. The webinar is part of a continuing series called Innovations in Agriculture and Rural Development hosted by The North Central Regional Center for Rural Development (NCRCRD) at Michigan State University. Webinars feature technologies from land-grant universities with a goal to help disseminate information regarding new innovations in agriculture, and secondary to help generate potential intermediate and end user feedback of the technology to help developers. The call will take place tomorrow, 12:30 PM ET/11:30 AM CT. To access the free webinar on Wednesday, go to: https://connect.msu.edu/newtech/ and select Enter as a Guest. You will then be directed to the MSU Adobe Connect page. Currently a flyer for the webinar is on the MSU Connect page in case you want to test your connection. If you have any questions about the webinar you can email mannjoh3@anr.msu.edu or call (517) 353-2129. Sept. 23, 2014 North Central Regional Center for Rural Development (NCRCRD) at Michigan State
  • Biden to Hispanics: Obama Will Act on Immigration - - Vice President Joe Biden told frustrated Hispanic leaders Monday President Barack Obama is "absolutely committed to moving forward" on comprehensive immigration reforms "and he's going to do an awful lot." Biden said Obama was determined to move ahead "with or without" Congress and "if they don't get something done by the end of this year, the president's going to do it." Biden's remarks came as he and his wife, Jill, hosted a Hispanic Heritage Month reception Monday at their Naval Observatory residence. <more> Sept. 22, 2014 AP
  • General Mills shareholders reject GMO ban - - General Mills shareholders rejected a resolution Tuesday that would have forced removal of genetically-modified organisms from the companys products. The proposal, submitted by a descendant of one of General Mills founders, called for the company to remove genetically engineered ingredients from products sold or manufactured by the company, according to a news release from the National Center for Public Policy Research. The resolution was supported with a claim that genetic engineering involves significant risks to the environment, food security, and public health. General Mills CEO Ken Powell said the company stands by research that shows GMOs are safe. He affirmed that the company would keep GM ingredients in its remaining Cheerios cereals. The company announced earlier that its original Cheerios cereal would be produced without GMOs. <more> Sept. 23, 2014 Brownfield Ag News

     

Pricing/Commodity News

  • Drought prompts experiments with rice straw - - Typically considered an inexpensive, low-quality livestock feed, rice straw is getting special treatment this year, as more growers experiment with new ways of baling it to try to retain more of its nutritional quality. The need for the experiment is twofold: Livestock feed has been in short supply due to the drought. Water shortages will also create problems for rice growers this fall, as many areas will not have water available to decompose rice straw after harvest, leaving an abundance of the byproduct in the field. Because air quality regulations have limited growers' ability to burn the straw, many say they will likely bale more of it this year. The straw has a variety of uses, including for cattle feed, livestock bedding, erosion control, building construction and mushroom production. <more> Sept. 24, 2014 Ag Alert
  • Butter Hits $3 On CME - - Friday the spot dairy price for butter hit an all time high of $3 a pound on the Chicago Mercantile Exchange (CME). Butter has led dairy commodities higher this year as both domestic and export sales have surged. Tulare County dairyman Tom Barcellos says you know people in the US are ready to go back to butter when the cover of Time magazine says its OK to eat it. Earlier this summer the magazines cover story was Eat Butter: Scientists Labeled Fat the Enemy. Why they were wrong. <more> Sept. 13, 2014 Sierra2theSea
  • U.S. cattle on feed continues decline - - USDAs latest report on cattle on feed in large U.S. feedlots brought no surprises to the industry, with pre-report trade estimates on target with actual numbers. Cattle on feed on Sept. 1, at 9.8 million head, were down 1 percent year over year. Analysts had estimated the decline at 1.1 percent. September inventories mark the 25th consecutive month of year-over-year declines and the lowest September on-feed inventory in the past five years, USDA reported Sept. 19. <more> Sept. 23, 2014 Capital Press
  • CWT Sends More U.S. Cheese Sailing - - Cooperatives Working Together (CWT) accepted 5 requests for export assistance today from Dairy Farmers of America and Tillamook County Creamery Association to sell 2.714 million pounds of Cheddar and Gouda cheese to customers in Asia and the Middle East. The product will be delivered September 2014 through January 2015. Year-to-date, CWT has assisted member cooperatives in selling 88.917 million pounds of cheese, 48.188 million pounds of butter and 33.171 million pounds of whole milk powder to 43 countries on six continents. These sales are the equivalent of 2.152 billion pounds of milk on a milkfat basis. Sept. 23, 2014 Dairy Business Update

 

Environmental News

  • Heat, drought cited in massive Mount Shasta mudslide - - Glaciers are not known as fast-moving objects. Yet on Saturday, things started happening very quickly at a glacier high on the slopes of Mount Shasta. At about 3 p.m. Saturday, wilderness rangers working for the Shasta-Trinity National Forest reported what they thought was a debris flow on the south side of the iconic mountain 220 miles north of Sacramento. Within three hours, Pilgrim Creek Road and Forest Service Road 31 were both buried in mud and rendered impassable. No structures were damaged, and no one was hurt. <more> Sept. 23, 2014 The Sacramento Bee
  • Air board offers ag exempt truck deadline of Jan. 31 , 2015 - - Owners of agricultural trucks that qualify for an identifying AG sticker will have until Jan. 31, 2015, to register with the California Air Resources Board. Mileage limits have been streamlined and increased slightly. CARB is reopening the registration period for those farmers who have not reported and claimed their ag exemption. Farmers who already have the exemption do not need to take any further action. The agricultural vehicle provisions include: Delay compliance for vehicles that operate less than specified mileage thresholds and for a limited number of specialized trucks. Apply to diesel trucks and buses with a manufacturer gross vehicle weight rating greater than 14,000 pounds, thus excluding pickups. Include agricultural vehicles such as trucks and buses owned by log harvest operations or farming businesses and certain trucks that are not farmer owned but are dedicated to supporting agricultural operations. Do not apply to truck tractors that enter ports or intermodal rail yards or transport marine cargo. These vehicles must comply with the Drayage Truck regulation. Additional fact sheets and information are available by contacting your local WUD field representative or online at www.arb.ca.gov/ dieseltruck, by calling (866) 6DIESEL (866-634-3735) or email 8666diesel@arb.ca.gov. Sept. 19, 2014 WUD Friday Update
  • Livestock Producers Urged to Enroll in Disaster Assistance Program by Oct. 1 - - The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) is encouraging producers who have suffered eligible disaster-related losses to act to secure assistance by Sept. 30, 2014, as congressionally mandated payment reductions will take place for producers who have not acted before that date. Livestock producers that have experienced grazing losses since October 2011 and may be eligible for benefits but have not yet contacted their local Farm Service Agency (FSA) office should do so as soon as possible. <more> Sept. 2, 2014 USDA news release

interestStories of Interest
 

  • Its an all-time high: 610,240 students in National FFA Organization - - alysts forecast that the world's population will grow to 9 billion people by 2050. With global needs today to fight hunger and prepare for the expected population explosion, the industry of agriculture needs educated, skilled and passionate people dedicated to sustainability. Today's students are answering that call, evidenced by an explosion in FFA membership throughout the United States, Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands in the past year. Membership in FFA today stands at an all-time high of 610,240 students, up from 579,678 in 2013. Membership increased by more than 30,500 during the 2013-14 school year. The number of new, local FFA chapters throughout the country grew to 7,665. <more> Sept. 23, 2014 Agri-Pulse
  • U.S. Lemon Lovers Tasting Bitter Price Shock From Drought - - First it was the surge in beef prices, and then seafood went through the roof. Now you can add lemons to the growing list of ingredients cutting into profit on the menu at Joes Seafood, Prime Steak & Stone Crab. The three Joes restaurants, in Washington, Chicago and Las Vegas, use more than 800 lemons a day sliced as garnishes on entrees or juiced for drinks and sauces. A case of 165 lemons costs managing partner Mike Rotolo about $50, up from $30 to $35 in the past year, and many are less juicy than normal. <more> Sept. 23, 2014 Bloomberg
     

Meetings of Interest to CA Dairy Industry 
 


 
  • Webinar seeking Johnes Disease vaccine feedback tomorrow - - Michigan State University is hosting a free webinar tomorrow, Sept. 24, addressing the development of a new vaccine for Johnes disease (in ruminants) to gain feedback from industry. The webinar is part of a continuing series called Innovations in Agriculture and Rural Development hosted by The North Central Regional Center for Rural Development (NCRCRD) at Michigan State University. Webinars feature technologies from land-grant universities with a goal to help disseminate information regarding new innovations in agriculture, and secondary to help generate potential intermediate and end user feedback of the technology to help developers. The call will take place tomorrow, 12:30 PM ET/11:30 AM CT. To access the free webinar on Wednesday, go to: https://connect.msu.edu/newtech/ and select Enter as a Guest. You will then be directed to the MSU Adobe Connect page. Currently a flyer for the webinar is on the MSU Connect page in case you want to test your connection. If you have any questions about the webinar you can email mannjoh3@anr.msu.edu or call (517) 353-2129. Sept. 23, 2014 North Central Regional Center for Rural Development (NCRCRD) at Michigan State
  • Sept. 25 hearing set on proposed heat standard changes - - The Occupational Safety and Health (Cal/OSHA) Standards Board will hold a public hearing on September 25 to get feedback on proposed changes to the heat illness prevention standard. The event is open to all stakeholders. There are two ways to participate. 1. Attend the hearing in person. It will be held from 10 am to 5 pm at the San Diego County Administration Center,1600 Pacific Highway, Room 310, San Diego. 2. Submit comments in writing. Comments must be received no later than 5 pm on September 25, 2014. Comments should be mailed to the Occupational Health and Safety Standards Board, 2520 Venture Oaks Way, Suite 350, Sacramento, CA 95833 OR faxed to 916-274- 5743 OR emailed to oshsb@dir.ca.gov .You can read the complete official document provided by the Cal/OSHA Standards Board at http://www.dir.ca.gov/oshsb/documents/ noticeSep2014.pdf . Sept. 19, 2014 WUD Friday Update
  • Sept. 30 deadline for direct farm ownership loan program - - USDAs California Farm Service Agency (FSA) Executive Director Val Dolcini says farmers and ranchers still have time to apply for low interest 2014 loans available through FSAs di-rect farm ownership program. The deadline to submit applications is Sept. 30, 2014. Eligible producers can borrow up to $300,000 in direct farm ownership loans to buy or enlarge a farm, construct new farm buildings or improve structures, pay closing costs, or promote soil and water conservation and protection. The interest rate on select loans can be as low as 1.5 percent with up to 40 years to repay. FSA encourages all interested applicants to apply for direct farm ownership loans. For more information about the program and other loans administered by FSA, visit any FSA county office or www.fsa.usda.gov.
  • Californias Fertilizer Research Conference Comes to Modesto October 29-30, 2014 - - The California Department of Food and Agriculture and the Western Plant Health Association are hosting their 22nd annual fertilizer research conference at the DoubleTree Hotel in Modesto on October 29-30, 2014. This conference brings together industry professionals and academic researchers to learn about the latest research and sound management of fertilizing materials. This conference is designed to improve educational outreach by communicating the application of fertilizing materials on agricultural lands for food production and the use of those materials in consideration of existing environmental issues. The conference is geared towards a wide range of agriculturalists, including agricultural supply and service consultants, growers, university extension specialists, certified crop advisers, and local, state and national governmental agency personnel. <more> Sept. 18, 2014 CDFA news release
  • 2014 California Alfalfa, Forage, and Grains Symposium, Dec. 10-12, Long Beach - - Registration is now open for the 2014 California Alfalfa, Forage, and Grains Symposium scheduled for Dec. 10 12 in Long Beach, Calif. The event will be held at the Long Beach Convention Center. As California grows nearly three million acres of alfalfa, grains, silages, and other forage crops, there is a strong need to share information, says Dan Putnam, Extension agronomist and forage specialist and the 2014 Symposium Chair. This will be a comprehensive meeting to focus on critical issues related to alfalfa and grain crops, particularly global issues, economics, and practical 'how to' talks on crop production techniques. <more> Sept. 19, 2014 Western Farm Press
  • Save the Dates! Western United Dairymen Annual Convention - March 18-20, 2015 at Tenaya Lodge in Yosemite
    For more information, visit: www.WUDconvention.com

Monday, Sept. 22, 2014

Water News

  • State water board to hear testimony Tuesday on proposed fee hikes - - The State Water Resources Control Board on Tuesday will consider a proposal to raise the Confined Animal Facilities (CAF) fees 31% for existing permits; include North Coast dairies in the fee program, and put a cap of $2,500 on the discount given to dairies that have qualified under the California Dairy Quality Assurance Program (CDQAP.) Western United Dairymen will testify against the proposal and urges interested members to attend and offer their comments. The meeting begins at 9 a.m. in the Coastal Hearing Room in the EPA building, 1001 I Street in Sacramento. WUD is a founding member of Dairy Cares, which has submitted written comments in opposition to the proposal. The coalition requested that fees for all CAFs be set at the same level as those imposed during the 2013-14 fiscal year and requested that an immediate moratorium be placed on any further fee increases related to the CAF program until the SWRCB can take the following steps <more>.  Sept. 19, 2014 WUD Friday Update
  • Governor Brown Streamlines Relief Efforts for Families with Drinking Water Shortages Due to Drought - - Just days after signing historic legislation requiring sustainable groundwater management for the first time in California, Governor Edmund G. Brown Jr. issued an executive order streamlining efforts to provide water to families in dire need as the extreme drought continues to grip the state.The order makes funding available through the California Disaster Assistance Act to provide water for drinking and sanitation to households currently without running water. The executive order also extends the states prohibition on price gouging during emergencies to the current stage of the drought, recognizing the on-going nature of the drought emergency. Additionally, it directs the State Water Resources Control Board, the Department of Water Resources and the Governors Offices of Emergency Services and Planning and Research to work together to identify acute drinking water shortages in domestic supplies and to work with counties and local agencies to implement solutions for those water shortages. <more> Sept. 19, 2014 Cal OES Newsroom
  • Opponents of governors tunnels now oppose governors water bond - - The environmental group Restore the Delta has been the sparkplug behind the Save the Delta, Stop the Tunnels grass roots movement against the governors proposal to siphon fresh water from the Sacramento River via what would be two of the largest water tunnels ever built. Now Restore the Deltas executive director, Barbara Barrigan-Parrilla, is branching out, heading a new group that opposes the governors water bond on the November ballot. She says the new organization, Citizens Against the BDCP Tunnels and Californians for Water Sustainability, had to be formed because Restore the Delta is not legally able to tell people how to vote. <more> Sept. 19, 2014 Central Valley Business Times
  • Proposition 1: Voters to decide on $7.5 billion water bond - - California voters will be faced with a $7.5 billion question this fall about whether to publicly finance a water bond meant to help the state better manage its most precious and increasingly limited resource. Proponents say Proposition 1 will pay for necessary water infrastructure improvements, such as creating additional water storage, cleaning up groundwater, expanding water recycling, improving watersheds and various other projects. However, the money is not yet tied to specific projects. The bond was deliberately left vague so that projects would go through a public competitive grant process. <more> Sept. 22, 2014 San Francisco Chronicle

State/Federal News and Politics

  • Feds give green light to California immigrant licenses - - Removing a stop sign for immigrants who live in California illegally but hope to become legal drivers, federal officials have signed off on the design of licenses for foreign-born residents. Immigrant advocates achieved a landmark goal in 2013 by winning Gov. Jerry Browns approval of a measure allowing undocumented immigrants to receive drivers licenses. But the federal government dealt the effort a setback earlier this year, rejecting Californias design because it was not distinctive enough. That raised questions about making the licenses available for the Jan. 1, 2015, date required by law. Now the Department of Homeland Security has given its blessing, allowing California to proceed. <more> Sept. 19, 2014 Capitol Alert
     

Pricing/Commodity News

  • August Milk Production Up 2.6% - - The Agriculture Departments preliminary data issued this afternoon in its latest Milk Production report, shows August milk output in the top 23 producing states at 16.18 billion pounds, up 2.6 percent from August 2013. The 50-state total, at 17.22 billion pounds, was up 2.5 percent from a year ago. Revisions reduced the original July 23-state estimate by 1 million pounds, now reported at 16.4 billion pounds, up 4 percent from a year ago. August cow numbers in the 23 states, at 8.58 million head, down 1,000 from July but 60,000 more head than a year ago. The 50-State count, at 9.28 million head, is down 1,000 from July but 47,000 more than a year ago. August output per cow in the 23 states averaged 1,885 pounds, down 26 pounds from July, but 35 pounds above August 2013, and the highest production per cow for the month of August since the 23 State series began in 2003. Sept. 19, 2014 Dairy Business Update
  • U.S. Wheat Prices Pushed to Four-Year Low - - U.S. wheat prices sit at the lowest level in more than four years, buffeted by sluggish demand for U.S. supplies amid abundant global stockpiles of the grain. Bumper crops around the world have added to supplies, driving global prices lower and reducing demand for U.S. wheat which, when shipping charges are added, is more expensive than grain produced in places such as the European Union and Ukraine. <more> Sept. 21, 2014 The Wall Street Journal
  • Dairy industry losing war as milk consumption falls - - Despite notable marketing cam- paigns such as the got milk? slogan, Americans consume 37 percent less of the drink than they did in 1970, according to the USDA, even as the sale of cheese, yogurt and other dairy products is climbing. Cheese consumption has nearly tripled over that period. In 1972, Americans drank an average of 7.5 ounces per 8-ounce glass poured; in 2010, consumption fell to an average of 4.8 ounces. Americans are still drinking the same amount in beverages as they did in the 1970s, but data show theyre spreading their intake across a greater number of options. <more> Sept. 21, 2014 Watertown Daily Times
  • Ethanol industry having a solid year - - Its shaping up to be one of the best years ever for the ethanol business. Operating profits for many ethanol makers more than doubled in the second quarter compared with last year, reflecting lower prices for corn and strong demand for the fuel, sustained partly by exports. Valero Energy, which owns 11 U.S. ethanol plants, including one in Minnesota, reported operating income of 63 cents per gallon, more than double that of the quarter a year ago. <more> Sept. 20, 2014 Star Tribune

 

Environmental News

  • Air board offers ag exempt truck deadline of Jan. 31 , 2015 - - Owners of agricultural trucks that qualify for an identifying AG sticker will have until Jan. 31, 2015, to register with the California Air Resources Board. Mileage limits have been streamlined and increased slightly. CARB is reopening the registration period for those farmers who have not reported and claimed their ag exemption. Farmers who already have the exemption do not need to take any further action. The agricultural vehicle provisions include: Delay compliance for vehicles that operate less than specified mileage thresholds and for a limited number of specialized trucks. Apply to diesel trucks and buses with a manufacturer gross vehicle weight rating greater than 14,000 pounds, thus excluding pickups. Include agricultural vehicles such as trucks and buses owned by log harvest operations or farming businesses and certain trucks that are not farmer owned but are dedicated to supporting agricultural operations. Do not apply to truck tractors that enter ports or intermodal rail yards or transport marine cargo. These vehicles must comply with the Drayage Truck regulation. Additional fact sheets and information are available by contacting your local WUD field representative or online at www.arb.ca.gov/ dieseltruck, by calling (866) 6DIESEL (866-634-3735) or email 8666diesel@arb.ca.gov. Sept. 19, 2014 WUD Friday Update
  • Beer fight brewing over EPA rule - - A battle is brewing in the beer industry over a new regulation from the Environmental Protection Agency that spells out the agencys authority to regulate bodies of water. Dozens of small craft brewers, such as Sierra Nevada and New Belgium, are rallying behind the EPAs proposed Waters of the U.S. rule, arguing it will help ensure that they have clean water for their products. But farmers who supply beer ingredients like barley, wheat and hops, say the rule has the potential to massively cut production on their lands, raising beer prices in the process. <more> Sept. 19, 2014 The Hill
  • China's polluted air may be affecting Fresno - - Last weekend, the most corrosive air of summer descended on northwest Fresno the kind of lung-searing day that would crack the rubber band on your newspaper if you left it on the driveway. The usual suspects in this kind of ozone siege are stifling heat, traffic and fires. It was a weekend, so commute pollution was not as bad. But Fresno was a stagnant 103 degrees, Sierra Nevada wildfires had burned for days and dirty air hung in the sweltering Valley. As bad as that sounds, it may not be the whole story, local air leaders say. Global pollution may be helping to create those dirty-air days. <more> Sept. 20, 2014 Fresno Bee
  • Livestock Producers Urged to Enroll in Disaster Assistance Program by Oct. 1 - - The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) is encouraging producers who have suffered eligible disaster-related losses to act to secure assistance by Sept. 30, 2014, as congressionally mandated payment reductions will take place for producers who have not acted before that date. Livestock producers that have experienced grazing losses since October 2011 and may be eligible for benefits but have not yet contacted their local Farm Service Agency (FSA) office should do so as soon as possible. <more> Sept. 2, 2014 USDA news release

interestStories of Interest
 

  • Pizza Hut tests "Skinny Slice" pizza - - So here's the skinny: Pizza Hut's testing a lower-calorie pizza. In fact, the pizza giant is actually testing two so-called "Skinny Slice" pizzas in a total 47 restaurants in two different test markets: Toledo, Ohio and West Palm Beach, Fl. But these are not new pizzas made from pie-in-the-sky recipes. Rather, they are made with the same ingredients as conventional Pizza Hut pizzas, except the crust is a tad thinner and the cheese and toppings a bit lighter. "It may be attractive to a customer who might not be including pizza in their regular choice of meals," says Doug Terfehr, a Pizza Hut spokesman. <more> Sept. 17, 2014 USA Today
  • South Val ley Golf tourney raises funds for WUD Federal PAC - - More than 80 golfers gathered at the Visalia Country Club on Monday, September 15 in a successful fundraising event for Western United Dairymens Federal Political Action Committee. Despite the hot weather, the daylong event saw plenty of competition among the teams. The winning team taking home top honors with a score of 60 included Jared Fernandes, Josh Fernandes, Gregory Fernandes and Mike Pareira. Other awards were given to: John Pimentel the winner of Mike Marshs $100 and Steven Gardner both for closest-to-the-pin; Bobby Hains for mens longest drive; Karen DeGroot for womens longest drive and the putting contest prize went to Tim Bullock. Many prizes were given out during the dinner, with the grand raffle prize of a flat screen TV going to Kelly Toomey. Sept. 19, 2014 WUD Friday Update
  • Dairy consumption linked to lower blood pressure risk - - Globally, cardiovascular disease (CVD) claims 17 million lives each year, while complications from high blood pressure take an additional 9.4 million.1 New research presented by international scientists at the 12th Euro Fed Lipid Congress in Montpellier, France on September 15, 2014, suggests that milk consumption and dairy may play a beneficial role. At the Milk and Dairy Products in Human Health session, the association between milk and risk for hypertension and CVD was examined by Dr. Sabita S. Soedamah-Muthu from Wageningen University in the Netherlands. Dr. Soedamah-Muthu explained that, based on nine studies with 57,256 individuals and 15,367 cases of hypertension, the analysis revealed that as total dairy, low-fat dairy and milk (just over two cups a day) consumption increased, the risk for high blood pressure decreased. Milk intake was not statistically significantly associated with risk of coronary heart disease, stroke and total mortality. <more> Sept. 15, 2014 Global Dairy Platform press release
     

Meetings of Interest to CA Dairy Industry 
 


 
  • Sept. 25 hearing set on proposed heat standard changes - - The Occupational Safety and Health (Cal/OSHA) Standards Board will hold a public hearing on September 25 to get feedback on proposed changes to the heat illness prevention standard. The event is open to all stakeholders. There are two ways to participate. 1. Attend the hearing in person. It will be held from 10 am to 5 pm at the San Diego County Administration Center,1600 Pacific Highway, Room 310, San Diego. 2. Submit comments in writing. Comments must be received no later than 5 pm on September 25, 2014. Comments should be mailed to the Occupational Health and Safety Standards Board, 2520 Venture Oaks Way, Suite 350, Sacramento, CA 95833 OR faxed to 916-274- 5743 OR emailed to oshsb@dir.ca.gov .You can read the complete official document provided by the Cal/OSHA Standards Board at http://www.dir.ca.gov/oshsb/documents/ noticeSep2014.pdf . Sept. 19, 2014 WUD Friday Update
  • Sept. 30 deadline for direct farm ownership loan program - - USDAs California Farm Service Agency (FSA) Executive Director Val Dolcini says farmers and ranchers still have time to apply for low interest 2014 loans available through FSAs di-rect farm ownership program. The deadline to submit applications is Sept. 30, 2014. Eligible producers can borrow up to $300,000 in direct farm ownership loans to buy or enlarge a farm, construct new farm buildings or improve structures, pay closing costs, or promote soil and water conservation and protection. The interest rate on select loans can be as low as 1.5 percent with up to 40 years to repay. FSA encourages all interested applicants to apply for direct farm ownership loans. For more information about the program and other loans administered by FSA, visit any FSA county office or www.fsa.usda.gov.
  • Californias Fertilizer Research Conference Comes to Modesto October 29-30, 2014 - - The California Department of Food and Agriculture and the Western Plant Health Association are hosting their 22nd annual fertilizer research conference at the DoubleTree Hotel in Modesto on October 29-30, 2014. This conference brings together industry professionals and academic researchers to learn about the latest research and sound management of fertilizing materials. This conference is designed to improve educational outreach by communicating the application of fertilizing materials on agricultural lands for food production and the use of those materials in consideration of existing environmental issues. The conference is geared towards a wide range of agriculturalists, including agricultural supply and service consultants, growers, university extension specialists, certified crop advisers, and local, state and national governmental agency personnel. <more> Sept. 18, 2014 CDFA news release
  • 2014 California Alfalfa, Forage, and Grains Symposium, Dec. 10-12, Long Beach - - Registration is now open for the 2014 California Alfalfa, Forage, and Grains Symposium scheduled for Dec. 10 12 in Long Beach, Calif. The event will be held at the Long Beach Convention Center. As California grows nearly three million acres of alfalfa, grains, silages, and other forage crops, there is a strong need to share information, says Dan Putnam, Extension agronomist and forage specialist and the 2014 Symposium Chair. This will be a comprehensive meeting to focus on critical issues related to alfalfa and grain crops, particularly global issues, economics, and practical 'how to' talks on crop production techniques. <more> Sept. 19, 2014 Western Farm Press
  • Save the Dates! Western United Dairymen Annual Convention - March 18-20, 2015 at Tenaya Lodge in Yosemite
    For more information, visit: www.WUDconvention.com

 

 

Friday, Sept. 19, 2014

State/Federal News and Politics

  • Quaker Oats Man Gets a Milk Mustache - - The Quaker Oats guy is getting a new look for the first time since 1877. The makeover is courtesy of a new partnership between Americas Milk Companies and Quaker Oats, which will feature Larry, the Quaker Oats guy sporting a milk mustache. The new push encourages oatmeal lovers to swap their water for milk when cooking their oats and enjoy it alongside a cold glass of milk for an added serving of protein in the morning. Larry is the latest in a long line of stars, celebrities, athletes and musical types who have sported the iconic milk mustache in ads and campaigns for the milk industry through the years. The new look will appear on canisters of Quaker Oats sold in grocery stores, marking the first time the mustache has made it to market shelves. <more> Sept. 18, 2014 Ad Week

Water News

  • California's water rules: Easing or aiding drought? - - California Gov. Jerry Brown has signed into law the first measure in the state's history to regulate groundwater supplies. It's no small accomplishment in a place that's battled over water rights for decadesand is the last Western state to finally have groundwater rules. What forced the change is the ongoing drought. Staring at a fourth year of severe droughtand increasingly dependent on groundwater sources that are in danger of drying upthere was enough agreement among California's politicians to get a law on the books. But controversy lingersfrom those who say the regulations go too far, to those who say they don't go far enough. And by the way they are written, there is the question of whether they will actually help ease the pain of the drought. <more> Sept. 19, 2014 CNBC
  • Congress keeps California water talks flowing - - Secret California water bill negotiations have a 55 percent to 60 percent chance of success during the fast-fading 113th Congress, Democratic Sen. Barbara Boxer said Thursday. In her first extended public comments on the closely held water talks, Boxer voiced cautious optimism even as she criticized House Republicans for trying to exclude Northern California Democrats. Im very hopeful, Boxer told reporters. I would say the discussions are going well. <more> Sept. 18, 2014 Modesto Bee
     

Pricing/Commodity News

  • Corn Price Outlook Falls to $3.50 for 2014/15 - - The prospect of record crops has prompted the Food and Agricultural Policy Research Institute (FAPRI) at the University of Missouri to lower average farm corn prices to $3.50 for 2014/15, soybean prices to $9.92/bu. and all wheat prices to $5.91. All are lower than FAPRIs August update of its annual March long-term baseline. <more> Sept. 19, 2014 Ag Web
  • Cattle traded at lower prices on Friday - - USDA Mandatory reported cattle trading was light to moderate in Kansas on Friday afternoon on light to moderate demand. Compared to last week, live sales were 2.00 to 3.00 lower at 159.00. A few dressed sales in Nebraska traded 3.00 to 5.00 lower than last week at mostly 245.00.The weekly cattle slaughter was estimated at 571,000 head, 21,000 fewer than last week and 60,000 less than 2013. <more> Sept. 19, 2014 Brownfield Ag News
  • Despite USDA approval, Dow's new GMO corn and soybeans face hurdles - - U.S. approval of Dow AgroSciences' new genetically-modified corn and soybeans takes the agricultural giant a step closer to its "most important" product launch ever, but a series of hurdles remain, the company said on Thursday. "We sure are aware of the concerns that have been expressed," said Dow AgroSciences President Tim Hassinger in an interview. "At the same time, weve been really pleased with how the farm community and the broader agricultural community have come forward in support," he said. <more> Sept. 18, 2014 Reuters
  • Oil Clogging U.S. Railways Seen Limiting Exports of Grain - - Shipping companies probably will miss out on exports from the record U.S. grain harvest because the shale-oil boom is clogging up rail lines to ports. While the U.S. will reap the most crops ever, fourth-quarter export cargoes will be 15 percent lower than last year, according to RS Platou Markets AS, a Norwegian bank specialized in shipping. Rates for Panamaxes, the most commonly used vessels for grains, averaged $7,574 a day this year, headed for the lowest level since at least 1999. <more> Sept. 19, 2014 Bloomberg

 

Environmental News

  • Bye, bye water - - The federal government in a move questioned by some biologists as to its effectiveness is going to release 23,000 acre feet of water in October from New Melones during the fall run of Chinook salmon in the Stanislaus River. Thats enough water to supply the domestic needs of the cities of Manteca, Ripon, and Escalon for more than three years or 331,000 Californians for a year, And while it is being done in the name of helping the fish, biologist Andrea Fuller with Fishbio notes more than 10 years of intense studies show it will have a negligible impact if even that. And ultimately it could hurt fish. <more> Sept. 19, 2014 Manteca Bulletin
  • Tougher San Joaquin Valley wood-burning rules begin in 6 weeks - - San Joaquin Valley air leaders on Thursday approved tighter wood-burning rules aimed at about 240,000 homes creating 95% of the dangerous soot from fireplaces and older wood-burning heaters. The rules could result in 85 no-burn days for Fresno County alone -- and it all starts in about six weeks. The burning bans, which have become familiar over the last 11 years, will be triggered when particle pollution is at significantly lower levels than in the past. <more> Sept. 18, 2014 Fresno Bee
  • Disaster assistance deadlines loom for farmers, ranchers - - Farmers who experienced losses to bush or tree fruit crops due to frost or freeze during the 2012 crop year may be eligible for assistance through the Noninsured Crop Disaster Assistance Program, but the deadline to apply is rapidly approaching. Applications must be submitted to Farm Service Agency county offices by Sept. 22. Farmers who did not have access to crop insurance and are in primary and adjacent counties that received a Secretarial disaster designation because of frost or freeze in 2012 are eligible for the assistance. Losses due to weather damage or other adverse natural occurrences may also qualify for program assistance. <more> Sept. 15, 2014 Central Valley Business Times
  • Livestock Producers Urged to Enroll in Disaster Assistance Program by Oct. 1 - - The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) is encouraging producers who have suffered eligible disaster-related losses to act to secure assistance by Sept. 30, 2014, as congressionally mandated payment reductions will take place for producers who have not acted before that date. Livestock producers that have experienced grazing losses since October 2011 and may be eligible for benefits but have not yet contacted their local Farm Service Agency (FSA) office should do so as soon as possible. <more> Sept. 2, 2014 USDA news release

interestStories of Interest
 

  • Government Scientists Try to Take the Stink Out of Pig Manure - - Efforts to combat the acrid odor of swine manure, which typically is stored in giant pits, have increased as farms get bigger and suburbs creep closer. The smell can pit neighbor against neighbor, sparking complaints and court battles, not to mention environmental concerns. Some of the research over the years has been criticized in Congress as pork-barrel spending, but farm funk remains a priority for the Agriculture Department. <more> Sept. 18, 2014 The Wall Street Journal
     

Meetings of Interest to CA Dairy Industry 
 


 
  • Sept. 30 deadline for direct farm ownership loan program - - USDAs California Farm Service Agency (FSA) Executive Director Val Dolcini says farmers and ranchers still have time to apply for low interest 2014 loans available through FSAs di-rect farm ownership program. The deadline to submit applications is Sept. 30, 2014. Eligible producers can borrow up to $300,000 in direct farm ownership loans to buy or enlarge a farm, construct new farm buildings or improve structures, pay closing costs, or promote soil and water conservation and protection. The interest rate on select loans can be as low as 1.5 percent with up to 40 years to repay. FSA encourages all interested applicants to apply for direct farm ownership loans. For more information about the program and other loans administered by FSA, visit any FSA county office or www.fsa.usda.gov.
  • Californias Fertilizer Research Conference Comes to Modesto October 29-30, 2014 - - The California Department of Food and Agriculture and the Western Plant Health Association are hosting their 22nd annual fertilizer research conference at the DoubleTree Hotel in Modesto on October 29-30, 2014. This conference brings together industry professionals and academic researchers to learn about the latest research and sound management of fertilizing materials. This conference is designed to improve educational outreach by communicating the application of fertilizing materials on agricultural lands for food production and the use of those materials in consideration of existing environmental issues. The conference is geared towards a wide range of agriculturalists, including agricultural supply and service consultants, growers, university extension specialists, certified crop advisers, and local, state and national governmental agency personnel. <more> Sept. 18, 2014 CDFA news release
  • 2014 California Alfalfa, Forage, and Grains Symposium, Dec. 10-12, Long Beach - - Registration is now open for the 2014 California Alfalfa, Forage, and Grains Symposium scheduled for Dec. 10 12 in Long Beach, Calif. The event will be held at the Long Beach Convention Center. As California grows nearly three million acres of alfalfa, grains, silages, and other forage crops, there is a strong need to share information, says Dan Putnam, Extension agronomist and forage specialist and the 2014 Symposium Chair. This will be a comprehensive meeting to focus on critical issues related to alfalfa and grain crops, particularly global issues, economics, and practical 'how to' talks on crop production techniques. <more> Sept. 19, 2014 Western Farm Press
  • Save the Dates! Western United Dairymen Annual Convention - March 18-20, 2015 at Tenaya Lodge in Yosemite
    For more information, visit: www.WUDconvention.com

 

Thursday, Sept. 18, 2014

State/Federal News and Politics

  • White House issues executive order combatting antibiotic resistance - - The White House issued today an executive order to create a plan to fight antibiotic resistance, a problem the Administration said is a serious threat to public health and the economy. The orderinstructs the Food and Drug Administration to continue working to eliminate the use of medically important classes of antibiotics for growth promotion purposes in food-producing animals. Scientists say overuse of these antibiotics can lead to germs that cannot be treated through traditional use of antibiotics. By signing the order, President Barack Obama will create a task force co-chaired by the Secretaries of Defense, Agriculture, and the Department of Health and Human Services. The group will work towards new regulations and submit a 5-year action plan to implement those regulations. <more> Sept. 18, 2014 Agri-Pulse
  • Domino's Pizza targeted after abuse at dairy farm - - An animal welfare group is targeting Ann Arbor-based Domino's Pizza and other chains with its release of a video showing workers abusing cows at a farm that supplies milk for pizza cheese. The undercover video, titled "Slice of Cruelty" and taken at a dairy farm in Lake Arthur, N.M., shows workers punching, kicking and whipping cows and shocking their genitals with electric prods, tossing calves into truck beds, using heaving equipment to force sick animals into confined spots and committing other types of abuse. "This is certainly some of the most shocking abuse that we've ever documented," said Matt Rice, director of investigations for Los Angeles-based Mercy for Animals. <more> Sept. 17, 2014 Detroit Free Press
  • Denver-based Leprino Foods terminates contract with abusive dairy - - Denver-based Leprino Foods Co. on Wednesday said it has terminated shipments from a New Mexico dairy where workers were caught on video abusing cows. "Leprino Foods Company prides itself in providing an uncompromising commitment to high-quality real cheese that starts with fresh, wholesome milk. This milk must be supplied to us by farmers who share our commitment to the highest level of animal health and wellness," the company said in a release. The New Mexico Livestock Board confirmed Tuesday that it is investigating practices at Winchester Dairy near Dexter in southeastern New Mexico, according to The Associated Press. <more> Sept. 17, 2014 The Denver Post
  • Group levels abuse allegations against New Mexico dairy - - The New Mexico Livestock Board has launched an investigation into a southern New Mexico dairy after an activist working with an animal welfare group recorded secret video showing workers whipping cows with chains and wire cables, kicking and punching the animals, and shocking them with electric prods. Board officials confirmed the investigation into the practices at the Winchester Dairy near Dexter on Tuesday, saying they are working to schedule interviews with the activist as well as the workers identified in the video. We are investigating it very aggressively. The district attorney is on board and everybody is working hard to make sure we do this right, said Shawn Davis, an area supervisor with the livestock board. <more> Sept. 17, 2014 AP
  • Ag Companies Merge to Increase Meat and Milk Production - - Two Indiana agricultural companies, Elanco, the animal health division of Eli Lilly and Company (NYSE: LLY), and Dow AgroSciences LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of The Dow Chemical Company (NYSE: DOW), announced that they have reached a strategic research and development (R&D) agreement that will focus on developing integrated solutions to enable livestock producers to increase meat and milk production to meet the demands of the growing global population. A joint press release cites the U.N. Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) as saying demand for meat, milk, and eggs will increase by more than 60 percent in the next few decades. The agreement leverages the strengths of Elancos animal health business with the proprietary germplasm and feed technologies of Dow AgroSciences to develop innovative solutions that can increase the efficiency, quality, and productivity of livestock for ranchers and producers worldwide. Dow AgroSciences is proud to work closely with another Indiana agricultural company to develop future product solutions for beef and dairy producers, says Tim Hassinger, President and CEO, Dow AgroSciences. Sept. 18, 2014 Dairy Business Update
  • Profits plunge, General Mills to fire 430 Lodi workers - - General Mills Inc. (NYSE: GIS) is firing all 430 workers at its cereal-making plant in Lodi and will shut it down after 67 years of operation. The action is subject to unspecified talks with the employees union, the Bakery, Confectionery, Tobacco Workers and Grain Millers International Union, Local 59G. The company says its part of a streamlining of operations. It has not said where, if anywhere, the Lodi workload will be shifted. On Wednesday, the company disappointed Wall Street when it reported first quarter net earnings of $345 million, or 55 cents per share, in revenue of $4.27 billion. <more> Sept. 18, 2014 Central Valley Business Times
     

Water News

  • Farmers unhappy with new groundwater regulations - - Even though California was the only state in the West without groundwater legislation, officials with the Kern County Farm Bureau said they're not happy with the state's bill. To put a cap on that blood line of water, I think its dangerous, said Sanders. Everything about farming is already unpredictable, harvest to harvest. Thats why the Farm Bureau is glad that for now this new package of laws will allow the water to be managed locally, even though it gives the state new authority to step in. Were not a one size fits all area, said Jim Beck, the general manager of the Kern County Water Agency. With new regulations theres always some good and theres always some bad. <more> Sept. 17, 2014 KBAK/KBFX
  • Hi, do you have water? In a central California town, the answer is often no - - Until this week, California was the only Western state that didn't regulate groundwater, including an estimated 600,000 private, domestic wells mostly in more rural regions such as the Central Valley. Groundwater levels here have plunged by 60 feet or more in some spots, and tens of thousands of wells are in danger. In July, Johnson decided to put together a list of people out of water in East Porterville. She figured that while she was at it, she should bring them water. The Porterville Recorder ran an article that gave her phone number and address and said she was collecting bottled water for drought victims. The next day there were pallets of plastic bottles under her tarp carport. <more> Sept. 18, 2014 LA Times
  • California Groundwater: Court Case Could Speed Up Regulation - - Californias Supreme Court is being pressed to take up a case that could dramatically alter oversight for groundwater, building on a landmark water rights ruling the court made a generation ago. Earlier this summer, a Sacramento Superior Court judge ruled that rural Siskiyou County in Northern California must consider people downstream who depend on the Scott River before issuing permits to drill wells and pump groundwater nearby. If the high court accepts the case and upholds that ruling, the result could be new controls on groundwater pumping in addition to those contained in legislation just signed by Gov. Jerry Brown. <more> Sept. 18, 2014 KQED
     

Pricing/Commodity News

  • Alfalfa - A survivor crop of the California drought? - - Alfalfa, the crop with the largest acreage in California, could well emerge as a survivor in the state hard hit by drought. This plant is a tough plant, said Dan Putnam, alfalfa and forage specialist with the University of California at Davis. He believes the deeply-rooted plant will likely survive once the plant is rehydrated, and he cited previous research trials that showed its ability to survive in the face of deficit or nearly no irrigation. Putnams observation came during an alfalfa and forage field day at the Kearney Ag Center in Parlier, where he also cited high costs for alfalfa hay this year ($200 to $350 per ton), which is proving to be an incentive for growers to value yield over quality at a time when production is down as much as 10 to 20 percent. <more> Sept. 17, 2014 Western Farm Press
  • Altered to Withstand Herbicide, Corn and Soybeans Gain Approval - - The Agriculture Department has approved the commercial planting of corn and soybeans genetically engineered to survive being sprayed by the herbicide known as 2,4-D, according to documents it posted on a federal regulatory website on Wednesday. Some corn and soybean growers have been pushing for approval, saying the new crops would give them a sorely needed new tool to fight rapidly spreading weeds that can no longer be killed by Roundup, known generically as glyphosate, the usual herbicide of choice. <more> Sept. 17, 2014 The New York Times
  • Barrel cheddar, butter prices hit record highs on Chicago Mercantile Exchange - - The run-up in dairy product prices continued Wednesday as barrel cheddar cheese and butter each hit their highest prices ever on the Chicago Mercantile Exchange. That's good news for Wisconsin's nearly 11,000 dairy farms, because the prices they receive for milk are calculated using formulas based in part on butter and cheddar cheese prices. The price situation is caused by a supply-demand imbalance as the peak consumption season for butter and cheese approaches in the U.S. <more> Sept. 17, 2014 The Journal Sentinel
  • Fluid Milks Dismal Decline - - Its no secret that fluid milk sales are on the decline. What is stunning is the degree to which sales have plummeted. In the first half of 2014, total fluid milk product sales have dropped 2.4%. Since 2009, total fluid milk sales have declined nearly 5%. Whole milk and 2% milk have taken the biggest hits, according to the issue of the "Bulletin," a monthly e-newsletter published by the Central Market Area Federal Order. Per capita sales are even more dismal. Per capita sales have decreased by more than 15% since 2000, and by more than a third since 1975. The last increase came in 2008. <more> Sept. 18, 2014 Dairy Today

 

Environmental News

  • More emergency water releases for Klamath salmon - - For the second time this year, federal officials are releasing additional water from a Northern California reservoir to combat a parasite that threatens to kill thousands of salmon in the drought-parched Klamath River. The U.S. Bureau of Reclamation says it doubled the outflows from Lewiston Dam into the Trinity River on Tuesday, and will keep them up for seven days. The decision was made following the discovery of a parasite known as Ich, which attacks salmon in stagnant water conditions. The agency increased flows last month to combat the same problem. <more> Sept. 17, 2014 AP
  • Livestock Producers Urged to Enroll in Disaster Assistance Program by Oct. 1 - - The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) is encouraging producers who have suffered eligible disaster-related losses to act to secure assistance by Sept. 30, 2014, as congressionally mandated payment reductions will take place for producers who have not acted before that date. Livestock producers that have experienced grazing losses since October 2011 and may be eligible for benefits but have not yet contacted their local Farm Service Agency (FSA) office should do so as soon as possible. <more> Sept. 2, 2014 USDA news release
  • Disaster assistance deadlines loom for farmers, ranchers - - Farmers who experienced losses to bush or tree fruit crops due to frost or freeze during the 2012 crop year may be eligible for assistance through the Noninsured Crop Disaster Assistance Program, but the deadline to apply is rapidly approaching. Applications must be submitted to Farm Service Agency county offices by Sept. 22. Farmers who did not have access to crop insurance and are in primary and adjacent counties that received a Secretarial disaster designation because of frost or freeze in 2012 are eligible for the assistance. Losses due to weather damage or other adverse natural occurrences may also qualify for program assistance. <more> Sept. 15, 2014 Central Valley Business Times

interestStories of Interest
 

  • Dinners on the farm are a growing trend in the Valley - - As interest in food and farming continues to grow, one trend that is slowly taking root in the San Joaquin Valley are dinners on the farm. Throughout the state, the events take many forms, but generally involve guests eating at long tables draped in white linens. Dinner is typically top-notch and features seasonal fruits, vegetables and locally raised meats. The meals are sometimes prepared by a well-known local chef or a farmer with good culinary skills. Many of the dinners are served in a picturesque location such as a rustic barn, under fruit trees or at a winery. And while the Valley may not be blessed with coastal views or rolling hills, local farmers are doing things their own way. <more> Sept. 15, 2014 Fresno Bee
  • In Japan, Traditional Italian Pizza Is Tops - - In the birthplace of sushi, a pizza obsession has been developing. Pizzerias specializing in artisanal Neapolitan-style pies have popped up at a brisk pace across Japan, with chefs tackling the craft of pizza with the same meticulous zeal that has made the country a culinary star in other cuisines. (Nearly 50 French restaurants in Tokyo have at least one Michelin star.) <more> Sept. 17, 2014 The Wall Street Journal
     

Meetings of Interest to CA Dairy Industry
 

 
 

  • Californias Fertilizer Research Conference Comes to Modesto October 29-30, 2014 - - The California Department of Food and Agriculture and the Western Plant Health Association are hosting their 22nd annual fertilizer research conference at the DoubleTree Hotel in Modesto on October 29-30, 2014. This conference brings together industry professionals and academic researchers to learn about the latest research and sound management of fertilizing materials. This conference is designed to improve educational outreach by communicating the application of fertilizing materials on agricultural lands for food production and the use of those materials in consideration of existing environmental issues. The conference is geared towards a wide range of agriculturalists, including agricultural supply and service consultants, growers, university extension specialists, certified crop advisers, and local, state and national governmental agency personnel. <more> Sept. 18, 2014 CDFA news release
  • Sept. 30 deadline for direct farm ownership loan program - - USDAs California Farm Service Agency (FSA) Executive Director Val Dolcini says farmers and ranchers still have time to apply for low interest 2014 loans available through FSAs di-rect farm ownership program. The deadline to submit applications is Sept. 30, 2014. Eligible producers can borrow up to $300,000 in direct farm ownership loans to buy or enlarge a farm, construct new farm buildings or improve structures, pay closing costs, or promote soil and water conservation and protection. The interest rate on select loans can be as low as 1.5 percent with up to 40 years to repay. FSA encourages all interested applicants to apply for direct farm ownership loans. For more information about the program and other loans administered by FSA, visit any FSA county office or www.fsa.usda.gov.
  • Save the Dates! Western United Dairymen Annual Convention - March 18-20, 2015 at Tenaya Lodge in Yosemite
    For more information, visit: www.WUDconvention.com
     

 

 

Wednesday, Sept. 17, 2014

Water News

  • California water bond, budget reserve campaign committee raises $650,000 - - A campaign committee to pass a $7.5 billion water bond and budget reserve ballot measure championed by Gov. Jerry Brown received its first infusion of money late Tuesday. The statewide carpenters union, the State Building and Construction Trades Council of California, and the California American Council of Engineering Companies gave $650,000 to Yes on Props 1 and 2, a bipartisan coalition of business, labor, Republicans, Democrats and Governor Brown. <more> Sept. 17, 2014 Capitol Alert
  • Things to know about California groundwater law - - Gov. Jerry Brown signed legislation Tuesday that will require the first-ever rules for pumping groundwater in California. Why lawmakers and the governor acted, and what the new laws mean. <more> Sept. 16, 2014 U-T San Diego
  • Drought Becomes Powerful Political Tool for Brown, Lawmakers - - Gov. Jerry Brown didnt miss a beat on Tuesday when asked what made a deal come together on a first-ever law regulating the use of groundwater in California. First of all, weve got a drought, said Brown. And thats got everybodys attention. And that attention has allowed Brown, partially in public and a lot behind the scenes, to wield some real power on one of the most contentious issues in the history of the Golden State. On Tuesday, the governor signed into law three bills that put in place a first series of steps to limit what, until now, has been almost limitless: the power of individuals and industries to tap underground water supplies. <more> Sept. 16, 2014 KQED
  • California governor OKs bills to regulate groundwater amid drought - - California Governor Jerry Brown signed a package of bills on Tuesday to regulate California's stressed groundwater supplies amid a drought that is expected to cost the state $2.2 billion in lost crops, jobs and other damages, with no end in sight. The bills will allow the state to take over management of underground aquifers and water accessed via wells, and aim to tighten oversight of water at a time when groundwater levels are shrinking in the third year of a catastrophic drought. <more> Sept. 16, 2014 Reuters
  • Lawsuits could bog down groundwater law - - The road ahead is chock-full of legal obstacles for the sweeping groundwater legislation Gov. Jerry Brown signed into law Tuesday, according to legal experts familiar with the issue. They list a host of sticking points that could generate lawsuits as soon as the law goes into effect on Jan. 1, 2015. A key issue is the fact that state law is divided on exactly who has the right to the water in the aquifers under Kings County. The water itself is defined as public resource, but the right to use it for beneficial applications such as for homes and to grow crops goes to whoever is pumping it. Its a serious issue for local farmers and land owners who rely on private wells to support their homes, grow crops and feed livestock. <more> Sept. 17, 2014 Hanford Sentinel
     

State/Federal News and Politics

  • Poverty rate posts first notable drop since 06; Latinos show big strides - - The poorest Americans, particularly those who are Latino, finally are showing signs of joining in the economic recovery as the nation's poverty rate dropped significantly last year for the first time since 2006. The improving labor market drove the decrease in the rate to 14.5% from 15%, which was near the highest level in a generation, the Census Bureau said Tuesday. The number of people with year-round, full-time jobs rose by about 2.8 million to 105.8 million last year. The increase included nearly a million households with children under 18 years old, helping fuel the first significant drop in the child poverty rate in more than a decade. <more> Sept. 16, 2014 The LA Times
  • 800 Million People Still Malnourished, U.N. Says - - More than 800 million people worldwide do not get enough to eat, even as the world produces more than twice as much food as it needs, according to new figures released Tuesday by the United Nations. Hunger has declined slowly over the last decade: 11.3 percent of the worlds population was clinically undernourished in the 2012-14 period, down from 18.7 percent in the 1990-92 period. Hunger keeps its hold on a handful of countries. Chad, Central African Republic and Ethiopia have some of the highest rates of undernourished people. A relatively large percentage of the population remains hungry across South Asia. <more> Sept. 16, 2014 The New York Times
  • Documents reveal how poultry firms systematically feed antibiotics to flocks - - Major U.S. poultry firms are administering antibiotics to their flocks far more pervasively than regulators realize, posing a potential risk to human health. Internal records examined by Reuters reveal that some of the nations largest poultry producers routinely feed chickens an array of antibiotics not just when sickness strikes, but as a standard practice over most of the birds lives. In every instance of antibiotic use identified by Reuters, the doses were at the low levels that scientists say are especially conducive to the growth of so-called superbugs, bacteria that gain resistance to conventional medicines used to treat people. Some of the antibiotics belong to categories considered medically important to humans. <more> Sept. 15, 2014 Reuters
  • Free 'healthy' food for fast-food receipts - - Suppose that you could upload a photo of your fast-food receipts from the past year worth up to $50 and get the corresponding amount of free, healthy, ready-to-prepare food in exchange for that? One of the nation's largest recipe-kit delivery services is betting that thousands of new customers will bite. The unusual, free food promotion, dubbed "You're Better than Takeout" begins Tuesday. It's sponsored by HelloFresh, one of the few fresh recipe-kit delivery services with operations nationwide. The receipts can be from McDonald's or Pizza Hut or any chain fast-food joint and that includes Millennial favorites Starbucks, Chipotle and Panera. The receipts can be smudged with ketchup, mayo or BBQ dipping sauce just so the amount is legible. <more> Sept. 16, 2014 USA Today
  • Whole Foods' Anti-GMO Swindle - - Writing about science-and-society controversies can be a bit like running laps on a track, or watching Teletubbies, or listening to a fugue. The same things keep happening again and again. Take this recent experience of déjà vu: Back in the day (i.e. the mid-aughts), creationists went through a phase of putting labels on textbooks. The labels were often accurate, technically speaking. They explained that evolution was a theory, and that it was controversialboth true things. In court, labelers could argue that they were just trying to give students choices, while encouraging critical thinking. Their opponents suggested that the labels, even if they were accurate, were fundamentally deceptive. <more> Sept. 15, 2014 The Daily Beast

Pricing/Commodity News

  • Cattle Is Last Bull as Herds Dwindle: Riskless Return - - As bulging supplies of commodities such as corn and sugar drive most raw materials lower, cattle futures are providing a haven for commodity investors. Prices are up 23 percent in the past 12 months and are on pace for a sixth straight annual gain, which would be the best streak in at least five decades. Futures reached an all-time high this month. After adjusting for volatility, cattle ranks first among the 34 Bloomberg-tracked raw materials in the past year. Prolonged drought in Texas forced ranchers to shrink herds and left the fewest cattle in at least six decades, government data show. Declining animal supplies means U.S. beef and veal production in 2014 will be the smallest in 20 years, as gains in meat costs are a leader among food inflation increases, according to the Department of Agriculture. <more> Sept. 17, 2014 Bloomberg Businessweek
  • White House committed to ethanol, Agriculture Secretary Vilsack says - - Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack on Tuesday offered support to ethanol producers facing challenges now, saying the White House is committed to boosting use of the fuel in the country's gasoline supply. Speaking before a friendly audience of biofuel producers in Washington, the former Iowa governor said he is confident the Obama administration will restore at least some of the proposed cuts that would have sharply reduced the amount of ethanol required to be blended into the fuel supply in 2014. <more> Sept. 16, 2014 Gannett News Service
  • October Federal order Class Base Milk Price Up 56-Cents - - The Agriculture Department announced the October Federal order Class I base milk price this afternoon at $24.19 per hundredweight, up 56 cents from September, $4.99 above October 2013, and equates to about $2.08 per gallon. That put the ten month Class I average at $23.28, up from $18.55 at this time a year ago and $16.74 in 2012. The two-week NDPSR-surveyed butter price used to calculate the October Class I value was $2.7652 per pound, up 33.3 cents from September. Nonfat dry milk averaged $1.4766, down 3.3 cents. Cheese averaged $2.3062, up 24 cents, and dry whey averaged 67.47 cents per pound, down 1.8 cents. For a point of comparison, the October Class I price in California was $26.09 per cwt. for the North and $26.36 for the South. Keep in mind, with the Federal order Class I base, each order adds its Class I differential to that base price to determine that particular orders Class I milk price. Also, California prices off of the CME cash markets whereas Federal order prices are based off the National Dairy Products Sales Report, which lags the CME cash prices so California prices reflect changes sooner. Sept. 17, 2014 Dairy Business Update

 

Environmental News

  • Livestock Producers Urged to Enroll in Disaster Assistance Program by Oct. 1 - - The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) is encouraging producers who have suffered eligible disaster-related losses to act to secure assistance by Sept. 30, 2014, as congressionally mandated payment reductions will take place for producers who have not acted before that date. Livestock producers that have experienced grazing losses since October 2011 and may be eligible for benefits but have not yet contacted their local Farm Service Agency (FSA) office should do so as soon as possible. <more> Sept. 2, 2014 USDA news release
  • Disaster assistance deadlines loom for farmers, ranchers - - Farmers who experienced losses to bush or tree fruit crops due to frost or freeze during the 2012 crop year may be eligible for assistance through the Noninsured Crop Disaster Assistance Program, but the deadline to apply is rapidly approaching. Applications must be submitted to Farm Service Agency county offices by Sept. 22. Farmers who did not have access to crop insurance and are in primary and adjacent counties that received a Secretarial disaster designation because of frost or freeze in 2012 are eligible for the assistance. Losses due to weather damage or other adverse natural occurrences may also qualify for program assistance. <more> Sept. 15, 2014 Central Valley Business Times

interestStories of Interest
 

  • Food innovation institute planned for UC Davis - - A new institute designed to deliver big-impact, Silicon Valley-type breakthroughs in food, agriculture and health is planned for the University of California, Davis, funded in part by Mars Inc. The institute is to be the innovation arm of the World Food Center at UC Davis and advance new discoveries in sustainable food, agriculture and health along the entire innovation process from laboratory research to commercialization. Establishing the Innovation Institute for Food and Health will mark a great step forward in addressing the sustainability challenges we face at the nexus between food, agriculture and health, says UC Davis Chancellor Linda Katehi. <more> Sept. 17, 2014 Central Valley Business Times
  • 2015 Sustainability Awards now accepting nominations - - The Innovation Center for U.S. Dairy is accepting applications for the 2015 U.S. Dairy Sustainability Awards. Award categories include: Outstanding Dairy Farm Sustainability; Outstanding Dairy Processing & Manufacturing Sustainability; Outstanding Achievement in Community Partnerships (NEW); and Outstanding Achievement in Resource Stewardship (NEW). The deadline for nominations is November 7, 2014. More information about the awards and process is available at http://www.usdairy.com/sustainability/us-dairy-sustainability-awards. Sept. 16, 2014 Dairy Cares news
  • McDonalds Considers Expanding Its Build-Your-Burger Test - - McDonalds Corp. (MCD)s build-your-own-burger experiment, under way in four Southern California restaurants, could be coming to many more locations as the chain seeks to pull out of the worst sales slump in a decade. The test, which lets customers pick out burger toppings such as jalapenos and tortilla strips on a touch screen, will be taken to additional markets depending on how the trial goes, said Lisa McComb, a spokeswoman for McDonalds. The program started late last year at an Orange County restaurant and then expanded to three more McDonalds in August. <more> Sept. 15, 2014 Bloomberg
  • Bragg's lamb sells for more than $24,000 - - Garrett Bragg, a much beloved baseball player and member of Future Farmers of America at Redwood High School, never got the chance to show the lamb he'd been raising throughout the summer for the Tulare County Fair. Bragg, 17, was killed Aug. 23 in a crash on Highway 99. And so it was an emotional and bittersweet moment when Garrett's family and friends in the FFA gathered Saturday at the fair to auction Garrett's lamb. No one could've expected what happened. The students, who had taken turns caring for the animal since Bragg's passing, groomed the lamb to look its very best and then painted a big "12" on the side. The entire class stood by as it was introduced as Garrett's lamb. Redwood's ag teacher John Coon spoke about Garrett's role in FFA and Garrett's mother also addressed the crowd. <more> Sept. 17, 2014 Visalia Times-Delta
  • Tulare County Fair attendance up 68% - - More than 103,000 attended the Tulare County Fair earlier this month, surpassing last year's attendance by nearly 68 percent. The fair kicked off its 95th year Sept. 10-14 featuring new exhibits, an expanded carnival, musical guests, food vendors. the antique tractor parade and a tractor pull. As well, visitors saw Buttercup the Cow made from 500 pounds of butter, toured the Walk on the Wild Side exotic animal display and caught a motorcycle thrill ride and demolition derby. The fairgrounds saw 103,594 pass through the gates this year compared to about 61,713 in 2013. <more> Sept. 16, 2014 The Business Journal
     

Meetings of Interest to CA Dairy Industry
 

 
 

  • Save the Dates! Western United Dairymen Annual Convention - March 18-20, 2015 at Tenaya Lodge in Yosemite
    For more information, visit: www.WUDconvention.com
  • Sept. 30 deadline for direct farm ownership loan program - - USDAs California Farm Service Agency (FSA) Executive Director Val Dolcini says farmers and ranchers still have time to apply for low interest 2014 loans available through FSAs di-rect farm ownership program. The deadline to submit applications is Sept. 30, 2014. Eligible producers can borrow up to $300,000 in direct farm ownership loans to buy or enlarge a farm, construct new farm buildings or improve structures, pay closing costs, or promote soil and water conservation and protection. The interest rate on select loans can be as low as 1.5 percent with up to 40 years to repay. FSA encourages all interested applicants to apply for direct farm ownership loans. For more information about the program and other loans administered by FSA, visit any FSA county office or www.fsa.usda.gov.

 

 

Tuesday, Sept. 16, 2014

Water News

  • VIDEO: Jerry Brown signs groundwater legislation - - Gov. Jerry Brown signed legislation Tuesday enacting sweeping new regulations on groundwater pumping in California, making the state the last in the West to regulate the practice. The groundwater package, which gained momentum at the Capitol amid the states ongoing drought, was negotiated by Brown and lawmakers in late August, and the governors signature was all but assured. This is a big deal, Brown said at a signing ceremony at the Capitol. Its been known about for decades that underground water has to be managed and regulated in some way. <more> Sept. 16, 2014 Capitol Alert
  • Ag leaders on-hand as Governor Brown signs landmark groundwater legislation - Signing message from Governor Brown - - To Members of the California Legislature: I am signing AB 1739, SB 1168 and SB 1319, which taken collectively establish a new structure for managing the States groundwater. These bills accomplish a number of goals described in the California Water Action Plan, a five-year plan to sustainably manage our water resources. When combined with other elements outlined in the plan conservation, water recycling, expanded storage, safe drinking water, wetlands and watershed restoration and the passage of Proposition 1, we can take giant strides to secure Californias water future. A central feature of these bills is the recognition that groundwater management in California is best accomplished locally. Local agencies will now have the power to assess the conditions of their local groundwater basins and take the necessary steps to bring those basins in a state of chronic long-term overdraft into balance. <more> Sept. 16, 2014 CDFA Planting Seeds blog
  • California governor signs groundwater management bills - - Despite calls by agricultural interests for vetoes, California Gov. Jerry Brown has signed three pieces of legislation that will implement groundwater management rules. Until now, California was one of the few states without any statewide groundwater regulations. The bills were Senate Bills 1168 and 1319 and Assembly Bill 1739. In an Aug. 29 letter, a bipartisan group of lawmakers urged him to vote no on the legislation. They acknowledged the issue of long-term groundwater overdraft but contended the bills infringe on personal property rights and undermine local control. <more> Sept. 16, 2014 The Grower
  • Gov. Brown's Delta water diversion project gets bashed in Washington - - California Governor Jerry Browns $25 billion twin tunnel water diversion project is getting no love from Washington these days. First, the Environmental Protection Agency said it would violate the Clean Water Act. Now, California lawmakers are trying to pull the plug on federal funding to help launch the project. The Bay Delta Conservation Plan is a joint federal and state initiative financed by California's water contractors. Its stated purpose is to help restore the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta ecosystem and guarantee a stable water supply for millions of Californians. The plan includes construction of twin tunnels to carry water south to farms and cities. <more> Sept. 15, 2014 KPCC
  • California drought: Dramatic before-and-after photos - - California is in a historic three-year drought, and recent photos taken in Northern California put a visual exclamation mark on the issue. The images were captured in August by Justin Sullivan of Getty Images, in the same locations at Lake Oroville and Folsom Lake where the California Department of Water Resources took photos in July 2011. Lake Oroville in Butte County is currently at 31 percent capacity, while Folsom Lake near Sacramento is at 38 percent of capacity. <more> Sept. 15, 2014 San Francisco Gate
     

State/Federal News and Politics

  • The scope of illegals in California - - One out of every 15 people in California is there illegally, according to the 2014 update of Looking Forward: Immigrant Contributions to the Golden State by the California Immigrant Policy Center. A key focus of the report is the significant financial impact that immigrants in general have on the most populous U.S. state, which, if it were a country, would have the eighth largest economy in the world. In doing so, it also estimates the portion contributed by illegal immigrants. Of Californias population of 38 million (2012 data), the report estimates the current number of illegal immigrants at 2.6 million (6.8 percent). It also emphasizes the significant contribution they make to the states total economy an estimated $130 billion (6.2 percent) of its gross domestic product. <more> Sept. 15, 2014 Hoards Dairyman
  • High speed rail board considers farmland in Fresno County - - More than 70 parcels of Fresno County farmland now under Williamson Act agricultural preservation contracts will be addressed Tuesday by the California High-Speed Rail Authority. The rail board, meeting in Palmdale, is expected to certify that the pieces of property -- which are along the approved right of way within the county of the state's proposed bullet-train line -- are necessary for the railroad route and were not selected just because of lower property values. <more> Sept. 15, 2014 Fresno Bee
  • GMO safety, weed control top concerns as U.S. study kicks off - - Agriculture experts raised a number of concerns with genetically modified crops, including safety and spreading weed resistance, at the first public meeting of a U.S. government sponsored study of genetically engineered crops held Monday. The study, led by the National Research Council (NRC) and sponsored in part by the U.S. Department of Agriculture, comes at a time of growing consumer suspicion of genetically modified crops, which are used in a variety of packaged food products. Many U.S. states are seeking mandatory labeling of foods with GMO ingredients, and a growing number of food companies are offering non-GMO products. <more> Sept. 15, 2014 Reuters
  • Recount Upholds Vote Approving 'Right To Farm' Amendment - - The results of a recount of the votes for the so-called 'right-to-farm' constitutional amendment show that it did pass, though by a slightly slimmer margin than originally announced. The recount results, announced Monday by the secretary of state's office shows that Constitutional Amendment 1 passed by 2,375 votes out of almost a million votes cast. The difference between "yes" and "no" votes before the recount was 2,490. <more> Sept. 15, 2014 St. Louis Public Radio

Pricing/Commodity News

  • As U.S. Farm Cycle Turns, Tractor Makers May Suffer Longer Than Farmers - - Farm equipment makers insist the sales slump they face this year because of lower crop prices and farm incomes will be short-lived. Yet there are signs the downturn may last longer than tractor and harvester makers, including Deere & Co , are letting on and the pain could persist long after corn, soybean and wheat prices rebound. Farmers and analysts say the elimination of government incentives to buy new equipment, a related overhang of used tractors, and a reduced commitment to biofuels, all darken the outlook for the sector beyond 2019 - the year the U.S. Department of Agriculture says farm incomes will begin to rise again. Company executives are not so pessimistic. <more> Sept. 16, 2014 Reuters
  • CWT Accepts 12 Export Assistance Requests - - The dairy farmer-funded Cooperatives Working Together (CWT) accepted 12 requests for export assistance today from Dairy Farmers of America, Northwest Dairy Association (Darigold), Michigan Milk Producers Association and Tillamook County Creamery Association to sell 692,252 pounds of Cheddar and Gouda cheese and 1.422 million pounds of whole milk powder to customers in Asia, the Middle East, and South America. The product will be delivered through March 2015 and raised CWTs 2014 cheese exports to 86.203 million pounds, plus 48.188 million pounds of butter and 33.171 million pounds of whole milk powder to 43 countries on six continents. These sales are the equivalent of 2.122 billion pounds of milk on a milkfat basis, according to CWT. Sept. 16, 2014 Dairy Business Update
  • Tight Supply-Demand Balance Keeping Prices High - - Milk and dairy product prices generally moved higher in August as most domestic dairy product markets remain in tight supply-demand balance, according to the latest Dairy Market Report from the National Milk Producers Federation and Dairy Management Incorporated. This is producing a distinct double peak for U.S. milk prices this year, despite continued weakness in world prices for all dairy products. Growth in commercial use of dairy products in both domestic and export markets has generally kept pace with domestic production. They warn that this probably wont continue much longer, as cow numbers build, and milk production per cow accelerates. Recent drops in feed prices continued in August, but at a moderating pace. Read the entire report at: http://dairyline.com/NMPF/DMR_September2014.pdf. Sept. 16, 2014 Dairy Business Update
  • Consumers willing to dig deeper in wallets for beef - - Consumers participating in the monthly Food Demand Survey conducted by Oklahoma State Universitys Department of Agricultural Economics reported a willingness to pay more for beef compared to last month and last year. After remaining virtually unchanged in August, consumers indicated in the monthly survey that their willingness-to-pay for steak and hamburger increased as much as 3.7 percent. According to the survey, consumers are willing to pay $7.18 per pound for steak, up from 7.01 per pound last month and $7.16 last year, and $4.48 for hamburger, up from $4.32 in August and $4.16 in September 2013. <more> Sept. 15, 2014 Dairy Herd Management

 

Environmental News

  • More no burn days coming to air district vote - - No burn days have helped the Valley make great strides on cutting down pollution over the years, say San Joaquin Valley Air Pollution Control District officials. But particle pollution, mostly from dust and soot, remains a problem in the winter because of the Valleys bowl shape. The district served notice a couple of years ago that burning restrictions, already among the most stringent in the nation, would get even more strict this year. If rules are adopted Thursday as proposed, the average number of Stanislaus no burn days among 120 days of winter could shoot from 36 to 72 as the current threshold for micrograms per cubic meter of particle concentration is lowered from the current 30 to 20. <more> Sept. 15, 2014 Modesto Bee
  • Vote in Congress ups the pressure on EPA proposal - - Opponents say they hope renewed national attention to a proposed rule that would expand U.S. Environmental Protection Agency enforcement authority under the Clean Water Act will send a message to the EPA that it has gone too far. The renewed attention came in the form of floor debate in the U.S. House of Representatives, which voted in favor of legislation that would prohibit the EPA and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers from proceeding with what has become known as the "waters of the U.S." proposed rule. <more> Sept. 17, 2014 Ag Alert
  • AFBF pleased with WOTUS vote - - A spokesman for the American Farm Bureau Federation says last weeks vote in the U.S. House to stop the EPAs proposed Waters of the U.S. rules sent a message to the Obama Administration that the EPA is committing regulatory overreach. Farm Bureaus Don Parrish says the bipartisan vote signified Republicans and Democrats alike are concerned by the EPAs actions, and they listened to Americas farmers. Im very gratified by the grassroots activity farmers and ranchers everywhere that worked to ditch this rule, Parrish says. This strong vote in the House gives us a lot of momentum. It gives us momentum to turn the heat up in the Senate. <more> Sept. 15, 2014 Brownfield Ag News
  • Livestock Producers Urged to Enroll in Disaster Assistance Program by Oct. 1 - - The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) is encouraging producers who have suffered eligible disaster-related losses to act to secure assistance by Sept. 30, 2014, as congressionally mandated payment reductions will take place for producers who have not acted before that date. Livestock producers that have experienced grazing losses since October 2011 and may be eligible for benefits but have not yet contacted their local Farm Service Agency (FSA) office should do so as soon as possible. <more> Sept. 2, 2014 USDA news release
  • Disaster assistance deadlines loom for farmers, ranchers - - Farmers who experienced losses to bush or tree fruit crops due to frost or freeze during the 2012 crop year may be eligible for assistance through the Noninsured Crop Disaster Assistance Program, but the deadline to apply is rapidly approaching. Applications must be submitted to Farm Service Agency county offices by Sept. 22. Farmers who did not have access to crop insurance and are in primary and adjacent counties that received a Secretarial disaster designation because of frost or freeze in 2012 are eligible for the assistance. Losses due to weather damage or other adverse natural occurrences may also qualify for program assistance. <more> Sept. 15, 2014 Central Valley Business Times

interestStories of Interest
 

  • Domestic Dairy Consumption Rising, Especially for High Milk-fat Products - - U.S. consumption of dairy products is expanding, with the fastest growth occurring in products with relatively high milk-fat content. USDAs Economic Research Service (ERS) estimates commercial disappearance (a measure of consumption) of fluid milk and other dairy-containing products in two different ways: 1) based on the milk fat content of the various products (milk-equivalent milk-fat basis) and 2) based on the skim solids (proteins, lactose, and minerals) content of the products (milk equivalent skim-solids basis). Sept. 16, 2014 Dairy Today
  • Concerns about keeping county fair afloat - - The state cut about $350,000 of the fair's operating budget, and Shannon said the foundation got to work raising money to help make up for the loss. In addition, efforts were launched to boost attendance thus increasing ticket sales along with enacting other methods to raise additional dollars that included a first-ever $5 processing fee for competition entries. <more> Sept. 15, 2014 Visalia Times-Delta
     

Meetings of Interest to CA Dairy Industry
 

 
 

  • Save the Dates! Western United Dairymen Annual Convention - March 18-20, 2015 at Tenaya Lodge in Yosemite
    For more information, visit: www.WUDconvention.com
  • Sept. 30 deadline for direct farm ownership loan program - - USDAs California Farm Service Agency (FSA) Executive Director Val Dolcini says farmers and ranchers still have time to apply for low interest 2014 loans available through FSAs di-rect farm ownership program. The deadline to submit applications is Sept. 30, 2014. Eligible producers can borrow up to $300,000 in direct farm ownership loans to buy or enlarge a farm, construct new farm buildings or improve structures, pay closing costs, or promote soil and water conservation and protection. The interest rate on select loans can be as low as 1.5 percent with up to 40 years to repay. FSA encourages all interested applicants to apply for direct farm ownership loans. For more information about the program and other loans administered by FSA, visit any FSA county office or www.fsa.usda.gov.

 

Monday, Sept. 15, 2014

Water News

  • Temperance Flat Reservoir: It's getting serious - - For decades, federal water leaders have flirted with a larger version of Millerton Lake, northeast of Fresno, but money and politics always kept them apart. Suddenly, this affair is getting serious. A federal study this year shows that a $2.6 billion reservoir, called Temperance Flat, pencils out. Now for the first time, there's a draft environmental impact statement, citing options to make this work. In November, California voters will be asked to approve a $7.5 billion water bond. There could be public money for nearly half the cost of Temperance Flat, which would double the size of Millerton and answer a generation of prayers for more farm water. <more> Sept. 13, 2014 Fresno Bee
  • California poised to restrict groundwater pumping - - For as long as California has been a state, groundwater has remained its most exclusively private natural resource. Property owners, in many cases, can drill a well and extract all the water they want, without so much as a friendly wave to neighbors or any government agency.  California is the only state in America so completely lacking in groundwater regulation. The effects have been contentious in this drought year: Aquifers statewide are being rapidly depleted, according to available data, in some cases causing vast swaths of the overlying land to collapse and causing millions of dollars in damage to surface infrastructure, such as roads and canals. <more> Sept. 15, 2014 The Sacramento Bee
  • Survey finds almond growers deeply impacted by drought - - A recent survey of California almond growers shows that the state's devastating drought has forced many farmers to drill new wells, rely on salty groundwater and bulldoze trees. The survey offers a glimpse into farming practices for one of the state's largest crops -- 860,000 acres statewide. Almonds are grown widely in the San Joaquin Valley, including Fresno County where it has become the No. 1 crop, worth $1.1 billion in 2013. <more> Sept. 12, 2014 Fresno Bee
  • Valley and foothill towns using less water - - Local folks have cut way back on their residential water use this summer, conserving more during this drought than most other Californians. Data released by state officials this week show how frugal the Valleys city dwellers have become with water. Example: Oakdale residents used 24 percent less water this July than during July 2013, and those in Atwater used about 22 percent less. While the average statewide savings was 7.5 percent, almost every Valley town saved more water than that. <more> Sept. 12, 2014 Modesto Bee
  • Avenal could run out of water - - One of the mottos of this small city in western Kings County is Oasis in the Sun. But that oasis could be without water by the end of the year, officials said at an Avenal City Council meeting Thursday night. Council members and staff discussed the possibility that the city, Avenal State Prison, a rest area on Interstate 5 and a truck stop could run out of water, leaving residents, prisoners and travelers high and dry until February, when the next water allocation from the California Aqueduct is released. <more> Sept. 13, 2014 Hanford Sentinel
     

State/Federal News and Politics

  • Drones may provide big lift to agriculture when FAA allows their use - - When Steve Morris began building unmanned aerial systems in the late 1990s, he envisioned flying them over fields and collecting data that would be useful to farmers. But after the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq, drones became largely associated with military strikes and surveillance operations. Morris said the technology became the subject of contentious political debates and public paranoia. "The entire dream evaporated at that point," said Morris, founder and president of MLB Co. in Santa Clara, Calif. "In an alternate universe where [drones] rose to prominence through helping the economy, creating businesses and jobs, people would have a different view of them." <more> Sept. 13, 2014 LA Times
  • California dairy farmers are going nuts for almonds, but at what cost? - - As I wrote in my last post, Ward and Rosie Burroughs own and operate Burroughs Family Farms, a pair of organic dairies in Californias Northern San Joaquin Valley. But the Burroughs, along with many organic dairymen in the states Central Valley, are in the middle of a perfect storm of sorts: Californias drought and federal water restrictions are quickly drying up cattle pasture and driving organic feed costs skyward. National dairy co-ops like Organic Valley are starting to respond to the crisis by paying farmers more for their milk, but prices throughout the milk supply chain arent high enough to meet the rising costs of production. To help weather the storm, the Burroughs have sold a third dairy and ramped up the production of other goods, including grass-raised meat, eggs, and olive oil. Many of their colleagues have decided to leave dairying entirely, though, closing the doors on family farms that have operated for generations. And then there are the almonds. What used to be miles of open pasture surrounding the Burroughs farm is now unending swaths of almond orchards a sight that didnt exist just a decade ago. <more> Sept. 15, 2014 Grist
  • New survey: Few want more regulation of business - - Less than one quarter of Americans (22 percent) say there is too little government regulation of business and industry, while about half (49 percent) say there is too much regulation, according to a new poll by Gallup Inc. An additional 27 percent say the level of regulation is about right. The latest data are from Gallup's annual governance survey, conducted Sept. 4-7. The poll this year shows general declines in Americans' trust in all three branches of government, and a dip in Americans' trust in the federal government to handle domestic and international problems. <more> Sept. 15, 2014 Central Valley Business Times

Pricing/Commodity News

  • CME Changes Daily Limits on Dairy Futures - - Beginning Sunday, November 2, 2014 and beginning with the November 2014 contract month and beyond, CME daily price limits will be removed from the spot month contract for Nonfat Dry Milk, Cash-Settled Butter, and Dry Whey futures. Secondly, the rules governing the triggering of expanded daily price limits in Cash-Settled Butter and Cheese futures will be amended so any contract, if it settles at the limit bid or offer, will trigger expanded daily price limits for all listed CME Cash-Settled Butter and Cheese futures contracts.
    Complete details are posted at: http://www.cmegroup.com/tools-information/lookups/advisories/ser/files/SER-7189.pdfSept. 15, 2014 Dairy Business Update
  • Cargill Sues Syngenta Over Sale of GMO Seeds Unapproved in China - - In a fight that highlights global sensitivity over genetically modified crops, Cargill Inc. sued Syngenta claiming that the Swiss seed maker's push to sell bioengineered corn seeds that weren't approved in China cost the U.S. grain company $90 million when Beijing rejected corn shipments. The suit, filed on Friday in Louisiana state court, escalates tensions that have shaken U.S. agribusiness since China last year sharply curtailed imports of U.S. corn. Beijing's move all but closed off a major market for the grain, contributing to a sharp decline this year in prices for the U.S.'s biggest crop by value and costing shippers hundreds of millions of dollars, according to U.S. grain groups. <more> Sept. 12, 2014 The Wall Street Journal

 

Environmental News

  • California breaks heat record since measurements began in 1895 - - The first eight months of 2014 were the warmest on average in Californias history since record-keeping began in 1895, federal scientists announced this week. The average temperature was 62.6 degrees in California over the time period, coming in at 1.1 degrees hotter than the previous high and more than 4 degrees warmer than the 20th century average, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration reported. Meanwhile, the state continues to suffer through one of its worst droughts ever and a record-breaking heat wave is forecast for the weekend. <more> Sept. 12, 2014 LA Times
  • In drought, pop-up wetlands provide bird habitat - - For the swirling flock of migrating shorebirds banking to a landing in California's Central Valley, a recently flooded rice field is providing a new kind of triage station during a drought that's drastically reducing places where they can rest on their long journeys. The new arrivals to the field hundreds of them are dowichers, says conservationist Greg Golet, standing on a dirt berm and focusing his binoculars to identify a wading bird that is one of the first to fly south in an annual migration that brings 350 species to California's Sacramento and San Joaquin valleys. With millions of birds on their way from the Arctic and subarctic and the drought cutting critical wetlands to as little as one-sixth, the field is one of the first to come on line this fall under a new program of "pop-up" habitats. <more> Sept. 15, 2014 AP
  • Livestock Producers Urged to Enroll in Disaster Assistance Program by Oct. 1 - - The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) is encouraging producers who have suffered eligible disaster-related losses to act to secure assistance by Sept. 30, 2014, as congressionally mandated payment reductions will take place for producers who have not acted before that date. Livestock producers that have experienced grazing losses since October 2011 and may be eligible for benefits but have not yet contacted their local Farm Service Agency (FSA) office should do so as soon as possible. <more> Sept. 2, 2014 USDA news release
  • Disaster assistance deadlines loom for farmers, ranchers - - Farmers who experienced losses to bush or tree fruit crops due to frost or freeze during the 2012 crop year may be eligible for assistance through the Noninsured Crop Disaster Assistance Program, but the deadline to apply is rapidly approaching. Applications must be submitted to Farm Service Agency county offices by Sept. 22. Farmers who did not have access to crop insurance and are in primary and adjacent counties that received a Secretarial disaster designation because of frost or freeze in 2012 are eligible for the assistance. Losses due to weather damage or other adverse natural occurrences may also qualify for program assistance. <more> Sept. 15, 2014 Central Valley Business Times

interestStories of Interest
 

  • Patrick Mulvaney: Climate change affects restaurant menus today - - When I read about climate change, I learn about rising sea levels and shrinking polar ice caps problems for 100 years in the future. But when I talk to my friends and customers about climate change, the focus is on what is happening today. It seems little things are already adding up. As a chef, I have always believed that the completed dish will only be as good as the ingredients used. The bounty of the 12-month growing season is the main reason we decided to open our restaurant here in Sacramento. Because of our close relationships with local farmers, our supply chain is basically a truck and the farmers market. We can see how the drought has affected their crops. <more> Sept. 14, 2014 The Sacramento Bee
  • Bonnie Mohr Children's Book Release: ONCE THERE WERE NO COWS - - Bonnie Mohr Studio, of Glencoe, MN, announces the release of Bonnie Mohr's first children's book, titled 'ONCE THERE WERE NO COWS'. A well known rural American and Inspirational artist, Bonnie is most well known for her real-life paintings of cows, cows, and more cows!! She now authors and paints her first children's book. <more> Sept. 12, 2014 Dairy Herd Management
  • A dairy daughter follows in female family footsteps - - While toy companies still use male figures to represent dairy farmers, in real life, women working in dairy farm positions are more common than is often depicted. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics May 2014 Women in the Labor Force: A Databook, women comprise approximately 24.5% of the estimated 944,000 farmers, ranchers and agricultural managers in the United States. Annually, more than 7,900 jobs in agriculture and forestry occupations, as well as over 6,200 jobs in education, communication and governmental operations involved with agricultural and food systems, renewable resources and the environment are expected to open. <more> Sept. 13, 2014 North Valley Gazette
     

Meetings of Interest to CA Dairy Industry
 

 
 

  • Save the Dates! Western United Dairymen Annual Convention - March 18-20, 2015 at Tenaya Lodge in Yosemite
    For more information, visit: www.WUDconvention.com
  • Sept. 30 deadline for direct farm ownership loan program - - USDAs California Farm Service Agency (FSA) Executive Director Val Dolcini says farmers and ranchers still have time to apply for low interest 2014 loans available through FSAs di-rect farm ownership program. The deadline to submit applications is Sept. 30, 2014. Eligible producers can borrow up to $300,000 in direct farm ownership loans to buy or enlarge a farm, construct new farm buildings or improve structures, pay closing costs, or promote soil and water conservation and protection. The interest rate on select loans can be as low as 1.5 percent with up to 40 years to repay. FSA encourages all interested applicants to apply for direct farm ownership loans. For more information about the program and other loans administered by FSA, visit any FSA county office or www.fsa.usda.gov.

     

 

Friday, Sept. 12, 2014

Pricing/Commodity News

  • Grain, Soybean Futures Fall to 4-Year Lows on Record Crop Forecasts - - U.S. grain and soybean prices tumbled to their lowest levels in four years after federal forecasters predicted record-setting harvests that topped analysts' expectations. Corn prices slumped 2.1% after the U.S. Department of Agriculture estimated that domestic farmers will harvest a record 14.395 billion bushels this autumn, up from its forecast last month of 14.032 billion bushels. Greater-than-normal rainfall across much of the nation's Farm Belt this summer has improved soil moisture, helping crops thrive. The USDA also said in its monthly crop report that yields in the U.S.t he world's largest corn producer and exporter will reach 171.7 bushels an acre, which would shatter the record of 164.7 in 2009. <more> Sept. 11, 2014 The Wall Street Journal
  • Milk Futures Rise to Record Highs - - Milk futures rose to a record as exports by the U.S. climbed amid shrinking inventories of cheese and butter, signaling higher costs for pizza and pastries. The U.S. shipped a record 17 percent of milk production in the first half, according to Alan Levitt, a spokesman at the U.S. Dairy Export Council. Cheese stockpiles in July dropped 8 percent from a year earlier, and butter supplies tumbled 42 percent, the Department of Agriculture said last month. U.S. dairy costs are higher than world prices, signaling imports will increase, said Jon Spainhour, a partner at Rice Dairy LLC. <more> Sept. 9, 2014 Bloomberg
  • High prices slow U.S. dairy exports - - U.S. dairy exports are slowing due to high U.S. prices that are discouraging buyers on the open market. Exports in July were down 9 percent from June on a volume basis and down 10 percent on a value basis. U.S. dairy exports in July of 171,516 tons of milk powders, cheese, butterfat, whey, and lactose were down 5 percent from a year ago, 9 percent from June and the lowest in six months. Export sales slowed across all categories in July, reflecting price disadvantages for U.S. suppliers and more competition from Oceana and the EU, according to the U.S. Dairy Export Council. <more> Sept. 12, 2014 Capital Press
  • CME Butter Hits $3 per Pound - - Cash butter made history again this morning at the Chicago Mercantile Exchange, skyrocketing to an all time high of $3 per pound, up 15 1/2-cents on the week and an unbelievable $1.47 above a year ago when it jumped 10 cents, to $1.53 per pound. The key question now is; will spot butter top $3/lb.? Next week will provide the answer but Id say the chances look flavorable. Sept. 12, 2014 Dairy Business Update
  • How Chinese babies and Mid-East pizza tip US markets - - This year in the US, milk futures leapt 26% and butter prices 62%. The rising cost of milk can affect thousands of products, including yoghurt, ice cream and even cheeseburgers. The cause of the price surge is far from straightforward, however. The world is currently engaged in a delicate dairy dance, with the whims of one nation causing significant changes for all the others. It's the butterfly effect, but with butter. Here are five international factors influencing US milk prices. <more> Sept. 11, 2014 BBC news
  • Europe Takes Emergency Measure to Soften Dairy Price Slide - - The Russian ban on dairy product imports from the European Union, United States and Australia could not have come at a worse time for Europe. The one-year ban implemented on Aug. 6 has collided with Europes large milk supply and falling milk prices. "Within a month of Russia implementing the ban, European dairy prices have fallen sharply with little signs of slowing," says Sara Dorland, analyst with the Daily Dairy Report and managing partner at Ceres Dairy Risk Management, Seattle. "European milk buyers have been lowering prices paid to farms to try to stem the flow of milk in coming months as world dairy prices continue to show weakness." <more> Sept. 11, 2014 Ag Web
     

State/Federal News and Politics

  • McNerney bill would bar federal money from Delta plan - - U.S. Rep. Jerry McNerney, D-Stockton, has introduced a bill to block any federal money from being used for the states twin tunnels project. The water users who stand to benefit are expected to pay for the tunnels themselves. But the Bay Delta Conservation Plan, as its formally known, also calls for more than $3.5 billion in federal money to pay for other parts of the plan, including the restoration of wetland habitat in the Delta. <more> Sept. 11, 2014 Stockton Record
  • Sept. 25 hearing set on proposed heat standard changes - - The Occupational Safety and Health (Cal/OSHA) Standards Board will hold a public hearing on September 25 to get feedback on proposed changes to the heat illness prevention standard. The event is open to all stakeholders. There are two ways to participate. 1. Attend the hearing in person. It will be held from 10 am to 5 pm at the San Diego County Administration Center, 1600 Pacific Highway, Room 310, San Diego. 2. Submit comments in writing. Comments must be received no later than 5 pm on September 25, 2014. Comments should be mailed to the Occupational Health and Safety Standards Board, 2520 Venture Oaks Way, Suite 350, Sacramento, CA 95833 OR faxed to 916-274-5743 OR emailed to oshsb@dir.ca.gov AgSafe has summarized the proposed changes or you can read the complete official document provided by the Cal/OSHA Standards Board. WUD news

 

Environmental News

  • Pesticide Levels in Waterways Have Dropped, Reducing the Risks to Humans - - The development of safer pesticides and legal restrictions on their use have sharply reduced the risk to humans from pesticide-tainted rivers and streams, while the potential risk to aquatic life in urban waters has risen, according to a two-decade survey published on Thursday. The study, conducted by the United States Geological Survey and published in the journal Environmental Science & Technology, monitored scores of pesticides from 1992 to 2011 at more than 200 sampling points on rivers and streams. In both of the last two decades, researchers reported, they found insecticides and herbicides in virtually all of the waterways. The results nevertheless documented a striking decline in dangers to humans from pesticide pollution. <more> Sept. 11, 2014 The New York Times
  • Trench Warfare - The feds want to define waters of the United States scientifically. Farmers are freaked out. - - Everyone wants clean water, but not everyone agrees on how to make sure it stays pollution-free. The Clean Water Act is one of the most successful pieces of environmental legislation in American history: Forty years ago, only a third of the countrys lakes and rivers could support fishing or swimming. Now two-thirds do. But when a bill for the CWA was offered up in 1972, Richard Nixon vetoed it, complaining that it would cost too much. It took a bipartisan congressional override to enact the law. <more> Sept. 11, 2014 The Slate
  • Livestock Producers Urged to Enroll in Disaster Assistance Program by Oct. 1 - - The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) is encouraging producers who have suffered eligible disaster-related losses to act to secure assistance by Sept. 30, 2014, as congressionally mandated payment reductions will take place for producers who have not acted before that date. Livestock producers that have experienced grazing losses since October 2011 and may be eligible for benefits but have not yet contacted their local Farm Service Agency (FSA) office should do so as soon as possible. <more> Sept. 2, 2014 USDA news release
     

interestStories of Interest
 

  • Class 45 Fellows Selected for California Agricultural Leadership Program - - Twenty-four individuals have been selected for Class 45 of the California Agricultural Leadership Program, an advanced leadership development experience for emerging agricultural leaders. The new fellows will be inaugurated on Oct. 16 at Fresno State. Through dynamic seminars during an intensive 17-month program, fellows will study leadership theory, effective communication, motivation, critical and strategic thinking, change management, emotional intelligence, and complex social and cultural issues. <more> Sept. 11, 2014 AgNetWest.com
  • How Millennials Spend - - Just how different are millennials? - - So far, quite. They are spending money differently than previous generations, preferring to throw cash at new experiences and adventures and to reward socially responsible companies that they can connect with and that they deem authentic. It's easiest to see this change in the food industry, where millennials are helping to disrupt the landscape of casual restaurants and boosting the earnings of chains such as Chipotle or Panera. As 2013 research from the Boston Consulting Group found, millennials anticipated spending the greatest amount of money in the coming year on fresh fruits, organic food, and natural products. <more> Sept. 8, 2014 The Atlantic
  • Napa wine industry sustains $80M damage from quake - - Napas 6.0 earthquake in late August revealed at least two things about California: seismic activity is part of life and humans can be resilient. While estimates are quite preliminary, Napas famed wine industry likely suffered between $70 million and $100 million in damage from the Aug. 24 temblor, according to a report commissioned by the County of Napa and Napa County Vintners Association, a non-profit trade association. <more> Sept. 10, 2014 Western Farm Press
  • Raimondo establishes his own law firm in Fresno - - Anthony Raimondo, Group Legal Counsel to Western United Dairymen, has left the law firm of McCormick, Barstow, Sheppard, Wayte & Carruth to establish his own law firm, Raimondo& Associates. The firm includes Mr. Raimondo, associate attorneys Jasmine Shams and Gerardo Hernandez, office administrator Carol Williamson, and office assistant Sarah Beye. The firm will continue to offer discounted rates and free consultation to WUD members, and we continue to value and cherish our relationship with the dairy industry. Dairy producers with labor and employment questions can reach the firm at: Raimondo & Associates, 7080 N. Marks, Suite 117,Fresno, California 93711 Phone: (559) 432-3000 Fax: (559) 432-2242. WUD news
     

Meetings of Interest to CA Dairy Industry 
 

  • Flat screen TV tops WUD golf tourney raffle prizes - - A flat screen television donated by WUD Board President Tom Barcellos is one of the top raffle prizes to be awarded at the 10th annual South Valley Fed-PAC Golf Tournament Monday, September 15 at the Visalia Country Club. All proceeds from the popular event will benefit Western United Dairymen's federal political action committee. The four-person scramble gets underway with a noon shotgun start. The day culminates with a dinner at which awards and prizes will be presented. The cost is $150 per player and includes green fees, golf cart, practice balls, lunch, tee prizes, refreshments and dinner. A registration form is available at www.WesternUnitedDairymen.com or by contacting Heidi Savage at hsavage@westernuniteddairymen.com or (209) 527-6453.
  • Save the Dates! Western United Dairymen Annual Convention - March 18-20, 2015 at Tenaya Lodge in Yosemite
    For more information, visit: www.WUDconvention.com
  • Sept. 30 deadline for direct farm ownership loan program - - USDAs California Farm Service Agency (FSA) Executive Director Val Dolcini says farmers and ranchers still have time to apply for low interest 2014 loans available through FSAs di-rect farm ownership program. The deadline to submit applications is Sept. 30, 2014. Eligible producers can borrow up to $300,000 in direct farm ownership loans to buy or enlarge a farm, construct new farm buildings or improve structures, pay closing costs, or promote soil and water conservation and protection. The interest rate on select loans can be as low as 1.5 percent with up to 40 years to repay. FSA encourages all interested applicants to apply for direct farm ownership loans. For more information about the program and other loans administered by FSA, visit any FSA county office or www.fsa.usda.gov.

     

 

 

Thursday, Sept. 11, 2014

Water News

  • The drought is destroying Californias organic dairy farms - - Ward, Rosie, and their three grown children operate California Cloverleaf Farms and Full Circle Dairy, two organic dairies milking 500 cows each, in addition to a pasture-raised chicken operation and organic olive and almond orchards. Last year was the first in their entire farming history that the Burroughs didnt make enough money to pay the bills, prompting them to close their third dairy operation. And theyre not alone. Californias ongoing three-year drought the worst ever in recorded history combined with slow responses from co-ops, has doomed many of the states dairies, raising questions about how just sustainable this form of sustainable farming really is economically, ecologically, and otherwise. Pastured dairies throughout California, once exemplary models of sustainable and organic farming, are in jeopardy of imminent collapse. <more> Sept. 11, 2014 Grist
  • Californias Water-Starved Farmers Stymied by Fish Protections - - Environmental protections for endangered salmon in Californias rivers and streams are drawing complaints from drought-stricken farmers who say water that could be pumped to them is allowed to empty into the ocean. Authorities have sharply curtailed allocations in the largest U.S. agricultural producing state, with 2012 sales valued at $42.6 billion, forcing growers to leave farmland unplanted or pay escalated prices for water from other sources. The Endangered Species Act does not have any consideration for human impact, and thats a little disturbing, said Joe Del Bosque, 65, president of Del Bosque Farms in Firebaugh, who grows melons and tomatoes. Its already harming us now. It could be worse next year. <more> Sept. 10, 2014 Bloomberg
     

State/Federal News and Politics

  • Missouri battles over amendment granting right to farm - - Americans have a right to bear arms. They have a right to free speech. But a right to farm? Missouri voters and interest groups are locked in a battle over that very question, as some farmers say they need to secure that right in response to animal rights advocates and others that want to restrict the way their profession is done. Missouri voters in August approved a measure that would enshrine the right to farm in the state constitution. However, it passed by such a narrow margin, a recount is now underway.  <more> Sept. 10, 2014 Fox News
  • Gov. Jerry Brown signs bill to require paid sick leave - - Employers in California will be required to give part and full-time workers at least three days of paid sick leave each year under a state mandate that takes effect in July 2015. The new law, signed by Gov. Jerry Brown on Wednesday, gives workers paid sick leave at a rate of one hour for every 30 hours worked and lets them begin using the accrued time after 90 days of employment. The hours could also be used for time off to care for a sick family member. The law, which advocates say expands paid sick leave benefits to 6.5 million workers, has been a priority for unions and workers' rights groups for years. Business groups oppose the measure, which they say is costly to employers and could hurt hiring. <more> Sept. 10, 2014 LA Times

Pricing/Commodity News

  • Crop Production Report : Highest Corn Yield on Record - - The Agriculture Department latest Crop Production report, also issued this afternoon, shows corn production is forecast at 14.4 billion bushels, up 3 percent from both the August forecast and from 2013. Based on conditions as of September 1, yields are expected to average 171.7 bushels per acre, up 4.3 bushels from the August forecast and 12.9 bushels above the 2013 average. If realized, this will be the highest yield and production on record for the United States. Area harvested for grain is forecast at 83.8 million acres, unchanged from the August forecast but down 4 percent from 2013. Soybean production is forecast at a record 3.91 billion bushels, up 3 percent from August and up 19 percent from last year. Sept. 11, 2014 Dairy Business Update
  • WASDE: Dairy Outlook Darkens - - Record milk production, expensively priced dairy products and slowing exports will darken the outlook for U.S. dairy producers in the coming months, based on USDAs World Agricultural Supply and Demand Estimates (WASDE) released today. "Revenues wont be what they were this year, thats for sure," said Matt Mattke, commodity consultant for Stewart-Peterson, a commodity price management firm based in West Bend, Wis. Although USDA raised milk price forecasts for 2014, it projected a sharp decline for next year. Class III prices look strong for 2014 at an average of $22.25 per cwt., but are expected to drop to $17.70 next year. <more> Sept. 11, 2014 Dairy Today
  • U.S. grain glut is testing rail and storage system -official - - A stockpile of U.S. Midwest grain will likely increase in the coming months and tax farmers already desperate to house or haul corn, soybeans and other products ahead of an expected record harvest, a U.S. Department of Agriculture official said on Wednesday. Grain stocks this harvest season are expected to exceed permanent storage facilities by about 694 million bushels, or about 3.5 percent of expected harvest totals, said Arthur Neal, who analyzes market and transportation issues in the agriculture sector. That overstock could fill roughly 174,000 jumbo hopper rail cars with South Dakota, Indiana, Missouri and Illinois among the states most impacted, he said. <more> Sept. 10, 2014 Reuters
  • If youve got a beef with higher milk prices, heres why - - Got milk? Cheap milk, that is. The cost of a gallon of milk on supermarket shelves was almost 6% higher in July compared to a year earlier. And prices could soon approach a record. Rising milk and beef prices help explain why many Americans think inflation is higher than official government statistics suggest. Americans go to the grocery store several times a week, and they are quick to take notice when the price of breakfast or dinner-table staples soar. The cost of food used to prepare meals at home, for instance, has climbed rapidly in 2014 to a 2.7% annual pace in July from just 0.5% in January. <more> Sept. 10, 2014 Market Watch
  • Cereals Begin to Lose Their Snap, Crackle and Pop - - Cereal, that bedrock of the American breakfast, has lost some of its snap, crackle and pop. For the last decade, the cereal business has been declining, as consumers reach for granola bars, yogurt and drive-through fare in the morning. And the drop-off has accelerated lately, especially among those finicky millennials who tend to graze on healthy options even if Cheerios and some other brands come in whole-grain varieties fortified with protein now. <more> Sept. 10, 2014 The New York Times

 

Environmental News

  • Levels of pesticides in U.S. rivers and streams still a concern - - The levels of pesticides found in many of the nations rivers and streams -- in both agricultural and urban areas -- continue to be a concern for aquatic life, according to a new study by the U.S. Geological Survey. The study spans two decades (1992-2011) and finds that while fish and other aquatic life can be imperiled, the pesticide levels seldom exceeded human health benchmarks. Over half a billion pounds of pesticides are used annually in the U.S. to increase crop production and reduce insect-borne disease, but some of these pesticides are occurring at concentrations that pose a concern for aquatic life, the study says. <more> Sept. 11, 2014 Central Valley Business Times
  • Livestock Producers Urged to Enroll in Disaster Assistance Program by Oct. 1 - - The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) is encouraging producers who have suffered eligible disaster-related losses to act to secure assistance by Sept. 30, 2014, as congressionally mandated payment reductions will take place for producers who have not acted before that date. Livestock producers that have experienced grazing losses since October 2011 and may be eligible for benefits but have not yet contacted their local Farm Service Agency (FSA) office should do so as soon as possible. <more> Sept. 2, 2014 USDA news release
     

interestStories of Interest
 

  • Commentary: Reporters discuss how, and why, they cover agriculture - - As people have become more interested in the sources of their food, they have also become more interested in reading about where their food originates and about the people who produce it: That was the concept behind a seminar conducted in San Francisco last week titled "Journalism: The Agriculture Beat Resurgence." Hosted by the Commonwealth Club, the event featured three Bay Area-based reporters and editors who write about agriculture for regional or nationwide audiences. The discussion provided insights into how the reporters view their work, and into the overall interest in agricultural reporting itself: The seminar attracted a nearly full-house audience of about 80 people on a Wednesday night. <more> Sept. 10, 2014 Ag Alert
  • Award-winning documentary film, "The Fight for Water", comes out to DVD on September 16 - - The award-winning documentary film, The Fight for Water: A Farm Worker Struggle, which put a human face to the California's on-going water crisis, is coming to DVD on September 16 through Amazon and other sites. It is currently available for pre-order on the film's official website: www.thefightforwaterfilm.com. The independently produced film, which documents the struggle farmers and their farm workers had to face in order to fight for their water, has won accolades and international recognition. It has screened at over 10 film festivals worldwide, including environmental film festivals in Malaysia and the Czech Republic. Sept. 11, 2014 Filmunition Productions press release
     

Meetings of Interest to CA Dairy Industry 
 

  • Alfalfa & Forage Field Day, Sept. 12, Parlier - - University of California Cooperative Extension is presenting an Alfalfa & Forage Field Day meeting Sept. 12 at the Kearney Agricultural Research and Extension Center, 9240 South Riverbend Ave., Parlier, Calif. 93648. Registration starts at 7:30 a.m. Field tour hours are 8 a.m. to about noon. Topics to be discussed include varieties, forage and grain sorghum demonstration plots, forage and grain sorghum irrigation management research, characterizing the nitrogen benefit of alfalfa-wheat rotations, Sharpen and other herbicide options for weed control in alfalfa, distribution uniformity in surface irrigation systems, and importance of soil moisture monitoring. <more> Sept. 12, 2014 Western Farm Press
  • Flat screen TV tops WUD golf tourney raffle prizes - - A flat screen television donated by WUD Board President Tom Barcellos is one of the top raffle prizes to be awarded at the 10th annual South Valley Fed-PAC Golf Tournament Monday, September 15 at the Visalia Country Club. All proceeds from the popular event will benefit Western United Dairymen's federal political action committee. The four-person scramble gets underway with a noon shotgun start. The day culminates with a dinner at which awards and prizes will be presented. The cost is $150 per player and includes green fees, golf cart, practice balls, lunch, tee prizes, refreshments and dinner. A registration form is available at www.WesternUnitedDairymen.com or by contacting Heidi Savage at hsavage@westernuniteddairymen.com or (209) 527-6453.
  • Save the Dates! Western United Dairymen Annual Convention - March 18-20, 2015 at Tenaya Lodge in Yosemite
    For more information, visit: www.WUDconvention.com
  • Sept. 30 deadline for direct farm ownership loan program - - USDAs California Farm Service Agency (FSA) Executive Director Val Dolcini says farmers and ranchers still have time to apply for low interest 2014 loans available through FSAs di-rect farm ownership program. The deadline to submit applications is Sept. 30, 2014. Eligible producers can borrow up to $300,000 in direct farm ownership loans to buy or enlarge a farm, construct new farm buildings or improve structures, pay closing costs, or promote soil and water conservation and protection. The interest rate on select loans can be as low as 1.5 percent with up to 40 years to repay. FSA encourages all interested applicants to apply for direct farm ownership loans. For more information about the program and other loans administered by FSA, visit any FSA county office or www.fsa.usda.gov.

 

 

Wednesday, Sept. 10, 2014

Water News

  • Valley legislators: Rushed California groundwater bills hurt local communities by Kristin Olsen and Henry T. Perea - - We represent the San Joaquin Valley, one of the most productive farming regions in the country. Agriculture is a major reason why California is now the world's eighth-largest economy. But the Legislature recently passed legislation that puts our ag economy and local jobs at risk. We joined together as Democrats and Republicans to oppose recent groundwater legislation. These bills represent the first major rewrite of California's water laws since 1913, but they fail to take the concerns of farm owners and workers, businesses, families and entire communities into account. For example, the bills undermine local control by placing costly mandates on local users. The bills give the State Water Resources Control Board discretion to take over areas where there are no significant problems with groundwater overdraft. They also contain provisions that afford future opportunities to file lawsuits or petitions with the water board to restrict already limited water supplies for farming. <more> Sept. 9, 2014 Fresno Bee
  • NMPF and the National Association of Clean Water Agencies Sign Landmark MOU to Increase Collaboration on Watershed Improvement Projects - - The National Association of Clean Water Agencies (NACWA) and the National Milk Producers Federation (NMPF) signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) today to promote increased cooperation and communication between the two organizations in their efforts to make watershed-level water quality improvements. This MOU marks an important milestone in efforts to strengthen ties between urban and rural sectors on conservation activities to improve local water quality and the environment.The goal of the agreement is to encourage clean water agencies and nearby dairy farms to work together to improve both water quality and environmental benefits produced on dairy farms. Potential projects include cooperation on building anaerobic digesters, which can use manure to generate electricity and reduce methane emissions, and increasing production of water quality benefits through the use of nutrient separation technologies and land management practices such as planting grass buffers near streams and using no-till planting in fields. <more> Sept. 9, 2014 NMPF press release
  • Field Poll: Majority support water bond - - A majority of likely voters supports the $7.5 billion water bond on the Nov. 4 ballot, but most Californians still know nothing about it, according to a new Field Poll. Likely voters by nearly 2 to 1 52 percent to 27 percent support the bond, Proposition 1. Twenty-one percent are undecided, according to the poll. <more> Sept. 10, 2014 Sacramento Bee
  • California water use drops in July amid drought - - California water agencies reported a 7.5 percent drop in monthly water use in July in a survey released Tuesday, falling far short of Gov. Jerry Brown's call for a 20 percent reduction in water use when he declared a drought emergency. The State Water Resources Control Board adopted statewide water restrictions in July and will consider whether more aggressive steps are needed to conserve water in the worst drought in a generation. The figures released Tuesday showed water use fell in July compared with a year ago. <more> Sept. 9, 2014 AP
  • Valley communities lobby Congress one more time for drought help - - Seventeen California cities and counties urged Congress on Tuesday to complete drought legislation that's currently hung up in closed-door negotiations. The municipal resolutions passed in recent weeks by small towns like Dos Palos and counties like Kern and Kings were presented to the House Natural Resources Committee as part of a public drumbeat that included a several-hour long hearing on easing environmental rules. <more> Sept. 9, 2014 Fresno Bee
  • As Agriculture Swoons in Drought, West Coast Firms Avoid Worst Effects - - Through the three-year drought ravaging the West Coast, one surprise has been the muted effect on many urban businesses. Thousands of companies, including MillerCoors LLC, Facebook Inc. and Vantage Data Centers Management Co., have put millions of dollars into water-saving technologies and vegetation since the last drought, which ran from 2007 to 2009. The companies' investments have ranged from air-cooled computer servers to low-flow toilets. They also have created education campaigns to change employee behavior. <more> Sept. 8, 2014 The Wall Street Journal
     

State/Federal News and Politics

  • GOPs new Obama attack: Got milk? - - Republicans Tuesday seized on the news that milk futures have hit record highs, saying its the latest indication of a struggling economy and tougher times for average Americans under President Obama. Milk is at an all-time high and the presidents approval rating is at an all-time low, said House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy. Bloomberg news reported Monday that milk futures hit an all-time high, signaling higher prices for butter and cheese in coming months as well. Meanwhile, Mr. Obamas approval ratings have dipped again at the end of the summer as hes struggled with a number of crises, including Islamic militants advancing in the Middle East, Russias aggressive posture in Ukraine, and a surge of illegal immigrants across the U.S. border here at home. <more> Sept. 9, 2014 The Washington Times
  • Urban vote key to GMO campaign - - The fate of Oregons genetically modified organism labeling initiative will hinge on whether heavy spending by opponents can overcome the liberal leanings of urban voters, experts say. Dueling campaigns on Measure 92, which would require labeling of foods containing GMOs, will soon be operating at full throttle now that Labor Day has passed, political analysts agree. Whats far less certain is whether Oregon will buck the trend of biotech proponents defeating GMO labeling initiatives with well-funded campaign efforts, as occurred in Washington and California, experts say. <more> Sept. 9, 2014 Portland Tribune

Pricing/Commodity News

  • Milk prices at all-time high - - Dairy prices are hitting an all-time high, and it could take a bite out of your budget for a long time. The recent price spike is affecting all products that use milk, from pizza to pastries. "They've actually been going up everywhere like all over the country," said Ruben Villareal, manager at Fresh Food Depot. He said he's doing everything he can to keep the cost of dairy down, even though demand for it is at an all time high. "People need milk, you know. We need milk for all kinds of stuff, not only breakfast, (but) baking and cooking," Villareal said. <more> Sept. 9, 2014 WNEM TV
  • California October Class I Prices are Record High - - The California Department of Food and Agriculture announced their October Class I milk price for the north at a record high $26.09 per hundredweight and a record high $26.36 for the south. Both are up 70cents from September and $5.30 above October 2013. The northern Class I average now stands at $24.91, up from $20.00 at this time a year ago and $18.25 in 2012. The southern average is $25.18, up from $20.27 a year ago and $18.52 in 2012. The Federal order Class I base price will be announced by USDA on Wednesday September 17. Sept. 10, 2014 Dairy Business Update

 

Environmental News

  • House Votes to Block EPA Water Rules - - The Republican-controlled House on Tuesday approved a bill to block the Obama administration from implementing a rule that asserts regulatory authority over many of the nation's streams and wetlands an action that critics call a classic Washington overreach. The Environmental Protection Agency has proposed a rule that it says will clarify which streams and waterways are shielded from development under the Clean Water Act, an issue that remains in dispute even after two U.S. Supreme Court rulings. Agriculture groups and farm-state politicians call the proposed rule a power grab that would allow the government to dictate what farmers can do on their own land. They said the rule is an example of governmental interference by bureaucrats who don't know as much as farmers and ranchers do about how to be good stewards of their land. <more> Sept. 9, 2014 AP
  • California gets $22 million from USDA for conservation programs - - Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack announced that $328 million in conservation funding (more than $22 million to California) is being invested to help landowners protect and restore key farmlands, grasslands and wetlands across the nation. The USDA initiative will benefit wildlife and promote outdoor recreation and related sectors of the economy. Conservation easements help farmers and ranchers protect valuable agricultural lands from development, restore lands that are best suited for grazing, and return wetlands to their natural conditions, Vilsack said. These easements are making a dramatic and positive impact for our food supply, rural communities and species habitat. <more> Sept. 10, 2014 CDFA Planting Seeds Blog
  • Livestock Producers Urged to Enroll in Disaster Assistance Program by Oct. 1 - - The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) is encouraging producers who have suffered eligible disaster-related losses to act to secure assistance by Sept. 30, 2014, as congressionally mandated payment reductions will take place for producers who have not acted before that date. Livestock producers that have experienced grazing losses since October 2011 and may be eligible for benefits but have not yet contacted their local Farm Service Agency (FSA) office should do so as soon as possible. <more> Sept. 2, 2014 USDA news release
     

interestStories of Interest
 

  • Record-breaking sales: Stanislaus agricultural exports soar - - Exports from Northern San Joaquin Valley agricultural producers, processors and manufacturers broke another record in 2013, as foreign markets for local products continue to explode. Stanislaus County farmers and businesses exported nearly $1.8 billion worth of goods to countries around the world last year, new data from the Department of Commerces International Trade Administration show. That was a 20.3 percent increase over 2012, and its nearly triple what was exported a decade ago. <more> Sept. 9, 2014 Modesto Bee
     

Meetings of Interest to CA Dairy Industry
 

 

  • Flat screen TV tops WUD golf tourney raffle prizes - - A flat screen television donated by WUD Board President Tom Barcellos is one of the top raffle prizes to be awarded at the 10th annual South Valley Fed-PAC Golf Tournament Monday, September 15 at the Visalia Country Club. All proceeds from the popular event will benefit Western United Dairymen's federal political action committee. The four-person scramble gets underway with a noon shotgun start. The day culminates with a dinner at which awards and prizes will be presented. The cost is $150 per player and includes green fees, golf cart, practice balls, lunch, tee prizes, refreshments and dinner. A registration form is available at www.WesternUnitedDairymen.com or by contacting Heidi Savage at hsavage@westernuniteddairymen.com or (209) 527-6453.
  • Save the Dates! Western United Dairymen Annual Convention - March 18-20, 2015 at Tenaya Lodge in Yosemite
    For more information, visit: www.WUDconvention.com
  • Sept. 30 deadline for direct farm ownership loan program - - USDAs California Farm Service Agency (FSA) Executive Director Val Dolcini says farmers and ranchers still have time to apply for low interest 2014 loans available through FSAs di-rect farm ownership program. The deadline to submit applications is Sept. 30, 2014. Eligible producers can borrow up to $300,000 in direct farm ownership loans to buy or enlarge a farm, construct new farm buildings or improve structures, pay closing costs, or promote soil and water conservation and protection. The interest rate on select loans can be as low as 1.5 percent with up to 40 years to repay. FSA encourages all interested applicants to apply for direct farm ownership loans. For more information about the program and other loans administered by FSA, visit any FSA county office or www.fsa.usda.gov.

 

Tuesday, Sept. 9, 2014

Water News

  • Opponents ask governor to veto groundwater bills - - Farmers, ranchers, other water users and nearly three-dozen members of the state Legislature have urged Gov. Brown to veto a package of groundwater-regulation bills that reached his desk in the waning hours of the legislative session. The billsAssembly Bill 1739 by Assemblymember Roger Dickinson, D-Sacramento, and Senate Bills 1168 and 1319, both by Sen. Fran Pavley, D-Agoura Hillswould establish a broad, new regulatory framework for managing groundwater. Gov. Brown has until Sept. 30 to sign or veto the legislation. <more> Sept. 10, 2014 Ag Alert
  • Bills regulating state's groundwater not an instant fix for aquifers - - California is finally about to join the rest of the West in regulating groundwater supplies. But the package of bills awaiting Gov. Jerry Brown's signature is not an instant fix for the state's shrinking, over-pumped aquifers. It could be decades, experts say, before the most depleted groundwater basins recover under the legislation, which is a historic step in a state that long resisted managing a key water source. The bills, which Brown is expected to sign, will take years to implement. And they create a weaker regulatory framework than is found elsewhere in the West. <more> Sept. 7, 2014 LA Times
  • Drilling Through the Drought: A Look At Well Drilling Activity In The Central Valley - - In rural areas like California's Central Valley, private wells are a common source of household drinking water. The state of California estimates about two million people in the state rely on private well water or other unregulated underground water sources. Well water is just as important to farmers who use it to irrigate crops, especially when surface water is not available. During the past three years of drought, faced with unprecedented surface water cut backs, the number of homeowners and farmers drilling for water has boomed. The overdrafting of groundwater and the lack of statewide groundwater regulation in California have been widely reported. This summer, California lawmakers were busy re-writing rules that would amount to the first comprehensive state regulation of groundwater. The set of bills are now awaiting action by Governor Jerry Brown. <more> Sept. 8, 2014 Capital Public Radio
  • California Drought Forces Farmers To Adapt - - The extended drought has been tough on San Diego farmers, growers and ranchers. The dry weather, coupled with high water prices, has forced some to stop watering crops and trees. Cattle ranchers have had to sell off their herd, as pastures dried up and turned brown. And many people who work in the industry have lost their jobs. While the situation is grim, it has pushed area farmers to adapt, by using new irrigation methods and crops that require less water like grapes. <more> Sept. 8, 2014 KPBS
  • Farmer-politician Bill Jones talks water, Westside - - Today, Westside growers Bill Jones and his nephew Darcy Villere are focused on survival tactics including new permanent crop plantings to improve the family farm and offset the effects of zero percent surface water allocations this drought year in the Westlands Water District (WWD). Founded in 1949, J&J Farms LLC is located in Firebaugh in western Fresno County and includes about 4,000 owned and leased acres. The crop mix includes pomegranates, tomatoes, Pima cotton, safflower, wheat, alfalfa, almonds, pistachios, and red and white varietal wine grapes. About 1,400 acres of J&J Farms are currently fallowed, including about 600 acres with drip irrigation. <more> Sept. 7, 2014 Western Farm Press
  • How to Drive Home the Drought Message: Make It a Game - - If youve watched your neighbor watering her sidewalk or wrung your hands at the sight of agricultural runoff, now is your chance to allocate the states water resources. A new online game lets California residents control the states water virtually, at least. From desalination investment to mandatory water reductions, the California Water Challenge lets users choose a range of outcomes and see how others voted. Price tags are attached to decisions, which have varying effects on energy consumption and the environment. <more> Sept. 8, 2014 KQED
     

State/Federal News and Politics

  • Californians among richest members of Congress - - Members of Californias influential congressional delegation were again well represented on an annual list of Washingtons most well-heeled members. It also showed well on a separate rundown of the poorest federal lawmakers. Topping the rich list for the second consecutive year is Republican Rep. Darrell Issa of Vista in San Diego County, the automobile alarm magnate whose estimated wealth includes seven high-yield bonds worth more than $50 million apiece, according to a review of disclosure forms by the publication CQ Roll Call. <more> Sept. 8, 2014 Capitol Alert
  • Food donations underscore drought impact - - Central Valley farmers and businesses donated and shipped about 30 tons of fresh fruits, vegetables and nuts last week to help address food shortages at California food banks. A newly organized grassroots coalition, "California Water Feeds Our Communities," was joined by the California Community Food Bank, Westlands Water District, the California Water Alliance and El Agua Es Asunto De Todos to bring valley-grown produce to those in need across the state. <more> Sept. 10, 2014 Ag Alert

Pricing/Commodity News

  • Milk Costs Most Ever to Signal Higher Prices for Pizza - - Milk futures rose to a record as exports by the U.S. climbed amid shrinking inventories of cheese and butter, signaling higher costs for pizza and pastries. The U.S. shipped a record 17 percent of milk production in the first half, according to Alan Levitt, a spokesman at the U.S. Dairy Export Council. Cheese stockpiles in July dropped 8 percent from a year earlier, and butter supplies tumbled 42 percent, the Department of Agriculture said last month. U.S. dairy costs are higher than world prices, signaling imports will increase, said Jon Spainhour, a partner at Rice Dairy LLC. <more> Sept. 8, 2014 Bloomberg
  • New dairy program offers choices - - National Milk Producers Foundation is encouraging dairymen to evaluate the new voluntary margin protection program and at least sign up for the no-premium basic coverage. The new voluntary margin protection program available to dairymen through the new farm bill was five years in the making and largely the product of National Milk Producers Federation. The program insures a margin between a national average milk price and a national average feed cost, paying growers the difference if the actual margin is lower than their insured margin. The basic protection, at no cost to producers, is a guaranteed margin of $4 per hundredweight of milk on 90 percent of a producers historic annual production. <more> Sept. 8, 2014 Capital Press
  • CWT Exports More Cheese & Powder - - Cooperatives Working Together (CWT) accepted 8 requests for export assistance today from Dairy Farmers of America, Northwest Dairy Association (Darigold) and Tillamook County Creamery Association to sell 1.210 million pounds of Cheddar and Gouda cheese and 11.255 million pounds of whole milk powder to customers in Asia, the Middle East, North Africa, and South America. The product will be delivered through March 2015 and raises CWTs 2014 cheese exports to 85.511 million pounds plus 48.188 million pounds of butter and 31.748 million pounds of whole milk powder to 43 countries on six continents. These sales are the equivalent of 2.105 billion pounds of milk on a milkfat basis, according to CWT. Sept. 8, 2014 Dairy Business Update

 

Environmental News

  • White House threatens to veto bill to kill EPA water rule - - The Obama administration issued a veto threat Monday for a bill that would block the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) from moving forward on a rule to redefine its jurisdiction over streams and ponds. Citing the need to protect waterways from pollution and the rules scientific grounding, the White House said it strongly opposes the bill and advisers would recommend that President Obama veto it if it reaches his desk. <more> Sept. 8, 2014 The Hill
  • EPA tries again to explain water jurisdiction rule - - The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) released seven pages of questions and answers Monday on its proposal to redefine which lakes and streams it can regulate. The explainer is the latest attempt by the EPA to respond to backlash from Republicans and business groups who say the waters of the United States proposal from March would significantly expand the EPAs jurisdiction. The document thoroughly explains what the 1972 Clean Water Act did, how two Supreme Court decisions made the EPAs authority murky and what the new proposal would do to fix it. <more> Sept. 8, 2014 The Hill
  • US to Spend $328 Million on Conservation Easements - - The U.S. Department of Agriculture announced $328 million in funding Monday to protect and restore farmlands, grasslands and wetlands across the country. The initiative, using money provided in the new five-year farm bill, will buy conservation easements from farmers to protect the environment, help wildlife populations and promote outdoor recreation, the USDA said in its announcement. The agency selected 380 projects nationwide covering 32,000 acres of prime farmland, 45,000 acres of grasslands and 52,000 acres of wetlands. Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack told reporters on a conference call that the agency received more than 1,450 applications totaling $546 million worth of requests covering 345,000 acres. He said the projects selected cover 129,000 acres, with 60 percent being farmland and grassland and 40 percent wetlands. <more> Sept. 8, 2014 AP
  • NMPF, Clean Water Agencies to Collaborate on Watershed Improvement - - The National Milk Producers Federation (NMPF) and the National Association of Clean Water Agencies (NACWA) signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) today to promote increased cooperation and communication between the two organizations in their efforts to make watershed-level water quality improvements. This MOU marks an important milestone in efforts to strengthen ties between urban and rural sectors on conservation activities to improve local water quality and the environment. <more> Sept. 9, 2014 Dairy Today
  • Livestock Producers Urged to Enroll in Disaster Assistance Program by Oct. 1 - - The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) is encouraging producers who have suffered eligible disaster-related losses to act to secure assistance by Sept. 30, 2014, as congressionally mandated payment reductions will take place for producers who have not acted before that date. Livestock producers that have experienced grazing losses since October 2011 and may be eligible for benefits but have not yet contacted their local Farm Service Agency (FSA) office should do so as soon as possible. <more> Sept. 2, 2014 USDA news release
     

interestStories of Interest
 

  • Bursting from its shell - - Federal farm officials predict a record-cracking walnut crop for California; pegging this coming fall harvest at 545,000 tons, up 11 percent from last years 492,000 tons, and 8 percent larger than the previous record, tallied in 2010, of 504,000 tons. That is important to San Joaquin County, which leads the state in walnut production. The countys 2013 crop was valued at an estimated $443 million, second only to almonds at $468 million. Pete Turner, Stockton walnut consultant and chairman of the California Independent Handlers Coalition, said the large crop should help meet strong world demand. <more> Sept. 8, 2014 Stockton Record
  • Northern California Oyster Farm Renews Bid to Open - - A coalition of farmers, restaurateurs and others have launched a new legal battle to keep open a popular Northern California oyster operation ordered closed by the federal government. Drakes Bay Oyster Co. closed its retail store on July 31 after the U.S. Department of the Interior refused to renew its 40-year lease along the Point Reyes National Seashore. The department cited environmental concerns. <more> Sept. 7, 2014 AP
  • Starbucks Goes Coconuts In Latest Nondairy Milk Test - - Mooo-ve over milk, Starbucks Corp is testing coconut milk in stores in Los Angeles, Cleveland and Oregon as alternatives to traditional dairy products grow more popular. A Starbucks spokeswoman declined to say how many stores were offering coconut milk. She added that the coffee chain is not testing almond milk, a popular nondairy option, at this time due to the "critically important safety of our customers with nut allergies." Starbucks, which has nearly 11,800 cafes in the United States, regularly tests new products. For example, it recently ran a trial of gluten-free items. <more> Sept. 8, 2014 Reuters
     

Meetings of Interest to CA Dairy Industry
 

 

  • Flat screen TV tops WUD golf tourney raffle prizes - - A flat screen television donated by WUD Board President Tom Barcellos is one of the top raffle prizes to be awarded at the 10th annual South Valley Fed-PAC Golf Tournament Monday, September 15 at the Visalia Country Club. All proceeds from the popular event will benefit Western United Dairymen's federal political action committee. The four-person scramble gets underway with a noon shotgun start. The day culminates with a dinner at which awards and prizes will be presented. The cost is $150 per player and includes green fees, golf cart, practice balls, lunch, tee prizes, refreshments and dinner. A registration form is available at www.WesternUnitedDairymen.com or by contacting Heidi Savage at hsavage@westernuniteddairymen.com or (209) 527-6453.
  • Save the Dates! Western United Dairymen Annual Convention - March 18-20, 2015 at Tenaya Lodge in Yosemite
    For more information, visit: www.WUDconvention.com
  • Sept. 30 deadline for direct farm ownership loan program - - USDAs California Farm Service Agency (FSA) Executive Director Val Dolcini says farmers and ranchers still have time to apply for low interest 2014 loans available through FSAs di-rect farm ownership program. The deadline to submit applications is Sept. 30, 2014. Eligible producers can borrow up to $300,000 in direct farm ownership loans to buy or enlarge a farm, construct new farm buildings or improve structures, pay closing costs, or promote soil and water conservation and protection. The interest rate on select loans can be as low as 1.5 percent with up to 40 years to repay. FSA encourages all interested applicants to apply for direct farm ownership loans. For more information about the program and other loans administered by FSA, visit any FSA county office or www.fsa.usda.gov.

     

Monday, Sept. 8, 2014

Water News

  • Bills regulating state's groundwater not an instant fix for aquifers - - California is finally about to join the rest of the West in regulating groundwater supplies. But the package of bills awaiting Gov. Jerry Brown's signature is not an instant fix for the state's shrinking, over-pumped aquifers. It could be decades, experts say, before the most depleted groundwater basins recover under the legislation, which is a historic step in a state that long resisted managing a key water source. The bills, which Brown is expected to sign, will take years to implement. And they create a weaker regulatory framework than is found elsewhere in the West. <more> Sept. 7, 2014 LA Times

State/Federal News and Politics

  • President Barack Obama punts on immigration until after election - - President Barack Obama will delay plans to issue an executive order on immigration until the end of the year, heeding the warnings of Democratic senators who feared a voter backlash ahead of the November elections. The decision is a major reversal from June, when the president stood in the Rose Garden and pledged to make fixes to the immigration system by the end of the summer. The delay reflected growing Democratic concerns that a sweeping executive order would further endanger the Senate majority. <more> Sept. 6, 2014 Politico
  • Political Shift Stalls Efforts to Overhaul Immigration - - By the time Senator Angus King called the White House to warn President Obama against taking executive action to overhaul the immigration system, officials were well aware they had a problem on their hands. What had once looked like a clear political imperative for both parties action to grant legal status to millions of undocumented immigrants - had morphed instead into what appeared to be a risky move that could cost Democrats their majority in the November midterm congressional elections. <more> Sept. 7, 2014 The New York Times
  • Latinos furious at Obama on immigration delay, vow more pressure - - Hispanic lawmakers and immigration advocates harshly criticized President Barack Obama's decision to delay executive action on immigration and vowed to keep pressuring him to make bold changes. Democratic Representatives Luis Gutierrez and Tony Cardenas on Sunday accused Obama of playing politics the day after the president said he would wait until after November's congressional elections to change policy on immigration. The announcement marked a reversal for Obama, who publicly promised to act by the end of summer. <more> Sept. 7, 2014 Reuters

Pricing/Commodity News

  • Corn Price Falls as Crop Flourishes - - U.S. corn prices have fallen to the lowest level in four years as expectations of a record harvest mount. The nation's corn crop is in prime health thanks to near-perfect weather this year, and farmers could see the highest yields in history, according to forecasts by the U.S. Department of Agriculture and a handful of private firms. "We've reached a point where supply is swamping demand, and because of that we're having a price adjustment like we haven't seen for years," said Don Roose, president of U.S. Commodities, a brokerage in West Des Moines, Iowa. <more> Sept. 7, 2014 The Wall Street Journal
  • Ethanols Era Ending as Bacon Now Brings Profits Home - - Two lines cross, and an era ends. For the first time since 2005, U.S. farmers this year will make more money from livestock than crops, more evidence that a government-fueled corn boom is over and bacon now rules. <more> Sept. 5, 2014 Bloomberg
  • No crash in U.S. farm land seen despite tumbling grain prices - - David Fullington paid a "ridiculous" price of $13,600 an acre for a 200-acre (81 hectares) farm in Illinois within the last year and says he and his partners would probably bid again for prime land that is in tight supply, despite tumbling grain prices. "No regrets at all," Fullington said of the purchase of his neighbor's land, now farmed by a son of one of his partners. "Very seldom do you get an opportunity to buy something right next door to you. There's always a little extra value there for you." In the 1980s, sharp falls in corn and soybean prices hit farm incomes hard and land prices tumbled, hurting the rural economy in the world's biggest grains producer. The pain spilled into the financial sector as defaults on loans pegged to farmland values rose. <more> Sept. 8, 2014 Dairy Herd Management

 

Environmental News

  • El Niño or no this winter, it's adapt or perish - again - - As this desperately dry year turns toward fall, those whose livelihoods depend on rain and snow will seek out any hint of whats to come. Theyll devour complex reports about El Niño, and hang their hopes on the temperature of the ocean thousands of miles away. They are searching for at least some level of certainty. But it seems almost cruel that this year, of all years, there is no certainty to be found. And perhaps the best thing to do is ignore all the predictions and prognostications. <more> Sept. 6, 2014 Stockton Record
  • Temperance Flat plan takes next step: release of draft EIS - - The campaign for a larger reservoir on the San Joaquin River took another step forward Friday with the release of a draft Environmental Impact Study outlining options to build Temperance Flat, northeast of Fresno. The U.S. Bureau of Reclamation will hold public hearings next month in Fresno and Sacramento to discuss the document, which discusses construction of a 1.33 million acre-foot reservoir at a higher elevation above Millerton Lake on the San Joaquin. The Fresno meeting is planned from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. Oct. 16 at the Piccadilly Inn, 2305 W. Shaw Ave.  <more> Sept. 5, 2014 Fresno Bee
  • Temperance Flat dam project moves ahead - - A plan put in motion more than 10 years ago that some officials say will help offset the effects of future droughts took a step forward Friday when officials from the Bureau of Reclamation released the draft environmental impact report for a proposed reservoir near Fresno. Pitched as a way to store more water during wet years, the proposed dam would be constructed at Temperance Flat, about 25 miles northeast of Fresno. The public has 45 days to comment on the report, either in writing or at either of two public hearings scheduled in October. <more> Sept. 8, 2014 Visalia Times-Delta
  • California to get more than $22 Million to conserve wetlands and farmland - - California has been allocated $22,308,020 out of some $328 million nationwide to help landowners protect and restore key farmlands, grasslands and wetlands. The money is being allocated based on the acres of land that will be preserved in easements -- either to continue to stay in farmland/grasslands/wetlands or be restored back to wetlands, a spokeswoman for the Natural Resources Conservation Service explains. <more> Sept. 8, 2014 Central Valley Business Times
  • Livestock Producers Urged to Enroll in Disaster Assistance Program by Oct. 1 - - The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) is encouraging producers who have suffered eligible disaster-related losses to act to secure assistance by Sept. 30, 2014, as congressionally mandated payment reductions will take place for producers who have not acted before that date. Livestock producers that have experienced grazing losses since October 2011 and may be eligible for benefits but have not yet contacted their local Farm Service Agency (FSA) office should do so as soon as possible. <more> Sept. 2, 2014 USDA news release
     

interestStories of Interest
 

  • Lore might not be best way to predict the future - - The Old Farmers Almanac has been collecting these kinds of stories for generations, though the 213-year-old publication makes it clear that its predictions are based on sunspots, ocean currents and computer models, not old wives tales. The almanac acknowledges that many of these old stories are folklore from the days before computer models and TV forecasters, when all people had were their eyes and ears. But maybe some of their stories shouldnt be entirely dismissed. <more> Sept. 7, 2014 Stockton Record
     

Meetings of Interest to CA Dairy Industry
 

 

  • Flat screen TV tops WUD golf tourney raffle prizes - - A flat screen television donated by WUD Board President Tom Barcellos is one of the top raffle prizes to be awarded at the 10th annual South Valley Fed-PAC Golf Tournament Monday, September 15 at the Visalia Country Club. All proceeds from the popular event will benefit Western United Dairymen's federal political action committee. The four-person scramble gets underway with a noon shotgun start. The day culminates with a dinner at which awards and prizes will be presented. The cost is $150 per player and includes green fees, golf cart, practice balls, lunch, tee prizes, refreshments and dinner. A registration form is available at www.WesternUnitedDairymen.com or by contacting Heidi Savage at hsavage@westernuniteddairymen.com or (209) 527-6453.
  • Save the Dates! Western United Dairymen Annual Convention - March 18-20, 2015 at Tenaya Lodge in Yosemite
    For more information, visit: www.WUDconvention.com
  • Sept. 30 deadline for direct farm ownership loan program - - USDAs California Farm Service Agency (FSA) Executive Director Val Dolcini says farmers and ranchers still have time to apply for low interest 2014 loans available through FSAs di-rect farm ownership program. The deadline to submit applications is Sept. 30, 2014. Eligible producers can borrow up to $300,000 in direct farm ownership loans to buy or enlarge a farm, construct new farm buildings or improve structures, pay closing costs, or promote soil and water conservation and protection. The interest rate on select loans can be as low as 1.5 percent with up to 40 years to repay. FSA encourages all interested applicants to apply for direct farm ownership loans. For more information about the program and other loans administered by FSA, visit any FSA county office or www.fsa.usda.gov.

 

Friday, Sept. 5, 2014

Water News

  • Pump until its gone? - - Those in the local community who support groundwater regulation hailed last weeks sweeping state legislation as the end of Californias pump as you please policy. But to soften the blow, the plan gives local water agencies and local governments more than five years to come up with a workable strategy. The deadline for high-overdraft areas like the Kings River basin and the Tulare Lake basin to come up with a groundwater sustainability plan that meets the criteria outlined in the law is 2020. <more> Sept. 4, 2014 Hanford Sentinel
  • Almond growers struggle to cope with drought - - Californias almond growers are coping with the drought by drilling more wells, pumping more groundwater, pulling out orchards and delaying new plantings, a just-released survey shows. The California Department of Food and Agriculture study released Thursday found many farmers fear for the health of their trees and expect their nut harvests will suffer this year because of salt damage. The increased use of groundwater is the culprit. Thats because water pumped from aquifers is higher in salinity than surface water from rivers, canals and Sierra snowmelt. <more> Sept. 4, 2014 Modesto Bee
  • California drought causing billion-dollar losses in rice industry - - A continuing drought in California has ruined almost a quarter of the state's $5 billion rice crop, CBS Sacramento reports. The state is America's sole source of rice for sushi and 97 percent of that crop is grown in the Sacramento Valley. California is also one of the nation's largest producers of rice, employing 25,000 people in the industry. "We anticipate about 420,000 acres of rice has been planted and will be harvested this fall, and that's down about 25 percent from last year's crop," said Jim Morris with the California Rice Commission. "The impacts are great not only for the farmers but for the rural communities and also for the wildlife that depend on rice fields." <more> Sept. 4, 2014 CBS news
     

State/Federal News and Politics

  • U.S. GMO labeling foes triple spending in first half of this year - - Opponents of mandatory labeling for foods made with genetically modified organisms spent more than $27 million in the first six months of this year on GMO-related lobbying, roughly three times their spending in all of 2013, according to an analysis released Wednesday. The Grocery Manufacturers Association (GMA) and major food makers such as Coca-Cola Co and PepsiCo Inc and top biotech seed makers Monsanto Co and DuPont were among heavy spenders on GMO labeling-related lobbying, among other food issues, according to a report issued by the Environmental Working Group. <more> Sept. 4, 2014 Reuters

Pricing/Commodity News

  • NMPF Launches Online Calculator to Help Farmers Select Coverage Levels under New Dairy Safety Net - - The National Milk Producers Federation today launched an online, downloadable calculator to help farmers select coverage levels under the new federal dairy safety net, known as the Margin Protection Program for dairy (MPP). The calculator is located at www.futurefordairy.com/mpp-calculator.The calculator allows farmers to enter their own milk production and commodity price data to gauge the new programs likely impact on their operations. It complements a similar tool created by a consortium of land grant universities that is available through the Agriculture Department website. <more> Sept. 5, 2014 NMPF press release
  • July dairy export pace slowest in six months - - U.S. dairy exporters shipped 171,516 tons of milk powders, cheese, butterfat, whey and lactose in July, down 9% from June (on a daily-average basis), according to a monthly summary from the U.S. Dairy Export Council. Export sales slowed across the board, reflecting pricing disadvantages for U.S. suppliers and more competition from Oceania and the European Union. Compared with June, nonfat dry milk/skim milk powder (NDM/SMP) exports were down 17%, cheese was down 8%, butterfat was off 10%, dry whey was down 14% and lactose was down 11%. <more> Sept. 5, 2014 Dairy Herd Management
  • More cheese to meet demand - - Cheese production in the U.S. in July totaled 956 million pounds up 7 percent from July of 2013. Italian-type cheese output was 4.4 percent higher at 409 million pounds and American-type cheese production jumped 9.5 percent to 378 million pounds. This is the biggest year-over-year increase in 2014 and pushes year-to-date cheese production to 2.7 percent above January-through-July of 2013. <more> Sept. 5, 2014 Brownfield Ag News

interestStories of Interest
 

  • Have We Reached Peak Burger? - - In recent years, however, the companies that made Big Macs and Whoppers into icons of American pop culture have seen robust domestic expansion disappear from their menus. Sales at restaurants open for at least 13 months slipped 0.2 percent last year in the U.S. at McDonalds and 0.9 percent at Burger King for the U.S. and Canada. Even including newly opened locations, which experience rapid growth rates in their early months, sales at the major fast-food chains grew only 1.1 percent last year, compared with 4 percent in 2012, according to Euromonitor International. Slower sales growth has many industry watchers forecasting the once unthinkable: the peaking of burger joint growth in the U.S. Traditional fast foodMcDonalds, Sonic (SONC), Wendys, KFC, Taco Bellare fairly well-saturated in this country with not a lot more room left for growth, says Peter Saleh, senior research analyst at brokerage Telsey Advisory Group. <more> Sept. 4, 2014 Bloomberg Businessweek
     

Meetings of Interest to CA Dairy Industry
 

 

  • Flat screen TV tops WUD golf tourney raffle prizes - - A flat screen television donated by WUD Board President Tom Barcellos is one of the top raffle prizes to be awarded at the 10th annual South Valley Fed-PAC Golf Tournament Monday, September 15 at the Visalia Country Club. All proceeds from the popular event will benefit Western United Dairymen's federal political action committee. The four-person scramble gets underway with a noon shotgun start. The day culminates with a dinner at which awards and prizes will be presented. The cost is $150 per player and includes green fees, golf cart, practice balls, lunch, tee prizes, refreshments and dinner. A registration form is available at www.WesternUnitedDairymen.com or by contacting Heidi Savage at hsavage@westernuniteddairymen.com or (209) 527-6453.
  • Save the Dates! Western United Dairymen Annual Convention - March 18-20, 2015 at Tenaya Lodge in Yosemite
    For more information, visit: www.WUDconvention.com
  • Sept. 30 deadline for direct farm ownership loan program - - USDAs California Farm Service Agency (FSA) Executive Director Val Dolcini says farmers and ranchers still have time to apply for low interest 2014 loans available through FSAs di-rect farm ownership program. The deadline to submit applications is Sept. 30, 2014. Eligible producers can borrow up to $300,000 in direct farm ownership loans to buy or enlarge a farm, construct new farm buildings or improve structures, pay closing costs, or promote soil and water conservation and protection. The interest rate on select loans can be as low as 1.5 percent with up to 40 years to repay. FSA encourages all interested applicants to apply for direct farm ownership loans. For more information about the program and other loans administered by FSA, visit any FSA county office or www.fsa.usda.gov.

 

 

Thursday, Sept. 4, 2014

Water News

  • Anti-Dairy Ads on BART Urge Commuters to Bathe - - Despite the relentless California drought, we're not sure there are too many commuters on BART who'd be okay with their fellow passengers skipping a shower any day of the week. And the legions of anti-dairy eaters know this. That's why the Factory Farming Awareness Coalition has unveiled a curious campaign plastering 120 BART cars and 40 BART stations with ads asking commuters to ditch dairy and take a shower (or 27) instead. What does dairy have to do with the drought, or taking showers for that matter, you ask? As you can see above, the ad says that consumers can save the same amount of water by "skipping one gallon of milk or 27 showers." The ad then hints to the obvious: you stink. <more> Sept. 3, 2014 San Francisco Weekly blog
  • Groundwater bills stirring concerns - - Rod Burkett hasnt seen the trio of California Assembly and Senate bills establishing a system to control the amount of groundwater that farmers across the state can draw from their wells. But Burkett, who grows olives and citrus on his 130-acres of farmland north of Porterville, said the state government regulating his groundwater is a recipe for problems. First of all, weve always had water rights. Its my water down there. Its not the states. It doesnt belong to them, he said. Its like if I found gold on my property. Its like them saying how much gold I can take out. <more> Sept. 3, 2014 Visalia Times-Delta
  • Current groundwater management is not sustainable - - Groundwater management in California can be likened to the economic theory "tragedy of the commons," according to Thomas Harter, UC Cooperative Extension specialist in the Department of Land, Air and Water Resources at UC Davis. Harter made the comment on the National Public Radio program Here & Now, which is broadcast nationally. According to the theory, individuals, acting independently and rationally according to each one's self-interest, behave contrary to the whole group's long-term best interests by depleting some common resource. The result for California groundwater in this drought year has been reliance on groundwater to meet fully two-thirds of the state's urban and agricultural water needs. <more> Sept. 3, 2014 University of California news
  • California Drought Snapshot: Snowless Mount Shasta - - Thats John Muir, writing in 1877. The pioneering conservationist, who looked at Californias mountains and always saw poetry, was describing a harrowing day and night spent stranded near the summit of Mount Shasta in a spring blizzard. He and a companion, who had been caught in the open with only the clothes they were wearing, survived the night by sleeping near steam vents high on the mountain. You wonder what Muir would say today, when drought has all but stripped the mountain of its perpetual snow. Today those venturing to the mountaintop (elevation 14,162 or 14,179 or 14,180 feet, depending on who you believe) are greeted by bare rocky slopes. <more> Sept. 3, 2014 KQED

State/Federal News and Politics

  • Valley politicians promote water bond to voters - - The California Latino Water Coalition gave thanks Wednesday to a wide array of individuals -- most notably a bipartisan group of state lawmakers -- for their roles in forging a $7.5 billion water bond that will go to voters in November. As state Sen. Anthony Cannella, R-Ceres, noted in his remarks, those who paved the way included former state Sen. Dave Cogdill, a Modesto Republican who worked on the original 2009 bond. That $11.1 billion water bond never went before voters. It was twice postponed when officials feared voters would reject the proposal because of its size and the inclusion of pork projects that had nothing to do with water. <more> Sept. 3, 2014 Fresno Bee
  • FDA restrictions keeping some great cheeses out of stores - - Los Angeles cheese counters could soon be a lot less aromatic, with several popular cheeses falling victim to a more zealous U.S. Food and Drug Administration. Roquefort Frances top-selling blue is in the agencys cross hairs along with raw-milk versions of Morbier, St. Nectaire and Tomme de Savoie. In early August, these cheeses and many more landed on an FDA Import Alert because the agency found bacterial counts that exceeded its tolerance level. Cheeses on Import Alert cant be sold in the U.S. until the producer documents corrective action and five samples test clean, a process that can take months. Of course, French creameries havent changed their recipes for any of these classic cheeses. But their wheels are flunking now because the FDA has drastically cut allowances for a typically harmless bacterium by a factor of 10. <more> Sept. 3, 2014 LA Times
  • Immigrants Contribute $650 Billion To California Economy - - Immigrants contribute about 31 percent to Californias gross domestic product, and 26 percent to the gross domestic product of San Diego and Imperial counties, according to a new report from the University of Southern California and advocacy group California Immigrant Policy Center. In the San Diego area, immigrants without legal status contribute about 15 percent of the total immigrant share, nearly $4 billion. Immigrants make up nearly one-third of the workforce in San Diego and Imperial counties. Immigrants without legal status make up 7 percent of the workforce and more than 30 percent of workers in agriculture, according to the report. <more> Sept. 3, 2014 KPBS
  • Nearly 1 in 10 California workers are in country illegally, study finds - - A report released Wednesday by researchers at USC found that immigrants who are in California illegally make up nearly 10% of the state's workforce and contribute $130 billion annually to its gross domestic product. The study, which was conducted in conjunction with the California Immigrant Policy Center, was based on census data and other statistics, including data from the Department of Labor and the Department of Homeland Security. It looked at a variety of ways the estimated 2.6 million immigrants living in California without permission participate in state life. <more> Sept. 3, 2014 LA Times
  • Boehner: Immigration reform could happen next year - - Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) on Tuesday said Congress could tackle immigration reform next year if conditions are right. Boehner, however, warned it is contingent on President Obama following the law as he decides on executive actions to take on the issue. "So I would hope that the president would continue to follow the law, and begin to take steps that would better secure our border," Boehner said on Hugh Hewitt's radio show. "It would create an environment where you could do immigration reform in a responsible way next year." <more> Sept. 3, 2014 The Hill
  • The Great American Milk Drive Makes An Impact - - From coast to coast, thousands of families in need have benefited from milk donations to The Great American Milk Drive, the first-ever nationwide program to deliver highly desired and nutrient-rich gallons of milk to hungry families who need it. Since April, Feeding America has partnered with the nation's milk companies and dairy farmers to create The Great American Milk Drive. The initiative makes it easy to donate gallons of milk to those in your community via a simple click of a mouse (www.milklife.com/give) or text message (text "Milk" to 27722). But there's much more work to be done to help deliver milk to the more than 46.5 million Americans served by Feeding America annually. <more> Sept. 4, 2014 Ag Web
  • RIVERSIDE: Farmers share 15-ton harvest with Inland food bank - - About 30,000 pounds of peaches, honeydew melon and other fruit was delivered to an Inland food bank Wednesday as part of a statewide effort by farmers to feed the needy. Towering columns of boxed produce sat inside the warehouse of the Second Harvest Food Bank in Riverside, waiting to be inventoried and made available to more than 400 nonprofit agencies that distribute groceries throughout Riverside and San Bernardino counties. <more> Sept. 3, 2014 The Press-Enterprise
     

Pricing/Commodity News

  • U.S. Grain Futures Tumble on Upbeat Outlook for Crops - - U.S. grain and soybean futures closed sharply lower Wednesdaywith corn sinking to the lowest level in more than four yearsafter government and private-sector reports reinforced expectations for massive harvests ahead. Corn futures for September delivery fell 4.1%, the biggest decline on a percentage basis since June 30, pressured by reports from Allendale Inc. and Lanworth estimating high yields that may translate to larger U.S. grain stockpiles, analysts said. <more> Sept. 3, 2014 The Wall Street Journal
  • CWT Ships it Out - - Cooperatives Working Together (CWT) accepted 9 requests for export assistance today from Dairy Farmers of America, Michigan Milk Producers Association, Northwest Dairy Association (Darigold) and Tillamook County Creamery Association to sell 2.26 million pounds of Cheddar, Gouda, Monterey Jack cheese and 617,294 pounds of whole milk powder to customers in Asia, the Middle East, North Africa, South America and Oceania. The product will be delivered through February 2015 and raises CWTs 2014 cheese exports to 84.3 million pounds plus 48.188 million pounds of butter and 20.494 million pounds of whole milk powder to 43 countries on six continents. These sales are the equivalent of 2.012 billion pounds of milk on a milkfat basis. Numbers are adjusted for cancelations that occurred during the month. Sept. 3, 2014 Dairy Business Update

 

Environmental News

  • State claims most fresh California produce has little/no detectable pesticide residues - - There was little or no pesticide residue detected on the fresh California produce that it tested in 2013, says the California Department of Pesticide Regulation. It says 95 percent of all California-grown produce that it sampled was in compliance with allowable limits. This is a vivid example that California fresh produce is among the safest in the world when it comes to pesticide exposure, says DPR Director Brian Leahy. <more> Sept. 3, 2014 Central Valley Business Times
  • Livestock Producers Urged to Enroll in Disaster Assistance Program by Oct. 1 - - The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) is encouraging producers who have suffered eligible disaster-related losses to act to secure assistance by Sept. 30, 2014, as congressionally mandated payment reductions will take place for producers who have not acted before that date. Livestock producers that have experienced grazing losses since October 2011 and may be eligible for benefits but have not yet contacted their local Farm Service Agency (FSA) office should do so as soon as possible. <more> Sept. 2, 2014 USDA news release
     

interestStories of Interest
 

  • Perdue Farms eliminates antibiotic use in chicken hatcheries - -  Perdue Foods, the nations third-largest poultry producer, said it has removed all antibiotics from its chicken hatcheries to address growing concerns about bacterial resistance to the widely used drugs. The Salisbury, Md.-based company said it invested in cleaner hatcheries that eliminate the need for antibiotics on eggs. The poultry industry often injects eggs with antibiotics while vaccinating them because small holes in the shell can expose the eggs to disease. <more> Sept. 3, 2014 LA Times
  • Farm Antibiotics May Be Linked to Food Allergies - - Allergic reactions to food are a concern for millions of Americans, and now a study suggests there's a potential new player on the immunology front: Some people may be allergic to the antibiotics used to keep pests away from fruits and vegetables. The study profiles the case of a 10-year-old girl who had a severe allergic reaction after eating blueberry pie. She suffered from asthma, seasonal allergies and allergies to milk and penicillin, but nothing in the pie seemed like a likely culprit. <more> Sept. 3, 2014 HealthyDay News
  • Atwater High's agriculture department getting national recognition - - Atwater High School's agriculture program is in the running to be named the top such endeavor in the nation. By virtue of being named the top ag program in the state this year by the California Agricultural Teachers Association, the Atwater program was nominated for the national award and should be notified soon, Principal Alan Peterson said. <more> Sept. 3, 2014 Merced Sun-Star
  • New Zealand - Dairy auction prices drop again - - Russia's ban on food imports from Europe is contributing to the fall in dairy prices, economists say. Dairy prices fell 6 per cent at the latest GlobalDairyTrade auction, the fourth fall of 4.9 per cent or more in the past five auctions. The average winning price at the auction was US$2787 a tonne, down 45 per cent from the peak of US$5042 in February, while the trade-weighted GlobalDairyTrade price index fell to 822 points, its lowest level since August 2012. <more> Sept. 4, 2014 New Zealand Farmer
     

Meetings of Interest to CA Dairy Industry
 

 

  • Flat screen TV tops WUD golf tourney raffle prizes - - A flat screen television donated by WUD Board President Tom Barcellos is one of the top raffle prizes to be awarded at the 10th annual South Valley Fed-PAC Golf Tournament Monday, September 15 at the Visalia Country Club. All proceeds from the popular event will benefit Western United Dairymen's federal political action committee. The four-person scramble gets underway with a noon shotgun start. The day culminates with a dinner at which awards and prizes will be presented. The cost is $150 per player and includes green fees, golf cart, practice balls, lunch, tee prizes, refreshments and dinner. A registration form is available at www.WesternUnitedDairymen.com or by contacting Heidi Savage at hsavage@westernuniteddairymen.com or (209) 527-6453.
  • Save the Dates! Western United Dairymen Annual Convention - March 18-20, 2015 at Tenaya Lodge in Yosemite
    For more information, visit: www.WUDconvention.com
  • Sept. 30 deadline for direct farm ownership loan program - - USDAs California Farm Service Agency (FSA) Executive Director Val Dolcini says farmers and ranchers still have time to apply for low interest 2014 loans available through FSAs di-rect farm ownership program. The deadline to submit applications is Sept. 30, 2014. Eligible producers can borrow up to $300,000 in direct farm ownership loans to buy or enlarge a farm, construct new farm buildings or improve structures, pay closing costs, or promote soil and water conservation and protection. The interest rate on select loans can be as low as 1.5 percent with up to 40 years to repay. FSA encourages all interested applicants to apply for direct farm ownership loans. For more information about the program and other loans administered by FSA, visit any FSA county office or www.fsa.usda.gov.

 

 

Wednesday, Sept. 3, 2014

State/Federal News and Politics

  • To-do list on food safety grows longer for feds - - The largest food safety overhaul in generations is being starved of funding needed to enforce a host of new regulations for factories, farms and importers, safety advocates warn. The 2010 Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA) was billed as creating a fundamental shift in the way government protects the nations food supply against the threat of food-borne illness. But despite bipartisan and industry support for the program, only a fraction of the funding needed to implement and enforce it has materialized. Now, with most fiscal 2015 funding issues likely in limbo until after the midterm elections, uncertainty remains. <more> Sept. 3, 2014 The Hill
  • U.S. GMO labeling foes triple spending in first half of this year over 2013 - - Opponents of mandatory labeling for foods made with genetically modified organisms spent more than $27 million in the first six months of this year on GMO-related lobbying, roughly three times their spending in all of 2013, according to an analysis released Wednesday. The Grocery Manufacturers Association (GMA) and major food makers such as Coca-Cola Co and PepsiCo Inc and top biotech seed makers Monsanto Co and DuPont were among heavy spenders on GMO labeling-related lobbying, among other food issues, according to a report issued by the Environmental Working Group. The group analyzed lobbying disclosure forms that cited labeling of foods containing genetically modified organisms (GMOs) along with other policy issues. <more> Sept. 3, 2014 Reuters
  • High-speed rail foes ask California Supreme Court for a hearing - - High-speed rail opponents in Kings County are taking their fight to the California Supreme Court, filing a petition Tuesday asking justices to reverse two appeals court rulings. Attorneys for Kings County farmer John Tos, Hanford homeowner Aaron Fukuda and the Kings County Board of Supervisors stood on the steps of the Supreme Court building in San Francisco to announce the petition. The announcement was in anticipation that the 3rd District Court of Appeal would deny their requests for a rehearing. Indeed, the 3rd District court issued its rehearing denials later on Tuesday. <more> Sept. 2, 2014 Fresno Bee
  • Report shows hunger decreasing but not to pre-recession levels - - A study released today by USDA's Economic Research Service says more than 17.5 million Americans struggled with hunger in 2013, down slightly from 17.6 million the previous year. To put it another way, 14.3 percent, or about or one in seven of American households and individuals were considered to be food insecure last year, well above the 11.1 percent observed in 2007, before a recession forced more than 4 million people into food insecurity, according to USDA. <more> Sept. 3, 2014 Agri-Pulse
     

Pricing/Commodity News

  • Corn crop still best in 20 years - - It appears little can stop the U.S. corn crop ratings from climbing for yet another week. According to the USDAs weekly Crop Progress report, 74 percent of the countrys corn is rated in good or excellent condition, up by 1 percentage point from last weeks report and 18 percentage points higher than last years report. <more> Sept. 2, 2014 Dairy Herd Management
  • Californias drought sends hay prices soaring - - Underwoods solution is one way North Coast residents are dealing with skyrocketing hay prices. With the California drought now in its third year, less rain has meant fewer acres of oat, barley and wheat pastures, which has fueled a sharp jump in hay prices. West Santa Rosa dairyman Doug Beretta said he recently sold 40 milk cows to a dairy operation in Idaho to offset the rising cost of hay, which he buys for his milk cows and his young stock. He also found a ranch to lease where hes able to graze some of his livestock, reducing the amount of hay he needs to buy. A load of milk cow hay, about 26 tons, costs about $10,000 and lasts about 20 days when pasture for grazing is available. When no pasture is available, Berettas family dairy business goes through a load every 10 days at a cost of about $30,000 a month. <more> Sept. 2, 2014 The Press Democrat
  • CWT To Assist With with 2.9 Million Pounds of Dairy Exports - - Cooperatives Working Together (CWT) has accepted 9 requests for export assistance from Dairy Farmers of America, Michigan Milk Producers Association, Northwest Dairy Association (Darigold) and Tillamook County Creamery Association to sell 2.26 million pounds (1,025 metric tons) of Cheddar, Gouda, Monterey Jack cheese and 617,294 pounds (280 metric tons) of whole milk powder to customers in Asia, the Middle East, North Africa, South America and Oceania. <more> Sept. 3, 2014 Dairy Today

 

Environmental News

  • Livestock Producers Urged to Enroll in Disaster Assistance Program by Oct. 1 - - The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) is encouraging producers who have suffered eligible disaster-related losses to act to secure assistance by Sept. 30, 2014, as congressionally mandated payment reductions will take place for producers who have not acted before that date. Livestock producers that have experienced grazing losses since October 2011 and may be eligible for benefits but have not yet contacted their local Farm Service Agency (FSA) office should do so as soon as possible. <more> Sept. 3, 2014 CDFA Planting Seeds Blog
  • Dairy farmers experiment with conservation tillage, share lessons on environmental, economic benefits - - Innovation and dairy farming in California go hand-in-hand. With advancements in air and water quality protection, crop nutrient management, and animal health, housing and nutrition, dairy families in the Golden State are recognized the world over as leaders in sustainable farming. Innovation continues today, with an increasing number of dairy farmers experimenting with an alternative farming method known as conservation tillage. Hanford dairy farmer Dino Giacomazz was an early adopter of conservation tillage, implementing the practice nearly ten years ago on a small portion of his 900-acre cropland. A decades worth of research, practice and experience has Giacomazzi utilizing conservation tillage techniques on all of his cropland today. <more> Aug. 2014, Dairy Cares news
  • El Niño forecast is up in the air for Southern California - - With the summer winding down, weather officials say the winter forecast is wide open. While a mild-to-moderate El Niño weather pattern is widely expected to develop in the fall, forecast models have "projected many different outcomes," said Eric Boldt, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service. "The odds of drier than normal winter are just as high as a wetter than normal winter," he said in a video released Tuesday. <more> Sept. 2, 2014 LA Times
     

interestStories of Interest
 

  • Dunkin Adds Almond Milk for the Health-Conscious Doughnut Customer - - Dunkin Donuts (DNKN) has offered soy milk for some time. Now that almond milk has dethroned soy as Americas most popular non-dairy milk, more customers have been demanding the nutty alternative. So starting this week, Dunkin Donuts will be rolling out vanilla-flavored Almond Breeze almond milk to about three-fourths of its 7,821 restaurants. Starbucks (SBUX), the country's largest coffee chain, does not offer almond milk, saying it is a potential allergen. That doesn't seem to worry Dunkin. <more> Sept. 2, 2014 Bloomberg Businessweek
  • Americas growing food inequality problem - - Income inequality isn't the only gap the U.S. needs to mind these days; the country is amassing a sad and expensive discrepancy between what its poor and rich eat. America's wealthiest people are eating better, while its poorest are eating worse, concludes a new study published this week in The Journal of the American Medical Association Internal Medicine, which measured the quality of diets among American adults between 1999 and 2010. "Socioeconomic status was associated strongly with dietary quality, and the gaps in dietary quality between higher and lower SES [socioeconomic status] widened over time." the study said. <more> Sept. 2, 2014 The Washington Post
     

Meetings of Interest to CA Dairy Industry
 

 

  • Flat screen TV tops WUD golf tourney raffle prizes - - A flat screen television donated by WUD Board President Tom Barcellos is one of the top raffle prizes to be awarded at the 10th annual South Valley Fed-PAC Golf Tournament Monday, September 15 at the Visalia Country Club. All proceeds from the popular event will benefit Western United Dairymen's federal political action committee. The four-person scramble gets underway with a noon shotgun start. The day culminates with a dinner at which awards and prizes will be presented. The cost is $150 per player and includes green fees, golf cart, practice balls, lunch, tee prizes, refreshments and dinner. A registration form is available at www.WesternUnitedDairymen.com or by contacting Heidi Savage at hsavage@westernuniteddairymen.com or (209) 527-6453.
  • Save the Dates! Western United Dairymen Annual Convention - March 18-20, 2015 at Tenaya Lodge in Yosemite
    For more information, visit: www.WUDconvention.com
  • Sept. 30 deadline for direct farm ownership loan program - - USDAs California Farm Service Agency (FSA) Executive Director Val Dolcini says farmers and ranchers still have time to apply for low interest 2014 loans available through FSAs di-rect farm ownership program. The deadline to submit applications is Sept. 30, 2014. Eligible producers can borrow up to $300,000 in direct farm ownership loans to buy or enlarge a farm, construct new farm buildings or improve structures, pay closing costs, or promote soil and water conservation and protection. The interest rate on select loans can be as low as 1.5 percent with up to 40 years to repay. FSA encourages all interested applicants to apply for direct farm ownership loans. For more information about the program and other loans administered by FSA, visit any FSA county office or www.fsa.usda.gov.

 

Tuesday, Sept. 2, 2014

Water News

  • California Sets Stage for First Groundwater Regulations - - California lawmakers have sent Governor Jerry Brown legislation that would for the first time regulate groundwater use as the most-populous U.S. state suffers from a record drought. The proposals would require local governments to develop groundwater regulations and give the state the power to step in and enforce restrictions if necessary. Three years of record low rain and snow have left more than 80 percent of California in extreme drought. With reservoirs at less than half capacity and water supplies to the nations most productive agricultural region rationed, well drilling has doubled and even tripled in some counties. <more> Aug. 30, 2014 Bloomberg
  • California Drought Threatens Nation's Most Productive Farming Valley - - In the rich farmland of the San Joaquin Valley it's summertime -- peak growing season for many crops. But every sunbaked, scorching day brings another test of water reserves in a region running on empty. The dearth of irrigation water from rivers or reservoirs has forced growers in the valley 80 miles north of Los Angeles to rely almost entirely on water pumped from wells. "I'm worried from a couple of standpoints," said grower Stuart Woolf, as he stood in a field of tomatoes at harvest time. "One, I'm worried that we just flat run out of groundwater." <more> Sept. 1, 2014 NBC4 News
  • Desperately Dry California Tries to Curb Private Drilling for Water - - Californias vicious, prolonged drought, which has radically curtailed most natural surface water supplies, is making farmers look deeper and deeper underground to slake their thirst. This means the drought is a short-term bonanza for firms like Arthur & Orum, which expects to gross as much as $3 million this year. But in a drought as long and severe as the current one, over-reliance on groundwater means that land sinks, old wells go dry, and saltwater invades coastal aquifers. Aquifers are natural savings accounts, a place to go when the streams run dry. Exhaust them, and the $45 billion annual agricultural economy will take a severe hit, while small towns run dry. <more> Aug. 31, 2014 The New York Times
  • Oakdale Irrigation District to hear proposals for fallowing farmland - - Proposals for fallowing farmland within the Oakdale Irrigation District so the irrigation water saved can be sold elsewhere will be discussed Tuesday morning. Community objections derailed a similar OID fallowing plan in January. That proposal would have idled Oakdale farms to enable the district to sell water at high prices to drought-stricken farmers in the Southern San Joaquin Valley. <more> Sept. 1, 2014 Modesto Bee

Pricing/Commodity News

  • Dairy Margin Protection Program enrollment begins Sept. 2 - - Dairy producers can enroll in the new Dairy Margin Protection Program (DMPP) starting Sept. 2, USDA Secretary Tom Vilsack announced this week. Enrollment ends on Nov. 28, 2014, for 2014 and 2015. Participating farmers must remain in the program through 2018 and pay a minimum $100 administrative fee each year if they choose to participate. The voluntary program, established by the 2014 Farm Bill, provides financial assistance to participating farmers when the margin the difference between the price of milk and feed costs falls below the coverage level selected by the farmer. DMPP gives participating dairy producers the flexibility to select coverage levels best suited for their operation. Producers have the option of selecting a different coverage level during open enrollment each year. Dairy operations enrolling in the new program must comply with conservation compliance provisions and cannot participate in the Livestock Gross Margin-Dairy (LGM-Dairy) insurance program. Farmers already participating in the Livestock Gross Margin program may register for the Margin Protection Program, but the new margin program will only begin once their Livestock Gross Margin coverage has ended. To sign up, go to your local Farm Service Agency (FSA) office. There are two forms that must be completed: CCC-781 will establish a dairy farms production history and CCC-782 will document the coverage level, or how much milk you want to insure. The DMPP final rule was published in the Federal Register on Aug. 29, 2014. The Farm Ser-vice Agency (FSA), which administers the program, also will open a 60-day public comment period on the dairy program. The agency wants to hear from dairy operators to determine whether the current regulation accurately addresses management changes, such as adding new family members to the dairy operation or inter-generational transfers. Written comments must be submitted by Oct. 28, 2014, at www.fsa.usda.gov or www.regulations.gov. Aug. 29, 2014 WUD Friday Update
  • Sixteen U.S. Dairy Organizations Join Forces to Oppose Plan to Restrict Access to Canadian Cheese Market - - A coalition of 16 dairy companies and organizations are joining to fight a plan to further restrict U.S. access to the tight Canadian cheese market. The coalition, spearheaded by a group of cheese manufacturers, dairy cooperatives and trading companies, was formed to oppose a plan that would sizably reduce access for U.S. exports to enter Canada through low-tariff avenues by reserving a much larger slice of access to the Canadian market for the European Union. In addition to hurting U.S. cheese exports, the organizations say the Canadian plan violates the 1994 General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade, which bars countries from using free trade agreements to restrict trade. <more> Sept. 2, 2014 Dairy Herd Management
  • California 4a Inches to Record High/4b Jumps $1.27 - - The California Department of Food and Agriculture announced the States August 4b cheese milk price this morning at $19.96 per hundredweight, up $1.27 from July and $3.64 above August 2013. That propels the 4b 2014 average to $20.30, up from $16.03 at this time a year ago and $14.34 in 2012. The August 4a butter-powder milk price is a record high $23.83 per cwt., up 25 cents from July and $5.13 above a year ago. The 4a average now stands at $23.13, up from $18.12 a year ago and $14.66 in 2012. The comparable August Federal order prices will be announced by USDA on Thursday. The August FO Class III futures price settled Friday at $22.24, which would be a whopping $2.28 above the California 4b price. Sept. 2, 2014 Dairy Business Update
  • June Fluid Milk Sales Down 2.2% - - June 2014 packaged fluid milk sales totaled 3.78 billion lbs., down 2.2% from June 2013. (Sales were not adjusted for calendar considerations as in previous monthly reports). June sales of conventional products, at 3.58 billion lbs., were down 2.9% from a year ago; organic products, at 199 million lbs., were up 11.3% Organic represented about 5.3% of total sales for the month.
    January-June 2014 total packaged fluid milk sales, at 25.01 billion lbs., were down 2.5% from the same period a year earlier. Year-to-date sales of conventional products, at 23.77 billion lbs., were down 3.1%; organic products, at 1.24 billion lbs., were up 12.2%. Organic represented about 4.95% of total sales. The figures represent consumption of fluid milk products in Federal milk order marketing areas and California, which account for approximately 92% of total fluid milk sales in the U.S. Sept. 2, 2014 Dairy Business Update

     

State/Federal News and Politics

  • On immigration, will Obama shape his legacy or the next election? - - P resident Obama and his team spent hours last week deliberating over how and when to fulfill his promise to use his executive power to change the immigration system. They pored over legal precedent and policy data and debated political fallout. But none of their analysis could answer the question that his decision may turn on: Does the president want to shape his legacy, or the next election? With immigration, Obama has landed on an issue that carries both risk and reward according to some Democrats, it carries reward for him and immoderate risk for them. It's a place familiar to second-term presidents, who often look for bold, history-making moves as they eye the end of their time in office while their allies in Congress look squarely at the next election. <more> Aug. 30, 2014 LA Times
  • Central Valley Farmers Legal Efforts To Stop High-Speed Rail Plan Could Be Coming To An End - - Central Valley farmers opposed to construction of Californias high-speed rail may face their last legal stop this week. Attorneys will petition the State Supreme Court to halt the rail plan dead in its tracks. Plaintiffs attorney Stuart Flashman said his clients want the rail plan stopped because they claim the state violated the terms of the voter-approved ballot measure back in 2008. <more> Sept. 1, 2014 KCBS
  • Food-Stamp Use Starting to Fall - - After soaring in the years since the recession, use of food stamps, one of the federal government's biggest social-welfare programs, is beginning to decline. There were 46.2 million Americans on food stamps in May, the latest data available, down 1.6 million from a record 47.8 million in December 2012. Some 14.8% of the U.S. population is on the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, or SNAP, down from 15.3% last August, U.S. Department of Agriculture data show. Food-stamp use remains high, historically speaking. The share of Americans on the benefitwhich lets them buy basics like cereal and meat and treats like cookies, but not tobacco, alcohol or pet foodis above the 8% to 11% that prevailed before the financial crisis. <more> Sept. 1, 2014 The Wall Street Journal
  • A Call for a Low-Carb Diet That Embraces Fat - - People who avoid carbohydrates and eat more fat, even saturated fat, lose more body fat and have fewer cardiovascular risks than people who follow the low-fat diet that health authorities have favored for decades, a major new study shows. The findings are unlikely to be the final salvo in what has been a long and often contentious debate about what foods are best to eat for weight loss and overall health. The notion that dietary fat is harmful, particularly saturated fat, arose decades ago from comparisons of disease rates among large national populations. <more> Sept. 1, 2014 The New York Times

 

Environmental News

  • Livestock Producers Urged to Enroll in Disaster Assistance Program by Oct. 1 - - The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) is encouraging producers who have suffered eligible disaster-related losses to act to secure assistance by Sept. 30, 2014, as congressionally mandated payment reductions will take place for producers who have not acted before that date. Livestock producers that have experienced grazing losses since October 2011 and may be eligible for benefits but have not yet contacted their local Farm Service Agency (FSA) office should do so as soon as possible. <more> Sept. 2, 2014 USDA news release
     

interestStories of Interest
 

  • Students Go Back to School and to Healthier Foods Than at Home - - When classes resume after summer vacation, so does nutritious eating, suggests a study published online in the journal Appetite. The study found that elementary and high-school students consumed up to 30% more unhealthy foods, such as takeout french fries and pizza, and sugary drinks on nonschool days, compared with school days. Children need to develop skills to choose nutritious foods in less structured environments outside school to reduce their risk of chronic health conditions in adulthood, researchers said. School-based programs that encourage fruit and vegetable breaks may explain the higher consumption of these foods on school days, the study said. It is also possible that parents provide fewer fruits and vegetables at home because they're available at school, researchers said. <more> Sept. 1, 2014 The Wall Street Journal
  • US eating habits improve a bit, except among poor - - Americans' eating habits have improved except among the poor, evidence of a widening wealth gap when it comes to diet. Yet even among wealthier adults, food choices remain far from ideal, a 12-year study found. On an index of healthy eating where a perfect score is 110, U.S. adults averaged just 40 points in 1999-2000, climbing steadily to 47 points in 2009-10, the study found. <more> Sept. 1, 2014 AP
  • After China Meat Scandal, Troubles for OSI Reflect Broader Perils for Business - - U.S.-based food processor OSI Group LLC spent more than two decades and $750 million building a business in China that served McDonald's Corp.MCD INYour ValueYour Change Short position and other fast-food chains. That all collapsed in July after a Chinese television report showed workers in the company's Shanghai plant allegedly making chicken nuggets and patties from expired meat. OSI's operations across China now are paralyzed, after state media excoriated the company and customers throughout the country cut ties. <more> Sept. 2, 2014 The Wall Street Journal
     

Meetings of Interest to CA Dairy Industry
 

 

  • Flat screen TV tops WUD golf tourney raffle prizes - - A flat screen television donated by WUD Board President Tom Barcellos is one of the top raffle prizes to be awarded at the 10th annual South Valley Fed-PAC Golf Tournament Monday, September 15 at the Visalia Country Club. All proceeds from the popular event will benefit Western United Dairymen's federal political action committee. The four-person scramble gets underway with a noon shotgun start. The day culminates with a dinner at which awards and prizes will be presented. The cost is $150 per player and includes green fees, golf cart, practice balls, lunch, tee prizes, refreshments and dinner. A registration form is available at www.WesternUnitedDairymen.com or by contacting Heidi Savage at hsavage@westernuniteddairymen.com or (209) 527-6453.
  • WUD to host Margin Protection Program workshops in September - - Western United Dairymen will host a series of informational workshops in September on the new Margin Protection Program, which is part of the 2014 Farm Bill signed into law earlier this year. The workshops are open to anyone interested: WUD members, nonmembers, their bankers and CPAs as well as allied industry members. A change has been made to the North Coast program. The new time will be 2-4pm on Tuesday, September 2 at the Ag Center Auditorium, 5660 S. Broadway, Eureka. <more> July 21, 2014 WUD news
  • Save the Dates! Western United Dairymen Annual Convention - March 18-20, 2015 at Tenaya Lodge in Yosemite
    For more information, visit: www.WUDconvention.com
  • Sept. 30 deadline for direct farm ownership loan program - - USDAs California Farm Service Agency (FSA) Executive Director Val Dolcini says farmers and ranchers still have time to apply for low interest 2014 loans available through FSAs di-rect farm ownership program. The deadline to submit applications is Sept. 30, 2014. Eligible producers can borrow up to $300,000 in direct farm ownership loans to buy or enlarge a farm, construct new farm buildings or improve structures, pay closing costs, or promote soil and water conservation and protection. The interest rate on select loans can be as low as 1.5 percent with up to 40 years to repay. FSA encourages all interested applicants to apply for direct farm ownership loans. For more information about the program and other loans administered by FSA, visit any FSA county office or www.fsa.usda.gov.

     

 

 

Monday, Sept. 1, 2014


 

Environmental News

  • Historic California groundwater regulations head to Gov. Jerry Brown - - California could soon become the last state in the West to regulate water pulled from beneath the earth, with the Legislature on Friday advancing an unprecedented groundwater-management strategy. The Legislature passed the three-bill package after lengthy debate about whether state government should oversee pumping from the water table. Lawmakers argued over the long-term fate of California's water supply as a severe drought puts water scarcity at the forefront of public consciousness. <more> Aug. 29, 2014 The Sacramento Bee
  • State farm leaders say groundwater bills will cause harm - - Passage of three groundwater-regulation bills by the California Legislature Assembly Bill 1739 and Senate Bills 1168 and 1319 threatens a number of negative consequences for family farmers, ranchers and other landowners, according to the California Farm Bureau Federation. CFBF President Paul Wenger said the state's Farm Bureau has always encouraged the proper management of groundwater, "but doing that job efficiently and effectively should have been a priority." "Instead," Wenger said in a prepared statement, "the Legislature took the 'ready, fire, aim' approach, rushing these bills through and creating a massive new regulatory program in the final days of the legislative session." <more> Aug. 30, 2014 Daily Democrat
  • Pesticide restrictions may fall gently on Kings - - On the eve of new state pesticide rules scheduled to kick in next year, agricultural experts say the impact will be muted in crop-rich Kings County. The new Department of Pesticide Regulation rules will prohibit the use of certain pesticides next summer that contain high concentrations of volatile organic compounds chemicals that, along with emissions from vehicles, contribute to smog formation. The ban, which runs from May to October in 2015, includes high-VOC products with abamectin, chlorpyrifos, gibberellins or oxyfluorfen. Higher-VOC products with these ingredients cannot be used during the specified timeframe on alfalfa, almonds, citrus, cotton, grapes, pistachios or walnuts. <more> Aug. 29, 2014 The Hanford Sentinel
  • EPA staff recommends significantly lower ozone standard - - The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency staff said Friday that the nation should tighten smog rules significantly, a step that would improve air quality in California but force costly new requirements on government and industry. The EPA staff recommendation is the final step before the rule goes to the agency's leadership and the White House. As a result of lawsuits by environmental and health groups, the agency must propose a new ozone rule by December and the final rule by October 2015. Federal standards for ground-level ozone, the main ingredient in smog, have proved deeply contentious because they would compel many states, cities and industries to adopt new measures to cut air pollution at a cost of billions of dollars. <more> Aug. 29, 2014 LA Times
  • Sept. 30 deadline for direct farm ownership loan program - - USDAs California Farm Service Agency (FSA) Executive Director Val Dolcini says farmers and ranchers still have time to apply for low interest 2014 loans available through FSAs di-rect farm ownership program. The deadline to submit applications is Sept. 30, 2014. Eligible producers can borrow up to $300,000 in direct farm ownership loans to buy or enlarge a farm, construct new farm buildings or improve structures, pay closing costs, or promote soil and water conservation and protection. The interest rate on select loans can be as low as 1.5 percent with up to 40 years to repay. FSA encourages all interested applicants to apply for direct farm ownership loans. For more information about the program and other loans administered by FSA, visit any FSA county office or www.fsa.usda.gov.

Water News

  • Why doesn't California build big dams anymore? - - How much money drought-stricken California should spend to build new dams was a big part of the debate over the bill that Gov. Jerry Brown signed last month to put a $7.5 billion water bond on the November ballot. Republicans and Central Valley Democrats who pushed hardest for new reservoirs highlighted the fact that California built many of the world's most ambitious dam projects during the 1950s, 1960s and 1970s, but a large state- or federally-funded reservoir hasn't been built in 35 years. But why did the era of big dams end, when California has built new roads, schools, universities, hospitals and freeways? Experts say there are a confluence of factors, from environmental laws to funding to a lack of suitable sites. Now supporters of new reservoirs are trying to start a new dam-building era. <more> Aug. 31, 2014 San Jose Mercury News

State/Federal News and Politics

  • End-of-session legislative action at a glance - - Some of the more high-profile bills passed by the California Legislature in the final days of this year's session, which ended early Saturday. <more> Aug. 30, 2014 AP
  • On immigration, will Obama shape his legacy or the next election? - - P resident Obama and his team spent hours last week deliberating over how and when to fulfill his promise to use his executive power to change the immigration system. They pored over legal precedent and policy data and debated political fallout. But none of their analysis could answer the question that his decision may turn on: Does the president want to shape his legacy, or the next election? With immigration, Obama has landed on an issue that carries both risk and reward according to some Democrats, it carries reward for him and immoderate risk for them. It's a place familiar to second-term presidents, who often look for bold, history-making moves as they eye the end of their time in office while their allies in Congress look squarely at the next election. <more> Aug. 30, 2014 LA Times
  • The San Joaquin Valley is California's hottest political spot - - When it comes to competitive political races, nowhere in California beats the San Joaquin Valley -- at least at the state and federal levels. Heading into November, this part of the state has two congressional races and a state Senate race that are considered competitive. Three other seats in Congress, the state Senate and the state Assembly could be at play -- if not this year, then likely in the future. Political experts say the region between Modesto and Bakersfield -- centered on Fresno -- is one of the few parts of California where Republicans can still challenge Democratic Party supremacy. <more> Aug. 29, 2014 Fresno Bee
     

Pricing/Commodity News

  • August All-Milk Price at $23.70 - - USDA released its list of commodity prices for August this week, reported a preliminary all-milk price of $23.70/cwt. Thats up 40¢ over July, $4.10 over August of last year. The agency also reported that six of the 23 top dairy states had all-milk prices exceeding $25/cwt in August. Florida topped the list, at $28.50. The others included New York, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Vermont and Virginia. <more> Aug. 30, 2014 Dairy Today
  • Dairy Margin Protection Program enrollment begins Sept. 2 - - Dairy producers can enroll in the new Dairy Margin Protection Program (DMPP) starting Sept. 2, USDA Secretary Tom Vilsack announced this week. Enrollment ends on Nov. 28, 2014, for 2014 and 2015. Participating farmers must remain in the program through 2018 and pay a minimum $100 administrative fee each year if they choose to participate. The voluntary program, established by the 2014 Farm Bill, provides financial assistance to participating farmers when the margin the difference between the price of milk and feed costs falls below the coverage level selected by the farmer. DMPP gives participating dairy producers the flexibility to select coverage levels best suited for their operation. Producers have the option of selecting a different coverage level during open enrollment each year. Dairy operations enrolling in the new program must comply with conservation compliance provisions and cannot participate in the Livestock Gross Margin-Dairy (LGM-Dairy) insurance program. Farmers already participating in the Livestock Gross Margin program may register for the Margin Protection Program, but the new margin program will only begin once their Livestock Gross Margin coverage has ended. To sign up, go to your local Farm Service Agency (FSA) office. There are two forms that must be completed: CCC-781 will establish a dairy farms production history and CCC-782 will document the coverage level, or how much milk you want to insure. The DMPP final rule was published in the Federal Register on Aug. 29, 2014. The Farm Ser-vice Agency (FSA), which administers the program, also will open a 60-day public comment period on the dairy program. The agency wants to hear from dairy operators to determine whether the current regulation accurately addresses management changes, such as adding new family members to the dairy operation or inter-generational transfers. Written comments must be submitted by Oct. 28, 2014, at www.fsa.usda.gov or www.regulations.gov. Aug. 29, 2014 WUD Friday Update
     

interestStories of Interest
 

  • Ex-astronaut from Manteca joins Got Milk? Campaign - - Jose Hernandez, who rose from farm worker to astronaut and later ran for Congress, has a new mission. Hes promoting milk. The Manteca resident has signed on as a spokesman for the Got Milk? campaign, which seeks to boost consumption of one of the Northern San Joaquin Valleys top farm products. Hernandez is doing interviews in various media around the state on how milk can help children physically and academically. <more> Aug. 31, 2014 Modesto Bee

Meetings of Interest to CA Dairy Industry
 

 

  • Flat screen TV tops WUD golf tourney raffle prizes - - A flat screen television donated by WUD Board President Tom Barcellos is one of the top raffle prizes to be awarded at the 10th annual South Valley Fed-PAC Golf Tournament Monday, September 15 at the Visalia Country Club. All proceeds from the popular event will benefit Western United Dairymen's federal political action committee. The four-person scramble gets underway with a noon shotgun start. The day culminates with a dinner at which awards and prizes will be presented. The cost is $150 per player and includes green fees, golf cart, practice balls, lunch, tee prizes, refreshments and dinner. A registration form is available at www.WesternUnitedDairymen.com or by contacting Heidi Savage at hsavage@westernuniteddairymen.com or (209) 527-6453.
  • WUD to host Margin Protection Program workshops in September - - Western United Dairymen will host a series of informational workshops in September on the new Margin Protection Program, which is part of the 2014 Farm Bill signed into law earlier this year. The workshops are open to anyone interested: WUD members, nonmembers, their bankers and CPAs as well as allied industry members. A change has been made to the North Coast program. The new time will be 2-4pm on Tuesday, September 2 at the Ag Center Auditorium, 5660 S. Broadway, Eureka. <more> July 21, 2014 WUD news
  • Save the Dates! Western United Dairymen Annual Convention - March 18-20, 2015 at Tenaya Lodge in Yosemite
    For more information, visit: www.WUDconvention.com

 

 

Friday, Aug. 29, 2014

Water News

  • California Drought Squeezes Wells - - Californians have long battled over rights to rivers, lakes and other surface-water supplies, but the drought is finally shifting the focus to groundwater, which accounts for about 40% of water used in normal yearsand up to 60% in drought years, as other sources dry up. "Groundwater was kind of out of sight, out of mind," said Lester Snow, executive director of the California Water Foundation, a nonprofit policy group in Sacramento, and former director of the state Department of Water Resources. Other states were forced to act earlier. Arizona, for example, began regulating its major groundwater basins in 1980 after experiencing subsidence, or sinking soils from lack of water, and other problems from agriculture pumping, said Michael Lacey, director of the Arizona Department of Water Resources. <more> Aug. 28, 2014 The Wall Street Journal
  • California's Underground Water War - - Now a new crash threatens, as groundwater levels beneath the vineyards plummet. California produces nearly half of U.S.-grown fruits, nuts, and vegetables, according to the states Department of Food and Agriculture. It is in the midst of one of the worst droughts ever recorded, with more than 80 percent of the state in extreme or exceptional drought. <more> Aug. 28, 2014 The Atlantic
  • California Senate approves bill requiring oil industry to detail water use - - The California state Senate on Thursday unanimously approved a bill requiring oil companies to report how much water they use in their drilling operations and the water's source, a move that comes amid a severe statewide drought. Oil well operators used more than 80 billion gallons of water in California last year in enhanced oil recovery techniques such as steam injection and water flooding, which help bring heavier, thicker crude to the surface. <more> Aug. 29, 2014 Reuters
  • Californias drought: What losing 63 trillion gallons of water looks like - - A new study says that Californias drought is so severe its causing the ground to rise. Angela Fritz of The Washington Post reported scientists estimate 63 trillion gallons of water have been lost in the past 18 months. What happens when 63 trillion gallons of water disappear? As it turns out, 63 trillion gallons of water is pretty heavy, Fritz wrote. That incredible water deficit weighs nearly 240 billion tons, and as it evaporated, the ground began to shift in Californias mountains, by as much as half-an-inch. <more> Aug. 28, 2014 The Washington Post
     

State/Federal News and Politics

  • White House considers proposals to sharply increase legal immigration - - The White House is considering proposals from business and immigrant rights groups that are pressing President Obama to provide hundreds of thousands of green cards for high-tech workers and the relatives of U.S. citizens and permanent residents. The behind-the-scenes lobbying comes as Obama prepares to announce a series of executive actions that could include plans to defer the deportations of millions of people living in the country illegally, most of whom are Hispanic. Although the efforts to relieve pressure on some of the nations 11 million illegal immigrants are expected to be the centerpiece of the presidents action, the administration also is weighing measures that would streamline the legal immigration system by reducing huge backlogs of foreigners hoping to obtain legal permanent residency. <more> Aug. 27, 2014 The Washington Post

Pricing/Commodity News

  • Northern California alfalfa yields higher quality hay - - Alfalfa: its what cows use to make milk. While it may not be quite that simple, alfalfa is a staple for dairy herds across America. But its not just cows that make good use of it: horses love it; goats devour it and overseas markets want it. You can find alfalfa growing at both ends of California. It grows below sea level in the southern California desert region next to winter vegetable crops growing just north of the Mexican border; it thrives in Californias vast Central Valley among hundreds of other crops; and, it does quite well in higher elevations of northern California where the air is generally cooler and the soil more volcanic in nature. <more> Aug. 26, 2014 Western Farm Press
  • Complete list of Dairy Margin Protection Program resources - - Dairy Herd Management has compiled numerous sources and resources covering the dairy Margin Protection Program (DMPP). The voluntary program, established by the 2014 Farm Bill, provides basic and supplemental income insurance when the margin the difference between the price of milk and feed costs falls below the coverage level selected by the farmer. DMPP gives participating dairy farmers the flexibility to select coverage levels best suited for their operation. <more> Aug. 28, 2014 Dairy Herd Management
     

Environmental News

  • EPA says Californias Delta water tunnel project could violate federal law - - The pair of giant water diversion tunnels proposed in the Delta could violate the federal Clean Water Act and increase harm to endangered fish species, according to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, which released its formal comment on the project Thursday. In a 43-page letter sent Tuesday to the National Marine Fisheries Service and released publicly on the EPAs website Thursday, the EPA said its research found that by diverting freshwater from three new intakes proposed on the Sacramento River farther upstream from existing intakes the project is likely to increase concentrations of salinity, mercury, bromide, chloride, selenium and pesticides in the estuary. <more> Aug. 28, 2014 The Sacramento Bee
  • Fracking report clears way for California oil, gas leasing to resume - - The federal government will resume oil and gas leasing in California following a report released Thursday that found little scientific evidence that fracking and similar extraction techniques are dangerous. The Bureau of Land Management said the report and additional environmental reviews will allow it to begin leasing on public land next year. The announcement is welcome news for energy companies that have been shut out of the oil-rich San Joaquin Valley and Central Coast. But critics, including environmental organizations whose lawsuits led to a judge's order to halt leasing last year, said the analysis was rushed by the BLM and relied on spotty information. <more> Aug. 28, 2014 LA Times
  • California's Cap and Trade System Could Help Ease Central Valley Pollution - - A few months ago the state came out with a report ranking the most polluted places in California. Many Fresno County neighborhoods ranked among the worst. Now the California Environmental Protection Agency is hoping to use that data to clean up these areas through the states cap and trade system. <more> Aug. 28, 2014 Valley Public Radio
  • Sept. 30 deadline for direct farm ownership loan program - - USDAs California Farm Service Agency (FSA) Executive Director Val Dolcini says farmers and ranchers still have time to apply for low interest 2014 loans available through FSAs di-rect farm ownership program. The deadline to submit applications is Sept. 30, 2014. Eligible producers can borrow up to $300,000 in direct farm ownership loans to buy or enlarge a farm, construct new farm buildings or improve structures, pay closing costs, or promote soil and water conservation and protection. The interest rate on select loans can be as low as 1.5 percent with up to 40 years to repay. FSA encourages all interested applicants to apply for direct farm ownership loans. For more information about the program and other loans administered by FSA, visit any FSA county office or www.fsa.usda.gov.

interestStories of Interest
 

  • How we shop for food is changing, in three charts - - The grocery industry is grappling with significant transformation in the marketplace. Traditional supermarkets are feeling pressure from new competitors, including upstarts focused on natural and organic goods and big-box retailers such as Wal-Mart and Target that have expanded their grocery offerings. All of these stores have had to figure out how to adapt to the preferences of millennial shoppers and fast-moving food trends, from the rise of the paleo diet to the preference for eating local. A new research report from the Food Marketing Institute, a nonprofit group that represents the interests of food retailers and wholesalers, helps bring into focus the challenges and opportunities that retailers face as they try to win over new customers and hang onto existing ones. <more> Aug. 28, 2014 Washington Post
  • Farmers Not Always Hobbyists, FAA Says - - Someday soon farmers may be able to scout and manage crops with the precision that comes from the bird's eye view of a camera flying 400 feet above your field. But not just yet. Along with the rest of the public, farmers must slow down and wait for the Federal Aviation Administration's final regulations on the commercial use of drones -- unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs)-- before they dive into profit-making schemes involving drones. <more> Aug. 28, 2014 DTN

Meetings of Interest to CA Dairy Industry
 

 

  • Flat screen TV tops WUD golf tourney raffle prizes - - A flat screen television donated by WUD Board President Tom Barcellos is one of the top raffle prizes to be awarded at the 10th annual South Valley Fed-PAC Golf Tournament Monday, September 15 at the Visalia Country Club. All proceeds from the popular event will benefit Western United Dairymen's federal political action committee. The four-person scramble gets underway with a noon shotgun start. The day culminates with a dinner at which awards and prizes will be presented. The cost is $150 per player and includes green fees, golf cart, practice balls, lunch, tee prizes, refreshments and dinner. A registration form is available at www.WesternUnitedDairymen.com or by contacting Heidi Savage at hsavage@westernuniteddairymen.com or (209) 527-6453.
  • WUD to host Margin Protection Program workshops in September - - Western United Dairymen will host a series of informational workshops in September on the new Margin Protection Program, which is part of the 2014 Farm Bill signed into law earlier this year. The workshops are open to anyone interested: WUD members, nonmembers, their bankers and CPAs as well as allied industry members. A change has been made to the North Coast program. The new time will be 2-4pm on Tuesday, September 2 at the Ag Center Auditorium, 5660 S. Broadway, Eureka. <more> July 21, 2014 WUD news
  • Save the Dates! Western United Dairymen Annual Convention - March 18-20, 2015 at Tenaya Lodge in Yosemite
    For more information, visit: www.WUDconvention.com

 

 

Thursday, Aug. 28, 2014

Pricing/Commodity News

  • Enrollment for New Dairy Farm Risk Management Program to Begin Sept. 2 - - Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack today announced that starting Sept. 2, 2014, farmers can enroll in the new dairy Margin Protection Program. The voluntary program, established by the 2014 Farm Bill, provides financial assistance to participating farmers when the margin the difference between the price of milk and feed costs falls below the coverage level selected by the farmer.  The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) also launched a new Web tool to help producers determine the level of coverage under the Margin Protection Program that will provide them with the strongest safety net under a variety of conditions. The online resource, available at www.fsa.usda.gov/mpptool, allows dairy farmers to quickly and easily combine unique operation data and other key variables to calculate their coverage needs based on price projections. <more> Aug. 28, 2014 USDA press release
  • NMPF pleased with Dairy Margin Protection Program provisions - - Details of the Dairy Margin Protection Program (DMPP) a federal income margin protection insurance program for dairy farmers were unveiled today by U.S. Ag Secretary Tom Vilsack. Vilsack rolled out the programs provisions during a a national press conference call while on a stop in Vermont. National Milk Producers Federation (NMPF) president and CEO Jim Mulhern said his organization was pleased with the overall provisions of the new program, and urged farmers to begin familiarizing themselves with what will be a valuable tool to help manage farms financial risks in the future. <more> Aug. 28, 2014 Dairy Herd Management
  • Farm Bill: Dairy plan rolls out September 2 - - USDA Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack held a press conference on Thursday morning to announce that the federal agency has finalized the new rules for the Margin Protection Program for Dairy. Sign-ups for the new program begin on Tuesday, September 2, and run through November 28, 2014, for the upcoming year. The Margin Protection Program for Dairy will be quickly known by many as MPP-Dairy. This new dairy program represents a monumental shift in federal dairy policy as it replaced three federal programs: the Dairy Product Price Support Program, the Dairy Export Incentive Program and the Milk Income Loss Contract (MILC) program. In addition to the newly minted MPP-Dairy, the Dairy Product Donation Program rules were also finalized on Thursday. That program doesnt require any specific action by individual dairy producers. <more> Aug. 28, 2014 Hoard's Dairyman
  • Dairy Margin Protection Program rolled out with online tool - - USDA announced today the rollout of the Dairy Margin Protection Program (MPP) and an online tool giving the nation's 46,000 dairy producers easy access to the program's 126 possible coverage options. The program was created in the 2014 Farm Bill and was required to be established no later than Sept. 1. As the program's name suggests, it puts more emphasis on producer margins - the difference between milk prices and feed costs -- than current milk prices as well as revenue support programs of the past. Producers can start enrolling in the program Sept. 2. <more> Aug. 28, 2014 Agri-Pulse
  • California Wont Pursue Dairy Pricing Legislation - - The head of the California Department of Food and Agriculture, Secretary Karen Ross, issued a statement Aug. 27 that dairy pricing legislation, AB 2730, introduced last week to "modernize Californias dairy processing system will not be pursued this session." "While the timing was not ideal, I was compelled to see if we could get something done this year," Ross said. "Since the Aug. 13 Task Force meeting, a tremendous amount of progress has been made, but not enough. So we will not be pursuing reform legislation this year." <more> Aug. 28, 2014 Dairy Today
  • Bumper Crops in U.S. and China Point Up Differences and Similarities - - One could hardly hope for a better illustration of the differences and, in some aspects, similarities between the economic systems of the U.S. and China than the stories in this mornings Wall Street Journal about the universally sensitive issue of farm subsidies. This is a bumper harvest year in both the U.S. and in China. In the U.S., that means falling prices and despite the huge harvest falling incomes for farmers. U.S. corn prices, which fell 40% last year, are down another 15% this year, on expectations for a larger than normal harvest. Farmers are yelping. <more> Aug. 27, 2014 The Wall Street Journal
     

Water News

  • Groundwater regulation bill passes California Senate - - Amid a third year of drought, state lawmakers began pushing legislation that begins to regulate groundwater. California is one of the last states in the West with a pump-as-you-please policy. The Senate on Wednesday passed AB1739 on a 26-11 vote. The bill by Democratic Assemblyman Roger Dickinson of Sacramento would require some local governments to start managing wells and authorizes the state to step in under certain situations if they don't. <more> Aug. 28, 2014 AP
  • Groundwater Bills Move Forward in the Legislature - - Floor votes in the Legislature this week advanced two ACWA-supported bills aimed at sustainably managing Californias groundwater. On Wednesday the Assembly approved AB 1739 by a 44-24 vote. AB 1739 by Assembly Member Roger Dickinson (D-Sacramento) as currently written would establish a statutory definition of groundwater management and provide for enhanced minimum requirements for local groundwater management plans. It would also enhance and clarify tools and authorities for local agencies to improve groundwater management and outline specific steps for monitoring and reporting groundwater data. <more> Aug. 28, 2014 ACWA news
  • Drought-Stricken California Farmers Fight Release of Water for Fish - - In the latest battle spawned by California's drought, farmers are squaring off against Indian tribes, environmentalists and fishermen over the federal release of water to aid salmon. At issue is the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation's release beginning on Saturday of 25,000 acre-feet of water from Northern California's Trinity Lake to help protect adult Chinook salmon in the Klamath River from contracting a potentially lethal disease that spreads in current low-water conditions. <more> Aug. 27, 2014 The Wall Street Journal
  • Final plan for twin tunnels delayed for more public comment - - Already eight years in the making, Gov. Jerry Browns twin tunnels plan has been delayed again because officials say they must rework portions of the $25 billion plan, state officials announced Wednesday. A draft of the tunnels plan came out last December, and the public had until late July to comment on that draft. Once those comments were reviewed, a final plan was supposed to be issued early next year. Instead, portions of the draft plan will be changed and recirculated in early 2015 for additional public comment, which will take more time. <more> Aug. 27, 2014 Stockton Record
     

State/Federal News and Politics

  • Minimum wages in the top 10 dairy states - - This years ongoing national debate about minimum wage levels from state to state should remind everyone in the dairy industry that there is nothing minimum about how much workers on their farms typically earn. President Obama wants to boost the federal minimum from $7.25 per hour to $10.10. Numerous states are in the process of doing part, all or more than that all the way up to the $15 per hour that went into effect in Seattle, Wash., in June and is being pushed by some groups as the right number everywhere. <more> Aug. 25, 2014 Hoard's Dairyman
  • Food Producers to Offer Data on Chemical Additives - - Big food producers are moving to try to head off criticism of how they use additives, with a main industry group saying it plans to give more information to regulators about how companies determine the safety of the thousands of chemicals and other ingredients in processed foods. The announcement on Wednesday by the Grocery Manufacturers Association covers ingredients that the Food and Drug Administration allows to be used under a principle known as "generally recognized as safe," or GRAS. Rather than being approved by the FDA itself, such ingredientswhich provide foods with flavors, textures, colors or longer shelf-lifeare deemed permissible by companies based on their own research. <more> Aug. 27, 2014 The Wall Street Journal
     

Environmental News

  • Californias Dairies Work Harder for Cleaner Water - - "Water is as important as the ground we stand on, for everything and everyone around here, as far as you can see and farther our farms, our towns, our entire way of life," says California dairy farmer Tom Barcellos, who milks 800 cows and raises corn and alfalfa on the same farm where he was born 57 years ago, near Porterville in Tulare County. "I do what I can to protect the water we have and use it responsibly, not only because its the right thing to do, it also makes economic sense," Barcellos says." <more> Aug. 28, 2014 Dairy Today
  • Finalists named for 2014 California Leopold Conservation Award - - The finalists for the California Leopold Conservation Award, which honors private landowner achievement in voluntary stewardship and management of natural resources, are all from the Central Valley this year. They are: Full Belly Farm, Yolo County; Hafenfeld Ranch, Kern County; Kautz Farms, San Joaquin County. <more> Aug. 28, 2014 Central Valley Business Times
  • Partial settlement in suit over Stanislaus County groundwater drilling permits - - A lawsuit seeking revocation of some 60 water well permits that the lawsuit said were issued without proper environmental review under the California Environmental Quality Act has been settled at least in part. The settlement calls for dismissal of the settling permit holders nine farming and ranching operations -- and their permits from the suit in return for their contributions to an earmarked fund administered by the California Sportfishing Protection Alliance to study groundwater conditions in the county. <more> Aug. 27, 2014 Central Valley Business Times
  • Sept. 30 deadline for direct farm ownership loan program - - USDAs California Farm Service Agency (FSA) Executive Director Val Dolcini says farmers and ranchers still have time to apply for low interest 2014 loans available through FSAs di-rect farm ownership program. The deadline to submit applications is Sept. 30, 2014. Eligible producers can borrow up to $300,000 in direct farm ownership loans to buy or enlarge a farm, construct new farm buildings or improve structures, pay closing costs, or promote soil and water conservation and protection. The interest rate on select loans can be as low as 1.5 percent with up to 40 years to repay. FSA encourages all interested applicants to apply for direct farm ownership loans. For more information about the program and other loans administered by FSA, visit any FSA county office or www.fsa.usda.gov.

interestStories of Interest
 

  • Dairy farmer's blog has followers from all over the country - - Carrie Mess is a dairy farmer, and a blogger, in that order. She and her husband, Patrick, have a 100-cow dairy farm with Patrick's parents, near Watertown, where they also raise 300 acres of crops. Last week, the blog that Mess writes, The Adventures of Dairy Carrie, crossed the threshold of more than 2 million page views in three years. That's not bad, Mess says, given she doesn't have Internet service at her farm and mostly uses her cellphone for blog and Facebook posts. <more> Aug. 27, 2014 Milwaukee Journal Sentinel
  • Science Crowns Mozzarella The King Of Pizza Cheese - - The signature of a great American-style pizza is not the toppings du jour but the cheese: hot, gooey mozzarella, with big, dark splotches of caramelization. Pizzerias didn't happen upon that winning recipe by coincidence. Food scientists have been studying and finessing the low-moisture part-skim mozzarella we now put on most of our pizzas for decades. Pizza companies fighting for consumers' loyalty are especially invested in such work. But a few researchers are interested in studying the chemical and physical properties of pizza simply for the sake of science. Bryony James, a professor of materials engineering at the University of Auckland in New Zealand, is one of them. <more> Aug. 27, 2014 NPR
  • U.S. Farmers & Ranchers Alliance launches new campaign - - The U.S. Farmers & Ranchers Alliance is launching a new campaign today titled I AM FARMLAND, which is geared to help support the expanded distribution of FARMLAND, a new feature length documentary about the lives of young farmers and ranchers. <more> Aug. 26, 2014 Dairy Herd Management
  • Can Beijing Halt the Impact of the One-Child Rule? - - Despite a disappointing first read on Chinas more liberal one-child policy, dairy product demand will continue to grow in China as more people enter the middle class. By loosening Chinas one-child policy to allow couples to have a second child as long as one parent is an only child, central planners in China expect roughly half of the estimated 11 million eligible couples to have another child within the first five years following the policy revision. Six months into the new policy, however, only 3 percent of eligible couples had applied for permission to have a second child. <more> Aug. 28, 2014 AgWeb

Meetings of Interest to CA Dairy Industry
 

 

  • Flat screen TV tops WUD golf tourney raffle prizes - - A flat screen television donated by WUD Board President Tom Barcellos is one of the top raffle prizes to be awarded at the 10th annual South Valley Fed-PAC Golf Tournament Monday, September 15 at the Visalia Country Club. All proceeds from the popular event will benefit Western United Dairymen's federal political action committee. The four-person scramble gets underway with a noon shotgun start. The day culminates with a dinner at which awards and prizes will be presented. The cost is $150 per player and includes green fees, golf cart, practice balls, lunch, tee prizes, refreshments and dinner. A registration form is available at www.WesternUnitedDairymen.com or by contacting Heidi Savage at hsavage@westernuniteddairymen.com or (209) 527-6453.
  • WUD to host Margin Protection Program workshops in September - - Western United Dairymen will host a series of informational workshops in September on the new Margin Protection Program, which is part of the 2014 Farm Bill signed into law earlier this year. The workshops are open to anyone interested: WUD members, nonmembers, their bankers and CPAs as well as allied industry members. A change has been made to the North Coast program. The new time will be 2-4pm on Tuesday, September 2 at the Ag Center Auditorium, 5660 S. Broadway, Eureka. <more> July 21, 2014 WUD news
  • Save the Dates! Western United Dairymen Annual Convention - March 18-20, 2015 at Tenaya Lodge in Yosemite
    For more information, visit: www.WUDconvention.com

 

 

Wednesday, Aug. 27, 2014

Pricing/Commodity News

  • CDFA Secretary Ross: Pricing legislation will not be pursued - - CDFA Secretary Karen Ross today issued a statement that dairy pricing legislation, AB 2730, introduced last week to modernize Californias dairy processing system will not be pursued this session. Ross said, While the timing was not ideal, I was compelled to see if we could get something done this year. Since the August 13th Task Force meeting, a tremendous amount of progress has been made, but not enough. So we will not be pursuing reform legislation this year. Read the full text of her statement and statements from Sen. Cathleen Galgiani, chair of the Senate Agriculture Committee and Assemblywoman Susan Susan Talamantes Eggman, chair of the Assembly Agriculture Committee. <more> Aug. 27, 2014 WUD news
  • Milk Production Costs Tick Up From June - - The Agriculture Departments National Milk Cost of Production report, issued yesterday, shows Julys total costs were up slightly from June. Total feed costs averaged $13.56/cwt., up 21¢ from the revised June estimates, and 8¢ above May. July 2013 estimates were not available due to budget sequestration. Purchased feed costs, at $6.91/cwt., were up 10¢ from June and 12¢ above the April figure. Total costs, including feed, bedding, marketing, fuel, repairs, hired labor, taxes, etc., at $25.21/cwt., were up 46¢ from June and 49¢ above the May level. Feed costs made up 53.8% of total costs, compared to 54.0% the month before. Read the complete report at: http://www.ers.usda.gov/data-products/milk-cost-of-production-estimates.aspx. Aug. 27, 2014 Dairy Business Update
  • U.S. cattle on feed numbers continue to tighten - - Carol Ryan Dumas/Capital Press Beef cattle graze in a pasture in Idaho's Wood River Valley near Belluvue on Aug. 15. USDA's latest cattle report shows cattle on feed in large U.S. feedlots on Aug. 1 was down for the 24th consecutive month and placements into feedlots in July were down for the fifth consecutive month.USDA reports cattle on feed on Aug. 1 were down 2 percent over a year earlier. July placements and July marketings were the lowest for the month since the data series began in 1996, and feedlots are placing lighter weight cattle. The number of cattle on feed in large U.S. feedlots tightened again in USDAs latest report, but year-over-year decreases were not as deep as trade analysts had estimated. Cattle on feed on Aug. 1, at 9.837 million head, were down nearly 2 percent. Analysts had estimated the decline at 2.5 percent. <more> Aug. 27, 2014 Capital Press
  • U.S. sees best corn crop since 1994 - - According to the USDAs Crop Progress report, corn conditions have finally stopped slipping. Currently 73 percent corn is rated in good or excellent condition an improvement of 1 percentage point from last week and 6 percentage points from last year. <more> Aug. 26, 2014 Dairy Herd Management
  • China Is Awash in Grain Crops - - China's grain cupboard is overflowing. As the harvest looms next month, the country is on track for an 11th year of bumper grain crops. But production is too much, even for the world's most populous nation, with warehouses bursting at the seams and posing a dilemma for policy makers. Estimates from state media say the government will be sitting on 150 million tons of grains that include three of the most important crops for China: rice, wheat and corn. That is double the 75 million tons last year and adds to an oversupply of these agricultural commodities that is pressuring prices lower. <more> Aug. 26, 2014 The Wall Street Journal
     

Water News

  • Governors tunnels scheme hits a snag - - The more than 40,000 pages of the draft environmental impact review and statement of the so-called Bay Delta Conservation Plan have generated enough comments from the public that approval of the EIR/EIS is being delayed. At the heart of the plan is a scheme to spend $68 billion to build mammoth twin water tunnels to siphon off fresh water from the Sacramento River before it can flow into the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta and ship it to buyers in Southern California, the San Joaquin Valley and Silicon Valley. <more> Aug. 27, 2014 Central Valley Business Times

State/Federal News and Politics

  • U.S. 2014 Farm Income Seen Falling 14% From Record 2013 - - Lower prices for corn and soybeans will drive the profits of U.S. farmers down to an estimated $113.2 billion in 2014, a decline of 14 percent from last years record, according to the Department of Agriculture. The forecast for this years income is up 18 percent from a February estimate as livestock revenues may reach an all-time high, the USDA said in a report on its website. Gains in farmland values that climbed 8.1 percent this year are slowing. While rising hog and cattle prices have aided livestock producers, record grain and oilseed harvests are dragging profits, said University of Missouri at Columbia agriculture economist Pat Westhoff. <more> Aug. 26, 2014 Bloomberg
  • Farmworkers rally in Visalia to decertify UFW as their union - - Hundreds of Gerawan Farming employees rallied in front of the California Agricultural Labor Relations Board office in Visalia on Tuesday. Silva Lopez, a 15-year employee, said she petitioned the board last year seeking an election to decertify the United Farm Workers union, which represents employees at the bargaining table. The petition was rejected on grounds that it lacked enough valid signatures and many were forged. <more> Aug. 26, 2014 Fresno Bee
     

Environmental News

  • U.N. Draft Report Lists Unchecked Emissions Risks - - Runaway growth in the emission of greenhouse gases is swamping all political efforts to deal with the problem, raising the risk of severe, pervasive and irreversible impacts over the coming decades, according to a draft of a major new United Nations report. Global warming is already cutting grain production by several percentage points, the report found, and that could grow much worse if emissions continue unchecked. Higher seas, devastating heat waves, torrential rain and other climate extremes are also being felt around the world as a result of human-produced emissions, the draft report said, and those problems are likely to intensify unless the gases are brought under control. <more> Aug. 26, 2014 The New York Times
  • Judge asked to cut off extra water for salmon - - Agricultural water providers in the Central Valley of California asked a federal judge to stop releases of extra water intended to help salmon in the Klamath Basin survive the drought. The petition for a temporary injunction was filed late Monday in U.S. District Court in Fresno by Westlands Water District and the San Luis & Delta-Mendota Water Authority, which supply farmers. At issue is water held in a reservoir on the Trinity River, which has been divided between the Trinity and Sacramento river basins for more than 50 years. <more> Aug. 26, 2014 AP
  • Sept. 30 deadl ine for direct farm ownership loan program - - USDAs California Farm Service Agency (FSA) Executive Director Val Dolcini says farmers and ranchers still have time to apply for low interest 2014 loans available through FSAs di-rect farm ownership program. The deadline to submit applications is Sept. 30, 2014. Eligible producers can borrow up to $300,000 in direct farm ownership loans to buy or enlarge a farm, construct new farm buildings or improve structures, pay closing costs, or promote soil and water conservation and protection. The interest rate on select loans can be as low as 1.5 percent with up to 40 years to repay. FSA encourages all interested applicants to apply for direct farm ownership loans. For more information about the program and other loans administered by FSA, visit any FSA county office or www.fsa.usda.gov.

interestStories of Interest
 

  • California Grown gets new chairwoman - - Cherie Watte, executive director of the California Asparagus Commission, is the new board chairwoman of California Grown, succeeding Kasey Cronquist, chief executive officer of the California Cut Flower Commission. The Buy California Marketing Agreement manages the California Grown campaign. Executive committee members on the California Grown board include vice chair Spencer Halsey, associate director of the California Association of Gardens and Nurseries; and secretary treasurer Karla Stockli, chief executive officer of the California Fig Advisory Board. <more> Aug. 27, 2014 CDFA Planting Seeds Blog
  • Iowa Farmer the next 'Bachelor' - - Farmer Chris Soules won't have to rely on FarmersOnly.com to find love as he has been named the latest star of The Bachelor. The announcement was made today on Good Morning America that the Arlington, Iowa, farmer will be the 19th Bachelor on the ABC network's hit reality dating show. Soules became popular on this past season of The Bachelorette and fans often referred to him as "Farmer Chris." <more> Aug. 27, 2014 Dairy Today

Meetings of Interest to CA Dairy Industry
 

 

  • Flat screen TV tops WUD golf tourney raffle prizes - - A flat screen television donated by WUD Board President Tom Barcellos is one of the top raffle prizes to be awarded at the 10th annual South Valley Fed-PAC Golf Tournament Monday, September 15 at the Visalia Country Club. All proceeds from the popular event will benefit Western United Dairymen's federal political action committee. The four-person scramble gets underway with a noon shotgun start. The day culminates with a dinner at which awards and prizes will be presented. The cost is $150 per player and includes green fees, golf cart, practice balls, lunch, tee prizes, refreshments and dinner. A registration form is available at www.WesternUnitedDairymen.com or by contacting Heidi Savage at hsavage@westernuniteddairymen.com or (209) 527-6453.
  • WUD to host Margin Protection Program workshops in September - - Western United Dairymen will host a series of informational workshops in September on the new Margin Protection Program, which is part of the 2014 Farm Bill signed into law earlier this year. The workshops are open to anyone interested: WUD members, nonmembers, their bankers and CPAs as well as allied industry members. A change has been made to the North Coast program. The new time will be 2-4pm on Tuesday, September 2 at the Ag Center Auditorium, 5660 S. Broadway, Eureka. <more> July 21, 2014 WUD news
  • Save the Dates! Western United Dairymen Annual Convention - March 18-20, 2015 at Tenaya Lodge in Yosemite
    For more information, visit: www.WUDconvention.com

 

Tuesday, Aug. 26, 2014

Pricing/Commodity News

  • Milk-pricing bill to be considered by Legislature - - With just a few days remaining in the state legislative session, the California Department of Food and Agriculture has introduced legislation that would significantly change the way milk is priced and pooled in the state. The legislationAssembly Bill 2730comes after days of negotiation last week between producer and processor representatives, who were working from a draft proposal that CDFA Secretary Karen Ross had distributed to the parties earlier this month for their consideration. But time is running short to get the bill through the agriculture and appropriations committees of the Senate and Assembly and then passed by both chambers of the Legislature before Aug. 31, when lawmakers recess. "It's got to really move," said Michael Marsh, CEO of Western United Dairymen. Marsh described the final language of the bill as "a mixed bag." The Western United board of directors voted last week to support the legislation if it is amended "to enhance the protection of producers' interests in the bill," he said. <more> Aug. 27, 2014 Ag Alert
  • Dairy industry debates milk pricing bill - - Dairy farmers are taking a skeptical look at a new bill that would change how California sets prices for its milk. The measure, Assembly Bill 2730, would allow processors and farmers to enter into agreements outside the complex 1960s-era formula for setting minimum prices. The change would apply to milk bound for cheese and butter plants, about 80 percent of the total. The bill was introduced by Assemblywoman Susan Talamantes Eggman, and the chief co-sponsor is state Sen. Cathleen Galgiani. Both are Democrats based in Stockton; Galgiani also represents Modesto. The bill would provide for mutually agreeable contracts between processors and farmers and help the state transition the dairy industry to self-regulating marketing practices, according to the text. <more> Aug. 25, 2014 Modesto Bee
  • Ethanol mandate goes to White House for review - - A regulation setting the required volumes of ethanol and biodiesel that fuel refiners must use was sent to the White House Office of Management and Budget for review Friday, the final step before the rule mandate can be unveiled. The Environmental Protection Agency proposed last year to reduce the volume of ethanol refiners must blend into gasoline for 2014, while keeping the mandate for biodiesel in diesel the same as the previous year. <more> Aug. 22, 2014 The Hill
  • U.S. Cheese Headed to Asia - - Cooperatives Working Together (CWT) accepted 3 requests for export assistance today to sell 912,714 pounds of Cheddar and Monterey Jack cheese, to customers in Asia. The product will be delivered October 2014 through January 2015. Year-to-date, CWT has assisted member cooperatives in selling 83.456 million pounds of cheese, 48.051 million pounds of butter and 19.877 million pounds of whole milk powder to 43 countries on six continents. These sales are the equivalent of 2.062 billion pounds of milk on a milkfat basis, according to CWT. Aug. 26, 2014 Dairy Business Update
  • Grain Piles Up, Waiting for a Ride, as Trains Move North Dakota Oil - - The furious pace of energy exploration in North Dakota is creating a crisis for farmers whose grain shipments have been held up by a vast new movement of oil by rail, leading to millions of dollars in agricultural losses and slower production for breakfast cereal giants like General Mills. The backlog is only going to get worse, farmers said, as they prepared this week for what is expected to be a record crop of wheat and soybeans. <more> Aug. 25, 2014 The New York Times
  • USDA raises beef, pork prices forecasts on drought, disease - - Retail prices for many U.S. meats, already at record highs, continue to rise on a combination of drought and disease, but overall food cost increases remain near long-term averages, the U.S. Department of Agriculture said on Monday. The agency now forecasts pork, beef and veal prices to rise by 6.5 to 7.5 percent in 2014, up from 5.5 to 6.5 percent forecast a month ago. The overall "meats, poultry and fish" category will rise by 4 to 5 percent. Overall U.S. food inflation - items bought in grocery stores and in restaurants - will be 2.5 to 3.5 percent in 2014, in line with historical norms, and is expected to be slightly lower at 2 to 3 percent in 2015, the USDA said. <more> Aug. 25, 2014 Reuters
     

Water News

  • Bills to regulate California groundwater use opposed by farmers - - A package of bills aimed at regulating drought-parched California's stressed groundwater supplies has come under fire from agricultural interests, injecting doubt into the measures' fates in the waning days of the state's legislative session this week. The bills, which would allow the state to take over management of underground aquifers and water accessed via wells, tighten oversight of water at a time when groundwater levels are shrinking in the third year of a catastrophic drought. <more> Aug. 25, 2014 Reuters
  • The future of water in Southern California - - As the state endures one of the worst droughts in recorded history, Southern California residents are looking for answers about the sustainability of the regions water supplies. Farmers have felt the sting of below-average rainfall for years, but as the crisis worsens, urban and suburban areas are likely to suffer drastic change in their relationship with the vital liquid. <more> Aug. 25, 2014 KPCC
  • Supervisors give $7.5B water bond qualified support - - A coalition of Delta counties has endorsed the new $7.5 billion water bond to be decided by voters in November. Overall, however, local groups that are normally closely aligned on Delta issues are divided over this one. The coalition includes San Joaquin County supervisors and water specialists Larry Ruhstaller and Ken Vogel, who are now publicly backing the bond. Their cautious support comes with the caveat that the money must not advance the governors controversial twin tunnels project. <more> Aug. 26, 2014 Stockton Record
  • MID: Growers have more time to irrigate - - Merced Irrigation District officials said late last week water allocations for growers would last at least two weeks longer than expected. Earlier this month, MID officials urged growers to use their water allocations by mid-September. However, on Friday, officials said growers could count on using their allocations until Oct. 1. In the past couple of weeks, actual grower irrigation demand has diminished slightly from estimated demands, likely due to crop harvests and effective on-farm water management, MID said in a news release. Irrigation water is measured per acre-foot, which is the amount of water it takes to cover an acre of land a foot deep, or about 325,900 gallons. <more> Aug. 25, 2014 Merced Sun-Star

State/Federal News and Politics

  • Mexican president faces protest on California trip - - Mexican President Enrique Pena Nieto on Tuesday was greeted by dozens of protesters in California criticizing his country's detention of a U.S. Marine. About 150 people, many waving American flags or holding signs calling for the Marine to be set free, rallied across the street from the historic Stanford Mansion, where a lunch reception for the president was being held on the last day of his two-day visit to the state. <more> Aug. 26, 2014 AP

Environmental News

  • California bill to delay cap-and-trade expansion finished for year - - Avoiding an election-year legislative debate over how Californias cap-and-trade program could affect gasoline prices, the leader of the state Senate has sidelined a bill that would have delayed a key aspect of Californias landmark emissions law. Several years have passed since California enacted AB 32, a 2006 law meant to reduce heat-trapping emissions and which requires industries to purchase permits for the carbon they pump into the air. But transportation fuels such as gasoline have not yet come under the program. That is scheduled to change in January, prompting moderate Democrats and an oil industry-funded campaign to warn about a spike in prices and argue for a delay. <more> Aug. 25, 2014 Capitol Alert
  • Sept. 30 deadl ine for direct farm ownership loan program - - USDAs California Farm Service Agency (FSA) Executive Director Val Dolcini says farmers and ranchers still have time to apply for low interest 2014 loans available through FSAs di-rect farm ownership program. The deadline to submit applications is Sept. 30, 2014. Eligible producers can borrow up to $300,000 in direct farm ownership loans to buy or enlarge a farm, construct new farm buildings or improve structures, pay closing costs, or promote soil and water conservation and protection. The interest rate on select loans can be as low as 1.5 percent with up to 40 years to repay. FSA encourages all interested applicants to apply for direct farm ownership loans. For more information about the program and other loans administered by FSA, visit any FSA county office or www.fsa.usda.gov.

interestStories of Interest
 

  • Whey proteins improve body composition, offer immunity benefits - - Two seemingly divergent nutritional dilemmas can be addressed, in part, through a common dairy solution. Around one-third of U.S. adultsmore than 70 million peopleare obese, a higher percentage than any other major country in the world, according to research published earlier this year in the British medical journal The Lancet. In addition, China, Egypt, Indonesia, Mexico and Russia rank in the top 10 most obese nations. In other words, weight management is not only a major issue here, it is a concern worldwide. At the same time, in Sub-Saharan Africa, an estimated 23.5 million men, women and children are living with HIV. The region accounts for almost 70 percent of the worlds HIV cases, and the disease has had severe and wide-ranging effects on families, healthcare and the economy of the continent. Even though weight control and HIV treatment are unrelated public health issues, there is a commonality  between them. Two major clinical research studies published this spring indicate whey protein provides distinct and significant health benefits for both: helping people remain fit and lose weight and abdominal fat, and raising the level of success for HIV treatment. <more> Aug. 8, 2014 US Dairy Export Council
  • Napa Valley vintners tally their losses - - Some lost thousands of cases, some only a few bottles. As cleanup continues in the aftermath of Sundays 6.0 earthquake in Napa Valley, local vintners are mopping up and tallying their losses, estimated at $100 million or more. <more> Aug. 25, 2014 The Sacramento Bee
  • Lifestyles of the Rich and Parched - - These days, tankers can be seen barreling down Montecitos narrow country roads day and night, ferrying up to 5,000 gallons of H20 to some of the worlds richest and thirstiest folks. As California trudges into its third year of a statewide droughtcurrently at an alarming Stage 4 level, denoting what the federal government calls exceptional drought conditionsfew towns have been as hard hit as Montecito. But the plight of this unincorporated community offers ironiesand political lessonsthat are as rich as many of its 13,500 residents. <more> Aug. 26, 2014 Politico Magazine

Meetings of Interest to CA Dairy Industry
 

 

  • Flat screen TV tops WUD golf tourney raffle prizes - - A flat screen television donated by WUD Board President Tom Barcellos is one of the top raffle prizes to be awarded at the 10th annual South Valley Fed-PAC Golf Tournament Monday, September 15 at the Visalia Country Club. All proceeds from the popular event will benefit Western United Dairymen's federal political action committee. The four-person scramble gets underway with a noon shotgun start. The day culminates with a dinner at which awards and prizes will be presented. The cost is $150 per player and includes green fees, golf cart, practice balls, lunch, tee prizes, refreshments and dinner. A registration form is available at www.WesternUnitedDairymen.com or by contacting Heidi Savage at hsavage@westernuniteddairymen.com or (209) 527-6453.
  • WUD to host Margin Protection Program workshops in August and September - - Western United Dairymen will host a series of informational workshops in August and September on the new Margin Protection Program, which is part of the 2014 Farm Bill signed into law earlier this year. There will be 12 workshops held throughout August and September throughout the WUD membership areas. The workshops are open to anyone interested: WUD members, nonmembers, their bankers and CPAs as well as allied industry members. <more> July 21, 2014 WUD news
  • Save the Dates! Western United Dairymen Annual Convention - March 18-20, 2015 at Tenaya Lodge in Yosemite
    For more information, visit: www.WUDconvention.com

 

Monday, Aug. 25, 2014

Pricing/Commodity News

  • WUD board considers pricing legislation - - Western United Dairymen's Board of Directors at its meeting Friday considered pricing legislation being proposed by CDFA Secretary Karen Ross. Assembly Bill 2730 is being co-authored by Assemblymember Susan Eggman (D-Stockton) and Sen. Cathleen Galgiani (D-Stockton), both of whom chair their respective legislative agriculture committees. Thoughtful discussion and debate was held as the meeting also solicited comments from CDFA staff and WUD legal counsel over the merits and concerns identified. The WUD board voted to support the legislation, provided amendments are included that would enhance the protection of producer interests under the proposal. WUD legal counsel is drafting the amendments for consideration by CDFA. Aug. 25, 2014 WUD news
  • Margin Protection Program survey participants sought - - Margin Protection Program is only weeks away from being implemented. An important question remains unanswered - how much do dairy producers know about this program, and how many plan to participate? Dairy economists Dr. Marin Bozic (University of Minnesota) and Dr. Chris Wolf (Michigan State University) are conducting a national survey of dairy producers opinions of the new program. Help them by completing <this survey>. The survey will take you about four minutes to complete, and then you can choose to play an interactive 'choice experiment' and may win one $1,000 and three $500 participation awards. Aug. 25, 2014 University of Minnesota-Twin Cities
  • Higher prices prompt increase in milk production - - High milk prices and lower feed costs grew U.S. milk production 4 percent in July over year-ago levels. Continued favorable margins are expected to boost production the rest of the year. <more> Aug. 22, 2014 Capital Press
  • Bumper Crop Could Mean Bust for Some in Farm Sector - - A sharp decline in corn prices is leading to job cuts at big agricultural corporations, and pain on the family farm. Thanks to one of the best growing seasons in recent memory, corn prices have fallen more than 20% over the past year to a four-year low. Now, industry experts say prices are likely to dip even further amid the glut in supply. While the massive production might be good for consumers, lowering prices on a range of consumer staples, it has had a devastating impact on corn producers. Large agricultural companies and farm equipment makers are slashing jobs.  <more> Aug. 22, 2014 FOX Business
  • Vilsack: Farmers should be OK despite price drops - - U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack says he isn't worried about farmer profitability this year, when huge corn and soybean crops have pushed prices for the commodities below the cost of production. Vilsack tells The Associated Press that many U.S. farmers have contracts that will pay $4 or $5 a bushel of corn and about $13 for a bushel of soybeans, so they should be OK. He also notes that lower commodity prices will help livestock producers, who in recent years have struggled with the high cost of feed. <more> Aug. 23, 2014 KCCI TV
  • Butter prices reach record high - - The price for a pound of butter hit an all-time high Friday on the Chicago Mercantile Exchange, the latest in a line of dairy products to see soaring prices this year. Butter hit $2.8225 a pound in Friday trading, topping the $2.81 record price it reached in 1998. "We're not sure where the top is on this anymore," said Curtis Bosma, an account manager at High Ground Dairy brokerage in Chicago. <more> Aug. 22, 2014 Journal Sentinel
     

Water News

  • Supporters of groundwater reform unveil modified California state flag to illustrate need for action; Effort urges lawmakers to pass groundwater bills - - Heading into the final week of the states legislative session, the California Water Foundation unveiled a modified California state flag that features a desert camel instead of a grizzly bear to illustrate the severity of the states groundwater crisis and urge lawmakers to pass groundwater management legislation. Over the course of the week, the Foundation will run print and online ads featuring the flag, calling on legislators to finish the job they started with the water bond by passing fair and sustainable groundwater protections. <more> Aug. 25, 2014 Mavens Notebook
  • Time running out for California water bill - - Secret negotiations over a California water bill are nearing a make-or-break moment, after a long, dry summer thats tested some political alliances. The states Democratic senators are struggling to balance sympathy for Central Valley farmers with concern for environmental protection. The Obama administration has sometimes moved slowly. Some regional conflicts remain unreconciled. And time is short.  <more> Aug. 23, 2014 McClatchy Newspapers
  • Californias Central Valley: More Than Just Farmers on Tractors - - As we all know by now, California is in a serious state of drought. Some parts of the state are getting hit harder than others. The Central Valley is one of them. We wanted to show what this long dry year has meant for one of the countrys richest farming areas. So, producer Suzie Racho and I headed down Highway 99 to meet up with The California Reports Central Valley bureau chief, Sasha Khokha, whos based in Fresno. Our first stop was a cattle auction in the Tulare County town of Visalia. Agriculture is king here. Tulare County just passed Fresno as the top farm county in the nation. There are more cows than people in this county. Dairy alone is a $2 billion industry. But add in citrus, almonds, walnuts, pistachios and cotton, and the total is nearly $8 billion. <more> Aug. 22, 2014 KQED
  • Drought leaves California homes without water - - Hundreds of rural San Joaquin Valley residents no longer can get drinking water from their home faucets because California's extreme drought has dried up their individual wells, government officials and community groups said. The situation has become so dire that the Tulare County Office of Emergency Services had 12-gallon-per person rations of bottled water delivered on Friday in East Porterville, where at least 182 of the 1,400 households have reported having no or not enough water, according to the Porterville Recorder. <more> Aug. 23, 2014 AP
  • Pressure chambers help Valley farmers save water during drought - - Tom Chandler, a fourth-generation farmer, is using a sophisticated suitcase-sized tool to do what farmers used to do largely by guesswork: Size up how much water to give his almond trees. The device is a pressure chamber, and it squeezes water from leaves to measure how thirsty his trees are. "Using the pressure chambers is like having a fuel gauge for your plants," Chandler said. <more> Aug. 23, 2014 Fresno Bee

State/Federal News and Politics

  • Land deals slowing California high-speed rail plan - - The California High-Speed Rail Authority needs to buy more than 550 pieces of property to build its first 29-mile stretch of rail line between Avenue 17 in Madera to American Avenue south of Fresno. And along the next 100 miles between Fresno and Bakersfield, as many as 1,150 more parcels of "affected" property have been identified that the agency may need to acquire in full or in part. So far, however, only 71 parcels in the Madera-Fresno segment have been purchased and are available for construction. <more> Aug. 23, 2014 Fresno Bee
  • Canada Now Requiring Labels for Mechanically Tenderized Beef - - Canadas requirement that all mechanically tenderized beef (MTB) be labeled as such and include instructions for safe cooking came into effect on Aug. 21. The goal of identifying MTB and including safe cooking instructions on the label is to provide Canadians with the knowledge of what they are buying and how to cook it properly in order to prevent foodborne illnesses. <more> Aug. 25, 2014 Food Safety News

Environmental News

  • Madera Pacific Ethanol plant lands sweet neighbour - - Its better times for Californias ethanol producers, with investment dollars flowing into technology to make production plants more efficient and diverse in the feedstocks they accept. We are just about there, said Paul Koehler, spokesman for Sacramento-based Pacific Ethanol, referring to the long-time effort to begin making ethanol from farm waste and nonfood feedstock instead of corn. One of the benefits of cellulosic ethanol is that it reduces greenhouse gas emissions by 85 percent over reformulated gasoline. Some feel cellulosic ethanol's potential is vast, noting that the Department of Energy has identified 1.3 billion tons of harvestable cellulosic biomass in the US that could be used to meet more than one-third of domestic transportation fuel demand. A new local collaboration could hit the sweet spot when it comes to ethanol production. <more> Aug. 22, 2014 The Business Journal
  • Napa earthquake tosses wine barrels and bottles into piles - - In the heart of wine country, the rare bottles and quarter-ton oak barrels began tumbling shortly after a magnitude 6.0 earthquake rattled the region Sunday morning. David Duncan, president and chief executive of Silver Oak Wine, rushed to his winery in the pre-dawn hours to discover hundreds of shattered bottles strewn across a cellar floor. They were very special, Duncan said from his headquarters in Oakville, Calif., 12 miles north of Napa. Theyre all blends we make from quite a few vineyards that we keep separate. <more> Aug. 24, 2014 LA Times
  • Sept. 30 deadl ine for direct farm ownership loan program - - USDAs California Farm Service Agency (FSA) Executive Director Val Dolcini says farmers and ranchers still have time to apply for low interest 2014 loans available through FSAs di-rect farm ownership program. The deadline to submit applications is Sept. 30, 2014. Eligible producers can borrow up to $300,000 in direct farm ownership loans to buy or enlarge a farm, construct new farm buildings or improve structures, pay closing costs, or promote soil and water conservation and protection. The interest rate on select loans can be as low as 1.5 percent with up to 40 years to repay. FSA encourages all interested applicants to apply for direct farm ownership loans. For more information about the program and other loans administered by FSA, visit any FSA county office or www.fsa.usda.gov.

interestStories of Interest
 

  • Farmers can sell near and far - - On the one hand, growers and processors serve local markets. This was by necessity in the days before trucking and refrigeration. Now its by choice for people who like to eat truly fresh food and to support nearby farmers. On the other hand, exports play a key role in keeping Valley agriculture thriving. The majority of our almonds and walnuts go to other nations. Industries that mostly sell domestically dairy, wine, canned tomatoes and others count on foreign sales to boost their income. Last week, Stanislaus County reported that its gross farm income hit a record $3.66 billion in 2013. Most of it was from U.S. buyers, but the report also touched on exports. A total of 133 commodities were shipped to 102 countries. Dollar figures were not broken out, but its safe to say that plenty of foreign money entered the local economy and sustained many jobs. <more> Aug. 22, 2014 Modesto Bee
  • Meet Mr. Frankenfood - - Before you can finish typing " Monsanto employees into Google, the search engine suggests "Monsanto evil." The world's largest-grossing seed seller ranks between one and 15 on any list of the world's most-hated corporations. The annual "March Against Monsanto," world-wide protests against genetic modification, drew an estimated two million people in some 400 cities last year. <more> Aug. 22, 2014 The Wall Street Journal
  • The ALS Ice Bucket Challenge with MILK - - To highlight the drought in California and promote water conservation, national radio host and dairy farmer Doug Stephan accepted the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge but used iced milk instead. He challenges Mancow Muller, Don Imus, Bill Bennett and Uri Geller. <more> Aug. 25, 2014 Dairy Today

Meetings of Interest to CA Dairy Industry

  • Flat screen TV tops WUD golf tourney raffle prizes - - A flat screen television donated by WUD Board President Tom Barcellos is one of the top raffle prizes to be awarded at the 10th annual South Valley Fed-PAC Golf Tournament Monday, September 15 at the Visalia Country Club. All proceeds from the popular event will benefit Western United Dairymen's federal political action committee. The four-person scramble gets underway with a noon shotgun start. The day culminates with a dinner at which awards and prizes will be presented. The cost is $150 per player and includes green fees, golf cart, practice balls, lunch, tee prizes, refreshments and dinner. A registration form is available at www.WesternUnitedDairymen.com or by contacting Heidi Savage at hsavage@westernuniteddairymen.com or (209) 527-6453.
  • WUD to host Margin Protection Program workshops in August and September - - Western United Dairymen will host a series of informational workshops in August and September on the new Margin Protection Program, which is part of the 2014 Farm Bill signed into law earlier this year. There will be 12 workshops held throughout August and September throughout the WUD membership areas. The workshops are open to anyone interested: WUD members, nonmembers, their bankers and CPAs as well as allied industry members. <more> July 21, 2014 WUD news
  • Save the Dates! Western United Dairymen Annual Convention - March 18-20, 2015 at Tenaya Lodge in Yosemite
    For more information, visit: www.WUDconvention.com

 

Friday, Aug. 22, 2014

Water News

  • California drought continues to take heavy toll on reservoirs - - The severe drought gripping nearly all of California eased ever so slightly this past week, but the state's reservoirs remain "seriously low," according to the latest figures released Thursday. The amount of the state that now falls under the "severe" drought category the third-harshest on a five-level scale was down to 97.5%, a slight improvement from the 99.8% share during the same period last week, according to the U.S. Drought Map. <more> Aug. 21, 2014 LA Times
  • Western drought causes Earth's surface to rise as water levels drop - - A year and a half of drought has depleted 63 trillion gallons of water across the Western United States, according to a new study that documents how the parched conditions are altering the landscape. The loss of groundwater, as well as surface water such as reservoirs, has been so extreme that it lifted the West an average of one-sixth of an inch since 2013, according to researchers from UC San Diego's Scripps Institution of Oceanography and the U.S. Geological Survey. The situation is even worse underneath the snow-starved mountains of California, where the Earth rose up three-fifths of an inch. Groundwater is very heavy, and its weight depresses the Earth's upper crust. Remove the weight, and the crust springs upward. <more> Aug. 21, 2014 LA Times
  • Trillions of gallons of water lost in Calif. drought - - According to the latest Drought Monitor report, 82 percent of California is in extreme or worse drought, marking the eighth consecutive month with more than 30 percent of the state reported in these conditions. Even so, the Drought Monitor showed a minimal shift in conditions this week with around 2 percent of the state moving from severe to moderate drought. This improvement was seen in the severe southeastern corner of California. <more> Aug. 21, 2014 Dairy Herd Management
  • Emergency water deliveries set for East Porterville - - A group of Tulare County employees and local volunteers are delivering over 15,500 gallons of water to the residents of the severely drought-impacted community of East Porterville today. The community depends on well, most of which have gone dry. The joint effort includes equipment, supplies, and resources necessary to make the distribution successful. Each resident will receive 12 gallons of water, which is roughly a three-week supply. <more> Aug. 22, 2014 Central Valley Business Times
  • In The Long Run, The Rest Of The World May Gain From California's Severe Drought - - Most of us probably know that California has been facing drought conditions for some time. 2013 was the driest year since they have been keeping records, and that situation just keeps getting worse, according to the U.S. Drought Monitor, which monitors this situation closely. With little precipitation over the critical winter months, when Sierra snowpack usually gets replenished, the state has now moved into a situation where 100% of its 163,000 square miles is in one of the three worst stages of drought, with the majority being characterized as Exceptional Drought. In the short-term, none of this is good for California or for the U.S. Food prices will rise and the national economy will be harmed in numerous other ways. Yet, in the longer run, the impacts might be beneficial for the rest of us, and perhaps California as well. <more> Aug. 22, 2014 Forbes

State/Federal News and Politics

  • California Bill Would Tackle Laborers' Working Conditions - - Many California agricultural workers arent employed directly by farmers, but by labor contractors. Now a new bill in the California legislature would bring about more protections for those workers, but as FM89s Kerry Klein reports, its also the source of controversy. Assembly Bill 1897 aims to make businesses responsible for the working conditions of their subcontracted laborersa responsibility usually held by the contracting companies themselves. If it becomes law, the bill would apply to any industry that hires temp workers and seasonal laborers, including agriculture. <more> Aug. 21, 2014 Valley Public Radio
  • Young immigrants would get $3 million in legal help under California bill - - Young immigrants poised to flood Californias courts could get extra legal help under a bill offering $3 million to bolster legal services. An extraordinary influx of young, unaccompanied minors into the country has dominated the national debate over immigration policy in recent months, setting President Barack Obama against congressional Republicans and prompting calls for action from California lawmakers. <more> Aug. 21, 2014 Capitol Alert
  • WTO Panel Decides Against U.S. in Meat-Labeling Dispute - - The U.S. has lost a key round at the World Trade Organization in a trade dispute with Canada and Mexico over meat labeling, according to people familiar with the WTO's findings. Canada and Mexico opposed a new U.S. rule that requires more information on labels about the origins of beef, pork and other meats, which went into effect in November. They took their case to the WTO, saying the rule hurts their competitiveness. The WTO panel that heard oral arguments in the dispute over the so-called country-of-origin labeling rule earlier this year has decided in favor of Canada and Mexico, according to sources familiar with the panel's confidential report. <more> Aug. 21, 2014 Wall Street Journal

Pricing/Commodity News

  • Ethanol mandate goes to White House for review - - A regulation setting the required volumes of ethanol and biodiesel that fuel refiners must use was sent to the White House Office of Management and Budget for review Friday, the final step before the rule mandate can be unveiled. The Environmental Protection Agency proposed last year to reduce the volume of ethanol refiners must blend into gasoline for 2014, while keeping the mandate for biodiesel in diesel the same as the previous year. <more> Aug. 22, 2014 The Hill
  • Too Much Corn With Nowhere to Go as U.S. Sees Record Crop - - From Ohio to Nebraska, thousands of field inspections this week during the Pro Farmer Midwest Crop Tour show corn output in the U.S., the worlds top producer, will be 0.4 percent above the governments estimate. Months of timely rains and mild weather created ideal growing conditions, leaving ears with more kernels than normal on 10-foot (3-meter) corn stalks and more seed pods on dark, green soy plants. Prospects of bumper harvests sent Chicago futures tumbling into bear markets last month, two years after a drought eroded output and sparked the highest prices ever. <more> Aug. 22, 2014 Bloomberg
  • Chinas Milk Thirst Will Grow - - Chinas thirst for imported dairy products will expand over the next five years to equate to New Zealands entire annual production, Agrifax senior dairy analyst Susan Kilsby says. Though NZ had a foot in the door, being first with a free-trade agreement with China, there would be increased international competition, made tougher by Russias ban on Western imports, Kilsby, who spent three weeks in China in June, said. She found China would need to import more dairy produce in coming years than it had so far. During her visit Kilsby attended an industry conference and visited farmers, processors, and traders before producing her 60-page China Dairy Report. The gap between demand and supply in China has opened up and is expected to expand further, she said. China was importing 25% of its dairy needs to fill the gap that had been widening since 2008 but by 2020 it would have to import 30%. Read Kilsbys report <here>. Aug. 22, 2014 Dairy Business Update

Environmental News

  • Central Valley Farmers Learn about Clean-Air Farming - - On August 5th, two-dozen dairy farmers joined Sustainable Conservation and California Ag Solutions for a daylong conservation tillage bus tour around the Central Valley that stopped at three different dairy farms. The purpose of the tour was to encourage farmers to shift from conventional farming techniques to strip-till as a way to improve their own bottom-line, while helping to clean up some of the states dirtiest air. <more> Aug. 21, 2014 Sustainable Conservation
  • California drought has wild salmon competing with almonds for water - - The ongoing California drought has pitted wild salmon against farmers in a fight for water. While growers of almonds, one of the state's biggest and most lucrative crops, enjoy booming production and skyrocketing sales to China, the fish, it seems, might be left high and dry this summerand maybe even dead. <more> Aug. 21, 2014 NPR
  • Pesticides banned in hot months next year - - Kings County farmers and crop-dusters won't be able to apply certain pesticides next summer because of air quality issues, the state Department of Pesticide Regulation said in a written statement Thursday. The ban applies to Kings, Fresno, Tulare, Madera, Merced, San Joaquin and Stanislaus counties and parts of Kern County. Included in the May-to-October prohibition are products that contain abamectin, chlorpyrifos, gibberellins or oxyfluorfen. The pesticides are applied to alfalfa, almonds, citrus, cotton, grapes, pistachios and walnuts. The products release volatile organic compounds, an ingredient in air pollution. Regulators say that emissions of the compounds increased in 2013, triggering the May-October ban for 2015 and 2016. Aug. 21, 2014 Hanford Sentinel
  • Sept. 30 deadl ine for direct farm ownership loan program - - USDAs California Farm Service Agency (FSA) Executive Director Val Dolcini says farmers and ranchers still have time to apply for low interest 2014 loans available through FSAs di-rect farm ownership program. The deadline to submit applications is Sept. 30, 2014. Eligible producers can borrow up to $300,000 in direct farm ownership loans to buy or enlarge a farm, construct new farm buildings or improve structures, pay closing costs, or promote soil and water conservation and protection. The interest rate on select loans can be as low as 1.5 percent with up to 40 years to repay. FSA encourages all interested applicants to apply for direct farm ownership loans. For more information about the program and other loans administered by FSA, visit any FSA county office or www.fsa.usda.gov.

interestStories of Interest
 

  • Jack Hall, longtime political activist and governmental strategist, dies at 57 - - If anybody lived the American dream, it was Fresno's Jack Hall. He was born in Cork, Ireland, but his family sought a better life in California when he was just a year old. Mr. Hall ended up working in agriculture and retail before earning a college degree and finding his true calling in the rough-and-tumble world of government and politics. He headed former-Gov. Gray Davis' Central Valley office and was Rep. Jim Costa's first district director after Costa was elected to Congress in 2004. Most recently, Mr. Hall was director of government affairs at Comcast Cable. On Wednesday, Mr. Hall died after a short battle with cancer. He was 57. <more> Aug. 20, 2014 Fresno Bee
  • As Americans pig out, bacon sees sizzling price hikes - - The country's love affair with bacon is coming at an increasing cost. The price of the popular cured meat has risen at more than three times the rate of inflation since 2008, the most of any meat, according to government price trackers. Contributing to soaring bacon prices is California's three-year drought, which made feed for pigs more expensive. In addition, an unprecedented virus has killed about 7 million piglets since 2013, trimming the nation's pork supply by almost 12%, said John Green, director of marketing for the National Pork Board. <more> Aug. 22, 2014 LA Times

Meetings of Interest to CA Dairy Industry

  • Flat screen TV tops WUD golf tourney raffle prizes - - A flat screen television donated by WUD Board President Tom Barcellos is one of the top raffle prizes to be awarded at the 10th annual South Valley Fed-PAC Golf Tournament Monday, September 15 at the Visalia Country Club. All proceeds from the popular event will benefit Western United Dairymen's federal political action committee. The four-person scramble gets underway with a noon shotgun start. The day culminates with a dinner at which awards and prizes will be presented. The cost is $150 per player and includes green fees, golf cart, practice balls, lunch, tee prizes, refreshments and dinner. A registration form is available at www.WesternUnitedDairymen.com or by contacting Heidi Savage at hsavage@westernuniteddairymen.com or (209) 527-6453.
  • Win Michael Marsh's money at September 15 golf tourney - - Golfers will have an opportunity to win $100 when they go up against Western United Dairymen CEO Michael Marsh in a closest-to-the-hole competition at the 10th annual South Valley Fed-PAC Golf Tournament Monday, September 15, at the Visalia Country Club. Marshnoting the recent sharpening of his skills to the likes of pro golfers, Dustin Johnson and Jimmy Walkersaid that competitors may need to card a hole-in-one if they hope to pocket his cash.  All proceeds from the popular event will benefit Western United Dairymen's federal political action committee. The four-person scramble gets underway with a noon shotgun start. The day culminates with a dinner at which awards and prizes will be presented. The cost is $150 per player and includes green fees, golf cart, practice balls, lunch, tee prizes, refreshments and dinner. Registration flyers will be included with next weeks Weekly Update and made available for download at www.WesternUnitedDairymen.com. Anyone interested in playing or sponsoring may also contact Heidi Savage at (209) 614-5625 or email hsavage@westernuniteddairymen.com.
  • WUD to host Margin Protection Program workshops in August and September - - Western United Dairymen will host a series of informational workshops in August and September on the new Margin Protection Program, which is part of the 2014 Farm Bill signed into law earlier this year. There will be 12 workshops held throughout August and September throughout the WUD membership areas. The first workshop is set for Aug. 11 in Orland. The workshops are open to anyone interested: WUD members, nonmembers, their bankers and CPAs as well as allied industry members. <more> July 21, 2014 WUD news
  • Save the Dates! Western United Dairymen Annual Convention - March 18-20, 2015 at Tenaya Lodge in Yosemite
    For more information, visit: www.WUDconvention.com

Thursday, Aug. 21, 2014

Water News

  • WUDs Marsh talks about drought on Saturday radio show - - As California's lakes, reservoirs, rivers and aquifers evaporate, Michael Olsons Food Chain Radio show will take a look at Who should get what little water is left to get? This Saturday at 9 a.m. Pacific, Michael Olson's Food Chain Radio show hosts Michael Marsh, CEO of Western United Dairymen for a conversation about agricultures struggle to hydrate. Topics include a look at the severity of California's drought; how California farmers have been forced to the end of the publics water line; and to what extent can Golden State farmers continue to produce the nations food with so little water. Listen live or recorded on your radio, computer or mobile device at metrofarm.com Aug. 21, 2014 WUD news
  • Drought has state debating its unregulated pumping - - Three years of drought have Californians debating an end to the states status as one of the last in the West with a pump-as-you-please policy for the vital underground sources that provide up to 65 percent of the states water. Even with falling groundwater tables contributing to mandatory water restrictions for many cities, and forcing farmers and others to drill deeper and deeper wells, its been down to the wire as to whether California's competing water interests are ready to translate that talk into action. California's status as the country's biggest farm economy, with the water-thirsty Central Valley the most productive U.S. agricultural area, makes the issue of interest nationwide. Farmers use 80 percent of the states water. <more> Aug. 20, 2014 AP
     

State/Federal News and Politics

  • GMO food labeling initiative approved for Colorado ballot proposition - - A proposition seeking the labeling of foods containing genetically modified organisms will be on the November ballot, the Colorado Secretary of State said Wednesday. Signatures were verified for the ballot initiative Proposition 105 according to the group, meaning the question will go before voters in this year's elections. <more> Aug. 20, 2014 The Denver Post
  • Nestlé Moves Toward Humane Treatment of Animals at Its Suppliers - - Nestlé, one of the worlds largest food companies, is adopting animal welfare standards that will affect 7,300 of its suppliers around the globe, and their suppliers. The move is one of the broadest-reaching commitments to improving the quality of life for animals in the food system, and it is likely to have an impact on other companies that either share the same suppliers or compete with Nestlé. <more> Aug. 20, 2014 The New York Times
     

Pricing/Commodity News

  • U.S. Milk Output Gains Playing Catch-Up to the Competitions - - U.S. milk production is making a roaring comeback. July output posted a 3.9% year-over-year increasethe biggest jump since March 2012. "If history repeats itself, we are likely looking at between nine and 12 months of higher-than-trend year-over-year milk production increases," says Mary Ledman, dairy economist with the Daily Dairy Report and president of Keough Ledman and Associates, Libertyville, Ill. Julys sharp production increase has long been expected, given high world milk prices, falling feed prices, and improving dairy farm margins. In fact, other large exporters of dairy products have been showing strong output gains for months. <more> Aug. 21, 2014 Ag Web
  • Dairy herd continues to grow - - More proof that dairy farmers are hanging-on to their cows to take advantage of high milk prices and low feed costs. The National Ag Statistics Service reports dairy cow slaughter in July totaled 232,000 head, 19,000 less than went to slaughter in July of 2013. January-through-June dairy cow slaughter is 1.6 million head, 195,000 less than the same period a year ago. The nations dairy herd was at 9.27 million cows in July, 5,000 more than in June and 37,000 more than July of 2013. <more> Aug. 21, 2014 Brownfield Ag News
  • Corn, Soybean Yields Shoot Higher - - So far, estimates of corn yields from states on the closely watched Pro Farmer tour mostly have exceeded U.S. Agriculture Department estimates, adding further pressure to corn prices that have dropped 15% this year and are trading near four-year lows. Tour findings also indicate that much of the nation's soybean crop, also expected to reach a record this year, is in good health as it undergoes its main growth stage. Corn futures for September delivery, the front-month contract, fell three cents, or 0.8%, to $3.595 a bushel Wednesday on the Chicago Board of Trade. Prices are off 1.7% so far this week. <more> Aug. 20, 2014 The Wall Street Journal
  • Dairy Culls Up from June, Down from 2013 - - Commercial red meat productionfor the United States totaled 3.91 billion pounds in July, down 6 percent from the 4.16 billion pounds produced in July 2013, according to USDAs latest Livestock Slaughter report issued this afternoon. Beef production, at 2.09 billion pounds, was 9 percent below the previous year. Cattle slaughter totaled 2.60 million head, down 10 percent from July 2013. The average live weight was up 18 pounds from the previous year, at 1,320 pounds. Accumulated beef production was down 6 percent from last year, veal was down 11 percent. An estimated 232,000 dairy cows were slaughtered under Federal inspection in July, up 33,000 head from June but 19,000 below July 2013. Looking at the first seven months of 2014, USDA estimates that 1.62 million head made their way to hamburger heaven, 195,000 head less than the same period a year ago. Aug. 21, 2014 Dairy Business Update

Environmental News

  • New pesticide regulations set for valley - - Next year the California Department of Pesticide Regulation will likely not allow some pesticides that are high in VOCs to be used in the San Joaquin Valley non-attainment area between May and October. The specific areas affected include: the San Joaquin, Stanislaus, Merced, Madera, Fresno, Kings, and Tulare counties and the parts of Kern County. The restrictions are needed in order to comply with the Clean Air Act.  Statewide pesticides account for about 2 percent of all VOCs. <more> Aug. 21, 2014 Central Valley Business Times
  • California anaerobic digester project nears completion  - - Installation and construction are nearly complete on a California anaerobic digester that will process 55,000 gallons of solid and liquid dairy waste per day. The digester is scheduled to open Sept. 30, at Calgren Renewable Fuels, Pixley, Calif. The digester, built by Andgar of Ferndale, Wash., is the first California installation for DVO Inc., a Wisconsin-based company. The project is designed to hold approximately 1.4 million gallons of manure and organic waste from Four J Farm Dairy, a nearby dairy farm with approximately 2,000 head of cattle.  <more> Aug. 20, 2014 Dairy Herd Management
  • Sept. 30 deadl ine for direct farm ownership loan program - - USDAs California Farm Service Agency (FSA) Executive Director Val Dolcini says farmers and ranchers still have time to apply for low interest 2014 loans available through FSAs di-rect farm ownership program. The deadline to submit applications is Sept. 30, 2014. Eligible producers can borrow up to $300,000 in direct farm ownership loans to buy or enlarge a farm, construct new farm buildings or improve structures, pay closing costs, or promote soil and water conservation and protection. The interest rate on select loans can be as low as 1.5 percent with up to 40 years to repay. FSA encourages all interested applicants to apply for direct farm ownership loans. For more information about the program and other loans administered by FSA, visit any FSA county office or www.fsa.usda.gov.

interestStories of Interest
 

  • Study finds few differences in organic milk or health of dairy herds - - Theres no significant nutritional differences between organic and regular milk, or in the health of cows on the two types of dairy farms, according to new research by Oregon State University and other academics. Nearly 300 small dairy farms in Oregon, New York and Wisconsin participated in the study, funded by a $1 million grant from the National Institute of Food and Agriculture in the U.S. Department of Agriculture. <more> Aug. 21, 2014 Sustainable Life

Meetings of Interest to CA Dairy Industry

  • Win Michael Marsh's money at September 15 golf tourney - - Golfers will have an opportunity to win $100 when they go up against Western United Dairymen CEO Michael Marsh in a closest-to-the-hole competition at the 10th annual South Valley Fed-PAC Golf Tournament Monday, September 15, at the Visalia Country Club. Marshnoting the recent sharpening of his skills to the likes of pro golfers, Dustin Johnson and Jimmy Walkersaid that competitors may need to card a hole-in-one if they hope to pocket his cash.  All proceeds from the popular event will benefit Western United Dairymen's federal political action committee. The four-person scramble gets underway with a noon shotgun start. The day culminates with a dinner at which awards and prizes will be presented. The cost is $150 per player and includes green fees, golf cart, practice balls, lunch, tee prizes, refreshments and dinner. Registration flyers will be included with next weeks Weekly Update and made available for download at www.WesternUnitedDairymen.com. Anyone interested in playing or sponsoring may also contact Heidi Savage at (209) 614-5625 or email hsavage@westernuniteddairymen.com.
  • WUD to host Margin Protection Program workshops in August and September - - Western United Dairymen will host a series of informational workshops in August and September on the new Margin Protection Program, which is part of the 2014 Farm Bill signed into law earlier this year. There will be 12 workshops held throughout August and September throughout the WUD membership areas. The first workshop is set for Aug. 11 in Orland. The workshops are open to anyone interested: WUD members, nonmembers, their bankers and CPAs as well as allied industry members. <more> July 21, 2014 WUD news
  • Save the Dates! Western United Dairymen Annual Convention - March 18-20, 2015 at Tenaya Lodge in Yosemite
    For more information, visit: www.WUDconvention.com

 

 

Wednesday, Aug. 20, 2014

Pricing/Commodity News

  • Brown administration trying to rewrite state milk regulation - - Gov. Jerry Browns agriculture department is trying so far without success to gain traction in the Capitol for a major overhaul of California's regulation of milk prices. With scarcely a week remaining in the Legislatures session, those close to the closed-door negotiations say, writing something that could pass political muster is unlikely, given a long and bitter conflict between dairy farmers and processors over prices. <more> Aug. 20, 2014 Capitol Alert
  • Soybeans Decline as Rains Seen Boosting Bumper U.S. Crop - - Soybean futures fell in Chicago as a crop tour signaled larger yields in U.S. Midwest growing areas and rains this week are expected to boost the harvest. Corn and wheat rose. Analysts traveling on the Pro Farmer Midwest Crop Tour this week counted higher numbers of soybean pods in Ohio, Indiana and South Dakota than last year, according to samples from the first two days of a seven-state review. Northern and eastern parts of the Midwest may see as much as 3 inches (7.6 centimeters) of rain in the next seven days, with smaller amounts in central areas, National Weather Service data show. The U.S. is the largest grower of corn and soybeans. <more> Aug. 19, 2014 Bloomberg
  • Selling Milk to All Audiences, With a Unified Campaign - - The California Milk Processor Board, like many marketers, has one agency creating campaigns for the general market and another creating campaigns for ethnic audiences, in this instance Spanish-speaking consumers. Now, in a shift indicative of a movement on Madison Avenue known as cross-cultural marketing or a total market approach, the board asked its two agencies to collaborate on a campaign encouraging all Californians, regardless of ethnicity or the language they speak, to buy and drink more milk. The campaign is to begin on Wednesday with two television commercials, each with soundtracks in English and Spanish; plans call for the spots to be followed by radio ads, digital ads and social media content. <more> Aug. 19, 2014 The New York Times
     

Water News

  • Coming to Your Dinner Table: California's Drought - - California is suffering an epic drought. Its not the worst drought the state has ever had, but its certainly the worst drought the state has ever had while housing tens of millions of residents and containing a significant fraction of U.S. agricultural production. And theres some suggestion that this may be the new normal -- not just because of global warming, as youve probably already read, but also because Californias natural condition is extra dry. An expert interviewed by Tom Philpott of Mother Jones says that the 20th century, which saw Californias rise as an agricultural powerhouse, was an unusually wet period for the state. Merely reverting to "normal" would mean having about 15 percent less water -- and the state is still growing. <more> Aug. 19, 2014 Bloomberg Views
  • Environmentalist: State and feds, not farmers, illegally diverting water - - A Stockton environmentalist is fighting back against water users and government agencies who recently claimed Delta farmers might be illegally diverting water. Bill Jennings, head of the California Sportfishing Protection Alliance, filed a complaint alleging that its the state and federal water projects that are illegally diverting. Most of the water pumped out of the south Delta comes from the San Joaquin River, not the Sacramento River, Jennings argued. But the state Department of Water Resources doesnt store any water on the San Joaquin side, he said. <more> Aug. 20, 2014 Stockton Record
  • Fresno group in U.S. court over water usage in S.F. - - A Fresno nonprofit linked to the largest agricultural water district in the country filed a federal lawsuit alleging San Francisco and other Bay Area communities are unfairly exempted from water cutbacks meant to protect endangered species. The Center for Environmental Science, Accuracy and Reliability alleges that freshwater diversions from the Tuolumne River are jeopardizing endangered species of salmon, smelt and sturgeon by increasing the salinity of the San Joaquin River and Sacramento Delta, where the river water would naturally flow without upstream dams creating the Hetch Hetchy Reservoir. <more> Aug. 20, 2014 San Francisco Chronicle
     

State/Federal News and Politics

  • Increased Ag values mask California drought concerns - - Record-high agricultural values in some California counties are doing their best to mask the concerns farmers have over water. Three more of Californias 10-leading Ag-producing counties joined the chorus of most of the other top-10 counties in revealing record-high agricultural values for 2013. San Joaquin County has yet to release its report. In most cases, higher commodity prices in a number of crops are credited with bolstering Ag values. <more> Aug. 18, 2014 Western Farm Press
  • New interactive map highlights state ag contributions - - Agriculture is vital and every state plays a unique role in feeding, fueling and clothing our nation. Farm Policy Facts unveiled a new interactive map highlighting state-specific agriculture contributions across America. Facts at a glance include acreage, number of farms and farm receipts for each state, as well as a links to full reports featuring information top crops, typical farm size and more. The map was developed utilizing the newest USDA Ag Census data, with the assistance of National Crop Insurance Services (NCIS). To view the map, click here. Aug. 15, 2014 Farm Policy Facts

Environmental News

  • Sept. 30 deadl ine for direct farm ownership loan program - - USDAs California Farm Service Agency (FSA) Executive Director Val Dolcini says farmers and ranchers still have time to apply for low interest 2014 loans available through FSAs di-rect farm ownership program. The deadline to submit applications is Sept. 30, 2014. Eligible producers can borrow up to $300,000 in direct farm ownership loans to buy or enlarge a farm, construct new farm buildings or improve structures, pay closing costs, or promote soil and water conservation and protection. The interest rate on select loans can be as low as 1.5 percent with up to 40 years to repay. FSA encourages all interested applicants to apply for direct farm ownership loans. For more information about the program and other loans administered by FSA, visit any FSA county office or www.fsa.usda.gov.

interestStories of Interest
 



 
  • Shorter fruit trees bred to cut farm labor costs - - When it comes to growing peaches and nectarines, farmers are often encumbered by one of the most important tools of the trade: ladders. Setting-up and moving them to prune or harvest trees can consume half a workers day. Moreover, the contraptions are dangerous one of the reasons why peach and nectarine growers pay 40% more for workers' compensation insurance than grape growers. Now researchers at UC Davis are breeding a solution miniaturized stone fruit trees that produce the same yield as traditional trees but take the ladder out of the equation. <more> Aug. 19, 2014 LA Times
  • Poll: Those most likely to eat organic are young, rich or liberal - - You might be a jerk if you eat organic food, but youre also probably living in a city or out West. According to a Gallup poll, about half of all U.S. adults actively seek to add organic food to their diets, whereas 15 percent avoid it. The July poll of about 1,000 adults across the country found that Americans most likely to eat organic are in the West, live in a city, are 18 to 29 years old, vote Democrat or have an annual household income greater than $75,000. <more> Aug. 18, 2014 The Washington Post
     

Meetings of Interest to CA Dairy Industry

  • Win Michael Marsh's money at September 15 golf tourney - - Golfers will have an opportunity to win $100 when they go up against Western United Dairymen CEO Michael Marsh in a closest-to-the-hole competition at the 10th annual South Valley Fed-PAC Golf Tournament Monday, September 15, at the Visalia Country Club. Marshnoting the recent sharpening of his skills to the likes of pro golfers, Dustin Johnson and Jimmy Walkersaid that competitors may need to card a hole-in-one if they hope to pocket his cash.  All proceeds from the popular event will benefit Western United Dairymen's federal political action committee. The four-person scramble gets underway with a noon shotgun start. The day culminates with a dinner at which awards and prizes will be presented. The cost is $150 per player and includes green fees, golf cart, practice balls, lunch, tee prizes, refreshments and dinner. Registration flyers will be included with next weeks Weekly Update and made available for download at www.WesternUnitedDairymen.com. Anyone interested in playing or sponsoring may also contact Heidi Savage at (209) 614-5625 or email hsavage@westernuniteddairymen.com.
  • WUD to host Margin Protection Program workshops in August and September - - Western United Dairymen will host a series of informational workshops in August and September on the new Margin Protection Program, which is part of the 2014 Farm Bill signed into law earlier this year. There will be 12 workshops held throughout August and September throughout the WUD membership areas. The first workshop is set for Aug. 11 in Orland. The workshops are open to anyone interested: WUD members, nonmembers, their bankers and CPAs as well as allied industry members. <more> July 21, 2014 WUD news
  • Save the Dates! Western United Dairymen Annual Convention - March 18-20, 2015 at Tenaya Lodge in Yosemite
    For more information, visit: www.WUDconvention.com

 

 

Tuesday, Aug. 19, 2014

Water News

  • 'Severe' drought covers nearly 99.8% of California, report says - - Drought conditions may have leveled off across California, but nearly 100% of the state remains in the third-harshest category for dryness, according to the latest measurements. For the past two weeks, California's drought picture has remained the same, halting a steady march toward worse. But the breather has allowed the state to recover only ever so slightly. In May, 100% of California was experiencing "severe" drought -- the third harshest on a five-level scale -- but since things have leveled off, that figure has only improved to 99.8%, according to the U.S. Drought Monitor report. <more> Aug. 18, 2014 LA Times
  • UC Davis: California has given away rights to far more water than it has - - California has allocated five times more surface water than the state actually has, says a new report from the University of California, Davis, giving academic verification to what environmental groups and others have been saying for years. This over subscribing of water rights makes it hard for regulators to tell whose supplies should be cut during a drought, the University of California researchers report. The scientists say California's water-rights regulator, the State Water Resources Control Board, needs a systematic overhaul of policies and procedures to bridge the gaping disparity, but lacks the legislative authority and funding to do so. <more> Aug. 19, 2014 Central Valley Business Times
  • OID to consider irrigation water rate increases - - Water rate increases will be discussed and possibly approved Tuesday morning by the Oakdale Irrigation Districts board of directors. The proposed price increase would be the first in more than 30 years. If approved, OIDs irrigation rates would remain a bargain compared with what most California farmers pay for water. But the new rates would be significantly higher than what the districts 2,900 agricultural customers currently pay. The proposal is to charge farmers $27 per acre for service, plus $3.15 per acre-foot of water received. <more> Aug. 18, 2014 Modesto Bee
  • Gov. Brown says drought concerns helped build support for water bond - - An annual environmental summit at Lake Tahoe on Tuesday gave Gov. Jerry Brown an opportunity for a victory lap on the new plan for a California water bond, which was approved by the Legislature last week. "It's pretty extraordinary," he said while discussing the negotiations that led to near-unanimous, bipartisan approval of the $7.5-billion proposal, which will be placed on the November ballot. "You have to have people of different points of view see the common ground." Brown said the state's ongoing drought helped prod lawmakers into action as well. <more> Aug. 19, 2014 LA Times
  • Valley farmers finding ways to make water last - - With the Valley struggling through one of the worst droughts in California's history, Dennis McFarlin has been looking for new ways to get water for his 120-acres of farms between Orosi and Orange Cove. And the situation is more desperate because he and other farmers who normally depend on water from Millerton Lake delivered through the Friant-Kern Canal are getting practically no surface-water deliveries this summer. <more> Aug. 19, 2014 Visalia Times-Delta
     

State/Federal News and Politics

  • Kern County Ag values up 6% to over $6.76 billion - - As the last of Americas three-leading agricultural counties issued its final crop values for 2013 the numbers are astonishing.Kern County, Calif. released its final 2013 crop production numbers in mid-August and of the three counties Fresno, Kern and Tulare Kerns production increase was the most modest at about 6 percent to over $6.76 billion. While Fresno County was off 2.28 percent from its previous year value, neighboring Tulare County was up 25.7 percent to more than $7.8 billion because of record-high milk prices. Tulare County, Calif. produces more milk than most states. <more> Aug. 18, 2014 Western Farm Press
  • Farm workers, Monterey County forge historic accord - - In the first of its kind in the state, an accord has been hammered out between the Monterey County Agricultural Commissioner and a Salinas farm-worker advocacy group to form a panel that will jointly tackle issues such as worker safety and pesticide protection. The accord is important in both historical and future contexts. Historically, agricultural commissioners and farm-worker groups have not been exactly simpatico. But by striking this accord and forming a Farmworker Advisory Committee attached to the commissioners office, the hope is the future will see more collaboration than conflict. <more> Aug. 5, 2014 The Californian
  • Obama Weighing Business-Friendly Immigration Actions - - The White House is considering changes to immigration policy aimed at helping businesses, part of a broad review of procedures that also is likely to provide new protections for people now in the country illegally. President Barack Obama soon after Labor Day is expected to announce executive actions to refine deportation priorities and to potentially expand a program that gives safe harbor and work permits to qualifying illegal immigrants. But the White House also is reviewing actions on issues that are priorities for businesses, according to administration and other officials, an effort that has received less notice. <more> Aug. 18, 2014 The Wall Street Journal
     

Pricing/Commodity News

  • Robin Schmahl: Good Times for the U.S. Dairy Industry - - Both the cheese and butter spot markets have been very resilient, with price dips being short-lived. Demand has been strong and continues to be strong according to the amount of product being traded on the daily CME group spot market. Just last week alone, there were 59 loads of butter traded while price was able to rise 26 cents over the course of the week. Although not quite as many loads of cheese have been traded, activity has been steady with most weeks showing double-digit volumes traded. <more> Aug. 18, 2014 Dairy Today
  • 2015 milk prices now looking more like 2013, 2011 - - Like last weeks World Ag Supply & Demand Estimates report, USDAs Livestock, Dairy & Poultry Outlook report forecasts a building U.S. dairy herd and lower overall prices moving into 2015. For now, however, the dairy price train keeps rumbling along. Attractive feed and milk prices have provided an incentive for producers to raise milk production. Forecast milk cow numbers are unchanged from last months forecast, at 9.26 million head for 2014 and 9.34 million head next year. High replacement heifer prices and strong cull cow prices may have dampened the expansion. <more> Aug. 18, 2014 Dairy Herd Management
  • July Milk Output Increases 4% over Year-Earlier Levels - - The nations dairy cows made milk lots of it in July. Milk output in the nations 23 major dairy states rose 4% last month over July 2013 levels, reaching 16.4 billion pounds, according to USDAs Milk Production report released today. Only March and May saw higher monthly milk production volume this year. <more> Aug. 19, 2014 Dairy Today
  • Crop conditions hold steady, maturity varies in USDA report - - Expectations of a potentially record corn crop are bolstered by USDA's crop progress report, which said current conditions are better than last year's record harvest. Corn and soybeans are both in better condition than last year, the USDA National Agricultural Statistics Service (NASS) said in its weekly crop progress report released Monday afternoon. Nationwide, corn is pegged at 72 percent good-to-excellent, compared to 61 percent at the same time last year. <more> Aug. 18, 2014 Agri-Pulse
  • CWT Ships More Offshore - - Cooperatives Working Together (CWT) accepted 6 requests for export assistance today from Dairy Farmers of America and Northwest Dairy Association (Darigold) to sell 1.964 million pounds (891 metric tons) of Cheddar and Gouda cheese, to customers in Asia, Europe and the Middle East. The product will be delivered through January 2015 and raises CWTs 2014 cheese exports to 82.543 million pounds plus 48.051 million pounds of butter and 19.877 million pounds of whole milk powder to 43 countries on six continents. These sales are the equivalent of 2.054 billion pounds of milk on a milkfat basis. Aug. 19, 2014 Dairy Business Update
  • Greener Pastures Signaling Rebound in U.S. Beef Supplies - - Signs of a rebound in U.S. beef supplies are taking shape with the changing color of the pastures on Glen Copes 2,000-acre ranch in Aurora, Missouri. Pasture conditions in the U.S., the worlds largest beef producer, are mostly recovered from a 2012 drought that forced ranchers to shrink the domestic herd to a 63-year low. While it takes years to reverse a decline in animal supply, record-high beef prices and the increasing availability of cheap feed are providing incentives for some producers to begin expanding. <more> Aug. 19, 2014 Bloomberg
  • Russian demand to boost Brazil poultry, pork prices, limited beef impact - - Russia's decision since Aug. 6 to rapidly increase food imports from Brazil should lead to an increase in prices for Brazilian pork and poultry, but will have limited effect on the price per ton of Brazil's beef exports, according to local industry analysts. <more> Aug. 19, 2014 MeatingPlace
     

interestStories of Interest
 



 
  • Dick Hagerty: Goodbye cows, hello money trees - - Agriculture statistics recently released show that almonds have surged well past milk products as the No. 1 farm commodity for Stanislaus County. In 2012 these two commodities were in a virtual dead heat, with milk slightly ahead of almonds. In just one year, milk prices have risen and milk values improved quite nicely, but almond production surged nearly 50 percent to more than $1.1 billion in total (not counting the value of hulls and shells). Part of this was due to higher prices, but the greater part of the increase was new orchards coming into production. <more> Aug. 18, 2014 Modesto Bee
  • Demand For Almond Milk Is Soaring, But Is It Bad For The Planet? - - Over the past two years, almond milk has overtaken soy milk to become America's most popular plant-based milk alternative. Refrigerated almond milk today accounts for 4.1% of total milk sales in the United States, and according to Chicago-based market research firm Mintel, non-plant-based milk sales reached a staggering $2 billion in 2013. Much of this growth was led by almond milk, which has become a favorite treat among the Whole Foods and CSA set. <more> Aug. 18, 2014 KCET
  • Slaughterhouse owners indicted on charges of selling tainted beef - - The co-owners of a Petaluma, Calif., slaughterhouse behind a massive beef recall were indicted by a federal grand jury along with two of their employees on charges of knowingly distributing cattle with eye cancer and processing condemned carcasses. The indictment, which was dated last Thursday, names Rancho Feeding Corp.s co-owners, Jesse Amaral Jr. and Robert Singleton, and employees Eugene Corda and Felix Cabrera. <more> Aug. 18, 2014 LA Times
     

Meetings of Interest to CA Dairy Industry

  • Win Michael Marsh's money at September 15 golf tourney - - Golfers will have an opportunity to win $100 when they go up against Western United Dairymen CEO Michael Marsh in a closest-to-the-hole competition at the 10th annual South Valley Fed-PAC Golf Tournament Monday, September 15, at the Visalia Country Club. Marshnoting the recent sharpening of his skills to the likes of pro golfers, Dustin Johnson and Jimmy Walkersaid that competitors may need to card a hole-in-one if they hope to pocket his cash.  All proceeds from the popular event will benefit Western United Dairymen's federal political action committee. The four-person scramble gets underway with a noon shotgun start. The day culminates with a dinner at which awards and prizes will be presented. The cost is $150 per player and includes green fees, golf cart, practice balls, lunch, tee prizes, refreshments and dinner. Registration flyers will be included with next weeks Weekly Update and made available for download at www.WesternUnitedDairymen.com. Anyone interested in playing or sponsoring may also contact Heidi Savage at (209) 614-5625 or email hsavage@westernuniteddairymen.com.
  • WUD to host Margin Protection Program workshops in August and September - - Western United Dairymen will host a series of informational workshops in August and September on the new Margin Protection Program, which is part of the 2014 Farm Bill signed into law earlier this year. There will be 12 workshops held throughout August and September throughout the WUD membership areas. The first workshop is set for Aug. 11 in Orland. The workshops are open to anyone interested: WUD members, nonmembers, their bankers and CPAs as well as allied industry members. <more> July 21, 2014 WUD news
  • Save the Dates! Western United Dairymen Annual Convention - March 18-20, 2015 at Tenaya Lodge in Yosemite
    For more information, visit: www.WUDconvention.com

     

 

Monday, Aug. 18, 2014

Pricing/Commodity News

  • Robust discussion over proposed pricing legislation - - The discussion was robust at Wednesdays joint Dairy Future Task Force/Dairy Advisory Committee meeting in Sacramento. The meeting aired many thoughts and concerns regarding a legislative proposal drafted by Secretary Karen Ross to change the manner in which milk is priced and pooled in California. Deputy Secretary Jim Houston noted that the Secretary had received proposed language changes to her draft from Western United Dairymen and the Dairy Institute of California. WUDs proposed changes were designed with legal counsel to better protect dairy producers should the legislation move forward. <more> Aug. 15, 2014 WUD Friday Update
  • U.S. Farmers Are Up to Their Ears in Corn - - "We're going to drown in corn this year." The assessment, from Jeff Brown, 45 years old, a fifth-generation farmer outside Decatur, Ill., sums up the view of most people who grow, trade or process corn as they brace for another record U.S. harvest. Months of wet weather have fueled expectations for a corn crop so large that mounds of the grain will be a common sight across the Midwest after the harvest, which starts next month. The U.S. Agriculture Department projected last week that production will exceed 14 billion bushels, topping last year's historic harvest. <more> Aug. 17, 2014 The Wall Street Journal
     

Water News

  • Water agencies: Delta farmers may be taking water meant for other regions - - In what is believed to be a first, the California Department of Water Resources and U.S. Bureau of Reclamation are asking the state board that oversees water rights to investigate water diversion practices by farmers in the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta. The two powerful water agencies say they suspect farmers are taking water released from upstream dams and intended for consumers in other regions of the state. <more> Aug. 18, 2014 The Sacramento Bee
  • Wests historic drought stokes fears of water crisis - - When the winter rains failed to arrive in this Sacramento Valley town for the third straight year, farmers tightened their belts and looked to the reservoirs in the nearby hills to keep them in water through the growing season. When those faltered, some switched on their well pumps, drawing up thousands of gallons from underground aquifers to prevent their walnut trees and alfalfa crops from drying up. Until the wells, too, began to fail. Now, across Californias vital agricultural belt, nervousness over the states epic drought has given way to alarm. <more> Aug. 17, 2014 The Washington Post
  • Governors tunnels may be closer than thought - - It was an old-fashioned meeting where a lawmaker meets with constituents. In this case, its the Congressman, dressed informally, along with two of his staff members, sitting down on the back deck of Chitivas Stockton waterfront restaurant to get input from a small group of Delta folks and find ways to promote recreation in the Delta. That was the agenda. But Rep. Jerry McNerney, D-Stockton, soon found that anger over the governors crusade to build massive water tunnels to siphon off fresh water from the Delta was the overriding concern. <more> Aug. 17, 2014 Central Valley Business Times
  • California farm groups high-five $7.5B water bond - -The $7.5 billion California water fund law inked by Governor Jerry Brown late Wednesday (Aug. 13) has garnered high fives from several Golden State agricultural associations. Gov. Brown signed Assembly Bill 1471 into law which will now appear as Proposition 1 on the California ballot. Then, its up to voters to deliver thumbs up or down on the proposal on Nov. 4, General Election Day. Bond funds would increase water storage in a state minus adequate storage capacity, dried out after three consecutive years of droughty weather, and political handcuffs which had until now staved off turning political promises into action. <more> Aug. 14, 2014 Western Farm Press
  • Water bond deal gets chorus of kudos - - Good luck trying to find somebody in Kings County willing to denounce Wednesdays $7.5 billion water bond deal. The compromise package, which sailed through the Assembly 77-2 and the Senate 37-0 after months of negotiations, won broad support among farmers, water experts and water lobbyists as a third-year of California drought tightened its grip. Sen. Andy Vidak, R-Hanford, and Assemblyman Rudy Salas, D-Bakersfield, vote