California Dairy Industry Headline News

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, voted yes. <more> Aug. 15, 2014 The Hanford Sentinel

State/Federal News and Politics

  • Immigration crisis at border afflicts heartland harvest - - Over 20,000 U.S. farms employ more than 435,000 immigrant workers legally every year, according to 2012 U.S. Department of Agriculture census data. Thousands _ probably tens of thousands _ more are employed illegally. Naturally, agricultural powerhouses near the border, such as Florida and California, employ tens of thousands of seasonal immigrant laborers every year. Immigrant workers who slipped over the borders years ago are aging out of the workforce, and their younger, more able-bodied counterparts are being kept from the fields because of the bureaucratic clutter. But the crops and the growing season dont wait. Were losing that aging population, but were also not getting anybody replacing them because of the mess we have at the border and no immigration law, said Manuel Cunha Jr., the president of Californias Nisei Farmers League, which represents over 180 types of farms, including those that produce raisins, vegetables and flowers. <more> Aug. 17, 2014 McClatchy Newspapers
  • More Latinos on Farms Move From Fields to Office - - Farming businesses in the United States are still dominated by whites, but Mr. Flores (whose last name means flowers in English) is one of a growing number of Latinos who own or operate farms in the country. While the overall number of farms in the United States decreased by 4 percent from 2007 to 2012, during the same period the number of farms run by Hispanics increased by 21 percent to 67,000 from 55,570, according to data released in May from the governments 2012 census of agriculture. The numbers signaled a small but consistent pattern of growth in agribusiness among Latinos, many of whom have gone from working in the fields to sitting in the head offices. <more> Aug. 16, 2014 The New York Times
  • PETA video relied on fear-mongering tactics - - The PETA (People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals) video taken at a small Haywood County dairy farm and released last week is the latest prop being used to advance the animal rights organizations agenda. It is an agenda that is pretty clear and prominently displayed on the organization website: Animals are not ours to eat, wear, experiment on, use for entertainment, or abuse in any other way. While it is to be expected that promotional events and materials would illustrate points that underscore its mission, it shouldnt be expected that misinformation would be widely circulated. That appears to be the case with the dairy video released by the organization last week. <more> Aug. 17, 2014 The Mountaineer
  • Russian dairy import ban: A matter of displacement - - The U.S. dairy industry won't see much direct impact from Russia's recent ban on agricultural products. According to the International Dairy Foods Association (IDFA), U.S. dairy exports have been shut out of the Russian market since September 2010, due to failed attempts by the two countries to reach an agreement on a dairy certificate and a list of approved facilities. However, displacement effects may well be significant, according to the National Milk Producers Federation (NMPF). <more> Aug. 15, 2014 Dairy Herd Management
  • Food additives on the rise as FDA scrutiny wanes - - The explosion of new food additives coupled with an easing of oversight requirements is allowing manufacturers to avoid the scrutiny of the Food and Drug Administration, which is responsible for ensuring the safety of chemicals streaming into the food supply. And in hundreds of cases, the FDA doesnt even know of the existence of new additives, which can include chemical preservatives, flavorings and thickening agents, records and interviews show. <more> Aug. 17, 2014 The Washington Post
     

Environmental News

  • Fish and Game Commission declines to list tri-colored blackbirds - - The California Fish and Game Commission recently considered an emergency listing of the tricolored blackbird as a threatened or endangered species in response to a statewide survey showing its population has plummeted 44% since 2011. However, at its meeting held in San Diego, the Commission took no action after listening to statements supporting and opposing the listing. Western United Dairymens Director of Environmental Services Paul Sousa told the commissioners that there was no need for an emergency listing as the harvest season is past and the birds were in no immediate danger. <more> Aug. 15, 2014 WUD Friday Update
  • Power Companies Forced to Buy Organic Dairy Farm - - Power companies building a large power transmission line in Minnesota are being forced to buy an entire 138-acre organic dairy farm, despite the fact the only one tower rests on less than an acre of the farm. The farm could be valued at $1.4 million. <more> Aug. 16, 2014 Dairy Today

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  • 'Local and organic has a jumble of meanings to consumers - - Recent research among consumers in Canada and the U.S. helped identify perceptions about the terms "local" and "organic." An online survey of 2,511 consumers revealed communications challenges and opportunities. <more> Aug. 13, 2014 Dairy Herd Management
  • USDA study places cost of raising a child at nearly $250,000 - - Today, the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) released its annual report, Expenditures on Children and Families, also known as the Cost of Raising a Child. The report shows that a middle-income family with a child born in 2013 can expect to spend about $245,340 ($304,480 adjusted for projected inflation*) for food, housing, childcare and education, and other child-rearing expenses up to age 18. Costs associated with pregnancy or expenses occurred after age 18, such as higher education, are not included. <more> Aug. 18, 2014 USDA press release
     

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 Conventi

 

Friday, Aug. 15, 2014


Water News

  • California water bond signals historic compromise - - The $7.5 billion water package brokered by Gov. Jerry Brown and legislative leaders signals a rare bipartisan agreement on a thorny, politically divisive issue that has bedeviled California governors and lawmakers for decades. To get sign-off from the dizzying array of interests, Brown hunkered down with lawmakers from both parties behind closed doors for the past few weeks, eventually giving Republicans more of the funding for reservoirs and water storage they have long sought. <more> Aug. 14, 2014 AP
  • Crippling California drought levels off, latest map shows - - After months of worsening drought across California, conditions appear to have leveled off, at least for now. According to the latest assessment released Thursday, more than 80% of California continues to suffer extreme drought conditions -- a figure that has remained unchanged now for roughly two weeks. Things had been on a steady march toward worse, pushing more than half of California to the most severe level of drought for the first time since the federal government began issuing regular drought reports in the late 1990s. <more> Aug. 14, 2014 LA Times
  • Well owners may be required to reveal how much they're pumping - - Stanislaus County officials are considering rewriting the county's groundwater ordinance to require that all well owners reveal how much they're pumping and how far their wells water levels have fallen. Periodic groundwater extraction statements are being proposed for everyone who pumps water from Stanislaus aquifers, County Counsel Jack Doering told the Water Advisory Committee on Wednesday night. <more> Aug. 14, 2014 Modesto Bee
  • Farm groups cheer California water bond proposal - - California farm groups are pleased with the $7.5 billion water bond measure crafted by Gov. Jerry Brown and state lawmakers, which would include $2.7 billion for storage. Groups such as the California Farm Bureau Federation insisted that whatever new bond measure was negotiated this year maintain the $3 billion for dams and reservoirs included in the original $11.1 billion bond passed by the Legislature in 2009. But as the measure was being scaled back to make it more palatable to voters, most agriculture advocates believed they got the best proposal they could hope for. <more> Aug. 15, 2014 Capital Press
  • 2 lawmakers vote no on California water bond - - While California lawmakers were nearly unanimous in their approval of a $7.5 billion water spending plan to go before voters in November, two lawmakers cast votes against it Wednesday night. Republican Assemblyman Tim Donnelly of Twin Peaks, a former gubernatorial candidate, said the plan did not include enough money for reservoirs and water storage, although Gov. Jerry Brown and legislative Democrats agreed to boost it to $2.7 billion to appease Republican lawmakers, who originally sought $3 billion. He also objected to its bond financing, which he said will saddle the state with billions in debt. <more> Aug. 15, 2014 Capital Press
     

State/Federal News and Politics

  • Russia Had Already Shut Out U.S. Dairy - - Russia announced last week a ban on agricultural imports from the United States, Canada, the European Union, Australia and Norway. The ban, effective August 7, is set to run for at least one year and is in direct response to the economic sanctions placed on Russia by these countries. The U.S. Department of Agricultures Foreign Agricultural Service (FAS) released a report with the unofficial translation of the decree, which includes the products affected by the ban. The International Dairy Foods Associations website points out that although dairy is on the list, U.S. dairy exports have been shut out of the Russian market since September 2010 due to failed attempts by the two countries to reach an agreement on a dairy certificate and a list of approved facilities. For more information, contact Beth Hughes, IDFA director of international affairs, at bhughes@idfa.org. Aug. 15, 2014 Dairy Business

Pricing/Commodity News

  • Butter jumps 16 cents - - The butter market taking a big jump on Thursday on reports of limited bulk butter available in the Central U.S. Demand is strong in both retail and food service and most manufacturers say they are in a butterfat-deficit situation. Some butter makers are still selling cream to ice cream and cream cheese makers. Maintenance projects at some butter-making facilities in the Northeast have reduced production in the region. Reports are butter is selling for up to 6 cents over the CME price. <more> Aug. 14, 2014 Brownfield Ag News

Environmental News

  • Modestos Crystal Creamery steps up environmental efforts - - Crystal Creamery served mint chip ice cream, fittingly enough, at a gathering that celebrated its efforts to go green. The company, formerly known as Foster Farms Dairy, has sharply reduced its solid waste output and is conserving water and energy. It has been certified by the Stanislaus Green Team, a program of the Modesto Chamber of Commerce that shows how caring for the planet can go hand in hand with profit. The honor was presented this week at the headquarters plant on Kansas Avenue, where about 350 of Crystals 865 employees work. <more> Aug. 15, 2014 The Modesto Bee
  • Ranch owners to pay $1.1 million for destroying vernal pools - - Ranch owners here who were accused of destroying wetlands on their property have agreed to pay $1.1 million in a legal settlement with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. Anchordoguy and Co., which owns and operates the 1,036-acre Anchordoguy Ranch south of here, will pay $795,000 for wetlands preservation and $300,000 in penalties for allegedly destroying 80 acres of vernal pool wetlands and damaging two acres of a creek that crosses the ranch, according to an EPA news release. Between 2008 and 2010, the ranchers deep-ripped 872 acres of the ranch to make room for orchards without obtaining a needed Clean Water Act permit from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, the EPA asserts. <more> Aug. 15, 2014 Capital Press

interestStories of Interest
 



 
  • Save the World: Buy This Weird Milk in a Box - - Yet theres one kind of milk thats almost never mentioned in the United Stateseven though its the most popular type in many parts of Europe and South America, has a smaller environmental impact, a longer shelf life, and a similar taste and nutritional profile to regular cows milk. UHT milknamed after the ultra-high temperature process by which its treated, and sometimes called shelf-stable or aseptic milkis briefly heated to about 275 degrees Fahrenheit and packed into sterile containers in which it can stay fresh, without refrigeration, for as long as six months. <more> Aug. 14, 2014 Washington New Republic
  • Pigs, Cows, and Votes? - - For candidates in the Midwest, almost nothing tops a photo opportunity with a barnyard animal or a colorful anecdote about life on the farm. Take Mary Burke, a former business executive running as a Democrat for governor in Wisconsin, who recently paused to check out the cows at a county fair. Or Illinois venture capitalist Bruce Rauner, who talks about his dairy farmer grandfather as a role model in his Republican bid for governor. And then there is Iowa U.S. Senate candidate Joni Ernst, who gained national attention with an ad touting her hog castration skills. <more> Aug. 15, 2014 AP
  • CaliforniaAgNews launches online streaming service - - California agricultural radio news is now available for the first time ever online, 24/7. CaliforniaAgNews 24/7 has announced it is now streaming online at CALIFORNIA AG NEWS 24/7 | FARMERS NEWS NETWORK. CaliforniaAgNews 24/7 includes the latest reports broadcasted on the CaliforniaAgToday Radionetwork, plus extensive in-depth interviews and reports presented to users in a state-of-the art, multi-platform format. CaliforniaAgNews 24/7 uniquely covers the states $45 billion dollar agricultural industry, noted Ag News Director Patrick Cavanaugh, a thirty-year-veteran agricultural news reporter, often breaking stories. In California, a major disconnect exists between the urban consumer and the farming community. CaliforniaAgNews 24/7 bridges the gap between the field and the fork; connecting the public to the land, resources, science & technology, politics & policies of California's safe and local food, fiber, and fuel, noted Cavanaugh.
     

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

     

 

Thursday, Aug. 14, 2014


Water News

  • State lawmakers approve ballot measure for $7.5 billion water bond - - California lawmakers approved a ballot measure for a $7.5 billion water bond Wednesday evening, following an eleventh-hour scramble to secure bipartisan support by increasing funding for new reservoirs. Soon after lawmakers wrapped up, Brown signed AB 1471 by Assemblyman Anthony Rendon (D-Lakewood), one of two identical measures they had approved. It had passed the Assembly on a 77-2 vote and won unanimous approval in the Senate. We hit the sweet spot when it comes to a balance between the various water needs of California -- between storage, groundwater, clean drinking water and the whole host of other investments that are in this bond, said Senate President Pro Tem Darrell Steinberg (D-Sacramento) in an interview before the vote. <more> Aug. 13, 2014 LA Times
  • Environmentalists blast new water bond - - The water bond that will be on the November ballot in California is a poster-child of pork barrel politics, a rejection of 21st Century solutions and a return to the failures of the dam building era, says a critique of the bonds fine print by the California Sportfishing Protection Alliance. The $7.5 billion bond pushed by the governor represents an enormous underground subsidy for the governors massive water tunnels that would suck fresh water out of the Sacramento River before it could flow into the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta, the group says. <more> Aug. 14, 2014 Central Valley Business Times
  • California will vote on multi-billion dollar water bond - - Voters in California will pass judgement on a massive $7.2 billion water bond package aimed at addressing a record drought after interest groups came to a last-minute agreement this week. Gov. Jerry Brown (D) on Tuesday unveiled a compromise plan that earned support from interest groups ranging from conservationists to the Chamber of Commerce and agricultural businesses. Late Wednesday, legislators passed the plan by the required two-thirds vote after scrambling to meet a legal deadline for this years election. The final amount the plan would spend is more than Browns initial $6 billion proposal, but far less than the $11 billion measure the legislature pushed. <more> Aug. 14, 2014 The Washington Post
  • California water spending plan at a glance <click here> Aug. 13, 2014 AP
  • Merced Irrigation District urges farmers to use water allocations before season ends - - Officials with the Merced Irrigation District are urging growers to use all their water allocations by Sept. 15. The irrigation season will end when Lake McClures level drops to 85,000 acre-feet of water. 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. 14, 2014 Merced Sun-Star

State/Federal News and Politics

  • California Antibiotics Bill Closer to Becoming Law - - On Monday, the California Assembly passed Senate Bill 835 to ban the use of antibiotics for growth promotion and require a veterinarian prescription for a livestock antibiotic. The Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC) and other public interest groups such as the Consumers Union, Environmental Working Group and Sierra Club California opposed the measure because they say it is unlikely to actually reduce antibiotic use in livestock. <more> Aug. 14, 2014 Food Safety News
  • Industry Rep Questions the Resources Devoted to Antibiotic Resistance Research, Prevention - - When it comes to fighting antibiotic resistance, Richard Carnevale of the Animal Health Institute, which represents the veterinary pharmaceutical industry, wonders, Are we putting more resources into this than need be? AHIs Vice President of Regulatory, Scientific and International Affairs had not intended to offer public comment Wednesday during the National Antimicrobial Resistance Monitoring System (NARMS) Scientific Meeting, but he changed his mind because he felt the need to address criticisms leveled at the Food and Drug Administrations Guidance for Industry #213, which aims to ban the use of antibiotics to promote growth in food animals. <more> Aug. 14, 2014 Food Safety News
  • Democrats to White House: Immigration's your call - - Senate Democratic leaders are grappling with how far to push President Barack Obama on immigration before the crucial midterm elections. For all the insistence that Obama take bold action and despite a furious push from immigration activists theres palpable fear that Obama could cause trouble for the Senates most vulnerable Democrats if he decides to circumvent Congress before the elections to make immigration changes through executive action. <more> Aug. 14, 2014 Politico
  • Russians already hurt by Western food import ban - - Russians are already paying a price literally for the ban on food imports from Europe and the United States that Russia imposed last week to retaliate for American and European economic sanctions. Suppliers and consumers are facing shortages and price hikes on staples such as fish and fruit, as well as gourmet items such as Italian Parmesan and French Brie cheese. Suppliers have raised prices for some fish by 20-36%, one of Russia's biggest retailers, X5 Retail Group, complained to Russia's government, the Kommersant business daily reported on Wednesday. <more> Aug. 13, 2014 USA Today
  • Mass. regulators say flavored milk can stay in public schools - - Got (flavored) milk? State regulators created an uproar when they considered banning chocolate, strawberry, and other varieties of sweetened milk from schoolhouses three years ago as a way to help shrink the bulging waistlines of children. They delayed that action, and now flavored milk will continue to be sold in Massachusetts public schools under proposed nutrition rules unveiled Wednesday. <more> Aug. 13, 2014 The Boston Globe
  • Lack of land slows work on California bullet train project - - The Hollywood Inn, a shuttered nightclub in a run-down section of Fresno, has been demolished. A few miles away, an 80-foot-deep shaft to test soil conditions has been sunk into the banks of the Fresno River. Officials say such activities, along with recent legal victories and new long-term state funding, show genuine progress on the $68-billion high-speed-rail project that would link the state's major cities with 220-mph train service. But the state has yet to start full-blown, sustained construction of permanent structures including bridges, tracks and train stations at least partly because it lacks most of the Central Valley land needed for an initial 29-mile segment that will pass through Fresno. <more> Aug. 13, 2014 LA Times

Pricing/Commodity News

  • Decision on Calif. milk pricing to come swiftly - - California Department of Food and Agriculture Secretary Karen Ross announced Wednesday she will make a decision on a significant change in the states pricing of Class 4b milk within 48 hours. Ross has proposed bringing the regulated minimum price for Class 4b milk going into cheese vats more in line with Class III pricing in federal orders, a move California dairymen have sought for several years. She will also decide whether to allow that milk to be marketed outside the pool, which will exempt it from the states regulated minimum prices. <more> Aug. 14, 2014 Capital Press
  • High beef prices help dairies - - Local dairies are benefiting from high milk prices, but theres another factor helping them prop up the bottom line: Record-high beef prices. The cost of hamburger meat has soared because the supply of cattle has fallen to its lowest point in 40 years. As dairy owners send unproductive cows to slaughter, they are getting a boost. Its a benefit, said Dino Giacomazzi, a Hanford dairy operator. Those high beef prices, I would say, have helped support a lot of dairies during struggles with milk prices. <more> Aug. 13, 2014 Hanford Sentinel
  • Exports Account for a Growing Share of U.S. Milk Disappearance - - U.S. commercial exports of dairy products have grown since 1995, accounting for an increasing share of the total commercial disappearance of U.S milk production. On a milk-equivalent skim-solids basis (a method of adding up quantities of diverse milk products based on their skim-solids content), U.S. commercial exports grew on average 11.8% per year between 1995 and 2013, with their share of total commercial disappearance rising from 3.4% in 1995 to 18.7 percent in 2013. <more> Aug. 14, 2014 Dairy Today
     

Environmental News

  • EPA settles case over destruction of Central Valley wetlands - - The owners of the Anchordoguy ranch in Tehama County have agreed to pay $795,000 to the federal government for wetlands preservation and $300,000 in penalties for violations of the Clean Water Act that destroyed more than 80 acres of rare vernal pool wetlands and streams, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and the U.S. Department of Justice say Thursday. <more> Aug. 14, 2014 Central Valley Business Times
  • Farmers wary of state regulating groundwater - - The state of California uses more groundwater than any other state in the union, but it's also the only state in the West that doesn't have any regulations to make sure wells don't run dry. Agricultural leaders in Kern County is doing their best to produce crops during another year of drought. At this point, farmers have given up on El Niño bringing through any rain, forcing them to rely even more on groundwater. "We're panicked," said Beatris Sanders of the Kern County Farm Bureau. "It's incredibly vital. We can't live without it. We can't farm without it. We can't produce food." <more> Aug. 13, 2014 KBAK 29 Bakersfield
     

interestStories of Interest
 



 
  • Maddox reflects on dairy leadership tenure - - Stephen D. Maddox Sr., is a third-generation California dairy farmer with a pedigree ranking him and his dairy operation as one of the best of the best. An unselfish leader, Maddox, of Riverdale, Calif., has dedicated many years of his life to serving the dairy industry he loves, while building a strong family business. When DMI went looking for industry ideas to address fluid milk challenges, proposals were disappointing, continuing the cheaper-is-better mindset. Some were going back to cardboard, gabled cartons, he said. As my son likes to say, we want to progress, not regress. The reason they gave was they thought they could pick up market share from the competitor. Well, the NDB doesnt want to cannibalize other sales. We want to grow sales. Obviously, we didnt partner up with the people who were going in that direction. <more> Aug. 14, 2014 Dairy Herd Management
  • It's Greek to them: A Whole Foods yogurt conspiracy? - - MAYBE IT was just an innocent mistake in the food-testing lab. Or maybe it's a big, fat Greek yogurt conspiracy designed to give the health-conscious grocer Whole Foods the edge in an ultracompetitive market. Don't worry, though. This is nothing that a couple of class-action lawsuits can't fix. Yesterday, the lawyers who made headlines for suing Subway over the length of its so-called footlong sandwiches filed a lawsuit in Philadelphia Common Pleas Court claiming that Whole Foods is selling Greek yogurt with nearly six times the sugar listed on the label. <more> Aug. 13, 2014 Philly.com
  • Pity the Potato: The Humble Spud Falls From Grace in the U.S. - - The potato has had a great run for most of the past five centuries. But these days, the humble spud has fallen on hard times. A darling of American dinner tables since before the nation's founding, potatoes have lost favor in the U.S. for the past two decades. Consumers have shunned the starchy side dish in a race away from carbohydrates and toward greater convenience, two factors driving broad changes in how Americans eat. <more> Aug. 12, 2014 The Wall Street Journal

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

     
Dairy Families: Making a Difference Today for Tomorrow's Generations
       
 
 
 

 

Wednesday, Aug. 13, 2014


Water News

  • Water bond grows, but does it have the votes? - - Late night negotiations Tuesday added hundreds of millions of dollars to Gov. Jerry Brown's latest water bond proposal, but it remained unclear Wednesday morning whether the new offer would earn sufficient Republican support to pass the Legislature. According to legislative sources who were not authorized to speak publicly, Brown and Democratic leaders have agreed to bump up the proposed borrowing for water projects to $7.545 billion-- $350 million more than the governor accepted earlier this week. <more> Aug. 13, 2014 LA Times
  • Clock ticks as water bond waits - - The governor and water exporters are scrambling Wednesday, trying to find enough votes to get a new water bond through the Legislature by a midnight deadline. It would replace an $11.1 billion water bond proposal that's already on the ballot, but which is seen as too large to earn voter approval. But a compromise $7.195 billion bond proposal being pushed by the governor and leaders in the Legislature still may lack the needed two-thirds majority to reach the ballot. <more> Aug. 13, 2014 Central Valley Business Times
  • Delta farmers accused of 'unlawful' water diversions - - Delta farmers have quietly sipped from rivers and sloughs for generations, but they face increasing pressure this drought year from outside interests who argue those water diversions are - or may be - illegal. State and federal officials late last month asked regulators to use their emergency powers to demand information from more than 1,000 of those farmers as to how much water they're using. And the massive Westlands Water District, which relies heavily on water exported from the Delta to the west side of the San Joaquin Valley, argued in a letter last week that "unlawful" Delta diversions are adding "yet another crushing layer of stress" on the farms and communities most harmed by the drought. <more> Aug. 13, 2014 Stockton Record

State/Federal News and Politics

  • On Immigration, G.O.P. Starts to Embrace Tea Party - - For the Obama administration, which is considering carrying out broad immigration policy changes by executive decree, the end of the legislative session was potent evidence that Congress could not be a partner on the pressing, delicate policy decisions to come. A legislative year in which Speaker John A. Boehner of Ohio set out to publicly marginalize the more vocal right-wing members of his conference ended with them emboldened, and with new leaders ready to bring the right back into the fold. <more> Aug. 12, 2014 The New York Times
  • How low can they go? Dislike of Congress intensifies - - Americans' dismal evaluations of Congress continue, with only 13 percent approving and 83 percent disapproving of the job it is doing, according to new polling by Gallup Inc. That approval rating is just four percentage points above the all-time low of 9 percent measured last November. But it gets worse for Congress. This month, Gallup followed up its standard congressional job approval question by asking Americans whether they hold that opinion strongly or only moderately. A majority, 55 percent, say they strongly disapprove of Congress, while a miniscule 2 percent strongly approve. <more> Aug. 12, 2014 Central Valley Business Times
  • Tulare County tops in U.S. agriculture - - For years, Tulare County consistently held the No. 2 spot among the top agricultural counties in the United States based on sales farm goods and livestock. Then it was announced last year that Kern County had outdone Tulare County in sales in 2012, so Tulare County was bumped to third behind Fresno and Kern counties, respectively. On Tuesday, it was Tulare Countys turn to do the bumping after Kern County issued its 2013 crop report, revealing more than $6.7 billion in agricultural sales that year. <more> Aug. 12, 2014 Visalia Times-Delta
  • Stanislaus farm income hits record $3.66 billion - - Almonds routed milk from the top spot among Stanislaus County farm products last year, part of a record $3.66 billion in gross income reported Tuesday. The nuts brought an estimated $1.125 billion, up 53 percent from 2013, the first time any product has topped $1 billion, Agricultural Commissioner Milton OHaire said. Milk grossed a record $804.4 million but nonetheless lost the top ranking, which it had held since at least 1940. <more> Aug. 12, 2014 Modesto Bee
  • PETA makes at least two blunders in latest video - - If all news is good news, PETA again struck it big with a video showing less-than-ideal situations on a Hickory, N.C., farm. The news was then picked up by the Associated Press. But if some news is bad news for PETA, then maybe its that its latest video didnt target who they wanted to target, and may not be showing what they wanted to show. In recent videos showing poor conditions on dairy and other livestock farms, the formula has been consistent find a farm with bad conditions, link them to a regional or national name brand, and get everyone talking about it. Tuesdays video is one of the first animal cruelty videos that may have failed on both of the former counts, although there was again partial success in distribution. <more> Aug. 12, 2014 Dairy Herd Management
  • Harris Teeter denies PETA allegations about abuse at dairy - - Harris Teeter denied Tuesday that it uses milk from a small farm that People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals accused of animal cruelty, though PETA insisted its investigation shows the milk goes to Harris Teeter. The animal rights group released a video of what it says are cows forced to live in filthy, manure-soaked pools of their own waste. But Harris Teeter, a subsidiary of the Kroger Co., said it double-checked with its dairy supplier and doesnt receive any milk from the farm in question. <more> Aug. 12, 2014 Charlotte Observer

Pricing/Commodity News

  • Record Crops Predicted; Farmers Market Carefully - - Farmers will produce a record-breaking corn harvest this year, surpassing earlier expectations of the U.S. Department of Agriculture, which on Tuesday revised upward its estimate of this year's corn crop to 14 billion bushels to exceed last year's 13.9 billion bushel record. A bigger crop was expected as adequate rain and cool temperatures made for favorable growing conditions in the 18 states that produce 91 percent of the nation's corn. The abundant harvest has driven prices lower, prompting farmers to take more control of their grain marketing by building more on-farm storage, holding onto the crop and timing the sale to maximize profit. <more> Aug. 12, 2014 AP
  • Corn, soybean production estimates raised; more alfalfa, too - - USDA released its latest Crop Production report, Aug. 12, anticipating record-high corn and soybean production. And, while corn and soybeans will get most of the attention, dry alfalfa hay production is also projected higher. <more> Aug. 12, 2014 Dairy Herd Management
  • U.S. dairy farmers reap rewards from surging Asian demand - - Grain growers and cattle producers typically capture most of the limelight when it comes to discussions about contributions made to the American agricultural economy. But last year dairy farmers generated a record $6.7 billion in export revenues, which was more than corn, poultry, beef or pork exports for the same period. Indeed, only soybeans, wheat and tree nuts amassed larger export revenue receipts last year. Dairy product exports totaled less than $1 billion in 2000, so the growth rate in sector receipts has been an important driver of overall U.S. agribusiness health in recent years. <more> Aug. 12, 2014 Reuters
  • Deere Faces a Lean Harvest - - While it would have been unkind to wish for a drought or a swarm of locusts, Deere & Co. shareholders weren't exactly thrilled by Tuesday's "good news." The U.S. government's update on the size of major grain crops said corn production and yields would likely both break records in 2014. That will add to a glut that pushed the price per bushel to a four-year low last week. Despite higher volumes, lower prices will cut sharply into farm incomes. Less green in farmers' pockets means less devoted to Deere's green-and-yellow machines. <more> Aug. 12, 2014 The Wall Street Journal
  • Feed and Cull Cow Prices Spell Opportunity Now - - Dairy producers may be looking out to the early 2015 Class III Milk prices, which are down in the low $18 range and enjoying the current prices hovering around $21.00 per cwt. There isnt a lot to get excited about right now in the milk market. In fact, early 2015 prices have many negative scenarios built into them, and so that is why they are trading significantly lower than todays prices. <more> Aug. 11, 2014 Dairy Today

     

Environmental News

  • Dairies sue EPA to keep records private - - Several Washington dairies have filed a lawsuit seeking to prevent the federal government from disclosing their confidential business information to the public. The dispute arises from a broader controversy between the dairy farms, federal regulators and an environmentalist group. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency investigated the four farms Cow Palace, George DeRuyter and Son Dairy, Liberty Dairy and H&S Bosma Dairy in connection with possible groundwater contamination. <more> Aug. 12, 2014 Capital Press
  • Klamath salmon advocates ask more water for fish - - Interior Secretary Sally Jewell agreed to an impromptu meeting with salmon advocates demanding more water for salmon in Northern California's Klamath and Trinity rivers. After the Tuesday meeting in Redding, California, salmon advocate Regina Chichizola said Jewell agreed to send someone to assess the situation, but made no promises. <more> Aug. 12, 2014 AP
  • Kellogg joins campaign to fight climate change - - Cereal giant Kellogg is joining General Mills in promising industry-leading steps to reduce greenhouse gas emissions in its agricultural supply chains. Among other things, the maker of Corn Flakes and Keebler Cookies said it will for the first time establish targets to reduce Scope 3 greenhouse gas emissions, where most of the company's value chain climate pollution occurs, largely from agricultural production. Scope 1 and 2 cover direct emission sources, such as fuel used in company vehicles, while Scope 3 covers all indirect emissions due to an organization's activities, including emissions from both suppliers and customers. <more> Aug. 13, 2014 Agri-Pulse
     

interestStories of Interest
 



 
  • Veal Farmers Adopt More Humane Methods - - The 600 calves raised by Leland Glass in the south-central part of this state spend their days in pastures with trees for shade and ponds for wading. They nurse lazily alongside their mothers. The only way you could get more natural is if you take the fences out, Mr. Glass said. Mr. Glass raises calves for Strauss Brands, a third-generation Milwaukee livestock processor, producing veal that is sold at select Whole Foods stores and has appeared on menus in restaurants ranging from Macaroni Grill, the chain, to Mesa Grill, Bobby Flays outpost in Las Vegas. <more> Aug. 12, 2014 The New York Times
  • How California farms stack-up around the country - - Counting the ways farming in California differs from farming in the rest of the country might result in some surprises, especially for proud Californians. To begin with, farms in California are about 25 percent smaller on average than those in the rest of the country. The contrast between farming here and farming there is even more remarkable when you consider that the states smaller farms outpace those in the rest of the country by producing almost five times the dollar amount per acre. Of course, that means farmers in the Golden State receive more income than those elsewhere. <more> Aug. 13, 2014 Porterville Recorder
  • Record walnut harvest projected in state - - California walnut processors expect a record crop this fall, with a consensus estimate of 541,000 tons, about 10 percent more than last year's harvest. If accurate, the crop will also be much larger than the previous record of 504,000 tons harvested in 2010. <more> Aug. 14, 2014 Stockton Record
  • Raisin and olive production drops in California - - Theres a new wrinkle to Californias raisin industry and it might not be overly welcome: The harvest is expected to be well under last years. The California raisin-type variety grape forecast is for 1.95 million tons, down 13 percent from the 2013 final production, according to the latest objective measurement survey conducted by the National Agricultural Statistics Service. <more> Aug. 12, 2014 Central Valley Business 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

     

 

Tuesday, Aug. 12, 2014


Pricing/Commodity News

  • Secretary Ross to propose pricing legislation - - At the request of CDFA Secretary Karen Ross, producer and processor representatives were invited to a meeting recently with Deputy Secretary Jim Houston. The meetings purpose was to review and discuss draft milk pricing legislation the Secretary would like to introduce and pass through the Legislature before lawmakers recess on August 31. The proposal appears to incorporate parts of different efforts offered by producers and processors in joint meetings of the Dairy Future Task Force and the Dairy Advisory Committee earlier this year. The proposal would index California Class 4a and 4b regulated minimum prices to announced federal Class III and IV prices. The proposal would also allow for manufacturing milk processors to enter into agreements to purchase milk outside of the pool. <more> Aug. 8, 2014 WUD Friday Update
  • 2014 milk production estimate raised slightly - - World Agricultural Supply and Demand Estimates on Tuesday raised the 2014 milk production estimate 100 million pounds to 206 billion pounds. Citing lower feed costs, the outlook board predicts more cows and more production per cow. They also raised the 2015 milk production estimate by 100 million pounds to 212.5 billion. <more> Aug. 12, 2014 Brownfield Ag News
  • Cheese Production Below Expected Levels - - Cheese production is mixed last week, according to USDAs Dairy Market News. Milk production levels were moving seasonally lower and cheese plants were having a harder time finding surplus milk for manufacturing. Midwest cheese production is reported to be below expected levels. Availability of condensed skim and nonfat dry milk has allowed plants with increased orders to fortify cheese vats and build on production. Export demand has slowed, while domestic demand remains good. Aug. 11, 2014 Dairy Business Update
  • CWT Exports Record Level in June - - The United States exported 17.3 percent of its milk production in June, the highest percentage ever achieved for the month of June and one of the highest monthly percentages ever. The increase from the previous June record 16.5 percent in June 2013 resulted partly from increased butter and cheese exports since last year. An important factor boosting butter and cheese exports was export assistance provided by NMPFs Cooperatives Working Together, the voluntary, farmer-funded program that helps member cooperatives expand markets for U.S. dairy products overseas. <more> Aug. 11, 2014 NMPF
     

Water News

  • Governor, Democratic lawmakers craft new water bond compromise - - Gov. Jerry Brown and legislative leaders floated a $7.195 billion water bond compromise Monday, as the deadline to get a replacement measure on the ballot looms. Brown and Democratic leaders have sought to revise the bond currently set to go before voters in November, which was written in 2009 and costs $11.1 billion -- a price tag Brown says is too high. Brown had initially proposed a $6 billion alternative; members of both parties said that figure would not sufficiently address the state's water needs. <more> Aug. 11, 2014 LA Times
  • Gov. Brown on water bond compromise: 'We're very close' - - Warning that there is only a narrow window of opportunity to act on water, Gov. Jerry Brown said Tuesday that he and lawmakers were "very close" to a deal on a new water bond. The governor touted his latest proposal, rolled out Monday as "a very balanced, integrated plan. It's not a grab bag," Brown said at a meeting convened at the Capitol on Tuesday. <more> Aug. 12, 2014 LA Times
  • Lawmakers kick the water can down the road - - Californias lawmakers on Monday pushed a deadline to decide on a water bond for the November ballot to Wednesday, two days after the time previously set to begin printing voter pamphlets. And lawmakers appeared to be as divided as ever on what to ask voters for. Leaders of the state Senate and Assembly late Monday seemed keen on a just-under-$7.2 billion bond measure to replace the $11.1 billion water bond thats already on the ballot. That bond proposal has been on and off ballots since 2009, with polling showing over the years that voters would reject it. <more> Aug. 11, 2014 Central Valley Business Times
  • In California, record heat adding to extreme drought - - The first half of 2014 was by far the hottest in California in 120 years of record-keeping, and that heat is exacerbating one of the most devastating droughts in state history. Month after month, the red and burgundy patches on the California drought map have been spreading, with 82 percent of the state now classified as being in "extreme" or "exceptional" drought on the U.S. Drought Monitor website. <more> Aug. 11, 2014 USA Today
     

State/Federal News and Politics

  • Charity Navigator Issues Donor Advisory for Humane Society of the United States - - Charity Navigator, a respected source of information on charitable organizations, has revoked the rating for the Humane Society of the United States (HSUS) and issued a "donor advisory" for the organization, which has often tangled with farmers over livestock practices. According to Charity Navigator's website, the decision was due to the Humane Society's involvement in a long-running lawsuit with Feld Entertainment, the operator of the Ringling Brothers and Barnum & Bailey Circus. Animal rights group, including the Fund for Animals which later merged with the Humane Society, had sued Feld, saying that the circus abused its elephants. <more> Aug. 12, 2014 Ag Web
  • Kings County hopes to take high-speed rail battle to state Supreme Court - - Kings County foes of the California High-Speed Rail Authority's bullet-train plans want to take their legal fight to the California Supreme Court. Stuart Flashman, an Oakland attorney representing Kings County farmer John Tos, Hanford homeowner Aaron Fukuda and the county's Board of Supervisors, said Monday his clients have all agreed to challenge an appellate court's July 31 opinionin favor of the rail authority and the state. <more> Aug. 11, 2014 Fresno Bee
  • California Drought Transforms Global Food Market - - Such crop switching is one sign of a sweeping transformation going on in California -- the nations biggest agricultural state by value -- driven by a three-year drought that climate scientists say is a glimpse of a drier future. The result will affect everything from the price of milk in China to the source of cherries eaten by Americans. It has already inflamed competition for water between farmers and homeowners. Growers have adapted to the record-low rainfall by installing high-technology irrigation systems, watering with treated municipal wastewater and even recycling waste from the processing of pomegranates to feed dairy cows. Some are taking land out of production altogether, bulldozing withered orange trees and leaving hundreds of thousands of acres unplanted. <more> Aug. 11, 2014 Bloomberg
  • Two Ways President Obama Could Act On Immigration - - Sometime before the end of summer, President Obama is expected to take executive action to address the nation's broken immigration system. The president's decision has in some ways been years in the making. It is built on his own action two years ago to defer deportation for so-called Dreamers young people brought to the country illegally as children. And it is built on congressional failure to pass a sweeping immigration overhaul, a DREAM act or even an emergency funding measure to deal with all the unaccompanied children arriving at the border. <more> Aug. 11, 2014 NPR
  • NGFA asks FDA for changes to food safety transportation rules - - The National Grain and Feed Association (NGFA) is asking the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to make significant changes in its proposed rules implementing the sanitary food transportation provisions of the Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA). The proposed rules establish certain criteria, including conditions, practices, training and record-keeping for the sanitary transportation of food. NGFA submitted its suggestions for the proposed rules during a comment period that ended July 31. It's not known when FDA will release its final rules. <more> Aug. 11, 2014 Agri-Pulse
     

Environmental News

  • Jim Dickrell: Dairys Biogas Roadmap to Where? - - On August 1, the White House released its Biogas Opportunities Roadmap designed to promote biogas production on dairy farms that also incorporates mountains of institutional and consumer food waste that now is landfilled. The dream is to tie country and city together to generate energy, reduce methane emissions, lessen the burden on landfills, save costs and create revenue along the way. The "Roadmap" has the support of both the National Milk Producers Federation and the Innovation Center for U.S. Dairy. The goals are laudable: To help reduce the dairy industrys contribution of greenhouse gas emissions by 25% by 2020. <more> Aug. 11, 2014 Dairy Today
  • Latino groups flex muscle on EPA water reg - - Latino groups are rallying behind the Environmental Protection Agencys proposed Waters of the United States regulation as they begin flexing their political muscle on issues other than immigration ahead of Novembers midterms. <more> Aug. 10, 2014 The Hill
  • Access to water proves key factor in farmland value - - With drought adding new constraints on the state's water supplies and farmers and ranchers increasingly turning to groundwater to sustain food production, lawmakers now are contemplating bills requiring changes to how groundwater basins are managed. If adopted, opponents said, the bills have the potential to undermine food production, reduce agricultural land values and hamper the overall economy. <more> Aug. 13, 2014 Ag Alert

interestStories of Interest
 



 
  • Fresno-based Grape, Tree Fruit League adopts new name - - The Fresno-based California Grape & Tree Fruit League has changed its name to the California Fresh Fruit Association. Association officials say the name change better defines the broad types of commodities its members grow, including grapes, blueberries, peaches, plums, apricots, nectarines, pears, apples, cherries, figs, kiwis, pomegranates and persimmons. <more> Aug. 11, 2014 Fresno Bee
     

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. 11, 2014

Water News

  • Senate Republicans unveil $8.7-billion water bond proposal - - Senate Republicans, who have chafed at Gov. Jerry Brown's insistence on a pared-down water bond, released their counteroffer Friday: an $8.7-billion measure that prioritizes water storage. Republicans say their plan meets Brown's call for a "no-frills" plan by shaving $2.4 billion from the bond currently on the ballot. That measure, which costs $11.1 billion, was originally written in 2009. Nearly a third of the money in the new proposal would go to water storage. <more> Aug. 8, 2014 LA Times
  • California lawmakers struggle to agree on lower-cost water bond - - State lawmakers have until Monday night to revise the $11 billion water bond that will appear on the November statewide ballot, but have thus far been unable to agree on a lower spending amount. Gov. Jerry Brown wants to drop the bond to $6 billion, while state lawmakers are throwing out other amounts ranging from $7 billion to $10 billion. Most everyone agrees the current $11 billion proposal is "pork-filled" with billions for nonessential programs. <more> Aug. 10, 2014 San Francisco Chronicle
  • Storage, Tunnels Clog Water Bond Talks As Deadline Nears - - Gov. Jerry Brown and California lawmakers are already living on borrowed time as they negotiate a measure to replace the $11 billion water bond on the November ballot. The official deadline under state law passed six weeks ago. Any deal now would have to waive election laws, and be signed by the end of this week. But two huge sticking points are clogging up the water talks. <more> Aug. 11, 2014 Capital Public Radio
  • Growers group awash in water while neighbors' crops die - - As cities brace for rationing and many California farmers yank out trees and fallow land for crops, growers and dairy farmers on 240,000 acres along the San Joaquin River near Los Banos are comparatively awash in water. The property owners and farmers who are within the 80-mile-long territory that falls under the authority of the San Joaquin River Exchange Contractors will get 75 percent of the water they historically receive this year from the California State Water Project and the federal Central Valley Project. The liquid haul is enough to flood 630,000 football fields in a foot of water - while neighboring farmers watch their crops die. <more> Aug. 8, 2014 San Francisco Gate
  • Sacramento cuts water use 22 percent - - Sacramentans reduced their water consumption22 percent in July, exceeding the conservation target set by city officials. Residents and business owners had made steady conservation progress since January, when the statewide drought began to take hold and the City Council adopted a 20 percent target. City officials announced Thursday that customers reached and exceeded the goal in July. <more> Aug. 8, 2014 The Sacramento Bee
  • Manuel Cunha Jr.: Water bond must fill vast array of needs - - California is in crisis. From one end of the state to the other and for a variety of reasons, Californians are running low on water, or out of it. For years, water supplies have been steadily declining. Now, in too many places as record drought conditions deepen and potentially threaten to extend into a fourth straight year, supplies are vanishing. This continuing and worsening crisis commands actions and solutions that will help California resolve problems through investments in a wide array of new infrastructure. The funding mechanism must be a far-reaching, comprehensive water bond, one that benefits all Californians while providing long-term solutions to our state's crippling water crisis. <more> Aug. 8, 2014 Fresno Bee
  • Broad coalition promotes $10B water bond in California - - Agricultural leaders and local elected officials in Central California are calling it do or die time as efforts are ramping up to get a water bond on the November ballot in California. Officials say billions of dollars must be spent to keep California cities and farms from drying up and dying. San Joaquin Valley elected officials and agricultural leaders took to the steps of Fresno City Hall Wednesday morning to call on the legislature and California Gov. Edmund Brown, Jr. to support a $9.8 billion water bond measure that legislative leaders are currently debating and must pass within the next couple weeks if its going to make it to the November election. <more> Aug. 7, 2014 Western Farm Press
     

State/Federal News and Politics

  • Why Advocacy Groups Oppose Bill Limiting Use of Antibiotics in Animals - - Amid growing concern of the use of antibiotics in livestock, Californias Assembly will consider on  Monday a bill to limit their use. But a coalition of a dozen health and consumer advocacy groups the very groups that often back such measures are pressing lawmakers to vote it down. The groups say the bill is not aggressive enough and want California to take a more forceful role in the way antibiotics are regulated in meat production. <more> Aug. 9, 2014 The California Report
  • Dean Foods losses grow in 'difficult operating environment' - - Dean Foods, the nation's largest bottled milk company, lost $6 million in its most recent quarter, in a time CEO Gregg Tanner describes as even more challenging than we had originally anticipated. The loss on sales of $2.4 billion contrasts with a $65 million profit on sales of $2.2 billion in the 2013 second quarter. Following the disclosure, the price of Dean Foods shares on the New York Stock Exchange declined by more than 9 percent in pre-market trading. <more> Aug. 11, 2014 Agri-Pulse

Pricing/Commodity News

  • Californias dairy industry peaked? Trends say yes. - - The newest edition of Dairy Statistics Annual from the California Department of Food and Agriculture suggests that the Golden States stunning milk growth days are over. The direction of California dairy farm numbers is undeniably down, and cow numbers seem to be following suit. Less clear is the trend in total milk production, although it is obvious that something big has changed. That cow numbers fell again during a year of strong milk prices, and much better profitability suggests some producers and lenders were waiting for an opportunity to exit the industry with a degree of rebuilt equity and dignity after the 2008-09 meltdown. Good for them. <more> Aug. 11, 2014 Hoards Dairyman
  • Investors Bet on a Break From Beef - - U.S. cattle prices are sliding from the record highs reached last month as investors bet beef consumption could cool in the short term. Live cattle for August delivery fell 3% last week to $1.5255 a pound on the Chicago Mercantile Exchange, the lowest closing price for a front-month contract since July 18. Futures for feeder cattle, animals that are being fattened for slaughter, lost 2.2% last week to $2.15325 a pound. Persistent drought in the central U.S. has curbed cattle supplies, causing prices to surge to the highest level in history. <more> Aug. 10, 2014 The Wall Street Journal
  • Low corn prices have widespread impact on U.S. agriculture - - An abundant corn harvest is expected to flood the market with billions of bushels this fall a grain rush that has driven down prices and squeezed the bottom lines of many Corn Belt farmers while supplying ethanol and livestock producers with cheap product. Eventually, consumers are expected to see relief at the grocery store through lower meat prices. For Steve Anderson, an Iowa corn and soybean farmer northeast of Des Moines, a plan to buy a shiny new $200,000 planter has been shelved and hes pulled the reins back on any other additional purchases. <more> Aug. 9, 2014 Des Moines Register
  • Milk Powders, Cheese Drive Junes U.S. Dairy Exports - - Nonfat dry milk/skim milk powder (NDM/SMP) exports reached record levels in June, topping 60,000 tons for the second straight month. Once again, sales to Mexico (24,735 tons, +72% vs. a year ago) were particularly heavy. Vietnam (6,432 tons, +244%) also was a major buyer. <more> Aug. 11, 2014 Dairy Today
  • Byproducts Big Business for Grain Mills - - About 600 pounds of corn gluten falls into a buggy at Morgan County Feed. It's just after 8 a.m., and the morning sun is illuminating the particles of feed swirling through the air inside the county's oldest ongoing business. "We've been here for 150 years," said owner Scott Whaley. Well, he hasn't been there that long. Whaley bought the business in 1998, and he soon thought he'd made a mistake. Back then, they were doing a lot of 500- and 600-pound orders. Now, they could do 50 tons in a day. <more> Aug. 11, 2014 AP
     

interestStories of Interest
 



 
  • Dont Let Your Children Grow Up to Be Farmers - - The dirty secret of the food movement is that the much-celebrated small-scale farmer isnt making a living. After the tools are put away, we head out to second and third jobs to keep our farms afloat. Ninety-one percent of all farm households rely on multiple sources of income. Health care, paying for our kids college, preparing for retirement? Not happening. With the overwhelming majority of American farmers operating at a loss  the median farm income was negative $1,453 in 2012  farmers can barely keep the chickens fed and the lights on. <more> Aug. 9, 2014 New York Times
  • Warm weather sparks early grape, almond harvest - - A warm, dry spring has expedited harvests of two of the most valuable Valley crops, grapes and almonds. Grapes are now being harvested on a small scale, said Ryan Jacobsen, CEO and executive director of the Fresno County Farm Bureau. And they are already shaking almonds. National Agriculture Statistics Service reports that the Kings County almond harvest has begun. Normally the start is later in August. <more> Aug. 8, 2014 The Business Journal
     

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

 

Friday, Aug. 8, 2014

State/Federal News and Politics

  • Western Farmers Take Hit From Russia Food Ban - - Russian diners won't be able to find creamy Dutch cheeses or juicy Polish apples in the grocery store or cook up chicken from the United States the result of a Russian ban on most food imports from the West. Although the U.S., Canada and the European Union together will take more than a $17.5 billion hit from the one-year ban, Russian consumers may feel it more than Western farmers. Jason Furman, the chairman of the White House Council of Economic Advisers, shrugged off the import ban's impact as negligible, in contrast to Western sanctions on Russian individuals, businesses and economic sectors that he said have sent investors fleeing Russia and made a weak Russian economy even weaker. <more> Aug. 7, 2014 AP
  • Russias ban on American food imports is going to hit the U.S. poultry, pork and nut industries the hardest - - Russia has aimed its latest cross-Atlantic swing at the American food industry. On Thursday, the country announced the suspension of billions of dollars in food imports from a number of countries including Norway, Canada, Australia, the United States and the 28-nation European Union in retaliation for sanctions imposed on it by those nations over the past few weeks. The measure, which targets meat, fish, fruit, vegetable and milk products, and will last a year, is expected to hit food supplies and drive up Russian food prices. Russia spent nearly $10 billion on food from those countries that will now be banned. Going by the Russian agriculture minister's projections, the ban is expect to affect about 10 percent of the country's supply of pork, fish and fruit. But it's also slated to negatively affect a number of U.S. food industries. <more> Aug. 7, 2014 The Washington Post
  • Judge Refuses to Block Utah 'Ag-Gag' Challenge - - A federal judge has refused to toss out the country's first lawsuit challenging an "ag-gag" law that criminalizes undercover investigations of slaughterhouses and "factory" farms. U.S. District Judge Robert Shelby ruled Thursday that animal rights activists can continue their lawsuit seeking to overturn Utah's law. They say the law is designed to silence them and prevent exposure of inhuman or unsafe practices. <more> Aug. 8, 2014 AP
  • The GMO Fight Ripples Down the Food Chain - - Two years ago, Ben & Jerry's Homemade Inc. initiated a plan to eliminate genetically modified ingredients from its ice cream, an effort to address a nascent consumer backlash and to fulfill its own environmental goals. This fall, nearly a year behind schedule, it expects to finish phase one, affecting its flavorful "chunks and swirls" like cookie dough and caramel. The only part left to convert: the milk that makes ice cream itself. Thanks to the complexities of sourcing milk deemed free of genetically modified material, that could take five to 10 more years. "There's a lot more that goes into it than people realize," said Rob Michalak, Ben & Jerry's director of social mission. <more> Aug. 7, 2014 The Wall Street Journal
  • 2 Wisconsin raw milk sellers lose appeals - - A state appeals court ruled against a pair of raw milk producers Thursday, but sidestepped the issue of whether a person has a right to purchase and consume unpasteurized milk. The 4th District Court of Appeals sided with the state Department of Agriculture, Trade and Consumer Protection in the consolidated cases brought by dairy farms in Walworth and Calumet counties. The raw milk producers sued separately, seeking a court order that their operations were legal. <more> Aug. 7, 2014 AP
     

Pricing/Commodity News

  • Farm production expenses climb 8.6% in California - - Californias total farm production expenditures totaled $36.6 billion in 2013, up 8.6 percent from the 2012 revised estimate of $33.7 billion. At 10 percent, California had the largest percentage of the 2013 U.S. total expenditures. Expense items showing the largest increase from the previous year were: feed, up $680 million; labor, up $570 million; and farm improvements and construction, up $420 million. The three largest decreases occurred in: tractors and self-propelled farm machinery, down $50 million from 2012; and miscellaneous capital expenses and fuels, both down $40 million. <more> Aug. 6, 2014 Western Farm Press
  • Hilmar Cheese continues Texas cheese expansion - - Hilmar Cheese Company, Inc. is making additional investments in cheese production at its facility in Dalhart, Texas. The growth scheduled to be completed in early 2015 expands the facilitys footprint and increases milk receiving capabilities, cold storage space and 640-lb. cheese block processing equipment. Staffing will also grow to more than 420. The latest expansion will allow the company to process up to 20% more milk, according to David Ahlem, COO. The facility now processes nearly 200 tanker-loads of milk each day. <more> Aug. 7, 2014 Dairy Herd Management
  • June U.S. female dairy cattle exports slump - - With U.S. prices for dairy replacement cattle skyrocketing and lower inventories of available heifers, June 2014 exports of female dairy cattle fell to the lowest level in five years. USDAs Foreign Ag Service said only 641 female dairy replacements were exported during the month, the lowest monthly total since June 2009. The January-June total is 20,403 head, the lowest total for the first half of a year since 2010. <more> Aug. 7, 2014 Dairy Herd Management

Water News

  • California's severe drought unchanged despite record thunderstorms - - A series of thunderstorms that have hit California in recent weeks may have delivered devastating torrents of rain in some areas, but on the whole they were "inconsequential" in terms of easing the state's worsening drought, according to a report issued Thursday. The U.S. Drought Monitor, in its weekly report, said that the locations of the rain and the rate it fell minimized the relief for Californias parched landscape. Because the heaviest showers were limited in scope, had high runoff rates and did not happen in two of the states key watersheds -- the Colorado River basin and the Sierra Nevada -- they did not allow for significant percolation into drought-parched soils, the report stated. <more> Aug. 7, 2014 LA Times
  • California Century-Old Water Rights Profit From Drought - - Last summer, in the second year of Californias latest dry spell, Michael Perez, a farmer in the states Central Valley, paid $250 an acre-foot for water to irrigate his almonds, cherries, tomatoes, and cotton. (An acre-foot is enough to cover an acre with a foot of water.) This year, with the drought hitting crisis levels, Perez was in for a shock: Water is now going for as much as $2,200 an acre-foot, an increase of more than 800 percent. Its an outrage, he says. <more> Aug. 7, 2014 Bloomberg
  • Valley leaders stump for bigger water bond - - In 2009, the $11.1 billion water bond package created a division in Kings Countys agricultural community, both because of the price tag and because many perceived it as being stuffed with special interest projects that wouldnt increase Californias water supply. But the debate never came to a head. The bond was twice pulled from the ballot because of worries that voters would never support it as the economy tanked. Now, in the middle of a drought worse than 2009, with Californias economy improving and the water bond finally scheduled for a vote in November, its a different story. <more> Aug. 7, 2014 Hanford Sentinel

interestStories of Interest
 



 
  • Yogurt drinks on the rise in China - - The drinking yogurt market is exploding in China due to significant and sustained investment and a new demand for healthier on-the-go beverages, according to a new report by global market researcher Canadean. Drinking yogurt will become the third-most consumed dairy drink in China by 2016, with consumption exceeding flavored milk and grain, nut, rice and seed milk alternative drinks. <more> Aug. 8, 2014 Dairy Herd Management
     

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

 

Thursday, Aug. 7, 2014

State/Federal News and Politics

  • Russia Hits Back on Sanctions Bans Food From West - - Russia banned most food imports from the West on Thursday in retaliation for sanctions over Ukraine, an unexpectedly sweeping move that will cost farmers in North America, Europe and Australia billions of dollars but will also likely lead to empty shelves in Russian cities. The announcement shows that while President Vladimir Putin doesn't appear ready to heed Russian nationalists' calls to send troops into Ukraine, he is prepared to inflict significant damage on his own nation in an economic war with the West. The ban, announced by a somber Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev at a televised Cabinet meeting, covers all imports of meat, fish, fruit, vegetables, milk and milk products from the U.S., the European Union, Australia, Canada and Norway. It will last for one year. <more> Aug. 7, 2014 AP
     

Water News

  • Our View: Gov. Browns water bond falls far short of whats needed - - So lets get this straight. Its OK with the governor to spend $9.95 billion for a bullet train that will speed from Los Angeles to San Francisco, but he cant fathom spending a penny more than $6 billion to provide more water for all 36 million Californians and a $45 billion ag industry that is literally begging for it. This is not about the merits of high-speed rail. When it first came up in 2004 we saw the potential for jobs in our Valley, and we still do. But more than we need fast trains, more than we need better roads, even more than we need better classrooms, we need more water. And if Gov. Jerry Brown isnt prepared to spend more than $2 billion on creating additional storage, then he isnt serious about helping us find that water.  <more> Aug. 6, 2014 Modesto Bee
  • Local leaders call for adequate water bond - - The City of Fresno, Latino Water Coalition, Nisei Farmers League and other San Joaquin Valley leaders held a press conference Wednesday to urge Gov. Jerry Brown to support an approximate $8.5 billion water bond that would benefit farmers and residents of the San Joaquin Valley. The group, assembled on the steps of the Fresno City Council building, also urged Brown and state legislators to read and accept a letter outlining the priorities in the measure that will most benefit the area. The letter contains a wide array of signatures of officials and executives in public agencies, businesses and organizations. It sets forth the critically important components that need to be included in a re-crafted water bond while reflecting the importance of key infrastructure needs in the valley. <more> Aug. 6, 2014 The Business Journal
  • Calif. water-bond talks hinge on money for water storage - - Republican and Democratic lawmakers who support increasing funding for water-storage projects made their case Wednesday at the site of a proposed reservoir in what is now a scenic agricultural valley north of Sacramento, addressing one of the main sticking points to getting a re-crafted water bond on the November ballot. <more> Aug. 6, 2014 KCRA 3
  • Tunnels opponents to governor: Prove it - - They just dont trust him. An environmental group that has spent years trying to block the governors plan to spend $68 billion to build giant water tunnels to drain off part of the Sacramento River, says its time for the states top politician to reveal the details of his proposed water bond. Restore the Delta questions Gov. Jerry Browns assertion that his new water bond is tunnels neutral, and calls upon the governor to release his specific proposed language. <more> Aug. 6, 2014 Central Valley Business Times
  • Irrigation cut off to some Klamath Project farms - - Water is being cut off to about a third of the farms on a federal irrigation project in the drought-parched Klamath Basin of Oregon and California. A July 31 letter from the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation to irrigation districts says that the flows into the Klamath Reclamation Projects primary reservoir have been below pre-season forecasts from the Natural Resources Conservation Service, forcing a reduction in releases to districts with junior claims on water in order to meet minimum water levels for endangered fish. <more> Aug. 6, 2014 AP

Pricing/Commodity News

  • Cheese Leads U.S. Dairy Export Gains - - Cheese sales to overseas markets helped lead the substantial gains in U.S. dairy exports during the first half of 2014. While most U.S. dairy export categories increased, "Cheese has been the primary winner throughout 2014 as substantial gains were held through the second quarter and continued shattering records," say Eric Meyer, Chris Hess and Curtis Bosma of HighGround Dairy. The Chicago-based firm specializes in dairy hedging, risk management and market analysis services. <more> Aug. 7, 2014 Dairy Today
  • U.S. farm expenditures top $367 billion in 2013 - - U.S. farmers spent $367.3 billion on agricultural production in 2013, a 2% increase from 2012, according to the Farm Production Expenditures report, published August 1 by the U.S. Department of Agricultures (USDA) National Agricultural Statistics Service (NASS). Per farm, the average expenditures total $175,270 compared with $171,309 in 2012, up 2.3%. Crop farms account for the majority of production expenditures in 2013. The average expenditure per crop farm totals $211,659 compared to $143,521 per livestock farm. Regionally, the largest increase in production expenditures was in the Midwest, which already accounted for nearly all farm production expenditures in the United States. <more> Aug. 7, 2014 Feedstuffs
     

Environmental News

  • El Niño Fizzle: No Relief Likely for California Drought - - All that talk youve been hearing about El Niño coming to wash California out of its three-year drought: fahgettaboudit. Federal scientists now say the odds of those peculiar ocean conditions often associated with wet winters here have diminished substantially, and theres now about a 65 percent chance of El Niño by late fall-early winter, right when wed be hoping for rain and snow to return. <more> Aug. 7, 2014 KQED
  • Cap-and-trade skeptic Perea exits alternative energy panel - - It would have made for a delicate situation: a panel on Californias alternative energy future, featuring a state Assembly member who has been vocally questioning part of the states landmark emissions-reducing program. No longer. Averting a potentially awkward scenario, Assemblyman Henry Perea, D-Fresno, withdrew from a panel discussion planned as part of an alternative energy trade groups Sacramento summit. Perea cited a scheduling conflict, according to a spokeswoman for Advanced Energy Economy. <more> Aug. 6, 2014 Capitol Alert

interestStories of Interest
 



 
  • Whole Foods Faces Down Its 'Negative Narrative' - - In an effort to boost traffic and battle its Whole Paycheck image, Whole Foods last week announced plans to launch its first-ever national marketing campaign. The campaign will highlight that Whole Foods is the leading retailer of fresh, healthy natural and organic foods, offering the highest quality standards and an unparalleled shopping experience. It will tout transparency around products, including its 5-Step Animal Welfare ratings in meat, Eco-Scale ratings for cleaning products, sustainability ratings in seafood, and GMO labeling. This fall, a Responsibly Grown rating system arrives for produce and flowers. <more> Aug. 6, 2014 Forbes
  • USPS releases farmers market stamps - - Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack joined Postmaster General Patrick Donahoe at a ceremony today to launch the release of new Farmers Markets Limited-Edition Forever stamps.  The release of the stamps, which depict a table covered with products found at a typical farmer's market, coincides with USDA's 15th annual National Farmers Market Week, from Aug. 3 through Aug. 9. <more> Aug. 7, 2014 Agri-Pulse
     

Meetings of Interest to CA Dairy Industry

  • 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
  • WUD Golf Tournament September 15 in Visalia - - The 10th annual Western United Dairymen south valley golf tournament will take place at the Visalia Country Club on Monday, September 15. Proceeds from the golf tournament fundraiser will go to the WUD Federal PAC, which supports congressional candidates who share WUD's legislative goals and philosophy. The four-person scramble gets underway with a noon shotgun start. The day culminates with a dinner at which awards and fantastic 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 information will become available in the coming weeks. Meanwhile, anyone with questions about playing or sponsoring may contact Heidi Savage at (209) 614-5625 or emailhsavage@westernuniteddairymen.com.

 

Wednesday, Aug. 6, 2014

Water News

  • Governor Proposes $6 Billion Water Bond for California - - California Governor Jerry Brown called on lawmakers to put a $6 billion no-frills bond measure on the November ballot, about half the size of a pending proposal, to secure the water supply amid a record drought. Browns plan would take the place of an $11.1 billion bond offering, scheduled for a vote in November, approved in 2009 by lawmakers and then-Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger. Brown said California cant afford the $750 million a year it would add to the states $8 billion in annual bond debt service. <more> Aug. 5, 2014 Bloomberg
  • Water Use in California Analysis from the Public Policy Institute of California (PPIC) - - Water in California is shared across three main sectors. Statewide, average water use is roughly 50% environmental, 40% agricultural, and 10% urban. However, the percentage of water use by sector varies dramatically across regions and between wet and dry years. Some of the water used by each of these sectors returns to rivers and groundwater basins, and can be used again. <more> Aug. 6, 2014 CDFA Planting Seeds Blog
  • Excessive Water Pumping Leaves Aquifers Vulnerable to Pollution - - As reservoir levels dwindle, many regions are pumping water from underground. On the Central Coast, that's causing ocean water to pollute underground aquifers. The seawater is making groundwater unusable for crops like strawberries. <more> Aug. 5, 2014 The California Report

State/Federal News and Politics

  • Right to Farm Measure Barely Passes in Missouri - - The question of whether to create a constitutional right to farm in Missouri proved to be a tough one to decide for Missouri voters. Proposed Constitutional Amendment One passed by only 2,500 votes Tuesday. Locally, the amendment failed. In Greene County, with 100 percent of precincts reporting, the vote was about 62 percent no to 37 percent yes. The amendment will make farming an official constitutional right, similar to existing protections for the freedoms of speech and religion. The proposal prompted an intense campaign that generally split urban and rural areas. The measure, called "Right to Farm" by supporters, will enshrine a right to agriculture and ranching within the Missouri Constitution. <more> Aug. 6, 2014 Springfield News-Leader
  • Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack Provides Six-Month Update on Farm Bill Implementation Progress - - Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack today announced continued progress on implementing the Agricultural Act of 2014 (the 2014 Farm Bill), which President Obama signed into law nearly six months ago on Feb. 7, 2014. The 2014 Farm Bill reforms agricultural policy, reduces the deficit, and helps grow America's economy. "I am pleased to report that we have made tremendous progress in the first six months since the Farm Bill was signed," Vilsack said. "Thousands of farmers and ranchers have received critical disaster assistance, innovative new conservation programs are up and running, new risk management programs for producers are available with more tools to come, the new Foundation for Food and Agriculture Research has been incorporated, and much more." <more> Aug. 6, 2014 USDA press release
  • Real California Cheeses Named Second and Third Best in Show at Annual ACS Competition - - California cows milk processors that use the Real California Cheese and Milk seals brought home 24 awards from the 2014 annual cheese competition held by the American Cheese Society (ACS), July 31, 2014 in Sacramento. Two cheesemakers Pt. Reyes Farmstead Cheese and Oakdale Cheese & Specialties also were nominated as second and third Best in Show during the annual event. The American Cheese Society recognizes the finest cheeses produced in North America. A total of 1,685 cheeses and cultured dairy products were entered into the competition. California cheeses had another strong showing this year competing against 248 producers representing 39 states, plus Canada and Columbia. <more> Aug. 6, 2014 CMAB press release
  • Agricultural Producers in California Still Have Time to Apply for Direct Farm Ownership Loan Program - - The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) California Farm Service Agency (FSA) Executive Director, Val Dolcini, today announced that farmers and ranchers still have time to apply for low interest 2014 loans available through FSAs direct farm ownership program. The deadline to submit applications is Sept. 30, 2014. <more> Aug. 6, 2014 FSA news release
  • Now Gluten-Free Foods Really Have to Be Gluten-Free - - At last count, 28 percent of adults said they were gluten-free, or something close to it; the U.S. market for gluten-free foods has grown to more than $4 billion. And yet, as anyone whos ever wondered whether theres really gluten in oats can tell you, there hasnt been an official definition of what, exactly, qualifies a food as gluten-free. Now there is one, courtesy of the Food and Drug Administration. <more> Aug. 5, 2014 Bloomberg

Pricing/Commodity News

  • Cheese Manufacturers Getting Ready for back to School - - Most Northeast cheese manufacturers are operating heavy production schedules in preparation of the expected demand from food service and pizza makers, with the start of the fall school-term. Cheese plants are improving yields through fortification processes, as solids contents decline at seasonal rates. Inventories are primarily in equilibrium with existing orders. Some cheese manufacturers note incremental increases in current stock levels. Aug. 6, 2014 Dairy Business Update
  • Calif. benchmark down 38 cents, $2.91 below federal order - - Californias July Class 4b cheese milk price is $18.69 per cwt., down 38 cents from June. Thats also $3.04 above July 2013, $2.91 below the comparable federal order Class III price, and is the lowest it has been since December 2013. The 4b average now sits at $20.35, up from $15.99 at this time a year ago, $14.02 in 2012, and $16.20 in 2011. <more> Aug. 5, 2014 Capital Press
  • For nondairy consumers, almond milk outsells soy milk - - The path to a dairy-milk alternative has been wrought with many twists and turns. For many years soy milk was a popular destination, until it fell out of favor due to its lack of calcium and fears that its high phytoestrogen content might increase the risk of breast cancer. So consumers moved to rice milk, but its lack of protein and nutrients, watery consistency, and high sugar content also limited its popularity. Now the group in search of nondairy milk has arrived at almond milk, enthusiastically and en masse. <more> Aug. 5, 2014 The Boston Globe
  • Is It Time For Kelloggs and General Mills To Stop Milking Stale Brands - - A trip down the breakfast aisle of any supermarket can be an eye-glazing experience, with shelves stacked with a seemingly infinite variety of look-alike boxes. That raises a question: should cereal makers, struggling with changing breakfast habits, shrink their portfolio of brands? Its no secret that the cereal market has gotten soggy, a result of Americans shifting to protein-rich breakfasts like Greek yogurt. Profit for Kellogg, maker of Froot Loops and Frosted Flakes, dropped 16% last quarter, for instance. The company has also for the second time in about a year replaced the head of its U.S. morning foods unit, WSJ reported. <more> Aug. 5, 2014 The Wall Street Journal
  • Milk prices sink as "white gold" floods even China demand - - Hopes of a "white gold" rush fuelled by booming Asian demand for milk and other dairy products have been dealt a blow as swollen stockpile in top consumer China and a flood of supply pummel dairy prices. Global dairy prices have fallen more than 40 percent since February, according to the Global Dairy Trade, an auction platform run by New Zealand's Fonterra Co-operative Group, which controls nearly one-third of the world's dairy trade. <more> Aug. 6, 2014 Reuters

interestStories of Interest
 



 
  • Yogurt, other foods with probiotics may lower blood pressure - - New research published in the American Heart Association journal Hypertension found that eating foods that contain probiotics, such as yogurt and some cheeses, may lower blood pressure. Probiotics, the good bacteria, are known to benefit the digestive system. In a new analysis of the probiotics and blood pressure connection, researchers looked at nine studies involving 543 participants and found that those who consumed probiotics for at least two months had small reductions in both systolic and diastolic blood pressure. The reduction was greatest in people who had high blood pressure. <more> Aug. 6, 2014 Dairy Herd Management
  • United Kingdom - Say cheese: saturated fat in dairy may protect against diabetes - - For cheese lovers it will be news worth celebrating with an extra thick slice of comte. Not only is the saturated fat found in dairy products not bad for health, but, on the contrary, it may protect against type 2 diabetes, according to a new study. Cambridge University and the Medical Research Council studied the diets of more than 340,000 people to see if there was a link between saturated fat and the development of diabetes. <more> Aug. 6, 2014 The Telegraph
  • Ellens tweet sends ranchers serenade viral - - Kansas rancher Derek Klingenberg may be best known for his ag parodies, including Do You Want to Drive My Tractor, and #WeAreFarming,but his latest non-parody creation has still managed to garner a lot of attention from inside and outside the industry. On Sunday, his video was uploaded to YouTube and shared through social media. In the video, Klingenberg attracts a herd of 350 heifers by playing Lordes Royals on his trombone. At first glance, hes just a rancher sitting in a lawn chair playing to an empty field. Within a minute or so, one or two of the heifers begin to appear on the horizon. <more> Aug. 5, 2014 Dairy Herd Management
     

Meetings of Interest to CA Dairy Industry

  • 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
  • WUD Golf Tournament September 15 in Visalia - - The 10th annual Western United Dairymen south valley golf tournament will take place at the Visalia Country Club on Monday, September 15. Proceeds from the golf tournament fundraiser will go to the WUD Federal PAC, which supports congressional candidates who share WUD's legislative goals and philosophy. The four-person scramble gets underway with a noon shotgun start. The day culminates with a dinner at which awards and fantastic 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 information will become available in the coming weeks. Meanwhile, anyone with questions about playing or sponsoring may contact Heidi Savage at (209) 614-5625 or email hsavage@westernuniteddairymen.com.       
     

 

 

Tuesday, Aug. 5, 2014

Water News

  • For groundwater, local management proves effective - - As the state Legislature considers statewide groundwater legislation in the midst of a severe drought, water agencies and water users say local groundwater management has yielded sustainable and positive results. "Recent discussions may have left people with the impression that California has no groundwater management, but dozens of local and regional plans are in place and work well," said Danny Merkley, California Farm Bureau Federation director of water resources. Current law enables local entities or agencies to implement their own groundwater basin management solutions and strategies. <more> Aug. 6, 2014 Ag Alert
  • In rare campaign email, Gov. Jerry Brown pitches $6-billion water bond - - Seeking to balance the state's water needs with his reputation for fiscal caution, Gov. Jerry Brown called for a "no-frills, no pork" $6-billion water bond in an email to campaign supporters Tuesday afternoon. Brown kicked off the letter by noting that "drought conditions in California grow more serious by the day," and acknowledging more must be done for the state's water infrastructure. But, he says, the $11.1-billion bond currently set to go before voters in November has "a price tag beyond whats reasonable or affordable." <more> Aug. 5, 2014 LA Times
  • Reclamation may owe Stockton water district millions - - The U.S. Bureau of Reclamation may owe the Central San Joaquin Water Conservation District millions of dollars for breach of contract involving water from the Bureaus New Melones Reservoir, following a decision by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal District, the court thats seen as just below the Supreme Court in hierarchy. <more> Aug. 4, 2014 Central Valley Business Times
     

State/Federal News and Politics

  • Time Running Out To Reach Water Bond Deal - - California lawmakers are back from their summer break and facing pressure to craft a deal on a new water bond. But time is running short. Legislative Democrats and Governor Jerry Brown want to replace the $11 billion bond currently on the November ballot with a smaller bond. Senate President Darrell Steinberg says the exact amount is still up for debate. "Look, the governor said $6 billion. Were at $7.5 billion as the Senate. The Assembly was a little bit higher," he says. <more> Aug. 4, 2014 Capital Public Radio
  • Parents Of Preschoolers Are Buying Less Milk, Soda And Juice - - The parents of preschool children in the U.S. may be buying fewer sugar-sweetened drinks, a new study suggests. Whether that will translate into lower childhood obesity rates remains to be seen, experts said. There was also a shift in milk purchasing, which some said could be concerning. Researchers examined purchases of packaged food and beverages among more than 42,000 households with children ages 2 to 5 years old. They found that between 2000 and 2011, purchased beverage calories dropped by 51 percent and purchased food calories dropped by 21 percent. Milk purchases decreased by 40 calories a day per person, soft drink purchases by 27 calories a day and juice drink purchases by 24 calories a day. <more> Aug. 4, 2014 Reuters
  • Obamas Delay on Renewable Fuel Puts Producers in Bind - - The Environmental Protection Agency is eight months past the deadline for issuing its mandate of how much ethanol, biodiesel and other petroleum alternatives must be blended into motor fuels this year, leaving investors wary about the governments commitment to the program. At the same time, cuts EPA proposed last year, and a surprise regulatory rewrite last month, may undercut demand for Canergys ethanol. <more> Aug. 3, 2014 Bloomberg

Pricing/Commodity News

  • Dairy farmers hunt for silage amid drought - - With limited water supplies this year and fewer acres of certain field crops being grown, California dairy farmers who depend on forage such as corn silage are paying a higher price and going longer distances to find the feed. Corn silage is already a major part of a dairy's ration, but this year, dairy farmers are feeding more of it because another fiber source, alfalfa hay, is in even shorter supply, with prices reaching historic highs, said Tyler Colburn, a dairy nutritionist with Alpha Dairy Consulting in Visalia. <more> Aug. 6, 2014 Ag Alert
  • USDA Updates June '14 Idaho Cheese Production - - HighGround Dairy Market Intelligence subscribers were alerted to potential misstated Idaho cheese production volumes yesterday morning in our comprehensive analysis of the June Dairy Products Report. After inquiring with the USDA, we were informed late yesterday that the numbers were incorrectly reported. USDA just published updated cheese volumes for Idaho just two business days after releasing the original report, quite a rare occurance. Click this link for access to USDA's updated report Idaho cheese revisions: June Cheddar volume revised 17.8 million pounds HIGHER, up 22% vs. June '13 and 7.7% HIGHER than May '14. June Natural American volume revised 19.5 million pounds HIGHER, UP 14.5% vs. June '14 and 9.9% ABOVE May '14. <more> Aug. 5, 2014 HighGround Dairy
  • Brawley Plant Closure Leaves Cattle Producers Looking For Options - - The Imperial Valley is a different place now. Long the center of Californias cattle feeding industry, this southeastern-most part of California, nestled against Mexico to the south and Arizona to the east, was rocking and rolling as 2014 dawned bright and clear. Just a few short months later, the region had taken on a decidedly different atmosphere. Whats different is that the National Beef Packing Co. plant at Brawley shut its doors in May. By some estimates, anywhere from a third to a half of the regions 400,000 head of cattle have left the valley, perhaps never to return. <more> Aug. 23, 2014 BEEF Magazine
  • Global Dairy Trade Average Down 8.4% - - Todays Global Dairy Trade (GDT) auction saw the weighted average for all products drop 8.4%, following the 8.9% plunge in the July 15 session. The price index has pretty much seen declines since reaching its high on February 4. The downfall today was led by an 11.5% plunge in whole milk powder, which was down 10.9% in the last event. That was followed by Cheddar cheese, down 10.2%, which was off 1.6% July 15, and buttermilk powder was down 10.1%, after dropping 4.6% last time. GDT butter was down 9.6%, following a 1.1% decline last time. Skim milk powder was down 6.5%, following a 7.1% decline last time. Rennet casein was down 0.7% after losing 8.9% in the last event. The only product showing an increase was anhydrous milkfat, up 6.0%, after dropping 10% last time.  Aug. 5, 2014 Dairy Business Update
  • CWT Sends More Product Offshore - - The farmer-funded Cooperatives Working Together (CWT) program accepted 13 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 1.989 million pounds of Cheddar cheese, and 55,116 pounds of butter to customers in Asia, the Middle East, North Africa, South America and the South Pacific. The product will be delivered through January 2015 and raises CWTs 2014 cheese exports to 80.301 million pounds, plus 48.050 million pounds of butter and 18.290 million pounds of whole milk powder to 43 countries on six continents. These sales are the equivalent of 2.021 billion pounds of milk on a milkfat basis. Aug. 5, 2014 Dairy Business Update
  • Robin Schmahl: The Goal is More Milk - - The goal of dairy producers is to keep cows healthy and happy so they will produce as much milk as possible. Large strides have been made over the years in the area of cow comfort and feeding practices. Technology has been, and is being, discovered to enhance and monitor nearly all areas of the dairy operation. It takes money to make money in all business, and dairying is no exception. We know the effects on milk production if cows are uncomfortable. We know the effects if rations are not balanced and feed additives are skimped on because of cost. We know the effects of uncleanliness and poor milking practices. These are what we try to avoid. <more> Aug. 4, 2014 Dairy Today
     

Environmental News

  • Vanishing California blackbird may get emergency protection - - Under pressure from bird lovers and conservation groups, the California Fish and Game Commission agreed this week to consider an emergency listing under the Endangered Species Act for the rapidly disappearing Tricolored Blackbird. The proposal, which will be considered at the commissions Aug. 6 meeting in San Diego, comes after a statewide survey this summer showed an alarming 64 percent decline since 2008 of the colorful birds, millions of which darkened the skies a century ago. There are now only 145,000 birds in California, according to the survey conducted by UC Davis, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, the California Department of Fish and Wildlife and Audubon California. <more> Aug. 4, 2014 San Francisco Gate

interestStories of Interest
 



 
  • Officials Say South Dakota Dairy Industry Booming - - Agriculture is South Dakotas largest industry and officials say the states dairy business is booming. They say crop conditions are favorable, a widening global marketplace is opening up, and cutting-edge infrastructure is helping revitalize the South Dakota dairy industry. <more> Aug. 4, 2014 South Dakota Public Broadcasting

 

Meetings of Interest to CA Dairy Industry

  • 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
  • WUD Golf Tournament September 15 in Visalia - - The 10th annual Western United Dairymen south valley golf tournament will take place at the Visalia Country Club on Mon-day, September 15. Proceeds from the golf tournament fundraiser will go to the WUD Federal PAC, which supports congres-sional candidates who share WUDs legislative goals and philosophy. The four-person scramble gets underway with a noon shotgun start. The day culminates with a dinner at which awards and fantastic 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 information will become available in the coming weeks. Meanwhile, anyone with questions about playing or sponsoring may contact Heidi Savage at (209) 614-5625 or email hsavage@westernuniteddairymen.com.       
     

 

 

Monday, Aug. 4, 2014

Water News

  • California Farms Sink Wells as Record Drought Escalates - - Well drilling has doubled and tripled in two Central Valley counties that are at the core of the nations most productive agricultural region after federal and state regulators cut the water they provide to farms as supplies ran low in the drought. If the shortage continues, there is a risk that farmers will deplete the groundwater reserves they are using as a lifeline to survive the dry spell. We are running down our bank account, said Richard Howitt, professor emeritus of agricultural and resource economics with the Center for Watershed Sciences at the University of California at Davis. The underground water is the reserve account. We think we are so rich that we dont have to balance our checkbook. <more> July 31, 2014 Bloomberg
  • California lawmakers struggle to reach drought relief deal - - Prospects for a drought relief bill to help California farmers appear as likely as the state being deluged by three straight days of rain. Key lawmakers and staff are working to resolve differences in two bills that separately passed the House and Senate this year. The lawmakers wont say where progress has occurred or what roadblocks remain, but time is running out for the current congressional session. Congress will be out for the rest of August and for virtually all of October to give lawmakers time to campaign for the midterm elections. <more> Aug. 2, 2014 AP
  • Scientists on west side of Valley making more water from tainted farm drainage - - People in pickups cruise through the quiet flatlands around here almost oblivious to a $22 million roadside experiment that turns dirty water into a chance for survival for west San Joaquin Valley farming. Inside a buzzing complex, Jeff Moore talks of membranes and clarifiers as he explains the process of scavenging salt, boron and the infamous natural trace element called selenium. "Once the water gets squeezed out, this stuff ends up here," says Moore, the plant operations manager, pointing at a bin filled with what looks like mashed, clay-colored dirt. This is a desalination plant -- a pilot project, started up this summer and doing what no similar plant has been able to do yet on the Valley's west side. <more> Aug. 2, 2014 Fresno Bee
     

State/Federal News and Politics

  • NMPF Wants Dairy Ingredients Problem Fixed in FDA Added Sugar Definition - - The National Milk Producers Federation wants the Food and Drug Administration to fix a problem in the planned definition of added sugars on food labels, saying it appears to include dairy products used as food ingredients, even though the lactose or milk sugar in those products occurs naturally.Commenting August 1st on the FDAs proposed changes to the nutrition facts label, NMPF was basically supportive of FDAs proposal to list added sugars, saying it will clarify the contribution of lactose to dairy products and allow consumers to pinpoint added sweeteners in foods. But, under FDAs proposed definition, NMPF said the lactose in a tablespoon of nonfat dry milk incorporated into another food would count as an added sugar, while the lactose in a glass of milk would not. <more> Aug. 4, 2014 NMPF press release
  • Obama readies executive action on immigration - - President Obama is preparing to announce new measures that would potentially allow millions of illegal immigrants to remain in the United States without fear of deportation, a politically explosive decision that could jolt Washington just weeks before the midterm elections, according to people who have been in touch with the White House. Administration officials have told allies in private meetings that both the current surge of Central American children crossing the border and Congresss failure this year to pass a broader immigration overhaul have propelled the president toward taking action on his own by summers end. <more> Aug. 1, 2014 The Washington Post
  • Obama action on immigration should spark impeachment talk, GOP lawmaker says - - Rep. Steve King (R-Iowa) said Sunday that Congress should work toward impeaching President Obama if he moves forward with an executive order that could allow millions of illegal immigrants to stay in the United States without fear of deportation. "I think Congress needs to sit down and have a serious look at the rest of the Constitution, and that includes the 'I' word that none of us want to say," King said on "Fox News Sunday."  King said an executive order by Obama would put the nation in a "constitutional crisis" that would make looking at impeachment a necessity. <more> Aug. 3, 2014 The Washington Post

Pricing/Commodity News

  • "Grassmilk" now best selling item at Whole Foods - - Move over butter: Organic non-homogenized milk from grass-fed cows is making a move to be America's new dairy darling. George Siemon, Organic Valley CEO, told The Wall Street Journal that the organic cooperative's nearly $6 per half-gallon Grassmilk carton is now the best-selling item at Whole Foods stores. But Siemon notes that regular organic milk is still the company's top seller by far, since most stores don't carry the Grassmilk product. <more> Aug. 4, 2014 Dairy Herd Management
  • Hay exporters unsure of Chinas GMO requirements - - U.S. alfalfa exporters to China are trying to find out more about news that China could be changing regulations on imported alfalfa regarding contamination by genetically modified material. The country has a zero tolerance for GMOs but could be tightening its testing and certification parameters. <more> July 31, 2014 Capital Press
     

Environmental News

  • Gov. Brown declares state of emergency for California wildfires - - Gov. Jerry Brown on Saturday declared a state of emergency due to the effects of several wildfires burning in central and northern California counties. Thousands of acres have burned in El Dorado, Amador, Butte, Humboldt, Lassen, Madera, Mariposa, Mendocino, Modoc, Shasta and Siskiyou counties, which have been suffering from lightning strikes and high temperatures. Some homes have burned. Evacuations have been ordered in some parts of the state in mostly rural areas. <more> Aug. 2, 2014 LA Times
  • Biogas Opportunities Roadmap will foster innovation, revenue for dairy farms - - The White House on Friday released a Biogas Opportunities Roadmap highlighting the economic and environmental benefits and potential for biogas systems in the U.S. According to the Roadmap, biogas systems offer a wide range of potential revenue streams, growing jobs and boosting economic development for communities, businesses and dairy farms. The systems work by recycling organic material including cow manure and food waste into valuable co-products such as renewable energy, fertilizer, separated nutrients and cow bedding. <more> Aug. 2, 2014 NMPF press release

interestStories of Interest
 



 
  • MilkPEP Names New CEO - - The Milk Processor Education Program (MilkPEP) today announced that its board of directors has appointed Julia Kadison as Chief Executive Officer. Kadison previously held the position of Interim CEO/Vice President of Marketing for MilkPEP. <more> Aug. 2, 2014 Dairy Today
  • California leads in farmer's markets, but other states catching up - - California leads the nation in the number of farmer's markets, but the concept is growing faster in other states, said a U.S. Department of Agriculture report released Saturday. The 2014 National Farmer's Market Directory showed a 76% increase in farmer's markets since 2008 to more than 8,200 reported markets -- 764 in California. <more> Aug. 1, 2014 Fresno Bee
  • National Farmers Market Week highlights connections between consumers, farmers - - The annual National Farmers Market Week is being observed this week (August 3-9). Its a time worth celebrating because of the key role farmers markets play in connecting consumers to the people who produce their fresh fruits and vegetables. <more> Aug. 4, 2014 CDFA Planting Seeds Blog
  • Dannon To Be Official Yogurt Sponsor Of The NFL - - The Dannon Company today announced that beginning in 2015, it will be the Official Yogurt Sponsor of the National Football League. By sponsoring one of Americas most loved professional sports, Dannon is reinforcing its commitment to bring health through food to as many people as possible and encourage Americans to eat yogurt every day. <more> Aug. 4, 2014 Dairy Herd Management
  • Neighbors Say Barn Weddings Raise a Rumpus - - In rural areas across the country, residents have protested that some barn owners flout zoning rules requiring that they operate only as agricultural enterprises. Unlike other businesses, the barns are often not inspected to ensure that they are up to code, and many lack proper sanitation, fire doors and sprinklers, accommodations for people with disabilities and licenses to serve liquor. <more> Aug. 3, 2014 The New York Times

 

Meetings of Interest to CA Dairy Industry

  • Strip till tour set for Aug. 5 in Merced, Madera counties - - A tour of dairies in Merced and Madera counties that are using strip till methods for reliably producing quality silage corn is set for Tuesday, Aug. 5. The tour will depart from the Hilmar Cheese Visitor Center, 9001 Lander Ave, Hilmar at 7 a.m. and return by 12:30 p.m. There will be a luncheon and grower panel discussion on return to visitor center. The cost of the tour and luncheon is free for those who RSVP by Friday, July 25. More information is available from Ladi Asgill at lasgill@suscon.org (209) 576-7729 and Mikel Winemiller mike@calagsolutions.com, (209)626-6440. July 11, 2014 WUD news
  • 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
  • WUD Golf Tournament September 15 in Visalia - - The 10th annual Western United Dairymen south valley golf tournament will take place at the Visalia Country Club on Mon-day, September 15. Proceeds from the golf tournament fundraiser will go to the WUD Federal PAC, which supports congres-sional candidates who share WUDs legislative goals and philosophy. The four-person scramble gets underway with a noon shotgun start. The day culminates with a dinner at which awards and fantastic 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 information will become available in the coming weeks. Meanwhile, anyone with questions about playing or sponsoring may contact Heidi Savage at (209) 614-5625 or email hsavage@westernuniteddairymen.com.       
     

 

Monday, July 21, 2014

State/Federal News and Politics

  • Congressman optimistic Obama will grant immigrants legal status - - In a fiery speech at the Los Angeles Convention Center on Saturday, U.S. Rep. Luis Gutierrez (D-Ill.) said he was confident after meeting with President Obama last week that the president will move forward in the coming months with an executive order that would grant legal status to millions of immigrants in the country illegally, possibly including the parents of American-born children. <more> July 19, 2014 LA Times

  • Deploying Drones To Get An Overview Of Factory Farms - - An independent journalist says he's found a way around the so-called "ag-gag" laws by flying drones over large livestock operations to document animal welfare problems and pollution. Will Potter, a Washington D.C.-based author and blogger, recently raised $75,000 on Kickstarter to buy the drones and other equipment to investigate animal agriculture in the U.S. <more> July 20, 2014 NPR
     

Pricing/Commodity News

  • America's Move to Soy Hobbles Dairy - - Shoppers' zeal for healthier foods and beverages has turned the tables on a small soy-milk supplier and its former parent, America's largest milk processor. A little over a year ago, Dean Foods Co., a nearly 90-year-old dairy giant, spun off its Silk plant-based milks and Horizon-brand organic milk into a separate company, The WhiteWave Foods Co.In the past 12 months, WhiteWave shares have jumped 62% while Dean's are off 17%. WhiteWave's profit and sales are climbing as U.S. consumers embrace plant-based milks. <more> July 18, 2014 The Wall Street Journal

  • Corn Declines to Four-Year Low on Favorable U.S. Weather - - Corn futures fell to the lowest in four years on mild temperatures forecast for crop regions in the U.S., the worlds largest producer. Soybeans dropped, and wheat extended a slump to the cheapest since July 2010. <more> July 21, 2014 Bloomberg

  • U.S. June milk production up 1 percent - - Fridays USDA Milk Production report showed just a modest 1 percent gain in milk production over 2013, although the 23 major states grew 2.0 percent over June 2013. The major 23 states totaled 16.2 billion pounds of milk for June 2014, while all states totaled 17.3 billion pounds of milk. <more> July 21, 2014 Dairy Herd Management

  • 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

Environmental News

  • Cap-and-trade could aid preservation of California farmland - - Abandoning the farm that he had worked for three decades, and that his wifes family had owned for over a century, was never an option for Dan Port. Port and his family had continued to squeeze a profit out of their 180 acres near the small town of Ione, raising grass-fed beef to sell through farmers markets. Determined as he was to keep the farm running, Port said he recognized the constant pressure on farmers to give their land over to developers. So Port embraced a novel approach: in exchange for a payment from state bond money worth about half the value of his land, he agreed to an easement requiring the property to remain farmland. <more> July 19, 2014 The Sacramento Bee

     

Water News

  • West-side San Joaquin Valley water calamity may be unfolding - - After the water table below Stratford dropped an astounding 100 feet in the past two years, it set off a slow-motion collapse of the ground underfoot, crushing part of a town well. Repairs were made quickly, but the crumpled well holds significance beyond this Kings County town of 1,200. After three dry seasons -- the last one being one of the driest on record -- summer havoc has begun for west San Joaquin Valley groundwater. <more> July 19, 2014 Fresno Bee

  • California drought will only get worse, experts say - - California is probably headed into a deeper drought this summer, making it harder to escape in the future, an expert says. With more than 80% of the state in an extreme drought, dry conditions will probably continue and won't improve much in the next few months, said climatologist Brian Fuchs of the National Drought Mitigation Center at the University of Nebraska. New National Weather Service data show that more than 80% of California is now in an extreme drought. <more> July 19, 2014 LA Times

  • Agriculture chief visits water-starved families - - U.S. Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack visited drought-stricken homeowners on Friday in Central California, saying drought and climate change would require major investment to secure future water supplies. Vilsack also announced $9.7 million in new emergency drought aid to help rural Californians hurt by the state's three-year drought. A drought monitor sponsored by the federal government says 81 percent of the state is experiencing major agricultural losses and widespread water shortages or restrictions. <more> July 18, 2014 AP

  • New Survey Says Californians Overwhelmingly Support Statewide Groundwater Plan - - An overwhelming majority of likely California voters say they favor a statewide groundwater management plan over the status quo. The results are part of a new survey released Thursday. The survey was commissioned by the non-profit California Water Foundation. It finds the prolonged drought has focused public opinion on the need to regulate groundwater. Pollster David Metz says few Californians think the state is doing an adequate job of managing the resource. <more> July 17, 2014 Capital Public Radio

  • Stanislaus County irrigation districts pumping record amounts of groundwater - - Despite widespread concerns about declining groundwater levels, some Stanislaus County irrigation districts have dramatically increased well pumping this year. Modesto Irrigation District wells pumped 311 percent more groundwater this January through June than they did during the same months last year. <more> July 19, 2014 Modesto Bee

  • Californias new water-waste penalty also applies to government, but who will enforce it? - - When California water officials last week passed new regulations making wasting water a crime, they also handed a new tool to government watchdogs. In a little-noticed provision of the regulations adopted Tuesday, the State Water Resources Control Board declared that public agencies in addition to individuals and businesses can be prosecuted for a criminal infraction and fined $500 per day for certain categories of water waste. <more> July 21, 2014 The Sacramento Bee

Meetings of Interest to CA Dairy Industry

  •  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
  • Strip till tour set for Aug. 5 in Merced, Madera counties - - A tour of dairies in Merced and Madera counties that are using strip till methods for reliably producing quality silage corn is set for Tuesday, Aug. 5. The tour will depart from the Hilmar Cheese Visitor Center, 9001 Lander Ave, Hilmar at 7 a.m. and return by 12:30 p.m. There will be a luncheon and grower panel discussion on return to visitor center. The cost of the tour and luncheon is free for those who RSVP by Friday, July 25. More information is available from Ladi Asgill at lasgill@suscon.org (209) 576-7729 and Mikel Winemiller mike@calagsolutions.com, (209)626-6440. July 11, 2014 WUD news
     
  • Dairy margin management seminar in Las Vegas Aug. 20-21 - - A two day program designed to help dairy producers identify and protect forward profit margins is set for Aug. 21-21 in Las Vegas. The seminar is sponsored by Commodity & Ingredient Hedging (CIH.) Registration is available by calling 866-299-9333 or on-line at http://www.cihedging.com/education/dairy-margin-seminar/?product_id=cih_event_136_1  July 18, 2014 CIH Notice
     

 

Friday, July 18, 2014

State/Federal News and Politics

  • Is Vermont the solution to the border crisis? - -  In its efforts to figure out what to do with the many Central American unaccompanied minors coming to the United States -- about 60,000 in recent weeks -- the White House has been asking several states if they have the resources to house some of these children. The office of Vermont's Democratic Gov. Pete Shumlin (D) told a local newspaper, "We've let HHS know that we are willing to investigate locations and logistical requirements and work with them to determine if Vermont would be an appropriate host state." It's perhaps unsurprising that the state would be willing to help. Sen. Patrick Leahy (D) has been a vocal proponent of immigration reform -- as has fellow Vermonter Sen. Bernie Sanders (I.). The fact that their constituency back in Vermont is a big part of that support is less well known; about 1,500 undocumented immigrants live in Vermont, many working on dairy farms. About 80 percent of Vermont's farm production is just milk. There used to be more cows in Vermont than people. Most of these migrant workers spend their day milking or shoveling manure. <more> July 18, 2014 Washington Post
     

  • In E.U. claims about cheese names, a whiff of hypocrisy? - - A sticking point in the trade negotiations between the United States and the European Union is American cheese producers’ use of the traditional European names for cheeses. Bottom line: The Europeans don’t want U.S.-made feta called “feta.” Same goes for cheddar and Gruyere, etc.  But Michael Punke, the U.S. deputy trade representative and the ambassador to the World Trade Organization, detects some hypocrisy in all the Euro-whining. During a trade hearing Wednesday, Rep. Ron Kind (D-Wis.), whose state is synonymous with cheese, asked Punke whether disagreements over “geographic indicators” — the technical term for the name of a product connected with a specific place — would make a trade deal with the E.U. “insurmountable.” “I have discovered something quite interesting in my time in Europe over the last four and a half years that we’re injecting into that conversation. This will be of interest to you, I think, congressman, and that is I’ve discovered the phenomena of something called German feta cheese. And I’ve also discovered the phenomena of something called French Gruyere,” he said, according to a transcript of the hearing. “And I’m not an expert on cheese the way that people from your state might be, but I do know that Gruyere is not in France. [It's in Switzerland, by the way.] And so that’s the type of anomaly that we’re pointing out to our European colleagues in trying to address this issue of geographic indications in the context” of the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership. <more> July 8, 2014 Washington Post

Pricing/Commodity News

  • Strong finish to the week in dairy markets - -  Cash cheese and butter increased again on Friday on the Chicago Mercantile Exchange.  Dairy Market News says milk production has slowed across the country from a combination of hot weather and seasonal declines.  Cheese plants report spot loads are available but hard to find.  Some are using condensed skim to increase vat yields. It was a very busy week at the CME; 21 loads of barrels sold and 19 loads of blocks.  Barrels increased 8.25 cents, blocks added 5.75 cents, and butter is up 9.75 cents while nonfat dry milk decreased 4 cents.  Class III futures for July up 11 cents on the week, August up 63 cents, September is 48 cents higher and January is unchanged. <more> July 18, 2014 Brownfield Ag News  
     

  • April Fluid Milk Sales Data Revised, Still Down 4.5% from 2013 - -   April 2014 packaged fluid milk sales totaled 4.15 billion lbs., down 4.5% from April 2013. (Sales were not adjusted for calendar considerations as in previous monthly reports). April sales of conventional products, at 3.94 billion lbs., were down 5.1% from a year ago; organic products, at 205 million lbs., were up 7.6% Organic represented about 5.2% of total sales for the month. January-April 2014 total packaged fluid milk sales, at 17.04 billion lbs., were down 2.2% from the same period a year earlier. Year-to-date sales of conventional products, at 16.21 billion lbs., were down 2.9%; organic products, at 828 million lbs., were up 13.5%. Organic represented about 5.1% of total sales. July 18, 2014  Dairy Market News
     

  • Dairy margin management seminar in Las Vegas Aug. 20-21 - - A two day program designed to help dairy producers identify and protect forward profit margins is set for Aug. 21-21 in Las Vegas. The seminar is sponsored by Commodity & Ingredient Hedging (CIH.) The program includes a Dairy Margin Management simulation which allows producers to make adjustments to positions so they can make pricing volatility work for them. Registration is available by calling 866-299-9333 or on-line at http://www.cihedging.com/education/dairy-margin-seminar/?product_id=cih_event_136_1  July 18, 2014 CIH Notice

Environmental News

  • AFBF isn’t buying EPA’s defense of ‘Waters of U.S.’ proposal - - Although EPA has been trying to ease controversy surrounding the agency's proposal to re-define “Waters of the United States” under the Clean Water Act (CWA), the effort has had little effect on the American Farm Bureau Federation (AFBF).  EPA and the Army Corps of Engineers released the proposal in March, and have extended a public comment period until Oct. 20. Agricultural organizations including AFBF and the National Cattlemen's Beef Association have asked EPA to withdraw the proposed rule, saying the new language could give EPA broad jurisdiction over dry land features and typical farming practices.  EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy made a trip to Missouri last week to defend the agency's perspective and other EPA officials have recently ramped up communications with agricultural stakeholders in response to widespread criticism of the rule.  AFBF responded to EPA's campaign in a 16-page document this week that attempts to rebut a blog posted earlier this month by Nancy Stoner, EPA acting assistant administrator for water. Stoner also hosted a webinar this week to outline her points, in an attempt to “clarify confusion” about the rule. AFBF, in its point-by-point retort, said many of her comments are “inaccurate and misleading.”  <more> July 18, 2014 Agri-Pulse
     

  • USDA withdraws GMO disclosure rule  - - The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) is backing down from a GMO disclosure rule that would have provided state regulators with critical information about the genetically modified organisms that farmers use to spray their crops. In February 2013, the USDA's Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service proposed sharing information with state regulators about genetically engineered organisms that are released in their jurisdictions. But the USDA withdrew the rule Thursday, because it said it found "potential vulnerabilities" that would have put farmers' businesses at risk. "We have decided to withdraw the proposed rule to ensure that our ability to protect confidential business information from disclosure is maintained," the USDA wrote in the Federal Register. <more> July 18, 2014 The Hill  

Water News

  • River ruling could boost regulation of groundwater - - An attorney said Thursday he expects to appeal a potentially precedent-setting court finding that could make local governments responsible for controlling the largely unregulated pumping of groundwater in the state. The issue is especially critical as California goes through the worst drought in a generation. As much as 60 percent of the water used in the state comes from underground sources in drought years, according to the nonprofit California Water Foundation. Sacramento Superior Court Judge Allen Sumner ruled Tuesday that Siskiyou County had to evaluate the impact of groundwater pumping on the Scott River. Fishing associations and the Oakland-based Environmental Law Foundation sued the county and the state Water Resources Control Board, charging that groundwater pumping was drawing down water in the Scott River. "The court has fundamentally changed some basic principles of California water law," said Rod Walston, Siskiyou County's attorney in the case. <more> July 18, 2014 AP  
     

  • Rural Valley homes' dry wells draw attention of U.S. ag secretary Vilsack - -  U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack visited Farmersville on Friday to announce emergency funds to help rural communities where drought has caused water wells to go dry. He visited two homeowners in the Cameron Creek rural subdivision near Farmersville. Carlen Overby, 60, told Vilsack her well went dry, and that she still has running water in her home only because her neighbor let her attach a hose to his well. She uses the running water for showers. "When you get up in the morning and turn the faucet on, you wonder if the water is going to come out," she said. <more> July 18, 2014 Fresno Bee
     

  • 80% of California is now in extreme drought, new data show - - More than 80% of California is now in an extreme drought, according to new data by the National Weather Service. The NWS' Drought Monitor Update for July 15 shows 81% of California in the category of extreme drought or worse, up from 78%. Three months ago, it was 68%. The map shows that drought conditions worsened in parts of Riverside, San Bernardino and San Diego counties. The new data comes as officials are getting tough on water wasters. Saying that it was time to increase conservation in the midst of one of the worst droughts in decades, the State Water Resources Control Board adopted drought regulations that give local agencies the authority to fine those who waste water up to $500 a day. <more> July 18, 2014 LA Times

Stories of Interest

  • Passing: Petrus Vander Werff, Escalon - - Petrus “Pete” Cornelia Vander Werff, 88, peacefully went to be with the Lord at his home in Escalon on July 7, 2014. Pete was a long time member of Western United Dairymen. He was born December 10, 1925, in Zoeterwoude, South Holland.  In 1987, he was honored to be the recipient of Escalon's Outstanding Farmer of the Year award. He was preceded in death by his wife of 53 years, Cornelia.  He was a devoted father to Yvonne (Jim) Heryford of Murphys; Caroline (Keith) Rigg of Escalon; and Steven (Vickie) Vander Werff of Melba, Idaho.  A  loving Opa to Darren, Brittany and Kristi of Escalon; Haley, Jaymie and Ryan of Murphys; and Clayton, Blake and Luke of Melba, Idaho. Survivors also include his brother, Johannes (Carolina) van der Werff of Escalon, half sister, Mien van Kempen and half brothers, Sjon van der Werff and Gerard van der Werff of Holland, along with many nieces and nephews in California and Holland. Services were conducted July 16 in Escalon. Remembrances can be made to Men of St. Patrick's and mailed to 19399 East Highway 120, Ripon CA 95366. Click here to read the complete obituary.  July 18, 2014 Modesto Bee
     

  • Dairy showmanship is about learning as well as winning - - Sarah Zonneveld looked over the assembled 4-H members as they brought their dairy cows into the ring, paraded them around and then stood in line with them. Zonneveld, judging the 4-H dairy showmanship competition at the Stanislaus County Fair on Wednesday, was looking for several very specific things: “How they exhibit themselves and the animal, the cleanliness of the animal, whether they move in unison, in sync.” The competition was the culmination of months of feeding, bathing and generally caring for the animals. The human participants have to look good, too, with their white uniforms crisp and clean. Because the competitors she was judging ranged from 9 to 11 years old, Zonneveld said, her job is to educate as well as to score each participant. <more> July 18, 2014 Modesto Bee  
     

  • Drones Adapt to Civilian Life - - Drones are a hot new technology for the agriculture industry. But as Tim Spalla explains, the idea of an unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) is anything but new. "The history of drones in the military go back a lot farther than most people realize," says Spalla, a special projects manager at CSG solutions. Spalla and CSG CEO Rob Ferriol, were featured speakers at Farm Journal’s Drone Fly-In event on July 17 in Heyworth, Ill.  "Public perception usually tends to be negative," he says. But drones are set to enjoy a more peaceful existence stateside, especially pending FAA clarification on rules for commercial use. By 2025, the Association for Unmanned Vehicle Systems International (AUVSI) predicts an $82 billion injection into the U.S. economy, with $75 billion of that anticipated to land in the agriculture industry. <more> July 18, 2014 AgWeb.com  
     

Meetings of Interest to CA Dairy Industry

  •  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 at dates and locations which will be announced soon. The first workshop is set for Aug. 11 in Orland. The workshops will be open to anybody interested: WUD members, nonmembers, their bankers and CPAs as well as allied industry members. <more> July 15, 2014 WUD news
     
  • Strip till tour set for Aug. 5 in Merced, Madera counties - - A tour of dairies in Merced and Madera counties that are using strip till methods for reliably producing quality silage corn is set for Tuesday, Aug. 5. The tour will depart from the Hilmar Cheese Visitor Center, 9001 Lander Ave, Hilmar at 7 a.m. and return by 12:30 p.m. There will be a luncheon and grower panel discussion on return to visitor center. The cost of the tour and luncheon is free for those who RSVP by Friday, July 25. More information is available from Ladi Asgill at lasgill@suscon.org (209) 576-7729 and Mikel Winemiller mike@calagsolutions.com, (209)626-6440. July 11, 2014 WUD news
     
  • Dairy margin management seminar in Las Vegas Aug. 20-21 - - A two day program designed to help dairy producers identify and protect forward profit margins is set for Aug. 21-21 in Las Vegas. The seminar is sponsored by Commodity & Ingredient Hedging (CIH.) Registration is available by calling 866-299-9333 or on-line at http://www.cihedging.com/education/dairy-margin-seminar/?product_id=cih_event_136_1  July 18, 2014 CIH Notice
     
  • SAVE THE DATE: WUD South Valley Golf Tournament  - Monday, Sept. 15th at the Visalia Country Club.

     

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Thursday, July 17, 2014

Water News

  • Drought Threatens To Dry Up California Farm Wells - - Farmers in pockets of California hardest hit by the drought could begin to see their wells run dry a year from now if rain and snow remain scarce in the agriculturally rich state, according to a study released Tuesday. Richard Howitt, a University of California, Davis professor emeritus of agriculture and resource economics, urged farmers to take the lead in managing groundwater to irrigate crops and sustain California's $44.7 billion farming industry. Farmers are accustomed to having a seeming endless supply, Howitt said. <more> July 16, 2014 Insurance Journal
  • Valley districts blamed for ignoring water conservation law - - After largely ignoring a conservation law passed during the last drought, some of California's largest agricultural water districts are facing a lawsuit that would force them to measure how much water farmers use. The 2009 law was designed to push the state's biggest water users to conserve by closely monitoring their use. Then, the state's agricultural water districts are supposed to charge the farmers, at least in part, based on that use. <more> July 17, 2014 Fresno Bee
  • Sacramento agencies: Our water waste rules are tough enough - - Large water agencies throughout the Sacramento region have no intention of imposing criminal penalties for water waste, despite a new state regulation that allows them to do so. The State Water Resources Control Board adopted the unprecedented measure on Tuesday in response to the ongoing statewide drought. Starting Aug. 1, it means water agencies can cite residents and businesses with criminal infractions for certain kinds of water waste and impose fines of up to $500 per day. <more> July 16, 2014 The Sacramento Bee
  • Drought takes aim at farms - - California farmers are taking a huge economic hit as the droughts impact deepens, with crop and livestock losses estimated at $1 billion this year alone, and an additional out-of-pocket cost of some $454 million to pump groundwater to partially replace surface supplies, according to a new study. The report by the Center for Watershed Sciences at UC Davis put the total economic impact at $2.2 billion, a figure that includes the loss of 17,100 seasonal jobs and the fallowing of more than 400,000 acres. <more> July 16, 2014 Capitol Weekly
  • Biggest water saving, guzzling districts - - Despite the governor's call for conservation amid a historic drought, California water agencies across the state collectively reported a 1 percent increase in water use in May 2014 compared to the same month over the previous three years. <more> July 16, 2014 U-T San Diego

State/Federal News and Politics

  • Proposal to Split California Into 6 States Moves Forward - - Supporters of a long-shot measure that would split California into six states plan to submit 1.3 million signatures to election officials on July 15. The quixotic effort, spearheaded by venture capitalist Tim Draper, needs officials to deem at least 807,615 of those signatures valid in order to qualify for the November 2016 election. <more> July 15, 2014 TIME
  • Splitting up California: 6 times they've tried to break up the Golden State - - The latest initiative to split up California is not the first. Or the 10th. Or even the 100th. There have been at least 220 efforts to hack California up into smaller states, with at least five just since 2000. Here's a list of six interesting efforts, including the latest, with maps of how California could have been divided. <more> July 16, 2014 KPCC
  • GMO food labeling law pressure mounts - - Congress could face pressure to establish a uniform, nationwide law on the labeling of foods made with genetically modified ingredients as early as next year, as more states regulate the controversial technology found in much of the U.S. food supply. <more> July 16, 2014 Des Moines Register
  • 57,000 Reasons Immigration Overhaul May Be Stalled for Now - - The crisis on the border with Mexico is rapidly overtaking President Obamas plans to use executive action to reshape the nations immigration system, forcing him to confront a new set of legal, administrative and political complications. The influx of 57,000 migrant children from Central America is leading Mr. Obama to crack down on deportations at the moment he was preparing to allow more people who are in the country illegally to stay. <more> July 16, 2014 The New York Times

Pricing/Commodity News

  • Man-made cows milk may soon be a reality - - Biohackers Ryan Pandya and Perumal Gandhi are working on crafting a plant-based concoction thats nearly identical in makeup to whats found in grocery milk. To achieve this, theyve gone so far as modifying sunflower oil so that it can take on a structural composition similar to milk fats, substituted lactose with galactose, a nearly indistinguishable sugar, and culturing yeast to release casein, a natural animal milk protein. If successful, the process theyve developed could someday be used to churn out a wide range of dairy products, such as cheese, butter and yogurt. <more> July 16, 2014 The Washington Post
  • Drought shrivels Fresno County, Calif. Ag values - - The latest victim of Californias multi-year drought is Fresno Countys long-standing run as Americas leading Ag-producing county. For the moment, Tulare County, Calif. now has those bragging rights. Fresno County agricultural values continued their two-year slide in 2013 but remained above $6 billion for the third consecutive year according to the annual crop report just released by County Ag Commissioner Les Wright. <more> July 15, 2014 Western Farm Press
  • India to China: You Keep your Dairy Products - - The Daily Dairy Report says India reaffirmed its ban on Chinese milk and dairy products, extending the sanction through June 22, 2015, according to USDAs Foreign Agricultural Service (FAS). The prohibition includes: chocolates, chocolate products, candies, and other foods made with milk or milk solids. Indias ban on Chinese milk and dairy products has been in place since 2008. In that year, Chinas dairy industry suffered from a scandal related to milk tainted with melamine that killed four children and sickened thousands of others. Since 2008 China has been taking steps to improve product safety and regain consumer confidence. The road to recovery for Chinas dairy industry has been peppered with setbacks and has been slow to materialize. July 17, 2014 Dairy Business Update
  • Corn Drops as U.S. Crop Outlook Boosts Global Supply Prospects - - Corn declined in Chicago, trading near a four-year low, on expectations that a bumper U.S. harvest will maintain ample global supplies. Soybeans were little changed. Corn crops in the U.S., the biggest producer and exporter, are developing in the best shape in 20 years in the countrys main growing areas, U.S. Department of Agriculture data show. <more> July 17, 2014 Dairy Today

Environmental News

  • Sacramento Judge Makes Precedent-Setting Ruling On Groundwater Regulation - - A Sacramento Superior Court judge issued a ruling Tuesday requiring regulation of groundwater pumping to protect a river in Siskiyou County. Attorneys on both sides say it's the first time a California court has ruled the "public trust doctrine" applies to groundwater. The doctrine says the State of California holds all waterways for the benefit of the people. The lawsuit claimed groundwater pumping in the Scott River Basin is partly responsible for decreased river flows - limiting the public's use of the river and harming fish habitat. <more> July 16, 2014 Capital Public Radio
  • Survey says Californians want groundwater protection - - Californians want immediate action to protect the states dwindling groundwater supplies, according to a new poll paid for by the California Water Foundation and released today by the Groundwater Voices Coalition. The coalition says the survey shows support for a package of proposals pending before the Legislature that include expanded local authority to manage groundwater supplies, backed by statewide standards. <more> July 17, 2014 Central Valley Business Times
     

interestStories of Interest
 



 
  • Cargill to end use of growth-promoting antibiotics in turkey - - Cargill said independent farms that supply it with turkey would stop giving the birds growth-promoting antibiotics. Cargill, which worked with the Agriculture Department to develop a three-part verification standard for its turkey production, said some of its products will be free of growth-promoting antibiotics by Thanksgiving with the rest of its flocks following by the end of 2015. Antibiotics would still be used to treat illness and prevent disease. <more> July 16, 2014 Des Moines Register
  • Taco Bell jumps aboard the protein power wagon - - The Paleo or Paleolithic diet is all-the-new craze across all ages and walks-of-life. Fast food giant, Taco Bell has finally caught on. Starting tomorrow Taco Bell will unveil their new Cantina Power menu, spearheaded by the $5.19 steak Power Bowl. Other items include a steak Power Burrito with a double serving of meat and 29 grams of protein and a chicken Power Bowl with 28 grams of protein. <more> July 16, 2014 Dairy Herd Management

Meetings of Interest to CA Dairy Industry

  • Strip till tour set for Aug. 5 in Merced, Madera counties - - A tour of dairies in Merced and Madera counties that are using strip till methods for reliably producing quality silage corn is set for Tuesday, Aug. 5. The tour will depart from the Hilmar Cheese Visitor Center, 9001 Lander Ave, Hilmar at 7 a.m. and return by 12:30 p.m. There will be a luncheon and grower panel discussion on return to visitor center. The cost of the tour and luncheon is free for those who RSVP by Friday, July 25. More information is available from Ladi Asgill at lasgill@suscon.org (209) 576-7729 and Mikel Winemiller mike@calagsolutions.com, (209)626-6440. July 11, 2014 WUD news
  • WUD to host Margin Protection Program workshops in August - - Western United Dairymen will host a series of informational workshops in August on the new Margin Protection Program, which is part of the 2014 Farm Bill signed into law earlier this year. There will be 11 workshops held throughout August at dates and locations which will be announced soon. The first workshop is set for Aug. 11 in Orland. The workshops will be open to anybody interested: WUD members, nonmembers, their bankers and CPAs as well as allied industry members. <more> July 15, 2014 WUD news
  • SAVE THE DATE: WUD South Valley Golf Tournament  - Monday, Sept. 15th at the Visalia Country Club.
     

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Water News

  • California agriculture industry facing $1 billion in drought losses - - Californias agricultural industry is facing $1 billion in lost revenue this year from the states worst drought in decades and could pay about $500 million for additional groundwater pumping, a new study said.  The UC Davis Center for Watershed Sciences said in a report released Tuesday that the states drought has reduced river water for Central Valley farms by roughly one-third their normal level, increasing the need for groundwater pumping. <more> July 15, 2014 LA Times
  • Drought drains $2.2 billion from farm economy - - Drought will cost California farmers and ranchers $2.2 billion this year and put 17,100 people out of work, UC Davis experts estimated Tuesday. The dollar figure is just 5 percent of the state agriculture industrys $42.6 billion in gross income in 2012, but the losses are greater in some parts of the state, including much of Merced County and the west side of Stanislaus County. Its not good here, but its better than the southern part of the Valley, said Turlock-area dairy farmer Ray Souza, a TID customer. The drought has squeezed feed supplies, including alfalfa purchased from around the West and homegrown corn that needs water through summer, he said. We have had to take measures now to live with less water, Souza said. That includes sowing feed varieties with shorter growing seasons and lengthening the time between irrigating, both of which reduce yields, he said. <more> July 15, 2014 Modesto Bee
  • Groundwater pumping propping up farms in California drought - - Consumers will see no shortages of California-grown fruits, nuts and vegetables this year despite one of the worst droughts in state history, but that's because farmers are draining groundwater reserves and leaving no insurance should heavy rains fail to materialize next winter, UC Davis researchers said Tuesday. <more> July 15, 2014 San Francisco Gate
  • California drought threatens to dry up farm wells - - Researchers say farmers in pockets of California hardest hit by the drought could begin to see wells run dry next year. The Center for Watershed Sciences at the University of California, Davis, released the study Tuesday on the possible impact if the next two years remain dry in California. The study also says farmers will leave nearly 430,000 acres unplanted this year, costing California $2.2 billion. <more> July 15, 2014 AP
  • California seeks to send message to water-wasters - - Reservoirs are running dry, the Capitol's lawn has turned brown, and farmers have left hundreds of thousands of acres unplanted. Even so, many Californians aren't taking the drought seriously. State water regulators are trying to change that by imposing fines up to $500 a day for wasting water. The State Water Resources Control Board acted Tuesday amid warnings that conditions could get worse if it doesn't rain this winter. City and suburban residents often are not fully aware of the seriousness of the three-year drought the worst in California since the mid-1970s, board Chairwoman Felicia Marcus said in an interview after the 4-0 vote. The vote is historic, she said, not only because the steps are unprecedented in California but because the board is trying to spread the burden of the drought beyond farmers and agencies that are trying to protect wildlife. <more> July 16, 2014 AP
  • Westlands buying water from Placer County - - The struggle to find additional irrigation water for Kings Countys parched Westside was on full display Monday as the comment period closed on a proposed 35,000 acre-feet water transfer from Placer County Water Agency to thirsty Westlands Water District, 80,000 acres of which are in Kings County. The U.S. Bureau of Reclamation, which operates the Central Valley Project that is contracted to supply Sacramento River water to Westlands, is brokering the deal. <more> July 15, 2014 Hanford Sentinel
  • Oakdale Irrigation District suggests selling water to outsiders to subsidize district costs - - The Oakdale Irrigation District hasnt raised its water rates in 30 years, and it was obvious Tuesday that OIDs directors resent a state law requiring them to charge farmers more to irrigate. All of this is getting forced on us, board Chairman Steve Webb repeatedly stated. Virtually every other California irrigation district has complied with the Water Conservation Act of 2009, which requires farmers to pay for water based on how much they use. <more> July 15, 2014 Modesto Bee
  • MID, Gallo reach settlement in water dispute - - Years of legal wrangling and negotiations over water rights between a prominent Merced County farmer and the Merced Irrigation District ended abruptly Tuesday when both sides cut a deal to end the long-standing feud. Mike Gallo, owner of the Gallo Cattle Co. in Livingston, sued MID and Hunter Farms over access to irrigation water. The civil jury trial, which began late last month, ended Tuesday with Judge Donald J. Proietti dismissing the jury, attorneys on both sides confirmed. <more> July 15, 2014 Merced Sun-Star
  • Lady Gaga joins California water conservation effort - - In partnership with the State of Californias drought awareness program Save Our Water, international pop superstar and five-time Grammy winner Lady Gaga has released a Public Service Announcement (PSA) asking Californians to join the effort and take extraordinary measures to save water during the drought. The PSA is available on SaveOurWater.com, a new site designed to help Californians find ways to conserve at home and at work every day. <more> July 16, 2014 CDFA Planting Seeds Blog
  • Governor Brown Announces Appointments to Water Commission - - Gov. Jerry Brown on July 14 announced several reappointments to the California Water Commission as well as the new appointment of Armando Quintero, president of the Marin Municipal Water District Board of Directors. <more> July 15, 2014 ACWA

State/Federal News and Politics

  • Fresno County falls behind Tulare County as state's king of agriculture - - Fresno County was dethroned as California's leading agricultural producer in 2013 despite the rise of almonds as the county's second billion-dollar crop. The ongoing drought contributed to declines in crop values. Last year, Fresno County's overall gross value fell 2.2% to $6.4 billion. In 2012, it dropped 3% to $6.5 billion. The county slips to No. 2 behind dairy rich Tulare County, whose agriculture value jumped to a record $7.8 billion on robust dairy prices. <more> July 15, 2014 Fresno Bee
  • Poll: Obama, Republicans face broad disapproval over handling of migrant crisis - - A new Washington Post-ABC News poll finds widespread public disapproval of the way President Obama and Republicans in Congress are handling the influx of unaccompanied foreign children at the southern border as the two sides engage in a fierce debate over how to stem the crisis. Nearly 6 out of 10 Americans are not happy with Obamas performance in dealing with the tens of thousands of minors who have arrived from Central America in recent months, overwhelming Border Patrol stations. All told, 58 percent disapprove of his management on the issue, including 54 percent of Latinos. <more> July 15, 2014 Washington Post
  • One in six say immigration most important U.S. problem - - Americans' perception of the main problem ailing the country is continuing its gradual shift away from the economy and healthcare to immigration, according to new polling by Gallup Inc. Immigration has clearly captured public attention, given the political and humanitarian crisis building at the border with the influx of thousands of children from Central and South America seeking refugee status, Gallup says. <more> July 16, 2014 Central Valley Business Times

Pricing/Commodity News

  • Cheese prices a little higher - - Another day of higher cheese prices on the Chicago Mercantile Exchange on Wednesday. Barrels increased three-quarter-cent to $2.04 and blocks added a quarter-cent to $2.0025 per pound. Butter and nonfat dry milk were unchanged but Class III futures increased in concert with the cheese prices. <more> July 16, 2014 Brownfield Ag News
  • California Powder Price Down 1.2 Cents - - The California Department of Food and Agriculture announced its latest surveyed nonfat dry milk prices at $1.8043/lb. for the week ending July 11, on sales of 11.7 million lbs. The price was down from $1.8161/lb. the week before, on sales of 14.23 million lbs. July 16, 2014 Dairy Business Update
  • Western United Dairymen to Host Margin Protection Program Workshops in August - - Western United Dairymen (WUD) will host a series of informational workshops in August on the new Margin Protection Program, which is part of the 2014 Farm Bill signed into law earlier this year. There will be 11 workshops held throughout August at dates and locations which will be announced soon. The first workshop is set for Aug. 11 in Orland. The workshops will be open to anybody interested: WUD members, nonmembers, their bankers and CPAs as well as allied industry members. <more> July 16, 2014 Dairy Today

Environmental News

  • House panel clears bill targeting EPA - - A $30.2 billion natural resources bill cleared the House Appropriations Committee Tuesday after a spirited, sometimes brass knuckle fight over dozens of Republican riders challenging President Barack Obamas environmental and wildlife agenda. The Environmental Protection Agency was the chief target, together with its proposed rule to cut greenhouse gas emissions from coal-fired power plants. But the list stretched to include trade in African ivory, the future of the Western sage grouse and even a minor EPA rule seeking to garnish the wages of 14 individuals said to owe the government an estimated $228,000. <more> July 15, 2014 Politico
  • Anti-Fracking Activists in California Take Fight to County Ballots - - Opponents of hydraulic fracturing or fracking have pushed for a statewide moratorium on the controversial oil production technique. With those efforts stalled in the state legislature, activists are taking the fight to the county level. <more> July 14, 2014 KQED

interestStories of Interest
 



 
  • Brittany Gerez of Bakersfield Selected as District 10 Dairy Princess - - Brittany Gerez of Bakersfield was selected as the 2014-2015 Dairy Princess for the California Milk Advisory Boards (CMAB) District 10 The crowning took place on June 26, 2014 at Benjis in Bakersfield, CA. July 15, 2014 CMAB
  • Kids From Dairy Farms Have Lower Allergy Risk, Study Finds - - Children raised on dairy farms are much less likely to develop allergies than other youngsters, a new study finds. Researchers tracked children who lived in rural areas of Sweden, half of them on dairy farms, from birth until 3 years of age. Children on dairy farms had one-tenth the risk of developing allergies as other rural youngsters. <more> July 15, 2014 Health Day
  • Marketing an Alternative to Greek Yogurt - - Stonyfield Farm wants to give yogurt lovers a new high-protein treat with a twist: It doesn't include the word "Greek." Hoping to steal some of Greek yogurt's thunder, Stonyfield plans to start selling Petite Crème, a yogurt-like fresh cheese similar to French fromage blanc. It will come in seven, mostly fruit flavors and boast many of the same attributes as Greek yogurt, like plenty of protein and a creamy texture even in low-fat varieties. <more> July 15, 2014 The Wall Street Journal
  • Passing: Adrian Diepersloot, Visalia - - Adrian Diepersloot of Visalia passed away July 12. He was a longtime member of Western United Dairymen and a former director of WUD. Visitation will be held Thursday July 17, 2014, from 4:30 to 6:30 p.m. at Miller Memorial Chapel in Visalia. On Friday, July 18, 2014, at 9:00 a.m. the interment service will be at the Visalia Public District Cemetery, followed by the memorial service at 10:30 a.m. at the Visalia Christian Reformed Church (1030 S. Linwood Ave, Visalia). In lieu of flowers, donations may be made in his memory to the Kaweah Delta Hospital Foundation, 216 S Johnson Street, Visalia 93291; or Sierra Village, Inc. - Building Fund, One Molenstraat, Visalia, California, 93277. Arrangements are being made by Miller Memorial Chapel, 1120 W. Goshen Avenue, Visalia, CA 93291 (559) 732-8371. To read the entire obituary, please click here. July 16, 2014 Fresno Bee

Meetings of Interest to CA Dairy Industry

  • Strip till tour set for Aug. 5 in Merced, Madera counties - - A tour of dairies in Merced and Madera counties that are using strip till methods for reliably producing quality silage corn is set for Tuesday, Aug. 5. The tour will depart from the Hilmar Cheese Visitor Center, 9001 Lander Ave, Hilmar at 7 a.m. and return by 12:30 p.m. There will be a luncheon and grower panel discussion on return to visitor center. The cost of the tour and luncheon is free for those who RSVP by Friday, July 25. More information is available from Ladi Asgill at lasgill@suscon.org (209) 576-7729 and Mikel Winemiller mike@calagsolutions.com, (209)626-6440. July 11, 2014 WUD news
  • WUD to host Margin Protection Program workshops in August - - Western United Dairymen will host a series of informational workshops in August on the new Margin Protection Program, which is part of the 2014 Farm Bill signed into law earlier this year. There will be 11 workshops held throughout August at dates and locations which will be announced soon. The first workshop is set for Aug. 11 in Orland. The workshops will be open to anybody interested: WUD members, nonmembers, their bankers and CPAs as well as allied industry members. <more> July 15, 2014 WUD news
  • SAVE THE DATE: WUD South Valley Golf Tournament  - Monday, Sept. 15th at the Visalia Country Club.
     

 

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

Water News

  • Drought impact study: California agriculture faces greatest water loss ever seen - - A new report from the University of California, Davis, shows that California agriculture is weathering its worst drought in decades due to groundwater reserves, but the nations produce basket may come up dry in the future if it continues to treat those reserves like an unlimited savings account. The UC Davis Center for Watershed Sciences study, released today at a press briefing in Washington, D.C., updates estimates on the droughts effects on Central Valley farm production, presents new data on the states coastal and southern farm areas, and forecasts the droughts economic fallout through 2016. The study found that the drought -- the third most severe on record -- is responsible for the greatest water loss ever seen in California agriculture, with river water for Central Valley farms reduced by roughly one-third. <more> July 15, 2014 UC Davis
  • UC Davis Drought Study Assesses Current Losses and Potential Future Impacts - - Groundwater pumping is expected to replace most river water losses, with some areas more than doubling their pumping rate over the previous year, the study said. More than 80 percent of this replacement pumping occurs in the San Joaquin Valley and Tulare Basin. The results highlight California agriculture's economic resilience and vulnerabilities to drought and underscore the states reliance on groundwater to cope with droughts. <more> July 15, 2014 CDFA Planting Seeds Blog
  • California approves fines for water-wasters - - California water regulators have voted to approve fines up to $500 a day for residents who waste water on lawns, landscaping and car washing. The action on Tuesday by the State Water Quality Control Board came after its own survey showed that conservation measures to date have failed to achieve the 20 percent reduction in water use sought by Gov. Jerry Brown. Survey results released before the 4-0 vote showed that water consumption throughout California had actually risen by 1 percent this past May compared to the same month in previous years. <more> July 15, 2014 The Sacramento Bee
  • Rural San Joaquin Valley reeling from drought - - In rural areas of the San Joaquin Valley, folks are turning on the tap and getting black water, bacteria, chemicals and sometimes just a little dribble of water . Statewide, Californians have cut back water use by only 5% this year, but here the drought is creating its own cutbacks in places like Seville in Tulare County, Stratford in Kings County and Parkwood in Madera County. Counties, volunteers and state agencies have been reacting, warning people to boil their water, delivering bottled water and working on fixes. <more> July 14, 2014 The Sacramento Bee
  • Oakdale Irrigation District water rate change being proposed - - The Oakdale Irrigation District provides some of the cheapest water in California, but a plan to increase how much farmers pay for it will be unveiled Tuesday morning. The proposed rate increase is part of a state-mandated conservation effort that requires farmers to start paying for water based on how much they use.  OID now charges farmers a flat rate of $19.50 per acre, no matter how much water they use to irrigate their crops. Its 2,800 landowners typically use about 4 acre-feet of water per acre. That means theyre essentially paying only about $5 per acre-foot of water. <more> July 14, 2014 Modesto Bee

State/Federal News and Politics

  • NMPF Endorses Draft U.S.-Canadian Plan for Regionalization of Trade If Countries are Confronted with Outbreak of Serious Animal Disease - - The National Milk Producers Federation on July 14 endorsed a draft plan for allowing the U.S. and Canada to cope with an outbreak of a serious foreign animal contagion, such as foot-and-mouth disease, suggesting the plan is a template for similar plans involving other important dairy export markets.The plan, drafted by the Agriculture Departments Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service, calls for the United States and Canada to recognize each others efforts to control an outbreak, while regionalizing how the outbreak is handled, so as to allow continued trade with disease-free areas of the country. <more> July 14, 2014 NMPF press release
  • Which States Are Considering Labels for GMO Foods? - - The movement to require food companies to label products that were genetically engineered is heating up in the U.S. this year. Thirty-five bills have been introduced in 20 states on the issue, and ballot initiatives are set in Colorado and Oregon. A number of polls have shown over 90% of Americans would prefer GMO foods to be labelled as such. That desire is starting to translate to action, as Connecticut, Maine and Vermont which is currently being sued by the food industry have already passed labeling laws for genetically engineered foods, often called genetically modified organisms (GMOs). <more> July 14, 2014 The Wall Street Journal

Pricing/Commodity News

  • WUD to host Margin Protection Program workshops in August - - Western United Dairymen will host a series of informational workshops in August on the new Margin Protection Program, which is part of the 2014 Farm Bill signed into law earlier this year. There will be 11 workshops held throughout August at dates and locations which will be announced soon. The first workshop is set for Aug. 11 in Orland. The workshops will be open to anybody interested: WUD members, nonmembers, their bankers and CPAs as well as allied industry members. <more> July 15, 2014 WUD news
  • U.S. corn, soy crop conditions rated best in 20 years  - - Conditions ratings for the U.S. corn crop unexpectedly improved while soybean ratings held steady, with both crops off to their best start since 1994, the U.S. Agriculture Department said in a weekly report on Monday. The corn crop was rated 76 percent good to excellent, up 1 percentage point from last week, while the soybean crop was rated 72 percent good to excellent. <more> July 14, 2014 Reuters
  • Dairy milk product market likely to see 25 per cent growth by 2019-20 - - The share of value added dairy products (VADP) in the milk and milk derivatives segment is expected to grow by around 25 per cent till 2019-20, Care Ratings said. The profitability in liquid milk space ranges from 4-5 per cent, whereas the profitability in VADPs ranges from 12 to 18 per cent, attracting private participation in the industry. <more> July 15, 2014 The Economic Times
  • Global Dairy Trade Average Plunges 8.9% - - Todays Global Dairy Trade (GDT) auction saw the weighted average for all products drop 8.9%, following the 4.9% decline in the last session. The price index has pretty much seen declines since reaching its high on February 4. The downfall today was led by a 10.9% plunge in whole milk powder, which was down 5.4% in the last event. Anhydrous milkfat was down 10%, following a 7.4% decline last time. Skim milk powder was down 7.1%, after a slippage last time of 0.9%. Rennet casein was down 8.9%, following a 2.1% drop in the last event. Cheddar cheese was down 1.6% after a 2.9% drop in the last session. GDT butter was down 1.1%, following the 13.6% plunge in the last event. Buttermilk powder was down 4.6%, after being up 4% last time. July 15, 2014 Dairy Business Update
     

Environmental News

  • Debate heats up on proposed EPA water-quality rule - - Discussion has intensified about proposed changes to the federal Clean Water Act. As farmers and ranchers express increasing concern about enhanced permitting requirements, land-use restrictions and legal liability that the proposal could cause, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency launched its own campaign to defend the proposal. Agricultural leaders want the EPA to scrap the proposed rule changes, terming them a poorly orchestrated attempt to expand agency jurisdiction. The proposed rule was published in April, and remains open to public comment until October. <more> July 16, 2014 Ag Alert
  • West Sacramento flood risk reduction plans announced - - A plan to reduce flood risk around West Sacramentos perimeter is being announced by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Sacramento District. The proposed project would implement a variety of flood risk management improvements throughout West Sacramento, which is almost completely surrounded by water ways. The plan includes installing cutoff walls, raising levees, providing increased bank protection, as well as the construction of a setback levee, berms and relief wells to help update the regions flood control system. <more> July 14, 2014 Central Valley Business Times

     

interestStories of Interest
 


 
  • District 7 Crowned Its 2014 Dairy Princess - - Alexis Mello was crowned Dairy Princess and Emily Rosa was crowned as First Alternate Dairy Princess during a ceremony at the Kings County June Dairy Month Dinner on Friday June 27, 2014, at the Hanford Civic Auditorium. A crowd of 400 dairy families and industry members were in attendance at the coronation to support Alexis and Emily as they begin their reign to promote the California and Kings County dairy industry. June 30, 2014 CMAB news
  • PETA sheep abuse video prompts Colorado investigation; state sheep industry condemns 'rogue' shearer - - An undercover PETA video showing shearers punching, throwing and abusing sheep has prompted investigations in two Colorado counties. Wool industry leaders said what happened in the video is indefensible. "The person who did this should be prosecuted," said Bonnie Brown with the Colorado Wool Growers Association. "Everything about that was wrong." <more> July 11, 2014 KMGH-TV
  • Police recover stolen VW cheese buses - - Three stolen Tillamook Cheese microbuses valued at $300,000 were located in Copperopolis Monday night by a county-wide law enforcement team led by Manteca Police Department officers. <more> July 15, 2014 Manteca Bulletin

Meetings of Interest to CA Dairy Industry

  • Strip till tour set for Aug. 5 in Merced, Madera counties - - A tour of dairies in Merced and Madera counties that are using strip till methods for reliably producing quality silage corn is set for Tuesday, Aug. 5. The tour will depart from the Hilmar Cheese Visitor Center, 9001 Lander Ave, Hilmar at 7 a.m. and return by 12:30 p.m. There will be a luncheon and grower panel discussion on return to visitor center. The cost of the tour and luncheon is free for those who RSVP by Friday, July 25. More information is available from Ladi Asgill at lasgill@suscon.org (209) 576-7729 and Mikel Winemiller mike@calagsolutions.com, (209)626-6440. July 11, 2014 WUD news
  • WUD to host Margin Protection Program workshops in August - - Western United Dairymen will host a series of informational workshops in August on the new Margin Protection Program, which is part of the 2014 Farm Bill signed into law earlier this year. There will be 11 workshops held throughout August at dates and locations which will be announced soon. The first workshop is set for Aug. 11 in Orland. The workshops will be open to anybody interested: WUD members, nonmembers, their bankers and CPAs as well as allied industry members. <more> July 15, 2014 WUD news
  • SAVE THE DATE: WUD South Valley Golf Tournament  - Monday, Sept. 15th at the Visalia Country Club.
     

 

 

Monday, July 14, 2014

Water News

  • Fresno judge denies move to stop water transfers - - A federal judge in Fresno on Friday rejected a motion for a preliminary injunction against irrigation water transfers from Northern California to the San Joaquin Valley. A fishing group and a Northern California environmental advocacy group in June asked the court to stop water transfers, saying federal leaders are jeopardizing the protected delta smelt. The plaintiffs are AquAlliance and the California Sportfishing Protection Alliance, both nonprofit groups. <more> July 11, 2014 Fresno Bee
  • New Report Calls for Tighter Groundwater Management - - A newly released report from the California Water Foundation highlights the need for tighter groundwater management throughout California, especially as the state grapples with increased groundwater pumping due to drought. The report, titled An Evaluation of California Groundwater Management Planning, assesses the current condition of groundwater management planning in the state and finds that many groundwater management plans are outdated and lacking important details. <more> July 10, 2014 ACWA news
  • Rural San Joaquin Valley reeling from drought - - In rural areas of the San Joaquin Valley, folks are turning on the tap and getting black water, bacteria, chemicals and sometimes just a little dribble of water. Statewide, Californians have cut back water use by only 5% this year, but here the drought is creating its own cutbacks in places like Seville in Tulare County, Stratford in Kings County and Parkwood in Madera County. <more> July 14, 2014 Fresno Bee
  • Scientists to forecast California drought impacts through 2016 at July 15 Newsmaker - - University of California scientists will update and expand their forecast of the California droughts economic impacts on agriculture at a Newsmakers news conference at 11 a.m. Tuesday, July 15, in the clubs Zenger Room. Californias Food and Agriculture Secretary Karen Ross will also speak at the event. New data shows where the drought is hitting California growers hardest and how the states system of groundwater pumping threatens further losses in farm production, income and jobs in the nations richest agricultural state. <more> July 10, 2014 The National Press Club
  • Unusual water deals struck in drought-stricken Central Valley ag country - - In drought-scarred farm country, coffee shop talk turns obsessively to water and its cost which several months ago hit a shocking $1,000 per acre-foot and then climbed to more than $2,000. But it's far too simple to say drought-buster deals in the San Joaquin Valley are all about making a pile of money. A sale in the last week featured a compassionate offer of San Joaquin River water at only $250 per acre-foot. <more> July 12, 2014 Fresno Bee
     

State/Federal News and Politics

  • Brown urges GOP to work with Obama on immigration - - Breaking his public silence on the recent surge in illegal immigration, Gov. Jerry Brown called on Republicans in Congress on Friday to work with President Obama on solving the human tragedy rather than trying to gain political advantage. An earlier version of this post quoted Gov. Jerry Brown as saying, "And, by the way, accidentally, of some of the policies of the last 20 and 30 years. He actually said: "And not, by the way, accidentally, from some of the policies of the last 20 and 30 years. <more> July 11, 2014 LA Times
  • Heat a risk for Valley workers, crops - - Valley residents aren't the only ones wilting from triple-digit temperatures these days. The excessive heat is troublesome for field workers, livestock animals, vineyards and fruit trees. Above-average temperatures can cause tree fruit to ripen slowly, dairy cows to produce less milk and workers to harvest in potentially dangerous conditions. <more> July 11, 2014 Fresno Bee
  • A fresh GOP voice from the San Joaquin Valley - - The San Joaquin Valley may be struggling to grow food because of the dust-bowling drought. But it's having no trouble producing Republican leaders. OK, that's a non sequitur. But maybe not so much. The latest Republican leader to emerge from the San Joaquin is Assemblywoman Kristin Olsen of Modesto, a conservative with an appealing moderate tone, who nevertheless has strong views about water development. <more> July 13, 2014 LA Times
  • Fresno County supervisors to reconsider high-speed rail stance - - Fresno County supervisors have supported high-speed rail for the past seven years, but that support is waning and could change Tuesday. That's when supervisors will discuss whether the rail program still is following its original plans and meeting voters' intentions, and whether they can continue to support it. Officials with the California High-Speed Rail Authority learned about the planned discussion on the meeting agenda and will be in Fresno on Tuesday to address supervisors, state officials confirmed. <more> July 11, 2014 Fresno Bee
  • The demise of the small family-owned dairies - - Heres yet another sign of the times. The demise of family-owned dairy farm operations. In many cases, the dairy farm has been handed down from one generation to the next. Cold statistics chronicle the sad stories from the local, state, and national scene. One does not have to go far, though, to get the stories. They are in and around Manteca and Ripon. They are practically right next door to us. <more> July 12, 2014 Manteca Bulletin
  • Border crisis scrambling the politics of immigration policy - - Until now, the politics of immigration have been seen as a no-lose proposition for President Obama and the Democrats. If they could get a comprehensive overhaul passed, they would win. And if Republicans blocked it, the GOP would further alienate crucial Hispanic and moderate voters. But with the current crisis on the Southwest border, where authorities have apprehended tens of thousands of unaccompanied Central American children since October, that calculus may be shifting. <more> July 12, 2014 Washington Post

Pricing/Commodity News

  • Double whammy hits proposed Tulare cheese plant - - Supporters of more economic development in Tulare suffered a set back in recent weeks as the start-up cheese maker CaliCheese, which expects to hire 200 employees, was hit by a double whammy. About a month ago the president of the company, Jeff Lee, became ill with breathing problems while staying in Tulare County, was seen at Kaweah Delta and flown to a Los Angeles hospital, where he later died. It was a tragic irony on the eve of seeing his dream come true, said Robert Moultrie, a friend and fellow investor in the project who will now be spearheading it. <more> July 11, 2014 The Business Times
  • California milk meets global demand - - There is a good reason these days why California has happy cows, as touted in the Milk Advisory Board-backed television advertising. Its the same reason that could put a happy smile on the faces of dairy farmers in the Golden State. The price of milk is moving up after a years-long slump in the market. The rapidly expanding global demand for milk is what is behind the todays rising milk prices, according to extensive data from the California Department of Food and Agriculture on the states dairy industry. <more> July 12, 2014 Manteca Bulletin
  • Corn prices fall near levels that would trigger subsidies - - The U.S. government increased its forecast on Friday for a surplus of corn, raising the prospect that prices will tumble to levels that would trigger subsidy payments to farmers. Corn supplies in 2015 will reach 1.801 billion bushels, 4.3 percent larger than forecast last month, the U.S. Department of Agriculture said, even as it cut the estimate for the size of this years crop. <more> July 11, 2014 St. Louis Post-Dispatch
  • Everyone's eating butter again -- if you can afford it - - Butter is back. This past spring, U.S. per capita butter consumption was at its highest levels in around 40 years. "There has been a complete resurgence of butter since at least 2008, and it really has everything to do with 'real food,' " Melissa Abbott, culinary insights director at the Hartman Group, a consumer market research firm, told the Minneapolis Star Tribune. "There's been a backlash against margarine and other processed spreads." <more> July 14, 2014 CBS Money Watch
     

Environmental News

  • Study of Organic Crops Finds Fewer Pesticides and More Antioxidants - - Adding fuel to the debates over the merits of organic food, a comprehensive review of earlier studies found substantially higher levels of antioxidants and lower levels of pesticides in organic fruits, vegetables and grains compared with conventionally grown produce. It shows very clearly how you grow your food has an impact, said Carlo Leifert, a professor of ecological agriculture at Newcastle University in England, who led the research. If you buy organic fruits and vegetables, you can be sure you have, on average, a higher amount of antioxidants at the same calorie level. <more> July 11, 2014 The New York Times
  • State Water Efficiency and Enhancement Program Deadline Extended 2 Weeks - - The California Department of Food and Agriculture (CDFA) has extended its deadline for applications for the State Water Efficiency and Enhancement Program (SWEEP) by two weeks, until July 29, 2014. An estimated $10 million in competitive grant funding, authorized by emergency drought legislation (Senate Bill 103), will be awarded to provide financial assistance to agricultural operations for implementation of water conservation measures that result in increased water efficiency and reduced greenhouse gas emissions. <more> July 14, 2014 CDFA
  • Delta smelt on the scaffold of extinction, says new report - - Cable TV and talk radio bloviators and politicians may soon have no more Delta smelt to ridicule. The minnow-like fish, which lives only in the waters of the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta, is on the precipice of extinction, says a report Monday from the California Sportfishing Protection Alliance. Its analysis of government data says the population of the small fish has dropped to near-extinction levels. <more> July 14, 2014 Central Valley Business Times

interestStories of Interest
 


 
  • Farm to warfare: UC Davis institute stands watch against agroterrorism - - California agricultural catastrophe could start with a single handkerchief. In the hands of a clever terrorist, the handkerchief could be contaminated with the foot-and-mouth disease virus, then dropped in a pen of livestock. Cattle, which are curious by nature, would soon start sniffing the handkerchief, potentially creating a ground zero for one of the most feared diseases in farming. <more> July 13, 2014 The Sacramento Bee
  • Cheese bus heist in Manteca - - A Tillamook Cheese sales tour caravan was disrupted when five of its vehicles were stolen from a Manteca hotel parking places Saturday with two of them being torched a day later by thieves. The professionally restored Volkswagen buses are painted a bright orange and used for product advertising. They were part of a sales tour traveling from city to city. Tillamook Cheese has posted a $10,000 reward for the return of the three VW buses. <more> July 14, 2014 Manteca Bulletin
  • Farmers markets abound in S.J. County - - Shoppers say the markets not only offer freshness, but they find many things on their lists are cheaper too. On nearly every day of the week, there is a farmers market in San Joaquin County where shoppers can find an array of freshly picked produce, and so much more. There are two main groups that operate outdoor markets in the Stockton and Tracy areas, according to Wes Rhea of Visit Stockton. <more> July 12, 2014 Stockton Record
  • Food expo to feature several local companies - - Hoping for a slice of Kings County at the upcoming Fresno Food Expo on July 24? Youre in luck. No fewer than nine local businesses will be hawking their wares to commercial buyers and the general public at the fourth-annual event. They include the L.T. Sue Co., Rosa Brothers Milk Co., Dairy Goddess, Nichols Farms, Farmers Fury Winery, Crisp California Walnuts, Summerhill Dairy, Homegrown Organic Farms and Pa Paws Killer BBQ Sauce. <more> July 11, 2014 Hanford Sentinel

Meetings of Interest to CA Dairy Industry

  • Strip till tour set for Aug. 5 in Merced, Madera counties - - A tour of dairies in Merced and Madera counties that are using strip till methods for reliably producing quality silage corn is set for Tuesday, Aug. 5. The tour will depart from the Hilmar Cheese Visitor Center, 9001 Lander Ave, Hilmar at 7 a.m. and return by 12:30 p.m. There will be a luncheon and grower panel discussion on return to visitor center. The cost of the tour and luncheon is free for those who RSVP by Friday, July 25. More information is available from Ladi Asgill at lasgill@suscon.org (209) 576-7729 and Mikel Winemiller mike@calagsolutions.com, (209)626-6440. July 11, 2014 WUD news
  • SAVE THE DATE: WUD South Valley Golf Tournament  - Monday, Sept. 15th at the Visalia Country Club.
     

 

Friday, July 11, 2014

Water News

  • New report expected to show drought impact worsening - - Scientists from the University of California, Davis, next Tuesday will update and expand their forecast of the California drought's economic impacts on agriculture at a news conference. They are expected to show new data about where the drought is hitting California growers the hardest and how the state's uniquely unmanaged system of groundwater pumping threatens further losses in farm production, income and jobs in the Central Valley. <more> July 11, 2014 Central Valley Business Times
  • Film shows human cost of irrigation cuts to agriculture - - Oseguera is a film maker. His interest in water issues came in 2009 when farmworkers and farmers marched through a dust storm along the west side of the San Joaquin Valley (SJV). The 50-mile march from Mendota to San Luis Reservoir was in response to the frustration and outrage over federal decisions to cut water supplies to farmers. I thought this was just a small issue, Oseguera said. I eventually realized this was bigger than I could have imagined. <more> July 7, 2014 Western Farm Press
  • Saving Water in California - - California is in the third year of its worst drought in decades. But you wouldnt know it by looking at how much water the states residents and businesses are using. According to a recent state survey, Californians cut the amount of water they used in the first five months of the year by just 5 percent, far short of the 20 percent reduction Gov. Jerry Brown called for in January. In some parts of the state, like the San Diego area, water use has actually increased from 2013. Without much stronger conservation measures, the state, much of which is arid or semiarid, could face severe water shortages if the drought does not break next year. <more> July 9, 2014 The New York Times
  • Groundwater management plans needed across California - - Communities across California are sorely lacking in strategies to sustain their groundwater, and many dont even have any plans in place. Thats according to Andrew Fahlund, deputy director of the California Water Foundation, as he discussed the Sacramento-based nonprofits release on Thursday of its Recommendations for Sustainable Groundwater Management report. <more> July 10, 2014 Visalia Times-Delta
     

Pricing/Commodity News

  • Quota discussion draws packed house in District 3 - - Western United Dairymen District 3 members and guests packed the house Thursday as they gathered in Two Rock Valley to listen to a presentation on quota proposals recently brought before the California Dairy Task Force. The meeting was requested by dairymen concerned about how proposed changes might affect operations in Sonoma and Marin Counties. Similar to other high cost of production areas of the state, many dairy producers in District 3 have attempted to mitigate their higher costs by investing in quota. Further, many producers in attendance indicated that in their area, due to urbanization and competition from wine grape production, that their decision to invest in quota was due in part to the fact that expansion of their herds was difficult due to land cost and availability. Quota investment was incurred to maintain the viability of their farms. The session was moderated by WUD Directors Lucas Deniz and Domenic Carinalli who organized the meeting in response to requests from producers in their area. A presentation was made by Western United Dairymen CEO Michael Marsh who chairs the Quota Working Group. July 11, 2014 WUD news
  • USDA: Record Milk Production, Continuing Strong Dairy Prices This Year - - Although USDA lowered its 2014 U.S. milk production estimate slightly from last month, its new forecast of 205.9 billion pounds still would be a record high. If U.S. dairies achieve USDAs latest projection, released in Fridays World Agricultural Supply and Demand Estimates (WASDE) report, their output would soar 4.7 billion pounds over 2013s level. That's close to what Arizona produces in an entire year. It would also exceed 2012s milk production figure of 200.5 billion pounds by 5.4 billion pounds. <more> July 11, 2014 Dairy Today
  • USDA lowers corn estimate, raises soybeans - - USDA has lowered its production outlook for corn, while raising the projection for soybeans. This years corn crop is now estimated at 13.860 billion bushels, down 75 million from June on a lower harvested area estimate, based on the June 30 acreage numbers. The average yield guess was left unchanged and old and new crop ending stocks were both up on the month. <more> July 11, 2014 Brownfield Ag News
  • Top global dairy companies battle challenging conditions - - Giant dairy processing companies have been "paddling hard in slow-moving water," faced with stagnant sales in many key markets, weak economies and supply constraints, according to Rabobanks annual Global Dairy Top 20 report, released July 9. Nonetheless, the worlds largest dairy companies remain reasonable entrenched, with Nestle, Danone and Lactalis again topping the list, said Tim Hunt, Rabobank analyst and co-author of the report. <more> July 10, 2014 Capital Press
  • Global demand for farm commodities seen rising through 2023 - - Global meat prices will keep rising for the next decade with beef continuing to set record highs. And the production and consumption of biofuels is expected to increase by 50 percent. These are some of the forecasts in the 2014-2023 Agricultural Outlook released today by the Food and Agricultural Organization (FAO) of the United Nations and the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD). The study sees a generally positive outlook for agriculture with strong markets driven by diversifying diets. <more> July 11, 2014 Agri-Pulse

State/Federal News and Politics

  • Adelson, Gates, Buffett: Lack of immigration reform is 'depressing' - - Three billionaires who have donated to opposite parties teamed up Thursday to urge Congress to pass immigration reform, saying current policy is irrational. The current stalemate in Congress on immigration reform is depressing the rest of the country, wrote Sheldon Adelson, Bill Gates and Warren Buffett. <more> July 11, 2014 The Hill
  • Immigration and border crisis: Possible compromise emerges in Congress - - Outlines of a possible compromise over President Barack Obama's $3.7 billion emergency border spending request are emerging on Capitol Hill. They involve making policy changes to allow the minors streaming to the border from Central America to be sent home more quickly. The top House and Senate Republicans both said Thursday that they don't want to give the president a blank check and want to see the law changed to speed the children's deportations. <more> July 10, 2014 San Jose Mercury News
  • Ben & Jerrys new flavor fuels Food Fight over GMOs - - Ice cream maker Ben & Jerry's promoted a special flavor, Food Fight Fudge Brownie, on Capitol Hill today, to support labeling mandates for genetically modified food. The company committed earlier this year to phasing out any ingredients in its products derived from genetically modified organisms (GMOs). Company co-founder Jerry Greenfield said the flavor will appear this month in Vermont Ben & Jerry shops, where $1 of every purchase will go into a legal fund to defend against challenges to the state's GMO labeling mandate passed in April. <more> July 10, 2014 Agri-Pulse
     

Environmental News

  • Strip till tour set for Aug. 5 in Merced, Madera counties - - A tour of dairies in Merced and Madera counties that are using strip till methods for reliably producing quality silage corn is set for Tuesday, Aug. 5. The tour will depart from the Hilmar Cheese Visitor Center, 9001 Lander Ave, Hilmar at 7 a.m. and return by 12:30 p.m. There will be a luncheon and grower panel discussion on return to visitor center. The cost of the tour and luncheon is free for those who RSVP by Friday, July 25. More information is available from Ladi Asgill at lasgill@suscon.org (209) 576-7729 and Mikel Winemiller mike@calagsolutions.com, (209)626-6440. July 11, 2014 WUD news
  • Farmers see threats growing - - Every year, an average of 30,000 acres of irrigated California farmland is converted to other uses. Hoping to stem these losses, a coalition of environmental and farm interests Thursday called on state officials to reinforce and renew existing and recently lapsed programs that monitor and conserve farmland as well as set overarching policies to discourage urbanization and improve the viability of California agriculture. Edward Thompson Jr., state director of American Farmland Trust, said the state needs a breakthrough in policy to protect the nation's leading agricultural industry. <more> July 11, 2014 Stockton Record
  • Discovery could cut use of fertilizer by farmers - - A discovery by a scientist with the USDA Agricultural Research Service could help farmers use less fertilizer, saving money and helping the environment. Richard Haney, a U.S. Department of Agriculture soil scientist in Temple, Texas, has developed a soil test that replicates some of the natural processes that occur in a field and accounts for that microbial activity, along with measuring nitrate, ammonium (NH4), and organic nitrogen. <more> July 10, 2014 Central Valley Business Times
  • Secretaries Ross, Laird Issue Joint Statement on CRAEs Call to Action to Preserve California Agricultural Land - - The California Roundtable on Agriculture and the Environment (CRAE), of which CDFA is an institutional member, has published a report entitled A Call To Action to Preserve California Agricultural Land The reports recommendations are are intended to provide a maximum amount of flexibility, incentives, tools, and options for landowners, government agencies, and communities to confront the challenges posed by the rapid conversion of agricultural land while simultaneously protecting and balancing these private rights and the public's interest. <more> July 11, 2014 CDFA press release

interestStories of Interest
 


 
  • From McDonald's To Organic Valley, You're Probably Eating Wood Pulp - - Do not be alarmed, but you may be eating wood pulp. Or at least an additive that started out as wood. If you buy shredded cheeses, including brands such as Organic Valley and Sargento, or hit the drive-through at McDonald's for a breakfast sandwich or a smoothie, or douse some ribs with bottled barbecue sauce, there's likely some cellulose that's been added to your food. Cellulose is basically plant fiber, and one of the most common sources is wood pulp. Manufacturers grind up the wood and extract the cellulose. <more> July 10, 2014 NPR
  • New Fair Oaks restaurant takes farm-to-table to the extreme - - Farm-to-table is a pretty popular concept these days, and a new restaurant takes it about as far as it can go, growing and raising almost all its food right outside. Fair Oaks Farms has opened The Farmhouse Restaurant and Conference Center, an $8 million expansion at the popular agritourist destination in Newton County. The 20,000-square-foot complex includes a local craft beer pub, a conference center that seats 280, and a sit-down restaurant with an emphasis on American Farm Cuisine, and will add a fresh food market and bakery later this summer. <more> July 10, 2014 Northwest Indiana Times
  • Health company joins Fonterra for interesting China partnership - - Why would a global healthcare company join forces with the worlds most prominent dairy exporter to build dairy farms in China? Good question. But, thats whats happening, according to a joint press release issued by the companies, Fonterra and Abbott. The dairy hub as the farm is termed by Fonterra, would include joint investment of $300 million for 5 dairy farms and 16,000 head, producing up to 160 million liters (over 350 million pounds) of milk yearly. <more> July 10, 2014 Dairy Herd Management
  • Organic foods have more antioxidants, U.K. study finds - - Organic crops have higher levels of antioxidants associated with better health than conventional crops, according to a study led by scientists at Newcastle University in the United Kingdom. The researchers say they found statistically significant and meaningful differences in composition between organic and non-organic crops. <more> July 11, 2014 Agri-Pulse

Meetings of Interest to CA Dairy Industry

  • Strip till tour set for Aug. 5 in Merced, Madera counties - - A tour of dairies in Merced and Madera counties that are using strip till methods for reliably producing quality silage corn is set for Tuesday, Aug. 5. The tour will depart from the Hilmar Cheese Visitor Center, 9001 Lander Ave, Hilmar at 7 a.m. and return by 12:30 p.m. There will be a luncheon and grower panel discussion on return to visitor center. The cost of the tour and luncheon is free for those who RSVP by Friday, July 25. More information is available from Ladi Asgill at lasgill@suscon.org (209) 576-7729 and Mikel Winemiller mike@calagsolutions.com, (209)626-6440. July 11, 2014 WUD news
  • SAVE THE DATE: WUD South Valley Golf Tournament  - Monday, Sept. 15th at the Visalia Country Club.
     

ifornia Dairy Industry Headline News

Thursday, July 10, 2014

Pricing/Commodity News

  • California August Class I Milk Prices Up $5.07 from 2013 - - The California Department of Food and Agriculture announced its August Class I milk price today at $25.28 per hundredweight for the north and $25.55 for the south. Both are up 15 cents from July, $5.07 above August 2013, and 10 cents shy of the record high set in March 2014. The eight-month northern average now stands at $24.70, up from $19.87 at this time a year ago and compares to $17.82 in 2012 and $20.27 in 2011. The southern average, at $24.97, is up from $20.14 a year ago, $18.09 in 2012 and $20.54 in 2011. The August Federal order Class I base price is announced by USDA on July 23. July 10, 2014 Dairy Business Update
  • Bumper crops to take a bite out of U.S. farmer revenues - - U.S. revenues from corn and soybean farming look set to slump to their lowest levels in five years despite projections for record soybean production and the second-largest corn crop in history. Lower corn and soybean prices are the chief driver behind the sinking sales receipts, with new-crop corn values recently slumping to their lowest levels since the summer of 2010 and new-crop soybean values at close to five-month lows. <more> July 10, 2014 Reuters
  • Northwest hay growers doubt acreage reports accuracy - - While U.S. hay acreage has dropped slightly compared to a year ago, increased acreage reported in individual states last week by USDAs National Agricultural Statistics Service comes as a big surprise to growers. Nationwide harvested acreage of all hay at 57.6 million acres is down 611,000 acres from 58.3 million acres in 2013. But acreage is up 160,000 in Washington and 30,000 in Oregon, according to the report. <more> July 8, 2014 Capital Press
  • U.S. Powder Sales Set New Record High - - As the U.S. dairy industry focuses on butter, U.S. exports of nonfat dry milk and skim milk powder surged 10% in May from April levels to post a new all-time monthly high. In May, U.S. exporters sent 60,358 metric tons, or 133 million pounds, of nonfat dry milk and skim milk powder (NDM/SMP) overseas, a 7.8% increase from May 2013 levels, according to USDAs Foreign Agricultural Service. <more> July 10, 2014 Dairy Today
     

State/Federal News and Politics

  • Lack of communication is to blame in biotech debate, according to House panel - - The heated public debate over genetically modified foods shows the agricultural industry is not doing enough to communicate biotechnology's benefits to society, according to a group of witnesses hosted by the House Agriculture Subcommittee Horticulture, Research, Biotechnology, and Foreign Agriculture on Wednesday. <more> July 10, 2014 Agri-Pulse
     

Water News

  • California Hopes Fines up to $500 Slow Water Waste - - Bo Cuketieh inadvertently let a fine mist from a leaky hose soak the front lawn of a Southern California home Wednesday before considering that such water waste could merit a $500 fine under unprecedented restrictions proposed by California regulators. Cuketieh, a 35-year-old welder living at the Glendale home, said conservation is necessary, but he chafed at the maximum fine. "That's the difference between me making my house payment or not," said Cuketieh, who was shirtless and hunched over in the 98 degree heat as he filled his car radiator. "I live from one week to the next, and I have a pretty decent job." <more> July 9, 2014 AP

Environmental News

  • GOP: EPA water rule could harm farmers - - House Republicans clashed with Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) officials Wednesday over the agency's controversial plan to regulate small bodies of water, which the GOP says could hurt American farmers. Repubilcans fear the EPA's proposed Waters of the U.S. rule would expand the agency's authority to include small rivers, streams and ponds around the country, which they say could hurt farmers whose lands are strategically surrounded by water. <more> July 9, 2014 The Hill
  • Obama's EPA chief calls farm bureau worries hogwash - - The Obama administration's environmental chief, Gina McCarthy, is coming to Missouri to try to calm troubled waters. The source of the storm: a proposed rule issued by the Environmental Protection Agency that aims to clarify the federal agency's authority to regulate streams, wetlands, and other waters. In a conference call with reporters on Tuesday, EPA Administrator McCarthy acknowledged that the rule has sparked strong opposition among some farmers and agriculture groups who worry the proposal gives the EPA the power to regulate ditches, streams, and other water on their land. <more> July 9, 2014 Gannett News Service

interestStories of Interest
 


 
  • Americas price of food more budget friendly than other countries - - Its no secret that the price of groceries is on the rise, hitting American consumers deep in the pocketbook. In a recent USDA Economic Research Service report, the average American spent 6.6 percent of their household budget on groceries for home or 11 percent when eating out costs are factored in. Sound steep? Pakistanis shelled out 47.7 percent of their household budget on food costs. <more> July 9, 2014 Dairy Herd Management

 

 

Wednesday, July 9, 2014

State/Federal News and Politics

  • Dems vow fast work on $3.7B border bill - - Senate Democrats on Tuesday moved to quickly pass a $3.7 billion package that provides funding to care for but also more quickly deport the thousands of children illegally flooding into the country at the southwest border. Hours after the White House revealed the package, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) said his goal was to finish a bill by Congresss August recess. <more> July 8, 2014 The Hill
  • Obama's $3.7-billion border request reflects deepening concern - - President Obama asked Congress for $3.7 billion in emergency funding Tuesday to help confront what he called an urgent humanitarian situation: the unprecedented influx of children and teens arriving without parents on the Southwestern border. The figure was nearly double what the administration had signaled might be necessary, and it showed the deepening concern at the White House about the more than 52,000 unaccompanied minors, mostly from Central America, who have flocked across the border since October. <more> July 8, 2014 LA Times
  • Soda Tax's Last Stand? Bay Area Preps for Showdown - - If two of the most progressive U.S. cities don't pass a tax on sugary drinks, will the idea finally fizzle out? Sugary drinks have been under fire for years, with many blaming them for rising rates of obesity and chronic diseases. Yet efforts to curb consumption by imposing taxes and other measures have failed, in part because the beverage industry has spent millions to defeat the efforts. Now, the question of whether a bottle of Dr Pepper with 64 grams of sugar should be treated like a pack of cigarettes is being considered in San Francisco and Berkeley, with the two California cities aiming to become the country's first to pass per-ounce taxes on sugary drinks. <more> July 8, 2014 AP
  • Another record year for Tulare County agriculture - - Combined sales of Tulare County crops, livestock and other agricultural goods totaled more than $7.8 billion in 2013, the third straight year they hit record levels. That's more than a 25 percent increase $1.59 billion over agricultural sales in 2012, according to the 2013 Tulare County Annual Crop and Livestock Report that county Agricultural Commissioner Marilyn Kinoshita presented to the county Board of Supervisors Tuesday morning. <more> July 8, 2014 Visalia Times-Delta
  • USDA Reminds Producers of 2014 Acreage Reporting Requirement - - U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) California Farm Service Agency (FSA) Executive Director Val Dolcini reminds agricultural producers that July 15, 2014, is the deadline to file an acreage report for spring seeded crops. Planted acres must be reported to FSA by July 15, 2014. The Agricultural Act of 2014 (2014 Farm Bill) requires producers on a farm to submit annual acreage reports on all cropland. <more> July 8, 2014 FSA news release
     

Water News

  • Valley irrigation leaders warn against states river flow proposal - - Irrigation districts pledged to keep up their fight against a state proposal to boost flows in the lower Stanislaus, Tuolumne and Merced rivers. They said the proposal, aimed at improving conditions for salmon and other fish, would hit hard at the regions agriculture and lead to an increase in well pumping. <more> July 8, 2014 Modesto Bee
  • Urban water use restrictions expected for entire state - - Every Californian will soon face water use restrictions as the State Water Resources Control Board imposes new controls backed by stiff fines. <more> July 9, 2014 Central Valley Business Times

Pricing/Commodity News

  • Corn crop off to best start since 1999 - - It hasnt been smooth sailing for all crop-producing states over the last week, but for most of the Corn Belt, milder weather helped push the corn crop to its best conditions in 15 years. According to the USDAs latest Crop Progress report, 75 percent of U.S. corn is in good to excellent condition, virtually unchanged from last week and well-above last years report of 68 percent in these same conditions. <more> July 8, 2014 Dairy Herd Management
     

Environmental News

  • EPA: Assumptions About Clean Water Act Changes Are Ludicrous - - John Barrett is a Texas farmer and environmental steward. He cares for his land so that it's here for generations to come. Now he fears removing the word "navigable" out of the Clean Water Act could prohibit him from doing his job. American Farm Bureau recently launched a campaign called "Ditch the Rule." The goal is to prevent EPA from implementing what the group fears is too much overreach with proposed changes to the Clean Water Act. <more> July 9, 2014 Ag Web
  • As farm interests line up against water regs, EPA officials begin the hard sell - - The Environmental Protection Agency, admitting that we havent had the best relationship with the agriculture industry in the past, is beginning a push for a proposed new water rule that has generated strong opposition from farm communities. EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy will be in Missouri Wednesday and Thursday to talk up the rule with farmers and agribusiness leaders. Included will be a farm visit in Rocheport, Mo., on Wednesday, and a speech on Thursday at the Kansas City Agribusiness Council Luncheon. <more> July 9, 2014 McClatchy News Service
  • Delta water getting saltier, fish kills show - - Sardine-like fish that spend most of their lives in the ocean were sucked by the thousands into the south Delta export pumps near Tracy this spring. While your life might not hinge on the wellbeing of Pacific herring, their presence deep in the Delta is evidence that the estuary is becoming saltier, which could be bad news for farmers if the drought persists. <more> July 9, 2014 Stockton Record
     

interestStories of Interest
 


 
  • Valley premium ice cream makers churn out unique flavors - - It's July, it's hot, and so it's time to indulge in some creamy, locally made ice cream. Throughout the central San Joaquin Valley, ice cream makers are producing some interesting flavors from peach cobbler to cinnamon bun. And it isn't just ice cream shops that are dishing out the icy goodness. One of the newest local ice cream makers is scooping it out of a food truck. Among the fastest growing producers is Rosa Brothers Milk Co. in Tulare. <more> July 7, 2014 Fresno Bee
  • Red tape may be slowing dairy growth - - How much time does it take you to cut through red tape in your locale? The answer could be the reason your region is thriving or diving in terms of dairy farm investment. A recently released Small-business friendliness map by The Economist, using data from Thumbtack and the Kauffman Foundation, asked thousands of small businesses about local issues around hiring, regulation, zoning, licenses, health insurance and training. Thumbtack/Kauffman felt comfortable enough with the compiled data for 38 U.S. states to assign grades on how states treat small businesses. <more> July 8, 2014 Dairy Herd Management
  • Inside Monsanto, America's Third-Most-Hated Company - - Spears is an early adopter who upgrades his equipment every 12 months (next years tractor will have a fridge in the cab, he says) and who just bought a drone to monitor his fields. He can afford to: Corn prices are high, and farmers like him can take home hundreds of thousands of dollars a year. Still, he thinks such technologiesthe smart planter software and sensor array, the iPad app offering planting and growing adviceare only going to get more common. So does the company that makes many of those tools, as well as the high-tech seeds Spears is planting: Monsanto, one of the most hated corporations in America. <more> July 3, 2014 Bloomberg Businessweek
  • Jerry Brown signs bill allowing wine tasting at farmers markets - - Californians can start sipping wine at farmers markets. Immediately. Gov. Jerry Brown announced Tuesday he has signed an urgency measure allowing winegrowers who bottle their own wine to conduct instructional tastings at Californias numerous farmers markets. Assembly Bill 2488, by Assemblyman Marc Levine, D-San Rafael, was approved by both houses of the Legislature without dissent. <more> July 8, 2014 Capitol Alert

 

Tuesday, July 8, 2014

State/Federal News and Politics

  • Emergency Drought Relief Money Still Unspent - - Its been four months since Governor Jerry Brown signed what he and Democratic lawmakers called emergency drought legislation. It promised nearly $700 million in immediate drought relief. But nearly 90 percent of that money has yet to be spent. This is a call to action, Brown proclaimed in late February at a visit to the state's emergency operations center. What needs to be done will be done and is being done. <more> July 7, 2014 Capital Public Radio
  • First Lady Bucks GOP on School Lunch Rules - - First ladies typically avoid getting into public scraps, but Michelle Obama has jumped into perhaps her biggest battle yet. She's fighting a House Republican effort to soften a central part of her prized anti-childhood obesity campaign and says she's ready "to fight until the bitter end." Mrs. Obama even mocked the GOP effort in an opinion column and argued her case on Twitter. <more> July 5, 2014 AP
  • Agency's control over modified crops is limited - - Oregon agriculture officials say the state has no authority over genetically modified crops once federal regulators deem them safe for commercial use. In a letter to Gov. John Kitzhaber, the Oregon Department of Agriculture said state law allows it to create "control areas" for genetically engineered crops to deal with pests and disease. But it can create such areas only for GE crops that are in the trial phase. Officials say once a GE crop is "deregulated" by the U.S. Department of Agriculture, it is deemed not to be a carrier of pests or disease and the state loses authority over the crop. <more> July 7, 2014 AP
  • Raw Milk Producers Aim To Regulate Themselves - - A growing number of Americans are buying raw milk. That's milk that has not been pasteurized to kill bacteria. As we've reported, the legal treatment of raw milk varies state by state. In some places like California, it's sold in stores. In other states, it's outlawed entirely although folks get around regulations by buying a "stake" in a cow so they're drinking what amounts to their own milk, or selling it as a pet food. But this patchwork of permissions and workarounds means that, as a nation, we don't have any national standards when it comes to raw milk testing and safety. <more> July 7, 2014 Valley Public Radio
  • California Milk Advisory Board Joins Kids LiveWell as Sponsor - - The National Restaurant Association announced that the California Milk Advisory Board (CMAB) has become the first commodity board sponsor of the Associations award-winning Kids LiveWell program, a voluntary industry-wide initiative designed to help make the healthful choice the easy choice when dining out with children. <more> July 8, 2014 QSR Magazine
  • MOO Milk disbands - - An effort by organic dairy producers in Maine to market their own milk is shutting down. Maines Own Organic or MOO Milk is disbanding leaving the producers to pursue contracts with other processors. The co-op had stopped processing milk in May after equipment problems put them in a situation where they needed to make some major investments. The announcement stated the company was not filing for bankruptcy and had sufficient cash on hand to pay all of its obligations to farmers, vendors and employees. <more> July 8, 2014 Brownfield Ag News
     

Water News

  • A California Oil Field Yields Another Prized Commodity - - The 115-year-old Kern River oil field unfolds into the horizon, thousands of bobbing pumpjacks seemingly occupying every corner of a desert landscape here in Californias Central Valley. A contributor to the states original oil boom, it is still going strong as the nations fifth-largest oil field, yielding 70,000 barrels a day. But the Kern River field also produces 10 times more of something that, at least during Californias continuing drought, has become more valuable to many locals and has experienced the kind of price spike more familiar to oil: water. The fields owner, Chevron, sells millions of gallons every day to a local water district that distributes it to farmers growing almonds, pistachios, citrus fruits and other crops. <more> July 7, 2014 The New York Times
  • S.J. paints grim picture of twin tunnels' impact - - Gov. Jerry Brown's proposed twin tunnels "will effectively destroy the Delta as it exists today," and will forever alter San Joaquin County's economy, county officials warn in a new report. The staff report sums up the county's highly critical comments on the $25 billion tunnels plan. Supervisors will consider approving those formal comments this morning at their meeting in downtown Stockton. <more> July 8, 2014 Stockton Record
     

Pricing/Commodity News

  • California milk price relief expires - - Temporary adjustments to Californias minimum milk pricing formula, which added 12.5 cents per hundredweight to producers pool price, expired last week with no official objection from the states dairymen. The temporary price relief was an extension of an earlier measure put into place July 1 to Dec. 31, 2013, and expired June 30, 2014. The measures were ordered by California Department of Food and Agriculture Director Karen Ross. <more> July 8, 2014 Capital Press
  • Corn Falls as Favorable Weather Continues - - Corn for delivery in September fell 9 cents, or 2.2 percent, to $4.06 a bushel, its lowest price since August 2010. As recently as April 29, corn was trading at $5.22. The price of corn has slumped in the last two months as the right combination of sun, rain and moderate summer temperatures has boosted the chances of a record crop this year. U.S. corn is currently entering its pollination stage, a critical point of its development. The prices for wheat and soybeans also fell. <more> July 7, 2014 AP
  • Out-of Sight Beef Prices Pose Opportunity - - Record high cattle and beef prices are actually making rebuilding herds a good bet, at least for some beef cattle producers, according to a Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service expert. "Out of sight is a good term for the prices," said Dr. David Anderson, AgriLife Extension specialist in livestock and food products marketing. "And it doesnt really matter whether were talking about retail prices to consumers, the wholesale beef market or at sale barns for calves and feeder steers." <more> July 8, 2014 Dairy Today
  • CWT Sending More Dairy Products Offshore - - Cooperatives Working Together (CWT) accepted 21 requests for export assistance today from Dairy Farmers of America, Land OLakes, Michigan Milk Producers Association, Northwest Dairy Association (Darigold) and Tillamook County Creamery Association to sell 15.615 million pounds of Cheddar, Gouda, Monterey Jack cheese, 1.246 million pounds of butter (82% butterfat) and 837,757 pounds of whole milk powder to customers in Asia, Europe, the Middle East, North Africa, South America and Oceania. The product will be delivered through January 2015. Year-to-date, CWT has assisted member cooperatives in selling 74.377 million pounds of cheese, 48.767 million pounds of butter and 15.406 million pounds of whole milk powder to 41 countries on six continents. These sales are the equivalent of 1.926 billion pounds of milk on a milkfat basis. July 8, 2014 Dairy Business Update
     

Environmental News

  • NMPF Asks EPA to Withdraw Guidance that Could Hinder Water Conservation on Farms - - The National Milk Producers Federation on July 7th asked the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to withdraw recent guidance concerning when farmers must seek Clean Water Act permits for a long list of normal farming activities near wetlands.NMPF, the voice of more than 32,000 dairy farmers in Washington, said the EPAs proposal could have the perverse effect of discouraging water conservation, by changing the long-standing relationship between farmers and the Agriculture Departments Natural Resources Conservation Service. <more> July 7, 2014 NMPF news release
     

interestStories of Interest
 


 
  • California has worlds eighth-largest economy, beating Russia, Italy - - Californias economy has overtaken Russia and Italy, with the state now ranked as the worlds eighth-largest economy. The states $2.203 trillion gross domestic product in 2013 put California slightly ahead of Russia and Italy and just behind the No. 7 economy, Brazil. The rankings were calculated by the Center for Continuing Study of the California Economy in Palo Alto and based on annual statistics from the World Bank. <more> July 8, 2014 The Sacramento Bee
  • Trader Joe's caught in COOL crosshairs - - The head of a California-based organization has filed a lawsuit against Trader Joes Co. over the retailers alleged noncompliance with country-of-origin labeling (COOL) laws, particularly of meat products. <more> July 2, 2014 Dairy Herd Management
  • Clare Hasler-Lewis on the Future of Agriculture - - What will the future of agriculture and food production look like? Most of us are aware of some sobering statistics: With the planet's population expected to approach 10 billion by 2050, and incomes rising, demand for food is likely to double. Demand for water, meanwhile, is projected to grow roughly 55%, according to the 2014 U.N. World Water Development Report, while more than 40% of the world's population will be living in areas of severe water stress. Those are daunting challenges, to be sure. But from where I'm sitting, I also see a steady stream of new farming technologies, practices and ideas that are increasing our ability to use limited resources efficientlyparticularly water. <more> July 7, 2014 The Wall Street Journal

Meetings of Interest to CA Dairy Industry

  • Drought Assistance Workshop in  Tulare, July 9 - - The California Dairy Quality Assurance Program is offering a free drought assistance workshop to dairy producers in Tulare tomorrow. California is in the midst of one of the driest years since record keeping began in the 1800s. With short water supplies, dairy producers and farmers are faced with tough planning decisions regarding which crops to grow and the impacts the drought will have on crop yield and quality. Expert presenters at this free workshop will provide helpful information for managing dairy crops, with a focus on maximizing forage quantity and quality under drought conditions. Attend the workshop on Wednesday, July 9 from 10 a.m. 1 p.m. at the Tulare County Agricultural Center UCCE Classroom, 4437 S. Laspina Street, Tulare. June 16, 2014 CDQA news 

 

 

Monday, July 7, 2014

Water News

  • Senate Democrats put forth $7.5 billion water bond plan - - Senate Democrats knocked $3 billion off their water bond proposal Thursday, putting forth a $7.5 billion plan just as the Legislature adjourned for its month-long summer recess. The measure is a scaled-back version of the $10.5 billion bond by Sen. Lois Wolk (D-Davis) that failed to pass the Senate last week. The revised plan would allocate $2 billion for surface and groundwater storage projects, $850 million for Delta levees and habitat restoration, and $1 billion for groundwater cleanup. <more> July 3, 2014 LA Times
  • California restricts access to water well records - - A decades-old law barring the public from viewing records of water wells throughout California is drawing criticism amid the states drought from those who believe the information locked away could help scientists and water policy specialists better protect the groundwater supply. While other Western states make well logs widely available, the Sacramento Bee reported Sunday that the California law makes a narrow group of state officials and researchers privy to facts and figures on each wells depth, diameter and the geological material bored through to hit water. <more> July 7, 2014 AP
  • Nearly 80% of California now under 'extreme' drought conditions - - Harsh, dry conditions continue to drive more of California into the highest possible category of drought, the National Weather Service announced Thursday. Nearly 80% of the state was under "extreme" drought conditions in June, according to the latest U.S. Drought Monitor map. Within that area, the amount considered to be in the highest category of drought -- "exceptional" -- grew from 33% in May to 36%. <more> July 3, 2014 LA Times
  • California drought imperils a dream - - For the first time in the more than half a century that the federal government had been diverting Sierra Nevada water to farmers, there would be no deliveries to most Central Valley irrigation districts. In the third year of drought, there wasn't enough water to go around. It was a blow to the entire region, but a possible death knell to Terra Bella, whose pistachio and citrus groves are watered only by rain and the government's canals. <more> July 4, 2014 LA Times
  • California lawmakers to work on drought plan during summer recess - - California lawmakers on Thursday pledged to work over the summer recess to agree on a plan to shore up the state's water supply that has been mired in party politics for months despite a three-year drought that has slammed farms and towns. The plan to build three new reservoirs, underground water storage and finance environmental clean-up projects ran aground last month after Republicans said it did not do enough to bring water to the state's parched agricultural breadbasket, and Governor Jerry Brown said it was too expensive. <more> July 3, 2014 Reuters
     

    Environmental News

  • Dairy group asks EPA to pull CWA guidance as comment period ends - - The National Milk Producers Federation (NMPF) has joined several agricultural groups in asking EPA to withdraw its interpretive rule concerning Clean Water Act (CWA) permit exemptions for certain farming activities near wetlands. EPA and the Army Corps of Engineers released the rule earlier this year at the same time as their proposal to define Waters of the U.S. The agency closed a public comment period for the interpretive rule on Monday, but comments on the Waters of the U.S. definition can be submitted until Oct. 20. <more> July 8, 2014 Agri-Pulse
  • Perea bill would delay California cap-and-trade for gas - - Democratic fissures over California's cap-and-trade mandates deepened on Thursday, with a key moderate Democrat introducing a bill to push back a looming rule expected to cause a spike in prices at the pump. Assembly Bill 69 by Assemblyman Henry Perea, D-Fresno, would delay for three years a rule requiring the energy industry to purchase permits for transportation fuels. Lawmakers and critics have been warning for months about a resulting price bump. <more> July 3, 2014 Capitol Alert
  • California rice farmers could get pollution credit - - Californias evolving cap-and-trade market may soon have a new player: rice farmers. A proposal by the California Air Resources Board staff, up for board approval in September, would allow rice farmers in the Sacramento Valley to sell carbon emission offsets as part of the states effort to combat climate change. Rice farmers would flood their fields for shorter periods, which would reduce the decomposition process that emits methane a potent greenhouse gas. Businesses seeking to offset their own greenhouse gas emissions could buy credits from the farmers who had made gains in curbing pollution. <more> July 5, 2014 The Sacramento Bee
     

State/Federal News and Politics

  • Legal, political and humanitarian concerns raised over child migrant crisis - - The legal, humanitarian and political constraints facing the Obama administration as it copes with thousands of Central American children entering the country illegally came into sharp focus in a series of interviews Sunday. A George W. Bush-era law to address human trafficking prevents the government from returning the children to their home countries without taking them into custody and eventually through a deportation hearing. Minors from Mexico and Canada, by contrast, can be sent back across the border more easily. The administration says it wants more flexibility under the law. <more> July 6, 2014 AP

Pricing/Commodity News

  • Corn Avalanche Coming as Rain Trumps U.S. Planting Slide - - The 8-foot (2.4-meter) corn stalks on Bill Longs farm in southern Illinois are so big, green and healthy that he wishes hed sold more of it sooner. Like many growers across the Midwest, Long expects a second straight record crop that will boost domestic stockpiles already at a four-year high. Output in the U.S. will jump 2.8 percent to 14.314 billion bushels, the most ever, researcher The Linn Group Inc. estimated in a July 1 report. Even after fewer acres were planted, the wettest June on record left fields in the best condition since 2003 and sent prices into a bear market two months before the harvest starts. <more> July 7, 2014 Bloomberg
  • May U.S. female dairy cattle exports bounce back - - Demand for U.S. female replacement dairy cattle bounced back in May. USDAs Foreign Ag Service said 4,938 female dairy replacements were exported during the month, the highest monthly total since December 2013. The January-May total is 19,762 head, down slightly from the pace set over the same period in 2012 and 2013. Jordan was the top market in May, at 2,439 head, followed by Russia, at 1,534 head. Mexico remained the biggest dairy replacement market so far in 2014, taking 656 head in May, for a five-month total of 9,333, or about 47% of all exported female dairy cattle. July 5, 2014 Dairy Herd Management
  • May U.S. alfalfa exports weaker - - U.S. alfalfa hay exports totaled 137,548 metric tons in May, the lowest total in the past three months, according to USDAs Foreign Ag Service. China was the top foreign hay market for the month, at 50,195 metric tons (MT); followed by Japan, at 35,650 MT; and the United Arab Emirates (UAE), at 23,688 MT. May 2014 U.S. exports of other hay, at 126,744 MT, were the second-lowest monthly total of the year. Japan was the leading market, at 68,328 MT; followed by South Korea, at 32,285 MT; and China, at 12,066 MT. July 5, 2014 Dairy Herd Management
  • Robin Schmahl: Lower Milk Prices May Not Mean Less Profitability - - The market is weighing the impact that high prices may have on demand as well as how much milk supply will be available. There is much speculation on whether the top is in for milk prices. Seasonally, one would have to say that it is not. Higher prices generally are seen in September and October. However, this year, such may not be the case. Record milk prices were seen in April and have declined marginally since. Current futures contracts hold a discount through mid-2016, with prices hovering at $15.85. That certainly is not a very positive outlook for milk prices. <more> July 7, 2014 Dairy Today

interestStories of Interest
 


 
  • District 4 Crowned Its 2014 Dairy Princess - - Abaigeal Abby Zuppan was crowned District 4 Dairy Princess on Wednesday, June 25, 2014. Michelle Ferreira District 4 Chairperson, crowned the new Dairy Princess during a luncheon at the I-5 Café in Orland, CA. Retiring Dairy Princess Mackenzie Gomes ended her reign by turning over the title over to Abby, wishing her well as she represents the California dairy industry throughout the coming year. Abby will serve her reign through 2014 and early 2015. June 26, 2014 CMAB press release
  • Fair acts pack up, fireworks called off - - Crowds were sparse, many of the rides on the midway were empty and the Fourth of July fireworks show was canceled Friday at the San Joaquin County Family Fair. One of the saddest scenes was the sight of a frowning circus clown who removed his face paint, packed up his tent and left the fairgrounds two days early, saying he was pulling out for the first time in his 41 years as a carnival performer. A number of vendors had already left and other entertainers were threatening to do the same amid accusations of mismanagement and fears that performers would not be paid. <more> July 5, 2014 Stockton Record

Meetings of Interest to CA Dairy Industry

  • UCCE Silage Day in Modesto - Tuesday, July 8 - - UCCE will hold a Silage Day in the Harvest Hall, Stanislaus Ag Center, 3800 Cornucopia Way, Modesto. The event is free to attend. Pre-registration is appreciated to plan for lunch and handouts. To register call (209) 525-6800 or email jmheguy@ucdavis.edu. The event program begins at 10:00 a.m. with "Are You Paying Too Much for Corn Silage?" by Jennifer Heguy, UCCE Dairy Farm Advisor Merced, Stanislaus and San Joaquin Counties. Other sessions include "California Corn Silage Piles Adventures in Measuring Real Shrink" by Dr. Peter Robinson, UCCE Dairy Nutrition Specialist; "Silage Management Practices on California Dairies" by Dr. Noelia Silva-del-Rio, UCCE Dairy Production Medicine Specialist; and a grower and custom harvester panel on "Keys to Planning for a Successful Harvest". A CDQAP Drought Meeting will be held after lunch. UCCE news
  • Drought Assistance Workshops in Modesto and Tulare, July 8 and 9 - - The California Dairy Quality Assurance Program is offering free drought assistance workshops in July to dairy producers in Modesto and Tulare. California is in the midst of one of the driest years since record keeping began in the 1800s. With short water supplies, dairy producers and farmers are faced with tough planning decisions regarding which crops to grow and the impacts the drought will have on crop yield and quality. Expert presenters at this free workshop (agenda below) will provide helpful information for managing dairy crops, with a focus on maximizing forage quantity and quality under drought conditions. Workshops are offered on a first-come, first-served basis. The first workshop will be held in conjunction with the UCCE Silage Day, Tuesday, July 8, 1 4 p.m. at Stanislaus County Agricultural Center Harvest Hall, ABC Room, 3800 Cornucopia Way, Modesto. For more info <click here>. Please contact Jennifer Heguy at 209-525-6800 to RSVP for lunch. The second workshop on Wednesday, July 9 from 10 a.m. 1 p.m. will take place at Tulare County Agricultural Center UCCE Classroom, 4437 S. Laspina Street, Tulare. Please RSVP to Denise Mullinax at 209-525-6877 to guarantee lunch. June 16, 2014 CDQA news 

 

 

Thursday, July 3, 2014

Water News

  • California toughens enforcement of water violations - - California's water cops on Wednesday approved emergency drought regulations aimed at forcing water users to act swiftly when told to stop diverting water from streams. The State Water Resources Control Board, after meeting for nearly 12 hours over two days, voted unanimously to approve the new rules package. The emergency regulations mean that for the next nine months, the board can follow a streamlined process to force some water-rights holders to stop diverting from rivers and streams. The action came after the board was told that only 31 percent of nearly 10,000 water-rights holders statewide have responded to curtailment notices issued over the past six weeks.  <more> July 3, 2014 The Sacramento Bee
  • California water regulators up enforcement powers - - California water regulators voted to give themselves tough new drought enforcement powers after learning that most water rights holders haven't responded to their orders to use less. The State Water Resources Board met for nearly 12 hours over a two-day span before voting unanimously Wednesday to approve the emergency regulations that will be in effect for the next nine months. <more> July 3, 2014 AP
  • Oakdale Irrigation District takes on update of rates, other charges - - The Oakdale Irrigation District provides its farmers about the cheapest water in California, and many of its other service charges haven't increased in more than a decade. OIDs board of directors took a step Wednesday toward updating and justifying what it charges customers for special services, and it will start tackling its overall water rate structure July 15. <more> July 2, 2014 Modesto Bee
     

State/Federal News and Politics

  • Got milk? Good - - Consumers have a hard time today trying to improve their diets. They are bombarded with conflicting advice, dueling studies and experts on TV hawking their latest book promising miracle results. Eggs are vilified one month and judged not so bad the next. Margarine is deemed healthier than butter, until newer research undercuts long-held views about saturated fat and butter makes a comeback as a pure and natural food. And if thats not enough, here comes the inaptly-named Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine, with its animal rights agenda masquerading as nutrition advice. The latest example is Susan Levins op-ed in the June 24 issue of The Hill, urging Congress to steer kids away from milk. <more> July 3, 2014 The Hill
  • New flood of immigrants unsettles some U.S. towns - - A day earlier, angry protesters had blocked buses carrying immigrant detainees from reaching a Border Patrol processing facility here. On Wednesday, while the rancor in Murrieta had eased, some remained adamant that they would fight any attempts to settle, even temporarily, young immigrants and their guardians from Central America who crossed the border illegally. And officials and townspeople in Riverside County and elsewhere in border states wrestled with the correct response to the arrival of those immigrants and the backlash it has created. <more> July 2, 2014 LA Times
  • USDA Farm Service Agency (FSA) Announces Online Hay and Grazing Acres Locator Tool - - For many years, FSAs Hay Net website www.fsa.usda.gov/haynet has been the go to online resource for agricultural producers to list information concerning the need for hay or the availability of hay. Now, in response to requests from livestock producers and landowners, FSA has expanded the site to include the option to list a need for grazing acres or to list acres available for grazing. <more> July 3, 2014 FSA news
     

Pricing/Commodity News

  • Global dairy price recovery seen six months out - - Higher global milk production and a reduction in Chinese dairy purchases led to a 10 to 20 percent decline in international dairy commodity prices in the three months leading up to mid-June, according to Rabobank.In its latest quarterly dairy report, Rabobank said the lower prices were expected as global milk production increased in response to almost 12 months of exceptionally high prices. <more> July 3, 2014 Capital Press
  • As storage overflows, China expected to scrap corn stockpiling - - China is expected to scrap its corn stockpiling scheme by as early as next year as it battles to reduce mammoth state reserves that account for more than half of global stocks. That could end artificially inflated domestic prices and curb imports, hurting farmers in top corn producer the United States already hit by a Chinese crackdown on corn cargoes containing an unapproved genetically-modified strain. The death of the scheme would trail the demise of similar programers for cotton and soybeans, which are being replaced with systems of direct subsidies for growers. <more> July 1, 2014 Reuters
  • Chinese turns to US for milk products - - Dairy consumption in the US has over the last decade has slowed, but demand from Asia led by China has been helping offset some of the US' milk woes. US dairy consumption has been growing at an average of about half a percent a year for the last 10 years, but milk production has been increasing at about 1.5 percent. And the 1 percent difference between the two is going overseas, according to Jay Waldvogel, senior vice-president of strategy and global development of Dairy Farmers of America. <more> July 3, 2014 China Daily
  • Meat prices on a record-setting roll - - Red meat prices in the U.S. are at record highs, reflecting historically tight supplies of beef and pork. Strong demand, both domestically and internationally, is butting up against cattle numbers impacted by three years of drought in cattle country and a hog industry hit hard by porcine epidemic diarrhea virus. In the meantime, producers are seeing record-high prices for fed cattle and market hogs. <more> July  2, 2014 Capital Press
     

Environmental News

  • EPA issues rule aimed at keeping RINs market liquid - - The EPA today issued a rule designed to maintain liquidity in the market for the renewable identification numbers, or RINs, established under the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS.) A second rule was issued listing additional fuels that can qualify for RINs and certifying corn kernel fiber as a crop residue. RINs are generated by renewable fuel producers and importers, representing volumes that meet the requirements for renewable fuel under the RFS program. They can be transferred between parties and used by petroleum refiners and importers to show compliance with their RFS volume obligations. EPA notes that cases of fraudulently generated RINs damage the RIN market, making it difficult for small renewable fuel producers to sell their RINs. <more> July 2, 2014 Agri-Pulse

interestStories of Interest
 


 
  • National Ice Cream Month Began in 1984 - - Since 1984, when President Ronald Reagan proclaimed that National Ice Cream Month be celebrated annually, every July has been a focus for greater attention to ice cream in the United States with the 3rd Sunday of July each year being National Ice Cream Day. That according to a posting on Dairy Market News. About 9 percent of all the milk produced by U.S. dairy farmers is used to produce ice cream, contributing significantly to the economic well-being of the nation's dairy industry. July 3, 2014 Dairy Business Update
  • Amid the BBQ, parades, fireworks, lets remember holidays meaning - - Were there odds makers 238 years ago, the bets likely wouldve been pretty long against the success of the fledgling exercise in democracy and self-government birthed July 4. The very act of those 56 men signing the radical Declaration of Independence itself a lengthy finger-in-your-eye list of grievances against a distant king was considered treason under British law, punishable by death. <more> July 3, 2014 Farm Press blog
  • The Insane Reason We Waste $162 Billion on Food - - Knowing when to throw out milk thats gone sour or bread thats grown mold is a no-brainer, but for many of the foods we eat, its not nearly as obvious when we shouldnt eat them, and manufacturers often dont make it any easier. The upshot is that we throw out tons literally of perfectly good food. The USDAs Economic Research Service estimated that in 2010, we threw out 133 billion pounds of food, which is almost a third of the countrys edible food. Thats embarrassing. <more> July 2, 2014 TIME

Meetings of Interest to CA Dairy Industry

  • UCCE Silage Day in Modesto - Tuesday, July 8 - - UCCE will hold a Silage Day in the Harvest Hall, Stanislaus Ag Center, 3800 Cornucopia Way, Modesto. The event is free to attend. Pre-registration is appreciated to plan for lunch and handouts. To register call (209) 525-6800 or email jmheguy@ucdavis.edu. The event program begins at 10:00 a.m. with "Are You Paying Too Much for Corn Silage?" by Jennifer Heguy, UCCE Dairy Farm Advisor Merced, Stanislaus and San Joaquin Counties. Other sessions include "California Corn Silage Piles Adventures in Measuring Real Shrink" by Dr. Peter Robinson, UCCE Dairy Nutrition Specialist; "Silage Management Practices on California Dairies" by Dr. Noelia Silva-del-Rio, UCCE Dairy Production Medicine Specialist; and a grower and custom harvester panel on "Keys to Planning for a Successful Harvest". A CDQAP Drought Meeting will be held after lunch. UCCE news
  • Drought Assistance Workshops in Modesto and Tulare, July 8 and 9 - - The California Dairy Quality Assurance Program is offering free drought assistance workshops in July to dairy producers in Modesto and Tulare. California is in the midst of one of the driest years since record keeping began in the 1800s. With short water supplies, dairy producers and farmers are faced with tough planning decisions regarding which crops to grow and the impacts the drought will have on crop yield and quality. Expert presenters at this free workshop (agenda below) will provide helpful information for managing dairy crops, with a focus on maximizing forage quantity and quality under drought conditions. Workshops are offered on a first-come, first-served basis. The first workshop will be held in conjunction with the UCCE Silage Day, Tuesday, July 8, 1 4 p.m. at Stanislaus County Agricultural Center Harvest Hall, ABC Room, 3800 Cornucopia Way, Modesto. For more info <click here>. Please contact Jennifer Heguy at 209-525-6800 to RSVP for lunch. The second workshop on Wednesday, July 9 from 10 a.m. 1 p.m. will take place at Tulare County Agricultural Center UCCE Classroom, 4437 S. Laspina Street, Tulare. Please RSVP to Denise Mullinax at 209-525-6877 to guarantee lunch. June 16, 2014 CDQA news 

 

 

Wednesday, July 2, 2014

Water News

  • California struggles to manage water rights in drought - - Six weeks after ordering thousands of California water users to stop diverting from rivers and streams amid the worst drought in a generation, state officials say only 31 percent have bothered to respond by sending back the required forms. Now, their efforts to force the rest to comply are prompting threats of lawsuits and economic chaos. <more> July 1, 2014 The  Sacramento Bee
  • State water board puts off decision on conflicting river diversion rights - - After more than 10 hours of often emotional testimony Tuesday by Stanislaus County farmers and other California water users, the State Water Resources Control Board delayed deciding what to do regarding conflicting water rights. The board's staff had recommended taking steps toward regulating river diversions by those who have century-old water rights - including the Modesto, Turlock, Oakdale, Patterson, South San Joaquin and Merced irrigation districts. <more> July 1, 2014 Modesto Bee
  • California may step up enforcement of water restrictions amid drought - - California may ratchet up enforcement of drought-related pumping restrictions in slow-moving creeks and lak