World Dairy Diary

DFA Meeting Emphasizes Dedication to Dairy by Members, Cooperative

DFA-4-colorMore than 1,400 Dairy Farmers of America (DFA) members and guests convened in Kansas City for the Cooperative’s 16th Annual Meeting. In recognition of the dedication by its farmer-owners, DFA explored the diverse ways the Cooperative and its member-owners are committed to the dairy industry.

This year’s meeting theme — Dedicated to Dairy — recognizes DFA’s members and their commitment to their cows, their operations, their communities and their families. The meeting highlighted how DFA is working with customers and the industry to build a Cooperative that, from the moment milk leaves members’ farms to the moment it is served on family tables around the world, brings members value through every step in the process.

“One thing you learn very quickly in our business is that dairy farmers and their families are passionate about what they do. That they are indeed dedicated to dairy,” said Randy Mooney, chairman of DFA’s Board of Directors. “As owners of our cooperative, (DFA member-owners) control our own destiny. We have choices. Together, we can move proactively to invest in our shared future, in new milk processing factories, in expanded dairy product lines, in exciting consumer brands, in growing overseas markets — all driven by our mission to deliver value to members.”

The meeting kicked off with the chairman’s report, delivered by Mooney, who operates a dairy in Rogersville, Mo. He focused on the steps DFA has taken to advance the dairy industry around the nation and world. Mooney also discussed issues, such as the new Farm Bill, that are affecting farmers every day at home.

An overview of the Cooperative’s business was delivered by President and Chief Executive Officer Rick Smith. His report also discussed how the Cooperative has increased its commercial business focus during the past several years, in an effort to better serve and provide value to its members.

“As a national milk marketing cooperative that is owned by dairy farmers across the nation, DFA is committed to bringing value to our members,” Smith said. “That means we are committed to innovation and success by operating first-rate commercial businesses and investing in elite dairy companies. We also want to provide on-farm services that make it easier and more profitable for our members to farm.”

Special guests and additional highlights of the meeting program included:
– Lowell Catlett, regents professor and dean of the College of Agricultural, Consumer and Environmental Sciences, New Mexico State University, discussing the world’s increased need for agriculture, now more than ever
– “Maintaining the Global Momentum for U.S. Dairy,” a presentation by Tom Suber, president, U.S. Dairy Export Council
– A summary of DFA’s global strategy by Jay Waldvogel, the Cooperative’s senior vice president of strategy and global development
– An update on National Milk Producers Federation’s work for the dairy industry by Jim Mulhern, president and chief executive officer
– An overview of the latest dairy promotion activities by Tom Gallagher, chief executive officer of Dairy Management Inc.

The Cooperative’s Annual Banquet will bring a host of recognitions, including the 2014 Members of Distinction. Every year, one member farm from each of DFA’s seven regional Areas is recognized for their service to their dairy, their families, communities and the industry.

In addition, outgoing Board Director Donnie Fisher, who has served the Cooperative in a leadership role since its formation, will be recognized for his contribution to DFA.

Winners of the 2014 DFA Cares Foundation Scholarship will be announced at the banquet. DFA Cares Scholarships are awarded to outstanding students pursuing a career in the dairy industry. This year’s record-breaking 36 recipients will receive a combined total of $42,500 toward their undergraduate and graduate level studies.

Also at the banquet, guests will meet employees who have been awarded the Cooperative’s elite Be More Employee Awards. The program encourages employees to demonstrate DFA’s core values and reinforce the meaning of “More Cooperative.”

The Annual Meeting concludes with the resolutions process, which brings together 250 elected delegates from across the nation to vote on a slate of issues that guide the policy position and business activities of DFA for the coming year.

Happy Thanksgiving

Here’s a great Thanksgiving Day message from Dairy MAX. We also wish you and yours a wonderful holiday.

Life on the farm doesn’t stop on holidays. Our dairy farmers work hard each and every day to keep your family happy and healthy. Learn more at

Happy Thanksgiving from our farm to your family!

REAL Seal Cartoon Character Contest

REAL Seal CharacterThe National Milk Producers Federation is getting REAL serious about the REAL Seal. Well, maybe not so much serious as having some fun. This is the cartoon character that has been created to help “revitalize and build awareness of the dairy industry’s iconic REAL® Seal.” There is already a “cartoon” with the character on YouTube. What would you name it?

“The REAL® Seal has been around for nearly 40 years,” said Jim Mulhern, Chief Operating Officer of NMPF. “This character is intended to bring the importance of looking for REAL® dairy products and foods made with REAL® dairy products to life.”

The first order of business will be naming the character, according to Mulhern, who said a name will be chosen through an on-line challenge.

“We want kids to learn how to differentiate real dairy products and foods made with real American dairy products from the vegetable- and nut-based pretenders,” said Mulhern. “To highlight this important distinction, we are launching a campaign to name the character.”

Names may be submitted through the REAL® Seal website: All entries must be received by August 31, 2013. The top three names entered will be posted in September on the REAL® Seal Facebook page ( and subject to a vote. The name with the most votes will be declared the winner.

Milking Parlor: Small Influencers and Big Consumers

The dairy industry is trying to win over small groups of influencers… and large groups of consumers as well.

In this edition of the Milking Parlor, we talk with Stacy Dohle from the Midwest Dairy Association and Dairy Management Incorporated to hear how they are trying to win over those influencers, such as nutritionists, to the value dairy products have in people’s diets. And of course, as any business knows, you have to also win over that large group of consumers. National Dairy Board Chair Steve Maddox explains how they have reached out to some of the country’s biggest food retailers to make sure those products are tasty to eat.

Listen to the Milking Parlor here: Milking Parlor Podcast

To subscribe to the Milking Parlor podcast, click here.

Expiration of the 2008 Farm Bill

Several major agricultural organizations issued a joint statement today on the official expiration of the 2008 farm bill.

The 2008 law governing many of our nation’s farm policies expired on Sunday, September 30th, and the 2012 Farm Bill needed to replace it is bottled up in Congress. While the Senate and the House Agriculture Committees were both able to pass their versions of the new farm bill, the full House was unable to do so. While expiration of farm bill program authorities has little or no effect on some important programs, it has terminated a number of important programs and will very adversely affect many farmers and ranchers, as well as ongoing market development and conservation efforts.

Congress will return in mid-November for a lame-duck session prior to final adjournment in December. We will work to have the first order of business for the House of Representatives be to consider a new Farm Bill. We are urging our members to seek out their House members between now and the elections and remind them of the consequences of not having a new bill in place prior to adjournment at the end of the year.

Among the organizations issuing the joint statement is the National Milk Producers Federation, since one of the programs that is now expired is the Milk Income Loss Contract (MILC) program. “Dairy producers will face considerable challenges,” said the groups’ statement. “That program compensated dairy producers when domestic milk prices fall below a specified level. Without a new farm bill, dairy farmers are left with uncertainty and inadequate assistance. While milk prices are high enough that the price support program doesn’t kick in; unfortunately, there is no other safety net to help battle the highest feed costs on record.”

Read more here.

Dairy Groups Join Coalition Calling for Farm Bill Now

A coalition of 39 farm groups, including the National Milk Producers Federation, the United Dairymen of Arizona, and the National Cattlemen’s Beef Association, is calling on Congress to pass a new farm bill before the old one expires at the end of September. The group, Farm Bill Now, has an interactive web portal at, that lets you connect with your members of Congress and show your support for a new five-year farm bill. The coalition points out that this isn’t just for farmers; consumers need to get involved in the effort as well since any farm bill is really a jobs, food, conservation, research, energy and trade bill… something for every American!

Members of Farm Bill Now plan to meet at Farm Progress Show in Boone, Iowa this coming Tuesday, August 28th to discuss the effort. In addition, representatives of many of the groups in the coalition will gather on September 12th, 2012 at the U.S. Capitol to encourage Congress to pass the bill before programs expire at the end of that month.

California Dairies Tout Sustainability Success

California dairy families are proud of the sustainability accomplishments they achieved in 2011.

According to the California dairy farming sustainability coalition Dairy Cares, the state’s dairy industry continued its commitment last year to protect and improve the environment.

Central Valley dairy farmers launched the nation’s largest dairy groundwater monitoring program, a non-profit, collaborative scientific effort to assure that dairy farming practices are protective of California’s precious groundwater resources. Dairy farmers will invest several million dollars in this effort over the next several years. California dairy farmers are already utilizing improved management practices to grow crops in balance with nature and protect groundwater, and results from groundwater monitoring will be used to develop improved management practices where needed and encourage their use.

Meanwhile, dairy farmers continued to do their part in 2011 to reduce air emissions and improve air quality in California’s Central Valley. Dairy farmers across the valley have adopted management practices to reduce emissions by more than 25 percent, while dairy industry organizations continue to invest in cutting-edge research toward cleaner air. Dairy farmers will also continue their efforts to convert manure biogas to clean, green, renewable energy (cow power), building on the accomplishments of pioneering dairy farmers over the past decade.

Read more here from Dairy Cares.

Judges Panel For U.S. Dairy Sustainability Awards

At World Dairy Expo we got an update on the U.S. Dairy Sustainability Awards program from Dairy Management, Inc.

The U.S. Dairy Sustainability Awards program continues to gain support, as the Innovation Center for U.S. Dairy® today announced that the newly launched awards program will be judged by a panel of experts from academic institutions, USDA, EPA, World Wildlife Fund, media and dairy industry leaders.

In September, the Innovation Center for U.S. Dairy, in affiliation with the Dairy Research Institute®, announced the U.S. Dairy Sustainability Awards, a new program to recognize dairy farms, businesses and collaborative partnerships for efforts that deliver outstanding economic, environmental and/or social benefit, thus helping advance sustainability of the dairy industry.

The Innovation Center and Dairy Research Institute were established by America’s dairy farmers to foster innovation and research across the industry.

On hand at Expo to discuss the sustainability awards initiative was California dairy farmer, Steve Maddox. He says they wanted to go out and recognize people who are already doing some of the common sense approaches that research has shown to be effective in improving environmental impacts. They also believe it is important to showcase good practices as an example to other dairy farmers.

Steve says they’re looking for nominations for these awards and the deadline is December 1st. You can find a list of the judges for the awards program in the news release.

You can listen to my interview with Steve here: Steve Maddox Interview

2011 World Dairy Expo Photo Album

World Dairy Expo coverage sponsored by Charleston Orwig Dairy Business Association Alltech Hoard’s Dairyman Accelerated Genetics

NMPF Votes On Changes To Dairy Policy Reform Package

The National Milk Producers Federation’s Board of Directors has voted for a revised approach to reforming federal dairy policy, with the key change of “allowing farmers an individual choice between receiving the financial protection of a government safety net, or opting out of such protection.”

You can listen in on a conference call with NMPF about the changes here: NMPF Conference Call

As originally proposed back in 2010, NMPF’s Foundation for the Future (FFTF) program contained a government-subsidized safety net, the Dairy Producer Margin Protection Program, to protect against periods of low milk prices, high feed costs, or a combination of the two. This program offered a Basic level of subsidized insurance coverage, plus the option of Supplemental fixed-cost coverage partially paid by farmers. The FFTF program also contained the Dairy Market Stabilization Program, which was a mandatory means to reduce market volatility by discouraging new milk production during periods of compressed margins.

Under the revised approach backed today by NMPF, the Dairy Producer Margin Protection Program (DPMPP) would continue to be voluntary, but if a producer opts to participate in the DPMPP, his/her participation in the Dairy Market Stabilization Program (DMSP) would then be mandatory. If a producer chooses not to participate in the insurance program, then participation in the DMSP would not be required. As with NMPF’s original reform package, the Milk Income Loss Contract program would be eliminated, as would the Dairy Product Price Support Program.

DFA Annual Meeting Underway

The Dairy Farmers of America annual meeting is underway in Kansas City, Mo. The theme of the meeting is “From Challenge to Change” which “recognizes the industry’s hardships of 2009, its slow recovery in 2010 and highlights our focus and determination to embrace the need for change in our industry.”

Among the highlights of the meeting today are the Chairman’s Report by Randy Mooney, Chairman of the Board; the report from Rick Smith, President and Chief Executive Officer; keynote address by Elanco president Jeff Simmons on What it Takes to Feed the World’s Growing Population; and Outlook and Opportunities presented by Tom Gallagher, Chief Executive Officer, Dairy Management Inc. and Greg Jennings, Wide Receiver, Green Bay Packers.

You can follow DFA on Facebook and Twitter (@dodairydaily).

DFA Holding Virtual Food Drive

In honor of National Ag Day this week, Dairy Farmers of America (DFA) kicked off the DFA Cares Virtual Food Drive to raise awareness for and help address the needs of hungry Americans.

The drive, which is organized through the DFA Cares Foundation, will run through the start of June Dairy Month. A starting goal of $5,000 has been established, and funds raised will benefit Feeding America, the nation’s largest network of food banks.

The DFA Cares Virtual Food Drive is the first in a series of activities planned throughout 2011 to benefit Feeding America and its member food banks across the nation, including Harvesters, a Kansas City-based member of the Feeding America network.

Contributions can be made electronically at Or, send a check payable to DFA Cares Foundation (including a notation indicating “DFA Cares Virtual Food Drive”) to: DFA Cares Foundation, c/o Ron Hilmes, 10220 N. Ambassador Drive, Kansas City, MO 64153.

DFA Holds Grazing Conference

Approximately 150 producers and agribusiness professionals attended Dairy Farmers of America, Inc.’s (DFA) 2011 Grazing Conference held in Louisville earlier this week. The two-day event was presented by Dairy Grazing Services (DGS), a wholly owned subsidiary of DFA that provides resources and consulting services to producers interested in pasture-based dairying.

“Increasing input costs and volatile milk prices continue to create uncertain profit margins for dairy farmers,” said Jackie Klippenstein, who oversees DGS. “However, some producers are finding that utilizing existing pastures can help cut costs and create a more secure profit.”

The conference featured a dynamic lineup of producers and industry experts sharing their strategies, tips and tricks for sustaining high-performance, pasture-based dairies.

Read more about the event from DFA.

Midwest Dairy Association Restructures

Midwest Dairy Association has announced an “organizational realignment” to enable the checkoff organization to better meet the needs of the dairy industry in the Midwest.

Under the new structure, Chuck Cruickshank has been named to serve as the new Senior Vice President of Industry Relations to the staff. The Industry Image and Relations program will be realigned into two program areas, including Industry Relations and the newly-created Integrated Communications. Cruickshank, who brings more than 35 years of agricultural experience and was most recently with Dairy Management Inc., will be responsible for the organization’s producer and board relations strategies as well as implementing industry relations activities in Minnesota and acting as the lead relationship manager for a number of Midwest co-ops and other cheese and ingredient processors.

The Integrated Communications team, which will primarily be responsible for inspiring consumer confidence in dairy products and practices, will be led by Senior Vice President Donna Moenning, who brings with her 25 years of agricultural and communications experience, including five with Midwest Dairy.

In other changes, the organization has merged the Nutrition Affairs and School Nutrition programs to become the Health and Wellness Team led by Senior Vice President and registered dietitian Molly Pelzer, who has more than 26 years with the organization. Brenda Goldman, who joined the organization in March, has become the Vice President of Human Resources and Planning and will facilitate the strategic planning process. The Marketing Team will continue to be managed by Senior Vice President Kevin Stiles and Mike Kruger, who has been with Midwest Dairy for 25 years, remains as CEO.

Midwest Dairy represents more than 11,000 dairy producers, about 20 percent of all U.S. dairy operations. Midwest Dairy programs reach nearly 35 million consumers through marketing, promotion, nutrition education programs and public relations campaigns. Offices are located in St. Paul, Minnesota; Ankeny, Iowa; and Overland Park, Kansas.

Read more from Midwest Dairy here.

Cheese is King at World Dairy Expo

2010 World Dairy Expo Photo Album

world dairy expo 2010 wisconsin milk board cheese chefSince World Dairy Expo is held in the nation’s number one cheese producing state, it’s no surprise to find that cheese is just about everywhere.

One of the special events for the media at the expo is the Talk Session, sponsored by the Wisconsin Milk Marketing Board each year. It gives the media a chance to do interviews with some of the newsmakers at the expo while sampling an assortment of fabulous cheese pairings and recipes cooked up by Chef John Esser. Each year Chef Esser tantalizes our taste buds with special treats, including gourmet grilled cheese concoctions that can be found on the WMMB’s Grilled Cheese Academy website.

I shot a little video here with Chef Esser describing some of the highlights on the table this year:

Thanks to our World Dairy Expo sponsors:
Alpharma Arm & Hammer Charleston-Orwig Novartis Animal Health and by Novus

DFA Products Pick Up Six Awards at World Dairy Expo

It’s been a pretty successful 2010 World Dairy Expo in Madison, Wis. for Dairy Farmers of America, Inc. (DFA) products, as the cooperative earned six awards in the expo’s Dairy Product Championship Contest … pretty impressive when you consider there were more than 650 entries!:

Awards were presented for the following products:
First – Sharp Cheddar, Zumbrota, Minn.
First – Borden® Cheese Pasteurized Processed Cheese, Plymouth, Wis.
First – Plugrá® Butter, Winnsboro, Texas
First – Mozzarella, Turlock, Calif.
Second – Mozzarella, Turlock, Calif.
Third – Provolone, Turlock, Calif.

“We are proud of the high quality products made at our plants, and it’s truly an honor to be recognized at one of the industry’s finest and most respected events,” says Mark Korsmeyer, president of DFA’s Global Dairy Products Group. “The awards are a true testament to the value of our people – from production and quality control to safety and maintenance – the plant employees all play a major role in our products’ success.”

The products taking home first-place awards were auctioned off at the World Dairy Expo Championship Dairy Auction.

World Dairy Expo is considered one of the premier events in the dairy industry, as more than 70,000 people from around the country and around the world attend each year.

2010 World Dairy Expo Photo Album

Thanks to our World Dairy Expo sponsors:
Alpharma Arm & Hammer Charleston-Orwig Novartis Animal Health and by Novus

Dairy Farmers Help Rebuild New Orleans Gardens

Just more than five years after Hurricane Katrina, the city of New Orleans is still trying to rebuild. To help those efforts, the Dairy Farmers of America, Inc. (DFA) recently took some time from an annual training conference to help put in two community gardens in the city’s Ninth Ward.

The cooperative says it was coordinated and managed by HandsOn New Orleans through a partnership with NOLA Green Roots, a greenspace development organization:

“With the help of 250 volunteers, we were able to transform two lots into community gardens in the matter of a few hours,” said Kertrina Watson Lewis, executive director for HandsOn New Orleans.

DFA farmer leaders and employees began transforming two vacant lots into vibrant, beautiful community gardens that will supply Ninth Ward residents with a variety of fresh herbs, fruits and vegetables, as well as a positive social hub.

In addition, the Cooperative introduced a fundraising initiative among employees at the conference. As a result, DFA presented a check for $5,000 to NOLA Green Roots to help fund additional development at the Ninth Ward Community Gardens.

“To see the smiling faces of the neighbors in the Ninth Ward as the garden was being constructed was just overwhelming,” Joe Brock, executive director of NOLA Green Roots. “What we did today brought back their belief in the American spirit and restored not only the land but also their hope. And it created an opportunity for fresh fruits and vegetables that will bring rewards for years to come.”

This project is the latest effort by DFA to help the Gulf Coast area. Others include DFA Cares, which assists Gulf Coast dairy farmer members and others, and the DFA Cares Hotline, DFA’s Member Assistance Program and the DFA Scholarship Program.

Dairy Research Institute Formed

innovationMarking another step in the dairy industry’s efforts to accelerate innovation and increase future demand for dairy, Dairy Management Inc.™ (DMI) and the Innovation Center for U.S. Dairy recently announced the formation of the Dairy Research Institute™ to strengthen the dairy industry’s access to and investment in the technical research needed to drive demand for dairy products and ingredients, globally.

The institute brings together leadership from across the dairy industry, scientific community, academics, government and other organizations to plan and fund leading-edge dairy research in three key priority areas: nutrition science, product development and sustainability.

The launch of the Dairy Research Institute builds upon the unprecedented efforts of dairy producers, processors and manufacturers to work together pre-competitively through the Innovation Center for U.S. Dairy, formed in 2008. The Dairy Research Institute is affiliated with the Innovation Center, and provides a forum for industry to identify major research needs to support dairy industry innovation, and grow dairy sales.

“The U.S. dairy industry has a long history of using science-based research to provide the knowledge, guidance and tools needed to foster innovation and promote the nutrient-rich value of dairy and the industry’s long-standing commitment to environmental stewardship,” said Greg Miller, executive vice president, research, regulatory and scientific affairs for DMI and president of the Dairy Research Institute. “Through partnerships and a commitment to sound science, we will support the importance of dairy in the diet and the sustainability of the products and ingredients we produce. The dairy industry needs to remain at the forefront of research to meet the challenges of today and those yet to come.”

The Dairy Research Institute builds on the legacy of nutrition and product research conducted by the National Dairy Council since 1915, and will leverage their expertise, as well as other partners, including five dairy research centers at major universities and government agencies, such as the USDA’s Agricultural Research Services and the Department of Defense’s Natick Soldier Center, and other leading scientific, health and nongovernment organizations. The Dairy Research Institute also will coordinate with the International Dairy Foods Association (IDFA), the National Milk Producers Federation, the Milk Processor Education Program, DMI, U.S. Dairy Export Council, Global Dairy Platform, and other industry and non-industry partners.

Source: Dairy Research Institute

Wisconsin Cheese Cupid For iPhone

Do you love cheese? Love wine? Want to know which ones go with which? There’s an iPhone app for that and it’s called Wisconsin Cheese Cupid. Get the app here.

What cheese goes with your wine? What beer goes with your cheese? These questions can finally be answered with Wisconsin Cheese Cupid. With this handy dandy iPhone and iPod Touch application, pairing a cheese with a like-minded beverage has never been easier or more fun. Bon appétit.

• Pairs wine, beer, and liquor with appropriate cheeses.
• Filters by beverage category (e.g., Red Wine) and beverage style (e.g., Merlot).
• Offers correct pronunciation of every cheese, beer, wine, and liquor.
• Cheese selector spotlights appropriate Wisconsin Cheese.
• Includes culinary information about selected Wisconsin Cheese.

Dairy Makes Big Impact on Wisconsin During Dairy Month

Since it’s Dairy Month I got on the phone bright and early to find some good resources to point you to. I called up Matt Joyce, Wisconsin Milk Marketing Board, and we talked about Dairy Month.

The WMMB has a lot of online resources for consumers and anyone who wants to know more about dairy and the role it plays in a nutritional well-balanced diet. Some examples I would point you to include, Wake Up With Dairy, which all about good recipes and where you can find the closest dairy breakfast. Another one is Dairy Doing More, where you can meet dairy farmers and learn more about dairy farming. One more I’ll point you to is Eat Wisconsin Cheese, which I do btw. And for you media types they’ve got a whole section of resources which includes information about the impact of the dairy industry.

So listen to my interview with Matt and pour yourself a cold glass of milk to celebrate. The program is the ZimmCast, which is my weekly podcast that you’ll always find over on AgWired.

Welcome To Dairy Month

We’re leaving beef month behind to enter into dairy month. Midwest Dairy Association invites you to celebrate and learn how dairy can make sense for you. Check out their blog.

June Dairy Month started out as a promotion to help distribute extra milk when cows started on pasture in the warm summer months. Today, its rich history continues, with communities, companies and people from all over the country observing June Dairy Month in a variety of ways. In the Midwest, dairy farms and families often open their gates to visitors at breakfasts and tours, while stores and other business feature dairy products. We’re excited to share facts and information about June Dairy Month, ones we hope you can use for your own recognition of the observance.

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