Feedstuffs is part of the Informa Markets Division of Informa PLC

This site is operated by a business or businesses owned by Informa PLC and all copyright resides with them. Informa PLC's registered office is 5 Howick Place, London SW1P 1WG. Registered in England and Wales. Number 8860726.

Sitemap


Articles from 2015 In June


U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service denies gray wolf petition

The U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service (FWS) announced June 30 that it has determined that a petition to reclassify all gray wolves in the conterminous U.S., except for the Mexican wolf in the Southwest, as a threatened species under the Endangered Species Act (ESA) does not present substantial information indicating that reclassification may be warranted.

As a result, FWS said it will take no further action on the petition, which was submitted by The Humane Society of the United States and 22 other petitioners in January.

FWS said its review concluded that the petition did not provide information to indicate that the population petitioned for listing, which does not correspond to any currently listed gray wolf population, may qualify as a listable entity under ESA.

The agency also found that the petition failed to provide substantial information indicating that these wolves may meet the definition of a threatened species, specifically are likely to be in danger of extinction within the foreseeable future throughout all or a significant portion of their range.

This finding is scheduled to be published in the July 1 Federal Register as part of a 90-day batched notice with 30 other petition findings, and also will be available at www.fws.gov/policy/frsystem/default.cfm by clicking on the 2015 Notices link under Endangered and Threatened Wildlife and Plants.

For more information on the gray wolf, visit: http://www.fws.gov/home/wolfrecovery/.

Dairy support program enrollment opens July 1

As of July 1, 2015, dairy farmers can enroll in the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) Margin Protection Program for coverage in 2016. The voluntary program, established by the 2014 Farm Bill, provides financial assistance to participating dairy operations when the margin – the difference between the price of milk and feed costs – falls below the coverage level selected by the farmer.

Krysta Harden, USDA deputy secretary, made the announcement while visiting Wolfe’s Neck Farm and dairy school in Freeport, Maine.

"More than half of our nation’s dairy producers enrolled in the 2015 program, which exceeded our expectations for the first year of the program," said Harden. "We are confident that dairy farmers across the country will again take advantage of this safety net program for 2016. USDA will continue outreach efforts, including partnering with cooperative extension services, to ensure dairy producers are fully informed about the protections that this safety net program can provide during periods of market downturns.”

The Margin Protection Program gives participating dairy producers the flexibility to select coverage levels best suited for their operation. Enrollment begins July 1 and ends on Sept. 30, 2015, for coverage in 2016. Participating farmers will remain in the program through 2018 and pay a $100 administrative fee each year. More than half of applicants selected higher coverage beyond the basic level in 2015.

Producers also have the option of selecting a different coverage level during open enrollment each year.

Margin Protection Program payments are based on an operation’s historical production. An operation’s historical production will increase by 2.61% in 2016 if the operation participated in 2015, providing a stronger safety net.

USDA also has an online resource available to help dairy producers decide which level of coverage will provide them with the strongest safety net under a variety of conditions. The enhanced Web tool, available at www.fsa.usda.gov/mpptool, allows dairy farmers to quickly and easily combine their unique operation data and other key variables to calculate their coverage needs based on price projections. Producers can also review historical data or estimate future coverage based on data projections. The secure site can be accessed via computer, mobile phone, or tablet, 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

Dairy operations enrolling in the program must meet conservation compliance provisions. Producers participating in the Livestock Gross Margin insurance program may register for the Margin Protection Program, but this new margin program will only begin once their Livestock dairy insurance coverage has ended. Producers must also submit form CCC-782 for 2016, confirming their Margin Protection Program coverage level selection, to the local Farm Service Agency (FSA) office. If electing higher coverage for 2016, dairy producers can either pay the premium in full at the time of enrollment or pay a minimum of 25 percent of the premium by Feb. 1, 2016.

Dairy operations can obtain more information on MPP-Dairy at FSA county offices and online at www.fsa.usda.gov/dairy.  The MPP-Dairy webtool is available online at www.fsa.udsa.gov/mpptool.

HATCH extends egg donation program

HATCH extends egg donation program

After providing 100,039 eggs to more than 8,000 families in Indiana during a 10-week pilot program, HATCH announced it will extend its program with The Kroger Co. and Rose Acre Farms through 2015.

This announcement was made during a special event at Gleaners Food Bank, one of two food banks distributing HATCH eggs to food pantries throughout Central Indiana.
Officials also said HATCH, which is providing a new way consumers, food stores and farmers can work together to make eggs available to undernourished people, will continue exploring opportunities to expand its reach to other communities.

“HATCH is becoming a sustainable model for how people can work together locally to fight undernourishment and make a real, tangible difference in their communities,” said Bert Payne, operations leader for HATCH for Hunger at Elanco Animal Health, a division of Eli Lilly and Company. “The beauty of HATCH is that it is giving more people access to nutrient-rich eggs, even in the face of today’s higher prices due to reduced U.S. egg supplies.”

The HATCH pilot program, which involved 65 Central Indiana Kroger stores, provided one egg to a local food bank for each dozen Kroger-brand medium eggs purchased from April 13 through June 20. So far, 8,336 dozen (100,039 eggs) have been donated through Gleaners Food Bank and Midwest Food Bank.

“HATCH is gratitude, and gratitude is the smiles and thanks of the people receiving the eggs,” said Cindy Hubert, president and CEO of Gleaners Food Bank. “One mother who received HATCH eggs told me, ‘the HATCH program gave us the opportunity to have healthy food for breakfast instead of just eating junk food … it makes a difference.’ This is what HATCH is all about."

Even as one in four children in Marion County, Indiana, lives in poverty, many more people throughout the United States also are chronically undernourished. Eggs are an excellent source of protein and essential vitamins and minerals, which makes them especially helpful in the fight against hunger. One egg provides nutrients that can improve brain function in people of all ages, and delivers half the protein a young child needs each day. 

"Rose Acre Farms is proud to partner with Elanco and Kroger on a project as critical as hunger," said Amanda Jackson, director of sales, Rose Acre Farms. "HATCH has been a tremendous success due to the support of our local communities and Kroger shoppers. We recognize that nutritious foods are often hard to obtain for food-insecure families and that America’s food banks find it incredibly difficult to acquire high-quality proteins. We are thrilled to meet this need by providing healthy, nutrient-dense eggs that will provide the protein and essential vitamins and minerals that are crucial for muscle, brain and eye development."

"We are extremely proud of the generosity of Kroger customers and associates who rallied behind HATCH to help neighbors put nutritious food on their plates,” said John Elliott, manager of public affairs, The Kroger Co. “That’s why we are thrilled to announce the extension of HATCH in 65 Central Indiana stores through Dec. 31. Like our long-standing Perishable Donation Partnership -- which has donated more than 195 million meals to community food banks -- HATCH is another way we can work together to combat undernourishment.”

Elanco, the company that developed HATCH for Hunger, plans to build on the HATCH pilot program to develop similar initiatives that can bring food security to other locations in the U.S. and additional countries.

New Kemin headquarters part of $125.5 million investment

Kemin Industries has further deepened its roots in Iowa while continuing its strategic growth in global trade and supporting regional economic development. A ceremonial groundbreaking for its new Des Moines corporate headquarters included a footprint of the 90,000 plus square foot building with hundreds of Kemin employees inside their future office spaces.  

The company has steadily marched forward with its growth plans after an event in October 2010, during one of the worst economic recessions in history; when publically announcing a $40 million expansion plan that would add new jobs, multiple manufacturing and research facilities and a new global headquarters.

Then in September 2014, Kemin increased the total expansion investment to $125.5 million, more than tripling the initial investment to support its focus on providing safe and healthy food to a growing world.

“We are in a race with the global population growth to find molecular solutions which help improve the lives of others through molecular science that helps feed the world, said Dr. Chris Nelson, CEO and President of Kemin Industries. As lofty as our goals are and as technically complex our research and related science is, our success comes down to relationship – starting here at home. We could not have made this commitment without the help of the City of Des Moines, Polk County, the State of Iowa, and of course, our employees”

“Every time I visit Kemin, I am reminded that this is a global company and can choose to have their corporate headquarters anywhere in the world – and they continue to choose Iowa,” said Gov. Terry Branstad. “Kemin is a family-owned company with a culture of innovation, setting ambitious goals and exceeding expectations. Specifically, a couple of years ago they committed to adding 98 jobs. Instead, they went well beyond that by adding approximately 140 full-time jobs and I am pleased to learn that they are looking to hire even more.”

“Expansions like what we’re seeing at Kemin today are occurring throughout the state of Iowa, which has led to our unemployment rate decreasing to a seven-year-low of 3.8 percent,” said Iowa Lt. Gov. Kim Reynolds. “The careers created by Kemin are high-quality and demand a skilled workforce. Our commitment to companies like Kemin is to continue providing a world-class education that incorporates innovative STEM education to ensure we have a talented workforce ready to fill the jobs of tomorrow.”   The new building is designed as an expansion that will connect the recently opened Molecular Advancement Center (MAC) on the northeast side of the campus to the new headquarters.  The headquarters will house nearly 350 employees along with a fitness center and dining facility.    

The corporate headquarters is scheduled to be complete by early 2017.  Combined with the MAC the new building will be approximately 125,000 square-feet and complete a 5-year investment of $125.5 million in the greater Des Moines community.

No 'normal' seen for beef sector

cattle with identification tags

DURING the U.S. financial crisis that started several years ago, many markets experienced abnormal activity and irregular market patterns.

While market norms have not exactly returned, Oklahoma State University department of agricultural economics assistant professor John Michael Riley recently noted that more normal patterns have resumed — with the exception of agricultural markets.

In addition to the "awkward" state of the grain markets, Riley said beef cattle futures and cash prices are also out of line with their "norms."

"As prices heated up in the second half of 2014, seasonality went out the window," Riley explained. "Since that time, prices have steadied quite a bit but are still not showing their typical price patterns that have historically been in place. This has led many to ask: 'When will seasonality return to cattle markets?'"

This is a tough call, according to Riley, because the events of the past 12-18 months in the current cattle market are still not at all a common occurrence. Also, a return to "normal" seasonal patterns does not appear to be on the horizon for calves or feeders through the remainder of 2015 due to several factors, he said.

"Heifer retention has been ramped up since at least mid-2014, which has limited the available feeder volume. Herd rebuilding will likely continue for the short term, especially given the recent rains in much-needed areas where pasture capacity is available," he said.

Riley pointed out that the high market price levels have led to earlier marketings of calves and feeders, which will limit off-farm supplies moving forward.

Additionally, feedlot capacities, despite shrinking over the past number of years, still indicate available space, he said.

"A look at fed cattle prices since the start of 2015 indicates tendencies of moving in this direction, but a consistent pattern has not fully developed," Riley explained. "Carcass and beef primal prices have been moving in more typical fashion. However, over the past two weeks, high-valued middle cuts (rib and loin primals) have weakened quite a bit, and this has filtered through upstream markets."

Riley said it would be foolish to think that unusual patterns won't linger as buyers and sellers continue to adjust to the "new normal" in cattle market prices.

 

Looking ahead

Despite abnormal market behavior, Kansas State University agricultural economist Glynn Tonsor thinks the second half of 2015 is positioned to be one of the best on record.

"While feeder cattle prices may not exceed those realized in late 2014, they very likely will remain among the highest observed by most cattle producers," he told Feedstuffs.

According to Tonsor, supportive factors include "sound overall beef demand, limited aggregate feeder cattle supplies and growing confirmation of heifer retention, which further reduces cattle availability in the short term."

Tonsor said some things to monitor that may alter the generally positive feeder cattle price situation include adverse developments regarding exchange rates, trade deals or broader geopolitical events that individually or collectively could lead to reduced derived demand for feeder cattle.

The U.S. Department of Agriculture's June "Livestock, Dairy & Poultry Outlook" projected that falling beef prices and improved pasture conditions will intensify cattle producers' summer grazing intentions.

"Improved pasture conditions will provide forage for the already low cow numbers, and fewer cows will be slaughtered," USDA said.

With an already tight supply, a decrease in the number of cows going to slaughter will only exacerbate the situation. Improved pasture conditions will also provide a longer grazing season for feeder cattle, which will leave fewer cattle for placement in feedlots until the end of the grazing season this fall (Figure), USDA said.

"With feeder cattle prices at relatively high levels, reflecting the relative scarcity of placement-weight feeder cattle, cattle feeders continue to experience negative margins as they find themselves sandwiched between high feeder cattle prices and fed cattle prices that have declined sharply," the report notes.

No 'normal' seen for beef sector

Volume:87 Issue:d2

Solutions for pollinator health in sharp focus

Solutions for pollinator health in sharp focus

WITH bee populations in startling decline, the Michigan Pollinator Initiative, an effort spearheaded by Michigan State University, will work to solve many of the issues facing pollinator populations.

"The high losses have been incredibly damaging to the industry," said Meghan Milbrath, a post-doctoral scholar at Michigan State and director of the Michigan Pollinator Initiative. "The bulk of the economic burden is on the beekeeper, and it has been hard on an already tough agricultural industry."

The initiative, housed in Michigan State's entomology department, aims to concentrate personnel, expertise and resources to achieve a higher level of focus and collaboration on pollinator health.

More than $1 billion of Michigan agricultural products -- including apples, blueberries, cucumbers and cherries -- are dependent on bees for pollination. In addition, mite infestations, habitat loss, pesticide use and disease are affecting populations of roughly 400 native bee varieties and threatening the industries these pollinators support.

"There is a lot riding on the health of our pollinators, especially in Michigan. We have a unique mix of agriculture and weather that makes bees and beekeeping important to the state's economy," said Milbrath, who also is a beekeeper. "We have many plants that are great for honey production and many pollination-dependent fruits and vegetables. The issues surrounding pollinators not only affect beekeepers and honey production but also touch many other agricultural industries as well."

Milbrath added, "The Michigan initiative was designed to bring together researchers, educators and partners to have a more comprehensive and coordinated effort to deal with the threats to pollinators and to respond to the national initiative" that President Barack Obama announced in 2014.

 

Communication partnerships

Indeed, pitting farmers against beekeepers does little to solve the problems affecting pollinators, according to apiarists with Mississippi State University.

"In some cases, anti-pesticide groups are using the challenges facing bee health as an opportunity to set up a very black-and-white, good guy-versus-bad guy scenario when it comes to agricultural production," said Angus Catchot, an entomologist with the Mississippi State Extension Service. "In the long run, this could hurt the average beekeeper ... because that is the only story farmers are hearing in the media. It makes them wary of having beekeepers on their property or fearful of losing important crop production tools, such as neonicotinoid seed treatments."

Major row crops such as soybeans, corn and cotton do not require honeybees for pollination, but they do provide a significant nectar source for honeybees, which benefits beekeepers.

Catchot and his colleagues have found a need for greater communication between row crop producers and beekeepers. Most beekeepers understand the risk when they put their bees on a farm, and they are willing to take that risk for the sake of a big honey crop. In the past, when faced with losses, they often kept quiet or simply moved their hives to a different farm rather than cause trouble with farmers, he said.

That is how the Mississippi Honeybee Stewardship Program began. This voluntary program outlines cooperative standards for farmers and beekeepers.

In addition to acute kills from direct pesticide sprays or drift events, which could likely be prevented with better communication and education, beekeepers also report losses of foraging bees within the fields when blooming crops are sprayed.

Catchot said he is optimistic that farmers and beekeepers can work together to reduce the likelihood of pesticide exposure without federal intervention.

"Many of these problems can be solved locally, and we've already seen signs of success," he said. "Awareness is key. We get numerous calls each year now from farmers asking what pesticide they can use that is less likely to cause problems for bees or asking for advice on making applications when hives are present. That didn't happen in the past."

 

Pesticides

Media skirmishes about bee health, agricultural practices and the role of pollinators in food production are a mixture of fact, propaganda and general misunderstanding, Catchot said.

"The plight of bees and beekeepers facing substantial losses over the past several years has motivated scientists all over the world to search for the causes," he said. "As much as everyone wishes we could discover one simple fix or find one specific cause that could be eliminated, our research at (Mississippi State) is discovering just how complex the relationship is between bees and the environment."

One culprit suspected to be a serious threat to honeybee colonies is neonicotinoids, which Europe banned for two years starting in 2013. The average consumer may wonder why the U.S. does not do the same or why farmers would want to use something that might damage bees when the pollinators seem to be in such a precarious position, Catchot said.

It helps to understand why neonicotinoids are important to row crop farmers, Catchot said.

First, the major row crops -- corn, cotton and soybeans -- do not require honeybees for pollination, "but they are magnets for all kinds of insect pests above and below the ground," he explained. "(Neonicotinoids) are used primarily as seed treatments, which mean they coat the seeds and first address pests in the soil. (Neonicotinoids) are also systemic, which means they move through the plant as it grows from seed into seedling, but the insecticide is not permanently present in the plant."

Catchot said the seed treatments provide protection for about 21-28 days after planting to give young plants a chance for survival. Unlike treatments applied after seedlings emerge, seed treatments prevent plant death or loss of vigor due to below-ground insect pests feeding on developing root tissue and provide a short-term residual effect in the plant as it emerges.

Research by Catchot's group indicates that 99% of the total amount of pesticides applied as a seed treatment in corn, soybeans and cotton is gone before the plants produce flowers.

Jeff Gore, an entomologist with the Mississippi Agricultural & Forestry Experiment Station and the Mississippi State Extension Service, said neonicotinoids likely reduce the amount of insecticide in the environment.

"Before seed treatments, producers had to apply foliar insecticides to manage early-season pests in many crops," Gore said. "Foliar applications also killed beneficial insects, leading to even more sprays as secondary pests surged in numbers. The method of delivery has changed, from being broadcast across entire fields or applied in the seed furrow separate from the seed."

Neonicotinoids are also less toxic than many of their predecessors.

"Insecticides in the organophosphate and carbamate classes of chemistry were derived from research on nerve poisons," Gore said. "As a result, they were not very selective and were highly toxic to almost all organisms with a nervous system, including people. The amount of this kind of insecticide applied to an individual field was 10 times greater or more than what is applied with (neonicotinoids) used as seed treatments.

"It's a very complicated topic, and everyone wants to do the right thing when it comes to pollinators, but the decisions must be made on sound science, because this class of pesticides is extremely valuable to our farmers," Gore said.

 

Varroa mites

"My top three reasons for bee colony death are Varroa mites, Varroa mites and Varroa mites," Jeff Harris, a bee specialist with the Mississippi State Extension Service, said. "This is my sarcastic response to the heavy emphasis in the press on the effects of insecticides and other pesticides on honeybees. Please don't misunderstand me: Insecticides and other pesticides kill honeybees, either acutely by direct exposure to the chemicals or as part of a group of stressors that kills honeybees."

However, Harris said, there is no conclusive link between insecticide or pesticide use and the widespread deaths of honeybee colonies that have been occurring in the U.S., Canada and parts of Europe.

"What is lost by an oversimplified view of colony health is that honeybees suffer from myriad parasites, diseases and other stressors that are more commonly associated with the death of the colony," he said. "Most scientists studying honeybees would rank Varroa mites and the viruses they vector to honeybees as, hands down, the number-one killer of honeybees in the world. Most non-beekeeper members of the public have never heard of Varroa mites. Even some new beekeepers don't know what they are."

Varroa mites are external parasites that lay eggs in the brood cells within the hive and emerge attached to the host when the bee hatches out of its cell. Varroa mites transmit diseases to honeybees, and Harris estimated that mites vector about 18 different viruses.

"Varroa mites reproduce rapidly and reduce the health of the colony to the point the colonies fail, or collapse," Harris said. "We have found colonies with ample stores of honey and either no bees or a handful of bees left in the hive. As scientists, we had no doubt: High mite populations vector high levels of viruses to honeybees that will ultimately kill the colony."

Since 2006, when episodes of high colony mortality rates were first reported, millions of dollars have been spent on research into the causes of what became known as colony collapse disorder.

"Scientists came to the conclusion that multiple factors cause these unusually high death rates of bee colonies in some commercial operations," Harris said. "It also became apparent that different sets of stressors cause losses for different beekeepers."

Some beekeepers lost colonies because of a combination of inadequate nutrition related to periods of agricultural drought, stress related to honeybee transportation and parasitism by Varroa mites.

"Although insecticides were acknowledged as contributing to the demise of bee colonies, in most of the key studies into the causes of colony collapse disorder, scientists emphasized the factors causing the most significant problems for honeybees were Varroa mites and the viruses they transmit to honeybees," he said.

Volume:87 Issue:d2

U.S. dairy industry stabilizing

U.S. dairy industry stabilizing

DOMESTIC dairy markets appear to have stabilized, and U.S. milk production growth may also be stabilizing (Table), Peter Vitaliano, National Milk Producers Federation vice president of economic policy and market research, noted in the group's June "Dairy Market Report."

Vitaliano said the future track for milk production will have a deciding influence on prices and margins in the second half of 2015.

University of Wisconsin-Madison professor emeritus Bob Cropp reported in his June "Dairy Situation & Outlook" that dairy product prices and milk prices continue to hold up better than expected.

Dairy product prices on the Chicago Mercantile Exchange (CME) have bounced around during June but will average a little higher for the month, Cropp said.

CME butter contracts started the month at $2.00/lb., declined to $1.80/lb., rebounded to $1.90/lb. and recently were around $1.895/lb.

Cheese prices had been holding steady but recently declined. The 40 lb. cheddar block price started the month at $1.77/lb., declined to $1.71/lb. and rebounded to $1.78/lb. However, the price recently fell to $1.685/lb., Cropp said.

Cheddar barrels started the month at $1.72/lb., declined to $1.70/lb. and rebounded to $1.755/lb., but, like blocks, prices fell 10.5 cents to $1.68/lb. Both nonfat dry milk and dry whey have shown some weakness during the month, with nonfat dry milk now at 87 cents/lb. and dry whey at 4 cents/lb.

Cropp said the June Class III could still end up near $16.70/cwt., the highest this year, while the June Class IV price will be near $13.85/cwt.

"Prices have been supported by good butter and cheese sales thus far this year, along with dairy product production and stock levels favorable to prices," Cropp said. "Butter production has been below a year ago, with April down 1.7% and year-to-date down 2.8%. Nevertheless, April butter stocks increased 25% from March and were 23% higher than April 2014."

Despite a seasonal increase in the use of cream for ice cream and declining milk production, along with depressed butterfat composition during the summer, Cropp said some butter makers are concerned as to whether butter production and butter stocks will be adequate for fulfilling seasonal sales during Thanksgiving and Christmas. Thus, butter prices could stay at relatively high levels, he said.

"We could still experience some further weakness in both butter and cheese prices in the near months before strengthening again this fall," Cropp noted.

He said milk production levels in the Northeast and Midwest have put a strain on cheese plant capacity, with reports that milk had been selling at discounts of $5/cwt. to as much as $7/cwt. just to find a cheese plant willing to take the milk. Cheese production was rather high in May and going into June, but the situation is different in the West, with California's milk production lower than a year ago, Cropp noted.

Class III futures were not reflecting any weakness until the recent declines in butter and cheese prices, according to Cropp. The Class III futures were above $17/cwt. for July through December but are currently below $17/cwt. for the remainder of the year. Class IV futures reached the $15s by August but could remain below $15 for rest of the year.

"Where final prices end up depends heavily upon the pace of increased milk production in the months ahead. Also, if cheese stocks build, buyers may be less aggressive in purchases for future use, thus softening price increases in the second half of the year," he said. "The pace of increased milk production doesn't appear to be picking up due to lower growth in milk production in the West, offsetting rather strong growth in the Northeast and Midwest."

If the increase in milk production stays well below 2%, Cropp said this will help hold milk prices for the second half of the year. As of right now, however, he said the weakness in butter and cheese prices means slightly lower milk prices in July and August, with some increase again by September.

He said Class III prices may not reach $17/cwt. and Class IV may not reach $15/cwt., but if summer weather results in decreased milk cow production and dairy exports improve more than expected, prices could go a little higher.

 

U.S. dairy trade

More than a year after the start of major contraction in world import demand, annual growth rates for U.S. dairy exports are beginning to show some improvement, Vitaliano noted.

"Exports of milk fat products and American-type cheese are still down by more than half from a year ago, but non-American-type cheese, skim milk powder and lactose exports are now all showing increases over a year ago," he said.

Exports as a percentage of milk solids production averaged above 15% during February through April, which Vitaliano said is the first time this has happened over three consecutive months since mid-2014. Exports were equivalent to 16.7% of domestic production in April, the sixth-highest percentage ever for this measure and a strong rebound from 11.2% in January.

"Dairy imports continue to run ahead of a year ago, especially for butter and other milk fat," Vitaliano noted. "This pace will not change as long as the current environment of reduced import demand, low world prices and considerably higher domestic prices for most products continues."

 

Milk and dairy product production

 

-Feb.-April-

-2014 vs. 2015-

 

2015

2014

Change

% change

Milk production

Cows (1,000 head)

9,306

9,225

81

0.9

Per cow (lb.)

5,593

5,552

41

0.7

Total milk (million lb.)

52,049

51,216

833

1.6

Dairy product production (million lb.)

Cheese

 

 

 

 

American types

1,130

1,104

27

2.4

Cheddar

819

814

5

0.6

Italian types

1,259

1,218

41

3.4

Mozzarella

986

968

18

1.9

Total cheese

2,863

2,786

77

2.8

Butter

485

500

-15

-3.0

Dry milk products

Nonfat dry milk

512

469

43

9.1

Skim milk powder

106

130

-23

-18

Dry whey

242

209

33

16

Whey protein concentrate

123

133

-10

-7.7

Source: National Milk Producers Federation.

 

Volume:87 Issue:d2

Restoring California water supply

Restoring California water supply

AGRICULTURE Secretary Tom Vilsack joined Interior deputy secretary Mike Connor and California secretary for natural resources John Laird to announce a new partnership focused on conserving and restoring the Sierra-Cascade California Headwaters as part of President Barack Obama's Resilient Lands & Waters initiative.

Over the next two years, the U.S. Department of Agriculture's Forest Service and Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) will invest $130 million in the partnership, which also includes the U.S. Department of the Interior, the state of California, nonprofits and private landowners, USDA said. In total, the partnership will yield a minimum investment of $210 million by all partners.

The Sierra-Cascade California Headwaters region provides 25 million people in California with drinking water and much of the water used for irrigated agriculture in the Sacramento and San Joaquin Valleys.

In addition to the partnership, USDA announced that $13.7 million is available to California producers and ranchers through the NRCS Environmental Quality Incentives Program, and approximately $6 million remains available to drought-stricken communities through Rural Development's Emergency Community Water Assistance Grants, making nearly $20 million available to drought-affected communities.

"As several years of historic drought continue to plague parts of the western United States, there is a significant opportunity and responsibility across federal, state and private lands to protect and improve the landscapes that generate our most critical water supplies," Vilsack said. "Healthy forests and meadows play a key role in ensuring water quality, yield and reliability throughout the year. Looking beyond this particular drought, resources announced today will help us add resiliency to natural resource systems to cope with recurring drought and changing climate patterns."

The Resilient Lands & Waters initiative is part of the Obama Administration's Climate & Natural Resources Priority Agenda, a comprehensive commitment across the federal government to support the resilience of America's natural resources.

Through this partnership, USDA, DOI, California and local partners will direct a minimum of $210 million in combined resources toward restoration that will help improve water quality and quantity, promote healthy forests and reduce wildfire risk in the Sierra-Cascade California Headwaters region.

USDA noted that the federal partnership dovetails with California Gov. Jerry Brown's California Water Action Plan, a suite of short- and long-term goals to put California on a path to more resilient and reliable water systems and healthy ecosystems over the next five years.

Currently, 35% of the West is facing severe to exceptional drought, USDA said. In California, the mountain snowpack that supplies most of the water during the summer months is only a trace above zero (Map).

Restoring California water supply

Additional sites

In a related effort, DOI, USDA, the Environmental Protection Agency, the National Oceanic & Atmospheric Administration and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers announced new collaborative landscape partnerships where federal agencies will focus efforts with partners to conserve and restore important lands and waters.

Besides the Sierra-Cascade California Headwaters, the sites include the North-Central Coast & Russian River Watershed in California and Crown of the Continent in Montana/British Columbia.

Building on existing collaborations, these Resilient Lands & Waters partnerships will "showcase the benefits of landscape-scale management approaches and help enhance the carbon storage capacity of these natural areas," the agencies said.

These new sites follow the announcement of the first set of Resilient Lands & Waters partnerships — southwestern Florida, Hawaii, Washington and the Great Lakes region — at a 2015 Earth Day event in the Everglades.

In California's North-Central Coast & Russian River Watershed, partners will explore methods to reduce flood risks, improve the reliability of water supplies, restore habitats and inform coastal and ocean resource management efforts.

The Crown of the Continent partnership will focus on identifying critical areas for building habitat connectivity and ecosystem resilience to help ensure the long-term health and integrity of this landscape.

Volume:87 Issue:d2

Putin extends ban on agriculture products

Russian president Vladimir Putin announced Wednesday that a current ban on dairy products, meat, seafood, vegetables and fruit from the U.S., European Union, Australia, Canada, and Norway will remain in effect until June 24, 2016. The action was likely in response to EU’s decision Monday to extend its sanctions against Russia for six months.

Putin initially banned the products in August 2014 after the countries announced sanctions against Russia for its actions in Ukraine.

“We were extremely troubled by news today that Russia intends to extend its unjustified ban on U.S. meat and other agricultural products,” North American Meat Institute president and chief executive officer Barry Carpenter said after learning of the extension. ”Continuing this ban ignores the free trade obligations that came with Russia’s 2012 decision to join the World Trade Organization.”

Carpenter said the U.S. meat and poultry industry supports free trade and strives to reduce tariff and non-tariff barriers to the safe trade of these products.  

“Establishing and maintaining open and fair trading systems and standards are the best means of ensuring the delivery of the best and safest food products to consumer around the world,” he said.

New partnership to support water resources in California

Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack joined Interior Deputy Secretary Mike Connor and California secretary for natural resources John Laird to announce a new partnership focused on conserving and restoring the Sierra-Cascade California Headwaters, as part of President Obama’s Resilient Lands & Waters initiative.

Over the next two years, the U.S. Department of Agriculture's Forest Service (FS) and Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) will invest $130 million in the partnership, which also includes the Interior Department, the State of California, non-profits and private landowners. In total, the partnership will yield a minimum investment of $210 million by all partners.

The Sierra-Cascade California Headwaters provides 25 million people in California with drinking water and much of the water for irrigated agriculture in the Sacramento and San Joaquin Valleys.

In addition to the partnership, USDA is announcing that $13.7 million is available to California producers and ranchers through NRCS’s Environmental Quality Incentives Program (EQIP), and approximately $6 million remains available to drought-stricken communities through Rural Development’s Emergency Community Water Assistance Grants (ECWAG), making nearly $20 million available to drought-affected communities, the announcement said.

"As several years of historic drought continue to plague parts of the western United States, there is a significant opportunity and responsibility across federal, state and private lands to protect and improve the landscapes that generate our most critical water supplies," Vilsack said. "Healthy forests and meadows play a key role in ensuring water quality, yield and reliability throughout the year. Looking beyond this particular drought, resources announced today will help us add resiliency to natural resource systems to cope with recurring drought and changing climate patterns."

The Resilient Lands & Waters initiative is a part of the Obama Administration’s Climate & Natural Resources Priority Agenda, a comprehensive commitment across the federal government to support the resilience of America's natural resources.

Through this partnership under the Resilient Lands and Waters initiative, USDA, DOI, the State of California, and local partners will direct a minimum of $210 million in combined resources towards restoration that will help improve water quality and quantity, promote healthy forests and reduce wildfire risk in the Sierra-Cascade California Headwaters region.

USDA noted that the federal partnership dovetails with California Gov. Jerry Brown's California Water Action Plan, a suite of short- and long-term goals to put California on a path to more resilient and reliable water systems and healthy ecosystems over the next five years. Over the next year, California will commit as much as $81 million in ecosystem restoration in the Sierra Nevada.

Last month, USDA announced the availability of $21 million through EQIP to help farmers and ranchers apply science-based solutions to mitigate the short and long term effects of drought. Vilsack announced June 24 that 65% of the available funds, or $13.7 million, are being reserved for California producers and ranchers. Applications are currently being accepted at local NRCS offices.

Vilsack also announced that USDA has provided $2.7 million in ECWAG funds for eight California communities and $1.98 million to the Coyote Band of Pomo Indians of California in 2015. The remaining ECWAG funding is available nationwide, and applications are accepted at any time through USDA’s Rural Development state and area offices.