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dairy

August 27, 2009 - 7:01pm
posted by Billie Owens in batavia, genesee county, GCC, agriculture, dairy, Hillibrand.

BATAVIA, NY -- About 200 people attended a formal Senate hearing this afternoon at Genesee Community College focused on a dairy industry in crisis and possible solutions.

New York Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand heard testimony from producers and processors, economists and dairy industry experts. At the end of the two-hour hearing, which started about a half hour late, she said she was taking some good ideas back to Washington to use in developing long-term fixes.

The dairy industry is hard hit by: a pricing structure that's based on only 2 percent of the industry's products: higher fuel and feed costs; trade inequities; the expense of meeting increased regulations and standards not required by international competitors; and by a swiftly fluctuating market -- stemming from changing demands, the impact of product perishibility and supply -- plus many other factors.

It's a tough business and it requires a certain youthfulness to do the heavy physical labor, 365-days-a-year, with a liklihood of losing money at the end of the year instead of making a profit.

One of the surest ways of increasing the health of the dairy industry, is to increase consumer demand for its products. Several spoke in favor of the federal government doing more to help out, such as buying more milk for school breakfast programs, stocking up food banks with cheese or buying powdered milk for women and infant nutrition programs. In other words, use more Department of Agriculture money going toward food purchases anyway to beef up dairy consumption.

To compete with a ever-increasing variety of thirst-quenching beverages, the dairy industry needs to develop new products and boost the flavor, "mouth feel," and nutrition of milk without adding fat or calories.

They also called for leveling the field when it comes to trade. Why does an American dairy farmer have to pay a 15-cent per-hundred-weight fee for marketing and promotion, when the foreign importer does not yet still enjoys the benefits?

One good way to boost oversees consumption is to sell more solid milk product, which is in great demand worldwide. But more production plants are needed. Yet a capital expansion program for Batavia has been on hold since 2005 pending USDA approvals.

Rep. Eric Massa said he'll enlist his colleagues to pressure the USDA to speed things up if Kim Pickard-Dudley drafts him a letter on why the capital expansion program is critical for Western New York. She spoke as a representative of the farmer-owned Upstate Niagara Co-op.

Robert Church advocated "market-driven solutions" and federalizing uniform industry standards, so states like California, do not have unfair advantage over Western New York's dairy industry. He's herd manager for Patterson Farms, a 980-cow operation west of Auburn.

"You said one-size-fits-all," Massa told Church. "My job is to protect New York. That's what I'm here to do."

The problems faced by New Mexico, California or Arizona dairies, compared to here, are vastly different because their circumstances are different, Massa said, about as different in fact as Mars is from Pluto.

"California cows are happy cows," so goes the marketing slogan, but Massa said here it's more like "New York cows are really angry cows."

August 27, 2009 - 6:59pm
posted by Bea McManis in dairy, Lee, Gillibrand, Massa, price reform.

milk2.jpgCongressman Massa, Senator Gillibrand, and Congressman Lee listened to two panels.  The first Producers and Processors, the second consisted of Economists and Experts.

The best lines of the day....Congressman Massa, after learning that each NY dairy farmer must contribute to a national promotion fund, part of which is used by the State of California to promote their California Happy Cow ads in New York State. Fifteen cents per hundredweight is levied on all milk marketed commercially in NYS.

He asked, "Why can't we produce ads for...let's say... New York Happy Yankee Cows, and play them in California?".

When told that it is tradition that  dairy farmers' have responsibility to transport milk to the processor...just like lobster fisherman must arrange transportation of their catch from the ship to the cannery.

Congressman Massa mused, "I don't know how to milk a lobster."

June 11, 2009 - 9:23am
posted by Bea McManis in agriculture, dairy, local business.

With all this talk about Lamb Farm, I went hunting and found their website.

It is well worth the time to look through it all.  Make sure you click on the videos of the clipper and the milking merry go round.

Fascinating.

http://lambfarmsinc.net/index.html

June 10, 2009 - 7:27pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in dairy, genesee county legislature.

dairy_proclamation.jpg

County Legislator Charles Zambito, Elba, presents a proclamation in honor of dairy month to Dairy Princes Mackenzie Reynolds and Eric Zuber.  Following the proclamation, ice cream sandwiches, an annual tradition, were handed out to every person in the chamber. Um, good.

June 9, 2009 - 5:55pm
posted by Steve Hawley in dairy, steve hawley, farm, NY Farm Bureau.

 

HAWLEY CELEBRATES NYS DAIRY DAY

CALLS ON GOVERNOR & SENATE TO “VOTE NO”
ON “FARM DEATH BILL”

 

Assemblyman Steve Hawley (R, I, C – Batavia) today joined Assembly Minority Leader Brian M. Kolb (R, C, I – Canandaigua), bipartisan members of the State Legislature, representatives from the State Department of Agriculture and Markets, New York Farm Bureau, New York Grange, Northeast Dairy Foods, and American Dairy Association, along with local New York State farmers in celebration and recognition of New York State Dairy Day. 

 

Additionally, the coalition discussed the negative impacts of Assembly Bill 1867, dubbed the “Farm Death Bill” and called on the State Senate and Governor to “vote no” on the bill, which was passed by the Assembly last evening.

 

Hawley stated, “I was a third generation family farmer and I know firsthand how difficult it is to run a farm successfully.  Right now farmers are losing money on every gallon of milk, every pound of grain, because production costs here are so high.  We are in the midst of one of the worst recessions in decades and now is not the time to add additional burdens on our farmers.”

 

The Assemblyman continued, “This onerous bill, if passed into law, will be the death of New York State’s farms.  Farming is not just a job, it is a way of life and I want to keep that quality of life around for many more generations.”

 

May 22, 2009 - 10:37pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in agriculture, dairy.

As The Batavian reported two months ago, Genesee County's dairy farmers have been squeezed by falling prices and higher production costs -- with prices being driven from excess milk supplies during the recession.

The New York Farm Bureau, lead by local dairyman Dean Norton, has convinced the federal government to increase dairy exports, which should help tighten supply and bring prices back in line with production costs.

The move comes after months of advocating from Farm Bureau's farmer/members who directly lobbied USDA with Congressional visits in Washington, sent e-mail messages and called or wrote hundreds of letters to Agriculture Secretary Thomas Vilsack.

"Our members should be proud of their hard work in lobbying for USDA to activate the Dairy Export Incentive Program to help alleviate our dairy crisis," said Dean Norton, president of New York Farm Bureau and a dairy farmer from Batavia.

April 1, 2009 - 2:18pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in business, agriculture, dairy.

Local dairy farmers are hurting, according to Dean Norton, president of the New York Farm Bureau.

Prices have plummeted -- because of decreased demand for dairy products at home and abroad -- while costs have increased substantially. 

Currently, milk is selling for $10.50 to $11.50 per 100 weight (about 8.5 gallons), while the cost of production is $15 and $16 per 100 weight.

Last year, milk sold for about $20 per 100 weight.

"The area economy stinks and it's a tough year," Norton said. "Receipts are down and individuals might be exiting the dairy industry."

Exports have dropped and domestic demand has been driven down as people eat out less during the recession, so there is shrunken demand for dairy products.

To help address the plunging prices, Cooperatives Working Together (CWT) has initiated a herd retirement program, which will help reduce the number of milk-producing cows and lower supply.  Bids must be postmarked by May 1.

Dairy farmers throughout the nation are hurting according to The Rural Blog:

“The number of dairy cows being sent to slaughter has risen by about 20 percent from last year, as desperate farmers cull their herds and sell at fire-sale prices,” Sue Kirchoff writes for USA Today. “Adding to the problem, banks are less willing or able to extend farmers’ loan payments amid the financial turmoil.” John Murawski reports for the News & Observer in Raleigh, "Several dozen dairy farms in North Carolina are expected to go under this year." (Read more)

The National Dairy Federation has called on President Obama to aggressively address the problem, or thousands of jobs could be lost.

There are several reasons for the implosion: oversupply, falling export demand and continued high prices for supplies such as feed,” Kirchoff explained. “The dairy sector in the past has been less prone to huge price swings than other areas of agriculture, but that’s changing as the industry relies more on the markets and less on government programs.”

Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack announced a program to buy 200 million lbs. of nonfat dry milk surpluses for domestic low-income programs.

Neighboring Wyoming County is being especially hard hit by the downturn in the dairy market, according to a story by Tom Rivers.

The $60 million in reduced revenue is compared to 2008 prices, when dairies averaged about $17.50 per hundredweight. This year the prices are forecast to average $12.80 for the year. The prices are expected to climb above the current $11 level and top $14 in September, which is still below most farms' production costs.

The county's 47,970 cows, which outnumber the county's residents, produced $178.9 million worth of milk products in 2007, by far the most in the state.

"The market is saturated and these prices are likely to be with us until mid-summer," Norton said.

January 30, 2009 - 3:51pm
posted by Philip Anselmo in video, agriculture, dairy, food, dairy princess, recipes, quesadillas.

This is a perfect recipe for a great Superbowl appetizer!

December 19, 2008 - 2:18pm
posted by Philip Anselmo in video, agriculture, dairy, food, dairy princess, recipes.

You couldn't ask for more perfect timing on this one folks—that is, as long as you've already got the ingredients in the house. In this fifth episode of Cooking With the Dairy Princess, Anika Zuber shows us how to prepare a rich, white chocolate, hot chocolate.

Mmm.

May 15, 2008 - 1:39pm
posted by Philip Anselmo in Daily News, tourism, dairy.

From the Daily News (Thursday):

• Plans are in the works for a dairy tourism center in Batavia that would include a gift shop, a cafe, interactive displays and other features pertaining to the dairy industry. The center may be located near the entrance to the new ag-tech park next to the Genesee County Fairgrounds. Reporter Tom Rivers writes about "a committee" that is planning the center, but never mentions the name of the committee, whom it reports to, nor how it was created. He also lists some "organizers," but never tells us what they are organizing. How are they related to the committee?

• Horizon Wind Energy produced plans for a shrunken-down version of the Dairy Hills Wind Farm project in Perry. The project that originally called for 60 wind turbines was scaled down to "about 38" wind turbines. Reporter Matt Surtel writes that the company will work through "appropriate studies" over the next few weeks that will then be submitted to the Perry Town Board. Not sure what kind of studies, nor why they are appropriate.

• Batavia native Stacey Lynn Shepard, a staff writer for The Bakersfield Californian, was honored for her environmental reporting at the Gruner Awards Banquet in Fresno, earlier this month. Her stories about an oil refinery in Kern County, California, can be found at the newspaper's Web site. Her profile page can also be found there.

• The Bank of Castile will no longer postpone bank transactions made at its branches after a certain time. Whether you make a deposit at 9:40am or 4:15pm, your transaction will go through that day — not the "next" business day.

• In police news, a Batavia man found with nearly a pound of marijuana was charged with third-degree criminal possession of marijuana; an Avon man was charged with DWI at Ellicott Street; a Batavia man was charged with harassment and criminal mischief after a woman told police that he choked her.

• City police are investigating a hit-and-run that happened Tuesday morning at Center and Main streets. They are looking for a large white truck that backed into a green Hyundai. Call (585) 343-6350 if you have information.

For the complete stories, the Daily News is available on local newsstands, or you can subscribe on BataviaNews.com.

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