Digest Highlights Second dairy biogas project begins operations in Indiana August fluid sales slip Global Dairy Trade prices mixed Environmental groups suing EPA over air emission exemption Stand-alone California QIP effective Nov. 1 Sanders’ bill prioritizes dairy federal emergency payments FarmFirst Dairy urges FDA to use existing dietary guidelines to define ‘healthy’ Law paves way for California Cattle Council referendum DFA employees aided ‘Hunger Month’ efforts

Natzke dave
Editor / Progressive Dairy

Second dairy biogas project begins operations in Indiana

A second dairy biogas-to-transportation fuel project has begun operations in Indiana, according to Renewable Dairy Fuels (RDF), a business unit of Amp Americas.

The Jasper County site is converting 945 tons of manure per day, generated from 16,000 dairy cows from the Bos, Herrema and Windy Ridge dairy farms, into transportation fuel. The new facility is 50 percent larger than RDF’s first operation at Fair Oaks Farms, also in Indiana, which has been online since 2011.

The anaerobic digestion process produces methane, which is captured, purified and compressed before being injected into the Northern Indiana Public Service Company (NIPSCO) natural gas pipeline system, to be used as transportation fuel. The system reduces greenhouse gas emissions, improves air quality and sustainability, and improves farm profitability, said Grant Zimmerman, Amp Americas’ chief executive officer.

In addition to RDF, Amp Americas operates two other business units: Amp Renew, which sources renewable gas from RDF and third-party natural gas developers, and Amp CNG, which builds, owns and operates a growing network of fueling stations for long-haul trucking fleets.


August fluid sales slip

At just under 3.95 billion pounds, August 2018 sales of packaged conventional and organic fluid milk were down 1.8 percent compared to the same month a year earlier. August 2018 sales of conventional products totaled 3.7 billion pounds, down 2 percent from the previous year. Sales of organic products, at 222 million pounds, were up 2.1 percent. Organic represented about 5.6 percent of total sales for the month.

Through the first eight months of the year, U.S. fluid milk sales totaled just under 31 billion pounds, down 2.1 percent compared to the same period a year earlier. Year-to-date 2018 sales of conventional products totaled 29.3 billion pounds, down 2.2 percent. January-August 2018 sales of organic products, at 1.7 billion pounds, were up 0.5 percent. Organic represents about 5.6 percent of total sales for the year.

In the conventional category, whole, flavored whole and flavored fat-reduced (2 percent) milk sales were up compared to a year earlier. On the organic side, August 2018 sales of whole, reduced-fat (2 percent), low-fat (1 percent) and skim milk were higher than August 2017.

The U.S. figures represent consumption of fluid milk products in federal milk order marketing areas and California, which account for approximately 92 percent of total fluid milk sales in the U.S. Sales outlets include food stores, convenience stores, warehouse stores/wholesale clubs, nonfood stores, schools, the food service industry and home delivery.

Global Dairy Trade prices mixed

Global Dairy Trade (GDT) dairy product prices were mixed during the auction held Oct. 16. The overall index was down 0.3 percent.

Among major products, the butter price was up 2.4 percent to $4,114 per metric ton (MT), and the price for skim milk powder was unchanged at $1,977 per MT. However, the cheddar cheese price was down 1.8 percent to $3,404 per MT, and the price for whole milk powder was down 0.9 percent to $2,729 per MT. 

The next GDT auction is Nov. 6.

Environmental groups suing EPA over air emission exemption

Numerous environmental advocacy groups have filed a lawsuit against the EPA, challenging the agency’s authority to exempt livestock operations from reporting manure-related air emissions (ammonia and hydrogen sulfide) under two federal laws.

In August 2018, the EPA issued a final rule incorporating the Fair Agricultural Reporting Method (FARM) Act, signed into law in March 2018. The law seemingly ended years of debate covering air emission reporting requirements under the Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation and Liability Act of 1980 (CERCLA) and the Emergency Planning and Community Right-to-Know Act of 1986 (EPCRA).

Filed in the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia, plaintiffs include the Animal Legal Defense Fund, Food & Water Watch, the Humane Society of the U.S., the Sierra Club and others. They claim the EPA did not have the authority to make this type of exemption and, even if they did, they failed to comply with the federal notice and comment rule-making requirements, according to Tiffany Dowell Lashmet, ag law specialist with the Texas Agrilife Extension Service.

Stand-alone California QIP effective Nov. 1

With its move into the Federal Milk Marketing Order system, California’s Quota Implementation Plan (QIP) becomes a stand-alone program, effective Nov. 1, 2018.

Under California’s state milk marketing order, eligible producers were paid from the class price revenue pool.

Under the QIP, producers of quota milk will continue to receive an additional 19.5 cents per pound of quota solids not fat (SNF), which equals $1.70 per hundredweight (cwt) on 8.7 percent SNF milk. The quota premiums will continue to be adjusted by the applicable regional quota adjuster.

The most visible feature of the new QIP will be the funding mechanism. The quota premiums will be funded by an assessment of 4.36 cents per pound of SNF (approximately 38 cents per cwt of 8.7 percent SNF milk) produced and delivered in California.

Sanders’ bill prioritizes dairy federal emergency payments

U.S. Senator Bernie Sanders, I-Vermont, introduced a bill that would prioritize receipt of federal emergency dairy payments to operators of smaller farms and farmers in states where the cost to produce milk is higher than the national average. Introduced on Oct. 11, the bill was referred to the Senate Ag Committee, but did not have any co-sponsors.

Sanders' bill, S.3586, calls for USDA to issue the payments through the Commodity Credit Corporation. Emergency payments during fiscal year 2019 would be between $10,000 and $20,000 per operation, with a maximum total expenditure of $556 million.

Sanders said the bill would bring temporary economic relief to dairy farmers, but longer-term steps, such as supply management and stronger antitrust laws to reduce dairy processing and distribution, were needed.

Separately, Sanders sent a letter to U.S. Ag Secretary Sonny Perdue, asking him to use his authority to expand dairy product purchases for distribution through federal food assistance programs.

FarmFirst Dairy urges FDA to use existing dietary guidelines to define ‘healthy’

FarmFirst Dairy Cooperative joined other members of the Midwest Dairy Coalition in urging the FDA to use current Dietary Guidelines for Americans (DGA) when determining when the term “healthy” can be used on dairy food labels. An FDA comment period established to evaluate the need to update nutrient content claim regulations closed on Oct. 11.

In a joint letter, the organizations noted that several peer-reviewed studies show dairy products have proven to be beneficial to human health and that milk and dairy products are underconsumed by Americans.

Additionally, the joint letter called for a periodic review of any guidelines governing the use of the term "healthy" on food and beverage labels as more is learned about the health of dairy fats and other milk nutirents. It also called for the need for FDA to enforce existing standards of identity with respect to milk and dairy products.

Law paves way for California Cattle Council referendum

California’s dairy and beef producers will have an opportunity to vote in a referendum to consider the creation of a checkoff-funded California Cattle Council.

California Gov. Jerry Brown signed the bill (SB 965), introduced by state Sen. Mike McGuire and co-sponsored by the Western United Dairymen (WUD) and the California Cattlemen’s Association. The law calls for a producer referendum to be held no later than June 1, 2020.

If approved, an 11-member California Cattle Council board would administer programs funded through a $1-per-head refundable checkoff. The assessment would be added to the sale of all cattle and calves (more than 200 pounds) in the state and be paid by the seller.

According to WUD, the focus of the council would be on practices in areas not covered by the state’s existing dairy and beef promotion checkoff programs and would support issues for all types of cattle producers – from large to small as well as conventional and organic. Issues could include live cattle promotion, education, and production and cattle health research. Lobbying would not be allowed.

Board members would be appointed by the state’s secretary of agriculture and made up of three range cattle producers, three cattle feeders, three dairy producers, one processor and one public member. Eleven alternates would also be named.

The law also requires a public hearing to be held every five years to consider input on whether the council should be continued and whether a reapproval or termination referendum is necessary.

DFA employees aided ‘Hunger Month’ efforts

Dairy Farmers of America (DFA) employees helped collect more than 15,000 pounds of nonperishable items for local food banks during “Hunger Action Month” in September. Employees also raised nearly $5,300 for the DFA Cares Foundation, which will be distributed to Feeding America and help provide more than 50,000 meals for those in need.

Regional efforts included:

  • Employees at DFA headquarters in Kansas City, Kansas, helped organize a food drive and helped sort and pack donated items and meals at Harvesters, a regional food bank serving northwest Missouri and northeast Kansas.
  • Employees in the Mideast area collected monetary donations and nonperishable food items for the Akron-Canton Regional Foodbank.
  • In the Northeast area, employees sponsored a car wash, raffle and cookout to raise funds for Feeding America.
  • In DFA’s Southwest area, employees collected food to benefit the Tarrant Area Food Bank, located in Fort Worth, Texas.
  • At DFA’s manufacturing plant in Adrian, Michigan, employees participated in a shift team challenge to collect nonperishable food items for Fishes and Loaves Food Pantry.
  • Employees at DFA’s plant in Middlebury Center, Pennsylvania, donated DFA Cares bags of food to the Wellsboro Area Food Pantry.  end mark
Dave Natzke