Digest Highlights

Dairy-RP coverage nears 20 billion pounds of milk

U.S. dairy producer revenue covered under the Dairy Revenue Protection (Dairy-RP) program has reached nearly 20 billion pounds of milk.

Natzke dave
Editor / Progressive Dairy

Through March 18, U.S. dairy producers protected revenue on 19.9 billion pounds of milk marketings in 2019 and the first half of 2020. The latest report shows 2,882 dairy producers had filed Dairy-RP applications in 35 states. Of the applications, 1,748 have purchased 5,417 quarterly endorsements. Total premium costs on purchased endorsements were about $64.6 million, with USDA Risk Management Agency subsidies covering about $26.9 million of that.

Under Dairy-RP, dairy producers can select coverage at 70 to 95 percent (in 5 percent increments) of expected quarterly milk revenue (production times price).

Based on data as of March 18, the revenue on about 18.3 billion pounds of milk was covered at the 95 percent level. That represents about 92 percent of all milk covered under Dairy-RP since the program was launched on Oct. 9, 2018.

Another 1.6 billion pounds of milk was covered at the 90 percent level, or about 8 percent of all milk covered under Dairy-RP. Just 3.2 million pounds (0.02 percent of the total) was covered at the 85 percent level.


Producers seeking Dairy-RP coverage can purchase endorsements through authorized crop insurance agents, up to five quarters into the future. Dairy-RP quarterly endorsements are available for sale until about the 15th of the month preceding the quarter to be covered.

The sales period to purchase revenue insurance on second-quarter 2019 (April-June) milk production closed on March 15. Producers can now purchase quarterly endorsements for July-September 2019 (until June 15), October-December 2019 (until Sept. 15), January-March 2020 (until Dec. 15), April-June 2020 and July-September 2020.

Proposal extends H2-A visa program to dairy

Another attempt to give dairy farmers access to foreign workers has been introduced in the House. U.S. Reps. Anthony Brindisi (D-New York) and John Joyce (R-Pennsylvania) introduced the “Dairy and Sheep H–2A Visa Enhancement Act,” which would amend the Immigration and Nationality Act to allow dairy farmers to use the current H-2A visa program.

The proposal would allow for an initial three-year visa, with an option to extend for another three years. Under current law, the H-2A program is limited to seasonal workers, blocking use for year-round employment on dairy farms.

The head of the American Dairy Coalition (ADC) supports the bill.

“As a fourth-generation dairy farmer, my family has poured our hearts and souls into our dairy farm and the dairy industry for over 110 years,” said Walt Moore, ADC president and Pennsylvania dairy farmer. “Our farm, along with many other dairy farms throughout our great country, have come to rely on migrant workers to milk, feed and care for our dairy cows on our farms. We need to have a steady, highly skilled, reliable workforce to continue to properly care for our cows and to continue to produce one of the safest, healthiest foods in the world."

“It is clear that one of the reasons [dairy farmers] are struggling is because they are lacking the manpower that they need to produce their goods and get them to market,” said Joyce in a press release. “Milk production in our country relies heavily on our migrant workers, and for far too long, Congress has harmed the dairy industry by failing to fix our broken immigration system.”

Cattle TB found on Texas dairy and calf-raising operation

Texas Animal Health Commission (TAHC) officials have confirmed cattle tuberculosis (TB) in a Texas Panhandle dairy and its separate calf-raising operation. The dairy is located in Sherman County; the calf operation is in Dallam County.

Investigations of both facilities continue, and they are under quarantine and will remain so until they meet all requirements for release through testing and removal of infected animals. Dairy, calf-raising and dairy heifer raising operations in Texas and other states with epidemiological links to the infected herd will continue to be tested to determine the possible origin or potential spread of the disease.

Texas officials are working with the USDA and animal health officials in other states to ensure the disease is quickly contained, and the affected dairies can return to normal business practices as soon as possible, said Dr. Andy Schwartz, state veterinarian.

Texas earned USDA “TB accredited-free” status in 2000. In 2002 however, that status was temporarily revoked when two infected cattle herds were detected. After extensive testing, Texas regained its TB-free status from the USDA in October 2006.

Georgia will be added as ‘major’ dairy state

Georgia is being added to the list of states included in USDA monthly milk production and milk price reports beginning this summer. Starting in June, the USDA’s data – including total milk production, milk per cow, cow numbers and monthly average milk prices – for “major” dairy states will be expanded from 23 to 24.

The initial reports will start in June 2019 and include May and June data for both 2018 and 2019, according to Travis Averill, chief of the livestock branch in the USDA National Ag Statistics Service (NASS) Statistics Division.

The USDA notice said adding Georgia to the monthly estimating program will result in better coverage of the southeastern U.S. dairy industry. Currently, Florida and Virginia data is reported on a monthly basis.

Based on 2018 USDA annual dairy statistics, Georgia ranked 25th in cow numbers, 23rd in milk production per cow, 23rd in total milk production and 26th in the number of dairy herds licensed to sell milk.

Every five years, NASS conducts a program review following the completion of the Census of Agriculture. The review considers the latest information from the census, estimates from the current annual estimating programs and administrative data to ensure the NASS annual estimating program adapts to reflect changes in agriculture.

MMPA makes Michigan food bank donations

Food banks across Michigan will receive 150 gallons of milk and 50 pounds of cheese per day in 2019, thanks to the Michigan Milk Producers Association (MMPA). The announcement was made during a celebration of the partnership between MMPA and the Food Bank Council of Michigan (FBCM). FBCM presented a Valued Partner award during MMPA’s 103rd annual meeting in Lansing, Michigan.

The Kroger Company of Michigan is donating the processing and packaging of the milk at their Michigan plant in Livonia, Michigan. The cheese comes from MMPA’s subsidiary brand, Heritage Ridge Creamery, based in Middlebury, Indiana.

MMPA is a dairy farmer-owned cooperative serving approximately 1,600 dairy farmers in Michigan, Indiana, Ohio and Wisconsin. It handles approximately 5 billion pounds of milk annually, producing butter, nonfat dry milk, whole milk powder, cream and condensed skim milk.

University of Florida raising funds to renovate dairy farm

The University of Florida/Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences (UF/IFAS) Department of Animal Sciences is raising funds to renovate the UF Dairy Farm.

The renovations will be designed to make the dairy more sustainable and contribute to the research, teaching and extension needs of the Florida and national dairy industries. The plans to improve and renovate the dairy include every aspect of the research facility, including intensive research facilities, teaching facilities, a new milking robotic parlor, cow comfort and development barns, and cropland improvements.

For information about supporting the Dairy Farm Renovation Campaign, email Dr. Peter J. Hansen or call (352) 392-1981.

Minnesota milk cooler grant application deadline is April 4

The Minnesota Department of Agriculture (MDA) awarded more than $50,000 in grant funding to 30 Minnesota schools and early education programs to add milk coolers to their nutrition programs.

The grant recipients are part of the first round of milk cooler grants awarded under the Agricultural Growth Research and Innovation Program (AGRI). Application for a second round of funding, totaling another $50,000, is open until April 4, 2019.

Value-added dairy education opportunities coming to Wisconsin

Many farmers are turning to value-added enterprises as an avenue for their farm to survive and thrive into the future. Several upcoming workshops in Wisconsin will walk farmers through the process of venturing into value-added enterprises.

Adding Value to Your Farm: Exploring On-Farm Dairy Processing will be offered on March 27 at River Falls, Wisconsin. This event will feature nuts and bolts of early business planning, including processing practicalities, building a farm-based dairy business and advice from Wisconsin Farmers Union (WFU) members who are making and marketing food products from cow and goat milk. Panelists include Meg Wittenmyer of Bifrost Farms, Josh Bryceson and Rama Hoffpauir of Cosmic Wheel Creamery, and Theresa Depies of Springbrook Dairy. Michelle Farner, dairy pilot plot manager from UW – River Falls, and Norm Monsen, a market development specialist, will also be featured. Cost is $15 per person at the door.

Making More From Milk is a multiday experience offered by Global Cow and Global Dairy Outreach. It includes visits to processors and retailers, marketing seminars and step-by-step cheesemaking. Tour stops will include LaClare Family Creamery, Malone, Wisconsin; Kelley’s Country Creamery, Fond du Lac; and Sassy Cow Creamery, Columbus. The workshop also offers Spanish translation. The event is April 23-25 in Madison and costs $495 per person. An additional cheese-making workshop will be held April 26, with Cesar Luis at Cesar’s Cheese in Gibbsville. Cost is $200 per person. WFU will sponsor three $495 scholarships for members to attend. For more information about scholarships, contact WFU at (715) 723-5561.

Begin a Farmstead Micro-Creamery is a field day to be held May 23 in Clear Lake, Wisconsin. It will focus on what it takes to start and operate a successful on-farm creamery. This free event, hosted by MOSES, will cover start-up considerations, the art of making artisan cheeses, legalities and marketing, and seasonal milking. WFU members Josh Bryceson and Rama Hoffpauir of Cosmic Wheel Creamery are an example of farmers developing a unique system to distance themselves from the commodity market. They will share their experience with this production model and give other producers a farmer’s-eye view of the process they went through and what they learned along the way.

Zoetis launches genomic test for Jerseys

Zoetis announced the launch of Clarifide Plus for Jerseys. It includes genomic predictions indicating genetic risk factors for seven of the most common and costly adult cow diseases – including milk fever – and three calf wellness traits.

The company developed three indexes to provide comprehensive animal ranking selections:

  • The Dairy Wellness Profit Index includes production, reproduction, functional type, longevity, calving, and Zoetis cow and calf wellness traits and polled results.

  • The Wellness Trait Index estimates differences in expected lifetime profit associated with the risk of diseases in cows (mastitis, lameness, metritis, retained placenta, displaced abomasum, ketosis and milk fever) in addition to adding the economic value for the polled gene.

  • The Calf Wellness Index estimates the difference in expected lifetime profit associated with the risk of calfhood diseases and early death losses.

Animart merges with Animal Profiling Inc.

Animart LLC merged with Animal Profiling Inc. (API), connecting veterinary expertise, diagnostics, and data and product solutions in one company.

According to Animart, veterinary customers will receive access to integrated diagnostics and health data they can use to quickly and properly identify and define health issues, making treatment programs more effective, efficient and targeted. Producers will benefit from improved animal health and productivity, lower drug use with greater effectiveness and increased profitability.

API will continue to be based in Portland, Oregon. As part of the transition, Heidi Anderson has been promoted to director of lab services and will continue to oversee the API facility.  end mark

Dave Natzke