Progressive Dairy 
provides updates on dairy-related organizations and companies, compiled from staff news sources and industry press releases. Email industry and organization news to Progressive Dairy Editor Jenna Hurty.Business Digest Highlights

Industry news

Merck Animal Health and Iowa State University announce new four-year strategic alliance to drive innovative solutions in animal health

Merck Animal Health in collaboration with Iowa State University announced a four-year alliance that will bring together industry and university talent as part of a public-private partnership to address complex needs and expedite the delivery of animal health solutions to the marketplace.

The alliance will join faculty, students and Merck Animal Health veterinarians and staff with a committed pool of resources to identify research and development opportunities and seamlessly deploy on technical efforts and projects across disciplines for companion, equine and livestock animals. The alliance will be led by a joint steering committee of members from Merck Animal Health and Iowa State to ensure goals and objectives are aligned and progress is tracked.


As part of the initial kickoff, Merck Animal Health and Iowa State have already established a first phase of sponsored research projects exploring innovations in drug and vaccine delivery.

Visit Merck Animal Health for more information.

Connecterra and ABS Global announce agreement to use A.I.-backed technology to improve U.S. dairy farm operations

Dutch-based Connecterra has signed a new agreement with U.S.-based ABS Global.

Beginning in early 2022, ABS will introduce Ida as a digital solution that enables improvements in fertility, health and animal welfare to its customers in Wisconsin, Minnesota, Illinois, Iowa and South Dakota. ABS advisers will also gain access to the Ida Enterprise platform, which provides digital collaboration and analytics capabilities to dairy farm partners and suppliers.

The platform combines behavior data collected via collar-mounted sensors with data from herd management systems, internet-connected farm equipment and third-party sources. The platform then uses artificial intelligence to translate the data into real-time, easy-to-understand insights in the app. It asks for user in-app feedback to improve the insights. Those one to two taps provide additional data that the platform processes with machine-learning algorithms. It then becomes smarter, more personalized and more effective for each customer’s herd and operation.

Visit ida for more information.

Zoetis, CowManager and Select Sires form global collaboration

Zoetis, CowManager and Select Sires Inc. launched a strategic collaboration to integrate genomic tools and predictive sensor systems. The goal of this collaboration is to create value for cattle producers in farm management through better advice supported by more accurate, intelligent cow data. When producers can make efficient, more-informed decisions on-farm, they may ultimately achieve better cow health outcomes and business results.

Combining DNA predictions, real-time analytics and mating in one convenient space through traits and indexes developed by Zoetis and CowManager’s ear-sensor technology, farmers will have access to accurate information on health, fertility, nutritional insights and location.

As part of the collaboration, the team at CowManager will initially work to integrate DNA tool data from Zoetis into the CowManager dashboard to provide access to critical animal information, such as health and fertility events.

Visit ZoetisCowManager or Select Sires Inc for more information.

Gallagher announces wireless loadbars

Gallagher released its new “wireless” loadbars. Using Bluetooth technology, you can now weigh your livestock with wireless loadbars and the Gallagher Animal Performance app on your mobile device, or connect directly into a TW/TWR weigh scale for more advanced animal-performance monitoring. Accurate livestock weights, time after time, the load cells contain no moving parts, ensuring no wear for years of accurate weighing. The company built the loadbars to withstand the harshest farming environments; they are waterproof and constructed with galvanized steel chassis.

Visit Gallagher for more information.

Announcement from Valmetal Group

Valmetal Group announces the unification of its last acquisition and its California-based company U.S. Farm Systems changes its name. Three years ago, the Houle family sold their company U.S. Farm Systems to another family-owned company, Valmetal Group.

Recently, U.S. Farm Systems took the final step of integration to the Valmetal Group of companies by changing its name to Valmetal Tulare Inc.

Edge Dairy Farmer Cooperative board appoints Josh Meissner to interim term

Josh Meissner, a dairy farmer in central Wisconsin, will serve an interim term on the Edge Dairy Farmer Cooperative board of directors, the co-op recently announced. Meissner was appointed to serve in a vacancy left by his father, Jerry, who passed away in December. Meissner’s term will be up in 2023.

Meissner and his family own and operate Norm-E-Lane Farm in Chili, Wisconsin. His grandparents started the farm in the late 1940s, and it has grown with each subsequent generation, including in 2000 when Josh returned to the family farm after graduating college with a degree in business management.

They milk about 2,500 Holstein cows and raise another 2,000 cows and heifers, while operating 5,000 acres of cropland for feed. Meissner is also involved in many community organizations and events, including coaching football.

Visit Edge Dairy Farmer Cooperativ for more information.

FarmFirst Dairy Cooperative board elects officers

John Rettler of Neosho, Wisconsin, was reelected president of the FarmFirst Dairy Cooperative’s board of directors following the cooperative’s 10th annual meeting held on Feb. 12, 2022.

Other officers elected were Steve Brock of Daggett, Michigan, to serve as vice president, Kathy Bauer of Faribault, Minnesota, as secretary and Bob Dietzel of East Dubuque, Illinois, as treasurer.

Newly elected to serve as the District 5 director is Stephanie Hughes of Pittsville, Wisconsin.

Reelected to three-year terms on the 10-member board of directors included Brock representing District 1 and Rettler in District 3.

Visit FarmFirst Dairy Cooperative for more information.

New Puma, Maxxum Series tractors increase productivity through comfort upgrades

Upgrades to 2022 Maxxum tractors equipped with MultiControl armrests and Puma 150/165 tractors will put operator comfort and convenience front and center for even greater flexibility.

The full list of updates includes:

• Low-mount front wiper for maximum visibility

• In-cab cool box for increased operator comfort

• New aluminum steps

• New monitor bar with USB outlets for convenience

• New rearview mirror for better field of view

• New battery cutoff switch located outside the door

• LED beacon lights for greater visibility in all field conditions

• Elastic hood closing rope

• New advanced loader joystick with reverser

• Enhancements build on 2021 improvements

Visit CaseIH for more information.

Gene Boomer and David Lytle retire from Arm & Hammer

Two dairy industry professionals have recently retired from Arm & Hammer Animal and Food Production. Dr. Gene Boomer of Texas and David Lytle of Pennsylvania have both retired after spending their careers working to advance the health and productivity of dairy cattle.

Boomer came to the company 14 years ago as a field technical services manager. In this role, he used his knowledge and experience as a veterinarian to bring the latest research and technologies to consultants and dairy farmers. Boomer’s research and expertise focused on transition cow and heifer management. He was also one of the first pioneering veterinarians to use and teach model-based ration-formulation software.

Lytle served dairy producers in the Northeast for over three decades. Most recently, he led the East Region dairy team as senior manager, regional sales. Lytle spent the majority of his career at the company leading teams through the evolution of the business and working closely with colleagues throughout the industry to introduce new products and technologies to help dairy cattle reach their genetic potential.

Customers needing to reach technical services in the Southwest should reach out to Dr. Joel Pankowski, and customers needing sales assistance in the East should reach out to Mark Herrman.

Organization news

FARM Animal Care Program announces Version 5 survey results

The National Dairy Farmers Assuring Responsible Management (FARM) Program shared the results of its Animal Care Version 5 development survey. The report summarizes stakeholder perspectives on animal care issues of importance and captures ideas and levels of support for potential changes to the industry’s animal care standards.

The survey received 682 responses from farmers, veterinarians and dairy industry leaders nationwide. Stakeholders identified care for sick animals, calves and non-ambulatory cattle as dairy’s greatest priority to maintain focus on for Version 5. The survey also showed general support for making minor modifications and adding clarity to the program while avoiding large overhauls. Most survey respondents, including farmers, showed they would willingly support small changes to better address animal care vulnerabilities. Respondents also were in consensus that standards that aren’t direct measures of good animal welfare practices should be updated to prioritize an outcome-based approach.

The survey results will be used to inform all levels of FARM governance and will help guide ongoing discussions about the development of Version 5. The National Milk Producers Federation board of directors provide final approval on FARM standards, which will come into effect starting July 1, 2024. Visit National Dairy Farmers Assuring Responsible Management for more information.

NMC annual meeting explores ‘future frontiers’

National Mastitis Council (NMC) members from 31 U.S. states, five Canadian provinces and 26 countries gathered Feb. 1-3, for the group’s 2022 annual meeting. More than 350 attendees, representing milk quality, mastitis and udder health researchers, dairy producers and dairy industry partners gathered for the group’s 61st annual meeting, which addressed topics that ranged from consumer engagement to small ruminant milkability to gut microbial health to genetics to mitigating mastitis when using recycled manure solids.

NMC recognized David Reid, owner of Rocky Ridge Dairy Consulting LLC in Hazel Green, Wisconsin, during its annual meeting. He received the NMC Award of Excellence for Contribution to Mastitis Prevention and Control, which is sponsored by Boehringer Ingelheim. The 2013 NMC president, Reid offers milk quality consulting services for individual dairies and dairy industry companies and repeatedly serves as an NMC Short Course instructor – primarily focusing on evaluating milking systems and optimizing quality milk harvesting.

In the National Dairy Quality Awards program, NMC honored six dairy operations as platinum winners. These top-quality milk producers included Blue Star Dairy-Middleton LLC (Art and Lori Meinholz), Middleton, Wisconsin; Country Aire Farms (Tom, Mike, Nick, Matt, Craig and Jon Gerrits), Kaukauna, Wisconsin; Crandall Dairy Farms LLC (Brad, Mark and Larry Crandall), Battle Creek, Michigan; Dolph Dairy LLC (Don and Pat Dolph), Lake Mills, Wisconsin; Tollgate Holsteins (Jim and Karen Davenport), Ancramdale, New York; and the University of Wisconsin Marshfield Agricultural Research Station, Stratford, Wisconsin.

Judges selected outstanding dairies to receive this honor based on quality milk production indicators, such as somatic cell count and bacteria count, along with milking routine, systems of monitoring udder health, treatment protocols and strategies for overall herd health and welfare. These herds ranged in size from 73 to 750 cows. Annual milk production (per cow) averaged from 23,835 pounds to 33,405 pounds. For average somatic cell count, these dairies varied from 37,000 to 87,000 cells per milliliter.

NMC awarded scholarships to four graduate students to attend the meeting. This year’s scholars were Annie Fréchette, University of Montreal; Jenna Williamson, University of Georgia; Riitta Niemi, University of Helsinki; and Renata de Freitas Leite, University of São Paulo. The NMC Scholars program fosters the development of mastitis research and milk quality professionals from around the world.

During the NMC annual business meeting, members elected Simon Dufour, Université de Montréal, Montreal, Quebec, Canada, and Jennifer Walker, Danone North America, Dallas, Texas, to the NMC board of directors.

The 62nd NMC annual meeting is set for Jan. 30-Feb. 2, 2023 in Atlanta. Visit National Mastitis Council for more information.

National Dairy Board scholarship applications being accepted

Applications are being accepted for college scholarships that are awarded by America’s dairy farmers and importers through the National Dairy Promotion and Research Board (NDB).

Eleven scholarships worth $2,500 each will be awarded, in addition to a $3,500 James H. Loper Jr. Memorial Scholarship to one outstanding recipient.

Undergraduate students in their sophomore through senior year for the 2022-23 academic school year and majoring in one of the following fields are eligible: communications/public relations, journalism, marketing, business, economics, nutrition, food science and agriculture education.

Scholarships are awarded based on academic achievement, interest in a career in a dairy-related discipline and demonstrated leadership, initiative and integrity. Candidates must complete an application form, submit an official transcript of all college courses and write a short statement describing their career aspirations, dairy-related activities and work experiences.

Visit U.S. Dairy for more information. Applications must be received by May 6.

National DHIA selects Michigan, Minnesota veterinary students for scholarships

The National Dairy Herd Information Association (DHIA) Scholarship Committee selected two veterinary medicine students – Monika Dziuba, Michigan State University College of Veterinary Medicine; and Fredrick Mansfield, University of Minnesota College of Veterinary Medicine – as recipients of $1,500 scholarships.

Dziuba’s interest in dairy cattle veterinary medicine started at age 12 when she visited her family’s small dairy farm in Poland. She participated in the North American Intercollegiate Dairy Challenge (NAIDC), conducting research and working on farms and in a meat-harvesting plant. One research laboratory focused on immunology and nutrition’s role in bovine mastitis, and the second focused on bovine leukemia virus’s effect on dairy cattle.

In South Dakota, Dziuba worked on a 20,000-cow dairy where she managed implementation of a selective dry cow therapy trial. She also participated in a dairy training program in New Mexico and Texas for six weeks. Plus, Dziuba worked on smaller Michigan dairies. Last summer, she interned with Michigan Milk Producers Association. During this internship, she focused on herd health protocol development, on-farm milk quality troubleshooting and compliance for the National FARM program.

Mansfield grew up in Kerkhoven, Minnesota, and 4-H played a key role in developing his production animal management and handling skills. Additionally, Mansfield’s high school animal science class inspired him to pursue a career in veterinary medicine. As an undergraduate, he participated in Gopher Dairy Club, Block and Bridle, livestock judging and NAIDC, and belonged to Alpha Gamma Rho Fraternity.

This spring, Mansfield will earn his Doctor of Veterinary Medicine degree. He credits much of his success to understanding and using DHI data. For example, as a Dairy Challenge contestant, he used DHI data and cow flow observations to evaluate a dairy farm. They noticed that one group was experiencing subpar reproductive performance. The team recommended swapping the breeding pen from an outdoor dry lot with a late-lactation pregnant cow pen, which included fans and sprinklers. This recommendation helped Mansfield’s Dairy Challenge team become the champions of their division.  end mark