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

New Products

Agpro launches Smart Soaker

Agpro has launched their patent-pending Smart Soaker. This system brings the latest in automation technology to feedline soaking, as it only sprays if a cow is present.

When the sensors and smart algorithms determine a cow is present and conditions are warranted, the product activates a soak cycle. This technology ensures every drop of soaker water provides heat stress relief for the hard-working cows and yields a strong return on investment, all without wasting resources or overwhelming other systems. The product makes soaking not only possible but the profitable option for your farm. The system will:

  • Increase milk production and cow comfort compared to conventional soakers
  • Save on water consumption and waste system-handling needs
  • Make cow soaking possible to farms previously limited by water supply or waste system capacity
  • Reduce equipment and infrastructure needs; waste system is feeding a biodigester

Visit Agpro for more information.

University of Missouri, Jefferson College partner to create new transfer agreement for veterinary technicians

The University of Missouri (MU) has partnered with Jefferson College in Hillsboro, Missouri, to create a new transfer agreement for veterinary technology students. The “two plus two” agreement allows undergraduate students who earn a two-year associate’s degree in veterinary technology at Jefferson College to be automatically admitted as juniors at MU to pursue a newly created bachelor’s degree in veterinary technology, which can expand their future employment opportunities and improve their upward mobility. In addition to current and incoming Jefferson College students, the agreement also applies to graduates of Jefferson College’s two-year veterinary technology program dating back to 1978.

Visit admissions University of Missouri for more information.

Industry news

Renewable natural gas facility in Wendell, Idaho to be constructed by Shell

Shell Oil Products U.S. is slated to begin construction of a dairy manure to renewable natural gas (RNG) facility, co-located at the Bettencourt Dairies in Wendell, Idaho, soon.

Once operational, the RNG facility, Shell Downstream Bovarius, is expected to produce approximately 400,000 MMBtu per year of negative carbon intensity RNG using cow manure from the dairy. RNG, or biomethane, is a pipeline-quality gas fully interchangeable with conventional natural gas, and thus can be used in natural gas vehicles. The use of RNG in the form of compressed natural gas (R-CNG) can reduce CO2 emissions from around 50% to 100% compared to fossil fuels.

Bettencourt Dairies has been a family-owned commercial dairy since 1982. Headquartered in Wendell, the dairy owns and operates several dairies across Jerome and Gooding counties. Bettencourt Dairies is an active member of the local community and for years has strongly supported local schools and students through grant and scholarship programs. The dairy currently produces over 3 million pounds of milk per day, all of which is processed in the Magic Valley.

Shell Downstream Bovarius will not only support the sustainable efforts of Bettencourt Dairies, but it will also become part of a broader set of U.S. anaerobic digestion projects for Shell, supporting the use of low-carbon intensity R-CNG for heavy-duty, on-road transport. In October this year, Shell successfully achieved startup and production of renewable natural gas at its first U.S. biomethane facility, Shell New Energies Junction City in Oregon. The facility utilizes locally sourced cow manure and excess agricultural residues to produce an expected 736,000 MMBtu a year of RNG.

The Idaho Dairymen’s Association expects Shell Downstream Bovarius to be one of many sizable investments happening within Idaho’s dairy industry in the coming months as the dairy industry continues to explore advancements in processing, sustainability and environmental stewardship.  

Organization news

DMI 2020 annual report available online

Dairy Management Inc. (DMI) posted its 2020 annual report. Visit to see the report.

The report provides checkoff funders and other members of the dairy community key highlights of 2020 strategies and programs, an audited financial report and more information for farmers and others. The report outlines activities aligned around its board-approved priorities that focus on accelerating sales domestically and internationally, building trust with consumers and youth, positioning dairy globally and farmer and community relations.

Visit U.S. Dairy for more information.

U.S. dairy industry publishes biennial sustainability report

The checkoff-founded Innovation Center for U.S. Dairy released its biennial 2020 U.S. Dairy Sustainability Report inclusive of progress made in 2019 and 2020 within environmental stewardship and broader social responsibility commitments to people, animals and communities.

The report provides a transparent accounting of the progress and impact the dairy community has made against the U.S. Dairy Stewardship Commitment since its launch in 2018. Those dairy companies and processors that have voluntarily signed onto the Stewardship Commitment represent 75% of U.S. milk production and are dedicated to nourishing a growing global population with responsibly produced dairy foods and beverages.

In 2020, the U.S. dairy industry experienced significant disruptions to its individual businesses, dairy farms, cooperatives and companies brought on by the COVID-19 pandemic. Despite the challenges, the report shows the progress the dairy industry made by collectively standing by its social responsibility commitments.

Key highlights include:

  • More than 95% of resources from processors were recovered, redirected and put to beneficial use such as donated to feed hungry people, repurposed for industry purposes and to feed animals and sent to composts (versus sent to landfill).

  • U.S. dairy provided 1.538 billion servings of nutritious milk, cheese and yogurt in 2020 to food banks in the Feeding America network, a 33% increase over 2019 and a 107% increase since 2016.

  • The dairy industry supported 3.3 million jobs in the U.S. and contributed $752.93 billion in total economic impact.

  • By making use of the water present in milk, U.S. dairy processors were net positive for water, returning more than they withdrew from municipal and other sources.

The U.S. Dairy Net Zero Initiative was launched as an industry-wide effort to make sustainable practices and technologies more accessible and affordable for dairy farms of all sizes and included initial corporate partnerships with Nestlé and Starbucks.

A first for U.S. dairy, the report incorporates nationally aggregated processor data against Stewardship Commitment metrics. Dairy processors developed and provide ongoing support for a reporting tool to serve as a credible and consistent way to calculate and track processor sustainability progress. Aggregations on GHG and water intensity, as well as other sustainability metrics, will serve as a baseline for future reporting.

Visit U.S. Dairy for more information.

National DHIA offers veterinary student scholarships

National Dairy Herd Information Association (DHIA) is seeking applicants for its $1,500 scholarships that go to third- or fourth-year college of veterinary medicine students. Applicants must be enrolled at a college accredited by the American Veterinary Medical Association Council on Education.

Applicants must submit a letter of application and two reference letters. The letter of application requires applicants to submit information regarding their area of interest/specialty, academic background, experience using DHIA data, career plans, issues challenging dairy veterinary medicine and solutions to address those challenges. For more information, contact Elizabeth “Liz” Straw, National DHIA scholarship chair.

Visit National Dairy Herd Information Association/scholarship for specific application requirements. Applications are due Dec. 31, 2021. Recipients will be announced at the 2022 National DHIA annual meeting, being held in February.

Top honors awarded to AABP dairy and beef veterinarians

At the 2021 54th AABP annual conference in Salt Lake City, Utah, Oct. 7-9, Dr. Kelly Barratt of Listowel, Ontario, received the AABP Bovine Practitioner of the Year Award. This award honors a veterinarian in active practice who is active in organized veterinary medicine and has made significant contributions to bovine medicine. Barratt is the first woman to receive this award from AABP.

Several other bovine veterinarians were also honored via the virtual platform at the annual business meeting and awards luncheon on Oct. 9. They are:

• AABP Award of Excellence: Dr. Nigel Cook, Waunakee, Wisconsin

• Zoetis Distinguished Service Award: Dr. Dale Moore, Moscow, Idaho

• Merck Animal Health Mentor of the Year Award: Dr. Mark Hilton, West Lafayette, Indiana

• Boehringer Ingelheim Excellence in Preventive Medicine Awards:

o (Dairy) Dr. James Bennett, Plainview, Minnesota

o (Beef) Dr. Christine Navarre, Baton Rouge, Louisiana

• Dr. James A. Jarrett Award for Young Leaders: Dr. Elizabeth Homerosky, Rocky View County, Alberta

• Amstutz-Williams Award: Dr. Dee Griffin, Lincoln, Nebraska

• AABP Honorary Life Membership: Dick Lewis, Orono, Minnesota end mark

Jenna Hurty-Person