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Western United Dairymen

  • WUD to host Margin Protection Program workshops in August and September

    Western United Dairymen will host a series of informational workshops in August and September on the new Margin Protection Program, which is part of the 2014 Farm Bill signed into law earlier this year. There will be 12 workshops held throughout August  and September throughout the WUD membership areas. The first workshop is set for Aug. 11 in Orland.  The workshops are open to anyone interested: WUD members, nonmembers, their bankers and CPAs as well as allied industry members.

    WUD President Tm Barcellos said, “This is a tool that will be available to all U.S. dairy producers. WUD wants to ensure California dairymen are comfortable enough in understanding the program details and how it can affect their operation to make the participation decision that is best for them.”

    Participation in the Margin Protection Program is voluntary. For those who choose to enroll, it should help prevent the type of catastrophic losses of equity that distressed so many dairy producers in 2009. The risk management program will help address margin volatility by targeting combinations of low milk prices and high feed costs. But as with any risk management tool, understanding the nuts and bolts is crucial to the program’s efficacy.

    The workshops will cover how the program works; how the program would have performed in previous years; what this means for California dairy producers; pros and cons of the program; available resources to producers and a question and answer period.

    The workshop schedule is:

    August 11: Orland
    Glenn County Farm Bureau
    10 a.m.-noon

    August 12: Hanford
    Farm Service Agency
    9: 30-11:30 a.m.

    August 12: Tulare
    UCCE
    1:30-3:30 p.m.

    August 14: Stockton
    Cabral Center
    1:30-3:30 p.m.

    August 18: Modesto
    Ag Center
    1:30-3:30 p.m.

    August 19: Merced County
    1:30 – 3:30 p.m.
    Location to be determined.

    August 21: Ontario
    Doubletree
    10 a.m. - noon

    August 26: Riverdale
    Veterans Memorial Auditorium
    9:30-11:30 a.m.

    August 26: Fresno
    Fresno County Farm Bureau
    1:30-3:30 p.m.

    August 27: Bakersfield
    UCCE
    10 a.m.-noon

    September 2: Ferndale
    UCCE
    1-3 p.m.

    September 3: Petaluma
    Two Rock Fire Hall
    9: 30-11:30 a.m.


    July 15, 2014 WUD News

    The workshop schedule is:

    August 11: Orland

    Glenn County Farm Bureau

    10 a.m.-noon

     

    August 12: Hanford

    Farm Service Agency

    9: 30-11:30 a.m.

     

    August 12: Tulare

    UCCE

    1:30-3:30 p.m.

     

    August 14: Stockton

    Cabral Center

    1:30-3:30 p.m.

     

    August 18: Modesto

    Ag Center

    1:30-3:30 p.m.

     

    August 19: Merced County

    1:30 – 3:30 p.m.

    Location to be determined.

     

    August 21: Ontario

    Doubletree

    1-3 p.m.

     

    August 26: Riverdale

    Veterans Memorial Auditorium

    9:30-11:30 a.m.

     

    August 26: Fresno

    Fresno County Farm Bureau

    1:30-3:30 p.m.

     

    August 27: Bakersfield

    UCCE 

    10 a.m.-noon

     

    September 2: Ferndale

    UCCE

    1-3 p.m.

     

    September 3: Petaluma

    Two Rock Fire Hall

    9: 30-11:30 a.m.



  • Quota discussion draws packed house in District 3

    Western United Dairymen District 3 members and guests packed the house Thursday as they gathered in Two Rock Valley to listen to a presentation on quota proposals recently brought before the California Dairy Task Force. WUD hosted the meeting in order to inform dairymen about how proposed changes might affect operations in Sonoma and Marin Counties.

    quota meeting smallSimilar to other high cost of production areas of the state, many dairy producers in District 3 have attempted to mitigate their higher costs by investing in quota.  Further, many producers in attendance indicated that in their area, due to urbanization and competition from wine grape production, their decision to invest in quota was due in part to the fact that expansion of their herds was difficult due to land cost and availability. Quota investment was incurred to maintain the viability of their farms.

    The session was moderated by WUD Directors Lucas Deniz and Domenic Carinalli, who organized the meeting to follow up on requests from concerned producers in their area.  A presentation was made by Western United Dairymen CEO Michael Marsh who chairs the Quota Working Group.

    July 11, 2014 WUD Friday Update



  • Strip till tour set for Aug. 5 in Merced, Madera counties

    A tour of dairies in Merced and Madera counties that are using strip till methods for reliably producing quality silage corn is set for Tuesday, Aug. 5. The tour will depart from the Hilmar Cheese Visitor Center, 9001 Lander Ave, Hilmar at 7 a.m. and returning by 12:30 p.m. There will be a luncheon and grower panel discussion on return to the visitor center. The cost of the tour and luncheon is free for those who RSVP by Friday, July 25. More information is available from Ladi Asgill at lasgill@suscon.org (209) 576-7729 and Mikel Winemiller at mike@calagsolutions.com, (209)626-6440.

    July 11, 2014 WUD Friday Update



  • Tillage Equipment Rental Program Boosts Profits, Soil Health in San Joaquin Valley

    By Cecilia Parsons on behalf of Sustainable Conservation

    The inaugural year of a conservation tillage equipment rental program started off in high gear.

    Dairy producers and other forage crop growers are taking advantage of a program that allows them to get their feet wet in conservation tillage and determine if the practice will fit into their operations.

    Conservation tillage is minimal disturbance of soil between harvest of one crop and planting of the next crop. The practice is much more common in the Midwest, but California growers, led by dairy producers double cropping forage crops, are rapidly adding conservation tillage acres.

    sustainable conservation ct rental program 1In order to introduce more growers to conservation tillage, Sustainable Conservation and California Ag Solutions collaborated on an equipment rental program that provides not only delivery and specialized tillage and planting tools, but agronomic support and advice. Sustainable Conservation's program representative, Ladi Asgill, said conservation tillage reduces the number of passes per field and allows growers to plant more acres in a smaller time frame using fewer implements and drivers. Earlier planting of corn silage can mean extra winter soil moisture for seedlings, Asgill said. Growers who have ground in conservation tillage for several years report the added advantages of improved soil tilth and water holding capacity.

    Strip tilling a recently harvested winter forage field in preparation for silage corn planting. Hanford, CA

    Due to the specialization of conservation tillage equipment, implements like strip tillers, finishers and precision planters are rarely available for rental. Growers who want to see how the equipment works in their operations can now sign up for the rental program and try conservation tillage before making a decision to purchase their own equipment.

    Rental costs per acre are $20 for strip tilling, $10 an acre for strip finishing, $5 an acre for border maker and $18 an acre for planter.

    Two Orthman 1 tRIPr strip tillers and a John Deere 1700 planter with specialized attachments have been on the road for the past month, delivered to farmers for conservation tillage and precision planting. The strip tillers prep the ground by working eight-inch wide strips of ground prior to planting. Using a GPS system on the tractor, the planter’s precision capabilities place the seed at the correct depth and spacing in the strips.

    Demand for the equipment has been higher than expected in this first year, limiting equipment availability to the northern San Joaquin Valley. Asgill said the partnership is considering adding more equipment and technical support to expand to Tulare and Kings counties.  

    Mikel Winemiller, customer account manager for California Ag Solutions and project field leader, provides support for growers who are making their first attempt with conservation tillage.  

    “We want to get them started right. With 10 years’ experience in conservation tillage we know what they need to do to succeed. The grower supplies the horsepower and operator and we are here to take them through the process.”

    Winemiller said they expect to see about 1,000 acres strip tilled and planted this season for 12 producers. The plan isn’t to strip till all of the producers’ forage crop acres, but to show them how the process works on one of their fields.

    The grower is responsible for prepping the field – a process that begins after the summer crop is harvested in the fall.

    “The big thing is to get the check spacing right and to match the borders with the equipment,” Winemiller said.

    sustainable conservation ct rental program 2A tour last summer of conservation tillage programs drew a number of interested growers. Sponsored by Sustainable Conservation, the tour highlighted growers who successfully transitioned their forage crop ground to conservation tillage and either customized tillage tools to fit their operations or purchased the tools. Winemiller said growers on the tour who are participating in the rental program “paid attention and set up their fields right for CT to work.” Preparation plus the opportunity to learn about equipment needs and timing of field work without the initial investment in equipment gives growers the opportunity to see if conservation tillage is right for them, he added.

    Application of “pop up” fertilizer and planting of silage corn in strip-tilled rows on the same day using GPS technology. Hanford, CA.

    Variations in soil types, irrigation practices and forage varieties determine what growers need to do to be successful with conservation tillage.

    For instance, achieving a consistent stand and maximum tonnage with corn silage is easier in sandy loam than in heavier ground. Growers can make adjustments on their tool bars, adding implements to break up clods and smooth the seedbed if needed.

    Helping growers be successful with conservation tillage crops will lead to more ground conversion, Winemiller believes. Once growers see the benefits – both in labor and fuel savings – they will be more likely to invest in their own equipment.

    Probing the soil in a field being planted to corn silage, Winemiller picked up a handful of soil and noted that the long-term benefits are in his hand.

    “The organic matter, the moisture holding capacity all encourages better root growth, which means less stress on the corn plants. The crop residue on the ground shades the soil and keeps the temperatures cooler, giving the corn a better start.”

    To reserve equipment, contact Winemiller at 209-626-6440 or mike@calagsolutions.com.



  • Deena Migliazzo of Atwater Selected as District 6 Dairy Princess

    MODESTO, Calif. June 20,2014 – -  Deena Migliazzo of Atwater was selected as the 2014-2015  Dairy Princess for the California Milk Advisory Board’s (CMAB) District 6. The crowning took place before a crowd of approximately 300 dairy industry members and their families and friends, on Wednesday, June 18, 2014, at Our Lady of the Assumption Hall in Turlock.

    dpdmigliazzo1staltjlemosRetiring Dairy Princess Dominique Germann ended her reign by turning over the title to Deena, and wished her well as she represents the California dairy industry throughout the coming year.

    Deena will represent District 6, which includes Alameda, Mariposa, Merced, Monterey, San Benito, San Francisco, San Mateo, Santa Clara, Santa Cruz, Stanislaus and Tuolumne counties. As Dairy Princess, she will play an important role on the CMAB’s Communications Services team in meeting community relations objectives.

    Deena is the daughter of Dino and Alicia Migliazzo, of Atwater and is currently attending Buhach Colony High School.

    First Alternate, Joya Lemos, is the daughter of Darin and Maureen Lemos of Waterford. Joya  currently attends Modesto Junior College and California State University, Stanislaus studying Dairy Science.

    Joya will assist the new District 6 Dairy Princess in her duties, which include speaking on behalf of the California dairy industry at schools, service clubs, with the media, and at numerous public events throughout the year.

    In addition, the Dairy Princess and her First Alternate will attend a training session, including presentation skills, a CMAB orientation, and a tour of a processing facility.

    Along with the excitement of naming the new Dairy Princess, the candidates voted Colleen Allen as Miss Vitality. Colleen is the daughter of Sean and Mary Ellen Allen of Los Banos. Colleen graduated from Los Banos High School earlier this month and will be attending UC Davis.

    All five contestants received a scholarship from the District 6 Dairy Princess Committee. A total of $3,500 in scholarship monies was awarded to the contestants.

    Master of Ceremonies for the gala evening was Curt Andre. Contestants were judged on poise, personality, speaking ability, education and dairy background. Judges for the contest were Kelly Lawler of Willows, Chandra Brace of Gustine, and Chris Brazil of Escalon. The event chairperson was Linda Teixeira of Turlock.

    The dinner was catered by Espana’s Catering of Los Banos, with music by DMB Entertainment DJ Service, Duane Gonsalves of Turlock, Avilla Video & Taping Service of Hilmar and Jon Michael Terry Photography of Turlock.

    California is the nation’s leading milk producer. It also produces more butter, ice cream, yogurt and nonfat dry milk than any other state. Dairy products made with Real California milk can be identified by the Real California Milk seal, which certifies that the products are made exclusively with milk produced on California dairy farms. The state is the second-largest producer of cheese, which is available nationally under the Real California Cheese seal.

    ###

    About the California Milk Advisory Board
    The California Milk Advisory Board (CMAB), an instrumentality of the California Department of Food and Agriculture, is funded by the state’s more than 1,500 dairy families. With headquarters in South San Francisco and Modesto, the CMAB is one of the largest commodity boards in the United States. The CMAB executes advertising, public relations, research and retail and foodservice promotional programs on behalf of California dairy products, including Real California Milk and Real California Cheese. For more information about California dairy products, visit RealCaliforniaMilk.com, like us on Facebook at Facebook.com/RealCalifMilk.com, follow us on Twitter at Twitter.com/RealCalifMilk, Pinterest at Pinterest.com/RealCalifMilk and on Instagram at Instagram.com/RealCalifMilk.



  • Taking risks on a Riverdale dairy

    There’s a stereotype of farmers in popular culture as stodgy, by-the-book drudges uninterested in adopting new techniques and approaches. A few minutes’ conversation with Riverdale dairyman Steve Maddox shows how that common view misses the mark. Maddox is determined to make his dairy business every bit as efficiency-minded as any other kind of cutting-edge business out there. His creative approach to lowering costs, producing less pollution, caring better for cows and saving on electricity has garnered the Outstanding Dairy Farm Sustainability Award from the Innovation Center for U.S. Dairy, an organization dedicated to recognizing businesses that make sustainability and stewardship as important as profitability. (more) May 30, 2014 Hanford Sentinel



  • California Dairy Industry Redefines the Term “Milk Money” for California’s Food Insecure

    (May 29, 2014) June is Dairy Month in California and this year, California dairy farmers and fluid milk processors are joining together to help local communities by supporting the Great American Milk Drive in the number one dairy state. On a national level, this campaign, in conjunction with Feeding America, provides gallons of nutrient-rich milk for millions of families across the nation to help remedy the startling statistics that plague America’s families in need. Closer to home, the Great American Milk Drive will enable local food banks to provide critical nourishment via milk, a nutrition staple, to food insecure families throughout California – especially during the summer months when low-income children are out of school and unable to participate in school nutrition programs.  

    According to the Census Bureau, 1 in 4 Californians live in poverty, with over 6.2 million Californians experiencing food insecurity. It’s a common known fact that food banks regularly shy away from items that are perishable, like fluid milk. The California dairy industry is standing behind an important initiative that brings powerful protein to those who need it most, eliminating barriers at the food bank such as shelf-life or storage. Thanks to consumer and industry donations, food banks will be able to provide their clients with vouchers that allow them to go to their local grocery store and pick up the milk when they need it.  

    During the month of June, the California dairy industry will provide additional support by matching consumer donations in California dollar-for-dollar (up to $30,000). Dairy farmers, milk processors and nutrition professionals from around the state also will team up with local food banks for “Days of Service” in June to bring awareness to the issue of hunger and celebrate their partnership.

    Participating is as simple as a click of the mouse. Consumers can donate a gallon of milk (or more) by going online to www.MilkLife.com/Give. By entering a zip code, the donation goes to a Feeding America food bank in the local community.

    “As an industry we are very concerned with giving all consumers access to healthy, nutritious products like milk. The Great American Milk Drive is close to the hearts and the core values of our dairy farm families who are part of local communities throughout the state,” said Jennifer Giambroni, Director of Communications, California Milk Advisory Board, on behalf of the three partnering organizations; California Milk Advisory Board, California Milk Processors Board and Dairy Council of California.    
    For more information about the Great American Milk Drive and how you can participate, visit gotmilk.com. Help support this important initiative and get the word out using hashtag #gotmilkdrive.

    May 29, 2014 CMAB Press Release



  • Landowners Face Fines for Failure to get Waste Discharge Permits

    Five Central Valley landowners face fines from the Central Valley Water Board for allegedly failing to get the required permits for the discharge of water from their irrigated cropland. The proposed fines range from $2,240 to $8,600 for the landowners who own cropland varying in size from 24 acres to 668 acres. The land in question is in the Eastern San Joaquin River watershed (Merced, Madera, and Stanislaus counties). (more) May 21, 2014 Water Board press release



  • MILC program extension: Relief period to change start month authorized

    While all eyes have been focusing on the upcoming margin insurance program, a part of the 2014 Farm Bill extends the MILC (Milk Income Loss Contract) program for fiscal year 2014. Because the start of fiscal year 2014 was last fall and the Farm Bill was signed long after that, producers were not able to make start month selections like they used to. Therefore, there is a relief period that has just begun so that MILC program participants can change their start month if they wish to do so.

    During the authorized relief period, the production start month selected may be any month in fiscal year 2014 and start month selection provisions do not apply. After the authorized relief period, which ends May 30, 2014, all production start month changes must be made according to normal start month selection provisions (ie. changes must be made prior to the 14th of the month preceding the desired start month).

     Based on program payment calculations, there will be no payment issued for the period October-March. Based on forecasted milk and feed prices, there are no payments projected for the remainder of the year either. But changing your start month to later this summer may not be a bad idea – in case prices drop faster than expected, it may prove helpful to be able to change start month then.

    MILC contracts are automatically extended for fiscal year 2014, so there is no need for producers to re-enroll in the program. If no change is made, the production start month selected in fiscal year 2013 will carry over for 2014.

    April 25, 2014 WUD Friday Update



  • WUD calls for extension of tax code provisions helpful to farmers

    Western United Dairymen has called on Congress to renew areas of the expired tax code dealing with bonus depreciation and immediate expensing of purchased business assets. In a letter co-signed by more than 30 national agricultural organizations, WUD called on Ways and Means Committee Chairman David Camp to address expired tax policies that are of importance to farmers and ranchers.

    The letter asks the committee to focus on tax code provisions such as Section 179 small business expensing and bonus depreciation. Section 179 allows farmers and ranchers to write off capital expenditures in the year that purchases are made rather than depreciate them over time. “The ability to immediately expense capital purchases also provides an incentive for farmers and ranchers to invest in their businesses and offers the benefit of reducing the record keeping burden associated with the depreciation,” according to the letter.

    Section 179 small business expensing provides agricultural producers with a way to maximize business purchases in years when they have positive cash flow. With expiration of the bonus depreciation provision, the maximum amount that a small business can immediately expense when purchasing business assets instead of depreciating them over time reverted to $25,000 adjusted for inflation.

    The letter signers wrote, “We strongly encourage you to restore the maximum amount of expensing under Section 179 to $500,000 as it was previously set in 2013. Furthermore, we strongly encourage you to reinstate the expired 50 percent bonus depreciation for the purchase of new capital assets, including agricultural equipment. We are concerned that the failure to renew these expired provisions of the tax code will place additional burdens on farm and ranch families who are asset-rich and cash-poor and already face an unpredictable tax code that encourages the breakup of multi-generational farm and ranch operations.”

    The national groups asked the committee to include Section 179 Small Business Financing and the bonus depreciation in a tax extenders package.

    April 11, 2014 WUD Friday Update



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