Oct 7, 2022

Fall Into the Georgia Milk Producers E-News...

See what I did there? October is here and that means the world of agriculture is on display. The World Dairy Expo wraps up in Madison, WI today, and our own Georgia landmark, The Georgia National Fair, opened its gates for the 33rd time yesterday. And week after next Sunbelt Ag Expo kicks off in Moultrie, GA. Hopefully you and your family will have a chance to attend one or both of our Georgia ag events this month.

In more sober news, it has been one week since Hurricane Ian made landfall in Florida. I'm relieved the hurricane did not have any major impacts here in Georgia, but the pictures and stories coming out of Florida are heartbreaking. Many of us in GA remember the impact of Hurricane Michael and the long process of cleaning up and moving on in the months after. Florida dairy farmers will be cleaning up after this storm for a long time. I hope to have more information on how we can help our Florida dairy neighbors in the days to come. 


  • Georgia National Fair Oct 6-16
  • Bobby Walker Award Nominations Now Open
  • Check out "The Dairy Truth" featuring one of Georgia Milk's very own
  • DMC Triggers First Payment of 2022
  • Florida Dairies Hit Hard by Hurricane Ian
  • FARM Program Comment Period Open Until Oct 28
  • USDA Offers $671 Million to Food & Farm Workers
  • Administration Could Make Immigration Priority in 2023
  • Milk Is So In Right Now
  • Yesterday's Dairy Junk is Tomorrow's Distillery Gold

I'll borrow from Julie Walker's comments in the last E-News and say many thanks to each of you who produce milk, those of you who work in support industries, and all the dairy aficionados that drink milk. Our industry creates jobs, supports communities, and nourishes consumers all across the southeast. 

Bryce Trotter

GA Milk Producers

33rd GA National Fair Opens in Perry

Swing by the Georgia National Fair between now and October 16 to see all your dairy friends. The Dairy Alliance and GA Mobile Dairy Classroom will be educating visitors on the benefits of the dairy industry, and the Georgia Grown Baby Barn will once again draw thousands of visitors looking to see and interact with dairy cows.

The GA Dairy Youth Dress-a-Cow contest will be this Saturday, Oct 8 at 4:00 PM. You can also watch all of the Jr. Commercial Dairy Shows on the Georgia National Fair's Facebook Livestream.

Full Livestock Show Schedule

Link to GA National Fair Facebook Page

Georgia Mobile Dairy Classroom at GNF

Photo Credit: Nicole Duvall

Bobby Walker Award Nominations Now Open

In November 2019, the Georgia Milk Producers Board of Directors voted to rename the "Friend of the Dairy Industry Award" to the "Bobby Walker Award". This change was made in honor of Bobby Walker's notable career, recognizing him as one of the most influential people of the Georgia dairy industry. Each year, Georgia Milk Producers presents the award to a dairy professional, farmer and/or company that is driving Georgia’s dairy industry toward a brighter future through leadership, advocacy and service.

If there is someone you think is deserving of this award, submit the nomination form at the Georgia Dairy Conference Website: https://www.gadairyconference.com/nomination-form

The Dairy Truth

Check out The Dairy Alliance's new documentary, "The Dairy Truth" featuring Georgia Milk's very own Adam Graft and Dr. Frank Miltloehner of U.C. Davis. This 30-minute film does a great job of addressing some of the common misconceptions people have about the dairy industry and its impact on the environment.

DMC Returns to Payment In August

Falling milk prices and rising feed costs pushed margins in August under the federal Dairy Margin Coverage Program to levels that are triggering payments for the first time this year. August all-milk price of $24.30 and DMC feed cost rose to $0.44 leaving the margin at $8.08. 

Sign-ups for 2023 DMC coverage will begin October 17 and close December 19. Visit your local FSA office to sign up for 2023 coverage.

National Milk Producers Press Release on DMC Payment

DMC Decision Tool 

FSA Announces 2023 DMC Sign-Ups: Oct 17- Dec 19, 2022

Florida Farms Hit Hard By Ian

Dairy Herd Management: Ian 2nd Worst Storm Since Katrina

WUSF: Florida Farmers Say They Must Find a Way to Survive

Georgia Cattlemen's Association is organizing donations for the Florida Cattlemen's Association Foundation. 

Stay tuned for more information on how you can help our neighbors in Florida.

FARM Program Comment Period Open Now

The National FARM Animal Care Program Version 5.0 is now open for comment. Comment period ends 5:00 PM on October 28th.

You can review the updated standards HERE and submit comments HERE

Dr. Ryman at UGA included a useful summary of the proposed changes in the latest issue of the Georgia DairyFax. Read Dr. Ryman's summary HERE

USDA Announces Grants for Food & Farm Workers

USDA AMS will grant $671 million in Food & Farm Worker Relief Program grants to fifteen organizations in an attempt to compensate frontline agricultural workers for expenses incurred during the COVID-19 Pandemic. 

Eligible beneficiaries are hired workers in farming activities, meatpacking, or grocery store work. Frontline ag workers will need to apply to one of the fifteen awardees in order to receive up to $600 in grant funds.

List of Awardees

Frequently Asked Questions via USDA

Will We Finally See Immigration Reform? Maybe...

NBC reports that the Biden Administration may pivot back to immigration reform after the midterm elections. 

Ag will certainly seek to see major revisions to ag labor and guest worker programs in any move on immigration reform. Over 400 National and State Ag groups (including GMP) signed on to a letter to Congress earlier this year urging action on the issue sooner than later.

In an editorial in the Wisconsin State Journal, NMPF CEO Jim Mulhern states that dairy must be included in reform efforts. Several dairy groups gathered at World Dairy Expo yesterday for a press conference urging action on ag labor reform that includes dairy.

The Farm Workforce Modernization Act passed the U.S. House of Representatives earlier this year with some bipartisan support. That bill would allow dairies to participate in the H2A guest worker program in ways they currently cannot. 

Georgia Milk is one of many ag groups sponsoring the Georgia Ag Labor Relations Forum in Tifton, GA next month. The forum, hosted by GA Fruit & Vegetable Association, will include presentations from experts on labor law and the H2A program. This is a great educational resource for producers and association groups alike. You can read more about the forum and register to attend HERE.

Lost in the '50s

The last time Americans ate this much dairy on a per capita basis, the No. 1 song on the radio was Johnny Horton's "Battle of New Orleans." USDA's Economic Research Service announced last week that 2021 dairy consumption totaled 667 lbs. per person. This comes just shy of 1959's record 672 lbs. per person. Not bad considering the U.S. population has nearly doubled in 62 years.

A quick google search will remind you of similar headlines in 2020 and 2021.There is one caveat to this good new: as the link above will explain, Americans are consuming their dairy very differently today than they were 60 years ago. Fluid consumption is continuing its downward trend.

Yesterday's Dairy Junk May Be Today's Distillery Gold

Earlier this week, the Georgia Milk Producers office got an interesting phone call. Brandon Macias, a co-founder of a distillery in Atlanta, wanted to know where he could find some old, flat-top milk tanks. Brandon and his partners started Horyzon Spirits in 2020. Originally from South Carolina, Brandon and the Horyzon team were inspired by their home state’s heritage of rice production to make American rice whiskey.

Dating back to 1685, rice was a major cash crop in the Southeast. Along coastal South Carolina and Georgia, from Georgetown to Brunswick to be exact, rice fields dotted the landscape of the coast plain. Rice production faded from Georgia quickly in the 1800s as cotton and other commodities grew in demand. Now the largest producer of rice in America is Arkansas. Horyzon sources its grain from Arkansas and South Carolina and distills its rice whiskey in Atlanta.

So, what does this have to do with milk tanks and dairy farms? Well, the older flat-top milk tank that many farms removed from their parlors years ago make for the perfect container for mash. Distillers like Brandon use 500-750 gallon tanks with large openings at the top to convert steamed rice starch into sugar. They add koji, an ingredient used in the production of Japanese sake, to aid in the fermentation process. As many dairy farmers know all too well, the cost of equipment and supply-chain disruptions have made it difficult to purchase new machinery and parts. The same is true of the distilling business. Horyzon is looking to refurbish old milk tanks in order to expand their processing line in Atlanta.

If your farm pulled out an old flat-top milk tank and haven’t found a new home or new use for it in all these years, shoot Brandon Macias an email at brandon@horyzonspirits.com. Yesterday’s junk pile at the dairy may be gold for today’s distillery.

Register Now for GA Dairy Conference

The 2023 Georgia Dairy Conference is fast approaching. Be sure to reserve your room at the Marriott Savannah Riverfront soon to take advantage of our discounted room rate.

Registration is free for all GA Dairy Farms.

Visit gadairyconference.com today to register, reserve your room, and learn more about sponsorship opportunities!

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