2020 | December 11 GMP E Newsletter
Georgia Milk Producers Weekly Enews
Tended by robots, milk cows mooove into life of luxury
From Atlanta Journal Constitution

DEARING - For the Holstein dairy cows at Hillcrest Farms, life is like living in a spa, thanks to the robotics installed less than a year ago.

The black-and-white beauties wander at will under automatic rolling brushes for a quick grooming massage. At a different station, farmer Mark Rodgers plays pedicurist, using straps and a lift to elevate the 1,300-pound females for a quick hoof trim and leg massage. His wife suggested the leg massage.

“Marci said that was an important part of the pedicure experience,” said Rodgers.
The 325 Holsteins lounge on beds of cleaned and sanitized sand in the barn for about 70% of their day, and they walk on $100,000 worth of new rubber matting while lining up to let themselves into the five automated milking stalls.

Welcome, to the future of “Got Milk?” and the rest of farming. Read more here>>>
Tom McCall elected new Georgia Farm Bureau president
From GA Farm Bureau

Georgia Farm Bureau (GFB) members elected Tom McCall for a two-year term as president of Georgia’s largest general farm organization on Dec. 8. McCall of Elbert County grows wheat, oats, triticale, grain corn, sweet corn and hay. The McCall family also raises beef cattle, hogs and sheep.

McCall replaces Gerald Long, who retired from the position after serving as GFB president since 2016. Long, of Bainbridge, served on the GFB Board of Directors in various roles since 1999 including GFB 9th District director, GFB South Georgia vice president and GFB 1st vice president.

McCall has been a Farm Bureau member since 1978. McCall’s first leadership role with Farm Bureau was serving as the chairman of the Elbert County Farm Bureau (ECFB)Young Farmers & Ranchers (YF&R) Committee. He represented GFB’s 2nd District on the GFB YF&R Committee in 1981-82 and chaired the state committee in 1982. McCall represented GFB’s 2nd District on the GFB Board of Directors from 1984-1996. He also served as ECFB president for a number of years.

McCall served in the Georgia House of Representatives for 26 years from Jan. 9, 1995, when he was sworn into office, until he retired from the legislature at the end of his 2020 term. Read more here>>>
Vilsack chosen as Biden's Agriculture secretary
By Tyler Pager, Helena Bottemiller Evich, Liz Craption and Megan Cassella, Politico

President-elect Joe Biden has selected Tom Vilsack as Agriculture secretary, according to three people familiar with the decision.

Vilsack, who served as Agriculture secretary for eight years in the Obama administration, was a top rural and agriculture policy adviser during Biden's presidential campaign. He’s also a former governor of Iowa and was a top contender to be Hillary Clinton’s running mate in 2016.

One person familiar with Biden’s thinking said Vilsack’s previous experience running the department was instrumental in the decision because the president-elect wanted someone who could immediately tackle the hunger and farm crises that have been exacerbated by the pandemic. This person added Biden was impressed by Vilsack’s tenure as head of the department.

While leading USDA, Vilsack focused on leveraging the $150 billion department’s mission beyond its traditional focus on farmers, delving deeper into other areas like rural development and nutrition programs that aid millions of low-income Americans. He oversaw a major update to school nutrition standards that was spearheaded by then-first lady Michelle Obama. Read more here>>>
DMC is the easiest choice you can make
By Katelyn Allen, Associate Editor

If this year has proven anything, it’s that we cannot predict the future.

The panelists of the December 9 Hoard’s Dairyman DairyLivestream, sponsored by Diamond V, kept that perspective in mind as they discussed how 2021 appears to be shaping up for the dairy industry. And although next year will likely bring less price fluctuation than 2020, they encouraged dairy producers to insure their product against what the future may bring and take risk management into their own hands.

Farmers may rightly ask why they need to manage risk if the government is going to do it. The Farmers to Families Food Box Program and Coronavirus Food Assistance Programs (CFAP and CFAP 2) have provided tremendous support for depressed dairy prices this year.

But with a new administration coming in, those options may not continue far into the coming year. Different assistance options might be introduced, but many unknowns remain about the future of the pandemic economy. Even beyond the pandemic, USDA priorities are likely to shift.

“Do we think the next four years are going to look like the last four years in terms of government intervention? I’m going to go with no,” predicted Matt Gould, who follows dairy markets closely for The Dairy Market Analyst. “And if the answer is no, then don’t make your decisions on the last four years.” Read more here>>>
Join Us in Savannah this January!
Make plans to join us in-person this January for the 2021 GA Dairy Conference. Our staff is working hard to ensure that safety protocols are in place to minimize the spread of germs during our event. We look forward to seeing you in Savannah, Jan 18-20!! For hotel reservation information, visit our website: https://www.gadairyconference.com/accommodations
NEW --> Covid-19 Measures at GA Dairy Conference:

For additional information on safety precautions
please click here for our GMP Frequently Asked Questions 
safety of our guests is our top priority: Click here for COVID-19 updates and what to expect at our hotel.
By Progressive Dairy Editor Dave Natzke

While the future of the Farmers to Families Food Box Program remains uncertain under the Biden administration, the USDA has already scheduled “Section 32” purchases of $110 million worth of dairy products for 2021.

In an announcement on Dec. 7, the USDA said outlays would include $60 million for fresh fluid milk and $50 million for butter. Fluid milk purchases will include gallon and half-gallon containers of whole, 2% and 1% milk; butter purchases will include 1-pound packages of print salted butter.
Milk producers, haulers, MUST respond to ‘Dean’ letters; PMMB Declaration Letters can be used by those affected in ALL states
By Sherry Bunting for Farmshine

There is good news for dairy farmers and milk haulers who received the notices of intended litigation and settlement offer from ASK LLP, a Minnesota law firm representing the Dean Foods estate. The Pennsylvania Milk Marketing Board (PMMB), working with the State Attorney General’s office, and the American Farm Bureau, working through internal and external attorneys, are heroes in bringing resolution to this troubling issue reported on extensively here at the AgMoos blog as well as in Farmshine and at the Milksheds Blog

BUT… Don’t ignore the letters. Dairy producers and haulers will still need to act on these letters. 

The good news is, they can simply fill out the one-page DECLARATION LETTER developed by PMMB’s chief counsel Doug Eberly with help from the state Attorney General’s office and verbally approved by ASK LLP. Read more here>>>
Actions from Farm Bureau, PA Milk Marketing Board and others result in Defense to ASK / Dean Foods Demands
From MilkSheds Blog

Two Weeks of Furious Activity Sets Farmers, Haulers on Paths to Resolution with a Team Effort

The Background: During the week of and prior to Wednesday, November 25, former Dean Foods independent producers and milk haulers began to receive “Demand” letters from ASK, LLP, a law firm specializing in the recovery of ‘preferential payments.’ In a concise definition, ‘Preferential Payments’ are often made by entities filing bankruptcy in the 90 days prior to the filing, and in bankruptcy law, it is perfectly legal for attempts to be made to recoup those monies for other purposes in bankruptcy proceedings.  Read more here>>>
Krysta Harden to Lead U.S. Dairy Export Council Following Vilsack Departure
By ANNA-LISA LACA, Dairy Herd Management

When President-elect Biden’s choice for Agriculture Secretary was announced to be Tom Vilsack, many in the dairy industry wondered who would lead the U.S. Dairy Export Council (USDEC) where Vilsack is currently the CEO. On Friday, DMI announced Krysta Harden, current USDEC chief operating officer, would take the helm following Vilsack’s return to USDA. 

“We are extremely fortunate,” said Dairy Management Inc. CEO Tom Gallagher, “to have Secretary Vilsack’s dedication and commitment to dairy farmers over the past four years and to have someone with Krysta’s background and experience in agriculture and with USDEC ready to step into a new role.”

Gallagher hired Vilsack to lead the U.S. Dairy Export Council in 2017. Harden joined Vilsack on the leadership team at the checkoff-funded export council in May of 2020 but has been with DMI since early 2019.  Read more here>>>
Old Ebenezer Would Have Been Proud of Dean Foods
By Ryan Bright, Growing America

No matter the day, no matter the season, dairy farmers have a routine they follow. They feed and milk the cows twice daily, and some more often than that. December is good because the harvest and fall plantings should be done. It’s good because the cold makes every chore a little harder to perform. Last week as we entered the holiday seasons, a ghost from the past came to visit dairy farmers and kick them while they were down. It wasn’t a Christmas spirit, no, it was Dean Scrooge.

As you may recall, last November Dean Foods, the then-largest dairy processor in the U.S., filed for bankruptcy. Right before Christmas, they put their independent producers in a bind, as well as their other suppliers and buyers. The independent producers were left in a lurch wondering if they were going to get paid as bills continued to arrive in the mail and cows had to be fed and milked. Not to mention schools and other businesses that didn’t know if they would have dairy products that were contracted to be delivered. 
This crisis was eventually settled for the most part and checks arrived. A year later, what does Dean Foods say to the dairies that sold them milk from their farms month after month and year after year and stayed with them through thick and through thin? Like old Ebeneezer Scrooge from A Christmas Carol, Dean Foods said, “Bah, humbug!” 
Another great speaker is set for the 2021 GA Dairy Conference in January. Mai Ann Healy, VP of Sales and Marketing for BioFiltro, will speak on Tuesday morning, Jan. 19. Healy leads the market development of their worm powered wastewater systems across the United States. She has managed the sales and implementation of projects ranging in size from 600 gallons per day to 1.15 million gallons per day for wineries, dairies, rural communities, and food processors.
Other Stories to Check Out This Week >>>
Upcoming Events >>>
GA Dairy Classifieds

UPDATED 12/10/2020

Will Raise Heifers for GA Dairy Farms: Hello we are located in Southern Illinois and have an abundance of pasture and cheap feed available looking to contract with a dairy to grow heifers for them, out location offers mild climate and we are just 558 miles from Montezuma Ga. Please contact 817-528-6645 very reasonable daily rates.

For Sale - Productive 360 Cow Holstein Herd For Sale, Parlor/Freestall/AI Sired/Lots of Young Cows/2X 70# 4%F SCC-160K More information at www.kreegerdairy.com or call Chad at 517-294-3484

For Sale- DeLaval 84 Vacuum Pump on Stand, Oil Reclaimer, 10 HP- 3 Phase Electric Motor. New Bearings, New Oil Seal, New Belts. $2000
For more Information Call Tony Strickland , 229-254-6871; deepsouthai@gmail.com

For sale - Please contact John Felder for more information at 803-682-3425:
  • Dairy Tech Bay Pasturizer - $4,000
  • Tidenberg Hydraulic Hoof Table (like new) - $5,000
  • Mench Sand Trailor - $14,000
  • Hall Stall Sand Leveler (new) - $1,000
  • Claas Silage Choppers - 960 1875 cutterhead hours, 4WD, 600 orbis, HD300 PU - $190,000
  • Fans Cool Aire
  • 18 54" $225.00
  • 20 48" $125.00
  • 20 35" 100.00
WANTED: Peter's Cattle Co. will buy any dairy, beef, and cross, bottle or weaned, bulls, heifers or free martins. Pick up weekly 7 days a week. Chris- 470-255-8515
Bull Calves WANTED:  Competitive pricing with 6 day a week pickup. Brandon Mason Cattle Company 912-632-4490

FOR SALE :  We have a continuous selection of fresh and springing heifers.   Call William at   (706) 768-2857  or visit our website at   crumpdairyreplacements.org  
Farmer to Farmer Support Program Available for SE dairy farmers
Farmers across the Southeast are experiencing uncertain times like never before. All aspects of agriculture have been hit by market losses due to COVID-19, but dairy has reached a level of uncertainty that many have never experienced.

As we navigate through these next few months, dairy producers across the Southeast have come together to introduce the "Farmer to Farmer Support Program." If you find that you need support or would like to talk to a fellow farmer or industry friend, they have several volunteers that are willing and able to help. Georgia Milk Producers has also put together a packet on the program that you can access by clicking here. 

For more information on the program, please reach out to Farrah Newberry at gamilkproducers@gmail.com