2021 | March 26 GMP E Newsletter
Georgia Milk Producers Weekly Enews
Georgia Cattlemen Host Steak Biscuit Breakfast at the Capitol

Thank you to the Georgia Cattlemen's Association for inviting Georgia Milk Producers and Georgia's Mobile Dairy Classroom to their Steak Biscuit Breakfast at the Capitol this Monday. State legislators and their staff enjoyed beef, milk and an up-close encounter with Maggie, the MDC jersey cow. For more pictures of the event, go to their facebook page here>>>.
GAC Update from Washington - Farm Workforce Modernization Act
By GA Agribusiness Council

Last week, the U.S. House voted 247-174 to pass the Farm Workforce Modernization Act of 2021 (H.R. 1603). The act would establish a program for farmworkers to earn legal status through continued agriculture work, giving farmworkers who have worked at least 180 days in the last two years temporary status. The bill also makes changes to the H-2A temporary agricultural worker visa program by setting up a pilot program to allow visa holders to change jobs without a new application and develops an e-Verify system for agricultural employers.
President Biden released a statement on the bill, through which he emphasized the importance of farmworkers to the wellbeing of the U.S. and its economy and stated his support for the bill. The bill has now been sent to the U.S. Senate for consideration. Text of the legislation may be found here.
How Should the Producer Milk Payment System Change?
From Jon Geuss, Milk Price Blog

The current system of formulas and procedures for producer milk payments is now 22 years old. It was developed in 1999 and implemented in January 2000. Much has changed in that 22 years. The system is soundly based on a supply and demand capitalistic system. Producer milk prices are based on the price of wholesale dairy commodities, adjusted for the cost to process the milk and yields. When supplies are limited, prices are higher, and when supplies are plentiful prices are lower.  The system keeps the thousands of milk producers in balance with demand and also keeps the production of milk competitive in both quality and cost. While the system is harsh on less productive producers, it is effective in keeping the dairy industry competitive and modern.

One of the weaknesses of the system is the extreme milk pricing volatility that it produces which often creates overproduction when inventories are low and prices are high. Many of the ideas in this post are aimed at measures to reduce producer milk price volatility. The price of cheese is the most important variable in the pricing of producer milk. Near the end of this post there is a chart of cheese monthly prices since 2000. The volatility is so great that one wonders why anyone would stay in the business of producing milk.

There have been significant changes in dairy markets since this system was developed 22 years ago. Some of these changes are as follows: Read more here>>>
Okeechobee dairy farmer won't let COVID-19 spoil business
By Angela Rozier, WPBF ABC 25   

The owners of the Milking R Dairy farm in Okeechobee County aren't letting the pandemic spoil their business.

The dairy farm, which is run by the Sutton Rucks family, is now selling Sutton ice cream and its own brand of milk.

Lindsey Rucks is a fifth-generation farmer and is overseas the ice cream production.

Rucks said they started selling ice cream last year when the pandemic hit and people are still showing up.

"We started making ice cream here at the farm and bottling our own milk to help deal with the crisis people were seeing in the stores not having the products there," Rucks said. "In turn, it's kind of given our community something to get excited about."

Her father and owner Sutton Rucks credits Lindsey for thinking out of the box.

"She brought this idea to us, pitched it so we ran with it you know and we could have stuck our head in the dirt and do the same thing we've been doing for 50 years but this was the push and direction of change, "said Sutton Rucks.

Lindsey Rucks said the plan was always to sell their own brand of ice cream and milk one day but the COVID-19 crisis pushed them to do it sooner. Read more here>>>
From DeLaval

Hillcrest Farms is home to Georgia’s first robotic dairy farm. Hillcrest Farms started in 1941 on the perimeter of Dearing, Georgia. It has continued to be owned and operated by the Rodgers family and is now on its fourth generation, three of which still work on the farm today. In this episode, you’ll have the opportunity to hear from Mark Rodgers about his family’s involvement on the farm. With the future generations in mind and to help with their labor challenges, the family made the decision in 2019 to install five DeLaval VMS V300 robots into their retrofit barn. Their herd currently sits above a 90-pound average milk production, with a positive outlook on growing that number even more. Recently, Hillcrest Farms opened up their farm for agritourism. Mark shares about the agritourism experience on their farm and shares some insight on the future of his farm with robots in this new podcast episode. 
By Jim Cornall, Dairy Reporter

Rabobank said after a whole year of pandemic and lockdowns across the globe, the view of the future is clearer and more hopeful than it has been for months. Read more here>>>
From Donations to Vaccinations, Dairies Lead Throughout the Pandemic
From National Milk Producers Federation

Though the COVID-19 pandemic is far from over, some light seems to be appearing at what may be the end of a very long tunnel. Vaccinations are moving ahead; caseloads have fallen dramatically from winter; and even if a better “new normal” isn’t quite here yet, “more normal” seems achievable, perhaps in just a few months.  
Dairy farms, as always, are doing their part to serve, and to lead. It’s part of the cooperative spirit that defines the sector, one that, for all the talk of consolidation, remains dominated by family farms. Today, 95 percent of U.S. dairy farms are family-owned and operated. Many of them of multigenerational; all are critical contributors to rural economies.
Dairy farmers and the cooperatives they own have contributed to those communities throughout the pandemic. In 2020, farmers and dairy companies partnered with local food banks to deliver 469 million pounds of dairy – including milk, cheese and yogurt – to families in need through Feeding America alone. This doesn’t count the thousands of acts that go unrecorded, but not unnoticed, by those affected. Dairy farmers and their co-ops also, by supplying a nutritious product 24/7, 365-days-a-year, have helped keep food supply chains operating while supporting an industry that, in total, supports roughly three million jobs, one million directly and two million indirectly. Read more here>>>
Why This Family Became America’s First Certified Regenerative Dairy Farm
By Esha Chhabra, Forbes

Alexandre Family Farm wants to show that regenerative organic can be done at scale here in the U.S.—and that too with dairy. “Cows are not the cause of climate change. It’s the way we’ve farmed. But we’re here to show you that it can be done right,” says Blake Alexandre cofounder of the California-based family operation.

With 4200 cows in their dairy that graze on over 4000 organic acres of pasture in Humboldt and Del Norte counties, Blake and his wife, Stephanie, are fifth-generation farmers who want to build a vertically-integrated supply chain in milk, and are one of the few farm brands available on milk shelves nationally.

As one of the first farms to test out and help develop the new Regenerative Organic Alliance certification (ROC), Blake explains that they’ve been able to provide feedback on what this regenerative model can look like, particularly for farmers who have livestock.
Senate Extends PPP Loan Deadline; Only 3% of Ag Community Taking Advantage of Program to Date
By Tyne Morgan, Dairy Herd Management

Farmers and ranchers have more time to sign up for the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP). The Senate passed legislation this week to extend the deadline from March 31 to May 31. The measure is expected to be signed by President Joe Biden.

“I think this is a great opportunity for farmers of all sizes, whether large producers or small producers,” says Nick Jellum, an attorney with Anastasi Jellum law firm that specializes in PPP loans. “Unfortunately, it's a program that I feel is misconstrued by a lot of folks in the ag community, thinking that it's really more for retail businesses and restaurants, etc. But it is also aimed to help farmers and others in the agricultural industry.”

Jellum says in 2020 for the first round of PPP, only 1.5% of al PPP loan funds went to the agriculture industry. And so far this year, as of February ionly 3% of farmers, ranchers and agribusinesses had signed up. Jellum says fresh data released March 21 shows 4% of all PPP loan funds have gone to the agriculture industry. While the number is still small, he says farmers and ranchers may be missing out on an opportunity to take advantage of the program. Watch Report Here>>>
Other Stories to Check Out This Week >>>
GA Dairy Classifieds


Seeking fulltime farm worker at heifer replacement farm in Eatonton, GA. If interested, please contact Mike Rainey at 706-473-0730.

Seeking Beef and dairy crossed bullcalves/heifers bottled or weaned. Please contact Victoria Rowland at 404-922-0938 or 423-946-5869

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- 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 Archie Felder for more information at 803-682-3426:
  • Dairy Tech Bay Pasturizer - $4,000
  • Tidenberg Hydraulic Hoof Table (like new) - $5,000
  • Claas Silage Choppers - 960 1875 cutterhead hours, 4WD, 600 orbis, HD300 PU - $180,000
  • Koomin John Deere Corn Header adapter for Claus Silage Chopper Used - $6,000
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