Farm Bureau backs ‘one farmer, one vote’ for dairy marketing rules

A task force created by the largest U.S. farm group called on Wednesday for more democracy in the federal milk-marketing orders that guide dairy sales throughout the United States and for greater equity between producers and processors in a system that dates from the Depression.

Farmers’ case against giant dairy co-op will go to trial

A collection of dairy farmers who allege anti-competitive conduct by the nation's largest dairy cooperative will take their case to a jury trial. A U.S. district court judge late last week denied a motion for summary judgment — which would have wrapped the case up without trial — from defendant Dairy Farmers of America (DFA).(No paywall)

On cusp of trade pact with Japan, Trump sees no hurry on China

When President Trump meets Prime Minister Shinzo Abe of Japan on Wednesday, it should be a red-letter day for Trump's policy of bilateral, rather than multi-nation, trade negotiations. The two leaders are expected to approve a deal on agricultural and digital trade. U.S. food and ag exports could rise as a result.

Additional week to enroll in Dairy Margin Coverage subsidy

More than 21,200 farmers have enrolled in the new dairy support program created by the 2018 farm bill, said Agriculture Undersecretary Bill Northey on Thursday, announcing a one-week extension of the signup period.

As dairy industry reels, new film details one family’s struggle to make it work

“Farmsteaders” is a new documentary that tells the story of Celeste and Nick Nolan and their four young children, who run Laurel Valley Creamery in southeastern Ohio. The 110-acre dairy farm belonged to Nick’s grandfather, who died in an accident on the farm in 1994. In the years since, agriculture has continued to move away from small operations like the Nolans’ to the sprawling industrial farms that dominate today. The dairy industry, in particular, has been decimated by consolidation, resulting in the collapse of family farms and a spate of suicides as farmers become increasingly desperate. In 2001, Celeste and Nick moved to the farm to raise their kids. They hobby-farmed for a few years, but when Nick lost his job they began farming full-time, turning to cheesemaking to sustain the operation.(No paywall)

What a dairy cooperative merger could mean for farmers in the Northeast

Members of the St. Albans Cooperative Creamery, a century-old dairy cooperative in Vermont, will vote later this month on whether to merge with the nation’s largest dairy cooperative, Dairy Farmers of America. But even as low milk prices and ongoing consolidation have threatened the region’s dairy farmers, St. Albans’ members are split on whether linking up with DFA will address their woes.

Four reasons to check out FERN’s SXSW panel on Big Food

Next week, FERN is headed to Austin, where I’m moderating two panels at SXSW! One of them — The Future of Big Food: What’s at Stake? — will take on big questions about where Big Food companies are headed. As eaters increasingly want transparency about ingredients, healthier options, and more sustainable packaging, where does that leave manufacturers? And will new labeling regulations shift the grocery environment? (No paywall)

One counselor’s lonely struggle against farm country’s mental health crisis

In Minnesota, one of the country’s top farming states, just one man is responsible for dealing with farmers’ mental health needs. As low crop prices and farm closures weigh heavily on farming families, he is joining state legislators and advocates to push for allocating more resources to the pressing issue. (No paywall)

Farmland values up slightly in Midwest, down a bit in Plains

Ag bankers in the Midwest say farmland values were steady overall in 2018 and rose by 1 percent in the final three months of the year, reported the Chicago Federal Reserve on Thursday in its quarterly AgLetter.