dairy

H5N1 virus was undetected for months in dairy cattle, researchers say

Genetic testing indicates the H5N1 bird flu virus jumped from wild birds to dairy cattle in Texas approximately four months before it was identified in late March, said a nationwide team of researchers. “Continued transmission of H5N1 HPAI [highly pathogenic avian influenza] within dairy cattle increases the risk for infection and subsequent spread of the virus to human populations.”

USDA mandates bird flu tests of dairy cows before transport

Dairy farmers will be required to test their cattle for the H5N1 bird flu virus before shipping them across state lines, announced Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack on Wednesday as the government tries to prevent the spread of the disease and learn more about how it is transmitted. The virus, a lethal threat to poultry, has moved from cow to cow, herd to herd, and cow to poultry, and has appeared in cows with no symptoms.

‘Traditional’ dairy states catch up with ‘modern’ ones

A generation ago, California surpassed Wisconsin, "America's Dairyland," as the No. 1 milk-producing state, a shift that exemplified the growing prominence of dairy farms in the West and Southwest with huge herds producing a flood of milk. The competition is more equally balanced now, said an analysis on Monday. Milk production is roughly equal between the "traditional" dairy states of the Midwest and Northeast and the "modern" states.

Dairy subsidies could cost $19 billion without new farm bill

The cost of price supports for dairy, and for an array of field crops, could skyrocket if Congress allows the 2018 farm law to expire without a replacement, estimated the Congressional Research Service.

House chairman says 2023 farm bill will be later than expected

Congress will have to extend temporarily the lifespan of the 2018 farm bill because it will miss the Sept. 30 deadline for enacting its successor, said House Agriculture chairman Glenn Thompson. It was the first direct acknowledgement by one of the "four corners" of farm policy — the leaders of the House and Senate Agriculture committees — that the 2023 farm bill would be late.

Can Danone reach its climate goals without scaling back dairy farming?

Last month, the French food company Danone — owner of milk and yogurt brands like Activia and Horizon Organics — pledged to cut absolute methane emissions from its milk supply chains by 30 percent by 2030, making it the first major food company with a methane-specific emissions target. But reducing those methane emissions is far from simple. A “methane ambition” document released by Danone outlines a few options, although somewhat vaguely and without acknowledging some of the controversies surrounding them. No paywall

Dairy farmers to get up to $200 million in USDA aid

The Biden administration expanded a pandemic relief program for dairy farmers on Monday to cover up to 9 million pounds of milk produced during the second half of 2020, up from the original 5 million pounds. The Agriculture Department also announced a new assistance program for organic dairy farmers, who face sharply higher feed expenses.

Sales of antibiotics for food animals rise by 6 percent — FDA

Drug makers sold 11.1 million kilograms (24.5 million pounds) of antibiotics for use in cattle, hogs and poultry last year, up 6 percent from 2021, chiefly because of a large increase in sales of antimicrobials that are not considered medically important, said the FDA on Monday. Despite year-to-year fluctuations, like last year's increase, sales are much lower nowadays than before the FDA barred the use of antimicrobials to encourage weight gain in livestock.

‘Stay tuned,’ says Vilsack as dairy demands retaliatory tariffs

The United States was "greatly disappointed" by Canada's refusal to allow larger imports of U.S. dairy products despite a USMCA trade ruling, said Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack on Monday. Vilsack expressed solidarity with U.S. dairy groups that called for retaliatory tariffs on Canadian goods, telling reporters, "Stay tuned."

USDA closes loopholes on origin of organic dairy livestock

After years of lobbying by organic farmers, the Agriculture Department tightened its rules on how dairy animals — cattle, goats and sheep — enter organic production, in the name of fairness to farmers and consumers. The new “origin of livestock” rule would end the practice of cycling dairy …

Canadian dairy quotas violate USMCA terms, dispute panel rules

In the first decision under the new North America trade pact, a three-judge dispute settlement panel ruled that Canada had manipulated its tariff-rate quotas to limit imports of U.S. dairy products, despite agreeing to greater U.S. access in the 2020 agreement. Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack said the ruling was a signal of U.S. resolve against unjustified trade restrictions anywhere.

Farmers, advocates concerned about Vilsack’s record on dairy issues

Some dairy farmers and advocates are worried that president-elect Joe Biden's pick for agriculture secretary, Tom Vilsack, will do little to address their concerns about issues like consolidation, farm bankruptcies and low milk prices. Critics are especially concerned about how Vilsack’s years running a dairy industry trade group will affect his policymaking approach.(No paywall)

Stung by coronavirus, producers ask government to buy their goods

The government should step up its food purchases as a way to mitigate the potential loss of billions of dollars in sales due to the coronavirus pandemic, said dairy farmers and two dozen lawmakers representing fruit and vegetable growers. And a small-farm advocacy group estimated a three-month …

Burdened by debt, Borden files for bankruptcy reorganization

Once the world's largest dairy operator, Borden Dairy said it filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy reorganization, aiming to reduce its debt load "and position the company for long-term success." The bankruptcy filing over the weekend in Delaware courts followed the November bankruptcy of Dean Foods, one of the largest U.S. milk processors.

In Oregon, a failed mega-dairy spurs call for CAFO moratorium

The troubled tenure of Lost Valley Farm in Boardman, Oregon, a mega-dairy that housed 15,000 cows, has sparked calls for reform of the permitting process for such operations. Some farm and environmental advocates want the state to pass a bill that would issue a moratorium on new mega-dairies, …

Family farming on a precipice, Wisconsin farmers warn

Corporate consolidation and low commodity prices are posing an existential threat to small, family farms, farmers warned at an event hosted by the Wisconsin Farmers Union in Madison last week. Several producers, from small organic growers to commodity milk farmers, shared stories about how tough farming has become.

FDA on ‘fast track’ to assess labeling of non-dairy milks

The Food and Drug Administration announced on Thursday that it is moving ahead on modernizing its standards of identity for plant-based dairy alternatives, like soy and almond milks.

Food companies and farmers active at Climate Action Summit

If the Trump administration’s effort to stymie action on climate change is having an impact on food and farming, it isn’t apparent at the Global Climate Action Summit underway in San Francisco this week. (No paywall)

Canada needs ‘flexibility’ on dairy in NAFTA bargaining, says Mulroney

Amid rumors that Canada will offer concessions on dairy trade, former prime minister Brian Mulroney said he would be surprised if the new NAFTA did not include "flexibility" on the country's supply management system. Agriculture is a small part of NAFTA trade but it is a stubborn impediment in U.S.-Canada negotiations.

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