The information below has been supplied by dairy marketers and other industry organizations. It has not been edited, verified or endorsed by Hoard’s Dairyman.
Cooperatives Working Together (CWT) member cooperatives accepted ten offers of export assistance from CWT that helped them capture sales contracts for 1.455 million pounds (660 metric tons) of whole milk powder and 632,727 pounds (287 metric tons) of cream cheese. The product is going to customers in Asia and South America and will be delivered from July through September 2020.
CWT-assisted member cooperative export sales contracts for 2020 total 21.858 million pounds of American-type cheeses, 6.246 million pounds of butter (82% milkfat), 1.960 million pounds of anhydrous milkfat, 3.606 million pounds of cream cheese and 18.450 million pounds of whole milk powder. The product is going to 28 countries in seven regions. These sales are the equivalent of 558 million pounds of milk on a milkfat basis.
Assisting CWT members in moving dairy products overseas through the Export Assistance program is critical during the challenging times U.S. dairy farmers and cooperatives are facing. The Export Assistance program helps in strengthening and maintaining the value of dairy products that directly impact producers’ milk price. The program is helping member cooperatives grow and maintain world market share for U.S dairy products and is a significant factor in maintaining the total demand for U.S. dairy products and the demand for U.S. farm milk.
Dairy product and related milk volume amounts reflect current contracts for delivery, not completed export volumes. CWT pays export assistance to bidders only when export and delivery of the product is verified by required documentation.
All dairy farmers and dairy cooperatives should invest in CWT. Membership information is available on the CWT website.
The Cooperatives Working Together (CWT) Export Assistance program is funded by voluntary contributions from dairy cooperatives and individual dairy farmers. The money raised by their investment is being used to strengthen and stabilize the dairy farmers’ milk prices and margins. For more information about CWT, visit www.cwt.coop
It may have been said in jest, but that doesn’t mean she wasn’t on to something. On her very first day aboard the Motor Yacht Wellington for Below Deck Mediterranean, second stew Bugsy Drake joked with deckhand Peter Hunziker, “You’re the crew mess creep, aren’t you? You are, I can tell already.” Guess she didn’t have to follow him on social media to pick up on that vibe!
All around, it wasn’t a great episode for ol’ Peter. While Below Deck Med will begin to minimize his appearance on the show as the season continues, he’s still lurking around the boat and causing various degrees of headaches when it comes to the daily operation of the superyacht.
“I feel like Pete hates me. I think he’s used to being in charge,” bosun Malia confesses to deckhand Alex, who we learned in this episode paid for his college tuition via poker games (!). And when the other deckhand Rob came to check in with his supervisor, she told him, “You actually have a higher license than [Pete] does and you’ve been a lot more helpful and respectful on deck,” so it was already clear who was (and definitely wasn’t) succeeding on the exterior team.
But Malia had to check Pete when he pulled in a ground line that he wasn’t supposed to, and then made a comment about putting the “very important” line back on during an aborted departure that did not have Captain Sandy feeling too pleased. “Your sarcasm on the radio did not escape me,” Malia told Pete sternly.
Though there’s a bigger offense taking place on this boat that really irks me. Both Pete and Alex mispronounce Malia’s name (Rob, as in most cases, is excluded from this), and this is already charter three. Shouldn’t they be crystal clear on her name? It’s muh-LEE-uh, and not muh-LAY-uh. I don’t know if she minds, but I certainly do. It’s not that hard to pronounce, guys! They did the same thing with Lara, too, though it seems as though Pete has learned her name at this point considering he’s texting her that he wants her “for breakfast, lunch and dinner.” Hopefully he doesn’t have to point at the menu as the waiter takes his order because he’s too unsure of how to say the dish he would like.
Below Deck Mediterranean airs Monday at 9pm ET/PT on Bravo.
Every inch counts when it comes to the feedbunk, and eating space is one of veterinarian Gary Oetzel’s top feeding management concerns for prefresh dairy cows. Oetzel, a professor at the University of Wisconsin-Madison School of Veterinary Medicine, discussed this topic during a University of Wisconsin Division of Extension webinar focused on dry cows.
Oetzel reminded the audience that mature cows are about 30 inches wide, and that they need that much room to be able to fit at the feedbunk. Enough space for each cow is especially important in barns that don’t have headlocks or slant bars to keep a cow in its own eating spot.
“All cows need to be able to eat at the same time,” he said. “When feed is dropped, they all must be able to eat or there is a considerable price to be paid, especially for dry cows.”
There are several negative effects of inadequate eating space. Cows in these situations eat fewer meals per day and consume larger meals when they do eat, which elevates their risk for ruminal acidosis. Oetzel said limited bunk space also reduces their feed efficiency and increases feed sorting behavior.
Options when the barn is full He acknowledged that cattle housing is expensive, which is why many farms overstock pens. If providing more eating space isn’t an option, Oetzel said to feed dry cows twice daily, reduce the sortability of the total mixed ration (TMR), and feed for generous refusals (5% to 10% daily).
If times of heavy calving put pressure on your facilities, Oetzel offered some advice to handle these situations. He said that cows can be moved out of the postfresh group sooner, as long as they get at least 10 days in that pen.
Prefresh cows are more challenging to manage, as time in the prefresh pen should not be less than 21 days. “It can be a train wreck if individual cows are not in that pen long enough,” Oetzel explained. If possible, he said to design the dry cow and prefresh barn with flexibility, including movable gates and enough waterers so that different sized pens can be created as needed.
To comment, email your remarks to firstname.lastname@example.org.(c) Hoard’s Dairyman Intel 2020June 15, 2020
Science’s COVID-19 reporting is supported by the Pulitzer Center.
The latest recruits in the fight against COVID-19 are munching hay in a South Dakota barn. A biotech company has coaxed genetically modified cows to pump out human antibodies that subdue SARS-CoV-2, the pathogen causing the deadly disease, and it plans to start clinical trials of them this summer.
“This is promising,” says Amesh Adalja, an infectious disease physician at the Johns Hopkins University Center for Health Security. “We want to have as many countermeasures as we can.”
To manufacture antibodies for treating or preventing diseases, companies typically turn to sources such as cultured cells or tobacco plants. But almost 20 years ago, researchers began to develop the approach now pursued by SAb Biotherapeutics of Sioux Falls, South Dakota, to produce antibodies on the hoof. The company genetically alters dairy cows so that certain immune cells carry the DNA that allows people to make antibodies. That upgrade enables the animals to manufacture large quantities of human antibodies against a pathogen protein injected into them, such as the “spike” surface protein of the new coronavirus. “Essentially, the cows are used as a giant bioreactor,” says viral immunologist William Klimstra of the University of Pittsburgh, who has been analyzing the bovinemade antibodies’ potency against SARS-CoV-2.
Cows make good antibody factories, and not just because they have more blood than smaller animals engineered to synthesize human versions of the proteins. Their blood can also contain twice as many antibodies per milliliter as human blood, says Eddie Sullivan, SAb Biotherapeutics’s president and CEO.
The animals may provide another advantage. Most companies trying to produce antibodies to combat COVID-19 have pinned their hopes on mass-producing identical copies of a single version, a so-called monoclonal antibody that homes in on and attaches tightly to a particular section of a virus. Instead of making just one antibody variety, the cows fashion polyclonal antibodies, a range of the molecules that recognize several parts of the virus. “That’s the natural way that our bodies fight disease,” Sullivan says. This diversity may make the cow’s proteins more powerful than monoclonal antibodies, he says, and they may remain effective even if a virus mutates.
When the COVID-19 pandemic erupted, SAb Biotherapeutics had already completed a clinical trial with cow-generated antibodies against Middle East respiratory syndrome, which is caused by a coronavirus related to SARS-CoV-2. Developing that treatment “gave us the initial knowledge to focus on the right target,” Sullivan says. Within 7 weeks the cows were generating antibodies against SARS-CoV-2’s spike.
Before the animals start to release these antibodies into their blood, the cows need a starter immunization—a DNA vaccine based on a portion of the virus’ genome that preps their immune system. Then comes the injection that contains a piece of SARS-CoV-2’s spike protein, which serves as the virus’ passkey to cells. Each month, one cow can yield enough antibodies to treat several hundred patients, Sullivan says.
In test tube studies, Klimstra and colleagues recently pitted the antibodies against so-called convalescent plasma from the blood of COVID-19 survivors. Rich in polyclonal antibodies, the plasma is being tested in clinical trials as a treatment for the virus. The cow antibodies were four times better than convalescent plasma at preventing the virus from entering cells, the company announced last week.
The biotech hopes to begin a clinical trial within the next couple of months, Sullivan says, and wants to test whether infusions of antibodies sifted from the cows’ blood prevent healthy people from getting infected by SARS-CoV-2 and prove beneficial for patients who are already sick.
Not everyone thinks the cows are the best choice for making antibodies, however. Infectious disease physician Manish Sagar of Boston University Medical Center says he will remain skeptical “until I see further proof that production of antibodies in cows is a lot more feasible and economically viable” than other methods. So far, no antibodies generated by the animals have been approved for treating any disease.
But infectious disease specialist Jeffrey Henderson of Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis describes the cow-produced antibodies as “the logical next step” to the convalescent plasma he has been studying. “The whole approach,” he says, “is based on sound science and on past experience going back more than a century.”
Every day at Rolling Lawns Farm starts and ends with the cow. For more than a century, the Greenville, Illinois, dairy has been committed to providing top-notch care for its purebred Holsteins. With bloodlines dating back to the late 1800s, their ancestors are living long, healthy lives on the farm today.
Yet, it wasn’t long ago the farm’s legacy – like many small dairies – was in jeopardy, as expenses outpaced income.
“My family has been milking cows on this farm every morning and every night since 1910,” says Michael Turley, who along with wife Jennifer purchased the 700-acre operation after his father, Neal, passed away. “Our small, aging farm is definitely not viewed as a business model that’s going to make it.”
The fourth generation to lead Rolling Lawns Farm, Turley admits he wasn’t all in when they took over ownership in 2012.
“I had a successful career as the chief executive officer and part owner of a St. Louis-based advertising agency,” he says. “The dairy was my side hustle. I wasn’t focused on it, and it was treading water.”
Rather than let a business that took more than 100 years to build go down on their watch, the couple decided it was time to return to the farm full time. Coming back at the end of 2015 also meant it couldn’t be business as usual.
A changing market
For more than 30 years, the Turleys shipped their milk to Prairie Farms, where it was bottled and sold under the cooperative’s brand. Concerned about dramatic changes the milk processor faced in the marketplace, the Turleys opted not only to produce the milk, but also to process, distribute, market, and sell it themselves. (See “The Milk House” on page 35.)
“The milk market is changing as retailers like Walmart enter the industry. There is so much pressure on the supply chain, and I don’t know how a commodity like milk is going to be able to thrive when there is continuous pressure by the value creators. That pressure then becomes farmer to co-op then co-op to retailer, who is going to take its share,” Turley says.
He also felt Rolling Lawns Farm had a message it could best communicate independently. “I believe in the value of our brand and that it has to be related one-on-one in the right way,” Turley says. “We need to move away from the negative marketing claims – no antibiotics, no hormones – and engage consumers in a positive way to set the record straight.”
Leveraging a legacy, animal husbandry
In today’s connected world, consumers are inundated with confusing messages about the food they eat.
“Fortunately, dairy has a great sustainable nutrition story to tell,” says Paul Ziemnisky, executive vice president of Global Innovation, Dairy Management Inc. “It starts at the dairy farm with the farmer caring for the land and animals while producing a nutritious and delicious product that is in 94% of American households today.”
Telling the story of Rolling Lawns Farm, Turley believes, includes not only leveraging the lineage of its 120 registered Holsteins, but also emphasizing how well these purebred beauties are cared for.
In 1920, Turley’s great-grandfather registered his first animal when he joined the Holstein-Friesian Association. Not long after, all of the farm’s animals would be a part of the association.
Today, this trusted documentation serves as a verified source of ancestry, performance, and genetic information for every animal at Rolling Lawns Farm. This pedigree has also served as a valuable resource in tracing the farm’s most loved and revered cow family.
“Four generations of the B family, which began with Buffy in 1969, grace the pastures and pens at the farm today,” Turley says. “The ability to have multiple generations on the farm at one time is rare.”
A commercial dairy cow has, on average, about five to six years and lactates 3.2 times before it’s usually processed for meat, according to Leo Timms, professor emeritus of animal science, Iowa State University.
Turley wants to double his herd’s lifespan. “Our oldest cow from the B family is 11 years old,” he says.
Ensuring cows live a long, healthy life starts by providing impeccable care and comfort – two areas that have drawn a great deal of criticism.
“Consumers are looking for more transparency when it comes to how and where their food was made,” says Ben Laine, a dairy analyst with Rabo AgriFinance.
When considering a dairy purchase, over two thirds of consumers want to know more about the ingredients, sourcing, and manufacturing processes, according to a report by McKinsey & Company.
Turley admits that addressing consumer concerns over animal welfare, including the use of modern medicine, is one of the industry’s biggest weaknesses. “Oftentimes, the term animal welfare conjures up negative emotions with consumers.”
He wants to change that perception by bringing back terms like animal husbandry and emphasizing that healthy cows are happy cows who produce high-quality milk and more of it.
Relationships drive credibility
As the Turleys chart a different course than most in the dairy industry, finding the sweet spot for profitability and growth means focusing on a core group of food influencers in and around the St. Louis region.
“The notable chefs and food artisans we work with demand a high-quality product, and they drive our credibility,” he says.
Today, the farm’s milk, half-and-half, and heavy cream are used in more than 60 coffee shops, cafés, ice cream parlors, and restaurants in the area. Turley is also forming relationships with local growers to connect people with food and where it comes from.
“As farmers, it’s on us to tell our story,” says Angie Eckert, vice president of retail operations for Eckert’s Country Store in Belleville, Illinois. “We have to explain why a product is special and what we do that makes it better.”
While signage in their store tells the story of Rolling Lawns Farm, the Eckerts also host special events, so guests can meet Turley and sample products – an experience they can’t get if they buy online.
“Guests want to know there are real people behind a product,” she says. “If they can meet a farmer, it makes his or her story more authentic. It’s that one-on-one experience that guests value, and it elevates the brand.”
Every time a customer interacts with a product, it’s a moment of truth for Turley. “It sounds silly, but the milk actually tastes like milk,” Eckert says. “Once people taste it, they recognize the difference.”
“We want people to experience how fresh milk should taste, but more importantly, we want them to share our reverence for the registered Holstein,” Turley says. “Every day on the farm starts and ends with her and the promise of providing healthy, fresh, and local milk to all.”
A cow’s family tree
Connecting the customer to the cow, Michael Turley believes, starts by showcasing the heritage of his registered Holstein herd at Rolling Lawns Farm, a legacy that dates back to 1883.
“My great-grandfather became a member of the Holstein-Friesian Association in 1920 and registered his first animal,” says Turley, the fourth generation to lead the farm.
Because the cows are part of a breed registry housed at the Holstein Association USA in Vermont, he was able to trace one of their animal’s bloodlines back to its origins.
“Buffy, who came to the farm in 1969, had an ancestor that was imported from the Netherlands to New York in 1883,” he says. “Each of Buffy’s female descendants have been mated to a carefully selected bull, so the family’s impact would continue.”
Today, 15 animals and four generations from this cow family – led by Barb, who, at 11 years old, carries the torch as the herd’s leading matriarch – get special attention to ensure that legacy endures.
“We know more about these purebred beauties than I do my own family,” he says.
Buffy’s family tree will eventually be displayed on a 1228-foot wall at The Milk House, where the milk from the farm’s 120 registered Holsteins is processed and distributed to over 60 businesses in and around the St. Louis area. •
Coping with crisis
Since 2014, dairy producers have struggled with low prices as large supplies outweigh demand. In 2019, the industry lost 3,281 licensed dairy operations, the largest decrease since the USDA began collecting data in 2003.
This prolonged period of tight margins, coupled with the recent pandemic, has farmers weary and concerned about their farms’ future. “It’s going to be a pretty terrible year; the worst in at least a decade,” says Ben Laine, a Rabo AgriFinance dairy analyst.
The bleak outlook can create grief, depression, and emotional instability – all of which can lead to suicide.
“A farmer might feel so tired that he can’t go on or he may feel his family is better off without him,” says David Brown, Iowa State University Extension and Outreach behavioral health specialist. “Even as issues get better, the emotional and economic tail might be long,”
About 40% of people may experience emotional distress six months to a year after a disaster and may need ongoing support, according to the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline.
“Suicide is the most preventable kind of death, and intent is often communicated the prior week,” Brown says. “Look for clues like abnormal sleep, emotional outbursts, comments of ending this misery, observed hopelessness, and actions of preparation.” •
Since opening in 2017, sourcing local premium products for traceability, quality, and freshness is what drives the menu at Vicia. Depending on the time of year, the restaurant buys from as many as 20 local growers in and around St. Louis.
“When I worked with chef Dan Barber of Blue Hill and Blue Hill Stone Barns, I learned about the power of the relationship between the chef and the farmer,” says Michael Gallina, co-owner and executive chef at Vicia. “When I decided to open a restaurant in St. Louis, working with producers in the area was always a part of the plan.”
Today, about 85% of the restaurant’s purchases are made locally to create a unique and memorable dining experience. Those purchases include milk, half-and-half, and heavy cream from Rolling Lawns Farm, which are used for things as simple as coffee creamer to making homemade ice cream and freshly churned butter.
“The Turley family is the perfect example of why we, as chefs, need to support local producers,” Gallina says. “I love what they stand for, and the product speaks for itself. I want to do everything I can to make sure they stay in business and continue their family legacy.”
Consumers are eager to try new dairy brands and products, according to a report by McKinsey & Company.
“The strategy for our unique business model and profile is to pursue indulgent products that make the dairy case interesting again,” says Michael Turley. “The precursor to this was totally conceding the commodity milk market.”
During the 2019 holiday season, the Greenville, Illinois, dairy producer introduced a red velvet eggnog. Priced at $8.79 for a 50-ounce container, the product sold out quickly.
“It was a beautiful deep reddish-pink color,” Turley says. “People really responded to it.”
The milk house
From the outside, The Milk House looks like any other large commercial building. Once you’re inside, it’s clear the 25,000-square-foot facility, with its reclaimed barnwood and historical images of life at Rolling Lawns Farm, is being transformed into much more after sitting idle for three years.
Michael and Jennifer Turley initially bought the former retail store in 2017 to process and distribute the milk from their 120 registered Holsteins.
“When we first looked at the building, we thought it was too big because we only needed 10,000 to 12,000 square feet to process our milk,” Michael Turley says. “We wanted to start small. If we did well, we could expand from there.”
Yet, the couple also knew the purchase would be an investment in the rural community of Greenville, Illinois. Today, the extra space has been used to host church gatherings, school groups, weddings, and other community events. Future plans for the space include a café, a commercial kitchen, and a demonstration area for cooking classes.
“We underestimated the community support and the need for a venue like this in the area,” Turley says.
A Virginia judge said this week that Representative Devin Nunes could not sue Twitter over posts by two parody accounts and a Republican strategist, ruling that a federal communications law protects the social media company from being held liable for the posts.
Mr. Nunes, a California Republican, had sought $250 million in the suit filed last year against Twitter, the strategist and the owners of the accounts over statements he said were defamatory. One account pretended to be Mr. Nunes’s mother; the other pretended to be a cow.
But on Wednesday, Judge John Marshall of the Henrico County Circuit Court in Virginia said Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act, a federal law that says social media companies are not liable for content posted on their platforms, provides Twitter immunity in the suit.
The ruling was a blow to conservatives who have criticized Section 230 and accused Twitter of bias against them, something Twitter and other social media companies have repeatedly denied. Mr. Nunes had argued in the suit that Twitter is biased against conservatives, “while amplifying the voices of his Democratic detractors.”
Twitter said in a statement on Thursday that it “strongly believes the court made the right decision” and that it enforces its content policies “impartially for everyone who uses our service around the world, regardless of their background or political affiliation.”
A representative for Mr. Nunes did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
The ruling does not protect the Twitter users from being sued over their posts. One of the parody accounts, @DevinNunesMom, is now defunct, and the other, @DevinCow, is still active. The accounts had criticized Mr. Nunes during the impeachment proceedings against Mr. Trump this year.
The lawsuit from Mr. Nunes last year noted at the time that @DevinCow had 1,204 followers. In the days after the suit, the account’s following rose to over half a million. It now has more than 735,000 followers.
Mr. Nunes’s suit alleged that the parody accounts had engaged in a “vicious defamation campaign” against the congressman. It also said the strategist, Liz Mair, “engaged in a joint effort” with the two parody accounts to “defame” Mr. Nunes. The identities of the creators of the two accounts are not publicly known.
Ms. Mair, who has contributed opinion pieces to The New York Times, said in a statement that Mr. Nunes’s lawsuit “remains an assault on the First Amendment and the core American principle of free speech,” adding that she was raising money for her legal defense.
California Republican Rep. Devin Nunes cannot sue Twitter over allegedly defamatory remarks made about him by satirical accounts pretending to be his mother and a cow, a Virginia judge ruled Wednesday.
Twitter is immune to Nunes’ claims of defamation and negligence, the judge said, because the company is protected by a critical law at the heart of a roiling policy debate in Washington: Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act.
The court decision offers the most recent example of how the 1996 law has shielded tech companies from litigation. And the ruling could inflame the law’s critics, a group that includes President Donald Trump and other Republicans who have made unfounded claims that social media platforms have a systemic bias against conservative viewpoints.
Nunes sued Twitter, the two satirical accounts and a third Twitter user in March 2019, demanding $250 million in damages and that the anonymous accounts be unmasked.
Among the accounts Nunes targeted in his complaint were @DevinNunesMom and @DevinNunesCow. The complaint included screenshots and quotes of tweets that Nunes claimed were evidence of a defamatory conspiracy.
But in a letter Wednesday to lawyers for Nunes and Twitter, Judge John Marshall said the issues in Nunes’ lawsuit were “substantially similar” to previous cases in which platforms were absolved of liability under Section 230.
“Plaintiff seeks to have the court treat Twitter as the publisher or speaker of the content provided by others based on its allowing or not allowing certain content to be on its internet platform,” Marshall wrote in the decision, a copy of which was reviewed by CNN. “The court refuses to do so.”
In a statement, Twitter said it strongly believed the court had reached the right decision.
“Twitter enforces the Twitter Rules impartially for everyone who uses our service around the world, regardless of their background or political affiliation,” said spokesperson Katie Rosborough. “We are constantly improving our efforts to serve the public conversation and will continue to be transparent with the public.”
A spokesman in Nunes’ congressional office didn’t immediately respond to a request for comment.
But earlier on Wednesday, Nunes tweeted a link to an alternative social media platform.
“Parler is open for business!” he tweeted.
Among the first replies to his tweet was a tweet from @DevinNunesCow.
“I have some good moooos for you,” @DevinNunesCow wrote. “Oh, wait, it’s good for me and not for you.”