When we are working with cows every day, we often don’t realize just how fast the dairy industry is changing. But consider this: In the 1950s, 50 to 60 percent of cows in the United States were still milked by hand.
“That’s really not that long ago,” said Pam Ruegg, University of Wisconsin-Madison’s milk quality specialist. She brought up that fact during her presentation at the Lely FMS Conference held in Fair Oaks, Ind.
In the last 60 years, we’ve gone from hand milking to milking machines, to parlors, and now to robots. Yet, despite these tremendous advancements in milk harvest, Ruegg pointed out that most of what we know about controlling mastitis was figured out in the 1960s and '70s.
Ruegg came to that conclusion after studying years worth of milk quality research in the Journal of Dairy Science. What did she uncover as the number one mastitis control mechanism?
Dairy Industry News
Scott Brothers Dairy redefines 'milk quality' to meet customer expectations
One California dairyman is expanding his definition of “milk quality” beyond somatic cell count to better capture what customers and consumers are really looking for in his products.
Brad Scott, who co-owns Scott Brothers Dairy in San Jacinto, California, with his older brother, Bruce, deals with this disconnect on a regular basis since he and his brother are also partners at a milk processing plant in Chino, California, where they make products for frozen yogurt companies Menchies and TCBY. During the 2017 National Mastitis Council Annual Meeting in January, Scott shared some insight into how they use their 900-acre, 1,100-cow dairy as a platform to build trust and ignite a shared passion for quality milk.
According to Scott, his customers’ perception of quality is not just about the milk itself, but rather the entire farm as a whole. “It’s very important that everyone realizes that quality starts at the farm, but also image is part of the quality that goes all of the way down the supply chain,” he explained. Appearance matters, especially as urban developments encroach upon farmland in his area. “We’re so much under a microscope as far as our operations.”
Customers want to know things like the dairy’s carbon footprint and management practices, what they do to be sustainable and which new technologies they use. These are questions Scott said their customers would never have bothered to ask 20 years ago, but now he hears them on a regular basis.
ACE Meetings Connect Leaders and Farmers for Important Dairy Discussions
uilding and maintaining strong rural communities requires partnerships and open dialogue between everyone involved, including local elected officials, business leaders, citizens, and farmers. A series of ACE (Agricultural Community Engagement®) On-the-Farm Twilight Meetings, August 28, 29, 30 and 31, will provide opportunities for discussions about issues important to Wisconsin’s communities and a first-hand look at modern dairy farming.
The meetings are hosted by the Wisconsin Counties Association, Wisconsin Towns Association and the Professional Dairy Producers (PDPW). All four meetings are free and open to the public.
“ACE On-the-Farm Twilight Meetings provide a platform for important agricultural discussions to address key issues facing rural and urban communities,” said Shelly Mayer, Executive Director of PDPW. “Working together, we can advance both agriculture and rural America.”
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About Our Producer Services
Communication is of the utmost importance when working alongside the dairy producers who supply our local plants with quality milk. Field Service Representatives are the personal conduit of that communication, sharing information that pertains both to the producers and to the plant. Discussion on milk quality, milk marketing, dairy trends and local events are often heard in day to day communication. Regulatory compliance, milk quality, farm pickup coordination, and milk marketing are just a few examples of where Agropur strives to provide professional customer service.
Our producers shipping to our plants are diverse in their business styles, some small and large; some grazers and freestall operations; some stall barns and parlors. Our field service department strives to provide services that are tailored to our producer's needs. Discovering those needs, meeting and exceeding them is what defines Agropur's Producer services.
Milk Quality Services
Award winning cheese, starts with the quality milk from our local producers whom we partner with. Agropur offers information and services to assist dairy producers in the consistent production of quality milk. As a supplement to the years of experience our team has with on-farm milk quality troubleshooting and dairy regulatory compliance, we offer the following milk quality services:
Milk Futures Program
Agropur inc. offers the ability to contract milk via the CME Class III futures market. We work with the brokers at KDM Trading to provide this risk management service. Full 200,000 pound contracts and smaller sized contracts are available for forward contracts, puts, and window pricing (put/call).
Please contact KDM Trading at 877-695-8538 for specific quotes to establish a contract.
Producer Services Team
|Butch Shimon, Field Representative: 44 years of industry experience. Counties covered: Brown, Calumet, Door, Kewaunee, Manitowoc
Office: (800) 370-2901 ext. 29223
|David Hitner, Field Representative: 13 years of industry experience. Counties covered: Brown, Marinette, Oconto, Outagamie, Shawano, Waupaca
Little Chute, Wisconsin
Office: (920) 788-2115 ext. 27204
Cell: (715) 498-7034
|Ken Ebert, Field Representative: 41 years of industry experience. Counties Covered: Fond du Lac, Green Lake, Marquette, Portage, Shawano, Waupaca, Waushara
Office: (800) 924-6371 ext. 37
Cell: (715) 498-7033
|Deb Wehde, Field Representative: 24 years of industry experience. Areas covered: Iowa, SW Minnesota, SE South Dakota, NE Nebraska
Office: (712) 439-6780 ext. 120
Cell: (712) 578-8877
|Keith Braun, Director of Milk Procurement: 31 years of Industry Experience.
Office: (920) 944-0970
Cell: (920) 277-5924
|Jeff Montsma, Manager of Producer Services: 24 years of Industry Experience.
Office: (920) 944-0990 ext. 35262
Cell: (920) 740-5650
|Angela Gordon, Producer Payroll Specialist
Office: (920) 944-0972
FARM - Farmers Assuring Responsible Management
In Agropur's constant commitment to produce quality products for our customer's needs, we focus on milk quality and food safety. Our customers' standards for supplying food products have been elevated in the area of animal well-being. In response to this, along with our efforts of continuing to build consumer confidence in our dairy industry, we have implemented Farmers Assuring Responsible Management (FARM) for all dairy producers shipping to Agropur.
This FARM program is not pass-fail, but rather an on farm continuous improvement process centered on evaluating animal care facilities, farm protocols and the animals themselves. It has evolved through working with experts from all segments of the dairy industry, including the National Milk Producers Federation and support from Dairy Management, Inc. It has been implemented reaching 98% of the United States milk supply from over 22,000 farms shipping to food processors throughout the United States.