Alan Feuerhelm Elected To Midwest Dairy Association Corporate Board

Allen Merrill, a dairy farmer from Parker, S.D., is the new chairman of Midwest Dairy Association, elected during the organization’s annual meeting held in conjunction with the Western Dairy Forum in Phoenix, Ariz.

New members of the corporate board officer team are vice chairman Charles Krause of Buffalo, Minn., and secretary Lowell Mueller of Hooper, Neb. Bill Siebenborn of Trenton, Mo., was re-elected second vice chairman while Dan Grunhovd of Gary, Minn., was re-elected treasurer.

New members elected to the Midwest Dairy corporate board include: Alan Feuerhelm of Le Mars, Iowa; Lloyd Gunter of Conway, Mo.; Corrine Lieser of Belgrade, Minn.; Larry Shover of Delhi, Iowa; and Kristine Spadgenske of Menahga, Minn.

Alan Feuerhelm and the family founded Plymouth Dairy Farms near LeMars in the spring of 2000 with the first cows milked in August. They currently milk over 2,800 cows and have 30 full and part-time employees.

Division board officers and new members in the Iowa division are chairman Dan Hotvedt of Mabel, Minn.; vice chairman Bruce Brockshus of Ocheyedan; secretary Pam Bolin of Clarksville; and treasurer Larry Shover, Delhi. Ken Birker of Vinton and Melissa Blood of State Center were seated as new members of the Iowa Division board.

April Federal Reserve Beige Book Shows Ag Sector In Stress

The Seventh District Federal Reserve including Iowa, released its April 2017 Beige Book this week which included commentary on current US agricultural industry conditions. Lower crop prices put further stress on the agricultural sector. Prices of corn, soybean, and wheat all fell during the reporting period. With profit margins looking to be higher for soybeans than for corn, demand for soybean seeds was high. Recent rains delayed the start of corn planting in portions of the District. Additional delays could hurt yields, and, because soybeans are planted later in the season, could further shift the crop mix toward soybeans. Expectations of low incomes for 2017 led to lower farmland values and cash rents for cropland compared with last year. However, land values for higher quality ground and recreational tracts were steady on balance. Milk and hog prices were lower, while egg and cattle prices moved up. Expectations of falling milk prices and rising feed costs led more dairy operations to lock in margins

The March report had indicated prospects for farm income in 2017 improved slightly in January and early February, although the agricultural sector continued to operate under stress.




Proposed Legislation Would Help Dairy Labor Issues

Two bills introduced recently would modify the existing H-2A agricultural visa program to make it easier for dairy farmers to hire the foreign labor they need to run their operations. Reps. Elise Stefanik (R-NY) and Chris Collins (R-NY) co-authored the Farm Family Relief Act in January. Rep. Sean Duffy’s (R-WI) introduced the Defending the Agricultural Industry’s Requirements Year-round (DAIRY) Act this month.
The Family Farm Relief Act of 2017 bill directs the Department of Agriculture (USDA) to establish a process for receiving H-2A non-immigrant visas (temporary agricultural workers) which shall ensure that that petitioners may file such petitions over the Internet or in paper form. Administration of the H-2A program is transferred from the Department of Labor to USDA. The bill includes year-round livestock workers, including dairy workers, in the H-2A category with a maximum three-year period of admissions, which may be renewed three months after the end of each such period and revises H-2A certification provisions.
The Defending the Agricultural Industry’s Requirements Year-round Act of 2017 (DAIRY Act), expands the H-2A worker program to benefit dairy farmers. Currently, agricultural guest worker programs do not work well for dairy because the industry is not seasonal. This bill modifies the existing visa program to allow dairy workers to hold a visa for 18 months, giving Wisconsin farmers certainty about the stability of their workforce.

Northwest IA Dairy Banquet to Feature Peterson Farm Bros

The Sioux County Dairy Promotion Board’s annual dairy banquet will take place on Monday, June 26, 2017 at Western Christian High School in Hull. The meal will be served from 5:30-6:30 pm, and the Peterson Farm Brothers will take the stage at 7:00 pm. The Peterson Brothers are three brothers from central Kansas who make YouTube videos to promote agriculture. Their YouTube videos have received over 40 million views! The brothers all grew up and still work on their family farm alongside their parents and sister.

To get your tickets for the banquet, click here.


Hay Auction Report For April 17

Rock Valley Hay Auction for Monday, Apr 17, 2017

Receipts:  24 loads    Last Week:  44 loads    Year Ago:   15 Loads

Compared to last week:  Market was mostly steady to stronger on hay.  Bedding materials were very lightly demanded.

Alfalfa:  Good:  Large Squares, 5 loads 92.50-112.50; Large Rounds, 5 loads 82.50-92.50. Fair:  Large Rounds, 4 loads 62.50-77.50.  Utility:  Large Rounds, 1 load 57.50.

Grass:  Good:  Large Squares, 1 load 75.00; Large Rounds, 2 loads 70.00-80.00.  Fair:  Large Rounds, 1 load 60.00.

Alfalfa/Grass:  None.

Oat Hay:  None.

Straw:  Large Squares, 1 load 27.50.

Corn Stalks:  Large Squares, 1 load 15.00; Large Rounds, 3 loads 20.00-30.00.

10th Annual June Dairy Month Open House Set for June 28 at Summit Dairy

The open house is the Western Iowa Dairy Alliance’s biggest event of the year. It is free to the public and everyone is invited!

Combo Labor Compliance Posters Are Easiest Way To Stay Legal

This week I had a question concerning the labor compliance posters that are needed for dairymen with employees. I asked Farm and Agribusiness Management Specialist Melissa R. O’Rourke to share a definitive answer for the question. Her response:

The poster problem is that for the myriad of different employment-related laws (both state and federal) some require posting if you have one employee, for other laws it is ten employees; and for others, the employer may not be required to post a notice until reaching 50 employees (such as FMLA). That is why the “combo” posters are handy – they cover all the required notices for a variety of laws whether the particular employer needs it or not.

Continue reading “Combo Labor Compliance Posters Are Easiest Way To Stay Legal”

Hay Auction Report For April 13

Rock Valley Hay Auction for Thursday, Apr 13, 2017

Receipts:  83 loads    Last Week:  98 loads    Last Year:  90 loads

Compared to last week:   Alfalfa and grass hay sold with weaker undertones. Quality was average.

Alfalfa: Premium:  Large Squares, 1 load 120.00.  Good:  Large Squares, 2 loads 92.50-105.00; Large Rounds, 11 loads 82.50-90.00.  Fair:   Large Squares, 3 loads 75.00-82.50; Large Rounds, 16 loads 65.00-75.00.  Utility:  Large Squares, 1 load 60.00; Large Rounds, 1 load 55.00.

Grass:  Premium:  Small Squares, 1 load 155.00.  Good:  Large Squares, 1 load 80.00; Large Rounds, 19 loads 70.00-92.50; Small Squares, 2 loads 85.00-105.00.  Fair:  Large Squares, 3 loads 67.50-72.50; Large Rounds, 6 loads 60.00-67.50.

Alfalfa/Grass Mix:  Good:  Large Squares, 1 load 80.00.  Fair:  Large Squares, 3 loads 67.50-75.00; Large Rounds, 1 load 67.50.  Utility:  Large Rounds, 1 load 40.00.

Oat Hay:  Large Rounds, 2 loads 50.00.

Straw:  Large Rounds, 3 loads 57.50.

Cornstalks:  Large Rounds, 5 loads 27.50-30.00.

Proposed Legislation Would Benefit Dairymen

American Dairy Coalition (ADC) reports U.S. Rep. Sean Duffy (R-WI), co-chair of the Congressional Dairy Farm Caucus, introduced a new immigration reform policy for dairy operations.
The new legislation — known as the DAIRY Act — will help to provide a reliable labor force, ensuring dairy producers have the workers necessary to care for their animals as well as provide healthy and affordable dairy products to our nation and across the globe.
ADC highly supports the efforts of Rep. Duffy in his work to allow the dairy industry to utilize the H2-A visa program. Previously, the dairy industry was excluded due to its 365-day-a-year need for labor. Dairy farmers have been waiting for a provision to utilize the H2-A visa category to legally employ immigrant workers to fill important roles that domestic workers continually pass up. The H2-A visa is a vital tool to provide year-round labor for dairy operations.

Hay Auction Report For April 10

Rock Valley Hay Auction for Monday, Apr 10, 2017

Receipts: 44 loads Last Week: 40 loads Year Ago: 42 Loads

Compared to last week: Market was mostly steady.

Alfalfa: Good: Large Squares, 1 load 107.50; Large Rounds, 1 load 110.00. Fair: Large Squares, 1 load 72.50; Large Rounds, 20 loads 65.00-87.50.

Grass: Good: Large Rounds, 4 loads 70.00-80.00. Fair: Large Rounds, 8 loads 57.50-67.50.
Utility: Large Rounds, 1 load 45.00.

Alfalfa/Grass: Good: Large Rounds, 85.00. Fair: Large Squares, 3 loads 67.50-75.00.

Oat Hay: Large Rounds, 1 load 50.00.

Straw: Large Rounds, 1 load 55.00.

Corn Stalks: Large Rounds, 2 loads 30.00-35.00.