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Bike ride raises funds for beginning farmers

The annual Ride to Farm event will be held June 5. The bicycle ride raises awareness and funds for the Wisconsin School for Beginning Dairy and Livestock Farmers at the University of Wisconsin-Madison.

The ride will begin and end at Birch Lake Park in Barneveld, Wisconsin. A morning rest stop is planned at Uplands Cheese and Grass Dairy near Dodgeville. A lunch rest stop is planned at Taliesin Riverside Terrace Cafe near Spring Green. And an afternoon rest stop is planned at the Cates Family Farm. All three stops will have locally sourced food for participants.

The Wisconsin School for Beginning Dairy and Livestock Farmers emphasizes business planning and pasture-based farm management. About 600 students have attended the school and more than 75 percent of its graduates are farming today. Donations will support the school and will be used in the ways listed.

  • tuition scholarships and internship expenses
  • scholarships for student travel to conferences
  • honoraria for farmers who help teach this course
  • short-term and long-term support for the school through staff salary and its endowment at the UW-Madison

Visit ridetofarm.dojiggy.com or contact nalber@wisc.edu or 608-924-1154 for more information.

Cooperative donates milk powder

The Dairy Pricing Association farmer cooperative marked its 10th anniversary by recently donating about 126,000 pounds of nonfat-dry-milk powder to help ease hunger around the world. The cooperative purchased milk powder, which was repackaged and distributed by Christian Aid Ministries, Catholic Charities and HEART. The value of the donations was more than $147,000.

The donation also helped to create upward pressure on the Class 4 milk market, which has a recently increased role in the farm milk price received by the cooperative’s members, according to Dairy Pricing Association.

In April 2020 – as the COVID-19 pandemic hit and many dairy farmers were forced to dump milk – the Dairy Pricing Association purchased five semi-loads of 40-pound cheddar blocks totaling more than 205,500 pounds valued at $238,867. The cheese was donated for distribution by food-pantry networks across the United States. The purchases by the Dairy Pricing Association marked the beginning of the turnaround in the Class 3 milk market in 2020, the cooperative reported. Visit dairypricing.org for more information.

Cattle immune cells identified

A type of immune cell – mucosal-associated invariant T or MAIT – in cattle is similar to cells in humans. The cell tackles bacterial and viral infections and plays a role in wound healing and vaccine response. An international team of scientists recently used molecules that bind to receptors on the mucosal-associated invariant T cells to identify and characterize the cells in cattle.

The cattle cells were primarily located in mucosal tissues in internal organs and cavities as well as in lymph nodes. The number of the cells found in milk was elevated in cows that had mastitis or were infected with the bacteria that cause bovine tuberculosis. That indicated the cells are involved in the immune response to those two major bacterial infections in cattle.

The study was a collaboration between the Roslin Institute, The Pirbright Institute, the Universities of Oxford, Ultrech and Queensland, the University of Melbourne’s Doherty Institute, and the Animal and Plant Health Agency. The study recently was published in “Frontiers in Immunology.” Visit frontiersin.org and search for “MAIT cells in cattle” for more information.

Dairy beverage center planned

The Center for Dairy Research has plans to open later this year a Beverage Innovation Center. It will support development of novel dairy beverages and will be located in the new addition to Babcock Hall on the University of Wisconsin-Madison campus.

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The Beverage Innovation Center will feature modular equipment necessary for the development of new dairy beverages such as high-protein products, shelf-stable beverages, filtered milks, and extended shelf life and aseptic products. It will include both direct and indirect ultra-high-temperature processing, bottle-packaging option as well as bag in box. Details will be forthcoming. Visit cdr.wisc.edu for more information.

New Holstein bulls sought

Marketplace Sires, which provides a platform for Holstein breeders to market their own genetics, is seeking potential new bulls for their lineup. Bull owners retain ownership of the animals. Holstein Marketplace Sires coordinates marketing and sales.

Ideal candidates are genomic-tested bulls with strong genetic merit and deep maternal pedigrees. Desired age is about six months. Holstein breeders with interest in submitting a bull for consideration should send the animal's name and registration number by Apr. 16. Send the information to email marketplacesires@holstein.com. Visit holsteinusa.com/marketplacesires for more information.

Former Dean Foods processing plants sold

Two former Dean Foods Company milk-processing plants recently were sold to New Dairy Opco – New Borden – and Select Milk Producers. The plants are located in De Pere, Wisconsin, and Harvard, Illinois.

The plants were required to be sold by order of the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Illinois. That followed an antitrust-enforcement action brought by the U.S. Department of Justice Antitrust Division and the Attorneys General of the State of Wisconsin and the Commonwealth of Massachusetts.

The plants had been acquired by Dairy Farmers of America in the Section 363 sale in the Dean Foods bankruptcy filed in November 2019. Teams from the Capstone Headwaters investment bank and its bankruptcy and restructuring group helped facilitate the sales of the plants.

New Borden is an entity controlled by Capitol Peak Partners and KKR. It acquired in July 2020 substantially all of the assets of Borden Dairy Company – Old Borden – following a court-approved bankruptcy auction.

New Borden is led by a group of dairy-industry veterans who oversee about 3,300 employees. Based in Dallas, the company operates 14 manufacturing facilities across the South and Midwest. Also based in Dallas, Select Milk Producers is a dairy cooperative with farms and dairy-processing operations in the Southwest and the Midwest. Visit bordendairy.com and selectmilk.com for more information. 

Animal reproduction, welfare projects awarded funding

The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s National Institute of Food and Agriculture recently awarded $6.7 million in funding for 15 grants to enhance animal reproduction. It also awarded $4 million in funding for eight grants to improve the welfare and well-being of agricultural animals.

The animal-reproduction projects involve basic and applied research on the cellular, molecular, genomic and whole-animal aspects of animal reproduction. Among the projects is one at the University of Northern Colorado that will explore the influence of fish oil on corpus luteum function. Another project at Pennsylvania State University will study photoperiodic regulation of reproduction in turkey hens.

The animal well-being grants will advance research on assessing the well-being of agricultural animals. They also will focus on identifying and reducing the negative effects of stressors on farm animals. Among the projects is one at the University of California-Davis focused on alleviating acute and long-term pain associated with disbudding dairy calves.

Visit cris.nifa.usda.gov and cris.nifa.usda.gov and nifa.usda.gov for more information.

This article originally ran on agupdate.com.

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