Yet Another Semester Gone!

Merry Christmas!

As the fall semester has come to an end here at the University of Guelph I thought I would take a quick minute and reflect back on my blogging experience.

I have to admit that at the beginning of the semester I thought that this whole blogging thing was going to be a nightmare.  I am not much of a computer-technology person, but as I quickly learned, you really don’t have to be to create your own blog.  At times it did frustrate me and some weeks it just seemed impossible to write a 250 word blog with midterms and assignments piling up.  But overall it was a great learning experience!  The thing that I enjoyed the most was keeping up to date on industry news.  I specifically detailed my blog to cover the dairy industry and in doing so I was eager to read articles, research topics and follow-up on all of the recent information.  Typically during the school semester I fall behind in keeping up to date on leading industry news and have always regretted not taking the extra effort.  In a way my blogging has pushed me to keep up to date so that I have something engaging and new to write about every week.  Over the Christmas break there will probably not be much activity on my blog as I will be at home on the farm enjoying my family and cows.  I am assuming that I will be continuing on with my blog in January as I am taking the second part of the agricultural communications class offered at U of G.

I would like to thank all of those who read my blogs and contributed via commenting!  It was a pleasure writing and I will be back in January! Until then Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!!

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Ontario Producers Expected to Accept CQM Program

The CQM program will ensure the highest quality Canadian milk to Canadian consumers

It seems as though diary farmers will be soon facing more regulations to abide by after the recently held Fall Policy Conference held near Alliston, Ontario.  Although the conference was closed to media and the public, Bill Dimmick and Sharon Laidlaw were able to put together an informative article in the November issue of the Ontario Milk Producer on the Canadian Quality Milk Program (CQM).  Basically what is asked of farmers is to follow a ‘new’ set of regulations that the Dairy Farmers of Ontario (DFO) has come up with.  Farmers will be trained in a hands on environment on their farm and then expected to implement the protocol in their day to day business.  DFO decided that they will be enforcing a forgivable penalty to producers who do not comply to the program.  Producers will be charged $1 per hectolitre for the first year of non-compliance and then the penalty increases by $1 per hL for every additional year thereafter.  This program is new to the Ontario dairy industry, but it is nothing new to the rest of the Canadian provinces.  Most of them have the majority of producers trained and now is just a matter of getting them to fully comply and registered.

Most of the ‘new’ regulations most producers have been following for quite sometime now, but a new aspect that they have introduced is record keeping.  Many producers see this as an unnecessary step, but in every other business setting record keeping of everything that goes on in the business is mandatory.  George MacNaughton, DFO’s production division director said  that “our goal is not to penalize producers; that’s why there’s a forgivable component.” The program is expected to be taken up first by board members of DFO and milk producer committee representatives from each county in Ontario.  They will be train first and expected to comply to the outlined regulations.   In real life situations there will always be a group of individuals whom decided that they are being treated unfair and will resist accepting the required practices.  And this is the basis of why DFO decided to implement a forgivable penalty in hopes that it would nudge producers in the right direction without causing too much of a ruckus.

My personal opinion is that yes producers will have to spend more time of their busy day keeping track of records, but all in all it is not that big of a deal.  On the other hand I can also see the other side of the argument.  Farming is not an easy profession as it entails long labour intensive days; by adding yet another daily task it is more of an annoyance to producers than anything.  However, the food sector is extremely concerned with food contamination and therefore wants to know exactly what is happening at every level of production.  Because dairy producers provide a large amount of raw milk to the market it is important that it is free of all contaminants.  For years now producers have not had to record daily happenings on the farm and there have been very few problems as the result.  But with an increasing concern on food contamination these days, the CQM program basically functions to ensure that producers have followed through on the protocol that they are supposed to.  It will protect producers for being blamed for any possible mishap with the milk that is brought onto the market by Canadian dairy farmers.  Regulations are becoming more and more common in agriculture today especially at the on farm level.  There are numerous rules and programs that producers are expected to follow and typically they are for the concern of the farmer and in the long run will eventually payoff.  I believe that the CQM program will do exactly that.  Although producers are not the most willing to accept group they need to come to terms that agriculture is not the same as it was 50 years ago.  I’m not saying that it is necessarily a good thing or a bad thing, but farmers today need to acknowledge that agriculture will continuously be changing  whether they like it or not.

Getting the Facts Straight with Milk

 

Milk; It's important for healthy bone development!

I was recently sent a link from my Dad to this new interactive website called Never Stop Milk.  I was intrigued and proceeded to checked it out last night as I really did not have much else to do at the time.  What I saw and read on the website was quite to my surprise.  Basically they have compiled a website that is interactive for children of all ages about the facts and fiction of milk.  I spent some time on the site checking it out and seeing what type of message they aimed to get across to visitors and was delighted with the information presented.   They include information on the site about how milk is good nutritionally compared to other beverage choices and how it gives you strength for you bones to grow and develop healthily.  I was really happy to see the effort put forth into educating children in a fun and educational way that will help to get the word out there and the message across that milk is really good for you!  I do think that the sight could use some more games and buttons to click around on, but all in all it is a great start to a fun educational tool that targets children of all ages.

 

I wanted to write up a quick blurb on the website and encourage all of the people who look and and read by blog to visit the website and tell me what you think! So go ahead and check out the website at http://www.neverstopmilk.ca/

Proud to Be Farming Canadian Dairy

Canada flourishes in falling world milk prices

Milking dairy cows in Canada two or sometimes even three times every day of the year is strenuous labour intensive work, but at least in Canada we know that it is profitable.  Unfortunately this situation is not the same for the rest of the world, as milk prices have been and continue to decline.  In times like this it makes farmers happy to sit back and relax knowing that their quota system will continue to provide them with a fair price for their product.  Farming is a tough industry to be employed in and yes many people farm because it is what they love, but love will get you only so far.  Earning a profit to ensure your business will be successful is an essential key element that thankfully the dairy quota system provides.

At two recent important international dairy meetings, International Association of Milk Control Agencies and International Dairy Federation, both the US and Europe were blown away by the fact that the Canadian dairy industry has remained flourishing over the past year.  Meanwhile, the world price of milk continues to drop lower and lower.  With prices continuing to decrease it is becoming increasingly hard for many farmers to stay a float with a positive attitude that prices will increase in the near future; without an increase in price many farmers will be forced to close up business.  In a situation like this Canadian farmers cannot be more happy to have such a wonderful system, where they are assured a set price for their fluid milk.  Talk of abolishing the Canadian quota system by the WTO (world trade organization) petrifies many farmers, as their money invested in quota costs hundreds of thousands of dollars, which they plan to retire on.  Eliminating the quota system would essentially cause more headaches in the short run and the long run for Canadian dairy farmers and the entire dairy industry.  Why would we want to reduce our farmers incomes, take away their retirement funds and put them in a constant state of stress wondering what the price of milk will be next month?  Our system works perfectly fine and there are very few minute possible reasons as to why eliminating the Canadian quota system would be beneficial for our Canadian farmers.

To have other countries look at the Canadian dairy industry and ask what we are possibly doing because of our continued profit over the past year is an extreme compliment and ego booster to our industry.  Yes, we are doing dairy business right over here in Canada and have continued to every since the quota system was put in place.  Sure when the world price of milk is high and other international farmers are making a larger profit they laugh in our face and say ‘silly Canadians and their quota system, they don’t know what they are missing out on!’.  But it is the total opposite scenario when prices being to drop and continue to drop.  Now I’m not saying that the Canadian quota system is completely flawless, but it does give farmers peace of mind to know they will have an income every month and be able to pay off bills and expenses.  The WTO would be making an enormous mistake my eradicating the quota system in Canada, it does prove to be a successful setup and allows farmers to produce milk for their fellow Canadian!  I cannot express how much I love sit down to a cold beautiful glass of Canadian milk, it really an authentic Canadian experience!

Knowing Your Ice Cream

Real Ice Cream

Companies such as Beryers, Chapman's, and Bruster's all sell real ice cream products.

Unfortunately the long warm summer days have come and gone yet again, but it is important for those who continue to enjoy the sweet treat of ice cream year round, to recognize what it is they are actually savoring.  It’s not breaking news to farmers in the dairy industry that they have been sold off as producing what many perceive as ‘real ice cream’.  A quick read of many ingredient labels will easily uncover the deception that in many claimed ‘ice cream’ products, the actual content of fluid milk is zero.  But let’s be serious, how many consumers go through and read all the ingredient lists of the foods that they purchase at the grocery store?  I’m willing to bet little to none.  Modified milk ingredients can be commonly found on the label and little do many people know that these are NOT real milk (usually include skim milk powder or milk protein concentrates or whey protein concentrates, etc.).  These modified milk ingredients (or fake milk as I like to say) are usually imported from other countries, meaning they are not Canadian milk!

Fortunately for dairy farmers and consumers a like new recent regulations have forced food processors of ice cream to clearly state the definition of their product, whether it be real ice cream or frozen dessert.  Processors must now follow strict ingredients rules in order for them to classify their ice cream as real and if these requirements are not met then they are prohibited from printing ice cream on the label.  To clarify, real ice cream must be made with a certain percentage of fluid milk where as, frozen dessert is processed using modified milk ingredients.  Some of the major ice cream distributors jumped on the wagon and began making it clear that the products they make are made with real milk.  Companies such as Chapman’s and Breyers have adopted ice cream miking practices that involve real milk ingredients instead of fake ones.

I cannot personally stress how important it is to READ FOOD LABELS!! Not only in regards to ice cream, but also when purchasing produce and meats especially.  Typically consumers think that the food industry and in return farmers are tricking them into buying items that have been brought half way around the world when they want local foods.  The fact in the matter is that farmers have very little say into what gets printed on the packaging at the grocery store.  All we as farmers can do is emphasize how critically essential it is for consumers to read labels and if no print is available then ask!! Get to the bottom of where your food is coming from if you are really concerned.  I think that it is wonderful that people are demanding local food, but this goes beyond simply purchasing your produce  the farmers market.  Make it your responsibility as a consumer to support Canadian agriculture and know the difference between real ice cream and frozen dessert.  After you indulge in rich creaminess of real ice cream, you’ll never want anything but!

Master Breeder Herd Vanishes from Wellington County

View of Dupasquier Holsteins

View of Dupasquier Holsteins

Hundreds of people gathered on a mild October 28 to watch yet another dairy herd dispersal just outside of the Guelph city limits.  The dispersal of Dupasquier Holsteins owned and operated by Oscar and Eric Dupasquier & Family shocked many in the farming community.  Known for their excellence in dairy cattle breeding and honored with a Master Breeder title the farm sold 216 lots including embryos.  The top seller of the sale, Pierstein Dundee Rolita brought in a whooping $65 000 followed by a close second of $46 000 from Dupasquier Windstar Presence.  Rolita has close genetic connections from last years Royal Winter Fair Winner, Thrulane James Rose.

Needless to say Dupasquier Holsteins will not fade away as a once been dairy farm.  Their contribution to the dairy industry will be remember for years to come and the breeding of their supreme cows will live on.  Dupasquier’s put a lot of effort, time and money into their dairy operation in terms of breeding and it shows.  Over the years they have had numerous cows classified excellent and very good and have stepped into the bull side of genetics.  They provided Foundation Sires with Duapsquier Carisma, a phenomenal world class bull, ranked in the very top of the industry leaders.  Foundation Sires has also picked up a few younger new bulls form the Dupasquier line up, Dupasquier Accapulco and Dupasquier Montana, both of whom look to be extremely promising bulls.  Dupasquier’s were extremely successful  in the past when they were heavily involved in showing their cattle internationally.  Over the years they accumulated numerous ribbons, trophy’s, and plaques for their remarkable first class holsteins.

When I first heard of the rumor of Dupasquier’s dispersal I was astonished!  I immediately pushed it off as a rumor and thought to myself, ‘why would they do such a silly thing, they have an amazing herd of holsteins’.  To my dismay I eventually heard that it was no rumor, in fact it was true and the date was set!  A few years ago, when I was in first year right about this time of the year, my parents and I took a trip and visited the farm.  Over the years my Dad and I have visited many different dairy farms.  But this one was different for me.  Upon arriving we were greeted by Eric, a wonderfully friendly man who had a absolute genuine passion for his cows and dairy genetics.  He was very informative about each individual cow yet had a down to earth personality and was very modest about their accomplishments.  Previously contemplating coming to the University of Guelph for agriculture, that day on the farm, I absolutely knew that I had chosen the right industry to be working in.  Farmers like the Dupasquier family have a passion for their business and that is extremely compelling to young people.  To me the Dupasquier’s had a positive outlook and an honest passion for what they were doing.  Now I know the family had it’s own personal reasons as to why they chose to sell out, but I think that holsteins will be something that they will always and forever hold very near and dear to their hearts!  My only regret was not getting my hands on one of those beauties from the sale to add to our herd back home 🙂

Pleas visit this website for more pictures from the dispersal.

A view of the jam-packed ribbon room on the farm

A view of the jam-packed ribbon room on the farm.