May is osteoporosis prevention month and Ellen Wheeler, nutrition educator with the St. Louis Dairy Council says three servings a day can help prevent the bone weakening condition. She says our calcium needs increase as we age…we need it for our bones to grow and stay strong. In addition, vitamin D needs to go hand in hand with calcium for the best results.
Efforts to grow the dairy industry along the Interstate 29 corridor of South Dakota, Minnesota, Iowa and Nebraska are starting to show results.
University of Minnesota dairy economist Marin Bozic says the I-29 corridor will need to add another 100-thousand dairy cows over the next two years to meet the growing demand from milk processors in the region.
“The plants are coming,” says Bozic. “We see Bel Brands building right now—they’re building a new plant in Brookings, South Dakota. And Agropur has announced that they are going to expand their plant in Hull, Iowa—they will double its capacity.
“It’a a great dairy development opportunity for farmers in this region, who have a chance to expand and find a market for their milk,” he says.
Deann Bylsma with the Agropur cheese and whey plant at Hull, Iowa says their expansion will require another 45-thousand cows within a 100 mile radius of their plant.
“We are not looking at just ‘stealing’ milk from other dairy processing facilities—we need to grow milk,” Bylsma says. “So that means existing dairies need to grow, or we need to put in satellite dairies, or we need to put in new dairies somewhere in our 100 mile radius, so that we get the added milk that we need.”
Bylsma says the expansion will double the current capacity of the Hull plant to over five million pounds of milk daily. She says production is targeted for 2015 pending the development of milk in their area.
Brownfield talked with Bozic and Bylsma at the recent Nebraska Dairy Convention in Norfolk.
The state of Iowa has ended its requirement that all milk received in the state be tested for aflatoxin.
The testing requirement was put in place on August 31st of last year due to the drought conditions in Iowa last summer. Drought can produce aflatoxin in corn.
According to the Iowa Department of Agriculture, during the six months in which the testing requirement was in place, four loads of milk tested positive for aflatoxin. All four were destroyed.
The last load to test positive was in early November.
Eggnog is a classic, traditional drink for the holidays. How does it stack up in terms of food safety? The US Food and Drug Administration, FDA, says the only way to prevent potential salmonella contamination from eggnog is to make it with pasteurized or properly cooked eggs. The FDA recommends cooking the egg base of your recipe by combining eggs and half of the milk called for in your recipe. Cook it gently until the mixture reaches 160 degrees Fahrenheit, the temperature at which salmonella, if present, will be destroyed. After cooking the egg base you then chill the mixture before adding in the rest of the ingredients.
Dairy folks say other so-called “milks” don’t meet the gold standard that is real milk. Of course, for many reasons people turn to soy milk, almond milk, rice milk, for example, and in their own ways those products offer health benefits. Lana Frantzen, vice president of health and wellness for Dairy Max, tells Brownfield the inherent nutrients in real milk have earned it that name. Federal law requires real milk to meet certain health standards and Frantzen says that’s not the case with imitation milks.
Students at an Oregon school district that banned chocolate milk last year will get to drink it again. The Dairy Herd Network sites an article in the Albany Oregon Democrat-Herald which says two parents presented a petition to the Lebanon, Oregon school board earlier this month – with research on chocolate milk’s nutritional value.
The parents said students at Cascades Elementary School were dumping more than 11 gallons of regular milk every day at lunch, more than twice the amount of milk that was dumped before chocolate milk was removed.
Federal school lunch regulations that went into effect this school year allow flavored milk as long as it’s fat-free.
Dairy industry research shows kids, on average, will drink more milk if it is flavored milk.
Is Ice Cream a healthy summer treat? The St. Louis Dairy Council’s Ellen Wheeler says there’s a lot in ice cream that’s good becasue it is dairy based and has specific, important nutrients. With low-fat ice cream and other products in the mix, she says there’s a lot to choose from.
Expect to be hearing more about healthful dairy products soon. Dairy Management Incorporated has partnered to fight hunger and promote healthy food choices. Informing consumers about dairy is part of it. Tom Gallagher CEO of Dairy Management Incorporated says an example of misinformation and misunderstanding was the move by some schools to eliminate chocolate milk from school cafeterias.
Calcium is what most of us think of as the main health benefit of milk and other dairy products – for building strong bones and teeth but Ellen Wheeler with the St. Louis Dairy Council says it’s more than that. Mike Hutjens, animal science professor emeritus with the University of Illinois, says not to forget about the protein in dairy products.
June is dairy month in the U.S. – a tradition that began in 1937.
“Most cows at that time were on pasture and of course in the spring lots of rain, lots of pasture and cows produced lots of milk. And, we discovered that we had lots of milk. And, as a result to try to increase consumption of the milk and maintain better prices for milk, June was decided as dairy month to try to increase consumption of dairy products,” says Mike Hutjens, animal science professor emeritus with the University of Illinois.
While prices are low for consumers right now – milk at $2.50 a gallon in certain markets – he says dairy producers are again going through a downturn.
Hutjens says it’s, “Pretty tough times right now here in the U.S. for dairy producers – I mean -in most cases they’re producing below break-even.”
After recovering last year from three very tough years – he says higher amounts of milk coupled with high input prices and increased production in New Zealand and Australia have contributed to the current struggles for dairy producers.
Hutjens tells Brownfield Ag News prices paid to dairy farmers have dropped 20-percent at the farm gate.