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June 2017

New York Dairy Managers Adept, National Herd Still Growing

U.S. Milk Production and Cow Herd

Despite two years of low milk prices, the U.S. dairy herd continues to grow. By M. Kelly Young kyoung@nyfb.org As agriculture celebrates a month dedicated to dairy products, we should also stop recognize to the talent of our dairy managers. It might be hard to revel in that as dairy continues to face a bevy of challenges, but as the recently released Northeast Dairy Farm Summary for 2016 demonstrates, some farmers were able to eek out slightly better net earnings than in 2015 despite lower milk prices. In the second full year of depressed prices, profitability increased from an average net loss of $30 per cow in 2015 to a modest average net income of $15 per cow last year. This was as milk price per hundredweight (cwt) declined from $18.24 to $16.85. Declining feed and fuel costs contributed to the improved income, but cow productivity also increased by 3.6 percent among the surveyed farms. The annual summary, which included 457 dairy farms, is a collaboration between Farm Credit East and Yankee Farm Credit. By the nature of the farm summary, it does not claim to represent all farms, but rather is ?a solid cross section of better-than-average? Northeast dairy farm businesses, the majority of which were from New York. While conclusions can?t be drawn about all farms in New York from this report, it can provide some important information. For instance, even though farms in this summary showed improved earnings, the report details that Continued on page 23

President Trump Meets with New York Farmer During Agriculture Roundtable at White House

By Steve Ammerman sammerman@nyfb.org New York dairy and vegetable farmer, Maureen Torrey from Genesee County Farm Bureau, is hopeful that there will finally be movement on immigration reform following an important meeting at the White House. She joined 13 other farmers from across the country April 25 for a roundtable discussion with President Donald Trump and Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue. Farm labor and trade were among the pressing issues that the farmers discussed with the President. He highlighted a change in Canadian dairy policy that is significantly curtailing exports of ultra-filtered milk from two upstate dairy cooperatives. Mr. Trump asked Torrey directly about her experiences sending vegetables to Canada and was interested in what she had to say about the role farmworkers play in her family?s multi-generational farm. ?My key thing after we started talking about labor was how we have skilled people working on our farms and how they are very important and we need to find some way to keep them,? said Torrey. Torrey said her peer from Pennsylvania, Luke Brubaker, expressed concern that just the week before the meeting, Immigration and Customs Enforcement had been picking up workers in his state, much as they have been doing in New York, primarily targeting Genesee County Farm Bureau member Maureen Torrey (far right) participates in a planning meeting April 24 with American Farm Bureau Federation President Zippy Duvall, center, and fellow farmers at AFBF headquarters in Washington, DC. The group attended President Trump?s Agricultural Roundtable the following day to discuss important issues. individuals with criminal backgrounds. ICE reported in May that arrests for people known or suspected of being in this country without legal documentation are up 40 percent so far in 2017 compared to last year, which has worried farmers and migrant workers alike. Torrey reinforced to the President that labor concerns are also a deterrent for young family members who want to come back and carry on the tradition of running the farm. Continued on page 25

Dairy Insurance Option Weighed for ?18 Farm Bill Page 3 NYFB?s Work Continues as Legislature Winds Down Page 10

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