LOOK INSIDE FOR OUR CENTRAL PLAINS DAIRY EXPO PREVIEW EDITION!
DAIRY ST R “All dairy, all the time”™
Volume 20, No. 2
March 10, 2018
“I’m leaving with no regrets and with the dairy in good hands.” – Jerome Salzer How economic indicators are inuencing Terminal illness dairy’s future leads Salzer to
One last milk check
By Jennifer Coyne email@example.com
Editor’s note: This is the rst of two articles on Dr. David Kohl’s presentation, “Positioning for success in cyclical economics,” hosted by Ridgewater College Farm Business Management Programs on Feb. 21 in Willmar, Minn. WILLMAR, Minn. – The agriculture industry has entered another year of troubling market conditions, and dairy farmers are holding their breath waiting for the next turnaround. “We have this elongated cycle that I call the grinder. It’s a grinder on nancials and emotions. Throughout the cycle, you redene success, and that will look differently for all of us,” said Dr. David Kohl, Professor of Emeritus at Virginia Tech in Blacksburg, Va. Whether success is nancial stability, peace of mind or even certain family matters, there are several obstacles in reaching success for dairy farmers. In Kohl’s presentation, he spoke of the many national and international economic indicators inuencing the dairy industry, and ultimately, every farmer’s version of success. The markers can be broken into ve categories – international partnerships and trade agreements, the U.S. dollar and general economy, the Federal Reserve System, weather and consumer trends. As the industry sits in a surplus-type of environment, international trade agreements will become more critical over the next six months. Last year, President Trump ended the United States’ partnership with nations in the Trans Pacic Partnership (TPP), and is currently negotiating trade deals with Canada and Mexico as part of the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA). Turn to FUTURE | Page 5
By Jennifer Coyne firstname.lastname@example.org
ST. JOSEPH, Minn. – After 39 years of dairy farming, Jerome Salzer will soon receive his last milk check. On March 7, Jerome and his family – wife, Jean, and son, Terry – sold their 130 milking cows and close-up heifers as part of the partial herd dispersal of their farm near St. Joseph, Minn. “The timing is not right, but I was diagnosed with cancer Dec. 18 and decided to sell the cows,” said Jerome, who will turn 66 years old in June. Jerome’s fate was known only a week before Christmas. Turn to SALZER | Page 10
JENNIFER COYNE/DAIRY STAR
Jerome Salzer holds up a picture of his family Feb. 27 while at his home near St. Joseph, Minn. Salzer sold 130 milking cows and close-up heifers March 7 because he is terminally ill with liver cancer and cirrhosis.
Agropur expands its Lake Norden cheese plant
85,000 cows needed to meet facility’s capacity By Jerry Nelson
LAKE NORDEN, S.D. – Agropur held a groundbreaking ceremony on Feb. 27 for a $250 million expansion of its cheese plant in Lake Norden, S.D. The expansion project, with expected completion in early 2019, will triple the plant’s processing capacity from 3 million pounds of milk per day to 9 million pounds of milk per day. This increase will demand milk from approximately 85,000 additional dairy cows in order to supply the plant’s needs. “Agropur is committed to
JERRY NELSON/ DAIRY STAR
Doug Simon, Agropur President of U.S. OperaƟons, addresses a gathering of industry and business leaders during a groundbreaking ceremony Feb. 27 at Agropur’s cheese plant in Lake Norden, S.D. continuing its development in the North American market. This announcement is very
good news for the growing dairy industry and dairy farmers in the region,” said
René Moreau, president of Agropur. Agropur Inc. is a subsidiary of Agropur Cooperative, which was founded in 1938. Agropur’s headquarters are located in Saint-Hubert, Québec, Canada. Davisco Foods International constructed a mozzarella cheese plant in Lake Norden in 2003. Agropur purchased the facilities from Davisco in 2014. “The Lake Norden project is an important part of our longterm business strategy, which targets continued expansion through acquisitions as well as organic growth. We are eager to get to work on this new and important project,” said Robert Coallier, CEO of Agropur. Work on the expansion began several months ago. The Turn to AGROPUR | Page 6
Page 2 • Dairy Star • Saturday, March 10, 2018
DAIRY ST R www.dairystar.com
ISSN 020355 522 Sinclair Lewis Ave. Sauk Centre, MN 56378 Phone: (320) 352-6303 Fax: (320) 352-5647 Published by Dairy Star LLC General Manager/Editor Mark Klaphake - email@example.com 320-352-6303 (ofce) 320-248-3196 (cell) 320-352-0062 (home) Ad Composition Nancy Powell 320-352-6303 firstname.lastname@example.org Amanda Thooft 320-352-6303 email@example.com Consultant Jerry Jennissen 320-346-2292 Editorial Staff Andrea Borgerding - Associate Editor (320) 352-6303 • firstname.lastname@example.org Krista Kuzma - Assistant Editor (507) 259-8159 • email@example.com Jennifer Coyne - Assistant Editor (320) 352-6303 • firstname.lastname@example.org Ron Johnson (608) 874-4243 email@example.com Ruth Klossner (507) 240-0048 firstname.lastname@example.org Brittany Olson (320) 352-6303 email@example.com Danielle Nauman (715) 245-6848 firstname.lastname@example.org Maria Bichler - Copy Editor 320-352-6303 Advertising Sales Main Ofce: 320-352-6303 Fax: 320-352-5647 Deadline is 5 p.m. of the Friday the week before publication Sales Manager - Jeff Weyer (Northern MN, East Central MN) 320-260-8505 (cell) email@example.com Mark Klaphake (Western MN) 320-352-6303 (ofce) 320-248-3196 (cell) Laura Seljan (National Advertising, SE MN) 507-250-2217 fax: 507-634-4413 firstname.lastname@example.org Jerry Nelson (SW MN, NW Iowa, South Dakota) 605-690-6260 email@example.com Mike Schafer (Central, South Central MN) 320-894-7825 firstname.lastname@example.org Lori Menke (Eastern Iowa, Southern WI) 563-608-6477 • email@example.com Megan Stuessel (Western Wisconsin) 608-387-1202 firstname.lastname@example.org Deadlines The deadline for news and advertising in the Dairy Star is 5 p.m. Friday the week before publication. Subscriptions One year subscription $35.00, outside the U.S. $110.00. Send check along with mailing address to Dairy Star, 522 Sinclair Lewis Ave., Sauk Centre, MN 56378. Advertising Our ad takers have no authority to bind this newspaper and only publication of an advertisement shall constitute nal acceptance of the advertiser's order. Letters Letters and articles of opinion are welcomed. Letters must be signed and include address and phone number. We reserve the right to edit lengthy letters. The views and opinions expressed by Dairy Star columnists and writers are not necessarily those of the Dairy Star LLC.
The Dairy Star is published semi-monthly by Dairy Star, LLC, 522 Sinclair Lewis Ave., Sauk Centre, MN 56378-1246. Periodicals Postage Paid at Sauk Centre, MN and additional mailing ofces. POSTMASTER: Send address changes to Dairy Star, 522 Sinclair Lewis Ave., Sauk Centre, MN 56378-1246.
From the editorial team
Dairy Prole brought to you by your
North America dealers.
We say goodbye to one of our founding owners The end of February marked an important milestone for Dairy Star. We are now in our 20th year producing a paper with dairy-specic news for dairy farmers in the Upper Midwest. It is amazing what has changed in 20 years. From new technologies and evolving management styles, the look of many dairy farms has changed over two decades. That rst issue certainly did not feature any dairies that had recently installed robots. In fact, that rst Dairy Star in 1999 looked very different than it does today. At its beginning, Dairy Star came out as a one-section, 12-page paper for producers in Stearns County in central Minnesota. Our coverage area has expanded quite a bit in the years to follow. After many expansions, we now have become an information source for four states – Minnesota, western Wisconsin, northern Iowa and eastern South Dakota – and have a circulation of over 16,000. Plus, the paper is a mailbox ller with three sections, many times numbering over 100 pages. The staff has also grown and changed over the years, and the paper became a part of Star Publications. One of the most recent and unexpected changes in staff came when we laid to rest one of our founding owners, Dave Simpkins, who passed away on Feb. 23. Although Dave never had much of an agricultural background, he had such a zeal and enthusiasm for telling the stories of those around him. That is one part of Dave that will live on and one goal that has never changed at the paper: we continually strive to write and tell stories directly from the source and the people who live the life every day – dairy farmers. Whether sitting around a kitchen table or walking among rows of cows in a barn, we want to tell the authentic truth about what happens on dairies in our surrounding communities. If there is a dairy connection, we want to tell the story. Of course, in order to tell those stories and keep the paper circulating, we need our loyal advertisers. Without them, we would not be able to keep the paper free when it hits mailboxes. As you sit down to read this issue – or lean against the bulk tank or stand at a desk or wherever it is you read the paper – know that the staff of Dairy Star is working to publish a paper dairy farmers want to read. Don’t see a topic you want to know about? Know of someone with an interesting hobby? Want to give us feedback? Please call or email us. We would love to talk with you and chat about what is going on in the dairy community in your area. This is a paper for the dairy farmers, and we want to continue to be a valuable information source for the industry for many decades to come.
– The Dairy Star Editorial Team
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It’s all inside... Columnists Ag Insider
Third Section: Pages 2-3
Cottonwood Watonwan Blue Earth Waseca Steele Dodge Olmsted Jackson
Byingtons paint one-ofa-kind sign on barn
Second Section: Pages 3, 7
Bon Yankton Homme
Osceola Dickinson Emmet
Dairy Prole: Doug Lyons
For additional stories from our other zone, log on to www.dairystar.com
FROM OUR SIDE OF THE FENCE:
Why do you attend winter seminars and workshops?
First Section: Page 39
Page 29 Second Section
Peters family raises Dalmatians as a side business
Page 33 First Section
First Section: Pages 4-5
Lac Qui Parle
Dairy Good Life
Weihrouch proposes to Mahoney by clipping question on cow
Big Sto Stone
First Section: Pages 1, 6
First Section: Pages 12-13
Agropur expands Marshall its Lake Norden cheese plant
Pages 10 - 11 Second Section
First Section: Page 23
First Section: Pages 34-35
Awards presented at GDC banquet
Krekelberg increases herd average over 7,500 pounds in past three years
Peanut Butter and Milk Festival explores sister cities
Koochiching St. Louis
Hutjens gives keynote at Carver County Dairy Expo
Lake of the Woods Beltrami
Page 30 First Section
The “Mielke” Market Weekly
First Section: Page 25
Dear County Agent Guy
Making Cents of Dairy
First Section: Pages 1, 10
Page 26 First Section
Page 31 First Section
First Section: Page 37
Terminal illness leads Salzer to sell cows
FSA News & Notes
Page 27 First Section
First Section: Page 11 Kittson Roseau
The Transition Pen
Swartz family barn, dairy cows succumb to ames Feb. 16
Second Section: Pages 16, 18-19
Detection key to preventing ketosis development
A day in the life of the Hintzman family
On the Road with Princess Kay
New York Mills
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Women in Dairy: Traci Klostermann First Section: Page 36
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ConƟnued from FUTURE | Page 1 “Trade is a black swan in agriculture,” Kohl said. Currently, the United States exports one in seven days worth of milk production, and 39 percent of that going into Mexico. With the threat of NAFTA’s termination, the southernbordering country has sought out alternative avenues for milk product and other commodities. “Europe has cheap milk. But with corn, Mexico has looked to Brazil and Argentina. They’ll have another source even if it costs them more,” Kohl said. “If we tweak NAFTA, we’ll be OK. If we toss it, we will be in a deep, deep farm crisis.” Likewise, with the United States leaving TPP, China lled the void of products. Fortunately, Japan has left an avenue for the United States to rejoin if the opportunity presents itself. “We’re export driven with 21 percent of net farm income coming from ag exports,” said Kohl, emphasizing milk’s 14 percent stake in the export market. While trade is certainly an indicator to monitor, Kohl wants to put more emphasis on technology and how it can be affected internationally. “I’m not worried about nuclear capabilities. I’m worried about cyber. The more we move to high technology, the more we become vulnerable to attacks,” Kohl said. “Ask your equipment dealership if they have preventative measures against that. We’ve put a lot of resources into industries, such as banking, but we haven’t done the same for agriculture.” The U.S. dollar was once very strong but has weakened since the start of the new year. While a weakening dollar is benecial in the international marketplace, it brings about woes to the
U.S. economy with ination and higher interest rates. “Currency is a double-edged sword,” Kohl said. “It helps our exports but then makes goods we import and those in a consumer-based economy more expensive.” These factors lead to a booming general economy, and today, the country has entered into its 104th month of economic expansion. “We’re in an asynchronized economy. When the general economy is hotter than a pepper sprout, the ag economies tend to suffer,” Kohl said. Although economic growth is reaching record levels, with 106 months being the second-longest growth period in history, Kohls has concerns with how the economy is growing. “This one is different from others, because it’s on the backs of the Federal Reserve. They basically articially created economic expansion,” Kohl said. “But does the Federal Reserve have enough say from the ag and rural areas?” From October 2017 to January 2018, agriculture economies were weak while the stock market jumped $1.8 trillion, Kohl said. The same scenarios are found elsewhere, such as in Australia and Canada. Around the world, 94 percent of stock markets are up over the last 15 months. “The stock markets are articially inated and making everyone feel good,” Kohl said. “It’s created the wealth effect.” Unfortunately, this phenomenon has contributed to the economy’s piling debt and is a cause for serious concern. Kohl noted credit card, auto and
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ConƟnued from AGROPUR | Page 1
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A group of business and industry leaders shovel dirt during a groundbreaking ceremony Feb. 27 at the Agropur cheese plant in Lake Norden, S.D. Once completed, the expansion will require the milk from an addiƟonal 85,000 cows. groundbreaking ceremony was held on a stage that had been erected in a large, newly-constructed concrete room that still had a dirt oor. Dennis Daugaard, South Dakota governor, addressed the gathering of dairy industry leaders, farmers and interested local citizens. “Agropur has built a truly remarkable relationship with the Lake Norden community,” Daugaard said. “The company’s decision to reinvest in South Dakota – a decision that will have an estimated $1 billion annual economic impact in our state – is a prime example of how our dairy industry supports economic development from farmer to small town to processor and beyond. If you want an example of the right way to build a multi-milliondollar cheese plant, look no further than the partnership created among Agropur, the State of South Dakota and Lake Norden.” Tim Czmowski, midwest regional operations vice president for Agropur,
agreed. “This is a great day for Lake Norden, for South Dakota and for the dairy industry,” Czmowski said. “We are here because of the customers from all over the world who enjoy the cheese and whey products that are made at this plant.” As the 20th largest milk processor in the world, Agropur markets its products to 35 countries. The Lake Norden plant currently produces mozzarella, cheddar, provolone and parmesan cheese. Some of this cheese nds its way to customers that include the Papa Murphy’s take and bake pizza chain. An additional 125 workers will need to be hired after the expansion is completed. They will join the current workforce that numbers 225. “This is really a blessing for our town,” said Lake Norden mayor Jason Turn to AGROPUR | Page 7
ConƟnued from FUTURE | Page 5 consumer debt makes up $3.5 trillion on the nation’s $18 trillion economy. “Our saving rate is the lowest it’s ever been, and this debt is high cholesterol debt,” Kohl said. “It’s very, very dangerous.” An inated stock market also creates greater volatility. Kohl warns that if the stock market drops by 30 percent, the U.S. economy would be put into another recession. While much of what happens at the federal level is out of the control of farmers, Kohl suggests looking at indicators that can be inuenced by strategic farm management, such as weather patterns. Eric Snodgrass, a meteorologist with the University of Illinois predicts that if dry weather conditions in the southern plains continue from April 15 through June, those same conditions will be present in the Upper Midwest and affect commodity markets. “Farmers are going to be able to pick up 5 percent efciencies by weather management,” Kohl said. “You will measure the factors, like heat, humidity and wind, that are going to give you your advantage.” Last summer, Kohl and his son had plans to wrap hay, but there was an 80 percent chance of rain that particular day. By monitoring the weather radar, the Kohls completed their hay crop only minutes before rain fell. “Weather application is going to be very important,” Kohl said. “We use it for breeding our cows, too, with certain
temperatures and humidity.” Lastly, consumer trends will play a pivotal role in inuencing the future dairy markets. “Think about the future of agriculture and the future of beer. Think about who is driving the beer market, because they’re going to be your future market,” said Kohl, speaking of Millennials and their desire for specialty markets. In the United States, alone, 153 million individuals make up the Millennial and Generation Z consumer pool. This group cares deeply for the food they eat and where it comes from. Not only will domestic consumers inuence the dairy industry, but international consumers, as well. “When you look at this industry, study the European Union, Australia and Oceania,” Kohl said. “You will see food trends ve to 10 years there before you see it in the states. They get it.” As these various indicators become more prominent in shaping the future of the dairy industry, Kohl encourages farmers to remain condent and mold their business with these changes in mind. “You have to manage the things you can manage and manage around the uncontrollable,” Kohl said. The second article in this two-part series will be published in the March 24 issue of Dairy Star and include ways dairy farmers can nd success with theses economic indicators.
Dairy Star • Saturday, March 10, 2018 • Page 7
ConƟnued from AGROPUR | Page 6 Aho. “Agropur could have chosen to build anyplace, but they chose us. It’s an honor to have Agropur continue to invest in Lake Norden.” Lake Norden, which has a population of 470, has already seen benets of the expansion. A private individual recently constructed an 8-plex apartment structure for Agropur workers and is looking at building more. The town is so intertwined with the cheese processing industry that the slogan, “Cheese is our Whey!” has been emblazoned prominently across its water tower. “We have a very talented
workforce,” said Doug Simon, Agropur president of U.S. operations. “We are always striving to produce high quality products that will be sold around the world and our employees are key to that process. This expansion will make the Lake Norden facility the largest of the 39 processing plants that Agropur operates, Simon said. “This growth is being driven by the increasing milk supply in the region and by increasing product sales. The Lake Norden expansion will be an incredible improvement and a key tool for Agropur’s JERRY NELSON/DAIRY STAR
Work is well underway on the expansion of the Agropur cheese plant in Lake Norden, S.D. The expansion, which will be completed in early 2019, will triple the plant’s daily capacity to 9 million pounds of milk per day.
JERRY NELSON/DAIRY STAR
South Dakota Governor Dennis Daugaard (leŌ) poses with Lake Norden Mayor Jason Aho following a groundbreaking ceremony held at the Agropur cheese plant.
future,” Simon said. Last April, Agropur received the Breakthrough Award for Dairy Ingredient Innovation for its development of highly pure glycomacropeptide (GMP), a protein derived from whey. The award was presented in Chicago at the American Dairy Products Institute’s annual meeting. “Dairy is the No. 1 driver of economic activity in South Dakota’s ag sector,” Daugaard said. “All of the things that a dairy needs – the forages, the grain, the water, the space to
grow – are here. As governor, I have been working to recruit dairy farmers from other states and countries to relocate to South Dakota and have been encouraging our current dairy farmers to expand.” Recalling his boyhood on a dairy farm located at Dell Rapids, Daugaard said, “When I was a kid, it was a daily ritual to go down to the barn to help Dad milk our cows. Back then, in the 1960s, the state had about 200,000 dairy cows. This number dropped steadily until it was at about 80,000 10 years ago. There are currently
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Page 8 • Dairy Star • Saturday, March 10, 2018
NAFTA benets dairy farmers A new analysis by Informa Economics said U.S. Senators ask President Trump to rejoin TPP A coalition of 25 Republican Senators are asking trade agreements with Mexico are benecial to dairy farmers. In 2016, the United States shipped $1.2 bil- President Donald Trump to rejoin the Trans-Pacic lion worth of dairy products to Mexico. For every $1 Partnership. Trump pulled out the trade agreement shortly after taking ofce, but recently of sales associated with dairy exports, an Ag Insider said he may consider rejoining the TPP. additional $2.50 in output is supported elsewhere in the U.S. economy. U.S. New water quality report unveiled Dairy Export Council President and CEO Minnesota Governor Mark Dayton Tom Vilsack said, “It’s important to prehas rolled out a New Water Quality Reserve existing market access to Mexico port. The report summarized 3,500 sugunder the North American Free Trade gestions from more than 2,000 people Agreement.” who attended water quality meetings held across the state. Recommendations Flexibility important in farm programs include increased education efforts, local Farm leaders met with Minnesota action and collaboration and an increase Senator Tina Smith to talk about the in investments in local water infrastrucupcoming farm bill. Smith said farmers ture. Dayton has proposed a $167 million want to have exibility in farm programs. By Don Wick investment through his Public Works pro“There’s a strong sense of people workColumnist posal to ensure clean, affordable water ing on the farm bill we don’t expect a throughout Minnesota. bunch of new dollars in the program. It’s important we use the resources we have as efciently as possible. There’s also a strong agreement in the Dayton funding request tells a story In a new report on water quality, Minnesota Govgroup the pillars of the farm bill are around farm programs, conservation and nutrition. Those need to stick ernor Mark Dayton put out his bonding request for together. They rely on each other for a strong bill and water infrastructure projects. Minnesota Agricultural one which will pass.” Smith said the next steps for Water Resource Center executive director Warren Congress are budget appropriations. “The nal bud- Formo did not see any policy recommendations in get will be negotiated in the nal weeks. Making sure this new report. However, the funding request tells Minnesota’s interests are represented. I’ll be looking a story. “It’s important to recognize throughout the carefully what happens with rural broadband, chil- last decade or so, the primary message that many in agriculture have perceived is the cities and wastedren’s healthcare and other healthcare provisions.” water treatment have done all they can and it’s up to agriculture to step up and do more. It’s important to Seeking solutions to Section 199a snafu According to a letter signed by nearly 90 mem- recognize this budget the governor has put forward bers of Congress, a portion of the new tax law resulted acknowledges we have very serious needs and the in a dramatic competitive imbalance in the agriculture way we do municipal wastewater treatment or sewindustry. While not intended, the lawmakers said Sec- age treatment is woefully inadequate.” tion 199A went too far and creates a tax advantage for farmers who sell to cooperatives instead of private and Milk production rises In the 23 major dairy production states, January independent companies. The letter asked Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell and House Speaker milk output rose 1.8 percent. In Minnesota, the state’s Paul Ryan to take immediate action. The lawmakers dairy herd has 5,000 fewer cows than a year ago, but recommend a retroactive x, returning to tax benets milk production still rose nearly 1 percent. South Dakota added 2,000 more cows and milk output inof Section 199.
creased nearly 2 percent. California milk production increased 2.2 percent; Wisconsin is up a fraction of one percent. Supporting farmers in stressful times The Minnesota Department of Agriculture has been hosting ‘Supporting Farmers in Stressful Times’ workshops throughout the state. MDA State Programs Administrator Meg Moynihan said recognizing signs of stress is one workshop component. Attendees also learn about resources that exist in the region. “We’ve had people come to the workshop, saying not only did they know what to look for, but they left with the courage to speak up and ask if a farmer needed help.” Moynihan, who is a farmer herself, said there are a lot of responsibilities in farming. “We’re responsible for our livestock, crops, family and protecting our land and water. At the same time, there are a huge number of factors out of our control such as the weather or markets. Sometimes it just feels overwhelming.” The next series of workshops will be held March 14 in Grand Rapids and March 15 in Thief River Falls.
Northey conrmed A four month hold on the conrmation of the USDA nominee for Undersecretary for Farm Production and Conservation Bill Northey has nally been lifted and the Senate conrmed the Iowa agriculture secretary with voice vote. The conrmation is good news according to Senate Agriculture Committee Chairman Pat Roberts. In a statement, Roberts said he has no doubt Northey will be a champion for farmers and ranchers at USDA. Doud conrmed Gregg Doud was conrmed by the U.S. Senate as chief agriculture negotiator for the U.S. Trade Representative’s Ofce. Doud has been serving as president of the Commodity Markets Council. Previously, Doud was on the Senate Agriculture Committee staff and was chief economist for the National Cattlemen’s Beef Association.
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Dairy Star • Saturday, March 10, 2018 • Page 9
ConƟnued from AG INSIDER | Page 8 Zenk joins agriculture committee professional staff Minnesota native Katie Zenk has joined the minority staff for the House Agriculture Committee. Zenk has been managing government relations for Land O’Lakes. Condolences David Simpkins, who was a champion for the newspaper industry and the communities they serve, has passed. Simpkins’ enthusiasm helped launch Dairy Star 20 years ago and will be missed immensely. We extend our condolences to Dave’s family and many friends.
Trivia challenge The cow’s stomach has four separate compartments. That answers our last trivia question. For this week, what type of cheese is the most widely purchased and consumed in the world? We’ll have the answer in the next edition of Dairy Star. Don Wick is owner/broadcaster for the Red River Farm Network, based in Grand Forks, North Dakota. Wick has been recognized as the National Farm Broadcaster of the Year and served as president of the National Association of Farm Broadcasting. Don and his wife, Kolleen, have two adult sons, Tony and Sam, and ve grandchildren, Aiden, Piper, Adrienne, Aurora and Sterling.
LETTERS TO THE EDITOR
Losing leaders in the dairy business
This past week we laid to rest two respected men, John Pagel and Steve Witcpalek, in Kewaunee, Wis. In the dairy business they were leaders. John has been a visionary leader since the 1980s. Tragedies like this make the rest of those involved in the dairy business realize how important leaders are in our occupation. The many meetings they attend when they leave their farms and families, the countless hours of phone conversations, email messages, texts and letters to communicate the wishes and fears of farmers to decision makers, both within and outside dairy farming are immeasurable. We owe John, and others like him, a huge debt of gratitude for the service they provide for the many farmers who don’t have the time, talent or patience to express our feelings. Thanks, John and Steve. Jim Mlsna Hillsboro, Wis.
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JENNIFER COYNE/DAIRY STAR
Jerome Salzer’s dairy herd lls his 96-stall Ɵestall barn Feb. 27. On March 7 the herd was sold, but many of the cows will return to the farm because of a young farmer who purchased the animals and will rent the faciliƟes. He is living with terminal liver cancer and cirrhosis, most likely caused by high blood pressure and diabetes. “For once I had six doctors all agree on the outcome. … There’s nothing we can do,” said Jerome, his voice cracking. The diagnosis came after Jerome coughed up blood one night while out in the barn and the same happened the following morning. Polyps had formed and ruptured in Jerome’s throat, which is a common sign of cancer. “I just thought it was bleeding ulcers from the economy,” Jerome said. Once Jerome and Jean were given the news at Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minn., they immediately called their family and scheduled a meeting at home that evening. All of the family was present – Terry and his wife, Jenna; son, Jeff, and his wife, Laura, and their three children; and son, David, and his wife, Jenny, and their three children. Jerome’s three siblings also came to the home. “It’s a lot easier for a group of people to get the news than for just me to try and understand it,” Jerome said. “We cried a lot. We laughed a lot.” Perhaps the most troubling part of Jerome’s illness was the lack of warning signs. On Dec. 2, Terry and Jenna were wed and Jerome felt healthy. “My diet had been dying all fall, but I thought I was just getting old,” said Jerome, who has lost 70 pounds since December. Since his diagnosis, Jerome has been in and out of the hospital. Then, during the week of Feb. 19 after being hospitalized for dehydration, Jerome returned home and was placed on hospice.
“Everyone asks what we need, and there’s nothing they can give. We just need more time.” JEAN SALZER, DAIRY FARMER
“We called the boys and they came up to the hospital as we made that decision. Everyone was there with us. We didn’t even have room for the nurses,” Jean said. “He’s so weak and just wanted to spend his time at home with his grandchildren.” Jerome spends his remaining days in the comfort of his home. It has been a time for Jerome to recall his life as a dairy farmer. The farm began in 1958 with Jerome’s parents milking cows. In 1979, Jerome and his brother, Don, formed a partnership and bought out their father. Eventually, Don left the farm and Terry joined. “I should’ve let Terry start running the farm earlier because he sure has done a good job,” Jerome said. “A lot of time it’s hard to change when you get older and let the new ones try their new ideas, but it
does work.” While Jeff and David maintain jobs off the farm, they both often help in the evenings and during the weekend. For the time being, the family will continue raising heifers and feeding out steers. “Jeff and David will never come back fully, but the family still has a desire to farm,” Jean said. Jerome agreed. “If I could’ve waited ve years, the grandboys would have liked to work out here,” he said. “They are already feeding the calves and like helping out.”
Cash donations may be sent to: Mark Zimmer Foundation Inc. Attn: Jerome Salzer Benet PO Box 12 St. Joseph, MN 56374 In the time leading up to the sale, Jean and Terry took over much of the work on the dairy, while the family’s full-time employee and two part-time student workers milked cows. When Jerome was well enough, his main responsibility was to feed and run the skidloader. “Not being able to do anything has been the hardest, but there’s nothing I can do about it,” Jerome said. “I miss being outside.” While this unfortunate series of events has pushed Jerome out of dairying, it has also allowed him to help another farmer get their footing in the industry. As a high school student, Derek Schmitz milked cows for the Salzers. Now, he is starting his own dairy and renting the Salzers’ facilities, including the 96-stall tiestall barn. “Wednesday morning our cows were out of here and by the afternoon, some of our cows were back in the barn. By Saturday night our barns will be full,” Jerome said. For many years, the Salzers have sold Schmitz hay as he started farming near Elmdale, Minn. Jerome and his family are looking forward to working more closely with the beginning farmer. “Maybe I would’ve taken more time off, but how would I know that? I’m leaving with no regrets and with the dairy in good hands,” Jerome said. “Plus, we can make other people happy.” Jean agreed. “It’s been a great place to raise our kids and see our grandchildren,” she said. “In farming, you learn a sense of responsibility, and we can see that in our kids and as they raise their own children.” The Mark Zimmer Foundation Inc. is hosting a benet for the Salzers from 11:30 a.m. until 6 p.m. on March 25 at La Playette Bar in St. Joseph, Minn., to assist the family in paying their medical bills. Proceeds not used will be returned to the foundation to help another family in need. “Everyone asks what we need, and there’s nothing they can give. We just need more time,” Jean said.
Dairy Star • Saturday, March 10, 2018 • Page 11
Take on a proactive approach
Detection key to preventing ketosis development By Jennifer Coyne email@example.com
SEBEKA, Minn. – Many issues that arise in herd health can be prevented with a proactive, rather than reactive, approach; managing ketosis is no different. Ketosis is a metabolic condition that can be prevented or treated in its early stages before causing damaging challenges in herd health and the farm’s nancial position. “This disease can cause a domino effect,” Ray Seibert said. “You have to be on top of it and know the consequences ketosis has on your dairy before you start noticing them.” Seibert milks 80 cows with his wife, Ray Seibert Cheryl, and daughter, Dairy farmer Allie, near Sebeka, Minn. While Seibert has always monitored signs of ketosis on-set throughout his dairying career, he recently began routinely testing post-fresh cows. Ketosis occurs when a cow’s energy demand surpasses her energy intake, and the liver is not able to metabolize fat quickly enough and ketones are produced faster than absorbed. This is often seen early on in lactation when milk production reaches its peak. Subclinical ketosis develops when blood ß-hydroxybutric acid (BHBA) levels reach 1.2 mmol/L, according to Dr. Heather White with the University of Wisconsin-Madison. Once BHBA levels surpassed Dr. Heather White have 3.0 mmol/L and UW-Madison physical symptoms are identied, the metabolic disease has transformed into a clinical problem. “Subclinical by denition means no symptoms,” White said. “We have to emphasize the importance of early treatment protocols, because once we notice a decline in feed intake and milk production we have already missed our rst opportunity.” If left untreated, clinical ketosis sets in and leads to larger health problems, such as a greater prevalence of displaced abomasum, coupled with long-term milk production trends. Reduced milk production within the rst 30 days of lactation affects the entire lactation. Additionally, subclinical ketosis can result in difculty breeding at rst service, White said. “There are many long-term impacts associated with not treating ketosis,” White said. White’s research has focused on the factors that cause some cows to transition from the dry period into lactation effortlessly, while others struggle. “When a cow struggles, she fails to meet her genetic potential with milk production,” White said. “What are the predisposed factors to successful transition or the challenges and frustrations of transition?” The results from White’s studies agree with others across the country, and that indicate 40 to 60 percent of cow have subclinical ketosis each lactation, which represents the incidence. This incident is roughly equal to 20 to 30 percent prevalence, the occurrence of elevated BHBA on any one day. “The average case of ketosis costs dairy
producers $290. Part of that cost is treatment and the risk of treating subsequent conditions, like a displaced abomasum,” White said. “Not only is it hard on the animals, but it becomes a denite potential economic loss.” When White monitored more than 500,000 fresh cows outside of her research trials, her observations mimicked the research – cows predicted to have subclinical ketosis were three times more likely to be culled within 30 days, at a greater risk for displaced abomasum, less likely to become pregnant and exhibited lower milk yields. “Looking at peak milk production in DHIA reports, animals predicted to be positive for subclinical ketosis are producing 5 pounds less milk. By accurately predicting cases without blood detection, we can ask, ‘What are patterns for ketosis development in the Midwest region?’” White said. On Seibert’s farm, he noticed a greater prevalence for ketosis because of overcrowding within his dry cow pen and milking barn, as well as heifer facility. “We’re trying not to crowd so much but we try to mostly calve in the summer and that puts a lot of stress on the facilities,” Seibert said. Overcrowding leads to less bunk space per cow, and perhaps more frequent pen moves, both of which have a negative impact on ketosis development. “Anecdotally, higher conditioned dry cows are more likely to develop ketosis, but our research demonstrates that this is only true for cows that are a body condition score of four or greater pre-fresh,” White said. “Also important is the loss of body condition across the transition period. When cows lose body condition, they’re mobilizing more fat and can be more at risk for ketosis.” Seibert monitors the rations to ensure there is the correct balance between proteins and fats. In the future, he hopes to also improve bunk space and eliminate the overcrowding issue on his farm. “We can’t always change facilities and cow ow, but there are a lot of things we can do to negate ketosis,” White said. “If you can support the animal nutritionally, and focus on early detection and treatment, you can avoid the lost milk and improve overall cow health.” White suggests using a blood or milk test in fresh cows to monitor the metabolic disease. Tests should be conducted one day each week for animals three to 18 days in milk for two consecutive weeks. “If you’re not actively testing for it, you’re probably missing it,” White said. Seibert agreed. “Don’t test if you don’t think you have a problem. But since I was a kid, ketosis has always been a problem,” he said. Last year, Seibert implemented a protocol for routinely testing his fresh cows using a milk test. Seibert now randomly picks a group to check once a week. “We’re testing more and catching more earlier. I haven’t had to do a [displaced abomasum] surgery in the last 10 years,” Seibert said. “I thought I was doing a decent job before, but now it’s much easier. We catch it and take care of it right away.” Since Seibert began testing for ketosis, he has watched his herd maintain body condition, and improve in reproduction and milk production. “Everything is back in shape and that makes a huge difference,” Seibert said. White recognizes tests might not be a long-term economical choice for all dairy farms, but she suggests using tests to determine prevalence on the farm and then proceeding with management strategy that best ts the operation. “The big thing is to know what you’re dealing with and identify patterns,” White said. Seibert agreed. “Knowledge is power, and in dealing with ketosis we have the power to do something,” he said.
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Page 12 • Dairy Star • Saturday, March 10, 2018
Doing the simple things right
Krekelberg increases herd average over 7,500 pounds in past three years By Krista Kuzma
DUNDAS, Minn. – When it comes to increasing his rolling herd average, Dan Krekelberg does not feel like he does anything out of the ordinary. “I’m not doing anything secret. There’s no magic pills. You just have to focus on all the little things. It’s just a complicated system of simple things, and you’ve got to stay on top of it,” he said. Over the past three years, Krekelberg has increased his
60-cow herd’s rolling herd average over 7,500 pounds according to Minnesota DHIA. This landed him in the No. 2 spot of all farms that test through the organization. Krekelberg, who farms together with his girlfriend, Kristi Ackman, and their two children, Adam, 5, and Haley, 2, milk 60 cows on a dairy they rent near Dundas, Minn. One reason for Krekelberg’s large increase in a short period has been his
KRISTA KUZMA/DAIRY STAR
Dan Krekelberg has increased his herd’s rolling herd average over 7,500 pounds of milk over the last three years. He milks 60 cows in a rented facility near Dundas, Minn.
KRISTA KUZMA/DAIRY STAR
GeneƟcs plays a big role in producƟon for Dan Krekelberg. This cow exemplies what he wants cows in his barn to look like and perform – a smaller stature with a good udder, quality feet and legs, and high ferƟlity, along with increasing components.
transition within the industry. This is the third facility Krekelberg has had his cows at since 2007. Finding the right t has been difcult. After farming with others in his rst two ventures, Krekelberg now dairies on his own. When he moved his cows to his current barn in September 2014, he needed to buy more cows to complete his herd.
“When you put a herd together like that, you have to work them up,” Krekelberg said. “It takes time to turn a herd around.” His cows and the cows he bought were all good, young healthy cows, he said. “Now they’re older healthy cows so they’re milking really well,” Krekelberg said. But Krekelberg has still
needed to do the simple things right. At the top of this list are getting cows bred on time, good genetics and feeding them high quality forages. When breeding cows, Krekelberg tries to get every cow pregnant by 140 days in milk. For most cows in his Turn to KREKELBERG | Page 13
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For more info or dealer Claremont, MN inquiries - please call: Dwight
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Sherman Schueler 330-987-3159 Willmar, MN John Dockendorf (320) 894-4808 Greenwald, MN (320) 290-1240 Cleeson Mill Travis Schlosser Altura, MN Miltona, MN (507) 458-5907 218-639-1727
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Chad Tesch Canton S.D. (605) 759-5622 Dan (Boone) Uphoff, Sioux Falls S.D. (605) 321-1862
Natures Best Roger TeSlaa
Dairy Star • Saturday, March 10, 2018 • Page 13
ConƟnued from KREKELBERG | Page 12 herd, this is achieved by 120 days, but it will occasionally be stretched out farther. About 99 percent of his herd is bred by timed A.I. Between 50 and 60 days, the cows will start their G6G program and be bred for the rst time between 70 and 80 days. He uses a resynch program for any cows that need to be rebred. “We’ve been breeding closer to 80 days because they usually take better,” he said. Krekelberg said his herd has a 37 percent pregnancy rate and a 51 percent conception rate at rst service with an average of 1.7 services. “I don’t worry about pregnancy rate as much. I look at conception rate at rst service,” Krekelberg said. “Economically, I can spend a little
“I think fertility is a big reason this herd does well.” DAN KREKELBERG, DAIRY FARMER
more on semen when we’re averaging 1.7 services.” When giving the last GnRH shot, Krekelberg likes to administer it 16 hours before breeding, which is done in the afternoon. Krekelberg started this practice after reading research about it. “I started doing that early on. I saw a jump then, so I’ve never stopped. I don’t have scientic proof for it, but it’s something I do that I’m kind of a stickler about,” he said. When cows are open during pregnancy check, Krekelberg sets them up right away to be rebred as soon as possible. “We don’t check for pregnant cows,
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we check for open cows. We don’t worry about the pregnant cows because they’re doing what they’re supposed to be doing,” Krekelberg said. Along with breeding at the correct time, genetics plays a big role for Krekelberg’s herd. When choosing bulls, Krekelberg puts a big emphasis on net merit. He also never chooses a bull that is negative for fertility. “I think fertility is a big reason this herd does well. I think they’re pretty average cows, but they do well and breed back good,” he said. “If a bull is negative for DPR (daughter pregnancy rate) or conception, I don’t need them.” Bulls that produce daughters with smaller stature is also important to Krekelberg. “Cows don’t need to get bigger every year, but they do even when I select for smaller cows,” Krekelberg said. “Smaller cows are more feed efcient.” Krekelberg also likes bulls to be positive in udder composite and at least 1,000 pounds of milk. He has also recently started to look more closely at components. Quality feed is another important factor for production for Krekelberg. Currently, the herd’s ration is a high corn silage diet. “With buying all my feed, that’s my best buy right now,” Krekelberg said. The family from whom Krekelberg rents has about 160 acres for corn silage and alfalfa. They grow the forage and Krekelberg hires a custom operator to chop it. “We really focus on getting the corn silage made as well as we can,” Krekelberg said about working together with his custom operator. Krekelberg also processes his TMR a little ner than what other people
KRISTA KUZMA/DAIRY STAR
Dan Krekelberg holds a handful of the raƟon he feeds his milking herd. NutriƟon plays a big role in helping his herd achieve the producƟon he wants. might prefer. “But I get higher butterfat because of it,” said Krekelberg, whose herd’s butterfat test runs at about 3.82 percent. “I think they’re getting a more consistent mouthful.” The cows receive a ration with about 58 pounds of dry matter each day. Between 23 and 26 pounds comes from corn silage, 7 pounds from alfalfa, 0.5 pounds from straw and the rest from a complete mix. “If I can keep the cows efcient with days in milk, give them the best feed I can and give them as much of it
as they’ll eat, they’ll do the rest. It’s as simple as that,” Krekelberg said. Last year, when Krekelberg’s herd hit 99 pounds of milk per cow per day, he received a letter stating he could no longer use rBST after the end of December. Rather than waiting to cut them off at the end of the year, Krekelberg started a gradual wean off the product starting in June. “It made it hurt less when we were off in December,” Krekelberg said. “And the cows are still holding production and still eating well with 93 pounds of energy corrected milk.” Although Krekelberg ideally would like to be in a sand-bedded freestall barn with a small parlor for his facility, he’s thankful for a tiestall barn that works for him in the moment. Plus, he gets along with his landlord, Bob Carroll, a former dairy farmer in his 80s, who sold his herd not long before Krekelberg came in. “He’s a die-hard Holstein guy,” Krekelberg said about Carroll. While Carroll gives Krekelberg his space, he asked Krekelberg if he could visit the barn every night before going to bed to push in feed, check the stalls and look in on the calving pens. “Of course I would want a cow guy in there checking on things. If there is something happening, he’ll call me,” said Krekelberg, who does not live on the farmsite. “And pushing feed up one more time at night means those cows eat just a little more. And that’s all part of it.” These types of little things, Krekelberg said, are what help his herd with its high production. “You just have to stay on top of those little things,” Krekelberg said. “It just takes commitment to want to do that stuff.”
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From Our Side Of The Fence Why do you attend winter seminars and workshops? Andy Buttles Lancaster, Wis. Grant County 1,150 cows
Scott Balzer Owatonna, Minn. Steele County 117 cows Why do you attend winter seminars and workshops? I like to keep learning. I donâ€™t like to get into a groove and stay there. I like learning about the latest and greatest things in the industry. I like to tweak things on the farm and constantly look to be more efďƒžcient. What is one of your favorite events to attend? I normally attend about ďƒžve to six events each winter. I have two favorites. The ďƒžrst is Central Plains Dairy Expo. There are so many breakout sessions. I went to about ďƒžve last year. The seminars are not too long and straight to the point. My other favorite is put on by Midwest BioAg. This year it was held in Blue Earth, Minn. I like learning about their fertilizer program and biological farming. After learning about QLF and using it last year, we plan to use it again and want to learn more about it through the company. What seminar or workshop topic did you learn the most about? When I think about it, a lot of the topics from these seminars tie together. Theyâ€™re all important to the dairy. At CPDE last year, I learned about QLF and sugar digestibility. That tied in with the Midwest BioAg seminars I attended. The seminars talked about having the right minerals in the soil in order for the soil to thrive. This will help whatever is growing in the soil thrive and create high quality forages, which is better for the cows. This will then create better waste from the cows, which is put right back on the ďƒželds to start the cycle again. How have you taken information gathered at a winter event and implemented it onto your dairy? We started using QLF starter fertilizer and high sugar forages. Our alfalfa ďƒželds now consist of four varieties of alfalfa, along with two varieties of grass and one variety of clover, which we purchase from Byron Seeds. We also plant Masters Choice corn, which is higher in sugar and starch, and is more digestible. How has attending seminars and workshops made you a better farmer? It has helped me ďƒžne tune what weâ€™re doing here â€“ to be more efďƒžcient and more proďƒžtable. From every seminar, we have either made a tweak on our farm or have been reassured we are on the right path. What topic would you like to see covered in future events? I would like to see more about recycling minerals and nutrients from the soil to plants to the animals and back again. Itâ€™s important to get things working in harmony. Tell us about your farm. I have been farming fulltime on my familyâ€™s dairy since 2009. I farm togeth-
Why do you attend winter seminars and workshops? Continuing education is very important to our operation. What is one of your favorite events to attend? The PDPW Business Conference. It has so much information packed into only two days. We can send multiple people from the farm and everyone can ďƒžnd different sessions that are of interest to them. What seminar or workshop topic did you learn the most about? I like sessions that focus on ďƒžnancial management and employee development. The quality of PDPWâ€™s programming in these areas is outstanding. How have you taken information gathered at a winter event and implemented it onto your dairy? One of the biggest challenges we have as our dairy farm grows is making the transition from working with cows to doing more managing of people. I have improved how I manage people by the training I have received and the workshops I have attended. This is one area I can always continue to improve upon and continued training and education are key to improvement. How has attending seminars and workshops made you a better farmer? In todayâ€™s world you have to keep improving. Going to educational events helps to see areas where your operation has opportunities to improve and helps give ideas to make progress in these areas. What topic would you like to see covered in future events? Robotics is going to be a topic I would like to learn more about. I think, without changing farm labor, that it is going to be an exciting area going forward. Tell us about your farm. Stone-Front Farm is a family farm in Lancaster, Wis. On our dairy, our family of employees focuses on outstanding animal husbandry and breeding genetically elite cattle. We also grow most of the feed for our herd on the beautiful rolling hills of the Driftless Region.
er with my parents, Rick and Cathy. We built a new barn and installed two robots, which we started using in August 2015. We use manure-separated solids as our bedding. Along with our dairy herd, we run 500 acres of corn, soybeans, alfalfa and oats.
Gregg Ode Brandon, S.D. Minnehaha County 350 cows Why do you attend winter seminars and workshops? Every day is busy, but in the winter there are more likely to be windows of opportunity to get away for a few hours to learn about new trends and to rub shoulders with other dairy farmers. What is one of your favorite events to attend? I enjoy the breakout sessions at the Central Plains Dairy Expo. They usually have two to three topics that are interesting. I like to see what we are doing right and what we should change. I also enjoy the Dairy Member Spring Meetings that are held by Land Oâ€™ Lakes. You get to learn about the information they are passing down to producers. What seminar or workshop topic did you learn the most about? The biggest topic for us is our herdâ€™s reproduction. I learned how to increase our herdâ€™s pregnancy rate and how to get the cows bred sooner. I also learned how to implement such tools as hormones and micronutrients. How have you taken information gathered at a winter event and implemented it onto your dairy? At dairy ďƒžnancial seminars, I learned about certain ratios that are important for maintaining a dairyâ€™s ďƒžnancial health and running a proďƒžtable operation. I learned that we are doing better than average, but that there were also areas where we could improve. How has attending seminars and workshops made you a better farmer? The seminars enabled me to take home ideas that we could implement on our farm. There is always something that could be improved upon or corrected. What topic would you like to see covered in future events? I would like to see more seminars on reproduction because thatâ€™s a concern for us. Another good topic would be an exchange of ideas with other dairy farmers about the subject of hired labor. It would be good to learn what sort of compensation other dairy farmers are giving their workers and how to retain good hired help. Tell us about your farm. I farm with my brother, Doug, our dad, Bob, and my son, Alex. After graduating from South Dakota State University, Alex has become more involved in the operation. We milk three times a day, raise our own replacement animals and grow our own feed. We have implemented sexed semen and now have a nice supply of replacement heifers. Our current RHA stands at 30,992 pounds of milk with 4 percent butterfat and 1,247 pounds of fat. Protein is 3.1 percent with 948 pounds of protein per head. Turn to FENCE | Page 16
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