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  December 10, 2010

Solid Rock Genetics and Turnpike View Dairy team up to support DPAC

They'll donate 50 cents from every unit of "Deluxe"

By Sherry Bunting, Farmshine Nov. 12, 2010 

STEVENS, Pa. – “We need to support the dairy farmers,” says John Weiler, owner and founder of Solid Rock Genetics, an A.I. company serving dairy farms in several counties in Pennsylvania. “I see DPAC working to generate change within the industry on how dairy farmers are paid for their milk.”

That’s why Weiler said “yes” when Paul Horning of Turnpike-View Dairy, Stevens, Lancaster County, Pa. came to him with an idea.

“I was brainstorming about how to show more support for the Dairy Policy Action Coalition (DPAC), and I came up with the idea of donating money from the semen sales on my bull,” Horning reflects.

On November 1, Horning and Weiler decided to go 50/50 on their donation: For every unit of semen sold from Turnpike-View Deluxe ET VG-88, a total of 50 cents will go to DPAC. That’s $5 for every 10-units sold and $500 for every 1000 units sold.

"Deluxe" has raised $500 so far for DPAC. Weiler and Horning presented a check to the coalition on Dec. 13.

This bull is the product of two great cow families – Edi Delray and Skybuck Emily – bred by the Horning family here at Turnpike-View Dairy. His dam – Delray – is EX-94 with a 94 point mammary. She had 186,818 pounds of lifetime milk after her previous lactation (no rbST), and she’s close to 45,000 pounds on her current lactation. Last year she peaked at 207 pounds a day on 3x milking, and this year she peaked at 184 pounds a day on 2x milking.

The granddam “Della” is EX-92 with lifetime milk of 281,881 pounds after her eighth lactation. She just completed her ninth lactation, and she is due to calve again.

“Til we’re done marketing from this bull, you’ll be able to pay a few bills,” Weiler tells DPAC treasurer Bernie Morrissey.

DPAC is funded solely by donations, not by dues or assessments. To-date, hundreds of individual dairy farmers have donated to the cause, along with donations from eight producer organizations. Together, these donations represent over 15,000 dairy farm families in 18 states. In addition, DPAC has received financial support from more than 50 agribusinesses in about eight states.

“Just this morning, I had two phone calls from concerned dairymen, who said ‘we need to do something.’ They were both aware of DPAC,” says Weiler. “As agribusinesses, we need the dairy farmers to be sustainable. Without them, we are finished. This is one way I can do something as an agribusiness to help.”

Weiler loved Paul’s idea to tie the donation in with this bull. “That way, every dairy producer who buys semen from the Deluxe outcross can feel that they are also contributing to the DPAC cause,” he explains.

Looking at change in the dairy industry over the past 30-plus years, Weiler is most concerned about the instability. “Farmers don’t know from one year to the next what income they will have,” he relates. “You have that in any business, but the cycles in dairy are too steep. They go too high and too low. These cycles need to level out to where dairy farmers can plan.”

“As dairy farmers, we’ve also lost trust in the system,” adds Horning. “And in politics, you have more and more people making decisions who do not understand agriculture. We dairy farmers need a stronger voice. With DPAC, we have a lifelong dairy farmer and former ag secretary working as our lobbyist and a professional writer working for us so our voice is heard when the policies that affect our future are being decided.”

Horning is one of the 20 charter members of DPAC’s board of directors. The organization observes its first anniversary this month. He observes that it has been a fast-paced first year.

“It’s amazing how the coalition got together from the grassroots,” he explains. “Just getting farmers together and talking to each other across the country is a great thing. We’re sending a message that we as farmers are not just sitting back anymore. We have sat back for way too long.”

He notes farmers are used to the ups and downs of weather and markets. “But in recent years, we have seen more downs – and steeper downs – than ups,” he says. “We have to figure out where the dollars are going and change the system. Right now, the dairy farmer carries all of the price risk. This needs to change.

“I became part of this coalition because I am concerned about the future for my son and grandson. It’s looking grim,” Horning continues. “Producers are concerned about how they can pass on their dairy farms that will be sustainable for the next generation.”  Full Story


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