Phoenix Feed & Nutrition - Vermont Feed Company Enters 15th year

Phoenix Feed & Nutrition - Vermont Feed Company Enters 15th year

Phoenix Feed & Nutrition, based in New Haven, VT, has been steadily growing for the past 15 years. “When we started it was just Brian Elithorpe, myself, and one employee,” said David Santos, co-owner of the company. Craig Newton, current co-owner and a former colleague of Santos at Feed Commodities International, joined the company in 2007. Currently Phoenix Feed & Nutrition employs 61 employees, and run 28 trucks and trailers to haul their commodities through 7 different states. “We’re predominately a dairy feed, trailer load business, but also do poultry, rabbits, goats, etc.,” said Santos. “We work with a lot of big farms and have customers in all of the New England States, as well as New York. It’s amazing how fast we’ve grown in 15 years and what we’ve been able to do.”

One area that Phoenix has recently invested in is organic feed, under their Organix brand. “We started the organic feed company in 2016 when we bought a pellet mill in Brandon, VT, and that’s been a good thing,” said Santos. “It’s grown considerably in the last two years and the pellet sales have opened up new markets for us.”

Another area where Phoenix has grown is through their quarterly magazine, Perspectives: Dairy Farming in the Northeast, a quarterly publication that according to Phoenix “gives a voice to Vermont’s and surrounding states’ dairy farmers.” It reaches approximately 40-50,000 readers each issue. “The magazine shows people who we are,” said Santos. “If you want to attract good people you want to have a good corporate image, and our website and magazine are the face of that.”

“We don’t do any other advertising, and we were looking for a way to profile our customers,” said Santos. “When you look at the magazine you can see it’s not a Phoenix propaganda piece - we want it to be about our customers and how hard they work. There’s a lot of people that read the magazine that aren’t farmers, and we try to appeal them as well. When you get to talking to people like this for an article, it’s amazing how much more you learn about your customers and the stories they have to tell.” The magazine is also a family affair for Santos, since his wife Ann Louise Santos is the Senior Copy Editor.

Santos also credits their continued growth to searching for ways to stay efficient during lean times in the industry. “2018 was a really tough year for farmers in general because of low milk prices, and as a result the agricultural community struggled as well,” said Santos. “And it’s kind of looking the same way for 2019 to be honest. We’re always looking for efficiencies in manufacturing - we try to make sure to have back hauls on trucks so they’re full both ways, it’s all about keeping costs down. Nutritionally, we have 4 nutritionists and 18 others hired by the farms. It’s about trying to find ways to feed cows as efficiently as possibly without hurting health and herd production.”

Going forward, Phoenix Feed & Nutrition plans to continue expanding into new markets and increasing their visibility through social media and their magazine, which is slated for its 19th issue soon. For more information on the company, visit

We Should Stop Blaming Cows for Climate Change

We Should Stop Blaming Cows for Climate Change

by Frank M. Mitloehner, Professor of Animal Science and Air Quality Extension Specialist at the University of California, Davis

 As the scale and impacts of climate change become increasingly alarming, meat is a popular target for action. Advocates urge the public to eat less meat to save the environment. Some activists have called for taxing meat to reduce consumption of it.

A key claim underlying these arguments holds that globally, meat production generates more greenhouse gases than the entire transportation sector. However, this claim is demonstrably wrong, as I will show. And its persistence has led to false assumptions about the linkage between meat and climate change.

 My research focuses on ways in which animal agriculture affects air quality and climate change. In my view, there are many reasons for either choosing animal protein or opting for a vegetarian selection. However, foregoing meat and meat products is not the environmental panacea many would have us believe. And if taken to an extreme, it also could have harmful nutritional consequences.

 Setting the record straight on meat and greenhouse gases

 A healthy portion of meat’s bad rap centers on the assertion that livestock is the largest source of greenhouse gases worldwide. For example, a 2009 analysis published by the Washington, D.C.-based Worldwatch Institute asserted that 51 percent of global GHG emissions come from rearing and processing livestock.

 According to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, the largest sources of U.S. GHG emissions in 2016 were electricity production (28 percent of total emissions), transportation (28 percent) and industry (22 percent). All of agriculture accounted for a total of 9 percent. All of animal agriculture contributes less than half of this amount, representing 3.9 percent of total U.S. greenhouse gas emissions. That’s very different from claiming livestock represents as much or more than transportation.

 Why the misconception? In 2006 the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization published a study titled “Livestock’s Long Shadow,” which received widespread international attention. It stated that livestock produced a staggering 18 percent of the world’s greenhouse gas emissions. The agency drew a startling conclusion: Livestock was doing more to harm the climate than all modes of transportation combined.

 This latter claim was wrong, and has since been corrected by Henning Steinfeld, the report’s senior author. The problem was that FAO analysts used a comprehensive life-cycle assessment to study the climate impact of livestock, but a different method when they analyzed transportation.

 For livestock, they considered every factor associated with producing meat. This included emissions from fertilizer production, converting land from forests to pastures, growing feed, and direct emissions from animals (belching and manure) from birth to death.

 However, when they looked at transportation’s carbon footprint, they ignored impacts on the climate from manufacturing vehicle materials and parts, assembling vehicles and maintaining roads, bridges and airports. Instead, they only considered the exhaust emitted by finished cars, trucks, trains and planes. As a result, the FAO’s comparison of greenhouse gas emissions from livestock to those from transportation was greatly distorted.

 I pointed out this flaw during a speech to fellow scientists in San Francisco on March 22, 2010, which led to a flood of media coverage. To its credit, the FAO immediately owned up to its error. Unfortunately, the agency’s initial claim that livestock was responsible for the lion’s share of world greenhouse gas emissions had already received wide coverage. To this day, we struggle to “unring” the bell.

 In its most recent assessment report, the FAO estimated that livestock produces 14.5 percent of global greenhouse gas emissions from human activities. There is no comparable full life-cycle assessment for transportation. However, as Steinfeld has pointed out, direct emissions from transportation versus livestock can be compared and amount to 14 versus 5 percent, respectively.

Giving up meat won’t save the climate

Many people continue to think avoiding meat as infrequently as once a week will make a significant difference to the climate. But according to one recent study, even if Americans eliminated all animal protein from their diets, they would reduce U.S. greenhouse gas emissions by only 2.6 percent. According to our research at the University of California, Davis, if the practice of Meatless Monday were to be adopted by all Americans, we’d see a reduction of only 0.5 percent.

Moreover, technological, genetic and management changes that have taken place in U.S. agriculture over the past 70 years have made livestock production more efficient and less greenhouse gas-intensive. According to the FAO’s statistical database, total direct greenhouse gas emissions from U.S. livestock have declined 11.3 percent since 1961, while production of livestock meat has more than doubled.

Demand for meat is rising in developing and emerging economies, with the Middle East, North Africa and Southeast Asia leading the way. But per capita meat consumption in these regions still lags that of developed countries. In 2015, average annual per capita meat consumption in developed countries was 92 kilograms, compared to 24 kilograms in the Middle East and North Africa and 18 kilograms in Southeast Asia.

Still, given projected population growth in the developing world, there will certainly be an opportunity for countries such as the United States to bring their sustainable livestock rearing practices to the table.

The value of animal agriculture

Removing animals from U.S. agriculture would lower national greenhouse gas emissions to a small degree, but it would also make it harder to meet nutritional requirements. Many critics of animal agriculture are quick to point out that if farmers raised only plants, they could produce more pounds of food and more calories per person. But humans also need many essential micro- and macronutrients for good health.

It’s hard to make a compelling argument that the United States has a calorie deficit, given its high national rates of adult and child obesity. Moreover, not all plant parts are edible or desirable. Raising livestock is a way to add nutritional and economic value to plant agriculture.

As one example, the energy in plants that livestock consume is most often contained in cellulose, which is indigestible for humans and many other mammals. But cows, sheep and other ruminant animals can break cellulose down and release the solar energy contained in this vast resource. According to the FAO, as much as 70 percent of all agricultural land globally is range land that can only be utilized as grazing land for ruminant livestock.

The world population is currently projected to reach 9.8 billion people by 2050. Feeding this many people will raise immense challenges. Meat is more nutrient-dense per serving than vegetarian options, and ruminant animals largely thrive on feed that is not suitable for humans. Raising livestock also offers much-needed income for small-scale farmers in developing nations. Worldwide, livestock provides a livelihood for 1 billion people.

Climate change demands urgent attention, and the livestock industry has a large overall environmental footprint that affects air, water and land. These, combined with a rapidly rising world population, give us plenty of compelling reasons to continue to work for greater efficiencies in animal agriculture. I believe the place to start is with science-based facts.

Frank M. Mitloehner is a Professor of Animal Science and an Air Quality Extension Specialist at the University of California, Davis. Visit his website. Follow him on Twitter @GHGGuru

This article originally ran at the Conversation as Yes, eating meat affects the environment, but cows are not killing the climate and has been republished here with permission.

Northeast Agribusiness & Feed Alliance and NYS FFA Foundation Announce Inaugural Scholarship Winners

Northeast Agribusiness & Feed Alliance and NYS FFA Foundation Announce Inaugural Scholarship Winners 

John Clark, Vice President of the Northeast Agribusiness and Feed Alliance announced the winners of four college scholarships to worthy recipients planning to enroll in agricultural studies. Three of the recipients include (L to R) Anna Post, Bovina Center, NY, Alexis Payne, Glenfield, NY and Karly Marshman, Oxford, NY. Nathan Swede, Pavilion, NY is the fourth recipient of a $500 scholarship.

John Clark, Vice President of the Northeast Agribusiness and Feed Alliance announced the winners of four college scholarships to worthy recipients planning to enroll in agricultural studies. Three of the recipients include (L to R) Anna Post, Bovina Center, NY, Alexis Payne, Glenfield, NY and Karly Marshman, Oxford, NY. Nathan Swede, Pavilion, NY is the fourth recipient of a $500 scholarship.

The Northeast Agribusiness and Feed Alliance (NEAFA) announced the inaugural four recipients of a joint NEAFA and NYS FFA Foundation scholarship on Thursday, February 21st, 2019, at the NYS FFA Ag Education NY Farm Show. “This year is the first of what we hope will be many to come in awarding scholarships to worthy high school seniors,” said Andy Dugan, President of NEAFA. The scholarship is for individuals entering college to study in a field of agriculture. Winners are Alexis Payne of Glenfield, NY, Karly Marshman of Oxford, NY, Anna Post of Bovina Center, NY, and Nathan Swede of Pavilion, NY. Recipients were awarded $500.

Alexis Payne is currently deciding between SUNY Cobleskill or Cornell University College of Agriculture and Life Sciences. She plans on obtaining a Bachelor’s degree in Agricultural Sciences with a focus on Dairy Science and a minor in Agricultural Education. “I would like to earn a job as either a Dairy Nutritionist or an Agriculture Education Teacher, depending on the route I decide to take,” said Payne. “Either way, I am going to continue my future in the industry that I love.”

Karly Marshman plans to attend SUNY Morrisville in the fall of 2019. “I will be completing an associates degree in Agricultural Science and finishing my bachelors degree in Agricultural Business,” said Marshman. “Once I complete my bachelors degree I will go on to complete my masters degree in Agricultural Education! I hope to complete my studies as of the year 2023 and start teaching Agricultural Education in New York State soon after that!”

Anna Post plans to attend SUNY Cobleskill to get a degree in Ag Science/Agronomy and or Ag Policy. Her goals are to “work with one of our local elected representatives to voice the importance of agriculture and advocate for the importance of dairy farms, and family owned farms. I want to advocate for the dairy industry in hopes that the issues present in the industry would be aided, and eventually resolved. I also plan to return to the family farm, and make improvements in the herd and on the farm, because the farm is very important to me.”

Nathan Swede is still searching for the right college to attend, but is planning to study business and the crop side of agriculture. “I believe attending a nice college will teach me these skills to be successful down the road in my career,” said Swede. “Different classes like accounting, marketing, agronomy, and many others should translate well for me in what I want to do.”

Todd Lighthall, Executive Director of the NYS FFA Foundation, is pleased to collaborate with NEAFA. “We’ve had an increasingly close working relationship with NEAFA, and we were thrilled when they approached us with the idea for this new scholarship,” said Lighthall. “We provided the administration in terms of getting the word out, accepting applications, and making scholarship determinations. We look forward to continuing this very positive partnership.”

Funding for the scholarship comes from NEAFA’s Good Works Program, which has awarded over $100,000 to worthy causes that promote the advancement of the animal agriculture industry throughout the Northeastern United States.


The Northeast Agribusiness & Feed Alliance is a trade association of agribusiness companies including feed, seed, fertilizer, financial services, transportation, veterinary, nutritional services, and professional advisors committed to a thriving Northeast agricultural community. NEAFA provides professional support to agribusiness through advocacy, collaboration and educational services. For more information about the scholarship please visit

NEAFA welcomes Beth Meyer as Keynote Speaker at Annual Meeting

NEAFA welcomes Beth Meyer as Keynote Speaker at Annual Meeting

Beth Meyer, the Director of Consumer Confidence for American Dairy Association North East, will be joining NEAFA's annual meeting as a keynote speaker. Meyer has completed dozens of media interviews with local and national print and broadcast media outlets on topics ranging from farm energy efficiencies and sustainability efforts, consumer milk pricing, the nutritional benefits of dairy products, and the annual butter sculpture at the New York State Fair.

Meyer also heads up the Crisis Management team for ADA North East and the New York Dairy Issues Team, where she serves as the point person in developing strategies, talking points, and response plans for issues affecting the dairy industry. She has also prepared a variety of diverse audiences, including dairy farmers, CAFO planners, Soil and Water staff, veterinarians and registered dietitians for both positive and potentially controversial media interviews.

The Monday, March 4th, 2019 Keynote Luncheon by Meyer will focus on “Telling Agriculture’s Story: Connecting and Finding Common Ground with Consumers,” with a breakout session on perfecting media interviews in the afternoon. For Meyer, this subject is “the paradox everyone in agriculture is familiar with: at a time when the average American is at least three generations removed from the farm, consumers have greater interest – and opinions- in what farmers do and how they do it.” Her presentation will look at consumer research and offer tips on how to connect and communicate with the families that purchase your products –in person, and using social/traditional media. 

The afternoon workshop will focus on how to identify potential story ideas, create messaging that connects with viewers/readers, ways to explain a complicated topic, and how to keep your cool. “I’m excited because both of these topics reflect my passion for storytelling,” said Meyers. “Everything from  the “discovery” aspect of finding a great story, the work of developing the story to make it interesting and relevant to your audience, and (hopefully) the ultimate payoff – when others hear the story and get as excited as I am about it. I’m really looking forward to meeting everyone at the upcoming conference and learning some new stories to tell from participants.”

The annual meeting March 3-5, 2019 at Rosen Shingle Creek Resort in Orlando Florida. Convention rates at the resort are good from Tuesday February 26th through Friday March 8th, so show up early and stay late to enjoy all that Orlando has to offer. The annual meeting will also feature a golf tournament on March 5th and an optional farm tour of the region on March 6th that finishes in time for a late afternoon flight home.

With 255 acres on the banks of Shingle Creek, a source of the Everglades, Rosen Shingle Creek is a Spanish Revival style luxury hotel that offers access to the best of Orlando while visitors can enjoy stunning views of the region. The resort is also dedicated to keeping itself accessible for all guests, no matter ability or disability.

The Shingle Creek Golf Course's greens and fairways follow the creek and is lined with beautiful cypress trees. Designed in partnership with the Arnold Palmer Design Company, the course offers a challenge for even a seasoned golfer. The resort is also dedicated to keeping itself accessible for all guests, no matter ability or disability.

For more information on the NEAFA Annual Meeting, please click here.


NEAFA Advocating in Albany, Montpelier

NEAFA Advocating in Albany, Montpelier

Northeast Agribusiness and Feed Alliance advocates were at it in Albany and Montpelier earlier this month fortifying our relationships with legislative leaders and lobbying for industry priorities.  The February 11th Albany Lobby day included over a dozen NEAFA volunteers and allies and they focused on priority state budget issues including PRO-DAIRY, FarmNet, Farm Viability Institute and Agricultural Workforce Specialist.  The state budget process will continue through the end of March.

NEAFA advocates were in Montpelier February 14th promoting a PRO-DAIRY Program for Vermont dairy farmers.  NEAFA, working in coalition with Vermont’s dairy industry, presented before House and Senate Agriculture Committees, encouraging their support for a state appropriation to bring PRO-DAIRY to Vermont.  Jim Walsh, of Phoenix Feeds and Caroline Potter of NY PRO-DAIRY, promoted the program’s abilities to provide dairy farmers with necessary management skills to weather the current economic downturn and thrive when milk prices improve.

The President's Pen by Andrew Dugan, President

President’s Pen, by Andy Dugan

2019 shows new growth for Northeast Dairymen and Northeast Agriculture Businesses   

If you will recall, fluid milk supply grew quickly in 2016, 2017, and early 2018.  Demand for soft and hard processed dairy products stayed firm, but fluid milk demand was dropping quickly.  This led to headlines that read "Northeast dairy farms dumping milk,” as milk processors across our area were forced to unload milk in farm manure pits.  

During 2018, total milk supply growth slowed and appears to be getting back in balance with demand.  Unfortunately this supply moderation has occurred just as some of our customers and friends have had to sell their cows and exit the business.  Additionally, remaining farm herd growth has remained slow compared to prior years.  

The new Farm Program has been released and has a very strong emphasis on risk management.  The USDA is heavily subsidizing insurance program premiums that help dairymen set predefined milk income over feed cost (i.e. margin).  Of course feed commodity risk management tools have long been available through feed companies as well as brokerage firms (i.e. commodity contracting).  As banks continue to review lines of credit with dairy customers there will be intense discussions over risk management, both for milk margin as well as locked in feed costs.  

The future milk prices for the rest of 2019 shows an increase in Class III milk by over $2.00/cwt with both firm fat and protein values.  This creates a great opportunity for nutritionists to focus on meeting dairymen's butterfat and protein production goals by applying the use of technology which can really increase milk components, and therefore, farm income as milk price increases. 

While none of the above points to a significant profitability increase, all of these reasons will make 2019 a very improved year for the Northeast Dairy Industry.  Farms and businesses that have their house in order are poised to capitalize in 2019! 

Meg Nelson Joins NEAFA Advocacy Team

Meg Nelson Joins NEAFA Advocacy Team

The Northeast Agribusiness and Feed Alliance is pleased to announce that Meg Nelson, of St Albans, VT will be representing NEAFA in the VT Statehouse.  Meg graduated from Vermont Technical College with an associate’s degree in Dairy Management and continued to finish a bachelor’s degree in Animal Science and Business Management from the University of Vermont. Meg’s passion for agriculture makes her a perfect fit for collaborating with the greater agriculture industry and conveying the agribusiness perspective to legislative leaders in Montpelier.  Stay tuned for information on a Montpelier lobby day in March. 

Group Calls for Radical Change to World Diets

The report draws response from animal agriculture experts. Joel Newman criticizes commission on three critical, erroneous assumptions. 

The following article was first published by Sarah Muirhead in Feedstuffs.

A study looking at whether the future world population can be fed within planetary boundaries has found that it may indeed not be possible given how food is currently grown, processed, transported, consumed and wasted.

The EAT-Lancet Commission on Food, Planet, Health conducted the study.

EAT is a global, nonprofit start-up with the stated mission of transforming the global food system.

The Lancet is a weekly medical journal owned by Elsevier. The EAT-Lancet Commission is one of several reports on nutrition being published by The Lancet in 2019. The next commission – The Global Syndemic of Obesity, Undernutrition & Climate Change – will publish later in January.

Funding for the EAT-Lancet Commission study came from the Wellcome Trust and EAT. The Stockholm Resilience Centre was the scientific coordinator of the report.

Among the conclusions reached by the commission were that:

● “Feeding a growing population of 10 billion people by 2050 with a healthy and sustainable diet will be impossible without transforming eating habits, improving food production and reducing food waste. First scientific targets for a healthy diet that places healthy food consumption within the boundaries of our planet will require significant change but are within reach.

● “The daily dietary pattern consists of approximately 35% of calories as whole grains and tubers, protein sources mainly from plants -- but including approximately 14 g of red meat per day -- and 500 g per day of vegetables and fruits.

● “Moving to this new dietary pattern will require global consumption of foods such as red meat and sugar to decrease by about 50%, while consumption of nuts, fruits, vegetables and legumes must double.

● “Unhealthy diets are the leading cause of ill health worldwide, and following the diet could avoid approximately 11 million premature deaths per year.

● “The diet can exist within planetary boundaries for food production such as use of land, nutrients, freshwater and biodiversity loss and climate change.”

The EAT-Lancet Commission is essentially proposing scientific targets for what it deems constitutes a healthy diet from a sustainable food system. Its campaign promotes diets consisting of a variety of plant-based foods, with low amounts of animal-based foods, refined grains, highly processed foods and added sugars, and with unsaturated rather than saturated fats.

“The food we eat and how we produce it determines the health of people and the planet, and we are currently getting this seriously wrong,” said one of the commission authors, professor Tim Lang, City, University of London, U.K. “We need a significant overhaul, changing the global food system on a scale not seen before in ways appropriate to each country’s circumstances. While this is unchartered policy territory and these problems are not easily fixed, this goal is within reach, and there are opportunities to adapt international, local and business policies. The scientific targets we have devised for a healthy, sustainable diet are an important foundation which will underpin and drive this change.”

The commission is a three-year project that reportedly brings together 37 experts from 16 countries with expertise in health, nutrition, environmental sustainability, food systems, economics and political governance.

Dr. Richard Horton, editor-in-chief at The Lancet, said: “The transformation that the commission calls for is not superficial or simple and requires a focus on complex systems, incentives and regulations, with communities and governments at multiple levels having a part to play in redefining how we eat. Our connection with nature holds the answer, and if we can eat in a way that works for our planet as well as our bodies, the natural balance of the planet’s resources will be restored. The very nature that is disappearing holds the key to human and planetary survival.”

Report draws a response

“Let’s call the EAT-Lancet Commission’s report what it is: yet another organized attack on animal agriculture that is not reflective of the current and accurate science on the industry’s substantial sustainability advances. We agree with the report’s authors that there is a need to continue producing sufficient food that both feeds our growing population and protects the planet. Unfortunately, the commission made three critical and erroneous assumptions: that there is consensus on the science behind their recommendations, that the advance of new technologies will not contribute to further reducing the environmental impact of animal protein production and that all sources of protein provide equivalent nutritional value for human diets," said Joel Newman, president and chief executive officer of the American Feed Industry Assn.

"The animal food industry has been working with farmers and ranchers, the scientific research community and other global partners – likely long before the report’s authors began touting a plant-based lifestyle – on bringing new technologies and enhanced nutritional formulas to the marketplace, significantly reducing the animal agriculture industry’s environmental impact while providing animals with optimal nutrition and health. The animal food industry is doing even more than ever before in benchmarking its environmental footprint and providing data to farmers and ranchers so they can make better decisions. Unfortunately, the report’s calls to return to primarily an ‘agrarian lifestyle’ will undo years of research and innovation while likely keeping nutritious and high-quality protein and dairy products out of the hands of the people who need them the most. The commission’s disingenuous claims, focused against animal agriculture, does the public a disservice by not discussing realistic, scientific solutions to addressing tomorrow’s food and environmental challenges," Newman added.

“U.S. farmers and ranchers lead the world in efficient practices that deliver unmatched nutrition while conserving natural resources and decreasing environmental impact. The EAT-Lancet Commission ignores evidence of meat and dairy’s contributions to healthy, sustainable diets. The commission’s radical recommendations to drastically limit meat and dairy consumption would have serious, negative consequences for the health of people and the planet," Animal Agriculture Alliance president and CEO Kay Johnson Smith said. "The EAT-Lancet recommendations (for example, to eat just a quarter-ounce of beef per day and drink just one cup of milk) risk worsening malnutrition, increasing food waste and distracting from the highest priorities for addressing greenhouse gas emissions. The science about the best path forward is clear: Meat and dairy are critical to high-quality nutrition, less food waste and efficient use of our precious natural resources.”

"In light of the changing global demographics and environmental challenges, the dairy sector understands the need to supply more food, more efficiently.  The dairy sector has long recognized that sustainability encompasses various elements, including the environment, socioeconomic aspects and nutrition. In order to reach the United Nation’s Sustainable Development Goals, a broad range of solutions will be needed. It is not just about feeding the world a certain number of calories; it is about nourishing people with nutrient-rich food, like milk and dairy, that encourages optimal growth and performance," said International Dairy Federation president Dr. Judith Bryans and Global Dairy Platform executive director Donald Moore. "The dairy sector has an established record of embracing new practices and is an active participant in implementing innovative solutions to feed the world. As stewards of the planet, dairy farmers are constantly seeking ways to efficiently produce better food while reducing environmental impacts, caring responsibly for their animals and making the land better for the next generation. We are committed to engaging in an open conversation about the totality of the global food system."

“Modern U.S. livestock agriculture is a tremendous example of how the world can produce the nutritious, safe food people need while contributing less GHGs per calorie of food,” said National Pork Producers Council president Jim Heimerl, a pork producer from Ohio. “The U.N. has said there are ‘limitations to emissions reductions in the agriculture sector particularly because of … providing food for a global population that is expected to continue to grow’ and that ‘it would be reasonable to expect emissions reductions in terms of improvements in efficiency rather than absolute reductions in GHG emissions."

“To address sustainability and undernourishment,” Heimerl added, “maybe the report’s authors should call on the European Union to drop its Draconian ‘precautionary principle’ that all-but prevents the use of new technologies and modern production practices. It’s those kinds of restrictions that are forcing farmers around the world to forego using scientifically proved technologies that produce more food and in a more environmentally friendly way.”

“Of course, climate change is real and does require our attention, and, yes, livestock should be optimized but also be used as part of the solution to make our environments and food systems more sustainable and our populations healthier. But instead of undermining the foundations of our diets and the livelihoods of many, we should be tackling rather than ignoring the root causes, in particular, hyperconsumerism. What we should avoid is losing ourselves in slogans, nutritional scientism and distorted worldviews,” Frédéric Leroy, professor of food science and technology who is investigating the scientific and societal aspects of animal food products, and Martin Cohen, a social scientist and author of I Think Therefore I Eat, noted in "European Food Agency News."

US Supreme Court Declines Involvement in Egg Law

The Northeast Agribusiness and Feed Alliance (NEAFA) was part of the coalition that fought against the 2016 Massachusetts ballot proposal that dictated minimum cage sizes for hogs, poultry, and veal, because we know that animal scientists, not the general public, are the experts on animal husbandry practices. Unfortunately we lost the ballot battle but we had confidence that the courts would weigh in on the interstate commerce issues. That optimism was dashed when the Supreme Court refused to take the case. In an extraordinary move, the Trump Administration weighed in on the matter when the Justice Department urged the Supreme not to take the case.

This sequence of events demonstrates the fragility of the social contract between farmers and the general public. Despite our knowledge on how to best treat livestock, we cannot assume that the best animal husbandry practices will be permitted by a society that increasingly wants to have a say in what we do. Further, the anti-animal agriculture crowd will continue to exploit the political process to carry out their agenda. The animal agriculture industry is facing challenges from many fronts, yet the court’s decision, or lack thereof, may be the biggest threat yet.

The following article was written by David A. Lieb for the Associated Press, reporting on the U.S. Supreme Court decision and state lawsuits. 

Please click here to read the article. 

NEAFA at NYS Agriculture Society

NEAFA sponsored the Business of the Year Awards at the 2019 New York Agriculture Society Annual Meeting.  The two recipients were Brooklyn Grange, a series of roof top farms in Brooklyn and Countryside Vet Clinic, a successful veterinary clinic in Lowville, NY. 

Brooklyn Grange Farm Manager, Seth Johnson, receives the Business of the Year Award from NEAFA Executive Director Rick Zimmerman and NYS Agriculture and Markets Commissioner Richard Ball.

Brooklyn Grange Farm Manager, Seth Johnson, receives the Business of the Year Award from NEAFA Executive Director Rick Zimmerman and NYS Agriculture and Markets Commissioner Richard Ball.

Rick Zimmerman and Commissioner Richard Ball present the Business of the Year Award to Countryside Vet Clinic principals Dr. Craig Pauly, Dr. Stacy Kenyon, Dr. Peter Ostrum.

Rick Zimmerman and Commissioner Richard Ball present the Business of the Year Award to Countryside Vet Clinic principals Dr. Craig Pauly, Dr. Stacy Kenyon, Dr. Peter Ostrum.

Be Part of the 2019 NEAFA Lobby Day


Announcing: The 2019 NEAFA Lobby Day

Monday, February 11, 2019
10:00 am – 3:00 pm

Government is run by those who show up!  We need you to be part of the team in Albany on February 11, 2019 to advocate for:


  • FarmNet

  • IPM

  • Ag Nonpoint Source Funding

  • FFA

  • Farm Viability Institute

  • Farm Labor Specialist

There is new leadership in both the Assembly and Senate which makes our advocacy work even more important. 

  • The State Senate is controlled by the Democratic Caucus this year, yet only five members of this new majority represents Upstate NY.   

  • The Assembly Agriculture Committee has a new chair for the first time in over 15 years! 

  • The agriculture community must develop new relationships with the new leaders and you are invited to be part of this effort on February 11th.  

  • All the programs listed above are subject to a state budget appropriation.  Our voices must be heard to maintain support for these important programs.   

This event is free! All you need to do is register to be part of the February 11, 2019 Lobby Day is click here.  

The NEAFA Lobby Day is separate from our Annual Meeting this year because we will be in Florida, March 3-6 at the Rosen Shingle Creek Resort for the 2019 Annual Meeting and Forum.  Click here for more annual meeting information.

Questions? Contact Rick Zimmerman at (518) 426-0214 or

Farmer Panel a Highlight at NEAFA Annual Meeting

NEAFA is looking forward to the March 4th, 2019 farmer panel that promises to be an outstanding compliment to their great conference that runs from March 3rd-6th! The four-farmer panel, whose members are all prominent in their fields, will be moderated by Corwin Holtz, a NEAFA board member and president at Holtz Nelson Dairy Consultants, a group of nine independent dairy nutrition and management consultants working with dairy producers in New York, Pennsylvania, Ohio and the New England states. The farmer panel includes Blake Gendebein, Beth Kennett, Jonathan Lamb, and Neil Rejman.

“I'm very happy to be a moderator for what I see is a very diverse panel,” said Holtz. “The panel covers a wide spectrum of the northeast dairy industry in terms of herd size and management types. Each of them have common challenges, but because of the diversity of the panel members unique challenges in their own situations. I'm looking forward to how they see 2019 shaping up for them, and how they see the N.E. Dairy Industry progressing in the next 5-10 years.”

Blake Gendebein is one of 14 directors for AgriMark Cooperative, the makers of Cabot Cheese, as well as the owner of a 550 cow dairy. “Our farm brings diversity to the forefront,” said Gendebein. “We're able to support our dairy by adding over $2.00 per cwt with non milk income. This takes significant effort in developing value added relationships. I'm excited to share my experiences with the panel and to help connect dairy farm family views with NEAFA membership.”

Jonathan Lamb is a partner at his family's 8000 cow dairy. The farm operates with milking facilities at four sites in New York and Ohio. Lamb is active in the Holstein Association, where he served as Chairman of the Genetic Advancement Committee for 5 years. Lamb currently serves as a board member and Finance chair for Erie-Niagara Insurance Company, and as a delegate for Upstate-Niagara Milk Cooperative and Select Sire Power, Inc.

Neil Rejman is owner and dairy manager of Sunnyside farms, a 4,500 cow dairy, as well as the Chairman of the board for Cayuga Milk Ingredients. “I'll be sharing my concern about the lack of competitiveness in the northeast dairy industry, primarily due to our high feed cost (high basis) and decreasing milk premiums (lower basis),” said Rejman. “While this may not be a very positive message, I think it is very realistic, and it needs to be discussed in order for our industry to find solutions.”

Beth Kennett has operated Liberty Hill Farm (LHF) with her husband Bob since 1979. LHF is a farm vacation business, providing lodging and meals for guests from around the world since 1984. “Agricultural tourism creates a significant impact with our communities by allowing for personal relationships between farmer and consumer,” said Kennett. “It is not just local food, farm to table, or even putting the face on the farmer, it's creating meaningful dialogue that goes both ways to improve understanding between farmers and their community. I am truly honored to participate at the NEAFA conference with those who provide for the needs of our cows, our farms, and our families by helping them create opportunities to spread the positive message of agriculture.”

The NEAFA annual meeting promises to be a full, educational and fun event for all attendees. In addition to NEAFA's programming, there is a risk management program available from International FC Stone (IFCS, IFCS is a global company offering comprehensive risk management tools and services, will be hosting their annual Global Markets Outlook Conference at Rosen Shingle Creek Resort during our NEAFA conference. They're graciously offering deep discounts to our members to participate in 3 sessions on Sunday March 3, 2019. The risk management refresher is free, and the other two seminars (OTC price-risk management and a fertilizer summit) are $250 each for NEAFA members. The risk management refresher is from 10:00 am – 12:00 pm. It's a brief, interactive two hour presentation on the foundation of the futures and options markets including material on hedging mechanics and strategy.

The OTC price-risk management session is from 1:00 – 5:45 pm. This valuable session is for becoming more familiar with the OTC-Swap market. A variety of commodity markets will be used to illustrate the different uses of OTC tools. This is a good opportunity to get an understanding of what tools are available, how they function, and their impact on markets. Available to NEAFA members at a $100 discount for $250.

At the same time as the OTC management session is a fertilizer summit from 1:00 – 5:15 pm. The IFCS team will be combining market outlook with information on how to use the available tools to manage risk, as well as enhance grain origination. Available to NEAFA members at a $100 discount for $250.

To register for one or all of these seminars, please click here.When registering, choose “NEAFA” from the drop down menu to activate the discount.

Advocacy: It's Time to Show Up

January is when state legislatures regroup and, in some cases, reorganize according to election results last fall. Such is the case in state capitals throughout the northeast and these new legislative leaders are getting themselves acclimated to their new roles and responsibilities.  Our democracy is dependent upon elected officials, who are willing to devote their time to serving the people, and special interest groups such as NEAFA, to arrive at the best policy decisions for our industry and our society.  Therefore, we plan to show up in Albany, Montpelier and the other state capitols throughout the northeast. 

Albany Lobby Day: February 11, 2019:  You are invited to be part of the team of industry advocates that will be in the halls of the New York State Capitol on February 11th to advocate for our agriculture industry.  (See registration details below) We know that the agribusiness community is dependent on a successful farm sector and therefore we will be meeting with new Senate and Assembly legislative leaders to deliver a message of support and urgency for keeping core agricultural programs, such as PRO-DAIRY and NY FarmNet, up and running.  The new chairs of the Assembly and Senate Agriculture Committees, Assemblywoman Donna Lupardo and Senator Jen Metzger, need to know us for who we are, what we do and why we play such an important role in the agriculture economy.  Please plan to join us on February 11th.  Details are post in this newsletter.

Montpelier: New Professional Representation:  I am pleased to announce the Meg Nelson will be representing NEAFA in Montpelier this year.  Meg hales from a Swanton, VT based dairy farm, Nelson Boys Dairy, and will be working with veteran lobbyist Margaret Laggis in the agriculture policy space.  Meg will be in the VT Statehouse on a regular basis and will also coordinate our grassroots advocacy efforts.  Meg’s passion for agriculture makes her a perfect fit for collaborating with the greater agriculture industry and conveying the agribusiness perspective to legislative leaders in Montpelier.  Stay tuned for more details on a Montpelier lobby day later this spring. 

ME, NH, MA, CT, RI: On our radar screen:  As we have done in previous years, NEAFA will continue to monitor legislative and regulatory activity in all the New England states.  Our network with the agriculture lobby, including AFIA, NGFA, state Farm Bureaus and professional ag lobbyists, keeps us informed and engaged.  Nevertheless, I encourage you to keep your eyes and ears open for any potential policy or budget threat and notify me right away. 

Together, we will show up!