Darigold heritage anchored to Whatcom family dairies
NDA/Darigold employees with Valley View Percheron draft horses in front of the Lynden plant at the June 4 Farmer’s Day parade where Darigold contributed whipped cream for the ‘world’s longest strawberry shortcake’, distributed
samples of Darigold’s naturally white cheddar cheese and chocolate milk.
The Whatcom Dairymen’s Association produced a full line of dairy products in the early 1900’s, including a popular ‘red cheddar cheese.’ Consolidating with several other local dairy cooperatives to form the Northwest Dairy Association was a decision based on the economies of scale for more efficient hauling, processing and marketing their local dairy products under the Darigold brand. NDA/Darigold – the farmer-owned cooperative that owns the Darigold brand – will celebrate its centennial in 2018.
Al Steiner has worked as the Whatcom NDA/Darigold Field Manager for the past 16 years, supporting more than 100 Whatcom dairy farms that send their milk to NDA/Darigold for processing. Economies of scale continue to drive dairy farming as dairy farms have grown larger, Steiner observes, to pay the increased cost of equipment, feed, fuel, labor and compliance with multi-faceted government regulation.
“The caliber of our dairymen reflects how they stay in business by absolutely being on top of their herd’s health, production, manure management and finances,” Steiner continued. “Consumers wouldn’t recognize the expertise and professionalism of modern dairy farms.” Whatcom dairymen value his support for milk quality controls including incentives to have top quality product coming off the line every day, they say.
Second-generation Whatcom dairy farmer Rod DeJong says there’s a “good positive relationship” between NDA/Darigold and about 100 Whatcom dairy farms that value a strong cooperative to spread out costs.
The partnership Rod formed with his father in 1971 now includes his three sons, third-generation dairy farmers, who manage 23 full- and part-time employees that oversee 1,400 milking cows on 900 acres at Eaglemill Farms near Lynden. The farm sends more than 100,000 lbs. (12,000 gallons) of milk to NDA/Darigold for processing every day.
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Dairy farm worker safety expert provides proactive advice at Dairy Federation meeting
David Douphrate Ph.D., a national authority on worker health and safety on dairy farms speaks to hundreds of dairy farmers and farm managers at the 2016 Washington Dairy Federation Safety Conference & Annual Meeting.
David Douphrate Ph.D., MPT, MBA, a nationally-recognized authority on worker health and safety on dairy farms, encouraged more than 200 attendees of the Washington Dairy Federation’s Safety Conference and Annual meeting to demonstrate a commitment to farm worker safety by moving beyond the ‘checkbox’.
Dr. Douphrate said safety management components are driven by the owner/manager’s commitment to workplace safety. “Hazard identification and control, education and training, and worker participation are key elements in a farm’s written safety policies and programs,” he said. “With a focus on prevention and employee participation, safety training is effective when it is administered in both a language and vocabulary that workers can understand, which is vital given that the current dairy labor force is mostly comprised of non-English speaking workers.”
An Assistant Professor at the University of Texas Health Science Center Houston School of Public Health, Dr. Douphrate has focused on dairy farm worker safety for more than 13 years. “Proactive injury prevention using a safety management blueprint enables workers to perform their jobs in safe and effective ways in safe working environments,” he says. “Continuous leadership with a well-structured plan and evaluation system will help prevent injuries but should be evaluated on a regular basis for effectiveness.”
Grant funds WSU mobile system for phosphorus recovery
Over the next two years researchers at Washington State University will build and operate a mobile struvite system in Washington State with a $460,010 USDA Conservation Innovation Grant, and a $150,000 grant from the Dairy Farmers of Washington, for a total of $610, 010 to demonstrate the efficiency and effectiveness of the mobile technology.
Since 2004 WSU researchers have been refining technology to capture excess phosphorus from liquid dairy cow manure in the form of struvite (magnesium ammonium phosphate). The “Mobile System for Nutrient (Phosphorus) Recovery and Cost Efficient Nutrient Transport” project will build and operate a mobile struvite system, applying a fluidized bed technology, to efficiently extract phosphorus from raw manure and anaerobically digested manure.
Phosphorus is one of the key elements in fertilization of cropland, improved production and soil health. “We are actively recruiting dairy farms to participate in the fluidized bed technology project that will efficiently develop a highly transportable phosphorous-rich fertilizer in the form of struvite,” said WSU Nutrient Management Specialist Dr. Joe Harrison and project lead.
Dairyland News is distributed to dairy farm families, business leaders/dairy farm suppliers, government staff, elected officials, and news media to show how dairy farmers contribute to the community, with safe operations, best farm management practices and effective stewardship of land and animals. Dairyland News is produced by the Washington Dairy Products Commission in cooperation with the Washington State Dairy Federation.
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