One member of Congress has a foot in both politics and dairy. Republican Representative David Valadao of California has his own farm, AgDay’s Clinton Griffiths reports.
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Valadao’s farm consists of two dairies and 1,000 acres of farmland in two California counties. He spoke to the National Milk Producers Federation’s Dairy Defined podcast about the pressures facing dairy farmers right now.

“For dairy farmers, specifically, input costs are huge. Prices have gone through the roof on truckloads of feed that are coming in. Every time I talk to a farmer, they talk about the price of every truckload. So that’s been a huge concern for them. As far as water, water is one that also is a massive issue for us. The one that I’ve been getting the most calls from, which I’ve never gotten this many phone calls on, is the labor shortage and farmers who are doing the job of two to three to four people, that because they’re just not able to find [workers],”​ he says.

As for getting ag labor legislation passed this year, Valadao says there are enough farmers speaking up that the pressure is starting to build in Washington, and Senators are starting to have conversations about it.

And in Canada, a dairy research facility is going through a big upgrade. When it’s finished experts say it will be home to the largest robotic milking research facility in North America.

The facility is being built at the University of British Columbia. It will include six GEA Dairy Robots. The retrofit project will include two existing research barns and service about 250-lactating cows. The idea came about three years ago when the university was looking to upgrade its 20-year-old parlor.

Senate Agriculture Livestock, Dairy, Poultry, Local Food Systems, and Food Safety and Security Subcommittee Chairwoman Kirsten Gillibrand, D-N.Y., on Sept. 15 chaired a hearing on volatile milk pricing and federal milk marketing order system modernization.

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