Cash cattle saw gains during the last two weeks of the year. Winter storms in parts of the Plains and Cornbelt created some problems with the ability for feeders to load cattle last week.
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Student picks up milk carton in school cafeteria, photo(AP images)

At least one Wisconsin auction market cancelled their regular Wednesday sale due to weather. Fed cattle buyers were looking to secure cattle for the first week of the New Year. The USDA will release a Cattle Inventory report the end of January. The nation’s beef cow herd is expected to be lower than at the beginning of 2020 as cow and heifer harvest levels indicate expansion in the sector has ended and not resumed. Feed costs continue to increase, but the smaller supply of feeder cattle has so far kept feeder cattle demand strong. Corn futures contracts closed higher 11 sessions in a row through the start of last week. Traders are also watching a port worker strike in Argentina. The strike has backed up grain shipments there and could mean more U.S. grain heading overseas.

Leaders of Edge Dairy Farmer Cooperative, one of the largest dairy co-ops in the country, have urged Congress to help broaden the milk options children have in schools. The call for greater flexibility came after the federal government on released the 2020 update to the Dietary Guidelines for Americans. Every five years, the U.S. Department of Agriculture and the Department of Health and Human Services release the guidelines offering advice on what to eat and drink to promote health, reduce risk of chronic disease and meet nutrient needs. Brody Stapel, president of Edge and a dairy farmer in Wisconsin, said Edge welcomes the continued recognition of the importance of dairy in the daily diet with the release of the 2020-2025 Dietary Guidelines for Americans. But, he added, the lack of recognition of the nutritional benefits from fuller-fat dairy in the new guidelines will continue to hinder the availability of these food options in our schools.

The Land Stewardship Project has released a pair of music videos highlighting key themes of the growing farmer interest in building soil health. The two songs-of-the-soil, “Got Cover Crops” and “Back to Soil,” were commissioned from Austin, Minn., native and singer-songwriter Bret Hesla and performed with the band Six Feet Deep. While writing the songs, Hesla got deeply grounded in the subject matter through visits to the farms of soil health farmers and Land Stewardship Project members Tom and Alma Cotter, of Austin, and Kaleb and Angie Anderson of Goodhue, Minn. LSP hoped the videos can further build the energy and community that’s been growing among farmers interested in improving soil health in the Upper Midwest.

The giant Holstein cow with spots arranged as a map of the world is designed to celebrate the farmer-owned cooperative’s diversity, equity, and inclusion efforts.

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