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Avery offers hope to dairy producers at Western Dairy Management Conference

Dairy producers and industry leaders challenged to tell their story

Dennis Avery, global food-issues expert and director of the Hudson Institute, offered hope to dairy producers and industry leaders at the Western Dairy Management Conference in Reno, Nev., March 11. In his presentation, Dairying: Light at the End of the Tunnel? Avery challenged agriculture stakeholders to unite and tell high-yield conservation's success story to consumers. The presentation was sponsored by Intervet/Schering-Plough Animal Health.

"The dairy industry has been battered by ultra-high feed costs, shrinking sales, the prospect of greenhouse emissions fees for its cows and manure, and continuing harassment from animal rights activists," says Avery. "The time has come for the industry to unite and tell the positive story of modern, production agriculture that feeds the world."

Avery shared new information about the benefits of high-yield agriculture, the contributions agriculture has made to the environment, the ability of U.S. farmers to feed the world and the light at the end of the tunnel for dairying today.

Avery recognized the positive impact that high-yield farms have had on productivity and sustainability in agriculture, including:

--Dairy producers have quadrupled milk production per acre with advancements in genetics, nutrition and animal health technology

--Crop farmers are using no-till to cut soil erosion by 95 percent

--Confinement operations and intensive grazing have saved millions of forest acres from being cleared for more dairy pasture

--High-yield agriculture is the most sustainable type of agriculture and saves wild lands and wild species

"This sustainable productivity will soon be crucially needed," Avery said. "The world's farmers must more than double food and feed output by 2040 to feed a world population of 9 billion affluent people--without taking more land away from nature."

Avery told attendees that dairy farmers can look forward to supplying massive increases in milk, cheese and ice cream concentrate as exports from America's prime farmland, using the world's best infrastructure.

"High-yield conservation has worked and is working, but we haven't told consumers," says Avery. "Consumers need to know that poultry cages prevent cannibalism among birds and reduce salmonella contamination of eggs, and that feedlots prevent microbe mutations that have caused most human epidemics, such as smallpox, cholera and avian influenza. Feedlots also save lots more land for wildlife."

"As an animal health company that is committed to the health, well-being and productivity of dairy animals, we support farmers and veterinarians in telling the real story of agriculture," says Terry Hansen, National Dairy Sales Director, Intervet/Schering-Plough Animal Health. "We're proud to support Dennis and his mission to unite the industry on this critical issue."

Dennis Avery is the Global Food Issues Director for Washington's Hudson Institute. He is the author of two best-selling books, including Saving the Planet with Pesticides and Plastic: The Environmental Triumph of High-Yield Agriculture and Unstoppable Global Warming Every 1,500 Years.

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