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US marks subdued Fourth of July as coronavirus cases surge

Independence Day celebrations began with daily records in new cases in Florida, at 11,458, and Texas, at 8,258.

The United States marked a subdued Fourth of July holiday with social distancing and restrictions on crowds preventing the typical gatherings and firework displays amid a surge in coronavirus infections in southern and western states. 

Racial justice protests were also planned in the US capital on Saturday, where President Donald Trump is set to deliver a speech on the National Mall.

Trump promised a “special evening” that could bring tens of thousands of spectators, despite warnings of the dangers of spreading the virus from Washington, DC Mayor Muriel Bowser, who is powerless over the event on federal land. 

Saturday’s commemoration of the declaration of US independence from Britain began on a grim note, with both Florida and Texas recording their highest daily new infections, 11,458 and 8,258 in a 24-hour period, respectively, since the coronavirus outbreak began in the United States.

To date, nearly 130,000 people have died from COVID-19 in the country, amid 2.8 million infections – the highest number of both deaths and infections in the world.

On Friday, North Carolina, South Carolina, Tennessee, Alaska, Missouri, Idaho and Alabama all registered daily highs for new cases, while Texas hit a new peak for hospitalisations related to the virus.

Beaches, normally packed over the holiday weekend, were widely shut on both coasts with Florida’s most populous county Miami-Dade shuttering the sand and imposing a curfew for residents.

Meanwhile in California, beach closures went from Los Angeles County northward through Ventura and Santa Barbara. To the south in Orange County, hugely popular beaches such as Huntington and Newport were closed.

Fireworks, events cancelled

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention cautioned that mass gatherings, such as the one scheduled by the president, present a high risk for spread of the virus.

On Friday during Trump’s speech at Mount Rushmore, Republican Governor Kristi Noem, an ally of the president, insisted social distancing was not necessary and masks were optional. 

On Saturday, officials said they would hand out 300,000 face coverings to spectators who gather on the National Mall. While Interior Department Secretary David Bernhardt said visitors would be encouraged to wear masks and keep two metre (6 foot) distance from one another, there was no indication that would be mandatory.

In a patchwork of restrictions across the country, parades were cancelled, boisterous backyard barbecues scaled down, and family reunions put off amid worries about air travel and concerns about spreading the virus.

In New York City, the famous annual Nathan’s hotdog eating contest, normally held on the crowded Coney Island boardwalk, took place inside with no spectators and special precautions for officials and workers.

Meanwhile, Fireworks displays, a mainstay of the holiday that typically attracts crowds of thousands to locations across the country, have been put on hold this year, with an estimated 80 percent of those events cancelled. 

Other locales urged people to watch the displays from their cars.

Racial unrest

Saturday also comes amid a backdrop of heightened racial unrest in the country following the killing of George Floyd after a white police officer kneeled on his neck for nearly nine minutes in Minnesota on May 25. 

Demonstrations have since become a regular feature in many American cities, with several planned in the US capital.

The largest protests on Saturday are expected to include a George Floyd memorial March beginning at the Lincoln Memorial, a Black Out March at the US Capitol, and a Black Lives Matter protest at the National Museum of African American History and Culture.

Public health officials have been bracing for a new spike in coronavirus cases after this weekend’s celebrations and protests.

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Egypt arrests alleged serial sexual predator

CAIRO (AFP) – Egyptian authorities on Saturday (July 4) arrested a man who allegedly sexually abused dozens of girls and women, in a case that has sparked outrage online, a security source said.

Allegations have been widely circulating on social media since Wednesday detailing horrific sexual abuse and related blackmail suffered by women at the hands of the same man.

One allegation claimed that he attempted to abuse a 14-year-old girl.

“The person accused of harassing the girls has been arrested and will be facing the prosecution following the allegations carried on social media,” the security source said.

“Those affected should submit formal reports of the harm they endured,” the source added.

The source did not identify the suspect.

In a later statement, Egypt’s public prosecution identified the man and said the investigation was launched.

According to the social media reports, the first of which was published on an Instagram account, the abuse had been going on for years.

The public prosecution had said it received a complaint from one woman against the alleged abuser dating as far back as November 2016.

Trending hashtags carrying the alleged abuser’s name widely circulated on Twitter and Facebook, urging government action.

Egypt’s National Council for Women (NCW) lodged an official complaint with the public prosecutor to investigate the allegations on Saturday.

“The NCW has followed the social media account on Instagram, which was launched by girls and women complaining that a man raped some of them and sexually assaulted and harassed others,” it said on Facebook.

It also said that several victims, who reached out to the council, recounted that the man “blackmailed and threatened to defame them using photos and clips documenting his heinous crimes”.

The council urged the women to submit official complaints to the prosecutor.

Some online reports suggested the perpetrator was a university student.

The American University in Cairo acknowledged the suspect had studied there but said he left the university in 2018.

He “is not a current student at the American University in Cairo,” a statement said.

Sexual harassment is highly prevalent in Egypt.

United Nations surveys have found that most Egyptian women have been subject to harassment, ranging from catcalling to pinching and groping.

Egyptian authorities have criminalised sexual harassment since 2014, but many women complain that the problem remains rampant.

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Football: Chelsea bounce back to cruise past Watford

LONDON (AFP) – Chelsea retook their place in the Premier League top four as goals from Olivier Giroud, Willian and Ross Barkley capped a dominant display to beat Watford 3-0 and leave the Hornets still precariously placed just one point outside the relegation zone.

Manchester United’s 5-2 thrashing of Bournemouth earlier in the day saw Chelsea slip outside the top four before kick-off, but the Blues bounced back with very little fuss as Watford failed to exploit the hosts’ defensive frailties.

Chelsea boss Frank Lampard reacted to the bitter disappointment of blowing a lead to lose 3-2 at struggling West Ham on Wednesday by making four changes with Marcos Alonso and Antonio Rudiger paying the price for their part in the Hammers’ late winner.

Giroud was one of those recalled to the starting line-up and the 33-year-old showed why Lampard extended his contract for another year during the coronavirus shutdown.

The French international was denied by the quick reflexes of Ben Foster with his first big chance, but was not to be stopped when he span onto Barkley’s pass before finding the bottom corner on 28 minutes.

Watford manager Nigel Pearson also made a big call with his team selection as he recalled Nathaniel Chalobah to the starting line-up and Andre Gray to the matchday squad after both were dropped for a 3-1 home defeat by Southampton last weekend after flouting government guidelines by attending a party for Gray’s 29th birthday.

However, there was no improvement in the performance as Watford have taken just one point from four games since the restart.

The visitors gave themselves a mountain to climb when Etienne Capoue unnecessarily barged into Christian Pulisic to concede a penalty.

Willian is into the final month of his contract at Stamford Bridge after seven years with the club. But if the Brazilian is to depart with Arsenal and Tottenham interested in keeping him in London, his Chelsea career is going out on a high as he netted his fourth goal in as many Premier League games since the resumption.

Watford appeared content just to keep the score down after half-time with goal difference a consideration in the battle to beat the drop.

Pearson’s men host bottom-of-the-table Norwich on Tuesday in a huge match if they are to build up a cushion over Bournemouth and Aston Villa, with Arsenal and Manchester City to come in the final week of the season.

Chelsea could have added plenty more in the second half, but had to settle for just one in stoppage time as Barkley fired home Cesar Azpilicueta’s cut-back.

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PM’s dad says Greece trip was ‘essential’ as he needed to ‘Covid-proof’ villa

The Prime Minister’s father has defended his decision to fly to Greece in apparent breach of travel guidance – and posting social media updates about the journey.

Stanley Johnson was criticised after reportedly dodging the ban on direct flights from the UK by jetting out to his Greek villa via Bulgaria.

The 79-year-old said he was visiting on ‘essential business’ because he needed to ‘Covid-proof my property’ ahead of the letting season.

Asked about social media posts, Mr Johnson senior told reporters on Saturday: ‘I didn’t put them up… in a spirit of defiance, or anything like that.’

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Referring to his residence in Greece, he added: ‘I came here to have a quiet time, to organise the house.

‘I think I’m going to go back on July 10. So, I have just got one week to get everything organised. Got a whole lot of instructions about how to make the place Covid proof.’

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Asked if he had put his son, Boris Johnson, in a difficult position by travelling to Greece, he said: ‘I have read his answers and he is absolutely right to say… that, you know what… and I think… I am not going to talk about private conversations between family members… and, I am absolutely not going to talk about that.’

Referring to air bridges between the UK and other countries, the PM’s father said: ‘Let’s open this air bridge as quick as we can. People are longing to get here and this is a country which has everything.’


He added: ‘I am not going to say whether my actions were correct or not, but in any case what happened, happened.

‘How wonderful it would be if, quite quickly, if the two governments could come to some arrangement?’

Boris repeatedly refused to condemn his father’s decision when quizzed about the journey on Friday.

During an LBC radio phone-in, the PM said: ‘I think you really ought to raise that with him. I am not going to get into details of family conversations.

‘I think the overwhelming majority of the British people have understood what needs to be done and have been very prudent and that is the right thing to do.’

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Jeremy Corbyn’s bizarre boast about Queen Elizabeth II revealed

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It is no secret that former Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn would like Britain to become a republic. However, he said that, given the Royal Family’s popularity, “it is not a battle that he is fighting”. This has not stopped him from making comments in the past, though.

In 1998, the MP for Islington North called for the royal ceremony for the State Opening of Parliament to be abolished, saying: “It’s absolutely ridiculous.

“This 18th-century performance, the horses and the knights and everybody else turning up for the Queen to read a speech she’s never even read before, let alone written.”

More recently, in the wake of the Prince Andrew scandal, the left-winger also claimed that the monarchy should be scaled back.

And in an interview in December last year, he suggested that he does not watch the Queen’s speech on Christmas Day.

Because of his well-known republican views, the former Labour leader surprised MPs in 2016, when he bizarrely boasted about Queen Elizabeth II sharing the love of his football team: Arsenal.

According to a throwback report by The Telegraph, during a speech in the House of Commons, Mr Corbyn, himself a Gunners fan and the club’s MP, recalled how a bad back meant the monarch was unable to open their Emirates Stadium back in 2006.

He added: “Now, we know the Queen is absolutely above politics.

“She may be above football, too, but many locals harbour this quite secret view that she’s actually, privately, a Gooner.”

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It was not the first time it was claimed the Queen supports Arsenal, with the club’s former midfielder Cesc Fabregas disclosing she told him she was “a fan” during a Buckingham Palace reception.

She was later said to have inherited the bug from her mother and has seemingly passed it on to her children.

In 2015, Prince Harry revealed: “Most of the Royal Family are Arsenal fans.”

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Moreover, in his 2016 autobiography, “Mission & Passion Fussball”, Sepp Blatter, the disgraced former president of Fifa – compiled a top 10 of heads of state with the greatest football expertise.

The Queen was ranked fifth, beating former Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi, who has owned AC Milan since 1986.

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Camilla, Duchess of Cornwall: How Charles wife IS Princess of Wales – despite Diana fury

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Camilla, the Duchess of Cornwall and Prince Charles tied the knot 15 years ago, in an unremarkable civil ceremony which deviated from the royal norm. Although it didn’t have the same attention as the Prince of Wales’ marriage to Princess Diana, Camilla reaped the same benefits from the union. As such, while she may not publicly go by the Princess of Wales, she is the current bearer of the title.

When people think of the Princess of Wales, many think exclusively of Diana, whom Prince Charles married in 1981.

However, in reality, the title belongs to any wife of the Prince of Wales.

The reason the Duchess of Cornwall doesn’t use it in public is due to the feeling behind Princess Diana and her association with the title.

Royal experts believe she didn’t take up the title so as not to stoke public opinion against her.

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Speaking to Town and Country Magazine in 2018, royal expert and author Marlene Koenig said the royals hoped to avoid “anger and tension” from the general populace.

She said: “Camilla was not popular or well-liked, [though] this has changed a lot since the marriage as Camilla has taken on a lot of patronages and Charles is a lot happier.

“Still, [there was] a lot of tension and anger among a certain element of the population—so it was decided that Camilla would be styled as the Duchess of Cornwall, even though, of course, she is the Princess of Wales.”

The same issue of popularity may also impact the title she takes when she becomes Queen.

Pundits expect the Duchess of Cornwall will take a different title when Prince Charles succeeds Queen Elizabeth II.

They believe the decision will ultimately fall to him, however, and he will take the general public into account.

University College London’s Constitution Unit said: “In deference to public opinion, Camilla has not assumed the title Princess of Wales.

“Prince Charles will no doubt have regard to public opinion at the time of his accession, in deciding whether Camilla should become Queen; and he may also want to seek the advice of the government of the day.”

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“The fallback position is that Camilla would become Princess Consort as announced at the time of their marriage.”

However, public opinion may not be the only factor which determines Camilla’s future title.

Keen observers have noted hers and Prince Charles’ wedding was a civil ceremony, which some argue is not as valid as others.

The Constitution Unit explained the argument, saying: “Because the Marriage Acts from 1753 have explicitly excepted royal marriages from their provisions, the only valid marriage which a member of the royal family could contract in England was a religious marriage in the Church of England.

“The Lord Chancellor in 2005 defended the validity of the Prince’s civil marriage, as did the Registrar General.

“But if Camilla became Queen, it might provoke further legal challenges.”

The Duchess of Cornwall may ultimately decide to go by a different title, but she would automatically become Queen when Prince Charles becomes King.

He would do so the second the Queen either abdicates or dies, and a coronation is not necessary.

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'Up to half' of pubs stay shut on Super Saturday despite lockdown easing

Up to half of pubs in England have not reopened for Super Saturday due to insufficient notice from the Government, the national chairman of the Campaign for Real Ale (Camra) has said.

Raising a pint of Marston’s Pedigree to toast the end of the 105-day shutdown, Nik Antona said many licensees had ‘bent over backwards’ to make their premises Covid-secure in time to welcome back punters.

After being greeted by Steve and Katy Boulter, who run the Royal Oak in Barton-under-Needwood in Staffordshire, he said one-way systems, protective screens and other measures had made pubs safe.

But Mr Antona added that ‘quite a few pubs haven’t opened’ because ‘they just haven’t had an opportunity to do everything they needed to do in time’.

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He said: ‘I think it’s going to be difficult for pubs. They are opening up under uncertain circumstances. They don’t know if they’re going to get their customers back.

‘The Government have not really been helpful with their guidance, leaving it to the last minute in a lot of cases.

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‘What you are finding is, some of the pubs haven’t even bothered opening today – they want to see what’s going to happen.

‘Across the country I’ve seen figures of up to 50% of pubs actually not opening today.’

Urging drinkers to vote with their feet and support local bars and pubs, while maintaining safety through social distancing, he added: ‘It’s important that people come back to the pub – but do it safely.

‘As you see from this pub, they have had to put in place a lot of new rules and regulations.

‘What I am asking customers, Camra members, drinkers, is: listen to what you are told and respect the staff. If they ask you to do something, do it straight away.

‘Make sure that you don’t mix outside of your social bubbles or outside of the groups you have come with – and respect the lay-out and the way people have set their pubs up.

‘The sooner we can get through this, the sooner we can return to normal.

‘It is a safe environment. Pubs have gone to a great deal of effort. It is safe, so please come back to the pub and support your local.’

Keen punters were enjoying their first post-lockdown drinks from around 11am in Chester, with one regular describing his first pint of draught Guinness for three months as ‘heaven’.

Speaking from The Shropshire Arms, Bert Lockley said: ‘I’ve missed this more than my missus when she left.

‘You can drink at home but you can’t get this feeling anywhere else.’

Chancellor Rishi Sunak urged the public to ‘eat out to help out’.

He explained on Saturday: ‘The hospitality sector is a vital part of our economy and crucial to people’s livelihoods – Britain’s pubs and bars alone employ almost half a million people – which is why it’s such good news that so many people are able to return to work this weekend, helping us all to enjoy summer safely.’

He made the comments as he visited The Bell & Crown in Chiswick, west London – a pub run by brewers Fullers, who only plan on opening 27 of their 215 own-managed venues on Saturday.

The new guidelines also allow staycations and overnight stays for the first time in months.

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What does it take to make a gallon on milk? Two Weld County dairy farmers explain the ins and outs of the dairy industry – The Denver Post

Stores with dairy cases filled with gallons of milk, pints of cream, rows of cheese and shelves of butter make it easy to take for granted the convenience of grabbing what you need and going on your way.

However, for dairy farmers, that gallon of milk or stick of butter took a lot of time, work and money before hitting stores’ shelves.

“Milk doesn’t just come from cows, it comes from people putting in the grind,” said David Walpole, co-owner of Walpole Dairy, north of Eaton. “You’ve got to have the passion and dedication day in and day out. It has its rewards and it has its tough times.”

A family affair

The Walpole Dairy has been around 40 years, Walpole said. The dairy has a few hundred dairy cows in its herd.

“My dad started over on 5th Street, across from the church,” Walpole said. “He milked there and then he bought this place.”

Walpole’s kids– five daughters and one son — as well as his brothers, nieces, nephews and mother, Bonnie, still work on the farm. His father, Kent Walpole, takes care of all of the cows’ veterinary needs.

While some of Walpole’s kids aren’t sure if they want to continue the tradition of dairy farming, they definitely want to work in an animal-focused industry, Walpole said.

Eric Blaser, manager of Long Meadow Farm, LLC in Greeley, is a fourth-generation dairy farmer. While Blaser doesn’t own Long Meadow Farm, the dairy is a family-owned farm. The dairy has around 5,100 cows and calves currently housed at the farm.

“To me it’s not really like a job. It doesn’t feel like a job because it’s what I’m passionate about and enjoy,” Blaser said. “It’s a lot of fun, it doesn’t come without its challenges, but it’s something I’ve been involved with my entire life.”

Growing up on a dairy farm has benefits that other environments don’t normally offer youngsters and teens, Blaser said.

“You get exposed to a lot of things early on, and it teaches you a lot of things early on,” Blaser said. “You learn about responsibility and how to interact with animals. It’s a skill you can perfect over time.”

The pregnancy process

Dairy cows are bred for their ability to produce milk. In the U.S., there are seven different types of dairy cow breeds — Holstein, Jersey, Brown Swiss, Guernsey, Ayrshire, Milking Shorthorn and Red and White Holstein.

Holstein cows, with their iconic white and black patterns, are the most common of milk cow breeds. The cows produce more milk than any other dairy cow breeds.

Both Blaser and Walpole raise and use Holstein cows at their dairy farms.

Holstein cows’ spots are like fingerprints — no two cows have the same pattern.

In order for cows to produce milk, they must be pregnant. Cows will continue to lactate for about 10 months after birthing a calf, during which time she is inseminated and becomes pregnant again.

“Usually an animal gets to be around 14 months old, and we will inseminate them and breed them,” Walpole explained. “They have to reach a certain size to have a calf. We usually do a 13-month rotation so they will have a calf every 13 months.”

Like humans, a cow is typically pregnant for nine months, Walpole said. Once the calf is born it is moved to a separate pen where it is bottle-fed and cared for until it is old enough to be moved to a group area with other cows its age.

Calves can start with bottle-feeding of high-quality colostrum and begin eating solid food like grain and hay at around two-days old.

“If you take care of them really well in the first 60-days, your cows are going to be healthier and live a lot longer,” Blaser said. “We have a really expansive vaccination protocol that protects them against respiratory disease and any viral diarrheas.”

Male calves are sold to ranches, farms and feedlots to be raised and processed for the public food supply.

Cows’ genetics can be tailored to a variety of needs through the use of semen consultants.

“They have this huge book, and you can go through it,” Walpole said. “They do DNA tests and take samples from cows. They know the traits of the animal two years before she starts lactating.

“You can buy semen from different bulls to accommodate what you need in your herd of cows. The trend is to produce smaller cows to make them more feed-efficient.”

Pregnant cows are usually moved to the maternity section of the farm when they are around two-months out from birthing, Blaser said. This process, called “drying-off,” allows the cows to rest and reserve energy for the birthing process.

Cows are inseminated again after around two months after giving birth, Blaser said. The dairy’s goal is to have each cow birth a calf once a year.

“It’s kind of a continual schedule that we attempt to keep them on as best as possible,” Blaser said.

Caring for cows is a 24/7 job

There’s more to owning a dairy farm than just throwing down some hay and making sure the cows have clean water.  It’s a year-round, 24-hour per day job that needs to be done no matter the weather or if it’s a holiday.

“The cows don’t take a day off, and that’s the challenge in it. But, what we try to do here is focus on how to develop our employees, how to develop our management and how to create leadership when we are not here,” Blaser said. “We focus on those things everyday just so that we can allow ourselves vacation and family time.

“You have to create a balance between work and family life, otherwise you’re not going to last.

Blaser’s and Walpole’s days start off early in the morning with checking on the cows and any new calves that were born overnight. From there, the list of duties that need to be done is endless.

Ordering more food; scraping the barns; moving cows around to different pens; seeing which cows are ready to breed and which cows are ready to birth; checking if cows are feeling sick and which ones need medication; and scheduling the farrier to come in check the girls’ feet are just a portion of the things that need to be done on the farm.

“We try to keep the corrals as comfortable and clean as possible,” Walpole said. “The corrals get scraped twice a day and clean hay gets laid down. We make sure their beds are soft and they are comfortable.”

A cow’s diet can affect her health as well as the quality of milk she produces, so Blaser and Walpole are always on top of what food the cows are eating and how much they are getting each day.

Part of caring for cows is making sure they are milked regularly and cared for with compassion and kindness.

“We focus on how to handle the cows to make sure they aren’t being roughed,” Blaser said. “We try to have our employees not whistle or anything like that. There’s no room for hitting or abusing cows. We won’t stand for that.”

Employees on Blaser’s farm sign a contract with a list of expectations of animal handling and an agreement that if they see someone mistreating an animal, they will alert management immediately. Abusing an animal is grounds for immediate termination.

“These girls are what provide us a living, and we need to take care of them as best as possible,” Blaser said. “They deserve respect, and that’s what we try to do everyday.”

In addition to taking care of the cows, maintenance on equipment and machinery needs to be done, as well as general maintenance of fences, pens and such.

“We do as much of the servicing ourselves as we can,” Walpole said. “Equipment costs a lot of money and we are running kind of older stuff. A new tractor like the one we have would cost darn near $120 grand.”

The rise of technology in the dairy industry

Gone are the days when farmers got up early to hand-milk their herds. As farms have grown to supporting cows numbering in the hundreds and thousands, technology has also evolved.

Automatic milking machines have taken the place of the stool and milk bucket.

Two to three times per day, cows are taken to the milking parlor, where they file into stalls. As each cow enters the milking parlor, an ear chip or collar gets scanned, relaying a variety of information back to Walpole and Blaser, such as the identification of the cow, how much milk the cow produced, how many times that day the cow has been milked and more.

Employees then clean cows’ udders with sanitizing solution and brushes in preparation to be milked.

Once ready, employees then attach a milk controller to each of the cows’ teats and the milking process begins.

Depending on the cow, the milking process can take anywhere from 2 to 15 minutes.

Once finished, the milking controllers are removed, the cows’ teats are sprayed with iodine to prevent infections, and the cows mosey back to the barn to eat, drink and rest until the next milking session.

“I think back to my grandparents when they hand-milked their cows and I feel lazy,” Blaser said, laughing. “The technology that we have now makes everything so efficient.”

Automatic milkers record the amount of milk collected from each cow during each milking as well as a total of milk collected throughout the day.

While Blaser’s cows have ear chips, Walpole uses collars to keep track of his herd.

The collars act as a type of “Fitbit” for his cows, tracking their health, breeding cycle, temperature, activity and sleep levels, identifying animals under heat or cold stress, and more.

“We know if they are sick before they know they are sick. We use technology to help us take care of our animals,” Walpole explained. “

Computer programs have been designed to allow farmers to track cows’ genetics and family lines as well.

Technology is also used to maintain cooling temperatures and track the filling of milk tanks.

Blaser uses a program that tracks the temperature and quantity of his milk tanks.

Information on Blaser’s tanks can be accessed by the milk transporting company to determine when they need to come out and collect the product. This access to information helps alleviate unnecessary trips or full tanks putting a halt on the collection of milk.

“If DFA ever has a shutdown or something, they can look at the data from my tanks and say, ‘OK, Long Meadow has four more hours of milking,’ and they can call me and let me know about the delay,” Blaser said. “That lets us make a decision to what we need to do on our end. They don’t want us to not milk, and we don’t want to be forced not to milk — it’s a bad situation for them and us. So these tools help us mitigate any issues.”

Testing, testing and more testing

Milk that is harvested from cows passes through a filtering system before making its way into the milk tanks to wait for the milk trucks.

Before a milk truck even begins pumping milk from a dairy farm’s tank, operators check the temperature and test it for any antibiotics and white blood cell counts.

Milk that tests positive for antibiotics is immediately dumped.

There are also regulations as to how long milk can stay in tanks on a farm, Walpole said.

The milk is also tested again when it gets to the manufacturing plants.

Milk is one of the safest food products on the market because of all the testing that takes place, both Walpole and Blaser said.

Co-ops and dairy organizations keep the milk flowing

Dairy Farmers of America, or DFA, assists farmers with a variety of needs such as helping with financing, insurance options and management tools. DFA also represents and advocates for dairy farmers at state and national government levels.

The organization is composed of family farmers from across the U.S. that are divided into seven regions — Central, Mideast, Mountain, Northeast, Southeast, Southwest and Western areas — with Colorado, Idaho and Utah making up the Mountain area with 251 member farms broken into 11 districts.

Both Blaser and Walpole sell their milk to the DFA, which then transports it to one of its manufacturing plants like Leprino or a partner plant.

Dairy MAX is a nonprofit dairy council that represents more than 900 dairy farms across eight states, including Colorado.

According to its website, the organization works to build “understanding around dairy as a healthy, beneficial, everyday food choice; connecting the role of the dairy farmer to American tables; and driving an increase in dairy consumption.”

The organization also assists farmers with marketing, industry image and relations, education on issues, crisis management and business development.

As the cost for care rises, dairy farmers’ pay remains the same

The consumer price for a gallon of milk, a block of cheese or a tub of butter fluctuate, but the price farmers are paid for milk hasn’t changed in years, Blaser said.

Dairy farmers are paid per 100 pounds of milk, Walpole explained. Right now, dairy farmers are getting around $17 per 100 pounds of milk.  With a gallon of milk weighing 8 pounds, farmers have to milk a lot of cows to cover overhead and turn a profit.

“We don’t get near the prices in the store,” Walpole explained. “I don’t think the amount dairy farmers get paid has changed in years.”

With schools and restaurants closed down to help control the spread of the virus, a large portion of the dairy market was affected.

“Restaurants and schools use a lot of dairy, and when they closed down, the dairy industry took a big hit,” Blaser said.

Dairy farmers also have to pay to have their milk transported from the farm to the manufacturing plant, Blaser said.

“You don’t get into this business for the money,” Blaser said. “You dairy farm because it’s something you love and believe in. I wouldn’t change growing up on a dairy farm for anything.”

Dairy farm facts

  • Milk is a key source of potassium, Vitamin D, Vitamin A, Riboflavin and Vitamin B-12
  • A serving of milk fulfills 25% of your daily phosphorus needs and is a healthy source of Niacin
  • There is no difference in quality, safety or nutrition between organic and regular milk, only the way milk is produced on the farm
  • Hormones are not added to milk. Milk naturally contains certain hormones.
  • Flavored milk like chocolate, vanilla and strawberry provide the same nine essential nutrients as white milk.
  • Milk from a cow that has been treated with antibiotics is disposed of and never reaches the food supply.
  • Vanilla is the post popular ice cream flavor in the U.S.
  • Brown cows do not make chocolate milk
  • All 50 states have dairy farms
  • Cheddar is the most popular natural cheese in the U.S.
  • June is National Dairy Month
  • Cows don’t really sleep much and when they do, they lay down, making “cow tipping” a myth.

Sources: Dairy Farmers of America, Drink-Milk.com

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World News

WHO halts hydroxychloroquine, HIV drugs in COVID trials after failure to reduce death

GENEVA (Reuters) – The World Health Organization (WHO) said on Saturday that it was discontinuing its trials of the malaria drug hydroxychloroquine and combination HIV drug lopinavir/ritonavir in hospitalised patients with COVID-19 after they failed to reduce mortality.

The setback came as the WHO also reported more than 200,000 new cases globally of the disease for the first time in a single day. The United States accounted for 53,213 of the total 212,326 new cases recorded on Friday, the WHO said.

“These interim trial results show that hydroxychloroquine and lopinavir/ritonavir produce little or no reduction in the mortality of hospitalised COVID-19 patients when compared to standard of care. Solidarity trial investigators will interrupt the trials with immediate effect,” the WHO said in a statement, referring to large multicountry trials that the agency is leading.

The U.N. agency said the decision, taken on the recommendation of the trial’s international steering committee, does not affect other studies where those drugs are used for non-hospitalised patients or as a prophylaxis.

Another branch of the WHO-led trial is looking at the potential effect of Gilead’s antiviral drug remdesivir on COVID-19. The European Commission on Friday gave remdesivir conditional approval for use after being shown to shorten hospital recovery times.

The solidarity trial started out with five branches looking at possible treatment approaches to COVID-19: standard care; remdesivir; hydroxychloroquine; lopinavir/ritonavir; and lopanivir/ritonavir combined with interferon.

WHO director-general Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus told reporters on Friday that nearly 5,500 patients in 39 countries had been recruited so far into its clinical trials and that interim results were expected within two weeks.

Some 18 experimental COVID-19 vaccines are being tested on humans among nearly 150 treatments under development.

Mike Ryan, WHO’s top emergencies expert, said on Friday that it would be unwise to predict when a vaccine could be ready. While a vaccine candidate might show its effectiveness by year’s end, the question was how soon it could then be mass-produced, he said.

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Business

Trump approves 5-week extension for small business pandemic loan applications

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – U.S. President Donald Trump on Saturday signed into law a deadline extension to August 8 for small businesses to apply for relief loans under a federal aid program to help businesses hurt by the COVID-19 pandemic, the White House said.

The extension to the Payroll Protection Program (PPP), which was launched in April to keep Americans on company payrolls and off unemployment assistance, gives business owners an additional five weeks to apply for funding assistance plagued by problems.

An estimated $130 billion of the $659 billion provided by Congress is still up for grabs. Critics worry the U.S. Small Business Administrator’s office, which administers the loan, may continue to experience challenges in fairly distributing the funds.

From the outset, the unprecedented first-come-first-served program struggled with technology and paperwork problems that led some businesses to miss out while some affluent firms got funds.

The SBA’s inspector general found in May that some rural, minority and women-owned businesses may not have received loans due to a lack of prioritization from the agency.

Reuters reported here on Thursday that a technical snafu in a U.S. government system caused many small businesses to receive loans twice or more times, nearly a dozen people with knowledge of the matter said.

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