Tag Archives: Dairy

Hip hip, hooray! It’s the American Farm Bureau’s 100th birthday!

Join Alex and Rebel on this week’s edition of Friday Five, as they discuss trade with China, a major hit to the dairy industry, and more. 



5- Farm Bureau turns 100

4- The Scoop on Ben & Jerry’s 

3- China Hog Herd: Five Year to Bounce Back 

2- China Lifts Five-Year Ban on U.S. Poultry

1- Largest Milk Producer Files Bankruptcy 



NEW ULM, Minn. (Nov. 7, 2019) — The cheesemakers of Associated Milk Producers Inc. (AMPI) are bringing home the coveted Chairman’s Trophy following the National Milk Producers Federation (NMPF) Championship Cheese Contest. A hand-crafted Parmesan made at the cooperative’s plant in Hoven, S.D., was named best of class in the Italian division and received the distinction of the contest’s best overall entry.

“Making award-worthy cheese is the daily standard at AMPI,” said Kevin Hageman, a veteran Hard Italian-style cheesemaker who manages the plant where the champion Parmesan was produced. “We don’t make special cheese for contests. This is the quality of product we’re making every day. Our skilled cheesemakers use high-quality milk from AMPI member farms to create superior artisan cheese.”

The South Dakota plant specializes in making 22-pound wheels of Parmesan, Asiago and Romano.

In addition to the competition’s highest recognition, AMPI cheesemakers earned four additional awards at the contest held in conjunction with NMPF’s joint annual meeting with the United Dairy Industry Association and National Dairy Promotion and Research Board in New Orleans, La. A total of 237 entries from cooperatives across the country were submitted for this year’s contest. Cheese made at AMPI plants received the following awards:

First, Processed American Plain – Portage, Wis.
Third, Medium Cheddar – Blair, Wis.
Third, Processed American Plain – Portage, Wis.
Third, Processed American Flavored – Portage, Wis.

“These latest top-three finishes bring AMPI’s total award count in national contests to 21 for 2019,” said Marshall Reece, AMPI’s senior vice president of sales and marketing. “At AMPI, our products come with a Co-op Crafted promise — AMPI family farms care for their land and animals, and partner with skilled craftsmen to make award-winning dairy products for our customers to enjoy.”

Weather in South America.  WASDE report a week away.  How will markets go heading into next week.  China another hold.  Basis harvest pressure heading into the weekend.  Could a soften be happening. What we are seeing in the dollar trade & its effects on the grain & livestock market.  Class 3 milk prices have had some excitement this week.  Vertical move higher in cattle market.  Beef packer margins continue to be strong as does exports.   Smart Money-no selling on this rally-does this mean there is more of a rally to go?  Brazilian Cattle prices.

ROSEMONT, Ill. – Support from dairy checkoff food scientists has helped McDonald’s USA produce a reduced-sugar, low-fat chocolate milk that will be unveiled nationwide in January.


The new formulation has 25 percent less sugar than McDonald’s previous chocolate milk and is no longer a fat-free product.


Dairy Management Inc. (DMI), which manages the national dairy checkoff, has had a partnership with McDonald’s since 2009. DMI provided on-site support from food scientists and other resources and worked closely with the McDonald’s team to create the final product.


“Chocolate milk has been a longtime customer favorite at McDonald’s and U.S. dairy farmers are glad to see the chain roll out a great-tasting chocolate milk that has even more nutritional benefits than previously,” said Pennsylvania dairy farmer Marilyn Hershey, who serves as chair of DMI. “This is a great example of a foodservice leader listening and responding to customer demand. It also benefits dairy farmers because McDonald’s will offer an improved milk product to millions of customers, which could lead to similar changes at other restaurants.”

Representatives Zoe Lofgren of California and Dan Newhouse of Washington introduced comprehensive legislation that attempts to overhaul the nation’s agricultural labor programs. Politico says the legislation will attempt to “thread the needle” between agriculture and labor groups that have long butted heads over the issue.

The bill, called the Farm Workforce Modernization Act, would provide a way to legal status for undocumented farmworkers who’ve been working at least two years on their jobs and are planning to continue. The bill would also put into place a mandatory E-Verify system nationwide for farmers, something that would give conservatives incentive to support the bill. It will simplify the H-2A application process, cap wages for farmworkers, and it will raise funding for USDA programs that support housing for laborers.

It also attempts to meet the needs of dairy farmers and others who need year-round labor. The bill offers 40,000 extra green cards for agricultural labor and creates a capped program to grant three-year visas for workers in certain sectors, including dairy. Politico says it’s the latest attempt to bring together labor and ag groups, as well as convince both Republicans and Democrats to pass major reform to the farm labor system. It’s something that has failed multiple times in the past.

ARLINGTON, VA – Dairy is a quirky commodity. It’s a highly perishable product “harvested” every day. It’s in all 50 states. And more than for most other commodities, dairy farmers are organized into cooperatives, putting the cooperative principle of working together at the heart of the industry.


Cooperatives are everywhere in the U.S., serving members in everything from child care and credit unions to health insurance and rural broadband. Nearly one in three Americans are co-op members. (And happy Co-op Month to all of them!) Thanks to the Capper-Volstead Act of 1922, farmers can form cooperatives to collectively own and manage resources, cut costs and gain a measure of market power traditionally dominated by banks and agribusiness.


Most U.S. farmers use cooperatives at some level – to pool supplies and capital, finance exports, improve their bargaining position with processors, or even become processors themselves. Over time, cooperatives became the dairy industry standard, as farmers far from cities needed ways to sell and ship highly perishable products without relying on middlemen who could use time and distance to push prices down. Cooperatives have empowered dairy farmers and enabled them to build multimillion-dollar processing plants in local communities, share financial resources, and coordinate their own transportation. It’s simply the best way, and sometimes the only way, for a dairy farmer to get products to market and earn a decent return from doing so. And while dairy co-ops don’t have the ability to set market prices – supply and demand still rules – they do help balance the market power equation between individual farmers and corporate buyers.


Today, farmer-owned cooperatives dominate dairy. According to a twice-a-decade USDA survey, cooperatives handled 85 percent of U.S. milk in 2017, a number that’s held steady for 25 years.


Thanks to cooperatives, dairy farmers have kept a bigger share of the price of their product – about twice the agricultural norm. And they’ve helped farmers benefit from marketplace shifts in ways they wouldn’t be able to if they only were solo operators selling their milk to others; for example, as dairy demand has reached a 56-year high, the number of cooperative-owned processing plants has risen by 8 percent since 2012. Another example: As butter prices have reached records, the share of butter production managed by cooperatives has risen to 86 percent, compared to 75 percent in 2012. Cooperatives have also helped dairy be a livestock-sector leader in sustainability and animal welfare, adapting generations of self-help spirit to 21st-century concerns.


Dairy cooperatives today include multi-billion-dollar businesses and local treasuresexport powerhouses and instantly recognizable brandsinnovative consumer products and food-cult followings. They’re part of regional fabrics, any they boast histories that stretch more than a century. Like agriculture itself, they’ve evolved. The number of cooperatives has declined along with the number of dairy farmers, even as their farm milk volumes have skyrocketed. Still, cooperatives have remained the heart and soul of the dairy industry — and their farmer-ownership belies the false narrative, from some quarters, of a faceless “Big Dairy.”


Cooperatives owned by U.S. farmers serve the world. We at the National Milk Producers Federation are proud to represent dairy farmers and the cooperatives they own, that together produce more than two-thirds of all U.S. milk. Next week, we’ll celebrate them at our annual meeting. For now, we’d like to thank them for all they do. You should thank them too.

Agri-Mark, Inc.

Associated Milk Producers Inc.

Bongards’ Creameries

California Dairies, Inc.

Cooperative Milk Producers Association

Dairy Farmers of America, Inc.

Ellsworth Cooperative Creamery

FarmFirst Dairy Cooperative

First District Association

Foremost Farms USA

Land O’Lakes, Inc.

Lone Star Milk Producers

Maryland & Virginia Milk Producers Cooperative Assoc.

Michigan Milk Producers Association

Mid-West Dairymen’s Company

Mount Joy Farmers Cooperative Association

Northwest Dairy Association

Oneida-Madison Milk Producers Cooperative Association

Prairie Farms Dairy, Inc.

Premier Milk Inc.

Scioto Cooperative Milk Producers’ Association

Select Milk Producers, Inc.

Southeast Milk, Inc.

Tillamook County Creamery Association

United Dairymen of Arizona

Upstate Niagara Cooperative, Inc.

“On behalf of dairy farmers and farmer-owned dairy cooperatives across the country, NMPF wrote to the President today to commend his Administration for its excellent judgment this month in including a number of European dairy products, particularly cheeses from major EU exporters such as Italy, on a list of WTO-authorized retaliatory tariffs related to the successful U.S. case against European Airbus subsidies. However, we must reject European efforts to deceive the United States about the reality of Transatlantic dairy trade. To that end, we respectfully asked the President to put the needs of U.S. dairy farmers above those of Italian and European farmers by maintaining the retaliatory tariff list against Europe, as the Administration proposed earlier this month.


“The U.S. is running a $1.5 billion dairy trade deficit with Europe because of unfair EU trade practices that largely block our access to their market while they enjoy broad access to ours. EU policies such as Italian-initiated bans on American-made parmesan, asiago and gorgonzola mean that they can ship us $1 billion in cheese each year while U.S. cheese exports to the EU clock in at $6 million.


“In light of this disparity and the EU’s refusal to meet its WTO commitments regarding illegal Airbus subsidies, American dairy farmers saw the proposed retaliatory tariff list’s strong focus on EU dairy and cheeses as at least temporarily creating a slightly more level playing field for Made in America products that face even higher barriers to entry in the EU market.


“Dairy farmers are counting on the President to stand with them and resist Italy’s request that he side with the Italian farmers and cheese makers who have blocked our own great cheeses from EU store shelves.”


The American Butter Institute wants Congress to take action in making the Food and Drug Administration enforce laws that define butter as a dairy product.

The organization sent letters to the leaders of the House Committee on Energy and Commerce and the Senate Committee on Health, urging them to compel FDA to enforce federal law against plant-based impostors that illegally misuse the term “butter” as a marketing trick.

Butter’s definition has been settled law for more than a century, covered by legislation dating to 1886. Imitators made from vegetable oils have been able to use terms such as “margarine” and “spread,” ensuring a transparent marketplace.

However, as butter’s popularity has grown in recent years, per-capita U.S. consumption last year reached its highest since 1968, the organization says marketing departments at brands such as Country Crock have been breaking the law by calling their products “plant-based butter.” The organization also supports the National Milk Producers Federation’s citizen seeking to address dairy imitators using dairy names.

WASHINGTON – Dairy producers can now enroll in the Dairy Margin Coverage (DMC) for calendar year 2020. USDA’s Farm Service Agency (FSA) opened signup today for the program that helps producers manage economic risk brought on by milk price and feed cost disparities.

“We know it’s tough out there for American farmers, including our dairy producers,” said Bill Northey, Under Secretary for Farm Production and Conservation. “As Secretary Perdue said, farmers are pretty good at managing through tough times, and we know that more dairy farmers will be able to survive with this 2018 Farm Bill and its risk mitigation measures, like the Dairy Margin Coverage program.”

The DMC program offers reasonably priced protection to dairy producers when the difference between the all-milk price and the average feed cost (the margin) falls below a certain dollar amount selected by the producer. The deadline to enroll in DMC for 2020 is Dec. 13, 2019.

Dairy farmers earned more than $300 million dollars from the program in 2019 so far. Producers are encouraged to take advantage of this very important risk management tool for 2020.

All producers who want 2020 coverage, even those who took advantage of the 25 percent premium discount by locking in the coverage level for five years of margin protection coverage are required to visit the office during this signup period to pay the annual administrative fee.

“Dairy producers should definitely consider coverage for 2020 as even the slightest drop in the margin can trigger payments,” said Northey. “Dairy producers should consider enrolling in DMC to guard against what has been, for several years, an extremely unforgiving market.”

More Information

The 2018 Farm Bill created DMC, improving on the previous safety net for dairy producers. DMC is one of many programs that FSA and other USDA agencies are implementing to support America’s farmers.

For more information on enrolling in DMC and taking advantage of an online dairy decision tool that assists producers in selecting coverage for 2020, visit the DMC webpage.

For additional questions and assistance, contact your local USDA service center. To locate your local FSA office, visit farmers.gov/service-locator.