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Cheese industry collaboration
spurs innovation, best practices

July 21, 2017

By Alyssa Mitchell

MADISON, Wis. — Conventional wisdom says two heads are better than one, and the world of cheesemaking is no exception. Partnerships, joint ventures and small-scale collaboration allow companies to innovate and share best practices to produce safe, high-quality products for customers and consumers.

Industry collaboration can range from a major joint venture to something as simple as lending expertise or production space to an up-and-coming operation.

Such is the case of Landmark Creamery, Albany, Wisconsin, co-owned by Anna Landmark and Anna Thomas Bates.

The two-woman operation — Landmark is a licensed cheesemaker while Thomas Bates handles sales and marketing — primarily makes sheep’s milk cheeses in addition to some cow’s milk cheese and has rented space at Clock Shadow Creamery, Plain, Wisconsin, and Cedar Grove Cheese, Milwaukee — both owned by Bob Wills — as well as Thuli Family Creamery in Darlington, Wisconsin. Currently, Landmark Creamery ages its cheese at Bear Valley Affinage in Bear Valley, Wisconsin.

Thomas Bates says the company would not be where it is today without the help of fellow colleagues.

“Relationships form the foundation of our company — with farmers, existing plants and aging facilities,” she says. “It’s allowed a two-woman business to get started without all of the startup costs of a smaller plant.”

Landmark Creamery currently is working on building its own plant, expected to be operational in 2019. Thomas Bates notes the generosity of those who have rented space or lent expertise as the operation got its footing has allowed it to now build a larger plant than it would have been able to originally.

“Since our start in 2013, we’ve been able to perfect our recipes and get some sales going,” she says. “This has helped tremendously as it’s very difficult to start a business from scratch unless you have a lot of capital up front.”

Landmark Creamery is one of many operations that have benefited from working with Bob Wills at his facilities. Others have included Uplands Cheese, Bleu Mont Dairy, LaClare Family Creamery and more.

“Many people think they may want to become cheesemakers but are not sure what it entails,” Wills says. “They can work as cheesemaker employees and get a sense for the hard work, knowledge and focus that is required. But to take the next step and develop a working business requires a different set of skills.”

Wills says by helping cheesemakers develop their own products that they will be responsible for selling, they get an opportunity to see whether they have a knack and talent for engaging and satisfying customers.

He notes he also works with other groups, primarily farmers, who do not want to learn the cheesemaking side but want to try their hand at marketing.

“In both cases, we make entry into the business possible by making exit possible,” he says. “The new cheesemakers can learn the ropes before investing in a lot of brick and mortar. Some people discover that they just like one part of the business, such as sales or affinage. Others start to gradually invest in equipment or facilities. And some just cut their losses.”

Mateo Kehler, cheesemaker and managing member at Jasper Hill Farm, Greensboro Bend, Vermont, says the entire business is built on collaboration. Jasper Hill is a working dairy farm with an on-site creamery. An underground aging facility maximizes the potential of cheeses made by the creamery, as well as those made by other local producers.

Jasper Hill’s mission is to make the highest possible quality products in a way that supports Vermont’s working landscape, Kehler says.

In the early 2000s, Cabot Creamery, Montpelier, Vermont, approached Jasper Hill to collaborate on aging a natural-rind clothbound Cheddar, now known as Cabot Clothbound Cheddar.

Kehler notes that as a small company, collaboration with Cabot allowed Jasper Hill the opportunity to work with one of the largest cheesemakers in the Northeast.

“We were able to develop systems and programming that they needed us to have, so we were operating at a much higher level, even as a small cheesemaker,” he says.

Kehler adds that the partnership with Cabot opened the door to many future relationships, including cheese collaborations with von Trapp Farmstead, Waitsfield, Vermont, and others.

In recent years, collaborations have expanded from farmstead partners to retail, such as Murray’s Cheese and Wegmans Food Markets, he says.

“Having partnerships with both farmers/producers and customers allows us to connect to both sides of the value chain,” Kehler says. “We’ve been able to market at a different scale to do much more than we would have otherwise.”

In addition to established operations partnering with up-and-comers, two established companies may find that coming together brings benefits, such as with joint ventures.

Capitalizing on each of their strengths, Emmi Roth USA, Fitchburg, Wisconsin, and Meister Cheese, Muscoda, Wisconsin, teamed up to launch the Kindred Creamery line last summer.

The retail brand features classic specialty American cheese varieties utilizing milk from dairy farms committed to Meister Cheese’s “Cows First” animal welfare program.

Kindred Creamery is a story of friendship between Tim Omer, president and managing director of Emmi Roth USA, and Scott Meister, president, Meister Cheese. The two have known each other for years, and as they visited one day, Omer began to realize that while the Cows First program, first introduced eight years ago, was being successfully utilized for cheese in foodservice, it wasn’t making its way to retail yet.

Meanwhile, Meister was looking for the right opportunity to introduce Cows First cheese to retail.

Emmi Roth USA, known for its marketing prowess, wasn’t handling American-style cheeses, which is Meister Cheese’s specialty. The synergies and complementary strengths of the two companies seemed to suggest a natural partnership, Omer says.

Kindred Creamery can be found in the Midwest and on the East Coast, and the brand continues to look for more opportunities to further its reach, including in the West.

At Glanbia Nutritionals, Twin Falls, Idaho, the DNA of the business is based on partnerships and collaboration, says John Dardis, senior vice president of U.S. corporate affairs, Glanbia Nutritionals.

Glanbia plc, Kilkenny, Ireland, is the parent company of Glanbia Nutritionals.

“Our roots go to the Irish dairy cooperative movement and, to this day, the cooperative is the major shareholder in our company,” Dardis says. “From the relationship we have with our farmer suppliers, the communities where we operate, our joint ventures and the customers we serve, we are all part of a supply chain delivering the highest quality cheese and dairy ingredients to the consumer.”

In addition to a long-established joint venture operation — Southwest Cheese — with Dairy Farmers of America (DFA) and Select Milk Producers, Glanbia Nutritionals recently embarked on a joint venture with DFA, Michigan Milk Producers Association (MMPA) and Foremost Farms for a new cheese and whey facility in Michigan.

As part of the proposed joint venture, DFA, MMPA and Foremost Farms would supply all milk required by the plant, while Glanbia would have full responsibility for all commercial, technical and operational aspects of the business. It is proposed that Glanbia will own 50 percent of the venture and the balance will be owned by DFA, MMPA and Foremost Farms.

If the project proceeds as planned, commissioning of the new facility is expected to take place in the second half of 2019.

“The Southwest Cheese experience paved the way to engage DFA on opportunities for expansion,” Dardis says. “We are delighted that Michigan Milk Producers Association and Foremost Farms will join the joint venture and bring their wealth of expert dairy production and in-state know how.”
He notes Glanbia’s partners in the joint venture represent 1,300 family farms across the state of Michigan.

“In essence, we are bringing the manufacturing know-how, and our partners will deliver on the highest quality milk through their intimate knowledge of local farming in Michigan,” he says.
Entering into such a partnership requires trust, Dardis notes.

“It means getting to know each other and identifying how we all fit together,” he says. “The foundation and the subsequent makeup of the board allow each partner to understand the issues and contribute views to problem solving.”

Partnerships do come with challenges, Kehler notes.

“It’s like a marriage in a lot of ways,” he says. “These are relationships that need to be nurtured. It takes a lot of work on everyone’s part to make a partnership last.”

Omer notes that compromise is key.

“You have to be willing to give up a little bit to gain a lot,” he says. “It’s important to have a give and take and listen to the other parties.”

He adds that when you split the risk, you also share the reward.

“In a good partnership, you get ahead much faster and farther in the long run than if you go it alone,” Omer says.

Kehler agrees, noting collaboration has allowed Jasper Hill to innovate more, expand its resources and learn in an accelerated way.

Thomas Bates says that working in an existing operation has allowed Landmark Creamery to learn a lot about cheesemaking, food safety, efficiency and other best practices.

Wills says that providing cheesemakers with access to processing space under a shared user agreement makes more efficient use of facilities, reduces the need for duplicative investments and enables smaller processors to economically share food safety protocols and marketing efforts.

“We get to work with some of the most innovative, dedicated, curious and enthusiastic people in the industry,” he says. “We get to experiment and learn from them all, and we get a lot of appreciation. Most importantly, we think we help improve the safety and quality of cheese by providing guidance, assistance and opportunities.”

Cheesemakers note that the collaborative nature of the industry is a bit unique to the cheese and dairy sector.

“We’ve been so pleasantly surprised since we’ve gotten started with how the industry is. There’s a mentality that a rising tide lifts all boats,” Thomas Bates says. “So many people are generous with their time and advice.”

Wills agrees.

“I talk to people in other industries, and they wonder how cheesemakers have developed such collegiality,” he says. “I think that collaborations are responsible for a part of that healthy sense of community.”

CMN


Discussions on NAFTA move
ahead as first round scheduled

July 21, 2017

WASHINGTON — The first round of the negotiations between the United States, Canada and Mexico on revising the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) will take place Aug. 16-20 in Washington, D.C., U.S. Trade Representative (USTR) Robert Lighthizer announced this week.

The negotiations immediately follow the 90-day consultation period with Congress and the public initiated on May 18 after Lighthizer notified Congress of President Trump’s intent to renegotiate NAFTA. Lighthizer also has announced that John Melle, assistant USTR for the Western Hemisphere, will serve as chief negotiator for the NAFTA negotiations.

Earlier this week, Lighthizer released a detailed summary of objectives for the renegotiation of NAFTA. Among the negotiating objectives supported by the U.S. dairy industry are efforts to address measures that unfairly limit access to markets for U.S. goods such as price undercutting; expanding competitive market opportunities for U.S. agricultural goods by reducing or eliminating tariffs; improved provisions for dealing with sanitary and phytosanitary measures; and preventing the undermining of market access for U.S. products through the improper use of geographical indications.

“The members of the International Dairy Foods Association (IDFA) are encouraged to see that several key priorities for the U.S. dairy industry are reflected in the administration’s objectives for renegotiating the North American Free Trade Agreement,” says Michael Dykes, president and CEO, IDFA. “Overall, NAFTA has been very positive for the U.S. dairy industry, and we look forward to working with administration officials as they negotiate the new NAFTA.”

The U.S. dairy industry also participated this week in a congressional hearing on NAFTA renegotiation priorities. Stan Ryan, president and CEO of Darigold in Seattle, a member of the National Milk Producers Federation and U.S. Dairy Export Council, testified Tuesday before members of the House Ways and Means Subcommittee on Trade. He says Darigold and other U.S. dairy companies have benefited from NAFTA through “stronger demand for their milk than would otherwise be the case. It is critical that this progress not be reversed and that our fully open access to the Mexican market remain in place.”

Ryan’s testimony also focused on the lack of U.S. dairy access to Canada included in NAFTA, a hold-over from when the agreement was negotiated in the early 1990s, as well as subsequent challenges that he says have resulted from Canadian policies designed to distort trade.

Another public hearing on agricultural opportunities in the NAFTA renegotiation has been scheduled for July 26 by the House Committee on Agriculture.

CMN


Great Lakes Cheese to build
new plant in Wausau, Wis.

July 21, 2017

WAUSAU, Wis. — Great Lakes Cheese Co. Inc. has reached an agreement with the City of Wausau, Wisconsin, to build a new cheese packaging plant in the Wausau West Industrial Park.

As part of the agreement, the City of Wausau will contribute $5.9 million in tax incentives in the form of a 10-year reverse tax increment financing (TIF) to help offset the cost of building the new facility. Great Lakes Cheese will donate to Wausau the property where its current plant is located on DeVoe Street.

Under the agreement, Great Lakes Cheese will make a significant investment in Wausau by building a $55 million state-of-the-art facility. Groundbreaking is expected to occur later this month, company officials say.

“We are grateful to the City of Wausau for its significant contribution to our project,” says Matt Wilkinson, project manager, Great Lakes Cheese. “This assistance makes it possible for Great Lakes Cheese to remain in Wausau, where our cheese business has a 90-year history.

Great Lakes Cheese in 2003 acquired Lemke Cheese & Packaging, and since has made considerable investments in the existing Wausau plant, where more than 200 workers are employed.

In addition to construction jobs, Great Lakes Cheese anticipates adding at least 125 new jobs within three years of completing the new facility, Wilkinson says.

“We are grateful that we can remain in Wausau because we have a strong commitment to our employees here,” he says.

Dan Zagzebski, CEO, Great Lakes Cheese, adds that it is part of the company’s culture to take a long-term approach to every business decision.

“We think in terms of generations, not quarters,” he says. “Looking through a long-term lens allows us to focus not only on what will make us more competitive, but also on what’s right for our employees and our communities.”

Great Lakes Cheese, headquartered in Hiram, Ohio, was founded in 1958 by Swiss immigrant Hans Epprecht, who began a neighborhood cheese-delivery business in Cleveland. Today the company has nine plants spanning five states and supplies cheese coast to coast. The company remains privately owned by the Epprecht family and its more than 2,600 employees through its employee stock ownership plan.

CMN


Milk production in 23 major
states up 1.7 percent in June

July 21, 2017

WASHINGTON — Milk production in the 23 major milk-producing states during June totaled 16.93 billion pounds, up 1.7 percent from June 2016, according to preliminary data released this week by USDA’s National Agricultural Statistics Service (NASS). (All figures are rounded. Please see CMN’s Milk Production chart on page 23.)

May revised production in the 23 major states, at 17.77 billion pounds, was up 1.9 percent from May 2016. The May revision represents an increase of 17 million pounds or 0.1 percent from last month’s preliminary production estimate.

Production per cow in the 23 major states averaged 1,939 pounds for June, 13 pounds above June 2016. This is the highest production per cow for the month of June since the 23-state series began in 2003, according to NASS.

The number of milk cows on farms in the 23 major states was 8.73 million head, 83,000 head more than June 2016 and 4,000 head more than May 2017.

For the entire United States, milk production totaled 18.05 billion pounds in June, up 1.6 percent from June 2016. Production per cow in the United States averaged 1,919 pounds for June, 13 pounds above June 2016. The number of milk cows on farms in the United States in June was 9.40 million head, 78,000 head more than June 2016 and 4,000 head more than May 2017.

California, the nation’s leading milk-producing state, produced 3.29 billion pounds of milk in June, down 2.1 percent from its production a year earlier. The decline was driven by both a drop in cow numbers and production per cow. California was home to 1.75 million cows in June, down 13,000 head from June 2016 and down 3,000 head from May 2017. Production per cow in California averaged 1,880 pounds in June 2017, down 25 pounds from a year earlier.

Wisconsin followed with 2.54 billion pounds of milk in June, up 0.2 percent from its production a year earlier. The state was home to 1.28 million cows in June, steady from a year earlier and down 1,000 head from May 2017. Production per cow increased 5 pounds from a year earlier to 1,990 pounds in June.

CMN


Rizo-Lopez Foods adds new brand, makes plans to expand product reach
Rizo Bros. California Creamery brand targets Anglo consumers

By Kate Sander

MODESTO, Calif. — Rizo-Lopez Foods Inc., best known for its Don Francisco brand, is expanding its presence in the Anglo retail market with Hispanic and Italian cheeses. It also is introducing organic cheeses.

Founded by brothers Ivan and Edwin Francisco Rizo a little more than a quarter century ago, Rizo-Lopez Foods utilizes Old World recipes and traditional techniques to make an assortment of products. The company not only manufactures Mexican- and Central American-style cheeses, but also supplies creams, meats, beverages and desserts to its customers, applying strong management and technical expertise to create a solid, well-run company, says Tomas Rizo, sales representative and a second generation member of the family who operates the business.

Rizo-Lopez Foods was founded in 1990 after Ivan and Edwin Francisco Rizo, fleeing unrest in their native Nicaragua, immigrated to the United States in the 1980s and began a co-pack and distribution business in Riverbank, California.

From there they have parlayed their skills into the quintessential American success story, building their business, expanding into cheese production and — five years ago — opening a new facility in Modesto to keep up with growing demand. The new facility can process 140,000 gallons of Grade A milk a day, but still focuses on making authentic, traditional products that taste the same now as they did to Ivan and Edwin’s grandparents, Tomas Rizo says. Using recipes from Mexico and Central America, the company combines traditional artisan manufacturing techniques with stringent U.S. manufacturing standards.

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Panelists discuss pending GMO regulations,
factors to consider

July 14, 2017

By Alyssa Mitchell

EGG HARBOR, Wis. — As consumer interest and demand for non-GMO milk and dairy products continues to gain traction, U.S. cheese and dairy companies face difficult decisions for the future of labeling and sourcing products.

At the annual Wisconsin Dairy Products Association Dairy Symposium in Egg Harbor, Wisconsin, this week, panelists discussed the potential impact non-GMO milk may have on the dairy industry and the ramifications for U.S. dairy companies.

Craig Morris, deputy administrator of USDA Agricultural Marketing Service’s Livestock, Poultry and Seed Program, provided an overview of the pending GMO labeling law. The legislation amends the Agricultural Marketing Act of 1946 to address: the definition of “bioengineered” food; preemption of state food labeling standards; creation of federal mandatory disclosure standard; choice of disclosure; exclusions; “small” food manufacturers; food safety implications; organically produced foods; and enforcement.

USDA is seeking input on GMO labeling as it drafts a proposed rule for the National Bioengineered Food Disclosure Standard, which was passed July 29, 2016. AMS has until July 2018 to establish a national standard and procedures necessary for implementation.

AMS recently published 30 questions for consideration by interested stakeholders that it will use in drafting the proposed rule. (See “USDA seeks input on GMO labeling standard” in last week’s issue of Cheese Market News.) Stakeholders should submit comments by July 17 via email to GMOlabeling@ams.usda.gov.

Morris notes USDA also must conduct a study to identify potential challenges of disclosure through electronic or digital means, and must provide additional options if determined that the proposed technological options do not provide sufficient access to bioengineered food disclosure information.

The study kicked off April 3, with a contract awarded to Deloitte to conduct the study. According to Morris, a rough draft was expected as early as this week and is expected to be delivered to USDA by July 27.

Randy Green, principal at Watson Green LLC, provided an overview of some recent research related to non-GMO claims and the dairy industry.

Green notes there is a growing share of new products, with a fair amount bearing non-GMO claims.

He says Nielsen data shows non-GMO labeled food sales were up $8 billion over the period of 2012-2016, totaling $21.1 billion. This compares to total U.S retail foods sales of $680 billion.

Health, safety and environment are top concerns of non-GMO seekers, Green notes.

He also notes that the National Academy of Sciences says GE foods are safe and GE foods help farmers, but consumers are not always interested in the science when information is coming at them from many different angles.

For dairy manufacturers, the issue is complex, particularly in relation to feed given to dairy cows, Green says. One key question to consider is whether animal foods are non-GMO if the animals are GE-fed, he says, noting that is it not clear if there will be a definitive answer soon, as FDA did not address the issue in its guidance and USDA does not plan to address it in rulemaking.

“This could have a potential major impact on farmers,” Green says.

He notes that while milk and other animal products are not bioengineered, this is complicated to explain to consumers.

Green adds that other key questions/concerns moving forward include how non-GMO marketing affects organic farms in the long-term, and what non-GMO marketing tells consumers about the rest of the food supply.

“If GMOs are safe, are we giving people what they want, or are we reinforcing a misconception?” he asks. “I don’t have the answer.”

Melissa Hughes, general counsel and director of government affairs, Organic Valley/CROPP Cooperative, and Organic Trade Association board president, provided a unique perspective of the issue from the view of an organic manufacturer.

Hughes notes all of Organic Valley’s products are 100 percent organic.

“We consider ourselves to be non-GMO but lots of other things in addition to that, other attributes consumers might be looking for,” she says.

“We want to meet consumers’ expectation but don’t want to box farmers out,” she adds.

While certified organic products are exempt from GMO labeling enforcement, Hughes notes some current inconsistencies among regulations are “messy” and as an industry, “we’re working through this process.”

CROPP Cooperative in 2010 started its own testing program to investigate supply chain risk, she notes.

The co-op found about a 1.2 percentage of GMO in most of its corn, not coming from a pollen drift, but from the original seed.

“We’re working with industry and seed producers to develop a true non-GMO seed,” Hughes says.

She adds that the final rule for non-GMO claims should clearly state that products exempt from mandatory disclosure, from animals fed bioengineered feed, do not quality for a “non-GMO” label claim.

She also previewed a new label Organic Valley is working on: “Organic is always non GMO.”

Meanwhile, a panel of company executives discussed how these regulations are affecting their business and product formulations.

David Carpenter, regional vice president of North America and president, Chr. Hansen. Inc., says recent research conducted by the company on general consumer insights shows the future value equation for “real food” is that it is tasty, safe, healthy, convenient and authentic. All of these factors are constrained by affordability, he adds.

“Consumers are quite confused. They don’t believe experts or research anymore because it’s too confusing,” he says, showing a slide where several foods have been backed by different research showing they both cause and prevent cancer.

Research and studies did show that dairy is “safe,” Carpenter says, noting it has “good for you” attributes.

However, critical public opinion is leading food producers to avoid GMOs or proceed with caution, he adds.

“Regulations are moving toward greater transparency,” he says.

Philippe Caradec, vice president of public affairs, DanoneWave, shared the Dannon Pledge on Sustainable Agriculture, Naturality and Transparency, established in April 2016. The pledge is based on three pillars: sustainable agriculture, naturality and transparency.

Particularly for naturality, this focuses on fewer ingredients, non-GMO, more natural and non-GMO feed (non-GMO project verified), he says.

Caradec notes not all of Dannon’s brands are non-GMO. Two of its brands, Activia and Light&Fit, are important brands for Dannon but are not included in its non-GMO portfolio. However, Danimals and Oikos will have the non-GMO label by the end of 2018.

“We wanted to use the non-GMO pledge because of the importance to consumers,” Caradec says.

CMN


HP Hood to repurpose former
DFA plant in Batavia, New York

July 14, 2017

Harry Davis & Company to auction off equipment

By Alyssa Mitchell

BATAVIA, N.Y. — New York Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo this week announced that HP Hood LLC has purchased the former Dairy Farmers of America (DFA) plant in the Genesee Valley Agri-Business Park here.

The plant originally was constructed by Muller-Quaker to process yogurt via a joint venture formed in 2011 between PepsiCo’s Quaker Oats Co. unit and Germany’s Theo Müller Group, one of Europe’s most well-known yogurt producers. The Muller Quaker Dairy opened its Batavia plant in June 2013 to serve as a national production and distribution center for Muller yogurt.

PepsiCo in December 2015 announced it was ending the joint yogurt venture with Theo Müller Group, and production at the facility ceased that month. DFA then agreed to purchase the Batavia manufacturing facility. (See “PepsiCo ends joint yogurt venture; DFA to purchase plant” in the Dec. 11, 2015, issue of Cheese Market News.)

“We originally made a strategic decision to purchase this plant, as it’s in an important milk shed for the industry and this area,” says Rick Smith, president and CEO, DFA. “Our primary goal was to ensure that this facility remained active in dairy for the long term. We explored opportunities with more than a dozen dairy companies and think HP Hood is a great fit to serve the local milk shed and community.”

HP Hood will invest more than $200 million over several years to repurpose the 363,000-square-foot, currently idle processing facility to produce extended shelf-life beverages. The company also will construct a 100,000-square-foot refrigerated warehouse.

HP Hood plans to commence construction this summer and begin operating by the second quarter of 2019. The company plans to create 230 new jobs in New York state over five years.

“We are fortunate that our need for more capacity coincided with an opportunity to expand our capabilities in the great state of New York,” says John A. Kaneb, president and CEO, HP Hood. “We have been welcomed by a resourceful and business-savvy team at the Genesee County Economic Development Center, and we look forward to becoming a supportive member of the local community and an employer of choice.”

The company notes construction will create 524 jobs with a payroll of nearly $26 million. HP Hood, headquartered in Lynnfield, Massachusetts, has four other manufacturing locations in New York that produce fluid and cultured dairy products including milk, cream, cottage cheese and sour cream.

“This major commitment from one of the nation’s most prominent dairy companies will inject new life into the community, creating hundreds of jobs and spurring new investment in the Finger Lakes,” Cuomo says. “Agriculture and food processing is a key pillar of economic growth in our Upstate Revitalization Initiative plan, and this latest investment shows that our multi-pronged strategy for growing the region’s economy is working.”

Meanwhile, as HP Hood repurposes the facility to produce extended shelf-life beverages, state-of-the-art production equipment from the former yogurt plant will be auctioned off Sept. 13 by Harry Davis & Company.

Lenny Davis, president and senior appraiser, Harry Davis & Company, says this is a rare opportunity for processors to purchase equipment from 2012 or newer that was used for only 18 months of production time.

“This is a virtual showroom of equipment,” he says. “It’s a tremendous opportunity for the dairy world to purchase this equipment.”

He notes in particular the equipment available for production of Greek yogurt, which has soared in popularity at retail.

In addition to getting state-of-the-art equipment at a great price, Davis says it’s a rare opportunity to get equipment of this quality so quickly.

“Typically, if you wanted to get one of these filling machines, you’re looking at 18-24 months of lead time,” he says. “This is an opportunity to acquire like-new equipment well below new cost and have it installed and running in a matter of weeks.”

Some of the featured equipment, valued at $200 million, includes:

• Aseptic S/S Silos & Tanks

• Pasteurization, Homogenization & Culture Injection

• Finnah Horizontal Form, Fill & Seal Packaging Lines

• Hamba/Oystar A+F Filling Line

• Kasag Fruit Batch Cooking Plant.

Since the former yogurt plant added fruit to some of its varieties, state-of-the-art fruit processing equipment also is available, including a fruit receiving, sorting and cutting system, Davis notes.

“There’s a complete fruit production sub-facility within this plant,” he says. “It’s highly desirable not only for other yogurt manufacturers, but also those involved in jam and other fruit manufacturing.”

Additional general plant and spare parts also are available.

Harry Davis & Company is seeking buyers from North America, South America and Europe. Interested parties can access the auction online at http://bit.ly/MullerHDC. The auction will be held at 9:30 a.m. Eastern Time Sept. 13.

“This will be the dairy equipment auction of the decade,” Davis says.

CMN


USDA report lowers milk production,
price forecasts

July 14, 2017

WASHINGTON — The U.S. milk production forecasts for both 2017 and 2018 were lowered in USDA’s latest “World Agricultural Supply and Demand Estimates” report this week due to slower-than-expected milk production per cow.

USDA now forecasts 2017 milk production will total 216.3 billion pounds, down from 216.7 billion pounds in last month’s forecast. U.S. milk production in 2018 is forecast at 221.2 billion pounds, down from 221.7 billion pounds forecast last month.

Fat basis import forecasts for 2017 and 2018 are unchanged from the previous month. Fat basis export forecasts for 2017 and 2018 are raised on continued robust exports of cheese, USDA says.

On a skim-solids basis, the forecast for 2017 imports is reduced from the previous month’s report on lower expected purchases of milk protein concentrates, but the 2018 import forecast remains unchanged.

Skim-solid exports for 2017 and 2018 are raised as nonfat dry milk (NDM) and cheese shipments are expected to remain strong, USDA adds.

For 2017, cheese and whey price forecasts are reduced from the previous month, while butter prices are forecast higher. Cheese now is forecast to average in the $1.575-$1.605 per pound range in 2017, down from $1.620-$1.660 in last month’s report. Butter is forecast at $2.365-$2.425, up from $2.280-$2.350.

The 2017 NDM price forecast is unchanged, but the range is narrowed to $0.900-$0.930.

The cheese price forecast for 2018 also is reduced to $1.630-$1.730, down from last month’s $1.665-$1.765, while butter prices are raised to $2.310-$2.440, up from $2.210-$2.340 last month, due to continued strong demand.

NDM and whey price forecasts for 2018 are unchanged from last month.

The 2017 and 2018 Class III price forecasts are lowered from last month in line with lower component product prices. The 2017 Class III price is forecast to be in the $15.85-$16.15 per hundredweight range, down from $16.35-$16.75 in last month’s report. In 2018, the Class III price now is forecast at $16.45-$17.45, down from $16.75-$17.75 in last month’s report.

Reflecting higher butter prices, the 2017 Class IV price forecast is increased to $15.65-$16.05, up from $15.25-$15.75 in last month’s report. The 2018 Class IV price is forecast at $15.70-$16.80, up from $15.25-$16.35 in last month’s report.

The 2017 all-milk price forecast is lowered to $17.65-$17.95, down from $17.80-$18.20, and the 2018 all-milk price is lowered to $18.00-$19.00, down from $18.10-$19.10 in last month’s report.

CMN


Letters support ag in NAFTA,
ag post confirmation

July 14, 2017

WASHINGTON — In a recent letter to the Office of the U.S. Trade Representative (USTR), 47 legislators urged Ambassador Robert Lighthizer to make U.S. agricultural issues a priority in USTR’s plans to renegotiate the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA). The letter says it’s imperative for the United States to preserve the trade gains that NAFTA has provided and to address Canada’s harmful trade policies, especially for U.S. dairy and poultry.

Noting that U.S. agricultural exports under NAFTA have grown from $8.9 billion in 1993 to $38 billion in 2015, the legislators say the pact has removed significant trade barriers, allowing American farmers to more easily reach new market and allowing the U.S. agricultural sector to compete more successfully. However, opportunities remain for leveling the global playing field, they says.

“American dairy and poultry producers have been threatened by Canada’s trade-distorting non-tariff policies, as well as steep tariffs and quotas on U.S. dairy and poultry products,” the legislators say in the letter. “These protectionist policies have threatened the vitality of America’s dairy and poultry industries across the country.”

Meanwhile, nearly 90 food and agriculture trade associations and companies working through the broad-based U.S. Food and Agriculture Dialogue for Trade also recently urged the Senate to vote quickly to confirm Gregg Doud as Chief Agricultural Negotiator with the rank of ambassador in the Office of the USTR. In a letter to senators, the group says Doud’s confirmation is imperative to ensure that U.S. trade policy works in the interest of the food and agriculture industry, especially as the administration and Congress look to begin work in August to modernize NAFTA. With little time left before Congress starts its recess this summer, the letter says the Senate must act quickly to avoid having a vacant agricultural seat at the table during the first NAFTA talks.

The International Dairy Food Association (IDFA), which is a member of Dialogue for Trade and praised Doud’s nomination earlier this month, notes that it has consistently urged U.S. officials and legislators to maintain the industry’s strong trade relationship with Mexico and address Canada’s protectionist dairy policies during renegotiation efforts. IDFA adds that there are other areas in need of modernizing, such as protections for common food names and enhanced sanitary and phytosanitary measures.

CMN


Congress faces limited time to
complete legislative priorities

July 7, 2017

WASHINGTON — Following the July 4th recess, Congress has a looming list of legislative issues to work through with limited time left on the calendar.

In a recent letter to Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., 10 Republican senators note the current Senate calendar shows only 33 potential working days remaining before the end of the fiscal year. The Senate returns from its current recess July 10, and the House returns July 11.

The senators note 33 days does not appear to be enough time to adequately address the issues that demand immediate attention.

“Therefore, we respectfully request that you consider truncating, if not completely foregoing, the scheduled August state work period, allowing us more time to complete our work,” they write.

The letter notes several “imperatives” that “must be accomplished this year,” including Obamacare repeal and replace, passing a budget, tax code reform and the debt limit.

“Each of these issues is challenging in its own right. For example, the passage of a budget and all 12 appropriations bills before Sept. 30 is a rarity, occurring only four times in the last 43 years,” the senators write. “However, the stakes are much higher this year. We simply cannot afford to lose any additional time in resolving these issues when tax reform is hanging in the balance. Robust change to our tax code is our single most important economic growth tool, and there is already growing anticipation for us to act. Failure to deliver could have devastating economic consequences.

“Delivering meaningful results was never assumed to be easy, but the millions of Americans who placed their confidence in our leadership expect our full and best effort,” they conclude.

The letter was signed by Republican senators David Perdue, Steve Daines, Joni Ernst, John Kennedy, James Lankford, Mike Lee, Mike Rounds, Luther Strange, Dan Sullivan and Thom Tillis.

Meanwhile, additional issues of importance to dairy stakeholders continue to develop.

Last week, the Office of the U.S. Trade Representative (USTR) requested public comments on a performance review of all the United States’ existing international trade and investment agreements.

In an April 29 Executive Order, President Trump directed USTR and the Department of Commerce to submit within 180 days a report that reviews trade agreement performance, identifies trade abuses and pursues trade remedies.

To inform this report, the administration says it is committed to listening to the voices of the American people and encourages comments to help identify the impact of trade agreements, including any first-hand experience with unfair trade practices. The focus for solicited public comments includes but is not limited to the effects of a trade agreement, partnership or programs in the following areas:

• Harm to American workers, including the offshoring of factories and jobs and downward pressure on wage and income growth;

• Harm to intellectual property rights, the rate of innovation, or research and development in the United States; and

• Unmet predictions on new jobs created, favorable trade balance effects, expanded market access, lowered trade barriers or increased U.S. exports.

Comments are due July 29 at www.regulations.gov.

In other news, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) this week signed a proposed rule setting the minimum amount of renewable fuels that must be supplied to the market in calendar year 2018 under the Renewable Fuel Standards (RFS) program. The action proposes volume requirements and associated percentage standards that maintain renewable fuel volumes at levels comparable to the 2017 standards, recognizing limits to the growth of cellulosic and advanced biofuels.

EPA says it is committed to successfully administering the RFS consistent with the direction entrusted to the agency by Congress and is on track to meet the No. 30 statutory deadline to make this week’s proposed Renewable Volume Obligations (RVOs) final. The proposed volumes are based on requirements under the law and an analysis of current market dynamics. The proposed standards will help stabilize the renewable fuels program and provide certainty for stakeholders, EPA says.

“Increased fuel security is an important component of the path toward American energy dominance,” says EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt. “We are proposing new volumes consistent with market realities focused on actual production and consumer demand while being cognizant of the challenges that exist in bringing advanced biofuels into the marketplace.”

However, the National Farmers Union (NFU) says the proposal maintains the conventional biofuel amount at 15 billion gallons, yet lowers obligations for advanced biofuels, including biodiesel, and ultimately falls nearly 7 billion gallons short of the levels prescribed by Congress in the RFS statute.

“While we’re pleased to see proposed conventional renewable fuels obligations remain consistent with the RFS statute, the overall proposal falls short of preserving the integrity of the RFS — which is to drive the biofuels market and grow the industry,” says NFU President Roger Johnson

“For the past year, President Trump and his administration have assured family farmers and rural residents that this administration plans to support biofuels and uphold the intent of Congress as it relates to the RFS,” Johnson says. “But (this week’s) disappointing proposal, by lowering volume obligations for the next generation of biofuels, seems to back off these assurances.

“As family farmers navigate a severely depressed farm economy, this is a time the administration should be raising expectations for a policy that drives many economies in rural America,” he adds. “We urge the administration to reconsider this action and to increase these proposed obligations to meet the levels as written by Congress.”

Meanwhile, Congress continues to hold hearings on the next farm bill. In a hearing held last week on conservation and forestry farm bill priorities, U.S. Sen. Pat Roberts, R-Kan., chair of the Senate Agriculture Committee, noted that as Congress works to craft the next farm bill, it finds itself in a tough budgetary environment.

“I know many within the conservation community will be looking to increase funding for programs that experienced cuts in the 2014 Farm Bill,” Roberts says. “Congress will have difficult decisions to make as it tries to figure out how to address the needs, but I urge everyone, at the very least, work to protect conservation and consider working within the confines of existing programs.”

A recently-released baseline from the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) shows that agriculture lawmakers are likely to have about $130 billion less in funding for the next farm bill than they did when they wrote the last law. CBO predicts farm and nutrition programs would cost about $822 billion over 10 years.

Farm bill funding could be cut even further depending on Congress passing a budget resolution yet this year.

A key focus of the next farm bill is the Margin Protection Program for Dairy (MPP), which stakeholders have agreed needs improvements.

USDA’s Farm Service Agency (FSA) this week announced that the 2018 annual coverage election period scheduled to start this week has been delayed to begin on Sept. 1. FSA says the delay will allow county offices to concentrate on national acreage reporting and emergency grazing requests, among other things.

FSA says since the 2018 signup is delayed, the postcard mailing announcing the 2018 annual coverage election period also will be delayed until the 2018 signup begins in September. In addition, functionality for 2018 enrollment has been deactivated in the MPP-Dairy automated software.

For more information, contact Dani Cooke at 202-720-1919 or email danielle.cooke@wdc.usda.gov or Angela Payton at 202-720-0482 or email angela.payton@wdc.usda.gov.

CMN


Colby, Monterey Jack have
wide appeal, range of uses

July 7, 2017

Editor’s Note: “Cheese of the Month” is Cheese Market News’ exclusive profile series exploring various cheese types. Each month, CMN highlights a different cheese in this feature, giving our readers a comprehensive look at production, marketing, sales and in-depth aspects of each profiled cheese type. Please read on to learn about this month’s featured cheeses: Colby and Monterey Jack.

By Stephanie Awe

MADISON, Wis. — Both American originals, Colby and Monterey Jack have histories stemming from different states.

Colby was developed in 1885 by Joseph F. Steinwand at his father’s cheese factory near Colby, Wisconsin. The cheese was named after the village, which had been founded about three years earlier, according to Suzanne Fanning, vice president, national product communications, Wisconsin Milk Marketing Board.

Although Colby cheese no longer is made in the town of Colby, it is consumed across the nation, both as a stand-alone cheese and blended with Monterey Jack to create Colby Jack, Fanning says.
Meanwhile, there are various explanations for the origins of Monterey Jack, and David Jacks of Monterey, California, oftentimes is credited for its name.

Jacks, a Scotsman who arrived in California during the gold rush, became a merchant in Monterey, says David Viviani, former owner of Sonoma Cheese Co., Sonoma, California.

Some believe Jacks learned how to make the cheese from Spanish Franciscan fathers who came to California from Mexico during their missions. The cheese — known then as “queso blanco” and “queso del pais,” meaning “the white cheese” and “the country peasant cheese,” respectively — was made as a way to preserve milk, according to history compiled by the California Milk Advisory Board (CMAB).

Around 1882, Jacks marketed the cheese on the West Coast. It grew in popularity, becoming known as “Monterey” for the county and “Jacks” for the family that shipped it, with the “s” eventually dropping, CMAB says.

“What made (Jacks) unique is he gave it a name and marketed it,” Viviani says, adding that Jacks, taking the milk surplus and converting much of the milk to cheese, created a viable market and, as a result, his business flourished.

“He was a marketer, and he made it and sold it and transported it to various markets,” such as San Francisco and Sacramento, Viviani says.

In addition, Dry Monterey Jack was created around World War I, when trade between the United States and Italy ceased and imports of Romano and Parmesan stopped. A San Francisco cheese wholesaler, D.F. DeBernardi, coincidentally developed a Monterey Jack suitable for grating during this time.

Today, Wisconsin and California largely contribute to the production of Colby and Monterey Jack in the United States. According to data from the Dairy Products 2016 Summary released by USDA’s National Agricultural Statistics Service in April, California produced about 306 million pounds of “Other American Varieties” — including Colby, Monterey and Jack — in 2016, while Wisconsin produced about 302 million pounds. The United States, in total, produced about 1.3 billion pounds of these cheeses last year.

• Make procedure

When it comes to their make processes, stirred-curd Cheddar, Colby and Monterey Jack are similar, according to David McCoy, managing director, Dairy Insights LLC, Muskego, Wisconsin.

The make procedure for all three cheeses typically starts the same, McCoy says, noting that, in each case, the vat usually is set at 88 to 90 degrees Fahrenheit with a mesophilic culture, and then allowed to ripen before coagulant is added. After being coagulated and cut, the curds are gently stirred while the temperature is raised, he says.

At this stage, Cheddar typically stays in the whey until it is fully drained, then it is stirred until its target pH is achieved, then salted. Colby and Monterey Jack, on the other hand, have part of the whey removed about 10 to 15 minutes after reaching their cook temperature, McCoy says. Cold water is then added, cooling the curd and reducing the rate of whey expulsion from the curd, which results in a higher-moisture cheese. Monterey Jack typically has either more or colder water added than Colby, McCoy adds.

The added water also helps remove some of the lactose and acid from the curd, resulting in a less acidic cheese. Therefore, the flavors of Colby and Monterey Jack typically are milder and sweeter than a mild Cheddar. Colby typically is colored a medium-yellow using annatto, while Monterey Jack is not colored. Colby Jack, a blend of Colby and Monterey Jack cheeses, can be made in various ways, McCoy notes.

Both Colby and Monterey Jack can be aged, although these cheeses typically are distributed with minimal aging and made with pasteurized milk, McCoy says.

According to FDA’s Code of Federal Regulations, Colby can be made with raw milk, but it is then required to be cured at a temperature not less than 35 degrees Fahrenheit for not less than 60 days. In addition, Colby must contain not more than 40 percent of moisture, and its solids must contain not less than 50 percent of milkfat.

Meanwhile, Monterey Jack has a minimum milkfat content of 50 percent by weight of the solids, and the maximum moisture content is 44 percent by weight, the regulations say, also noting that the dairy ingredients used are pasteurized. If making high-moisture Monterey Jack, the moisture content must be more than 44 percent but less than 50 percent.

• Retail sales

According to data from Information Resources Inc. (IRI) courtesy of Dairy Management Inc., Colby Jack in U.S. retail continues on a 5-year positive trend, and Monterey Jack gained 1.3 percent volume sales in the latest 52 weeks as of May 14, 2017 (fixed weight only, U.S. multi-outlet and convenience stores). Meanwhile, Colby volume sales have trended down each of the last 5 years.

Colby and Monterey Jack sales spikes occur during winter holidays such as Thanksgiving, Christmas and Super Bowl Sunday. While Colby sales are down from a year ago, the cheese’s Christmas week sales spike was slightly higher than the previous year, according to the IRI data.

Unflavored Monterey Jack has the highest volume sales among Monterey Jack varieties, with top flavors being Pepper and Jalapeno Pepper. Other flavors added include Tomato Basil and Garlic Herb, among others.

• Trends and applications

Colby and Monterey Jack are used in a multitude of applications and come in a variety of flavors.

Sonoma Creamery, based in Sonoma, California, offers several varieties of Sonoma Jack — the company’s branded Monterey Jack — in flavors such as traditional, hot pepper, garlic, habanero and pesto, and it also is available in four organic varieties, says John Crean, president and CEO, Sonoma Creamery. The company offers Sonoma Dry Jack as well, which is aged 9 to 12 months and is a hard-grating cheese that is milder than Parmesan and has a slightly nutty flavor, Crean adds.

In addition to 5.3-ounce wedges and random weight, organic chunks, Sonoma Jack comes in sliced party trays and 150 calorie, 1.5-ounce snack packs of nuggets, all of which are rbST-free.

Crean says the company created the nuggets, launched in 2013, to address three important areas of the snack cheese market: convenience, portability and portion control. The party trays play to convenience and portability as well, he notes.

While its nuggets and party trays facilitate snacking, Sonoma Creamery’s Sonoma Jack — with flavors available regionally in foodservice and nationally in retail — also does well eaten on its own or with crackers, Crean says.

“As far as cheese goes, Jack cheese has the widest applications of any cheese you can find,” he says, noting that Jack, along with Cheddar, are favored for blending flavors into the cheese.

In addition to bold flavors, consumers are increasingly moving toward natural-type cheeses over processed-type cheeses, says Ryan LaGrander, president and Wisconsin Master Cheesemaker, LaGrander’s Hillside Dairy, Stanley, Wisconsin. In response to this rising trend, the company — which currently makes some of its cheeses with rbST-free milk — plans to receive all rbST-free milk by Nov. 1 for use in its products, including its Colby and Monterey Jack varieties.

LaGrander’s, a family-owned and operated, third-generation cheese manufacturing facility, offers its Colby and Monterey Jack through retail outlets in the Midwest and in foodservice outlets throughout the nation, with a majority of it sold under private label. The company produces about 30,000 to 40,000 pounds of Colby, Monterey Jack and Colby Jack each day, LaGrander says. While each of the three cheese types sell well, LaGrander says Colby tends to be the most popular seller, followed by Colby Jack and Pepper Jack. He notes that both Colby and Monterey Jack cheeses are mild and versatile, making them suitable for various applications, such as use in salads, soups, sauces and cheese trays.

At Henning’s Cheese, Kiel, Wisconsin, its Colby and Monterey Jack varieties are used as table cheeses, says Kerry Henning, president and Wisconsin Master Cheesemaker, Henning’s Cheese. The company, which has been making cheese since 1914, offers Colby in plain and with caraway seed; Monterey Jack in plain, jalapeno or habanero; and Colby Jack. The majority of the company’s Colby is sold in Michigan, and all varieties are available at many stores in Eastern Wisconsin and at Henning’s company store.

Of the three varieties, Colby is the most popular based on sales at the company.

“I believe it is more popular because it is a Wisconsin original and that Colby is well known in the Midwest, where the majority of our sales are for these types of cheeses,” Henning says. “Colby Jack is also a big seller, and I believe it is because of the two colors that make it an attractive looking cheese on a cheese platter.”

• Marketing

Companies utilize a variety of methods to showcase and promote their Colby and Monterey Jack products.

Henning’s Cheese produces its Colby, Monterey Jack and Colby Jack varieties using traditional methods, offering them to customers in wheel formats in addition to 40-pound blocks. At the store level, the wheels are cut and wrapped onsite, Henning says.

“I believe that making these cheeses in the traditional wheels and then waxed are the best way to enjoy them. By making them in wheels, the Colby retains its openness and your mouth can experience the curdy texture, which, when chewed, releases its delicious flavors,” Henning says. “By making these cheeses in wheels, Henning’s Colby and Jack cheese easily stand out in the marketplace.”

Henning also notes that, while the company does not see a large growing demand for its Colby and Monterey Jack varieties, he has noticed more opportunities for sales in the south as more Midwesterners head there.

Meanwhile, Sonoma Creamery works at the retail level to promote its products, conducting periodic seasonal price promotions and in-store demonstrations. Social media and word of mouth also play important roles, Crean says.

“We continue to innovate and find new applications for Sonoma Jack using our heritage, experience and know-how in cheese,” Crean says.

CMN


May cheese production up
4.0 percent from year ago

July 7, 2017

WASHINGTON — Total U.S. cheese production, excluding cottage cheese, totaled 1.05 billion pounds in May, up 4.0 percent from 1.01 billion pounds in May 2016, according to preliminary data released Thursday by USDA’s National Agricultural Statistics Service (NASS). (All figures are rounded. Please see CMN’s Dairy Production chart.)

May cheese production was 0.8 percent higher than the 1.04 billion pounds produced in April 2017, NASS says, but when adjusted for the length of the months, May production was down 2.4 percent from April on a daily average basis.

Production of Mozzarella, the nation’s most-produced cheese, totaled 348.5 million pounds in May, up 0.6 from May 2016’s 346.5 million pounds and 0.3-percent higher than April’s 347.6 million pounds.

Total Italian-type cheese production, of which Mozzarella is the largest component, totaled 450.5 million pounds in May, up 1.2 from May 2016’s 445.0 million pounds and up 0.6 percent from April 2017’s 447.7 million pounds, NASS says.

Cheddar production in May totaled 312.7 million pounds, up 6.9 percent from May 2016’s 292.6 million pounds but down 1.9 percent from the 318.9 million pounds produced in April, NASS says. Total American-type cheese production, of which Cheddar is the largest component, totaled 425.3 million pounds in May, up 5.7 percent from May 2016’s 402.3 million pounds and a 0.4-percent increase from the 423.8 million pounds produced in April.

Wisconsin led the nation’s cheese production in May with 272.1 million pounds, a 0.2-percent increase from its production a year earlier. California followed with 219.6 million pounds, up 2.8 percent from May 2016.

Rounding out the top five cheese-producing states in May were Idaho with 79.1 million pounds, up 4.0 from its production a year earlier; New York with 71.2 million pounds, a jump of 19.9 percent; and New Mexico with 66.1 million pounds, down 2.7 percent, NASS says.

Total U.S. butter production in May was 163.5 million pounds, down 1.5 percent from May 2016’s 166.0 million pounds, NASS says. May butter production increased 0.6 percent from April’s 162.5 million pounds, but when adjusted for the length of the months, May butter production was 2.6 percent lower on a daily average basis.

California led the nation’s butter production in May with 45.8 million pounds, down 7.5 percent from its production a year earlier.

CMN


U.S. dairy exports see
15-percent increase in May

July 7, 2017

WASHINGTON — U.S. exports of milk powder, cheese, butterfat, whey and lactose totaled 169,648 metric tons in May, up 15 percent from May 2016, according to the most recent data reported by USDA and the U.S. Dairy Export Council (USDEC). Total May U.S. dairy exports were valued at $508.9 million, up 34 percent from a year ago.

Cheese exports in May totaled 35,409 metric tons, up 48 percent from last May and the most since March 2014, USDEC reports. Cheese exports to Mexico totaled 13,565 metric tons, the most ever and up 75 percent from last year. Additionally, cheese shipments to South Korea, Japan and Central America were above year-ago levels.

Nonfat dry milk/skim milk powder (NDM/SMP) exports in May totaled 58,598 metric tons, up 31 percent year-over-year, USDEC says. NDM/SMP shipments to Mexico were up 62 percent, while exporters also boosted NDM/SMP sales in China, Peru and Japan. Shipments to Southeast Asia were below year-ago levels for the fourth straight month.

U.S. exports of whey products totaled 44,452 metric tons in May, up 4 percent from last year. Shipments of modified whey products were up 29 percent, offsetting a 24-percent loss in sales of whey protein concentrate, USDEC reports. In May, total whey exports to China were 22,185 metric tons, the highest figure this year and up 22 percent from a year ago. Meanwhile, whey exports to Southeast Asia were down 32 percent, and exports to Mexico and South Korea also trailed year-ago levels.

On a total milk solids basis, U.S. exports were equivalent to 14.7 percent of U.S. milk production in May. Imports were equivalent to 3.1 percent of production.

CMN


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Today's Cheese Spot Trading
July 26, 2017


Barrels: $1.4600 (+1/4)
Blocks: $1.7075 (NC)


Click here for more market activity
Cheese Production
U.S. Total May
1.05 bil. lbs.


Milk Production
U.S. Total June
18.047 bil. lbs.

Guest Columnist

Specialty cheeses playing key
role in driving sales growth

Suzanne Fanning, Wisconsin Milk Marketing Board

The summer of...

Phil Plourd, Blimling and Associates

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