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Dairy producers grapple with persistent drought in the West

October 17, 2014

By Alyssa Mitchell

MADISON, Wis. — As drought conditions persist in the Western United States, dairy farmers are getting creative in ways to conserve water and supplement feed, and the costs are starting to add up.

“We’ve all been taking steps to minimize water usage,” says Perry Tjaarda, owner of Tjaarda Dairy in Shafter, Calif., outside Bakersville and a board member of Dairy Farmers of America (DFA).

“On the farm itself, we’re constantly scrutinizing what we’re using water for and if we need to,” he says.

Tjaarda, who currently milks about 3,200 cows on his farm, notes how important water is to a dairy operation.

“The girls need to drink, and we need water to keep things cleaned and sanitized,” he says.

Tjaarda is one of many producers in the West facing a tight water supply. And it’s not an issue affecting only the dairy industry. The state of California’s drought is entering its fourth year, with reservoirs only 36 percent full, according to recent reports.

“The drought in California has had a tremendous impact on the state’s agriculture industry and is a serious concern,” says John Azevedo, member-owner and chairman of the board for California Dairies Inc. and owner of Azevedo Dairy Inc., Patterson, Calif.

While all sectors of agriculture have felt the effects of the drought, some sectors are experiencing it much more severely, he adds.

“Those hardest hit by the drought are the permanent crop farmers who rely on state and federal water contracts for their water needs. Those contracts have received zero water allocations for the year,” Azevedo says. “The largest impact the drought has had on the California dairy industry is seen in the increased cost of forages. To combat high-priced forages, dairymen are feeding their cows differently by substituting high-priced forages with lower-cost rations.”

Currently, 58 percent of the state is classified as D4, Exceptional Drought, according to the U.S. Drought Monitor managed by the National Integrated Drought Information System (see chart on page 16).

In January of this year, California Gov. Jerry Brown issued an Emergency Drought Proclamation and called for state residents to voluntarily reduce water use by 20 percent.

Water conservation efforts throughout the state are ongoing, and a recent report from the State Water Resources Control Board (State Water Board) in California says that water conservation efforts in the state’s urban communities continued an upward trend in August, climbing to 11.5 percent increased conservation statewide.

“Many more California communities are taking the drought seriously and making water conservation a priority — and residents are responding,” says Felicia Marcus, chair of the State Water Board.

“However, while we can hope for rain, we can’t count on it, so we must keep going. Every gallon saved today postpones the need for more drastic, difficult and expensive action should the drought continue into next year.”

The California Department of Food and Agriculture (CDFA) recently announced that it is accepting applications for a second round of funding for the State Water Efficiency and Enhancement Program (SWEEP), authorized by emergency drought legislation.

SWEEP is an opportunity for farmers to receive financial assistance to install water distribution systems that save water and reduce greenhouse gases. Up to $150,000 will be provided directly to agricultural operations for water and energy conservation projects. The funding can support a broad range of irrigation-related projects such as pump improvements, equipment to facilitate water-saving measures and other reduction management practices.

Application guidelines and more information can be found at

Applications are due Nov. 10 by 5 p.m. Pacific Time.

Leslie J. Butler, agricultural economist at the University of California-Davis, notes that California producers are finding it difficult to source suitable feed in these conditions, and what is available is expensive.

“If the drought continues, I would expect many dairy producers will continue to find it difficult to source feed in California,” he says. “The biggest difficulty for most California producers will be purchasing alfalfa locally, and therefore, transportation costs become a nightmare for most of them when they have to ship it in from out of state.”

Tom Barcellos, owner of 800-cow T-Bar Dairy in Porterville, Calif., and president of Western United Dairymen (WUD), says historically he has grown and sold his own feed, which has supplemented his income, but in recent conditions he has had to purchase additional hay.

“We also didn’t plant corn this year in order to use up less water,” he adds. “You need a lot of water for quality corn.”

He notes conditions have hit the dairy harder this year as last year he was still able to plant all of his acreage.

“Going forward, we have some feed inventory, but we’re waiting to see if there’s any rain this winter to get winter forages planted,” he says.

The operation needs more surface water, Barcellos says

“The best solution to our issues is any surface water that becomes available,” he says. “I have to make sure I have enough water for the cows, too.”

Meanwhile, in addition to water limitations, organic dairy farmers are facing challenges in available pasture suitable for their herds to feed on.

According to the Agricultural Marketing Resource Center, California is the state with the most organic dairy cows, a position it gained in recent years, and the lack of rainfall makes it harder for farmers to keep grasses green.

“The quality of our pasture has been OK, but it is far less pasture than normal,” says Lucas Deniz, owner of Deniz Dairy, an organic and conventional operation in Petaluma, Calif. Deniz milks about 150 conventional cows and 350 organic cows.

Deniz says that organic regulations typically require organic cows to be on pasture for a minimum of 120 days.

“Thankfully, in light of recent circumstances, that requirement has been reduced to 60 days,” he says.

He notes he also is paying about $400 a ton for organic hay that is used as a supplement.

“Typically, we don’t need that when they are feeding on pasture in better conditions,” he says.

Deniz says he is thinking about drilling a well in the next few months.

“At about $70,000, it’s certainly not cheap, but if you don’t have water, you have nothing,” he says.
He adds that California does not have a statewide plan for groundwater but the state is beginning to put in more regulations and restrictions.

“Down the line, I’m sure we’ll see increased restrictions and regulations on the amount of water we can pump from our wells, and we’ll likely have to pay for a permit, so the long-term effects and costs are certainly looming,” he says.

Other western dairy operations outside of California are feeling the pinch, too.

“Last year was a 65 to 70 percent allocation for our water usage; this year it’s 40 percent,” says Alan Perazzo, another DFA member and owner of Perazzo Brothers Dairy in Fallon, Nev., about 4 miles from the recently-opened DFA operation there.

“The last two years we’ve been affected by this drought,” he says. “Less forage was able to be grown, and this year was the first year in awhile we have not been able to grow corn.”

Perazzo has planted rye, milo and Sudan grass as supplement feedstuffs, but they do not provide as much energy as corn silage, he says.

“We are able to take other commodities and make a mix,” he says. “We’ve just had to get creative and do things differently than before.”

Weather analyst Joe D’Aleo, co-chief meteorologist with WeatherBELL Analytics, based in New York, N.Y., seems cautiously optimistic that the coming year could yield more moisture for the Western United States.

“We are in a developing El Niño pattern. Normally this is cheered because it brings rain,” D’Aleo says. “However, El Niños are not a 100 percent guarantee that it will be wet.”

He adds that he does think there will be a break in warm conditions and some storms could penetrate the winter and bring snow to the Sierras.

“There has been some rain in the north this month, but not enough to feed the system,” he says.

“Every El Niño is different,” he adds, noting that a weaker El Niño or even no El Niño doesn’t necessarily mean it’s going to be dry in Northern California.

Tjaarda says it’s hard to know what to expect.

“I’ve heard varying reports on the prospects for El Niño this winter, but it seems to change a lot,” he says.

At least it seems current conditions have not yet impacted milk production levels in the state. In fact, California milk production is steady to slightly higher on a week-to-week basis, USDA’s Dairy Market News says this week. Total milk volumes remain above a year ago by 2 to 4 percent, as reported by processors.

“Milk production has been up,” Tjaarda says. “It’s a funny thing with drought. As long as you have feed and water, the dry conditions do create good milk-making conditions.”

However, if the drought persists, “effects could be devastating,” he adds.

“I don’t worry about feed so much. You find feed, though it may cost more. This gives you time to come up with a solution,” Tjaarda says. “However, if you run out of water, you have minutes to hours, tops, to come up with a solution. The cows need to drink.”

Barcellos says while things are currently working at the farm, that could change long term if conditions don’t improve.

“We find ways to make things work, but at some point, if this situation continues, there will be challenges,” he says. “I know people who are looking to sell, but you need a viable place in order to sell.

“There are many elements of concern, and everyone is being diligent in seeing what’s next,” he adds. “If we get to January and haven’t had any rain or snow, I’ll be very concerned.”

He adds that the next 3-6 months will be crucial.

Tjaarda agrees, noting there could be serious consequences if the Sierras do not get some rain or snow.

“You’re trying to stay ahead of what’s happening, but there are no guarantees,” he says. “You just don’t know.”


U.S. butter price drops; butter up at GDT, but auction bearish

October 17, 2014

By Alyssa Mitchell

MADISON, Wis. — With the price of U.S. butter at a premium to global prices for much of this year, it comes as little surprise to most that spot butter at the Chicago Mercantile Exchange (CME) has fallen in recent weeks.

The speed at which it has fallen, however, is impressive.

“The old saying goes, ‘prices take the stairs up and the elevator shaft down,’ but 93 cents inside of two weeks is impressive by anyone’s expectations,” says Dave Kurzawski, senior broker at FCStone, Chicago.

In the first four days of this week alone, butter fell a total of 67.5 cents, settling at $2.13 per pound on Thursday. Butter was still above $3 per pound less than a month ago, when it settled at $3.05 Sept. 26, the beginning of its descent. (For today’s prices, see chart on page 2.)

“I think we were always anticipating a sharp drop, and futures were predicting this would happen,” says Eric Meyer, president of HighGround Dairy, Chicago. “We expected this would happen as seasonal demand ebbs. It was a question of whether it would be this month or next.”

Kurzawski notes these are largely thin markets but they follow the same rules as any other market — greed and fear.

“For the past few weeks we’ve got a front row seat for commodity market emotion, but inventories have not been built yet,” he says. “Look for some level of support to come back into butter before we crack $2 per pound.”

Meyer agrees there could be some support at the $2 level with people filling pipelines for orders now that prices are lower, “but we may be in the $1.70s or $1.80s by early December.”

Analysts have been anticipating weakness in both the cheese and butter market as U.S. dairy prices have been far above global prices for some time. While the price of butter improved a bit this week in New Zealand at Fonterra’s Global Dairy Trade (GDT) auction, the overall results still had a bearish tone, Meyer says.

“Convergence of U.S. and world prices is 99 percent on the U.S. side so far,” he says.

“The U.S. market is doing the heavy lifting in terms of closing the huge price disparity to the world,” Kurzawski agrees. “And we’ll have to continue in that fashion because the latest GDT event is more an indication of price stabilization that anything. Buyers are bottom-feeding and sellers still have inventory to clear. Volumes are up but prices are stable, and I expect that to be the case for some time to come.”

The GDT price index this week was up 1.4 percent and the average price achieved across all contracts and contract periods for butter increased 3.9 percent to US$2,614 per metric ton FAS ($1.1857 per pound).

Prices also increased for anhydrous milkfat, up 7.4 percent to US$3,346 per metric ton FAS ($1.5177 per pound); sweet whey powder, up 4.3 percent to US$1,225 per metric ton FAS ($0.5557 per pound); and whole milk powder, up 3.1 percent to US$2,503 per metric ton FAS ($1.1354 per pound).

Meanwhile, prices weakened for buttermilk powder, down 3.8 percent to US$2,685 per metric ton FAS ($1.2179 per pound); Cheddar, down 1 percent to US$3,007 per metric ton FAS ($1.3640 per pound); rennet casein, down 5.3 percent to US$7,780 per metric ton FAS ($3.5290 per pound); and skim milk powder, down 3.6 percent to US$2,462 per metric ton FAS ($1.1168 per pound).

The next trading event will be held Nov. 4. For more information, visit


Camel’s milk poised for increased role in dairy

October 17, 2014

By Emily King

MADISON, Wis. — Although not often thought of in connection with dairy, camels stand to play a larger role in the industry’s future. While it will never be more than a specialty item in the United States, camel’s milk items are poised to become slightly more popular thanks to a handful of newer U.S. producers. In addition, camel chymosin (CC) has seen success as a coagulant in certain types of cheese.

Californian camel dairies

Oasis Camel Dairy, Ramona, Calif., proclaims it was America’s first camel milking farm. Owned by Gil and Nancy Riegler, the dairy supports the efforts of furthering the education of the public about the nature of camels and their milk.

The dairy does not sell any of the raw milk from its camels, but Oasis Camel Dairy uses the milk to make camel’s milk lotions, soaps, lip treatment and skin serum. The family also drinks the milk themselves.

Another California-based camel’s milk dairy, Desert Farm Camel Milk — a brand within Santa Monica, Calif.-headquartered Desert Farms Inc. — just started production this year in Los Angeles.
California allows camel dairies and the sale of camel’s milk, provided it is produced and distributed from a properly permitted and licensed facility.

The founder of Desert Farms, Walid Abdul-Wahab, was in his hometown of Jeddah, Saudi Arabia, when he encountered a friend with a bag of camel’s milk and found it delectable. He moved to California shortly thereafter and viewed it as the perfect environment for creating a market for camel’s milk.

“I started Desert Farms right out of college as the first company in the United States to capitalize on the sale of camel’s milk, based on the idea that American consumers are constantly searching for the ultimate healthy beverage,” Abdul-Wahab says. “America’s health-conscious consumer appetite has lead to the rise of many dairy alternative beverages, but each has been met with unique flaws.”

Camel’s milk has been used for centuries as a natural remedy in Middle Eastern, Asian and North African cultures. In the United States there is demand for the beverage in the autism community, Abdul-Wahab says.

According to Abdul-Wahab and the Rieglers, the success camel’s milk has had in improving autism symptoms, other ailments and the overall health benefits of the product were the driving force behind the dairies’ inceptions.

Last year, “Camel Milk as a Potential Therapy as an Antioxidant in Autism Spectrum Disorder,” was published in Evidence-Based Complementary and Alternative Medicine. The findings suggested that camel’s milk could improve behavior in those with autism spectrum disorder (ASD), specifically by decreasing oxidative stress, something those with ASD are vulnerable to.

The results of the study showed a reduction of oxidative stress after camel’s milk consumption; this could be attributed to the antioxidant nutrients in camel’s milk such as magnesium, which also enhances vitamin E and C absorption. Vitamin E, along with zinc and magnesium — all present in camel’s milk — could be the driving force behind the production of certain enzymes and the decrease of oxidative stress in those with ASD.

“It has a unique composition that differs from other ruminants’ milk,” the study says. “It contains lower fat, cholesterol and lactose than cow’s milk, higher minerals and vitamins A, B2, E and C compared to cow’s milk, and it contains no beta lactoglobulin and beta casein, which are the main causative of allergy in cow’s milk.”

The composition of camel’s milk is responsible for its many potential therapeutic effects, such as with food allergies, diabetes mellitus, hepatitis B and other autoimmune diseases, the study says.

Camel’s milk will never be a major player in the industry though because it is difficult to produce and as a result is extremely expensive. Milking camels only produce 5-6 liters per day. In addition, camels have long pregnancies, are difficult to train and are not easy to breed, Abdul-Wahab says.

Like Oasis Camel Dairy, Desert Farm sells an assortment of camel’s milk soaps. The milk it does sell retails for $18 for a 16-ounce bottle of raw camel’s milk.

• Camel’s role in mainstream dairy has more potential with chymosin

Camel may have more of a future in dairy on the ingredient side. In a study published last year in the Journal of Dairy Science called “Effect of camel chymosin (CC) on the texture, functionality, and sensory properties of low-moisture, part-skim (LMPS) Mozzarella cheese,” scientists compared the effects of bovine calf chymosin and CC on the functional and sensory properties and performance shelf life of LMPS Mozzarella.

Chymosin is a protease found in rennet. It is produced by newborn ruminant animals in the lining of the stomach to curdle the milk they ingest and is widely used in the production of cheese. During the study, the chymosin made by camels was found to be more effective at clotting cow’s milk than the chymosin made by the calf, which was interesting and surprising to John Lucey, director of the Wisconsin Center for Dairy Research (CDR) and co-author of the study.

Lucey says CDR has worked on many different kinds of rennets over the years and was aware that initial research on CC indicated lower proteolytic activity in cheese.

“Protein breakdown by rennet is one of the key degradation mechanisms in LMPS Mozzarella that shortens its useful performance shelf life,” Lucey says. “So we wanted to see how well CC worked in this cheese and determine the extent of any possible increase in its shelf-life.”

Since the CC proved to be successful in extending the shelf life of LMPS Mozzarella in comparison to bovine chymosin, it is an attractive proposition for many LMPS cheese manufacturers. It may allow them to have product in distribution for a longer time or allow them to service more distant markets, Lucey adds.

There are a number of cheeses where less protein breakdown during ripening can be helpful, such as fresh cheese types where shelf life is relatively short. The use of CC will not impact the other key determinants of shelf life such as growth of spoilage organisms.

“We have also found that the use of CC leads to less bitterness, and switching to CC is an option for cheese manufacturers that have difficulties with this defect,” Lucey says.
Chr. Hansen, Hørsholm, Denmark, developed FAR-M, a pure CC produced by fermentation, in 2012. The product is designed for both camel’s and cow’s milk processing, and is available in the United States.

FAR-M is available in liquid and powder forms — the latter allowing for transportation at ambient temperatures and distribution to rural areas, the company says.


N.Y. Gov. Cuomo designates yogurt official state snack

October 17, 2014

ALBANY, N.Y. — On Wednesday, New York Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo signed legislation making yogurt the official snack of New York State just before the second New York Yogurt Summit being held the same day.

“Yogurt is now the official snack of New York State, and the fourth-graders at Byron-Bergen Elementary School deserve all of the credit,” says State Sen. Michael H. Ranzenhofer. “From initially suggesting the idea to traveling to the state capitol earlier this year, these students deserve high marks for their efforts to get this legislation signed into law.”

Ranzenhofer introduced Senate Bill No. 6695 Feb. 28, and it was approved by the State Senate Investigations and Government Operations Committee in May. (See “Bill to make yogurt N.Y. snack goes to Senate” in the May 16, 2014 issue of Cheese Market News.)

The first New York Yogurt Summit convened in 2012 resulted in a number of initiatives to eliminate barriers to business growth and help manufacturers continue to grow, Cuomo says.

At the 2014 New York State Yogurt Summit this week, Cuomo highlighted progress in the industry and shared ideas on how to move it forward. A number of measures will be put in place as a result of the summit, which was hosted at Cornell University’s College of Agriculture and Life Sciences.

“At last year’s summit, we listened to New York’s yogurt producers and dairy farmers for what we as the state could do to make the industry grow, and this year we are doing the same,” Cuomo says. “The success we have seen is another example of how we can work together to create jobs and develop this sector, which is vital to the economy.”

These steps include increased sales of New York State dairy products in state-run institutions, financial assistance to help increase technical assistance for the dairy industry, and initiatives to make the industry more energy efficient. The state also will explore ways to increase access to risk management tools which will better stabilize the industry during times of market instability.

The New York Department of Corrections and Community Supervision recently added a 4-ounce vanilla yogurt to its statewide menu. This new business partnership will result in the consumption of approximately 1.2 million cups of yogurt annually.

In addition, with a commitment of up to $1 million from New York State, as well as federal and private funds, State University of New York (SUNY) Cobleskill will build a teaching dairy processing facility.
SUNY Cobleskill will provide a certificate of training for laboratory technicians, processing specialists and quality technicians, among others. Foods processed at the facility will be used throughout the existing campus dining to promote local food and local processing.

At the first summit, Cuomo doubled the amount of per project funding for anaerobic digesters in the state from $1 million to $2 million.

A new Renewable Energy for Agriculture Task Force will advise Cuomo on renewable opportunities and industry-specific needs. The task force will be comprised of state and industry representatives, and the New York State Energy Research and Development Authority will commit $75,000 to this initiative.

In addition, to continue advancements in digester technology, the New York State Energy Research and Development Authority is prepared to provide up to $1.2 million to support the construction of anaerobic digester technology at Cornell University’s Dairy Research Facility in Hartford, N.Y.


Red Barn Family Farms introduces American Original, continues to grow

By Kate Sander

APPLETON, Wis. — In an environment where bigger is often deemed better or at least necessary to survive, veterinarian Terry Homan kept seeing small dairy farms operated by families who excelled at animal husbandry, and he connected that animal care to the high-quality milk those farms produced.

Due to economies of scale, those small dairies were — and are — often talked about as if they don’t have a future. However, Homan and his wife Paula Homan, both of whom grew up on dairies themselves, decided that wasn’t right.

“I came to the conviction that excellent small dairy farms should have a place in the future,” Terry Homan says.

In response to what they saw as an opportunity to give small dairies a strong foothold in the future, the husband and wife team founded Red Barn Family Farms.

Starting in 2008, Red Barn Family Farms contracted with Lamers Dairy, Appleton, Wis., to process its branded milk for northeast Wisconsin hospitals, colleges and coffee shops. The company also began contracting with what is now a handful of Wisconsin cheesemakers to produce cheese, including American Originals like its newly introduced Cupola, for institutional foodservice providers and specialty food distributors across the United States.

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Up-in-the-air federal elections could shift dairy, ag leadership

October 10, 2014

By Alyssa Mitchell

WASHINGTON — As the November midterm elections draw near, stakeholders are closely watching races that could shift current agriculture committee leadership and impact key policy affecting the dairy industry.

The nation has been abuzz recently with the potential for an overturn in Senate leadership from Democrats to Republicans, which would shift Senate Agriculture Committee posts. Further, a couple of close races could lead to runoffs and a delay in knowing the final outcome until later this year or early next, stakeholders say, potentially impacting the prospects of legislation advancing in the Lame Duck session.

• Ag committee uncertainty

Currently, Democrats control the Senate 55-45 (two independent senators caucus with the Democrats), and Republicans would need a gain of six seats to win control. In a 50-50 Senate, the tie is broken by Vice President Biden.

“Almost anything is in play in the Senate, including control of the Senate,” says John Hollay, vice president of government relations for the National Milk Producers Federation (NMPF).

He notes that two races — Louisiana and Georgia — appear likely to head into runoff elections, as no candidate is polling above 50 percent in the two races, the margin necessary for victory.

Louisiana will have a Dec. 6 runoff, while Georgia’s runoff is not until Jan. 6, after the next Congress is scheduled to convene.

This could mean that the final roster of new agriculture committee leadership may be not fully determined for some time, Hollay notes.

If Democrats do retain control of the Senate, Sen. Debbie Stabenow, D-Mich., is expected to stay on as the agriculture committee chair.

“This would be good for dairy as she was a strong advocate for dairy farmers throughout the farm bill process,” Hollay says.

Dave Carlin, senior vice president for legislative affairs with the International Dairy Foods Association (IDFA), also notes the organization has had a great relationship with Sen. Stabenow, though he says he thinks the industry will be in good shape no matter the outcome.

Hollay notes there are several possibilities for leadership should Republicans take control that also would be good for the industry.

Sen. Pat Roberts, R-Kan., is in a close race to keep his seat and is a possibility to take over as Senate Ag Committee chair if Republicans take the majority, for example, Hollay says.

“We’ve worked with Sen. Roberts for awhile now and certainly have enjoyed working with him,” he says.

Hollay adds NMPF also has had a good working relationship with Sen. John Boozman, R-Ark., another possibility for leadership of the ag committee.

Carlin reiterates that the dairy industry is likely to be in good shape for working relationships moving forward with whoever takes leadership of agriculture and other key committees in the Senate.

Meanwhile, in the U.S. House, Republicans are expected to maintain the majority. Agriculture committee leadership will shift, however, as current ag committee Chair Frank Lucas, R-Okla., is at the end of his term for leadership of the committee.

Hollay says Rep. Mike Conaway, R-Texas, current chair of the commodities subcommittee, likely will assume leadership of the ag committee.

“We have a number of producers in the counties he represents, so I think we’ll have a good working relationship with him moving forward,” he says.

Hollay notes that ag committee Ranking Member Collin Peterson, D-Minn., is in a close race with an uncertain outcome.

“We’ve had a lot of support from him, and in our conversations with farmers in Minnesota, there is strong support for him,” he says.

• Overarching policy issues

Both NMPF and IDFA note that a key issue on the legislative agenda is upcoming reauthorization of school nutrition programs next year. Reauthorization will need to happen by next September.

Stakeholders also are looking at trade and immigration reform as key issues to be addressed.

“The U.S. immigration system is broken,” says Laurie Fischer, director of dairy policy for the Wisconsin Dairy Business Association (DBA). “Republicans, Democrats and independents agree the immigration system is in urgent need of repair.”

Fischer says U.S. businesses can’t reply on a 20th-century immigration system to address their labor necessities in the 21st century.

“Legislators know we have a broken immigration system, and we have a chance to fix this shattered system if the Senate and House are in agreement,” she says. “If the Senate flips its majority to Republicans, we feel much more confident that an immigration bill will be passed and will be put on the president’s desk for his signature.”

Michael Marsh, CEO of Western United Dairymen (WUD), says he hopes the House at least could take up immigration reform in their chamber in the Lame Duck session.

“Immigration reform is a top priority for us, and it has to get fixed,” he says.
Marsh notes that WUD supports the re-election of Republican Congressmen David Valadao and Jeff Denham, both of California, as they have come out in support of immigration reform in the United States.

“We think they could both help immigration reform move forward in the House,” he says.
He adds that Valadeo also is a dairyman in California, which is beneficial for organizations like WUD.


IDDBA report examines new habits of modern U.S. shoppers

October 10, 2014


MADISON, Wis. — U.S. demographics are evolving to include more single-person households and more varied family structures, changing the nature of food eating and sourcing, says a new report,

“Engaging the Evolving Shopper: Serving the New American Appetite,” recently released by the International Dairy-Deli-Bakery Association (IDDBA).

The report, compiled by The Hartman Group, showcases the evolving U.S. shopper of six fresh perimeter categories — dairy, deli, bakery, prepared foods, specialty cheese and specialty meats — through the lens of Millennials, modern eating, health and wellness, and digital engagement.

The report notes that Millennials are proving a dominant force in shaping food trends, both now and for the future, particularly in fresh perimeter categories.

These changing demographics, when combined with the new demands of modern life, have resulted in an eating culture defined by a blurring of boundaries, rituals and food traditions, the report says.

Today, eating can happen anytime and anywhere; both snacking and immediate consumption behaviors are shaping how shoppers think about fresh perimeter categories.

Why shoppers eat what they do has shifted; trends in health and wellness have redefined how shoppers see the role of food in their lives, the report notes. Food choices now reflect a growing aspiration toward an experiential, positive, holistic and proactive approach to wellness.

• Technology is totally integrated in shoppers’ lives

As online and offline have blurred, technology has become totally integrated into shoppers’ lives and, more specifically, their interactions with food as they choose, plan, experience, share and buy food online, the report notes.

From laptops to smart phones and beyond, shoppers have seamlessly integrated technology into their lives, fundamentally altering the way they engage with the world around them, including how and what they eat, the report adds.

While Millennials may be the most digitally-connected generation, this does not mean that they are completely satisfied with all that is social media, the report notes. Outreach efforts through social media will resonate best by being relevant to Millennials’ needs for inspiration, information and value.

The report suggests that manufacturers and retailers should examine the type of social media platforms available and consider if their user profiles match the intended audience. Equally as important, the report says, consider who shoppers prefer to hear from. Shoppers of all ages prefer to hear from established experts such as chefs, or from fresh perimeter category staff, depending on the issue. Thus when establishing a social media-based communications strategy in these areas, retailers and manufacturers should be sure that their voice is infused with this expertise.

• Choices made on a department-by-department basis

According to the report, while 83 percent of all primary shoppers purchase at least monthly from two or more of the six fresh perimeter categories, Boomers (38 percent) and Millennials (35 percent) stand out for their collective purchasing strength.

More than previous generations, Millennials choose fresh perimeter items based on quality, selection and value on a department by department basis (i.e., they may leave their primary store for another to ensure they can meet the standards they require in these categories). Millennials also are more likely to use fresh perimeter departments for everyday needs, rather than just for special occasions, the report says.

According to the report, fresh/specialty stores, although small, are attracting shoppers away from some conventional fresh perimeter departments. While only 5 percent of shoppers select a fresh/specialty store as their primary store overall, they will shop these stores to fill specific fresh category needs.

Compared to choosing a fresh/specialty store as a primary store, shoppers are at least twice as likely to prefer a fresh/specialty store for purchasing specialty cheese (16 percent), prepared foods (11 percent), bakery (10 percent), deli (10 percent) and specialty meats (10 percent), the report notes.

While some of the fresh perimeter category migration away from one’s primary store is to fresh/specialty stores, the vast majority is to other conventional food retailers, suggesting stores can focus more effort on retention strategies, the report says. Between a quarter and half of fresh perimeter category shoppers leave their primary store to fill fresh category needs elsewhere. In all six fresh perimeter categories, shoppers cite delivering better value and variety/selection as ways to keep them in their primary store.

While value strategies can take the form of price discounts or price promotions, stores also can offer value through higher quality, discovery through unique and specialty items, flavor distinctions, personalized recommendations, freshness cues, healthier offerings, compelling narratives and portion/package sizes that reduce waste, the report says.

According to the report, Boomers are, compared to Millennials, more satisfied with their primary store for fresh perimeter categories. They are least likely to migrate to other stores for dairy (25 percent) and bakery (30 percent) but most likely to prefer another store for specialty cheese (46 percent). Millennials are much more likely than Boomers to leave their primary store for specialty meats (48 percent), prepared foods (46 percent) and bakery (41 percent). To retain Millennials, stores will need to offer more variety and unique items to discover.

• Eating occasions have changed

According to the report, snacking (eating outside of meals; often alone) and immediate consumption (i.e., eating within an hour of purchase) are influencing how shoppers use fresh perimeter categories.

Seventy-seven percent of all adult eating occasions in the United States now involve at least some foodservice, prepared or ready-to-eat items; for Millennials, it’s 88 percent, the report adds.
As immediate consumption has become a normal way of sourcing food, shoppers are increasingly sourcing out, yet eating in, enjoying the fun of the restaurant-quality food with the ease and relaxation of home dining. They are essentially outsourcing cooking, the report notes. Innovative retailers are leveraging their own strengths to compete for a greater share of immediate consumption occasions. They are connecting shoppers’ desire for cooking assistance, customization and instantaneous food with thoughtfully curated fresh perimeter categories.

Millennial priorities, their preferences for communications and their use of interactive technologies within the store center around getting ideas about what to eat and buy rather than just about how best to fulfill their desires at the best available value.
Snacking has evolved from an incidental eating behavior to a purposeful, rich cultural practice, the report says. Food retailers are the primary source for snacks. Shoppers, especially Millennials (who snack more), are looking beyond center-store snack aisles to fresh, real food choices in fresh perimeter categories. They are looking at the quality of calories (nutritional density) rather than counting calories.

Beyond just avoiding “negatives” such as high sodium, high fructose corn syrup and chemical additives, they also are shifting their diets to include more real and whole foods, including more fruits and vegetables, whole grains, dairy and good meats and seafood, the report adds.

According to the report, fresh perimeter categories cue up shoppers’ aspirations for fresh, real, whole and minimally processed foods. They tap directly into current conversations about what is healthy and delicious to eat. The dairy department, in particular, signifies a real-food source of protein in the form of yogurt, milk, cheese, eggs and tofu.

Dairy remains ever central as a health and wellness category through its traditional associations with positive nutrition and protein, and now as a place to find attributes that support good digestion (e.g., probiotics and prebiotics, fermented and cultured foods and beverages, dairy-free alternatives, vegetarian/vegan foods, etc.), the report says. According to the report, bakery shoppers prioritize having no artificial ingredients or preservatives along with no high fructose corn syrup; dairy shoppers seek lowfat, 100 percent natural and fat-free; deli and prepared foods shoppers look for natural, no artificial ingredients and low sodium; specialty cheese shoppers seek natural and no artificial ingredients or preservatives; and specialty meat shoppers prioritize having no artificial ingredients or preservatives and minimal processing.

To order a copy of the report for $795 for non-members (IDDBA members can view the report for free), visit or call 608-310-5000.


AMPI to lay off 90 workers as part of repositioning plan

October 10, 2014

PORTAGE, Wis. — Associated Milk Producers Inc. (AMPI), based in New Ulm, Minn., says approximately 90 positions will be eliminated now through the end of the year at its Portage, Wis., retail and foodservice packaging facility, which employs between 400 and 415 people.

According to Sarah Schmidt, communications director, AMPI, the cooperative’s board of directors recently decided that capital and floor space at the Portage facility would best benefit from being redirected to AMPI’s foodservice business, which currently is the largest portion of the Portage operation.

Meanwhile, the retail line, which packages cheese for sale in stores, will be transitioned to Great Lakes Cheese, Hiram, Ohio. As a result, some positions will be phased out.

“They’ve been a longtime customer of AMPI’s bulk natural cheese, so it’s a natural fit,” Schmidt says.

She adds that Great Lakes Cheese will be purchasing much of the bulk cheese needed to fill those retail orders from AMPI.

Schmidt says the decision is part of a plan for AMPI to best position themselves for the future.

She adds that the shift could lead to expansion and new positions being created at Portage down the line, though no specific details on that are available at this time.

“Our foodservice business is growing, and it’s an exciting area for the co-op,” she says.


USDA lowers 2014 forecast for milk production

October 10, 2014

WASHINGTON — In its latest “World Agricultural Supply and Demand Estimates” report, USDA forecasts U.S. milk production in 2014 will total 206.1 billion pounds, down 200 million pounds from the department’s forecast last month.

USDA says it reduced the forecast from last month due to slower growth in milk per cow. However, for 2015, the production forecast is raised by 300 million pounds to 212.8 billion pounds as growth in output per cow is expected higher with relatively lower-priced feed.

The commercial export forecast on a skim-solids basis is lowered in this month’s report to 39.2 billion pounds in 2014, down from 39.8 billion pounds forecast last month, as U.S. dairy prices are less competitive.

In the report, USDA upped its price forecasts for 2014 cheese, butter and whey as domestic demand continues to support prices.

Cheese is forecast to average $2.160-$2.170 per pound in 2014, up from $2.135-$2.155 in last month’s forecast. The 2015 cheese price forecast is $1.695-$1.785.

Butter is forecast to average $2.220-$2.250 in 2014, up from $2.170-$2.210 in last month’s forecast. The 2015 butter price forecast is $1.680-$1.800.

Dry whey is forecast to average $0.650-$0.660 in 2014, up from last month’s forecast of $0.640-$0.660.

The nonfat dry milk (NDM) price forecasts for both 2014 and 2015 are reduced as U.S. prices are expected to decline to increase the competitiveness of U.S. NDM exports. NDM is forecast to average $1.760-$1.780 this year, down from last month’s forecast of $1.775-$1.795. USDA projects the 2015 NDM price will average $1.450-$1.520, down from its forecast of $1.565-$1.635 last month.

The Class III price for 2014 is raised on stronger cheese and whey prices to $22.40-22.50 per hundredweight, up from last month’s forecast of $22.15-$22.35. The midpoint of the Class III price forecast is unchanged for 2015, with USDA projecting the average to fall in the $17.25-$18.15 range.

The Class IV price forecast for 2014 is raised to $22.40-$22.60, up from $22.30-$22.60 last month, as higher butter prices more than offset the decline in NDM prices. For 2015, the lower forecast NDM prices results in a lower Class IV price. The 2015 Class IV price now is forecast at $17.45-$18.45, down from $18.45-$19.55 in last month’s report.

The 2014 all-milk price forecast is raised to $24.10-$24.20, and is lowered for 2015 to $18.95-$19.85.


CME prices pull back; report projects lower global prices

October 3, 2014

By Alyssa Mitchell

MADISON, Wis. — Cheese and butter prices at the Chicago Mercantile Exchange (CME) began to ease a bit this week following record highs.

After reaching a record high of $2.49 per pound Sept. 22, CME Cheddar barrels fell 19 cents last Friday and this week weakened further to settle at $2.10 per pound Thursday. Cheddar blocks, meanwhile, reached a record high of $2.45 per pound Sept. 19 and saw declines each trading day through Thursday. Barrels and blocks rebounded slightly today, settling at $2.17 and $2.15 per pound, respectively.

CME butter, which surpassed analysts’ expectations and reached a record high of $3.06 per pound Sept. 19, has eased below the $3 mark and settled at $2.8950 per pound Tuesday where it remained through the end of the week.

The downward price movements come as little surprise to analysts who have been waiting for a reconciling between U.S. and international dairy prices.

“This drop has been lurking for some time, but it kept getting deferred. It has arrived,” says James Dunn, professor of agricultural economics at Penn State University. “I doubt it will be a straight-line plummet, but I expect the downside has farther to run before year’s end.”

In addition, last week’s Cold Storage report from USDA showed slight growth in natural American cheese stocks over the previous month, further setting the stage for a price correction, notes Mike McCully, owner of The McCully Group LLC, Chicago. Analysts have attributed record high prices this year to a lack of inventory building for cheese and butter in the first half of 2014, among other factors.

“I think anyone trying to forecast dairy prices this year has been humbled,” McCully says. “I think the movement for cheese now will be largely to the downside for the duration of this year, with some possible valleys along the way as it declines.”

Butter, however, is a bit more uncertain, he adds.

“There’s more of a likelihood of another butter rally, though possibly not to $3,” McCully says.

“Holiday orders are still being filled now, but we could chop below $2 per pound by the end of December.”

USDA’s Dairy Market News this week says that many butter manufacturers are faced with the decision of selling cream at a discount or producing butter at potentially falling prices.

“Some butter churn operators with orders yet to fill took advantage of plentiful, discounted cream supplies available,” Dairy Market News says. “The additional cream purchased allowed a few butter makers to back off microfixing as much bulk supplies while increasing churn rates.”

Overall, butter production levels are steady to higher, with a few plants nearing capacity limitations, Dairy Market News adds.

“Some sellers are experiencing increased competition in the retail segment as buyers become increasingly price sensitive,” Dairy Market News says. “Interest for bulk butter is trending lower as less expensive international butter is psychologically putting buyers into a ‘wait and see’ approach on purchases. Butter imports are making their way into the U.S.”

Meanwhile, the decline in cheese prices last week into this week is leaving Midwest cheese manufacturers and customers more comfortable in terms of prices moving toward a more sustainable range, Dairy Market News says.

“I think we’ve officially seen a top on cheese and butter for this year, but I think it will be a choppy fall season,” says Eric Meyer, president of HighGround Dairy, Chicago. “I don’t anticipate a collapse, but I think we’ll see choppy downward movement, particularly when the holiday buying is behind us.”

Sara Dorland, managing partner with Ceres Dairy Risk Management LLC, Seattle, says the market may see one more run-up due to retailers who have been waiting to place orders.

“Those may now start to come in, lending some support,” she says.

However, analysts note that the high prices surely have had a negative impact on export numbers, which should bring further downside pressure to cheese and butter prices for the end of 2014 and beginning of 2015.

Meanwhile, a new report on the global dairy industry released this week by Rabobank’s Food & Agribusiness Research and Advisory Group, says that international and regional dairy markets are headed for 12 months of low prices.

In the report, bank analysts say the price of internationally-traded dairy commodities already has fallen 30-45 percent below February levels as a strong wave of milk from export regions collided with weaker Chinese buying and a Russian ban on dairy imports from key suppliers.

With other importers unable to take up the slack, the market loosened considerably, Rabobank says, noting that while it believes a bottom has been reached in the international market, market rebalancing will be a slow process.

“All signs suggest that a prolonged period of low prices will be required in order to clear the international market,” says Tim Hunt, Rabobank analyst.

Rabobank says supply growth will lose some of its recent momentum over the next 12 months as milk processing begins to soften. However, delays in international price signals reaching the farm gate, falling feed costs and the imminent removal of European Union (EU) quotas will ensure that the brakes are applied too slowly to avoid a further increase in export surpluses over the same period, the report adds.

Rabobank notes that with Chinese purchases from the world market likely to fall well short of prior-year levels for at least another six months, and Russian imports likely to be slashed, the market will remain loose for many months to come.

Looking at the United States, the report notes that U.S. milk prices have held up far better than those in many export regions in 2014 to date.

“The lack of supply growth earlier in the year, and a surge in export sales, left the market relatively short of cheese and butter, underpinning domestic prices for these commodities (and hence milk) well above Oceania levels,” the report says.

Rabobank says it expects U.S. milk production will expand by 3.5 percent year-over-year in the second half of 2014 as producers continue to respond to strong margins.

“Growth will ameliorate somewhat as we push into 2015, as prior year comparables get tougher and margins start to reduce,” the report says. “Some of this milk will be soaked up by improving local demand as the economy continues to recover and prices start to ease.”

However, Rabobank says together with the lack of excess stocks to draw down, U.S. exports are likely to marginally fall below prior-year levels in the second half of this year.

The need for U.S. processors to maintain exports in the lower-priced international market will almost certainly see price pressure come to bear on U.S. wholesale prices in coming months, the report says, adding that pressure will only increase in the first half of 2015 as the U.S. exportable surplus rises again.

“The process of realigning domestic prices with lower international prices will be further assisted by increased imports, which already showed signs of year-over-year growth in July,” Rabobank notes.

“U.S. producers will likely continue to face a choice between selling at lower prices and accumulating inventory over much of the next 12 months.”

Meyer notes he largely agrees with the projections in the Rabobank report.

“They had to change their tune relatively quickly — they had predicted a soft landing before,” he notes. “We believe that, similar to our milk production outlook, that supply will outstrip demand.”

He adds that U.S. prices are uncompetitive across the board as international prices continue to be lower, particularly on New Zealand’s Global Dairy Trade (GDT) auction, which posted lower prices across the board this week (see article in this issue).

“We’re not competitive in anything right now,” he says. “The inventory building period only supports us so long, and the trend globally, including the U.S., is lower.”

He adds that the lower GDT auction prices, particularly for milk powders, should “sound the alarm to buyers and sellers in the U.S. that we are uncompetitive at these prices and won’t export as much next year if we hold on to these prices.”

Dorland says “lower global dairy prices” is a bit of a relative statement given that U.S. prices have been so high that “lower” could still be a strong price.

“I think we’ll see lower prices for the first six months of the year, as we’ll be sitting on more milk in the United States, but we could still see some price recovery in the second half of the year.

McCully agrees.
Rabobank notes it believes upward price momentum likely will return to international and regional markets in the third quarter of 2015 as the deceleration of milk surplus growth coincides with the return to import growth in China and the assumed reopening of the Russian market.


U.S. dairy industry raises concerns on GI provisions

October 3, 2014

WASHINGTON — U.S. dairy industry trade groups this week voiced concerns on implications for U.S. dairy products in pending trade agreements.

Industry stakeholders note that the text of the European Union (EU)-Canada Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement (CETA) released late last week contains provisions on geographical indications (GIs) and reallocates a portion of Canada’s World Trade Organization (WTO) tariff rate quota for cheese to the EU.

U.S. dairy industry stakeholders express concern that these provisions would raise artificial trade barriers restricting market access for U.S. cheeses to the Canadian market. In addition, CETA provides very limited access to many EU dairy products as a result of the agreement’s prioritization of the GI goals of a few “squeaky wheels,” at the expense of broader gains across the full EU dairy industry, according to U.S. dairy industry trade groups.

The provisions on GIs are particularly alarming because they grant automatic protection to the EU for “asiago,” “feta,” “fontina,” “gorgonzola” and “munster” in complete disregard of Canadian intellectual property laws, stakeholders say. Canadian cheese manufacturers that produced those cheeses prior to Oct. 18, 2013, will be allowed to continue to use those names, but future producers of those cheeses will have to add qualifiers, such as “kind,” “type,” “style” and “imitation.” These new limitations on the use of generic names clearly violate Canadian intellectual property procedures and existing international trade commitments, U.S. dairy trade groups say.

“The automatic protection for five cheese names that are generic in Canada, the U.S. and globally is another example of the EU’s overreach on geographical indications,” says Clay Hough, senior group vice president of the International Dairy Foods Association (IDFA). “The EU’s GI strategy is incompatible with the fundamental goal of a trade negotiation, which is to remove trade barriers — not add them — and allow for greater competition.”

As part of the agreement, Canada also reallocated 800 metric tons of its 20,412 metric ton WTO tariff rate quota for cheese to the EU. Stakeholders say all WTO countries are supposed to have the same opportunity for access under this quota. CETA carves out some of this quota specifically to the EU, which leaves less for everyone else, further restricting the limited access that U.S. cheese exporters have into the Canadian market, stakeholders say.

“Canada added insult to injury by not only impairing the quality of the cheese market access U.S. exporters expect to gain through ongoing Trans-Pacific Partnership negotiations, but also moving to water down the small access they currently offer to U.S. exporters through Canada’s WTO quota,” says Jaime Castaneda, senior vice president for the National Milk Producers Federation (NMPF) and the U.S. Dairy Export Council (USDEC). “This is yet another example of Canada’s work at every turn to limit access into its market for highly competitive U.S. products.”

Stakeholders note the text is not yet binding and still requires a legal review and ratification. The date of full implementation of the agreement is unknown at this point.

Meanwhile, representatives of the Consortium for Common Food Names (CCFN) were in Geneva last week for the 2014 World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) General Assembly Meeting, voicing concern about current proposals to expand the Lisbon Agreement, an international system for GIs that threatens to severely impede the global use of common names for many cheeses, meats, beverages and other foods.

The WIPO meeting preceded a more specific discussion of WIPO’s Lisbon Agreement proposal later this month by the countries that are signed on to the agreement as well as interested observers.

CCFN is one of the few organizations to whom WIPO has granted “observer status” in the Lisbon Agreement Working Group, which allows CCFN to make comments during the upcoming October proceedings. Officials from the United States, Australian and New Zealand governments are among the other observers.

“The U.S. government, along with officials from Australia, Argentina, Chile, Colombia, New Zealand and Uruguay, among other countries, is working hard to protect the rights and interests of food producers around the world by crying foul to the proposed, flawed approach to the Lisbon Agreement now under discussion,” says Castaneda, who is CCFN’s executive director. “CCFN is joining in that chorus because the agreement as currently drafted is overly broad and vague and would not safeguard common food names used by countless food producers around the globe. Expansion of the Lisbon Agreement poses a high risk of violating existing trade commitments and posing significant economic costs on many nations.”

The Lisbon Agreement, first activated in 1966, is a voluntary system where countries within the pact add names that they would like protected to a general list, and other nations agree to protect those names. Only about 30 nations, the majority from Europe, have signed on. To date the agreement has not dramatically impacted global trade due to its relatively limited membership and product scope. However, the proposed revisions to the program would seek to dramatically expand the registration of common names, according to CCFN.

Because these restrictions on the use of registered names automatically kick in after a year, the revised Lisbon Agreement could cause immediate, multiple trade issues around the world concerning the protection of common food names, potentially leading to new restrictions on sales of generically named products in dozens of countries, CCFN says.

“There is a positive way forward on GIs,” Castaneda says. “There are ways to protect the names of geographical specialty foods and beverages without impeding the rights to use generic food names. We urge WIPO to insist that Lisbon Agreement proponents go back to the drawing board to better balance these twin concerns.”


World Dairy Expo contest auction raises $23,050

October 3, 2014

MADISON, Wis. — The 12th annual World Dairy Expo Championship Dairy Product Contest auction, held Tuesday at the World Dairy Expo, raised $23,050.

“We are very pleased with the success of this year’s contest,” says Brad Legreid, executive director of the Wisconsin Dairy Products Association (WDPA), which sponsors the contest. “We had a record number of entries (1,080) and a wider variety of participation than ever before. The fact that this contest has grown so large in such a short time is unprecedented.

“Dairy manufacturers throughout North America have embraced this competition and clearly seen the many benefits accrued through participation,” Legreid adds. “We started this contest 12 years ago to promote the entire dairy industry. Due to this contest, manufacturers of all dairy products now have new and exciting ways to promote their dairy products.”

A portion of the auction proceeds will be used to fund the Dr. Robert L. Bradley Scholarship, Wisconsin Dairy Products Association Scholarship and MATC Culinary Foundation Scholarship, which are awarded annually to deserving students pursuing careers in the dairy industry. WDPA also will use a portion of the proceeds to fund a major sponsorship of the National Collegiate Dairy Product Judging Contest. Product donations also have been made in the past to the MATC Culinary Arts School, University of Wisconsin Food Science Department, the Ronald McDonald House and Second Harvest Food Bank.

Winning bids for each lot are as follows:

• Lot 1: Sharp Cheddar, Aged Cheddar — Masters Gallery Foods, Plymouth, Wis., purchased the combined 80 pounds of Sharp Cheddar and Aged Cheddar both made by Land O’Lakes, Kiel, Wis., for $30 per pound or a total of $2,400.

• Lot 2: Cold Pack Cheese, Cheese Food, Cheese Spread — Wisconsin Aging and Grading Cheese, Kaukauna, Wis., purchased the 12 pounds of Chunk Bleu Cold Pack Cheese made by Pine River Pre-Pack, Newton, Wis., for $110 per pound or a total of $1,320.

• Lot 3: Cheddar, Unflavored Pasteurized Processed Cheese, Flavored Pasteurized Process Cheese — Wisconsin Aging and Grading Cheese, Kaukauna, Wis., purchased the combined 60 pounds of Cheddar made by Associated Milk Producers Inc. (AMPI), Sanborn, Iowa, and Pasteurized Process American Swiss Cheese Slices and Pasteurized Process Hot Pepper Cheese Food made by AMPI, Portage, Wis., for $35 per pound or a total of $2,100.

• Lot 4: Dark Chocolate Ice Cream — Tour of America’s Dairyland, Wauwatosa, Wis., purchased the 15 pounds of Zanzibar Chocolate Ice Cream made by Cedar Crest Specialties, Manitowoc, Wis., for $55 per pound or a total of $825.

• Lot 5: Regular Cottage Cheese, Lowfat and No Fat Cottage Cheese, Sour Cream — Dairy Farmers of America (DFA), Kansas City, Mo., purchased the combined 12 pounds of Small Curd Cottage Cheese, 2 Percent Cottage Cheese and Sour Cream made by Dean Foods, Rockford, Ill., for $60 per pound or a total of $720.

• Lot 6: Open Class Semi-Soft Cheese, Salted Butter — Masters Gallery Foods, Plymouth, Wis., purchased the combined 20 pounds of Gouda made by Babcock Hall Dairy Plant, Madison, Wis., and Salted Butter made by Hillsboro Riverview Dairy, Hillsboro, Wis., for $85 per pound or a total of $1,700.

• Lot 7: Fresh Mozzarella, Blue Veined Cheese — Cheese Market News, Middleton, Wis., purchased the combined 20 pounds of Ciliegine made by Lioni Latticini, Union, N.J., and Montforte Gorgonzola made by Arthur Schuman, Fairfield, N.J., for $40 per pound or a total of $800.

• Lot 8: Mozzarella, Provolone — Organic Valley/CROPP Cooperative, La Farge, Wis., purchased the combined 16 pounds of Burrata Alla Panna made by Di Stefano Cheese, Pomona, Calif., and Provolone made by Joseph Gallo Farms, Atwater, Calif., for $40 per pound or a total of $640.

• Lot 9: Latin American Cheese, Open Class Ice Cream — Novak’s Cheese, De Pere, Wis., purchased the combined 15 pounds of Jalapeno Cheese and Soursop Ice Cream made by Hato Potrero Farm, Clewiston, Fla., for $30 per pound or a total of $450.

• Lot 10: Greek Yogurt — Ecolab, Saint Paul, Minn., purchased the 8 pounds of Fruit on the Bottom Pineapple Greek Yogurt made by Schreiber Foods, Richland Center, Wis., for a $140 per pound or a total of $1,120.

• Lot 11: Strawberry Yogurt, Blueberry Yogurt, Open Cottage Cheese, Southwest Sour Cream Dips, Open Sour Cream Dips — T.C. Jacoby & Co., St. Louis, purchased the combined 21.5 pounds of Strawberry Yogurt and Blueberry Yogurt made by Prairie Farms Dairy, Quincy, Ill.; No Fat Cottage Cheese made by Prairie Farms Dairy, Carbondale, Ill.; and Jalapeno Dip and Bacon Cheddar Dip made by Prairie Farms Dairy, Wayne, Ind., for $30 per pound or a total of $645.

• Lot 12: Colby, Monterey Jack Cheese, Swiss Styles, Goat Milk Cheese — AgSource Cooperative Services, Verona, Wis., purchased the combined 40 pounds of Colby Jack made by Cady Cheese, Wilson, Wis.; Swiss made by Chalet Cheese Co-op, Monroe Wis.; and Wild Blueberry Vanilla Chevrai made by Woolwich Dairy USA, Lancaster, Wis., for $25 per pound or a total of $1,000.

• Lot 13: Drinkable Yogurt, Ranch Dip — DFA, Kansas City, Mo., purchased the combined 12 pounds of Mango Drinkable Yogurt made by Hiland Dairy, Chandler Okla., and Ranch Dip made by Hiland Dairy Foods, Omaha, Neb., for $55 per pound or a total of $660.

• Lot 14: Unsalted Butter, Open Class Sherbet — Ivarson Inc., Milwaukee, purchased the combined 16.5 pounds of Unsalted Butter made by Michigan Milk Producers Association, Ovid, Mich., and Open Class Sherbet made by Midwest Ice Cream, Belvidere, Ill., for $40 per pound or a total of $660.

• Lot 15: Open Class Butter, Frozen Yogurt — Ivarson Inc., Milwaukee, purchased the combined 15 pounds of Salted Whipped Butter made by Kellers Creamery, Winnsboro, Texas, and Honey Almond Granola Frozen Yogurt made by Brookshire Grocery Co., Tyler, Texas, for $40 per pound or a total of $600.

• Lot 16: Open Class Yogurt — DSM, Menomonee Falls, Wis., purchased 1 pound of Coconut Yogurt made by Noosa Finest Yoghurt, Bellvue, Colo., for $310.

• Lot 17: Brick, Muenster; Flavored Natural Cheeses — Dr. Robert L. Bradley, Madison, Wis., purchased the combined 20 pounds of Brick and Caraway Brick made by Mill Creek Cheese, Arena, Wis., for $30 per pound or a total of $600.

• Lot 18: Reduced Fat, Open Class Soft Cheese — DuPont, Wilmington, Del., purchased the combined 11 pounds of Reduced Fat Mozzarella made by Lactalis American Group, Buffalo, N.Y., and Mascarpone made by Miceli Dairy Products, Cleveland, Ohio, for $40 per pound or a total of $440.

• Lot 19: Open Cream Cheese, Open Class Cheese — Galloway Co., Neenah, Wis., purchased the combined 11 pounds of Alouette Flame Roasted Red Pepper and Alouette Brie made by Alouette Cheese USA, New Holland, Pa., for $30 per pound or a total of $330.

• Lot 20: Open Class for Creative & Innovative Products, Open Class for Aseptic Dairy Foods — Tour of America’s Dairyland, Wauwatosa, Wis., purchased the combined 12 pounds of Organic Milk Protein Shake-Vanilla Fuel and Organic Milk Protein Shake-Chocolate Fuel made by Organic Valley/CROPP Cooperative, La Farge, Wis., for $45 per pound or a total of $540.

• Lot 21: Regular Vanilla Ice Cream, French Vanilla Ice Cream, Philly Vanilla Ice Cream, Grand Champion Ice Cream — Grassland Dairy Products, Greenwood, Wis., purchased the combined 60 pounds of Vanilla, French Vanilla and Vanilla Bean Ice Cream made by Gifford’s Ice Cream, Skowhegan, Maine, for $15 per pound or a total of $900.
Fifteen pounds of the Grand Champion Ice Cream, Chocolate Ice Cream made by Gifford’s Ice Cream, Skowhegan, Maine, was auctioned off separately for $50 per pound or a total of $750 to Dr. Robert L. Bradley, Madison, Wis.

• Lot 22: Sour Cream Based Dips-Onion (Grade A Grand Champion) — Ivarson Inc., Milwaukee, purchased the 12 pounds of Grand Champion Cultured French Onion Dip made by Westby Co-op Creamery, Westby, Wis., for $160 per pound or a total of $1,920.

• Lot 23: Open Class Hard Cheeses (Cheese & Butter Grand Champion) — Ivarson Inc., Milwaukee, purchased the 18-pound wheel of Grand Champion Roth Grand Cru Reserve made by Emmi Roth USA, Monroe, Wis., for $90 per pound or a total of $1,620.


August cheese production up from year earlier

October 3, 2014

WASHINGTON — Total U.S. cheese production, excluding cottage cheese, reached 939.6 million pounds in August, up 0.9 percent from August 2013’s 931.6 million pounds but down 1.7 percent from the 956.0 million pounds produced in July 2014, according to data released this week by USDA’s National Agricultural Statistics Service (NASS). (All figures are rounded. Please see CMN’s Dairy Production chart at left.)

Production of Mozzarella, the nation’s most-produced cheese, totaled 316.7 million pounds in August, up 6.9 percent from a year earlier. Total Italian-type production, of which Mozzarella is the largest component, totaled 398.7 million pounds, up 4.5 percent from a year earlier.

U.S. Cheddar production totaled 264.6 million pounds in August, down 1.9 percent from a year earlier. Total American-type cheese production, of which Cheddar is the largest component, was down 2.0 percent from August 2013 to 373.6 million pounds.

Wisconsin, the nation’s leading cheese-producing state, produced 238.7 million pounds of cheese in August, down 1.2 percent from its production a year earlier. California followed with 193.1 million pounds, up 1.0 percent from its production a year earlier.

The next four cheese-producing states in August were Idaho with 72.9 million pounds of cheese produced, down 9.0 percent from its production a year earlier; New York with 65.4 million pounds, up 2.1 percent; New Mexico with 64.3 million pounds, down 2.2 percent; and Minnesota with 54.7 million pounds, up 0.3 percent.

NASS reports U.S. butter production totaled 131.2 million pounds in August, down 2.4 percent from August 2013’s 134.4 million pounds and down 4.3 percent from July 2014’s 137.0 million pounds.

California led the nation’s butter production with 44.2 million pounds in August, down 5.9 percent from its production a year earlier.


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Today's Cheese Spot Trading
October 23, 2014

Barrels: $1.9900 (-8)
Blocks: $2.1575 (-21 1/4)

Click here for more market activity
Cheese Production
U.S. Total Aug.
939.633 mil. lbs.

Milk Production
23 State Total Aug.
16.177 bil. lbs.

Guest Columnist

FSMA separates the best from all the rest

Lisa Van Straten, director of safety and quality, WOW Logistics

Also this week: Making a change for the better in the nonfat dry milk market?” by Andrew Faulman

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