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Cheese brings unique flavor,
‘wow’ factor to ice cream

June 23, 2017

By Alyssa Mitchell

MADISON, Wis. — When it comes to ice cream, the sky is the limit for flavor variations and unique ingredients. As the dairy industry gears up for National Ice Cream Month in July, one unlikely ingredient is intriguing ice cream lovers across the nation — cheese.

Suzanne Fanning, vice president of national product communications for the Wisconsin Milk Marketing Board (WMMB), says that according to WMMB’s Innova new products food and beverage database, new ice cream products introduced in the United States that contain cheese are relatively steady, accounting for approximately 3 percent of total new ice cream product rollouts over the past three years (including gelato and frozen yogurt).

Cheeses featured in ice cream can range from Cheddar to Blue to Parmesan to cream cheese, Fanning notes.

“Cheese can add a satisfying salty note to a sweet dessert,” she says. “Truly the sky’s the limit when it comes to flavor, and for about any cheese variety you can take your ice cream cone to a whole new level of yum.”

WMMB’s latest issue of Grate.Pair.Share., an online magazine about cooking and entertaining with Wisconsin cheese, features a Cheddar Apple Pie Ice Cream recipe.

“For each issue of Grate.Pair.Share. we work with leading food bloggers to contribute trend-driven recipes that they know will resonate with their dedicated followers,” Fanning says. “When we talked to our contributors about a summer dessert feature, frozen desserts made with Wisconsin cheese was a unanimous hit.”

The issue also includes a Chocolate-Raspberry Swirled Popsicles recipe featuring Mascarpone and Ricotta cheeses.

Heidi Gibson of The American Grilled Cheese Kitchen in San Francisco said in a recent grilled cheese sandwich competition, she was trying to think of something to take her entry to the next level.

“Your one bite has to stand out over everyone else’s bite, so I played with the idea of a grilled cheese ice cream sandwich,” Gibson says. “I added peanut butter and jelly in later, just to expound on the silliness.”

Gibson is a chef Tillamook County Creamery Association has an ongoing partnership with, and in her recipe she used Tillamook Sharp Cheddar.

She notes that while she didn’t think Cheddar would be ideal for ice cream, she used it because she wanted an iconic “grilled cheese” flavor.

“Nothing else gives that special Cheddar flavor that I was after for this particular dish,” she says. “I figured that cheese is dairy — high fat dairy — and if I could melt it into custard then I didn’t see any reason it wouldn’t work. I played with a variety of ‘breads’ for the sandwich — pound cake, brioche — and really any of them will work well.”

Gibson notes she has experimented with other cheeses in ice cream, and her favorites are fresh, soft cheeses.

“Chevre is spectacular. I make a sorbet with fresh Chevre and fresh Concord grape puree that’s a personal favorite, and ridiculously easy to make,” she says, adding that Mascarpone, Fromage Blanc, high quality Ricotta (cow or sheep) and even Burrata or fresh Mozzarella also work well.
“Fresher cheeses melt more easily, and aged cheeses are likely to leave a bit of a gritty texture in the ice cream after freezing,” she adds.

Art S. Katigbak, owner of Coney Island Tropical Ice Cream, San Dimas, California, includes cheese in several of his ice cream varieties. He notes that he prefers Sharp Cheddar, but a little goes a long way.

“We don’t put too much in it,” he says. “The pieces are a little bigger than a grain of sand, sort of “floating” within the ice cream, and people can bite into it. It adds a distinctive, salty taste.”

Katigbak grew up in the Philippines but has been living in the United States for more than 40 years. In the Philippines, cheese in ice cream treats is not uncommon. In the San Dimas community, many Hispanic and Asian customers embrace the cheese in ice cream as well, he says.

He adds that while processed cheese typically is used in the Philippines due to expense, he uses fresh cheese at Coney Island Tropical Ice Cream.

“Some people are intimated by cheese in ice cream, but those who try it, buy it again,” he says. “Taste testing is key — let them try it.”

Coney Island Tropical Ice Cream’s cheese varieties also feature the Real California Milk seal on the packaging. The ice cream is widely distributed in California and Las Vegas, and is warmly embraced by the Asian and Hispanic communities in San Francisco, Los Angeles, San Diego and Las Vegas, Katigbak says.

Another West Coast ice cream maker, Salt & Straw, utilizes cheese varieties in some of its ice cream offerings.

Salt & Straw has been open six years, with multiple locations in Portland, Oregon; Los Angeles; and one in San Francisco.

Its first store was 15 years in the making, as cousins Kim and Tyler Malek dreamed of opening their own scoop shop. After Tyler announced he was going to culinary school, the duo started planning out flavors and testing ideas, landing on unconventional blends including Pear & Blue Cheese.

The shop’s Pear & Blue Cheese variety features aged crumbles of Rogue Creamery’s Crater Lake Blue Cheese.
Francis Plowman, cheese narrator at Rogue Creamery, Central Point, Oregon, says the company has successfully combined its Blue cheeses in desserts before, including Crater Lake cheesecake, so the concept is not new.

“They contacted us directly and have purchased it from us and from one of our distributors as well,” Plowman says. “They have used it for at least four years; they try different combinations of sweet and savory with an emphasis on local products, so cheese, another dairy product, was a natural to include in their ice cream.”

Tyler Malek, Salt & Straw’s head ice cream maker, says the Pear and Blue Cheese is one of those flavors that always surprises people when they try it.

“The candied pears mellow out the funk of the Blue cheese, but they also accentuate the flavor, so you get this really well-balanced mouthful,” he says.

He notes another of Salt & Straw’s most popular seasonal flavors is Goat Cheese Marionberry Habanero, inspired by a flavored Chevre called Sweet Fire that Portland Creamery makes.

“Our ice cream uses their Chevre, which is super tangy and goaty, and we swirl in marionberry jam that we’ve infused with habaneros. You take a bite and you taste the bright berries and the heat hits your tongue and then you can cool your mouth with the goat cheese ice cream,” he says.

Adding cheese to ice cream does have its challenges. Gibson notes that the biggest risk for adding aged cheeses is texture.

“The cheese will freeze before the custard, so it needs to be carefully melted in, thoroughly combined — I recommend using an immersion blender — and then strain the cheese custard before freezing,” she says.

Malek agrees texture is important.

“You’re adding a bit of extra fat with the cheese, so the ice cream can get a little ‘chalky’ if you’re not careful,” he says. “You want to make sure that the flavor of the cheese comes through, including a little of the funk.”

Malek says cheese a great way to introduce savory flavors into ice cream, and it pairs well with many of Salt & Straw’s favorite things to make ice cream with — berries, chocolate and salt.

Katigbak says when it comes to cheese in ice cream, he thinks there’s no going back.

“It’s definitely growing in California,” he says. “They key is, you have to market it right. Don’t use an overpowering cheese, and don’t put too much in it.”

Plowman says mixing sweet and savory absolutely is a growing trend. When it comes to cheese in ice cream, he feels the combination is more often on dessert menus at high-end restaurants.

Fanning agrees, noting in U.S. restaurants, ice cream desserts featuring cheese are on the rise, though still small in overall numbers.

Meanwhile, at retail, beyond cheesecake flavors, cheese in ice cream still is in the inception stage as a food trend, Fanning says.

“We are seeing chefs experiment with it and recipes featured in food magazines and blogs,” she says. “As a dairy organization, we are certainly embracing the trend and promoting it with recipe features and social media content. We hope to see it move into the adoption and proliferation phases and become more widely available to consumers at foodservice and retail nationwide.”


New IFTNEXT brand focused
on innovation, collaboration

June 23, 2017

By Rena Archwamety

LAS VEGAS — The Institute of Food Technologists (IFT) plans to introduce a new brand, IFTNEXT powered by Ingredion, focused on innovation, entrepreneurship and cross-disciplinary collaboration during its annual expo, IFT17, which will be held in Las Vegas June 25-28.

“The brand really looks at issues and opportunities in the food industry where the science of food intersects with other disciplines like water, energy, climate change and the digital space,” says Kelly Fox, senior vice president of meetings, learning and business development, IFT. “We’ll be looking at innovation, entrepreneurship and how dynamics in the food industry impact how the community adapts to the future.”

As part of the initiative, a new IFTNEXT think tank will include a group of professionals with broad knowledge from different disciplines to look at food and challenges of feeding the planet from perspectives outside of just the core food science community. The initiative also will offer engaging and provocative year-long programming and content designed to challenge IFT members to think “big and bold,” the organization says.

Various areas at IFT17 will be dedicated to IFTNEXT content, including a “Start-up Alley” where participants can meet one-on-one with entrepreneurs who are developing innovative new food products and solutions, and the IFTNEXT stage that will feature future-looking presentations in an open format, with opportunities for people to connect through different topics and conversations.

One of these interactive presentations will involve a flash demo of the design thinking tools for food innovation used in a course addressing the challenge of food waste taught by Dr. Lauren Shimek, founder and CEO of Food.Tech.Design, and Dr. Charlotte Biltekoff, associate professor of American Studies at the University of California, Davis.

The featured presentation on the IFTNEXT stage will be Dr. Andrew Pelling, a scientist, entrepreneur and professor and Canada Research Chair at the University of Ottawa, where he founded and directs a research lab that brings together artists, scientists, social scientists and engineers.

“He is an interesting guy — he really challenges curiosity and inspires creativity,” Fox says. “Most recently he founded pHacktory, which he explains as a street-level research lab that mixes crafts, serendipity and curiosity.”

Another interactive presentation through IFTNEXT will address consumer trends uncovered in the International Food Information Council’s (IFIC’s) 2017 Food & Health Survey. In this session, IFIC CEO Joseph Clayton will talk about the results of this year’s survey and the opportunity food scientists have in shaping and clarifying consumers’ understanding of food and nutrition.

“There’s no better time to be a food scientist or technologist,” Clayton says. “Everyone is talking about food. Consumers have so much information at their fingertips about food, information and the latest studies. But they don’t have access to experts who know whether that study is being communicated appropriately.”

He notes the IFIC study found there is a lot of confusion among consumers when it comes to making choices about healthy foods. According to the study, 75 percent of respondents say they encounter a lot of conflicting information about what to eat and avoid, and 56 percent say the conflicting information makes them doubt the choices they make. Also, 77 percent say they rely on friends and family at least a little for both nutrition and food safety information, but only 29 percent actually have high trust in family or friends as information sources.

“There’s a really interesting difference between who consumers trust — then we ask what information they find most valuable and from whom — and where they are getting their information,” Clayton says, adding that the survey illustrates the challenge of delivering science-based messages to consumers in the current environment about nutrition and food.

“I view IFT members as really credible sources for consumers and journalists around where the science is and what’s the technology behind our food. The IFT channel is a really important one,” he notes. “I expect that the audience is going to be most interested in the opportunity that we’re finding for expert voices to deliver, to be more effective messengers around the science and technology around our food and the positive individual and community health outcomes that come with that.”

Clayton plans to end his presentation with some observations about how IFT members, with their unique expertise, can break through to consumers when it comes to food and nutrition.

“Consumers are very interesting and bring their own values to every single consideration around food, health and diet,” he says. “Oftentimes you can’t lead with the science. You can’t lead with the technical and obscure. You have to lead with something that connects to the individual consumer’s value, whether that’s health outcome, taste outcome or dietary outcome. It’s about leading with the benefit.”


UW Dairy Summit looks at
innovation, opportunities

June 23, 2017

By Rena Archwamety

MADISON, Wis. — This week Wisconsin dairy producer and processor representatives gathered with state government officials and University of Wisconsin-Madison food science and dairy research staff to discuss current challenges and future opportunities for the Wisconsin dairy industry.

The UW System Wisconsin Idea Dairy Summit, held Monday at the Alliant Energy Center in Madison, Wisconsin, included sessions on understanding Wisconsin dairy industry issues, addressing challenges and meeting opportunities, and how to create a vibrant dairy industry for Wisconsin’s future.

In a session addressing future opportunities, John Lucey, professor of food science at UW-Madison and director of the Wisconsin Center for Dairy Research (CDR), spoke about how the university can work with the state’s dairy industry to help meet the demands of consumers for dairy products in years to come.

Lucey explains that since 2000, the value of U.S. dairy exports has quadrupled to reach $4.9 billion in 2016, and currently 14 percent of U.S. dairy production is exported on a milk solids basis. Wisconsin annually produces about $685 million in dairy exports, Lucey adds, noting that the state produces a great amount of exportable whey as a byproduct of all the cheese production.

“Over the last couple months we’ve talked a lot about milk production and issues in the state,” Lucey says. “Some of that been focused on how to grow volume. That’s a fair discussion to have. But I think we also have to discuss how can extract higher value from milk.”

Lucey gives examples of shifts from commodity to specialty cheese production and transforming what used to be considered dairy waste into value added ingredients such as whey protein.

In addition to demand from abroad for U.S. dairy products, Lucey outlines the growing U.S. consumer base and evolving needs of consumers from diverse age and ethnic groups.

“I think we have to reimagine what some of the dairy products of today are and meet the interest of consumers, and it can be done,” Lucey says.

Among growth opportunities for dairy products in Wisconsin, Lucey says, are specialty cheeses, dairy exports, cultured products and functional beverages using dairy ingredients.

Lucey also outlines UW-Madison and CDR’s roles in driving innovation and developing solutions to meet dairy demand. He describes the key goals of CDR’s strategic plan: to become the world’s leading provider of dairy food education and train the next generation of dairy leaders; to conduct excellent quality dairy research that provides solutions to industry problems or generates new knowledge; to provide expert product development and technical services to the dairy and food industry; and to support entrepreneurship and startups related to the dairy and food industry. He also describes how the upcoming renovation and expansion of UW-Madison’s dairy facilities will help further the goal of offering world-class research and education opportunities for the dairy industry.

“We need to address issues at the farm level and the plant level, and where the university can play a role,” Lucey says. “Farms need to produce the high-quality milk that the plants need, and they also have to be responsive to changing consumer knowledge and concerns.”

Among those on the response panel for this session was Jen Walsh, director of market research at the Wisconsin Milk Marketing Board (WMMB). Walsh noted the challenges of connecting with consumers.

“We know that consumers are removed from the farm. They don’t know how food is produced and how it gets to their dinner table,” she says, citing as an example a recent survey from the Innovation Center for U.S. Dairy that showed 7 percent of Americans think chocolate milk comes from brown cows. “But I think the inverse of that can be true too. Farmers, academics and processors are also sometimes removed from consumers. My goal is to bridge that gap. Talk to consumers, find out what their needs are, so we have a better understanding of what the demands marketplace are, and how they’re changing.”

Understanding trends among consumer groups is important for the dairy industry, Walsh says, pointing to millennials’ interest in food sourcing, transparency and adventurous flavors; an aging U.S. population that also will result in changing dairy consumption habits; and rapid growth in demand for Hispanic food and cheeses as the U.S.-based Hispanic population grows.

“Let’s think about how we can appeal to those changing consumer preferences as we come up with new product innovation,” Walsh says.

She also notes that America’s middle class is shrinking, with more growth occurring in the upper- and lower-income tiers. This has led to changes in a wide range of retail sectors, including grocery retailers where stores like Sprouts and Aldi are undergoing huge expansion plans, while mainstream retailers, according to USDA, have lost 10 percent share in the past 10 years.

“The same thing is being reflected in world of cheese, where specialty cheese sales have outpaced sales of the total cheese category and non-specialty cheeses by threefold in the last five years,” she says. “This is a direct result of how the country is shifting demographically.”

Walsh concludes that these observations underscore the importance of listening to the consumer and understanding what’s important to them.

“If we have a clear understanding of what the marketplace demands, then we have a far better chance of giving them the product that will succeed,” she says.


Winners named in Wisconsin
State Fair competition

June 23, 2017

WEST ALLIS, Wis. — Dairy manufacturers from throughout the state submitted a record 403 entries for the 2017 Wisconsin State Fair Cheese & Butter Contest, which took place Thursday at Wisconsin State Fair Park. The contest featured 28 classes.

The 2017 Grand Master Cheesemaker will be announced and other winning cheesemakers will be recognized during the Blue Ribbon Cheese & Butter Auction Aug. 10 at Wisconsin State Fair Park. The Blue Ribbon Cheese & Butter Auction, which features the sale of the blue-ribbon entries, is a fundraiser for the Wisconsin State Fair Dairy Promotion Board. Auction proceeds fund scholarships for students pursuing dairy-related degrees and support the House of Moo dairy education center, as well as the Wisconsin State Fair Milking Demonstrations.

The top entries in each class include:

• Mild Cheddar

First: Dan Stearns, Agropur, Weyauwega, Mild Cheddar, 99.400.

Second: Jacque Vey, Land O’Lakes, Kiel, Mild Cheddar, 99.150.

Third: Terry Lensmire, Agropur, Weyauwega, Mild Cheddar, 99.100.

• Aged Cheddar

First: Jacque Vey, Land O’Lakes, Kiel, Aged Cheddar, 98.975.

Second: Larry Harris, Meister Cheese Co., Muscoda, Aged Cheddar, 98.700.

Third: Steve Hobbs, Land O’Lakes, Kiel, Aged Cheddar, 98.550.

• Colby, Monterey Jack

First: Andy Follen, Lynn Dairy, Granton, Monterey Jack, 98.400.

Second: Jason Studnicka, Meister Cheese Co., Muscoda, Colby Longhorn, 98.300.

Third: Larry Harris, Meister Cheese Co., Muscoda, Colby Jack Longhorn, 98.275.

• Swiss Styles

First: Marc Druart, Emmi Roth, Monroe, Petite Swiss, 99.675.

Second: Chalet/Team Deppeler Factory, Chalet Cheese Co-op, Monroe, Baby Swiss Wheel, 97.950.

Third: Neal Schwartz, Chalet Cheese Co-op, Monroe, Baby Swiss Wheel, 97.900.

• Brick, Muenster

First: Matt Henze, Decatur Dairy, Brodhead, Brick, 99.725.

Second: Dave Buholzer, Klondike Cheese Co., Monroe, Brick, 99.650.

Third: Ron Bechtolt, Klondike Cheese Co., Monroe, Muenster, 99.475.

• Mozzarella

First: Roger Krohn, Agropur, Luxemburg, Low-Moisture Mozzarella, whole milk, 99.575.

Second: Crave Cheese Team, Crave Brothers Farmstead Cheese, Waterloo, Fresh Mozzarella, 99.350.

Third: Roger Krohn, Agropur, Luxemburg, Low-Moisture Part-Skim Mozzarella, 99.050.

• String Cheese

First: Dan Schwind, Baker Cheese Factory, St. Cloud, String cheese, 99.575.

Second: Larry Brown, Baker Cheese Factory, St. Cloud, String cheese, 99.525.

Third: Tim Entringer, Baker Cheese Factory, St. Cloud, String cheese, 99.325.

• Blue Veined Cheese

First: Team Fond du Lac, Saputo Specialty Cheese, Milwaukee, Blue cheese, 99.350.

Second: Mike Berg, Lake Country Dairy, Turtle Lake, Gorgonzola, 99.325.

Third: Mike Berg, Lake Country Dairy, Turtle Lake, Blue Veined cheese, 98.750.

• Feta

First: Nathan Forseth, Agropur, Weyauwega, Feta, 99.225.

Second: Terry Lensmire, Agropur, Weyauwega, Feta, 99.100.

Third: Micah Klug, Agropur, Weyauwega, Feta, 98.850.

• Flavored Pepper Cheese

First: Marc Druart, Emmi Roth, Monroe, Sriracha Gouda, 99.250.

Second: Matt Henze, Decatur Dairy, Brodhead, Havarti With Pepper, 99.150.

Third: Larry Brown, Baker Cheese Factory, St. Cloud, Flavored Pepper Cheese, 99.000.

• Flavored Soft Cheese

First: Steve Buholzer, Klondike Cheese Co., Monroe, Peppercorn Feta, 99.200.

Second: Crave Cheese Team, Crave Brothers Farmstead Cheese, Waterloo, Marinated Fresh Mozzarella, 98.900.

Third: Adam Buholzer, Klondike Cheese Co., Monroe, Mediterranean Feta, 98.850.

• Flavored Semi-Soft Cheese

First: John (Randy) Pitman, Mill Creek Cheese, Arena, Caraway Brick, 99.175.

Second: Marieke Penterman, Marieke Gouda, Thorp, Bacon Gouda, 99.075.

Third: Team Hennings, Saputo Specialty Cheese, Milwaukee, Blueberry Cobbler Cheddar, 99.000.

• Smoked Flavored Cheese

First: Saxon Creamery Team, Saxon Cheese, Cleveland, Smoked Gouda, 99.400.

Second: Walter Hartwig, Zimmerman Cheese, South Wayne, Smoked Brick, 99.350.

Third: Chad Duhai, Zimmerman Cheese, South Wayne, Smoked Brick, 99.200.

• Flavored Hard Cheese

First: Mike Matucheski, Sartori Co., Antigo, Sartori Reserve Chipotle BellaVitano, 99.650.

Second: Mike Matucheski, Sartori Co., Antigo, Sartori Reserve Espresso BellaVitano, 99.550.

Third: Mike Matucheski, Sartori Co., Antigo, Sartori Reserve Black Pepper BellaVitano, 99.500.

• Smear Ripened Cheese

First: John Stesniak, Lake Country Dairy, Turtle Lake, Monteau, 99.650.

Second: Marc Druart, Emmi Roth, Monroe, Roth Grand Cru Reserve, 99.600.

Third: Marc Druart, Emmi Roth, Monroe, Roth Pavino, 99.200.

• Cold Pack Cheese, Cheese Food

First: Team Pine River, Pine River Pre-Pack, Newton, Swiss & Almond Cold Pack, 99.550.

Second: Dustin Wallendal, Widmer’s Cheese Cellars, Theresa, Aged Brick Spread, 99.050.

Third: Team Pine River, Pine River Pre-Pack, Newton, Horseradish Cold Pack, 99.000.

• Pasteurized Process Cheese, Cheese Food, Cheese Spread

First: Slice Team, Associated Milk Producers Inc., Portage, Pasteurized Process Colored American, 98.800.

Second: Loaf Team, Associated Milk Producers Inc., Portage, Pasteurized Process With Jalapeño Peppers, 98.550.

Third: Slice Team, Associated Milk Producers Inc., Portage, Pasteurized Process American Swiss, 98.500.

• Reduced Fat or Lite Cheese

First: Steve Webster, Klondike Cheese Co., Monroe, Reduced Fat Feta, 99.725.

Second: Dave Buholzer, Klondike Cheese Co., Monroe, Reduced Fat Mediterranean Feta, 99.525.

Third: Matt Erdley, Klondike Cheese Co., Monroe, Reduced Fat Tomato & Basil Feta, 99.400.

• Open Class — Soft and Spreadable Cheese

First: Crave Cheese Team, Crave Brothers Farmstead Cheese, Waterloo, Mascarpone, 99.350.

Second: Katie Fuhrmann and Team LaClare, Artisan Cheese Exchange, Malone, Fresh Goat’s Milk Cheese, 99.275.

Third: Fred Wolff, Lake Country Dairy, Turtle Lake, Mascarpone, 99.250.

• Havarti

First: Decatur Cheesemakers, Decatur Dairy, Brodhead, Havarti, 98.925.

Second: Ben Workman, Edelweiss Creamery, Monticello, Havarti, 98.875.

Third: Steve Stettler, Decatur Dairy, Brodhead, Havarti, 98.625.

• Flavored Havarti

First: Ron Bechtolt, Klondike Cheese Co., Monroe, Dill Havarti, 99.675.

Second: Dave Gietzel, Edelweiss Creamery, Monticello, Dill Havarti, 99.325.

Third: Luke Buholzer, Klondike Cheese Co., Monroe, Dill Havarti, 99.250.

• Open Class — Semi-Soft Cheese

First: Marieke Penterman, Marieke Gouda, Thorp, Marieke Belegen Gouda, 99.025.

Second: Gary Grossen, Babcock Hall Dairy Plant, Madison, Gouda, 98.750.

Third: Maple Leaf Cheesemakers, Maple Leaf Cheese, Monroe, Fontina, 98.700.

• Open Class — Hard Cheese

First: Chris Roelli, Roelli Cheese Co., Shullsburg, Dunbarton (a naturally-rinded English-style Cheddar with blue veining), 99.550.

Second: Erin Radtke, Sartori Co., Antigo, Sartori Classic Asiago, 99.050.

Third: Mike Matucheski, Sartori Co., Antigo, Sartori Reserve SarVecchio Parmesan, 99.000.

• Flavored Goat Milk Cheese

First: Team Lancaster, Saputo Specialty Cheese, Milwaukee, Wild Blueberry Vanilla Chevre, 99.675.

Second: Simon Rossard, Montchevre-Betin, Belmont, Cranberry & Cinnamon, 99.550.

Third: Team Lancaster, Saputo Specialty Cheese, Milwaukee, Raspberry Chevre, 99.000.

• Natural Goat Milk Cheese

First: Katie Fuhrmann and Team LaClare, Artisan Cheese Exchange, Malone, Aged Goat Cheese, 99.650.

Second: Pam Hodgson, Sartori Co., Plymouth, Sartori Limited Edition Extra-Aged Goat, 99.350.

Third: Frank Walton, Montchevre-Betin, Belmont, Cheddar, 99.050.

• Latin American Cheese

First: Jace Johnsrud, Chula Vista Cheese, Browntown, Chihuahua Loaf, 99.350.

Second: Casey Berget, Chula Vista Cheese, Browntown, Oaxaca Ball, 99.150.

Third: John (Randy) Pitman, Mill Creek Cheese, Arena, Queso Quesadilla, 98.900.

• Sheep & Mixed Milk Cheese

First: Mike Matucheski, Sartori Co., Antigo, Sartori Limited Edition Pastorale Blend, 99.375.

Second: Katie Fuhrmann and Team LaClare, Artisan Cheese Exchange, Malone, Blended Cheese with Goat and Cow Milk, 99.250.

Third: Katie Fuhrmann and Team LaClare, Artisan Cheese Exchange, Malone, Blend of Cow and Goat Milk, 99.000.

• Butter

First: Mary Burmaster, Foremost Farms USA, Reedsburg, Salted Butter, 99.550

Second: Dan Stolte, Foremost Farms USA, Reedsburg, Salted Butter, 99.200.

Third: Diana Seep, Foremost Farms USA, Reedsburg, Salted Butter, 99.075.


Old Croc grows line with addition of award-winning flavored varieties

By Kate Sander

MILLBURN, N.J. — Nearly five years ago, Trugman-Nash launched Old Croc, a premium Cheddar from Australia, in the U.S. marketplace.

Australian Cheddar has long been regarded as a premium import in European and Japanese retail markets; however, until Old Croc was introduced, cheese from the Land Down Under wasn’t on many retail shelves in the United States.

Now, thanks to a strong marketing push and favorable consumer reception, the line can be found in 18,000 supermarkets nationwide, and that number continues to grow, says Ken Meyers, president of Trugman-Nash and its sister company, MCT Dairies.

The cheese can be found in such chains as Safeway, Whole Foods, WinCo, Food Giant and many others. It also can be found on

“It’s pretty remarkable the inroads we’ve made in a short period of time,” Meyers says, noting the success is leading the company to expand its product line with flavored varieties. Meyers believes the cheese’s unique flavor profile keeps consumers coming back.

“People like good, clean extra sharp Cheddars,” Meyers says.

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Dairy industry wants NAFTA
to safeguard trade, open access

June 16, 2017

WASHINGTON — U.S. dairy industry groups recently submitted comments to the Office of the U.S. Trade Representative saying that with the planned modernization of the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA), it is important to safeguard and maintain trade with Mexico. The groups also say greater market access is needed for dairy exports to Canada.

USTR Robert Lighthizer last month announced the Trump administration’s plans to renegotiate NAFTA. A notice in the Federal Register requested public comments, which were due this week. A public hearing on the NAFTA renegotiation will be held June 27. USDA Secretary Sonny Perdue is meeting next week in Georgia with ag secretaries from Mexico and Canada to begin talking about their agenda for NAFTA.

In joint comments sent to the USTR, the U.S. Dairy Export Council (USDEC) and the National Milk Producers Federation (NMPF) say currently U.S. dairy products flow relatively unhindered to Mexico but are curtailed by Canada’s increasing use of policy tools that violate international trade obligations.

“The relationship between the dairy sectors of the U.S., Mexico and Canada is of such great importance to all of our nations that we need to devote the time and effort to make it better,” says Jim Mulhern, president and CEO, NMPF. “A modernized NAFTA agreement must preserve the open and dependable trade relationship with Mexico, and remove remaining barriers to trade that were not adequately addressed in the original agreement.”

NMPF and USDEC note that since NAFTA’s implementation, the United States has shifted from being a consistent net importer of dairy products to being a significant net exporter. Over the past five years, cumulative U.S. dairy exports are more than double the import total.

The groups also note that last year, the U.S. dairy industry exported $1.2 billion worth of dairy products to Mexico, up from just $124 million in 1995. Mexico is the largest U.S. dairy export market by far, roughly double the size of the industry’s second-largest market, Canada.

“NAFTA has accomplished a great deal over the past two-plus decades, but it has also been overtaken by new, unanticipated forms of trade and trade problems,” says Tom Vilsack, president and CEO, USDEC. “We agree that NAFTA could use a face lift and our industry looks forward to working with the Trump administration to explore ways to preserve and strengthen it.”

The top request in the document submitted by USDEC and NMPF is for a “decisive confrontation and resolution” of nontariff concerns, including the removal of Canadian milk pricing classes 6 and 7, and the inclusion of Canadian dairy tariffs. The main concern for Mexico is protecting the ability to sell cheeses with common names like “parmesan,” “gorgonzola,” “asiago” and “provolone” as ongoing efforts by the European Union seek to claim sole ownership of these cheeses and must be rejected by Mexican and U.S. officials, USDEC and NMPF say.

NMPF’s board of directors also this week voted unanimously to support modernizing NAFTA in a way that enhances and protects the United States’ current dairy market access opportunities and addresses Canada’s use of trade-distorting measures.

The International Dairy Foods Association (IDFA) shared similar concerns in its comments to USTR, noting that its No. 1 priority is maintaining the U.S. dairy industry’s export market to Mexico and urging negotiators to push for greater market access to Canada by addressing expanding policies that limit U.S. dairy exports to that market. Other areas in need of modernizing under NAFTA include protections for common food names, enhanced sanitary and phytosanitary measures, enforcement guidelines for rules of origin and the removal of duty drawback restrictions that impede fair competition, IDFA says.

“Since its implementation in 1994, NAFTA has created many opportunities for U.S. dairy products to thrive with consumers outside our borders,” says Beth Hughes, director of international affairs, IDFA. “However, the agreement is certainly not perfect, and opportunities for improvement exist. We urge the USTR negotiators to maintain the existing market access for U.S. dairy exporters, especially in Mexico, and to modernize and update areas where the current agreement has failed to protect American interests and workers, particularly in Canada.”

IDFA notes that U.S. dairy exports to Mexico now account for a quarter of total U.S. dairy exports, supporting nearly 30,000 American jobs. Hughes points out that negative changes with Mexico could expose U.S. dairy exports to retaliatory tariffs and encourage Mexican officials to expand their existing network of free trade agreements with 45 countries in an effort to source dairy products elsewhere.

IDFA also commented on the need to address a number of Canadian dairy policy measures that severely restrict market access for imported dairy products, including protective pricing that effectively blocks U.S. imports, extremely limited duty-free access and high over-quota tariffs that range form 200 percent to more than 300 percent in some cases.

“Time after time, Canada reverts to unfair trade practices to undermine U.S. dairy market access,” Hughes says. “This routine and harmful behavior must be urgently addressed in the renegotiation of NAFTA in order to prevent permanent loss on these markets. We need this national pricing policy to be eliminated, followed by clear-cut language to ensure that Canada does not institute future pricing programs and other non-tariff barriers that negatively impact dairy trade and jobs.”

Meanwhile, Dairy Farmers of Canada, which represents Canadian dairy producers, says it supports dairy trade between the two countries but that Canada’s supply management system should not be a focus of NAFTA renegotiations.

“Dairy Farmers of Canada will continue to support dairy trade between Canada and the United States through the NAFTA renegotiation process,” says Dairy Farmers of Canada President Wally Smith, who was in Washington this week. “We will be supportive as long as they maintain a focus on trade and not on our domestic supply management system.”

Other food and ag groups also submitted comments on the NAFTA renegotiation and urged the administration to prioritize the interests of U.S. manufacturers and farmers.

“It is essential that the millions of men and women who work to produce the quality products enjoyed by consumers here at home and around the world be at the forefront of the negotiations to strengthen and improve this landmark trade agreement,” says Pamela G. Bailey, president and CEO, Grocery Manufacturers Association (GMA). “As the Trump administration seeks to modernize the NAFTA agreement, we urge the administration to strengthen and expand the benefits of free trade for consumers, U.S. food, beverage and consumer product manufacturers and their workers.”

In its comments, GMA urged the Trump administration to consider three priority objectives for modernizing NAFTA: protect existing market access while removing remaining trade barriers; update rules, such as science-based rules governing non-tariff measures, to increase U.S. companies’ competitiveness; and increase regulatory alignment and harmonization.

National Farmers Union (NFU) submitted comments urging USTR to use the NAFTA renegotiation as an opportunity to create a new, fair trade framework for future trade deal negotiations.

“While exports and trade are essential to family farmers and ranchers, free trade agreements too often result in the corporate consolidation of power that ultimately undermines the economic opportunity for farmers,” says NFU President Roger Johnson. “Renegotiation of NAFTA should prioritize family farmers and ranchers, not agribusiness, and the working people across our country.”

Johnson says NAFTA was the first trade agreement to include the Investor-State Dispute Settlement provisions that give investors special privileges in international trade and encourage offshoring of domestic jobs. He also says the administration should include restoring country-of-origin labeling as one of the chief negotiation objectives in agriculture.


Perdue names new position
as part of USDA realignment

June 16, 2017

WASHINGTON — U.S. Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue this week named Anne Hazlett to lead the rural development agencies at USDA.

Hazlett, whose title will be Assistant to the Secretary for Rural Development, will oversee the Rural Utilities Service, the Rural Business Service and the Rural Housing Service within USDA and report directly to the secretary. She currently is chief counsel to the majority on the U.S. Senate Agriculture Committee

The announcement comes following a realignment of USDA announced by Perdue in May. (See “Secretary Perdue testifies before House Agriculture Committee, outlines changes to USDA” in the May 19, 2017, issue of Cheese Market News.)

Perdue says the position represents an elevation of rural development, which previously had been in the portfolio of undersecretary, who in turn reported to the deputy secretary of agriculture.

He adds that the systems, functions and internal structure of the rural development agencies will not be changing and that removing the additional bureaucratic layer of an undersecretary will allow Hazlett to obtain “go” or “no go” decisions directly from Perdue without having to have ideas or suggestions passed through channels in the office.

The announcement concerned some in the agriculture sector, in part because it came two days before a comment period ended on the realignment at USDA. Comments on the realignment were due Wednesday.

U.S. Sens. Debbie Stabenow, D-Mich., and Jeff Merkley, D-Ore., have expressed concerns over the elimination of the undersecretary for rural development.

“We believe that it is important to send the right signal to rural America regarding our commitment to the families who live there,” the senators write in a letter to Perdue. “In order to do that, and to effectively manage taxpayer dollars, we must have an experienced leader at the helm who is focused on managing and delivering these important programs.”

They add that they have received feedback from stakeholders, interest groups and concerned citizens, none of whom have voiced support for the elimination of the undersecretary.

“For these reasons we cannot agree with this component of your reorganization proposal and respectfully request that you maintain a Senate-confirmed undersecretary for rural development,” they write.

While the senators praise the addition of an undersecretary for trade and foreign agriculture affairs, also part of the realignment, they raise questions about a proposal to move the Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) under a new farm production and conservation undersecretary and ask that USDA ensure that a reorganization does not diminish NRCS’s work to protect land and water or its longstanding cooperation with the Forest Service.

Roger Johnson, president of the National Farmers Union (NFU) this week said efforts by the Trump administration to “weaken and eliminate important rural development work” done within USDA is not sitting well with family farmers, ranchers and rural residents.

NFU joined a coalition of 578 farm and rural organizations, businesses and local governments in sending a letter to Congress pushing back on the administration’s recent budget proposal and proposed reorganization of USDA. (For more on Trump’s proposed budget, see “Ag stakeholders push back on Trump’s proposed budget cuts” in the May 26, 2017, issue.)

“We urge the (appropriations) committee to reject the administration’s fiscal year 2018 budget and reorganization proposals for rural development and instead provide appropriations at no less than the current rate and maintain the rural development mission area and position of undersecretary for rural development,” the coalition writes.

In another letter sent Wednesday to the Senate and House appropriations committees, NFU and other groups including the National Milk Producers Federation urged Congress to provide a strong safety net for family farmers and ranchers.

The letter called on the committees to provide adequate resources for USDA’s Farm Service Agency (FSA) so it can meet high demand for farm loans and provide mediation services to struggling producers.

The group says there is no end in sight to the depressed farm economy, and loan demand is expected to be as high, if not higher, than last year.

“Low commodity prices have reduced net farm income by over 50 percent in the past four years, and FSA loans serve as an important lifeline for many distressed producers,” the letter says. “Inadequately funding FSA would be a disservice to our hardworking farmers and ranchers, who are dedicated to feeding our nation and the world.”

Meanwhile, Perdue on Thursday hosted the inaugural meeting of the Interagency Task Force on Agriculture and Rural Prosperity, which he chairs. Joined by Secretary of Housing and Urban Development Ben Carson, Secretary of Energy Rick Perry, Director of the White House Office of Management and Budget Mick Mulvaney, U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer, Chairman of the Federal Communications Commission Ajit Pai and other government officials, the group discussed their joint vision to develop a streamlined method of interagency cooperation to achieve a broad range of goals.

The task force — established under an executive order by President Trump “to ensure the informed exercise of federal authority that impacts agriculture and rural communities” — is working to improve quality of life for people living in rural areas, develop a reliable workforce, spur innovation and technology development, and roll back regulations to allow communities to grow and thrive, Perdue says.

“By establishing this task force, President Trump showed his commitment to prioritizing the prosperity of the farmers and ranchers of America’s heartland, as well as all citizens living in rural communities across this great country,” he says.

The task force is required to issue a report with recommendations for legislative or administrative actions within 180 days.


FDA extends deadline for
Nutrition Facts label update

June 16, 2017

WASHINGTON — FDA this week announced it plans to push back the deadline for a rule requiring food companies to use a revamped Nutrition Facts panel designed to make it easier for Americans to see how many calories and added sugars are in packaged foods and drinks.

The revised nutrition facts panel would make the calorie counts on packaged food and drinks more prominent, adjust serving sizes to be more realistic and specify the amount of added sugars in products. The labels currently list how many total sugars are in a product, including those that are naturally occurring, such as in fruit and milk.

Previously, FDA had given companies until July 26, 2018, to comply, with smaller food manufacturers getting an extra year. However, FDA on Tuesday said it intends to give companies additional time to be in compliance. It did not provide a specific deadline.

The International Dairy Foods Association (IDFA) says it appreciates the extension for compliance.

“On behalf of our members, we thank the Food and Drug Administration for extending the compliance timeline for the new Nutrition Facts label and serving size rules,” says Cary Frye, vice president of regulatory and scientific affairs, IDFA. “Dairy foods companies are committed to giving consumers the information they need to make informed choices and appreciate the extra time to be sure that the information on the labels is complete and accurate.”

IDFA in the past has urged government officials to align the compliance dates for the Nutrition Facts label changes with USDA’s disclosure standard for bioengineered foods, which is required by law to be issued by July 2018.

Having two separate compliance deadlines would require food and beverage manufacturers to go through the expensive and time-consuming process of changing the label twice on every food package in the United States, IDFA notes.

“Our member companies are hopeful that once FDA announces the new implementation timeline they will be able to avoid the confusion and extra cost incurred by changing their product labels twice,” Frye says.

The Grocery Manufacturers Association (GMA) also praised the extension.

“FDA’s common-sense decision will reduce consumer confusion and costs,” says Pamela G. Bailey, president and CEO, GMA.

However, Jim O’Hara, director of health promotion policy for the Center for Science in the Public Interest (CSPI), says the extension denies consumers “critical information they need to make healthy food choices in a timely manner and will throw the food industry into disarray.”

“The ability of the Trump administration to repeat its mistakes is breathtaking,” he adds, referring to another recent decision to delay a rule requiring disclosure of calorie counts and other nutrition information on menus and menu boards. CSPI and the National Consumers League, both represented by the nonprofit law firm Earthjustice, have filed a lawsuit against FDA over the decision.

FDA says it will provide details of the Nutrition Facts label extension in a future Federal Register notice.


Amazon will acquire Whole Foods for $13.7B

June 16, 2017

SEATTLE — Amazon and Whole Foods Market Inc. today announced that they have entered into a definitive merger agreement under which Amazon will acquire Whole Foods Market for $42 per share in an all-cash transaction valued at approximately $13.7 billion, including Whole Foods Market’s net debt.

“Millions of people love Whole Foods Market because they offer the best natural and organic foods, and they make it fun to eat healthy,” says Jeff Bezos, Amazon founder and CEO. “Whole Foods Market has been satisfying, delighting and nourishing customers for nearly four decades — they’re doing an amazing job, and we want that to continue.”

Whole Foods Market will continue to operate stores under the Whole Foods Market brand and source from its trusted vendors and partners around the world. John Mackey will remain as CEO of Whole Foods Market and Whole Foods Market’s headquarters will stay in Austin, Texas.

“This partnership presents an opportunity to maximize value for Whole Foods Market’s shareholders, while at the same time extending our mission and bringing the highest quality, experience, convenience and innovation to our customers,” Mackey says.

Completion of the transaction is subject to approval by Whole Foods Market’s shareholders, regulatory approvals and other customary closing conditions. The parties expect to close the transaction during the second half of 2017.

Founded in 1978 in Austin, Texas, Whole Foods Market is the nation’s leading natural and organic foods supermarket. In fiscal year 2016, the company had sales of approximately $16 billion and has more than 460 stores in the United States, Canada and the United Kingdom. Whole Foods Market employs approximately 87,000 team members and has been ranked for 20 consecutive years as one of the “100 Best Companies to Work For” in America by Fortune magazine.


Perdue addresses dairy trade,
NAFTA during visit to Canada

June 9, 2017

WASHINGTON — USDA Secretary Sonny Perdue this week completed his first international trip as secretary, meeting in Toronto with a number of Canadian officials regarding bilateral trade issues, including ultrafiltered milk and the renegotiation of the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA).

Among those Perdue spoke with were Canadian Minister of Agriculture and Agri-Food Lawrence MacAulay and current Premier of Ontario Kathleen Wynne. Perdue also participated in a celebration of the 10th year of the Southeastern United States-Canadian Provinces Alliance (SEUS-CP), an organization Perdue helped found as governor of Georgia in 2007 that is meant to foster mutually beneficial relationships. Perdue participated in a “fireside chat” regarding SEUS-CP with former Premier of Quebec Jean Charest.

“We had very good, very candid discussions, very frank, like family members discussing some things that are not necessarily comfortable. We laid out a great framework to begin renegotiating NAFTA,” Perdue says in a statement issued after his meetings.

And while Perdue says the purpose of the meetings was not to enter into back-and-forth negotiations, he did lay out issues that the United States has concerns about, including the impact of Canada’s recent Class 7 designation on U.S. ultrafiltered milk exports to Canada. In February, Canada implemented its Class 7 pricing policy, which lowers milk ingredient prices for Canadian producers along with new price controls for dairy ingredients such as ultrafiltered milk. Members of the U.S. dairy industry as well as elected officials, including President Trump, have argued that this policy is unfair to the U.S. dairy industry by intentionally shutting U.S.-made ingredients out of the market due to the artificially low prices. Canadian industry and government representatives, however, have countered that U.S. exports to Canada are still strong and that Class 7 is purely a domestic policy that does nothing to block imports of U.S. ingredients.

“It’s not our purpose to try to manage or try to get involved in their internal supply management regarding the dairy industry. The ultrafiltered milk was not included in NAFTA,” Perdue notes. “And I made it very clear that the Class 7 designation we felt was an unfair undercutting of the U.S. industry that grew up south of the U.S.-Canada border. It cut these producers and this industry out of shipping the ultrafiltered milk into their cheese industry, which was in demand in Canada. I also said, if you want to manage your dairy supply with supply management, that’s fine. You just need to manage it and not overproduce to create a glut of milk solids on the world market that’s being dumped at unfair prices.”

Last month, the International Dairy Foods Association (IDFA), National Milk Producers Federation (NMPF) and U.S. Dairy Export Council (USDEC) commended U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer for taking swift action to begin the process of modernizing NAFTA. The organizations have repeatedly urged U.S. lawmakers and officials to focus on maintaining what has worked well, such as trade with Mexico, while continuing to call for improved market access to Canada.

Following Perdue’s visit this week to Canada, IDFA says it continues to urge administration officials and legislators who are working to modernize NAFTA to use the opportunity to improve access for U.S. dairy exports to Canada and tackle its protectionist policies.

IDFA also recently praised a bipartisan group of lawmakers who introduced legislation in the Senate that would lift the Cuba trade embargo and eliminate legal barriers to Americans doing business in the country. The “Freedom to Export to Cuba Act of 2017” bill, introduced by Sens. Mike Enzi, R-Wyo., Jeff Flake, R-Ariz., Amy Klobuchar, D-Minn., and Patrick Leahy, D-Vt., aims to expand economic opportunities for U.S. companies by boosting U.S. exports and giving Cubans greater access to American goods.

U.S. exporters of agricultural products, such as dairy, currently are hindered by the Trade Sanctions Reform Act of 2000, which requires Cuban importers to pay cash in advance or finance the transactions through third-country banks. Although the Obama administration reestablished diplomatic relations with Cuba in July 2015, changes to the trade sanctions require action from Congress.

“IDFA welcomes the senators’ efforts to lower trade barriers between the United States and Cuba,” says Beth Hughes, director of international affairs, IDFA. “U.S. dairy companies look forward to fulfilling consumer demand in Cuba for healthy and affordable dairy products.”

Meanwhile, major U.S. news outlets have reported that President Trump is considering reversing some of the Obama administration’s efforts to open relations with Cuba, though the extent of what this might include is not yet known.


U.S. cheese production rises
3.7 percent above year earlier

June 9, 2017

WASHINGTON — Total U.S. cheese production, excluding cottage, totaled 1.04 billion pounds in April, 3.7 percent above April 2016’s 1.00 billion pounds, according to preliminary data recently released by USDA’s National Agricultural Statistics Service (NASS). (All figures are rounded. Please see CMN’s Dairy Production chart.)

April cheese production was 2.1 percent below March 2017’s 1.06 billion pounds, but adjusted for the length of the months, April production was up 1.2 percent on an average daily basis.

Production of Mozzarella, the nation’s most-produced cheese, totaled 348.1 million pounds in April, up 2.3 percent from April 2016. Total Italian-type cheese production, of which Mozzarella is the largest component, totaled 448.4 million pounds, up 2.2 percent from a year earlier.

Production of Cheddar, the nation’s second most-produced cheese, totaled 314.2 million pounds in April, up 4.8 percent from April 2016. Total American-type production, of which Cheddar is the largest component, rose 5.3 percent from a year earlier to 419.3 million pounds in April.

Wisconsin led the nation’s cheese production with 275.9 million pounds in April, up 1.3 percent from its production a year earlier. California followed with 210.4 million pounds, up 4.4 percent from its production a year earlier.

Idaho was next with 89.4 million pounds, up 10.1 percent from its production a year earlier, followed by New York with 66.1 million pounds, up 6.7 percent, and New Mexico with 64.3 million pounds, down 2.4 percent.

Total U.S. butter production was 164.1 million pounds in April, down 4.1 percent from April 2016’s 171.2 million pounds, according to NASS. April butter production was 6.8 percent below March 2017’s 176.1 million pounds. Adjusted for the length of the months, April butter production was down 3.7 percent from March 2017 on an average daily basis.

California led the nation’s butter production with 48.0 million pounds in April, down 6.9 percent from its production a year earlier.

Production of nonfat dry milk (NDM) suitable for human consumption totaled 170.9 million pounds in April, down less than 0.1 percent from a year earlier, according to NASS data. Production of NDM in April was up 7.0 percent from March 2017’s 159.7 million pounds; adjusted for the length of the months, April NDM production was up 10.6 percent from the previous month on an average daily basis. California led the nation’s NDM production with 56.5 million pounds produced in April, down 6.2 percent from its production a year earlier.


DFA unveils new Kansas City, Kansas, headquarters

June 9, 2017

KANSAS CITY, Kansas — The Dairy Farmers of America (DFA) celebrated the opening of its new headquarters building in Kansas City, Kansas, June 7.

The three-story, 110,000-square-foot building, which was designed by HOK, is located at 1405 N. 98th Street and honors the cooperative’s dairy farmer members.

“The building is a testament to our family farmers and the sustainable practices they employ on their dairies each and every day,” says Rick Smith, president and CEO, DFA. “We intentionally designed it to use more natural materials like reclaimed woods, concretes and metals — so there’s a welcoming feel, while still being very modern and fully equipped for how the world works today. It’s not a typical corporate office space, but it absolutely functions like one.”

Throughout the building are a number of other unique design touches and furnishings that pay homage to life on the farm and the production of milk, including the use of upholsteries like plaid and cow hide for various seating areas.

Artistic feature walls showcase aspects of DFA’s business from a barn board and milk bottle caps to steel pipes representing the cooperative’s numerous milk processing plants.

As visitors enter the building’s lobby, they are greeted by a large “Milk Pour” sculpture to represent and remind employees and visitors about DFA’s core of producing nutritious dairy products, DFA says.

Qualifying as Silver LEED-certified, the building includes a number of sustainable design practices, including panels of glass framing the building’s exterior, which not only brings natural light into the office environment, but also helps reduce energy use, DFA says. Another sustainable building feature is the use of under floor air throughout the space. This allows A/C vents to deliver cool air from the floor up rather than blowing cool air down.

DFA’s new headquarters building also was designed with employees in mind, including amenities and an open, modern and flexible work environment to help encourage teamwork and collaboration, DFA says.

“We think this new headquarters will play a key role in helping us attract and also retain high-quality talent, which will help ensure DFA’s continued growth and success,” says Monica Massey, senior vice president and chief of staff from DFA. “Our goal is to be an employer of choice in Kansas City, and this building and all its amenities reflects that commitment to focus on employee satisfaction.”

One of the amenities offered at DFA’s new headquarters is a full-service café managed by Elite Cuisine, which serves healthy options for both breakfast and lunch. The café provides indoor and outdoor seating for employees and includes refrigerated grab-and-go items, a fully stocked salad bar and a variety of freshly-prepared hot food stations. Other amenities include a state-of-the-art fitness center with an on-site trainer and a 24/7 milk bar serving three varieties of milk.

Other companies involved in DFA’s new headquarters project include Red Brokerage LLC, JE Dunn Construction and Dimensional Innovations.


USDA lowers 2017, 2018
forecasts for milk production

June 9, 2017

WASHINGTON — Lower expected growth in milk per cow has led USDA to lower both its 2017 and 2018 milk production forecasts in its latest “World Agricultural Supply and Demand Estimates” report released today.

Though cow numbers are expected to rise, lower expected growth in milk per cow offsets this, USDA says. U.S. milk production in 2017 now is forecast to total 216.7 billion pounds, down 200 million pounds from last month’s production forecast. In 2018, USDA projects milk production will total 221.7 billion pounds, down 300 million pounds from last month’s projection.

For 2017 and 2018, the forecasts for fat-basis exports are reduced on the expectation that current high prices will temper export demand, but skim-solid basis export forecasts are raised for both years on expected strength in nonfat dry milk/skim milk powder demand, USDA says.

The 2017 fat-basis import forecast is raised on stronger imports of cheese and butterfat. For 2018, lower expected imports of some processed dairy products more than offsets higher expected imports of cheese and butterfat, and the forecast for fat basis imports is lowered. The skim-solid basis import forecasts are unchanged.
Cheese, butter and nonfat dry milk (NDM) price forecasts are raised for both 2017 and 2018 on strong domestic and international demand and a reduced production forecast. The whey price forecasts are lowered.

Cheese in 2017 is forecast to average in the $1.620-$1.660 per pound range, up from last month’s forecast of $1.600-$1.650, USDA says.

Butter is forecast to averaged $2.280-$2.350 in 2017, up from last month’s forecast of $2.115-$2.195.
NDM is forecast to average in the $0.895-$0.935 range in 2017.

For 2017, the Class III price is raised as the cheese price increase more than offsets the lower whey price, and the Class IV price forecasts reflects higher butter and NDM prices. The 2017 Class III price is forecast to average $16.35-$16.75 per hundredweight, up from $16.10-$16.60 last month. The 2017 Class IV price is forecast at $15.25-$15.75, up from $14.35-$14.95 last month.

For 2018, class prices are raised on higher component product prices.

The all-milk price is forecast higher at $17.80-$18.20 for 2017 and is increased to $18.10-$19.10 for 2018.


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Today's Cheese Spot Trading
June 28, 2017

Barrels: $1.3700 (+1/4)
Blocks: $1.5100 (-1 1/2)

Click here for more market activity
Cheese Production
U.S. Total April
1.04 bil. lbs.

Milk Production
U.S. Total May
18.940 bil. lbs.

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