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U.S. threatens tariffs on French goods, including some cheese

Dec. 6, 2019

WASHINGTON — The Trump administration is threatening tariffs on $2.4 billion worth of French goods, including cheese, champagne, make-up and handbags. The planned tariffs come in response to a new French digital services tax that would affect companies including Google, Amazon and Facebook.

The proposed list of goods covers more than 20 cheese tariff subheadings, notes the Cheese Importers Association of America (CIAA). No duty rate has been proposed at this time, but the notice mentions duties of up to 100% on products from France.

The Office of the U.S. Trade Representative (USTR) this week announced it has completed the first segment of an investigation under section 301 of the Trade Act of 1974 and concluded that France’s Digital Services Tax (DST) discriminates against U.S. companies, is inconsistent with prevailing principles of international tax policy and is unusually burdensome for affected U.S. companies.

Specifically, USTR says its investigation found that the French DST discriminates against U.S. digital companies. In addition, the French DST is inconsistent with prevailing tax principles on account of its retroactivity, its application to revenue rather than income, its extraterritorial application and its purpose of penalizing particular U.S. technology companies, USTR says.

A report outlining the findings of the investigation is available at https://ustr.gov/sites/default/files/Report_On_France%27s_Digital_Services_Tax.pdf.

“USTR’s decision today sends a clear signal that the United States will take action against digital tax regimes that discriminate or otherwise impose undue burdens on U.S. companies,” says U.S. Trade Ambassador Robert Lighthizer. “Indeed, USTR is exploring whether to open Section 301 investigations into the digital services taxes of Austria, Italy and Turkey. USTR is focused on countering the growing protectionism of EU member states, which unfairly targets U.S. companies, whether through digital services taxes or other efforts that target leading U.S. digital services companies.”

USTR also will be publishing a Federal Register notice explaining that, for the reasons set forth in the report, the French DST is “unreasonable, discriminatory and burdens U.S. commerce.”

The notice solicits comments from the public on USTR’s proposed action, which includes additional duties of up to 100% on certain French products, including cheese. The notice also seeks comment on the option of imposing fees or restrictions on French services. The list of French products subject to potential duties includes 63 tariff subheadings with an approximate trade value of $2.4 billion. The value of any U.S. action through either duties or fees may take into account the level of harm to the U.S. economy resulting from the DST. The list of affected products is available at https://ustr.gov/sites/default/files/Notice_of_Determination_and_Request_for_Comments_Concerning_Action_Pursuant_to_Section_301_France’s_Digital_Services_Tax.pdf.

USTR invites public comment on these issues. To be assured of consideration, comments on the proposed action must be submitted by Jan. 6, 2020. Additionally, the Section 301 committee will hold a public hearing beginning Jan. 7, 2020, regarding proposed action to be taken in this investigation. The hearing will take place at the U.S. International Trade Commission, 500 E Street SW, Washington, DC 20436.

Post-hearing rebuttal comments by Jan. 14, 2020, and USTR says it expects to proceed expeditiously thereafter.

CIAA says it intends to submit comments in response to this notice and is urging its members to provide their assessment of the impact of these tariffs to the association in order to help CIAA provide context to USTR. CIAA also encourages its members to submit comments and testify at the hearing individually if they will be impacted by these tariffs.

News reports say France and the EU have indicated they are ready to retaliate if the tariffs go into effect. The United States already has imposed 25% duties on French wine and cheese as part of its World Trade Organization-sanctioned response to EU aircraft subsidies.

CMN


U.S. cheese production down 2.1% in October over year ago

Dec. 6, 2019

WASHINGTON — Total U.S. cheese production, excluding cottage cheese, was 1.13 billion pounds in October, 2.1% below October 2018’s 1.15 billion pounds, according to data released by USDA’s National Agricultural Statistics Service (NASS). (All figures are rounded. Please see CMN’s Dairy Production chart.) October cheese production was 4.6% above September 2019’s 1.08 billion pounds; when adjusted for the length of the months, October cheese production was up 1.2% from September on an average daily basis.

Italian-type cheese production totaled 482.2 million pounds, 0.3% below October 2018. Production of Mozzarella, the largest component of Italian-type cheese production, was up 0.4% from the previous year to 382.9 million pounds.

Total American-type cheese production totaled 442.6 million pounds, 3.2% below October 2018. Production of Cheddar, the largest component of American-type production, was down 4.2% from September 2018 to 309.6 million pounds.

Wisconsin led the nation’s cheese production with 285.4 million pounds produced in September, down 7.5% from the state’s production a year earlier. California followed with 215.6 million pounds, up less than 0.1% from its production a year earlier.

Total U.S. butter production was 157.0 million pounds, according to NASS, 5.4% above October 2018’s 148.9 million pounds. NASS reports October butter production was 13.8% above September 2019’s 137.9 million pounds; when adjusted for the length of the months, October butter production was up 10.2% from September on an average daily basis.

California led the nation’s butter production with 48.8 million pounds in October, up 5.9% from its production a year earlier.

Total U.S. production of nonfat dry milk (NDM) suitable for human consumption was up 11.1% in the October-to-October comparison, climbing to 135.1 million pounds. California led U.S. production with 48.1 million pounds, up 7.1% from its NDM production a year earlier.

CMN


NMPF announces settlement has been reached in CWT suit

Dec. 6, 2019

ARLINGTON, Va. — The National Milk Producers Federation (NMPF) this week announced it has reached a settlement agreement to end a class-action lawsuit in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Illinois concerning a herd retirement program that ended in 2010 and was administered through NMPF’s Cooperatives Working Together (CWT) initiative.

The plaintiffs in First Impressions Salon Inc. vs. National Milk Producers Federation et al have agreed to a settlement of $220 million from defendant NMPF in exchange for a release from all claims. Based on antitrust rules that mandate a tripling of any damages, that amount is less than 6% of the damages sought by plaintiffs, NMPF says. The settlement amount will be paid through existing CWT mechanisms, ensuring no disruption to other business operations, NMPF adds.

Neither NMPF nor any of its member cooperatives admit any wrongdoing as a result of this settlement. NMPF is the sole defendant to be a party to the settlement, but the settlement extinguishes claims against all the defendants.

“There is no way to sugarcoat a settlement of this size, especially given that the herd retirement program was a well-publicized effort designed to serve dairy producers in difficult times and was praised by two secretaries of agriculture as well as leading members of Congress,” says Jim Mulhern, president and CEO, NMPF. “Given the potential damages and the uncertainties surrounding any jury trial, resolving this case eliminates the possibility of a truly crippling outcome. Lifting this cloud will aid us in our work advancing the well-being of U.S. dairy producers, which includes the current robust CWT export assistance program.”

The plaintiffs’ litigation sought damages relating to the herd retirement program operated by CWT. The program offered dairy farmers financial incentives to sell off their milking herds for beef. It operated between 2003 to 2010 and was openly lauded by USDA secretaries and congressional agriculture committee chairmen from both parties at the time as an important, appropriate way to help struggling dairy farmers, NMPF says.

NMPF’s decision to enter into this settlement recognized the uncertainties inherent in any jury trial, the large damages sought by the plaintiffs and the fact that the export assistance program is unaffected by the settlement, the organization notes. In 2018, CWT assistance aided 57% of American-type cheese exports, 44% of butter exports, and 39% of whole milk powder shipments, helping U.S. dairy producers expand trade relationships in a challenging world trade environment, NMPF adds.

CMN



Yancey’s Fancy launches its new cheese spread line with flavorful trio
Exact weight packages, updated labels also are rolling out

MILWAUKEE — In a state where cheese reigns supreme, Black Creek, Saputo Cheese USA Inc.’s brand of cheddar and cheddar blends, continues to garner awards and investment for new marketing initiatives.

The Black Creek brand is positioned as a line of premium, classic Wisconsin-made cheddar cheese available in a variety of ages and blends at a competitive price. Black Creek cheese is perfect for everything from entertaining to day-to-day snacking, Saputo Cheese USA Inc.’s marketing executives say.

Key products include varieties of white and yellow aged cheddars, ranging in age from nine months to three years. The brand’s most recent award was a third-place finish in the competitive Aged Cheddar category at this year’s World Dairy Expo (one of six awards Saputo Cheese USA Inc. won at the competition).

The brand also carries specialty blends of cheddar cheese in its Artisan Series, which includes Cheddar Parmesan, Double Smoked Cheddar and Cheddar Gruyere.

The Black Creek brand dates back to 2005, when cheddar made by Alto Dairy Cooperative received the moniker (Saputo Cheese USA Inc. purchased Alto in 2008). However, the brand’s cheese has been made in the same facility in the heart of Wisconsin’s Fox River Valley since the early 1900s.

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USDA increases forecast for exports in ag trade outlook

Nov. 29, 2019

WASHINGTON — U.S. agricultural exports in fiscal year 2020 are projected at $139.0 billion, up $2.0 billion from the August forecast, driven by higher dairy, soybean and pork export forecasts, says USDA’s Economic Research Service and Foreign Agricultural Service in its latest quarterly “Outlook for U.S. Agricultural Trade” released this week. Report forecasts are based on policies in effect at the time of the Nov. 8 release of the World Agricultural Supply and Demand Estimates report, USDA says.

The report says dairy, livestock and poultry exports are forecast up $500 million from August to $31.9 billion as stronger demand for dairy, pork, and hides and skins more than offsets declines for beef and poultry products. Dairy product exports are raised $300 million to $5.8 billion as volumes and prices for nonfat dry milk powder and other skim milk products are expected to strengthen, USDA says. The beef export forecast is reduced $200 million, reflecting lower unit values.

The forecast for per capita world gross domestic product (GDP) growth in 2019 is unchanged from the prior forecast, at an annual rate of 1.5%. However, the forecast for 2020 has been revised downward to 1.5% from 1.6% in the August forecast. Forecasts for the United States are unchanged from the August forecast, at 1.6% for 2019 and 1.3% for 2020. Despite positive consumer sentiment, low unemployment rates and strong year-over-year wage gains, growth has been moderated by continuing uncertainty in U.S.-China trade, Brexit and slowing trade and investment globally, USDA notes.

As the U.S.-Mexico- Canada Agreement (USMCA) awaits ratification in Canada and the United States, Canada and Mexico face modest to unfavorable per capita growth prospects in the near term, the report notes. The forecast for per capita growth in Canada is lowered to 0.1% for 2019 (from 0.5% in August) and remains at 0.4% in 2020. Per capita GDP growth in Mexico is forecast at -0.8% in 2019 and to be flat in 2020, both below forecasts in August. Timely ratification of the USMCA is expected to further increase the future growth of both Canada and Mexico, while reducing the risk of recession, USDA says.

Meanwhile, the forecast for agricultural imports for fiscal 2020 of $132.0 billion is $3.0 billion higher than the August forecast, and $1.0 billion more than agricultural imports for fiscal 2019, the report notes. This increase in imports relative to the August forecast is mostly due to an expected increase in fresh fruits and grain products imports that offsets the decrease in imports of dairy products, livestock and rubber.

The import forecast for dairy, livestock and poultry products for fiscal 2020 decreases by $100 million from the August forecast to $17.7 billion, according to the report. This forecast represents a $100 million decrease from reported imports of dairy, livestock and poultry products for fiscal 2019.

The cheese import forecast this month for fiscal 2020 also is lowered by $100 million from August to $1.3 billion, the report says. Reported imports of cheese for fiscal 2019 were $1.348 billion.

To view the report, visit www.ers.usda.gov.

CMN


GMA survey: U.S. should lead in packaging waste reduction

Nov. 29, 2019

WASHINGTON — New research recently released by the Grocery Manufacturers Association (GMA) shows that nearly eight-in-10 (77%) Americans believe the federal government needs to take a leading role in tackling packaging waste, similar to the leadership role it played in the Apollo space project.

GMA says a majority (86%) of Americans agree that the world is facing a plastic and packaging crisis — with 87% saying that single-use plastic and packaging is a problem and 88% expressing concern about the environment at large. Even compared against major issues the country is facing, Americans consider plastic and packaging waste equal to or more critical than a host of other key societal issues, including: reversing climate change (52%); fixing crumbling infrastructure (45%); ensuring access to health care (40%); reducing the deficit (38%); and lowering taxes (36%), the GMA survey found.

“We must stop passing the torch among stakeholders to fix the recycling system — we need strong, uniform guidelines to bring about substantive change,” says GMA President and CEO Geoff Freeman. “The consumer packaged goods (CPG) industry is making huge strides in improving the recyclability of its products. Our industry will do more and can do more with a functional system, but our best efforts cannot be enough on their own.”

The current recycling system in the United States consists of more than 9,800 individual programs, each with its own myriad rules and policies. Even though 96% of respondents with access to curbside recycling report that they participate, most people have no idea that recycling is different across thousands of cities and counties, GMA says, noting just under one-third (32%) were correct that rules vary by city or county; others assumed recycling rules were set at the state (31%) or national (20%) level.

Consequently, most Americans (77%) view recycling as a public service, not a business. Eighty-three percent believe that tackling plastic and packaging waste is an opportunity for the federal government to lead, GMA says.

In addition, 73% of Americans do not feel the government is doing enough now, GMA adds. While Americans agree that the federal government is best positioned to lead on recycling, all stakeholders must be at the table to find a solution, according to the survey.

The survey found creating uniform standards is the first step in creating behavior change — a resounding 93% of Americans believe national standards will alleviate confusion and 95% would change how they recycle if they found out they were doing something incorrectly, GMA says.

“The CPG industry, packaging material manufacturers, waste haulers, recycling processors and state and local governments must collaborate with federal policymakers to find a workable solution for our country and our planet,” says Meghan Stasz, GMA vice president of packaging and sustainability. “Without clear guidelines to empower consumers with the right information, recycling will continue to erode.”

To view the survey, visit reimagine.gmaonline.org/wpcontent/uploads/2019/11/RecyclingReport11.11.pdf.

CMN


China, U.S. trade officials keep talks open on ongoing issues

Nov. 29, 2019

WASHINGTON — A statement from China’s Commerce Ministry released this week indicates Chinese and U.S. trade officials are in communication to try to reach consensus on outstanding issues in the first phase of negotiations in the ongoing trade war.

Liu He, China’s top negotiator on trade, spoke with U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer and Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin on Tuesday morning, China’s Ministry of Commerce said in an online statement.

“The two sides discussed how to resolve each other’s core concerns, reached consensus on how to resolve related issues, and agreed to maintain communication on the remaining issues in the first phase of agreement negotiations,” the statement says.

The two countries had been set to meet this month to discuss a deal on tariffs at the APEC summit in Chile before it was canceled due to concern over protests in several Chilean cities.

Gao Feng, spokesperson for China’s Ministry of Commerce, says the economic and trade teams from both China and the United States have maintained close communication.

“If the two parties reach the first phase agreement, they should cancel the tariffs according to the content of the agreement and the ratio,” he says. “China’s position on tariff issues is consistent and clear. The trade war starts with the addition of tariffs and should also be terminated by the elimination of tariffs.” (See “United States, China talk tariff rollback amid reports of ‘constructive’ discussions” in the Nov. 8, 2019, issue of Cheese Market News.)

CMN


USDA issues second tranche of MFP payments to farmers

Nov. 22, 2019

WASHINGTON — U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue late last week announced the second tranche of 2019 Market Facilitation Program (MFP) payments aimed at assisting farmers suffering from damage due to trade retaliation by foreign nations.

Producers of MFP-eligible commodities now will be eligible to receive 25% of the total payment expected, in addition to the 50% they already have received from the program.

“This second tranche of 2019 MFP payments, along with already-provided disaster assistance, will give farmers, who have had a tough year due to unfair trade retaliation and natural disasters, much-needed funds in time for Thanksgiving,” Perdue says.

President Donald Trump directed Perdue to craft a second relief strategy to support American agricultural producers while the administration continues to work on trade deals. Specifically, the president authorized USDA to provide up to $16 billion in programs, which is in line with the estimated impacts of retaliatory tariffs on U.S. agricultural goods and other trade disruptions, USDA says.

In May, Perdue announced these actions to assist farmers in response to trade damage from unjustified retaliation and trade disruption:

• MFP for 2019, authorized under the Commodity Credit Corp. (CCC) Charter Act and administered by the Farm Service Agency (FSA), is providing $14.5 billion in direct payments to producers.

• CCC Charter Act authority also is being used to implement a $1.4 billion Food Purchase and Distribution Program through USDA’s Agricultural Marketing Service to purchase surplus commodities affected by trade retaliation such as milk, fruits, vegetables, some processed foods, beef, pork, lamb and poultry for distribution by USDA’s Food and Nutrition Service to food banks, schools and other outlets serving low-income individuals.

• CCC has used its Charter Act authority for $100 million to be issued through the Agricultural Trade Promotion Program (ATP) administered by USDA’s Foreign Agriculture Service to assist in developing new export markets on behalf of producers.

Dairy producers who were in business as of June 1, 2019, will receive a per-hundredweight payment on Dairy Margin Coverage production history, and hog producers will receive a payment based on the number of live hogs owned on a day selected by the producer between April 1 and May 15, 2019.

MFP signup at local FSA offices will run through Dec. 6, 2019.

The announcement on the second round of MFP payments comes on the heels of the release of a report last week by Senate Democrats showing that in the wake of uncertainty created by recent trade disputes, the $25 billion in first-round mitigation payments to help farmers has been distributed unevenly across the country, benefiting some regions more than others. (See “Senate Democrats release report on effects of trade aid payments, ‘winners and losers’” in last week’s issue of Cheese Market News.)

U.S. Sen. Debbie Stabenow, D-Mich., ranking member of the Senate Ag Committee, issued a statement last week saying the second round of MFP payments does not address the inequities laid out in the report.

“While farmers need help to weather the administration’s trade uncertainty, the payments continue to favor certain farms over others. I urge the administration to make improvements that will provide certainty for farmers that need help the most,” Stabenow says.

USDA says a third tranche of MFP payments will be evaluated as market conditions and trade opportunities dictate. If conditions warrant, the third tranche will be made in January 2020. The first tranche was comprised of the higher of either 50% of a producer’s calculated payment or $15 per acre, which may reduce potential payments to be made in tranche three, USDA says.

MFP payments are limited to a combined $250,000 for non-specialty crops per person or legal entity. MFP payments also are limited to a combined $250,000 for dairy and hog producers and a combined $250,000 for specialty crop producers. No applicant can receive more than $500,000. Eligible applicants must also have an average adjusted gross income (AGI) for tax years 2015, 2016 and 2017 of less than $900,000 unless at least 75% of the person’s or legal entity’s AGI is derived from farming, ranching or forestry-related activities.

For more information, visit www.farmers.gov/manage/mfp.

CMN


Kentucky, Tennessee hope to slow dairy decline, up interest

Nov. 22, 2019

Editor’s note: In our series, “From Cow to Curd: A Look Across the Nation,” Cheese Market News takes a look at the cheese and dairy industry across the United States. Each month we examine a different state or region, looking at key facts and evaluating areas of growth, challenges and recent innovations. This month we are pleased to introduce our latest states— Kentucky and Tennessee.

By Rena Archwamety

MADISON, Wis. — Though far from being major dairy states, Kentucky and Tennessee are in some ways ideal settings for dairy farms. Both have four seasons that don’t get lasting cold spells or extended heat or drought like other parts of the country. A long growing season and adequate rainfall allow many farmers to grow their own inputs, and major population centers provide plenty of demand.

“Historically, Tennessee was a large state for dairy production,” says Jessica Carter, director and professor of animal science, Middle Tennessee State University School of Agriculture.

Carter notes that like many states, Tennessee has lost a number of dairy farms in the last few years due to loss of milk contracts and low milk prices. Currently there are 189 dairy farms in Tennessee (184 cow dairies) and 29 licensed dairy processing facilities, according to the Tennessee Department of Agriculture. USDA reports Tennessee milk production was 634 million pounds in 2018, down 8.5 percent from 2017. General Mills has a major Yoplait plant in Murfreesboro, Tennessee, while the recently-bankrupt Dean Foods processes milk and ice cream at Purity, Country DeLite and Mayfield facilities in the state. Minnesota-based Bongards’ Creameries also has a cheese plant in Humboldt, Tennessee. However, Carter says some of the local processors bring in milk from elsewhere.

“Tennessee is pretty big in the processing area, but we have farms here locally that are unable to access (much of) that market. They bring milk in from farms from other states,” she says, adding that infrastructure also has declined and fluid milk prices haven’t increased much for farmers over the past several years. “It’s been a good region for dairy production. Farmers would like to get back into business if they have the market.”

Kentucky has just less than 500 dairy farms in the state, which range from Amish or Menonite farms milking about 50 cows each to large dairies with more than 1,000 cows. Milk production in Kentucky totaled 1.01 billion pounds in 2018, USDA reports, down 3.2 percent from the previous year. According to the Kentucky Department of Agriculture, there are 19 dairy processors in the state. Commercial fluid milk processors include Borden’s, Prairie Farms/Southern Belle and Kroger’s Winchester Farms. Bluegrass Dairy & Foods operates two large dairy ingredient plants. Bel-Kaukauna and Saputo operate specialty plants in the state, and Dippin’ Dots makes its cryogenically-frozen ice cream there as well.

• Supportive programs

The Kentucky Dairy Development Council was formed in 2005. Its activities are funded partly through tobacco settlement funds that the state directs each year to agricultural diversification grants, and partly by fluid milk processors and other sponsorships. The council provides dairy consultants throughout different regions in the state and has helped improve quality and efficiencies in the dairy industry.

“We have a young dairy initiative, and a lot of farm meetings throughout the state,” says H.H. Barlow, executive director, Kentucky Dairy Development Council. “One of our main purposes is to educate and improve practices, try to make dairy more sustainable. The key for all of our programs is to make farmers more profitable.”

Kentucky dairy farms used to face a lot of quality issues, Barlow says. But since 2008, they have cut the average somatic cell count for milk in half — from 437,000 to now less than 200,000. Collaboration with consultants and university experts through the Dairy Development Council over the last 14 years also has helped raise annual milk production per cow from 13,000 pounds to nearly 19,000 pounds, he adds.

Market conditions have left Kentucky dairies in “survivability mode” in recent years, Barlow says, but he sees potential for expansion in the future. Kentucky has plenty of land available since many of its tobacco farms took government buyouts. A recent survey from the Dairy Development Council shows fewer farmers planning to exit the business than in recent years, and there is a strong group of next-generation farmers on almost all of the state’s larger dairies.

“We need more production from our farmers, need our dairies to expand, or attract new dairies into our state,” Barlow says. “If certain factors could be changed — I think we need co-ops to find a way to help us expand in this part of the world some. I know it’s real easy to pick up three or four loads of milk a day in Michigan above us, or in Wisconsin. I think we could have many, many dairies here.”

Tennessee’s dairy producers also have a support network through the industry and state government. The Tennessee Dairy Producers Association (TDPA) was created in 2009 as an organized group to represent dairy farmers in the state. Since then, TDPA members from across the state have met with legislators on the state and national levels, provided input to allied industries and worked to curb the decline in Tennessee’s dairy farms. Dairy farmers also can participate in state programs for cost sharing and innovation, and the University of Tennessee Extension’s Center for Profitable Agriculture offers a value-added dairy program to advise on milk processing enterprises.

Last year, the Tennessee Department of Agriculture launched an official Tennessee Milk logo to help market milk that is entirely sourced, processed and bottled in Tennessee. Middle Tennessee State University was one of the first producer/processors to use the logo on the milk produced from its 100-cow dairy and processed on-campus.

“We sell every drop of what we produce; we’re just limited on what we can process,” Carter says, noting that farmstead processing operations have found ample support in their communities.

She points to Hatcher Family Dairy, a farm that in 2007 started bottling its own milk to stay in business, and has grown into a successful enterprise.

“Another alumni also is starting a dairy processing facility in a neighboring county, and I don’t think they’ll have any problems selling their product. There does seem to be good support for local,” she says.

• Added value

Sequatchie Cove Creamery, Sequatchie, Tennessee, has found both local and national success with its farmstead raw milk cheeses, and now its owners are looking to expand production using milk from other local dairy farms.

“I feel very fortunate to be a dairy farmer in Tennessee. It can be a very hard position to be in, but it’s a privilege,” says Padgett Arnold, who co-owns the creamery and dairy herd with her husband and cheesemaker Nathan Arnold.

The Arnolds first started working with the vegetable gardens and CSA program at Sequatchie Cove Farm, owned by four generations of the Keener Family. They eventually transitioned to the farm’s livestock and launched the cheesemaking operation in 2010, gradually expanding and developing a milking herd to suit the needs of the creamery.

Sequatchie Cove is best known for three award-winning cheeses: Shakerag Blue, a Blue cheese wrapped in fig leaves marinated in Chattanooga Whiskey; Dancing Fern, a soft, washed rind Reblochon-style cheese; and Cumberland, a Tomme-style natural rind cheese that showcases flavors of the milk from the creamery’s pasture-grazed cows.

“Our customer base quickly became larger than our immediate area,” Arnold says. “We focused on selling to more distributors and wholesalers instead of farmers’ markets. What we’ve learned over the past decade, and the direction we’re headed now, is something we never saw ourselves getting into, but it’s very exciting.”

As demand continues to grow for Sequatchie Cove Creamery’s products, the Arnolds have decided to temporarily shrink their herd and dry off the cows over the winter, saving on inputs while pasture is unavailable. They plan to buy milk from other local dairy farmers to continue year-round cheesemaking and expand production. While they still plan to make raw milk cheeses from their own milk, they also are installing a pasteurizer that will allow for more production volume and new types of cheeses that aren’t required to age as long and appeal to more mainstream retailers and consumers.

“We’re excited now, not only about the different types of cheeses and new customer base, but also partnering with other farms and helping to keep dairies in business. That’s a really big deal,” Arnold says.

“The trend we’ve seen for some time is everyone going out of business,” she says. “We can help preserve those dairy farms, maybe make them better, make all of us a little more profitable. It’s really our big, long-term mission. We’re here to stay in Tennessee. We’re not going anywhere. This is our home.”

CMN


Milk production in major states increases 1.7% over prior year

Nov. 22, 2019

WASHINGTON — Milk production in the 24 major milk-producing states during October totaled 17.30 billion pounds, up 1.7% from October 2018’s 17.01 billion pounds, according to preliminary monthly data released this week by USDA’s National Agricultural Statistics Service (NASS). (All figures are rounded. Please see CMN’s Milk Production chart.)

September revised production in the 24 major states, at 16.84 billion pounds, was up 1.7% from September 2018. The September revision represented an increase of 7 million pounds or less than 0.1% from last month’s preliminary production estimate.

Production per cow in the 24 major states averaged 1,964 pounds for October, 33 pounds above October 2018, NASS reports. The number of milk cows on farms in the 24 major states was 8.81 million head, 1,000 head less than October 2018, but 5,000 head more than September 2019.

For the entire United States, estimated milk production during October totaled 18.11 billion pounds, up 1.3% from October 2018.

Production per cow in the United States averaged 1,941 pounds for October, 33 pounds above October 2018. The number of milk cows on farms in the United States was 9.33 million head, 40,000 head less than October 2018, but 5,000 head more than September 2019.

California led the nation’s milk production with 3.41 billion pounds of milk in October, 2.8% more than the previous year. Production per cow averaged 1,975 pounds, 60 pounds more than a year earlier. The state was home to 1.73 million dairy cows, 5,000 head less than October 2018 but unchanged from September 2019.

Wisconsin followed with 2.57 billion pounds of milk, a 1.0% increase from its production a year earlier. Wisconsin cows averaged 2,025 pounds of milk in October, 30 pounds more than in October 2018. The state was home to 1.27 million dairy cows, 6,000 head less than in October 2018 but unchanged from a year earlier.

CMN


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Today's Cheese Spot Trading
December 9, 2019


Barrels: $2.0800 (-14 3/4)
Blocks: $1.9700 (NC)


Click here for more market activity
Cheese Production
U.S. Total Oct.
1.130 bil. lbs.


Milk Production
U.S. Total Oct.
17.299 bil. lbs.

Guest Columnist

Dairy’s future is CDR innovation

John Umhoefer, Wisconsin Cheese Makers Association

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