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Dairy sector, Feeding America
partner to get milk to families

December 9, 2016

By Stephanie Awe

MADISON, Wis. — The dairy industry works with Feeding America in a number of ways to raise awareness and provide milk to those in need both during the holidays and year round.

About 46.5 million Americans — including 12 million children — rely on Feeding America food banks, according to a 2014 study from Feeding America.

The Great American Milk Drive, a collaboration between the Milk Processor Education Program (MilkPEP), the National Dairy Council (NDC) and Feeding America, is one effort in which milk makes its way to families who are at risk of hunger nationwide.

The program, initiated by MilkPEP and launched in April 2014, ties into the organization’s “Milk Life” campaign, which encourages consumers to drink fluid milk and make it accessible to everyone.

“We want everyone, every day, to power themselves with a glass of milk,” says Melissa Malcolm, director of national sales and field marketing, MilkPEP.

The Great American Milk Drive accepts donations, which go toward milk vouchers given to those who visit Feeding America’s food pantries. One voucher, good for 60 to 90 days, can be used at any retail store across the country for one free gallon or half-gallon of white milk, Malcolm says. Vouchers can be used for any milk brand and any milkfat level to accommodate to an individual’s preferences, she adds.

The drive recently secured one million gallons of milk for delivery to Feeding America’s food bank network since its inception in 2014.

“I think it’s exciting — I think we still have a long way to go, though,” says Janet Bremer, a dairy farmer and producer in Hastings, Minnesota, who donates to the drive regularly.

Bill Deutsch, co-owner of Deutsch Farms, Sycamore, Illinois, who serves on the corporate board for Midwest Dairy Association and is an advocate for food security, agrees.

“I think it’s a great milestone,” he says. “I think that by no means should it be the end ... it just allows us to continue a wonderful program.”

Malcolm notes the milestone marks the progress the program has made since it started.

For example, the program has refined vouchers so they are easier to use, including offering bilingual vouchers for Spanish-speaking consumers, she says.

In addition, the program has increased retailer participation. Starting with zero retailers at its inception, the Great American Milk Drive had 14,000 retail stores run programs for the drive in 2016 alone, Malcolm says.

“It’s a pretty overwhelming feeling that we’re able to give so much back to Feeding America,” Malcolm says.

And, while the one-millionth gallon is a milestone, there still is more potential for further growth, says Tab Forgac, vice president of health and nutrition partnerships, NDC.

“It’s a definite win-win,” she says. “The whole country has learned about us as a dairy industry and wants to do more with us.”

• Broad impact

The drive provides access to milk to 200 Feeding America food banks across the nation, according to Malcolm. MilkPEP and NDC work together to send milk vouchers to the food banks, which then distribute the vouchers to about 60,000 Feeding America food pantries, she adds.

The two organizations also work together to raise funds as well as to coordinate retail partnerships and regional events for the drive, Malcolm says.

The drive utilizes the message “Feed a Childhood” to promote providing children with the nutrients they need to live an active lifestyle, Malcolm says. Milk contains nutrients that non-perishable foods commonly found at food pantries may not provide — such as calcium, vitamin D, potassium and protein, she adds.

The milk, which is oftentimes rare to come by in food pantries, helps complement shelf-stable food that is more likely to be donated, Forgac says.

“(Clients) are over the moon because they don’t usually get milk,” she says, adding that recipients know the value and nutrient quality of the product and are thrilled to receive a gallon of milk to give to their families.

Malcolm adds that some food banks, which are larger distribution hubs for food pantries, are getting refrigerated storage, and the drive is able to provide these facilities with fresh milk. For food banks that do not have refrigerated storage, milk vouchers fit the way many food banks currently operate, she says.

Forgac says that she is unaware of another program like the Great American Milk Drive. With the voucher, many concerns associated with fresh milk donations are avoided.

“Milk is perishable, it’s heavy, it needs refrigeration,” Forgac says, noting that the program’s voucher eliminates the worry about refrigerating and transporting milk to food pantries.

• Consumer, retailer participation

The drive aims to make donating simple by accepting online payments at
Malcolm says donations of $5 or more are accepted, which are sent to a donor’s local food bank using the billing address linked to their payment.

“It was essential that when we made this program, that donations stayed as local as possible,” Malcolm says.

In addition to accepting online donations, the drive invites retailers to host programs that encourage consumers to donate toward the cause without the retailer having to allocate additional funds, Malcolm says.

Instead, consumers can purchase something from the retailer for their families, and those funds go toward a donation to the drive, Malcolm says.

Walmart, for example, is one retailer hosting a promotion for the drive by donating milk to Feeding America for M&Ms purchased at its stores through Dec. 25, according to Malcolm.

Another current promotion is through, a gift service based in Westerville, Ohio. By purchasing a cookie basket to send as a gift to friends or family, 15 percent of the sale’s net proceeds go to the drive, Malcolm says. Real-time retailer promotions can be found at, she adds.

Other retailers participating throughout the year include Kroger and Jewel-Osco, Forgac adds.

• Future plans

MilkPEP and NDC plan to secure more donations of milk for families at risk of hunger until the need for milk in food banks is solved, Malcolm says.

Forgac adds that the drive is piloting a milk purchase model with 13 of Feeding America’s food banks, where the food banks purchase milk from local milk companies. If implemented, this option would complement the program’s existing donation system. The model could only be implemented at food pantries that have milk storage capabilities.

In addition to the milk-focused program, Forgac adds that NDC is working with Feeding America to look for ways to make other dairy products available at food banks. For example, food banks may someday be able to purchase or get donations of cheese or yogurt as well as milk.

• Holiday donation

Another cause has helped get milk to those in need during the holidays. Through its DFA Cares Foundation, Dairy Farmers of America (DFA), a national farmer-owned dairy cooperative, recently donated about 4,300 gallons of milk to the Capital Area Food Bank in Washington, D.C., which is part of Feeding America’s network.

In the months of November and December, the region often has excess milk due to holiday closures, according to Jennifer Huson, director of Northeast Area communications, DFA, East Syracuse, New York. In response, the Northeast Area of DFA sought a way to utilize the excess milk in the region and make an impact in the fight against hunger for the holiday season.

“Our dairy farmer members feel passionate about us seeking ways to make an impact on fighting hunger,” Huson says.

The milk donation, which was processed at DFA’s Dairy Maid Dairy plant in Frederick, Maryland, was picked up by representatives of the Capital Area Food Bank Nov. 29.

The milk is expected to help feed more than 540,000 adults and children served by the food bank, according to DFA.

The food bank does not often receive fresh milk by the truckload, making this donation special, says Hilary Salmon, director of communications, Capital Area Food Bank.

“We’re really working hard to supply (families) with good food that contributes to health,” she says.

The Northeast Area of DFA, which is one of seven areas in DFA, continues to explore future opportunities to donate over the Christmas holiday; it is actively pursuing partners and talking about options, Huson says.

“We know the holiday time tends to be an important time for food banks, and lots of people are looking for donations,” she says.



Both bold, mild flavors make
Brie suitable for all occasions

December 9, 2016

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

By Stephanie Awe

MADISON, Wis. — Brie, a soft-ripened cheese, is believed to have originated in Meaux — a village in north-central France, says David McCoy, managing director, Dairy Insights LLC, Muskego, Wisconsin.

In the United States, Brie is made similarly to Camembert, another soft-ripened cheese. However, Brie is typically larger in size, lower in moisture and higher in fat content. Because of the lower moisture, Brie is slightly firmer than Camembert when young in age, McCoy says.

While they do not have unique standards of identity in the United States, Brie and Camembert are covered by Title 21 of the Code of Federal Regulations under §133.182: Soft ripened cheeses. According to the regulation, these cheeses may not contain less than 50 percent milkfat.

Brie and Camembert use Penicillium camemberti, Penicillium conidium and Penicillium caseicolum as characterizing ripening cultures, McCoy adds. These molds form a white, leathery mycelium that covers the outside of the cheeses. Since the mold grows only on the outside of the cheese, it may be added with a lactic culture or applied to the outside of the cheese just before ripening, according to McCoy.

“(The molds’) enzymes permeate into the cheese, allowing ripening from the outside in — which means that the area just below the rind may have more flavor and be softer than the center in a cheese that is not fully ripened,” McCoy says.

Traditionally, raw milk was used in the making of Brie because the cheese was consumed while it was relatively fresh. However, pasteurized milk always is used in the United States today because the Brie cannot be held for the 60 days FDA requires for unpasteurized cheeses, McCoy says.

When making the cheese, milk may be set with a mixture of mesophilic and thermophilic cultures and coagulant. The curd, which is fragile, then is cut into large cubes and carefully ladled into forms, McCoy says. Next, the curd drains for 15 to 20 hours, during which the cultures reduce the pH of the cheeses.

After draining, the cheese is lightly salted in brine or dry salted before it is ripened for about one week at 55 degrees Fahrenheit. Then, the cheese typically is packaged for sale and moved to refrigerated storage, McCoy adds.

At Old Europe Cheese Inc., Benton Harbor, Michigan, each lot of Brie is graded before packaging to ensure the cheese is at its optimum, according to Michael Balane, national sales manager, Old Europe.

In addition, the company utilizes modern technology but follows traditional practices when making Brie, Balane says. This involves self-incubating cultures, as well as hand-cutting, hand-forming and hand-turning the cheese.

“If you modernize it too much, (the cheese) loses its flavor,” Balane says.

• Applications and trends

In France, Brie is considered a breakfast cheese, served with a croissant or fresh bread, according to McCoy. In the United States, it has a myriad of applications.

For example, it commonly is used as a dessert or party cheese, McCoy says.

“It is a great conversation starter… ‘Do you eat the rind?’ ‘What is that?,’” he says.

Zoe Brickley, director of sales and marketing at Jasper Hill Farm, Greensboro Bend, Vermont, says a classic use for Brie is spreading it on a baguette with arugula and ham. She adds there has been growing interest in pairing the cheese with wine and beer to highlight the cheese’s taste and aroma without embellishment.

Jasper Hill offers a variety of Brie-style cheeses that range from mild and versatile to bold and flavorful, serving best as either an ingredient or as a standalone piece.

One of the company’s Brie-style bloomy rind cheeses is its Moses Sleeper — named after a Revolutionary War scout. It is the company’s most classic and straightforward approach to its Brie-style cheeses, so it does well in foodservice, Brickley says.

The company also offers its Weybridge, an organic, lactic-set and hand-ladled Brie style that has a chalky texture like fresh chevre, Brickley says. The cheese’s 4-ounce button format makes it a great grab-n-go choice for retail shops that do not have a service counter, she adds.

Another variety, Harbison, is a more flavorful Brie style the company offers, Brickley says. Wrapped with a strip of spruce bark harvested from trees in the area, the cheese has a “woodsy” aroma. The spruce wrapping technique is inspired by Jura Mountain traditions like Vacherin Mont d’Or or Petit Sapin, Brickley says.

Because of its flavor, Brickley says the company’s Harbison often is used as a standalone cheese at restaurants.

Brickley adds that Jasper Hill’s Brie-style varieties are designed to be more volatile and constantly developing. Therefore, timing ripening with shipping so that the cheeses arrive on counters just before peak ripeness can be tricky.

“The tradeoff is you get more complexity of aroma,” she says.

Alouette Cheese USA LLC, New Holland, Pennsylvania, offers its double crème Brie in addition to its crème de Brie. The crème de Brie is spreadable and available in several flavors including Original, Garlic & Herbs and Smoky Bourbon, as well as Black Truffle for the holidays, according to Jeff Magnuson, associate brand manager, Alouette, who oversees the company’s domestic cheese.

He adds that Alouette’s Brie is mild and creamy.

“One of the great characteristics of Brie is its versatility,” he says. “Pairing Brie with fruits, chutneys, nuts, honey, etc. all are easy and delicious options.”

Old Europe also offers a number of Brie varieties.

Along with its triple crème, double crème and single crème Brie varieties, Old Europe offers a triple crème Brie layered with herbs, a double crème Brie with herbs and a double crème Brie with peppercorns, Balane says.

The company also introduced baked Brie about four years ago, Balane says. The cheese consists of Brie with brioche pastry dough wrapped around the cheese before it is baked, and it is available in Plain; Cranberries, Apricots & Almonds; Apple & Cinnamon; Blueberries & Vanilla; and more.

Balane adds that he has noticed Brie being used in many melting applications, such as soups and sauces.

“Plus, if one has not enjoyed a baguette with roasted turkey, cranberry chutney and Brie melted over the top, you are missing one of life’s simple pleasures,” he says.

• Retail sales

In the United States, Brie volume sales increased 0.6 percent in retail within the latest 52 weeks ending Oct. 30, 2016 (fixed weight only, total U.S. multi-outlet and convenience stores), according to Information Resources Inc. (IRI) data courtesy of Dairy Management Inc. Its retail sales appear to be on a steady rise, with a 12.6-percent increase over the last five years.

Brie exhibited a strong seasonal sales increase during the Thanksgiving and Christmas holidays in the latest 52 weeks ending Oct. 30, 2016, according to the data. This spike coincided with price reductions.

Unflavored Brie accounted for the vast majority of Brie retail sales in the 52 weeks ending Oct. 30, 2016, according to the IRI data. Among the top flavored varieties by volume, cranberry and cranberry combinations are growing, IRI says.

The share of Brie private label to national brands is low at 8.5 percent, compared to natural cheese with about a 46-percent private label share. However, Brie private label share has grown 1.5 percentage points from 7 percent in 2012, whereas natural cheese declined by 1 point, according to the data.

• Innovations and marketing tactics

While many Brie varieties are made from cow’s milk, Brie also can be made from goat’s and sheep’s milk, according to the Code of Federal Regulations.

Montchevre, Rolling Hills Estates, California, is one company that offers a goat’s milk Brie called Cabrie, available nationwide in foodservice and retail.

“Our goat milk Brie is very mild in flavor, making it the perfect cheese for someone who might be a more timid goat cheese consumer,” says Melanie Considine, marketing manager, Montchevre, adding that it offers a “discrete goat milk tang and fruity notes” as well as health benefits that cow’s milk may not necessarily offer.

As Cabrie ages from outside in, it develops stronger earthy accents and becomes creamier, Considine adds.

In addition, the company recently introduced new packaging to reflect Cabrie’s approachability, according to Considine.

“Being that our Brie is very mild and can be used as a diverse ingredient, we wanted to make sure that our label was warm and welcoming,” she says.

Old Europe Cheese also is working on a new Brie flavor for 2017, although the flavor has not yet been decided, Balane says.

The company has been experimenting with several options, including chipotle and Asian herb, building on spice herb trends that the American palate is seeking, Balane says. The flavor would be either layered in the center of the Brie or put directly into the vat during production.

Alouette, in addition to offering domestic Brie under its own brand name, recently assumed responsibility for importing Brie varieties and other specialties from France, which had previously been handled by another importer, says Sebastien Lehembre, senior brand manager, Alouette, who oversees the company’s imported cheese. Brie imports include brands such as Ile de France and Le Rustique, he says.

The decision to take on imports was a strategic one, allowing for growth in brand recognition as well as full quality control of the products, Lehembre says.

Lehembre adds that Brie is very competitive. Brie sales — while little distinction between domestic and imported from a consumer standpoint — are growing, he says, and it appears consumers are eager to try it; this growth also is seen by Magnuson, who oversees the company’s domestic cheese.

“We certainly have seen a growing demand in the United States for soft-ripened cheeses,” Magnuson says. “More and more American consumers are becoming familiar with these specialty cheeses … We are working to help educate consumers about Brie in hopes that they will give the cheese a try so they can see how delicious and versatile our Brie really is.”



Total cheese production
up 0.5 percent in October

December 9, 2016

WASHINGTON — Total U.S. cheese production, excluding cottage cheese, in October was 1.033 billion pounds, 0.5 percent above October 2015’s 1.027 billion pounds and 4.8 percent higher than the 985.3 million pounds of cheese produced in September 2016, according to recent data from USDA’s National Agricultural Statistics Service (NASS). (All figures are rounded. Please see CMN’s Dairy Production chart.)

On an average daily basis, taking the length of the months into account, October production was up 1.4 percent from September.

Mozzarella continues to be the most-produced cheese variety, despite production falling 0.4 percent in the October-to-October comparison to 340.8 million pounds.

Italian-type cheese production, of which Mozzarella is the largest component, was up 1.0 percent in the October-to-October comparison to 442.3 million pounds.

October production of Cheddar rose 0.2 percent from a year earlier to 279.5 million pounds, NASS reports. Total American-type production, of which Cheddar is the largest component, was 398.0 million pounds in October, 1.4 percent higher than a year earlier.

Wisconsin led the nation’s cheese production with 269.6 million pounds in October, up 0.9 percent from its production in October 2015. California followed with 211.5 million pounds, up 6.6 percent from its production a year earlier.

The next four cheese-producing states in October were Idaho with 81.9 million pounds, up 2.2 percent from its production a year earlier; New York with 73.9 million pounds, down less than 0.1 percent; New Mexico with 63.0 million pounds, down 0.7 percent; and Minnesota with 53.5 million pounds, down 3.3 percent.

NASS reports total U.S. butter production in October was 143.0 million pounds, down 3.6 percent from October 2015’s 148.4 million pounds. October butter production was up 5.2 percent from September 2015’s 135.4 million pounds (up 2.3 percent on an average daily basis).

California led the nation’s butter production with 42.2 million pounds in October, up 1.2 percent from its production in October 2015.


CME delays launch of electronic
dairy spot call to Jan. 9

December 9, 2016

CHICAGO — The Chicago Mercantile Exchange (CME) Group this week announced it is delaying the transition of the CME Dairy Spot Call to the electronic CME Direct Auction Platform to Jan. 9, 2017.

CME in September announced that beginning in December, it would transition the Dairy Spot Call for daily price discovery in physical dairy markets to an electronic, transaction-based auction, which can be accessed through the CME Direct Auction Platform. Ultimately, this will replace the physical spot market held via a limited open outcry session on the company’s Chicago trading floor that currently facilitates price discovery, trading and delivery of dairy products, CME says. (See “CME Dairy Spot Call will go electronic in December” in the Sept. 30, 2016, issue of Cheese Market News.)

The launch originally was set for Monday, Dec. 5, 2016. CME says it is delaying the implementation to Jan. 9 to ensure a seamless transition for its customers beginning with NDM.

According to HighGround Dairy, Chicago, CME says during last week’s live testing, a critical issue was discovered that could have jeopardized the integrity of the market. CME is delaying the launch to fix the programming issues.

HighGround notes CME will continue offering mock testing in its “new release/test” environment on Tuesdays and Thursdays at 2 p.m. and 2:15 p.m. Central over the next month to allow users and traders the opportunity to continue learning the ins and outs of the software.

For more information, contact the CME Global Command Center at 800-438-8616 (United States), +44-20-7623-4747 (Europe) or +65-6532-5010 (Asia), or email


Nasonville Dairy runs its first milk through new advanced Feta plant

By Kate Sander

MARSHFIELD, Wis. — After months of planning and construction, this month Nasonville Dairy begins making cheese at its new Feta plant.

The space reconfiguration and outfitting of new equipment at Nasonville Dairy’s main plant just outside of Marshfield, Wisconsin, will allow the company immediately to increase its Feta production — currently about 20 million pounds annually — by 10 percent. Further production increases will be possible in the future.

“Feta is where we see a lot of growth occurring,” says Ken Heiman, who manages the family-owned business along with his brothers Kelvin and Kim.

However, the biggest advantage of the new plant isn’t increased production but rather high quality, more consistent product, Ken Heiman says. With the company’s products sold nationally and internationally for use in foodservice and private label, consistency from one batch to the next is key. It’s what customers demand, he says.

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USDA: U.S. dairy export value
soars over 10-year period

December 2, 2016

WASHINGTON — A growing demand for dairy worldwide as well as changing policies of the United States and its trading partners have supported rapid growth in U.S. dairy exports since the early 2000s, according to a recently-published report from USDA’s Economic Research Service.

The report, “Growth of U.S. Dairy Exports,” notes that growth in the value of U.S. dairy product exports more than quadrupled from 2004 to 2014. The United States, which previously focused primarily on domestic demand, became the world’s third-largest dairy product exporter behind New Zealand and the European Union.

USDA notes that several factors contributed to the rapid increase in U.S. dairy exports. Income growth in East Asia, Southeast Asia, Latin America and other regions led to increased dairy consumption, facilitated by rising imports. Free trade agreements also provided the United States with greater access to world markets, especially to Mexico through the North American Free Trade Agreement. China’s market-based reforms have opened up what is now one of the world’s largest markets for dairy product imports, and both the European Union (EU) and United States have reduced domestic support and export subsidies for dairy products in recent years, further opening world markets.

Mexico consistently has been the leading export destination for the United States, the report says. The growth in value of U.S. dairy exports to Mexico was the greatest of any major export destination, increasing $787 million from 2004 to 2015. Canada was the second-leading destination for U.S. exports in 2015. Increases in dairy exports to China and South Korea each grew by about sixfold over this period, while dairy exports to Japan and the Philippines also increased significantly, USDA says.

While increasing demand from foreign countries has been important to the growth of U.S. dairy exports, USDA notes that structural changes in domestic supply conditions also have played an important role. From 2004 to 2015, U.S. milk production grew from 170.8 billion pounds to 208.6 billion pounds, driven by improved milk yields and larger, more efficient dairy farms.

Since 2003, prices of U.S. domestic dairy products and export prices in Oceania and the EU have tended to converge and become more correlated, reflecting changes in government policies, USDA says. The improved price competitiveness of U.S. dairy products, greater market access, reductions in U.S. and EU support measures, and growing world demand have led to rapid growth in U.S. dairy product exports.

However, the value of U.S. dairy exports fell in 2015 to $4.9 billion, a 28-percent decrease from 2014, as global conditions changed. Growth in global demand for dairy products, especially from China, had slowed. In August 2014, Russia imposed a ban on dairy imports from several countries, driving the EU to export to alternative markets in competition with the United States. In April 2015, the EU discontinued its milk supply quotas and EU dairy farmers increased their milk production, boosting exports and crowding out dairy product imports from the United States. The value of the U.S. dollar also was strong relative to other currencies, causing U.S. exports to be less attractive.

The United States produces and exports a large variety of dairy products, though four categories — cheese, skim milk powder, whey products and lactose — accounted for about 80 percent of the total value of dairy exports in 2015. In terms of value, cheese was the top U.S.-exported dairy product in 2015, growing from $248 million in 2004 (valued in 2015 dollars) to $1.388 billion in 2015.

USDA projects U.S. milk production to grow about 23 percent from 2015-2025. Continued expansion of U.S. milk production and strong international demand are expected to allow U.S. dairy products to remain price competitive on the global market, USDA predicts.

“Future growth in dairy trade is contingent on the ability of U.S. producers to remain cost competitive with foreign suppliers while increasing milk supply and encouraging favorable government policies around the globe,” the report says, adding that new trade agreements may play an important role in the future evolution of U.S. dairy trade.

In a May 2016 report, the U.S. International Trade Commission estimated that if the Trans Pacific Partnership (TPP) were to become effective in 2017, by 2032 the value of U.S. dairy product exports would be 18.0 percent greater than they would be if TPP were not enacted. However, U.S. President-elect Donald Trump has promised to pull out of the TPP when he takes office.

The USDA report also says U.S. dairy trade could increase under the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP) currently under negotiation between the United States and EU. In 2010, tariffs applied by the United States to EU dairy imports averaged 20.2 percent, while tariffs applied by the EU to U.S. dairy imports were much higher at 42.0 percent.

“While benefits for U.S. dairy exports would vary based on a final agreement, the TTIP would impact global trade by linking two of the world’s largest traders of dairy products,” USDA says.



Milk Source expands east,
purchases Lamagna Cheese

December 2, 2016

By Alyssa Mitchell

KAUKAUNA, Wis. — Milk Source LLC recently finalized the acquisition of Lamagna Cheese Co. in Verona, Pennsylvania.

Milk Source, based in Kaukauna, Wisconsin, was co-founded in 1999 by Jim Ostrom, John Vosters and Todd Willer — each from multi-generational Wisconsin farm families — and traces its roots back to 1965 when a small 30-cow dairy farm was started in Freedom, Wisconsin, by Vosters’s parents.

Milk Source operates dairies in Wisconsin and Michigan, producing milk that is used to make cheese, butter and other dairy products. In addition, Milk Source also has a Wisconsin calf farm and a heifer-raising facility and a business in Kansas, according to Jim Ostrom, partner and CEO.

With this latest acquisition, the company now is expanding its operations further east, says Ostrom, noting it is the company’s first acquisition in Pennsylvania.

Lamagna is a family-owned Italian cheese company which learned the art of cheesemaking in Italy before bringing those skills to the United States in 1928. The company produces Lamagna brand Ricotta, Fresh Mozzarella, shredded and Feta cheeses for the dairy industry as well as sliced Mozzarella and Provolone for the deli sector.

Ostrom says the like-minded cultures of the two family-owned operations and Lamagna’s size make the acquisition a great fit for Milk Source.

“We’re excited to continue to invest in the dairy industry and to now have a great brand of Italian products under our umbrella,” he says, adding that the marketplace access to the East Coast is a great opportunity for Milk Source.

Ostrom notes Lamagna cheese will continue to operate in Pennsylvania, and the employees and family members are staying on as part of the acquisition. Milk Source also plans to hire additional employees.

“We’re really enthusiastic about this brand and the family tradition of Lamagna,” he says, adding that as Milk Source continues to grow, the company hopes to make further acquisitions in the future.



Lanco Dairy now operating
in former Saputo facility

December 2, 2016

By Stephanie Awe

HANCOCK, Md. — Lanco-Pennland Quality Milk Producers, a Hagerstown, Maryland-based cooperative, started operations in a plant this past summer in Hancock, Maryland.

The cooperative purchased the plant in 2015 following the plant’s closure in 2014. The facility, previously owned by Saputo, is now operating under the name Lanco Dairy LLC, and Pennland Pure is the brand the cooperative will be developing, according to Lanco-Pennland.

When Saputo closed the plant, the cooperative and other regional handlers faced challenges with where to send milk. Because of a shortage of manufacturing facilities on the East Coast, a lot of milk was dumped, according to Kurt Williams, general manager, Lanco-Pennland.

Because of this, the cooperative purchased the plant to add capacity to the area, Williams says. The plant receives milk from Lanco-Pennland producers as well as other cooperatives in the area.

The cooperative has invested $25 million into the plant’s renovations, which include the addition of new equipment — such as silo capacity of 300,000 gallons and a cow water recovery system with UV treatment — as well as 5,000 square feet of new building space with an expanded packing area, Williams says.

In addition, the plant has added three cheese towers that will allow for production of hard cheeses, including Cheddar, Parmesan, Asiago and others, according to Williams. The cooperative aims to commission the cheese towers by the end of the year, he says.

The plant offers milk separation and condensing services and currently produces Mozzarella and Provolone cheeses.

Williams expects the plant will handle 1.2 million pounds of milk per day upon completion of the plant’s first phase of renovations, he adds.

Some cheeses will be going to pizza distributors and shredders along the Mid-Atlantic region, while some will be sent to converters and foodservice, Williams says.

The plant, which currently has 50 employees, expects to expand to about 100 employees. About 30 staff members who worked at the former Saputo plant are employed at the plant under its new name, according to the cooperative.

“I’m very grateful and appreciative of returning staff that worked for Saputo,” Williams says. “We were really able to hit the ground running with a team of employees.”

Williams says that, while the cooperative processes conventional milk, the plant is certified organic and will produce some organic products as well. He also says he hopes the plant will earn SQF certification in the first quarter of 2017. He adds he expects the plant will add additional vats and increase milk intake in 2018, going from 1.2 million pounds per day to 1.6 million pounds per day.


Product seized from Valley
Milk due to Salmonella

December 1, 2016

STRASBURG, Va. — FDA this week announced that the U.S. Marshals Service seized more than 4 million pounds of product produced by Valley Milk Products LLC, Strasburg, Virginia. The company is owned by the Maryland and Virginia Milk Producers Cooperative Association Inc., Reston, Virginia. The seized products include nonfat dry milk (NDM) powder and buttermilk powder packaged in 40- and 50-pound bags for further manufacturing, worth nearly $4 million.

The U.S. Department of Justice filed a complaint, on behalf of FDA, in the U.S. District Court for the Virginia Western District, alleging that the seized products are adulterated under the Federal Food, Drug and Cosmetic Act.

During an FDA inspection of Valley Milk from July to September 2016, FDA investigators observed poor sanitary practices and reviewed the company’s records, which showed positive results for Salmonella in the plant’s internal environmental and finished product samples, FDA says.

FDA investigators observed residues on internal parts of the processing equipment after it had been cleaned by the company and water dripping from the ceiling onto food manufacturing equipment. In addition, environmental swabs collected during the inspection confirmed the presence of Salmonella meleagridis on surfaces food came into contact with after being pasteurized, FDA says.

Throughout the investigation, FDA worked closely with the Virginia Department of Health and Virginia Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services.

“The FDA urged Valley Milk to conduct a voluntary recall of the implicated products,” says Melinda K. Plaisier, FDA’s associate commissioner for regulatory affairs. “The firm refused to recall and, as a result, we have had to intervene and seize this adulterated food to prevent it from reaching consumers who could be exposed to Salmonella from these products.”

FDA used a bacterial typing tool called whole genome sequencing (WGS) to link the samples collected in the facility over time, the agency notes. WGS technology can show the relationship among isolates of bacterial pathogens found in the environment, a food source or a person who became ill from consuming contaminated food. The sampling results indicate that the Salmonella strains from 2016 are nearly identical to Salmonella strains found at the company in 2010, 2011 and 2013, FDA says. These findings of Salmonella meleagridis at the company dating back several years demonstrate the existence of a persistent strain of Salmonella at this facility, the agency adds.

Valley Milk is not currently producing dry powdered milk products. No illnesses linked to Valley Milk products have been reported to date.

Amber Sheridan, corporate communications director for Maryland and Virginia Milk Producers Cooperative Association, says Valley Milk Products is working with FDA to resolve any concerns related to milk powder recently placed under hold by the government.

“Multiple tests conducted by third parties on the milk powder have been negative for the presence of Salmonella,” the cooperative says. “There are no reported illnesses related to this issue, and consumers and customers are not being asked to take any additional action. Out of an abundance of caution, we have not produced any dry milk powder at Valley Milk since the FDA initiated its inspection in late July. We are confident in the work of our farmers, our dairy industry and government regulators that allows us to continue to produce a safe and nutritious product for our customers.”

Sheridan adds that delivering safe and nutritious milk powder for use in food manufacturing is the top priority for Valley Milk Products.

“It is important to note that Valley Milk tests all finished product prior to sale,” she says. “All product sold has tested negative for Salmonella. In light of the FDA’s concerns, we have retested the powder in the warehouse and all tests are negative for Salmonella.”

She adds that the product on hold will remain on hold until there is an agreement reached by Valley Milk and FDA on what can be done with the powder.


Industry eyes new strategies
amid truck driver shortages

November 25, 2016

By Alyssa Mitchell

MADISON, Wis. — Trucking is the No. 1 method for moving dairy products domestically, but projected truck driver shortages, regulatory issues and other factors could hamper the industry’s ability to efficiently move fresh product in the years ahead.

A truck driver shortage has been an ongoing issue in the transportation industry that is expected to worsen in the foreseeable future, says the American Trucking Associations (ATA), an advocate for the trucking industry since 1933.

According to ATA, a deficit of 48,000 drivers is expected as the new year approaches. If the current trend continues, the organization predicts that the shortage will surge to almost 175,000 by 2024.

While retiring truck drivers — the average age of a truck driver is 49 — are the factor behind nearly 45 percent of all new hires, ATA says this shortage is not simply one in which the numbers don’t add up. Instead, the quality of applicants is not up to par with minimum industry standards.

In addition, the industry is facing challenges attracting newer, younger drivers, says Rodrigo Suarez, economic analyst with ATA.

Suarez notes potential truck drivers must be 21 to get their commercial driver’s license, so a lot of 18-, 19- and 20-year-olds will turn to other industries such as construction or the U.S. Army where they can obtain employment right away. It also costs about $4,000-$6,000 to be trained and obtain a commercial driver’s license.

In addition, new hires tend to get longer routes and hauls, a lifestyle that many are not willing to consider, he says.

Meanwhile, ATA’s “U.S. Freight Transportation Forecast to 2027” projects growth in overall freight volumes.

“As we continue to see growth in the overall economy — particularly due to manufacturing, consumer spending and international trade — we will also see increases in the amount of freight moved in America’s trucks,” says Bob Costello, ATA chief economist.

Inventories are at an all-time high, Suarez adds. ATA projects that truckload volumes will grow 2 percent annually between 2016 and 2022 and 1.6 percent per year after that until 2027. Private carrier volumes are projected to grow 2.3 percent annually until 2022 and 2.1 percent each year over the next five years.

“We do know as long as our economy continues to grow, trucks will continue to move the vast majority of America’s goods, underscoring our industry’s critical role in our country’s future,” says Chris Spear, ATA president and CEO.

Hill Pratt, senior vice president of business development for, a provider of market intelligence and software-as-a-service solutions, notes that the driver challenge is about more than just the number of drivers available; it’s heavily influenced by two additional factors — new U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) regulations and changing quality-of-life expectations.

“A new regime of DOT regulations which limits hours of service and requires electronic logs means that drivers simply cannot continue to put in the very extended hours they often have historically,” Pratt says. “And the newer generation of drivers simply doesn’t want to — nor do they have to.”

Pratt says while the transportation industry initially reacted to the onset of the driver shortage by throwing money at the problem in the form of higher wages and signing bonuses, many transporters have come to recognize that protecting quality of life — providing a decent benefits package, getting drivers home at night and ensuring they have time with their families — is a more effective retention tool.

“Drivers who don’t like the demands placed on them by one carrier/hauler can easily find a more comfortable and pleasant situation elsewhere,” he says. “Many smaller outfits are having trouble competing, meaning that driver retention remains a major ongoing challenge for them.”

Chris Hoeger, CEO of Swiss Valley Farms, Davenport, Iowa, has experienced this first hand. The company has its own truck fleet and also works with independent contractors.

“About a year-and-a-half ago, we started to see a dramatic drop in (freight) employees. We ended up doing a double-digit increase in salary to retain staff,” Hoeger says.

Still, truck driving is not a glamorous career to most, Hoeger adds. “The pay isn’t where it used to be, and we’re seeing an uptick in costs.”

He notes that regional transport is not as much of an issue, but for those traveling long distances, there is a gap in available drivers.

Hoeger says some of Swiss Valley’s product is distributed by rail from Chicago to ports for export, but most of the company’s cheese is distributed by truck on a regional basis for cut and wrap in Wisconsin and nearby areas.

However, with a large number of drivers set to retire over the next decade, “it’s getting tougher and tougher to find qualified drivers,” he adds.

Meanwhile, as some of Swiss Valley’s farms have grown, many are hauling their own milk to market, Hoeger says.

“I think more producers will do it on their own as costs continue to increase,” he says.

“I really think in the dairy industry we’re headed down the path that if a dairy farm isn’t shipping a load of milk as it’s available, they will have a hard time getting it to market,” he adds. “Maybe not today, but five or so years from now.”

Kelly Navin, manager of transportation services at WOW Logistics, Appleton, Wisconsin, says she has noticed capacity is tight for trucks going outbound in Wisconsin, and loads have increased significantly over the past couple of months.

Navin says one of the main challenges WOW faces with its customers is matching price points with carriers and haulers.

“Carriers know they are in high demand and can charge more,” she says. In addition, it’s helpful for customers to be flexible with hauling dates as there have been challenges in matching specific dates with available fleets, due to both freight availability and increasing dairy supplies, she adds.

Hoeger notes a positive is that the dairy industry has historically been able to adapt to market challenges like this.

“We’re always creative and innovative about addressing challenges,” he says.

He recommends that companies evaluate where their shipping channels are and the resources that are available and what the outlook is for the trucking company with which they’re working.

Navin reiterates that flexibility is helpful as well as building a reputation as being “carrier-friendly.”

“It helps if companies offer flexible shipping hours. Drivers want to keep moving,” she says. “Try to develop a reputation of being an easy company to do business with, and they will want to work with you and offer a better rate.”

Pratt says if the dairy industry could do one thing to help ensure that its transporters will be there to service the industry in the future, it would be to focus on eliminating delays.

A recent dairy hauler survey showed that while shortage of drivers, new regulatory requirements and increasing driver wages all are important challenges, the single-highest challenge was plant delays.

“Why? Because plant delays make every other challenge far worse,” he says.

Delays also can lead to detention charges, which are penalty charges against shippers or consignees for delaying carrier’s equipment beyond allowed time. Pratt recommends that shippers pay detention charges if they do not already.

“Not only does this help transporters compensate and retain drivers, but, while paying detention is painful, it is that pain that motivates shippers — and plants, particularly — to solve the problems that cause delays,” he says.

Pratt notes that dairy is inherently tougher on drivers than other industries.

“Cows insist on making milk every day of the year, and limited tank, silo and cold storage capacity, plus perishability/shelf life concerns, mean that product simply has to move regardless of weather, holidays or any other factor,” he says. “Drivers will almost certainly continue to be lured away to other sectors that are more accommodating to lifestyle.”

To help address this, Pratt recommends shippers evaluate their operations and make the process changes and investments to help transporters operate in a way that enables them to take care of their drivers and avoid unnecessary costs.

“Finally, it behooves shippers to treat their carriers as partners,” Pratt says. “Listen to them, take action and recognize that being good to haul for is a real competitive advantage in this era.”

Suarez says because there is no one cause of the driver shortage, there is no one solution. But driver pay increases, more at-home time, a lower driving age and better treatment by the supply chain all could help to ease the burden.

He notes that autonomous commercial trucks eventually could have a positive impact on the driver shortage, but the industry is still years away from truly driverless Class 8 trucks running on the highway as a normal part of the industry.

“Today, even though the technology is available, there are numerous limiting factors that prevent it from being used by carriers,” Suarez says. “Eventually, one could envision an environment when the longer, line-haul portion of truck freight movements are completed by autonomous trucks and local pick-up and delivery routes are completed by drivers. However, motor carriers should not count on this being an option for some time.”



Tradition of innovation helps
boost dairy in the Netherlands

November 25, 2016

Editor’s note: Passport to Cheese is Cheese Market News’ feature series exploring the dairy industries of nations around the world. Each month this series takes an in-depth look at various nations/regions’ dairy industries with coverage of their milk and cheese statistics and key issues affecting them. The nations’ interplay with the United States also is explored. We are pleased to introduce our latest country — The Netherlands.

By Rena Archwamety

MADISON, Wis. — The Netherlands is a small Western European country that is known worldwide for its picturesque windmills, colorful tulips, Golden Age painters and quality Gouda. The dairy industry has particularly benefited from Holland’s tradition of agricultural innovations and is an important part of the country’s economy.

“Dairy is a strong economic sector,” the Dutch Dairy Association (Nederlandse Zuivel Organisatie or NZO) says in its 2015 “Engine of the Economy” report. “Dairy farming and the dairy industry mean tens of thousands of jobs and billions in revenue. Even in times of economic crisis, the sector grows and companies invest.”

NZO reports that the country’s 18,000 dairy farms and 1.6 million cows produce 12.7 billion kilograms (28 billion pounds) of milk per year. The Netherlands accounts for 8 percent of Europe’s milk production — fifth behind Germany, the United Kingdom, France and Poland. Twenty-eight companies and 52 factories in the Netherlands process most of the country’s cheese, butter, pasteurized milk and milk powder, as well as produce high-grade proteins from whey for products like baby food and sports drinks.

The dairy sector comprises about one-sixth of the total Dutch food industry, and NZO says the sector’s growth has been robust despite the country’s recent economic challenges.

“The Dutch dairy sector is in relatively excellent condition: the country’s climate and soil are good for dairy cows and for the grass they eat, the Netherlands is strategically located in Europe, with good access to potential markets, and the logistics infrastructure here is first-rate,” NZO says in its report. “For the Netherlands, dairy is a logical choice.”

• Gouda quality

The most prevalent cheeses made in the Netherlands are Gouda and Edam, traditionally eaten in cheese sandwiches or in cubes. The International Dairy Federation reported in 2015 that annual cheese consumption in Holland was 20.1 kilograms (44.3 pounds) per capita.

“It’s always very simple. They have a sandwich, put butter on it and slices of cheese, and take it to work,” says Marieke Penterman, who grew up on a 60-cow dairy farm in Holland and now makes her signature “Marieke Gouda” in Thorp, Wisconsin. She and her husband Rolf, both dairy farmers, founded Holland’s Family Cheese in 2006.

“They eat a lot of cheese,” Penterman says. “They will cut up meat and cubes of cheeses to be passed along to visitors. As a child, I remember my mom would always have cubes of cheese in the living room.”

Creameries in Holland have started making their own signature cheeses, using different approaches to the traditional Gouda recipe, and these varieties often are enjoyed in the evening with a glass of wine, Penterman says. She adds that the U.S. specialty cheese movement has had some influence in Holland as well.

“People are starting to look a little differently at cheeses now,” she says. “They come experience the cheese world here in America, how people just live and breathe cheese. Cheesemongers are amazing at telling the stories, and people are so passionate about cheese. I think that has come a little more in Holland, too.”

A recent Euromonitor report on cheese in the Netherlands says the cheese category has been under pressure in 2016 as Dutch breakfast and lunch habits are changing.

“Cheese sandwiches used to be a staple for most households, but bread consumption is under pressure as consumers become more interested in alternatives to bread,” Euromonitor says, adding that there are, however, areas of growth. “Cheese which is consumed as a snack between meals and cheese consumed as tapas or a bar snack both recorded growth. Another area of growth is cheese used for cooking. Goat cheese and Mozzarella are two types of cheese which performed well due to this trend.”

Gouda Holland, which is registered as a PGI (protected geographical indication) cheese that can be made only in the Netherlands, has origins that stretch back to the Middle Ages and reached maturity as early as the 17th century “Golden Age,” according to its official PGI application. The name “Gouda” came from the town where this cheese was sold, and it later came to be associated with all full-fat cheeses produced in Holland and shaped like a flattened cylinder.

Today, Beemster is the No. 1 Gouda brand in Holland, the company says, as well as the official supplier to the country’s royal court. Beemster, which offers traditional aged and flavored Gouda varieties, also carries the PDO (protected designation of origin) label for North Holland Gouda, which is prepared from milk from the province of North Holland.

The CONO Kaasmakers cooperative, which supplies milk to Beemster, consists of 460 small dairy farms with an average of 100 cows per farm. The farmers graze their cows on the Beemster Polder, an area of land in North Holland that was reclaimed from the ocean in the early 1600s through the use of windmills and creating a land plan of fields, canals and dikes.

“There is a unique slate-blue clay in that area that is so incredibly mineral rich,” says a spokesman from Beemster. “The breeze from the North Sea carries salty air and leaves salt deposits on the grass, which adds more minerals. It makes for a very tender, high-mineral grass that ends up giving the milk and cheese its ‘terroir.’”

In addition to the terroir from mineral-rich grasses, Beemster cheeses are handcrafted and then aged in historic stone warehouses, some 300-400 years old, which impart unique flavor and aroma characteristics.

“The stirring of the curds is done by hand, and cheese masters every few minutes will squeeze the curds to see how far along they are,” the spokesman says. “What Beemster is most famous for, besides its intensity and uniqueness of flavor, is that it’s very creamy ... at higher ages, when the flavor is most robust, many Goudas tend to be drier, but ours is creamier.”

• World class

Beemster is one of a number of diverse national and multi-national companies with a large presence in the Netherlands and abroad. NZO notes that FrieslandCampina, a cooperative of 19,000 member dairy farms and one of the world’s five largest companies in the dairy industry, is headquartered in Holland. France’s Danone, Switzerland’s Nestlé, Denmark’s Arla and Japan’s Yakult also have a large presence in the Netherlands. In addition to Beemster/CONO and FrieslandCampina, other major cheesemakers include Bel Leerdammer, DOC Kaas, De Graafstroom and A-ware Food Group.

Euromonitor reports that in 2015, the Netherlands exported $6.87 billion worth of dairy products. NZO notes that around half of the country’s dairy exports are cheese and that the Dutch dairy sector trades with more than 150 countries around the world. With 29 percent of product value traded outside of Europe (2014), NZO adds that the Netherlands is the largest dairy exporter of dairy products from inside the European Union to outside the EU.

According to data from USDA’s Foreign Agricultural Service, the United States imported 15,987 metric tons (35.2 million pounds) of cheese, valued at $89.2 million, from the Netherlands in 2015 — up 38 percent by volume and 18 percent by value compared to 2011.

Penterman says she has seen a large increase in Gouda’s popularity since she came to the United States 13 years ago.

“I remember when I told my neighbors I was thinking about starting to make Gouda, I had to explain Gouda to them because some were not familiar with it,” she says. “They asked, ‘Do you have enough Dutch people around who will eat this?’”

Now, she says, Gouda is so familiar in the United States that it’s even showing up on fast-food burgers.

“I’ve seen Gouda really expand, getting name recognition a little more,” she says.

Gouda varieties from the Netherlands and the United States have received plenty of recognition at cheese contests in recent years. FrieslandCampina’s Vermeer, a reduced-fat, reduced-salt mature Gouda made in Steenderen, Netherlands, won top prize at the World Championship Cheese Contest in 2012. The following year, Penterman’s Wisconsin-made Marieke Mature Gouda won the U.S. Championship Cheese Contest. And in this year’s World Championship Cheese Contest, FrieslandCampina’s North Holland Gouda Extra Special Old was named second runner-up overall.

Penterman, who worked as a farm inspector in Holland before moving to the United States, notes that Holland has very strict rules for farms and milk quality, such as a lower somatic cell count limit than there is in the United States. Additionally, she says, milk that is older than two or three days is not allowed to be used in cheesemaking.

“Holland has a top-quality product. They really have made the most of it, and it really has put them on the map,” Penterman says.

• Supportive climate

Penterman and her husband moved to the United States to start dairy farming because many of the regulations as well as limited farmland made it difficult for dairies to expand in Holland. However, she says Holland has a great climate and infrastructure to support the dairy industry.

“Winters are not as cold. The seasons are milder, so they can grow grass and feed,” she says. “It’s a very progressive country, and they have very good technology and infrastructure for dairy.”

NZO notes that one drawback of the Dutch dairy sector is the relatively high price and cost of producing milk. In the future, NZO says, Dutch dairy companies will need to be cost efficient and offer high added value.

NZO also says the Dutch dairy sector has room to grow, and that between 2013 and 2015, the dairy industry invested 2 billion euros (US$2.1 billion) in new factories and expansions of existing factories. In 2013, FrieslandCampina and Danone both opened new centers for innovation in the Netherlands. Beemster also recently opened a new dairy facility about two years ago to help increase its efficiency.

“The new dairy is the greenest, most sustainable dairy in the world. It uses renewable energy and materials,” Beemster’s spokesman says, adding that the company needed special permission to build on the Beemster Polder, which is a UNESCO World Heritage site. “The new dairy has a slightly greater capacity, but not dramatically so. We find if you go to massive production, quality gets compromised, and that’s the one thing you don’t want to happen.”

Other entities that help support Holland’s dairy infrastructure and growth are top dairy research institutions, such as Wageningen University and Research Centre and Utrecht University, as well as financial institutions, notably Rabobank, which also contributes research to the dairy and ag sectors.

NZO notes that in 2013, Rabobank loaned almost 12 billion euros (US$12.7 billion) to Dutch dairy farms.

“The Netherlands is a small country, but it has an excellent reputation in the field of agriculture and food production,” Rabobank says. “The Netherlands is considered to be one of the most productive and most efficient food producers in the world and often takes the lead in innovation.”



Milk production is up 2.7
percent in 23 major states

November 25, 2016

WASHINGTON — Milk production in the 23 major states during October totaled 16.49 billion pounds, up 2.7 percent from October 2015, according to preliminary data recently released by USDA’s National Agricultural Statistics Service (NASS). (All figures are rounded. Please see CMN’s Milk Production chart.)

September revised production in the 23 major states, at 15.97 billion pounds, was up 2.3 percent from September 2015. The September revision represents a decrease of 6 million pounds or less than 0.1 percent from last month’s preliminary production estimate.

Production per cow in the 23 major states averaged 1,903 pounds for October, 43 pounds above October 2015. This is the highest production per cow for the month of October since the 23-state series began in 2003, NASS says.

The number of milk cows on farms in the 23 major states was 8.67 million head, 31,000 head more than October 2015, but 2,000 head less than September 2016.

For the entire United States, milk production during October totaled 17.55 billion pounds, up 2.5 percent from October 2015. Production per cow in the United States averaged 1,880 pounds for October, 42 pounds above October 2015. The number of milk cows on farms in the United States was 9.34 million head, 15,000 head more than October 2015, but 2,000 head less than September 2016, according to NASS.

California led the nation’s milk production with 3.30 billion pounds in October, up 1.8 percent from its production a year earlier. Production per cow in California averaged 1,870 pounds, up 45 pounds from a year earlier. There were 1.77 million cows on farms in California in October, NASS says, down 11,000 head from October 2015 but unchanged from a year earlier.

Wisconsin followed with 2.49 billion pounds of milk in October, up 2.2 percent from its production a year earlier. Production per cow in Wisconsin averaged 1,950 pounds in October, up 45 pounds from a year earlier. There were 1.28 million cows on Wisconsin farms in October, down 2,000 head from October 2015 but unchanged from a month earlier.


Cheese stocks at end of
October are up 6 percent

November 25, 2016

WASHINGTON — Total natural cheese in cold storage was 1.22 billion pounds at the end of October 2016, 6 percent higher than the 1.15 billion pounds in cold storage at the end of October 2015 but 2 percent lower than the 1.24 billion pounds in cold storage at the end of September 2016, according to data released this week by USDA’s National Agricultural Statistics Service (NASS).

Natural American cheese in cold storage Oct. 31, 2016, totaled 729.9 million pounds, up 5 percent from October 2015’s 696.8 million pounds but down 2 percent from the 742.8 million pounds in cold storage Sept. 30, 2016.

Swiss cheese in cold storage totaled 24.2 million pounds Oct. 31, 2016, up 13 percent from the 21.4 million pounds in cold storage Oct. 31, 2015, but 7 percent lower than the 26.1 million pounds in cold storage Sept. 30, 2016.

Other natural cheese in cold storage totaled 461.5 million pounds at the end of October 2016, up 8 percent from Oct. 31, 2015’s 428.0 million pounds but 1 percent lower than the 466.6 million pounds in cold storage at the end of September 2016.

NASS reports butter in cold storage totaled 227.7 million pounds Oct. 31, 2016, 27 percent more than the 178.8 million pounds in cold storage at the end of October 2015 but down 15 percent from the 269.1 million pounds in cold storage at the end of September 2016.


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Today's Cheese Spot Trading
December 9, 2016

Barrels: $1.5775 (NC)
Blocks: $1.7100 (-1 1/4)

Click here for more market activity
Cheese Production
U.S. Total Oct.
1,032.557 mil. lbs.

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

Guest Columnist

Processed cheese:
A step up from natural

Tom Hand, Gilman Cheese Corp.

Top missteps that derail a deal

JBob Wolter, CBS-Global

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