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United States strengthens ties with partners across Pacific

November 25, 2022

WASHINGTON — U.S. leaders met with their international counterparts during summits held in Southeast Asia over the last past few weeks to strengthen ties and make new commitments on trade, infrastructure, sustainability and other areas.

At the 2022 G20 Summit that concluded last week in Bali, Indonesia, President Joe Biden, Indonesian President Joko Widodo and European Commission President Ursula Von der Leyen co-hosted a group of G20 leaders to demonstrate their shared commitment to depend engagement under the Partnership for Global Infrastructure and Investment (PGII) to accelerate investment in quality infrastructure in low- and middle-income countries around the world and strengthen the global economy.

PGII investments aim to create lasting positive impacts for partner countries, strengthen the resilience of communities and support inclusive, sustainable development as well as benefit partners’ economic security and global supply chains.

On the margins of the summit, Biden, Widodo and Von der Leyen met with leaders and ministers from Argentina, Canada, France, Germany, India, Japan, the Republic of Korea, Senegal and the United Kingdom to highlight PGII collaboration and support among like-minded partners globally. The leaders showcased the ways in which PGII partners are coming together to finance transformative infrastructure and to mobilize the private sector as drivers of quality global infrastructure and investment. This came at the end of a week of additional PGII project announcements by Biden, including at the United Nations Climate Change Conference (COP27), the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) Summit and in a bilateral meeting with G20 host Indonesia.

Also last week, economic leaders of the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) met in person for the first time in four years in Bangkok, Thailand. This year’s APEC theme was “Open. Connect. Balance.” and focused on three priorities: to be open to all opportunities, connected in all dimensions and balanced in all aspects, and to advance long-term robust, innovative and inclusive economic growth as well as sustainability objectives in the Asia-Pacific region.

The U.S. Department of State notes that through APEC, the United States seeks to advance a free, fair and open economic policy agenda that benefits U.S. workers, businesses and families. The 21 APEC member economies account for 38% of the global population and approximately 47% of global trade. As of 2021, fellow APEC members were the destination for more than 60% of U.S. goods exports, and seven of the top 10 overall trading partners for the United States are APEC members.

The United States will host the 2023 APEC meetings, and last Friday, Vice President Kamala Harris announced that the APEC Leaders Meeting will be held in San Francisco the week of Nov. 12. Earlier it was announced that the 2023 APEC Ministers Responsible for Trade meeting will be held in Detroit in May, while three APEC Senior Officials’ meetings will be held in Palm Springs, California, in February; Detroit in May; and Seattle in August.

“Our host year will demonstrate the enduring economic commitment of the United States to the Indo-Pacific,” Harris says. “As I have made clear throughout my time in Bangkok: under our administration, the United States is a strong partner for the economies and companies of the Indo-Pacific, and we are working to strengthen our economic relationships throughout the region, including by increasing two-way trade flows and the free flow of capital, which supports millions of American jobs.”

Meanwhile, on Nov. 12 in Phnom Penh, Cambodia, ASEAN member states met with the United States for the 10th ASEAN-U.S. Summit and established the ASEAN-U.S. Comprehensive Strategic Partnership. This partnership aims to open new areas of cooperation vital to the future prosperity and security of a combined 1 billion people and follow up on its implementation.

During the annual East Asia Summit in Phom Penh, Biden reaffirmed the United States’ commitment to the Indo-Pacific, with ASEAN at its center. The president reviewed efforts to deliver on his vision for an Indo-Pacific region that is “free and open, connected, prosperous, resilient and secure,” according to a White House readout of the summit.

Biden underscored his commitment to working with allies and partners to strengthen health systems, promote food security, address climate change and accelerate the clean energy transition. He also reviewed progress in developing an Indo-Pacific Economic Framework (IPEF) that the White House says provides “concrete benefits to all of its 14 members and drives enduring and broad-based economic growth throughout the Indo-Pacific.”

Australia has announced that the first in-person negotiating round for IPEF will take place in Brisbane, Australia, Dec. 10-15. The U.S. dairy industry has supported the IPEF and urged the Biden Administration to use it to ensure more open markets for U.S. dairy producers, as its participants include several top U.S. dairy markets.

The first in-person IPEF ministerial was held in Los Angeles in September. Assistant U.S. Trade Representative for Media and Public Affairs Adam Hodge says next month’s first in-person negotiating round will be an important opportunity to identify areas of consensus and continue developing IPEF pillars.

“The Indo-Pacific Economic Framework represents a foundational pillar of the Biden administration’s vision for an open, connected, prosperous, resilient and secure region,” Hodge says. “Along with our 13 partners, we are tackling challenges and opportunities facing the citizens and economies on both sides of the Pacific — including supply chains, clean energy, digital trade and sustainable agriculture, among other important issues.”


Dairy Sustainability Alliance discusses goals for the future

November 25, 2022

GLENDALE, Ariz. — Dairy industry leaders recently discussed how USDA Partnerships for Climate-Smart Commodities projects can help secure a climate-smart and profitable future for farmers during the Dairy Sustainability Alliance Fall Meeting.

The alliance, formed through the checkoff-founded Innovation Center for U.S. Dairy, consists of companies and organizations across the dairy community and others who want to contribute to dairy’s social responsibility journey. Nearly 300 industry stakeholders, including about 30 farmers, attended the Nov. 15 meeting.

Mike Haddad, who serves as chair of the Innovation Center for U.S. Dairy and chair of Schreiber Foods Inc., opened the meeting with a message of how industry unity and alignment on sustainability goals can help secure a bright future for dairy.

“What we’re truly, ultimately after is trust,” Haddad said in his remarks. “Nobody wants to consume our products just because we tell them, ‘these are so efficiently produced and we can’t believe the yields we got.’ They don’t care about that. What they want to know is that we took care of our animals, our earth and our communities along the way and we can prove it. It takes us all working together to do that.

“One of our Innovation Center guiding principles is that we are better together,” he added. “We will go faster by teaching and learning and challenging each other. As an alliance, we should share freely our best practices so dairy can be seen as a sustainability solution.”

The alliance meeting also provided insights into the USDA Partnership for Climate Smart Commodities grants that total up to $2.8 billion for 70 projects announced in September. The projects that include dairy will provide technical and financial assistance for farmers, support the development of expanded markets and revenue streams, and help the industry make progress toward its collective 2050 Environmental Stewardship Goals at the field and farm levels.

The meeting’s opening panel featured lead partners who previewed their projects and the goals they hope to achieve. The California Dairy Research Foundation, in partnership with 20 other organizations including Dairy Cares, was among the projects selected. Michael Boccadoro, executive director of Dairy Cares, said the project was selected to receive an approximate funding ceiling of $85 million that will be enhanced with an additional $40 million from the state of California. The project will support efforts to build climate-smart dairy markets and provide financial incentives for the state’s farmers to adopt manure management practices that reduce methane emissions and manage nitrogen.

“It’s a tremendous project that is going to build on and leverage the real unique efforts California has initiated in dairy methane reduction,” Boccadoro said at the meeting. “We’ve been working on this since 2016, and we have made tremendous progress reducing over 2 million metric tons of methane in the dairy sector.”

Another project led by Wisconsin-based Edge Dairy Farmer Cooperative was selected to receive an approximate funding ceiling of $50 million to expand climate-smart markets and establish dairy and sugar as climate-smart commodities through the implementation of new production practices.

Tim Trotter, CEO of Edge Dairy Farmer Cooperative, told attendees the co-op’s commitment to sustainable practices starts with farmer input.

“We are pleased to have a visionary membership who about six years ago decided sustainability is a topic we wanted to address,” Trotter said. “What we looked at was how can we build this from the ground up? We want the farmers to be centric in the conversation and be engaged with the conversation and make the best decisions for them, so we need to check all boxes.”

Lisa Watson, social responsibility officer for the Innovation Center, offered an update on the U.S. Dairy Stewardship Commitment, launched in 2018 to support farmers, cooperatives and processors who voluntarily work across the industry to advance sustainability leadership and transparently report progress. Commitment terms of adoption are reviewed every three to five years for consistency with the latest science, insight and priorities. Commitment adopters represent more than 76% of U.S. milk production.

Watson thanked the companies that are part of the commitment for “raising all boats for U.S. dairy.”

“The commitment helps us earn the trust of stakeholders, achieve aggregate reporting and demonstrate that U.S. dairy is a true global sustainability leader,” Watson said. “The metrics within the commitment are aligned with global standards and protocols that help us gain credibility for our work. Through the commitment, we can say with confidence that U.S. dairy farmers and processors are making a real difference and moving the needle toward achieving the Sustainable Development Goals of the United Nations.”

Other sessions at the meeting focused on:

• Scientific evidence that shows feed additives carry potential in reducing enteric methane emissions from dairy cattle.

• The checkoff’s work in helping to create a program that integrates agriculture literacy in national high school science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) standards.

• Dairy’s role in helping to nourish 34 million Americans facing food insecurity, including 9 million children, with insights from Feeding America leaders.

• How stakeholders across the dairy value chain are taking decisive action to improve water management in the face of economic and environmental uncertainties.

Following the alliance’s fall meeting, the Innovation Center for U.S. Dairy partnered with Field to Market to present the Sustainable Agriculture Summit, which featured more than 700 farmers, suppliers, processors, brands, academia, conservation organizations and the public sector.

The dairy industry was represented in several parts of the summit’s agenda, including a panel discussion moderated by New Mexico producer Tara Vander Dussen, who also is an environmental scientist and co-founder of Elevate Ag. The discussion centered on how Western farmers are advancing sustainability while highlighting challenges they face and the need for industrywide collaboration that can build economically viable pathways.


October milk production rises 1.4% vs. 2021 in major states

November 25, 2022

WASHINGTON — Milk production in the 24 major milk-producing states in October totaled 18.06 billion pounds, up 1.4% from October 2021, according to data released this week by USDA’s National Agricultural Statistics Service (NASS). For the entire United States, October milk production was estimated at 18.85 billion pounds, up 1.2% from October 2021. (All figures are rounded. Please see CMN’s Milk Production chart.)

NASS reports September’s revised production for the 24 major states totaled 17.50 billion pounds, an increase of 13 million pounds or 0.1% from last month’s preliminary production estimate.

October production per cow in the 24 major states averaged 2,021 pounds, 18 pounds more than October 2021 and 62 pounds more than September. For the entire United States, production per cow in October is estimated at 2,001 pounds, up 17 pounds from October 2021 and up 61 pounds from September.

NASS reports the number of milk cows on farms in the 24 major states was 8.93 million head in October, up 42,000 head from October 2021 and up 1,000 head from September. In the entire United States, there were an estimated 9.42 million milk cows in October, up 31,000 cows from October 2021 and up 1,000 cows from September.

California led the nation’s milk production in October with 3.43 billion pounds of milk, down 0.5% from October 2021. Wisconsin followed with 2.67 billion pounds of milk produced in October, up 0.6% from October 2021.


Murray’s Cheese gains international honors for Cave Aged collaborations

LONG ISLAND CITY, N.Y. — In its first year participating in the World Cheese Awards held last week in Wales, Murray’s Cheese won medals for all four cheeses it entered. Further accolades came when its Cave Aged Reserve Greensward — a collaboration with the Cellars at Jasper Hill — made it to the final round of 16 cheeses out of more than 4,000 entries from around the world.

“I’ve always had my eye on this contest. It’s a big deal, a big production, and lots of cheeses are entered,” says Peter Jenkelunas, director of affinage, Murray’s Cheese. “We decided to go for it and entered just a few cheeses this year, not the whole line of Cave Aged. The four cheeses that won were all we entered. It was intended to be a learning experience, and it worked out well for us.”

Murray’s Cave Aged Reserve Greensward, a spruce-wrapped round made by Cellars at Jasper Hill in Vermont and washed in cider by Murray’s team of affineurs, was awarded a “Super Gold” and was the only U.S. cheese to land in the top 16 at the contest. Greensward also won Third Place Best in Show earlier this year at the 2022 American Cheese Society competition.

Murray’s describes the cheese as having “a silky, oozing, spoonable paste that combines tastes of mushrooms and brandied cherries with woodsy, sprucy notes.” Greensward, which originally was created for the Michelin Star-rated New York restaurant Eleven Madison Park, currently is available exclusively through Murray’s New York City retail stores, website and several restaurants (though no longer at Eleven Madison Park, which has since switched to a vegan menu).

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U.S., global leaders discuss dairy’s role in climate crisis

November 18, 2022

SHARM EL-SHEIKH, Egypt — Government and industry leaders from around the globe recently gathered at the 2022 United Nations (UN) Climate Change Conference (COP27) in Egypt to take action toward achieving the world’s collective climate goals as agreed under the Paris Agreement and Convention.

Among those leading discussions at the conference were members of the U.S. agriculture and dairy industry. A high-level delegation co-led by U.S. Dairy Export Council (USDEC) President and CEO Krysta Harden and Dairy Management Inc. (DMI) Chair Marilyn Hershey showcased U.S. dairy’s key contributions to global climate and food security goals during the conference, which was held Nov. 6-18.

USDEC was a major contributor to the first-ever Sustainable Agriculture of the Americas Pavilion hosted by the Inter-American Institute for Cooperation on Agriculture (IICA), which convened panels that allowed producers, agriculture exporters, academics, dairy industry leaders, supply chain partners and senior government representatives to address COP27 negotiators and stakeholders. USDEC panels in IICA’s pavilion specifically focused on “Climate Smart and Sustainable Dairy Production” and “Sustainable Livestock: Part of the Solution to the Climate Crisis.”

In addition to engagement through the pavilion, at side events and in meetings with other COP27 participants, USDEC co-hosted with IICA a reception and dinner Nov. 10 that featured case studies demonstrating agriculture’s power as a climate solution through innovation, adaptation and productivity growth.

“At this pivotal moment for agriculture and climate, USDEC is honored to contribute to the global conversation on sustainability generated by COP. More importantly, COP27 is the perfect platform to share our ambitious commitments, celebrate progress and realistically communicate the hard work that remains to secure U.S. dairy’s critical role in a more sustainable global food system,” Harden says.

“We are proud of U.S. dairy producers’ progress and leadership thus far. But we know we can do more,” she adds. “Our goal is to supply a hungry world with nutritious, responsibly produced U.S. dairy By working with outstanding partners like IICA, we can sustainably keep agriculture in the Americas at the forefront of feeding a growing population.”

• USDA initiatives

U.S. Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack attended COP27, highlighting USDA’s initiatives and investments in climate-smart agriculture, including its domestic and international efforts to advance climate-smart dairy production. Among USDA efforts he highlighted were:

• Awarding more than $400 million for nine dairy-focused projects under the first round of Partnerships for Climate-Smart Commodities, which will help create additional revenue streams for U.S. dairy producers by developing markets for climate-smart dairy commodities and will help the U.S. dairy sector more effectively monitor, verify and report greenhouse gas reduction benefits; and

• Collaborating with the State Department, the UN Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), the Global Dairy Platform and the International Food Policy Research Institute to help mobilize $1 billion from the Green Climate Fund to accelerate sustainable dairy sector transformation in East Africa, Asia and the Americas as part of Pathways to Dairy Net Zero.

Also, Vilsack announced that USDA will add $300 million to its initial $2.8 billion investment in pilot projects on climate-smart ag production practices; that USDA will establish an International Climate Hub, modeled after USDA’s domestic Climate Hubs, to provide information and resources tailored to specific regions and needs; and that the United States will host the AIM (Agriculture Innovation Mission) for Climate Summit in Washington May 8-10, 2023, bringing together public- and private-sector partners from around the world to collaborate and further elevate work on climate-smart agriculture and food systems innovation.

“As we face down the dual crises of climate change and food insecurity, USDA recognizes that changes to our agriculture and food systems can only happen at the needed scale and speed if farmers are at the center of our solutions,” Vilsack says.

Vilsack hosted a Partnerships for Climate-Smart Agriculture panel, where panelist and National Farmers Union President Rob Larew highlighted NFU’s support for the USDA climate-smart agriculture pilots.

“Family farmers and ranchers have led the way in sustainable and innovative practices. The USDA climate-smart pilots will accelerate this good work by further leveraging the resources of private and public partners to even greater gains while keeping farmers and ranchers at the head of the efforts,” Larew says. “Secretary Vilsack and the Biden administration show the international community that agriculture can be part of the solution to the climate crisis while creating resilience for farmers. Voluntary, incentive-based measures that are science-based provide benefits to all.”

• Pathways to Dairy Net Zero

During a COP27 side event held last week, “The Global Dairy Sector’s Climate Ambition and Progress Towards Achievement of the Paris Agreement,” global dairy sector leaders announced progress of the Pathways to Dairy Net Zero (P2DNZ) climate initiative, which was launched last year.

P2DNZ is backed by more than 140 leading organizations and governments, including the 10 largest dairy companies in the world. Collectively, supporters represent more than 40% of global dairy production throughout the supply chain, making it one of the largest initiatives of its kind in agriculture.

“Dairy is a major force for good in the world, especially when you consider how the sector helps provide important nutrition to the hungry and malnourished and helps build strong, resilient economies,” says Hein Schumacher, chair of Global Dairy Platform, one of the founders of Pathways to Dairy Net Zero, and CEO of Royal FrieslandCampina. “By systematically introducing and enhancing climate action in global dairy systems, dairy is tackling the challenge and making progress in reducing our impact on the planet.”

Research commissioned as part of P2DNZ has identified six primary dairy production systems throughout the world: high-input high-output, medium-scale specialized, pasture-fed, smallholder specialized, smallholder dual-purpose, and pastoral and agropastoral. It also identified potential mitigation options and their estimated impact on emissions reduction.

The research is led by the Global Research Alliance on Agricultural Greenhouse Gases (GRA) in close collaboration with FAO. They have defined the composition of greenhouse gasses (GHGs) emitted by various dairy production systems around the world and learned there is variability by system. For instance, methane is a large proportion of GHGs in pastoral and agropastoral systems, driven largely by enteric fermentation. However, high-input high-output production emits a different mix of GHGs from not only enteric fermentation but also manure management, animal feed and energy use.

Although mitigation options will vary by each dairy production system, some of the primary pathways include improving animal health, increasing feed digestibility, enhanced manure storage and treatment, more efficient fertilizer use and the potential adoption of methane-inhibiting feed additives.

Many of the best practices that already have been developed are being implemented in emerging dairy countries, where approximately 80% of the global dairy sector’s emissions are generated. To help facilitate and accelerate these efforts, the global dairy sector, the Global Methane Pledge, FAO and others have invited 10 developing dairy countries to join P2DNZ as “early adopters.” These include Tanzania, Kenya, Rwanda, Uganda, Uruguay, Costa Rica, Colombia, Pakistan, Vietnam and India, which collectively represent more than 30% of the sector’s global GHG emissions. So far, all have accepted except for India.


FDA issues final traceability rule; food industry voices concerns

November 18, 2022

WASHINGTON — FDA this week issued a final rule on food traceability designed to facilitate faster identification and rapid removal of potentially contaminated food from the market, resulting in fewer foodborne illnesses and/or deaths.

Foods subject to the final rule requirements appear on the Food Traceability List (FTL) and include fresh cut fruits and vegetables, shell eggs and nut butters, as well as certain fresh fruits, fresh vegetables, ready-to-eat deli salads, cheeses and seafood products. The full FTL is available at

Cheeses specifically included on the FTL are fresh soft or soft unripened cheese; soft ripened or semi-soft cheese; and cheese made from unpasteurized milk, other than hard cheese. These do not include cheeses that are frozen, shelf stable at ambient temperature, or aseptically processed and packaged.

Those who manufacture, process, pack or hold foods on the FTL must maintain records including Key Data Elements (KDEs) related to Critical Tracking Events (CTEs) in the supply chain for the food. Covered entities — including farms, manufacturers, distributors, retail food establishments and restaurants — will be required to provide this traceability information to FDA within 24 hours of an official request or within a reasonable time to which FDA agrees.

The final rule provides full and partial exemptions for some entities and foods, such as certain small producers, small retail food establishments and restaurants, farms that sell food directly to consumers and foods that receive certain types of processing, among others.

The final rule aligns with current industry best practices and covers domestic firms, retail food establishments, restaurants and farms, as well as foreign firms and farms producing food for U.S. consumption.

For more information on the final rule, visit

FMI — The Food Industry Association issued a statement on FDA’s final rule on traceability, expressing concerns that its scope expands beyond FDA’s statutory authority.

“Since the proposed rule was released, we have continually urged FDA to release a supplemental rule rather than moving straight to a final rule given the volume and complexity of changes commenters urged FDA to make. We believed a supplemental rule was a critical step to ensure that a final regulation is consistent with the statutory mandate and realistic in terms of the ability of companies of all sizes to comply,” FMI says.

“It is already clear that implementation of the requirements in the rule will demand tremendous investments of time and resources across the entire food industry, and it looks like this rule significantly exceeds the statutory authority, both written and intended, by Congress,” FMI adds. “FMI and our members work every day to further strengthen the safety of our food supply and the continued rapid removal of any impacted products. This work needs to be done in the most efficient, consistent manner across all elements of the food supply chain with the least possible impact on food prices, greatest impact on results and consistency with the intent of the law passed in 2011. Based on our quick review of this incredibly complex rule, it does not accomplish this.”


UWRF announces Wuethrich Family/Grassland Dairy center

November 18, 2022

By Rena Archwamety

RIVER FALLS, Wis. — The University of Wisconsin-River Falls (UWRF) yesterday announced the establishment of the Wuethrich Family/Grassland Dairy Center of Excellence, which will provide new opportunities to students and industry professionals thanks to a $1 million investment from the Wuethrich Family Foundation and Grassland Dairy Products Inc.

This official naming of UWRF’s newly renovated and modernized dairy pilot plant, which is scheduled to launch operations in spring 2023, recognizes Grassland and the Wuethrich family as significant supporters of the project.

“It was really important to recognize the support of the industry. Grassland Dairy and the Wuethrichs have given a significant amount,” says UWRF Chancellor Maria Gallo. “They stepped up to the challenge and see the importance of this for our students and the industry.”

Including the Wuethrichs’ contribution, approximately $5 million in funding for the center has come from private grants or gifts in-kind. Approximately $3 million has come from state and UWRF funding, for a total of just more than $8 million for the entire project.

UWRF Dairy Plant Manager Michelle Farner notes that Grassland Dairy, along with the Wisconsin Cheese Makers Association (WCMA), were among the early supporters of the plant renovation from the time WCMA kicked off a fundraiser for the project in mid-2013.

“It’s absolutely an honor to be able to have a facility like this at River Falls for northwestern Wisconsin,” Farner says. “The dairy industry relies on this facility to provide opportunities, both for students and dairy professionals.”

When the Wuethrich Family/Grassland Dairy Center of Excellence comes online this spring, it will be able to offer new research opportunities and additional short courses with the new equipment. It also will provide employment opportunities for students to work in the facility as well as to do research with UWRF Assistant Professor Grace Lewis, who joined the faculty last year through funding from the Dairy Innovation Hub to specialize in dairy processing.

“I think it’s going to be a wonderful platform for students and for the industry alike to expand on their knowledge and gain hands-on experience necessary to hit the ground running for new positions, new hires as well as people retraining in the dairy industry,” Farner says.

Gallo adds that the new Wuethrich Family/Grassland Dairy Center of Excellence will provide valuable networking opportunities between students and dairy companies while supporting the dairy industry with opportunities to pilot difference projects and train employees. As the dairy industry is a major contributor to the state’s economy, she says UWRF wants to make sure they have the support they need.

“The dairy industry here deserves that, to have a state-of-the-art facility to train, and our students also deserve that support,” Gallo says. “We’ll supply our students and industry partners with the support and research to grow and develop. The generosity of the industry and the investments they have made will be well worth it.”


U.S. spot butter price declines from $3 level as buying slows

November 4, 2022

By Alyssa Mitchell

MADISON, Wis. — After a prolonged stretch of $3-plus spot butter prices at the Chicago Mercantile Exchange (CME), butter dipped below $3 per pound this week, plummeting 53 cents from Oct. 28-Nov. 2 before gaining back 16.25 cents to settle at $2.7725 today.

Dairy market analysts say the drop isn’t a total shock given U.S. butter’s premium to global prices, international competition and waning seasonal demand.

“Seasonally, the market is getting ready to turn the corner from its major demand period to inventory building mode,” says Phil Plourd, president of Ever.Ag Insights, Madison, Wisconsin. “Cream markets are starting to sag a little. That can always create a little downward pressure as we move into year-end. But it’s more dramatic when the starting point is over $3 per pound. We doubt anyone is excited to build stocks at that price point.”

Mike McCully, owner of The McCully Group LLC, South Bend, Indiana, says the order period for butter is mostly complete as orders had been pulled forward by some buyers back in the summer.

“The calendar was going to run out on the butter market at some point, and we reached that point this week as holiday orders got completed,” he says. “Butter manufacturers had no interest in building inventory at $3-plus, so the market went into freefall as buyers pulled back.”

McCully says he anticipates there will be some “fill-in buying on the way down, some in the low $2.60s” for butter, but more declines are expected.

“My forecast has been for $2.50 butter in December with prices eventually settling into a $2.20-$2.30 range in the first quarter of 2023,” he says.

Plourd says the butter trade story is going to be a “big deal” in the months ahead.

“Given how expensive U.S. butter has been, we expect to see imports of anhydrous milkfat accelerate while U.S. exports trend lower,” he says. “That should translate to more domestic butter production in early 2023, opening the door to more robust stocks building. That’s a reason to think prices won’t be as high next year.”

Sara Dorland, managing partner at Ceres Dairy Risk Management LLC, Seattle, says a strong U.S. dollar that continues to get stronger and the highest butter price in the world will work against U.S. exports and encourage imports. However, the recent price correction and drop in futures have helped make U.S. butter more competitive. In addition, reports from Europe indicate that butterfat is still snug globally, she says.

“That could help keep U.S. butter moving — especially within North America,” Dorland says. “There is a growing demand for butterfat — in cheese and other products like butter, cream, etc. With U.S. milk production unchanged to last year, that means that butter output could struggle to keep up with growing demand. Add to that Canada’s butterfat demand, and availability may trump exchange rates eventually.”

Meanwhile, dairy market participants have been grappling with a longtime inverted spread between CME Cheddar block and barrel prices that just recently corrected.

“The correction that started last week likely reflects the end of the burger and sandwich season and some moderation of exports as buyers slow purchases to manage a potential demand slowdown headed into next year,” Dorland says.

McCully notes there were multiple reasons for the inverted block/barrel spread, but supplies of barrels have increased in recent weeks.

“Looking ahead, a narrow spread is expected, with blocks over barrels,” he says, noting the inverted spread caused financial pain for block cheese plants, so the return to a more normal spread is welcome.

And while seasonal demand may be waning for butter, McCully says cheese demand usually hangs on until early January when orders are filled for the Super Bowl.

“Consumer demand will be closely watched after the holidays given increasing financial stress on households,” he says. “For the balance of the fourth quarter, my forecast has been for cheese prices near $2, give or take 5 to 10 cents. Demand should be good enough to keep prices above $1.90 into January, but then decline in the first quarter of 2023 into the $1.80s.”

Plourd says he would be surprised if things move in a straight line lower to a well-defined bottom, noting there are too many moving pieces, and seasonal forces aren’t totally exhausted.

“In our estimation, exports are the big wild card,” he says. “If shipments slow, we could see things take a more decided turn for the downside, with prices going lower and staying there longer. It’s hard to know what’s coming there. We’ve seen tremendous export volumes lately, but the global price landscape has changed in a way that makes the U.S. less competitive. Not uncompetitive, to be sure. But less competitive.”


Workshop offers insight into opportunities for dairy exports

November 4, 2022

By Rena Archwamety

SUN PRAIRIE, Wis. — Speakers from government and industry organizations and businesses that provide export services shared their insights on opportunities for Wisconsin dairy product exporters this week during a workshop held at the Hilton Garden Inn in Sun Prairie, Wisconsin.

The Wisconsin Cheese Makers Association (WCMA) hosted Thursday’s hybrid event, which also was presented online and was funded in part by a grant from the Wisconsin Initiative for Agricultural Exports (WIAE). This funding also will support new export services through WCMA, including free, one-on-one export consultations for Wisconsin dairy processors beginning this month, and an online library of export resources and forms that will be available in February.

Leading off the discussion was Megan Sheets, senior director of strategic development for the U.S. Dairy Export Council (USDEC), explaining how using real-time data and actionable insights can help exporters understand current demand and shape what dairy exports will look like in the future.

Combining custom research with other industry, government and syndicated data, as well as in-depth observations from subscriptions and USDEC’s 10 international offices, “we are able to find those consistencies and what are the global trends driving dairy consumption,” Sheets explained.

As U.S. suppliers have been exporting dairy products at record levels, Sheets noted that the market is experiencing a shift in overall demand dynamics, from supply-driven to demand-driven.

“We look at our competitors, not only on a regional basis, but looking at a corporate level and what strategies are being implemented,” she said. “Several of our competitors are implementing a demand-driven approach that affects what they research, product innovation, market investment and how they’re creating market differentiation. The shift from supply- to demand-driven will continue.”

Among the trends in consumer demand USDEC looks at in different global markets are taste and enjoyment, nutrition and wellness, and sustainability.

Currently taste is the No. 1 purchase driver of cheese in every market, and USDEC has commissioned custom research to uncover specific sensory attributes that consumers consider in “good tasting cheese.” For example, in Korea, a fresh, white, milky cheese with a soft texture is preferred, while in Saudi Arabia, consumers will eat more processed cheese sold in a jar or can.

Health and wellness are large trends domestically, while internationally, the focus is more on nutrition, Sheets says.

“Consumers manage stress with nutrition. There’s a growing demand and interest in proteins, which are not just about one benefit but overall,” she said, outlining how consumers choose protein for a vast amount of reasons from weight management to muscle, bone and joint health, providing advantages for products like yogurt, skim milk powder and milk protein concentrate. In some markets, “protein” is almost synonymous with “healthy.”

In addition to looking at consumer demand for taste and nutrition, USDEC also is looking at ways to engage consumers in U.S. dairy through technology and promoting sustainability.

“USDEC initiatives involve accelerating consumer engagement with technology to bring dairy’s story to consumers,” Sheets said. “They can download an app and see benefits of different U.S. cheeses, tips and different pairings. We look at these for solutions long-term, to bring the message of U.S. dairy, sustainability and innovations to consumers across the globe.”

The workshop also included a panel of presenters from organizations that can help dairy processors, particularly those in Wisconsin, who are interested in starting or expanding exports.

Lisa Stout, economic development consultant at the Wisconsin Department of Agriculture, Trade and Consumer Protection (DATCP), serves on the DATCP international agribusiness team, assisting with food and ingredient sales to areas such as Asia, Canada and the Middle East. She noted in her presentation that Wisconsin ranks fifth in the United States for dairy and dairy product exports, and first in the export of specialty cheese. She also explained that through new WIAE funding allocated by the Wisconsin legislature, the state now has $5 million that can be used for export promotion from 2022-2026.

Among WIAE activities planned are 2023 trade shows in the Middle East and Asia, an outbound trade mission to the United Kingdom next spring, inbound buyer missions as well as grant and scholarship opportunities for Wisconsin agribusinesses.

Liaison Manager Paul Weiss presented on services available from the Food Export Association of the Midwest, a private nonprofit trade association which partners with DATCP and helps direct interested exporters to available resources. He explained some of the resources from the Food Export Association, such as export education webinars and programs, opportunities to meet one-on-one with qualified buyers, assistance with market promotion, a branded program to assist in international marketing expenses and trade shows.

“The bottom line, whether you’re a small or large dairy producer, is just to be aware of the opportunities that are out there,” he told workshop participants. “There literally is a world of opportunity for exports. You don’t have to take on this endeavor by yourself. Just know that you have people on your side and programs. Don’t be afraid of international export opportunities. There’s so much support out there.”

In addition to learning about programs offering assistance, workshop attendees also heard insights from companies offering export services.

Ryan Wucherer, global director of sales and supply chain for MCT Dairies, leads a team that assists in buying and selling bulk products to and from various international markets. He outlined some key considerations when exporting products and ingredients, such as restricted or banned ingredients, labeling, documents and plant certification requirements and other topics.

“Building relationships internationally can take months and years, and many require multiple visits before getting an order,” he said. “Companies can take three to four years to accept who you are, and a lot of U.S. companies have to understand that, going to shows, meeting people.”

In a question-and-answer session, Wucherer noted that USDEC has done a great job promoting U.S. cheeses and building an international reputation for them. They have worked to get as many U.S. cheeses as possible to participate in international competitions, conducted trade missions and getting products out there for people in other markets to try.

He also addressed questions on the risks and benefits for companies selling directly overseas or working with trading partners such as MCT.

“If you’re selling to a trading company, as a partner, we want to be aligned with you, tell you who the customer is, bring them into your plant and work with the suppliers. We believe we would bring value because we pick it up at the door, shop it, cover insurance and travel to the customer several times a year and attend international food shows,” he explained. “If you have the right partner in a trading company that’s open and works with you, that’s a good way to start doing (export) business. Big companies doing it on their own might have a staff of 25 people doing exports. It comes down to how much value you see and if you want to put a team together.”

Kathy Parins, sales executive for international transportation services provider Hancock International, explained some of the key challenges of getting product physically from one point to another, including arranging quotes, bookings, availability of containers and chassis, pick-up and loading for the final shipment.

“I believe a lot of the solution is with communication and relationships,” she said. “We have to be proactive, reach out, get on the preferred list. We have steamship lines send weekly updates on what they’re looking for, or if they have a vessel in the area. Our role is that we have to have the relationships and communications with those steamship lines and truckers so we can engage with those people.

“It’s not always perfect — sometimes there are extra costs,” she added. “But it’s our job to communicate and let you know what’s going on and try to minimize the number of surprises.”


Swiss Gruyere named Champion at 2022 World Cheese Awards

November 4, 2022

NEWPORT, South Wales — A Le Gruyère Surchoix entered by Swiss cheesemaker Vorderfultigen and affineur Gourmino won top honor at the World Cheese Awards, organized by the Guild of Fine Food and held earlier this week at the international Convention Center in Newport, Wales.

The champion cheese topped a record-breaking 4,434 entries in this year’s World Cheese Awards and was described as a “Really perfect handcrafted cheese, smooth in your mouth and melting on your tongue” by Super Jury member Christian Zuercher from Mifroma. Runner-up went to a Gorgonzola Dolce DOP made by De’ Magi from Italy.

One U.S. cheese, Greensward from Murray’s Cheese, was among the top 16 cheeses to make the final round of judging. Super Gold awards, given to just one cheese per judging table, were awarded to Greensward as well as Murray’s Cheese’s Hudson Flower, Rogue Creamery’s Bluehorn Blue Cheese and The Farm at Doe Run’s St. Malachi Reserve.

Several other U.S. cheesemakers earned gold, silver and bronze medals.

Beecher’s Handmade Cheese won a silver for Flagsheep and bronze for Flagship Reserve, Apple Walnut Smoked and Promontory.
Belle Chevre won a gold medal for Chevoo Goat Cheese & Olive Oil - Herbs de Provence and a silver for Belle Chèvre Greek Kiss Fresh Chèvre.

Bongards’ Creameries won a bronze for Processed American Swiss Slice on Slice.

Cabot Creamery Cooperative won a bronze for Cabot Lamberton Cheddar Cheese.

Carr Valley Cheese Co. Inc. won silver medals for Reserve Gouda, Glacier Gorgonzola, Smoked Marisa and Glacier Point Blue Spruce Blue, and bronze medals for French Fontina, Glacier Penta Creme and Cave Aged Cardona.

Cellars at Jasper Hill won gold medals for Alpha Tolman, Eligo, Little Hosmer and Moses Sleeper; silvers for Willoughby, Vault 5 Cave Aged, Calderwood for Saxelby Cheesemongers and Cabot Clothbound; and bronze medals for Whitney, Bayley Hazen Blue and Hartwell.

Cowgirl Creamery won a silver for Hop Along and bronze medals for Mt Tam, Red Hawk and Wagon Wheel.

Euphrates won a bronze for Euphrates Feta Cheese.

Firefly Farms won silver medals for Merry Goat Round and Black & Blue and a bronze for Merry Goat Round Spruce Reserve.

Four Fat Fowl won a bronze for CamemBertha.

Haystack Mountain Creamery won a silver for Wall Street Gold and a bronze for Funkmeister.

Heber Valley Artisan Cheese won a gold for Lemon Sage Cheddar and bronze for Mustard Herb Cheddar.

Idyll Farms won silver medals for Spreadable Idyll Pastures and Idyllweiss and bronze medals for Idyll Pastures Spreadable with Honey and Lavender and Honey Lavender Idyll Pastures.

Jacobs and Brichford Farmstead Cheese won a silver for Briana and bronze medals for Everton, JQ and Adair.

Lactalis American Group won a silver for Galbani 6-ounce Fresh Mozzarella Ball and bronze medals for 12-ounce Galbani Marinade Cup, 12-ounce Whole Milk String Cheese, Galbani Mascarpone, 80/10/10 Specialty Blend Shred, 50/50 Blend Shredded Cheese and Whole Milk Premio Shredded Cheese.

Laura Chenel and Marin French Cheese Co. won a gold for Original Fresh Goat Cheese (Chabis); silver for Triple Crème Brie; and bronze medals for Petite Truffle, Golden Gate, Black Truffle Fresh Goat Cheese Log, Orange Blossom Honey Fresh Goat Cheese Log and Thyme & Rosemary Marinated Goat Cheese.

Leelanau Cheese won a silver for Leelanau Raclette and bronze for Leelanau Reserve.

Lioni Latticini Inc. won a bronze medal for Lioni Stracciatella Panna di Latte.

Meadow Creek Dairy won a silver for Grayson.

Murray’s Cheese won super golds for Greensward and Hudson Flower and silvers for Stockinghall and Buttermilk Basque.

Nettle Meadow won a gold for Adironjack and bronze for Briar Summit.

Parish Hill Creamery won a gold for Cornerstone, silver for Suffolk Punch and bronze medals for Jack’s Blue, Kashar, Idyll, Vermont Herdsman and West West Blue.

Perrystead Dairy won bronze medals for Toasted and Treehug.

Point Reyes Farmstead Cheese Co. won silver medals for Point Reyes TomaTruffle, Point Reyes Quinta, Point Reyes Gouda and Point Reyes Toma, and bronze medals for Point Reyes Bay Blue, Point Reyes TomaRashi and Point Reyes TomaProvence.

Rogue Creamery won a super gold for Bluehorn Blue Cheese, silver for Oregon Blue Cheese and bronze medals for Cheese Is Love Cheddar and Crater Lake Blue Cheese.

Sartori Co. won silver medals for Sartori MontAmore Cheddar, Sartori Old World Cheddar and Sartori Reserve Garlic and Herb BellaVitano, and bronze medals for Sartori Reserve Espresso BellaVitano, Sartori Farmhouse Cheddar, Sartori Reserve Merlot BellaVitano and Sartori Limited Edition Pastorale Blend.

Savencia Cheese USA won bronze medals for Supreme 7-ounce and Supreme 2-kilogram

Sierra Nevada Cheese Co. won bronze medals for Farmhouse Organic White Cheddar and Graziers Raw Milk Sharp Cheddar.

Spring Brook Farm Cheese won bronze medals for The Full Vermonty and Tarentaise.

Sweet Grass Dairy won a silver for Thomasville Tomme and bronze medals for Asher Blue, Georgia Gouda, Griffin and Lil Moo Garlic and Chive.

The Farm at Doe Run won a super gold for St. Malachi Reserve, gold medals for St. Malachi and Hummingbird, silvers for Seven Sisters and Batch 37 and bronzes for Aged Seven Sisters, Black Swallowtail and Batch 17.

Tillamook County Creamery Association won bronze medals for Tillamook Smoked Black Pepper White Cheddar, Tillamook Very Veggie Farmstyle Cream Cheese Spread and Tillamook Original Farmstyle Cream Cheese Spread.

Vermont Creamery won gold medals for Vanilla Crème Fraiche, Classic Goat Cheese Log and Bonne Bouche; silver medals for Coupole and Cremont, and a bronze for Bijou.

Von Trapp Farmstead won a gold for Mad River Blue and a bronze for Savage.

Wegmans won silver medals for 1916, Truffle Shuffle and Professor’s Brie and bronze medals for Sweet 16 and Brick Cheese with added Jalapenos.

To view the full results, visit


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Today's Cheese Spot Trading
November 29, 2022

Barrels: $1.8000 (-1 3/4)
Blocks: $2.0900 (-3 1/2)

Click here for more market activity
Cheese Production
U.S. Total Sept.
1.139 bil. lbs.

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

Guest Columnist

Bipartisanship advances dairy as new congressional landscape forms

Jim Mulhern, National Milk Producers Federation

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