April 2016 Issue No. 441
Inside this month’s issue …
Several Regions Face “Homeless Milk,” Let the Dumping Begin (p. 1):
— The Northeast, Mid-East and Central States federal milk orders have okayed pooling of “dumped milk” from April 1 through July 15, 2016. And the Upper Midwest region will probably see farm milk overflow processing plant capacity. The U.S. dairy industry is on an insane track that’s busting prices and margins for farms, cooperatives, and cheese plants going to overflow Get this: In February 2016, New York State dairy cows produced 7.3% more milk than they did in that same month one year ago, even after “adjusting” for the extra “Leap Year” day.
Walmart to Build Big Fluid Plant in Indiana (p. 1):
The nation’s largest food retailer has announced plans to construct a 250,000-square foot fluid milk plant in northeastern Indiana. Many ripple effects will hit the U.S. dairy industry, once this facility is on line in late 2017.
$230 Mil. Cheese Plant
Studied for Fair Oaks Farms (p. 1):
In addition to many planned new constructions and expansions of cheese plants in the eastern quadrant of the U.S., the biggest has yet to be formally announced. Fair Oaks Farms in Indiana is studying building a $230 million cheese plant.
NINE Years Later, FDA Answers rbGH Critics’
Citizen Petition (p. 2):
Way back in February 2007, a group of critics submitted a Citizen Petition to the federal Food and Drug Administration. The petitioners sought to halt sale and use of recombinant bovine growth hormone (rbGH, also called rbST). Nine years later, FDA finally answered that Citizen Petition. FDA’s reply cited a bushel basket of outdated studies that claimed rbGH use to spur dairy cows’ milk production was perfectly safe.
March 2016 Class III price $13.74 – Class IV
$12.74 (p. 2):
February class prices for manufacturing milk dropped even lower.
USDA Okays Milk “Dumping” in Northeast,
Mid-East and Central States (p. 3):
Facing too much farm milk, milk marketers in several regions of the country have gained USDA’s approval to pool “dumped” milk from April 1 through July 15. Trouble is: these rules discriminate against firms with independent producers. One more time, USDA is “kow-towing” to the nation’s big dairy cooperatives.
Wisconsin Artisan Cheese
Tops World Championship Contest (p. 4):
For the first time in 28 years, a Wisconsin cheese plant won top honors in the World Championship Cheese contest. Emmi Roth USA’s cheese-making team at Monroe, Wisconsin won the top price with its “Grand Cru Surchoix.” Writer Jan Shepel covers this event.
New World Yogurt Champion: Sugar River Dairy
A small Wisconsin yogurt plant’s Whole Milk Plain product took top honors at the recent world championship contest. Owners Ron and Chris Paris have worked for 14 years to build up their quality product.
Four Big Dairy Processing Projects Announced
Writer Nate Wilson lists four major dairy plant projects that have been announced recently. Much new investment in dairy processing plants is taking place.
Natural Products Expo Offers Way Too Much (p.
Writer Ed Zimmerman reports on food trends he witnessed at the recent “Expo West” event in California. Yogurt is an “IN” product, and many new high-protein foods are being offered that contain dairy proteins.
Better Butter Data from NASS Desperately Needed
Pete Hardin analyzes butter industry trends and scorns the lack of transparency in butter inventories from USDA’s “Cold Storage” report. The Cold Storage report includes both domestic and imported products as butter. Also, imported anhydrous milkfat and butter oil are counted as “butter” — even though the milk fat in those commodities will never grace the butter dish on American tables.
R-CALF USA Wants 205 Cattle Price Collapse
Investigated (p. 6):
The upstart beef producers group – R-CALF USA – is seeking an investigation into last summer’s collapse of slaughter livestock prices. The beef producers group is claiming undue concentration among beef buyers is destroying competition.
One Man Successfully Battled Against Cancer …
An old friend of The Milkweed, who must remain anonymous, relates his successful battle against cancer that had spread throughout his lymph node system and into six organs/glands. Nine years ago, team of cancer doctors gave “Sam” six months to live, at most. Nine years later, Sam is alive and kicking. He used the “Beam Ray” light technology to eliminate cancers from his body. An amazing story … The “Beam Ray” dates back about 80 years … and incurred the scorn of the FDA and the American Medical Assn. One person owning the “Beam Ray” actually went to federal prison for three years for refusing to stop using the light-emitting machine.
“Settling” the Northeast Dairy Antitrust
Case: Try, Try … and Try Again (p. 8):
Pete Hardin analyzes the behind-the-scenes antics leading up to the latest attempt to gain a settlement in the long-running Northeast Dairy Antitrust case against defendants Dairy Farmers of America and Dairy Marketing Services, Inc.
Hanman’s Own Words Detailed Northeast Dairy
Conspiracy (p. 8):
Way back on September 18, 2000, then DFA President/CEO Gary Hanman made a speech in Kansas City before a group of his co-op’s field personnel. Hanman bragged, among other things, about how DFA had a deal to force independent Northeast dairy producers into co-op membership. Because of scrutiny from the U.S. Justice Department at that time, Hanman said that he couldn’t force the issue right then. But, “[W]e will get that done, given time,” Hanman promised. In DFA’s top officials own words, the conspiracy to take over milk markets of thousands of Northeast dairy producers was laid out … way back in 2000. Sounds like “Prior Intent” to commit conspiracy.
What’s Wrong with the Latest Northeast Dairy
Antitrust Settlement??? (p. 9):
Pete Hardin details a few of the perceived shortcomings in the proposed Settlement for the Northeast Dairy Antitrust case.
Donna Hall: Removed as Class Representative (p.
The last thing that defendants’ DFA and DMS would have wanted was an intelligent, well-spoken Pennsylvania dairy farm grandmother taking the witness stand in front of a jury of Vermont citizens in the Northeast antitrust case. Worse yet, that “dairy grandma” – Donna Hall – had appeared on Lou Dobbs’ CNN national television news, back when DFA/DMS pirated her milk market from Farmland Dairies. And then … Donna and dozens of other Pennsylvania got short-changed in payments for their butterfat. Donna Hall WAS a Class Representative in the Northeast antitrust case. But mid-stream, the geographic boundaries for claimants were “Gerry-mandered” so Donna forfeited all claims in the case. Darn. Donna would have been a compelling witness!
Letter to Northeast Dairy Farmers … (p. 9):
A young man studying graduate-level law and accounting – Jonathan Haar – has written a letter to Northeast dairy producers outlining his analyses of problems with the proposed settlement of the regional dairy antitrust case. He’s urging Northeast dairy farmers with claims the case to write the presiding judge, objecting to the Settlement now scheduled for a Fairness Hearing on May 13 in Burlington, VT.
CPI Database Shows Prices Consumers Pay for
Milk and Various Cheeses (p. 11):
Jan Shepel shows how consumers’ costs for cheese products – particularly natural cheese – have not come down much in the past year-plus, despite far lower commodity prices for cheese. It’s the same old story …
Economist: DMPP a ‘Junk” Program that Isn’t
Working for Dairy Farmers (p. 11):
Writer Jan Shepel analyzes comments by Daniel Basse – president of AgResource Company – in which Basse wrote off as worthless the “Dairy Margin Protection Program” offered to dairy producers by USDA.
Drought-Targeting Crop Advice for Livestock
Producers (p. 12):
Contributor Paris Reidhead details strategies for producing crops during periods of moisture scarcity. Small grains, such as sorghum and millet – thrive when water-needy corn doesn’t do well.
Butter Prices Strengthen, Milk Powder Weaker,
Cheese Under Pressure (P. 13):
Pete Hardin takes a look at the dairy commodity scene. The only good news is that butter prices are solid, aming growing demand from U.S. consumers.
Dairy Livestock Prices Generally Down (p. 14):
Pete Hardin surveys the current dairy livestock picture, talking with auction house operators from several regions. Really nice animals are holding their value, demand for Jerseys and Jersey-crosses is solid, even perhaps pushing prices up, Buyers are showing interest in good open heifers. But in general, the red ink cash-flow situation on U.S. dairy farmers is pulling down dairy livestock prices.
Great Lakes Region: Dairy’s Emerging
Epicenter (p. 14):
The large majority of new dairy plant construction and announced plans to construct are located in the extended Great Lakes Basin. Why? Follow the water!
Déjà vu (early 1980s) all over again?
Pete Hardin reflects on a mid-March driving trip back to the Northeast. He met with a lot of very concerned dairy farmers, and puzzles about how much farm machinery and new automobiles are found on dealerships’ lots across the Northeast and Midwest. To Hardin, he sees a possible replay of the early 1980s.
Dairy’s “industrialization” (p. 15):
Worry is that dairy is in a sudden rush towards industrialization that wiped out many small and ,medium-sized producers in the pork and poultry industries.
Another farm milk supply control “tool” (p.
Pete Hardin suggests a “spring take-out/fall put-back” system of taking incentives away from spring flush milk output. Why not $1.25 or $1.50/cwt. deducted in the spring and paid back in the fall? Whether for individual cooperatives or for federal milk orders, that’s one way to swing seasonal supplies to better conform with manufacturing plant capacities and consumer demand.
“March Miracle” — Big Recharge for
California’s Reservoirs & Snow Pack (p. 16):
Truly miraculous precipitation and snow melt helped refill three big reservoirs in northern California, including the state’s two biggest reservoirs – Shasta Reservoir and Lake Oroville. As of April 7, 2016, California’s reservoirs were up to 85% of normal capacity … with much better moisture contained in mountain snow packs to further refill some reservoirs. NO … California’s epic Drought is far from over. But the state’s water situation is looking much better than it did, even one month ago.
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