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  May 2019 – Issue No. 478

Inside this months issue  …

OUR STORIES OF THE MONTH (Click the blue title below to read "the complete story"):

Staight Ahead: Global Surge in Human-Quality Protein Prices (p. 1)

 China's Hog Deaths Drop Demand for U.S. Whey/Lactose (p. 4)

 DFA Studying Doubling Member's Equity Requirements (p. 5)

 Kansas Statue #17-1642: Ex-DFA Members May Object to Merger, Request Equity Pay-Out (p. 5)

 DFA & Vermont's St. Albans Co-op Mulling Merger (p. 5)


Straight Ahead: Global Surge in Human-Quality Protein Prices (p. 1): One of our stories of the month.


Commodities to Springers: Dairy Prices Improving (p. 1):  Another “Story of the Month.

River City Mayors: Tariffs & Flooding Are 1-2 Punch (p. 2):  Jan Shepel reports on a recent conference call hosted by the Mississippi River Cities and Towns Initiative.  The mayors bemoaned about the economic harm that soybean growers are facing, due to China’s countervailing duties.  Also, damage from flooding along the Mississippi is a swelling concern.


Political Squabbling Blocks Progress on Gov’t Aid to Midwest Flooding Victims (p. 2): Republican and Democratic legislators in Washington, D.C. are doing what they do best: disagreeing.  No legislation is moving to help victims of Midwest flooding.  Why?  Democrats want to extend additional disster relief to Puerto Rico, which is opposed by Republicans.


April ’19 Class III Milk Price Rises $.92/cwt., to $25.94 (p. 2):  USDA’s Class III (cheese) milk price climbed $.92/cwt. in April – boosting farmers’ milk incomes for that month.


DMC Signups Still On Track for June 17; USDA Rolls Out New Online Dairy Decision Tool (p. 3):  Jan Shepel updates the latest news on the upcoming Dairy Margin Coverage program.  USDA will start taking producer sign-ups on June 7.  There’s net money in this program for dairy farmers!


2017: Good Year for DMDI Execs’ Salaries & Compensation (p. 3):  We finally obtained the IRS Form 990 for 2017 – the document that details the “milk promotion bozos” salaries and total compensation for that year.  2017 may have been a bad year for dairy farmers’ milk prices, but DMI’s top executives did just fine, financially.


China’s Hog Deaths Drop Demand for U.S. Whey/Lactose (p. 4): Prices for lactose permeate and certain whey derivatives are in free fall, due to declined demand from China.  China is anticipated to lose at least 30% of its swine population due to the dreaded African Swine Flu.


DFA Studying Doubling of Members’ Equity Requirements (p. 5): Fresh off speing nearly $950 million to buy a processing firm that mainly makes plant-based beverages, Dairy Farmers of America’s leaders are “studying” plans to boost members’ equity requirements.  Bets are that DFA’s member equity demands will jump from $1.75/cwt. on a year’s worth of milk sales up to $3.50/cwt.   


Kansas Statute #17-1642: Ex-DFA Members May Object to Merger, Request Equity Pay-Out (5):  Anybody know any former DFA members who are waiting up to 20 years to retrieve their “equity” in DFA?  The pending merger with Vermont’s St. Albans co-op presents an opportunity for former DFA members to object in writing to the merger and be paid out their full equity amounts within 60 days, IF the merger passes.  More on our website by May 20!


DFA & Vermont’s St. Albans Co-op Mulling Merger (p. 5):  Vermont’s historic St.Albans Co-op direly needs to upgrade its processing equipment.  That co-op’s leaders believe that a merger with DFA is their best option.


CDR Project Displays Incompetence of State Gov’t & UW-Madison (p. 6): At $11 million over-budget and 3.5 years behind schedule, the UW-Madison campus project to upgrade facilities for the Center fo Dairy Research is beleaguered by incompetence.  The state’s dairy processors collected $18.4 million for that project.  Late word: CDR will have to close for up to 1.5 years during the construction.


Q&A: Wisconsin Cheese Maker Ken Heiman’s Insights on UW-Madison’s CDR Project (p. 6): Want to know what one of Wisconsin’s leading cheese makers thinks about the delays and cost over-runs at UW’Madison’s Center for Dairy Research Project.  We ask Ken Heiman of Nasonville, Cheese.


Wisconsin’s Silent Spring: Tight Credit for Dairy Producers (p. 6):  An unknown percent of Wisconsin’s dairy producers have not been able to obtain loans for spring planting.  The Milkweed estimates the percent is n the low double-digits.  That’s serious.


Salmonella: A “Ticking Time Bomb” for the Dairy Industry (p. 7): Writer Jan Shepel has spent several hours listening to presentations on Salmonella from Dr. Don Sockett, an epidemiologist with the UW-Madison Animal Diagnostic Laboratory.  Certain strains of Salmonella are very dangerous for dairy livestock and humans.


Alfalfa Winterkill Problems: Significant, But Vary by Region (p. 7): From numerous dairy regions, we’re hearing that alfalfa winterkill is a significant problem.


2019 Milk Prices Looking Better – But it Doesn’t Take Much to Beat 2018 Levels (p. 8):  Writer Jan Shepel summarizes a wide-ranging presentation by University of Wisconsn-Madison dairy economist emeritus Dr. Robert Cropp.  Cropp detailed his analysis, which draws upon a wide range of factors impacting dairy supply/demand, that price improvement for dairy farmers is finally happening in 2019.


A Structured Management Program for America’s Dairy Farmers (p. 9):  Dick Bylsma, dairy director for National Farmers, lays out his organization’s logic for shifting federal milk order financial resources to better balance returns per cow for small, medium and large dairies.


Thicke’s Radiance Dairy: Organic Producer-Handler (p. 10):  Paris Reidhead interviews Francis and Susan Thicke.  They operate an organic dairy farm and process their milk into fluid milk and cheese. 


FDA Updating “Allergen” Labels (p. 10):  Three years after other food sectors had to comply with dictates of the Food Safety Modernization Act, FDA is updating compliance rules for dairy.  There are some very bad pieces of advice being given out by state inspectors to dairy processors.


USDA’s Continued Failing to Protect U.S. Organic Producers (p. 11): Same story, different twists.  Writer John Bobbe explains how USDA’s National Organic Program is failing to enforce many rules – particularly with regard to imported “organic” foods and grains.


Will USDA’s AMS Blow Another $5N of “Organic” Funds (p. 11): The 2018 federal farm law budgeted another $5 million for organic information.  But writer John Bobbe explains how USDA’s National Organic Program wasted most of the $5 million allotment from the 2014 farm law on matters other than “organic.”


No “Rabbit Out of the Hat” at Dean Foods (p. 11): Dean Foods’ annual stockholders meeting came and went without any major revelations.  Management claims that things are improving incrementally.  Details to follow, maybe.


USDA’s Perdue Blasts Vietnam’s Glyphosate Ban (p. 12):  Our nation’s prestigious Secretary of Agriculture, Sonny Perdue, recently blasted the government of Vietnam for instituting a ban on Glyphosate.  Who is the United States to lecture Vietnam on the safety of herbicides, after our nation dumped over 20 million lbs. of poison on Vietnam in the 1960s and 1970s?


DFA’s Audit: Same-Old, Same-Old, But … (p. 12):  Once again, DFA’s management :”put lipstick on a pig” (the co-ops annual financial report.  Beyond the 2018 numbers, on January 4, 2019, DFA spent $947 million to acquire the outstanding stock interest in Stremick’ Heritage Dairy – a firm that processes lots of plant-based “milk” products, in addition to some real dairy milk.


Dairy Commodities Prices: Cheddar & NFMD Gain, Butter Maintains (p. 13): The dairy commodity price complex is moving up, although recent forays by block and barrel Cheddar into the $1.70s may have been premature.  Milk powder prices and butter prices at the Chicago Mercantile Exchange are moving up.


Dairy Heifer Prices Start Rebounding! (p. 14): At livestock markets we survey in Michigan, Ohio, and Colorado, prices for #1 springing heifers climbed abouit $200-$225 per head in early May trading. \\


FDA: March Dairy Margins Also Trigger DMC Payments (p. 14): Just in from USDA … Jan Shepel reports that March 2019 will have pay-outs to dairy producers who sign up for the Dairy Margin Coverage at either the $9.00 or $9.50 per cwt. level. 


Ken Nobis Now a MMPA Employee (p. 14):  Which to believe?  Hard to keep a good man down?  Or, hard to get rid of skunk?  Recently ousted director/president of Michigan Milk Producers Assn., Ken Nobis, is now working for the co-op as a senior policy advisor.


U.S./China trade war turns uglier (p. 15): Pete Hardin discusses the fallacies and dangers of the fast deteriorating U.S./China trade war.  What happens if the Chinese quit buying United States’ Treasury bonds? 


Weather Watch: Mother Nature Calling a Difficult Tune (p. 16): We report on a presentation by Jon Davis, head meteorologist for Riskpulse – a firm that consults agricultural interests on weather patterns and their possible impact upon crops and livestock.  Davis’ presentation was given at the recent annual convention of the American Dairy Products Institute and the American Butter Institute.


Kilcer: Aberrant Sun Spot Activity Problematic for Ag (p. 16):   Dr. Tom Kilcer of Advanced Ag Systems provides insights on cropping strategies.

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