April 24, 2023 at 2:59 p.m.

Cheese demand props up Class III price

By Don Wick- | Comments: 0 | Leave a comment

The dairy market remains wary about the spring flush and the destination for that volume of milk. In the Midwest, a lot of that milk supply ends up in a cheese vat. “The good news is the consumer has been relatively resilient,” said Mike North, principal, Ever.Ag. “Cheese production has been very elevated, but the buildup of inventory has not followed its seasonal norm; we’re actually keeping the inventory static or even depleting it a little bit depending on what category you’re looking at.” Nearby Class III prices have been in the $18 per hundredweight range, while deferred contracts are in the $19 territory. “When we lay that against feed prices right now, none of those prices are exciting, and what we’re going to need is some sort of relief on feed costs or an ongoing push in the milk market to carry those margins higher,” North said.

USDA considering FMMO petition
The International Dairy Foods Association and Wisconsin Cheesemakers Association are petitioning the U.S. Department of Agriculture for a Federal Milk Marketing Order hearing to increase make allowance. The National Milk Producers Federation and American Farm Bureau Federation have objected to this proposal. USDA has until April 29 to issue an action plan to complete a hearing within 120 days, request more information from IDFA and WCMA, or reject the request.

Federal order reform should go beyond ‘make allowances’
The American Dairy Coalition is asking Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack to deny the FMMO hearing petitions made by two dairy processor groups. ADC CEO Laurie Fischer said federal order reform is needed, but these petitions focus exclusively on “make allowances.” “We do not support ‘make allowance’ updates based on processors having the ability to voluntarily participate in the cost surveys which undoubtedly would exclude essential relevant data,” Fischer said. “Farmers need transparency in order to understand how their net payment is calculated, and these ‘make allowances’ are not line items; they are embedded in pricing formulas.”

WOTUS override vetoed
President Joe Biden delivered a veto rejecting a congressional effort that would have overturned the Waters of the United States rule. In a statement, Biden said the attempt to block WOTUS would increase uncertainty and threaten agriculture’s economic growth. The House and Senate used the Congressional Review Act to invalidate the controversial EPA rule. WOTUS is also being reviewed in the courts, including the U.S. Supreme Court.

Seeking checkoff reform
A coalition of 131 farm and food groups have sent a letter to congressional leaders, calling for checkoff reform in the 2023 farm bill. The groups claim the checkoff programs have “well-documented histories of waste, conflicts of interest, misuse of funding, anti-competitive behavior and other related issues.” The signatories on the letter include the Environmental Working Group, National Farmers Union, Center for Food Safety and the Land Stewardship Project.

Culled cow numbers increase
Since the beginning of 2023, nearly 805,000 U.S. dairy cows have been culled. That’s up 27,000 head, or 3.5%, from the same time period last year.

Texas explosion kills 18,000 cows
An explosion and fire at Southfork Dairy near Dimmitt, Texas, resulted in the loss of 18,000 dairy cows and the hospitalization of one employee. The cause of the explosion is being investigated. “This was the deadliest barn fire for cattle in Texas history and the investigation and cleanup may take some time,” said Texas Agriculture Commissioner Sid Miller. “There are lessons to be learned, and the impact of this fire may influence the immediate area and the industry itself. Once we know the cause and the facts surrounding this tragedy, we will make sure the public is fully informed so tragedies like this can be avoided in the future.”

Baldwin touts dairy initiative
During her Delivering for Wisconsin Tour, U.S. Sen. Tammy Baldwin highlighted the direct support she brought back to the state. One of the stops was the Marieke Gouda Cheese Shop in Thorp, Wisconsin, where she discussed her Dairy Business Innovation Initiative. This program was included in the 2018 farm bill and helps dairy businesses diversify products, expand markets and encourage the use of regional milk production.

Canada is looking for farmers
A new report indicates Canada is facing a significant shortage of farmers.  The report was commissioned by the Royal Bank of Canada, the Boston Consulting Group Centre and the University of Guelph. It says more than 40% of Canadian farmers will retire over the next 10 years. A policy analyst cited inflationary concerns, land affordability and succession planning as the big issues. Sixty-six percent of Canadian farmers do not have a succession plan in place.

Haag leads PDPW
The Professional Dairy Producers board of directors has elected its new officer team. John Haag, of Dane, Wisconsin, is the new president. Janet Clark, of Rosendale, Wisconsin, is vice president. Corey Hodorff, of Eden, Wisconsin, is secretary and Brady Weiland, of Columbus, Wisconsin, is treasurer.

Dorn, McCullough added to WDE Board
World Dairy Expo has welcomed Kami Dorn of the Wisconsin Guernsey Breeders’ Association and Annie McCullough of Farm Journal to its board.

WCMA elects officer team
The incoming president of the Wisconsin Cheese Makers Association is Tim Omer of Emmi Roth, succeeding Steve Bechel of Eau Galle Cheese. Doug Wilke of Valley Queen Cheese is first vice president, Mike Sipple of Agropur is second vice president, Kim Heiman of Nasonville Dairy is treasurer, and Chris Renard of Renard’s Cheese is secretary.

Junior Holstein honors
Three Junior Holstein Association members from Wisconsin have been selected as finalists for the Young Distinguished Junior Member Award. The finalists are Cathryn Gunst of Pine River, Christopher Gunst of Pine River and Dylan Ryan of Fond du Lac.

Trivia challenge
Gorgonzola is the popular blue cheese that originated in Italy. That answers our last trivia question. For this week’s trivia, what farm bill title represents the majority of the legislation’s financial outlays? We will have the answer in our next edition of Dairy Star.
    Don Wick is owner/broadcaster for the Red River Farm Network, based in Grand Forks, North Dakota. Wick has been recognized as the National Farm Broadcaster of the Year and served as president of the National Association of Farm Broadcasting. Don and his wife, Kolleen, have two adult sons, Tony and Sam, and five grandchildren, Aiden, Piper, Adrienne, Aurora and Sterling.


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