During a recent House Agriculture Committee hearing, University of Minnesota dairy economist Marin Bozic questioned the ability of federal milk marketing orders to deliver fair prices to the producer. Bozic said it is very difficult for dairy farmers to switch to a different processor, which influences competition for milk. “If a corn producer wishes to know how different local elevators would pay for corn, all they need to do is go online or tune into their local radio station,” testified Bozic. “In contrast, when some dairy producers have asked for milk price benchmarking information, in multiple instances, they faced tacit disapproval or even aggressive legal threats from some dairy processors.” Bozic said the farm bill must also address the long-term implications of dairy policy changes. The drop in fluid milk consumption and the increase in dairy exports were cited as ongoing trends.

Edge seeks federal order reform
Edge Dairy Farm Cooperative has unveiled its priorities for milk pricing reform. The proposal focuses on two principles—flexibility and fairness. “More regional flexibility in federal orders would benefit everyone,” said Mitch Davis, who is a member of the Edge board. “With our proposal, each order would have the authority to operate its milkshed in a way that makes sense for the order.” To promote fairness, Edge is proposing contracting principles to cover the timeliness of payments, price transparency, competitive risk management and incentive payments.

Trying to fix emergency relief program hiccups
The United States Department of Agriculture knows there were a few hiccups in the implementation of the Emergency Relief Program. “The AGI-related issues, we’re looking to the flexibility in the regulations for that,” said Zach Ducheneaux, administrator, Farm Service Agency. “Some of the tax issues where the IRS is defining income, there may not be much we can do other than have a conversation to see if there is flexibility and we’ll work on that this summer.” Ducheneaux said issues with prevented plant will also be addressed. Farmers with crop insurance have until July 22 to complete and submit their forms. FSA will send out pre-filled applications for 9,000 eligible farmers with NAP coverage in mid-July.

A war crime
According to the European Union foreign policy chief Josep Borrell, Russia needs to safely open the Black Sea for shipments of Ukrainian grain. In his words, it is a ‘war crime’ to have millions of tons of wheat blocked in Ukraine while the world goes hungry. The EU supports efforts by the United Nations to find a way to restart grain shipments out of Ukraine.

Options available to challenge Canadian dairy tariffs
The United States is challenging Canada’s dairy tariff-rate quota policies. This is the second time the U.S. has filed a dispute with the U.S.-Canada-Mexico Trade Agreement settlement panel over dairy policy. Wisconsin Congressman Ron Kind said the U.S. has options. “We have trade remedies; we can hit them with sanctions, specifically targeted to their industry,” Kind said. “We’re still in earnest discussions with them, but we hope to get this resolved shortly.”

Trade mission returns from United Kingdom
Deputy Agriculture Secretary Jewell Bronaugh said a goal of the trade trip was to offer a positive impression of U.S. agriculture. Bronaugh said there is hope the trip will lead to resuming formal trade talks with the United Kingdom. “I think we’re all very hopeful there will be a U.S.-U.K. Free Trade Agreement,” Bronaugh said. “Our job is to set the stage for removing and reducing barriers to trade and the non-tariff barriers. We also have to develop an understanding of how we can knock down some of those walls ahead of a free trade agreement.”

Recession may already be here
AgriSompo North America market analyst Sterling Smith thinks the U.S. is already in a recession. “I’m going to say something few are willing to say,” Smith said. “We’re in a recession in the United States right now. The GDP numbers in the last quarter were negative, and we’ll probably have a negative print this quarter as well, at least, in terms of real GDP.” Smith emphasizes commodity prices, other than in the energy sector, don’t have that much to do with inflation. “Stock market behavior the last few days is giving me an indication maybe we’ve seen a bottom,” Smith said. “Typically, when the recession starts to improve, the recession has already hit bottom.”

Wisconsin milk output rises
In the latest USDA milk production report, Wisconsin and Texas were the only states experiencing year-over-year increases in production. Cow numbers declined 0.1%, but milk production on a per-cow basis was up 0.9%.

AMPI announces leadership transition
After 38 years with the cooperative, Associated Milk Producers Inc. Co-President/CEO Donn DeVelder plans to step down at the end of the year. Sheryl Meshke, who has been co-president/CEO since January 2015, will continue leading AMPI. “We are excited for what is to come and know Sheryl’s leadership will be critical in achieving continued success for AMP member-owners and employees,” said Steve Schlangen, board chairman.

AFBF names executive vice president
Joby Young is the new executive vice president for the American Farm Bureau Federation. Most recently, Young was a partner in a lobbying firm. Before that, he was the chief of staff for Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue. Young replaces Dale Moore, who announced his retirement in March.

Calvert moves to Equity Livestock
Dave Calvert is the new vice president of market operations for Equity Cooperative Livestock Sales Association. Calvert spent more than 20 years in the genetics business with Accelerated Genetics and ST Genetics.

Cheese production slides lower
For the third straight month, Wisconsin cheese production declined in May. USDA said total cheese production was at 289.5 million pounds. That’s 2% less than last year. The state’s production of American cheese declined more than 4%. Cheddar cheese production dropped 3.4%. Italian cheese production rose 2%. Wisconsin-produced mozzarella was up 1.9%.

One scoop or two?
In conjunction with its annual Capitol Hill Ice Cream Party, the International Dairy Foods Association released a report on ice cream trends. The study conducted by Research America said nearly two-thirds of Americans rank vanilla as their favorite ice cream flavor. The top 10 list rounds out with chocolate, cookies ‘n cream, mint chocolate chip, chocolate chip cookie dough, buttered pecan, cookie dough, strawberry, moose tracks and Neapolitan.
Trivia challenge
The average American consumed 655 pounds of milk, cheese, ice cream and other dairy products in 2021. That answers our last trivia question. For this week’s trivia, how many servings of dairy products are recommended by USDA each day? We will have the answer in the 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.