Nearly 70 dairy companies and associations, including the National Milk Producers Federation and U.S. Dairy Export Council, are urging the U.S. Trade Representative’s Office to initiate a dispute settlement case with Canada over its dairy tariff-rate quota system. “Canada has always been obstinate on dairy, and at this stage, it is increasingly clear that further action is needed to ensure a fair and transparent enforcement of USMCA,” said Jim Mulhern, president and CEO for NMPF.

Supply, demand report offers insight into dairy sector
    Due to an increase in cow numbers, the United States Department of Agriculture increased its 2021 milk production forecast by 200 million pounds. Total milk production is now estimated at 228 billion pounds. The USDA supply/demand report calls for higher prices for nonfat dry milk, cheese and whey and lower prices for butter. The all-milk price forecast for the year rose 55 cents to $18.95 per hundredweight.

Pizza demand remains strong
    Mozzarella cheese production enjoyed a 2% increase from March 2020 to March 2021. That’s after a production drop in January and February. Even with the pandemic winding down, pizza demand has been very strong. Domino’s Pizza had first quarter revenues increase from $873 million to nearly $984 million. Papa John’s enjoyed a 25% increase in revenues, moving from $410 million to $512 million. Yum Brands is the parent company of Pizza Hut. In total, Yum Brands rose 18% in the first quarter. During the quarter, Pizza Hut added 71 new restaurants.

Sustainability, trade
    The International Dairy Foods Association has reached out to Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack and U.S. Trade Representative Katherine Tai to outline its new trade principles and the environment. IDFA is willing to include environmental sustainability considerations when the administration negotiates trade deals that may impact the dairy industry.

Vilsack responds to USDA COVID-19 relief lawsuits
    At the end of April, two lawsuits were filed focusing on the socially-disadvantaged farmer proposal included in the Biden administration’s latest round of COVID-19 relief. Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack has responded to those lawsuits. “I have to take you back 20 to 30 years when we know for a fact socially-disadvantaged producers were discriminated at by the USDA. We’ve reimbursed people in the past for those acts of discrimination, but we’ve never dealt with the cumulative effect. The updates in the American Rescue Plan start addressing the cumulative effect. Secondly, when you look at the COVID-19 relief packages passed and distributed by USDA prior to the American Rescue Plan, it’s clear white farmers did well because of the way it was structured,” Vilsack said. Vilsack said the litigation will be what it is. In the meantime, USDA will move forward.
Bronaugh confirmed
    With a voice vote, the Senate has confirmed Dr. Jewel Bronaugh to be the deputy secretary of agriculture. Bronaugh is the first woman of color to serve as the No. 2 person at USDA. Most recently, Bronaugh was the agriculture commissioner in Virginia.

Young, Lasseter launch new consulting firm
    Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue’s former chief of staff, Joby Young, has formed a consulting firm with former Defense Department official David Lasseter called Horizon Global Solutions. Young also spent time as the chief of staff for Deputy Agriculture Secretary Steve Censky.

CFAP 2 payments continue
    A total of $13.6 billion in Coronavirus Food Assistance Program 2 payments have been made thus far. That includes over $1.2 billion for dairy farmers.

Managing drug residue
    The National Dairy Farmers Assuring Responsible Management program has published its latest Milk and Dairy Beef Drug Residue Prevention Reference Manual. A pocket guide is also available. This tool promotes best management practices for treating dairy cattle. A comprehensive list of approved drugs and the withdrawal times is included.

Reviewing rules for organic dairy production
    USDA is proposing revisions to its organic regulations to outline how conventional dairy cattle are transitioned into organic production. The rule specifies a farmer can transition cows into organic production only once rather than cycling them in and out of organic production. This is the third time the National Organic Program has been reopened for public comment, but USDA has not implemented any changes.

New cheese plant in the works
    Great Lakes Cheese has broken ground for a new state-of-the-art cheese packaging and distribution plant at Abilene, Texas. Great Lakes Cheese has facilities in five other states, including Wisconsin. The Abilene plant is expected to employ 500 workers.

WDE official honored
    Longtime World Dairy Expo Holstein superintendent Ken Elliott has received the Honorary Klussendorf Award. The Klussendorf Award is considered the highest recognition given to a dairy cattle exhibitor. The Honorary Klussendorf Award is recognition of an individual’s involvement in the purebred dairy industry.

Zimmerman joins Jahnke at Midwest Farm Report
    Aaron Zimmerman has joined the Midwest Farm Report as a farm broadcaster. Zimmerman also operates a small livestock operation and show pig business. Zimmerman was the state FFA vice president, received the Wisconsin FFA State Farmer recognition and was a national FFA agricultural communications proficiency award winner.

Serving up dairy products at state fair
    The Wisconsin State Fair Dairy Promotion Board is looking for individuals to work at the Real Wisconsin Cheese Grill and the all-new Dairyland Shake Shop during the Wisconsin State Fair. Applicants must be at least 16 years of age. Preference will be given to applicants who can work a minimum of five eight-hour shifts during the fair.

Trivia challenge
    Most cows chew their cud 50 times per minute. That answers our last trivia question. For this week’s trivia, what is the world record for lifetime milk production from one cow? 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.