The Class III futures spot market has approached $23 per hundredweight. That is a high mark for milk prices since 2014. “A lot of this is government related in terms of the Farmers to Families Food Boxes; that has been helpful,” said Dan Basse, president of Ag Resource Company. “Milk had the biggest run in June out of any commodity.” Basse said it will be difficult for the futures price to break through the $22-to-$23 cwt resistance level.

June milk price nearly $9 higher than May
    The federal order Class III milk price averaged $21.04 cwt in June. That is $8.90 more than the price in May and $4.77 higher than June of last year.

Wisconsin leads the nation in CFAP payments
    To this point, dairy farmers have received over $1 billion in Coronavirus Financial Assistance Program payments. Wisconsin leads the nation in the number and amount of CFAP payments. Over 4,500 Wisconsin dairy farmers received $224 million.

USMCA implications for the US dairy industry
    Roughly 40% of U.S. dairy exports go to Canada and Mexico. International Dairy Foods Association President and CEO Michael Dykes said that adds to the significance of the newly implemented U.S.-Mexico-Canada Agreement. There is speculation Canada’s new Tariff Rate Quota plan will restrict imports of U.S. branded cheese and butter products. “Throughout the extensive negotiations with Canada, the message was clear we need a new day in our trade relationships with Canada on dairy. Let’s not have any funny business here; let’s make sure we do this above board,” Dykes said. IDFA has voiced its concerns to the U.S. Trade Representative’s Office.

USMCA positives highlighted in Farmers for Free Trade roundtable
    Farmers for Free Trade hosted a virtual roundtable discussion on the U.S.-Mexico-Canada Agreement. The agreement went into effect July 1. House Agriculture Committee Chair Collin Peterson said the implementation is a positive in a time when positive action is needed. “Thank goodness we got it (the USMCA) done when we did,” Peterson said. “I would say that we need to be vigilant. There are troubling signs of people using the COVID-19 pandemic as a reason to put up trade barriers. We’ve seen some monkey business going on in Mexico, and we continue to worry about Canadians and dairy policy. We need to be vigilant and make sure the trade agreement is enforced.” Iowa Sen. Joni Ernst was also part of the discussion. “I do think it’s important to continue touting the success of this phenomenal trade deal. Hopefully, this will lead to more in the future,” Ernst said.

Farmland values hold firm
    According to the University of Wisconsin Extension Agricultural Land Prices Report, land values have remained solid over the past five years. The average annual growth in farmland values was 2% from 2009 to 2019. Farmland rental rates also increased during that time period.

Butter, cheese inventories rise
    According to the United States Department of Agriculture Cold Storage Report, U.S. butter inventories topped 380 million pounds in May. That was up 66.4 million pounds from May 2019. Total cheese inventories increased 5% year-over-year. American cheese inventories rose nearly 34 million pounds and the other-than-America cheese inventories increased 35.4 million pounds.

COVID-19 may have long-term impact on consumer behavior
    A new report from CoBank said the coronavirus has dramatically impacted consumer behavior, and the dairy supply chain will need to make adjustments. During the stay-at-home advisories, consumers bought more milk and cheese. Cereal sales are also up, which influences milk consumption. Grocers are cutting back on their product selection to improve operational efficiency. CoBank said that may influence the testing of new concepts. A tighter economy will also impact disposable income and ultimately disrupt the dairy supply chain.

Another round for the food box program
    USDA has approved over $1 billion in extended contracts and $202 million in new contracts for the Farmers to Families Food Box Program. In this second round of purchases, the program will purchase $288 million in dairy products. A total of 27.5 million food boxes have been delivered, below the goal of 40 million.

New farm stress resource is available
    The Farm Center at the Wisconsin Department of Agriculture, Trade and Consumer Protection is offering free, confidential counseling resources. Mental health professionals are available 24/7 for the Farmer Wellness Hotline. Tele-health and in-person counseling are also available through this pilot program to address farm stress. The hotline number is 1-888-942-2474.

DFA faces federal racketeering allegations
    Dairy Farmers of America leadership are being sued, facing claims predatory pricing strategies were implemented to eliminate competition. The lawsuit was filed by a group of farmers and a Dean Foods shareholder. The complaint was filed under the federal government’s RICO Act and asks for divestiture and dissolution of DFA. A spokesperson for DFA said the lawsuit is “without merit.” DFA purchased the majority of Dean Foods’ assets after Dean Foods filed for bankruptcy.

Borden Dairy sale approved
    The bankruptcy court has approved the sale of Borden Dairy to Capitol Peak Partners. Capitol Peak is led by the former CEO of Dean Foods and will have majority ownership of Borden Dairy. Borden’s lender, KKR, will have minority interest in the Dallas-based company.

COVID-19 impacts WFBF annual meeting format
    The Wisconsin Farm Bureau Federation annual meeting will be conducted in person and virtually. The agenda will be shortened to a two-day format Dec. 5-6. The WFBF Young Farmer and Agriculturalist Conference will only be conducted virtually.

National FFA Convention will be virtual
    The National FFA Convention will be virtual this year. The National FFA Organization said there were many pandemic-related challenges that made hosting an in-person event impossible this year. However, an in-person convention will return to Indianapolis in 2021.

Rasdall moves from USDA to IDFA
    Effective July 7, Becky Rasdall will take over as the vice president for trade policy and international affairs at the International Dairy Foods Association. Most recently, Rasdall has been a senior policy advisor for USDA’s Foreign Agricultural Service. Rasdall concentrated on technical and sanitary/phytosanitary barriers for U.S. trade.

Trivia challenge
    Pizza Hut was the first pizza fast food chain in the United States, starting in 1958. That answers our last trivia question. For this week, when were ice cream cones invented? 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.