The USDA October World Agricultural Supply and Demand Estimates projects 2019 milk production at 218.2 billion pounds, up 200 million pounds from the September estimate. Higher cow numbers and greater productivity per cow are credited for the bump. For 2020, USDA increased the milk production total to 221.6 billion pounds. The all-milk price forecast for 2019 is $18.40 per hundredweight and for 2020, it is $18.85 per hundredweight.
New Zealand dairy exports decline
    According to a report from USDA, New Zealand’s dairy industry is facing serious challenges due to debt and environmental regulations. USDA expects whole milk powder exports from New Zealand to top out at 1.48 million metric tons this year, dropping to 1.42 million tons in 2020. New Zealand is the world’s largest dairy exporter.
Kudlow: USMCA could be ratified by Thanksgiving
    White House Economic Advisor Larry Kudlow told reporters he thinks there can be bipartisan backing on the U.S. Mexico Canada Agreement in the United States by Thanksgiving. “Political differences exist. I get that, but they can still come together on something,” Kudlow said. “There’s almost a consensus view that USMCA is a good thing for America now and in the future. I remain optimistic. I’ve spoken to leaders in the House and Senate that say maybe we can get something by Thanksgiving.”

Intergenerational changes announced for DMC
    USDA has announced a temporary change in the Dairy Margin Coverage program to provide more flexibility for the next generation to join the operation. This new language allows the dairy farm to increase its DMC production history to account for dairy cattle purchased within 120 days of a family member joining the business. If a spouse, child or grandchild came into the dairy operation since 2014 and additional cows were added to the herd, the DMC production history can be updated to reflect the increase in production. Dairy farm businesses have until mid-December to update the production history for intergenerational transfers at the county Farm Service Agency office.

Dean Foods exits IDFA
    Dean Foods is dropping its membership in the International Dairy Foods Association due to a dispute over the labeling of plant-based dairy alternatives. In a statement, Dean Foods said “it is wrong that many plant-based products are currently marketed using milk’s good name.” IDFA has not been able to get consensus on this issue amongst it members and as a result, Dean Foods says it can no longer support the organization.

Co-op 100 list released
    The National Cooperative Bank is out with its list of the top 100 cooperatives in America. CHS remains at the top of the list with revenues of nearly $33 billion. Land O’Lakes is ranked second at $15 billion. The list includes Dairy Farmers of America at number three; California Dairies, Inc. is ranked 13th and Darigold is 17th. Select Milk Producers, Inc. is at 22, Foremost Farms is 25; Associated Milk Producers, Inc. is at 27 and Organic Valley (CROPP) is 50. Other notable dairy co-ops on the list include Bongards’ Creameries at 85; First District Association is 97 and NFO is ranked at 99th.

More cows going to slaughter
    According to USDA, dairy cow slaughter is up over last year. Year-to-date, nearly 2.5 million dairy cows have been culled. That’s up 77,200 head or 3.2 percent from 2018.
Court intervenes on dairy permit decision
    The Minnesota Court of Appeals has directed the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency to take animal methane emissions into account when reconsidering a previously-approved permit. That permit was for a planned dairy expansion of 1,500 to 3,000 milking cows and youngstock at the Daley dairy in Winona County Minnesota. Co-owner Shelly DePestel said there is concern activist groups will use this method to delay permits for other farms. “We’re farmers. We are trying to finish harvest and feed animals. They’re putting us back in the court room with litigation. The environment is our top priority.” DePestel said there is no place in the Environment Assessment Worksheet, a document used to outline the basic steps of a project, that explains greenhouse gas emissions. The dairy is seeking further clarification.

Grassroots policy development
    In preparation for next month’s Minnesota Farmers Union convention, policy issues have been heard in the county meetings. MFU Government Relations Director Stu Lourey said a lot of good resolutions have come forward. “Some of them we’ve seen before on things like healthcare, broadband or spending on state agriculture programs.”

New leadership for USDEC
    Larry Hancock, who is a dairy farmer from Texas, is the new chairman of the U.S. Dairy Export Council. Hancock succeeds Paul Rovey of Arizona, who chaired the USDEC for seven years. Hancock has been the treasurer of Dairy Management Inc. and was a board member for the United Dairy Industry Association.
Kaehler makes a run for Congress
    A new candidate has joined the race for Minnesota’s First Congressional District. Ralph Kaehler is a fourth-generation farmer with a background in trade and renewable energy. Kaehler said he’s not a politician, but decided it was time to take action. “I think everyone is tired of talk; let’s get something done.” In Kaehler’s words, it is about finding a common good, rather than a daily battle on TV and Twitter. “Instead of talking about trade and tariffs, two decades ago, we started writing contracts with Cuba. We went down with Governor Ventura, talked with (former Cuban President) Fidel Castro and wrote contracts for multiple things.” Similar success stories have been seen with Southeast Asia and Costa Rica. Dan Feehan, who ran for the seat two years ago, is also seeking the DFL nomination. The First District is currently represented by first-term Republican Jim Hagedorn.

Cooperative Network adds government affairs staffer
    Cooperative Network, which represents cooperatives in Minnesota and Wisconsin, has welcomed a new government affairs director for its St. Paul office. David Larson is a University of Minnesota grad. Larson’s most recent experience is with the Minnesota Senate Transportation Committee as its lead staff member.

MSCA begins executive director search
    The Minnesota State Cattlemen’s Association is beginning the search for a new executive director. Ashley Kohls, who has been in that role since 2014, is leaving the organization for another opportunity in the beef industry. Kohls’ last day on the job with the MSCA will be October 31.

Trivia challenge
    Fuel Up to Play 60 is a joint project of the NFL and the dairy checkoff. That answers our last trivia question. How much does a quart of milk weigh? We’ll 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.