United States Secretary of the Treasury Steven Mnuchin and Speaker of the United States House of Representatives Nancy Pelosi have a tentative agreement to avoid a government shutdown. A continuing resolution is needed to fund the government after Sept. 30. Mnuchin and Pelosi agreed to a clean stopgap spending bill, which means a new coronavirus assistance package will need to be addressed separately.

Milk production edges higher
    Milk production in the 24 major states totaled 17.8 billion pounds in July. That was up 1.5% from one year ago. Wisconsin milk production rose 0.5%.

Records broken during pandemic
    The latest Dairy Market Report from the National Milk Producers Federation and Dairy Management Inc. highlights the roller coaster ride in milk prices. When coronavirus began, U.S. milk prices experienced the largest one-month downturn. June had the biggest-ever one-month increase. The July all-milk price will be one of the highest recorded prices since 2014. Prices are expected to decline for the balance of the year with the second wave of the pandemic.

Supply chain adjusts to COVID-19
    The food supply chain has adapted effectively to the coronavirus pandemic. Clay Detlefsen, chief counsel, National Milk Producers Federation, made that point in a NMPF podcast. “We’ve got our challenges ahead for sure,” Detlefsen said. “There’s no reason to celebrate, but there’s no reason to be pessimistic either. We will get through this.” Detlefsen said food companies have redesigned workplaces to keep employees safe. Work needs to be done to understand how the virus is spread and how to prevent it.

Food box program gets additional funding
    The United States Department of Agriculture Farmers to Families Food Box Program has distributed more than 75 million food boxes. This program began in May to help feed families and support farmers. “The delivery of 75 million food boxes has helped an incredible number of Americans,” said United States Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue. The food box program has also been credited for boosting dairy prices. President Trump has added an additional $1 billion to the food box program as the economy continues to reopen.

Reducing the size of the dairy herd
    Year-to-date, 1.9 million dairy cows have been culled. The report from USDA said that is down 98,200 head, or 4.8%, from the same period last year.

DATCP reviews dairy farm number decline
    The Wisconsin Department of Agriculture, Trade and Consumer Protection reports 266 dairy farms have gone out of business this year, down 3.8% from last year. During this same time period in 2019, more than 550 dairy farms left the industry. That is a decline of 6.8%. For the full year, 818 dairy farms exited the industry, down 10%.

Ranking the largest dairy companies
    Rabobank has published its annual report on the world’s top 20 dairy companies. Nestle, which is based in Switzerland, retained its No. 1 spot on the list with sales of $22.1 billion. The highest-ranking U.S. company on the list is Dairy Farmers of America at $20.1 billion. DFA is the only U.S. company on the list, moving up from sixth largest one year ago to No. 3 in the 2020 rankings. The jump is credited to the acquisition of Dean Foods.

Chinese dairy export forecast
    The Chinese economy is strengthening, but that does not mean dairy exports will see a big bump. Rabobank said the food service business is soft in China and domestic dairy supplies are rising. China traditionally buys dairy products from the United States, the European Union, Australia and New Zealand.

Disaster on East China Sea
    A typhoon brought down a ship carrying 5,800 dairy cows and 43 crew members. This export vessel was traveling from New Zealand to China. Live animal exports from New Zealand and Australia are fairly common, but the New Zealand Ministry for Primary Industries temporarily suspended cattle export applications due to this maritime disaster.

DFA announces plan to reduce emissions
    Dairy Farmers of America plans to cut greenhouse gas emissions by 30% by 2030 from a base year of 2018. Using a science-based approach, the dairy co-op is supporting nutritional adjustments to reduce emissions. The use of manure digesters, solar panels and wind power is also part of DFA’s strategy.

Dairy Strong Conference goes virtual
    The Dairy Business Association’s Dairy Strong Conference will be conducted virtually Jan. 19-21, 2021. While the format will be different, DBA Director Tim Trotter said the goal of the program will remain the same. That goal is “to provide an experience where ideas are shared, connections are made and people are inspired.”

Dairy Innovation Hub funds short-term research projects
    The University of Wisconsin-Madison’s Dairy Innovation Hub Initiative has announced the funding of seven projects. The issues addressed include studies about the dairy supply chain, manure management and the transmission of pathogenic bacteria to dairy cows.

Organic Valley promotes Rakobitsch
    Nicole Rakobitsch is the new director of sustainability for Organic Valley. Rakobitsch will be tasked with developing climate-smart farming practices for Organic Valley members.

Leopold finalists named
    The finalists for the Wisconsin Leopold Conservation Award have been named. They are Mike Berg of Lafayette County, John and Melissa Eron of Portage County, Charlie Hammer and Nancy Kavazanijan of Dodge County, Brian Maliszewski of Trempealeau County and John and Dorothy Priske of Columbia County. The Leopold winner will receive a $10,000 award.

Trivia challenge
    Cheez Whiz was the Kraft Foods cheese sauce product that was introduced in 1953. That answers our last trivia question. There is a yogurt product for children in Canada that is known as Yoplait Tubes. It is Frubes in England. For this week, what is the name of this product in the United States? 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.