Class III milk prices have improved since the start of the coronavirus pandemic. However, Rabobank Global Dairy Strategist Mary Ledman would not call it a recovery. With so much volatility, Ledman encourages farmers to find stability within the business. “What was the weakest link in your business? Look at where the volatility came in your system and what can be done to reduce that volatility or risk,” Ledman said.

FSA issues CFAP payments
    In the first week of the Coronavirus Food Assistance Program sign-up, the Farm Service Agency received more than 86,000 applications. The USDA approved more than $545 million in payments. The FSA paid more than $11.7 million to Minnesota non-specialty crop, livestock and dairy farmers in the week of June 1. The USDA will make up to $16 billion in payments in this program. The stats will be updated each week.

Application period for Wisconsin direct payments begins June 15
    Wisconsin Agriculture Secretary Randy Romanski has announced details for the Wisconsin Farm Support Program. An online-only application will be made available by the Department of Revenue in mid-June for the $50 million direct payments. Farmers will have two weeks to apply for the funding. Payouts will range from $1,000 to $3,500 based on income levels.

May ag economy barometer shows slight boost in sentiment
    The May Purdue University/CME Group Ag Economy Barometer shows a modest uptick in farmer sentiment from April. Farmers are more optimistic about current conditions. Purdue University Center for Commercial Agriculture Director Jim Mintert said the slight optimism is spillover from the USDA’s Coronavirus Food Assistance Program. “Those payment amounts are going to be substantial, and they’re going to be enough to make a difference. There could have also been other factors,” said Mintert. “Two-thirds of survey respondents say that another economic assistance bill is necessary to help farmers.”

Small increase seen in milk production
    Milk production in the 24 major dairy states totaled nearly 18 billion pounds in April, up 1.6% from April 2019. Wisconsin milk production was unchanged from one year ago.

Dairy product tariffs to Vietnam drop significantly
    Tariffs on U.S. dairy product and dairy ingredient exports to Vietnam will take a dramatic drop by mid-summer. The U.S. Dairy Export Council said most tariffs will decline by 50% or more. Vietnam is the eighth largest market for U.S. dairy products.

Policy issued for the use of common food names
    The U.S. Patent and Trademark Office has implemented new guidelines regarding the use of common food terms, such as Parmesan or Havarti. The European Union takes a protectionist stance on the use of geographic-based food names while the United States wants to protect the use of common food names. The American Farm Bureau Federation, National Association of State Department of Agriculture, National Milk Producers Federation and others support this action, saying this balanced system protects the rights of consumers and other stakeholders.

RMA adjusts dairy revenue sales period
    Due to the volatility in milk prices, USDA’s Risk Management Agency is adjusting the sales period for Dairy Revenue Protection. This change modifies the timing for weekend sales for DRP. It only impacts when dairy farmers can purchase DRP quarterly endorsements, not the timing of the indemnity payments.

Dairy Processor Grants issued
    The Wisconsin Department of Agriculture, Trade and Consumer Protection is issuing Dairy Processor Grants to 11 state dairy companies. A total of $200,000 was available this year with a maximum of $50,000 for each project. The DATCP received 26 requests for the grants.

World Dairy Expo canceled
    Due to COVID-19 concerns, World Dairy Expo has been canceled for 2020. “We know how much this hurts; we feel it, too,” said Scott Bentley, general manager. “Please know other options were explored and considered by the World Dairy Expo Executive Committee and staff.” World Dairy Expo had been scheduled for Sept. 29-Oct. 3.

Romanski drops interim title
    Randy Romanski has been serving as the interim secretary for the Wisconsin Department of Agriculture, Trade and Consumer Protection since November. At the beginning of June, Wisconsin Gov. Tony Evers appointed Romanski as DATCP secretary-designee. The selection still needs to be confirmed by the legislature.

National FFA Organization removes national officer
    The National FFA Organization announced Western Region Vice President Lyle Logemann has been removed from his national FFA officer post. Logemann violated the code of conduct for national FFA officers by positing inappropriate diversity statements on social media prior to accepting his officer position. The FFA will continue to operate for the remainder of the year with five national officers. In a statement, the National FFA Organization said they will improve the vetting process for national FFA officer candidates, better train national officers and provide additional guidance to state associations to help present more qualified candidates.

DBA and Edge add Beaty to staff
    Dale Beaty is the new director of member relations for the Dairy Business Association and Edge Cooperative. Beaty had been with the Wisconsin Farm Bureau Federation for the past 15 years.

Trivia challenge
    On average, Americans eat three cheeseburgers per week. That answers our last trivia question. For this week, the first hamburger fast food chain began in 1921. What was the name of that chain? 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.