Digest Highlights

2021 DMC enrollment tops 17,130

A late surge helped push enrollment in the 2021 Dairy Margin Coverage (DMC) program well above last year’s participation rate. Nearly 6,000 more producers were added to the program during the final week of the sign-up period, which closed Dec. 11.

Natzke dave
Editor / Progressive Dairy

As of Dec. 14, 17,131 dairy operations (about 68.3% of those with established milk production history) had enrolled in the 2021 DMC program. Milk production enrolled for 2021 was estimated at 143.3 billion pounds, about 71% of the established history.

State-by-state enrollment information is available here.

CFAP 2 sign-up deadline closed

Another sign-up deadline, this one for the second Coronavirus Food Assistance Program (CFAP 2), closed on Dec. 11. Through Dec. 13, CFAP 2 payments for milk totaled $1.13 billion. Topping the list of state’s receiving dairy payments were: Wisconsin, $216.5 million; California, $171.3 million; New York, $108.9 million; Minnesota, $65.5 million; and Michigan, $64.6 million.

Created to assist farmers who saw market disruptions and losses due to the COVID-19 pandemic, combined payments through CFAP 1 and CFAP 2 paid dairy farmers about $2.9 billion.


U.S. files USMCA enforcement over Canadian dairy TRQs

U.S. Trade Representative (USTR) Robert Lighthizer filed a challenge, Dec. 9, over Canada’s allocation of dairy tariff-rate quotas (TRQs), the first enforcement action under the U.S.-Mexico-Canada Agreement (USMCA).

TRQs allow a pre-determined quantity of a dairy products to be imported at lower import duty rates. Canadian officials maintain they are fully within their USMCA rights to maintain the TRQs on 14 dairy products.

However, the U.S. is challenging the Canadian government’s action to set aside and reserve a percentage of each dairy TRQ exclusively for Canadian processors to import dairy products, including ingredients for further processing, a move Lighthizer said harms U.S dairy farmers and producers.

The challenge calls for consultation between U.S. and Canadian governments, the first step in the USMCA’s dispute settlement process. If a resolution cannot be achieved, the U.S. may request the establishment of a USMCA dispute settlement panel to examine the matter.

The U.S. Dairy Export Council (USDEC) and the National Milk Producers Federation (NMPF), along with several other dairy organizations, including Dairy Edge, applauded the challenge. Their concerns have been echoed by members of Congress, who previously sent a letter to the USTR and the USDA.

California QIP sunset plan referendum recommended

An administrative judge has recommended that a plan to sunset California’s Quota Implementation Plan (QIP) move forward to a producer referendum. The recommendation, issued on Dec. 9, is now before California Department of Food and Agriculture (CDFA) Secretary Karen Ross, who will make the final determination on whether or not a referendum will be held.

The recommendation, by Judge Timothy Aspinwall, is the latest step in a multiyear debate to determine a fair process to resolve the dispute over the QIP. The United Dairy Families of California submitted the petition to the CDFA last June, and a hearing was held on Sept. 30.

Under the plan, the QIP is amended by equalizing Regional Quota Adjusters so that the quota premium equals $1.43 per hundredweight (cwt) in all counties, to be followed by termination of the QIP effective March 1, 2025.

Global Dairy Trade index moves higher again

The index of Global Dairy Trade (GDT) dairy product prices rose 1.3% in the latest auction, held Dec. 15. A price summary of individual product categories follows:

  • Skim milk powder was up 1.2% to $2,930 per metric ton (MT).
  • Butter was up 6% to $4,221 per MT.
  • Whole milk powder was up 0.5% to $3,210 per MT.
  • Cheddar cheese was up 4.2% to $3,893 per MT.

The next GDT auction is Jan. 5, 2021.

Things you might have missed

  • The deadline for fluid milk processors to nominate candidates for the National Fluid Milk Processor Promotion Board is Jan. 15, 2021. The USDA will appoint eight individuals – six regional and two at-large representatives – to serve three-year terms, from July 1, 2021, through June 30, 2024. The board administers marketing and promotion activities and is funded by a 20-cent-per-cwt checkoff paid by fluid milk processors.

  • The Innovation Center for U.S. Dairy announced Starbucks intent to support the Net Zero Initiative (NZI), a partnership seeking to achieve net zero greenhouse gas emissions, optimize water usage and improve water quality on farms. The partnership will help fund research, on-farm pilot projects and development of new markets to advance effective environmental and economically viable practices and technologies for farms of all sizes and geographies. NZI was founded by dairy organizations representing farmers, cooperatives and processors including Dairy Management Inc., the Innovation Center for U.S. Dairy, Newtrient, NMPF, USDEC and International Dairy Foods Association.

  • President-elect Joe Biden nominated Katherine Tai as U.S. trade representative (USTR). Tai speaks fluent mandarin and has past experience as a China enforcement head with the USTR, overseeing disputes between the U.S. and China at the World Trade Organization (WTO). She also handled USMCA negotiations in Congress. The nomination was supported by the NMPF, USDEC and the Consortium for Common Food Names (CCFN).

  • With the nomination of Tom Vilsack for a return engagement as U.S. secretary of agriculture, Dairy Management Inc. named Krysta Harden as the next president and CEO of USDEC. She currently serves as USDEC’s chief operating officer.

  • A lawsuit, filed by the Animal Legal Defense Fund (ALDF) against a California dairy family, was dismissed by the California Superior Court for the County of Riverside. In late September, ALDF filed the lawsuit against the Dick Van Dam Dairy in San Jacinto, California, accusing the owners of mistreating their animals and seeking an injunction against further operation of the farm. The ALDF had also offered to help large retailer, Target, carry out spot checks and surprise inspections of the Dairy Farmers of America (DFA) entire supply chain.

  • Threemile Canyon Farms general manager Marty Myers, 68, died on Dec. 1, at his home of natural causes. With 33,000 cows and nearly 70,000 total cattle at four locations, Threemile Canyon Farms is Oregon’s largest dairy. Myers is credited with creating a closed-loop system to minimize and recycle the operation’s dairy waste. The system earned Threemile Canyon Farms a 2020 U.S. Dairy Sustainability Award. Read: Threemile Canyon Farms is at the intersection of productivity and sustainability.  end mark
Dave Natzke