Digest Highlights

Dairy promotions part of Veterans Day recognition

Dairy Management Inc. (DMI) is joining Domino’s Pizza and Wounded Warrior Project to honor, support and feed veterans and their families on Veterans Day.

Natzke dave
Editor / Progressive Dairy

DMI and dairy checkoff partner Domino’s Pizza are offering 50% off pizzas for new Domino’s app users during Veterans Day week, Nov. 9-15. DMI will help Domino’s market the promotion across key social media and digital platforms. First-time Domino’s app users and anyone who has not purchased from the app within the last year can input the code App50 at checkout to receive the discount on all menu-priced pizzas.

Minnie’s Food Pantry, in collaboration with Wounded Warrior Project, is joining forces with local checkoff organization Dairy Max and America’s dairy farmers to honor veterans and their families and share the joy of dairy at this year’s “Giving Thanks” food distribution event. During the drive-thru event on Nov. 14, food pantry volunteers, Wounded Warrior Project staff and volunteers, plus NFL Dallas Cowboys legends Drew Pearson, Tony Dorsett and Larry Brown, will distribute holiday food staples such as turkey and stuffing to veterans. In addition, they’ll receive Farmers to Families Food Boxes. Dairy farmers also will be on site distributing the ultimate comfort foods to attendees – grilled cheese sandwiches and chocolate milk.

DMC enrollment continues on slow pace

With the deadline about a month away, enrollment for the 2021 Dairy Margin Coverage (DMC) program continues at a slow pace. The enrollment period opened on Oct. 13 and runs through Dec. 11 at USDA Farm Service Agency (FSA) offices.

As of Nov. 9, about 3,488 dairy operations (14% of those with established milk production history) had enrolled in the 2021 DMC program. Milk production enrolled was estimated at 28.8 billion pounds, also about 14.5% of the established history.

  • Resources: Use a new DMC Decision Tool to help make 2021 program enrollment decision. View a video explaining the revamped tool here.

CFAP payment updates

Direct payments to U.S. dairy farmers through both versions of the Coronavirus Food Assistance Program (CFAP) topped $2.71 billion as of Nov. 9.

  • CFAP 1 payments totaled $1.771 billion to 24,568 applicants. The application period closed Sept. 11. In a notice to state and county FSA offices, USDA deputy administrator of farm programs, William Beam, said the agency would finalize action on all CFAP 1 applications by Dec. 11.

  • CFAP 2 payments totaled $943.3 million to 17,634 applicants. Direct payments under CFAP will equal $1.20 per hundredweight (cwt) on eligible milk production for the last nine months of 2020. The sign-up period is open through Dec. 11, 2020, at USDA FSA county offices. CFAP 2 is considered a separate program and requires a separate sign-up, even if the producer signed up for and received payment under CFAP 1. Producers who did not sign up for CFAP 1 are eligible to sign up for CFAP 2.

Dairy margins ended October mixed

Dairy margins were mixed over the second half of October, continuing a trend of strengthening in nearby marketing periods while weakening slightly further out, according to Commodity & Ingredient Hedging LLC.

Strength in nearby marketing periods continued to be paced higher trade in cheese, despite what was generally construed as a bearish September production report. USDA cold storage data showed a pronounced decline in American cheese stocks in September, despite the continued challenges for food service demand, as cheese movement through retail channels and government purchases was strong.

The drop in butter stocks between August and September was the largest for those months in three years, but inventories remain more than 18% higher than a year earlier.

Wisconsin groups push back on anti-CAFO resolution

Several dairy and agricultural organizations are trying to head off action by a Wisconsin county that they fear could potentially lead to more regulations, or ban all together, the development of concentrated animal feeding operations (CAFOs) within its borders.

The Polk County’s Health and Human Services Committee was scheduled to consider a resolution on Nov. 10. While the proposed resolution does not go into detail regarding what type of new regulations it hopes to see for CAFOs in the county, the agricultural organizations said it comes on the heels of an attempt by some in Polk County government to ban certain types of larger farms.

Led by a Wisconsin-based dairy lobbying group, the Dairy Business Association, and its milk marketing cooperative, Edge Dairy Farmer Cooperative, other organizations signing a letter in opposition the resolution include the Polk County Farm Bureau and groups representing Wisconsin’s agricultural consultants, cattle, pork and corn producers. In the letter to county supervisors, the agricultural organizations noted Wisconsin state law places several limitations on what a county can do to regulate CAFOs or other larger farms.

“Passing an antagonistic resolution will not help. If anything, it could dissuade farmers from engaging with the county,” the letter states. “We hope Polk County will decide to move forward together with its farmers for the good of everyone concerned.”

The ag groups pointed out that in nearby St. Croix County, a workgroup was formed of farmers, government officials and other private residents to identify environmental improvement areas. The groups also said that elsewhere around the state, governments are partnering with local farmers to work on watershed-specific projects. That collaborative approach is having measurable positive effects on soil health and water quality.

Washington: Ruling grants farmworkers right to overtime pay

The Washington State Supreme Court has ruled farm workers are eligible for overtime pay, ending a six-decade agricultural exemption under the state’s minimum wage law. In a split decision, members of the court ruled 5-4 in favor of the petitioners, Jose Martinez-Cuevas and Patricia Aguilar, two former workers on a Yakima County dairy.

The case stemmed from a class action lawsuit, initially filed in 2016. The complaint alleged DeRuyter failed to pay minimum wage to dairy workers, did not provide adequate rest and meal breaks, failed to compensate pre- and post-shift duties and failed to pay overtime.

A settlement agreement in that suit, reached in 2017, resolved all but the overtime pay issue. In oral arguments held in October 2019, attorneys representing the workers claimed the agricultural exemption to overtime pay was unconstitutional. The Washington State Dairy Federation (WSDF) and Washington Farm Bureau intervened on the dairy’s side.

Officials with the WSDF are reviewing the opinion and considering options. However, since the case involves a state constitutional question, there is no venue to appeal it to the U.S. Supreme Court.

In an email to WSDF members, organization leaders advised farmers to begin paying workers time-and-a-half for overtime immediately.

With the ruling, Washington joins New York and California in requiring overtime pay for farm workers. California is phasing in overtime requirements for farmworkers by 2022-25, depending on the number of workers on a farm. New York's rule currently requires overtime pay after 60 hours per week.  end mark

Dave Natzke