Digest highlights

Natzke dave
Editor / Progressive Dairy

NMPF discussing policy proposals

The National Milk Producers Federation (NMPF) board of directors was scheduled to discuss federal dairy pricing policy reform proposals during a meeting this week.

Although details weren’t released, in May, an NMPF task force of milk marketing experts approved a series of recommendations designed to improve the Federal Milk Marketing Order (FMMO) program.

The full NMPF Economic Policy Committee was set to review those proposals on June 6, followed by an NMPF board review on June 7-8. NMPF will conduct additional member and industry stakeholder outreach over the summer.

GDT price index rises

The latest Global Dairy Trade (GDT) auction saw the overall price index increase for the first time since early March, up 1.5%. Prices were mixed across all product categories:

  • Skim milk powder was up 3% to $4,240 per metric ton (MT, or about 2,205 pounds).
  • Whole milk powder was down 0.3% to $4,158 per MT.
  • Butter was up 5.6% to $6,068 per MT.
  • Cheddar cheese was down 3.6% to $5,365 per MT.
  • Anhydrous milkfat was down 2.7% to $6,201 per MT.

The GDT platform offers dairy products from six global companies: Fonterra (New Zealand), Dairy America (U.S.), Amul (India), Arla (Denmark), Arla Foods Ingredients (Denmark) and Polish Dairy (Poland). The next GDT auction is June 21.

Pennsylvania dairy partnership targets hunger

Weis Markets, the Pennsylvania Dairymen’s Association, Feeding Pennsylvania and American Dairy Association North East celebrated World Milk Day and National Dairy Month with the kickoff of the “Fill A Glass With Hope” campaign. The event, held in Lewisburg, Pennsylvania, offered Weis Markets customers the option to round up their grocery payments at checkout to help fight hunger throughout the month of June statewide. Donations will be distributed to local food banks to purchase milk: Central Pennsylvania Food Bank, Helping Harvest, Philabundance, Second Harvest Food Bank of NEPA and the Lehigh Valley, and the Weinberg Northeast Regional Food Bank.

Launched statewide in 2016, Fill a Glass with Hope has distributed more than 21 million servings of fresh milk through the charitable food network of pantries, soup kitchen, shelters and feeding programs.

In addition, Weis will host the Pennsylvania Dairymen’s “Milkshakes on the Moo-ve” truck at area stores throughout the month of June.

DFA Nerd Herd campaign turns up the heat on milk

This June Dairy Month, Dairy Farmers of America (DFA) is turning up the heat with a new ad campaign featuring the “DFA Nerd Herd” that will show milk doesn’t just cut the heat in spicy foods, but it also can help protect the environment by cutting the heat that methane emissions trap in the planet.

Launched in 2021, the DFA Nerd Herd is led by farmers along with a team of engineers, nutritionists, veterinarians, technology experts, scientists and more to help educate consumers about how DFA farm families are using renewable energy methods, like wind and solar, creating healthy soil and turning waste into power sources through anaerobic digesters to help protect the earth and reduce our carbon footprint.

This year’s integrated campaign will reach consumers through videos on YouTube, streaming platforms and digital publications, along with a robust social campaign and digital advertising campaign. To further bring to life milk’s heat-cutting abilities, DFA sponsored a signature interview on World Milk Day with First We Feast’s Emmy-nominated Hot Ones host Sean Evans and Complex’s Speedy Mormon, where Evans, the spiciest man alive, answered the questions.

After June Dairy Month and through the end of 2022, DFA will release additional videos in various social platforms and digital spaces showcasing how dairy is sustainably made and can help protect the planet tied to additional products like ice cream, butter and cheese.

Northeast virtual tours attract 25,000 students

This spring, 25,500 students and teachers joined local dairy farmers who hosted three virtual farm tours coordinated by American Dairy Association (ADA) North East.

The spring tour hosts included:

  • Ed Facer of Star Rock Farms, Conestoga, Pennsylvania
  • Kelly Reynolds of Reyncrest Farm, Corfu, New York
  • Sarah Lyness of Spring Run Dairy, Pittstown, New Jersey

ADA North East has been testing and implementing ways to make this program more valuable for teachers and participants, including offering the two sessions from each farm. Other developments in the program this spring included vocabulary lists and teacher-developed student lesson plans which meet Common Core standards for elementary, middle and high school classes.

Since launching the virtual farm tour concept in 2018, the 21 tours hosted live from the farm by 10 different farmers from New York, Pennsylvania, Maryland and New Jersey have racked up nearly 500,000 views between the live and recorded broadcasts.

Prairie Farms hosting Extraordin-DAIRY celebration

Prairie Farms' 700 dairy farm families are commemorating June Dairy Month by connecting with consumers through the cooperative’s “Extraordin-DAIRY” celebration.

Visitors are invited to participate in the Extraordin-DAIRY sweepstakes, including a $1,000 grand prize giveaway, a chance to win 25 weekly dairy prize packages worth $100 each and weekly social media pop-up surprises. Integrated marketing for the Extraordin-DAIRY campaign includes: digital paid media, email promotions, social influencers and ongoing social content.

Prairie Farms will release videos throughout the month spotlighting dairy farmers’ longstanding commitment to environmental stewardship and continuous improvement of managing the farm-to-table cycle.

2022 Census of Agriculture sign-up deadline is June 30

Agriculture producers who did not receive the 2017 Census of Agriculture and do not receive other USDA surveys or censuses have until June 30 to sign up to receive the 2022 Census of Agriculture.

The USDA’s National Agricultural Statistics Service (NASS) will mail ag census survey codes for responding securely online to every known U.S. producer this November. Hard copy questionnaires will follow in December.

NASS builds its distribution list for every Census of Agriculture through the official sign-up webpage and multiple national agricultural classification surveys. Learn more about the 2022 Census of Agriculture here.

Proposal boosts plant-based meal reimbursement

Members of California’s Western United Dairies (WUD) government affairs team are preparing to fight a legislative proposal that would increase state reimbursement of plant-based school meals over conventional meals.

The proposal (Assembly Bill 558) would allow agencies to request up to 30 cents more per meal for plant-based offerings, nearly three times the true cost differential of offering conventional meals. The bill will be heard by the California Senate Education Committee on June 16.

California QIP assessment to be lowered

Meeting on June 6, California’s Producer Review Board (PRB) voted to reduce the Quota Implementation Plan (QIP) assessment to 28.3 cents per hundredweight (cwt), effective Aug. 1. The current QIP assessment rate is 36.5 cents per cwt. The assessment would increase it to 34 cents per cwt on March 1, 2023.

Input costs drive ag producer sentiment down

Escalating input costs pressured ag producer performance sentiment lower in May, according to results of the monthly Purdue University/CME Group Ag Economy Barometer survey.

"Despite strong commodity prices, this month's weakness in producers' sentiment appears to be driven by the rapid rise in production costs and uncertainty about where input prices are headed," said James Mintert, the barometer's principal investigator and director of Purdue University's Center for Commercial Agriculture. "That combination is leaving producers very concerned about their farms' financial performance."

The Ag Economy Barometer provides a monthly snapshot of farmer sentiment regarding the state of the agricultural economy. The survey collects responses from 400 producers whose annual market value of production is equal to or exceeds $500,000. Minimum targets by enterprise are as follows: 53% corn/soybeans, 14% wheat, 3% cotton, 19% beef cattle, 5% dairy and 6% hogs. Latest survey results, released June 7, reflect ag producer outlooks as of May 16-20.

Producers exhibited a more negative view of their farms’ financial situation this month, with 38% saying they expect their farm’s financial to worsen this year compared to last year. About 78% said they viewed it as a bad time to invest in things like machinery and buildings. Half of the producers in this month’s survey said their machinery purchase plans were impacted by low farm machinery inventory levels, suggesting that supply chain issues are at least partly responsible for the ongoing weakness in the capital investment index.

When asked what their biggest concerns are for their farming operation, producers overwhelmingly chose higher input costs, with nearly six out of 10 (57%) producers saying they expect prices paid for farm inputs in 2022 to rise 30% or more compared to prices paid in 2021.

A breakdown on the Purdue/CME Group Ag Economy Barometer May results can be viewed here. Find the audio podcast discussion for insight on this month’s sentiment here.