Digest highlights

Dairy cows still ‘dry’

The estimated percentage of U.S. dairy cows located in “drought areas” improved slightly in March, according to the USDA’s World Agricultural Outlook Board. About 50% of the nation’s milk cows were located in areas experiencing drought as of March 29 (Figure 1), a 5% decline compared to a month earlier.

Natzke dave
Editor / Progressive Dairy

dairy cow drought areas

Over the previous month, drought areas improved somewhat in the Southeast and northern Wisconsin, but maintained a strong hold on the Western half of the U.S.

The weekly U.S. Drought Monitor also overlays areas experiencing drought with maps of major production areas for alfalfa and other hay. As of March 29, 64% of the U.S. alfalfa-producing acreage and 47% of hay-producing acreage was considered affected by drought, both down 2% from a month earlier.

NMPF working on FMMO consensus

An in-depth review and modernization of the Federal Milk Marketing Order (FMMO) system is a top priority at the National Milk Producers Federation (NMPF), according to Jim Mulhern, the organization’s president and CEO. Already 18 months into the process, he said finding consensus within the dairy industry may be a multiyear process. Read Mulhern’s latest CEO Corner: FMMO modernization must be done right.

New dairy creamer at Taco Bell

With support from Dairy Management Inc. (DMI) food scientists, Taco Bell restaurants nationwide have rolled out a dairy-based coffee creamer and a new coffee drink. The vanilla creamer replaces a non-dairy product and will be offered at more than 7,500 Taco Bell locations in the U.S. The shelf-stable creamer also was used in the checkoff-created Pineapple Whip Freeze and Island Berry Freeze beverages that previously appeared on Taco Bell’s menu. The creamer also is featured in the Cinnabon Delights coffee, which is available at participating U.S. locations for a limited time. The DMI product research team worked with the checkoff-funded Midwest Dairy Center at the University of Minnesota to create the creamer in 2020.

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Holstein Foundation, DMI to host ‘Spring into Action’ youth seminar

The Holstein Foundation will host its first ever virtual Spring into Action seminar on April 12, 7 p.m. (Eastern time). The hour-long session is titled “Think Outside the Milk Bottle – Bringing Dairy Innovation to Life.”

The session, sponsored by DMI, will focus on understanding today’s consumers, dairy innovation and career opportunities within the food science field. Experts from DMI will lead participants through an interactive case study on a dairy product innovation during the seminar.

Key information from the seminar will also be incorporated into the Holstein Foundation’s Dairy Bowl and Dairy Jeopardy contests in 2022. All youth with an interest in the dairy industry, Junior Holstein members, coaches, parents and advisers are encouraged to attend the seminar.

Youth interested in attending the seminar can register here.

Participants who register for the seminar by the April 8 deadline, attend the session and complete the follow-up survey will be eligible for prizes.

For more information, contact Kelli Dunklee by phone (800) 952-5200 extension 4124 or by email.

NMPF, IDFA urge increased dairy in school meals

Last month, NMPF and the International Dairy Foods Association (IDFA) submitted joint comments to the USDA’s Food and Nutrition Service, urging the agency to improve nutrition security by updating school meal nutrition standards to encourage increased consumption of dairy products.

In their joint comments, IDFA and NMPF urged the USDA to embrace the recommendations of a 2020-25 Dietary Guidelines for Americans (DGA) Advisory Committee report that encouraged dairy consumption among children. In 2020, the committee report noted that 79% of 9- to 13-year-olds were not meeting the recommended intake of dairy foods. IDFA and NMPF also noted that falling participation rates in school breakfast and lunch programs as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic were a growing concern for overall nutrition security among students.

This spring, the USDA announced transitional school meal nutrition standards for the next two school years that will allow schools to continue to serve low-fat flavored milk and pause overly stringent sodium reduction targets that threaten the ability of school meals professionals to serve cheeses. The USDA intends to craft more permanent standards for school year 2024-25 and beyond that pave the way for healthy and nutritious school meals. The USDA can do this by continuing flavored milk and yogurt offerings in schools and setting sodium limits that accommodate use of cheese in school meal products, NMPF and IDFA said.  end mark

Dave Natzke