Digest highlights

Collaboration targets link between dairy and public health

Dairy checkoff-funded organizations have entered into a five-year collaboration with Mayo Clinic to explore research and consumer outreach efforts to improve public health and advance dairy’s benefits.

Natzke dave
Editor / Progressive Dairy

“This is a powerful collaboration that shows how the dairy checkoff is expanding our scientific network to bring a modernized complement to our legacy and move us further into the future,” said Dairy Management Inc. (DMI) CEO Barbara O’Brien.

The checkoff’s memorandum of understanding with Mayo involves DMI, National Dairy Council (NDC) and the Innovation Center for U.S. Dairy. The collaboration will be incorporated across Mayo Clinic’s campuses in Rochester, Minnesota, Scottsdale and Phoenix, Arizona, and Jacksonville, Florida.

Teams comprised of NDC scientists and registered dietitians, Mayo Clinic physicians and health professionals, as well as Innovation Center for U.S. Dairy experts will lead initiatives focused on three areas:

  • Research to discover how dairy foods, particularly whole milk dairy, impacts cardiovascular health and metabolic conditions – other potential research areas include dairy’s role on calm, sleep, digestive health and immunity.

  • Communicating dairy’s strong body of evidence, new research and insights with the scientific community, health and wellness professionals, and consumers

  • Exploring dairy’s role through digital platforms to propel people into a new way of precisely managing their wellness

In addition, co-created content will help debunk dairy myths and help consumers maintain confidence in dairy foods, farms and businesses.


Watch a video conversation regarding the collaboration between DMI CEO Barbara O’Brien and DMI Chair and Pennsylvania dairy farmer Marilyn Hershey.

Vitaliano: The stage is set for a strong 2022

The stage is being set for 2022 to be a considerably better year than most of the last several for U.S. dairy farmers, according to the National Milk Producers Federation’s Peter Vitaliano, summarizing markets in the February 2022 Dairy Management Inc./National Milk Producers Federation Dairy Market Report.

Record exports, flat milk production, just over half a percent milk solids production growth and over 2% consumption growth made a winning combination during the fourth quarter of 2021, sending some key prices to long-time high levels at the start of this year. Meanwhile, as foreign and domestic demand increase, domestic stock levels are not burdensome for most major dairy product categories.

For more information on commercial use, dairy trade, milk production, product inventories, prices and margins, click here.

GDT price index jumps 5%

The latest Global Dairy Trade (GDT) auction of 2022, held March 1, saw dairy prices take another jump, with the overall index up 5.1%. By category, dairy product prices were:

  • Skim milk powder was up 4.7% to $4,481 per metric ton (MT, or about 2,205 pounds).
  • Whole milk powder was up 5.7% to $4,757 per MT.
  • Butter was up 5.9% to $7,086 per MT.
  • Cheddar cheese was up 10.9% to $6,394 per MT.
  • Anhydrous milkfat was up 2.1% to $7,048 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 March 15.

CoBank: Is global demand for high-protein whey sustainable?

As the leader in high-protein whey production and exports, the U.S. stands to benefit from the increased global demand. However, despite record cheese production in the U.S., global supplies of whey products remain tight, which has resulted in significant price premiums for high-protein whey products, according to a new report from CoBank’s Knowledge Exchange.

Whey prices are expected to persist at historically strong levels until new cheese and whey processing capacity comes online over the next five years, said Tanner Ehmke, lead dairy economist with CoBank.

“High-protein whey products come with risks of increasing price volatility that’s endemic of niche and diverse product mixes with limited market players,” said Ehmke. “To meet the growing demand for diverse whey products while covering the risk of higher volatility, dairy processors will need to invest in processing technologies that allow flexibility in production.”

Whey production will become increasingly stratified across products and prices, requiring processors to invest in processing technology to allow for flexibility in production for a variety of whey products spanning dry whey to fractionated whey. The high costs of membrane technology required for further processing of whey will limit growth opportunities to larger cheese and whey processors that have economies of scale.

In the longer term, further-processed fractionated whey protein products are expected to become the bigger value-drivers of the whey stream. Low-protein whey will still offer the appeal of stability and price hedging for processors, added Ehmke.

Watch a video synopsis and read the report, COVID-19 Spiked Demand for High-Protein Whey, but is Growth Sustainable?

USDA gathering data on certified organic production

The USDA National Agricultural Statistics Service (NASS) is conducting the 2021 organic survey to gather new data on certified organic crops and livestock commodities in the U.S. NASS is mailing the survey to all known certified organic farms and ranches. The questionnaire asks producers to provide information on acreage, production and sales, as well as production and marketing practices. Participants should respond by April 4. Producers can return their questionnaires by mail or complete them online using the new respondent portal. On the portal, producers can complete their surveys, see previously reported data, access data visualizations and reports of interest, link to other USDA agencies, get a local weather update and more.

Information provided by respondents is kept confidential and will not be published in identifiable form, as required by federal law. For more information about the 2021 certified organic survey, click here.

Harden reflects on year of record-setting U.S. dairy exports

On her first anniversary as president and CEO of the U.S. Dairy Export Council (USDEC), Krysta Harden examines past growth and future opportunities. Read her comments on the U.S. Dairy Exporter Blog.

Also, the USDA released year-end 2021 export data in February. As expected, U.S. dairy exports came through with double-digit growth to surpass all-time records for volume and value. The USDEC provides an infographic that quantifies, illustrates and illuminates the record year.

Cost concerns outweigh higher commodity prices

Results from the monthly Purdue University/CME Group Ag Economy Barometer survey indicate farmer sentiment continues to fluctuate month to month.

The Farm Financial Performance index evaluates producers’ responses to whether they expect their farm's current financial performance to be better than, worse than or about the same as the previous year.

“These survey responses suggest that concerns about the spike in production costs and supply chain issues continue to mostly outweigh the impact of the commodity price rally that’s been underway this winter,” said James Mintert, the barometer’s principal investigator and director of Purdue University’s Center for Commercial Agriculture.

Higher input costs have consistently been the No. 1 concern identified by farmers over the past six months, according to results from the Ag Economy Barometer survey. While a majority still consider input costs as their No. 1 concern (47%), it was followed by lower output prices (16%), environmental policy (13%), farm policy (9%), climate policy (8%) and COVID-19’s impact (7%).

Tight machinery inventories continue to be a problem. In February, 40% of producers stated that low farm machinery inventories are holding back their investment plans. While plans for farm building and grain bin construction were more optimistic this month, 56% still said their plans for new construction are below the previous year.

Each winter, the barometer survey asks producers to project their farm’s annual growth rate over the next five years. In 2022, 53% stated they either had no plans to grow or plan to retire/exit in the next five years, 19% expect their farm’s annual growth rate to range from 5%-10% and 18% expect less their farm’s annual growth rate to be less than 5%.

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 March 1, reflect ag producer outlooks as of Feb. 14-18.  end mark