Digest highlights

Natzke dave
Editor / Progressive Dairy

DFA donating refrigeration, milk to food pantries

Dairy Farmers of America (DFA), along with its employees and family farm-owners, is continuing its commitment to help fight hunger by supporting Feeding America’s Hunger Action Month this September. Through its DFA Cares Foundation Farmers Feeding Families Fund, DFA is donating much-needed commercial refrigeration to community food pantries across its seven regional areas and stocking those fridges with milk through the end of the year.

According to Feeding America, more than 38 million people, including 12 million children, are facing hunger and food insecurity, with added pressure caused by inflation. And while every community in the country has families that face hunger, rural communities are especially hard hit.

In 2020, DFA began donating refrigerators stocked with milk to community food pantries in its local marketing areas to support Hunger Action Month. With this year’s donation, the co-op has provided access to refrigeration for more than 34 community food pantries and provided more than 270,000 servings of milk.

Since the start of the pandemic, DFA’s Farmers Feeding Families Fund has raised $950,000, along with dairy product donations from DFA’s commercial divisions, which has positively impacted 617 local communities and provided the equivalent of more than 36.4 million servings of dairy to those in need. For more information about DFA’s Farmers Feeding Families Fund or to donate, click here


GDT product prices higher for a change

The latest Global Dairy Trade (GDT) auction saw the overall price index increase 4.9%, marking the first rise in the bimonthly auction since early June. Average prices in individual product categories were all higher in the Sept. 6 auction, including:

  • Skim milk powder was up 1.5% to $3,575 per metric ton (MT, or about 2,205 pounds).
  • Whole milk powder was up 5.1% to $3,610 per MT.
  • Butter was up 3.3% to $5,369 per MT.
  • Cheddar cheese was up 1% to $5,046 per MT.
  • Anhydrous milkfat was up 13.9% to $5,677 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 Sept. 20.

Producer sentiment improves

Both current and future economic outlooks among U.S. farmers improved in August, according to results of the monthly Purdue University/CME Group Ag Economy Barometer survey. Survey respondents, weighted toward corn and soybean producers, cited higher prices for the brighter outlooks.

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 July 5, reflect ag producer outlooks as of Aug. 15-19.

Survey respondents were less worried about their farm’s financial situation than in July, although they remain concerned about a possible cost/price squeeze, said James Mintert, the barometer's principal investigator and director of Purdue University's Center for Commercial Agriculture. When asked about their biggest concerns for the next year, over half (53%) of the survey respondents chose higher input costs. Other concerns included rising interest rates, input availability and lower output prices.

The Farm Capital Investment Index improved but remained low, as producers continue to view this as not being a good time to make large investments in their farm operation. 

In this month’s survey, 9% of respondents said they have engaged in discussions with companies offering payments for carbon capture, but just 1% had signed contracts. Three-fourths of respondents said the payment rate per metric ton of carbon offered was less than $20. 

The survey asked respondents who said they engaged in discussions but chose not to sign a carbon contract the minimum payment per acre they would accept to enroll their farm in a carbon capture program. Two-thirds of respondents said the payment rate needed to be at least $30 per acre.

NMPF: Climate law holds promise for dairy

Whatever one’s opinion of the overall legislation, the Inflation Reduction Act that became law in August could be a milestone for dairy, according to Jim Mulhern, president and CEO of the National Milk Producers Federation (NMPF). Writing in his latest CEO’s Corner, he said the law will provide support for industry-wide efforts by dairy farmers to succeed in a marketplace where sustainability is becoming an increasingly important part of value.

The law’s $20 billion in new spending for agriculture includes $8.45 billion in new funds for the Environmental Quality Incentives Program (EQIP), which provides technical assistance to dairy farmers targeted toward greenhouse gas reduction. It has $4.95 billion in new funds for the Regional Conservation Partnership Program, which funds locally developed, targeted partnership projects, emphasizing initiatives that incentivize or target reduced methane emissions. Smaller initiatives, such as $25 million annually for conservation innovation trials, targets funds toward projects using animal feed and diet management to reduce enteric methane emissions.

Darigold strengthens global leadership team

Dairy co-op Darigold Inc. took steps to support growth of its international business and rising global demand for U.S.-produced dairy products. The co-op named Kevin Quinn as vice president and leader of global sales from its Seattle headquarters and expanded roles for Mariana Lezama and Batthew Pang, who will each serve as managing directors in the co-op’s offices in Mexico City, Mexico, and Shanghai, China, respectively.

Quinn initially joined Darigold’s global sales group in 2018, after serving in senior level positions with Leprino Foods and White Wave Foods. He will lead global manufacturing, account engagement and market development for Darigold’s Class III and IV business.

Lezama, who joined Darigold in 2019 to help establish the co-op’s Mexico City office, will oversee business execution for all of Latin America. 

Pang, who joined the co-op in 2021 as a director in Shanghai overseeing sales of consumer products, will represent all of Darigold’s product portfolios throughout North Asia. 

Headquartered in Seattle, Darigold is the marketing and processing subsidiary of Northwest Dairy Association (NDA), which is owned by more than 300 family-owned dairy farms in Washington, Oregon, Idaho and Montana. Darigold handles approximately 10 billion pounds of milk annually, with 11 plants producing a full line of dairy-based products for retail, food service, commodity and specialty markets.

California authorizes emergency mortality quarantine

The California Department of Food and Agriculture (CDFA) authorized a heat emergency livestock mortality management quarantine, effective Sept. 2-30, according to Western United Dairies.

Issued Sept. 2, the CDFA notice provides guidance for animal carcass disposal where mortality pickup and processing has been refused by a licensed renderer due to lack of capacity, the condition of the carcass or operational problems. Detailed information, by county, is also available here.

Producers are encouraged to first check if an alternative rendering facility can accept the carcasses before pursuing the options. Other options include transporting carcasses to a permitted landfill, providing temporary on-farm storage or on-site composting. 

Dairy women in leadership webinar is Sept. 13

The National Young Cooperators Program and the Dairy Girl Network will host a webinar, Sept. 13, addressing challenges women encounter as they navigate careers in the dairy industry.

Speakers include: Laura Daniels, founder and president, Dairy Girl Network; Krysta Harden, president and CEO, U.S. Dairy Export Council; Karen Jordan, DVM , owner, Brush Creek Swiss Farms; and Jackie Klippenstein, senior vice president of government, industry and communication relations with Dairy Farmers of America.

The webinar will be held from 11 a.m. – 12 p.m. (Eastern time). Participation is free of charge, but registration is required. For further information, email Theresa Sweeney.