Digest highlights

Natzke dave
Editor / Progressive Dairy

Federal Milk Marketing Order Forum registration deadline near

The American Farm Bureau Federation (AFBF) will host a Federal Milk Marketing Order (FMMO) Forum, Oct. 14-16, in Kansas City, Missouri.

The forum will consist of four half-day segments, featuring expert panels and roundtable discussions covering: Class I pricing issues, origins and purposes of FMMOs, Class III-IV milk pricing issues and simplifying FMMOs. Discussion topics will include the Class I mover, make allowances, price reporting, milk check standardization and more.

The forum is open to all dairy industry participants. Registration is open until Sept. 22. For more information, visit the forum website.

July fluid sales down

Here’s an update on U.S. fluid milk sales data from the USDA Agricultural Marketing Service for July 2022.

  • Total sales: Sales of packaged fluid milk products totaled about 3.3 billion pounds, down about 5% from the same month a year earlier. At 24.9 billion pounds, year-to-date (January-July 2022) sales of all fluid products were down 2.6%.
  • Conventional products: Monthly sales totaled 3.07 billion pounds, down 5.4% from the same month a year earlier. Year-to-date sales totaled 23.25 billion pounds, down 2.7% from January-July 2021.
  • Organic products: Monthly sales totaled 228 million pounds, up 0.3% from a year earlier. At 1.67 billion pounds, year-to-date sales of all fluid organic products were down 2%. Organic represented about 6.9% total fluid product sales in July and 6.7% year to date.

The U.S. figures are based on consumption of fluid milk products in FMMO areas, which account for approximately 92% of total U.S. fluid milk sales, and adding the other 8% from outside FMMO-regulated areas. Sales outlets include food stores, convenience stores, warehouse stores/wholesale clubs, nonfood stores, schools, the food service industry and home delivery.

Dairy Defined: Plant-based beverage ‘bust’ is here

Retail sales volume of plant-based beverages year over year have been negative since February 2022, continuing a trend of flat-to-declining volume that dates to mid-2021, according to Alan Bjerga, National Milk Producers Federation (NMPF) senior vice president of communications.

Citing multioutlet retail and convenience store sales information from Information Resources Inc. (IRI), Bjerga said the trend runs counter to marketing claims by plant-based product companies.

“After being told for years that plant-based beverages were the wave of the future, the public would be well served to know that the hype was a mirage,” Bjerga said.

Read Dairy Defined: Say it loud, say it clear – the plant-based beverage bust is here.

Online organic dairy ‘origin of livestock’ rule training offered

The USDA has created an online course to train those seeking a better understanding of the National Organic Program’s (NOP) origin of livestock rule, published in April 2022. All training is free.

The course helps certifiers, inspectors and organic producers implement updates to the USDA organic regulations that address the transition of nonorganic animals into organic production. This course focuses on cows; however, these livestock requirements apply to all dairy animals. 

To take the course, participants must create an account with the NOP Organic Integrity Learning Center or sign in using an existing account. To complete the registration process, follow the steps outlined here.

The rule closes what many in the industry considered a “loophole,” creating unfair organic marketing practices. It allows a dairy livestock operation transitioning to organic, or starting a new organic farm, to transition non-organic animals one time. It also prohibits organic dairies from sourcing any transitioned animals. Once a dairy is certified organic, animals must be managed as organic from the last third of gestation. Variances may be requested by small businesses for specific scenarios.

 A copy of the rule is available here.

GDT product prices higher

The latest Global Dairy Trade (GDT) auction saw the overall price index increase 2%, marking the second consecutive rise in the bimonthly auction. Average prices in individual product categories were mixed in the Sept. 20 auction, including:

  • Skim milk powder was down 0.7% to $3,547 per metric ton (MT, or about 2,205 pounds).
  • Whole milk powder was up 3.7% to $3,733 per MT.
  • Butter was down 0.2% to $5,356 per MT.
  • Cheddar cheese was up 2.1% to $5,147 per MT.
  • Anhydrous milkfat was up 4% to $5,901 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 Oct. 4.

Finstad joins U.S. House Agriculture Committee

U.S. Representative Brad Finstad (R-Minnesota) has been named to the House Agriculture Committee, filling a post held by former committee member Jim Hagedorn, who died in February 2022.

Finstad was previously elected to fill the southern Minnesota congressional seat also held by Hagedorn.

Southeast: The Dairy Alliance launches sustainability documentary

The Dairy Alliance (TDA), a nonprofit organization funded by Southeast dairy farm families, launched a 35-minute documentary video spotlighting the dairy industry’s sustainability efforts and innovation in a push toward the industry’s 2050 greenhouse gas neutrality goals.

The documentary, titled “The Dairy Truth,” is available via YouTube. It follows multiple dairy industry leaders and environmental experts as they detail the innovations and technology the industry is leveraging to become “greener.” Among those featured is Leatherbrook Holsteins, the first Georgia dairy farm to implement a methane digester.

The video also addresses common misconceptions around the dairy industry, specifically around the environmental impact of dairy farming. 

TDA is a nonprofit funded by dairy farm families in Alabama, Georgia, Kentucky, Mississippi, North Carolina, South Carolina, Tennessee and Virginia.