Here’s a summary of news impacting your dairy in this third week of February 2024.

Lee karen
Managing Editor / Progressive Dairy

USDA to survey farmers’ planting intentions for 2024

The USDA’s National Agricultural Statistics Service (NASS) is contacting producers nationwide to determine their plans for the upcoming growing season. This survey provides initial estimates of planting intentions for the 2024 crop year.

NASS is mailing out the survey this week and asking producers to provide information about the types of crops they intend to plant in 2024, how many acres they intend to plant, and the amounts of grain and oilseed they store on their farms.

Producers can respond online or by mail. Those who do not respond by the deadline may be emailed a reminder or contacted for an interview.

In accordance with federal law, NASS keeps responses confidential and publishes data in aggregate form only, ensuring that no individual operation or producer can be identified. 


The data will be published in the Prospective Plantings and quarterly Grain Stocks reports on March 28. All NASS reports are available online.

Funding for rural infrastructure projects announced

Yesterday, USDA Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack and White House Domestic Policy Adviser Neera Tanden announced that the USDA is funding 216 projects in 45 states, Puerto Rico, and the Northern Mariana Islands as part of President Joe Biden's Investing in America agenda.

The new projects, totaling $772.6 million in investments, will benefit more than 1 million people living in remote areas of the country by providing reliable high-speed internet access, clean, safe water and a range of support for rural families, agricultural producers and small businesses.

  • High-speed internet awards  The USDA is investing in $51.7 million to expand access to high-speed internet for people in rural areas across the country through the ReConnect Program and the Broadband Technical Assistance Program.
  • Rural partners network awards  The USDA is funding a variety of projects in underserved communities participating in the Rural Partners Network (RPN), including some made possible by the Inflation Reduction Act. These investments will expand access to jobs, business opportunities, quality health care, clean water and renewable energy. About $76.6 million of the funding announced today will support 32 projects in Alaska, Georgia, Kentucky, New Mexico, North Carolina, West Virginia and Wisconsin. These projects will benefit small towns and cities, family farms and small businesses in RPN communities and neighboring communities in Tennessee.
  • Rural drinking water and wastewater infrastructure  The USDA is also awarding $644.2 million to help 158 rural utilities provide clean drinking water and sanitary wastewater systems for 913,000 people in rural areas. These water infrastructure projects will benefit families and businesses in Alabama, Alaska, Arkansas, California, Colorado, Delaware, Hawaii, Iowa, Idaho, Illinois, Indiana, Kansas, Kentucky, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, Mississippi, Montana, Nebraska, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, Nevada, North Carolina, North Dakota, Ohio, Oklahoma, Oregon, South Carolina, South Dakota, Tennessee, Texas, Utah, Vermont, Virginia, West Virginia, Wisconsin, Puerto Rico and the Northern Mariana Islands.

A full list of projects is available online.

Vitaliano: Dairy product stocks fall while milk production growth remains weak

Milk prices and the Dairy Margin Coverage Program margin both broke four-month streaks of improvement in December, according to National Milk Producers Federation’s Peter Vitaliano. Summarizing dairy markets in the February 2024 Dairy Management Inc./National Milk Producers Federation Dairy Market Report, he said DMC ended the calendar year with its lowest margin since the current dairy safety net system began nearly a decade ago.  

U.S. dairy exports saw the third-highest percentage of U.S. milk solids production exported ever for the full year, while stocks of most major dairy products continued to fall as milk and milk solids production growth continued below that of demand growth.

For more information on commercial use, dairy trade, milk production, product inventories, prices and margins, view the February 2024 Dairy Market Report.

GDT index increases 0.5%

The price index of dairy product prices sold on the Global Dairy Trade (GDT) platform increased slightly in an auction held Feb. 20. Compared to the previous auction, prices for individual product categories were mixed, led by 8.6% and 5.3% increases in the prices for anhydrous milkfat and mozzarella. Others posting smaller price increases were butter and skim milk powder. Cheddar cheese prices experienced the largest decrease at 7.6% while lactose and whole milk power had smaller price decreases at 1.0% and 1.8%, respectively.

The GDT platform offers dairy products from several global companies: Fonterra (New Zealand), Darigold, Valley Milk and Dairy America (U.S.), Amul (India), Arla (Denmark), Arla Foods Ingredients (Denmark) and Polish Dairy (Poland).

The next GDT auction is March 5.

Fonterra merger to form Fonterra Oceania

To streamline operations across its markets, Fonterra announced it plans to merge Fonterra Brands New Zealand and Fonterra Australia into a single business unit to be called Fonterra Oceania. The merger is set to take effect on May 1. The businesses in Australia and New Zealand offer a similar array of dairy products in diverse portfolios of dairy brands. Fonterra Australia Managing Director René Dedoncker has been appointed to lead the new Fonterra Oceania unit.