Archive for the ‘Todays Dairy News’ Category

House Bill Blocks EPA’s Latest Attack on Ag

September 9, 2014 – The U.S. House of Representatives passed H.R. 5078, the Waters of the United States Regulatory Overreach Protection Act, by a vote of 262-152. This FrankLucaslegislation prohibits the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the Army Corps of Engineers from finalizing and enforcing a proposed rule that would redefine “waters of the United States” under the Clean Water Act, or using the rule as a basis for future administrative actions. It is the authority of Congress, not the administration, to change the scope of the Clean Water Act. House Agriculture Committee Chairman Frank Lucas issued the following statement after the bill was passed:

I am pleased the House approved this bipartisan, commonsense bill to block the EPA from expanding its control of our nation’s land and water resources. 

“Whether it’s trying to regulate farm dust out of existence, milk as oil, or now treat ditches like major water tributaries, the EPA has demonstrated a hunger for power and a lack of understanding of how its actions impact America’s farmers and ranchers. The agency’s latest action would trigger an onslaught of additional permitting and regulatory requirements for our agricultural producers to protect not our great natural resources, but rather our backyard ponds. 

“It is an underhanded way to harm American agriculture and threaten America’s food security. I urge Majority Leader Harry Reid to bring H.R. 5078 to the floor for swift Senate passage,”

Cash Butter Soars to $2.99

September 9, 2014 – The cash butter price at the Chicago Mercantile Exchange set another record today, rising another three cents to $2.99 per pound. It’s the highest cash price ever on the CME. The price sky rocketed 11.5 cents Monday.

“There seems to be a little bit of a panic out there as far as pricing goes,” said FC Stone’s Chris Hildebrand. “We do continue to see higher prices in the face of shorter supplies.”

The cash butter price was $2.40 per pound at the beginning of August and steadily increased to $2.7750 to start the month of September.

NMPF Launches Online Calculator to Help Farmers Select Coverage Levels

ARLINGTON, VA – The National Milk Producers Federation today launched an online, downloadable calculator to help farmers select coverage levels under the new federal dairy safety net, known as the Margin Protection Program for dairy (MPP). The calculator is located at

The calculator allows farmers to enter their own milk production and commodity price data to gauge the new program’s likely impact on their operations. It complements a similar tool created by a consortium of land grant universities that is available through the Agriculture Department website.

A key difference between the two tools is that NMPF’s is available both online, and as a downloadable Excel file. Also, while the USDA tool is pre-programmed with market forecasts from the Chicago Mercantile Exchange, the NMPF tool allows farmers to input their own projections for milk as well as corn, soybean meal and alfalfa hay prices.

“Dairy farmers must make some important decisions in the coming weeks about how best to use the new insurance program,” said Jim Mulhern, President and CEO of NMPF. “This calculator, along with the other informational tools that NMPF has prepared, will help them learn about the program and make the best choices for the future.”

The calculator and other tools are available at, which is serving as NMPF’s information hub for the Margin Protection Program, as well as at

NMPF was instrumental in crafting the new safety net over the last five years. It developed the program after extensive discussions with farmers in 2009 and 2010 and then worked with Congress to include the plan in the 2014 farm bill. More recently, NMPF worked closely with the Agriculture Department on implementation issues for the program.

USDA formally unveiled the MPP in August. A three-month sign up period opened September 2, with farmers having until Nov. 28th to obtain coverage either for the remainder of 2014, all of calendar year 2015, or both.

The new safety net helps protect against the kind of catastrophic losses many dairy farmers experienced in 2009 and again in 2012 by limiting volatility in producer margins caused by either low milk prices, high feed costs or a combination of both.

Producers will insure their operations on a sliding scale, deciding both how much of their milk production to cover and how much of a margin to protect. Basic margin insurance at $4 per hundredweight is available for a $100 registration fee. Above the $4 level, a premium is required.

The NMPF online MPP calculator comes with a printable instruction manual.

NMPF also is preparing a narrated slide presentation to walk through the entire MPP program. That video presentation will be available next week, also at

The National Milk Producers Federation, based in Arlington, VA, develops and carries out policies that advance the well-being of dairy producers and the cooperatives they own. The members of NMPF’s cooperatives produce the majority of the U.S. milk supply, making NMPF the voice of more than 32,000 dairy producers on Capitol Hill and with government agencies. Visit for more information.

Enjoy it While it’s Here

September 5, 2014 – As we reported earlier in the week, the New Zealand Farmer says Russia’s ban on food imports from Europe is contributing to the fall in dairy prices, according to economists. Prices fell 6% in Tuesday’s Global Dairy Trade auction and the U.S. dairy market has long pulled away from the world market, in fact it set a new record high on butter yesterday at $2.84 per pound.    Speaking in Friday’s DairyLine, HighGround Dairy’s Eric Meyer acknowledged the Russian ban is having an impact in Europe where prices, particularly on their powder prices which are declining rapidly and that “Leaves the U.S., more or less, on an island when it comes to competitiveness in the global market.”

“Dairymen should appreciate and enjoy the high times that we’re having here in the United States,” Meyer exclaimed, but warned, “We did get to this point because of record levels of exports and the fact that we are now uncompetitive in that market should be a bit of a warning sign, perhaps a canary in the coal mine of what may be coming ahead.”

He pointed to the 4 percent increase in U.S. milk production in July and predicts “Those types of levels will by and large continue for the coming months with feed costs rapidly declining, income over feed margins should look great and eventually we will lose our market share in the globe unless our prices become more competitive.” “We do see by the end of Fourth Quarter, potential for U.S. prices to make a dramatic move to the down side and futures are somewhat forecasting that,” he concluded.

August FO Benchmark Milk Price $4.34 Above Year Ago

September 4, 2014 – The Agriculture Department announced the August Federal order Class III benchmark milk price this afternoon at $22.25 per hundredweight, up 65 cents from July, $4.34 above August 2013, $2.29 above the comparable California 4b cheese milk price, and equates to about $1.91 per gallon. And, there’s more to come next month as the September futures contract settled today at $24.22 before heading back down in its seasonal descent.

The 2014 Class III average now stands at $22.49, up from $17.72 at this time a year ago and $16.23 in 2012.    Looking beyond September, the October contract settled at $22.63; November, $20.74; and December, $19.66. That would result in a 2014 average of $22.26, up from $17.99 in 2013 and $17.44 in 2012.

The August Class IV price is $23.89, up 11 cents from July and $4.82 above a year ago. The Class IV eight-month average now stands at $23.28, up from $18.37 a year ago and $14.95 in 2012.

The four-week, NDSPR-surveyed cheese price average used to calculate this month’s Class prices was $2.1074 per pound, up 5.9 cents from July. Butter averaged $2.5206, up 17.3 cents. Nonfat dry milk averaged $1.7887, down 7.3 cents, and dry whey averaged 68.80 cents per pound, down fractionally. Meanwhile, cash butter set a new record high of $2.84 per pound this morning in Chicago.

New MilkPEP CEO Shares Vision

September 3, 2014 – There is a new level of commitment and engagement across the dairy industry as milk processors and brands, farmers, and marketing organizations are united and inspired by today’s challenging environment.  That’s the message of new MilkPEP CEO Julia Kadison, who reported on Wednesday’s DairyLine that despite declining milk sales and consumption, we are all committed to working together to understand, tackle and reverse that trend.

“As MilkPEP’s newly appointed CEO, I’m excited to be a part of this movement; and eager to share my vision for MilkPEP, the national fluid milk marketing program,” she said. Here is the text of today’s broadcast:

Turning around a category as large as milk is no simple task – in fact it can be quite daunting.  The solution is a focused strategy and programs that have both immediate and long-term impact. I believe we’ve set the right course, with the right strategic roadmap in place that we now need to follow, measure success and optimize over time.  Out-of-the-box thinking, disruptive marketing programs and a commitment to shake things up, take risks and be bold are critical to milk’s success.

Beyond driving increased milk consumption, MilkPEP is aggressively pursuing three supporting goals to help us get there:

  • First, we will reinforce American consumers’ beliefs in and relationships with milk
  • Second, we will create flexible and accessible programming that helps milk processors build value for their brands
  • Third, we will nurture long-term partnerships across milk industry groups to maximize overall impact

MilkPEP working alone can’t reverse the consumption declines. Working with other like-minded organizations is a critical part of MilkPEP’s DNA.  MilkPEP and Dairy Management Inc, have joined together to identify common goals, collaborate closely on program efforts and forge partnerships across milk processors, dairy farmers and other relevant groups.  We’ve seen promising results from the alliance that will continue to pay dividends in the future.

Over the past several months, MilkPEP has launched three groundbreaking programs…

In February, we introduced Americans to Milk Life, which shows how starting the day with milk’s protein can help everyone accomplish what’s important to them.

In April, we launched the Great American Milk Drive, a partnership between the milk industry and Feeding America to address the critical need for milk’s nutrition in America’s food banks.

And, the new Built with Chocolate Milk campaign touts the competitive recovery benefits of chocolate milk after exercise.

In early 2014, we also amped up our efforts to increase Consumer Confidence in milk’s fundamental goodness.  These initiatives safeguard milk’s reputation against   anti-milk messages that impact consumers’ purchasing decisions.  Without a strong foundation, our programs can’t work as hard as they should.

Early results show that our campaigns are hard hitting – effectively changing attitudes and motivating consumption.

These are all long-term programs for the milk industry.  Most critical is staying focused on the initiatives that we see are moving more milk, changing consumer behavior, and activating the industry to work hand-in-hand toward success.  I’m excited about what the future holds for MilkPEP and the dairy industry, and look forward to more collaboration, more focus and more excitement that will truly make a difference.

Data Point Will Help Make Your MPP Decision

September 2, 2014 — There’s really only one data point needed to get farm specific results from the new web based tool to help assist with enrolling in the Margin Protection Program. John Newton from the University of Illinois explained on today’s DairyLine Radio:


California 4a Inches to Record High/4b Jumps $1.27

September 2, 2014 — The California Department of Food and Agriculture announced the State’s August 4b cheese milk price this morning at $19.96 per hundredweight, up $1.27 from CDFAJuly and $3.64 above August 2013. That propels the 4b 2014 average to $20.30, up from $16.03 at this time a year ago and $14.34 in 2012.

The August 4a butter-powder milk price is a record high $23.83 per cwt., up 25 cents from July and $5.13 above a year ago. The 4a average now stands at $23.13, up from $18.12 a year ago and $14.66 in 2012. The comparable August Federal order prices will be announced by USDA on Thursday. The August FO Class III futures price settled Friday at $22.24, which would be a whopping $2.28 above the California 4b price.

NMPF Pleased With MPP End Result

September 1, 2014 — The new margin protection insurance program for dairy farmers, which was developed by the National Milk Producers Federation and enacted in the 2014 Farm Bill, was formally unveiled late last week by Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack. NMPF said it is pleased with the overall provisions of the new program, and urged farmers to begin familiarizing themselves with what will be a “valuable tool” to help manage farms’ financial risks in the future. NMPF’s CEO Jim Mulhern shared his thoughts on Monday’s DairyLine Radio program:


August Milk-Feed Ratio Up on Higher Milk Price/Lower Feed

August 29, 2014 – The preliminary August milk feed price ratio was up from the revised July level, according to the Agriculture Department’s latest Ag Prices report issued Thursday afternoon. The August milk-feed price ratio is at 2.55, up from 2.36 in July, and compares to 1.68 in August 2013.

The index is based on the current milk price in relationship to feed prices for a ration of 51% corn, 8% soybeans and 41% alfalfa hay, in other words, 1lb. of milk today can purchase 2.55lbs. of dairy feed containing that blend.

The July U.S. average all-milk price was $23.70/cwt., up from $23.30/cwt. in July, and compares to $19.60/cwt. in August 2013.

August corn, at $3.70/bushel, was down 35¢ from July and $2.51 less than August 2013. Soybeans averaged $12.20/bushel, down 90¢ from July, and $1.90/bushel below August 2013, and alfalfa hay averaged $209/ton, down $7 from July, but $10/ton more than August 2013.

Looking at the cow side of the ledger; the report shows the preliminary August cull price for beef and dairy combined averaged $121.00/cwt., up $6/cwt. from July, and $37.10/cwt. above August 2013.

Prices received for milk cows was not available for August but averaged $1970 per head in July.