Dairy Profit Weekly editor, Dave Natzke, was readying his snow shovel as he reported in Friday’s broadcast that snow was a possibility in Wisconsin this weekend, so news from sunny California was appropriate for his report this week.
First, the California Superior Court for the County of Los Angeles awarded Dairy Farmers of America $14.3 million in its breach of contract lawsuit against Cacique Incorporated, a California cheese manufacturer. DFA alleged the company unlawfully terminated a milk purchasing contract on short notice and the court awarded damages for lost milk sales and additional costs to market and transport milk.
From the courthouse to the statehouse, Natzke reported that the Alliance of Western Milk Producers petitioned the California Department of Food and Agriculture for an emergency hearing to consider increasing the state milk marketing order’s Class 1, 2 and 3 milk prices. The petition seeks a 50 cent per hundredweight increase in the Class 1 price, and a 26 cent increase in Class 2 and 3 prices paid to farmers. In filing the petition, the Alliance noted that California milk production has declined for 11 consecutive months, and the state’s dairy farmers continue to suffer from low milk prices and high feed costs.
California farmers attending this week’s Alltech Global Dairy 500 Conference, in Kentucky, shared a common bond with hundreds of dairy farmers from around the world, according to Natzke. He reported that, based on discussions with those farmers, it’s apparent that dairy producers are similar no matter where they live and work. They’re generally an optimistic group, he said, but all are suffering economically. Alltech founder and CEO Pearse Lyons estimated only about 2 percent of the world’s dairy farmers are profitable under today’s conditions.