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November 2019 – Issue No. 484

Inside this months issue  …

OUR STORIES OF THE MONTH (Click the blue title below to read "the complete story"):

Dairy Crisis Shifting Milk Prices to Feed Supplies/Quality (p. 1):  One of our “Stories of the Month.”

Barrel Cheddar Prices Spike at CME, Eclipsing 40-lb. Blocks (p. 1):  Another “Story of the Month.”

DATCP Explains Complaint about Adulterated Cheese (p. 2): Another “Story of the Month.”


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Dairy Crisis Shifting Milk Prices to Feed Supplies/Quality (p. 1):  A “Story of the Month” selection.


Barrel Cheddar Prices Spike at CME, Eclipsing 40-lb. Blocks (p. 1):  Another “Story of the Month.”

DATCP Explains Complaint about Adulterated Cheese (p. 2): Another “Story of the Month.”

Greg Schlafer: Foremost Farms’ New CEO/President; 2019’s First-Half Losses Reported at $19.7 Million (p. 3): Another “Story of the Month.”

October ’19 Class III Price Hits $18.72/Cwt. (p. 3): Another “Story of the Month.”

Attorneys Tackle Possible Class Action Lawsuit Against Robotic Milker Systems (p. 4):  Jan Shepel interviews lawyers representing numerous dairy farmers whose investments in robotic milking systems have turned disastrous.  A class action lawsuit may be in the works.

“Stop QIP” Effort in California Gaining Steam (p. 4): Over 300 Grade A California dairy producers’ signatures on petitions are being prepared for submission to the California Department of Food and Agriculture.  At issue: A thrust to terminate the statute that authorizes deductions from all Grade A milk producers’ checks to fund the state’s milk quota system.

Speaker: “Meatless Mondays” & Going Vegan Won’t Save the Planet (p. 5): At World Dairy Expo, Dr. Frank Mitloehner of UC-Davis detailed livestock and agriculture in the Greenhouse Gas debate.  Mitloehner puts up convincing data to show that in many instances, the GHG impact of dairy and livestock is being dramatically overstated by critics.

UW-Madison CDR Project Costs Now DOUBLE Original Estimates (p. 5):  Insiders now estimate that the costs for UW-Madison’s modernization of Babcock Hall and the Center for Dairy Research are now in the $640 to $680 million dollar range.  That’s double the original estimates put forth in 2012.  Where’s the money going to come from for this long-delayed project?  Sheer incompetence …

Dr. Robert Cropp Offers Positive Dairy Outlook for 2020 (p. 6-7): Writer/dairy farmer Jan Shepel summarizes an October 31 market analysis presented by UW-Madison dairy economist emeritus Dr. Robert Cropp.  His data-based summary pointed to significantly better milk prices in 2019’s fourth quarter and 2020.

“Out Months’” Don’t Reflect Tight 2020 Dairy Supply-Demand (p. 7):  Pete Hardin digs deep into Class III futures and explains that the “out months” futures prices seldom, if ever, admit to uptrends in cheese milk prices.  On one hand, few analysts predicted the sky-high fourth-quarter Class III prices.  But Hardin puzzles why the first half of 2020’s futures prices are so modest, compared to 2019’s fourth quarter.  Feed conditions in many dairy states mean tighter farm milk supplies ahead.

Republicans Fire WI Ag Secretary; CAFO-Sitting Politics Heat Up (p. 8):  On November 5, the Republican Senate dumped Democratic Governor Tony Evers’ nominee – Brad Pfaff – who was serving as Secretary-designee atop the Department of Agriculture, Trade and Consumer Protection.  Pfaff’s sin?  He called public hearings, seeking public comment on the state’s law for approving Confined Animal Feeding Operations (mega-dairies_

Industrial Hemp Woes in Wisconsin: THC Content? Markets? (p. 9):  Many Wisconsin growers of industrial hemp are coming off their earlier highs.  About 10% of all plots tested for THC content came in too high, and those stands had to be destroyed.  Cost per acre to establish industrial hemp plots are estimated a between $5,000 and $10,000.  Wet weather and a late harvest also boosted THC content in plants.  Now that most of the crop has been harvested, growers are finding problems locating processors as well as getting paid.

Dairy Livestock Prices Generally Flat or Down (p. 10):  While the milk prices are rising, in many northern dairy states, producers are shipping large numbers of dairy livestock to auction barns because of scarce supplies of feeds for the coming winter.  Prices for most livestock – excluding springers in some markets – are down.  Bull calves are becoming worth next to nothing. Some low-end cull cows in Wisconsin have brought as low as 4 cents per pound recently.

Battle Over “Fake” Meats Rages On … (p. 10): Jan Shepel takes a long look at emerging controversies involving “fake” meats.  The Center for Food Safety is challenging FDA’s approval of a genetically-engineered material contained in Impossible Foods’ plant-based beef-type products.   

CME: Barrel Cheddar Prices Zoom Up; Solid Gains for NFDM (p. 10):  The headline summarizes well Pete Hardin’s analysis of the dairy commodity scene

Dean Foods: Few, if any, good options (p. 11): Dean Foods – the nation’s largest fluid milk processor – is in deep trouble.  The firm’s stock has plunged below $1.00/share and the street is expecting another poor report on quarterly operating results on November 12.  Pete Hardin discusses Dean Foods’ historic mistakes and the ramifications of a possible bankruptcy.

MMPA Swipes $1.99/cwt. from Sept. ’19 PPDs (p. 11): For September 2019 members’ milk deliveries, Michigan Milk Producers Assn. deducted $1.99/cwt. off the prevailing federal milk order Producer Price Differential.  MMPA members are livid about the co-op’s incompetence at marketing their milk.

PFAS Mangle Maine Dairy Farmer’s Present … and Future (p. 12):  Paris Reidhead details the horrid experience of Fred Stone and his family – Maine dairy farmers who’ve lost their milk market because of PFAS contamination from their soils has passed through the crops to their milking herd.  This is a sobering story about environmental dangers posed to humans and food-producing creatures from PFAS – chemicals commonly contained in fire retardants and many other consumer products.


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