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  April 2016   Issue No. 441

Inside this months issue …

“The New York State Dairy Farm Bankruptcy Octopus” (p. 6-7): 
     We finally print a years-long probe into a series of farm mortgage holders in New York State.  The primary motive of these mortgage holders seems to have been to bankrupt dairy farmers and seize their land.  Our Story of the Month!

    Click Here.

Dairy: Gushing Red Ink & Eroding Assets’ Values (p. 1):
    The nation is awash with too much milk – especially in the Great Lakes Region.  Too much milk is depressing prices for a range of assets, from cheese to dairy cows.  What a mess

Empire Specialty Cheese Pollutes Tributary of Chatauqua Lake (p. 2):
   Writer Nate Wilson reports the latest mid-adventures of Empire Specialty Cheese, the firm that can’t get much of anything right.  The start-up Italian cheese plant in westernmost New York State was nailed by the state for plant wastes entering a tributary of famed Chatauqua Lake.

WMMB’s James Robson Resigns (p. 2): 
   The long-term CEO of the Wisconsin Milk Marketing Board, James Robson, resigned abruptly in late April, following what amounted to a “no confidence” vote by WMMB’s board.  The Milkweed views Robson as one of the most competent top executives ever in any dairy promotion group.

USDA Cancels July 2016 Cattle Report (p. 2):
    Alleged budget reasons have caused USDA to cancel the valuable July Cattle Report – a semi-annual analysis of the nation’s beef and dairy herds.

April 2016 Class III Price $13.63 – Class IV at $12.68 (p. 2):
   The headline tells it all.

15 Months of Organic, Grass-Based Progress (p. 3):
   Paris Reidhead revisits Maple Hill Creamery.  That dairy firm distributes an array of organic, grass-fed products – fluid milk, yogurt, kefir and cheese.  Maple Hill Creamery’s pay producers to organic, grass-based producers range in the $45/cwt. range – depending upon quality and components.

Wisconsin Dairy Woman Aims for the House (of Representatives) (p. 4):
Writer Jan Shepel profiles Sarah Lloyd – a Wisconsin woman who has served on the Wisconsin Milk Marketing Board and the National Dairy Board.  Sarah is seeking the Democratic nomination for the state’s 6th Congressional District race this fall.

R-CALF USA’s Bill Bullard: Questions & Answers (p. 5):
   The CEO of R-CALF USA (a trouble-making bunch of mavericks representing U.S. cattle producers) gives a fact-filled set of answers to R-CALF USA’s recent success in convincing the U.S. Senate Judiciary Committee to call for an investigation of 2015’s slaughter cattle price collapse.  What a well-informed source!

“The New York State Dairy Farm Bankruptcy Octopus” (p. 6-7):
  We finally print a years-long probe into a series of farm mortgage holders in New York State.  The primary motive of these mortgage holders seems to have been to bankrupt dairy farmers and seize their land.  Our Story of the Month!

DFA’s 2015 Audit Features Debt, Nebulous Assets & (Big Negatives) (p. 8):
    Editor Pete Hardin’s ability to knife holes in the annual financial audits of Dairy Farmers of America has never been sharper.  One must wonder, are the auditors and DFA’s lenders out to lunch … or just part of the gravy train?

DairiConcepts: Bargain or White Elephant??? (p. 8):
    On December 31, 2015, DFA acquired its partner’s half-interest in a dairy business named DairiConcepts.  A close look at details of that purchase, as provided in DFA’s 2015 financial audit, raise serious questions about the wisdom of that purchase.

R-CALF USA Wants 205 Cattle Price Collapse Investigated (p. 6):
   The upstart beef producers group – R-CALF USA – is seeking an investigation into last summer’s collapse of slaughter livestock prices.  The beef producers group is claiming undue concentration among beef buyers is destroying competition.

Butter Prices Holding, Cheddar Tumbles & Milk Powder Up Slightly (p. 9):
    Butter prices are holding, nonfat dry milk prices are creeping up from the sub-basement, and Cheddar prices are declining.  Our dairy commodity picture is volatile.

Open Heifer & Baby Calf Prices Mostly Stable, But … (p. 10):
   Prices for many dairy animals are showing the cash-flow stress on U.S. dairy farmers.  Desire to sell animals is strong, inclination to buy is weak.  Baby calves, open heifers and Jersey livestock are generally holding their value.

Zoo-like Evens Preceed Northeast Antitrust Case Fairness Hearing (p. 10):
    May 13 will mark the Fairness Hearing in the long-running Northeast dairy antitrust case.  Expect fireworks.

Too much “New York” stuff??? (p. 11):
    Pete Hardin explains that overt emphasis on events in New York State this month may seek like overkill, but the fundamental issues – both bad and good – should be lessons for all dairy farmers, without regard to where they reside.

Let’s think about honest solutions (p. 11):
    Pete Hardin suggests several ideas to readers for bettering dairy’s situation, and invites ideas from readers.

Hot, Dry Summer Likely for Central U.S. (p. 12):
   At a recent dairy convention, a speaker detailed how rapidly cooling waters in the northern Pacific could translate into a hot dry summer for the central U.S.

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