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  AUGUST 2016 Issue No. 445

Inside this months issue …

Our story of the month:

Weather Events/Posilac Bans: 2017 Looking Like a Better Year (p. 1): 
     
Click Here.



USDA Finalizing Brazilian Beef Imports (p. 1):   
     Writer Jan Shepel details the controversy behind USDA’s recent announcement that the agency is now ready to import beef from Brazil.  Virtually all U.S. livestock groups are outraged at the illogic behind Vilsack’s approval for importing beef from Foot-and-Mouth Disease infected Brazil.

Northeast Dumps 41 Mil. Lbs., Mid-East “Only” Dumps 6.6 Mil Lbs. (p. 2):
   Writer Nate Wilson reports and analyses the hard-to-believe USDA data on dumped milk in the Northeast and Mid-East federal milk orders.  The June total for the Northeast – 41 million lbs. – is shocking.

USDA’s May/June ’16 DMPP Margin Calculation Drops Below $6.00/cwt. (p. 2): 
   For the May-June 2016 period, USDA will actually pay out about $11 million to dairy farmers enrolled in the “safety net” program.

July Class III Price at $15.24/Cwt., Class IV at $14.84 (p. 2):
    Class III (cheese) milk jumped $2.02/cwt. for July – a start for improving farm milk prices.

Brazil Beef Imports: What’s the BIG DEAL??? (p. 3):
   We review the deep background dangers harbored by the U.S. livestock industries, regarding the potential outbreak of a Foot-and-Mouth Disease.  If a FMD outbreak were to occur in the U.S., losses would total in the hundreds of billions of dollars.

NYC’s Elmhurst Dairy to Halt Fluid Milk Processing (p. 4):
   The last fluid milk processing plant in New York City is closing on October 31, ending a long and contentious era.  Elmhurst’s closing raises serious questions about where a sub-dealer, Bartlett, will source half-pints of milk to meet its school milk contracts in the metropolitan area.

Senators Introduce Ag Check-off Reform Act (p. 4):
  
Jan Shepel writes about the recently-introduced legislation that proposes to reform agricultural commodity check-off programs.  Odds of passage for this measure in he current legislative session are almost zero.  But the importance of such corrective legislation is vital.  Maybe next year …

More Dairy Marketers in Wisconsin Declaring “rbGH-Free” (p. 5):
   A growing array of major Wisconsin dairy processors are issuing “No Posilac” edicts.  Effective January 1, 2017, Grassland Dairy, Grande Cheese, Mullins Cheese and Land O’Lakes are setting up those standards for dairy producers.  Since most of the mega-dairies in Wisconsin are using Posilac (the biotech cow growth hormone that boosts milk production), it’s anticipated that Wisconsin milk gains could slow next year.

F.A.R.M. Program Enforcement Getting Ugly (p. 6):
  F.A.R.M. stands for “Farmers Assuring Responsible Management” – a program funded by Dairy Management, Inc. (the milk promotion bozos).  F.A.R.M. is really about control of dairy farmers.  We’re hearing of dairy producers threatened with loss of their markets, because they won’t sign up for the program.  Others are losing premiums from milk quality, due to low F.A.R.M. inspection scores.  What a mess.

Wal-Mart’s Fort Wayne Fluid Milk Plant: 14-15 Months and & Ticking (p. 7):
    Pete Hardin analyzes the industry impact of Wal-Mart’s planned, big fluid milk plant that will be located near Fort Wayne, Indiana.  For a radius of about 300 miles, the industry will be disrupted in many ways – from farm milk supplies to competition among fluid processors for remaining business.

Swiss Valley Farms Won’t Revolve Old Equity (p. 7):
    This July, Swiss Valley Farms’ board of directors had the grace to send out a letter to present and former members, explaining that the co-op won’t revolve any old equities.  Dairy farmers’ equities in cooperatives are increasingly elusive.

NYS Solar Panel Water Heaters: Boon or Boondoggle? (p. 8):
    Writer Paris Reidhead interviews NY dairy producer Garret Sitts about the solar panel installation on his milking barn roof.  Those solar panels – costs of which ran somewhat under $30,000 was almost 100% subsidized by government grants – haven’t worked very well.   The company that installed the solar panels was amazingly unresponsive to Garret’s complaints … until farm journalist Paris Reidhead started making phone calls.

GMO Labeling Bill Becomes Federal Law (p. 9):
    Jan Shepel explores the recently created federal law that dictates labeling of foods containing genetically-modified organisms (GMOs).  It’s estimated that two years will be required to create the administrative rules for the law.  The devil will be in the details.

Survey: 59% of Shoppers Won’t Use Scanners to Look for GMO Food Ingredients (p. 9):  
     Jan Shepel reviews a recent study that shows a majority of consumes will not use scanners to find out whether foods contain genetically-modified organisms.  That’s important, because the recently-passed GMO labeling law specifies QR scanner codes on food packages, rather than clear-cut labels, for GMO content.

Sales of Whole Milks & Organic Milk Climbing Nicely in 2016 (p. 10):
  
Consumers are buying more full-fat milk products so far this year.  Sales of regular Whole Milk are up 5.9% for January-May 2016.  And organic Whole Milk sales are up an amazing 16.4%!

Northeast Dairy Farmers BEWARE: Solar Panel Projects’ Contracts Imperil Mineral Rights!!! (p. 11):
   When one dairy farmer studied the contract he’d been sent to set up a solar panel installation on nearly 200 of his acres, he noticed that the contract also included turning over mineral rights, etc.  That’s a concern, given how so much natural gas lies under upstate New York farmland.  When the farmer proposed that the company remove the contract language about mineral rights, the firm walked away.  Are some solar panel projects merely a scam to gain unwitting farmers’ mineral and gas-drilling rights???

USDA Rates Corn Belt, Plains & Upper Midwest Crops in Great Shape (p. 11):
  
We detail information from the August 8, 2016 USDA Crop Progress Report.  Corn and soybean crops are generally very good, particularly in the Upper Midwest.

Danone + WhiteWave Would Dominate Organic Yogurt Market (p. 12):
   Will Fantle, co-director of The Cornucopia Institute, details wide-ranging concerns about the proposed Danone-WhiteWave corporate marriage.  This firm would control about 72% of the domestic organic yogurt market.

CME Cheddar Price Increases Cause Some Confusion (p. 13):
  With cash prices for 500-lb. Cheddar barrels at $1.88/lb. at the Chicago Mercantile Exchange, Pete Hardin tries to explain what market-based reasons there may be for this rapid price run-up.  In recent months, the U.S. has been producing less Cheddar and demand is excellent.

Dairy Livestock Market Situation Hard to Predict (p. 14):
    Our survey of dairy auctioneers finds prices somewhat stronger this month.  But long-running, low-ball farm milk prices and dry conditions in some dairy regions of the country make it a hard market to project right now.  Where crops are scarce, dairy livestock prices could suffer.

DFA to Reduce Northeast Producers’ Premiums (p. 14):
    In early August, DFA members in the Northeast received a mailing from their co-op that informed of a drastic reduction in milk checks premiums, effective August 1.  DFA cooks up more excuses for draining farmers’ milk checks of income.  Unfortunately, DFA is also enforcing these premium reductions upon other dairy co-ops that belong to Dairy Marketing Services.

Analyst Applauds DFA’s Ability to Deduct from Milk Checks! (p. 14):
    A financial analysis of Dairy Farmers of America by Moody’s Investors Service concludes that DFA is a good risk for lenders, because DFA’s by-laws allow the co-op’s board to deduct money from members’ milk checks.

More Processors Banning Posilac, Best Thing for U.S. Dairy Farmers! (p. 15):
    Pete Hardin explains that restrictions against use of Posilac (rbGH) are good for dairy farmers.  Why produce more milk using technology that the majority of domestic and export customers don’t trust?

Followup to July Story on Loren & Debbie Zehr (p. 15):  
     More details about last month’s feature story about a New York diary farm couple that had excessive marketing deductions swiped form their milk checks.

Holstein Bull Calf Prices Reflect Shattered Idol (p. 16):
  
About 15 months ago, some crazy souls were paying $500-$700 a head for nice Holstein bull calves.  At that time, The Milkweed warned that those bull calves were over-worshipped idols.  Now, in Wisconsin in early August, Holstein bull calves are selling in the $85-$160 per head range.



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