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July 2014  Issue No. 420

Inside this months issue...

Feature Story: Whiplash? Chinese Back Off Dairy Imports; May Sell Grain (p. 1):

    Read our story of the month here.

U.S. Butter Inventories Light, Prices Shrink Exports (p. 1):
    U.S. butter inventories are about 130 million lbs. lower than last year’s figure (as of May 31). U.S. prices are right around $1/lb. higher than Fonterra’s recent electronic offerings. High U.S. butter prices preclude butter exports.

Butter Basking in “Good News” Amid Rising Prices and Scarce Inventories (p. 3):
    We take a wider look at the current dynamics of the U.S. butter market – including a tidal wave of favorable publicity.

Tracking Butter Imports in 2014 (p. 3):
    The Milkweed starts tracking monthly butter import data (vs. year-ago). We’re watching government data for confirmation of the big slug of butter imports heading this way.

Chobani Yogurt’s Cost Per Ounce Climbs 30% in 2014’s First Half (p. 4):
    With smaller cup sizes and higher prices per cup, Chobani has bumped up the cost per ounce of its yogurt by 30% just in 2014. Where is the price pressure point for consumer purchases.

Bilateral Investment Treaty with China Should Raise Red Flags in U.S. (p. 4):
    Contributor Jim Eichstadt details how, on July 9, 2014, U.S. negotiators sat down with their Chinese counterparts to discuss a bilateral investment treaty. Some critics view such treaties as dangerous to the democratic process, because foreign nations and their corporations are exempt from the U.S. legal system under such treaties.

DFA/DMS Settle Northeast Antitrust Case: $50 Million (p. 5)
     The big trial scheduled for July 8 in Vermont was delayed by a proposed settlement forged by opposing attorneys. Defendants Dairy Farmers of America and Dairy Marketing Services will pay a total of $50 million to defendants, from which court-approved attorneys’ fees and expenses will be deducted before the remaining funds are divvied out to eligible dairy producers. We include key excerpts from the proposed settlement agreement.

Arkansas Co-op Goes Belly-Up (p. 5):
    The small Arkansas Dairy Cooperative Assn. is no more, as of late June.

Molasses Motivates Microbes … the Soil-Friendly Kind (p. 6-7):
    Writer Paris Reidhead explores the emerging practice of boosting soil microbiota by addition of molasses. Molasses “feeds the little creatures” also.

Midwest Crop Picture Might Brighter than Last Year’s – Except in Minnesota (p. 7-8):
    Contributor Jim Eichstadt shares his observations from a long, 2,300-mile trip through America’s agricultural heartlands in mid-June. (Hint: Minnesota is again the “Land of 100,000 Lakes.)

DMI/NDB/UDIA Officials Meet with WMMB Board (p. 8):
    On June 17, national dairy promotion officials met in Wisconsin with the Wisconsin Milk Marketing Board directors and staff. Pete Hardin contrasts the entities’ differing styles of marketing U.S. dairy products. Advantage: Wisconsin.

Dairy Commodity Scene: Strong Prices Still Holding (p. 9):
    At press time, CME cash prices for butter were in the high “230s” and Cheddar prices were just below the $2.00/lb. benchmark. Domestic dairy demand is good, and inventories of cheese and butter are light.

Cheese board fiasco: wooden heads at FDA (p. 11):
    Pete Hardin blasts away at recent ridiculous dictates from FDA as that federal agency implements the Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA). Overall, Congress has created a set of rules that challenge the IQs of FDA personnel to implement in the real world. Hardin details how many food safety problems are the fault of poor inspections by federal employees.

Grundy Center, IA: Same Field Mid-June 2014 & 2013 (p. 12):
    Jim Eichstadt photographically contrasts 2013’s and 2014’s fortune for the same cornfield in Iowa’s corn country.

July 5: Hardin’s 1st cutting finally done! (p. 12):
    At long last, weather permitted the harvest of Pete Hardin’s grass hay crop on July 5. Making first-cutting dry hay in the Upper Midwest this year has been near impossible.

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