Tag Archives: Dairy

The American Butter Institute wants Congress to take action in making the Food and Drug Administration enforce laws that define butter as a dairy product.

The organization sent letters to the leaders of the House Committee on Energy and Commerce and the Senate Committee on Health, urging them to compel FDA to enforce federal law against plant-based impostors that illegally misuse the term “butter” as a marketing trick.

Butter’s definition has been settled law for more than a century, covered by legislation dating to 1886. Imitators made from vegetable oils have been able to use terms such as “margarine” and “spread,” ensuring a transparent marketplace.

However, as butter’s popularity has grown in recent years, per-capita U.S. consumption last year reached its highest since 1968, the organization says marketing departments at brands such as Country Crock have been breaking the law by calling their products “plant-based butter.” The organization also supports the National Milk Producers Federation’s citizen seeking to address dairy imitators using dairy names.

WASHINGTON – Dairy producers can now enroll in the Dairy Margin Coverage (DMC) for calendar year 2020. USDA’s Farm Service Agency (FSA) opened signup today for the program that helps producers manage economic risk brought on by milk price and feed cost disparities.

“We know it’s tough out there for American farmers, including our dairy producers,” said Bill Northey, Under Secretary for Farm Production and Conservation. “As Secretary Perdue said, farmers are pretty good at managing through tough times, and we know that more dairy farmers will be able to survive with this 2018 Farm Bill and its risk mitigation measures, like the Dairy Margin Coverage program.”

The DMC program offers reasonably priced protection to dairy producers when the difference between the all-milk price and the average feed cost (the margin) falls below a certain dollar amount selected by the producer. The deadline to enroll in DMC for 2020 is Dec. 13, 2019.

Dairy farmers earned more than $300 million dollars from the program in 2019 so far. Producers are encouraged to take advantage of this very important risk management tool for 2020.

All producers who want 2020 coverage, even those who took advantage of the 25 percent premium discount by locking in the coverage level for five years of margin protection coverage are required to visit the office during this signup period to pay the annual administrative fee.

“Dairy producers should definitely consider coverage for 2020 as even the slightest drop in the margin can trigger payments,” said Northey. “Dairy producers should consider enrolling in DMC to guard against what has been, for several years, an extremely unforgiving market.”

More Information

The 2018 Farm Bill created DMC, improving on the previous safety net for dairy producers. DMC is one of many programs that FSA and other USDA agencies are implementing to support America’s farmers.

For more information on enrolling in DMC and taking advantage of an online dairy decision tool that assists producers in selecting coverage for 2020, visit the DMC webpage.

For additional questions and assistance, contact your local USDA service center. To locate your local FSA office, visit farmers.gov/service-locator.

Saint Paul, Minn. – Midwest Dairy, the organization representing 7,000 dairy families across the Midwest, announced that the Corporate Board of Directors has chosen Molly Pelzer as the organization’s next chief executive officer. Pelzer, who currently serves as Midwest Dairy’s chief experience officer, succeeds outgoing CEO Lucas Lentsch and will assume the role October 1.

“Given her leadership experience and longstanding commitment to dairy farmers and the dairy checkoff program, Molly embodies everything we want in Midwest Dairy’s next leader,” said Allen Merrill, chairman of Midwest Dairy’s board of directors. “We’re excited to see how she leads our organization as we fulfill our vision and mission to bring dairy to life and give consumers an excellent dairy experience.”

Pelzer joined Midwest Dairy in 1984 and has held various executive leadership roles. In her most recent position as chief experience officer, Pelzer led the development of the organization’s strategic priorities. Prior to Midwest Dairy, she worked with the Midland Dairy Association, as well as Dairy Council, Inc., both former checkoff organizations that are now part of the Midwest Dairy region. A registered dietitian, Pelzer graduated from the University of Missouri – Columbia.

Pelzer is the organization’s third CEO in its 19 years of dairy history. Her proven experience in developing programs and resources comes at an exciting time as the organization continues its focus on consumer-centric goals to drive sales and enhance consumer trust for dairy.

“I am proud and humbled to represent dairy farmers and Midwest Dairy staff as we continue to work with our partners to increase sales and trust in dairy and reinforce the importance of dairy foods and dairy farming to our communities” said Pelzer. “I am eager to continue to build strong relationships with dairy farmers, industry leaders and partners as we continue to maximize the investment dairy farmers make in their checkoff organization.”

Pelzer succeeds Lucas Lentsch, who is leaving Midwest Dairy for a leadership role with Dairy Management, Inc.

For more information, please visit www.midwestdairy.com.

ARLINGTON, VA – The U.S. Food and Drug Administration on Friday is holding a public meeting on “Horizontal Approaches to Food Standards of Identity Modernization” — horizontal being the idea that by making changes to food standards of identity that cut across categories, goals like “innovation” and “flexibility” may be encouraged.
Sounds great, right? Maybe – but Clay Detlefsen, senior vice president for regulatory and environmental affairs at NMPF, is providing comments at the meeting. He says the FDA should proceed with caution. Food products are unique, and an across-the-board approach could have unintended consequences that could harm consumers, he said.
“It’s a nice approach on its face, but I think when you start to get into details, concerns start to surface,” he said. “Consumers definitely could be misled.”
To listen to the full podcast, click here. You can also find the Dairy Defined podcast on Spotify and SoundCloud.

WASHINGTON– The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) has extended the deadline to September 27 for dairy producers to enroll in the Dairy Margin Coverage (DMC) program for 2019. The deadline had been September 20.

Authorized by the 2018 Farm Bill and available through USDA’s Farm Service Agency (FSA), the program offers reasonably priced protection to dairy producers when the difference between the all-milk price and the average feed cost (the margin) falls below a certain dollar amount selected by the producer.

“More than 21,200 dairy operations have already signed up for DMC, but we’re providing an additional week to help ensure interested producers have time to come into the office,” said Bill Northey, USDA Under Secretary for Farm Production and Conservation. “With smaller margins and increased feed costs, DMC has resulted in almost $230 million in payments disbursed. I know that some farmers may still be cautious given their experiences with former dairy support programs, but producers who have not signed up yet should come into a local office to learn how much money the program can put into their pockets.”

Almost half of the producers who have signed up so far are taking advantage of the 25 percent premium discount by locking in for five years of margin protection coverage. FSA has launched a new web visualization of the DMC data, which is available here.

Margin payments have triggered for each month from January through July. Dairy producers who elect higher coverage levels could be eligible for payments for all seven months. Under certain levels, the amount paid to dairy farmers will exceed the cost of the premium.

For example, a dairy operation that chooses to enroll for 2019 with an established production history of 3 million pounds (30,000 cwt.) and elects the $9.50 coverage level on 95 percent of production will pay $4,275 in total premium payments for all of 2019 and receive $15,437.50 in DMC payments for all margin payments announced to date. Additional payments will be made if calculated margins remain below the $9.50/cwt. level for any remaining months of 2019.

“My message to those dairy producers who are hurting out there: Don’t leave this kind of financial assistance on the table,” said Northey, who announced the deadline extension today as part of a hearing in front of the U.S. House of Representatives Committee on Agriculture. “Producers across the country have told us that DMC is a great risk management tool that works well, and it can work for you, too.”

More Information

On December 20, 2018, President Trump signed into law the 2018 Farm Bill, which provides support, certainty and stability to our nation’s farmers, ranchers and land stewards by enhancing farm support programs, improving crop insurance, maintaining disaster programs and promoting and supporting voluntary conservation.

For more information, visit farmers.gov DMC webpage or contact your local USDA service center. To locate your local FSA office, visit farmers.gov/service-locator.

ARLINGTON, VA – Dairy is facing challenges. In a crowded beverage marketplace, per-capita fluid milk consumption in the U.S. is down by a quarter in the past 20 years, and the number of U.S. dairy farms dropped 6.8 percent in 2018.
That’s one part of the story. But a more accurate picture of the health of the dairy industry is much brighter than the doom and gloom conjured from selective use of data. No matter what critics may say, attempts to craft a “death of dairy” narrative are mistaken.
Looking more broadly than milk in a glass, per-capita dairy consumption has been on the rise since the 1970s, according to USDA data. Last year’s level – 646 pounds per
person – was the most popular year for dairy in the U.S. since 1962.
Individual products tell similar stories. Cheese per-capita consumption has tripled since 1971. Butter is at its highest per-capita use since 1968. Contrast that with nose-diving sales of margarine, the longest-established “plant-based” dairy alternative, which in 2010 was at its lowest per-capita consumption since 1942. After that, the federal government stopped tracking it altogether.
Milk, like every other beverage, exists in a competitive marketplace. Bottled water, orange juice, energy drinks, and yes, plant-based dairy imposters, all compete for shelf space. But spinning a segmenting beverage market into a “declining dairy” narrative is disingenuous at best, dishonest at worst. Just Mark Twain when he said of an erroneous news story, “The report of my death was an exaggeration,” dairy is very much alive — and on the rise.