Archive for December, 2010

Law firm announces Dean settlement

The law firm representing Northeast dairy farmers in a class action antitrust lawsuit against Dean Foods and others announced a settlement with the company. The agreement will include $30 million in monetary damages and injunctive relief that calls for Dean to purchase a portion of its raw milk from multiple Northeast sources.

“This is a major win for dairy farmers in the Northeast who have been squeezed by monopolization and price-fixing,” said Benjamin Brown, an attorney at Cohen Milstein Sellers & Toll, PLLC, which represents the plaintiff dairy farmers.  “We are pleased that Dean Foods is working with plaintiffs to put this practice behind them.”

The lawsuit – Alice H. Allen, et al. vs. Dairy Farmers of America — is far from resolved, however, added Kit A. Pierson of Cohen Milstein.

“The case is continuing against the remaining defendants, Dairy Farmers of America and its marketing affiliate Dairy Marketing Services,” explained Pierson. “Still at issue are charges that the DFA—the nation’s largest cooperative—monopolized a level of distribution of fluid milk in the Northeast and forced dairy farmers to join DFA or its marketing affiliate DMS to survive.”

DFA and DMS have been named in the suit for engaging in monopolization, price-fixing, and other anti-competitive conduct.

“The fact that Dean has agreed to purchase raw milk from multiple sources is a big step in the right direction,” said Robert Abrams of Howrey, LLP, which also represents the plaintiff dairy farmers. “What dairy farmers want is a choice between different bottlers. They have been living in a world that is monopolized and they pay the prices that are offered to them or they don’t sell milk. What we want is choice and competition.”

The next step is for the U.S. District Court for the District of Vermont—where the lawsuit was filed in August 2009—to grant preliminary approval of the settlement agreement.  Notice will then go out to the estimated 5,000 to 10,000 Northeast dairy farmers who could be eligible to file a claim for monetary damages.

Abrams added: “We are pleased that a settlement between the Northeast Dairy Farmers and Dean has been reached and we look forward to a timely court approval.”

For more information about the case, visit

Western DairyBusiness is your dairy resource for World Ag Expo

Western DairyBusiness is your dairy information resource for World Ag Expo. To preview dairy activities at this year’s show, Feb. 8-10, in Tulare, Calif., visit the following links:

• Dairy Profit Seminars sponsored by Western DairyBusiness

Western DairyBusiness hosts three days of Dairy Profit Seminars in the Seminar Complex, located on the southeast corner of the Expo grounds. Speakers and analysts will provide regional, national and international perspectives on dairy issues and developments of interest to the industry.

• World Ag Expo: Dairy Profit Seminar Gold Sponsors

Western DairyBusiness magazine brings together some of the best speakers and analysts in the country during World Ag Expo’s Dairy Profit Seminars. Learn more about the “Gold Sponsors” who help make the program possible.

• Coito chairs World Ag Expo 2011

Tulare dairyman, Lee Coito, 68, is serving as the 2011 World Ag Expo chairman after volunteering in numerous capacities at the annual exposition since 1982.

• Dairies featured on World Ag Expo tours

World Ag Expo visitors can experience the true size and scale of agricultural production in California’s San Joaquin Valley during 2011 farm tours. Elkhorn and Milky Way dairies will be featured on Tuesday and Thursday; Wednesday’s dairy tour features the Fletcher Dairy and Barcellos Farms near Tipton.

• Mitloehner is WDB’s 2011 Outstanding Dairy Industry Educator/Researcher

Dr. Frank Mitloehner, associate professor of animal science and associate air quality Cooperative Extension specialist at University of California-Davis, is being recognized by Western DairyBusiness as the “2011 Outstanding Dairy Industry Educator/Researcher” on Feb. 8, 11:45 a.m.

• Maddox is WDB’s ‘Outstanding Dairy Producer of the Year’

California dairyman Stephen D. “Steve” Maddox will be honored Wednesday, Feb. 9,11:45 a.m., as the Western DairyBusiness “2011 Outstanding Dairy Producer of the Year.”

• Vandenheuvel, Vander Dussen to be honored as WDB Outstanding Dairy industry Service Award recipients

Rob Vandenheuvel and Sybrand ‘Syp’ Vander Dussen, will be honored as Western DairyBusiness 2011 Outstanding Dairy Industry Service Award recipients at World Ag Expo, Thursday, Feb. 10 at 11:45 a.m. in the Seminar Center.

Vandenheuvel, Vander Dussen to be honored as WDB Outstanding Dairy industry Service Award recipients

Rob Vandenheuvel and Sybrand ‘Syp’ Vander Dussen, will be honored as 2011 Outstanding Dairy Industry Service Award recipients at World Ag Expo, Thursday, Feb. 10 at 11:45 a.m. in the Seminar Center by Western DairyBusiness magazine.

The two men, representing Milk Producers Council (MPC), have worked countless hours sharing their ideas and strategies with dairy organizations and producers nationwide in an attempt to bring the industry together to find a solution to the volatility problem that has driven many dairy producers out of business the last couple years.

Takes leadership role

Rob Vandenheuvel, MPC general manager, headquartered in Chino, Calif., has taken a leadership role in the effort. He joined the organization in 2007.

A native Californian, Rob was born in 1980 and reared on his family’s small Chino dairy – J & D Star Dairy. “I was 15 years old and milking cows in an old flatbarn with 12 machines. I couldn’t get my driver’s license until I was milking cows,” he recalled.

Vandenheuvel graduated from California Polytechnic State University, Pomona with a degree in accounting, but continued to work as a foreman on the family dairy. He decided accounting wasn’t for him and spent five years working in the House of Representatives in Washington, D.C. The last two years he was press secretary for the Ways and Means Committee, under chairmanship of Congressman Bill Thomas, R-Bakersfield.

Vandenheuvel has been the general manager at MPC since May 2007. MPC is a non-profit dairy producer trade association with offices in Chino and Bakersfield, Calif. Their membership is made up of dairies throughout Southern and Central California.

Highest highs, lowest lows

“In my short time with MPC I’ve seen the highest highs and the lowest lows in the dairy industry,” Vandenheuvel said. “I came in just as the dairy industry wreck of 2006 was wrapping up…just in time for the high milk prices that producers experienced in the fall of 2007.”

Contacts and collaboration

Vandenheuvel has had to use all the skills he learned and contacts he developed while working in the nation’s capitol. He collaborated with university researchers Chuck Nicholson and Mark Stephenson, in an effort to find a solution to the milk price volatility dilemma plaguing the industry. Both were at Cornell University back then and had determined that you needed a plan that allowed for producers to grow their business.

“Any change worth making is going to take a lot of work,” Vandenheuvel said. “To get to where we are today is proof that nothing happens easily in this industry. But you’d be amazed how much you can accomplish when you take the time to connect with dairy producers around the country.”

The MPC board allowed Rob, his father Geoffrey, and Syp to travel the country connecting with dairy groups struggling like those in the West. They’ve built a coalition and Rob is incredibly encouraged with the progress as more industry organizations see the need to put a mechanism in place that will bring the volatility roller coaster under control.

“There is still a lot of work to be done,” Vandenheuvel says. “We continue to work toward a solution that will hopefully become reality with the adoption and passage of the 2012 Farm Bill – if not before.”


Sybrand ‘Syp’ Vander Dussen, president of the board for Milk Producers Council, and a Corona dairyman, has  been involved in the supply management issue since the beginning.

Syp has traveled back and forth across the country talking to dairy groups about the need to come together on a supply management plan that will take the devastating volatility out of the milk market.

His message has been simple and straight-forward: “For four years, we have been promoting the need to influence milk supply in a way so that individual producers receive a clear supply/demand message. At present, when we are ahead of demand, the only indicator is a generally declining national milk price. The producers only option is to produce even more milk to maintain cash flow. This worked very well in the past, or so we thought. The reality is, we have lost more than 80% of producers in the last 50 years. We are now down to 63,000 producers; we cannot sacrifice any more.  That’s why, after two years of historical losses, we are still outstripping demand.

“Our experience?  With few exceptions, we have found producers are willing to accept supply management. But, cooperatives and staff are more cool to the idea. Why is that? For 50 years, we producers have demanded of our coops, ‘Just take my milk, and if you don’t, or you want to restrict my production, we’ll just go to another coop or we’ll organize our own ‘paper coop.’ Our coops have become a reflection of what we have demanded of them. It is our fault we are in such financial distress.

No restriction on production

“One thing we need to keep hammering home; Supply management does not restrict your production – produce all you want, when you want. However, when national supply exceeds demand, and the big buyers of our milk continue to grind us down, isn’t it just basic sanity to not increase production? And perhaps even decrease? And isn’t it just basic sanity that when you want to increase you do it at a time when national supply is not excessive?

“Our biggest hurdle has always been ‘How does one get the individual dairyman involved?’ We as producers have never had to be personally involved in supply, pricing, regulations. Our cooperatives did that. Now, after years of equity have been sacrificed on the altar of inactions, will we finally respond?”

Message hasn’t changed

That’s his message – the same now as it was then, and it’s still as true now as then.

A native of The Netherlands, Syp immigrated to the United States with his parents in 1947. He became a naturalized citizen in 1960. Vander Dussen grew up in the Artesia, Calif. area where he also received his education.

He owns Syann Dairy in Corona, milking 4,000 cows. He and a partner own and operate Vander Dussen & Haringsma, a dairy real estate brokerage firm since 1982. He obtained his broker’s license in 1987.

Syp has served two terms as a director for United Dairymen’s Association, Ontario, Calif.; and two terms on DHIA board. Prior to serving as MPC president, Syp was a director and vice president. His MPC tenure has stretched from 1981 to the present.

Vander Dussen was a director and secretary/treasurer of Valley Milk Producer’s Association from its inception in 1981, until it closed in 1989. He was a member of the El Prado Incorporation Committee, a group seeking incorporation of the Dairy Preserve in Southern California.

His public service involvement includes:  Fellow, Class XII, Agricultural Leadership Associates; Elder, Chino Valley Reformed Church; one-year appointment by George Gomes to Directors Dairy Advisory Committee; current director, Inland Empire Resource Conservation District; and current director, Inland Home Endowment Fund.

Syp served his country with the U.S. Marine Corps. Reserves from 1962 to 1970, and was honorably discharged as a staff sergeant.

He has been married to Ann (Lemstra) since 1967, and together they have three sons – Mark, 41, Mike, 38, and Dan, 35, each operating their own dairy in California.

Steve Maddox is WDB’s ‘Outstanding Dairy Producer of the Year’

California dairyman Stephen D. “Steve” Maddox carries on a family tradition that started with his grandfather Rufus Maddox, and father Doug, – a passion for cows, a reputation for excellence and exceptional unselfish commitment to the dairy industry on a local, as well as national, level.

Maddox will be honored Wednesday, Feb. 9 as Western DairyBusiness magazine’s “2011 Outstanding Dairy Producer of the Year.” A recognition presentation will be at 11:45 a.m. during Dairy Profit Seminars in the Seminar Center at the southeast corner of the World Ag Expo grounds in Tulare, Calif.

In 1978, the Maddox family worked on passing the dairy and farming operations on to the next generation. And since July 1980, Steve Maddox has been the managing partner in Maddox Dairy, Ltd., Burrel, Calif.

Today, he manages 4,100 mature registered Holsteins milked 3X, 4,300 replacement heifers and 2,500 young breeding bulls. He has been involved in the total feed management and ration formation; coordinates and oversees 60 employees; and developed and implemented dairy and cattle management procedures as manager of the prototype “mega” dairy.

His herd’s current average is 25,789 lbs. of milk, 3.59% and 927 lbs. butterfat, and 3.09%, and 777 lbs. protein.

Maddox is diversified, thanks in a big way to those who came before him. Their operation includes growing all their roughage, corn and wheat silage and alfalfa hay. They farm 2,500 acres of alfalfa, 1,800 acres of corn (33,000 tons), double-cropped with wheat silage (25,000 tons). They also farm 1,500 acres almonds and 2,500 acres of wine grapes, which have helped them survive the hard times at the dairy.

And like most dairy producers in the nation, Maddox has experienced difficult times through the last couple years of an economic downturn that has driven many out of business. He has been heavily involved in discussions with many producer groups about some of the proposals that could help them work through these issues.

“As an industry we are trying to bring dairy producers together to improve our financial stability. Whether we have a new way to price our milk, or how we manage our supply, or better matching it up with our markets, to have a more viable, bankable industry,” he said. “Dairies are extremely capital intensive and producers work on very small margins, as it is. I don’t want the next generation to have to go through what we’ve gone through.

“But, besides the financial hurdles, our biggest challenges are dealing with environmental elements, animal welfare or anti-animal groups doing whatever they can to do away with animal agriculture. Give me a true environmentalist, or someone who really cares about animals, and I can talk with them. But people who are anti-animal agriculture are just using these issues. People haven’t become hungry enough yet,” Maddox said.

As a youngster, Maddox was accustomed to having the local dairy farm advisor at their home on a regular basis. “I thought he (the late Richard “Dick” Eide) was my uncle for a long time,” Maddox chuckled. “He was always out at the dairy doing a research trial of some kind. What I got from him was to always keep pushing the envelope…keep trying new things.

“My grandfather, Rufus and my father, Doug, believed in teaching their kids how to work and the importance of being involved in the community. Not just the local community, but within the larger dairy industry as well. My father taught me to enjoy the many great people in the dairy industry – take people at face value and learn to trust. Above all, take responsibility for my own actions.”

Maddox stressed that a person must keep growing and looking for solutions to the challenges that those in agriculture face. “Don’t blame others for your ills, but take the bull by the horns and address the problems to find solutions.”

Maddox said he’s been blessed with excellent dairy and farm staff, and with faithful support from his family. He also credited numerous “mentors” from his youth through his early days of industry involvement.

He said a Cal Poly University dairy science professor, Harmon Toone, taught him to be involved in the community and leave the world a better place. “If others don’t step up, you step up,” the wise professor told him.

Maddox has lived that advice and has been willing to “step-up” on many occasions. He was appointed to the National Dairy Board (DMI) currently the vice chairman; served National Milk Producers as a director, CWT board member and served on the Animal Health and I.D. Task Force Committee; served on California Dairies, Inc., board of directors as secretary and was a representative to Dairy Cares; founding board member of Dairy America; served as a Challenge Dairy Products, Inc., board member and vice president; Danish Creamery Association board as secretary/treasurer, vice president and president; served as area chairman for Western United Dairymen; Fresno Dairy herd Improvement Association board, secretary/treasurer, vice president and president; and a member of the local, state and national Holstein Association.

Maddox also serves on the Cal Poly Dairy Advisory Committee, Caruther’s District Fair board member and livestock superintendent; Fresno State Animal Science Advisory Committee; served as president on the Riverdale Joint Unified School District board of trustees; and the USDA National Agricultural Research and Extension Service Advisory board.

Like his father before him, Steve has hosted tour groups from around the world as well as the elementary school nearby. He’s fielded questions from knowledgeable international dignitaries and inquisitive fifth graders and their parents.

He and wife, Brenda, have three children: Melissa, Christina and Stephen Jr. Brenda has been involved in the dairy doing books and payroll. Melissa is a vice principal at a local elementary school district. Christina an environmental reporter, is married to Melvin Medeiros with two children, Keegan and Ty. Stephen Jr. is married to Haley and is taking over management duties on the dairy.

Mitloehner is WDB’s 2011 Outstanding Dairy Industry Educator/Researcher

By Ron Goble

Increasingly stringent environmental regulations have consumed the energy, time, finances, and in some cases the livelihood of dairy producers. All this in spite of the facts that Dr. Frank Mitloehner has reported in his greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions research showing the industry’s carbon footprint has shrunk considerably over the past decades.

Mitloehner is associate professor of animal science and associate air quality Cooperative Extension specialist at University of California, Davis. He is being recognized by Western DairyBusiness as the “2011 Outstanding Dairy Industry Educator/Researcher.” Dr. Mitloehner will be honored at World Ag Expo in Tulare, Calif., during the Dairy Profit Seminar program, Feb. 8, 2011 at 11:45 a.m. in the new Seminar Center in the southeast corner of the show grounds.

Fighting for dairy industry

Despite of-repeated claims by sources ranging from the United Nations to music star Paul McCartney, it is simply not true that consuming less meat and dairy products will help stop climate change, said the University of California authority on farming and greenhouse gases.

Mitloehner traced much of the public confusion over meat and milk’s role in climate change to two sentences in a 2006 United Nations report, titled “Livestock’s Long Shadow.” Printed only in the report’s executive summary and nowhere in the body of the report, the sentences read: “The livestock sector is a major player, responsible for 18% of greenhouse gas emissions measured in CO2e (carbon dioxide equivalents). This is a higher share than transport.”

These statements in the UN report are not accurate, yet their wide distribution through news media has put us on the wrong path toward solutions, Mitloehner declared.

Mitloehner said leading authorities agree that, in the U.S., raising cattle and pigs for food accounts for about 3% of all greenhouse gas emissions, while transportation creates an estimated 26%.

“In developing countries, we should adopt more efficient, Western-style farming practices, to make more food with less greenhouse gas production,” Mitloehner concluded.

Research expertise

Dr. Mitloehner serves as director for the UC Davis Agricultural Air Quality Center. His current research activities are in the area of air emission estimates from dairies, beef operations and other agricultural sources and emission mitigation focusing on greenhouse gases, volatile organic compounds, ammonia, and particulate matter.

He has expanded his research emphasis to livestock production’s contributions to climate change and the effect of agricultural pollutants on human and animal health.

He currently serves as principal investigator for California on the National Air Emissions Monitoring Study, which will provide benchmark data to set national regulatory policy related to livestock production emissions.

He is also principal investigator for a five-year, National Institute of Occupational Safety and Health funded study, examining the impact of dairy air emissions on agricultural workers in California’s Central Valley.

Primary efforts of his lab center around quantification and mitigation of air emissions from livestock operations. Mitloehner’s Extension efforts are largely related to teaching various regulatory staff, farmers, and environmental groups air quality and climate change related information and assisting them in understanding and meeting air quality compliance regulations.

Mitloehner earned his doctoral degree in animal science from Texas Tech University and his master of science degree in Agricultural Engineering and Animal Science from the University of Leipzig, Germany.

Mitloehner started his current research career at University of California, Davis in 2002, after completing an 18-month post doctorial study under Dr. Mike Galyean at Texas Tech in nutritional management from the environmental perspective. He studied how to use nutrition to manage the environmental impact of dairy cows.

According to Mitloehner, GHGs and VOCs are what will be the most intrusive environmental issues facing the industry going forward. Not only the GHGs from the manure, but the VOCs from fermenting silage piles are things that the industry must address in the near future, he said.

Mitloehner has done extensive research on both issues and is finding that the VOC issue with silage is huge, compared to GHGs.

“As usual, regulatory agencies are quick to place parameters on the amounts of emissions allowed without first developing the science behind them to warrant such regulations,” he declared.

The work Mitloehner is doing is providing benchmark science on those two emissions so that regulations can be set that will best fit the severity of either issue.

The researcher noted that the research process is especially slow because adequate funding is always difficult to obtain. But regardless, there is pressure on regultors to regulate, while at the same time there is often nobody available to fund research required to see that the dairy industry and agriculture in general are not needlessly over-regulated.

Western DairyBusiness is proud to honor Dr. Mitloehner for his commitment to the environment, to agriculture and to the dairy industry.

Tulare dairyman, Lee Coito, chairs World Ag Expo 2011

By Ron Goble

Tulare dairyman, Lee Coito, 68, is serving as the 2011 World Ag Expo chairman after volunteering in numerous capacities at the annual exposition since 1982.

While he worked mostly among dairy exhibitors during the show, Coito also worked out of the East Office and most recently served as the show grounds exit chairman.

The Coito family has a long dairy history. His grandfather immigrated to the United States from the Azores, a couple weeks before the San Francisco earthquake of 1906.  He was indentured for one year to pay for his trip to America, His grandfather later married and moved to Southern California where he went into the dairy business for himself.

Lee’s late father – also named Lee – owned and operated a dairy in Southern California in Dairyland which is now called La Palma. The family moved to Tulare in 1970. He and his two sons, Lee and John, became partners in the Tulare dairy venture, where the two brothers still dairy today.

Most of Lee’s growing up was in Artesia/Dairyland on his father’s dairy. When he was 7 years old, Lee would cut wires and feed the baby calves. Lee recalled they had one cow that couldn’t go into the barn, so he and his brother and two cousins each milked a quarter into a bucket.

Lee chores were to milk one string of 30 cows each day, before and after  High School. He did part of the feeding and other chores each day.  He also played football but still had his cows to milk and feed before going to play on the Artesia High School team. He was involved in 4-H as a youth and he and his brother John and sister Janet were featured on the National 4-H calendar, pictured holding his project steer “Tubby” which hung in the Department of Agriculture in Washington D.C.

After High School he attended Cerritos College in Norwalk, California.

Today, Coito Dairy features a double-10 herringbone parlor that handles slightly more than 500 Holstein cows that get milked twice a day. Their total operation includes about 1,200 head when counting calves and replacement heifers they raise themselves. Coito’s milk goes to Land O’ Lakes in Tulare.

Lee and wife, Linda, married for 49 years, have four daughters:  Andrea Moore, Melissa Coito, Tracy Rusnak and Rachel Coito. They also have nine grandchildren and one great-grandson.  Lee is now serving his third term on the Board of Directors of the International Agri-Center, Inc.

DMI lists 2010 highlights, achievements

Rosemont, IL – America’s dairy producers, through their investment in the dairy checkoff, unified industry partners and led collaborative efforts that drove sales and innovation in 2010.

Industry-wide collaboration and engagement reached new heights through the Innovation Center for U.S. Dairy, which was founded by dairy producers in 2008 to address barriers to growth and identify industry-wide solutions to grow long-term sales.

This year saw unprecedented resources from more than 180 processors, manufacturers and other businesses working together to develop and implement action plans that will lead to long-term, sustained category sales in the areas of health and wellness, consumer confidence, globalization, sustainability, and research and insights.

“When we come together for the common good of producers and the entire dairy industry, we see the power of teamwork and collaboration,” said Paul Rovey, Arizona dairy producer and chair of Dairy Management Inc.™ (DMI), which manages the national checkoff program. “More than 1 billion pounds of additional milk were sold over the past year through partnerships.  “This is just the beginning, as we find more innovative ways to give people the products they want, when and where they want them.”

Other highlights included:

·         McDonald’s® becomes a ‘dairy destination.’ Thanks to insights and support from the checkoff, dairy is more prominent than ever at the world’s No. 1 restaurant chain.  New offerings include frappés, smoothies, specialty coffees, Angus burgers and Angus snack wraps. These efforts have led the entire quick-serve category to see an increase of more than 500 million additional pounds of milk annually.

·         Pizza cheese sales grow. Domino’s Pizza® continues to work with the checkoff on revitalizing the pizza category by promoting cheese as the critical ingredient for taste and quality. The chain’s latest introduction is the American Legends® Wisconsin 6 Cheese pizza that uses 82 percent more cheese than a regular one-topping pizza.  Domino’s also continued its aggressively priced cheese pizza carryout promotion, which required an additional 60 million pounds of milk during the promotion period.

·         ‘Smart’ approach to school pizza. The checkoff’s partnership with Domino’s also led to the creation of Smart Slice, a tasty, kid-approved pizza that uses reduced-fat mozzarella cheese, among other ingredients, to meet increasingly stringent school nutrition guidelines. Smart Slice is now available in more than 1,000 schools across the country.

·         Exports bounce back. Exports in 2010 are expected to represent nearly 13 percent of milk solids production, up from 9 percent in 2009 and 11 percent in 2008. This year’s record shipments were assisted through the producer-funded U.S. Dairy Export Council®. Programs include efforts directed at Asian foodservice to increase cheese sales.

·         ‘Fueled Up’ for children’s health. The producer-funded Fuel Up to Play 60 (FUTP60) program – conducted in partnership with the NFL and supported by the U.S. Department of Agriculture – is expanding its ability to make a difference in the health and wellness of students by encouraging healthy eating, including dairy, and 60 minutes of physical activity each day. More than 70,000 schools – representing more than 36 million students – are actively engaged in FUTP60, which helps protect and promote dairy’s place in the school environment as public health leaders consider ways to provide healthier food offerings. FUTP60 is now supported by a foundation that will help bring additional resources and attention to help combat childhood obesity. The foundation, which is comprised of 21 leaders from business, industry, academia, and the arts, intends to raise money to help reward schools that offer better nutrition, including low-fat and fat-free dairy, and physical activity.

·         Lactose intolerance efforts advance dairy solutions. Dairy producers are partnering with HP Hood and its Lactaid® brand – the category leader with more than 80 percent of all lactose-free dairy sales – to help grow fluid milk sales. If the millions of adult consumers who restrict or avoid dairy consumption due to real or perceived lactose intolerance can be brought back to dairy, it could mean increased sales of approximately 2 billion pounds of milk annually. As part of the program, the dairy checkoff developed — a social media effort to build awareness and provide dairy-first solutions to those suffering from lactose  intolerance.

·         Dairy Research Institute drives innovation. In June, dairy producers founded the Dairy Research Institute to strengthen U.S. dairy’s access to and the industry’s investment in technical research to drive innovation and grow sales domestically and abroad. Through the Institute, the industry can combine resources and avoid duplication by working together to fund and conduct pre-competitive dairy product, nutrition and technical research, along with efforts to make the industry reach its goals in sustainability.

·         Narrowing consumer-producer disconnection. The dairy checkoff continues to invest in programs that help protect and promote consumer confidence in dairy products. As part of this effort, nearly 2,000 dairy producers have participated in the “Telling Your Story” communications training program. TYS provides producers with the resources and training to effectively share their story with the public. In addition, the checkoff recently updated the website, which offers insights and information about how producers care for their animals and the land while providing safe, wholesome and nutritious dairy products.

·         Issues management and crisis preparation systems in place. Dairy producers are committed to helping protect and promote the image of dairy products, producers and the industry. This includes an industry-wide network that helps address misinformation in the marketplace through a comprehensive issues management system. In 2010, milk quality and safety, plus the nutritional benefits of chocolate milk, were among issues checkoff staff addressed. The checkoff also led three regional crisis drills that engaged many sectors of the industry, focusing on hypothetical scenarios ranging from animal disease outbreaks to the intentional tampering of dairy products.

For more information about producer-funded programs, visit

USDA dairy outlooks sees 2011 feed prices up 20%

Firm demand will likely keep milk prices near 2010 levels, but higher feed prices will narrow producer profits

Feed prices are expected to be much higher for dairy producers next year, according to USDA’s latest dairy outlook report.

USDA forecast corn price is expected to be $4.80 to $5.60 a bushel for the 2010/11 crop year. Soybean meal prices, while projected to be higher, will not rise as much as corn. They are expected to be $310 to $350 per ton in 2010/11, up from a $311 per ton average in 2009/10. The increase in feed ingredient prices will boost the benchmark 16% protein mixed dairy ration price nearly 20% above 2010.

Higher feed costs are already pressuring producers but will not likely affect cow numbers until the second half of 2011. Cow numbers will continue to increase through the first half of 2011 and are expected to decline slightly in the second half of the year. These changes are expected to leave the herd size next year slightly above the 9.110 million head in 2010 at a projected 9.125 million head.

Milk per cow is forecast to continue to rise next year, but at less than half the pace forecast for 2010. The current year’s increase in milk per cow was aided by good weather in addition to moderate feed prices.

Overall, milk production will be slightly higher next year at 195.5 billion pounds, up 1.4 percent from the 2010 estimated total of 192.8 billion pounds.

Milk equivalent imports on both a fats and skim-solids basis are forecast to be lower in 2010. The fact that international prices are still above U.S. domestic prices for the major dairy products, and that the domestic economic recovery is gradual will limit import totals to 4.1 billion pounds next year, down from 4.3 billion this year on a fats basis and down to 4.9 billion pounds from 5.1 billion this year on a skimsolids basis. Milk equivalent exports rebounded sharply this year from 2009.

However, next year exports on a fats basis are expected to weaken to 6.3 billion pounds from the 8.3 billion pound total expected this year. Uncertainty over the Mexican tariff on U.S. cheese exports is contributing to the decline. On a skim solids basis, exports are forecast to decline slightly to 30 billion pounds from a projected 31.3 billion pound total expected this year. Oceania milk production is forecast to increase in 2011, raising competition in export markets.

Domestic commercial use on a fats basis is expected to rise by nearly 2 percent in 2011; this would be the sharpest year-over-year rise in at least 4 years. Domestic commercial use on a skim-solids basis is forecast to climb by nearly 3 percent in 2011. The rise would follow a better than 2-percent year-over-year decline expected in 2010.

Strong domestic use, a good export outlook, and only a moderate increase in milk production provide the basis for continued strong price performance estimates for dairy products into 2011. While butter prices have retreated from earlier peaks, the 2010 average price is expected to be $1.685 to $1.715 per pound this year. Prices in 2011, while not as high as this year’s, will still be above those of recent years averaging $1.485 to $1.595 per pound. Despite uncertainty in the cheese export market, domestic demand should be sufficient to boost cheese prices next year.

Cheese prices in 2010 are expected to average $1.515 to $1.525 per pound, rising to $1.535 to $1.615 per pound in 2011. Nonfat dry milk (NDM) prices are also projected higher next year. NDM prices are expected to average $1.160 to $1.180 per pound this year and climb to $1.200 to $1.260 per pound in 2011. Whey prices are likely to average 36.5 to 37.5 cents per pound in 2010 and 36.5 to 39.5 cents per pound next year.

Export prospects for NDM should help keep Class IV milk prices firm into 2011, but not quite as high as this year’s $15.00 to $15.20 per cwt expected average. In 2011, Class IV milk is forecast to average $14.50 to 15.40 per cwt. Class III milk prices should be higher next year. For 2010, the Class III price is expected to average $14.35 to $14.45 per cwt and to climb to $14.45 to $15.25 next year. On balance, this leaves the all milk price next year at $15.90 to $16.70 per cwt., virtually unchanged from the 2010 projected average of $16.25 to $16.35 per cwt.

CWT, Illinois market settle lawsuit

ARLINGTON, VA – Cooperatives Working Together (CWT) successfully reached an out-of-court settlement with the defendants in the civil action, titled Kessler v. Greenville Livestock, Inc., which was filed in the Circuit Court for St. Clair County, Illinois on Sept. 1, 2010.

The National Milk Producers Federation (NMPF), which manages CWT, had joined with Illinois dairy farmer Kevin Kessler, and Kessler Dairy Inc., as a plaintiff in the action. The dispute involved transactions related to CWT’s herd retirement program.

The Illinois livestock auction market allegedly purchased cattle from Kessler, but instead of selling them for slaughter, resold some them as herd replacements to a different farmer, in violation of the terms of CWT’s herd retirement program.

Kessler’s bid to retire his 340 cows was accepted in the latest CWT herd retirement. He sold his herd to the auction market on the express condition the herd would then be sold to a slaughter facility. Kessler and NMPF contended Greenville Livestock Auction instead sold some of the cows as replacements to another dairy farm, breaching its contract, unjustly enriching itself by buying cows at a beef price and then reselling them at a higher replacement price, and committing fraud in violation of the common law and the Illinois consumer protection statute.

By agreement with defendants, the terms of the settlement will not be disclosed. However, all parties are satisfied that the settlement resolves the case fairly. Jerry Kozak, NMPF president and CEO, said: “We have always fully investigated every report involving allegations about the proper operation of Cooperatives Working Together, and we felt, in this situation, that we needed to take legal action. The settlement agreement we have made with the defendants preserves the integrity of the CWT program and protects dairy farmers’ investment in CWT.”

Kessler and National Milk Producers Federation were represented in this action by its outside general counsel, Kevin J. Brosch of DTB Associates, LLP, Washington D.C.,; James A. McGurk of Chicago, Illinois; and Russell K. Scott of Greensfelder, Hemker & Gale, P.C., Belleville, Illinois.

Lucas names House ag committee Republican chairs and complete roster

WASHINGTON – Chair-elect Frank Lucas of Oklahoma named six members to serve as subcommittee chair of the House Agriculture Committee, and also released the complete Republican roster for the 112th Congress. Additionally, Rep. Lucas announced that Rep. Bob Goodlatte of Virginia will serve as vice chair of the full committee.

“Our Subcommittee Chairmen have demonstrated a commitment to ensuring the success of American agriculture and rural economies. They are ready to join me in addressing the challenges that farmers, ranchers, and small businesses face across rural America. The next year will be an exercise in educating our freshmen members on both sides of the aisle, providing oversight of the administration, and building a strong working relationship as we prepare to reauthorize the farm bill in 2012,” said Chairman-elect Frank Lucas.

Lucas designated the following subcommittee chairmen and their jurisdictions (listed alphabetically by subcommittee name):

  • Rep. Glenn “GT” Thompson (PA-5):  Conservation, Energy, and Forestry
    Jurisdiction:  Soil, water, and resource conservation, small watershed program, energy and biobased energy production, rural electrification, forestry in general and forest reserves other than those created from the public domain.
  • Rep. Jeff Fortenberry (NE-1):  Department Operations, Oversight, and Credit
    Jurisdiction:  Agency oversight, review and analysis, special investigations, and agricultural credit.
  • Rep. K. Michael Conaway, (TX-11):  General Farm Commodities and Risk Management
    Jurisdiction:  Program and markets related to cotton, cottonseed, wheat, feed grains, soybeans, oilseeds, rice, dry beans, peas, lentils, the Commodity Credit Corporation, risk management, including crop insurance, commodity exchanges, and specialty crops.
  • Rep. Tom Rooney (FL-16):  Livestock, Dairy, and Poultry
    Jurisdiction: Livestock, dairy, poultry, meat, seafood and seafood products, inspection, marketing, and promotion of such commodities, aquaculture, animal welfare, and grazing.
  • Rep. Jean Schmidt (OH-2):  Nutrition and Horticulture
    Jurisdiction:  Food stamps, nutrition and consumer programs, fruits and vegetables, honey and bees, marketing and promotion orders, plant pesticides, quarantine, adulteration of seeds and insect pests, and organic agriculture.
  • Rep. Timothy V. Johnson (IL-15):  Rural Development, Research, Biotechnology, and Foreign Agriculture
    Jurisdiction:  Rural Development, farm security and family farming matters, biotechnology, foreign agriculture assistance, and trade promotion programs, generally.

The list of Republican members of the Agriculture Committee follows:

Frank D. Lucas (OK), Chairman-elect
Bob Goodlatte (VA), Vice Chairman-elect
Timothy V. Johnson (IL)
Steve King (IA)
Randy Neugebauer (TX)
K. Michael Conaway (TX)
Jeff Fortenberry (NE)
Jean Schmidt (OH)
Glenn Thompson (PA)
Tom Rooney (FL)
Rick Crawford (AR)
Scott DesJarlais (TN)
Renee Elmers (NC)
Stephen Fincher (TN)
Bob Gibbs (OH)
Chris Gibson (NY)
Vicky Hartzler (MO)
Tim Huelskamp (KS)
Randy Hultgren (IL)
Reid Ribble (WI)
Martha Roby (AL)
Bobby Schilling (IL)
Austin Scott (GA)
Steve Southerland (FL)
Marlin Stutzman (IN)
Scott Tipton (CO)