World Dairy Diary

Dairylea Members Approve Merger with DFA

DFAlogoDuring a special meeting in Syracuse, N.Y., members of Dairylea Cooperative Inc. approved the proposed merger with Dairy Farmers of America (DFA).

The merger will become official on April 1, and combines Dairylea’s Northeast-based 1,200 members with DFA’s 13,000 nationwide dairy farmer members.

The cooperatives have enjoyed a successful working relationship since DFA was formed in 1998. Working together, Dairylea and DFA have created efficiencies in milk assembly, transportation and marketing, as well as joint management of Farm Services and membership operations in the Northeast.

Although a national cooperative, DFA’s grassroots structure ensures the Cooperative’s Northeast Area Council will maintain local governance familiar to Dairylea members.

When the merger takes effect on April 1, Dairylea’s nearly 300 employees will become employees of DFA and continue to provide service to Northeast dairy farms out of the offices currently shared by both Cooperatives in Syracuse, N.Y.

Dairy Maid Dairy Purchased

dairy maid dairyDairy Maid Dairy, Frederick, Md. has been purchased by Dairy Farmers of America (DFA).

Dairy Maid has been owned and operated by the Vona family since 1946 and is currently led by brothers, Jimmy and Jody. The Vonas will continue to manage the day-to-day operations.

“The acquisition of Dairy Maid Dairy aligns with DFA’s strategy to increase its commercial footprint and expand ownership in the fluid and fresh dairy category,” said Rick Smith, DFA president and chief executive officer. “The Vonas have built a solid business and earned a reputation for quality products and superior service and is business our dairy farmer member owners can be proud of.”

Dairy Maid’s customers include major grocery chains, schools and governmental entities, such as prisons and military installations. Milk to the facility is supplied by a variety of sources including DFA, Maryland-Virginia, Lanco, Land O’Lakes, Cumberland Valley and Dairy Marketing Services.

Despite the change in ownership, there will be no disruption in operations. It is anticipated that Dairy Maid’s 110 employees will retain their positions and milk procurement will not be disrupted, ensuring quality products and service continue for Dairy Maid’s customers.

“We are pleased to be able to become part of the DFA family,” said Jimmy Vona. “DFA shares many of the same values that my family does. This transaction ensures the business we have built over the past four decades will continue to thrive in the future.”

Source: Dairy Farmers of America (DFA)

Nestlé USA Named Largest Processor

The Dairy Foods’ 20th annual Dairy 100 list comprises the largest processors of dairy foods and beverages based in the United States and Canada.

The 2013 list names Nestlé USA as North America’s largest dairy processor, bumping off Dean Foods Co. which held the spot for at least half of the 20 years that Dairy Foods has been compiling the Dairy 100.

While No.1 Nestlé USA’s revenues increased 7% from 2011 to 2012, No. 2 Dean Foods’ dropped 36% because it sold its Morning Star business to No. 3 Saputo and it spun off its WhiteWave Foods business into a stand-alone operation. No. 19 WhiteWave completed an initial public offering that raised over $365 million of net equity proceeds.

Rounding out the top 10 are (in order): Schreiber Foods, Land O’Lakes Inc., Kraft Foods Global Inc., Agropur Cooperative, Dairy Farmers of America Inc., Lactalis USA and Prairie Farms Dairy. Lactalis USA cracked the top 10 due to its parent company’s acquisition of Italy’s Parmalat, which has a division in Canada. Lactalis USA and Parmalat Canada were listed separately in our previous report.

Nestlé is the largest publicly held processor on the list and No. 4 Schreiber Foods is the largest privately owned business. The top dairy co-op is No. 5 Land O’Lakes. Download a PDF containing details about the 101 dairy processors in the 2013 Dairy 100.

Source:Dairy Foods

DBA Plans Green Bay Packer Tailgate Party

dbaPacker fans will soon brush off their green and gold for the Dairy Business Association’s 13th Annual Green Bay Packer Tailgate Party. The Packers will take on the Seattle Seahawks in an exciting pre-season game on Friday, August 23rd at Lambeau Field in Green Bay.

This favorite event is expected to draw hundreds of Packer fans for a pre-game cookout and networking followed by the football game. The cookout will begin at 3:30 p.m. at the Lazy Bones Tailgate Area, and the kick-off for the game is at 7 p.m. All are invited to attend.

The cost to attend the game and tailgate party is $119, and the fee to attend only the tailgate is $40 per person. To register for the DBA Green Bay Packer Tailgate Party, contact Jenny Marquardt at (920) 866-9991, or ; or visit to register online.

United Dairy Introduces Eco Jug

United DairyUnited Dairy, located in Pennsylvania and West Virginia, has converted to a new more environmentally-friendly container.

The new ‘eco jug’ utilizes 25 percent less plastic per jug, down to 55 grams of plastic resin per jug compare to 65 grams.

Ten grams per may not seem like much, but consider the Pa. plant alone processes roughly 50,000 gallons each day and the savings add up. Roughly 850,000 fewer pounds of plastic will be used ever year.

Martins Ferry is the second United plant to begin using the new jugs as Charleston made the conversion on Jan. 28. A new half-gallon jug will be manufactured shortly as well.

“We are the first dairy in the country to try this,” said Tim Griglack, Director of Operations.

Using 25 percent less plastic is also a boost to the environment, as is the switch to using Oshenite, a naturally renewing, pure ocean mineral that helps to color the bottle white and protect the milk.

While slightly taller, the jugs look somewhat smaller and more narrow.

Source: Times Leader Online

Deans Closing Shenandoah’s Pride Plant

Dean Foods Co. is closing its Shenandoah’s Pride plant in Springfield, Va.

Deans says that production at the facility will stop over the next two months, and that the 91-year-old Shenandoah’s Pride brand would be phased out. It will be replaced with two other Dean brands: Lehigh Valley Dairy Farms and PET.

“We regret the impact that this decision will have on our employees and our community. The decision to eliminate jobs in any part of our business is never an easy one,” wrote Dean Foods spokesman Jamaison Schuler in an emailed statement. “We need to improve our supply chain capability, and operating fewer plants will help us streamline our operations. The decision to discontinue production at this location does not reflect the quality of work performed by our employees, but the competitive nature of the marketplace.”

Dean Foods plans to sell that site.

Source: Washington Business Journal

New Study Compares Dairy Safety Net Programs

dbaDairy economists from leading universities released a new study that compares the short-term impacts for dairy farmers of two dairy safety-net programs now being debated in Congress — the Dairy Security Act (DSA) and the Goodlatte-Scott amendment to DSA.

The report, Shared Potential, Shared Concerns and Open Questions, states that both Goodlatte-Scott and DSA are “effective in providing catastrophic risk insurance” for stable and growing dairy farms. This means that both proposals offer farmers the option to enroll in margin insurance at various coverage levels. A key difference between the two proposals, however, is that the Dairy Security Act requires a supply management provision called the dairy market stabilization program (DMSP), while Goodlatte-Scott does not.

The way the supply management program works is that it reduces farmers’ milk checks periodically, and unpredictably, requiring farmers to either discard a portion of their milk production in excess of their base or not get paid for the portion of their milk delivered larger than their base.

The Goodlatte-Scott amendment allows milk margin insurance protection without the negative consequences of government-mandated market interventions like supply controls and dairy product purchases. The DSA on the other hand forces the government to limit the amount of milk individual farmers can sell as well as intervene in the marketplace to buy dairy products.

Source: Dairy Business Association

New Exhibits at the MOOseum

MOOseumThree new exhibits will be on display at Montgomery County, Maryland’s unique King Farm Dairy MOOseum, as it re-opens for the 2013 season on Saturday, May 4. The historic dairy barn museum showcases the history of local dairy farming when more than 350 dairy farms operated in the county serving the national capital region.

The special new exhibits include a historic century-old restored milk wagon, a unique robotic milking unit with video, and an inter-active dairy nutrition display to test all ages’ knowledge of healthful dairy foods. Also on display is a life-size replica of Astronaut, one of the world’s most famous dairy bulls purchased by local agricultural interests in 1968, a milkable replica of a Guernsey cow, and a barn full of equipment actually used by local dairy farm families. A carefully researched map shows the name and location of each former dairy farm. A separate children’s craft room provides educational materials for young peoples’ creativity.

New Resources Available for Dairy Producers

UsDairy_LogoThe Innovation Center for U.S. Dairy announced new science-based resources available for dairy producers, processors, industry partners and stakeholders. The resources help the industry act on the unprecedented scientific research commissioned as part of the U.S. Dairy Sustainability Commitment — a collective effort of the dairy value chain to measure and improve the sustainability of U.S. dairy from farm to table.

As part of this commitment, the dairy industry initiated a series of scientific life cycle assessments of fluid milk, cheese and whey. With this body of work, the U.S. dairy industry is striving to create the most transparent and documented dairy LCA database available. Due in part to its rigorous science-based approach, it was chosen to be the pilot industry participating in the National Agricultural Library of the U.S. Department of Agriculture to provide an open-access, prototype LCA database and tools.

The three new resources available include:

WhiteWave Plans Expansion

whitewave logoWhiteWave Foods is planning an expansion of their plant in Virginia.

The expansion involves addition of a new warehouse facility and machinery, in order to expand production and meet increased demand for the products. Currently, the plant manufactures Horizon Organic brand milk and Land O’Lakes brand butter and products.

Commenting on the announcement Governor McDonnell said the Mount Crawford plant has been in operation for 25 years, and more than $190m has been invested in property and equipment since 2000.

Source: Food Business Review

Outlook Bullish

Despite neutral supply and demand in dairy markets, the outlook is bullish, said an economist at the University of Missouri Extension Spring Ag Marketing Outlook Conference.

“As we look at futures margins, they are the best available in years, with falling feed prices and rising milk prices,” said MU agricultural economist Joe Horner. “2013 profitability will depend a little bit on the growing season, as we are particularly short of quality forages right now.”

Milk cows on farm basically started 2013 below year-ago levels and, adjusting for 30-day months, are right in between the last two years. Horner says they haven’t really started building the herd back up and cow numbers are kind of flat-lining.

“We’ve been culling cows really heavily and that should have given us a jump in milk production per cow,” Horner said. “But we’ve got some coarse feedstuffs out there, a lot of drought-damaged stuff and expensive feed, so people have cut back on rations. Our milk production on a per cow basis is following trend lines between where it was last year and the year before.”

Cow slaughter has continued to ramp up. Horner says it used to be that 40,000 cows a week would be normal, but recently it has been above 60,000.

“There are a lot of farmers looking at the price of cull cows, and if they have a fat cull cow that drops below break-even, she’s going to town,” Horner said. “Right now springer heifers are cheap, so it is almost an even trade between selling a cull cow or buying a replacement heifer.”

Horner told the conference that exports are potentially strong and have grown to the point where 13.5 percent of milk on a solid basis is being exported. While China is talked about a lot as an export market, Horner says Mexico is still a more important export market right now.

“China’s market potential has everyone very excited,” Horner said. “Whole milk powders have traditionally been where the U.S. has been a minor player, leaving that market to be filled by New Zealand. The U.S. is now starting to produce some whole milk powders in addition to skim milk powders. China’s market potential is huge and growing but it remains to be seen how much of that we can capture.”

Horner says the outlook for milk prices in the second quarter will be slightly higher than the first quarter. He says the price of milk for all of 2013 will be about $20 per hundredweight, which is a couple of dollars higher than last year.

“All things considered, it is probably going to be the best margin year since 2008,” Horner said. “That’s if we can grow our crop, if we can grow forages and if our exports keep milk prices where they’re at.”

Source: MU Extension News

FarmFirst Dairy Cooperative Has New Logo

dairyFarmFirst Dairy Cooperative board of directors recently unveiled its new logo. The identity symbolizes the newly formed cooperative’s vision and commitment to its members.

The logo and brand identity were approved by the FarmFirst Dairy Cooperative’s board of directors and will be integrated throughout membership and marketing efforts as the new cooperative establishes its presence in the industry.

Some Dairy Interests Pleased with Farm Bill Extension

While the National Milk Producers Federation is very opposed to the farm bill extension included in the fiscal cliff deal, at least one other dairy group supports the extension.

dbaOfficials with the Dairy Business Association (DBA) in Wisconsin say they are “extremely pleased” with the extension because they are opposed to the program that was included in the Senate version of the farm bill passed last year.

“The supply management program was rejected because legislators in Congress realized that if it were passed; this communism style of dairy policy would intrude on dairy markets by controlling the milk supply and artificially creating demand for dairy products at higher prices. Supply management programs have been tried before, been proven to be a mistake and a costly failure. We can’t continue to make the same mistakes,” said Laurie Fischer, Executive Director of the Dairy Business Association. “The removal of the Dairy Security Act from the farm bill extension is a victory for the Nation’s dairy producers.”

DBA worked persistently to educate members of Congress on the harmful impacts limiting milk production advocating for the consideration a milk insurance program instead. DBA had advocated for reforming the dairy safety net programs, but DBA believed the Dairy Security Act would have taken our Nation’s dairy industry in the wrong direction.

“Limiting milk production and paying producers to not produce milk just doesn’t make sense,” added Jerry Meissner, DBA’s President. “In spite of some national dairy groups advising legislators that all farmers were in favor of supply management, it simply is not the truth. Farmers from across the nation are not in favor of this provision.”

DBA release

Introducing SCR Dairy, Inc.

Let me introduce you to SCR Dairy, Inc., Precise Dairy Farming. We’re in a precision world in agriculture and that includes the dairy industry. In the case of SCR Dairy it’s all about cow monitoring systems.

Just prior to the World Dairy Expo, ag media got a close up look at SCR Dairy via management presentations and a tour of Fertile Ridge Dairy which is using SCR Dairy products. Our leader for the tour was Tom Breunig, SCR U.S. General Manager, pictured on the left in the photo.

The parent company is based in Israel and only recently opened this office and division in Madison, WI. Many people would be familiar with SCR’s milk flow meters. However, in the case of SCR Dairy it’s about monitoring rumination and ID tags. These tags are utilized in a collar on the cow and measure a number of things including movement much like a Wii. My attention was drawn to the fact that the system includes a microphone which allows a dairy to listen to the cow chew and rumen action. Fascinating stuff. In my interview with Tom he describes how the dairy now has a real “picture” of each cow and what is going on with them. This has greatly reduced the amount of time a dairy has to spend on cow monitoring. There are a number of other benefits too.

You can listen to my interview with Tom here: Interview with Tom Breunig

2012 World Dairy Expo Photo Album

World Dairy Diary coverage of the World Dairy Expo is sponsored by New Holland

Missouri Dairy Farmers End Raw Milk Sale Case

Missouri dairy farmers Armand and Teddi Bechard have entered into a consent agreement with the State of Missouri, ending a case over their selling of raw milk in 2009. Three years ago, undercover agents from the Springfield-Greene County Health Department allegedly bought raw milk from the Bechard family at a central delivery point, a health food store parking lot in Springfield. Missouri’s State Milk Board had insisted that while the law allows raw milk and cream to be sold by unlicensed farmers, it had to be delivered only to the customers’ residences. This news release from the Farm-to-Consumer Legal Defense Fund says the Bechards were acquitted in a criminal action filed by the local district attorney’s office and now are able to sell raw milk again after entering into a consent agreement.

[T]he Bechards are free to sell raw milk to anyone they want and, after the sale has been arranged, can deliver the raw milk anywhere they want. In fact, the Bechards are allowed to deliver the raw milk to the customer’s home, to a central distribution point like a parking lot in a shopping center, or to the customer at the Bechards’ own farm.

The agreement prohibits the Bechards from selling raw milk to strangers who walk up to them while they are making a delivery to a known customer.

You can see Armand Bechard tell his story in the video below.

New App Dairy Market Central Available

Dairy farmers now have a custom tool at their fingertips – “Dairy Market Central,” a new app for iPhone, iPad, Android phones and tablets combining the latest news, markets, weather and resources. The app was released by Merck Animal Health and was created in partnership with Hoard’s Dairyman magazine. Dairy Market Central is free to download via the iTunes Store and Google Play (formerly Android Market).

The Dairy Market Central app includes:
News feed by Hoard’s Dairyman
CME markets
USDA dairy, hay and auction reports
Industry resources like futures, heifer prices and economic outlooks

Hoard’s Dairyman magazine provides the news feed with content updated daily. The Hoard’s Dairyman online database is accessible exclusively to subscribers using iPads and 10.1-inch Android tablets.

The app provides users a quick summary of dairy commodity markets with more detailed information available by simply selecting the commodity. It lists current prices on a variety of markets, from cheese and fluid milk contracts to cow sale prices. The latest U.S. Department of Agriculture dairy, hay and auction reports also are easily accessible. All versions of Dairy Market Central show the latest weather information, including current conditions, forecasts, and severe weather alerts.

Additional resources, such as the Chicago Mercantile Exchange (CME) Daily Dairy Report, long-term corn and soybean forecasts, regional heifer prices and economic outlook reports, are available on the app for iPads and 10.1-inch Android tablets.

Source: Merck Animal Health

Kemps Acquires Cass-Clay

Kemps has purchased the Cass-Clay brand and plant in Fargo, N.D. The previous owner AMPI announced the agreement.

In the agreement AMPI will remain the exclusive milk suppliers for all Cass-Clay products.

So what does this mean for the Cass-Clay milk, yogurt, and sour cream you buy? Kemps Representative Rachel Kyllo says Kemps new ownership will change nothing about the products you enjoy today.

Both representatives say this new ownership is a win-win for both Cass-Clay consumers, and the local dairy farmers who supply quality dairy products.

Kyllo says Kemps has no intention to replace any Cass-Clay products, but over time we could see new Kemp products added to the line. The plant will not be letting go of any employees in the transition.

Source: WDAY News

Bel Brands to Build Plant in S.D.

Bel Brands USA will build a 170,000-square-foot facility in Brookings, S.D. to produce its Mini Babybel product.

It’s one of the biggest capital investments in recent South Dakota history, and expected to have a $500 million annual economic jolt. It’s also expected to lead to research, internship and career opportunities for South Dakota State University students, and bring alumni back to Brookings for jobs.

“Talk about the opportunity of a lifetime,” said Barry Dunn, dean of the College of Agriculture and Biological Sciences. “This is jobs. It’s work experience. It’s internships … This will impact all of our students in a very positive way – open up opportunities for them. It’s an absolute game changer.”

Bel Brands, headquartered in Chicago, also produces The Laughing Cow cheese wedges, Boursin, Merkts, Kaukauna and other natural and gourmet cheese spreads. It’s the U.S. subsidiary of Paris-based Fromageries Bel and also has U.S.-based production facilities in Leitchfield, Ky., and Little Chute, Wis.

“We’ve been impressed with the state of South Dakota,” Chambers said. “The robust dairy industry that will provide raw materials, the economic development and support, and the world-class dairy facilities and dairy research (at SDSU). We think there’s great synergies and partnership possibilities in working with (SDSU).”

Bel Brands has more than doubled in size the past four years. Mini Babybel, which represents close to one-third of Bel Brands’ U.S. sales, has almost tripled with consistent 25 percent growth, Chambers said. Phase one of the project will have a production capacity of 22 million pounds or 10,000 metric tons.

Source: Arugus Leader

Dairies Sought for Pilot Herd Health Program

The Pennsylvania Center for Dairy Excellence is seeking dairy farm families interested in improving herd health and cow care for their pilot program: “Herd Health and Cow Care Improvement Project.”

The project is supported by a grant from the Pennsylvania Soybean Board. Each participating farm will have up to $1,000 in financial support to work with the herd’s veterinarian and a Penn State veterinarian to aid in improving a component of the dairy, ultimately enhancing overall herd health and animal care on the farm.

Participating farms will provide details of their work in improving their specific herd health and animal care focus to the center. This information will be shared with the dairy industry to help other dairies looking to resolve similar issues.

“Working with these farms will help the center develop a tool to aid other producers quickly assess and identify steps to improve herd health care on the farm,” Frey said.

Applications for the pilot project must be submitted by Nov. 15 and are available from the center by calling 717-346-0849 or emailing Farms will be selected for the project on a first-come, first-served basis with considerations given to the herd management support area and regional location.

Source: The Center for Dairy Excellence

DFA One of Top National Cooperatives

Once again, Dairy Farmers of America (DFA) made it into the top five national cooperatives.

DFA was ranked fourth on the NCB Co-op 100 listing of the nation’s 100 highest revenue-earning cooperative businesses, the same as last year.

“The boom of cooperative organizations and the key role they play in both our national and global economy, is clearly evidenced in the growth and expansion highlighted in this year’s report,” said Charles E. Snyder, President and CEO of NCB. “As a cooperative business ourselves, we are proud to support these efforts and participate in the United Nations General Assembly declaration of 2012 as the International Year of the Cooperative, to educate the public on the benefits of cooperatives. Our report is just one of the many ways we work to inform the public on the advantages of cooperatives in all fields of enterprise.”

The NCB Co-op 100 debuted in 1991 and is the only yearly report of its kind to track cooperative revenues in the United States. Cooperatives in this year’s top 100 account for a combined revenue of more than $193 billion in 2010. Dairy Farmers of America, based in Kansas City, is a farmer-owned milk marketing cooperative with nearly 16,000 members and more than 3,000 employees.

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