Posted: November 20, 2012 at 11:00 am
By John Davis
This year was a pretty tumultuous one for many dairy producers across the country, especially with the way the drought impacted many operations. The USDA needs to get more information so it knows what’s happening on America’s farms. That’s why the 2012 Census of Agriculture forms will be hitting producers’ mailboxes very soon.
“The Census of Agriculture will be dropped in the mail December 14th, so farmers should expect it in their mailboxes by the end of the year,” says Renee Picanso, Director of the USDA’s Census and Survey Division, asking that those surveyed return their census by Feb. 4, 2013. During an interview at Trade Talk at the National Association of Farm Broadcasting convention, she added that they’ll be asking some new questions this year, including some on agriforestry and renewable energy. Also new this year will be the opportunity to fill out the survey over the internet, something they believe will help response rates. “I hope so, because it leads you through the questions, and if you go on the internet, it will skip through the questions [not relevant to your operation].”
Picanso stresses that it’s very important for producers to respond because the survey helps USDA determine policy, as well as how it helps rural communities and agribusinesses. Results should be released in February 2014.
Listen to Cindy’s interview with Renee here: Interview with Renee Picanso, Director of the USDA's Census and Survey Division
Posted: November 12, 2012 at 1:18 pm
By John Davis
How do you feed the expected world population of 9 billion people by the year 2050? Our friends at Farm Foundation are taking on that challenging question, hopefully with some good answers through their new blog, AgChallenge2050.org.
“It’s an opportunity for more people to be involved in the conversation,” said Mary Thompson, Farm Foundation’s Vice President, Communications, adding there are four key areas of consideration: role of science and technology in agriculture, farm and food policy, adaptability resistance, and human capital needs in agriculture and the food system. “We have contributors who will be twice a week posting new ideas and new perspectives in those four areas, and we will encourage all types of stakeholders to come in and be part of the conversation.”
And don’t forget, Farm Foundation has another one of their forums coming up this Wednesday, November 14th looking at what the recently completed election means to agriculture, food and rural policies. It will be held at the National Press Club in Washington, DC and webcast. Click here for more information.
Listen to Cindy’s interview with Mary here: Mary Thompson, Farm Foundation
2012 NAFB Convention Photo Album
Posted: November 6, 2012 at 10:54 am
By Cindy Zimmerman
A poll for election day shows a significant majority of farmers say they are voting Romney over Obama for president, and most blame Democrats for failure to pass a new farm bill.
The Agri-Pulse Farm and Rural Poll released today found that 78 percent of farmers polled are voting for Mitt Romney in the presidential election.
On November 1, 2012, Pulse Opinion Research conducted a telephone survey of 319 farmers and ranchers who are likely voters. Questions covered the presidential election, farm bill priorities, Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack’s job performance rating, the Renewable Fuels Standard, and other topics.
The telephone survey found that 71 percent of respondents strongly disapprove of President Obama’s job performance while 12 percent strongly approve. Of all farmers polled, 51 percent labeled themselves Republican, 26 percent Democrat.
It may not be surprising that 92 percent of self-identified Republican respondents picked Romney as their presidential vote, but more than half (53 percent) of the self-identified Democrat respondents also picked Romney. Additionally, 74 percent of farmers who identified themselves as “other” in party affiliation expressed preference for Romney.
Asked whether Republicans or Democrats are to blame for the failure to pass a new farm bill, 46 percent answered Democrats while 28 percent said both parties are equally responsible. Nineteen percent blamed Republicans. Interestingly, 35 percent of self-identified Democrats blamed their own party, while only 7 percent of self-identified Republicans blamed theirs.
When it came to identifying the biggest threats to the future of their farming operations, environmental regulations came out on top with 33%, with tax burdens next at 29%. The third biggest threat identified is “activist groups who oppose modern farming methods” at 16 percent.
See all the questions and poll results here.
Posted: October 31, 2012 at 4:50 pm
By John Davis
While all elections are important, this year’s promises to have some real implications for rural America. That’s why Farm Foundation is holding a forum about a week after the polls close, and we know WHO is in office to explain WHAT they might do as as far as agriculture, food and rural policy, including what it all might mean for dairy producers. The forum will be held on Wednesday, Nov. 14, 2012 from 9 a.m. to 11 a.m. EST at the National Press Club, 529 14th St. NW, Washington D.C.
And for the first time a free live, webcast of the forum will be offered. You can see the webcast by registering here. Email email@example.com by Nov. 12th if you plan to attend in person.
“By their votes on Nov. 6, citizens will set the stage for the next four years of the nation’s policy development at both the state and federal level,” says Foundation President Neil Conklin. “This Forum is an opportunity to examine how those elections may specifically impact agriculture, food and rural policies in the months ahead.”
Posted: July 11, 2012 at 1:08 pm
By John Davis
An amendment that would have eliminated the market stabilization program for milk pricing in the current Farm Bill has been defeated. Lawmakers in the U.S. House Agriculture Committee this morning debated the measure proposed by Reps. Bob Goodlatte (R-Virginia) and David Scott (D-Georgia), which would provide a safety net for dairy producers without requiring them to participate in a supply management program, such as the Dairy Security Act that is already in the Senate’s version of the bill.
Goodlatte argued that their amendment is more in line with the overall Farm Bill making its way through Congress and would actually provide more support for smaller family dairy farms. He said that the margin insurance is simple and not tied to a convoluted supply management system, costs less for premiums, and even appeals to larger dairies. “These [big] dairy farms know that paying a modest premium for their production above the 250-cow level is a better deal for them than getting saddled with supply management.” Scott, the co-sponsor on the amendment, said the main point is that it would keep milk and dairy products affordable for consumers. “The stabilization program that our amendment would take out would artificially reduce the supply of milk throughout this country, thereby, increasing milk and dairy product prices for consumers,” he said, adding that economic times are too tough to do this.
But Ranking Member of the House Ag Committee Rep. Collin Peterson (D-MN) called the amendment a recipe for disaster. He pointed to the dairy collapse in 2009 as a prime example of why the current safety net in the bill is needed. “It was bad, but it would have been a heckuva lot worse [without the CWT program].” Peterson also said that 70 percent of producers paid for it while 30 percent got a free ride. And he disagreed with Scott’s contention about prices. “What a bunch of nonsense. We had the lowest milk prices in history [in 2009], and did anyone cut their prices at the retail level? No, they raised them. Give me a break!” Peterson was joined by committee chairman Rep. Frank Lucas (R-OK) in calling for the defeat of the amendment.
Listen to the debate from the House Agriculture Committee meeting here:
House Ag Committee hearing on Dairy Provisions of Farm Bill
Posted: August 13, 2011 at 7:57 am
By Cindy Zimmerman
Congressman Mike Simpson (R-ID) has joined the effort in the U.S. House to reform dairy programs.
Simpson is the lead Republican proponent of discussion draft legislation released by House Agriculture Committee Chairman Colin Peterson (D-MN) earlier this month. The draft language is based on reform proposals put forward by the dairy industry.
“I look forward to working with members of the Idaho dairy industry and Representative Peterson to prevent another economic disaster like the dairy industry suffered in 2009. I believe we can do better for Idaho dairy farmers,” said Simpson. “This legislation starts a conversation, that I intend to help lead, on how to build a more effective economic safety net for the U.S. dairy industry.”
The effort is supported by Dairy Farmers of America (DFA) and the National Milk Producers Federation, but opposed by some regional dairy groups like the Southeast Milk Cooperative. While not yet formally introduced, the dairy reform package text has been released by Peterson. The legislative language is termed a discussion draft, rather than a bill, as it now allows members of Congress to view the language, prior to it being formally introduced as a bill. Peterson, along with Simpson, will now be seeking additional cosponsors, of both parties, to cosponsor and introduce the legislation once Congress returns from its August recess after Labor Day.
Posted: September 20, 2010 at 12:20 pm
By Cindy Zimmerman
A new report from the Food and Agricultural Policy Research Institute at the University of Missouri (FAPRI-MU) has analyzed the impact of adopting the current California fluid milk standards throughout the U.S.
The study was done at the request of the four co-chairmen of the Congressional Dairy Farmer Caucus – Congressman Joe Courtney of Connecticut (D), Congressman Timothy Walz of Minnesota (DFL), Congressman Devin Nunes (R-CA), and Congressman Peter Welch (D-VT). The purpose was to update previous studies done when there were high levels of nonfat dry milk in storage, compared to now when there are virtually none.
While the study concluded that adopted the California standards would result in higher milk prices, FAPRI noted that the actual impact of the policy will depend on how is it implemented. “Analysis
of imposing California fluid milk standards across the rest of the U.S. is dependent on some key variables,” the report says. “Two examples of these variables are how costs of fluid milk fortification will be shared and how consumers will accept a higher solids fluid product.”
The basic conclusion reached by the study is: “Iimposing California fluid standards increases producer milk prices and consumer fluid milk prices. These effects become less over time as the industry adjusts to the changing standards. Fortification allowances could work to minimize these effects depending on how they would be implemented. The increase in producer milk prices would reduce CCC dairy outlays but the effect is small.”
Read the study here.
Posted: April 18, 2010 at 8:28 pm
By Cindy Zimmerman
Looking ahead to 2012, the House Agriculture Committee will be holding its first farm bill hearing Tuesday in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania and the focus will be on federal dairy policy.
The Dairy Policy Action Coalition (DPAC) reports that dairy producers around the surrounding area will be attending the hearing and they are urging all dairy farmers to attend and “show support for positive change.” DPAC vice chairman Daniel Brandt, a producer from Lebanon County, will present testimony for the organization.
Committee chairman Collin Peterson (D-MN) and vice chair Tim Holden (D-PA) will be presiding at the hearing and USDA officials are also expected to present testimony. The hearing begins at 9:30 am at the Farm Show Complex, Harrisburg, PA.
Posted: February 4, 2010 at 10:31 am
By Amanda Nolz
I guess I’m not shocked that HSUS has pulled this bait and switch on Ohio voters. While stepping aside to let Ohio farmers pass the Ohio Livestock Care Standards Board, our friends at HSUS are now campaigning to make sure that board pushes their agendas forward, which include: abolishing meat, dairy and eggs from the American diet and putting farmers and ranchers out of business. In their newest campaign, Ohioans for Humane Farms, HSUS and Farm Sanctuary are back on the campaign trail, ready to take action in the next election. Check out an excerpt from Kristy Foster in Farm and Dairy.
Producers and state officials had heard it was coming. Now, it’s official: The Humane Society of the United States launched a counterattack on Ohio Jan. 27. Ohioans for Humane Farms, backed by HSUS and Farm Sanctuary, submitted a petition — including signatures from Ohio voters in 48 counties — to Ohio’s Secretary of State in support of placing an anti-cruelty measure on the November ballot.
Regulations requested include: 1. End confinement for veal calves, breeding pigs and chickens in what has been described by the Humane Society of the United States as “tiny cages.” 2. Stop “downer cows” or animals too sick or injured to stand or walk on their own from entering the human food chain. 3. Establish regulations for the euthanasia of sick and injured animals.
Posted: December 18, 2009 at 1:46 pm
By Cindy Zimmerman
Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack has announced the implementation of the new Dairy Economic Loss Assistance Payment (DELAP) program. The 2010 Agricultural Appropriations Bill authorized $290 million for loss assistance payments to eligible dairy producers.
“Through this program, eligible dairy producers will receive economic assistance that will help stabilize their operations during these tough economic times,” said Vilsack. “I have personally heard from hundreds of struggling dairy farmers from all across our country who have been hit hard by declining prices over the past year, and now, we’ll be able to offer them help.”
Eligible producers will receive a one-time direct payment based on the amount of milk both produced and commercially marketed by their operation during the months of February through July 2009. Production information from these months will be used to estimate a full year’s production for an operation to calculate the payments, using a 6-million pound per dairy operation limit.
Read more details from USDA here.
Posted: October 29, 2009 at 12:11 pm
By Cindy Zimmerman
Senate Agriculture Committee members this week heard directly from dairy producers, industry groups and processors about what can be done to address the current economic crisis in the dairy industry. Proposed short and long term solutions ranged from the government buying more cheese to complete restructuring of U.S. dairy policy.
Eric Ooms, a producer from New York, told the panel that while there is industry support for a national pricing solution, producers in his area are against eliminating differentials. “ANY plans that recommend eliminating or lowering the Class 1 differentials should be viewed very skeptically, if not outrightly opposed,” Ooms said emphatically. “With growing emphasis on the importance of regional food systems and local foods, it seems obvious to me that to steer federal policy away from Class 1 differentials is counterproductive.”
Producer Paul Toft from Wisconsin, testifying on behalf of the Associated Milk Producers Inc. (AMPI), noted the importance of maintaining the Milk Income Loss Contract (MILC) and the Dairy Product Price Support Program. “Unfortunately, the MILC program by itself is not sufficient,” Toft said. “The price dairy farmers are receiving for their milk is still below the cost of production. They have been losing thousands of dollars a month, even with the MILC program assistance.” He says that AMPI is supporting the concept of dairy price
Ray Souza of California, president of Western United Dairymen, said the situation for family dairy farmers in his state is dire. For the short term, Souza says WUD recommends USDA buy more cheese to donate to food banks. “I come from an area where some counties have 15% to 16% unemployment. The food banks there sure could use that cheese,” he said. Long term, he says WUD endorses the supply management proposal known as the Holstein Association Dairy Price Stabilization Plan.
Doug Nuttelman, a dairy farmer from Nebraska, says the the current economic situation has “redefined dairying.” As a member of the National Milk Producers Federation (NMPF) board of directors, Nuttleman presented a plan that would involve a new approach to dairy policy, including revamping of the federal Milk Marketing Order program and discontinuing the Dairy Product Price Support Program, as well as instituting a dairy insurance program. “As a farmer, I participate in my crop insurance program,” he told the panel. “I’d like to see some type of margin-type program for my dairy.”
Read the testimony of all the panelists at this week’s hearing and watch a video of the proceedings here on the Senate Ag Committee website.
Posted: September 29, 2009 at 7:28 pm
By Amanda Nolz
Dave Lefever with Lancaster Farming wrote an article titled, “Dairy Farmers, Task Force Grapple With Policy Reform,” and it highlights the efforts of dairy producers in dealing with dairy policy reform. Stay up-to-date on the issues and check out this informative article.
Dean Jackson’s dad told him that a roomful of farmers would never agree on a solution to a problem. But the Bradford County dairyman showed up at a special meeting Tuesday hoping to make a case for proving his father wrong on that particular point.
“There’s got to be unity,” Jackson said during the Pennsylvania Center for Dairy Excellence Task Force, called to solidify the state’s plan of action for addressing dairy policy reform.
Jackson’s call for solidarity was echoed by others at the meeting, including Gordon Hoover, director of eastern milk supply for Land O’ Lakes.
“If the industry ever got unified, legislators would breathe a sigh of relief,” Hoover said.
Jackson and Hoover were among about 40 attendees, including a number of dairy farmers and industry support people at the meeting, scheduled by Acting Pennsylvania Agriculture Secretary Russell Redding to coincide with the All-American Dairy Show.
Posted: August 27, 2009 at 9:37 am
By Cindy Zimmerman
This edition of the Milking Parlor podcast focuses on what is being done on the national level to address the current dairy industry crisis. From congressional actions to USDA to the dairy industry itself, we hear from Congressman John Boccieri, Sen. Bernie Sanders, Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack, University of Wisconsin Ag Economist Dr. Bruce Jones and National Milk Producers Federation president Jerry Kozak.
Thanks to Fort Dodge Animal Health for sponsorship of this regular monthly podcast for dairy industry professionals. We encourage your feedback, comments and questions to provide input for future editions of the program.
Listen to this podcast here:
Subscribe to the Milking Parlor podcast here.
Podcast: Play in new window
Posted: April 15, 2009 at 3:35 pm
By Amanda Nolz
The Associated Press released an article reporting the U.S. dairy industry plans to engineer the “cow of the future.” This “ideal” cow would pass less gas as part of its project aimed at cutting the industry’s greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions by 25 percent by 2020. The article lists several other GHG emission projects that will be explored including turning digester-generated methane into marketable energy. This article can be found in several major publications, including the Minneapolis Star Tribune.
The cow project aims to reduce intestinal methane, the single largest component of the dairy industry’s carbon footprint, said Thomas P. Gallagher, chief executive officer of the U.S. Dairy and Dairy Management Inc.’s Innovation Center in Rosemont, Ill. One area to be explored is modifying the dairy cows’ feed so they produce less methane, said Rick Naczi, the leader of the initiative.
“Right now there is some work being done on fish-oil additives and some other things,” he said. “The cow is responsible for the majority of the greenhouse gas on the farm itself. We know there are ways that we can find to cut or reduce that production.”
Another possible solution is targeting the microbes in the cow’s gut, Naczi said. “You can change the mix of the bacteria in the cow’s rumen and change the methane production that way.”
He expects the research to develop some solutions within a year.
Posted: February 17, 2009 at 9:39 pm
By News Editor
Our friend, Keith Good, is the founder and editor of our next “Bookmarkable Blog” – FarmPolicy.com. Keith’s site provides a daily summary of news relating to U.S. farm policy. FarmPolicy.com covers issues associated with the U.S. and global agricultural economy, including the Farm Bill, production agriculture, trade, biofuels and crop insurance.
Keith has an extensive background in Midwest agriculture, having grown up in Central Illinois where his family has successful farming operations. He has worked for the Illinois Agriculture Mediation Program, a dispute resolution service that assists agricultural producers affected by the actions or decisions of the USDA in resolving disputes arising under various USDA programs. He also worked as an Agricultural Statistician with USDA’s National Agricultural Statistics Service and as a Research Associate in the Dept. of Agricultural and Consumer Economics at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.
Check out his latest post, it’s very timely!
The Associated Press reported yesterday that, “Hundreds of thousands of America’s dairy cows are being turned into hamburgers because milk prices have dropped so low that farmers can no longer afford to feed the animals.
“Dairy farmers say they have little choice but to sell part of their herds for slaughter because they face a perfect storm of destructive economic forces. At home, feed prices are rising and cash-strapped consumers are eating out less often. Abroad, the global recession has cut into demand for butter and cheese exported from the U.S.
“Prices for milk now are about half what it costs farmers to produce the staple, and consumer prices are falling. Unless the market can be bolstered, industry officials project that more than 1.5 million of the nation’s 9.3 million milking cows could be slaughtered this year as dairy operators look to cut costs and generate cash.”
Posted: October 3, 2008 at 9:05 am
We had a kind of impromptu visit by the Wisconsin McCain-Palin Farm and Ranch Team at Expo. Heading up the group of mostly college students was James Harsdorf, a dairy farmer and former WI Sec. of Agriculture. He made an opening statement and then lets a couple of the students talk before answering some questions.
One of the questions he was asked had to do with recent statements by Sen. McCain about eliminating farm and ethanol subsidies and you can hear that answer in a recording I made of part of the session. I asked James that same question prior to the session and he basically said that his candidate supports a free market system and that those subsidies wouldn’t be removed immediately.
You can listen to the session here: wdx-08-mccain.mp3
World Dairy Expo 2008 Photo Album
Sponsors of World Dairy Diary coverage of this year’s World Dairy Expo include GEA Farm Technologies and BASF Plant Science.
Podcast: Play in new window
Posted: December 26, 2006 at 11:08 am
As we look forward to 2007 how about reviewing 2006? The International Dairy Federation has released it’s annual World Dairy Situation report.
This major publication including statistics on production, consumption and trade assists researchers, policymakers, and economists in providing a tool for strategy formulation. The new authoritative World Dairy Situation survey is based on independent dairy sources. This new IDF publication presents a thorough and broad overview on trends in production, milk processing, consumption, trade and prices in major parts of the world. Detailed statistics by world, region and individual countries are also included. Data are compiled using the expertise of IDF members and other sources.
Comments from dairy specialists in many countries inside and outside IDF reveal the perceptions and preoccupations of the world dairy business and lift the curtain on the growing trend towards bilateral agreements affecting international trade in dairy products which has certainly been given a boost by the Doha failure. The 2006 edition includes special articles on the International Farm Comparison Network (IFCN), on worldwide market prospects, on the collapse of the WTO Doha Round negotiations, on the EU Commission’s projections for dairy markets from 2006 to 2013, and on EU enlargement: the dairy sector in Bulgaria and Romania.
Posted: November 19, 2006 at 4:10 pm
The IDFA is happy to point out a Cato Institute paper that calls for dairy policy changes. The paper was released just over a week ago and will be quoted a lot I’m sure as we lead up to a new farm bill.
The Cato Institute is the first public policy organization, or “think tank,” to tackle dairy policy in the lead-up to the 2007 Farm Bill. The institute’s briefing paper, titled “Milking the Customers: The High Cost of U.S. Dairy Policies,” highlights weaknesses in current U.S. dairy policies and demonstrates how existing programs have a minimal and conflicting role in supporting prices for farmers. “The experts at the Cato Institute have concluded that today’s dairy policies will not help dairy producers and processors meet the challenges of tomorrow,” said Chip Kunde, IDFA senior vice president. “This call should inspire us to initiate a smooth transition away from current outdated and conflicting policies to one, national policy that provides critical support to all producers but allows free market opportunities to flourish.”
You can find the paper here.
Posted: June 8, 2006 at 4:04 pm
By Andy Vance
The American Farmland Trust (AFT) today honored Tom Hutson, a dairy farmer from DeLancey, NY, with their annual Steward of the Land award. Hutson received a check for $10,000 at a presentation on the steps of City Hall.
“Tom has always understood how his farm’s stakeholders include not only the consumers of his products but the residents of New York City, whose clean drinking water depends on environmentally friendly agriculture,” said Ralph Grossi, President of American Farmland Trust. “Tom both works the land and sustains it.”
Hutson operates River Haven Farm in New York’s Catskill Mountains where he has 380 acres and a herd of 108 Holsteins. He raises corn, alfalfa hay, grass hay, along with oats and barley for grain, and straw for bedding. There are 57 acres of hardwood forest on the farm. He also raises Hi-HO’s, a Holstein-Scottish Highland beef cattle cross.
Hutson was one of the first farmers to participate in pilot programs administered by the Watershed Agricultural Council (WAC) to reduce organic pollution in the Catskill/Delaware reservoir systems. He installed buffer and filter strips, permanent rows of vegetation that slow water runoff and erosion of riverbanks, and also filter out damaging substances from the water supply.
In 2002, Hutson protected his farm with a conservation easement acquired by the WAC, which allows him and future owners of River Haven Farm to continue working the land while limiting any future development and subdivision of his property. This will ensure that New Yorkers enjoy clean water and wildlife habitat in perpetuity including the bald eagles that nest in a huge sycamore tree on his farm.
Hutson has shared his experiences with his peers and advocates through numerous on-farm demonstrations and speaking to countless visitors, media and groups. His one-on-one consultations with other farmers have resulted in numerous applications to the WAC Easement program.
Fred Huneke, Chair of the WAC, added his praise for Hutson’s efforts. “New York City faced a looming crisis in 1990 spending billions of dollars to build and operate a water filtration system. Instead, they came up with a novel plan to protect the water supply and keep it clean: by partnering with farmers like Tom who work to manage their farms in environmentally positive ways. Tom has encouraged farmers in the watershed to join him in these efforts and that’s meant the City has been spared a huge financial burden.”
“Tom is a champion of good agriculture leading and showing by example on his farm how you can provide consumers with food and environmental benefits and attract wildlife at the same time,” adds Ralph Grossi, “he is a true steward of the land and a great inspiration to farmers across the country.”
Established in 1997, AFT’s Steward of the Land Award recognizes the American farmer or farm family who best demonstrates leadership in protecting farmland and caring for the environment. The award honors the memory of Peggy McGrath Rockefeller, an avid farmer and conservationist who helped found AFT. Hutson is the tenth farmer to win this award.
Posted: June 6, 2006 at 1:09 pm
By Andy Vance
Sounds like a fine idea to me. I sat at an Ohio State Ag Alumni awards banquet last year with an alum from the dairy biz. I was thrilled, being a multi-gallon per week milk drinker, when he ordered a pitcher of the milk for the whole table. His comment was that he was always amazed when he took his dairy clients to dinner that they rarely ordered milk, so he ordered it for them. Sounds like a good policy to me, like fueling your farm equipment with soy biodiesel or driving a flex-fuel car.
The US Food and Drug Administration wants to help you in this situation – a new report issued late last week suggests that restaurants should offer more lower-calorie food and beverage choices on menus, including low-fat and fat-free milk and dairy products. The report specifically calls for more low-fat and fat-free milk offerings with an eye toward the multiple nutrients advantages they hold. The report highlights successes at the quick-service restaurant counter, noting that the key to successful milk sales is appealing packaging like resealable plastic bottles.
Here’s another thought, however. The packaging is fine, but have you noticed that US restaurants appear to be trying to make their entire profit margin on milk? Why on earth are the single-serve cardboard cartons we paid 25-cents for in school being sold for 75-cents to a full dollar in restaurants? OR, if you are at a family-style or fine-dining establishment, why do you expect to pay $1.50 and up for a single glass of milk when you can buy the whole gallon in the grocery for $2? Perhaps if we can help restaurants end the dairy price-gouging on their menus we can all enjoy increased dairy demand from the food-service industry. Just a thought.