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Following second vote, U.S. House passes 2018 Farm Bill

June 22, 2018

WASHINGTON — Following a failed vote last month, the U.S. House on Thursday passed its version of the 2018 Farm Bill, the Agriculture and Nutrition Act of 2018, by a vote of 213-211.

The bill addresses economic challenges facing the nation’s farmers and ranchers, while making significant investments in opportunities for Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) recipients.

“(This) vote was about keeping faith with the men and women of rural America and about the enduring promise of the dignity of a day’s work. It was about providing certainty to farmers and ranchers who have been struggling under the weight of a five-year recession and about providing our neighbors in need with more than just a hand out, but a hand up,” says House Agriculture Committee Chairman K. Michael Conaway, R-Texas. “I’m proud of what this body has accomplished and now look forward to working with the Senate and the president to deliver a farm bill on time to the American people.”

The Senate Agriculture Committee passed its version of the legislation last week, and the bill now awaits a full Senate vote. (See “Stakeholders praise Senate committee farm bill approval” in last week’s issue of Cheese Market News.)

The National Milk Producers Federation (NMPF) commended House passage of the bill as a key step toward enacting a bipartisan, bicameral bill into law by Sept. 30, when the current farm bill expires.

NMPF says among the provisions of significance to the U.S. dairy industry are improvements to the dairy safety net. The measure raises the maximum covered margin in the Dairy Margin Protection Program (MPP) to $9 per hundredweight and provides increased flexibility in the amount of milk that can be insured. NMPF says the changes will improve the program for dairy producers of all sizes.

The bill also includes other provisions to improve milk price risk management, reflecting an agreement reached between NMPF and the International Dairy Foods Association (IDFA) on changes to federal milk marketing orders.

“While there are a few issues that will need to be addressed when the House reconciles its version of the farm bill with the one the Senate is considering, we are pleased that the process continues to move forward with this vote,” says Jim Mulhern, president and CEO, NMPF.

While Thursday’s vote was largely divided along party lines, Mulhern says the bill’s dairy provisions were the product of bipartisan efforts.

“We thank Chairman Conaway and Ranking Member Collin Peterson, D-Minn., for their continuing work to improve dairy risk management programs,” he says.

The House bill also addresses several other NMPF priorities. The conservation title will help producers access technical and financial assistance to carry out multiple conservation practices on their land and water. The bill includes an amendment from Rep. Mike Bost, R-Ill., to increase the emphasis on nutrient recovery technologies within the conservation title.

Under the trade title, the farm bill authorizes trade promotion programs that are critical to dairy farmers and their cooperatives, NMPF says. The bill also features helpful provisions intended to increase fluid milk consumption, including an amendment by Rep. Glenn Thompson, R-Pa., to expand the varieties of milk offered in schools.

IDFA also praised the U.S. House for approving the bill, noting it will allow for greater access to risk management tools for dairy foods companies and farmers to address price fluctuations. The bill also provides retail incentives under SNAP to promote milk purchases for healthier diets and requires the government to finalize a rule that would allow schools to serve lowfat flavored milk.

“Managing price risk and increasing consumption are IDFA’s key priorities, and we commend Chairman Conaway and other committee leaders for drafting a farm bill that will provide increased health benefits to consumers, while empowering dairy processors and producers to help fuel the American economy,” says Michael Dykes, president and CEO, IDFA.

IDFA also commended Rep. Thompson for offering language that would require USDA to finalize its interim final rule allowing lowfat flavored milk to be served in school cafeterias.

“We appreciate the commitment of Congressman Thompson, along with Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue, to reverse declining school milk consumption by providing students with access to a variety of milk options, including the flavored milks they enjoy,” Dykes says.

Brody Stapel, president of the board of directors for Edge Dairy Farmer Cooperative, says farmers need the certainty that a farm bill provides, so the cooperative is encouraged that the House took a critical step in moving the process forward.

“We appreciate the leadership of Chairman Conaway, Ranking Member Peterson and everyone who worked so hard to ensure the dairy community’s needs were reflected in this legislation,” Stapel says. “Tariffs, trade negotiations, immigration and other issues of late have kept the ground shaking for many dairy farmers and others in the agricultural community. Reauthorizing a farm bill would bring much-needed stabilization. We urge lawmakers from both parties and the president to work together to approve a bill by the Sept. 30 deadline.”

Meanwhile, the National Farmers Union (NFU), which stood in opposition to the current form of the House farm bill, is calling for continued improvement of the bill throughout the conference committee process that will occur should the full U.S. Senate approve its version of the farm bill.

“Farmers Union is disappointed by many components of the House’s version of the 2018 Farm Bill,” says NFU President Roger Johnson. “Family farmers and consumers alike require strong safety nets, farm sustainability measures and accessible markets. The need is especially pronounced as farmers struggle amidst a prolonged downturn in the farm economy and significant market volatility as a result of tensions with international trading partners. We stand ready to work with members of Congress throughout the conference process to improve this legislation to meet the needs of family farmers and our food system.”

CMN


Dairy under pressure in U.S., China trade dispute

June 22, 2018

WASHINGTON — A trade dispute between the United States and China is ramping up, with U.S. dairy products potentially in the crosshairs.

The Office of the U.S. Trade Representative (USTR) late last week released a list of products imported from China that will be subject to additional tariffs as part of the U.S. response to what the Trump administration is calling China’s unfair trade practices related to the transfer of American technology and intellectual property.

President Trump in late May stated that USTR would announce by June 15 the imposition of an additional duty of 25 percent on approximately $50 billion worth of Chinese imports containing industrially significant technologies, including those related to China’s “Made in China 2025” industrial policy. Last week’s action comes after a Section 301 investigation in which USTR found that China’s acts, policies and practices related to technology transfer, intellectual property and innovation are unreasonable and discriminatory, and burden U.S. commerce.

In response, China announced its government will impose an additional 25-percent tariff on various imports of milk, cream, yogurt, whey, butter and cheese products beginning July 6. The Chinese tariff will apply to the amount that dairy products will cost after current tariff rates, which range from 6 to 20 percent, are applied.

According to the International Dairy Foods Association (IDFA), the United States exported more than $577 million worth of dairy to China last year, making the Chinese market the third largest for U.S. dairy foods exports.

“Whey exports, which accounted for $246 million, would be hit the hardest among the U.S. dairy exports targeted by China,” notes Bailey Wood, IDFA vice president of communications, public relations and marketing. “We’ve shared these details with administration officials and are closely monitoring the actions and activities between the two countries.”

Shawna Morris, vice president of trade policy for the U.S. Dairy Export Council (USDEC), says USDEC is disappointed that U.S. exporters will face significant additional duties starting next month and as a result will be at a serious disadvantage compared to other dairy suppliers to China.

“We agree that it is important for U.S. companies to have a level playing field in China. But it’s also a reality that the U.S. food and agriculture community, including dairy, will face a very steep uphill battle in the months to come considering that agriculture is being used by China as a bargaining chip,” Morris says.

Responding to China’s retaliatory actions, the Trump administration this week tasked USTR with identifying a list of an additional $200 billion worth of Chinese products to consider for 10-percent tariffs.

USTR last week said it recognizes that some U.S. companies may have an interest in importing items from China that are covered by the additional duties and, accordingly, USTR soon will provide an opportunity for the public to request the exclusion of particular products from the additional duties subject to this action. USTR will issue a notice in the Federal Register with details regarding this process within the next few weeks.

The National Farmers Union (NFU) is calling on the Trump administration to work with Congress to ensure family farmers do not bear the brunt of retaliation from the tariff actions.

“Farmers Union fully supports strong trade enforcement to achieve fair and balanced trade markets. We also support the administration’s goal of reducing the enormous U.S. trade deficit. But our organization grows increasingly concerned that this administration does not have a plan to ensure family farmers and ranchers aren’t thrown under the bus for the sake of these goals,” says Roger Johnson, president, NFU.

“None of the trade market disruption occurring presently should be looked at in isolation,” Johnson says. “The administration must work with Congress to develop a comprehensive solution to ensure family farmers can continue to provide for the nation.”

The American Farm Bureau Federation (AFBF) notes that the escalating trade tensions have had an impact on the futures contracts and cash values for a variety of crops.

For farmers marketing old-crop corn, soybeans, cotton or wheat, the declining futures and cash market values could reduce farm profitability, AFBF says. For farmers actively attempting to market their new-crop corn, soybeans, wheat or cotton, the increased price volatility impacts their ability to manage price and revenue risk.

The Chinese tariff threat comes at a time when the U.S. dairy industry already is under pressure from two other key markets — Canada and Mexico.

Mexico recently announced it would impose tariffs on various U.S. cheeses, while Canada will impose tariffs on yogurt among many other products in response to steel and aluminum tariffs imposed by the United States.

President Trump last month announced the implementation of steel and aluminum tariffs on Canada, Mexico and the European Union (EU) “to protect America’s national security from the effects of global oversupply of steel and aluminum.”

This follows an announcement by Trump on March 8 of a 25-percent tariff on steel imports and a 10-percent tariff on aluminum imports.

The White House says the United States has reached agreements with South Korea, Australia, Argentina and Brazil to help avert tariffs against these countries’ imports, but that it was unable to reach satisfactory agreements with Canada, Mexico or the EU.

The order from Mexico lists four tariff codes — for fresh cheese, powder/grated cheese, European styles and other cheese — with initial levels in effect June 5 and increases set for July 5. (See “Mexico announces codes for cheese tariffs in dispute” in the June 8, 2018, issue of Cheese Market News.)

Dave Kurzawski, senior broker with INTL FCStone, Chicago, says that while the current geopolitical situation is foremost on traders’ minds, stakeholders need to step back and address it realistically.
Kurzawski says that based on

FCStone’s calculations, it is estimated that Mexico could take up to 2 cents off blocks at the Chicago Mercantile Exchange, while China could knock off half a cent, resulting in a difference of just a few cents.

Still, he notes that the question is, if the milk doesn’t go into cheese and head to those countries, what products does it end up in and what does it do to those prices?

“It’s all about finding a home for that last load of milk,” Kurzawski says. “Finding a new home for 0.8 percent of total production probably isn’t easy.”

CMN


Milk production in major states up 0.9 percent in May

June 22, 2018

WASHINGTON — Milk production in the 23 major-milk producing states during May totaled 17.94 billion pounds, up 0.9 percent from production a year earlier, according to preliminary data released Tuesday by USDA’s National Agricultural Statistics Service (NASS). (All figures are rounded. Please see CMN’s Milk Production chart.)

April revised milk production in the 23 major states, at 17.29 billion pounds, was up 0.5 percent from April 2017. The April revision represents a decrease of 18 million pounds or 0.1 percent from last month’s preliminary production estimate, NASS says.

Production per cow in the 23 major states averaged 2,052 pounds for May, 15 pounds above May 2017. This is the highest production per cow for the month of May since the 23-state series began in 2003, according to NASS.

The number of milk cows on farms in the 23 major states was 8.74 million head, 10,000 head more than May 2017, and 2,000 head more than April 2018.

Milk production for the entire United States during May is estimated to have totaled 19.10 billion pounds, according to NASS, an increase of 0.8 percent from May 2017. Production per cow in the United States is estimated to have averaged 2,031 pounds for May, 15 pounds above May 2017.

The number of milk cows on farms in the United States in May is estimated at 9.40 million head, 3,000 head more than May 2017 and 2,000 head more than April 2018.

California led the nation’s milk production with 3.53 billion pounds of milk in May, up 0.5 percent from May 2017, NASS says. Production per cow in California averaged 2,035 pounds in May, up 30 pounds from a year earlier. The state was home to 1.74 million cows in May, down 18,000 head from May 2017 but unchanged from April 2018.

Wisconsin followed with 2.65 billion pounds of milk in May, a 1.1-percent increase in production from a year earlier. Production per cow in May was up 30 pounds from a year earlier to 2,080 pounds. The state was home to 1.27 million cows in May, 5,000 fewer head than in May 2017 but unchanged from April 2018.

CMN


Wisconsin State Fair Dairy Contest winners announced

June 22, 2018

WEST ALLIS, Wis. —Dairy manufacturers from throughout the state submitted a record 411 entries for the 2018 Wisconsin State Fair Dairy Products Contest, which took place June 21 at Wisconsin State Fair Park. The contest featured 37 classes, including new divisions for yogurt and sour cream.

The 2018 Grand Master Cheesemaker, Grand Champion Butter, Grand Champion Yogurt and Grand Champion Sour Cream will be announced at the Blue Ribbon Dairy Products Auction Aug. 9 at the Wisconsin State Fair Park. The Blue Ribbon Dairy Products Auction is a fundraiser for the Wisconsin State Fair Dairy Promotion Board. Auction proceeds fund scholarships for students pursuing dairy-related degrees and support the House of Moo dairy education center, as well as the Wisconsin State Fair milking demonstrations.

The top entries in each class include:

• Mild Cheddar

First: Timothy Stearns, Agropur, Weyauwega, Cheddar cut from 640, 99.200.

Second: Dan Stearns, Agropur, Weyauwega, Cheddar cut from 640, 99.100.

Third: Terry Lensmire, Agropur, Appleton, Cheddar cut from 640, 98.850.

• Aged Cheddar

First: Luke Kopecky, Land O’Lakes, Kiel, aged Cheddar, 98.850.

Second: Maple Leaf Cheesemakers, Maple Leaf Cheese, Monroe, English Hollow, 98.500.

Third: Jon Metzig, Union Star Cheese, Fremont, 16-month white Cheddar, 98.250.

• Colby, Monterey Jack

First: Bill Stocker, Shullsburg Creamery, Shullsburg, Colby Jack longhorn, 98.650.

Second: Scott Barker, Cedar Grove Cheese, Plain, marbled Colby, 98.550.

Third: Bill Stocker, Shullsburg Creamery, Shullsburg, Monterey Jack block, 98.050.

• Swiss Styles

First: Shullsburg Team, Prairie Farms, Shullsburg, Baby Swiss wheel, 99.500.

Second: Josh Johnson, Chalet Cheese Co-op, Monroe, whole milk Baby Swiss, 99.250.

Third: Richard Buss, Chalet Cheese Co-op, Monroe, whole milk Baby Swiss, 98.600.

• Brick, Muenster

First: John (Randy) Pitman, Mill Creek Cheese, Arena, Brick, 99.650.

Second: Steve Stettler, Decatur Dairy, Brodhead, Brick, 99.325.

Third: John (Randy) Pitman, Mill Creek Cheese, Arena, Muenster, 99.200.

• Mozzarella

First: Ben Shibler, Ron’s Wisconsin Cheese, Luxemburg, Mozzarella whips, 99.600.

Second: Ben Miller, Foremost Farms USA, Richland Center, Mozzarella part-skim, 98.950.

Third: Foremost Farms USA, Chilton, low-moisture, part-skim Mozzarella, 98.850.

• String Cheese

First: Cesar Luis, Cesar’s Cheese, Random Lake, Cesar’s Hand Stretched String Cheese, 99.650.

Second: Cesar Luis, Cesar’s Cheese, Random Lake, Queso Oaxaca Hand Stretched String Cheese, 99.600.

Third: Tim Entringer, Baker Cheese Factory, St. Cloud, String cheese, 99.350.

• Blue Veined Cheese

First: Team Seymour, Great Lakes Cheese, Seymour, Gorgonzola, 97.850.

Second: Team Seymour, Great Lakes Cheese, Seymour, Blue cheese, 97.800.

Third: Mike Berg, Lake Country Dairy-Schuman Cheese, Turtle Lake, Gorgonzola, 97.750.

• Feta

First: Steve Buhlozer, Klondike Cheese Co., Monroe, Odyssey Feta in Brine, 99.500.

Second: Brian Jackson, Nasonville Dairy, Marshfield, Feta in brine, 99.150.

Third: Tim Kempf, Agropur, Weyauwega, Feta, 98.950.

• Flavored Pepper Cheese

First: John (Randy) Pitman, Mill Creek Cheese, Arena, chili pepper Muenster, 99.150.

Second: Sam Sweeney, Chula Vista/V&V Supremo, Browntown, Chihuahua Cheese with Jalapeno Peppers, 99.100.

Third: Tim Pehl, Chula Vista/V&V Supremo, Browntown, Chihuahua Cheese with Jalapeno Peppers, 99.000

• Flavored Soft Cheese

First: George Crave, Crave Brothers Farmstead Cheese, Waterloo, marinated fresh Mozzarella, 99.250.

Second: Steve Webster, Klondike Cheese Co., Monroe, Odyssey Peppercorn Feta, 98.700.

Third: Courtney Schreiner, Lactalis USA, Merrill, Rondele Garden Vegetable Gourmet Spread, 98.550.

• Flavored Semi-Soft Cheese

First: Anthony Johnson, Foremost Farms USA, Clayton, natural flavor Provolone, 99.050.

Second: Team Lake Country Dairy, Lake Country Dairy-Schuman Cheese, Turtle Lake, Mayan Cocoa Rubbed Fontal, 98.950.

Third: John (Randy) Pitman, Mill Creek Cheese, Arena, caraway Brick, 98.900.

• Smoked Cheese

First: Maple Leaf Cheesemakers, Maple Leaf Cheese, Monroe, aged smoke traditional Gouda, 99.750.

Second: Larry Harris, Meister Cheese, Muscoda, Kindred Creamery Smoked Cheddar, 99.400.

Third: Larry Harris, Meister Cheese, Muscoda, Kindred Creamery Smoked Cheddar, 99.250.

• Flavored Hard Cheese

First: Mike Matucheski, Sartori Cheese, Antigo, Sartori Reserve Black Pepper BellaVitano, 99.750.

Second: Mike Matucheski, Sartori Cheese, Antigo, Sartori Reserve Rosemary & Olive Oil Asiago, 99.550.

Third: Mike Matucheski, Sartori Cheese, Antigo, Sartori Reserve Chipotle BellaVitano, 99.400.

• Smear Ripened Cheese

First: Team Lake Country Dairy, Lake Country Dairy-Schuman Cheese, Turtle Lake, Altu, 99.650.

Second: Team Lake Country Dairy, Lake Country Dairy-Schuman Cheese, Turtle Lake, Monteau, 99.575.

Third: Team Emmi Roth, Emmi Roth, Monroe, Roth Grand Cru Surchoix Wheel, 99.450.

• Cold Pack Cheese, Cheese Food

First: Team Pine River, Pine River Pre-Pack, Newton, Swiss & Almond Cold Pack, 99.000.

Second: Team Pine River, Pine River Pre-Pack, Newton, Aged Asiago Cold Pack, 98.900.

Third: Team Pine River, Pine River Pre-Pack, Newton, Garlic & Herb Cold Pack, 98.700.

• Pasteurized Process Cheese, Cheese Food, Cheese Spread

First: Slice Team, Associated Milk Producers Inc., Portage, pasteurized process American Swiss slices, 99.650.

Second: Slice Team, Associated Milk Producers Inc., Portage, pasteurized process American cheese slices, 99.500.

Third: Cheese Team 1, Gilman Cheese Corp., Gilman, 98.800.

• Reduced Fat or Lite Cheese

First: Anthony Johnson, Foremost Farms USA, Clayton, Reduced-fat Provolone, 98.900.

Second: Luke Buholzer, Klondike Cheese Co., Monroe, Odyssey Reduced Fat Peppercorn Feta, 98.250.

Third: Adam Buholzer, Klondike Cheese Co., Monroe, Odyssey Reduced Fat Feta, 98.150,

• Open Class — Soft and Spreadable Cheese

First: Team Lake Country Dairy, Lake Country Dairy-Schuman Cheese, Turtle Lake, Cello Mascarpone, 99.250.

Second: George Crave, Crave Brothers Farmstead Cheese, Waterloo, Mascarpone, 98.800

Third: John Slawinski, Clock Shadow Creamery, Milwaukee, Ricotta, 97.500.

• Havarti

First: Adam Buholzer, Klondike Cheese Co., Monroe, Buholzer Brothers Havarti, 99.100.

Second: Dave Buholzer, Klondike Cheese Co., Monroe, Buholzer Brothers Havarti, 99.050.

Third: Matt Henze, Decatur Dairy, Brodhead, Havarti, 98.900.

• Flavored Havarti

First: Ron Bechtolt, Klondike Cheese Co., Monroe, Buholzer Brothers Dill Havarti, 98.450.

Second: Steve Stettler, Decatur Dairy, Brodhead, Havarti with Mediterranean herb, 98.425.

Third: Steve Stettler, Decatur Dairy, Brodhead, Havarti with dill, 98.350.

• Open Class — Semi-Soft Cheese

First: Gary Grossen, Babcock Hall Dairy Plant, Madison, Gouda, 99.700.

Second: Saxon Cheese, Cleveland, aged Butterkase, 99.450.

Third: Maple Leaf Cheesemakers, Maple Leaf Cheese, Monroe, aged traditional Gouda, 99.400.

• Open Class — Hard Cheese

First: Team Lake Country Dairy, Lake Country Dairy-Schuman Cheese, Turtle Lake, traditional Romano, 99.300.

Second: Team Emmi Roth, Emmi Roth, Monroe, Roth Grand Cru Original Wheel, 99.225.

Third: Team Emmi Roth, Emmi Roth, Platteville, Roth Grand Cru Reserve Block, 99.125.

• Flavored Goat Milk Cheese

First: Doug Waechter, Saputo/Montchevre, Belmont, cranberry/cinnamon, 99.475.

Second: Katie Fuhrmann and Team LaClare, LaClare Farms, Malone, fresh goat cheese with honey, 99.450.

Third: Katie Fuhrmann and Team LaClare, LaClare Farms, Malone, blueberry vanilla fresh goat cheese, 99.375.

• Natural Goat Milk Cheese

First: Pam Hodgson, Sartori Cheese, Plymouth, Sartori Limited Edition Extra-Aged Goat, 99.650.

Second: Aaron Peper, Cedar Grove Cheese, Plain, Chevre, 99.350.

Third (tie): John Loy, Clock Shadow Creamery, Milwaukee, Chevre, 99.100.

Third (tie): Aurelien Jolly, Saputo/Montchevre, Belmont, plain, 99.100.

• Latin American Cheese

First: Andy Rufener, Chula Vista/V&V Supremo, Browntown, Chihuahua cheese, 98.950.

Second: John (Randy) Pitman, Mill Creek Cheese, Arena, Queso Para Fundir, 98.925.

Third: George Crave, Crave Brothers Farmstead Cheese, Waterloo, Oaxaca, 98.900.

• Sheep & Mixed Milk Cheese

First: Anthony Hook, Hook’s Cheese Co., Mineral Point, Little Boy Blue, 99.750.

Second: Anthony Hook, Hook’s Cheese Co., Mineral Point, Ewe Calf to be Kidding Blue Cheese, 99.100.

Third (tie): Katie Fuhrmann, Eckerman Sheep Co., Antigo, Ewemazing, 99.050.

Third (tie): Katie Fuhrmann, Eckerman Sheep Co., Antigo, Lovely Lamb, 99.050.

• Salted Butter

First: Dan Stolte, Foremost Farms USA, Reedsburg, salted butter 1st shift, 99.375.

Second: Diana Seep, Foremost Farms USA, Reedsburg, salted butter 2nd shift, 98.875.

Third: Team Chaseburg, CROPP Cooperative, LaFarge, organic pasture butter, 98.550.

• Unsalted Butter

First: Roy Philippi, Graf Creamery, Bonduel, unsalted cow’s milk butter, 98.200.

Second: Team Chaseburg, CROPP Cooperative, LaFarge, organic cultured butter, 98.050.

Third: Team Chaseburg, CROPP Cooperative, LaFarge, organic European cultured butter, 97.900.

• Flavored High Protein Yogurt

First: Adam Buholzer, Klondike Cheese Co., Monroe, Odyssey Pomegranate Acai Yogurt, 99.700.

Second: Adam Buholzer, Klondike Cheese Co., Monroe, Odyssey Peach Yogurt, 99.650.

Third: Steve Buholzer, Klondike Cheese Co., Monroe, Odyssey Vanilla Yogurt, 99.600.

• Unflavored High Protein Yogurt

First: Adam Buholzer, Klondike Cheese Co., Monroe, Odyssey Greek Yogurt, 99.600.

Second: Adam Buholzer, Klondike Cheese Co., Monroe, Odyssey 2% Greek Yogurt, 99.450.

Third: Ryan O’Donnell, Westby Co-op Creamery, Westby, Kalona Super Natural Organic Greek Yogurt, 99.100.

• Open Class — Flavored Yogurt

First: Yodelay Yogurt, Madison, Yodelay Rhubarb Swiss Yogurt, 99.900.

Second: Yodelay Yogurt, Madison, Yodelay Tart Cherry Swiss Yogurt, 99.800.

Third: Yodelay Yogurt, Madison, Yodelay Raspberry Swiss Yogurt, 99.650.

• Open Class — Unflavored Yogurt

First: George Roehrig and Team LaClare, LaClare Farms, Malone, plain goat milk yogurt, 99.500

Second: Team Schrieber, CROPP Cooperative, LaFarge, organic grass milk plain yogurt, 99.200.

• Drinkable Cultured Products

First: Ryan and Josh Heiman, Nasonville Dairy, Marshfield, raspberry flavored kefir, 99.800.

Second: Ryan and Josh Heiman, Nasonville Dairy, Marshfield, vanilla flavored kefir, 99.700.

Third: Yodelay Yogurt, Madison, Yodelay Rhubarb Swiss Yogurt, 99.550.

• Open Class — Flavored Sour Cream

First: Ryan O’Donnell, Westby Co-op Creamery, Westby, Westby Co-op Creamery French Onion Dip, 99.650.

Second: Ryan O’Donnell, Westby Co-op Creamery, Westby, Westby Co-op Creamery Organic French Onion Dip, 99.350.

• Open Class — Unflavored Sour Cream

First: Michael Godfrey, Mexican Cheese Producers, Darlington, La Chona Crema Natural, 99.800.

Second: Adam Buholzer, Klondike Cheese Co., Monroe, Odyssey Sour Cream, 99.600.

Third: Michael Godfrey, Mexican Cheese Producers, Darlington, FUD Crema Natural, 99.550.

• Low Fat Sour Cream

First: Adam Buholzer, Klondike Cheese Co., Monroe, Odyssey Reduced Fat Greek French Onion Dip, 99.800.

Second: Adam Buholzer, Klondike Cheese Co., Monroe, Odyssey Reduced Fat Greek Sour Cream, 99.650.

CMN


Norseland builds market presence with fresh ideas and convenience

By Kate Sander

DARIEN, Conn. — Norseland Inc., best known in the United States for its Jarlsberg cheese, continues to grow its U.S. footprint with snack sizes, menu ideas and prepared foods that cater to all consumers seeking convenience and flavor.

“We’re expanding in the prepared deli and in the grocery grab-and-go cases,” says Valerie Liu, marketing manager, Norseland Inc.
As part of this strategic shift, Norseland —which is owned by Norway-headquartered TINE SA — will debut new ideas and products that cater to these trends at the International Dairy-Deli-Bakery Association (IDDBA) show in New Orleans this month.

At the show, Celebrity Chef George Duran will be on hand to offer new burger ideas and preview the company’s global summer burger promotion, which will hit social media and grocery stores in July.

Duran has made four burger recipes, each with a story: The Marvelous Meltdown (Jarlsberg Fondue Burger), Melted Maui Madness (Pineapple Bun Jarlsberg Burger), The Viva La Quinoa (Quinoa and Red Lentil with Jarlsberg) and The Brooklyn Bacon Bonanza (Bacon Burger Stuffed with Jarlsberg).

As part of the campaign, the four burgers have their own backstory and their own film. The campaign places the burgers in different settings, and the ambience is quintessentially New York: three of the four burger shorts are filmed in a Williamsburg brownstone, and the fourth on a rooftop in Queens with the Manhattan skyline as a backdrop. There also will be print materials for in-store use, including a burger-shaped brochure with the burger recipes.

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Stakeholders praise Senate committee farm bill approval

June 15, 2018

WASHINGTON — Dairy and agricultural stakeholders this week praised the Senate Agriculture Committee for its passage of the 2018 Farm Bill and urged cooperation among lawmakers as the legislation comes up for a full Senate vote in the coming weeks.

The Senate bill’s passage out of committee comes after the House last month failed in its first attempt to pass the legislation, the Agriculture and Nutrition Act of 2018. (See “House fails to pass farm bill due to controversial proposals” in the May 18, 2018, issue of Cheese Market News.)

House Agriculture Committee Chairman Mike Conaway, R-Texas, recently said he expects a second vote on the House bill by the end of next week. Once each chamber passes its farm bill, House and Senate negotiators can craft a final bill to send to President Trump.

The International Dairy Foods Association (IDFA) says the Senate farm bill allows for greater access to risk management tools for dairy processors and producers to address price fluctuations. The legislation also extends the Dairy Forward Pricing Program to 2023, improves the safety net for dairy farmers and creates a new milk incentive program within the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) to improve participants’ diets by increasing fluid milk consumption.

“Managing price risk and increasing consumption are the dairy industry’s key priorities, and we commend Chairman Pat Roberts, R-Kan., and Ranking Member Debbie Stabenow, D-Mich., for drafting a farm bill that will provide increased health benefits to consumers, while empowering dairy processors and producers to help fuel the American economy,” says Michael Dykes, IDFA president and CEO.

IDFA notes the committee included an IDFA-endorsed proposal from Sen. Joni Ernst, R-Iowa, that would encourage SNAP participants to buy more milk and gain nutrients essential to good health that many Americans are missing in their diets.

“IDFA worked closely with Sen. Ernst and her staff to develop the proposal for a SNAP pilot program that will encourage Americans receiving food assistance to protect their health and strengthen their bones and muscles,” Dykes says. “Only one in 10 Americans consumes the number of servings of dairy a day recommended by the Dietary Guidelines for Americans. This proposal takes a crucial step toward narrowing this gap, especially for low-income families with children.”

IDFA also praised the committee’s decision to include a new Milk Donation Program, as well as enhancements to the Margin Protection Program (MPP) for Dairy. The Milk Donation Program would allow dairy processors and producers to team with charitable organizations to donate milk to people in need and to reduce food waste.

The National Milk Producers Federation (NMPF) notes the Senate farm bill contains enhancements to MPP sought by NMPF, including improved coverage levels and greater program flexibility. The measure raises the maximum covered margin to $9 per hundredweight and adjusts the minimum percentage of milk that can be insured. It also includes an agreement reached between NMPF and IDFA on price risk management.

FarmFirst Dairy Cooperative, Madison, Wisconsin, notes additional changes that are positive for dairy farmers include that farmers are not locked in at their MPP coverage rate for the duration of the farm bill, and there are discounts in the premium structure for small- and medium-sized farms. The bill also includes a provision to reimburse dairy farmers for the premiums they paid into the old MPP, minus the indemnities they received under the old program and the program operating costs.

“The Senate Agriculture Committee was receptive to the many concerns FarmFirst Dairy Cooperative raised with respect to the 2018 Farm Bill’s Margin Protection Program,” says Jeff Lyon, general manager, FarmFirst Dairy Cooperative. “We are very pleased that these beneficial provisions are in both this latest draft passed by the Senate Agriculture Committee, as well as the bill adopted by the House Agriculture Committee.”

NMPF also notes Stabenow helped secure $100 million in additional funding for the dairy title budget baseline.

“The leadership of Sens. Roberts and Stabenow has led to the creation of a bipartisan farm bill that has important provisions for dairy farmers during this prolonged period of low milk prices,” says NMPF President and CEO Jim Mulhern. “With the House also set to move on its version of the farm bill later this month, we are hoping a final measure will pass Congress by this fall.”

The Senate bill also contains conservation provisions that will help producers access technical and financial assistance to carry out conservation practices. Sen. Patrick Leahy, D-Vt., added an amendment to the bill to give dairy farmers greater flexibility in meeting their goals under the Environmental Quality Incentives Program.

Under the trade title, the farm bill reauthorizes trade promotion programs that dairy farmers and their cooperatives say are critical.

Mulhern says NMPF also appreciates the efforts of Sens. Ernst and Bob Casey, D-Pa. to include provisions in the bill that promote the consumption of fluid milk.

According to the National Farmers Union (NFU), Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell has signaled he intends to bring the bill up for a vote on the full Senate floor prior to the Senate’s July 4 recess.

NFU President Roger Johnson says this week’s farm bill markup in the Senate Agriculture Committee embodied the bipartisan, cooperative spirit that federal agriculture policymaking has traditionally enjoyed.

The current farm bill expires Sept. 30.

CMN


Senate leadership blocks vote on Corker tariff measure

June 15, 2018

WASHINGTON — In remarks on the Senate floor, U.S. Sen. Bob Corker, R-Tenn., chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, on Tuesday sought an up-or-down vote on his amendment to the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) that would require congressional approval of tariffs designated under Section 232 of the Trade Expansion Act of 1962.

The bill would require the president to submit to Congress any proposal to adjust imports in the interest of national security under Section 232. For a 60-day period following submission of a proposal, legislation to approve the proposal would qualify for expedited consideration, guaranteeing the opportunity for debate and a vote. (See “Mexico announces codes for cheese tariffs in dispute” in last week’s issue of Cheese Market News.)

Corker says last week he was told that his amendment may have a so-called “blue slip” issue should it reach the House of Representatives, a technical issue that requires revenue-related legislation to originate in the House. He was asked by Senate leadership to fix the issue, which is what he sought to do on the Senate floor.

Corker asked for unanimous consent to place the current NDAA text on a House-passed revenue shell. He also asked that his amendment be called up and made in order so the body could vote up or down on the merits of the amendment.
However, as the floor manager, Sen. James Inhofe, R-Okla., objected.

News reports say Inhofe had talked to members of the House, who were objecting to the inclusion of Corker’s amendment in the defense policy bill. Inhofe says he will help Corker look for another bill to attach his tariff legislation to.

“I can’t believe it,” Corker says. “I haven’t heard a single senator on our side that hasn’t expressed concern to the president directly about what’s happening with tariffs. Our farm folks are worried about NAFTA. Our auto manufacturers are worried about Canada and Mexico and what’s happening in Europe. Our steel and aluminum folks are concerned. And all my amendment would do is say, ‘Look, Mr. President, you go negotiate, but when you finish, come back, and as senators and as House members, let us vote up or down.’ I was asked to find a solution to this ‘blue slip’ issue, and I found one. This in no way has any effect on our ability to pass the NDAA in a timely fashion.”

CMN


USDA ups price forecasts, lowers production outlook

June 15, 2018

WASHINGTON — USDA reduced its milk production forecast for 2018 by 700 million pounds to 218.0 billion pounds in its latest “World Agricultural Supply and Demand Estimates” report due to slightly lower cow numbers and slower expected growth in milk per cow.

No change is made to the annual cow herd for 2019, but the milk production forecast for 2019 is lowered from last month by 400 million pounds to 221.1 billion pounds on continued slow growth in milk per cow, USDA says in the report released this week.

For 2018, the fat-basis export forecast is raised from the previous month’s 9.9 billion pounds to 10.2 billion pounds as second-quarter exports are strong and continued strength in sales of a number of fat-containing products will largely mitigate the impacts of Mexico’s tariffs on U.S. cheese, USDA says.

For 2019, the fat-basis export forecast is lowered by 400 million pounds to 9.8 billion pounds.

In the report, skim-solids basis export forecasts for 2018 and 2019 are raised from the previous month on robust demand for nonfat dry milk (NDM) and lactose thus far in 2018, and this strength is expected to carry into 2019. Skim-solids basis exports are expected to reach 46.2 billion pounds in 2018 and 45.6 billion pounds in 2019.

Fat-basis imports for 2018 and 2019 are raised on higher imports of butterfat products, while skim-solids basis import forecasts for 2018 and 2019 are reduced on lower imports of milk proteins and a number of other dairy products, USDA says.
The 2018 cheese price forecast range, at $1.605-$1.645 per pound, is unchanged at the midpoint of the range. However, USDA raised the cheese price forecast for 2019 to $1.625-$1.725, up from $1.585-$1.685 in last month’s report.

The 2018 butter price forecast is raised to $2.295-$2.365, up from $2.245-$2.325 last month, but is reduced slightly for 2019 to $2.210-$2.340.

NDM and whey price forecasts are raised for both 2018 and 2019 on strong demand and a reduced production forecast, USDA says.

For 2018, the Class III price is raised to $15.05-$15.45 per hundredweight, up from $14.80-$15.30 in last month’s report. For 2019, the Class III price forecast is increased by 50 cents to $15.30-$16.30.

The 2018 and 2019 Class IV price forecasts are raised from last month’s report to $14.30-$14.80 and $13.70-$14.80, respectively.

The all-milk price is forecast higher at $16.60-$17.00 for 2018 and is increased to $16.70-$17.70 for 2019.

CMN


Idaho Milk Products plans Jerome expansion

June 15, 2018

JEROME, Idaho — Idaho Milk Products has announced plans to grow its specialized milk protein concentrate and dairy ingredients business through a $26 million expansion to its facility in Jerome, Idaho.

Processing capacity will expand by one-third, accommodating an additional 1 million pounds per day of locally sourced milk. The project will include investments in new research and development capabilities, enhanced employee facilities and an expanded warehouse.

“We are committed to both meeting our customers’ needs for the highest quality, most consistent dairy ingredients, and offering them new ingredient solutions,” says Tara Russell, vice president of marketing and sales. “The investment in enhanced research and development resources allows us to participate in higher levels of collaboration with our customer partners.”

“Detailed planning work has already commenced, and the expectation is that the project will be completed by August 2019,” says Ben Quellhorst, vice president of operations.

As part of the expansion, Idaho Milk Products also will add approximately 25 new employees, including positions in research and development, quality assurance, administration, warehousing, production and transportation.

CMN


Meal kits, food delivery offer new opportunities for cheese

June 8, 2018

By Mallory Adamson

MADISON, Wis. — Meal kits and grocery delivery are changing the way Americans buy and prepare their food, which is creating new opportunities and challenges for the cheese and dairy industry.

Hello Fresh, a Berlin-based meal-kit delivery company with operations in the United States, Canada, Western Europe and Australia, offers its subscribing customers a selection of approximately 15 meals per week, and cheese always is an ingredient in multiple options. Other dairy SKUs are frequently present in Hello Fresh meals as well.

Uwe Voss, COO of Hello Fresh, notes that some of the company’s most popular recipes include cheese, and the company knows cheese is important to its customers based on survey responses.

To satisfy its customers’ demand for freshness and quality, Hello Fresh operates with a just-in-time sourcing model. Ingredients are produced and packaged specifically for each menu. Hello Fresh does not buy in bulk or retain inventory; the company sources only the ingredients in the amounts necessary for the week. This requires speed and flexibility from its suppliers.

“If you’re supplying to a big grocery store, you get used to doing things a certain way. How we source ultimately is very different. The product is not different, but the process is. Everything for us must be pre-portioned, which means suppliers must be willing to package product in 1- and 2-ounce sizes. They also must be willing to work with our just-in-time model,” Voss says.

Because Hello Fresh’s menu changes weekly, a product may be needed one week but not the next, or for several weeks or never again. Therefore, cheese and dairy suppliers must be adaptable and able to produce a variety of styles and products for private label. The company’s surveys also play a role in supplier requirements.

“We get feedback from consumers on our cheese, so we may want to change our orders based on that feedback,” Voss says. “We require our suppliers to be agile and willing to tweak the product, whether it be the recipe or the packaging, until it is perfect.”

For the supplier who can be successful meeting the needs of meal-kit delivery, Voss adds, there is a lot of opportunity in this emerging market.

For those consumers who do not prefer the subscription models, Hello Fresh and other companies are branching into the retail market.

Hello Fresh now offers retail meal kits, including recipes such as Peppercorn Steak, Mediterranean Style Chicken, Homestyle Meatloaf, Chickpea Couscous and Paprika Chicken, which range from $14.99 to $19.99 MSRP with a cook time of less than 30 minutes, at 581 stores under the Ahold Delhaize U.S.A. brand’s Giant Food (Landover) and Stop & Shop.

Hello Fresh follows other meal kit companies who also are embracing the omnichannel strategy. Blue Apron, originally only a subscription meal-kit service, now is producing an expanded line of meal kits for Costco. Plated recently was acquired by Albertsons, and now Plated meal kits are sold in grocery stores including Safeway and Jewel-Osco.

Chef’d is another meal kit company that is embracing the omnichannel strategy, yet Chef’d has a business model that is very different from its competitors in the way it offers direct-to-consumer and retail products.

Unlike Hello Fresh’s weekly menu and just-in-time inventory, Chef’d stocks bulk inventory and offers customers a selection of hundreds of prepackaged meals on its website.

Co-founder and Chief Culinary Officer of Chef’d Jason Triail explains how the company is able to serve customers in this way.
“Essentially, we are just one big grocery store, managing more than 3,000 SKUs. People think it’s super challenging, but it’s actually not because we’re managing ingredients based on shelf life,” Triail says.

Companies like Hello Fresh and Blue Apron order ingredients based on forecasting, which Triail suggests can lead to more waste when forecasting is inaccurate. Some of Chef’d’s high-selling recipes may be prepackaged based on committed orders; however most of the company’s meals are packed on demand.

“When we started this, it was all about how do we become innovators of the space. Currently, we are investing in automation, a machine that sorts through our ingredients for prepackaging. We are taking steps to be on the cutting edge,” Triail says.

Chef’d also is different in the meal kit category in that it is not subscription-based. While it does offer weekly meal plans as an option, customers also may order meals on-demand.

“When you change recipes week over week, you’re missing the point that people are creatures of habit. Those models force customers to learn new recipes each time. When people discover a recipe they like, our model lets them order it again and again, so they can always know their Wednesday meal, for example. We don’t want to dictate what our customers have to order,” Triail says.

Chef’d has partnered with many other businesses to develop its recipes. For cheese, Chef’d recently launched a partnership with Lactalis.

“A lot of our partners have great recipes, and they can introduce their products into the recipes. It’s a win-win,” Triail says. “Some of our partnerships are short-term and some are long-term. They may be just for marketing or product placement.”

Chef’d does not partner only with larger brands, however. Triail says the company is looking to work with smaller companies that Chef’d can help by pushing their products.

Chef’d recently joined forces with Smithfield Foods Inc. and now is selling some of its meal kits in retail outlets.

“When people go grocery shopping, most people are just shopping for ingredients and don’t know what to do with them when they get home. We’ve already created options so they don’t have to think,” Triail says. “How many times have you forgotten an ingredient and had to go back for it? We’ve taken care of that for you. All you have to do is take [a Chef’d meal kit] home and cook a delicious recipe for your family.”

Originally, five Chef’d recipes were launched into retail, and Triail says there are approximately a dozen more to follow.

“The thing about Chef’d is we want to give options, options, options,” Triail says. “A retailer in the Northeast may not want the same as in the Southwest or California. Our culinary team has created recipes to be chosen based on demographics.”
Cheese is a product that is in-demand across all demographics, Triail says.

“Cheese is just fun. It’s so universal, you can use it in every course for every meal,” he says. “Through our R&D strategic partnerships with Smithfield, we have access to consumer insights that are helping us gauge what people want. People always want Parmesan and the staple cheeses. Feta seems more popular than goat cheese, but we’re still making a stuffed pork chop with goat cheese. We are incorporating cheese into more and more of our recipes, and they will be sent to the right demographic based on the retailers.”

“Cheese has a really good shelf life. We are selective to choose cheese that fits within the shelf life we are guaranteeing to retail partners,” Triail continues.

Alongside meal kits, businesses are making grocery shopping and meal preparation more convenient with delivery services like Amazon Fresh.

Amazon Fresh currently is available to consumers in select cities across the United States, as well as a few international cities. The service is available to Prime members for an upcharge of $14.99 per month.

Prime Fresh customers may shop Amazon’s digital shelves for most items found in a typical grocery store, including beauty, healthcare and household products, in brands they recognize. Shoppers also can select items from local businesses that participate in Amazon Fresh to add to their orders.

Amazon staffs a dedicated team to curate its selection. While Whole Foods Market items are available to purchase through Amazon Fresh, the inventory process is independent from the recent acquisition.

Bestselling items vary according to region, but some of the most popular dairy items purchased on Amazon Fresh include Chobani Strawberry Yogurt and Sargento Shredded 4 Cheese Mexican Blend. Organic milk from Organic Valley and Horizon also are popular among Prime Fresh customers. Artisan cheese is available through this service as well, and the top sellers in that category include Parmesan, fresh Mozzarella and Brie.

Platforms like Amazon Fresh create new challenges for suppliers in terms of customer interfacing. The Amazon Fresh team works with cheese and dairy producers large and small to help them think about e-commerce in a way that is distinct from traditional grocery stores. In addition to tasting great, products must appeal to customers on a digital shelf.

The digital shelf varies from the physical shelf in a variety of ways. On Amazon Fresh, each product image portrays the cheese, for example, in its packaging against a white background. An approximately 30-character product name appears below the image, and if the name is longer than the character limit, it is cut short. The name is followed by the product rating (if available) and, below that, its price.

Upon entering Amazon Fresh’s digital shop, consumers may browse the shelves by selecting food categories, such as “Dairy, cheese & eggs.” When customers click on cheese, for example, they are presented first with a banner ad for a cheese brand and six bestselling cheese products, based on the customer’s address.

While shopping, customers can search for a specific product or view their options in 27 styles of cheeses, from American to Taleggio. Amazon Fresh also offers a selection of vegetarian cheeses. Customers also can refine their shopping experience by factors such as milk type, certifications and nutrition facts. They may specify if they want organic, kosher or local cheese, and they also can browse based on brand, price and average ratings.

After choosing all their grocery items, customers reserve a delivery time. Delivery may be either attendant, meaning customers must be home to receive their shipment, or doorstep, in which the customer chooses a 2-3 hour window in which their order may be dropped off.

As the food retail market changes, companies are devising ways to serve customers’ varying demands, whether they want to choose their own ingredients or have a professional choose for them, or whether they prefer to shop in a traditional grocery store or have their food delivered to them. Each of these channels creates new challenges and opportunities for the dairy industry to evolve, particularly in the marketing and sales of its products.

CMN


Mexico announces codes for cheese tariffs in dispute

June 8, 2018

WASHINGTON — Following last week’s announcement from Mexico that it would fight back against newly-imposed U.S. steel tariffs by levying duties on several products, including cheese, Mexican President Enrique Peña Nieto on Tuesday signed a decree imposing new duties. The order lists four tariff codes — for fresh cheese, powder/grated cheese, European styles and other cheese — with initial levels in effect June 5 and increases set for July 5.

According to a Special Report from Blimling and Associates, Madison, Wisconsin, the measure impacts most of the cheese shipped from the United States into Mexico.

The Trump administration previously had exempted Mexico and Canada from Section 232 tariffs in hopes of achieving a successful outcome in the NAFTA negotiations. Section 232 of the Trade Expansion Act of 1962 gives the executive branch the ability to conduct investigations to “determine the effects on the national security of imports,” according to whitehouse.gov. Following an investigation, the Commerce Department issues a report to the president with the investigation’s findings, including whether certain imports threaten to impair America’s national security; the president then may use his statutory authority under Section 232 “to adjust the imports” as necessary, including through tariffs or quotas.

President Trump late last week announced the implementation of steel and aluminum tariffs on Canada, Mexico and the European Union (EU) “to protect America’s national security from the effects of global oversupply of steel and aluminum.” (See “Mexico, Canada tariffs to affect U.S. dairy products” in last week’s issue of Cheese Market News.)

Effective June 1, steel imported into the United States is now subject to a 25-percent tariff, and aluminum imports face a 10-percent tariff.

In response, the EU, Mexico and Canada have announced plans to impose retaliatory trade measures affecting certain U.S. products. Last month, the EU released a list of $3.34 billion worth of U.S. products that could be subject to 25-percent tariffs beginning June 20.

U.S. dairy products were not included in that original list; fruits, vegetables, rice and tobacco are among the agricultural products included.

However, Canada announced last week that it will impose retaliatory tariffs on $16.6 billion in imported U.S. products, including a 10-percent surtax on yogurt, pizza and quiche. The Canadian tariffs are scheduled to go into effect July 1.

In addition, the initial Mexican list of proposed retaliatory tariffs announced June 1 included cheese, and specific tariff codes were released Tuesday.

In a U.S. Dairy Exporter Blog update released Thursday by the U.S. Dairy Export Council (USDEC), USDEC notes that Mexico is the U.S. dairy industry’s No. 1 cheese export market, accounting for 28 percent of all U.S. cheese exports, and these tariffs could deliver an economic blow. (To view the blog, visit http://blog.usdec.org/usdairyexporter/how-our-dairy-exports-to-mexico-boost-us-economy-0-0-0-0.)

“Tariffs on cheese will potentially eliminate the competitive advantage we have in our No. 1 market,” says USDEC President and CEO Tom Vilsack. “That is a legitimate concern.”

USDEC says it is analyzing the potential impact of the tariffs and working to mitigate their negative impact.

USDEC says the tariffs announced by Mexico affect:

• Fresh cheese: 15-percent tariff effective June 5 until July 5; 25-percent tariff thereafter.

• Cheese of other types, shredded or in powder: 10-percent tariff effective June 5 until July 5; 20-percent tariff thereafter.

• Grana or Parmigiano-Reggiano, Gouda, Havarti, Fontina, etc.: 10-percent tariff effective June 5 until July 5; 20-percent tariff thereafter.

• Other: 15-percent tariff until July 5; 25-percent tariff thereafter.

“This is a significant setback for our farmers, processors and our exporters,” says Jaime Castaneda, senior vice president for trade policy, USDEC.

HighGround Dairy, Chicago, says that while Mexico’s tariffs would not cut off exports from the United States completely as supply chains need to be filled, this would make product 10 percent to 25 percent more expensive for Mexican end-users, which would have an impact on demand as well as encourage buyers to look elsewhere (EU, Oceania, South America) to fill their needs.

“High tariff rates and protectionism being implemented are not good for anyone involved, so let us hope that calmer heads prevail and this issue is resolved soon,” says Eric Meyer, president, HighGround Dairy.

Meanwhile, a bipartisan group of U.S. senators this week introduced legislation to require congressional approval of tariffs designated under Section 232.

The bill would require the president to submit to Congress any proposal to adjust imports in the interest of national security under Section 232. For a 60-day period following submission of a proposal, legislation to approve the proposal would qualify for expedited consideration, guaranteeing the opportunity for debate and a vote. The requirement would apply to all Section 232 actions moving forward, as well as those taken within the past two years, lawmakers say.

“While we all agree on the need to ensure the international trade system is fair for American workers, companies and consumers, unfortunately, the administration is abusing the Section 232 authority delegated to the president by Congress,” says Bob Corker, R-Tenn., chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee. “Making claims regarding national security to justify what is inherently an economic question not only harms the very people we all want to help and impairs relations with our allies but also could invite our competitors to retaliate. If the president truly believes invoking Section 232 is necessary to protect the United States from a genuine threat, he should make the case to Congress and to the American people and do the hard work necessary to secure congressional approval.”

Heidi Heitkamp, D-N.D., adds that the bill would make sure Congress has a key oversight role if a president imposes tariffs under the claim of national security reasons.

“Right now, the president is implementing tariffs on our allies, like Canada, Mexico, and the EU — countries that don’t pose national security threats but which are critical trading partners,” she says.

CMN


Saxon, La Clare, Lamanga create Mosaic Meadows

June 8, 2018

KAUKAUNA, Wisconsin — Three family-owned cheese companies — Wisconsin-based La Clare Family Creamery and Saxon Creamery, along with Verona, Pennsylvania-based Lamanga Cheese Co. — announced yesterday they have combined to create a new cheese marketing company, Mosaic Meadows.

The merger will allow each creamery to further expand its own artisanal product lines while sharing resources in marketing, service and sales capabilities.

Mosaic Meadows is jointly owned by the three companies as well as by three Wisconsin dairy farmers who have invested in and are partnering with the cheese companies. The companies will retain their brands and continue to make the products they make today.

“Mosaic Meadows is the perfect name. A mosaic is an assembly of small colorful pieces that combine to create a larger work of art,” says Alex Coenen, the company’s director of business development.

“Our newly-launched cheese marketing company brings together some of the most highly-awarded, globally-recognized cheese artisans in the world — and we want them to continue being leaders in their respective specialties,” Coenen adds.

Mosaic will serve the country through a national sales force as well as coast-to-coast broker-and-distribution network. The companies say the sharing of resources will allow each of them to compete on a national level while maintaining their dedication to superior quality cheesemaking. Resources shared will include a sales and marketing team.

La Clare Family Creamery, located in Malone, Wisconsin, includes a processing plant, retail shop and restaurant and has received numerous national and international awards for its goat’s milk and cow’s milk cheeses.

Saxon Creamery, Cleveland, Wisconsin, produces hand crafted artisan cheeses with locally-sourced cow’s milk and has become a rising star in the artisan foods world.

Lamanga Cheese, which has been making cheese for 90 years and three generations, makes Ricotta and other cheeses from family recipes brought over from Italy.

“Whether it’s goat- or cow-milk cheeses, each of our creameries is united by a commitment to top-quality ingredients and proprietary recipes,” Coenen says.

Terms of the agreement were not disclosed. This transaction was facilitated by Bob Wolter of Creative Business Services/CBS-Global of Green Bay, Wisconsin.

Cheeses from La Clare and Saxon will be showcased at the upcoming International Dairy-Deli-Bakery Show in booth #2035.

CMN


U.S. cheese production in April climbs 0.9 percent

June 8, 2018

WASHINGTON — Total cheese production, excluding cottage cheese, in the United States in April was 1.07 billion pounds, 0.9 percent above April 2017’s 1.06 billion pounds but 3.7 percent below March’s 1.11 billion pounds, according to data from USDA’s National Agricultural Statistics Service (NASS). (All figures are rounded. Please see CMN’s Dairy Production chart.) When adjusted for the length of the months, April cheese production was down 0.5 percent on an average daily basis.

Production of Mozzarella, the nation’s most produced cheese, was 351.1 million pounds in April, up 1.1 percent from April 2017 production, according to NASS. Total Italian-type cheese production, of which Mozzarella is the largest component, was 451.6 million pounds in April, up 0.8 percent from a year earlier.

Cheddar production totaled 318.2 million pounds in April, down 3.5 percent from a year earlier. Total American-type cheese production, of which Cheddar is the largest component, totaled 440.8 million pounds, up 1.4 percent from April 2017.

Wisconsin led the nation’s cheese production with 277.9 million pounds produced in April, down 0.7 percent from its production in April 2017. California followed with 210.7 million pounds of cheese, up 0.1 percent from its production a year earlier.

NASS reports total U.S. butter production in April was 175.3 million pounds, an increase of 8.3 percent from April 2017’s 162.0 million pounds, but a decline of 3.7 percent from March 2018’s 182.0 million pounds. When taking the length of the months into account, April butter production was down 0.5 percent on an average daily basis from the previous month.

California led the nation’s butter production in April with 53.5 million pounds, up 11.3 percent from its production a year earlier.
U.S. production of nonfat dry milk (NDM) totaled 166.3 million pounds in April, according to NASS, down 3.8 percent from April 2017 and down 6.9 percent from March 2018. When taking the length of the months into account, April NDM production was down 3.8 percent on an average daily basis from the previous month.

California led the nation’s NDM production with 53.3 million pounds in April, down 5.7 percent from its production a year earlier.

CMN


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Today's Cheese Spot Trading
June 22, 2018


Barrels:$1.2850 (-2 1/2)
Blocks: $1.4900 (-1/2)


Click here for more market activity
Cheese Production
U.S. Total April
1.068 bil. lbs.


Milk Production
U.S. Total May
19.100 bil. lbs.

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The importance of cheese
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