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Analysts watching CME barrel market as spread continues

Oct. 19, 2018

By Alyssa Mitchell

MADISON, Wis. — Cheddar barrels and blocks have experienced a historically large price spread at the Chicago Mercantile Exchange (CME) this month.

“Cheese market tones are bearish,” says USDA’s Dairy Market News. “There were some expectations of an amalgamation of barrel and block prices after last week’s record-breaking price gap. However, that has not been the case, and the split remains. Expectations have shifted, but some cheese contacts do foresee an uptick in barrel market prices this fall.”

Cheddar barrels and blocks have backed off from last week’s CME spot averages. Block prices settled at $1.4975 per pound today, and barrels settled at $1.2675, leaving a 23-cent spread.

Mike McCully, owner of the The McCully Group LLC, New Buffalo, Michigan, says the CME block/barrel spread has largely been due to additional barrel capacity in the last two years along with good demand for 40-pound blocks for both domestic and export markets.

Dave Kurzawski, senior broker with INTL/FCStone, Chicago, agrees, noting it is the current barrel market that appears lopsided.

“During all of 2018, the CME barrel market has averaged 36 loads traded per week. Last week was just the third week all year that the CME tally dipped under 20 loads for a single week,” Kurzawski says. “A quiet buy side for a protracted period is not sustainable for much longer — even for a product like barrel cheese, which is apparently not getting much love from millennials. I’d expect the block market to hold around $1.60 and for barrel cheese to catch a bid here and move higher — ultimately helping to close the spread heading into the end of the month.”

McCully agrees, saying he does not think a 20-30 cent block/barrel spread is sustainable into 2019.

“I expect it to narrow into the high single digits to teens through mid-year,” he says. “There could be some barrel production that gets idled back in 2019 due to plant margins or reduced supplies of cheap surplus milk. Additional block capacity by mid-2019 will also help the spread return to something closer to normal, but I’m not expecting a stable 3-4 cent spread in 2019.”

McCully adds he anticipates Cheddar barrel prices will slowly recover into the $1.40s and eventually $1.50s by year-end, but “I’m not that confident given the continued weak tone of barrel trading.”

Sara Dorland, managing partner with Ceres Dairy Risk Management LLC, Seattle, says she expects the wide spread to continue with the possibility of an easing in cheese prices after the Super Bowl.

“There is more cheese capacity coming at the start of next year, and that could likely drive higher output during the seasonal demand lull. That could weigh on price,” she says.

Meanwhile, holiday orders are expected to keep CME butter supported in the $2.20-$2.30 per pound range in the coming months, McCully says.

Cream remains tight for butter churning in the Central region, Dairy Market News says, noting churning activity varies by plant. In plants where managers are able to locate financially feasible cream, churns are running actively. Others are buying increasing amounts of bulk butter.

“As milkfat has become less available recently, butter interest has strengthened. Some contacts have relayed finding Western loads at more favorable prices than they can within the (Central) region,” Dairy Market News says.

Dairy Market News also notes this is the first week of the kosher requirement on the CME cash spot market.

“Some contacts suggest with the added clarification, upward price movements could transpire,” Dairy Market News says.
CME butter closed last week at $2.2500 per pound and moved a cent higher to close this week at $2.2600.

Dorland says that given the global easing in butter prices, it seems reasonable to expect that U.S. prices will ease after the start of the new year during the seasonal low point for demand and as stocks begin to accumulate.

Analysts also note the general market uncertainty with the upcoming midterm election and trade negotiations, including the new U.S.-Mexico-Canada Agreement (USMCA).

“Forecasts are challenging to say the least, but this one feels like it ought to come with an asterisk that says ‘see policy issues,’” Kurzawski says. “With rising inflation indicators, a strong economy heading into year-end, midterm elections just around the corner, new trade deal discussions in the works with Europe, the United Kingdom and Japan (see related article in this issue), on-going discussions with Mexico, and a ticking clock for (Chinese) President Xi Jinping and his economy, there’s enough policy uncertainty out there today to thwart even the most carefully crafted dairy price forecasts right now. And we haven’t even touched on the various day-to-day dairy supply/demand uncertainties we face.”

Kurzawski adds that while short-term impacts on trade flows and balances from the USCMA deal are currently zero, it does have a psychological impact.

“First, the relationships with Canada and Mexico probably aren’t going to get worse and affect even more U.S. exports. Second, this does show that the Trump administration is interested in finalizing agreements and isn’t just interested in blowing up global trade,” he says. “Longer term, it will likely keep Canadian skim weaker than they have been in recent years. It will also help U.S. exporters boost sales into Canada, but the quantities are relatively small.”

Kurzawski adds that while Canada is a lucrative market for U.S. exporters due to proximity and perpetually high prices inside Canada, it is still only a country of 36 million people compared to the market opportunity of 6+ billion people outside of Canada.

Dorland agrees, saying in the end, USMCA did little to provide access to Canada.

“In fact, given the average U.S. butter and cheese exports to Canada over the last three years, the United States likely loses some volume in the first few years,” she says. “Additionally, the impact of Class 6 and 7 milk is still yet to be determined.”

McCully notes USMCA also is not in effect yet, and the U.S. Senate is not expected to take up the deal until 2019.

In addition, “if the Trump administration doesn’t reduce or remove the tariffs on steel and aluminum from Mexico, Mexico will likely keep the cheese tariffs in place,” he says.

He adds, however, that overall, the USMCA resolution has been directionally positive for U.S. markets as it removes the uncertainty of trade with two important customers.


Dairy stakeholders praise USTR announcement on trade

Oct. 19, 2018

WASHINGTON — Dairy industry stakeholders this week praised an announcement from the Office of the U.S. Trade Representative (USTR) indicating the Trump administration’s intent to negotiate three separate trade agreements with Japan, the European Union (EU) and the United Kingdom (UK).

“Under President Trump’s leadership, we will continue to expand U.S. trade and investment by negotiating trade agreements with Japan, the EU and the United Kingdom,” says USTR Ambassador Robert Lighthizer. “We are committed to concluding these negotiations with timely and substantive results for American workers, farmers, ranchers and businesses.”

In officially notifying Congress, USTR is following the procedures set out in the Bipartisan Congressional Trade Priorities and Accountability Act of 2015 — often referred to as Trade Promotion Authority (TPA) — which requires ongoing consultations with Congress. These consultations ensure that USTR develops negotiating positions with the benefit of Congress’ views. USTR also will publish notices in the Federal Register requesting the public’s input on the direction, focus and content of the trade negotiations.

In accordance with TPA, USTR will publish objectives for the negotiations at least 30 days before formal trade negotiations begin.

The International Dairy Foods Association (IDFA) praised USTR’s announcement, noting each of these countries offers abundant opportunities for increased U.S. dairy exports.

“We’re pleased that the Office of the U.S. Trade Representative has taken another positive step in promoting strong trade policies for our country,” says Michael Dykes, IDFA president and CEO. “We urge USTR to negotiate for greater market access levels for dairy in Japan, the UK and the EU.”

According to IDFA, Japan is U.S. dairy’s fourth-largest market, representing sales of more than $290 million last year. The UK currently imports $3.4 billion worth of dairy, but imports from the United States represent only 0.25 percent of that value, IDFA says.

The EU has the potential to be a large export market for the United States, IDFA adds, noting in 2017, the EU exported nearly $1.5 billion in dairy products to the United States, but U.S. companies exported only $116 million in dairy products to the EU.

“As we enter into these negotiations, it will be important for our negotiators to reduce existing tariff and nontariff barriers to U.S. exports in these key markets,” Dykes says. “The EU, for example, seeks to monopolize the use of certain cheese and other food names that the United States and many other countries regard as generic by improperly using geographical indications. These nontariff barriers effectively prevent U.S. cheesemakers from accessing growing markets in other countries.

“We’ll continue to call for trade actions that will place U.S. dairy companies on a level playing field with global competitors,” Dykes adds. “With more than 95 percent of our potential customers living outside our borders, expanding access to international markets is essential for our future success.”

The National Milk Producers Federation (NMPF) also says it is encouraged by the news that the administration is seeking new trade deals.

“We want to keep up with competitors when it comes to opening markets, and we will work with the administration to get the best possible deal for Japan and other trading partners,” says Alan Bjerga, senior vice president of communications, NMPF.

Meanwhile, as a trade war continues between the United States and China, news reports say President Donald Trump and Chinese leader Xi Jinping have agreed to meet next month at the G-20 summit in Buenos Aires in hopes of resolving the ongoing trade conflict.


IDF report eyes strong butter prices, pressure on proteins

Oct. 19, 2018

BRUSSELS, Belgium — As the demand for butterfat continues to grow, butter prices remain strong in most regions of the world, according to the International Dairy Federation’s (IDF) “World Dairy Situation 2018” report unveiled at the World Dairy Summit in Daejeon, Korea, this week.

However, the dairy protein markets continue to be under pressure. Fluid milk consumption continues to decline while the offerings of plant-based beverages increase, the report adds.

“Consumer preferences in the liquid dairy category is increasingly shifting towards fermented drinks,” the report says. “Yogurts, yogurt drinks and other fermented drinks still experience steady demand growth in all key markets (+2.5 percent in 2017).”

Put together by IDF experts from dairy producing countries around the world under the scope of work by the IDF Standing Committee on Dairy Policies and Economics (SCDPE), the report contains a comprehensive set of dairy industry statistics and provides insight on a wide range of policies and economic factors.

“The IDF World Dairy Situation 2018 will further your understanding of the current macro supply and demand trends affecting the dairy sector,” says Gilles Froment, chair of the SCDPE.

From a pricing perspective, “we continue to witness high inventories of skim milk powder (SMP) and relatively low prices. The important price gap between butter and SMP prices, which has been in place for almost three years, continues to persist, but there are signs that some level of price recovery is on the way,” the report’s foreword says.

A key finding of the report notes that milkfat-driven recovery of the market resulted in profitable milk prices throughout most of 2017, propelling above-average milk production growth last year. The strongest growth was recorded in India, Pakistan, Turkey, Australia, Poland and the United Kingdom.

However, growth in milk production was uneven, the report notes.

“France, the Netherlands, Germany and New Zealand all experienced a disappointing supply performance in 2017, be it for different reasons,” the report says, noting that in China milk production “event went backwards.”

“The weak milk production performance of all of these heavyweights makes the 2.2 percent global growth of cow’s milk production even more remarkable,” the report adds.

“In 2018 it will be interesting to see whether global milk production will be able to beat the long-term average of 2 percent for two years in a row,” the report continues.

Factors affecting 2018 will be weather conditions in the European Union and Australia as well as the impact of Mycoplasma bovis on New Zealand milk output. China, on the other hand, appears to be having a favorable year for milk production, the report notes.

Key export regions like Oceania, the United States and the European Union will see their cheese production grow in years to come as they have to keep up with accelerating import demand in Asia, with Japan, the Republic of Korea and China being important destinations, according to IDF.

There was greater import demand by China last year due to its shortfall in milk production. The East Asian country regained much of its strength as the No. 1 dairy importer in the world after local stock positions normalized in 2016. Meanwhile, Russia remains closed for business out of most export regions except Latin America.

“Going forward we may see some interesting shifts in trade flows in 2018 following the tariff wars between the U.S. and some of its trading partners,” the report says. “Some old doors will be closed and some new doors may be opened for individual exports, but the net effect on trade volumes is expected to be small in 2018. In the long run, however, the return to high trade tariffs is a diversion from the long-term trend of trade liberalization.”

The “World Dairy Situation 2018” was produced by a team from ZuivelNL and CNIEL. The publication is available for purchase online at


Montchevre reaches consumers with integrated marketing program

By Kate Sander

MILWAUKEE, Wis. — Just less than a year ago, Canadian dairy marketer Saputo Inc. completed the acquisition of Betin Inc., better known by its brand name Montchevre, a manufacturer, marketer and distributor of goat’s milk cheese in the United States.

Montchevre’s strong positioning in the marketplace was an important factor in Saputo’s decision to acquire the business, and the transaction enables Saputo’s USA Cheese Division, Saputo Cheese USA Inc., to broaden its presence in specialty cheese.

“The Montchevre brand name is well recognized in the trade and with consumers,” says Kristy Klug, marketing manager, Saputo Cheese USA Inc.

Through the acquisition of the Montchevre brand, Saputo has been able to broaden its presence in the specialty cheese landscape and gain exposure to a new customer base as well.

“We also have the benefit of now offering their current customers a variety of new and exciting products that nicely round out their goat cheese offerings. In return the Montchevre brand itself will benefit from a variety of our efficiencies and economies of scale as we strive to expand one of the fastest growing cheese markets,” Klug says.

Founded in 1989 by Arnaud Solandt and Jean Rossard, the Montchevre brand began as a small operation in a former Cheddar plant in Preston, Wisconsin, in response to a trade embargo that kept European goat’s milk cheeses from making their way to the U.S. market. At the time it was slow going; making goat’s cheese in Wisconsin, known as a cow’s milk state, was a bit of a leap of faith.

Almost three decades later, goat’s milk is much more well-known among consumers, and the Montchevre line is the No. 1 goat cheese brand in America. Its cheeses are made in a plant in Belmont, Wisconsin, where they have been made since 1995. Due to growing demand, the company expanded its Belmont plant several times, growing from an initial 30,000 square feet to today’s 110,000 square feet.

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Robotics use increasing in dairy, cheese manufacturing

Oct. 12, 2018

By Rena Archwamety

MADISON, Wis. — Automated and robotic solutions have become more prevalent throughout the food industry, and with advanced and user-friendly technologies emerging, more and more cheese and dairy companies have adopted robotics technology to help increase efficiency and safety.

“Overall we have seen an increase in robotic applications across the cheese and dairy industry,” says Jody Zepnick, president, Zepnick Solutions Inc., which provides automation solutions including technologies that include robotics. “Previously, only larger manufacturers were comfortable implementing robots due to the skill level it takes to understand and maintain the equipment. However, the base level of automation and associated technical skill level has increased across the board, and this opens the doors at many smaller and mid-sized organizations to implement more automation, including robotics.”

Over the last decade, the use of robotics in dairy manufacturing has been on a steady climb, says Timothy J. Wilson, vice president of communications, Quest Industrial. All sizes of manufacturers have shown interest for a variety of reasons, such as increased throughput and worker shortages.

“A few of the more popular reasons for implementing robotics into dairy manufacturing are employee development/worker shortages, work-flow ease, production improvement and the reduction of employee injuries,” Wilson says. “The primary functions that our robots perform involve some form of process improvement.”

The greatest benefit of incorporating robots in the cheese and dairy industry, Zepnick says, is that robots provide a vast array of flexible motion within a smaller footprint, without requiring structures that are difficult to implement, operate, maintain and clean. A well-designed robotic application has the flexibility to manipulate product while maintaining a clean application.

“A prime example is the 640-pound box stacker we have developed, which stacks 640-pound Tosca and Arena boxes up three high, in a very safe, but open, easily accessible and cleanable work cell,” Zepnick says.

Craig A. Souser, president, JLS Automation, notes that one of the greatest benefits of robotics is stepping in for labor that is increasingly hard to find, as well as working on tasks that are highly repetitive and often done in cold and/or wet environments.

“Our robotic solutions show up to work every day and take no vacations,” he says. “Robotics are being used in Souser areas ­— primary, secondary and palletizing, so a variety of robotic equipment is being implemented.”

• Food and worker safety

One breakthrough in robots used in the food industry has been the development of machines without guarding or protective covering.

Zepnick notes that collaborative robot technology, which allows people to work in close proximity of robots without guarding, has really changed potential robot applications.

“While this technology currently has limited applications due to current robot size and speed capabilities, some elements are currently in use, and this advancing safety technology will have a more significant impact as it continues to evolve over the next few years,” Zepnick says.

Olivier Cremoux, business development manager North America, Stäubli Robotics, says most of the top producers in Europe rely on Stäubli’s more than 25 years of experience in highly hygienic environments including cheese and dairy.

“Stäubli robots with their hygienic design and wash-down capabilities changed the rules in the food industry,” Cremoux says. “Stäubli showed that it was possible to develop robots suitable for highly-sensitive environments not using any protective cover. Indeed in some cases, covers were known to facilitate bacteria development, generate high maintenance needs and, at the end, limit the lifetime of the robot protected.”

Cremoux also explains how robotics equipment is designed and constructed with specific materials to meet food safety requirements. This includes the avoidance of retention zones and the ability to cope with vigorous cleaning processes.

“Stäubli’s development team focuses on the particular problems posed by environments in which food is prepared or handled, such as temperature changes and condensation,” Cremoux says. “As a result, materials such as plastic or carbon fiber were excluded on principle from our HE (humid environment) robot range. The casing is made of a specially treated, corrosion-resistant aluminum. Heavily stressed parts are made of stainless steel. The surface receives a high-quality coating that makes particle adhesion more difficult.”

• New technology

Zepnick says new safety technology, including safety ethernet and safety input/output (I/O), has significantly simplified wiring and enhanced troubleshooting capabilities.

“While smaller companies are looking to implement robotics, the technology is meeting them halfway by providing systems that are easier to troubleshoot and maintain,” he says. “The controllers now provide insight and troubleshooting into the individual safety system I/O and specific logic that was not available a few years ago.”

Additionally, Zepnick Solutions is leveraging 2D and 3D vision systems to provide more intelligent robotics solutions.
“We also leverage 3D printing technology, and we work closely with the USDA as we develop new robotic solutions that operate in the ‘product zone,’” Zepnick says.

Quest Industrial in the last six months has developed and released a line of Intelligent Autonomous Vehicles (IAV) that help in warehousing applications. It also has implemented improvements to its robotics equipment to help retrieve data that can be analyzed.

“Data science is an important part of modern day manufacturing,” Wilson says. “Being able to harness data, whether good or bad, provides management with the needed information to make wise decision.”

Souser says vision systems continue to evolve and solve inspection-related problems in addition to targeting the robots. End effectors also are evolving to handle cheese gently, he adds.

“JLS is introducing a technology called JLS View that is based on the Microsoft HoloLens,” Souser says. “This is aimed to facilitate remote troubleshooting and eliminate or minimize service calls to address a machine problem. It also helps deal with the limited supply of technologists on both ends of the spectrum.”

• Smart solutions

Even more crucial to businesses than the latest technology is knowing how that technology will best enhance production. Cremoux says one challenge for cheese and dairy manufacturers is finding a solution that will work in their unique processes and situations.

“It is not a ‘one size fits all’ application for most companies,” he says. “Everyone in the North American cheese/dairy is talking about using robotics to solve their problems, and some are further along than others. The biggest challenge for them is finding partners who are doing more than just selling equipment.”

Zepnick notes that while there is an increasing opportunity for robotic applications, there also still are many flexible and repetitive applications best served with traditional technology.

“In the cheese/dairy industry, we have seen many robots forced into service where much simpler, traditional technology is still faster and more reliable,” Zepnick says. “Through proper implementation of new and developing robotic technology, robots will continue to grow as a critical part of automation systems across the cheese/dairy processors of all sizes.”


USDA raises milk production, lowers cheese price forecast

Oct. 12, 2018

WASHINGTON — In its latest “World Agricultural Supply and Demand Estimates” report released this week, USDA increased its milk production forecasts for 2018 and 2019 from the previous month on a more rapid pace of growth in milk per cow. USDA also has increased its cow number forecast for 2019. These changes bring the 2018 milk production forecast to 218.1 billion pounds, up 300 million pounds from last month’s report, and the 2019 forecast to 221.4 billion pounds, up 400 million pounds from last month’s report.

USDA says the forecasts for fat-basis imports for 2018 and 2019 are raised on continued strength in butterfat imports and slightly higher cheese imports. The 2018 and 2019 skim-solids basis import forecasts are lowered from the previous month. Exports on a fat-basis are raised for 2018 on stronger cheese exports, but no change is made to the 2019 export forecast.
Skim-solids basis exports for 2018 are raised, primarily on stronger nonfat dry milk (NDM) and whey product shipments, USDA says.

For 2018 and 2019, butter and whey price forecasts are raised from the previous month on expected demand strength. Butter now is forecast to average in the $2.245-$2.275 per pound range in 2018 and in the $2.215-$2.335 range in 2019. Dry whey is forecast to average $0.330-$0.340 in 2018 and $0.385-$0.415 in 2019.

Meanwhile, the cheese price forecasts are lowered on continued large supplies. Cheese is forecast to average $1.570-$1.580 in 2018, with the mid-point down slightly from the $1.570-$1.590 range forecast last month. In 2019, USDA forecasts cheese to average $1.575-$1.665, down from its forecast of $1.590-$1.690 last month.

The NDM price forecast is unchanged for 2018 and 2019 at $0.785-$0.805 and $0.825-$0.895, respectively.

The Class III price forecast is lowered for 2018 to $14.85-$14.95 per hundredweight. However, for 2019, higher whey prices are expected to more than offset the declines in cheese prices, and the Class III price forecast is raised to $15.30-$16.20.
The Class IV price forecast is raised for both years due to higher forecast butter prices. The 2018 Class IV price is forecast at $14.15-$14.35, and in 2019 the Class IV price is forecast at $14.35-$15.35.

Though it has tightened the expected range, USDA says its 2018 all-milk price forecast is unchanged at the midpoint at $16.35-$16.45. The 2019 all-milk price forecast is raised to $16.85-$17.75.


Dairy plant projects across U.S. bright spot for growth

Oct. 12, 2018

Editor’s note: Plants in Progress is an addition to our ongoing coverage of new facilities and growth in the U.S. dairy sector. As the industry works to meet new demand, growth and expansion are inevitable. Here, we provide a glimpse into new cheese and dairy plants going up around the country — from initial groundbreaking to full operation, and everything in between!

By Alyssa Mitchell

MADISON, Wis. — With ongoing uncertainty over tariffs and trade wars, U.S. consumers’ appetite for cheese and dairy products continues to be a bright spot for U.S. manufacturers.

New cheese and dairy operations are sprouting up across the country — from the heart of America’s Dairyland in Wisconsin, to the Great Lakes region of Michigan and beyond to the coastal areas of North Carolina and Virginia.

Meanwhile, in Pennsylvania, the Pennsylvania Department of Agriculture and the Center for Dairy Excellence last year commissioned leading dairy economists to conduct a yearlong study to evaluate opportunities to grow Pennsylvania’s dairy industry. They found that an investment in additional dairy processing capacity in the state could generate $34.7 million annually in combined revenue generation and cost savings.

“Looking ahead, with continued growth in cheese demand within and outside the United States, I expect cheese production capacity to continue to be added, both by existing companies and new entrants,” says Mike McCully, owner of The McCully Group LLC, New Buffalo, Michigan, in a recent guest column for Cheese Market News.
Please read on to learn more about these plants in progress ...

• Aurora Organic Dairy, Columbia, Missouri

Construction commenced earlier this year at Aurora Organic Dairy’s new milk processing facility in Columbia, Missouri.
Aurora Organic Dairy is an integrated company that produces and processes organic milk products for distribution to grocery stores nationwide. The company is based in Boulder, Colorado.

Marc Peperzak, founder and executive chairman, Aurora Organic Dairy, notes Columbia was the best choice because it offers a location that expands and improves the efficiency of Aurora Organic Dairy’s total supply chain, from organic feed, to milk, to consumer.

The first phase of the project encompasses approximately 127,000 square feet for a processing facility and cold storage warehouse. Aurora Organic Dairy plans to process white fluid milk in various sizes, but primarily half-gallon cartons. The project is being financed internally, with approximately $100 million invested for the first phase.

“The progress is going well and is on schedule for an early 2019 opening date,” says Sonja Tuitele, director of communications, Aurora Organic Dairy.

Tuitele says the company is about 95 percent finished with the structure of the plant and has all the equipment in the facility.

“We will be commissioning and testing the equipment as part of the start-up process between now and when we open,” Tuitele says. “We have hired about 42 employees at the new facility and expect to have between 50-55 employees when the plant opens early next year.”

• BelGioioso Cheese Inc., Glenville, New York

Earlier this year, BelGioioso Cheese Inc., headquartered in Green Bay, Wisconsin, announced plans to build a new manufacturing facility in Glenville, Schenectady County, New York, creating 46 new jobs and retaining 31 local employees. To help secure this new investment for New York State, Empire State Development (ESD) agreed to provide up to $850,000 in performance-based Excelsior Jobs Program tax credits.

BelGioioso Cheese signed a contract with Schenectady County Metroplex Development Authority to purchase 40 acres at the Glenville Business and Technology Park, where it will build the plant.

“We plan to build a 100,000-square-foot production facility at the Glenville Business and Technology Park that will manufacture Fresh Mozzarella and other cheese products,” says Errico Auricchio, BelGioioso Cheese founder and owner.

“The plant represents a $25 million investment by the company, and we plan to add nearly 50 new jobs as we increase production capacity. We have been working closely with Schenectady County Metroplex and with Empire State Development to bring this new facility to New York state.”

According to Jamie Wichlacz, marketing public relations manager for BelGioioso Cheese, construction on the new plant has not yet started and an exact start date has not yet been set.

• Foremost Farms USA, Greenville, Michigan

Foremost Farms USA this year broke ground on the first phase of a multiyear endeavor, a 55,000-square-foot milk condensing facility in Greenville, Michigan.

Baraboo, Wisconsin-based Foremost Farms in November 2017 acquired the 96-acre parcel on Fitzner Road in the Greenville Industrial Park from the City of Greenville for $1.1 million.

Foremost Farms is investing $57.9 million in the new site.

Once open, the plant will condense 3.2 million pounds of raw milk per day (roughly 386,000 gallons). The final product, condensed milk solids such as cream and skim milk, will be used at Foremost facilities and strategic alliance partners around the Midwest for further processing into products such as cheese, butter and yogurt, Foremost Farms says.

At capacity, the plant will be able to condense up to 4 million pounds of raw milk per day. Future phases at the campus call for facilities to process up to 6+ million pounds daily.

Foremost Farms officials say they hope this initial investment will spur the development of a large-scale dairy processing campus over the next several years. The company already is engaged in talks with companies interested in creating value-added production facilities on the campus to serve Foremost’s cooperative partners.

“It is an ideal location as a manufacturing base for Foremost Farms USA to unify our seven-state cooperative membership’s milk,” says Michael Doyle, president and CEO, Foremost Farms. “Our goal is to develop and grow this facility to continually meet the value-added needs of our customers. This, along with further developing our strategic alliance with Michigan Milk Producers Association that began at Constantine, Michigan, will add value for our members and all producers in this market.”

The new facility will provide area dairy farmers with a much-needed financial boost due to the current lack of available processing capacity in the state, Foremost Farms adds.

Construction at Greenville is on time and on budget, says Sydney Lindner, director of communications, Foremost Farms.
Lindner notes raw milk silos are installed, intake bays are ready, and the reverse osmosis system, water polishing system and many other plant areas are complete.

“We expect to receive our first milk truckload well before the end of the year,” she says. “The new Greenville milk processing plant will help us separate milk solids, lower our transportation and ingredient costs, and allow us to attract strategic partners.”

• Golfo di Napoli Dairy, Warren, Indiana

Golfo di Napoli Dairy recently announced plans to locate a commercial organic cheese plant in Huntington County, Indiana, creating up to 35 new jobs by 2021.

“Indiana’s agriculture industry supports approximately 107,500 jobs, providing opportunities for Hoosiers and their families across the state,” says Indiana Lt. Gov. Suzanne Crouch, who also serves as the state’s secretary of agriculture. “With nearly 1,000 Hoosier dairies and 26 dairy processing plants, Golfo di Napoli Dairy will have quick and plentiful access to fresh milk, making Indiana the perfect fit for its first U.S. production facility.”

Golfo di Napoli Dairy, a newly-established venture, will be owned and operated by a team of fourth-generation cheese producers from Italy. The company plans to invest $9.5 million to establish the plant, constructing an approximately 30,000-square-foot plant on a 40-acre site in Warren, Indiana. The plant, which will utilize USDA-certified organic milk from Fair Oaks Farms, will produce Mozzarella, Burrata, Ricotta, Provolone and other pasta filata cheeses traditional to the Naples region.

“We chose Indiana because we believe that it is the perfect location to produce authentic Neapolitan Mozzarella, serving customers across the Midwest,” said Antonio Somma, president of Golfo di Napoli Dairy. “This facility and our partnership with Fair Oaks Farm will allow us to expand our cheese production expertise to the U.S.”

The company acquired the land earlier this year and construction began Sept. 26. Golfo di Napoli Dairy expects to begin hiring for the new facility before the end of 2018 in order to begin production in February 2019.

• Great Lakes Cheese, Wausau, Wisconsin

Great Lakes Cheese currently is building a new $55 million state-of-the-art cheese packaging plant in Wausau, Wisconsin. The 180,000-square-foot facility is expected to open in January 2019.

Rachel Bisbee, communications manager, Great Lakes Cheese, notes that in addition to the $55 million project cost, Great Lakes Cheese also has committed to invest $28 million in equipment in the new facility.

The company currently has a plant in Wausau with 200 employees and will be adding an additional 125 to that number over the next two to three years, Bisbee says.

This summer, Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker announced that Great Lakes Cheese received a $500,000 state grant that will assist the company in training workers for the facility.

“As companies like Great Lakes Cheese continue to grow in Wisconsin, it’s imperative that we help those businesses find ways to ensure that their workers receive the training needed to compete in our ever-changing economy,” Walker says. “We applaud Great Lakes Cheese for not only investing in our state, but for investing in its workers.”

Great Lakes Cheese is receiving the $500,000 Workforce Training Grant from WEDC to train employees on the new equipment and processes at the new facility. The company is matching the state’s investment for training.

Movement of equipment and workers from the existing facility to the new plant will be completed in 2019, Bisbee says, noting that upon project completion, the existing Wausau facility will be donated to the city.

“We are grateful that we can remain in Wausau because we have a strong commitment to our employees here,” says Matt Wilkinson, project manager, Great Lakes Cheese.

A groundbreaking ceremony for the new plant was held in July 2017. The facility will package Great Lakes Cheese’s precut deli and specialty cheese products and snack cheeses.

• Joint venture, St. Johns, Michigan — Glanbia Nutritionals, Dairy Farmers of America, Select Milk Producers

Glanbia Nutritionals, Dairy Farmers of America (DFA) and Select Milk Producers Inc. recently announced that they have, subject to the satisfaction of certain conditions, selected the City of St. Johns, Michigan, as the preferred location for their new joint venture large-scale cheese and whey production facility for the state of Michigan, which is now expected to be commissioned in the fourth quarter of 2020 at a cost of $470 million.

The new facility will process 8 million pounds of milk per day into a range of cheese (300 million pounds per year) and whey products for U.S. and international markets, employing approximately 250 staff when in full production. In addition, the partners confirm that an agreement has been reached with Proliant Dairy Ingredients to process whey permeate. Proliant will invest $85 million in an adjoining facility, creating up to 38 jobs.

The preferred site in St. Johns meets key selection criteria in terms of strategic location relative to milk supply, strong transport links, a positive business environment and labor availability, the partners say.

The partners have engaged with state and city officials as well as community leaders to address issues such as cost, infrastructure and planning in order to finalize the decision. The Michigan Economic Development Corp. also recently approved a package of incentives that address these areas.

“The finalization of the preferred location is a critical step on our journey to deliver a new ultra-modern dairy facility in Michigan,” says Brian Phelan, CEO of Glanbia Nutritionals. “We want to thank the state and city authorities for their continued support as we move to commence construction as soon as possible.”

“The construction of this plant in St. Johns will not only address a growing industry need for Michigan plant capacity, but it also adds value and supports our local dairy farm families in this area,” adds Greg Wickham, CFO at DFA.

• Kalona Creamery, Kalona, Iowa

Kalona Creamery recently completed phase two of a project at its Kalona, Iowa, facility to begin making cheese curds.
Kalona Creamery last year held a grand opening celebration for its new Kalona Creamery Shop & Deli, the first phase of the project. The company in the future will embark on a third phase of the project to manufacture hard and soft cheeses.

In addition to cheese curds, the company services house-made ice cream, sells hand-rolled butter and offers a lunch deli window.

Kalona Creamery is a member of the Open Gates Group, an entrepreneurial family of companies in the Kalona, Iowa, area. Open Gates Group oversees and manages the family of companies and provides them with accounting, business development, human resources, training and marketing support. Each business is operated by a managing partner who manages the day-to-day duties and ensures the company’s success.

Kalona Creamery in 2015 purchased the site of its new facility, which formerly housed Twin County Dairy. Twin County Dairy was shuttered in 2014, and Kalona Creamery took the initiative to bring the facility back to life with the idea of focusing on specialty, small-scale operations.

The facility now is up and running with fresh cheese curds. The company started selling them with a launch party Aug. 23, 2018.

“Currently we’re producing our fresh, squeaky cheese curds on Tuesdays and Fridays, including larger batches for local community events like Kalona Fall Festival,” says Emily Miles, digital marketing specialist, Open Gates Group. “We even have Iowa Hawkeye inspired labels we use on our cheese curd bags on Fridays before Iowa Hawkeye home games.”

• Looking Glass Creamery, Fairview, North Carolina

After breaking ground in summer 2017, Looking Glass Creamery recently completed its new facility in Fairview, North Carolina.

The project includes a new 2,100-square-foot creamery, featuring a packaging area, bulk tank room, caramel room, mechanical room, employee area and hallway. The main production floor is about 900 square feet, says Jennifer Perkins, who co-owns Looking Glass Creamery with her husband, Andy.

“While construction took longer than expected by several months, we self contracted the construction and came in on budget. All the equipment is in place including a new horizontal cheese press from Fromagex, micro-perforated molds and a 600-gallon Double O cheese vat from Van Riet,” Perkins says.

The project also includes new underground cheese caves encompassing 1,300 square feet. The caves will have four chambers — one brine and three aging caves. Perkins notes the four cellars are all up and running.

“The refrigeration and airflow seem good so far. We have a twin boiler system and an icebank to heat and cool the milk within one hour or less — this is working well,” she says.

Looking Glass Creamery made its first batch in the new facility Aug. 10, and is slowly filling up the caves, hoping to have increased capacity for sales and distribution for some of its cheeses in another month or so, Perkins adds.

On the farm front, the company is migrating to seasonal dairying with its first dry period starting January 2020, Perkins notes.
“We are working with the local Soil & Water board and North Carolina Department of Ag to develop a more intensive rotational grazing system for the pastures,” she says.

• Masters Gallery Foods, Oostburg, Wisconsin

Masters Gallery Foods Inc. earlier this year completed construction on its new 175,000-square-foot packaging and distribution facility in Oostburg, Wisconsin.

The company broke ground on the project in summer 2017, and the plant has been operational since June, with three lines running. More line installs are scheduled throughout the first half of 2019, says Jeff Gentine, president and CEO, Masters Gallery Foods.

The new facility is a natural cheese conversion plant currently producing 8-ounce to 5-pound shreds and slices for retail and foodservice accounts.

The location also has room to allow for up to two additional future expansions, company officials say.

“Volume is very strong, especially with the retail holiday season upon us. Hiring in Sheboygan County remains our biggest challenge, but we are getting close to filling the last 30-plus open positions,” Gentine says.

• Richlands Creamery LLC, Blackstone, Virginia

Richlands Creamery LLC is investing $1.7 million in Dinwiddie County, Virginia, to create a new commercial creamery and 17 new jobs over the next three years.

The new creamery will be located at Richlands Dairy Farm, a commercial dairy and agritourism destination near the town of Blackstone, Virginia. As part of this project, Richlands Creamery is committing to purchasing 100 percent of its agricultural inputs from Virginia farmers, totaling nearly $1 million.

The Virginia Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services worked with Dinwiddie County to secure this project for Virginia. Gov. Ralph Northam approved a $20,000 grant from the Governor’s Agriculture and Forestry Industries Development (AFID) Fund, which Dinwiddie County will match with local funds.

“We are so grateful to receive an AFID grant for Richlands Creamery. This grant will allow us to build a milk processing facility with a retail store front to bottle and direct market milk and the best tasting ice cream in Virginia,” says Coley Jones Drinkwater, president of Richlands Creamery. “This, in turn, will keep us from joining the mass exodus of dairy farms across the United States and preserve rural Virginia for all Commonwealth residents and visitors to enjoy during our various agritourism events throughout the year.”

Drinkwater notes the project currently is in the building phase.

“We should be installing equipment by November, and, if all goes well, we will be open at the start of the year,” Drinkwater says.

• University of Wisconsin-Madison Babcock Hall Dairy Plant and Center for Dairy Research, Madison, Wisconsin

Ground has been broken on a long-anticipated renovation of the University of Wisconsin-Madison’s (UW) Babcock Hall and the Center for Dairy Research (CDR).

The new $47 million renovation of Babcock Dairy Hall and a new, three-story addition to CDR is being made possible with funding from donors, the state of Wisconsin and UW-Madison. Donors, primarily from Wisconsin’s cheese industry, raised more than $18 million to support the project.

Rebecca Blank, UW-Madison chancellor, says the facility will be one of the premier dairy education and research centers in the nation.

“Most importantly, it’s going to be a hub for discovery and innovation for Wisconsin’s dairy industry, working closely with our faculty and students,” she says.

The project is being conducted in three phases. Phase one, currently underway, includes constructing a new loading dock and milk receiving bay. The demolition of Science House, which took place in early August, also was part of the first phase.
Phase two, anticipated to start in early 2019, involves the construction of the CDR addition. The third phase is the Babcock Hall Dairy Plant renovation, which is expected to begin in early 2020. Projection completion is slated for later in 2020.

The renovation will modernize the dairy plant, adding a new ice cream maker, more freezer and cooler space, an improved raw milk receiving bay, and new piping, pumps and valves to more efficiently move milk and milk products around the plant.

The Babcock Hall Dairy Plant serves as a laboratory and learning facility for students, university researchers and industry personnel. It is utilized for product testing and recipe development, as well as professional training through short courses, college instruction and research projects.

John Lucey, CDR director, says the project will allow for expanded production of specialty cheese, with nine individual ripening rooms, new cheese vats and other equipment.

The entire square footage of the entire project — including the renovation and addition — is around 77,400 square feet.
The architectural plan for the project was developed with the support of a design team including representatives from UW-Madison, industry groups and the state Division of Facilities Development working with vendor Zimmerman Architectural Studios.

The general contractor of the project is C.D. Smith Construction Inc., Fond du Lac, Wisconsin.

• WNY Cheese Enterprise LLC, Pavilion, New York — Dairy Farmers of America, Arla Foods, Craigs Station Creamery

Construction is in progress on a new WNY Cheese Enterprise LLC facility in Pavilion, New York.

Once complete, the facility is expected to be about 29,000 total square feet, including an 8,000-square-foot wastewater reclamation facility, says Doug Glade, executive vice president of commercial operations for Dairy Farmers of America (DFA), majority stake owner in the project.

The joint partnership is 70 percent owned by DFA, 20 percent by Arla Foods and 10 percent by DFA’s eight farmer owners of Craigs Station Creamery. DFA holds the management role in the partnership, Arla will market cheese from the facility, and the farmers with Craigs Station Creamery will supply the milk, Glade says.

“The Craigs Station facility, which is built on an actual farm, really led to this phase two partnership with DFA’s eight farmer owners in western New York,” he says. “This partnership is an example of how DFA looks for opportunities to increase demand for dairy while also meeting the needs of the marketplace.”

The plant — which is adjacent to Craigs Station Creamery ­­— will produce high-quality, premium New York Cheddar initially and will explore the possibility of producing other premium dairy products in the future, Glade says.

At the plant’s full capacity, stakeholders anticipate hiring 32 full-time employees, Glade says. Once complete, the plant is projected to produce about 15.5 million pounds of cheese annually.


New USMCA deal increases U.S. dairy access in Canada

Oct. 5, 2018

WASHINGTON — Just ahead of a self-imposed deadline, the United States this week reached an agreement with Canada, alongside Mexico, on a new, modernized trade agreement.

According to dairy industry stakeholder groups including the International Dairy Foods Association (IDFA), National Milk Producers Federation (NMPF) and U.S. Dairy Export Council (USDEC), the new United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement (USMCA) includes the elimination of Canada’s Class 7 pricing system and creation of some additional market access, two objectives of key importance to the U.S. dairy sector.

Canada has strictly controlled imports for decades to limit the supply of milk in the country, IDFA, NMPF and USDEC note. Recently, as milk production in Canada has grown, it created the Class 7 pricing system to “dump” surplus milk proteins onto global markets, in direct competition with exports from the United States and other regions, the groups say.

The organizations note they will continue to review the text of USMCA, in particular the dairy provisions, to better understand the benefits to U.S. agriculture and dairy.

From a strategic standpoint, the agreement announced Sunday night will benefit America’s dairy sector because it preserves the overall structure of the 24-year-old NAFTA deal, stakeholders say.

“The outlines of the NAFTA pact remain intact, which will allow the U.S. agricultural sector to continue developing new international markets for our farmers,” says Tom Vilsack, president and CEO, USDEC. “We also need to pursue new free trade agreements with other nations and resolve our trade conflicts with China. It is imperative that the United States remains an integral player in driving the global trade agenda.”

Jim Mulhern, president and CEO, NMPF, says that while Canada will remain a largely self-contained, protected milk market, the new agreement, when implemented, should give the United States additional marketing opportunities that will allow U.S. dairy stakeholders to provide high-quality American dairy products to Canada, indicating incremental progress.

“We appreciate that the Trump administration continually raised the profile of our issues at the negotiating table,” Mulhern says.

Michael Dykes, president and CEO, IDFA, adds that maintaining dairy market access in Mexico and improving market access into Canada were IDFA’s top priorities during the talks to modernize NAFTA.

“We’re also pleased that the administration was successful in getting Canada to eliminate Class 7 pricing,” Dykes says. “This new agreement will preserve our vital partnership with both countries and allow the U.S. dairy industry to seek more export opportunities.”

The organizations note that the ultimate benefit of the new USMCA will depend on how it is implemented. Now that a tentative trilateral agreement has been reached, the dairy groups urge the governments of the three nations to remove their tariffs on agricultural exports — as well as steel and aluminum — that have been sticking points in relations between the United States, Mexico and Canada.

Indeed, challenges remain. Stakeholders note American tariffs on Mexican steel currently remain in effect. In a press conference this week, President Donald Trump indicated the tariffs would remain in place “until such time we can do something ... so our steel industry is protected.” In turn, Mexico has not yet lifted tariffs on U.S. cheese and other dairy products.

Under USMCA, the United States and Mexico have agreed to unrestricted use of many common cheese names; however, restrictions developed in the European Union (EU)-Mexico free trade agreement on the use of Asiago, Feta, Fontina, Gorgonzola, Muenster, Neufchatel, Parmesan and other cheese names remain in effect.

News reports say President Trump intends to sign USMCA by the end of November, with a formal vote from Congress likely early in 2019.

Other agricultural and food industry stakeholders welcomed news of the agreement this week, while also voicing ongoing concerns.

“The consumer packaged goods sector has consistently supported ambitious, comprehensive United States trade agreements,” says Geoff Freeman, president and CEO of the Grocery Manufacturers Association. “U.S. consumers rely on the high-quality ingredients and affordable products made possible through trade with our closest neighbors. This trade has quadrupled since NAFTA went into effect more than two decades ago, totaling nearly $18 billion in 2017. Canada and Mexico buy about half of all U.S. processed product exports, and this agreement will expand that success.”

National Farmers Union President Roger Johnson says while the new agreement is “certainly no cure-all,” it is hopefully a start to repairing trade relationships around the world and repairing the United States’ reputation as a reliable trading partner.

The National Family Farm Coalition (NFFC) called the new agreement “more of the same.”

NFFC says Canada’s dairy protections were one of the most significant barriers to finalizing the agreement, and, under the new deal, U.S. farmers will gain access to 3.6 percent of the Canadian market for dairy, poultry, and eggs.

“The impacts for U.S. farmers will be minimal; Canada’s entire dairy market is smaller than that of Wisconsin,” NFFC says.

“President Trump touts USMCA as a big win for U.S. farmers, but it is a huge loss for dairy farmers on both sides of the border,” says Jim Goodman, a Wisconsin dairy farm and NFFC board president. “Canadian family farms will go out of business and Canadian dairy farmers will see their incomes fall due to increased U.S. imports. While the slightly expanded market will offer small benefits to some U.S. dairy farmers, it does nothing to reduce the overproduction at the heart of our dairy crisis — rather, it increases the false idea that exports will save us. We must solve the problem of our overproduction through common sense farmer-led supply management programs, not by dumping our excess milk into the Canadian farmers’ market.”


Cold milk separation offers some advantages for dairy

Oct. 5, 2018

By Rena Archwamety

MADISON, Wis. — The process of separating fat from milk has become increasingly efficient over the years thanks to separation technology. And while warm milk separation traditionally has been the standard, some processors have found advantages using cold milk separation in various applications.

“Warm milk separation is over 100 years old. They were utilized on numerous farms — the strategy there was you milk, the milk is still warm, and you separate it immediately,” says Mike Molitor, process pilot plant manager, Wisconsin Center for Dairy Research (CDR).

Before modern machinery, fat was separated from milk by leaving it to stand, and the lighter fat, or cream, would rise to the top and could be skimmed off. Mechanical separators were able to accomplish this at a much faster rate, according to SPX Flow Inc.

Warm or hot milk is naturally easier to skim as it is less viscous, and the fat globules naturally separate more readily, says Chris Anderson, product sales specialist, SPX Flow Inc.

“The mechanical handling of warm milk can also be simpler, as shear or churning of the fat is less likely. Mechanical processes for handling cold milk require higher precision and additional consideration to the flow paths in the equipment.”

Molitor explains that dairy separation technology is based on Stokes Law, determining the floatation velocity of milkfat globules, or how they move through liquid and are separated out based on the size of the particles and how much force is applied. He notes warm milk separation is crucial to achieve the lowest possible residual fat content (0.05 percent by weight), ideal for products such as certain powders that use ultrafiltration and microfiltration to achieve best functionality and shelf life. Because warm milk also is less viscous than cold milk, warm milk spends less time in the separator.

While warm milk separation is more widely used, cold milk separation using high-quality equipment can offer several compelling advantages, says Quenton Lind, vice president sales and marketing, Separators Inc.

“Cold milk separation is commonly used outside high temperature short time (HTST) processing to avoid double heating the milk,” Lind says. “Bacterial growth in the line is lower at a lower temperature, and you also save energy costs because heating up fluid is expensive. Heat also impacts the proteins in the milk. Less heat impact on the proteins in milk is always favorable.”

Another major advantage of cold milk separation, Lind notes, is longer production running time.

“Normally the capacity is lower compared to hot milk separation,” he says. “But you can run for much longer without having to clean the equipment, and that reduces your total cost.”

Lind says he has seen many of the newer dairy plants — particularly green field plants — incorporating cold milk separation. The main drivers for choosing cold milk separation technology, he says, include reduced energy costs to heat the milk along with the minimization of bacterial growth.

SPX Flow notes that some artisan cheesemakers have opted for cold milk separation due to cost savings as well as preferences that involve less heating of the milk.

“The two main benefits of cold milk separation are energy cost savings and product quality,” Anderson says. “The plant can save energy by not pre-heating the milk through a plate heat exchanger prior to processing through a cold milk separator, whereas warm milk separation requires the additional energy of heating. Excess separated cream is also already cold when sent to the cold cream storage tank, eliminating the need to chill the warmed cream.”

Anderson says some packaged milk and cheese producers believe the fat treatment of cold-separated milk gives them an option to sell a “higher value product.” As an example, SPX customer Fromagerie Fritz Kaiser, based in Quebec, uses cold milk separation for many cheese recipes to create specific flavors and textures.

Molitor says that for dairy processors and cheesemakers that run large quantities of product made with pasteurized milk — which already is heated — warm milk separation often is more efficient.

“If it’s a plant that makes huge quantities all day long of a certain part skim milk cheese, under that scenario, you might want to integrate the warm milk separator with the pasteurizer,” Molitor says. “If you don’t want to warm and chill for separation, and then use the skim and cream to create any fat-to-protein ratio milk, cold milk separation does make sense for making a variety of products in relatively small batches.”

Cold milk separation is hardly ever seen among U.S. cheesemakers due to the fact that most cheese factories separate milk as part of the production process when the milk already is heated, according to Dave Lambert, president, Great Lakes Separators. Additionally, full-fat cheeses don’t require separation as part of the process. Lambert says his company provides remanufactured cold milk separators mainly to smaller, specialty processors of milk, yogurt and other dairy products. These manufacturers prefer cold milk separation to produce a smoother, richer tasting product, he says.

“There has been a resurgence in small dairy manufacturers, primarily on the East Coast, and because of the farm-to-table movement, people want to know where their food is coming from,” Lambert says. “The thing with cold milk separation is capacity is prohibitive. Cold milk separators don’t run as much capacity as warm milk separators. Some prefer cold milk separation for a better product. But if you get to be a big dairy bottling milk, you run warm because there’s such high capacity.”

GEA notes cold milk skimming can be used to standardize fat content in raw milk cheeses. Cold milk separation still comprises a small minority of separators in the United States, though it is increasingly popular in Europe and starting to gain traction in the United States, says Bruce Blanchard, sales director, dairy separation, GEA. He says types of cheeses that cold milk separation could be good for include aged Swiss, Gouda, Edam and possibly Cheddar varieties.

“Still the majority of applications are done in warm applications,” Blanchard says. “There are also a lot of areas between cold and warm milk separation ... not so cold that separating efficiency isn’t good.”

Keith Ortman, Tetra Pak product manager, centrifugal separation, says he works with customers to understand their separation needs based on their various processes and products.

“Dairy and cheese customers who want to separate the milk before pasteurization, or with a product where an HTST pasteurizer is not part of the process, is the most common place we see cold milk separators with our customers in the U.S.,” Ortman says. “One of the largest customer needs we have seen in recent years where we have seen the implementation of Tetra Pak separators used is the large-scale production of low-spore milk powder products.”

Dave Johnson, owner of Separator Consulting Services, says cold milk separators don’t separate fat out efficiently enough to meet USDA’s standard of identity for extra grade powder.

“You can’t defeat the law of physics. You can get down to 0.09 or 0.1 percent fat (with a cold milk separator), while with hot milk you get down to 0.05 percent,” he says. “If you leave milkfat in the powder, the shelf life goes down.”

The place Johnson says he most sees cold milk separators are in fluid milk plants. He also says they might work in very small artisan cheese operations that want to standardize some cheese fat and don’t need to incorporate a milk separator with a pasteurizer.

Processors may sacrifice efficiency if opting for cold milk separation, but adaptations in design and technology can compensate for some of the losses in certain applications.

“With proper design and upfront planning, production times can be managed so that cold milk processing time is similar to that of warm milk processing,” Anderson says. “To properly size for cold milk processing, the separator will need to have slightly larger capacity compared to a warm milk separator.”

Lind notes that a hermetic airtight separator design is ideal for cold milk separation, since these separators are closed, which allows separation to be performed more efficiently at a lower temperature.

“The technology has increased over the years with separators for the dairy industry, whether it is for hot or cold milk separation,” Lind says. “The separators have become more efficient and can handle higher plant capacity demand in today’s world.”


World Dairy Expo contest auction raises $27,856.50

Oct. 5, 2018

MADISON, Wis. — The World Dairy Expo Championship Dairy Product Contest auction was held Tuesday evening at the World Dairy Expo. The contest auction, sponsored by the Wisconsin Dairy Products Association (WDPA), raised $27,856.50.

“It was truly a festive occasion at our 16th annual contest auction,” says Brad Legreid, executive director, WDPA. “We had over 150 dairy industry people enjoying good food and good times and celebrating another extremely successful contest. The popularity of this contest continually surpasses any of our expectations year after year.”

The 81 first-place winners received their trophies at the auction and will have unique opportunities to market and promote their award-winning products, Legreid adds.

A portion of the auction proceeds will be used to fund the Dr. Robert L. Bradley Scholarship, Wisconsin Dairy Products Association Scholarship and MATC Culinary Foundation Scholarship, which are awarded annually to deserving students pursuing careers in the dairy industry. WDPA also will use a portion of the proceeds to fund a major sponsorship of the National Collegiate Dairy Product Judging Contest. Product donations also have been made in the past to the MATC Culinary Arts School, UW Food Science Department, the Ronald McDonald House and River Food Pantry.

Some of the classes were combined into lots for bid. Following are the lots and winning bids:

• Lot 1 — Masters Gallery Foods purchased 40 pounds of Sharp Cheddar made by Land O’Lakes, Kiel, Wisconsin, for $52.50 per pound for a total of $2,100.

• Lot 2 — Nelson-Jameson purchased a combined 60 pounds of Cheddar made by Associated Milk Producers Inc. (AMPI), Blair, Wisconsin; Monterey Jack made by AMPI, Sanborn, Iowa; and Colored American Cheese Slice on Slice made by AMPI, Portage, Wisconsin, for $20 per pound for a total of $1,200.

• Lot 3 — Masters Gallery Foods purchased a combined 28 pounds of Jalapeno Flavored String Cheese made by Baker Cheese Factory, St. Cloud, Wisconsin; Mascarpone made by Crave Brothers Farmstead Cheese, Waterloo, Wisconsin; and Feta Cheese in Brine made by Nasonville Dairy, Marshfield, Wisconsin, for $62.50 per pound for a total of $1,750.

• Lot 4 — Organic Valley/CROPP Cooperative purchased a combined 20 pounds of Marinated Mozzarella and Betta Brie with Cranberry Almond Topping made by Formaggio Cheese, Hurleyville, New York, for $32.50 per pound for a total of $650.

• Lot 5 — Ecolab purchased a combined 20 pounds of Natural Flavor Provolone made by Foremost Farms, Clayton, Wisconsin, and Salted Butter made by Foremost Farms-3rd Shift, Reedsburg, Wisconsin, for $42.50 per pound for a total of $850.

• Lot 6 — Vivolac purchased a combined 21 pounds of Low Moisture Whole Milk Mozzarella (Jesus Santiago’s Team) made by Dairy Farmers of America (DFA), Turlock, California; Queso Fresco made by La Vaquita/DFA, Houston, Texas; and Unsalted Butter (Brave Shift) made by DFA, Winnsboro, Texas, for $27.50 per pound for a total of $577.50.

• Lot 7 — Galloway Co. purchased a combined 41 pounds of Aged Cheddar made by Land O’Lakes, Kiel Wisconsin, and Chipper Ice Cream Sandwich made by Whitey’s Ice Cream Manufacturing, Moline, Illinois, for $57.50 per pound for a total of $2,357.50.

• Lot 8 — T.C. Jacoby & Co. purchased 18 pounds of Lowfat Vanilla Yogurt made by Schreiber Foods, Green Bay, Wisconsin, for $32.50 per pound for a total of $585.

• Lot 9 — Grassland Dairy purchased a combined 39 pounds of Chocolate Ice Cream and Peanut Butter Hearts Chocolate Ice Cream made by Chocolate Shoppe Ice Cream Co., Madison, Wisconsin, for $17.50 per pound for a total of $682.50.

• Lot 10 — Food Safety Net Services purchased a combined 19 pounds of Gorgonzola made by Prairie Farms Dairy Cheese Division, Faribault, Minnesota; Cream Cheese made by Prairie Farms Dairy Inc., Monona, Iowa; and Salsa Dip and Ranch Dip with Dill made by Hiland Dairy Foods Co., Omaha, Nebraska, for $130 per pound for a total of $2,470.

• Lot 11 — Wisconsin Aging & Grading Cheese purchased a combined 7 pounds of 2 percent Lowfat Cottage Cheese and 2 percent Cottage Cheese with Mix Ins made by Dean Foods Co., Rockford, Illinois, for $95 per pound for a total of $665.

• Lot 12 — AgSource purchased a combined 11 pounds of Cookie Dough Peanut Butter Ice Cream and Coconut Chocolate Almond Ice Cream made by Oberweis Dairy, North Aurora, Illinois, for $50 per pound for a total of $550.

• Lot 13 — Vivolac purchased a combined 6 pounds of Regular Cottage Cheese and Sour Cream made by Umpqua Dairy Products, Roseburg, Oregon, for $100 per pound for a total of $600.

• Lot 14 — Chr. Hansen purchased a combined 44 pounds of Panela, Queso Fresco Tray, Strawberry Yogurt and Cajeta made by Marquez Brothers International, Hanford, California, for $11 per pound for a total of $484.

• Lot 15 — T.C. Jacoby & Co. purchased a combined 21 pounds of Whole Milk Vanilla Greek Yogurt and Black Cherry Frozen Yogurt made by Southeastern Grocers, Jacksonville, Florida, for $10 per pound for a total of $210.

• Lot 16 — Grassland Dairy purchased a combined 8 pounds of Lowfat Blended Strawberry Yogurt, Lowfat Blended Blueberry Yogurt, Lite Sour Cream and French Onion Dip made by Upstate Niagara Cooperative, Buffalo, New York, for $75 per pound for a total of $600.

• Lot 17 — Cheese Market News purchased a combined 22 pounds of Fit & Active Reduced Fat Light String Cheese, Friendly Farms Nonfat Yogurt, Pueblo Lindo Mango Lowfat Drinkable Yogurt and Vanilla Bean Ice Cream made by ALDI Inc., Batavia, Illinois, for $15 per pound for a total of $330.

• Lot 18 — M3 Insurance purchased a combined 13 pounds of Mint Cookie Crumble Ice Cream and Pistachio Gelato made by Stewarts Shops Ice Cream, Saratoga Springs, New York, for $30 pound for a total of $390.

• Lot 19 — AgSource purchased a combined 12 pounds of Imported Madrigal Cheese Wheel and Whole Milk Ricotta made by Lactalis American Group, Buffalo, New York, for $27.50 per pound for a total of $330.

• Lot 20 — Darlington Dairy Supply purchased 10 pounds of Alouette Cucumber & Dill Spread made by Savencia Cheese USA, New Holland, Pennsylvania, for $27.50 per pound for a total of $275.

• Lot 21 — Kemps purchased 5 pounds of Raspberry Sherbet made by Kemps, Cedarburg, Wisconsin, for $55 per pound for a total of $275.

• Lot 22 — T.C. Jacoby & Co. purchased a combined 20 pounds of Dark Chocolate Ice Cream made by Lochmead Dairy, Junction City, Oregon; Salty Caramel Truffle Ice Cream made by King Cone LLC, Plover, Wisconsin, and Pucker Power Bars-Lemon & Wild Cherry made by Ice Cream Specialties, St. Louis, Missouri, for $20 per pound for a total of $400.

• Lot 23 — Novak’s Cheese purchased a combined 10 pounds of Old Fashioned French Vanilla Ice Cream and Strawberry Ice Cream made by Arethusa Farm Dairy, Bantam, Connecticut, for $15 per pound for a total of $150.

• Lot 24 — Darlington Dairy Supply purchased a combined 32 pounds of Smoked Gouda made by Fair Oaks Farms, Fair Oaks, Indiana; Brie Double Cream made by Lactalis USA, Belmont, Wisconsin; and Brick made by Mill Creek Cheese, Arena, Wisconsin, for $60 per pound for a total of $1,920.

• Lot 25 — Dairy Connection purchased a combined 26 pounds of Pineapple Habanero Cream Cheese Spread made by Williams Cheese Co., Linwood, Michigan; Evalon Aged Goat Cheese made by LaClare Family Creamery, Malone, Wisconsin; and Wash Rind/Smear Ripened “Valis” Cave Aged Over 75 Days made by Lake Country Dairy/Schuman Cheese, Turtle Lake, Wisconsin, for $110 per pound for a total of $2,860.

• Lot 26 — Novak’s Cheese purchased a combined 26 pounds of Garlic Butter made by Shatto Milk Co., Osborn, Missouri; Non Fat Vanilla Greek Yogurt made by HyVee, Des Moines, Iowa; and String Cheese made by Organic Valley/CROPP Cooperative, LaFarge, Wisconsin, for $20 per pound for a total of $520.

• Lot 27 — Ice Cream Grand Champion — Galloway Co. purchased 19 pounds of Old Fashioned Vanilla Ice Cream made by Chocolate Shoppe Ice Cream, Madison, Wisconsin, for $25 per pound for a total of $475.

• Lot 28 — Grade A Grand Champion — Wisconsin Aging & Grading Cheese purchased 9 pounds of Whole Chocolate Milk made by Prairie Farms Dairy, Somerset, Kentucky, for $100 per pound for a total of $900.

• Lot 29 — Cheese & Butter Grand Champion — Nelson-Jameson purchased an 18-pound Roth Private Reserve Wheel made by Emmi Roth USA, Monroe, Wisconsin, for $150 per pound for a total of $2,700.


Foremost Farms, Arla looking to form partnership

Oct. 5, 2018

BARABOO, Wis. — Sharing a mutual ambition of leading the way in whey in the United States, European dairy cooperative Arla Foods and U.S.-based dairy cooperative Foremost Farms USA are in advanced discussions about forming a strategic partnership.

The vision of a potential partnership is to increase the value of whey through innovation, by combining Foremost Farms’ high-quality whey with Arla Foods’ extensive ingredient know-how and strong sales channels, the companies say. Recently, Arla Foods and Foremost Farms signed a Memorandum of Understanding, formalizing the possibility of a future partnership.

“As farmer-owned cooperatives, Arla Foods and Foremost Farms USA share many of the same values, and both parties see a high degree of compatibility on visions and ambitions within whey,” says Henrik Andersen, group vice president of Arla Foods Ingredients. “We are confident that Foremost Farms can be the right partner for us in our efforts to secure access to high-quality whey in the U.S. market.”

Michael Doyle, president and CEO of Foremost Farms, adds the co-op is excited about working with Arla Foods to create an international strategic partnership.

“By working with Arla, we can leverage their global food supply connections and innovation expertise with Foremost Farms’ diverse plant network and access to high-quality member milk,” Doyle says. “These factors combined will enable both companies to meet business objectives and provide whey solutions of the highest quality to the world.”

Further details on the plans of the strategic partnership were not disclosed at this time.


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Today's Cheese Spot Trading
October 19, 2018

Barrels:$1.2675 (+1/4)
Blocks: $1.4975 (-2 1/4)

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Cheese Production
U.S. Total Aug.
1.075 bil. lbs.

Milk Production
U.S. Total Aug.
18.295 bil. lbs.

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