NMPF Industry Update – May 28, 2020

USDA’s aid falls short of making dairy whole

Hoard’s Dairyman – May 25
NMPF thanked President Trump and Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue for supporting dairy in USDA’s $16 billion agriculture payments plan. Still, current aid levels will be insufficient to meet the needs of milk producers and other agricultural sectors facing massive disruption from the coronavirus crisis, says NMPF Vice President of Government Relations Paul Bleiberg. NMPF will continue to work with administration officials and members of Congress to achieve adequate aid for all dairy producers.

Sustainability creates economic opportunities for dairy, DMI’s Harden says

NMPF – May 28
Far-reaching dairy sustainability goals, including a pledge for net-zero emissions by 2050, go hand-in-hand with economic opportunity for dairy farmers, said Krysta Harden, executive vice president, global environmental strategy, for Dairy Management Inc. and Innovation Center for U.S. Dairy, in an NMPF podcast. “The very first rule of sustainability is, the farmers are sustainable,” she said. To listen to the full discussion, click here.

Senate Democrats introduce bill to strengthen food supply chain

Feedstuffs – May 27
Newly introduced legislation in the Senate will help protect the food supply as the COVID-19 crisis has put an unprecedented strain on farmers, workers, food banks and families. Jim Mulhern, president and CEO of NMPF, thanked Sen. Debbie Stabenow (D-MI) for writing the Food Supply Protection Act to provide critical funding to enhance donations of dairy and other foods to food-insecure populations and to fortify the food and agricultural supply chain by helping meet critical resource needs.

Land O’Lakes president and CEO Beth Ford says the country needs to invest in broadband access

The Washington Post – May 27
Nearly 19 million Americans in rural communities lack internet connectivity. Land O’Lakes president and CEO Beth Ford says the country needs to invest in broadband access. “We must have the playing field, the operating environment stabilized by having investment in these communities because without that, you cannot have a stable ag community.” Watch Ford’s full interview with Washington Post columnist Jonathan Capehart here.

COVID-19 creates historical market volatility (and it’s not over yet)

Progressive Dairy – May 27
The recent run-up in dairy product prices has helped spur optimism for milk futures prices for the remainder of 2020. It also provides a temporary plateau from which to view one of the most volatile periods in dairy pricing history. Several dairy economists and market analysts recently provided reviews of U.S. dairy markets since the impact of COVID-19. Their remarks are similar in that they describe extreme volatility that might not yet be over. And they recommend dairy producers consider risk management tools to ride it out.

‘I need the food’: Ag Department food box program beset by delays

Politico – May 27
An event-planning company that received one of the largest federal contracts to provide produce, meat and dairy to hungry families has yet to deliver boxes to food banks across the Southwest. Leading lawmakers and food banks are demanding answers about how a small event planner received a huge, $39 million federal contract to serve charities like the San Antonio Food Bank. “I need the food,” said Eric Cooper, CEO of the San Antonio Food Bank. “We went from feeding 60,000 people a week to 120,000.”

To avoid dumping milk, dairy farmers find new market at Vermont food banks

Civil Eats – May 27
In April, Vermont dairy farmer Rebecca Howrigan watched the price for milk plummet 30 percent as the shutdown in markets for restaurants and institutions created a glut in supply. Luckily, Howrigan didn’t have to dump her milk. That’s largely because industry stakeholders quickly came together on a collaborative initiative to recover farmers’ raw milk and process it into gallon jugs of milk, yogurt and butter for the Vermont Foodbank.

Protective gear going to farmworkers, but needs still unmet

Capital Press (Salem, OR) – May 27
Oregon Gov. Kate Brown ordered that approximately 1 million masks and 5,000 gallons of hand sanitizer be distributed to farmworkers and agricultural producers across the state this week. Experts say the personal protective equipment is crucial to protect farmworkers during the COVID-19 outbreak. Farm managers and others say they are grateful for the aid, but it falls short of meeting all workers’ needs.

America’s never-ending battle against flesh-eating worms

The Atlantic – May 26
Screwworms once killed millions of dollars’ worth of cattle a year in the southern U.S. Their range extended from Florida to California, and they infected any living, warm-blooded animal. In the 1950s, at the urging of U.S. farmers and ranchers, the USDA undertook what would ultimately become an immense, multidecade effort to wipe out the screwworms, first in the U.S. and then in Mexico and Central America—all the way down to the narrow strip of land that is the Isthmus of Panama.