NMPF News Alerts – June 22, 2020

Dairy Market Report: June 2020

NMPF, DMI – June 22

The worst of the coronavirus-induced plunge in the dairy economy may be over. The sharp drop in dairy product prices in April has been followed by a strong recovery in cash market prices in May that’s continuing into June. This market turnaround has been caused by actions and developments that have reduced milk supply and strengthened dairy product demand. Sign up to receive the monthly Dairy Market Report here.

Land O’Lakes CEO Beth Ford on racism in Minneapolis, COVID-19’s impact on farmers and the need for rural Wi-Fi

TIME – June 21

Land O’Lakes’s headquarters are a short drive from the Minneapolis neighborhood where George Floyd was killed by police, setting off global protests over racism in the United States. For the many Fortune 500 companies based in the Twin Cities, the tragedy exposed dramatic inequalities in a region that prides itself on its progressiveness. In a recent interview, CEO Beth Ford discussed how Land O’Lakes and the Twin Cities corporate community need to address systemic racism in the area.

Turning the “death of dairy” myth on its head

WOWO News (Fort Wayne, IN) – June 22

NMPF’s Alan Bjerga says that with the influx of plant-based beverages on the market, there’s a picture of competition that’s painted. “The fact that plant-based beverages are growing while per capita fluid milk consumption has been declining is a true statement, but it’s one that really needs a lot of context,” said Bjerga. “At this point, this context isn’t even accurate because we’re seeing per capita retail milk rising in the past few months. In fact, it’s been rising faster than what we’ve been seeing in plant-based consumption.”

Dairy still a cornerstone in new guidelines

Hoard’s Dairyman – June 22

When the new 2020-2025 Dietary Guidelines for Americans are released later this year, it appears dairy will keep its prominent seat at the table in USDA’s diet recommendations. While not yet finalized, the 2020 Dietary Guidelines Advisory Committee shared its concluding deliberations and decisions in a webcast last week. In the draft of the guidelines, dairy maintains its three servings a day status.

Democrats press for legal protections for migrant farm workers

Politico Pro – June 23

Sen. Jeff Merkley (D-OR) plans to introduce the Frontline At-Risk Manual Laborers Protection Act, which would provide paid sick leave and hazard pay for all agricultural workers, as well as reimbursements to employers. He is joining efforts by Democrats in both chambers to address the needs of essential employees after advocates say the Trump administration and federal agencies have neglected to ensure protections.

Trump suspends entry of certain foreign workers despite business opposition

Reuters – June 22

President Trump suspended the entry into the United States of certain foreign workers, a move the White House said would help the coronavirus-battered economy, but which business groups strongly oppose. Trump issued a presidential proclamation that temporarily blocks foreign workers entering on H-1B here visas for skilled employees, and L visas, for managers and specialized workers being transferred within a company.

How widespread coronavirus testing helped meatpacking plants halt outbreaks

NPR – June 22

Meatpacking plants have been among the country’s worst coronavirus hot spots, with thousands of workers infected. But the rapid roll out of testing among workers in those plants could offer lessons that other businesses may need to emulate as they try to re-open. Tyson is not alone among meat companies in its program to test workers, but it has released the most information from those tests. It also has brought in an outside company, Matrix Medical, to run the program.

With losses mounting, Iowa farmers, ag groups hope congressional leaders provide additional coronavirus aid

Des Moines Register – June 22

The Trump administration has sent $4 billion in payments to U.S. farmers to help cover losses due to coronavirus, part of $16 billion that’s available to provide direct aid to offset losses for farmers and ranchers. Iowa farmers have snagged $423.5 million of the pandemic payments, the most of any state nationally. But critics say the program addresses only a small portion of the losses farmers are experiencing. Ag groups are pushing Congress to include agriculture in the next federal coronavirus aid package.

Vermont cheesemakers look to stores and online for survival

VTDigger (Montpelier, VT) – June 22

The Covid-19 crisis has had a complex impact on the cheese industry. Panic buying drove up the sale of durable supermarket cheese like cheddar. In the week of May 24, national cheese sales were 18% higher than in the same week in 2019. That was good news for cheesemakers like Cabot Cooperative Creamery. But the makers of fresh, soft-ripened and blue cheeses were hit hard by the closure of restaurants and the boutique-style stores. Vermont cheesemakers reported sales drops of 30% to 70% this spring.

Post of the day: Father’s Day on the farm

Cabot Creamery Blog – June 21

It was just five years ago that Walt Trombley fully transitioned the family’s small dairy farm over to his son, Walt, Jr. For decades, the pair of Walters – dad and son – worked together, splitting morning and afternoon chores between them. Working with his father has been both a blessing and, occasionally, a challenge, like any close family working relationship, Ricky acknowledges: “We’ve learned from each other.”

New Zealand’s Fonterra to pay farmers more for sustainable dairy

Reuters – June 22

Fonterra will incentivize sustainably produced dairy by paying farmers more for such products. Sustainable dairy products have limited harmful impact on the environment and animals and have gained popularity as consumers become more conscious about how food is sourced. Fonterra said it would pay up to 10 cents per kilogram of milk solids from the June 2021 dairy season to farms that meet its sustainability and value targets.