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0309 PD: Do Facebookers love milk and cheese?

Published on 06 February 2009

Last issue we promised to deliver you more information about how to capture the opportunities and remain profitable during this current dairy market downturn.

I’ve received more than 200 comments from consultants, allied industry and producers. We’ll be running their tips for staying profitable in this issue (pg. 22) and in future issues as long as this dairy market depression lasts. I’ve also started a regular e-mail newsletter that will include more frequent suggestions sent directly to your inbox as I gather them. See page 22 for how to sign up.

I’m heading to California this month for World Ag Expo in Tulare, California. Stop by our booth to pick up a free Proud to Dairy poster. If you’re not going to be at the show, clip out the Proud Point on page 3 and send it to our Idaho office, plus $5 for shipping. We’ll send you a poster.

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Milk prices are on every producer’s mind. Unfortunately, dairy isn’t as much on the mind of some consumers. I recently used Facebook Lexicon to do some interesting social networking research about how users on one of the Internet’s largest social platforms are talking about milk and dairy products. A most significant reason we as an industry are in a low-price slump is demand for dairy products has decreased. What is interesting is that at the same time demand has decreased, chatter on Facebook about dairy, milk, cheese, ice cream and yogurt have too. See how much it has decreased from last year in the graph above.

This is one of the major components of domestic dairy markets. If cheese were not in oversupply, dairy farm-gate prices would be different.

Our cover shot was taken inside Davisco’s plant in Jerome, Idaho. Plant manager Bill Riebesell said that when his plant starts filling steel 500-pound barrels of cheese so that they can stack the plastic ones on top of them, market supply is outstripping demand. The plant has two overflow areas in the warehouse that are filling up.

So here’s my question: If dairy products were mentioned more frequently would their demand also increase? Perhaps we could all do a little bit to help the situation by asking everyone we meet, “Have you had milk, cheese or yogurt today?”

3-A-Day has never been a more important message to pass along. PD

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Walt Cooley
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