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Industry News

Read coverage of current events and news affecting dairy producers and the industry.

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After establishing a transportation company this year, I had the opportunity to survey retail prices in a large portion of the central U.S. It started or was prompted by a Toledo, Ohio store offering 1-gallon jugs for $1.75, regardless of fat content.

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January 2009 seems like a decade ago. Milk price averaged a balmy $16.12. Predictions of 2009 losses of $1,000 per cow seemed fanciful. We urged both producers and industry to work together to cushion against an industry-wide decimation, and wondered how farms would cope. Now we know. Unfortunately, the end of this story is far from over and although now we know, we don’t know it all.

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Milk production on a global scale had a definite impact on U.S. milk prices the past few years. Looking forward, it will be domestic production that will have the largest influence on prices in 2010.

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At the beginning of 2008, Progressive Dairyman reported that a major flood destroyed farms and towns in southwestern Washington. The combination of rain, warmer temperatures and melting snow in the mountains caused rivers to flood their banks and spill enough water to close I-5 for many days, which cost the state of Washington millions in revenue each day.

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Dairy cow population reduction
• Economists estimated the industry would need to remove between five and six billion pounds of milk, the production of approximately 250,000 cows, to boost milk prices.

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John de Jonge of Abbotsford, British Columbia, went to a trade show in China two years ago. He set up a booth for Artex Barn Solutions, displaying several Canadian flags. He says he didn’t really expect to sell anything. But when the Chinese saw the Canadian flags, they swarmed the booth.

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