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Weekly Digest: Kids drive family milk, dairy purchases

Progressive Dairy Editor Dave Natzke Published on 27 January 2021

Digest Highlights

Kids drive family milk, dairy purchases

It’s probably no surprise to dairy farmers that U.S. families with children look to dairy for nutrition and purchase larger quantities of fluid milk and more fluid milk with a higher fat content.



An article in JDS Communications, (Dairy product purchasing in households with and without children, by Mario Ortez, Courtney Bir, Nicole Olynk Widmar and Jonathan Townsend), summarizes survey results from 1,440 households, collected by researchers from Purdue University and Oklahoma State University.

Of the 1,440 respondents, 521 indicated that they had at least one child in the household; 912 indicated they did not have children in their household. Of those households with children, 511 of 521 respondents indicated they frequently purchased food specifically for children.

In addition to purchasing higher-fat milk varieties, households with children also bought yogurt more frequently than other households.

Other findings from the survey indicated that cheese and milk are most often purchased for part of a meal, and yogurt is bought most frequently as a snack. The survey also found that households largely reported reviewing product attributes of price, expiration date and nutritional information (in that order) on egg, milk and meat labels.

“This study demonstrates the continued belief among American consumers that dairy products are an important part of a healthy diet fed to children. The popularity of whole milk, cheese and yogurt within these households suggests that children enjoy the taste of dairy products and are happy to have them served during regular meals and at snack time,” said Matthew Lucy, editor in chief of JDS Communications, University of Missouri, Columbia, Missouri.


JDS Communications is an open access, peer-reviewed journal of the American Dairy Science Association.

2021 DMC enrollment inches higher

The USDA continues to enter 2021 Dairy Margin Coverage (DMC) program enrollment data. As of Jan. 25, 18,509 dairy operations (about 73.4% of those with established milk production history) had enrolled in the 2021 DMC program. Milk production enrolled for 2021 was estimated at 161.45 billion pounds, about 79.5% of the established history. Enrollment closed on Dec. 11, 2020.

State-by-state enrollment information is available here.

Milk and feed price factors used to calculate December 2020 DMC margin and potential indemnity payments will be released on Jan. 29.

Read also: USDA and dairy farmers work together to mitigate risk for 2021.

California QIP sunset plan referendum scheduled

California dairy producers will vote on a plan to sunset the state’s Quota Implementation Plan (QIP) during a referendum, March 4-June 1.


California Department of Food and Agriculture Secretary Karen Ross signed the order on Jan. 25, confirming a December 2020 recommendation by Administrative Law Judge Timothy Aspinwall that the plan move to a producer referendum.

The plan equalizes regional quota adjusters such that the quota premium in all counties equals $1.43 per hundredweight (cwt). The QIP would then be terminated, effective March 1, 2025.

The petition was born out of a multiyear legal and administrative effort which Progressive Dairy has covered extensively in the past. Additional background and history are available here.

USDEC previews key factors that will impact U.S. dairy trade

Krysta Harden, chief operating officer of the U.S. Dairy Export Council (USDEC), outlined nine “signposts” that will guide dairy export performance in 2021. They include:

1. Aggregate milk production growth from the “Big Six” global dairy suppliers – New Zealand, the European Union, Australia, Argentina, Belarus and the U.S.

2. The role of U.S. government purchases and producer financial support and the resulting impact on milk supply

3. A recovery in food service demand

4. The scope and strength of the global economic recovery

5. The ability to manage shipping and logistics challenges

6. The recovery of China’s pork industry and the demand for U.S. whey

7. The U.S. ability to sustain record-breaking market share in Southeast Asia

8. The recovery (or stagnation) of demand from Mexico

9. The direction of U.S. trade policy under the Biden administration

For additional details, read the article by William Loux, USDEC director of global trade analysis, posted on the U.S. Dairy Exporter Blog.

Things you might have missed

  • The Upper Midwest Federal Milk Marketing Order (FMMO) is increasing its administrative assessment from 3 cents to 6 cents per cwt on milk produced after Feb. 1, 2021. According to Vic Halverson, Upper Midwest FMMO market administrator, the limited volume of milk pooled in many of the months since September 2019 necessitated this action. The rate will decrease as conditions allow.

  • With USDA National Ag Statistics Service (NASS) reports impacting agricultural markets and producer prices, an American Farm Bureau Federation working group recommended the agency take steps to increase report transparency, adopt new and innovative information analysis technology, and work to encourage farmers’ accurate and timely participation in data collection efforts.

  • The USDA is temporarily suspending past-due debt collections and foreclosures for distressed borrowers under the Farm Service Agency’s (FSA) Farm Storage Facility Loan and Direct Farm Loan programs. The USDA announcement covers non-judicial foreclosures, debt offsets or wage garnishments, and halts referring foreclosures to the Department of Justice. Among other provisions, the USDA has also extended deadlines for producers to respond to loan servicing actions, including loan deferral consideration. According to USDA data, more than 12,000 borrowers – approximately 10% of all borrowers – are eligible for the relief contained in the announcement.  end mark
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