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December 2017 U.S. milk production turned in another modest increase, up just 1.1 percent compared to the same month a year earlier. Troubling, however, is that the number of milk cows increased and is now at the highest level since August.

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Projected milk prices aren’t good, and insurable margins using various safety nets and marketing tools aren’t much better, according to Alan Zepp, risk management program manager at Pennsylvania's Center for Dairy Excellence (CDE).

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Without getting into specifics, U.S. Ag Secretary Sonny Perdue said the USDA’s “principles” for the 2018 Farm Bill will include a stronger safety net for farmers “to weather times of economic stress without distorting markets or increasing shallow loss payments.”

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Digest Highlights: Two California dairy producers groups asked the state ag department for a public hearing to plea for an emergency hike in milk prices. U.S. Jersey breeders are funding research into A2 milk. New York court dismisses lawsuit seeking collective bargaining rights for farm workers. Find a summary of this and other news here.

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With milk production growth expected to continue, the U.S. dairy industry must build up domestic markets while developing a greater international market presence, a panel of dairy leaders told participants at the 2018 Dairy Strong, held Jan. 17-18, in Madison, Wisconsin.

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