Tag Archives: Dairy

ARLINGTON, VA – In less than a year, someone will take the presidential oath of office, charged with leading America for the following four years. To get there, whomever wins the 2020 election – a competition that starts in earnest with next week’s Iowa caucuses – will need to win over key constituencies, including farmers and rural voters.


This isn’t a revelation. So many articles have been written since 2016 taking the temperature of voters in Flyover Country that it may be difficult to find a farmer who hasn’t been interviewed by a coastal media outlet. But looking at the farm vote with a little more depth, it’s worth noting which farmers are best-positioned to hold the keys to the White House. Looking at the electoral map, those farmers may be the ones milking cows.


In 2020, dairy farmers find themselves unusually concentrated in states with large numbers of electoral votes, and in swing states, compared to producers of other agricultural commodities. A presidential candidate who wins the five biggest milk-producing states (California, Wisconsin, New York, Idaho and Texas) would gain 136 electoral votes, more than half the total needed to win the White House. Winning the top five growers of the most-valuable crops — corn and soybeans — in comparison, would only get 52 votes.


The top five cattle states garner 111 electoral votes. Top wheat states hold 28 electoral votes. Other ag products tend to be highly regional or have most of their production in a limited number of states.



Of course, barring an extreme shift in U.S. political coalitions, no candidate is likely to count California, Wisconsin, New York, Idaho and Texas in their win column on Nov. 3, so perhaps dairy’s large-state prominence isn’t relevant. After all, conventional wisdom holds that presidential contests are decided by swing states – the ones that aren’t deeply Democratic or Republican and might make the difference for a candidate.


So, how important is dairy in swing states?

Let’s look at two lists – the top eight U.S. dairy states, and the eight closest states in the 2016 presidential election. Notice anything? Wisconsin, Michigan, Pennsylvania and Minnesota – three states that flipped the White House to President Donald Trump in 2016, and another state that came very close – are all top dairy producers.


Dairy’s swing-state strength is the confluence of the industry’s history and America’s political evolution. Livestock and commodity crops were served by railroad networks that could transport the bounty of Midwest and Plains states to more heavily populated regions. Dairy, being more perishable, developed closer to urban areas. As U.S. politics has become increasingly polarized on urban-rural lines, dairy farmers find themselves living in states where big cities and small towns collide.


Dairy farmers live where the political battlegrounds are. They didn’t ask to be there, but if they’re potential difference-makers, it’s worth knowing what they want. Expanded exports are a start. A workable farm-labor system is needed to maintain productivity. Making sure that fake dairy products are properly labeled would go a long way toward ending consumer deception and warming a dairy farmer’s heart. And maybe a candidate could consider drinking a refreshing glass of whole milk at an event – it’s good for them, in many ways.


The next year will be exciting, and crucial for the direction of America. Dairy farmers will play an important role in this decision. We at NMPF already know how much dairy votes matter. Smart candidates will know that too.


ARLINGTON, VA –  Election years always pose challenges for getting things done on Capitol Hill, but dairy is well-positioned to make gains in 2020, according to Paul Bleiberg, the National Milk Producer Federation’s vice president of government relations.


Senate approval of the USMCA trade agreement and a Senate plan on agricultural labor are only two topics in which positive steps could occur, said Bleiberg, NMPF’s chief legislative policy staffer for the past two years. Child nutrition, transportation could also get put on the front burner, depending on what Congress decides to take up this year. “The completion of the USMCA process and the work in the Senate on ag labor are the top two priorities,” Bleiberg said.


Bleiberg also discusses dairy’s role in the 2020 elections and how dairy producers and allies can affect policy. To listen to the full podcast, click here. You can also find the Dairy Defined podcast on SpotifySoundCloud and Google PlayBroadcast outlets may use the MP3 file below. Please attribute information to NMPF.


Chinese trade deal waiting…part of the reason for the bean drop. Running out of steam in the markets. Buy the rumor sell the facts is the feel to the trade. Have we run the market up to much? Export numbers. Market for now is going to say its traded Phase One. Weather in South America is pretty good. Geo-political, bombings in Iran its effects on Wall Street & the dollar. Dairy side of the market has made a top. How long will the correction continue? Cattle market on the holiday slowdown. Limit down trade on the hogs.


ARLINGTON, VA – U.S. milk prices ended 2019 at their highest in five years. And while 2020 may see those gains cool off a bit, they should stay high enough for many producers to start recovering from the doldrums they faced in the second half of the 2010s.


“The bleeding of the past several years will probably stop, to some extent,” said Vitaliano, NMPF’s chief economist and creator of the Dairy Market Report, a monthly drill-down on what’s driving dairy markets. Still, producers must be vigilant to keep costs under control to stay competitive both domestically and internationally, given the cyclical nature of dairy prices, he said.


To listen to the full podcast, click here. To subscribe to the Dairy Market Report, go here. You can also find the Dairy Defined podcast on Spotify,  SoundCloud and Google Play. Broadcast outlets may use the MP3 file below. Please attribute information to NMPF.


(Note: NMPF’s Dairy Defined podcast explores today’s dairy farms and industry using high-quality data and podcast-style interviews to explain current dairy issues and dispel myths.)


SULPHUR SPRINGS, Texas–(BUSINESS WIRE)–The following is an opinion-editorial provided by James C. Hill, Chief Executive Officer of Southwest and Southland Dairy Farmers.

It seems that lately in the “news de jour” there is frequently something about dairy foods or the dairy business. For example, on November 12 of this year, Dean Foods Co. filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection. Since that date, anyone who even casually keeps up with the news would have seen story after story about the reasons the nation’s largest milk processing company was failing. Even Saturday Night Live aired a skit about Dean’s dilemma a week after the filing. But – and here’s the funny thing – it seems that almost as many positive stories about milk and dairy have appeared in the news lately, opposite the speculation about “the decline of the milk industry.” So, what is up with dairy?

Some of the answers to that question (as with most things that have a “side”) depends on who’s providing the answers and their personal points of view. If you’re a committed vegan or happen to think milk from a cow is bad for you, then your answer is somewhere along the lines of, “I told you so… milk alternatives like soy, oat, almond, and coconut have destroyed the dairy milk business.” Conversely, if you’re a dairy lover and eat and/or cook with milk, butter, cheese, ice cream, and other dairy products, then your answer is somewhere along the lines of, “I’ve been hearing these horror stories for years; for every article written that says dairy is bad, I read one that says it’s good.”

So, what is the truth? Yes, Dean Foods Company was failing financially. And yes, part of that failure was due to a slow but consistent decline in demand for fluid milk. But there were a lot of other reasons that contributed to that bankruptcy, most of which can be found in recent news articles. It wasn’t ALL due to declining milk sales. And for the most part, dairy products have received some very good reports recently from health and nutrition experts, and that has generated renewed consumer confidence in most dairy products, including whole milk. Across the board, it seems the dairy industry is enjoying some good product news lately. At least, these reports have helped to debunk some “theories” that were either factually false or misleading. And all of this has helped consumers get back to thinking about milk and dairy as good, wholesome products for them and their families.

Some of the good news about dairy is that it’s still one of the best ways to meet your needs for nine essential vitamins and minerals: phosphorous, B12, calcium, magnesium, vitamin A, vitamin D, riboflavin, niacin, and protein. That’s been known for many years, but it’s interesting that this fact is now becoming better known because consumers are comparing these values to milk alternatives. Most non-dairy “milk” (soy, almond, oat, coconut, and others) contain only one or two natural vitamins or minerals. The rest are artificially added, and some add sugar. Most all of them lack protein. Grade A, natural whole milk has more naturally occurring vitamins and minerals than any of the milk alternatives, and no added sugar. So, the comparison is favorable, and consumers are taking notice.

Other good news that has made a resurgence lately is that milk is excellent for women’s health (including skin, bones, teeth, and heart), as well as early childhood development.

In addition, while the Dean Foods filing and the ongoing “anti-milk” group news has created some negative speculation about milk, it’s interesting to note the real numbers against that speculation. The U. S. fluid milk category has declined about 4% year over year (through Sept. of this year). But that’s NOT because of some massive hit to real milk sales by milk alternatives. According to data presented in a report from the National Milk Producers Federation (NMPF), for the six weeks ending September 8, 2019, about 400 million gallons of milk were sold versus fewer than 100 million gallons of plant-based milk alternatives. Based on those numbers, the score is real milk 4, alternatives 1.

Actually, a drop in cereal sales and a decline in the number of households with children are big factors in falling milk consumption. That’s easy to see in today’s world, with younger households and healthier eating habits that don’t include sugar-coated cereals, plus, a much larger choice in drinks. In fact, a 2017 study from IRI, a data and analytics company, found that 53% of the volume milk lost went to bottled water drinkers. Not sodas, not milk alternatives. Water. Still, 94% of all U. S. households have dairy products in their refrigerators, and dairy consumption overall has risen by nearly 20%. In fact, volume sales of cheese and yogurt are up significantly this year and chocolate milk continues to be a staple for athletes as a recovery drink.

As I stated earlier in this letter, the dairy industry will always have consumers on the “anti-” side as well as on the “pro-” side. It’s telling that for decades, there have always been a lot more people on pro side – and that group continues to grow. Evidence of that growth are the recent comebacks of a number of dairy categories, and the resurgence of “good news” about dairy products has given consumers new perspectives about why milk can, and should be, a part of good things in their lives.

About Southwest/Southland Dairy Farmers

The Southwest Dairy Farmers and Southland Dairy Farmers is an alliance of dairy farmers from twelve southwest and southeast states who have pooled their resources through the U.S. Dairy Check Off program to provide consumer education, promote dairy product use, and enhance the image of the dairy industry. These dairy producers direct and fund all activities through Southwest/Southland Dairy Farmers, based in Tulsa, Oklahoma. For additional information: www.southwestdairyfarmers.com

ARLINGTON, VA – To help consumers find real dairy foods in an increasingly confusing retail marketplace, the National Milk Producers Federation today unveiled a completely redesigned website for the REAL® Seal, www.realseal.com, complete with a buyer’s guide that helps steer shoppers to those brands that feature the REAL Seal and use only real milk.


This is the first significant change in the online presence for the REAL Seal since NMPF first assumed management of the Seal in 2012. The new website will contain more content to educate consumers about why they should look for the REAL® Seal on the foods they buy, while also continuing to help those companies using the Seal to enhance their product marketing.


The new website will educate consumers about the REAL® Seal brand and the benefits of domestic dairy products, as only dairy foods made in America with American-produced cows’ milk are eligible to display the REAL® Seal. The site showcases certified brands and products, and makes it easier for users to learn where to purchase them in retail locations. It also streamlines the REAL® Seal application process to encourage more brands to apply for certification.


“NMPF continues to battle the misuse of dairy terms by plant-based products that seek to copy every aspect of real dairy, apart from nutrition,” said Jim Mulhern, president and CEO of NMPF. “The REAL® Seal allows us to work with food marketers to apply a simple, highly-recognizable icon on their products to help consumers separate the real from the fake.”


The new website both educates consumers about how real dairy foods compare to imitators, and explains how the REAL Seal program delineates which brands can use the seal. The REAL Guide component of the website helps shoppers find certified brands and products displaying the Seal.



“We know many consumers want authentic foods made with quality and integrity. The dairy sector’s use of the REAL Seal, more than 40 years after it was created, is our ongoing commitment to help people define what’s real in the dairy case when they go shopping,” Mulhern said. “As people increasingly turn to online sources for information about their shopping options, this new site is an important part of that mission.” The website is part of the REAL Seal’s suite of digital tools, including its Facebook and Pinterest communities.