Milk, Dairy and Grain Market Commentary By Monica Ganley, Daily Dairy Report
The United States dairy herd continues to expand, driving milk production upward. According to USDA’s Milk Production report, released Thursday, producers added another 3,000 head of cattle between January and February, pushing the national herd up to 9.458 million cows, the largest herd size in decades. The growing herd drove a 2% increase in milk production in February, after accounting for the leap day. USDA also revised January milk production growth up to 2.4% from the 1.6% published in last month’s report. Milk production has been growing for nine consecutive months, following the sudden decline that occurred at the beginning of the pandemic.
Milk production was particularly pronounced in the upper Midwest where relatively mild temperatures during most of the month helped to accelerate gains in milk yields. California milk production also grew by 2.1% during the month and USDA revised the state’s surprising January loss of 0.7% printed in last January’s report to a gain of 2% in February. Perhaps most shocking, however, was that despite the devastation brought about by winter storm Uri, Texas and New Mexico still managed to post year over year production increases of 5.3% and 1%, respectively, in February. It is likely that the full effects of the storm will show up in future reports as culling in those geographies increased and dumped milk, while captured in the milk production figures, never made its way into finished products.
In any case, milk is undeniably long and with the spring flush imminent in most parts of the country, supplies are expected to remain plentiful. Yet even as milk remains abundant, demand has also perked up, helping to keep markets in balance. Bottlers in several areas of the country are reporting improved demand, even as educational institutions head into spring break. The foodservice sector has also begun to improve and retail demand for dairy products, has remained robust as spring holidays near. Dairy product manufacturers report that their schedules remain busy as they attempt to clear spot loads of milk and satisfy
Farm Workforce Modernization Act Passes House, Moves to Senate for Consideration
By Kevin Abernathy, General Manager
Yesterday, the U.S. House of Representatives voted 247-174 to pass the Farm Workforce Modernization Act (H.R. 1603), with 217 Democrats and 30 Republicans supporting the bill. It's encouraging to see a move in the direction of bipartisanship, hopefully signaling a return to the art of compromise in Washington, D.C. rather than straight party-line votes.
As we noted in our March 5 edition of the Friday Report, MPC is strongly supportive of this legislation, and we look forward to working with the national dairy coalition to help advance and improve this legislation in the Senate. MPC extends its thanks to the following California House Congressional members for their support of H.R. 1603:
Jim Costa (D-Fresno)
John Garamendi (D-Walnut Grove)
Josh Harder (D-Turlock)
Doug LaMalfa (R-Oroville)
Zoe Lofgren (D-San Jose)
Devin Nunes (R-Tulare)
Jimmy Panetta (D-Carmel Valley)
David Valadao (R-Hanford)
National Milk Producers Federation (NMPF) has been leading the national dairy coalition on this effort. Here's what NMPC President and CEO Jim Mulhern had to say yesterday:
“Today’s bipartisan passage of the Farm Workforce Modernization Act (FWMA) in the House of Representatives provides crucial momentum toward addressing dairy’s ongoing workforce crisis, which has only intensified during the COVID pandemic. NMPF thanks the House members who have championed these reforms, Immigration Subcommittee Chair Zoe Lofgren (D-CA) and Congressman Dan Newhouse (R-WA), for undertaking the difficult task of negotiating an agricultural labor bill that’s attracted a wide range of support as it has moved through the chamber. NMPF will continue its bipartisan efforts in Congress and calls on the Senate to enact its own ag labor reform measure that gives dairy reliable access to the workforce farmers and farmworkers need to nourish the nation and the world.”
If you're interested in further reading about H.R. 1603 and the current political climate in Washington, D.C. surrounding immigration reform, you can check out this article published yesterday in The New York Times.