Milk, cheese prices fall while USDA, industry discuss proposals

While the hearing on the Federal Milk Marketing Order system enters its sixth week, the prices paid for milk and cheese continue to fall. 

The USDA hearing on the orders began August 23rd, five weeks ago today.  Just since the hearing began, farmers have seen milk checks continue to fall with the Class III October price down 77 cents, November down 78 cents, and December down 72 cents per hundredweight.  On the processor side, whey, butter, and nonfat dry milk prices are higher but block and barrel cheese prices are lower.  Whey is three cents higher in the past five weeks.  Cheese blocks are $0.1325 lower.  Barrels are $0.2650 lower.  Butter’s recent spike moved the price $0.4750 higher than five weeks ago.  Nonfat dry milk gained $0.0750 in that same period. 

Producers argue changes are needed in the Federal Milk Marketing Order system to prevent losses including the negative producer price differentials that took large deductions from milk checks during and after the pandemic.  Processors say they need larger make allowances to generate more money to produce and market dairy products.  

The hearing on the federal order system is in Mt. Carmel, Indiana, but online testimony from farmers is accepted on Fridays. Much of Tuesday’s testimony centered on risk management for processors.

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