In your January 10, 2020 issue . . .

USDA PROJECTED A $19.40 ALL-MILK PRICE for 2020 in the latest World Agricultural Supply and Demand Estimates. Fueled partially by cheese, that estimate was 50 cents higher than last month’s forecast.

CHEDDAR CHEESE BARRELS GAVE UP all of the October and November rally on the CME after the market settled at $1.61 per pound. That slide from a five-year market high also was the largest recorded market correction for barrels in CME trading history.

TO SOME DEGREE, TRADERS HAD EXPECTED cheese to fall. When spot Cheddar blocks and barrels sold for over $2 per pound, January to June Class III future contracts averaged $17.90 per cwt. After cheese prices reached a new equilibrium, those same contracts netted $17.05. July to November contracts averaged $17.50.

U.S. CHEESE SETTLED AT LEVELS closer to major dairy exporters. New Zealand cheese fetched roughly $1.70 per pound, while curd from the European Union sold for near $1.60. Most market analysts believe the market-corrected U.S. spot cheese prices will be more sustainable.

THE FARM WORKFORCE MODERNIZATION ACT gained more momentum in late December when the bill passed the House of Representatives on a 260 to 165 vote. It now awaits Senate action.

DESIGNED TO PRESERVE AMERICA’S agricultural workforce, the legislation allows existing farm workers to earn legal status without creating amnesty. The act would apply to both seasonal and year-round farm jobs.

A NEW TRADE DEAL between the U.S., Mexico, and Canada inched forward as House Democrats and the President reached a verbal agreement. Once the Trump administration submits legislative text to Congress, a 90-day-approval clock begins. Turn to page 14 for more details.

THE U.S. AND CHINA REACHED a limited trade pact. China would avoid retaliatory tariffs that stand at 15 to 25 percent. In return, President Trump said China would buy $50 billion worth of agricultural goods; about half of that total would include energy and manufactured goods.

AT ITS PEAK, CHINA IMPORTED $26 BILLION of agricultural goods. That number slid below $7 billion in the 12 months through May 2019.

SPECIFIC TO DAIRY, U.S. dairy exports to China peaked at $577 million in 2017 and then fell 29 percent during the next year. Through September 2019, dairy sales to the Asian nation were off another 30 percent.2

NESTLÉ PLANS TO SELL ITS U.S. ICE CREAM business to a private equity firm. Americans eat more ice cream than any other people in the world. In 2010, Nestlé had 19.3 percent of the U.S. market share, but that number dropped to 15 percent last year, according to Euromonitor. It owns the Häagen-Dazs, Magnum, Ben & Jerry’s, and Talenti brands.

In your next issue!

As winners of the nation’s top milk quality awards, these Idaho, Michigan, Minnesota, and Wisconsin farm teams share their best practices.

When using beef semen to create crossbred calves, keep quality beef characteristics in mind.

Restoring soil function after compaction takes good agronomic decisions . . . and time.