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Give Customers What They Want

June 3, 2013
 
 

**Extented comments are highlighted in blue.


Lambert VanderMade

Lambert VanderMade

Sherwood, Ohio

VanderMade Dairy LLC is a family-owned and operated dairy

milking 1,400 cows in northern Ohio.

 


The world demographic keeps changing and so does the demand for food. Dairy is no exception. It is no secret that when a country’s median income rises, people demand more protein in their diets.

Traditionally we have done a great job in this country promoting fluid milk. Even though we have seen declining numbers on fluid, we’re still consuming double the amount per capita of what other comparable countries do. I think the U.S. has one of the best check-off systems out there to promote milk. CWT was not a favorite of mine in regard to "decreasing" the herd, but it seems to work in export assistance.

The only thing that could make the export process better is if we could produce what the world wants, not necessarily what we as Americans like to consume. If someone from another country wants purple cheese in a triangle, why would we try to sell them (and then add CWT money) yellow cheese in a square?

Maybe we would be better off to invest that money into a plant that can produce what the customer wants. With approximately 14% of our milk being exported, it does matter what we produce. I realize that changing an existing plant isn’t a quick process, but if we’re building a new plant, this may be worth looking at.

Domestically, things have shifted as well. People drink less fluid milk but consume much more yogurt products. The result seems to be wash on the amount of milk that needs to be produced, but it has impacted us since our milk pricing system has not kept up with this shift.

If someone would ask what I’d like to see in regard to dairy demand, I’d say the following:

  • Continue to produce safe and high quality milk, regardless of what market we produce it for.
  • Continue educating people on the true value of milk. No other beverage contains what milk has.
  • Produce what the customer wants.

We have Italian cheeses, Mexican cheeses and Greek yogurt. What’s next? I think whoever can figure that out will be able to retire long before us who dairy for a living.

VanderMade’s recent prices

Milk

$20.60 (3.75 bf, 3.15 prt)

Cull cows (dressed)

$1.50/lb.

Springing heifers

$1,400/head

Alfalfa hay (milk cow)

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