Dairy Report: Milk Markets Holding Strong, Ben and Jerry's Lawsuit

10:30AM Nov 12, 2019
Whitesides Dairy 001
Steve Whitesides dairy.
( Lindsey Benne )

The United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) is not changing its price forecast for all-milk. In the November WASDE report, USDA is leaving the 2020 all-milk price forecast the same at $18.85 per cwt.

That's despite raising milk production estimates for both 2019 and 2020 from the previous month. Some Class III milk prices are trading between the $17 to $20 dollar range currently.

"Hopefully, we can sustain that through the winter and spring months so we don't have the catastrophe with milk prices being so low they can't start to pay their bills," says John Maxwell, Cinnamon Ridge Farms of Donahue, Iowa. "But just like it was long going into it, it's going to be long coming out of it. Those milk prices need to keep going in the right direction."

USDA lowered the fat basis export forecast for 2020, as higher domestic cheese price are expected to affect the competitiveness of the U.S. cheese in international markets.

Ben and Jerry's Lawsuit

Ben and Jerry's is facing a lawsuit accusing the company of false advertising because it says the milk and cream in its products comes from "happy cows."

The complaint was filed in federal court in Burlington, Vermont. That's where Ben and Jerry's was founded. Environmental advocate James Ehlers accuses the company and Unilever of deceiving consumers. He claims many of the farms that produce the milk and cream are factory-style, mass production dairy operations. 

A Ben and Jerry's spokesman says while the company doesn't comment on pending lawsuits he says it's proud of the work it's done with Vermont family farmers and is committed to building a resilient, regenerative dairy supply.

For more Dairy Report coverage, read:

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