Dairy Report: Production Up, Cows Down & the Plant-Based Milk Battle

Dairy Report 11/20/18
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Releasing their milk production estimates, the United States Department of Agriculture announced that milk production grew 1% to 16.9 billion lbs. in comparison to last year. The average production per cow also grew to 1,934 lbs., however cow numbers decreased by 8,000 head compared to last October.

Marilyn Hershey, chair of Dairy Management Inc., attributes part of this growth in milk production to farm efficiency.

“As farmers, one thing we have always done well is become more efficient,” Hershey says. “Each year Dwyane and I look at our farm and we say, ‘How can we become more efficient?’ That is the mentality of farmers is they want to become better. If that’s the mentality and that’s the way farmers are going to continue to farm, then we need to figure out how we are going to innovate and move more product.”

One product dairy farmers hope will not move off store shelves is plant-based ‘milks’.

The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) is expanding its comment period for plant based ‘milk’ labels yet again. Extending its deadline to January 25, the National Milk Producers Federation says it will take the extension and explain to the FDA why they feel plant-based milk should not have the same label.

“We have a lot of data already that shows that people don’t always know that an almond beverage or a soy drink does not have the same amount of vitamins, minerals and protein as real milk,” says Chris Galen, National Milk Producers Federation. “They may think that because it looks like milk, its packaged like milk and that its sold in the dairy case, that it’s the same. Not all milks are created equal, however.”

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