In Episode 3 of The Dairy Download, hosts Phil Plourd and Kathleen Wolfley examine how market upheaval is affecting parts of the dairy supply chain, from farmers to cheese processors. They talk with Kurt Epprecht, Vice President with Great Lakes Cheese Co., about lessons learned during the pandemic. “You asked me about what the bright spots were,” says Kurt in the episode, “and I think the industry is going to step up their risk management efforts going forward out of necessity.” Kurt also shares insights from his father, Hans Epprecht, and offers thoughts on how cheddar is becoming even more dominant among cheeses.
Next, Phil and Kathleen flex their ag econ chops in a discussion with guest John Newton, Chief Economist for the American Farm Bureau Federation, where John breaks down whether the dairy safety net is effective for farmers in 2020. John notes that the next Farm Bill will need to take a hard look at price supports and points out a possible connection between changes to the Federal Order system and record price swings in dairy markets. In the episode, John says, “Even though we've seen milk prices have gained some strength following COVID, not all of that money is making it back to the dairy farmer. I think that's the challenge.”