18 episodes

Experienced dairy traders from T.C. Jacoby & Co. discuss issues, trends and dairy market movements that will impact the prices paid to U.S. dairy farmers for the milk they produce. Episodes are posted each month just before the previous month's final checks are paid to dairy farmers.

The Milk Check T.C. Jacoby & Co. - Dairy Traders

    • Business
    • 4.3 • 16 Ratings

Experienced dairy traders from T.C. Jacoby & Co. discuss issues, trends and dairy market movements that will impact the prices paid to U.S. dairy farmers for the milk they produce. Episodes are posted each month just before the previous month's final checks are paid to dairy farmers.

    Jacoby memories: Dairy industry development over a half-century

    Jacoby memories: Dairy industry development over a half-century

    On this edition of The Milk Check, T3 and Anna join our dairy market sage and patriarch, Ted Jr., on a trip down memory lane to talk about how the dairy industry has developed over more than 50 years.







    They discuss changes in trucking, processing and entrepreneurship, among many other topics.







    The trio also debates how the Federal Order System has impacted the industry, whether it still holds water in today's market and the perception that dairy producers are often the most impacted by market downturns.























    T3: I thought this podcast would be a great opportunity to just talk a little bit about history. Talk a little bit about what were markets like back in the '60s and how have they evolved into what we're dealing with today? And maybe what are some of the things that are still the same and what are some of the things that are different? And I just thought it would be a great perspective to talk about how milk and cheese and whey and cream, how it all moved back then, and how it all moves around and gets balanced today. We really haven't talked about things from a historical perspective, and I thought it would just be a great conversation.







    T2: Well, let's start in the '50s. Tank trucks came in in the mid-'50s. They were relatively small, they were about 30,000, 35,000. By the time you got to 1960 or so, you're up to a load somewhere between 45,000. In those days, the Class 1 utilization was paramount. Depending on where you were located, you had basically 60%-plus Class 1 utilization and milk move from upper Wisconsin, Eau Claire and Bloomer and Turtle Lake, during the short period of the year, we...back to almost everywhere, to Florida to Louisiana, New Orleans, Dallas, you name it, St. Louis was a big market. Indianapolis in the '60s had 20 to 30 loads a day moving out of basically the Fond du Lac area down to Indianapolis, which is why Foremost is prominent in Indiana these days is because a lot of that milk was Foremost Milk, they actually had an office in Indiana, which wasn't closed until a few years ago.







    The market was much different. Class 1 utilization was the big item and we had a much more cyclical milk production profile, if you will, where in the fall of the year when it got hot, and it seems to me, if my memory serves, it got much hotter in the '60s and '70s than it does today. And production really languished, particularly down in the Southeast. And so huge volumes of milk moved and most of that milk was moved directly out of plants. It wasn't moved directly from the farm, never moved directly from the farm until, oh, probably sometime in the '90s. Farms got big enough and the technology of dairy farming reached that point. That was the way the industry was structured in those days. And it's a much different structure today.







    T3: To be back in the '50s and 60s, you also had a lot of Grade B milk, we don't ever talk about Grade B milk anymore. How did that affect the industry?







    T2: Actually, we didn't have that much Grade B milk, and most of what we had stayed home. Yeah, we moved a little, it wasn't really that much. There were quality standards when you moved. Acid was the primary quality standard, acid and temperature. And you expected the milk to show up at a bacteria count of something less, basically, than 750,000 or half a million. Again, depending on where you were, and temperature less than 45 degrees. So that was the standard. And it wouldn't make any difference whether it was B or A in those days. Quality was not a matter of somebody saying that it was B or A, it was a matter of what showed up at the plant. And if it wasn't suitable when it showed up at the plant, it was rejected. It wasn't a question of arguing about it, it was rejected.

    • 41 min
    International trade practice and policy in perspective

    International trade practice and policy in perspective

    This time on The Milk Check, we welcome a leading mind in international trade policy and personal friend of the podcast.







    Jaime Castaneda is senior vice president of policy strategy and international trade for the National Milk Producers Federation, where he oversees the development and implementation of domestic policy. He also leads international trade negotiations for the U.S. dairy industry as senior vice president of trade policy for the U.S. Dairy Export Council.







    Jaime joins the Teds in a discussion of how trade policy developed over Jaime's 22 years in the industry, from dairy farmers' early reluctance to accept imports to the industry's ongoing efforts to improve and enforce trade agreements.







    Among other topics, they also debate whether the Federal Order System and tariff rates are holding back U.S. dairy in international markets, or if the problem is our slow response to short-term international economics and low customer loyalty outside of domestic markets.























    T3: Hello, everybody. Welcome to the "Milk Check," episode 35. It is March 16, and our guest today is Jaime Castenada from the U.S. Dairy Export Council. But I believe you wear multiple hats. So, I'll let you describe what roles you fill with USDEC and National Milk.







    Jaime: Yeah. Thanks. Good afternoon to everyone. I am actually the senior vice president for the National Milk Producers Federation. Under that capacity, I oversee the development and implementation of domestic policy, an area of different issues, including from the initiative of Foundation for the Future, that was the preload to the dairy margin coverage to Farm Bills to just name it. At the same time, I served in my capacity, as senior vice president for policy and trade, I also lead our partnership with the U.S. Dairy Export Council and serve now, for almost, actually, next month is going to be 22 years that I am with the industry and that I have been serving as our partner with the U.S. Dairy Export Council.







    T3: Well, wow, we're lucky to have you. And T.C. Jacolby & Company is one of the founding members of the U.S. Dairy Export Council and we've been involved with the U.S. Dairy Export Council from the very beginning. Have you been involved with the U.S. Dairy Export Council the whole time?







    Jaime: Yes, yes. In fact on Suber, really, I discuss joining the U.S. Dairy Export Council. Tut the way we work is that we operate everything that relates to policy under National Milk, specifically related to trade, just to make sure that, if you remember, the U.S. Dairy Export Council, it's a cooperator for USDA, which receives monies from MAP, the checkoff funds as well as MAP money. So, in order to make sure that advocacy is properly and it's done using membership dues, then we created this ability. And I do remember sitting... And now at U.S. Dairy Export Council is a large organization, 150 members more or less. And I do remember when sitting with Ted Sr. in a small table, Lei Jensen and a few other folks that were the original founders of the U.S. Dairy Export Council.







    Ted: Those were the days. I remember those days very vividly. It goes back, what, to the '90s?







    Jaime: Yeah, 1999. 1999, and that's where we began developing the trade policy. If you remember, prior to 1999, even dairy farmers, and this is a lot of credit to folks like yourself and Tom Camaro that look at the vision and the future. And if you remember, dairy farmers were not very keen on trade. In fact, if you talked to them on trade, in the 1990s, it was all about, "We hate imports." And it was the development through this small group of folks that were the visionaries that we developed this trade policy and this perspective,

    • 33 min
    Behind the scenes with Jacoby’s dairy traders, part two

    Behind the scenes with Jacoby’s dairy traders, part two

    On this two-part edition of The Milk Check, listeners get a seat at the table during our mass balance report meeting, held after the release of monthly milk production numbers. Our traders gather to evaluate the data, forecast class allocations, share what they're hearing from buyers and sellers, and chart price data to predict market developments. 







    Our regular cohosts, Ted, T3 and Anna, are joined by Don Street, director of global strategy; Gus Jacoby, executive vice president of the Fluid Dairy Group; Jacob Menge, director of risk management; Brianne Breed, vice president of cheese and butter sales; Joe Maixner, cheese and butter sales manager; and Diego Carvallo, director of dry dairy ingredient trading.







    In part one, we evaluated the fundamentals of the dairy markets and what the monthly production numbers mean for different industry sectors.







    Now in part two, we look at anecdotal evidence in the wider marketplace, such as the consumer price index and international trade, to forecast dairy's future in the global economy.























    Anna: Welcome back to part two of the March episode of "The Milk Check," where we're going to continue to listen in as the team participates in our monthly mass balance report. If you missed Part 1, make sure to go back and listen.







    T3: Thanks, Anna. In this section, we'll rejoin Jake and our dairy product trading team as we talk this time about things on a much more macroeconomic level. Jake gets into a fascinating discussion about what we think inflation is going to be doing over the next few years and, from that, we'll dovetail some of the more kind of higher-level issues that we're paying attention to and how those issues might affect dairy production. Jake, take it away.







    Jacob: Alright. Let's kick off the product trade discussion side of things. A lot of times when we discuss the product group, we'll start kind of with a macroeconomic outlook. And I think today the obvious place to start is inflation. And we've been talking about inflation for a while. This week and last week, some really notable things happened on inflation, so I have to talk about it for two seconds here because it actually relates directly to milk in my opinion.







    OK, so let's talk about the consumer price index for just one second, right? It's what everybody uses to gauge inflation. You've probably heard, like, "Oh, for the last decade, we've had very low inflation." And if you use the CPI as your gauge for that, then it's true.







    I think the CPI is broken for gauging inflation and here's my reasoning behind that. Over the past 10 years, the wealth gap has gotten larger between the top 25% and the bottom 25%. And the CPI is terrible, terrible at capturing inflation on the assets where the wealth is actually growing.







    And so here's my example. CPI. What is it? It basically looks at a basket of things like fuel, of food, of housing, stuff like that, OK? I'll be very blunt. If one person makes $100,000 extra in a year or 10 people make $10,000 extra, it turns out that person that made $100,000 extra doesn't go buy extra bread with their $100,000, right?







    And so the CPI does not reflect that. What does the person that made the extra $100,000 buy? Stocks. They invest it. That, in my opinion, is where inflation has existed; it's the stock market.







    And that is actually pretty well-reflected in P/E ratios, right? Everyone these days is saying like, "P/E ratios are worthless," blah, blah, blah. Well, why is that? It's really a function of inflation. It's a different type of inflation but that is really, really, really, really important to commodities to understand.

    • 20 min
    Behind the scenes with Jacoby’s dairy traders, part one

    Behind the scenes with Jacoby’s dairy traders, part one

    On this two-part edition of The Milk Check, listeners get a seat at the table during our mass balance report meeting, held after the release of monthly milk production numbers. Our traders gather to evaluate the data, forecast class allocations, share what they're hearing from buyers and sellers, and chart price data to predict market developments. 







    Our regular cohosts, Ted, T3 and Anna, are joined by Don Street, director of global strategy; Gus Jacoby, executive vice president of the Fluid Dairy Group; Jacob Menge, director of risk management; Brianne Breed, vice president of cheese and butter sales; Joe Maixner, cheese and butter sales manager; and Diego Carvallo, director of dry dairy ingredient trading.







    In part one, we evaluate the fundamentals of the dairy markets and what the monthly production numbers mean for different industry sectors.







    In part two, we will look at anecdotal evidence in the wider marketplace, such as the consumer price index and international trade, to forecast dairy's future in the global economy.























    Anna: Welcome to "The Milk Check," a podcast from T.C. Jacoby & Company where we share market insights and analysis with dairy farmers in mind. Today on "The Milk Check," we're doing things a little bit differently. Every month, the T.C. Jacoby & Company, we have a conversation that we call the mass balance report, and it happens right after the monthly milk production numbers come out. We get all the available traders in the company together to discuss what the most current reports and numbers mean. This month, our listeners will get an opportunity to eavesdrop on that conversation. This edition will be released in two parts, so be sure to listen to both to get their thoughts on a variety of topics, from production and utilization to inflation.







    T3: Thanks, Anna. And thank you everybody for listening today. So when you're listening to our traders talk, the thing to keep in mind is a lot of times when we're trying to get our head around what we think prices might do, there're really three elements to that process.







    The first element is evaluating the fundamentals. As you hear Don Street talk about what the milk production report has done and what we think milk production is going to do and where milk is gonna be allocated between the different classes of milk, you're really gonna be hearing us talking about the fundamentals.







    The second part that goes into our evaluation is what I call the anecdotal evidence, which is the fact that our traders are talking to buyers and sellers of dairy products in the marketplace every day. And what we're hearing from those buyers and sellers also goes into our opinions of what the market might do.







    The final thing that comes into play is where we are evaluating what we call the technical information. All of the futures and options markets we have in the dairy industry today and all of the spot auctions that we have in the industry today ultimately create a series of price data. And as you chart that price data, those charts often give you signals as to what you think this market might do next. And when you hear Jacob Menge, our director of risk management, talk, that's mostly what you're going to be hearing, him looking at those charts and telling us what those charts are hinting at. So I think this conversation today is gonna be a very interesting conversation, and I hope you enjoy it as much as we do.







    T3: Joining us today is Don Street, our director of global strategy.







    Don: Hey, Ted. Glad to be here.







    T3: Gus Jacoby, executive vice president of our fluid dairy group.







    Gus: Hello,

    • 24 min
    New normals for a dairy lobbyist

    New normals for a dairy lobbyist

    The Milk Check welcomes guest J. David Carlin to discuss the role of dairy lobbyists in Washington, how they've adjusted to the pandemic and industry outlooks during the Biden administration.







    Carlin is the International Dairy Foods Association's senior vice president of legislative affairs and economic policy.







    Ted, T3 and Anna talk with their guest about issues like how lobbying via Zoom allows for additional public input, the importance of enforcing international trade deals, volatility in dairy pricing and much more.























    T3: Good morning, everybody. Welcome. Today, we have a guest. I'd like to introduce everybody to Dave Carlin. Dave is senior vice president of legislative affairs and economic policy for the International Dairy Foods Association. Dave, welcome. Thanks for joining us.







    Dave: Thanks, Ted. Glad to be with you.







    T3: Why don't you just, kind of, tell everybody a little bit about what you do? What's your job in Washington?







    Dave: Well, I'm one of those lobbyists that probably keeps the town running in a lot of different ways, but we're not very popular outside the Beltway. So, that's what I've been doing in Washington for the last, oh, I guess, 30, 35 years. And I came to IDFA about six and a half years ago; grew up on a dairy farm in central Kansas. So, a little bit of a homecoming for me and decided at least that I could, if I'm going to lobby, I could lobby on behalf of an industry that I care about and believe in.







    So, I'm part of a team of folks over here at IDFA that advocates for policy positions with the Congress and the administration that we think will benefit the dairy industry. And we work with our members to prioritize those policy requests and make sure that whatever we're working toward is going to be impactful and meaningful.







    So we've, of course, been very active in the COVID policy debate. We work a lot on nutrition issues and trade issues, given how important trade is to our industry, and a lot of other issues that come up here in Washington. We also do little work in the economic policy area as my title, kind of, indicates. So, milk pricing issues and FMMO issues or other things that we sometimes focus on, and I get involved in here.







    That's, kind of, a 30,000-foot view of what I do. I'm not walking the halls of Congress these days, that hasn't been possible since COVID started last March. So, my world, like everybody else's, is very virtual, but we've managed to create some new pathways and make it work, from a virtual standpoint. So, advocacy continues here in Washington, and hopefully, as I said, it will benefit our industry going forward. So, that's my 30,000-foot overview of what I do.







    T3: As I was hearing you talk, Dave, you provided what I thought was the perfect segue. Tell us about what lobbying Congress was like during COVID, because so much happened in the last 12 months as this pandemic evolved. Kind of give us a walkthrough of how that played out, from your perspective.







    Dave: Yeah, and I will start by saying it played out much better than I would have ever expected when we first got into this mess. Typically, as I said, I'm able to go to the House and Senate office buildings, I can set up meetings with staff and see members, and we did fundraisers and events in the evenings on the political side. That was what I did for 30 years and then COVID hit. And the Congress basically shut down like everything else shut down, all the buildings were closed, members were working from their home states and districts a lot of times, staff were scattered to the wind.







    And I really thought, "Gosh,

    • 38 min
    COVID has changed consumer behavior. Is it permanent?

    COVID has changed consumer behavior. Is it permanent?

    Did you rediscover the joy of cooking this year?







    You're not alone.







    There's no doubt that dairy consumer behaviors have changed in the COVID era. Who does it help and who does it hurt? Who can capitalize and who's in trouble? Ted, T3 and Anna debate.







    Also, T3 observes an even more worrying trend among Millennial and Generation Z consumers on the horizon—and it's got nothing to do with the pandemic.























    Anna: Welcome to "The Milk Check," a podcast from T.C. Jacoby & Company, where we share market insights and analysis with dairy farmers in mind.







    Ted: You know, we're heading down the road from fall into winter, and temperatures are dropping and worried reports of the virus picking up speed in various parts of the country. Do we expect to have another debacle of dumped milk because of it? Obviously, my answer would be no.







    T3: Mine would too.







    Ted: And I think that there may be a silver lining, you know, not because of the virus but because of the fact that we now have some experience with it. I think it's correct to say that retail cheese sales are up. And I think they're up by, I saw, I've seen a number of different reports but anywhere from 1% to 3%.







    T3: Oh, I think it's more than that. I think most assumptions right now, they may be up 1% to 3% in the current week. But I think, you know, since let's say April 1st, most of the numbers I see are within, let's say 3 or 4 percentage points of 10%.







    Ted: Retail.







    T3: Retail. And there's an offset obviously on the foodservice side.







    Ted: Yeah. Well, the question that I wanted to raise, even though I don't recall 10% but the question that I wanted to raise is, will we lose that going forward? And I'm beginning to come down on the side that we won't, I don't think it'll sustain necessarily that level of increase but I doubt if it's going to go back to where it was before the pandemic. People started using cheese and eating cheese and became more accustomed to cheese. And I've several times used the example of my cheese counter at one of the stores I shop at that specializes in organic and really good specialty cheeses, and sometimes their cheese counter, which is relatively small but really well-stocked, is so crowded. I can hardly get at it. I have to elbow my way in and they stock a lot of artisan cheese and foreign cheeses and so on. Especially cheeses with cranberries and chives and all sorts of stuff.







    I think the increase in sales of cheese are locked in. Now, is that going to translate to increases in cheddar block or barrels? Well, that's another question, isn't it? And I don't know whether it will or won't. I tend to think that we may see this vertical integration sort of come to a halt and we see more diversification in cheese manufacturing towards different styles of cheese. In the last—Teddy correct me if I'm wrong—10, 20, 30 years. We've seen vertical integration where people have gone huge plants to mot the cheddar blocks to cheddar barrels, in some cases to parmesan, and they basically chew up milk at a commodity sale cheese.







    I think we're heading more towards specialty kinds of pieces. I think of Emmy as a good example. They produce a lot of different styles and they market them. I get this one website called The Deli Markets or something like that, that I happened to be on the email list for and all those different styles of cheeses, Carr Valley, Cowgirl Creamery, and all those different styles of cheese are on display at these cheese counters now. And people are picking up these little pieces and trying them. I think it tended to go in that direction.

    • 21 min

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