Dairy Report: Higher Production, Farm Bill Action and Labor

The latest milk production data from USDA shows farmers are still generating a lot of milk despite low prices. Colorado surged ahead, increasing production by 11% from last year. Kansas followed with a 7.5% increase and Texas jumped up in production by 6.6%.

Overall milk production in the top 23 milk producing states last month was 17.2 billion lbs., up 1.3% from a year ago. Individual cow production climbed higher, now at 19,064 lbs. for the month of June. USDA reports this as the highest per cow average since 2003.

Despite higher production numbers, the amount of dairy cattle in the U.S. remained constant, keeping at 9.4 million head for the second year in a row.

The U.S. Senate will soon vote to go to conference with the House on a new Farm Bill, with lawmakers potentially meeting later this week. A formal conference is expected to begin in September. The current law expires Sept. 30, leaving little time for decisions to be made.

New immigration legislation could potentially effect farmers and agricultural employers. The Ag and Legal Workforce Act would replace the current H-2A visa program and would require all employers to start using the E-Verify system to ensure employees are in the U.S. legally.

While the bill is supported by more than 200 agricultural groups, including the American Farm Bureau Federation, the odds are very low the bill becomes law, according to Pro Farmer’s Jim Wiesemeyer.