Dairy Farmers of America held its annual meeting in Kansas City this week with about 1,000 members in attendance. The theme of the meeting this year was “Members: Our Foundation, Our Focus” and the group had a chance to hear from entertaining futurist Dr. Lowell Catlett and US Secretary of Agriculture Mike Johanns.
In an interview, DFA Chairman of the Board Tom Camerlo said that the biggest challenge facing producers right now is high feed prices, “but usually higher grain prices mean higher milk prices, so we just wait the cycle out.”
“Our projections indicate that we’re going to see better prices, but we are concerned whether those prices will cover the increased cost of corn,” said Camerlo. “And in some parts of the country, alfalfa hay is short because of weather or lack of crop.”
Camerlo says he remains optimistic about the dairy business, “As you look down the road, we’ve got a lot of new products coming out, our market is growing. Last year, fluid milk sales were up per capita for the first time in several years and cheese products continue to increase. We’re selling a lot of dairy ingredients like whey powders in protein drinks.”
“Dairy products are the highest quality protein you can get,” said Camerlo. “We’re even in Girl Scout cookies now.”
Listen to the interview with Camerlo here. Camerlo Interview (6 min MP3)