News Wire

Kansas, Mo.-based Dairy Farmers of America Inc. (DFA) will cease operations at its Lovington, N.M., cheese plant, jointly owned and operated with the Greater Southwest Agency. Opened in 1995, the Lovington plant produced 65 million pounds of 40-pound block cheddar cheese annually. Production will be transferred to other DFA plants. The announcement comes after years of repeated efforts to stimulate successful operations, including periodic adjustments to the production schedule and an expansion to help the facility better accommodate increased volume. Despite these efforts, the plant has failed to achieve a financially viable status, DFA reports.
The recently announced joint venture between Colombia’s La Alqueria SA and Groupe Danone is tied to the quality assurance overhaul Alqueria undertook when it joined Naperville, Ill.-based Quality Chekd Dairies Inc. in 1994. As the only dairy processing operation in Colombia to adhere to the strict quality guidelines required for full Quality Chekd affiliation, Alqueria is well positioned for its new joint venture with the French food giant, which includes construction of a dedicated plant. Starting next year, the partnership’s fresh dairy products facility will initially serve the Colombian market, with later potential for export.
A report released last month by the California Milk Advisory Board (CMAB) says the Golden State must clear many hurdles in the coming years to fully reach its potential as a leader in the dairy industry. Three key challenges are rising environmental regulatory costs, oversupply of raw milk and lack of investment in innovation and proprietary capacity, according to the study prepared for CMAB by McKinsey & Co. The report further recommends several alternatives for action to best take on these challenges.
Washington D.C.-based Cheese Importers Association of America (CIAA) last month expressed its strong opposition to the Bush administration’s proposed Dairy Import Assessment as part of the 2007 Farm Bill. The CIAA has delivered letters signed by a broad cross-section of its members to House Agriculture Committee Chairman Collin Peterson (D-Minn.), House Ways & Means Committee Chairman Charles Rangel (D-N.Y.), Senate Agriculture Committee Chairman Tom Harkin (D-Iowa), and Senate Finance Committee Chairman Max Baucus (D-Mont.), expressing their strong opposition to the proposed tax and its inclusion in the Farm Bill.
St. Louis-based Monsanto Co. wants dairies to stop labeling their milk “hormone free,” arguing that the claim misleads consumers into believing the Monsanto’s synthetic growth hormone Posilac is unsafe. In letters filed recently with the U.S. Food and Drug Administration and the Federal Trade Commission, Monsanto protests that milk labels touting the fact that cows from which the milk came were not treated with rBGH/rBST have unfairly damaged its business, as well as that of dairy farmers who use the drug on their cows.
Federal milk marketing rules and competition from California put the squeeze on Baraboo, Wis.-based Foremost Farms USA last year, resulting in a $12.5 million loss, the cooperative reports. While members split about $4.2 million in returns in 2006, the loss means they won’t receive a share this year. There are no reported plans to cut jobs because of the loss.
Norseland Inc., Stamford, Conn., has formed a strategic alliance with Woolwich Dairy Inc., Canada’s leading goat-cheese manufacturer. Effective July 1, Norseland will handle sales, marketing and distribution in the United States for all Woolwich cheese products. Woolwich currently is constructing its first U.S. plant in Wisconsin.
Pennsauken, N.J.-based J&J Snack Foods Corp. has acquired the Whole Fruit® Sorbet and Fruit-a-Freeze® Fruit Bars brands from CoolBrands International.