字幕列表 影片播放 列印英文字幕 Across America, dairy farmers have dumped countless gallons of fresh, perfectly usable milk because there is no one to buy it. The shelter in place order is given by governments around the country in response to the Corona virus pandemic have shuttered big customers such as restaurants and schools and kept people at home. About 50 percent of the milk produced in the United States goes to restaurants and other food service operations. And farmers are literally having to pour the milk on their fields, dump it somewhere because there's no place to take it. And at the same time, these farmers have got bills and they're how they're going to come out of this and survive. I don't know. Jim Mulheron, president and CEO of an NPF, said on April 14th that dairy's fortunes have been especially grim. He called for more aid to the dairy industry, saying that without it, the Corona virus crisis could be the demise of producers across the country. Grocery stores are still open and people are still buying milk there. In fact, early in the pandemic, supplies had run out as people had stocked up. But the hidden demand from the virus is still battered. America's dairy farmers, many of whom were already in a precarious position before the virus struck the United States. America's dairy farmers face a range of challenges. Milk prices had been low in the five years leading up to 2020, and many farmers were already struggling. Texas dairy processor Dean Foods filed for bankruptcy in late 2019. That company sells products under 50 different regional brands, including Land O'Lakes, Berkeley Farms and true moo milk. Consumption has also been on a long term downward slide since the latter half of the 20th century due to changing eating habits and demographic changes across the United States. 2020 was supposed to be a better year for dairy farmers, but that has all gone down the drain. Humans have been drinking milk for thousands of years. But not everyone can drink milk for a substantial portion of human history. Very few humans would have been able to digest the stuff at all. Evidence from milk drinking dates back to the period of the Neolithic or agricultural revolution, when humans began farming crops and raising livestock. About 10000 to 12000 years ago. It is difficult to pinpoint exactly when. But as agriculture took off over the next few millennia, some people began consuming milk. All mammals, including humans, can digest mother's milk as infants. But the levels of the enzymes that make this possible. Chiefly the enzyme lactase tended to drop dramatically as infants are weaned. Several thousand years ago, evidence suggests that some people begin to carry genetic mutations that allowed them to continue producing, lactase and digest milk into adulthood. Teams of scientists have found evidence of milk consumption in Neolithic populations in Britain, dating back roughly six thousand years. And in Central Europe, dating back about seven thousand five hundred years, milk became an essential food product and source of nutrition in many cultures around the world, especially in Europe. But many, many other people around the world still have trouble digesting milk. About 65 percent of the global population today have some degree of lactose intolerance in adulthood. For most of its history, milk and dairy production, like much of agriculture, was small scale. But during the 20th century, dramatic changes began to take place in industrialized countries that drastically changed the way milk was produced, sold and consumed. In the 1950s, a farm in the United States with 100 cows was considered large. But by 1997, there were many farms, especially in the western U.S., with 5000 cows. As of 2020, U.S. dairy farms average about 234 cows apiece from 1997 to 2017. The total number of U.S. dairy farms decreased by more than half. While the number of dairy cows per farm more than doubled. Changes in both law and in business practices also altered the industry. Policies, such as the Volstead Act of 1922 allowed farmers to form cooperatives to bargain collectively with milk processors without risking the violation of anti-trust laws. Over time, cooperatives made up of collections of dairy producers became an ever more powerful force in the industry. Cooperatives handle about 85 percent of the milk produced in the United States, according to numbers published by the USDA in 2017. And the four largest dairy cooperatives market 41.3 percent of all milk produced by U.S. farmers. The largest co-operative dairy farmers of America is owned by more than 13000 dairy farmers, representing 7500 dairy farms in 48 states. In at least the last half century, the number of cooperatives has shrunk, largely due to consolidation. In 1964, there were one thousand two hundred forty four dairy cooperatives in the U.S., but by 2017 there were just 118. So the result is that we now have some large enterprises called cooperatives that are really acting in the in their interest, the interests of those who are in control of those Gore operatives rather than in the interest of the members. And so that's that's the contemporary problem. Cooperatives have also begun to invest in parts of the dairy supply chain that extend beyond marketing milk. Most recently, the Dairy Farmers of America said it would buy the assets of Dean Foods, a Texas based milk processor that declared bankruptcy in late 2019. Critics say owning a processing facility presents potential conflicts of interest for a co-operative that is supposed to represent the interests of milk producers who sell their product to processing plants. In the past, cooperatives have also been accused of various anti-competitive behaviors, such as price fixing and practices that exclude nonmembers from markets. During the latter half of the 20th century. The dairy business also became more industrialized, with the development of machines for breeding, milking, feeding and waste disposal to name a few. Farms drifted away from raising and feeding cows on pastures toward a newer model where animals were confined. The way Americans bought milk also changed. In 1950, half the milk sold in the U.S. was delivered to the home in court sized jugs. But by 1997, that share had declined to just two percent of the market, with most of the rest being sold in gallon jugs at supermarkets. During this time, milk was increasingly seen as a fixture on the American table. It was drunk by the glass, sometimes mixed with chocolate, blended with ice cream and poured into bowls filled with another classic American staple. Breakfast cereal. But over the last few decades, milk consumption has fallen. There are a number of reasons typically cited for this, but one of the big ones is competition from other beverages such as juices, sodas, energy drinks, bottled water and other libations that now cram aisles in supermarkets. Milks declining fortune has also been tied to the decline in sales of breakfast cereals, which have seen their own competition from other breakfast foods. The dairy industry has mounted some famous campaigns to counteract falling sales and to keep milk in the minds of Americans. In 1993, the California Milk Processors Board began running another campaign centered on the tagline "Got milk?" with a question mark. There were humorous TV ads where people with mouths full of chocolate chip cookies or peanut butter sandwiches found themselves grasping hopelessly for a glass of milk. There were also print ads featuring celebrities and famous athletes donning a milk mustache. The campaign was licensed to run nationally and lasted for two decades. It was regarded in the advertising industry as one of the most iconic campaigns in history. But the charm of the Got Milk? slogan could not stop the larger trend away from drinking milk. Meanwhile, the industry has seen competition from dairy alternatives and a small but highly visible movement urging people to quit dairy for either health reasons or out of support for animal welfare. Plant based alternatives made of nuts, legumes or grains are a small portion of the market, but have grown in recent years. From 2015 to 2019, sales of non-dairy milks rose 23 percent, according to data from Nielsen, a firm the tracks the industry. Plant based alternatives are still a small share of the market, only around $2 billion over the past year versus about $12 billion for cows. Milk trucking firm NPD Group said. Consumption of bottled water has risen from 1.5 percent of all eating occasions in 2001 to 7.3 percent in 2019. Plant base is often given a little more credit for its growth than it really should be deserving. If you take a look at the size of the largest plant based beverage, which is all. It isn't even as large right now as what the lactose free milk market is supposed to be. Imperatively, the sales are relatively small, so you see it being a factor, but it hasn't been as big as some of those other macro factors. Like you were like lower consumption of cereals. The rise of bottled water and energy drinks. Even people drinking more tea and coffee. That's where milk has gone from. Things were already not great for dairy farmers when reports began surfacing in early April 2020 that farmers were dumping milk they could not sell. Apart from a long term decline in milk drinking, the more immediate threat to dairy farmers had been a run of several years of low prices brought on by competition in the industry. Milk prices can fluctuate, sometimes wildly. Prices surged in 2014, in part because drops in supply from Australia and New Zealand due to drought conditions created a surge in demand from Asia, where dairy consumption has been steadily growing. But the higher prices led farmers to boost production, which in turn flooded the market and drove prices down. Milk markets, as they are now, are inherently prone to oversupply, say industry experts. If prices rise, farmers will often put more cows into production to take advantage of the higher price. That, of course, boosts supply, which drives down prices. But cows are animals with a lifespan of about five years on the average dairy farm once a cow is in production. It is hard to take it out if the market turns downward rapidly. A farmer is left with an excess of cows making milk that has no buyer. 2015 brought another change that boosted global supply. The European Union loosened restrictions on domestic milk production, which have been put in place in 1983 to curb oversupply. European farmers also wanted to export dairy to growing markets, including Asia and Africa. The ongoing trade war that gathered steam under the Trump administration also damaged the dairy export market. For example, China slapped tariffs on U.S. dairy products. Commodity prices had started to bounce back in the second half of 2019, and many in the industry were hopeful 2020 would improve balance sheets. Then the virus struck, along with governments stay at home orders and a subsequent serious decline in demand from the food service industry, including restaurants, coffee shops, bakeries and other businesses that together comprise about half the domestic demand for milk and dairy products. The challenging period to begin with, there were record prices and record revenues in 2014 and then you saw this five year supply demand price slump. 2019 was the first year you saw a recovery in those prices. And dairy farmers were looking forward to their first good year in more than half a decade in 2020. That did two things. One, it meant that balance sheets were not quite healed from the last crisis, making it making it difficult for dairy to respond to this one. And it also meant that when farmers were looking for signing up for government insurance program, basically for their prices, a lot of them didn't think they needed it. This year, milk is an extremely perishable product and most farms don't have the equipment needed to store the excess capacity safely. Dairy supply chains are also complex. It is not easy for a farmer who typically delivers milk for use in cheese, sold the restaurants to rapidly pivot to start delivering milk for sale in grocery stores. One of the biggest obstacles to rapidly adjusting the dairy supply chain is packaging the equipment and materials used for packing and labelling dairy products for commercial food service is very different from what would be found in the grocery store. It can't be swapped out quickly. Yogurt, as an example, comes and one pound tub at retail for food service. There could be a 20 to 40 pound tub. Same thing with shredded cheese. You know, we are used to eight ounce or 16 ounce bags of shredded cheese in a foodservice arena. Those that comes in 40 pound bags, you know, just for food service, convenience. And so you have a channel that's very customized for that trying to course. Correct. So on April 6th, the National Milk Producers Federation and the International Dairy Foods Association to trade groups submitted a list of proposals to the USDA detailing needed support for the U.S. dairy industry through the COVID-19 pandemic. The USDA said on April 17th it will distribute 19 billion dollars of aid to the agricultural sector, including 16 billion dollars of direct aid to farmers. The government also pledged to purchase one hundred million dollars a month worth of dairy products to deliver to food banks around the country. Of course, the direct payments to farmers help, but the purchases will also help keep the supply chain in tact. While restaurants and other businesses that would otherwise purchase milk remain closed, it's a start. But the effects of the corona virus have been catastrophic. However, there are some bright spots for the industry. 94 percent of American households still have milk in the fridge and 98 percent are eating cheese, while overall milk consumption has declined. Cheese consumption has more than doubled since the mid 1970s. In 1975, the average American, a eighteen point eight pounds of cheese in 2018, that had climbed to 40 pounds. Butter consumption also rose in the same time from about four point seven pounds to five point eight. And yogurt skyrocketed from two pounds to thirteen point four.