U.S. dairy consumption at a 60-year high
EAU CLAIRE, Wis. (WEAU) - American consumers are putting away dairy products at a rate we haven’t seen in 60 years. New numbers show Americans are now consuming 653 pounds of dairy products on a per capita basis. That’s up 50 pounds since 2005 and 114 pounds more than in 1975. Cheese consumption has led the way -growing from just over 14 pounds per person back in ’75 to over 38 pounds last year.
In spite of increased dairy consumption, the number of dairy farms in the state continues to fall. At the start of September, that number was 7,026 dairies, down 266 since the beginning of this year. But those losses are slowing. Last year we lost 818 dairies, the single biggest year ever for dairy farm losses in Wisconsin. The most dairy farms ever in the state was back in 1930 when we had 167,000 family dairy farms.
Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue gave an update on a government farm and food programs earlier this week. Speaking first on the Farmers to Families Food Box Program, the secretary said almost 95 million boxes had been given out as of the first of this week. He also said his best guess is that the program will continue through the end of the year, but no final decision on that timeline has yet been made. Regarding the second Coronavirus Food Assistance Program the Secretary said he has made 49 more specialty crops eligible for the new program and has changed the payment procedures for many commodities. He said they are taking a sales approach to payments this time around in order to help people who can document their actual sales decreases from 2019 to 2020.
In an effort to ensure better food security, the Food and Drug Administration is proposing some new rules. The FDA proposal would require added recordkeeping beyond current regulations. It would mean companies would have to set-up and maintain better records through the supply chain to make the food trail easier to trace in case of a problem with any foods going through the system from farm to table. Among foods on the list would be leafy greens, fresh cut fruits and vegetables, some types of fish, shell eggs and nut butter.
Not all ag events have been canceled. This weekend World Beef Expo is happening at State Fair Park in West Allis. The highlight will be the Supreme Champion Drive on Saturday. Over two-dozen breeds are registered this year.
Copyright 2020 WEAU. All rights reserved.