MADISON — Sevie Kenyon: Taking a look ahead at dairy in 2017, we’re visiting today with Mark Stephenson, Center for Dairy Profitability, University of Wisconsin-Madison in the College of Agricultural and Life Sciences and I’m Sevie Kenyon. Mark, what can dairy farmers expect in 2017?
Mark Stephenson: They can expect improvement. We hit the bottom in May of 2016 of our prices in this trough, I expected that through the end of 2016 we’d see improvement and on into 2017. I don’t think we are going to see anything dramatic until we get half way through the year. We started to see a flurry of buying on the world markets when prices were at their bottom because everybody wants to step in and take the opportunity to buy when prices are low. The next time we’ll see a flurry of activity is when people start to feel like stocks are getting tight and there’s not as much product available as they would like to have. So, that hasn’t started yet, I don’t think that will happen until we get to the second half of 2017.
Sevie Kenyon: Mark, what’s on the horizon for dairy farmers and dairy policy in the year ahead?
Mark Stephenson: We’ve already got discussion going on about what’s likely in the next farm bill. Normally, that would be a 2018 time period that we’d be looking at but we’re getting started a good year early. Dairy farm policy I think is going to start to sound like a broken record. It only feels like a few years ago we were talking about farm bill and we’re already having discussions about the 2018 farm bill now. There’s even been some discussion about can we maybe get an early farm bill as in 2017, I think that’s not likely but it’s in for discussion right now.
Sevie Kenyon: And do you think there’s any concern about trade?
Mark Stephenson: Yes, there certainly are concerns about it the president-elect has made a lot of noises about trade pacts and from all things that I can see right now it sounds like TPP is dead and TPP would probably have been a mild positive for the dairy industry. The thing that’s a bigger consequence though is discussions about wanting to reopen NAFTA and NAFTA has been good for a U.S. dairy. So, I’m a little concerned about whether that could be a bad thing for us.
Sevie Kenyon: Mark, go ahead and sum up the year ahead a little bit if you can. Give me some bullet points.
Mark Stephenson: Improving prices maybe by the time we get toward the second half of the year, it’s going to feel like large improvement in prices so that’s something to look forward to.
Sevie Kenyon: We’ve been visiting with Mark Stephenson, Center for Dairy Profitability, University of Wisconsin-Madison in the College of Agricultural and Life Sciences and I’m Sevie Kenyon.
— Mark Stephenson and Sevie Kenyon, University of Wisconsin-Madison
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