The Dairy Download

Sharp Market and Policy Insights from IDFA and Blimling and Associates

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Episode 6 of The Dairy Download looks at the changing landscape for exports and trade in food and agriculture. Trade policy has been a hot topic for the past four years, and the COVID-19 pandemic has only added intrigue. Now, we will likely see another major shift as a new Administration moves into the White House. History suggests that a Biden Administration is likely to take a less combative approach to trade, seeking to engage with trading partners through multilateral relationships and agreements. But the outlook remains cloudy given lingering unease about current policy and an ongoing global recession. Luckily, hosts Phil Plourd and Kathleen Wolfley talk with two of the brightest minds in trade who provide clarity and a path forward.

In the guest chair for Episode 6 is Brooke Markley, senior manager of trade compliance and policy for Leprino Food Company, the world’s largest maker of mozzarella cheese. Brooke has been with Leprino since 2014 in various roles. Previously, she served as an economist and agricultural attaché with USDA’s Foreign Agricultural Service, where she served in Argentina, among other posts.

Next up is Ambassador Darci Vetter, former chief agricultural negotiator in the Office of the U.S. Trade Representative from 2014 to 2017, as well as former deputy under secretary for Farm and Foreign Agricultural Services under President Obama. Today, Darci is the global lead of public affairs and vice chair of agriculture and food at Edelman.

Today’s episode is sponsored by Global Dairy Trade. Covid-19’s unprecedented trade disruption has highlighted the essential role Global Dairy Trade plays in providing price transparency for the export of core dairy ingredients. Learn more at

EPISODE 5 - "Let's Go Shopping"
Let’s Go Shopping is not only the title of Episode 5 of The Dairy Download—it’s also a call to action as the nation prepares for the holiday retail rush. How is the pandemic changing America’s shopping for holiday meals? And will growing caseloads stifle the Black Friday tradition this year, or accelerate online shopping habits to break records? Hosts Phil Plourd and Kathleen Wolfley break it all down in their review of retail trends with some of the industry’s best and brightest leaders. But first, Phil and Kathleen discuss how resurgence of coronavirus is impacting foodservice and other discretionary spending in Q4. Meanwhile, a potential vaccine breakthrough could reset 2021.

In the guest chair for Episode 5 is Marshal Cohen, chief industry advisor for The NPD Group. Marshal is a nationally known expert on consumer behavior and the retail industry. He has followed retail trends for more than thirty years, at NPD and as the head of leading fashion and apparel manufacturers as well as major retailers. If you’re looking for shopping tips, you’ve come to the right place.

Next up is Greg Ferrara, president and CEO of the National Grocers Association just outside the nation’s capital. Greg grew up in the independent grocery business, managing his family’s store in New Orleans before making the jump to NGA, a voice for the independent sector of the supermarket industry. Greg tackles how independents are learning to outcompete the bigger guys in this new environment.

EPISODE 4 - "The Rural-Urban Divide"
Episode 4 of The Dairy Download explores our nation’s rural and urban divide. Is that a real thing? And, if it is, how are leaders in agriculture and rural America working to close the gap? Hosts Phil Plourd and Kathleen Wolfley jump into the dairy markets and explore how home sales are buoying the economy, before talking with two guests who have made it their lives’ work to represent the interests of rural Americans.

Their first guest is Dee Davis, founder and president of the Center for Rural Strategies and Chair of the Rural Assembly Steering Committee. He has a long career in arts, culture, journalism and community organizing in Kentucky. Dee hails from the coal fields of Appalachia and believes rural and urban Americans are not so different in their basic needs and outlook.

Next, Phil and Kathleen speak with Congressman Collin Peterson, a long-serving Democrat from Minnesota’s 7th Congressional district. He is Chairman of the House Committee on Agriculture and currently finds himself in the middle of a tough Congressional race. Chairman Peterson would like to see more Democrats devoted to rural and agricultural issues. He says, “We hardly have anyone left like me in a farm or rural district that is a Democrat. And that’s a problem, because you can’t get anything done in [Congress] that’s going to have any longevity or that is going to stick unless you have both parties doing it.”

EPISODE 3 - "Walking a Tightrope"
EPISODE 3 – “Walking a Tightrope” In Episode 3 of The Dairy Download, hosts Phil Plourd and Kathleen Wolfley examine how market upheaval is affecting parts of the dairy supply chain, from farmers to cheese processors. They talk with Kurt Epprecht, Vice President with Great Lakes Cheese Co., about lessons learned during the pandemic. “You asked me about what the bright spots were,” says Kurt in the episode, “and I think the industry is going to step up their risk management efforts going forward out of necessity.” Kurt also shares insights from his father, Hans Epprecht, and offers thoughts on how cheddar is becoming even more dominant among cheeses.

Next, Phil and Kathleen flex their ag econ chops in a discussion with guest John Newton, Chief Economist for the American Farm Bureau Federation, where John breaks down whether the dairy safety net is effective for farmers in 2020. John notes that the next Farm Bill will need to take a hard look at price supports and points out a possible connection between changes to the Federal Order system and record price swings in dairy markets. In the episode, John says, “Even though we’ve seen milk prices have gained some strength following COVID, not all of that money is making it back to the dairy farmer. I think that’s the challenge.”

EPISODE 2 - "Who's Got Milk?"

EPISODE 2 – “Who’s Got Milk?” In Episode 2, hosts Phil Plourd and Kathleen Wolfley answer the big question: Who’s Got Milk? They talk about how Disney layoffs and RV sales are connected to dairy markets. And, of course, they run down the CME dairy markets to give listeners the latest spot prices and futures.

The return of the iconic Got Milk? campaign brings MilkPEP CEO Yin Woon Rani to The Dairy Download. In the first commercial of relaunched campaign, Olympic gold medal swimmer Katie Ledecky paddles across a pool with a glass of chocolate milk on her head without spilling a drop—but in how many takes? Listen and learn how the new Got Milk? ads aim to appeal to families and kids during this new normal. Next, Phil and Kathleen talk with Michael Flood, president and CEO of the Los Angeles Regional Food Bank, about how demand for food from hungry and food insecure Angelenos is “through the roof” due COVID’s drag on the economy. Distribution of dairy products, says Flood, is up nearly ten-fold. Finally, Patti Montague, CEO of the School Nutrition Association, shares how the nation’s school meals professionals are using creative methods to get milk and other healthy foods to students.

EPISODE 1 - "Volatility"

EPISODE 1 – “Volatility”: In the premiere episode of The Dairy Download, hosts Phil Plourd and Kathleen Wolfley focus on how the COVID-19 pandemic has helped stir up unprecedented volatility, while exposing government’s invisible hand (or perhaps just it’s thumb, resting on the scales of the market) during the crisis. Joe Glauber, senior research fellow at the International Food Policy Research Institute and former chief economist with the U.S. Department of Agriculture, breaks down the federal government’s intervention in food and commodities, and explores why the government currently favors direct payments and purchase programs over more traditional safety nets. Marin Bozic, an assistant professor in Dairy Foods Marketing Economics at the University of Minnesota, discusses price volatility, offering insights on possible structural solutions and risk management approaches.

About “The Dairy Download” Podcast

A podcast series presented by the International Dairy Foods Association and Blimling and Associates. The Dairy Download is a 25-minute podcast hosted by Phil Plourd and Kathleen Noble Wolfley of Blimling and Associates that covers dairy market news and offers fresh guest commentary on the consumer and policy trends shaping dairy. Breezy and informative, The Dairy Download takes listeners through a top-line report on the CME dairy markets, and then dives into the headlines and trends shaping dairy production, consumption and marketing with industry experts, market analysts, and leaders from across food and beverage.

The Dairy Download is available wherever you get your podcasts.