The Dairy Download

Sharp Market and Policy Insights from IDFA and Blimling and Associates

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To feed a growing world, some say farmers will have to produce 70% more food over the next 30 years. Doing so in a sustainable fashion is a top priority for the guests on the latest episode of The Dairy Download.

Joining us first is Dr. Sara Place, Chief Sustainability Officer for Elanco. She helps define buzzwords like “net-zero” and discusses what they mean for producers and consumers. She also gives a look into Elanco’s global sustainability efforts.

Next up is Scott Faber, a spokesman and activist with the Environmental Working Group. He offers a look into the group’s priorities around food and farm policy. And he offers a look into how those policies can be implemented on the farm level.

SEASON 2, EPISODE 5 - "Sustainably Speaking"

SEASON 2, EPISODE 5 – “Sustainably Speaking”:

To feed a growing world, some say farmers will have to produce 70% more food over the next 30 years. Doing so in a sustainable fashion is a top priority for the guests on the latest episode of The Dairy Download.

Joining us first is Dr. Sara Place, Chief Sustainability Officer for Elanco. She helps define buzzwords like “net-zero” and discusses what they mean for producers and consumers. She also gives a look into Elanco’s global sustainability efforts.

Next up is Scott Faber, a spokesman and activist with the Environmental Working Group. He offers a look into the group’s priorities around food and farm policy. And he offers a look into how those policies can be implemented on the farm level.

SEASON 2, EPISODE 4 - "Let's Hear it for the Dairy Girls"

SEASON 2, EPISODE 4 – “Let’s Hear it for the Dairy Girls”:

The Dairy Download invites listeners to celebrate Women’s History Month with an episode featuring three female founders making inroads in the dairy industry. Joining us first is Julia Joseph, founding partner at Maple Hill Creamery. She helped rebuild the business from the brink of foreclosure and into an organic business working with more than 150 farms. Today, she’s focused on getting Maple Hill’s grass-fed products on more shelves near you.

Next up is Anna Landmark and Anna Thomas Bates, co-founders of Landmark Creamery. Anna Landmark tells us how she went from making sheep’s cheese in her kitchen to creating and selling products across the country. And Anna Thomas Bates discusses the company’s retail presence and partnership with other dairy processors.

SEASON 2, EPISODE 3 - "Trucking Along: A Focus on Freight"

SEASON 2, EPISODE 3: Click, pay, collect. From gaming consoles to groceries, it’s never been easier to buy online for home delivery. But who’s getting those goodies from stores and warehouses to your doorstep? The latest episode of “The Dairy Download” explores the (often bumpy) pathways that connect products and consumers across the world.

We first get a global perspective from DairyAmerica CEO Patti Smith, who offers a look at the way logistics are impacting her business. As head of the world’s largest milk powder marketer, Smith talks about how her company is coping with supply chain challenges and what’s next for US dairy exports.

Bob Costello, chief economist and senior vice president with American Trucking Associations, also joins the podcast to discuss how the trucking industry fits into the picture. From a crush of retail sales to declining energy exploration, Costello gives a look through the windshield at how the pandemic and other forces are changing the way haulers do business.

SEASON 2, EPISODE 2 - "Spotlight on Sustainability"

SEASON 2, EPISODE 2 – “Spotlight on Sustainability”: From recyclable packaging to waste-free manufacturing, businesses are taking new approaches to sustainability. In the latest episode of “The Dairy Download,” we go green with two guests bringing environmentally friendly practices to the dairy industry.

First up is Paul Snyder, who says sustainability is bringing a “wave of innovation” to the way we consume dairy. As executive vice president of stewardship for Tillamook County Creamery Association, he’s helping implement greener practices at the newly Certified B Corporation, a designation given to organizations that have achieved outstanding social and environmental standards.

Next up is Boris Munster, Tetra Pak’s key account director of contract manufacturing for the U.S. and Canada. Munster discusses the company’s evolution from manufacturing milk cartons to providing processing and packaging for a variety of dairy products. And he talks about Tetra Pak’s efforts to reduce its environmental footprint, from reducing plastic to using renewable materials.

SEASON 2, EPISODE 1 - "The Writer Side of Dairy"

SEASON 2, EPISODE 1 – “The Writer Side of Dairy”:

As we learned in school, cells are the building blocks of all living things. Now, innovators are taking it a step further, using cells as the foundation of your next meal.

Where did that gallon of milk come from? And why are there so many ice cream flavors? In the season two premiere of “The Dairy Download,” we hear from two writers working to connect American consumers with the stories behind their favorite dairy products.

First up is Donna Berry, whose “Berry on Dairy” blog has become a staple for those keeping a pulse on breakthroughs in dairy innovation. Berry discusses topics ranging from packaging trends to regenerative agriculture. And she gives her opinion on why “fat-free” and “cheese” don’t belong in the same sentence.

Next is speaker, advocate and blogger Carrie Mess. Better known as “Dairy Carrie,” she offers a farmer’s perspective from a 100-cow operation in Lake Mills, Wisconsin. From diversity to social media’s role in agriculture, Mess discusses the changing dairy landscape. She also talks about her own shift from a “city girl” to a “dairy famous” farm life.

Season One

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.

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 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 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 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 6 - "Trade Deep Dive"


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 7 - "In Love with Butter"


In the film “Julie & Julia,” author and blogger Julie Powell writes, “The day there’s a meteorite heading toward the earth and we have 30 days to live, I am going to spend it eating butter.”And judging by recent retail and consumption trends, Americans tend to agree. After all, is there a better way to relieve pandemic fatigue than with cakes, cookies and other butter-filled goodies?

In the latest mouthwatering episode of The Dairy Download, co-hosts Phil Plourd and Kathleen Wolfley delve into our love affair with butter with Mike Brown, director of supply chain at The Kroger Co., and Jessica Tomlinson, corporate executive chief of research and development for Flemings Prime Steakhouse & Wine Bar. Have you baked more cookies over the past few months? Brown discusses how the shift to eating at home is impacting butter sales in grocery stores. Have you ordered something new for delivery at your favorite restaurant? Tomlinson gives an inside look into how butter plays into menu development and innovation.

EPISODE 8 - "Year in Review"


Year in Review and More Disruption Ahead: A Look at Cellular Agriculture

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.