The Golden Road To The Grateful Dead’s 50th Anniversary

first_imgFare Thee Well.Tonight marks the first of three final Grateful Dead performances at Soldier Field in Chicago, IL, with the Core Four surviving members of the band (Bob Weir, Phil Lesh, Bill Kreutzmann, and Mickey Hart) playing with Trey Anastasio on lead guitar and  Jeff Chimenti and Bruce Hornsby on keyboards.For those that have been following this story, these three 50th anniversary celebrations are the culmination of extensive planning, rumors, discussion, debate, progress, and, ultimately, music. We wanted to take a moment to reflect on this long, strange trip.In November of 2014, Furthur – the band containing Weir and Lesh that toured regularly since 2009 – posted a message that quickly spread through the Deadhead community. The band had taken a hiatus since the end of 2013, and Bob Weir had cancelled a 2014 summer tour just weeks before it was scheduled to begin. Furthur’s message was a grim one:We’ll all be keeping very busy over the foreseeable future, and it’s time to let Furthur take a bow. We enjoyed the ride more than we can possibly express.With eyes on the band’s 50th anniversary in 2015, fans feared that there would be no response from the surviving members of the Grateful Dead. How could they not celebrate their legacy?It was unofficial Grateful Dead biographer Scott W. Allen that shared the first rumor to the contrary. Of course nothing was official at the time, but, in looking back, it’s interesting to see what he was right about. The discussions were in their early stages at the time, and Allen shared what he knew:The Dead, apparently, are looking to headline a single festival or two and play a series of West Coast and East Coast residencies – in arena settings or a handful of stadium dates. – This was almost the case, as Bonnaroo and Coachella reportedly both made offers to the Dead camp, which they ultimately declined. The residencies became Chicago, a central location, and Santa Clara, a later addition.This is what I am hearing about the Dead lineup in 2015: the Core Four plus Bruce Hornsby on keyboards. Apparently, to my disappointment, Jeff Chimenti will not be involved. – One-for-two.Should this reunion unfold, the band is seemingly committed to, and working with, the concept of using more than one lead guitarist… The guitarists are known to be John Kadlecik, Steve Kimock and Warren Haynes, with a fourth, unnamed guitarist, possibly Trey Anastasio or Barry Sless. – As the elaborate tour dwindled down to three nights, the rotating guitarist idea lost steam. It is worth noting that Anastasio was mentioned this early on.As the rumors continue to circulate, the announcement was made on January 16, 2015. The Core Four were reuniting, there would be three final shows, and Anatasio, Chimenti, and Hornsby were all on board.Of course, that announcement also had another side to it. Tickets.With a ticket lottery announced as the initial means of acquiring tickets, hundreds of thousands of fans mailed in money orders to the small GDTS TOO ticket office in Stinson Beach, CA. The response was overwhelming, to the point that promoters Peter Shapiro and Madison House were scrambling. When ticket prices reached $1,000,000 on StubHub, Deadheads became outraged.The peak of the negativity, in my opinion, was symbolized by a Huffington Post article, written by Stewart Sallo, called “Ladies and Gentlemen, Not the Grateful Dead“. The piece criticized the promoters for grabbing money any way they could, starting from the strategic announcement, and even going so far as to accuse the Dead of choosing Trey Anastasio for the sole purpose of drawing in Phish fans.That’s when I penned an op-ed called “Let’s Be Grateful For The Dead’s 50th Reunion“, because, to summarize in a sentence, I was annoyed by how people were criticizing musicians for playing music. Of course, Peter Shapiro personally contacted Stewart Sallo shortly after his article circulated, and Sallo published a second column essentially backtracking on every single claim he made.Looking back, the frenzy surrounding ticket sales seems incredibly over-dramatic. The supply and demand quickly reached an equilibrium, with tickets running as cheap as $300 on StubHub now. Not exactly face value, but certainly a lot less zeros.So what brought the price down? The biggest drive for decreased Chicago ticket prices was the April announcement that the “Fare Thee Well” band were adding two shows at Levis’ Stadium in Santa Clara, CA. Of course, for those paying attention, Bill Walton let the cat out of the bag a couple weeks early.Around this time, concerts surrounding Fare Thee Well Chicago began to pop up. L4LM had the pleasure of announcing one of the first such shows, a July 4th after party at Reggie’s Rock Club featuring the hybrid tribute fusion group, Pink Talking Fish, who would be adding some Dead covers into their usual repertoire.Once “The Music Never Stopped” series was announced a few weeks later, featuring Ed Sharpe, Thievery Corporation, Greensky Bluegrass, Railroad Earth, Karl Denson and more, the Chicago shows really picked up… to the point where we had to create a Complete Guide just to keep up with it.Of course, other factors like ticket re-releases and canceled plans helped to drive down prices. As we all witnessed last weekend, these shows certainly have the right vibe to them. And, friends, the rainbow was real.For their part, the performers have been very open and forthcoming about their work leading up to Fare Thee Well. Anastasio has been especially vocal, giving several interviews in Rolling Stone about the shows. His genuine excitement has shined brightly on each and every article.And here we are. Once in a while you get shown the light in the strangest of places, if you look at it right. See you at Soldier Field!last_img read more

Vermont AG joins amicus brief opposing efforts to defund Planned Parenthood

first_imgVermont Business Magazine Attorney General Thomas J Donovan, Jr, joined a coalition of 16 Attorneys General in filing an amicus brief with the US Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit, challenging an Ohio state law that would defund Planned Parenthood and other health service providers that perform or promote abortions. The attorneys general argue that the Ohio law violates the First Amendment and Due Process Clause. The law unconstitutionally prohibits state funding of health care providers that perform abortions. This infringes on plaintiffs’ right to free speech, plaintiffs’ right to provide access to abortion services, and their clients’ right to receive such services.Attorney General Donovan said: “Women have a constitutional right to make their own healthcare decisions. Health care providers should not be forced to choose between honoring women’s constitutional rights and continuing to provide other essential health services.”The amicus brief, filed last night, was led by New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman and signed by a total of 16 Attorneys General: Vermont, New York, California, Connecticut, Delaware, Hawaii, Illinois, Iowa, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, New Mexico, Oregon, Virginia, Washington, and the District of Columbia.Click here to read the amicus brief.(link is external)The brief highlights the fact that, since 2009 alone, at least 15 states have passed laws or taken executive actions to prohibit family-planning and other public-health funds from being awarded to Planned Parenthood affiliates and other providers of abortion services. Such efforts to cut funding are specifically directed to support services that have nothing to do with abortion. Similarly, congressional Republicans have sought to defund abortion service providers as part of their unsuccessful bid to repeal the Affordable Care Act. While this measure is on hold for now, Congress has also passed a resolution that encourages states to pass defunding measures. Congress’ resolution also repealed a Department of Health and Human Services rule that prohibits states from denying federally funded family-planning grants for reasons unrelated to the entity’s ability to provide family-planning services.Ohio’s law was enjoined by the federal district court before it could take effect. The Ohio law would prohibit the State from awarding public-health grants to providers who perform or promote safe and legal abortions, even though the grants have nothing to do with abortion services. Those grants instead provide funds for other health services, such as education to prevent violence against women, screening for breast and cervical cancer, HIV and AIDS prevention, testing and treatment of sexually transmitted diseases, and infant mortality prevention.The attorneys general seek to ensure the availability of safe abortion services and other important public health services from accessible providers in each of their states. The attorneys general will protect the right of providers to engage in constitutionally-protected activity.Vermont AG: April 6, 2017last_img read more

Briarwood 6th grade teacher Jonathan Ferrell nominated for Kansas Teacher of the Year

first_imgBriarwood faculty took time to recognize Jonathan Ferrell (in pink shirt) for his nomination. Photo via Chris Lash on Twitter.The Shawnee Mission School District has named Briarwood sixth grade teacher Jonathan Ferrell its elementary level nominee for the Kansas State Department of Education’s Kansas Teacher of the Year program.Last year, Ferrell was one of the featured presenters at the Shawnee Mission Education Foundation State of the District breakfast. He was also named Brairwood teacher of the year.Briarwood Principal Chris Lash said credited Ferrell with fostering an environment where students are constantly pushing the boundaries of what they thought they could achieve.“Jonathan teaches his students to use a growth mindset, so they can learn from their mistakes and persevere as they learn and create things they never thought were possible,” he said.Each year, every Kansas district has the ability to nominate one elementary- and one secondary-level teacher to the statewide program. The state will name finalists from four regions in September, and will then name the overall winners in November.Shawnee Mission named eighth grade social studies teacher Kristen Holmes as its secondary-level nominee.last_img read more

Was it over when the Germans bombed Pearl Harbor?

first_img ShareShareSharePrintMailGooglePinterestDiggRedditStumbleuponDeliciousBufferTumblr A commentary on the reaction to NCUA’s proposed Risk-Based Capital Greg MichligI’m guessing many of you know the scene from the movie Animal House when Dean Wormer comes down hard on Delta Tau Chi Fraternity. If you don’t, you should stop what you are doing, write a comment letter to NCUA on the Risk-Based Capital proposal, and then rent/download the movie and watch it.For those of you who do recall, you’re probably chuckling to yourself right now. However, in the context I’m thinking, you shouldn’t be. The scene begins with John “Bluto” Blutarsky (played by John Belushi) walking in to find his fraternity brothers and exclaiming:“Hey! What’s all this laying around stuff? Why are you all still laying around here for?”His brothers fill him in on what’s happened…the administration has laid the groundwork for expulsion of the fraternity and its members from the college. Blutarsky goes on with the well-known, historically inaccurate, yet strongly motivational:“What? Over? Did you say ‘over’? Nothing is over until we decide it is! Was it over when the Germans bombed Pearl Harbor? Hell no!”Funny, I know…especially if you have seen it. continue reading »last_img read more

Grammar school entrance exams undermined by study showing how children learn

first_imgIndependent:A new psychological study has cast doubt both on the saying “you can’t teach an old dog new tricks” and claims that entrance exams for selective schools can accurately determine a child’s “true potential”.…They also found a greater effect of training on older adolescents than on their younger counterparts, according to a paper in the journal Psychological Science.Professor Sarah-Jayne Blakemore, of University College London, who led the research, said: “Although adults and older adolescents benefited most from training in non-verbal reasoning, the average test score for adolescents aged 11-13 improved from 60 per cent to 70 per cent following three weeks of ten-minute online training sessions.Read the whole story: Independentlast_img read more

U.S. Sen. Martin Heinrich Discusses ‘Military Readiness In Age Of Artificial Intelligence’ At The Atlantic Festival

first_imgU.S. Sen. Martin Heinrich during an interview today by The Atlantic contributor John Donvan as part of a series titled, ‘Military Readiness In Age Of AI’. ScreenShot/LAPDFrom the Office of U.S. Sen. Martin Heinrich:WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today, U.S. Sen. Martin Heinrich (D-N.M.), co-founder of the Senate Artificial Intelligence Caucus, was a featured speaker at The Atlantic Festival in Washington, D.C.Sen. Heinrich was interviewed by The Atlantic contributor John Donvan as part of a series titled, “Military Readiness in the Age of AI.”As co-founder of the Senate Artificial Intelligence Caucus, Sen. Heinrich has championed developing policy that balances AI’s risks and rewards to ensure the competitiveness of the U.S. economy, while maintaining important ethical standards.In May, Sen. Heinrich introduced the bipartisan Artificial Intelligence Initiative Act, which would ensure that the United States establishes a national strategy for AI and invest $2.2 billion in research and development, and the bipartisan Armed Forces Digital Advantage Act, which would modernize the Department of Defense (DoD) workforce by adding a recruitment focus and establishing military career tracks for digital engineering.The full interview is available at .last_img read more

The Friday Flyer – October 18th 2013

first_imgA straw poll of a number of US-based project cargo forwarders suggests that the impact of the shutdown has not been significant, but there could still be delays in the supply chain as staff return to work.One current expression that has been making the rounds of media interviews has been the view that all Capitol Hill has done is ‘kick the can down the road’ and the crisis will re-occur in February, as the budgetary issues that fiercely divide Republicans and Democrats have not been resolved. So it sounds like it will be a case of déjà vu all over again in four months.It’s jolly boating weather for Royal Boskalis Westminster as it divests itself of the Dockwise Yacht Transport (DYT) to Sevenstar Yacht Transport, part of the Spliethoff Group. Having bought Dockwise last year, Boskalis pocketed a handy USD40 million for DYT assets, including two dedicated semi-submersible yacht transport vessels (Super Servant 4 and Yacht Express).HLPFI is on the move. From November 1st, 2013 the operational headquarters, mail and visiting address for HeavyliftPFI Ltd will be: FLINT Research Institute 132 Heathfield Road KestonKent BR2 6PA United Kingdom Telephone numbers and email addresses will remain unchanged. Please adjust your address books accordingly.This week’s Friday Flyer is sponsored by Crowley Solutions, a project management organization that offers turn-key solutions for clients with marine infrastructure, offshore construction and marine cargo and logistics projects. Crowley provides project management, marine engineering, heavy lift barge transportation, ocean towing, marine project logistics, DP2 tugs to 150 tonnes and barges to 400 ft x 130 ft.In the corporate worldIndustrial Training International (ITI) has released its 2014 training centre catalogue, featuring more course dates than any other calendar year to date.Rickmers-Linie has appointed Marmedsa Noatum Shipping Agency as its sales agent in France.The first Boeing 747-8F freighter to land at Hahn Airport, Germany was a recent charter by Air Charter Service (ACS) to handle a cargo to Brazil.Capacity developmentsShuttlelift is targeting the energy industry with its rubber-tyred, mobile gantry cranes.A.M. Kran Wind GmbH has purchased three of Nooteboom’s latest three-axle Super Wing Carriers to extend its activities in the wind energy [email protected] has added a second vessel design to its portfolio with the development of the MPV 500 concept based on the HLV 1600 design concept introduced at the start of 2013.Following the news of the arrival of the fourth and final new build into MACS Maritime Carrier Shipping’s fleet, sister company GAL has confirmed that two of the vessels replaced by the new builds are now operational in its services between the USA and Southern Africa.Notable shipmentsCNC Freight Services transported materials for the Diyarbakir project in Turkmenistan from Malaysia to the Turkmenbashi port where DGT Logistics Turkmenistan handled the ‘last mile’ to the job site.InterMax Logistics Solution arranged the shipment of equipment from Dalian to Singapore for Diesel Marine Dalian in its first offshore marine project.Vasco Navarra de Navegación has shipped a dismantled crane from Aviles, Spain to the port of Limón, Costa Rica in order to undertake erection jobs at a wind park in the country.Donbasstransitservice Ltd has handled the transshipment of three 156-tonne Hyundai power transformers in the port of Mariupol, Ukraine using a floating crane.ZIM’s special cargo team has handled the shipment of a 100-tonne, 28 m long yacht from Asia to the Port of Savannah, Georgia, making use of the latter’s new barge crane, the Savannah Giant.Blue Water Shipping and Lindø Industrial Park will work together to transport two 2,000-tonne bridge spans to Odense, Denmark for the Odins Bro bridge across the Odense Canal. Meanwhile, SBM Offshore has chosen Blue Water Shipping as the logistics provider for two FPSO projects, the largest contracts in SBM’s history.Laninco has moved a total of 2,800 tonnes of cargo for a power plant, from the port of Caldera to Las Pailas in the Guanacaste Province of Costa Rica.Barneveldse Krane Verhuur (BKV) has used its new Liebherr LTM 1750-9.1 all terrain crane to erect a wind turbine prototype at the Ecofys test site in Lelystad, for its client Lagerwey Wind.People and placesFP Group’s executive director, Charles Whiteaway has stepped down after nearly two decades with the company he helped to found in the 1990s.John F. Reinhart is to retire as president and ceo of Maersk Line at the end of January 2014.Hill Dickinson has promoted Kamal Mukhi from its commodities team to the position of legal director.Hellmann Worldwide Logistics has appointed Anthony Quinn as its new senior vice president, head of global business development, based in the UK and Germany.18-year industry veteran Mark Isikson is now head of Industrial Projects, Sub-Saharan Africa for DHL Global Forwarding (DGF). He will be based in Johannesburg.Salammbo Group’s Libya and Tunisia branches have joined the XLProjects Network.Prima SA Transport and Trading, based in Chiasso, Switzerland, has joined the Global Project Logistics Network (GPLN).All about EvieEvie notes a report in South African magazine, FTW, about a red-faced misunderstanding at Durban port which saw calls for a security manager to resign after he refused entry to a husband-and-wife abnormal load escort team, accusing the husband of trying to smuggle in a lady of the night. Still, Evie has some sympathy for the security manager. The couple’s business is called ‘Escorts For Africa’ after all. Perhaps it’s time for a name change.Getting socialHeavy Lift & Project Forwarding International is upping its game in the social media arena. Our well established LinkedIn group complements the print and online editions of HLPFI and offers you the opportunity to discuss key issues and network with your peers and a wide cross-section of industry experts. Join the discussion here.Our Twitter feed @HeavyLiftPFI is now being populated with several tweets every day and we now have a page on Facebook where news will also be posted daily. If you use Facebook, search for HLPFI and like our page.last_img read more

Leicester Square & Piccadilly Circus welcomes the BFI London Film Festival for a season of entertainment

first_imgThe red carpet has well and truly been rolled out for the film season in London’s West End, with the launch of the London Film Festival today. To immerse yourself in the best of home-grown and international cinema, look no further than Leicester Square and Piccadilly Circus – the Home of Film – where there’s a jam-packed schedule of activity happening in and around the area throughout October for all lovers of culture.The BFI London Film Festival (2nd – 13th October) will take place in key venues throughout the coming weeks, a must for all film buffs, where a variety of red-carpet galas, screenings and workshops will be taking place.BFI London Film Festival’s artistic director Tricia Tuttle comments, “We’re delighted to be able to host so many of the screenings and events as part of the BFI London Film Festival here in and around Leicester Square. The area’s rich history and reputation as the home of entertainment really adds to the festival atmosphere and we will be hosting many of the main galas in the extraordinary new ODEON Luxe and we’re thrilled to be back at the plush screens at Vue on the Square and hope to see as many members of the public there as possible to enjoy it!”Alongside the range of red-carpet moments on offer, Leicester Square and Piccadilly Circus’ local businesses will be offering the below activities throughout the coming weeks:ODEON Luxe Leicester SquareBFI LFF: ODEON Luxe Leicester Square will be a main West End venue for the festival, where the landmark cinema will be hosting the Opening, Closing and American Express Galas LEAFF (London East Asia Film Festival): ODEON will be hosting the opening night gala of the LEAFF on the evening of 24th OctoberODEON, Oscar’s Bar: Indulge in a wide selection of film themed cocktails. From £11 – £20 each, sip on a movie-mad concoction including Popcorn Espresso Martini, Oscar’s Pop n Coke or a Lily’s Pink Gin Spritz.Planet HollywoodEnjoy a selection of film themed cocktails, like the Terminator, the exclusive Raindance Film Festival Cocktail. Filled with Pink Gin and Martini Fiero with grapefruit juice topped off with tonic, it’s a must for any film buff!And an enjoy an exclusive 20% off food when you show your film festival ticket in the restaurant, or use mention festival code: FILM20 to redeem the offer.Victory House HotelTreat yourself to the best seats in the house with overlooking views of the red-carpet action outside both Vue and ODEON Luxe LSQ, with a special 10% off bookings during the festival season.Byron BurgerThroughout the film season, both Byron Haymarket and Byron Charing Cross will be offering 2-4-1 cocktails for anyone attending The BFI London Film Festival – show your film ticket to your server and claim on arrival when you buy a burger.MOD PizzaMOD Pizza will be running a limited time only promotional offer where anyone who has a ticket or a pass to the film festival will receive a free drink with any pizza purchased. These include a free soda, milkshake, medium glass of wine or pint of beer.London Rialto G CasinoAnyone with a West End Cinema ticket, or a pass to a pre-purchased festival pass can be treated to a mouth-watering deal of 2-4-1 cocktails. Filled with classic casino games and a stylish bar area from which you can enjoy the full French Renaissance style décor, it’s the perfect place to refuel before (or after) your cinematic adventure.So get ready to celebrate the best of world cinema as London prepares to host the BFI London Film Festival.Follow all of the events on social media and on the Discover Leicester Square website.Instagram: @DiscoverLSQ – @DiscoverLSQ – @DiscoverLSQ – #DiscoverLSQlast_img read more

Kenya Sauti Sol’s Fashion Featured At A UK Museum Exhibition

first_imgKenya Sauti Sol’s Fashion Featured At A UK Museum ExhibitionKnown as the best pop music group in Kenya, Sauti Sol are often admired for their unique fashion sense. This eccentric sense of fashion has seen them recognized globally, as they were featured in the first major UK exhibition dedicated to contemporary African fashion at Brighton Museum & Art Gallery.The first major UK showcase of contemporary African fashion opens at the Brighton Museum and Art Gallery. The exhibition is the first of its kind and forms part of a wider project, called Fashioning Africa.Fashion Cities Africa explores the role that four major cities have played in shaping style trends and cultural attitudes and considers contemporary fashion practices, from couture to street style.Focusing on four cities at the compass points of the African continent, Casablanca in Morocco, Lagos in Nigeria, Nairobi in Kenya and Johannesburg in South Africa, the showcase features the style choices of individual “fashion agents” from each city, from designers and stylists to photographers and bloggers, alongside images, film and photography.Sauti Sol were ecstatic about this opportunity and shared the featured mannequins on their social media pages gushing about the amazing opportunity.“We’re super honored to have our picture and style featured on the#FashionCitiesAfrica exhibition at Brighton Museum & Art Gallery. This is the first major UK exhibition dedicated to contemporary African fashion. We wore the outfits last year during our#CokeStudioAfrica performance [email protected]last_img read more

A look at markets moving into 2010

first_imgKaren LeeEditorEmail Karen [email protected] Milk production on a global scale had a definite impact on U.S. milk prices the past few years. Looking forward, it will be domestic production that will have the largest influence on prices in 2010. The U.S. and the European community are the largest pockets of milk in the world, stated Mary Keough [email protected] of Keough Ledman Associates, Inc., as she reviewed which countries are global leaders at an industry meeting in December. India is the biggest producer if you count buffalo milk. New Zealand is not growing production, but China is a major growth area in the world. China has more cows than the U.S., however it only gets one-third of the milk out of them. At the Vita Plus Dairy Summit in Green Bay, Wisconsin, December 2, Ledman said, “Working in markets since 1980, I’ve found it’s an act of God when milk prices go up, but when they come down someone’s manipulated them. It’s not your God-given right to have $20 milk, and there’s a reason for that.” A whirlwind of items impacted the prices in 2007. World milk production fell, partly due to the weather in New Zealand. World oil prices jumped from $20 a barrel in 1998 to $130 a barrel. The purchasing power of those oil-rich countries increased, and they fed their people better, mainly with dairy products, leading to an increase in demand. The U.S. was in position to respond then, but by 2009 everyone else in the world was also in position … and our prices fell. In the second half of 2009, U.S. production is lackluster. New Zealand is having weather problems again and also has lower production. Europe is still under quota and cannot increase production. If this low milk production on a global scale leads to a significant spike in prices, the U.S. will be able to respond due to its ample supply of bred heifers, Ledman predicted. “The U.S. has been using sexed semen. We culled a lot of cows this year, so we have the stall space for another 200,000 head. We’ll change our culling and respond to higher milk prices,” she said. Ledman only predicted limited growth in 2009 and 2010, unless there is a significant increase in cheese prices.advertisementadvertisementU.S. dairy product exports are expected to increase in 2010, due to the weak U.S. dollar. That weak dollar may also curb dairy imports into the U.S. However, the domestic market is not in place to support $4 per gallon milk again.“We’re better off trading between $13.50 and $16.50 because I don’t think domestic demand will handle over $16.50,” Ledman said.U.S. milk production in 2010 will only be plus or minus 0.25 percent compared to this year. Milk per cow will increase and there will be a slight increase in cow numbers from people just not culling as much. (See Figure 1.)Recent production numbers in the U.S. show a decline in the West, mostly driven by a reduction of cow numbers.advertisement“California was building the industry on a paradigm that’s changed. In 2005, their cheap energy and feed went away,” she said.The Northeast is also declining in milk production; however, it’s not an area typically known for growth because of the high cost of doing business there. In the long-term picture, the Midwest will be asked to fill production gaps in the Northeast and Mid-Atlantic regions.“This is the first year I can say milk production is growing in the Midwest while in the West it is declining,” declared Ledman, a native Midwest farm girl. “This has been an evolution. It has not happened overnight.”Ledman attributed the growth to more milk per cow achieved by greater education and the work of producer peer groups in the Midwest. She also said there may be a Mother Nature factor this year with moderate temperatures that didn’t slow production in the summer.When looking at dairy slaughter, the U.S. started the year off up 25 percent from 2008. It’s important to consider where the cows are going and where they are coming from, she said. In 2005 and 2006 the West surpassed the Midwest in the number of cows slaughtered. (See Figure 2.) That is when the feed and energy prices changed and continued to lead to more culling in 2007 and 2008, even when milk prices were strong. “Going into 2009, they were not in a position of strength,” Ledman said.advertisementAnother barometer of the health of the dairy industry is the milk-feed price ratio. The November price ratio was 2.19, based upon an all-milk price of $15, corn at $3.64 a bushel, soybeans at $9.48 a bushel and alfalfa at $110 per ton. A ratio above 3.0 is known to drive expansion.The USDA is now looking at 2010 all-milk price of $16.50, driven by commercial disappearance, the consumer price index and export markets.Commercial disappearance for July through September was up 2.1 percent versus the prior year. Butter inventories were very large in September, and Ledman recommended buying butter now because it won’t be as cheap come Easter. There has also been a major slowdown in cheese sales.The consumer price indexes for fluid milk and butter have gone down. “This has been a good year for consumers to put dairy products in their carts,” she said.Yet it isn’t because we have 200,000 fewer cows or that U.S. consumers can purchase cheap dairy products that is leading the market recovery today. It’s because the Oceania market is calling for more non-fat dry milk, Ledman said. Driving the non-fat price is the price for whole milk powder that is being consumed by China and Indonesia. The U.S. doesn’t produce whole milk powder, but New Zealand does, and when it does it can’t produce enough non-fat dry milk. Therefore, the U.S. steps in and our price goes up.Cheese is not a big export item for the U.S., but 40 to 50 percent of the whey byproduct of cheese production is exported. It was positioned to finish this year at higher export amounts than 2008.“Dairy ingredient exports are a positive for the dairy industry,” Ledman said.Butter exports have also ticked up recently, but are insignificant in the whole scheme of things.Production of American cheese has increased, which is impressive considering no company has built a new plant. Mozzarella is also on the upswing now that pizza manufacturers are back to using higher-quality ingredients.There was a large drop in skim milk powder production, and Ledman reminded the audience that half the production there is being sold to the U.S. government, so there is no drive to produce more.When Ledman began to forecast for 2010 she had an all-milk price of $15 per hundredweight for January, but dropping back to $13 in March. “Producers in the West will see a profit for the first time in a long time in December and January and will increase supply. When I look at the supply response in tandem with a decrease in demand, that’s when I have this market coming down,” she said.“I could be very wrong, but if you can lock in something in the first part of the year above $15, I would lock in some of that,” Ledman said. “This is a very fragile demand. I wouldn’t roll the dice when you have positive margin on the table.”She predicted the second part of the year to be very dicey. With Mother Nature more favorable this summer, more cows were bred in the cooler temperatures. When those cows calve there will be an impact on the market, she said. PDlast_img read more