World block Cheddar cheese is selling around $2.00 per pound right now. I ask Ledman how that squares with the U.S. price at $1.45 and she pointed out that the Cheddar sold at the Chicago Mercantile Exchange can include up to 39 per cent moisture. The global market trades in 35 percent moisture so we’re not comparing apples to apples when we look at CME prices versus world market levels.
The NASS survey from 12/31/09 covering the period November 28, 2009 through December 26, 2009 has an average for the five weeks of 35.172% moisture. Those processors surveyed by NASS take their price signals from the CME - they do not adjust moisture to 39%. That is fairly bad cheese.
USDA is fond of pointing out they do not use CME - they use the NASS survey. The NASS survey is the same as the CME except for a time lag of a week to ten days.