Key Dairy Policy Issues

Below you'll find detailed information about the various legislative, economic and regulatory developments NMPF staff work on every day.

Animal Health & Food Safety

The key to a healthy dairy farm business starts with the best practices followed by farmers to maintain the health of their herds. This ultimately provides healthy, safe and wholesome milk and other dairy products to consumers around the world. NMPF is the dairy industry leader on animal well-being issues, as well as related policy areas affecting animal health and food safety.

Animal Well-Being Programs

NMPF manages the National Dairy Farmers Assuring Responsible Management (FARM) Program, open to all dairy farmers, co-ops and processors across the United States, that sets the highest standards when it comes to animal care. Third-party verification ensures the validity and the integrity of the program to our customers and consumers. For more, visit

January 17, 2018 - NMPF Comments on National Organic Program (NOP); Organic Livestock and Poultry Practices - Withdrawal

May 31, 2017 - FARM Animal Care Program Seeks Producer Feedback on Resources and Tools

September 12, 2016 - FARM Program, Merck Animal Health to Jointly Offer Animal Care Training Webinars for Version 3.0

July 26, 2016 - NMPF Introduces FARM Environmental Stewardship Component to Help Measure Progress Made by Dairy Farms in Sustainability Practices

July 13, 2016 - NMPF Comments on USDA Proposed Changes to the National Organic Program, Livestock and Poultry Practices

March 9, 2016 - NMPF Board of Directors Approves Changes in FARM Program Version 3.0

October 26, 2015 - NMPF Board Advances Phase-Out of Tail Docking


Animal Disease Preparedness

January 22, 2018 - NMPF Comments on USDA-APHIS' Veterinary Services program and U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service’s Environmental Assessment of Cattle Fever Tick Eradication on Laguna Atascosa, Lower Rio Grande Valley National Wildlife Refuges

May 16, 2016 - NMPF Comments on Proposed Changes to the Bovine TB and Brucellosis Eradication Programs


Raw Milk

Due to the significant public health risks associated with the consumption of raw milk, NMPF opposes legislation at the state and national level that expands the availability of the product.

May 2, 2016 - NMPF Comments Opposing Senate Bill No. 29 Easing Regulations of the State-Wide Sale of Raw Milk

April 18, 2016 - NMPF Comments on Senate Bill No. 29 Easing Regulations of the State-wide Sale of Raw Milk

February 24, 2016 - NMPF Letter to West Virginia Gov. Earl Ray Tomblin on Vetoing Senate Bill No. 387 Easing Regulations of the State-wide Sale of Raw Milk

January 29, 2016 - NMPF Comments Opposing Maryland House Bill No. 0079 Exempting the distribution of Raw Milk and Raw Milk Products From Milk Producers Directly to the Final Consumer From Regulation

January 14, 2016 - NMPF Comments Opposing Virginia House Bill 619 Exempting Dairy Foods Processed in Private Homes or Farms From Regulation

December 25, 2015 - NMPF Comments Opposing Virginia House Bill 62 Exempting Milk Producers From Production Requirements

November 2, 2015 - NMPF Comments on Understanding Potential Intervention Measures To Reduce the Risk of Foodborne Illness From Consumption of Cheese Manufactured From Unpasteurized Milk


Antibiotic Use

Antiobiotics are important tools to treat disease in both humans and cows, and must be used properly to ensure their continued effectiveness. NMPF is engaged in educational efforts in the dairy industry to ensure that health treatments for dairy cattle are used judiciously.

NCIMS Tetracycline Pilot Program (launching July 1, 2017)


November 13, 2017 - NMPF Comments on FDA's Proposed Method for Adjusting Data on Antimicrobials Sold or Distributed for Use in Food-Producing Animals Using a Biomass Denominator

March 13, 2017 - NMPF Comments the Judicious Use of Medically Important Antimicrobial Drugs in Food-Producing Animals

October 6, 2016 - NMPF Comments on Draft U.S. Comments for the Pre-consultation on Codex Work on Antimicrobial Resistance (AMR)

June 22, 2016 - NMPF Comments on Request for Information by the Presidential Advisory Council on Combating Antibiotic-Resistant Bacteria

December 24, 2015 - NMPF Comments on Management of Standards for Hazardous Waste Pharmaceuticals

November 30, 2015 - NMPF Comments on Collecting On-Farm Antimicrobial Use and Resistance Data

November 16, 2015 - New 2016 FARM Residue Prevention Manual Focuses on Antimicrobial Stewardship

August 18, 2015 - NMPF Comments on the Proposed Rule of Antimicrobial Animal Drug Sales and Distribution Reporting

July 29, 2015 - NMPF Comments on Multicriteria-Based Ranking Model for Risk Management of Animal Drug Residues in Milk and Milk Products


Food Safety Regulations

The Food and Drug Administration, along with the U.S. Department of Agriculture, develop and enforce a variety of regulations designed to ensure that consumers receive safe dairy products. NMPF works to ensure that federal food safety regulations are science-based and effective.

June 19, 2017 - NMPF Comments on the Regulation of Intentionally Altered Genomic DNA in Animals

June 9, 2017 - NMPF Comments on the National Organic Program Organic Livestock and Poultry Practices Second Proposed Rule

February 21, 2017 - NMPF Comments on Draft Guidance for Industry: Hazard Analysis and Risk-Based Preventive Controls for Human Food (Part 1 and Part 2

March 29, 2016 - NMPF Comments on the National Residue Program: Monitoring Chemical Hazards

February 17, 2015 - NMPF Comments on the Exemption of Organic Products from Assessment under a Commodity Promotion Law

December 15, 2014 - NMPF Comments on Current Good Manufacturing Practice and Hazard Analysis and Risk-Based Preventive Controls for Human Food


Animal Identification

NMPF supports:

  • the establishment of mandatory animal disease traceability at the earliest possible date for reporting livestock movements in the U.S.
  • adoption of International Organization for Standardization (ISO)-compliant radio frequency identification device ear tags for the cattle industry; and
  • one centrally-managed national database, which facilitates ready access to essential tracking data by all state and federal animal health authorities on a real-time basis, while safeguarding producer confidentiality.

December 9, 2011 - NMPF Comments on Traceability for Livestock Moving Interstate

Trade Policy

In the 21st century, the U.S. dairy sector has become a major player in world dairy trade. American dairy farmers export approximately 1 in 7 gallons of milk they produce. NMPF works to expand opportunities for farmers and cooperatives to reach foreign markets, while balancing the flow of milk products into this country.

January 6, 2017 - NMPF Joins Farm Groups Touting Benefits of Agricultural Trade in Letter to Incoming Trump Administration

January 3, 2017 - NMPF, USDEC Statement on Selection of New U.S. Trade Representative

December 6, 2016 - Dairy Groups Send Letter to President-Elect Donald Trump Detailing Importance of Dairy Trade

August 11, 2016 - U.S., Mexican Dairy Industry Leaders Pledge Renewed Cooperation at Conclusion of Successful Dairy Summit


The North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA)

July 18, 2017 - NMPF, USDEC Dairy Cooperative Leader Outlines NAFTA Renegotiation Priorities at Congressional Hearing

June 14, 2017 - NMPF Board of Directors Supports NAFTA Modernization

June 12, 2017 - Dairy Groups Pledge to Work with Trump Administration on NAFTA Modernization

May 18, 2017 - Dairy Industry Welcomes Swift Action by USTR Lighthizer to Launch NAFTA Modernization Efforts


Foreign Market Access

June 27, 2017 - International Dairy Groups Join U.S. in Calling for Action Against Unfair Canadian Trade Policies

May 3, 2017 - NMPF, USDEC Organize Dairy Fly-In on Capitol Hill to Build Support for Trade with Canada, Mexico

April 27, 2017 - Bipartisan Congressional Letter Voices Support for Tackling of Canada’s Protectionist Dairy Practices

April 19, 2017 - NMPF Statement in Response to Canadian Ambassador’s Comments on Dairy Trade Dispute

April 18, 2017 - NMPF Statement on President Trump’s Comments on Dairy Trade Dispute with Canada

April 13, 2017 - Dairy, Ag Groups Urge President Trump to Act Immediately to Halt Canada’s Continued Disregard of Trade Obligations

April 5, 2017 - Canada’s Dairy Trade Actions Hurting Rural America

March 15, 2017 - U.S. Dairy Leaders Promise Steadfast Commitment to Mexico

February 13, 2017 - Dairy, Ag Groups Urge President Trump to Raise New Canadian Milk Pricing Scheme Issue in Meeting with Prime Minister Trudeau

January 30, 2017 - U.S. Dairy Companies Push Back Against Canada’s Protectionist Policies

January 2017 - NMPF Comments Regarding "Request to Reinstate Action Taken in Connection with European Union Measures Concerning Meat and Meat Products”

January 11, 2017 - Canada’s Protectionist Policies Will Harm U.S. Economy, Dairy Groups Tell President-Elect Trump

September 12, 2016 - Dairy Groups Across the Globe Urge Trade Officials to Challenge New Protectionist Dairy Policy in Canada

September 1, 2016 - USDEC, NMPF Laud Senators Schumer, Baldwin for Urging Investigation of New Canadian Barriers


Geographic Indications

Geographical indications limit who can use certain product terms or names to those in a particular geographic area. GIs have been widely abused in recent years by European interests seeking to restrict competition from the United States and other non-European countries.

NMPF is a member of the Consortium for Common Food Names, which is an independent, international non-profit alliance whose goal is to work with leaders in agriculture, trade, and intellectual property rights to foster the adoption of high standards and model geographical indication guidelines throughout the world.

April 28, 2017 - Trump Administration Commits to Continued Staunch Defense of U.S. Food and Beverage Manufacturers Using Common Food Names

October 11, 2016 - Economic Study Shows Billions of Dollars in Losses to U.S. Dairy Industry Under Abusive EU Geographical Indications Policies


April 27, 2016 - Dairy Industry Urges Continued U.S. Focus on Defending Common Names Rights


Asia-Pacific Trade

NMPF supports the pursuance of new dairy trade opportunities in the Pacific Rim.

January 23, 2017 - NMPF, USDEC Urge Trump Administration Not to Cede Export Opportunities as United States Withdraws from TPP, Reconsiders NAFTA Role


Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership

As the U.S. and EU continue to work in 2016 on the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership negotiations, NMPF is focused on ensuring that any potential agreement address the trade barriers confronting U.S. dairy exporters in attempting to access the European market.

NMPF is opposed to any further advancement of the TTIP negotiations that does not include fully addressing U.S. dairy export concerns related to sanitary and phytosanitary standards, technical barriers to trade, and common food names issues.

June 14, 2016 - NMPF Chairman Calls for Strict Trade Agreement Enforcement; Expresses Strong Concerns with Future of TTIP Negotiations

April 25, 2016 - Dairy Groups Thank Senators for Urging Action on Agricultural Issues in Trade Agreement with Europe

March 8, 2016 - NMPF Board opposes any further advancement of the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP) negotiations

Nutrition & Health

By supporting federal programs that assure an adequate supply of milk products for Americans, NMPF has long championed science-based nutrition policy. As research continues to demonstrate the valuable contribution to American’s diets of milk, cheese, yogurt and other products, NMPF works at the national level to educate policy makers about the importance of daily consumption of dairy foods.

January 5, 2017 - Dairy Groups Express Concern with Proposed Changes in WIC Feeding Program


Flavored Milk

Milk flavored with chocolate is an often popular choice in the national school lunch program. Studies indicate that when flavored milk is not available, not only does milk consumption decline, overall participation in school lunch programs drops as well.  NMPF supports making available a range of milk choices in schools that are consistent with federal dietary guidelines.

January 29, 2018 - NMPF-IDFA Comments to USDA on Interium Final Rule “Child Nutrition Programs: Flexibilities for Milk, Whole Grains, and Sodium Requirements"

May 1, 2017 - Dairy Industry Applauds USDA Secretary Perdue for Supporting School Milk Options

May 18, 2016 - Dairy Industry Applauds School Milk Support

January 20, 2016 - IDFA and NMPF Commend Senate Action on Child Nutrition Legislation


Dietary Guidelines

The federal government reassesses dietary science every five years to assemble a set of recommendations about the healthiest eating habits.  In 2016, the most recent Dietary Guidelines for America were released, once again affirming the pivotal role played by dairy foods.

February 8, 2016 - NMPF Comments on FDA Document Titled "Questions and Answers on FDA’s Fortification Policy: Guidance for Industry"

January 7, 2016 - Government’s 2015 Dietary Guidelines Affirms Role of Dairy Foods in Healthy Eating Patterns


Raw Milk

Due to the significant public health risks associated with the consumption of raw milk, NMPF opposes legislation at the state and national level that expands the availability of the product. 

May 2, 2016 - NMPF Comments Opposing Senate Bill No. 29 Easing Regulations of the State-Wide Sale of Raw Milk

April 18, 2016 - NMPF Comments on Senate Bill No. 29 Easing Regulations of the State-wide Sale of Raw Milk

February 24, 2016 - NMPF Letter to West Virginia Gov. Earl Ray Tomblin on Vetoing Senate Bill No. 387 Easing Regulations of the State-wide Sale of Raw Milk

January 29, 2016 - NMPF Comments Opposing Maryland House Bill No. 0079 Exempting the distribution of Raw Milk and Raw Milk Products From Milk Producers Directly to the Final Consumer From Regulation

January 14, 2016 - NMPF Comments Opposing Virginia House Bill 619 Exempting Dairy Foods Processed in Private Homes or Farms From Regulation

Dairy Foods Standards and Labeling

Defending real dairy products against imitators has been an ongoing focus of NMPF since early in the 20th century. Many imitation products skirt the regulations on how they can label themselves using dairy terminology. NMPF defends dairy standards of identity that exist to maintain the integrity of food products.

Imitation Products

Imitation dairy products, made from everything from soybeans to rice to hemp, don’t have any milk in them, but you’d be hard-pressed to know that from many of the labels these products use. While federal law says that milk, yogurt, ice cream, sour cream and cheese must be made from real dairy, there’s a growing list of items in grocery stores that use these terms, even though they’re made from plants and nuts.

These products can be sold, but they should be renamed so that consumers better understand the differences between these imitations and real dairy products. The term "milk" (or "cheese", "yogurt", "ice cream") should be used for foods that come from cows. Visit the REAL® Seal for more information.

July 31, 2017 - NMPF Statement on July 31 Letter to FDA from Good Foods Institute Seeking Changes in Dairy Food Definitions

July 25, 2017 - NMPF Urges FDA: Enforce U.S. Standards for Dairy Food Labeling

June 23, 2017 - NMPF Leaders Applaud European High Court Ruling Preventing Imitators from Using Dairy Names

January 31, 2017 - NMPF Lauds New House Bill Calling for Enforcement of Dairy Labeling Standards

January 12, 2017 - Dairy Farmer and Dairy Foods Groups Support Senate Bill Prompting FDA Enforcement of Milk Labeling Standards

December 16, 2016 - Dairy Organizations Applaud Congressional Letter to FDA Asking for Stricter Enforcement of Milk Labeling Standards


Labeling Regulations

In addition to the proper labeling of imitation dairy foods, NMPF supports food labels that are truthful and not misleading.  We endorse a federal solution to the issue of whether states should mandate the disclosure of certain GMO ingredients or processes on food packages, as a national approach is the only way to avoid confusion in the marketplace if each state generates its own policies.

April 26, 2017 - NMPF Comments on Use of the Term “Healthy” in the Labeling of Human Food Products

October 17, 2016 - NMPF Comments on the Food and Drug Administration’s Voluntary Sodium Reduction Targets / Joint Comments with IDFA

July 14, 2016 - NMPF Comment on Passage of Biotech Labeling Bill in House of Representatives

July 7, 2016 - NMPF Statement on Senate Passage of Roberts-Stabenow Biotech Food Labeling Legislation

July 6, 2016 - NMPF Commends Senate for Moving Roberts-Stabenow Biotech Labeling Amendment Toward Final Vote

June 28, 2016 - NMPF Joins More Than 1,000 Food and Farm Groups in Letter to Senate Leaders Urging Passage of Roberts-Stabenow Biotech Food Labeling Legislation

June 23, 2016 - NMPF Statement on Roberts-Stabenow Agreement on Food Biotech Legislation

Energy & Environment

Throughout the last decade, concerns about agriculture’s effect on the environment became increasingly vocal. NMPF supports the use of safe and efficient environmental practices – such as anaerobic digesters and nutrient recovery – to help dairy operations remain stewards of a healthy ecosystem.

April 18, 2017 - National Dairy FARM Program Releases Updated Drug Residue Manual

February 13, 2017 - New FARM Program Environmental Stewardship Module Helps Measure Improvements in Dairy Sustainability

July 19, 2016 - NMPF Provides Input on FDA’s Assessment of Human Health Risks Associated with the Use of Raw Manure as Fertilizer in Crop Production

July 11, 2016 - NMPF Endorses Legislation Protecting Dairy Farms from Litigation Under Solid Waste Law


Nutrient Recovery

We are dedicated to developing a commercial marketplace for nutrient trading agriculture as a way of improving the environment. We've been involved in the startup of Newtrient LLC as a platform for commercializing the nutrient recovery industry.

July 20, 2016 - NMPF Supports Senate Legislation to Create Tax Incentive for Investments in Biogas and Nutrient Recovery

June 16, 2016 - NMPF Endorses New Legislation Creating Tax Incentive for Investments in Biogas and Nutrient Recovery


Water Quality

September 27, 2017 - NMPF Comments on Definition of ‘‘Waters of the United States’’—Recodification of Pre-Existing Rules

February 28, 2017 - NMPF Commends Executive Order to Begin Rollback of Waters of the U.S. Rule

October 9, 2015 - NMPF Commends U.S. Court Decision to Halt Implementation of Waters of the U.S. Final Rule


Spill Prevention, Control, and Countermeasure Plans

NMPF has completed the development of a self-certification template tool to assist dairy producers in developing Spill Prevention, Control, and Countermeasure (SPCC) plans that covers all fuel and oil storage on the farm.

The goal of the SPCC program is to prevent oil spills into waters of the United States and adjoining shorelines. A key element of the program calls for farmers and other facilities to have an oil spill prevention plan, called an SPCC plan. A copy of the plan template can be downloaded here.


Air Quality

The National Air Emissions Study (NAEMS) is a multi-year research effort to assess the levels of air pollutant emissions from chicken, pork, egg, and dairy animal operations. Over a continuous 24-month period, researchers at Purdue University and seven other universities around the country collected actual on-farm air emissions data from animal operations of varying sizes, locations, and management practices. With respect to dairies – at this point – NMPF does not expect the results of the study to result in broadly-applied remediation requirements on farms. It is possible that large operations may face additional reporting requirements, but it is too early to speculate on how exactly EPA will treat these farms. View a summary of the NAEMS process.

Labor & Immigration

Dairy farming is a very labor-intensive endeavor, as cows need to be milked two or three times daily, every single day of the year. Thus, the availability of workers to help harvest milk is an ongoing concern for NMPF’s members. National Milk educates policymakers about the realities of work on U.S. dairy farms, and pursues federal policies that ensure agricultural businesses can stay in business, thanks to the contributions made by dairy workers, many of whom are immigrants.

Immigration Reform Legislation

NMPF has worked with other farm and agriculture groups in the Ag Workforce Coalition to present a legislative framework that provides actionable solutions for agriculture’s labor needs. This solution includes:

  • An opportunity to obtain legal status
  • A program to ensure an adequate, productive and competitive arm workforce in the future

This visa program needs to be market-based and have the flexibility to meet the needs of producers, including those with year-round labor needs, such as dairy and livestock.

July 20, 2017 - NMPF Proposal to Improve H-2A for Dairy Advances Thanks to Rep. Newhouse

April 18, 2017 - NMPF Recognizes Members of Congress for Focusing Attention on Dairy Workforce Needs


Dairy Farm Immigration Survey

September 9, 2015 - Losing Immigrant Workers on Dairy Farms Would Nearly Double Retail Milk Prices and Cost the Economy More than $32 Billion, New Report Finds

The Economic Impacts of Immigrant Labor on U.S. Dairy Farms (2015)