News for Dairy Co-Ops - August 2, 2011

Volume 69. No. 8

Newsletter Stories

Debt Debate Settled For Now

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Debt Debate Settled For Now

July was a very challenging month in Congress, where partisan battling over government spending was the only game in town. The federal debt ceiling and budget reduction debate continued until the final hours, almost literally. But the House of Representative finally passed a package of spending cuts yesterday, hours before the August 2nd deadline for increasing the debt threshold. The Senate is expected to vote today, Tuesday, on the House-passed version and send it to the White House for President Obama’s signature.

The bill includes nearly $1 trillion in deficit reduction, while allowing the President the authority to increase the debt limit by at least $2.1 trillion, eliminating the need for further increases until 2013. A bipartisan committee must accept or identify an additional $1.5 trillion in deficit reduction by November 23, 2011. These cuts may include entitlement program reductions, and also tax reforms.

The plan would result in $21 billion in cuts in its first year. Time and again, members of Congress have called for cuts to agricultural programs. The best-case scenario appears to be $11 billion in agriculture spending cuts over the next 10 years. This will require real and significant farm policy reform that will impact direct payments and conservation programs.

NMPF’s dairy policy reform, Foundation for the Future, was written in order to provide a better safety net to dairy producers while staying within the current budget baseline, with likely savings of more than 10% over 10 years.

Milk Producers Continue to Enroll in New National Dairy FARM Program to Assure Consumers

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Milk Producers Continue to Enroll in New National Dairy FARM Program to Assure Consumers

Today’s consumers want to know that the food they purchase is safe, wholesome, nutritious, and produced with integrity. U.S. milk producers are demonstrating that commitment by enrolling at a rapid pace in the National Dairy FARM Program: Farmers Assuring Responsible Management (FARM). In fact, since enrollment began in September 2010, 45 percent of the nation’s milk supply now comes from farmers, cooperatives, and proprietary processors implementing the FARM program.

Voluntary and open to all producers, FARM is a national dairy animal care, third-party verified program designed to demonstrate dairy farmers’ commitment to outstanding animal care and a quality milk supply. Independent dairy producers, proprietary processors, and cooperatives are quickly coming on board.

“Telling this story is essential at a time when consumers want to know how their food is produced,” said John Miles, Land O’Lakes FARM implementation leader. “The FARM program helps us reach out to customers, consumers, and the entire marketing chain. It sends a strong message that Land O’Lakes member producers work hard caring for their animals and producing quality milk.”

FARM was created by the National Milk Producers Federation (NMPF), along with support from Dairy Management, Inc. FARM provides thorough animal care education for producers, on-farm evaluations, and objective third-party verification, giving customers and consumers the assurances they deserve.

Participating producers are provided comprehensive training materials and undergo an on-farm evaluation conducted by a trained veterinarian, extension educator, co-op field staff member, or other FARM-trained professional. Evaluators then provide a status report and, if necessary, recommendations for improvement.

To protect the integrity and credibility of the program, a certain number of participating dairy farms will be randomly selected for objective third-party verification. Validus, an Iowa-based certified auditing company with more than 10 years of experience verifying on-farm animal care, has been selected to conduct all third-party evaluations and will begin that process this summer.

A complete list of participants and all training materials in both English and Spanish can be found at www.nationaldairyfarm.com.

Muscle Milk Warned by FDA Following NMPF Criticism of Label Terms

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Muscle Milk Warned by FDA Following NMPF Criticism of Label Terms

On June 29, 2011, the Food and Drug Administration’s (FDA) San Francisco District office sent a warning letter to CytoSportTM, Inc., Benicia, CA, concerning alleged misbranding of some of the company’s Muscle Milk® products.

FDA reviewed the labels for the company’s Chocolate Muscle Milk® Protein Nutrition Shake, Vanilla Creme Muscle Milk® Light Nutritional Shake and Chocolate Peanut Caramel Muscle Milk® products, and concluded that these products are misbranded because the labels are false or misleading. The warning letter pointed to the “Contains No Milk” statement on the front of the package, which contradicted the presence of milk-derived ingredients in the ingredient statement and in the allergen statement. FDA’s warning letter also noted that Muscle Milk® Shake products were misbranded because they purported to be milk – based on the prominence of the word “Milk” on the front of the package – but did not conform to the standard of identity for milk according to the ingredient statement.

NMPF, whose own past efforts to draw attention to misbranded imitation dairy products have specifically cited Muscle Milk® products, welcomed FDA’s warning letter to CytoSportTM.

“We hope that FDA’s recent warning letter to Muscle Milk®’s CytoSportTM is an indication the agency is finally going to flex some of its own muscle against brands and products that misappropriate dairy terms on their labels,” said Beth Briczinski, NMPF’s Director, Dairy Foods and Nutrition.

NMPF Conducts National Grassroots Tour as Congress Prepares FFTF Legislation

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NMPF Conducts National Grassroots Tour as Congress Prepares FFTF Legislation

More than 700 dairy farmers have attended the meetings NMPF arranged in July at eight locations across the West and Midwest as part of the organization’s effort to educate the industry about the benefits of the Foundation for the Future program. In addition to that national grassroots education effort, NMPF is also leading a lobbying effort to build support for new legislation encapsulating the key elements of FFTF.

A week after the grassroots meetings began, Congressman Collin Peterson (D-MN) introduced a legislative discussion draft containing the elements of FFTF, an effort which drew the support of NMPF and other dairy organizations interested in making positive improvements in dairy policy.

NMPF is urging dairy producers to contact their members of Congress, using NMPF’s Dairy GREAT email system, asking them to co-sponsor Peterson’s bill. Peterson has indicated he would like to formally introduce the bill as soon as possible, once additional co-sponsors are obtained.

“This is a long-anticipated and very welcome next step in the process of upgrading dairy policy to better provide farmers with protection, stability, and the opportunity for growth,” said Jerry Kozak, President and CEO of NMPF. “We appreciate the attention that Congressman Peterson has brought to this issue, and we will be working with him and his colleagues on Capitol Hill to help advance and implement the concepts of Foundation for the Future.”

The discussion draft text is available online.

Meanwhile, four more regional FFTF meetings will be held in August, starting next Monday in Harrisburg, PA. The schedule can be found online.

 

NMPF Congratulates Recipients of 2010 Scholarship Program

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NMPF Congratulates Recipients of 2010 Scholarship Program

At its June meeting, the NMPF Scholarship Committee was pleased to select five M.S. and Ph.D. students to receive $9,500 in scholarships as part of the 2010 NMPF National Dairy Leadership Scholarship Program.

These five scholarship recipients are all conducting research in areas that will benefit dairy cooperatives and producers.

The 2010 Hintz Memorial Scholarship, given to the top scholarship candidate, was awarded to Chad Mullins (left). As a student at Kansas State University, Mullins is working toward his Ph.D. in Animal Science. His research will test whether or not zilpaterol hydrochloride improves transition cow health. Mullins hopes to provide the dairy industry with a way to enhance the metabolic status of periparturient dairy cows by inducing prepartum lipolysis and increasing lean tissue mass.

The other four scholarship recipients were:

  • Karen Lobeck, a student at the University of Minnesota, is working toward her M.S. in Animal Science. Her research will examine dairy calf health and behavior with automated group feeding.
  • Phil Cardoso is attending the University of Illinois, as he works for his Ph.D. in Animal Science. Cardoso will study the bioavailability of Naringenin administered to lactating dairy cows and their metabolic responses to an insulin resistance induction (IRI).
  • Jaymelynn Farney, a student at Kansas State University, is pursuing a Ph.D. in Ruminant Nutrition and Physiology. Her research will address the therapeutic treatment of bovine fatty liver by sodium salicylate.
  • Joseph Loquasto is pursuing his Ph.D. in Food Science at Penn State University. Loquasto will conduct a comparison of the complete genomes of Bifidobacterium animalis subsp. animalis ATCC 25527 and Bifidobacterium animalis subsp. lactis DSMZ 101040.

The Scholarship Committee was impressed by the response rate this year. Committee members thanked all of the students who submitted applications for the 2010 program and encouraged them to apply again next year.

Photos of this year's scholarship recipients are posted in an album at www.facebook.com/nationalmilk. If you have any questions about the NMPF scholarship program, please contact Sarah Olson

 

NMPF Continues to Advocate for Passage of Pending Free Trade Agreements

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NMPF Continues to Advocate for Passage of Pending Free Trade Agreements

During the past month, NMPF has continued to advocate for the advancement of the three pending Free Trade Agreements (FTAs) with South Korea, Colombia, and Panama. However, it doesn’t appear Congress will take final votes prior to the upcoming August recess.

In the month of July, both the U.S. House of Representatives and the U.S. Senate passed different versions of the FTAs. The Senate Finance committee approved a bill that included the Trade Adjustment Assistance (TAA), while the House Ways and Means Committee approved the FTAs on their own with a plan to move the TAA in parallel fashion through the House. There is still some concern on whether the House and Senate will be able to come to an agreement on the FTAs. However, several Republican Senators, including Sens. Roy Blunt (R-MO) and Rob Portman (R-OR), have secured several other Republican Senators who are committed to vote for the current FTA agreements including the TAA.

NMPF, Ag Groups Work to See Changes to E-Verify Bill

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NMPF, Ag Groups Work to See Changes to E-Verify Bill

In response to concerns that the use of E-Verify may soon become mandatory across the country, the National Milk Producers Federation, along with several other agricultural interest groups, sent a letter to the House leadership seeking inclusion of a “workable, efficient worker program that encompasses all of U.S. agriculture.” This came as a response to a bill offered by Congressman Lamar Smith (R-TX) that would impose mandatory E-Verify for all businesses in the United States, but would also pre-empt all state bills that have instituted similar and harsher legislation.

The letter makes the argument that in order to continue food production, the agricultural industry needs an opportunity to secure a suitable workforce. While no date has been scheduled for the House to start marking up H.R.2164, Smith’s Legal Workforce Act, NMPF and the agricultural community will continue to advocate for positive changes to be made so that the agricultural industry can continue to function in an efficient and productive manner.

Preparations Underway for 2011 Joint Annual Meeting

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Preparations Underway for 2011 Joint Annual Meeting

Although it's still more than three months way, staff members have been working on plans for the 2011 annual meeting that NMPF shares with the National Dairy Promotion and Research Board and the United Dairy Industry Association. This year's meeting will be held November 14 - 16 at the Town and Country Resort & Convention Center in San Diego, CA.

Centering on the theme "Navigating a New Course," attendees will arrive for a few days of speeches, reports, banquets, general sessions, town hall meetings, and award ceremonies. Dairy producers, cooperatives, Young Cooperators (YCs), industry representatives, staff, and others from within the dairy sector are all invited to attend.

Information will be posted online at www.nmpf.org/nmpf-joint-annual-meeting as it becomes available.

CEO’S CORNER


Jim Mulhern
NMPF President & CEO
Associate Member Focus: 

 

CoBank

CoBank is a $69 billion cooperative bank serving vital industries across rural America. CoBank provides loans, leases, export financing, and other financial services to agribusinesses and rural power, water, and communications providers in all 50 states.

CoBank is a proud member of the Farm Credit System, a nationwide network of banks and retail lending associations chartered to support the borrowing needs of U.S. agriculture and the nation's rural economy. Headquartered near Denver, Colorado, CoBank serves customers from regional banking centers across the U.S. and also maintains an international representative office in Singapore.

CoBank’s representative is Michael Oleksak, who can be reached at 860-814-4047 or by email at MOleksak@cobank.com. To learn more about CoBank, please visit their website at www.cobank.com.