News for Dairy Co-Ops - July 10, 2012

Volume 70. No. 7

Newsletter Stories

Alliance Celebrates 25th Anniversary, Continues to Unite Industry

Printer-friendly versionPrinter-friendly versionSend To FriendSend To Friend

Alliance Celebrates 25th Anniversary, Continues to Unite Industry

The Animal Agriculture Alliance, of which NMPF is a long-time member, works to connect stakeholders across the food chain, educate the public about agriculture’s importance, and protect consumer choice. Headquartered in Arlington, VA, the Alliance’s membership is diverse and includes national agriculture associations, agricultural businesses, animal health companies, other allied stakeholders, veterinarians, animal behaviorists, as well as individual farmers and ranchers. NMPF has provided support to the Alliance for 24 years.

Today, the Alliance actively defends the future of American animal agriculture by providing science-based resources and promoting the truth about activist organizations. Recent efforts include providing members with intelligence from activist conferences, coordinating a coalition response to the ongoing Meatless Monday campaign, and a new online legislative tracker tool that monitors state legislation. The Alliance also partnered with Miss America 2011 Teresa Scanlan in October 2011 to launchwww.realfarmersrealfood.com to celebrate American agriculture.

The Alliance’s Adopt-a-Teacher program provides agriculture resources to teachers in urban areas grades K-12, and its scholarship competition College Aggies Online empowers college students to advocate for agriculture using social media.

In order to connect stakeholders, the Alliance hosted its eleventh annual Stakeholder’s Summit to explore the theme of “Real Farmers Real Food: Celebrating Tradition and Technology.” About 200 industry leaders from across the food chain attended the event, which featured 16 dynamic speakers who encouraged attendees to embrace transparency with consumers and the media. For more information about the Alliance, visitwww.animalagalliance.org.

In the photo: Alliance Chairman Dr. Chris Ashworth (left) presents an award to Jamie Jonker, NMPF's Vice President of Scientific & Regulatory Affairs, in recognition of NMPF’s longtime support.

 

Americans Commemorate National Ice Cream Month

Printer-friendly versionPrinter-friendly versionSend To FriendSend To Friend

Americans Commemorate National Ice Cream Month

Following June Dairy Month on the calendar, members of the dairy industry, along with consumers, will spend the hot, muggy days of July celebrating National Ice Cream Month. Started in 1984, then-president Ronald Reagan designated July as the official time of year to acknowledge the importance of ice cream in the U.S.

 

He also declared the third Sunday of the month (July 15 this year) as National Ice Cream Day. Reagan recognized that ice cream was a fun and nutritious food enjoyed by 90% of the nation's population. President Reagan's proclamation called for all people of the United States to observe these events with "appropriate ceremonies and activities."

 

Dairy Policy Reform Advances through Congress as House Prepares to Take up Farm Bill

Printer-friendly versionPrinter-friendly versionSend To FriendSend To Friend

Now that the Senate has approved its version of the 2012 Farm Bill, the focus has shifted this week to the House of Representatives, where the Agriculture Committee is poised to begin drafting its own version of the Farm Bill.

Final passage in the Senate came on June 21st, when the 2012 Farm Bill was passed by a vote of 64 to 35. The legislation included $23 billion in cuts spread out among the commodity, nutrition, and conservation titles. The reforms that NMPF developed in coordination with farmers from around the country were also included in the legislation.

Meanwhile, in the House of Representatives, work continues on a draft Farm Bill that is scheduled to be considered on July 11th by the House Agriculture Committee. The draft contains the major elements of the Dairy Security Act (DSA), which evolved from Foundation for the Future. The core of the DSA is a margin insurance program that protects farmers from dire economic conditions caused by either low milk prices or high feed costs. The margin insurance program replaces existing dairy programs, including the MILC and Dairy Product Price Support programs. Farmers will have the option of signing up for the margin insurance program; if they choose to do so, they will then be enrolled in the Market Stabilization program through which they may be asked to periodically alter their milk output when worst-case conditions appear.

The legislation differs from the Senate version, with additional cuts to federal hunger and nutrition programs, and a significantly different commodity title. NMPF also expects that an amendment will be offered by Rep. Bob Goodlatte (R-VA), a former committee chairman, to strip out the Dairy Market Stabilization Program. It is vital that this amendment be defeated, and that both the Dairy Market Stabilization Program and the Dairy Margin Insurance Program be included in any final product approved by the Committee.

Government Relations Staff Member Departs as New One Welcomed

Printer-friendly versionPrinter-friendly versionSend To FriendSend To Friend

Government Relations Staff Member Departs as New One Welcomed

After serving as NMPF's Manager of Government Relations for over a year and a half, Jonathon Glueck will be leaving the organization to pursue graduate studies on scholarship at Rice University. His last day on the job will be Monday, July 16th.

A native of the Texas panhandle who grew up involved in the dairy industry, Glueck assisted NMPF staff on a number of issues, including immigration, farm policy and trade, and management of NMPF's Political Action Committee. He was also responsible for legislative issues regarding animal welfare and care.

To fill Glueck's position, NMPF has welcomed Ryan Bennett (left) to serve as a new Director of Government Relations. Bennet grew up in Maryland where his family raised beef cattle. His active role in 4-H and livestock judging ultimately provided him with the opportunity to be on scholarship for livestock judging at Butler Community College in El Dorado, KS. He graduated with a B.S. in Agricultural Communications from Kansas State University in 2009. After college, Bennett interned for Senator Pat Roberts (R-KS). He most recently spent the past two years at the National Grain and Feed Association.

Starting this week, Bennett may be reached at rbennett@nmpf.org.

 

House Committee Told that Animal Manure Should be Exempt from Superfund Regulations

Printer-friendly versionPrinter-friendly versionSend To FriendSend To Friend

 

Congress needs to make clear that regulations designed to protect the environment against toxic waste do not ensnare dairy farmers and others who raise farm animals, the House Subcommittee on Environment and the Economy was told late last month.

The hearing on Capitol Hill reviewed legislation introduced by Rep. Billy Long (R-MO), designated as H.R. 2997, or the Superfund Commonsense Act. It would clarify that manure is not included in the meaning of “hazardous substance” as defined by the Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation, and Liability Act (CERCLA) regulations, and also would eliminate the reporting requirement for releases associated with manure under the Emergency Planning & Community Right to Know Act (EPCRA) regulation.

NMPF had been working for several years with Congressman Long and others to provide greater regulatory assurances to dairy farmers that these laws and regulations are not designed or intended to impact dairy farmers. The CERCLA law was created more than 30 years ago to regulate Superfund sites, and the EPCRA law was created after that for similar purposes.

Testifying on behalf of the dairy industry, Walter Bradley, who works for Dairy Farmers of America, reminded committee members that concentrated animal feeding operations (CAFOs) and their environmental releases are subject to both state and federal laws. Bradley told the panel that “we are not seeking an exemption from the federal Clean Water Act (CWA) or the Clean Air Act (CAA) or similar state laws including any federal or state worker protection laws. We are merely seeking clarification under CERCLA and EPCRA that animal manure does not necessitate an emergency response nor does it create a Superfund site."

“In recent years, however, we have seen litigation challenge the use of animal manure as a fertilizer by claiming contamination and damage to natural resources. The issue of CERCLA/EPCRA’s applicability to the livestock industry has been discussed in Congress several times in the last decade. I believe congressional intent is clear. When the law was passed, Congress did not intend for manure to be regulated as a hazardous substance,” Bradley said.

Supreme Court Ruling on Arizona Immigration Law Highlights Continuing Need for Reform

Printer-friendly versionPrinter-friendly versionSend To FriendSend To Friend

Supreme Court Ruling on Arizona Immigration Law Highlights Continuing Need for Reform

In the last week of its term, the Supreme Court struck down a significant portion of Arizona's effort to prosecute and deter illegal immigrants, but left one key part of that state’s laws intact.

The mixed high court ruling, along with the recent executive order by the Obama administration to stop the deportation of some younger, undocumented individuals, fully illustrated how that, regardless of which path is chosen, the few options for immigration reform remain controversial and divisive. At the same time, these developments also showed how critically necessary it is to resolve the immigration policy conundrum, especially for farmers and other employers concerned with maintain and recruiting a workforce.

The court upheld the law's directive that state and local police may check the immigration status of people they stop when they suspect them of lacking legal authorization to be in the United States. The justices unanimously stated that federal law already requires immigration officials to respond to status checks from local authorities, and therefore federal immigration law does not preempt this section of the Arizona law.

However, much of SB1070 was overturned as interfering in the federal government’s role as the sole arbiter of immigration law. In a 5-3 ruling, the court said Arizona in effect had tried to set up a parallel enforcement system that punished illegal immigrants more harshly and interfered with congressional authority over the nation's borders. The court rejected parts of the state law that made it a state crime for illegal immigrants to seek work, to fail to carry immigration papers, and that authorized warrantless arrests of people suspected by state and local police of committing deportable offenses.

This decision highlighted the need for continued efforts to reform federal immigration laws, and NMPF will continue to work with regulators and lawmakers to create workable solutions for dairy farmers and their workers.

U.S. Dairy Industry Pursues Trade Negotiations with Canada, Russia

Printer-friendly versionPrinter-friendly versionSend To FriendSend To Friend

U.S. Dairy Industry Pursues Trade Negotiations with Canada, Russia

Canada has been extended an invitation to actively join the ongoing Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) trade agreement negotiations.

NMPF and the U.S. Dairy Export Council (USDEC) strongly supported Canada’s participation in the TPP negotiations. Both groups agreed that since Mexico has been invited to join the talks, it only makes sense for the third member of the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) to join as well. However, whereas Mexico and the United States already have removed all dairy trade barriers between them, this is not the case with respect to trade between Canada and the United States—a situation which the two organizations said must be remedied.

According to the dairy groups, the U.S. government's approval of Canada’s participation in the TPP talks has been accompanied by a very clear understanding of U.S. expectations that all Canadian trade barriers against U.S. dairy products must be eliminated. This requirement was fundamental to gaining the groups’ support.

“The U.S. dairy sector hopes to see significant gains from a well-negotiated TPP and welcomes Canada’s membership as an important step towards achieving this goal,” said Jerry Kozak, president and CEO of NMPF. “The United States and Canada have had a free trade agreement since 1988, but it did not include dairy products. It is time for this oversight to be changed and we welcome this opportunity to finally make that happen.”

Meanwhile, legislation was introduced in the Senate last month to extend Permanent Normal Trade Relations (PNTR) to Russia. Senator Baucus (D-MT), Finance Committee Chairman; Senator John Thune (R-SD), International Trade Subcommittee Ranking Member; Senator John Kerry (D-MA), Foreign Relations Committee Chairman; and Senator John McCain (R-AZ), Armed Services Committee Ranking Member, introduced the bipartisan legislation in order to enable U.S. companies to expand exports to Russia when it joins the World Trade Organization (WTO) this year.

Russia is expected to complete the necessary administrative and regulatory changes and thereafter to actively join the WTO this August. Those commitments include provisions relating to agricultural trade, which NMPF and USDEC believe will yield significant improvements in tariff levels as well as in how Russia deals with various regulatory requirements for imported dairy products.

U.S. Farmers and Ranchers Alliance Hosts Food Dialogues in Los Angeles

Printer-friendly versionPrinter-friendly versionSend To FriendSend To Friend

U.S. Farmers and Ranchers Alliance Hosts Food Dialogues in Los Angeles

The U.S. Farmers and Ranchers Alliance, of which NMPF is a member, hosted a two-day interactive session in Los Angeles last month reviewing how farming and food production are portrayed, rightly or wrongly, in the media.

Highlights from the discussions, which were broadcast live on the internet, can be found at www.fooddialogues.com. Four separate discussions – held June 20-21 – brought together entertainment movers and shakers, chefs, academics, large restaurant operators, journalists, local leaders, and farmers and ranchers for an in-depth conversation about food. USFRA will also host another dialogue on food production in New York in November.

In addition, this summer USFRA is looking for a handful of farmers and ranchers who are proud of what they do and eager to share their stories of continuous improvement with others. The winners of this nationwide search for the “Faces of Farming and Ranching” will be announced in January 2013, and will put a real face on today’s agriculture. Dairy farmers can nominate others – or themselves – by going to www.fooddialogues.com/faces-of-farming-and-ranching.

Use Science in Regulating Antibiotics, Agriculture Coalition Says

Printer-friendly versionPrinter-friendly versionSend To FriendSend To Friend

Use Science in Regulating Antibiotics, Agriculture Coalition Says

A coalition of agricultural organizations, including NMPF, sent a letter earlier in June to Rep. Louise Slaughter (D-NY), who was seeking to severely restrict antibiotic use in livestock and poultry production, pointing out the stringent federal approval process and regulation of antibiotics, the lack of human health risks from their judicious use in livestock production, and the benefits they offer in food animal production.

Members of the coalition included the American Farm Bureau Federation, American Feed Industry Association, American Meat Institute, Animal Health Institute, American Veterinary Medical Association, National Cattleman’s Beef Association, National Chicken Council, National Pork Producers Council, National Meat Association and the National Turkey Federation.

Slaughter in February asked food companies to submit to her by June 15 their purchasing policies related to antibiotic use in food animals. She is the primary author of the “Preservation of Antibiotics for Medical Treatment Act” (H.R. 965), which seeks to ban the use in livestock and poultry production of several classes of antibiotics employed for preventing and controlling diseases and for promoting nutritional efficiency.

“Antibiotics used in veterinary medicine are reviewed and approved by the U.S. Food & Drug Administration (FDA),” the coalition stated in its letter. For animal antibiotics, the safety assessment is more stringent than that for human antibiotics in three ways: 1) If there are risks to humans, FDA will not approve the antibiotic for animals; 2) FDA requires a food safety assessment to ensure meat is safe; and 3) FDA studies the pharmaceutical thoroughly to guarantee it does not increase the risk of antibiotic-resistant bacteria in food. The coalition further explained that FDA recently issued new regulations that effectively prohibit the use in food animals of “medically important” antibiotics for improving nutritional efficiency. The rules also ensure veterinarians will be involved in overseeing all uses of these products.

The coalition cited several published, peer-reviewed risk assessments showing any threat to human health from antibiotic use in livestock and poultry production is negligible, and pointed out many of the bacterial illnesses becoming resistant to antibiotics in human medicine have little or no link to antibiotic use in food animals.

 

Virginia Dairy Farmer Speaks in Senate about Need to Pass New Farm Bill

Printer-friendly versionPrinter-friendly versionSend To FriendSend To Friend

Virginia Dairy Farmer Speaks in Senate about Need to Pass New Farm Bill

Dairy farmers need Congress to pass a new Farm Bill now to help provide certainty for making future business decisions, according to Sarah Leonard (left), a fourth-generation dairy producer from Midland, VA, who spoke at a Senate news conference last month about the 2012 Farm Bill.

Sen. Debbie Stabenow (D-MI), Chairwoman of the U.S. Senate Committee on Agriculture, Nutrition and Forestry, and Sen. Pat Roberts (R-KS), the Committee’s Ranking Member, hosted the news conference in the U.S. Capitol. They were joined by several young farmers to discuss the importance of the farm bill for the next generation of ag producers. Leonard, who operates a 325-cow dairy along with her parents, spoke about her experiences as a young farmer on a multi-generational farm.

"On our farm, we don't focus on the latest polls, or whose campaign is raising the most money," she explained. "We focus instead on how much rain we received last night, how much milk the cows are generating today, and what the market prices of corn and soybeans are. That's our daily reality. But part of that reality is, we need a new farm bill."

Leonard said she was excited to see that the Farm Bill legislation contained a variety of provisions to help beginning farmers like her continue to make a living from family farms, including access to capital, crop insurance, and mentoring programs.

"I can rely on my parents for their wisdom and perspective, but it would be great to know that the farm bill also has tools that I can use to keep our family business going. I would like to sell milk, not sell our land to developers," she said.

 

CEO’S CORNER


Jim Mulhern
NMPF President & CEO
Associate Member Focus: 

INTL FCStone Inc.

New NMPF associate member INTL FCStone Inc. is a Fortune 500 company that provides customers across the globe with execution and advisory services in commodities, capital markets, currencies, asset management and more.

 

INTL FCStone’s customers include the producers, processors and end users of virtually every major traded commodity; commercial counter-parties; governmental, non-governmental and charitable organizations; institutional investors; brokers; professional traders; commercial banks; and major investment banks.

They offer customers a comprehensive array of products and services, including their proprietary Integrated Risk Management Program (IRMP®), as well as exchange and OTC execution and clearing services, designed to limit risk and enhance margins and bottom-line results; physical trading in base metals, precious metals and grains; a global foreign exchange and currency payment service; asset management; equities market-making; securities execution and trading; and investment banking advisory services.

INTL FCStone’s company contact is Robert Chesler. To learn more about the organization, please visit their website at www.intlfcstone.com.