News for Dairy Co-Ops – October 5, 2012

Newsletter Stories

National Dairy Producers Conference to be Held Next Spring

National Dairy Producers Conference to be Held Next Spring

Members of the dairy industry can mark their calendars for the upcoming National Dairy Producers Conference (NDPC), which will take place April 7 – 9, 2013 at the Hyatt Regency in Indianapolis, IN. Dairy producers, cooperative executives and directors, processors, suppliers and consultants to the dairy business, state and federal regulators, promotion organization executives, and academics are all encouraged to attend.

The NDPC provides an unmatched opportunity for key players in the dairy industry to listen, learn, and lead. No other meeting offers the same breadth of topics and sessions, all of which examine the key challenges and opportunities facing dairy farmers and marketers.

Topics for the 2013 conference will include the farm bill, immigration, dairy beef quality assurance, agricultural lending, and the estate tax and succession planning, among others. The conference will be preceded by a tour to Fair Oaks Farms. Watch for more information in the next several months.


U.S. Farmers and Ranchers Alliance to Hold Food Dialogues in New York

U.S. Farmers and Ranchers Alliance to Hold Food Dialogues in New York

The U.S. Farmers & Ranchers Alliance (USFRA), of which NMPF is a member, will host a public discussion next month on many of the most provocative challenges in food production.

On Thursday, November 15, farmers, ranchers, industry experts, pundits, and media will meet at the Times Center in Manhattan for in-depth conversations on issues related to antibiotics in food animals, biotechnology, and how the media covers the production and marketing of food.

Additional details, including event moderators and other speakers, will be announced in the coming weeks. To RSVP for this event or sign-up to receive more information, please click here.

The purpose of USFRA is to begin answering the questions that Americans have about our food and how it is produced. Many people have become invested in knowing more about where our food comes from, how it was grown and raised, and how it impacts our personal health. USFRA helps farmers and ranchers answer consumers’ and influencers’ questions, including the tough ones, about food production.

Last Chance to Register for NMPF Annual Meeting

Last Chance to Register for NMPF Annual Meeting

Meeting registrations and hotel reservations for the joint 2012 annual meeting of NMPF, the National Dairy Promotion and Research Board (NDB), and the United Dairy Industry Association (UDIA) must be submitted by today, October 5th. After today, reservations will be confirmed on a space and rate available basis. Attendees are encouraged to visit to make their reservations.

The meeting will take place October 29 – 31 at the Walt Disney World Dolphin Hotel in Lake Buena Vista, FL. Dairy producers and industry leaders from across the United States will discuss ways to help “Secure Dairy’s Future” and learn more about how national dairy policy and promotion organizations are working together for the benefit of all producers.

At the meeting, NMPF Chairman Randy Mooney will join President and CEO Jerry Kozak to share updates on 2012 federal dairy policy and programs, as well as plans for 2013 and beyond. The producer leaders of NDB, UDIA, and Dairy Management Inc. (which is funded through NDB and UDIA) will share results, goals, and strategies about how today’s dairy checkoff is helping protect and grow dairy sales.

The two-day general session will be hosted by Mike Adams, host of “Agri-Talk” radio, which is billed as the “Voice of Rural America.” Other meeting speakers include:

  • Dick Vitale, college basketball analyst with ABC Sports and ESPN, will share insights about tackling life’s challenges head-on through lessons learned from sports – and how it can apply to business situations and daily life – at Tuesday’s opening luncheon.
  • Stu Rothenberg, editor and publisher of The Rothenberg Political Report and columnist with Roll Call, will offer perspective on the November elections and answer questions about specific U.S. House, Senate, and gubernatorial races.
  • Patrick Doyle, president and CEO of Domino’s Pizza, will share results of the chain’s sales-building partnership with the dairy checkoff and preview plans to help grow dairy sales.
  • Doug Lipp, an internationally acclaimed expert on customer service and leadership, will share insights learned from his years of training and motivating employees through his work at Walt Disney University and Disneyland.

Following the General Session on October 31, organizers will hold an awards luncheon to honor dairy producer and industry leaders whose efforts have led to a better future for dairy producers. The meeting will conclude with a banquet featuring a performance by Laura Bell Bundy, a country artist and actress who has appeared in various film and television roles.

For more details about the meeting, please visit

Alliance Welcomes NMPF Representative to Executive Committee

Alliance Welcomes NMPF Representative to Executive Committee

The Animal Agriculture Alliance welcomed Dr. Jamie Jonker to serve on its Executive Committee on behalf of NMPF. NMPF has been a longstanding member of the Alliance and Jonker has served on the Alliance’s Board of Directors for the past six years. The Alliance’s Executive Committee consists of nine representatives from across the animal agriculture sectors.

“We appreciate Dr. Jonker’s service and welcome this opportunity to ensure the dairy industry is well represented in the Alliance’s leadership,” Alliance President and CEO Kay Johnson Smith said.

NMPF’s representation will help the Alliance broaden its reach within the dairy community. Dr. Robert Hagevoort, Extension Dairy Specialist at New Mexico State University, also serves on the Alliance’s Board on behalf of the dairy industry.


NMPF Encourages Strong U.S. Focus on Opening Canadian Dairy Market

NMPF Encourages Strong U.S. Focus on Opening Canadian Dairy Market

NMPF testified at a hearing last month regarding the addition of Canada to the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) negotiations. At the hearing, held by the office of the U.S. Trade Representative (USTR), NMPF said that the exclusion of dairy from the U.S.-Canada portion of the North American Free Trade Agreement was a major missed opportunity and needs be rectified now through the TPP process. In addition to opening access to the Canadian market by elimination of its dairy tariffs, NMPF also stressed the importance of ensuring that non-tariff barriers do not thwart U.S. access, as had been seen in the past.

A similar message was delivered by 50 members of the House of Representatives in a letter sent to USTR last month with the same core messages. That letter underscored how vital it is for USTR to aggressively pursue an opening of the Canadian dairy and poultry markets, now that Canada will be actively participating in its first TPP round in December. The letter was instigated by Reps. Reid Ribble and Bill Owens, who were joined by all six Dairy Farmer Caucus Co-Chairs and many other members of Congress.


CWT has Biggest Month in September

CWT has Biggest Month in September

Cooperatives Working Together (CWT) had its busiest-ever month when measured by the volume of products for which it awarded bonuses in September. While the 78 bids CWT received weren’t as high as in previous months, the volume of cheese exported through the CWT export assistance program reached a record 16.784 million pounds. A total of 11 butter bids accepted added 1.631 million pounds to the total product exports assisted in September, which all together was the equivalent of 190.5 million pounds of milk moved offshore.

For the first nine months of 2012, CWT assisted member cooperatives in selling 95.9 million pounds of cheese and 58.3 million pounds of butter to 34 countries in Asia, the Middle East, North Africa, as well as Central and South America. In total, the product was the equivalent of 2.2 billion pounds of milk. That amounts to 70% of the increase in milk production so far in2012 .

Clearly, CWT’s efforts are a significant factor in the positive movement in commodity prices in recent months.


Farm Bill on Hold Until after Elections

Members of the House and Senate left Washington last month without completing work on the 2012 Farm Bill, leaving unresolved the fate of a new safety net for dairy farmers. Although Congress is expected to return to Capitol Hill after the Nov. 6th elections to tackle a number of old business items, NMPF continues to raise concerns about the ramifications of Congress’s inaction on farm policy.

“Dairy is among the first sectors in agriculture to feel the impact of Congress’s inability to reach accord on most anything, including a new Farm Bill,” said Jerry Kozak, President and CEO of NMPF. “Had the House leadership brought the bipartisan farm bill to the floor, I believe we could have passed a bill containing the Dairy Security Act. Instead, we are in uncharted waters, and one of our life rafts has disappeared.”

Given that feed prices continue to drive margins below sustainable levels for many producers, NMPF and its members must continue to push Congress to pass the Dairy Security Act, which instead of focusing simply on milk prices, takes into account the margin between farm-level milk prices and feed costs, he said.

“We strongly encourage our dairy farmer members to visit with their members of Congress during the pre-election recess to determine a path forward for the 2012 Farm Bill soon after the elections,” Kozak said. “We need a full, five-year bill to be passed in the House, sent to a conference committee, and approved before the end of the year.”

Recent news stories have speculated on what might happen to farm prices – and ultimately, retail prices and dairy demand – if a new farm bill isn’t passed by the end of the year, and the dairy price support program reverts back to 75% of parity levels, as specified in permanent farm law. Kozak said in his recent monthly column that the threat of marketplace disruptions may be what it takes for Congress to feel the urgency to act on a new bill.

Meanwhile, a new analysis issued last month by the Congressional Research Service (CRS) points out the advantages of the margin insurance and market stabilization-based approach to reforming dairy policy.

The CRS report was released Sept. 18th in order to help members of Congress and their staffs better understand the details of current dairy policy, and potential changes to those programs. More importantly, the CRS report provides an impartial view of the specific programs contained in the Dairy Security Act of the pending Farm Bill.

Kozak said that the CRS report “should greatly clarify and simplify the decision-making process on Capitol Hill. It dispels the scare-mongering distortions offered by opponents of the Dairy Security Act, highlights the benefits of a new, voluntary approach to providing a safety net to farmers, and reinforces the need to include the Dairy Security Act in a new farm bill.”

In reviewing other empirical studies of the provisions of the Dairy Security Act, CRS highlighted several major improvements compared to current programs:

  • The combination of the margin insurance and market stabilization programs “appears to substantially mitigate the dairy operating margin volatility.”
  • The DSA “will provide a stronger safety net in extremely low margin events.”
  • An analysis by agricultural economist Mark Stephenson found that net milk exports actually expand under the DSA.


Jim Mulhern
NMPF President & CEO

Associate Member Focus

Center for Dairy Excellence

The Center for Dairy Excellence (CDE) is a non-profit 501C6 organization formed in 2004. The organization was created to enhance profitability and viability of the dairy industry, the leading sector of Pennsylvania’s agriculture industry.

The CDE works closely with the Pennsylvania Department of Agriculture and numerous allied industry organizations to support Pennsylvania’s dairy farm families. The center’s mission is to enhance the profitability of the dairy industry by empowering people, creating partnerships, and increasing the availability and use of resources.

Currently, 15 individuals serve on the CDE board of directors. The CDE’s Executive Director is John Frey, who can be reached at 717-346-0849. To learn more about CDE, please visit their website at