News for Dairy Co-Ops – December 4, 2012

Volume 70. No. 12

Newsletter Stories

CWT Export Assistance Uses 75% of Milk Production Increase

CWT Export Assistance Uses 75% of Milk Production Increase

November was another very active month for the Cooperatives Working Together (CWT) Export Assistance program. Of the 79 requests received, CWT provided members with competitive assistance on 18 cheese bids totaling 7.315 million pounds, 14 butter bids totaling 9.306 million pounds, and one whole milk powder bid for 85,980 pounds.

When combined with assisted sales from the previous ten months, this activity brings the total pounds of cheese sold with the help of CWT to 113.6 million pounds for the year. The total butter CWT has helped members to sell is 70.5 million pounds. Total anhydrous milkfat and whole milk powder sales assisted by CWT are 127,868 pounds and 171,961 pounds, respectively.

These sales are the equivalent of 2.590 billion pounds of milk on a milkfat basis. That means that CWT-assisted export sales will utilize 75% of the 3.4 billion pounds of additional milk produced so far in 2012.

 

Dairy Cliff Approaches Along with Fiscal Cliff

Dairy Cliff Approaches Along with Fiscal Cliff

As the stalemate in Washington continues over a budget deal that would avert the arrival of the “fiscal cliff” on January 1st, the fate of the Farm Bill also remains in limbo, even as a “dairy cliff” also looms at the start of 2013.

Congressional leaders have not made significant progress since the election on a deal that would halt the implementation of billions of dollars in spending cuts, along with significantly higher income, payroll, estate and capital gains taxes. If no deal is worked out in the next four weeks, those budget cuts and tax increases will begin taking effect next month.

At the same time, if Congress fails to reach agreement on the pending 2012 farm bill, the 1949 permanent law will kick in next month, leading to a recalculation of price support levels for a variety of commodities. The first of these will be the dairy price support program, which will see its levels adjust dramatically upward, in the range of $40 per hundredweight. This is nearly quadruple the current price support level, and about double the present market price for dairy commodities.

If Congress fails to address the farm bill in the coming weeks, NMPF will urge Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack to implement the provisions of the 1949 law as of Jan. 1, 2013.

“Along with Secretary Vilsack, our organization wants a new farm bill, and not an extension of current programs that don’t really serve dairy farmers. A one-year extension only gives new life to programs that we are seeking to replace with the new Dairy Security Act,” Kozak said.

“We do not support doing anything that relieves the pressure on Congress to pass the new bill. A much higher milk price support level in the short-term is the threat of dramatic change that is needed to force Congress's hand. Otherwise, there is no impetus for completing work on the farm bill, in the same way that the pressure of a fiscal cliff deadline is what Congress imposed on itself last year in order to reach a long-term budget deficit deal. Washington needs deadlines to prompt action, and it has two big ones at the end of this month.”

 

Dairy Groups Praise House Approval of Bill on U.S.-Russia Trade Relations

Dairy Groups Praise House Approval of Bill on U.S.-Russia Trade Relations

Last month, NMPF and the U.S. Dairy Export Council (USDEC) praised the House of Representatives’ approval of H.R. 6156, which would establish permanent normal trade relations (PNTR) with Russia. NMPF and USDEC have actively supported approval of PNTR with Russia as part of work necessary to reopen that market to U.S. exporters.

The Russia dairy market has been closed to U.S. dairy products for more than two years due to Russian insistence on certain dairy certificate statements and accompanying facility inspection requirements that were not acceptable to the U.S.

“This is a significant step forward on the path to reopening one of the world’s largest dairy importing markets,” said Tom Suber, president of USDEC. “USDEC has been working extensively to help provide a firm basis for restoring access for U.S. dairy exporters to Russia. More is needed beyond PNTR to achieve that goal but approval of PNTR is a vital piece of puzzle.”

“NMPF hopes that the House action will help to spur swift action by the Senate to also approve PNTR with Russia so that we can move closer to re-establishing exports of U.S. cheese, butter and other products to benefit of America’s dairy producers,” said Jerry Kozak, president and CEO of NMPF. “This is a major market with solid opportunities for our industry and it is critical to ensure we have the same access to it that our competitors around the world enjoy.”

Both organizations also stressed the importance of a strong focus by the Administration on resolving the ongoing dairy certificate and related technical requirements that currently block U.S. dairy shipments. NMPF and USDEC believe that it is critical to continue to move forward with active and aggressive efforts to resolve these issues at the same time that Congress works to pass PNTR legislation.

 

Jim Mulhern to Join NMPF Staff as Chief Operating Officer

Jim Mulhern to Join NMPF Staff as Chief Operating Officer

NMPF announced this week that Jim Mulhern, a veteran public affairs professional with three decades of government policy and communications experience in Washington, DC, will join the NMPF staff January 1st, 2013, as Chief Operating Officer.

Mulhern’s position is a new one within NMPF. He will report directly to President & CEO Jerry Kozak, and have direct oversight of the communications, government relations, and membership functions of the organization.

“As the scope of NMPF’s activities has broadened in recent years, and as we plan for the future, we are fortunate to bring Jim on board to help the organization and its members with the significant challenges our industry is facing,” Kozak said. “Jim’s deep knowledge of both the dairy industry and Capitol Hill, coupled with his demonstrated ability to get things done, will greatly benefit National Milk. His strategic insight and extensive network of contacts both inside and outside the Beltway perfectly complement our existing capabilities.”

Mulhern has an extensive dairy industry background, including earlier work with NMPF. A Portage, Wisconsin native and a graduate of the University of Wisconsin, Mulhern began his professional career working for a dairy cooperative in Madison.

Mulhern came to Washington, DC, to work on Capitol Hill in 1983. He first joined the staff of NMPF in 1985 before returning to Capitol Hill to serve as Chief of Staff to Wisconsin Senator Herb Kohl. Mulhern has since worked in senior management positions for Fleishman-Hillard, the Fratelli Group, and Watson/Mulhern LLC. Throughout his time at each of these Washington, DC, public affairs companies, Mulhern maintained his relationship with NMPF by working as a consultant to the organization on numerous projects.

“I am very excited by the opportunity to return to NMPF in this leadership capacity,” Mulhern said. “I have been privileged to work on issues of importance to the nation’s dairy producers throughout my career, and I’m looking forward to expanding those efforts.”

 

NICMA Plans for 2013 Annual Meeting

NICMA Plans for 2013 Annual Meeting

The National Ice Cream Mix Association (NICMA) is preparing to hold its 2013 Annual Meeting January 20 -23 at the Lago Mar Resort & Club in Fort Lauderdale, FL. The meeting offers members as well as non-members the opportunity to network with others who share a common interest in the ice cream mix industry. Industry speakers share their knowledge and expertise on topics that are current and relevant to the ice cream mix industry including economic, legislative and regulatory issues.

Information about the meeting, including registration details and a preview of the business session topics, is available at www.icecreammix.org/annual-meeting. Anyone with a connection to the ice cream mix industry is invited to attend (including non-NICMA members).

Two Dairy Farmers among Finalists in Nationwide “Faces of Farming & Ranching” Contest

Two Dairy Farmers among Finalists in Nationwide “Faces of Farming & Ranching” Contest

Two dairy farmers are among the nine finalists in a nationwide search for farmers and ranchers who will be part of a campaign in 2013 to help connect consumers with the sources of their food. The contest is being run by the U.S. Farmers and Ranchers Alliance (USFRA), a coalition of which NMPF is a member. Voting in the contest runs through next Saturday.

Last summer, USFRA began a nationwide search for farmers and ranchers who are proud of what they do, want to share their stories of continuous improvement, and are actively involved today in telling those stories. The goal was to identify three or four producers who could act as spokespeople for modern agriculture with consumers.

Dairy farmers Will Gilmer of Sulligent, AL, and Daphne Holterman of Watertown, WI, are competing as two of the nine finalists. They were among 118 farmers who submitted a video entry application earlier this year to the USFRA contest. The winners will be tapped to share stories and experiences on a national stage to help shift conversations about food production, and set the record straight about the way we feed our nation.

Gilmer and his father own/operate a dairy farm in Alabama’s Lamar County. The dairy has been in continuous operation since Will’s grandfather established it on his parents' farm in the early 1950s. They currently milk 200 Holstein cows and raise their own replacement heifers, while managing 600 acres of land used for pasture and forage production. Those forages include hay, summer silage crops, and small grains/ryegrass for both silage and strip grazing. Gilmer is an active contributor to social media, with a series of videos on his YouTube channel. He is a member of Dairy Farmers of America.

Holterman and her husband, Lloyd, are fourth-generation farmers in southeast Wisconsin. Along with their two daughters, they operate a dairy farm and raise corn for silage and alfalfa hay on 1,300 acres. In 1981, they started farming with Lloyd’s parents, milking 80 cows. Today, they own more than 500 acres and have a young partner who manages crops. They milk more than 800 cows, and sell milk as well as Holstein genetics around the world. The Holtermans are members of the Milwaukee Cooperative Milk Producers. Daphne was recognized as the 2009 World Dairy Expo Dairy Woman of the Year.

The other seven finalists in the Faces of Farming and Ranching contest include:

Bo Stone of Rowland, NC; Brenda Kirsch of St. Paul, OR; Eric McClam of Columbia, SC; Chris Chinn of Clarence, MO; Tim Nilsen of Wilton, CA; Katie Pratt of Dixon, IL; and Janice Wolfinger of Morristown, OH. Each of these grows and raises a variety of food products, but all share one common element: they are farmers and ranchers sharing their passion for producing food and continuously improving what they do.

Members of the public are encouraged to visit www.fooddialogues.com/faces-of-farming-and-ranching and vote for their favorite “faces.” Videos of each finalist and information about their operations are available on the site. Public voting is open through December 15th, and each person can vote once per day. The winners of the “Faces of Farming & Ranching” competition will be announced in January 2013.

In addition to the public vote, a panel of judges from throughout the food and agriculture community has interviewed and evaluated the finalists to help determine the Faces of Farming and Ranching winners. The judging panel included David Kurns of Successful Farming, Chef Danny Boome, Lauren Lexton of Authentic Entertainment, and Emily Paster, a food and parenting blogger at West of the Loop.

CEO’S CORNER


Jim Mulhern
NMPF President & CEO
Associate Member Focus: 

At the recent NMPF annual meeting in Lake Buena Vista, FL, a group of approximately 100 Young Cooperators (YCs) participated in their own YC Leadership and Development Program, which included timely topics of interest to dairy farmers that were selected by the YCs earlier in the year.

Providing this quality programming for the YCs requires time as well as sponsorship dollars. NMPF would like to thank associate member U.S. Dairy Export Council for its continued sponsorship of the YC event. Without its generous contribution, we would not be able to provide the type of services that the YCs enjoy.


Associate Member Focus

At the recent NMPF annual meeting in Lake Buena Vista, FL, a group of approximately 100 Young Cooperators (YCs) participated in their own YC Leadership and Development Program, which included timely topics of interest to dairy farmers that were selected by the YCs earlier in the year.

Providing this quality programming for the YCs requires time as well as sponsorship dollars. NMPF would like to thank associate member U.S. Dairy Export Council for its continued sponsorship of the YC event. Without its generous contribution, we would not be able to provide the type of services that the YCs enjoy.