Methane-Reducing Feed Additive Creates Revenue Streams

With FDA’s review complete, Elanco’s Bovaer is getting ready for the U.S. marketplace. But the methane-reducing feed additive’s success will be as much about economic as environmental sustainability, said Katie Cook, Elanco’s Vice President of Livestock Sustainability and Farm Animal Marketing, in a Dairy Defined podcast released today.

“The biggest thing, and the thing that’s most important, is not only are we making sure that we’re providing an environmental sustainability practice to our producers, but most importantly we’re providing them with additional profitability,” Cook said. “It’s a key tool as we think about telling our dairy story and the value that our dairy products bring to consumers. But more importantly, as a producer, it’s also giving you an additional revenue stream as we think about the economic viability of our farms’ longer term.”

You can find and subscribe to the Dairy Defined podcast on Apple Podcasts and Spotify under the podcast name “Dairy Defined.”

Media outlets may use clips from the podcast on the condition of attribution to the National Milk Producers Federation.


NMPF Statement on Senate Ag GOP Farm Bill Framework

From Gregg Doud, President and CEO, National Milk Producers Federation:

“Dairy farmers and their cooperatives commend Senate Agriculture Committee Ranking Member John Boozman, R-AR, for issuing a strong farm bill framework that marks another important step toward enacting a bipartisan farm bill into law this year. Ranking Member Boozman’s framework includes numerous dairy priorities, such as reauthorizing and updating the vital Dairy Margin Coverage safety net and advancing NMPF-led bipartisan bills to spur approval of innovative feed ingredients, protect the use of common food names, and boost consumption of nutritious milk among our nation’s youth.

“A five-year farm bill provides producers with certainty as they manage their risk and resources and feed consumers at home and abroad. We stand ready to continue working with House and Senate Ag leaders in both parties to complete the job this year.”

Fairness to Farmers Makes Dairy Work

Happy National Dairy Month!

It’s hard to have National Dairy Month without dairy, and it’s hard to have dairy without dairy farmers – and that’s why it’s important to treat them well.

But what hasn’t worked out well for milk producers since 2019 is the current formula for the Class I mover – the formula that helps set the price of fluid milk under Federal Milk Marketing Orders — was changed in the 2018 Farm Bill. Under current rules, which were adjusted so that milk processors could better manage pricing risk, dairy producers have lost an estimated $1.2 billion compared to the previous formula.



The losses are occurring because farmers now bear a disproportionate part of the burden when prices turn volatile. That wasn’t foreseen when the change to the formula went into effect. It wasn’t the intention of what was meant to be a revenue-neutral adjustment, and it isn’t fair. And fairness to farmers is what makes dairy work.

Fortunately, momentum for relief is building. NMPF’s proposal before the USDA’s Federal Milk Marketing Order hearing restores the old formula, and the farm bill that passed the House Agriculture Committee also brings it back. That’s more than just relief for farmers – it’s the right thing to do. And it would be a great thing to raise a glass to this Dairy Month.

NMPF Names 2024 National Dairy Leadership Scholarship Winners

The National Milk Producers Federation Board of Directors has selected five graduate students researching in areas that benefit dairy cooperatives and producers to receive scholarships as part of the 2024 NMPF National Dairy Leadership Scholarship Program. Scholarship recipients include:

  • Agustin Olivo, a doctoral candidate in Animal Science at Cornell University in Ithaca, NY. Olivo’s research focuses on evaluation and dissemination of system analysis tools and performance indicators to improve environmental outcomes of New York dairies.
  • Ana Beatriz Montevecchio Bernardino, a doctoral candidate in Veterinary Clinical Sciences at the University of Florida in Gainesville. Montevecchio Bernardino is studying the effect of a novel non-steroidal anti-inflammatory formulation on welfare of Holstein cows challenged with E. coli.
  • Grant Fincham, a master’s of science candidate in Ruminant Nutrition at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln. Fincham’s research looks at whole animal energy utilization and manure biogas production in feeding dried distillers grains with solubles to lactating dairy cattle.
  • Lynn Olthof, a doctoral candidate in Animal Science-Dairy Management at Michigan State University. Olthof is studying the economic implications of dairy farm management decisions.
  • Megan Lauber, a doctoral candidate in Dairy Science at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. Lauber is investigating an integrated approach to optimize sexed semen in dairy herds.

“Congratulations to each recipient of this year’s NMPF scholarships,” said NMPF President and CEO Gregg Doud. “Supporting high-quality dairy research benefits our members and cooperatives, which fundamentally is what NMPF strives to do every day. We look forward to the contributions these scholars will make to the dairy community and are thrilled to help these students succeed.”

The recipients were confirmed as part of NMPF’s Board of Directors meeting held in Arlington, VA, on June 5-6. To learn more about and contribute to the NMPF National Dairy Leadership Scholarship program, please visit: www.nmpf.org/programs/scholarship.

NMPF Board Calls for Milk Pricing Fairness, Leads on H5N1 Response

National Milk Producers Federation leadership expressed confidence that farmers would soon see a fairer federal system for milk pricing and highlighted dairy farmers’ robust response to the challenge of H5N1 influenza in dairy cattle at the organization’s Board of Directors meeting, which concluded today.  

“Even with all the stresses on the farm, there’s still not a better industry,” said Randy Mooney, a dairy farmer from Rogersville, MO, and a member of the Dairy Farmers of America cooperative, in remarks at the meeting. “I’m proud of where we’re at, producing high quality, nutritious food for the consumer. It’s amazing how dairy farmers do it.” 

The U.S. Department of Agriculture is expected to release its plan for Federal Milk Marketing Order modernization at the beginning of July. NMPF has led the push for updated rules that reflect the current industry, a three-year effort that culminated in a 49-day FMMO hearing late last year.  

Board members spent two days reviewing recent policy developments, including the progress of the 2024 Farm Bill, and receiving up-to-date information on H5N1, which has led to significant federal and farmer investments in biosecurity and testing. NMPF Chief Science Officer Dr. Jamie Jonker led discussion on an issue that is critical to dairy’s future.  

The meeting was held with NMPF’s annual Young Cooperators fly-in, in which young dairy farmers meet with lawmakers to advocate for the industry. Dairy farmers urged passage of a Farm Bill, expanded market access for U.S. dairy products and federal action toward integrity in milk labeling, restricting the use of dairy terms to animal products in line with Food and Drug Administration standards.  

The Board also examined potential improvements to the NMPF-led Cooperatives Working Together program, the 21-year-old farmer self-help initiative that is up for renewal after 2024. A member task force has been weighing a range of options to expand the use of CWT’s export assistance program. The NMPF Board approved a series of five directional goals for CWT as it considers the program’s parameters in 2025 and beyond. 

At the meeting, the board also elected three new members: Dave Peterson of Minnesota, representing Associated Milk Producers, Inc.; Alex Peterson of Missouri, representing Dairy Farmers of America; and Mike Schoneveld of Washington, representing Darigold.  

USDEC, NMPF Ally with Colombian Dairy Association to Strengthen Trade, Drive Dairy Priorities

The U.S. Dairy Export Council (USDEC), National Milk Producers Federation (NMPF) and Colombian Association of Dairy Industry (Asoleche) signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) today to increase cooperation between the U.S. and Colombian dairy industries as they advocate for pro-trade and science-based policies.

The agreement details objectives focused on improving communications and knowledge-sharing between the two industries, highlighting the economic and social importance of the dairy industry, and eliminating trade barriers that harm producers and consumers alike.

“This agreement is another significant step in the U.S. dairy industry’s commitment to working with and supporting our partners in Colombia and across Latin America,” said Krysta Harden, president and CEO of USDEC. “Both industries benefit when we have a robust trade relationship. Everyone – especially Colombian consumers – are worse off when policymakers impose ill-advised trade barriers. We look forward to continuing to build on our strong partnership.”

“The U.S. and Colombian dairy industries share many of the same values and priorities,” said Gregg Doud, president and CEO of NMPF. “We’re excited to work alongside Asoleche to promote positive, sound policies that build a stronger dairy industry in the Americas and internationally.”

“At Asoleche, our mission is to strengthen the competitiveness and sustainability of the Colombian dairy industry,” said Ana María Gómez Montes, Executive President of Asoleche. “This partnership with USDEC and NMPF will enable us to promote milk consumption, which is one of the greatest challenges we face as a dairy chain in Colombia. It will also provide us with more tools for innovation through the exchange of knowledge between industries. We hope that together we will develop innovative projects that benefit the entire dairy chain and consumers in Colombia who rely on both domestic and imported dairy products.”

The MOU  complements similar agreements USDEC and NMPF have made throughout Latin America, including with Sociedad Rural Argentina, the Inter-American Institute for Cooperation on Agriculture (IICA) and the Chilean Federacion Nacional de Productores de Leche (Fedeleche).

House Farm Bill a Win for Dairy

The long-awaited Farm Bill debate has finally begun. As someone who has played a role in drafting one Farm Bill as a Senate Agriculture Committee staffer and stood on the sidelines here in Washington for five other Farm Bill debates, I’ve learned that the roads to success in passing farm bills through both houses of Congress can be long and challenging. Still, the path is always worthwhile: It’s critical to have a strong and stable farm policy that supports our industry and helps us overcome the challenges we face.

That’s why I am grateful to the House Agriculture Committee, under the leadership of Rep. Glenn “GT” Thompson, R-PA, for passing a 2024 Farm Bill that includes critical dairy priorities that will help us grow and thrive. As the first major step in the legislative process of approving a new law, it’s one that’s positive for dairy and should set a productive tone for developments moving forward.

The plan approved by the House Agriculture Committee on May 23 reflects much of the input we have received from our members. NMPF has worked closely with lawmakers from both parties to ensure the bill addresses the needs and concerns of dairy producers of all sizes, in all regions.

Some of the key provisions of the House Farm Bill that would benefit dairy are:

  • Extending the Dairy Margin Coverage (DMC) program through 2029, with updated production histories and a 25% premium discount for locking five years of coverage. The DMC program, created at our urging in the 2018 Farm Bill, has been a lifeline for many dairy farmers who have faced low milk prices and high feed costs. By extending the program with this update, the House plan provides more certainty for dairy farmers who want to manage their risk and protect their income.

  • Restoring the “higher of” Class I mover to reinstate orderly milk marketing, as well as requiring plant cost studies every two years to provide better data to inform future make allowance conversations. These are two key components of NMPF’s Federal Milk Marketing Order modernization proposal. The Class I mover is the formula that determines the minimum price that processors pay for fluid milk. After significant producer losses after a change to the formula in 2019, the House Farm Bill would restore the previous formula and ensure that dairy farmers receive a fair price for their milk. The House plan would also require the USDA to conduct regular studies on the costs of processing milk, which are used to inform the make allowances that affect the prices paid to dairy farmers. These studies would provide more transparency and accuracy in the pricing system and allow for adjustments based on changing market conditions.

  • Supporting the bipartisan, House-passed Whole Milk for Healthy Kids Act to reverse the underconsumption of nutritious milk in our schools. The Whole Milk for Healthy Kids Act allows schools to offer 2% and whole milk as part of the school lunch and breakfast programs, giving students more choices and encouraging them to drink more milk.

  • Boosting funds for critical dairy trade promotion programs and protecting the use of common food names worldwide. The bill would increase the funding for the Foreign Market Development program and the Market Access Program, which help U.S. dairy exporters develop and maintain overseas markets. The plan would also support the efforts of the U.S. government and the dairy industry to defend the use of common cheese names, such as parmesan and feta, against the European Union’s attempts to restrict them through geographical indications.

  • Supporting voluntary, producer-led conservation programs, such as the Environmental Quality Incentives Program (EQIP) and improve the certification of Third-Party Service Providers with technical expertise related to conservation planning to better assist producers participating in National Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) programs. The committee-passed bill recognizes the environmental stewardship of dairy farmers and provides them with more resources and assistance to implement conservation practices on their farms. The House Farm Bill would also maintain the EQIP 50% livestock set-aside and allow states to offer larger payments for methane-reducing projects. Enhancing conservation programs and services available to dairy farmers helps them improve their environmental performance and sustainability, important components of meeting industry Net Zero goals.

  • And also of note, given the H5N1 outbreak the industry currently faces, the bill also would increase funding for animal health programs, such as the National Animal Health Laboratory Network and the National Animal Disease Preparedness and Response Program, that help protect the health and welfare of dairy cows and other livestock from diseases and pests.

These are just some of the highlights of the House Farm Bill that demonstrate its strong support for the U.S. dairy industry. I commend Chairman Thompson and committee members from both parties for their hard work and bipartisan cooperation in crafting and approving this legislation. I also need to call out the efforts of NMPF staff who, working with our member cooperatives, tirelessly worked to shape legislation that, if adopted, would greatly benefit our industry.

So now we’ve made the opening lap around the field with the House Agriculture Committee’s approval of its bill. But keep in mind the current farm law itself is the result of a one-year extension of the previous bill, and uncertainty abounds given the political calendar this year. I urge the full House and the Senate to follow their lead and get down to work crafting and passing a new Farm Bill as soon as possible.

We know that dairy is well-served by what the House Agriculture Committee has approved. Let’s all take that as positive momentum moving forward.


Gregg Doud

President & CEO, NMPF

 

NMPF Provides Economics Breakdowns at Dairy Farmer Meetings

Dairy farmers received the latest economics analysis from members of the NMPF-USDEC Joint Economics Team in May, with staff providing expertise on changing market conditions.

Stephen Cain, senior director of research and economic analysis for NMPF, presented at the DairyWest Board meeting May 8 in Twin Falls, ID, in conjunction with USDEC. His presentation focused on global supply and demand, U.S. production and U.S. export opportunities moving forward.

Dr. Peter Vitaliano, vice president for economic policy and market research for NMPF, appeared at the Southeast Milk Inc., Leadership Experience (SMILE) meeting May 15 in Tampa, FL, presenting on current economic conditions and offering an outlook for dairy prices. SMILE is a hub for developing farmer leadership talent in the southeastern United States.

Trade team staff were also active in outreach in May, with Trade Policy Director Tony Rice participating in the Agricultural Transportation Coalition conference in Tacoma, WA, May 20-23 to discuss supply chain issues, including cargo pilferage, and meet with ocean carrier and port officials.

Executive Vice President for Trade Policy & Global Affairs Shawna Morris participated May 20-21 in the International Trademark Association meeting in Atlanta as part of the association’s Geographical Indications (GIs) Committee meeting. The committee develops recommendations on GIs and common names that inform governments’ policies on the issues.

Economics and trade staff collaborated at the Eucolait conference in Bordeaux, France, May 22 and 24. Executive Vice President for Policy Development & Strategy Jaime Castaneda presented at the conference, as did economics team economist Monica Ganley of USDEC. Ganley presented on Latin American exporters.

FARM Program Releases New Resources, Prepares for Summer Events

Animal Care Version 5 training for evaluators is underway in June, anticipating updated standards focusing on locomotion, disbudding, euthanasia practices, and colostrum management.

The Animal Care Version 5 Prep Guide distributed in April and May contains information to prepare farmers and evaluators for the July 1 release of new standards, led by farmers in consultation with the broader industry and developed over the past two years. In addition to the Prep Guide, veterinarians now have a dedicated page with information and resources related to FARM and from the American Association of Bovine Practitioners surrounding animal care best practices. The FARM Program also released May 1 the 2024-2025 Milk & Dairy Beef Drug Residue Prevention Manual, as the foundational antibiotic stewardship resource.

FARM is also gearing up for its annual Evaluator Conference, July 22-23 in Lexington, KY. Every year the program also recognizes farmers and evaluators who excel in their commitment to demonstrating on-farm social responsibility through the FARM Excellence Awards. FARM is seeking nominations for four award categories, including: Animal Care & Antibiotic Stewardship, Environmental Stewardship, Workforce Development, and Evaluator of the Year.

Winners will be recognized at NMPF’s Joint Annual Meeting held in Phoenix during a special luncheon Oct. 23.

NMPF Renews Partnership with Mexican Dairy Industry

NMPF and the U.S. Dairy Export Council (USDEC) co-led the U.S. delegation at the May 7-8 U.S.-Mexico binational meeting in Chihuahua, Mexico. As both countries head toward presidential elections this year and policy-related threats to dairy consumption in Mexico – the U.S.’s largest dairy export market – are growing, the convening focused on how to best collaborate to address future challenges.

NMPF and USDEC reaffirmed their commitment to a strong partnership with the largest U.S. dairy export destination during the event, which focused on the importance of shared advocacy for pro-trade and science-based public policies, as well as the opportunity for greater work together on dairy promotion efforts.

The U.S. contingent included 14 U.S. dairy farmers, cooperative staff and processor representatives, while the Mexican dairy industry was led by five producer and dairy processor groups with a total of approximately 20 representatives from Mexico. The two parties discussed the most pressing issues facing their respective industries, and capped the meeting with an agreed-upon list of 12 new and updated priorities, including:

  • Enhanced trade between the two nations,
  • The continued defense of common names, and
  • Improved information sharing on sustainability and market trends.

Designed to strengthen the relationship between the U.S. and Mexican dairy sectors, the two industries first formalized their partnership through a Memorandum of Understanding in 2005 and have since met regularly to build on that collaboration. The binational meeting is a vital component in maintaining robust and smooth engagement with the U.S.’s most important international partner.

U.S. Dairy Earns Investment from New Market Development Program

USDEC received a $10 million award from USDA for its work on international dairy market development under its first allocation of funding under the Regional Agricultural Promotion Program (RAPP) announced May 20 following a strong push from NMPF and USDEC for increased investment in market promotion. USDA established RAPP last October to expand U.S. agriculture exports to new markets where demand for high-quality agricultural products is growing, including Southeast Asia, Latin America, the Middle East, and Africa.

RAPP’s launch was prompted by requests from Senate Agriculture Committee Chair Debbie Stabenow, D-MI, and Ranking Member John Boozman, R-AR to USDA regarding the need for greater international market expansion program funding.

In advance of that request, NMPF and USDEC advocated extensively with Congress regarding the importance of that additional investment, particularly at a time of dormant administrative trade policy initiatives.