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FMMO Hearing Focuses on Price Surface, May End in February

December 6, 2023

NMPF witnesses advocated for a fairer Class I price surface dominated testimony in USDA’s Federal Milk Marketing Order hearing, which resumed Nov. 27 in Carmel, IN. That’s critical for its contributions to the hearing record the Agriculture Department is building to craft a proposal to submit to farmers next year.

Economist Peter Vitaliano continued to anchor NMPF’s testimony, joined by multiple co-op experts explaining the effects of a modernized formula taking account of differing cost structures for milk production in various regions of the country. With NMPF’s Proposal #19 taking the bulk of the hearing time over a scheduled two-week period, the team effort highlighted the unanimous co-op unity that’s allowed NMPF to lead the discussion, aided by organizations such as the American Farm Bureau Federation and the Milk Producers Council that are aligned with NMPF positions and show broader farmer and industry support for the proposal.

The hearing itself, however, is becoming significantly delayed, with an original timeline of wrapping up in mid-October now being pushed as late as early February due to venue availability and delays for holidays. That potentially may cost millions of dollars to farmers who would not benefit from the improved component pricing, modernized Class I price surfacing and the return to the “higher of” Class I mover. NMPF continues its thorough preparation for all scenarios.