Time Running out for Dairy Grad Students Applying for Scholarship Program

April 01, 2011

Graduate students currently pursuing dairy-related fields of research in Master’s or Ph.D. programs only have until Easter to submit their applications for NMPF’s National Dairy Leadership Scholarship Program. Applications will no longer be accepted after April 21.

Each year, NMPF awards at least four scholarships to outstanding graduate students who are conducting research that would benefit NMPF member cooperatives and the U.S. dairy industry at large.

Interested students are encouraged to submit an application (applicants do not need to be members of NMPF to qualify). The top scholarship applicant will be awarded the Hintz Memorial Scholarship, which was created in 2005 in honor of the late Cass-Clay Creamery Board Chairman Murray Hintz.

Recommended fields of study include but are not limited to: Agriculture Communications and Journalism, Animal Health, Animal and/or Human Nutrition, Bovine Genetics, Dairy Products Processing, Dairy Science, Economics, Environmental Science, Food Science, Food Safety, Herd Management, and Marketing and Price Analysis. Applications must be received no later than Thursday, April 21, 2011. For an application or more information, please visit the NMPF website or call the NMPF office at 703-243-6111.

National Dairy Producers Conference Registration Deadline Two Weeks Away

April 01, 2011

There is still time to take advantage of the early-bird registration rate for the National Dairy Producers Conference (NDPC) in Omaha, Nebraska from May 15 – 17. After April 13, the cost of registration will go up, and hotel rooms and farm tour spots will only be confirmed on a space and rate-available basis.

Secure your meeting registration, hotel reservation, and farm tour spot online at www.registration123.com/NMPF/2011NDPC. Although participants are encouraged to register online, conference registration forms submitted through the mail with credit card or check payment will also be accepted.

Formerly known as the National Dairy Leaders Conference, the NDPC gives dairy producer participants the opportunity to listen, learn, and lead. It provides a way to critically analyze the status of the dairy industry now and discuss possible solutions for the future.

Even though the conference is geared primarily toward dairy producers, anyone with a stake in the dairy industry is invited to attend. This may include dairy cooperative executives and directors, dairy processors, suppliers and consultants to the dairy business, state and federal regulators, promotion organization executives, and academics.

More information about the NDPC, including the agenda and details about the conference’s location, is available at www.nmpf.org/NDPC.

Agriculture Committee Chairperson Senator Stabenow Kicks of 2012 Farm Bill Hearings

April 01, 2011

Agriculture Committee Chairperson Senator Stabenow Kicks of 2012 Farm Bill Hearings

The first “2012 Farm Bill” hearing of the 112th Congress will begin on April 9th. Senator Debbie Stabenow, Chairwoman of the Senate Agriculture, Nutrition and Forestry Committee, is hosting a field hearing in her home state of Michigan. The hearing will be at the Kellogg Center on the Michigan State University campus in Lansing from 9:30 am to 12:30 pm. More information about the location is available at www.kelloggcenter.com/about/location.html.

Written testimony may be submitted for the record to the Senate Agriculture Committee no later than April 16, 2011. Send your testimony or questions to aghearing@ag.senate.gov or to:

US Senate Committee on Agriculture Nutrition and Forestry
328A Russell Senate Office Bldg.
Washington, D.C. 20510

NMPF will be submitting testimony for the record.

Court Issues Opinion on CAFO Rule

April 01, 2011

On March 15th, the United States Court of Appeals for the 5th Circuit in New Orleans issued a unanimous ruling that the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) cannot require livestock farmers to apply for Clean Water Act (CWA) permits unless their farms actually discharge manure into United States waters. In the ruling, the Court concluded: “The CWA provides a comprehensive liability scheme and the EPA’s attempt to supplement this scheme is in excess of its statutory authority.”

According to the ruling, non-discharging confined animal feeding operations (CAFOs) do not need permit coverage. In addition, CAFOs cannot face separate liability for “failure to apply” for permit coverage, as EPA’s rule provided. Instead, where a CAFO does not seek permit coverage, the CWA imposes liability only for discharges that occur from the unpermitted CAFO. The National Milk Producers Federation was a participant in the lawsuit.

CWT Progressing in Achieving Membership Goal

April 01, 2011

Cooperatives Working Together (CWT) continued to make progress towards its membership goal of getting a minimum of 75% of the nation’s milk supply investing in CWT for 2011 and 2012.

CWT announced last week that Bongards Creameries, in Bongards, Minnesota, has joined as a new cooperative member for the 2011-2012 membership period. This brought the total number of CWT members to 35 cooperatives (listed below), and 134 independent producers. With Bongards Creameries on board, the current level of total participation rose to 67% of eligible milk. The 2¢ investment will not be initiated until the 75% goal is reached.

Agri-Mark, Inc.
Arkansas Dairy Cooperative Association
Bongards Creameries *
Cooperative Milk Producers Association
Cortland Bulk Milk Producers Cooperative
Dairy Farmers of America, Inc.
Dairylea Cooperative Inc.
Farmers Cooperative Creamery
First District Association *
Foremost Farms USA
Jefferson Bulk Milk Cooperative, Inc.
Land O’ Lakes, Inc.
Lone Star Milk Producers
Lowville Producers Dairy Cooperative
Magic Valley Quality Milk Producers Inc. *
Maryland & Virginia Milk Producers Cooperative Association
Michigan Milk Producers Association
Midwest Dairymen’s Company *
Mount Joy Farmers Cooperative Association
National Farmers Organization
Northwest Dairy Association (Darigold)
Oneida Madison Milk Producers Cooperative
Prairie Farms Dairy, Inc. *
Preble Milk Cooperative Association, Inc.
Premier Milk Inc. *
Schoharie County Cooperative Creamery
Snake River Dairymen’s Association
South New Berlin Milk Cooperative, Inc.
Southeast Milk, Inc. *
St. Albans Cooperative Creamery, Inc.
Swiss Valley Farms Company *
United Ag Services Cooperative, Inc.
United Dairymen of Arizona
Upstate Niagara Cooperative, Inc.
Zia Milk Producers, Inc.
* New CWT Members in 2011


USDA Finalizes Regulation to Apply Promotion Assessment to Foreign Dairy Products

April 01, 2011

After many years of delay, the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) issued a final rule applying the long-delayed promotion checkoff on dairy imports, a development hailed by NMPF.

NMPF first worked with Congress to include a provision in the 2002 Farm Bill to expand the promotion checkoff to imports, but the expansion was blocked due to objections that the domestic checkoff was not applied to farmers in all 50 states, only the continental 48. So, NMPF again worked with Congress as it wrote the 2008 Farm Bill to ensure that the checkoff was applied in every state. However, implementation of the measure has languished for the past three years in regulatory limbo – until now.

On March 18, 2011, a final rule was released by USDA. It extends the checkoff to all 50 states and Puerto Rico as of April 1st, and starting on August 1st, it assesses the equivalent of 7.5 cents per hundredweight on all dairy-based imports, including cheese and butter products, as well as dry ingredients such as casein and milk protein concentrates. The money will be collected by the National Dairy Board to be used for nutrition research, consumer education, issues management, and other programs that build demand for dairy consumption.

“It’s been a long time in coming, but we’ve finally achieved a degree of fairness in the area of dairy promotion between domestic milk production and imports. Dairy importers, who benefit from the world’s largest dairy market, need to help pay to expand that market, the same way that our farmers do,” said Jerry Kozak, President and CEO of NMPF. “We appreciate the efforts of Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack to recognize how important it was to finally resolve this issue.”

Under the new import assessment, regional and state promotions, including those in Wisconsin and California, will continue to drive demand for dairy products, and the program will, in all substantive respects, continue to run as it has. The USDA has stated that the dairy import assessment will be administered so as to continue to permit state and regional promotions.

NMPF released a document of Frequently Asked Questions to help clarify the impact that this assessment will make on the dairy industry.

NMPF Hosts Board Members, Young Cooperators for Capitol Hill Meetings

April 01, 2011

In conjunction with the March Board of Directors meeting, NMPF board members and Young Cooperators (YCs) participated in a joint Capitol Hill fly-in. The purpose was to meet new staff and educate members of Congress on the pressing dairy issues of the day. During the one-day event, there were more than 100 meetings on both the House and Senate sides of Congress. While most of the focus was on promoting Foundation for the Future, other issues, including trade, energy, environment, and the agriculture budget were also discussed.

Most of the 25 YCs who attended the spring fly-in had already been to Washington, DC, in June 2010, when they first met with their members of Congress and lobbied for NMPF. This year’s spring fly-in gave them the opportunity to follow up with their representatives and observe the progress made on the issues they discussed last summer.

Photos from NMPF’s March board meeting and the Capitol Hill fly-in are publicly available on NMPF’s Flickr account.


In the photo: Senator Michael Bennet (CO – second from right) met with NMPF board member Les Hardesty and YC brothers Greg and Craig Pearson to discuss important dairy industry issues.


NMPF Board of Directors Approves Proposal to Improve Federal Milk Marketing Order System as Part of Foundation for the Future

April 01, 2011


At its spring meeting on March 8, the National Milk Producers Federation’s Board of Directors agreed to support a series of major reforms in the Federal Milk Marketing Order (FMMO) program, intended to renovate the economic structure of the U.S. dairy sector. The changes will be packaged as part of the Foundation for the Future program that NMPF has been developing during the past 18 months.

The proposal:

  • Replaces end product pricing formulas with a competitive milk pricing system;
  • Incorporates two classes of milk – fluid (Class I) and manufacturing (formerly Class II, III and IV product uses);
  • Maintains the higher of for establishing the fluid use (Class I) minimum base price;
  • Maintains current Class I regional differentials;
  • Maintains the number and basic structure and provisions of Federal Orders.

The changes approved at the board meeting – which were developed by a committee of dairy policy experts from across the industry – maintain the basic framework of the FMMO system, but eliminate some of the most contentious elements from the current structure, such as make allowances, which are the result of the end product pricing formulas now used to price farmers’ milk.

NMPF President and CEO Jerry Kozak said that the Federal Order reforms will be incorporated into legislative language and submitted to Congress to review, as part of the overall Foundation for the Future package. He said that the proposal will be shared with other stakeholders in the dairy sector, including processors, in an effort to build consensus around the changes.

“There has long been a shared notion that change is needed; now we’ve taken a big step toward defining what that change should look like,” Kozak said. “We are looking forward to explaining to everyone, from farmers to processors to lawmakers, how a competitive pricing system, and shifting the pricing basis to two classes of milk, will make the Federal Order system more flexible and sensible.”

New documents giving an overview of the proposed FMMO reform and an explanation of how the FMMO reform works were posted in the News & Resources section of the Foundation for the Future website. A new video was also released last month that described the need for policy reform in the U.S. dairy industry, and how Foundation for the Future could accomplish it. The video is available at www.futurefordairy.com and on NMPF’s YouTube channel. Anyone interested in receiving a hard DVD copy of the video may do so through the Contact Us page on the Foundation for the Future website.