Dairy Leaders Unanimously Endorse NMPF Milk-Pricing Plan at March MeetingApril 04, 2023
NMPF’s Board of Directors unanimously endorsed March 7 a proposal to modernize the Federal Milk Marketing Order (FMMO), a milestone that caps more than two years of discussion and more than 130 meetings on different aspects of the proposal.
The plan approved at NMPF’s March board meeting would reinvigorate the FMMO system, which guides milk pricing, to reflect an industry that’s evolved significantly since the last comprehensive revamp in 2000. It’s a proposal all dairy can get behind, said Randy Mooney, chairman of NMPF’s board of directors and a dairy farmer from Rogersville, MO.
“After gathering dairy’s best minds and consulting with partners across the industry, today we are moving forward with a comprehensive FMMO proposal the entire industry can get behind,” Mooney said. “We look forward to leading a thorough, deliberative process as we submit this proposal to USDA and partner with our allies to modernize milk pricing in ways that serve dairy farmers and the entire industry.”
The board reviewed a package of changes initially developed and proposed by a task force of NMPF cooperative experts and later approved by the organization’s Economic Policy Committee. The adopted changes, listed here, reflects the industry’s evolution while benefiting the farmers who form the bedrock of U.S. dairy.
With the board’s approval, NMPF’s next step is to move toward submitting the proposal to USDA as the basis for a federal order hearing while continuing conversations with other dairy stakeholder partners, a move expected in late April. NMPF President and CEO Jim Mulhern said the organization stands ready to assist farmers, the dairy industry and federal officials in any way it can as the process unfolds.
“We believe in a better future for this industry, and this proposal will help build that future,” he said.
NMPF’s board also welcomed new directors — Jacob Larson of Southeast Milk Inc., and Michael Lichte of Dairy Farmers of America – and released its annual report, highlighting the activities and accomplishments of the past year.
NMPF is the only nationwide organization devoted to advancing the interests of all dairy farmers of all sizes in all regions. A federation of dairy cooperatives, NMPF embodies the spirit of farmer self-help and community leadership.
Board members also discussed:
- The need to build upon an FDA proposal on plant-based beverage labeling that doesn’t go far enough to end the mislabeling of imitation products using dairy terms;
- Industry leadership in animal care, environmental stewardship, and workforce development through the National Dairy Farmers Assuring Responsible Management (FARM) Program;
- How sound policy can contribute to another record year of U.S. dairy exports; and
- Potential farm-bill priorities.
FARM Animal Care 5.0 Advances at Board MeetingApril 04, 2023
In addition to endorsing a path forward on Federal Milk Marketing Order modernization, NMPF’s Board of Directors also voted to approve a package of updates to Version 5 of the FARM Program’s Animal Care standards.
The board on March 9 endorsed the overall package developed by the FARM program’s committee structure, including its Animal Care Task Force and the NMPF Animal Health and Well-Being Committee. It withdrew for further consideration one program proposal updating provisions to include additional guidance on broken tail scoring. The board will revisit that proposal, which would update the scoring approach for the existing version 4 benchmark about broken tails in lactating cows, at NMPF’s June Board meeting.
The goal of FARM and NMPF, which administers the program, is to implement the overall Version 5 Animal Care standards July 1, 2024. An industry-wide Town Hall about the Animal Care standards will be held April 6. Registration for the Town Hall is here.
The FARM Program also shared progress updates for its Environmental Stewardship and Workforce Development program areas at the March meeting.
U.S. Cheese Producers Win Major Victory with Gruyere RulingApril 04, 2023
U.S. cheese producers won a significant victory March 3 when the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit ruled that “gruyere” is a common name for a variety of cheese, and not a designation of geographic origin.
The win came after intense efforts by the NMPF trade policy team, working with the U.S. Dairy Export Council (USDEC) and the Consortium for Common Food Names (CCFN) to secure the key legal victory against French and Swiss groups seeking to appropriate the name “gruyere” in the U.S. market. The ruling means that U.S. gruyere producers can continue to market and sell gruyere in the United States. It also sets an excellent precedent that helps ensure common food names will be protected domestically against EU efforts to erect nontariff trade barriers by appropriating them for their exclusive use.
Capturing the momentum from the Court of Appeals’ ruling, the trade policy team, who also staff CCFN, will continue to work alongside USDEC to secure firm and clear commitments assuring the future use of common cheese names at risk of EU confiscation. CCFN release a video in March explaining the organization’s work and challenges; learn more about CCFN’s work by watching it here.
DAIRY PRIDE Momentum BuildsApril 04, 2023
House introduction of the DAIRY PRIDE Act on March 8 intensified mobilization among dairy and its allies as FDA’s proposed guidance on the proper labeling of plant-based beverages brings new momentum for NMPF’s efforts at ensuring marketplace integrity.
The Defending Against Imitations and Replacements of Yogurt, Milk, and Cheese To Promote Regular Intake of Dairy Everyday Act” aka DAIRY PRIDE, requires FDA to enforce its standards of identity and would supersede the inadequate solution it offered in February, in which plant-based beverages could call themselves “milk” as long as they clearly state their nutritional differences with real dairy.
A bipartisan group of six House members introduced DAIRY PRIDE, led by Reps. John Joyce, R-PA, and Ann Kuster, D-NH. NMPF President and CEO Jim Mulhern applauded the members – who also included Reps. Mike Simpson, R-ID, Joe Courtney, D-CT, Derrick Van Orden, R-WI, and Angie Craig, D-MN. Now that FDA has made clear it won’t enforce dairy standards of identity of its own volution, “DAIRY PRIDE is necessary for FDA to fulfill its own responsibilities,” Mulhern said.
House introduction followed February’s Senate DAIRY PRIDE introduction led by Sens. Tammy Baldwin, D-WI; Jim Risch, R-ID; Peter Welch, D-VT and Susan Collins, R-ME. Baldwin explained during her guest spot on NMPF’s “Dairy Defined” podcast that the DAIRY PRIDE could pass Congress this year via one of several vehicles, including the farm bill due this year.
“Many of the folks that I’m joining forces with are going to have significant input as we draft a new farm bill, which is something that I expect to get completed this calendar year. So that’s certainly one area that we can look towards,” she said. “We also have funding bills for the Food and Drug Administration, and that would certainly be another opportunity to look at this type of legislation.”
Meanwhile, NMPF is leading grass-roots advocacy on labeling, with a call-to-action organized around the FDA guidance. FDA is accepting comments on its draft guidance until April 24. To participate in NMPF’s call to action, click here.
DMC Margin Posts Another Sizeable Drop in FebruaryApril 04, 2023
The Dairy Margin Coverage (DMC) program will pay $3.31/cwt for $9.50/cwt coverage in February, based on a margin of $6.19/cwt that month. This was $4.70/cwt less than the margin last November. A milk price drop of $1.50/cwt from a month earlier and a $0.25/cwt rise in the DMC feed cost formula combined to lower the February margin by $1.75/cwt from its level in January.
Available forecasts currently indicate that the monthly DMC margins are close to bottoming out for the year, at around $6.00/cwt in a month or two, followed by a slow rise that will not likely top $9.50/cwt until the fourth quarter. This year will return many times the cost of this very affordable means of managing margin risk.
NMPF Strengthening Ties with USTRApril 04, 2023
A series of March meetings between NMPF staff and new U.S. Chief Agricultural Negotiator Doug McKalip is strengthening ties with the critical agency for U.S dairy exports, with NMPF President and CEO Jim Mulhern and others sharing industry priorities.
Officially confirmed by the Senate late last year, Amb. McKalip is U.S. agriculture’s top advocate at the U.S. Trade Representative’s office and a critical ally to America’s dairy industry. Mulhern sat down with Amb. McKalip over dinner to talk over dairy trade challenges and opportunities on March 1.
Two days later, Trade Policy Manager Tony Rice joined the U.S. Agricultural Coalition for World Trade Organization (WTO) Reform in a meeting with Ambassador McKalip to discuss dairy priorities in the context of the WTO’s Ministerial Conference taking place early next year. Finally, those conversations were followed by an in-depth, policy-focused dialogue with NMPF trade policy leaders Jaime Castaneda and Shawna Morris on March 9.
NMPF also worked with congressional allies to support their preparations for questioning U.S. Trade Representative Katherine Tai during trade oversight hearings held by the Senate Finance Committee on March 23 and the House Ways and Means Committee on March 24, pressing Amb. Tai to pursue market-liberalizing opportunities for U.S. agriculture and removal of nontariff barriers to dairy exports, including the EU’s aggressive campaign to monopolize common cheese names.
EPA Misses Mark with New PFAS Drinking Water LimitsApril 04, 2023
New EPA drinking water limits issued March 14 are raising concerns at NMPF that they may be arbitrarily restrictive and not based on the best science available.
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s new limits, known as Maximum Contaminant Limits (MCLs), cover six PFAS chemicals, which environmental advocates say increase health risks. EPA set the limit for PFOA and PFOS, the focus of much of EPA’s attention on the issue, at 4 parts-per-trillion (PPT) individually. It’s using health hazard index to set limits for 4 other PFAS chemicals.
The limits are below international standards, including those set by the World Health Organization. As well as all state-imposed limits for PFAS ( per-and polyfluoroalkyl substances) in drinking water. Unlike the previous EPA Health Hazard Advisory, which originally set the advisable limit at 70ppt, these new proposed limits are enforceable regulations. The proposed limits will not apply to private well water.
The new limits, if finalized, will require thousands of drinking water utilities to spend significant amount of money to upgrade their water filtration systems to remove all detectable PFAS. Water in many areas of the country is already very expensive, and it will get even more expensive with this regulation. In addition to raising drinking water costs, the change also will increase food costs, as the food processing industry uses significant amounts of water to make food and to clean and sanitize food facilities.
NMPF also is concerned that the low limits on drinking water will impact potential limits in food, either in a regulation or in public perception. Thus far, FDA has declined to set a food limit and generally does not feel that trace levels of PFAS in human food are a human health concern, with rare exceptions.
While everyone should have an ample supply of clean water, the fact is many drinking water systems are contaminated with a variety of chemicals and it is economically impossible to get public drinking water to be 100% contaminant free. NMPF has cautioned EPA to be careful and follow the science on the regulation of all things PFAS for years.
The comment period is open until April 24. NMPF will once again file comments to EPA advising it to follow the science and be consistent with the global approach to regulating PFAS chemicals.
March CWT-Assisted Dairy Export Sales Totaled 2.5 Million PoundsApril 04, 2023
CWT member cooperatives secured 31 contracts in March, adding 1.8 million pounds of American-type cheeses, 168,000 pounds of butter, and 522,000 pounds of cream cheese to CWT-assisted sales in 2023. In milk equivalent, this is equal to 24.1 million pounds of milk on a milkfat basis. These products will go to customers in Asia, Central America, the Caribbean and Middle East-North Africa, and will be shipped from March through September 2023.
CWT-assisted 2023 dairy product sales contracts year-to-date total 12.6 million pounds of American-type cheese, 550,000 pounds of butter, 2.5 million pounds of cream cheese and 17.8 million pounds of whole milk powder. This brings the total milk equivalent for the year to 278.3 million pounds on a milkfat basis.
Exporting dairy products is critical to the viability of dairy farmers and their cooperatives across the country. Whether or not a cooperative is actively engaged in exporting cheese, butter, anhydrous milkfat, cream cheese, or whole milk powder, moving products into world markets is essential. CWT provides a means to move domestic dairy products to overseas markets by helping to overcome U.S. dairy’s trade disadvantages.
The amounts of dairy products and related milk volumes reflect current contracts for delivery, not completed export volumes. CWT will pay export assistance to the bidders only when export and delivery of the product is verified by the submission of the required documentation.
NMPF Brings Together YC Coordinators for Inaugural TrainingApril 04, 2023
NMPF hosted its first-ever training of Young Cooperators (YC) Program coordinators March 21-22, bringing together staff from nine member cooperatives to share ideas and experiences, build community and brainstorm ways to boost the impact of beginning farmer programs at the cooperative and national levels.
The two-day hybrid meeting, hosted by Land O’Lakes Inc. at its Arden Hills, MN headquarters, also included representatives from USDA, Dairy Girl Network and the National Council of Farmer Cooperatives.
The training was filled with robust discussion on a variety of topics including relationship building and recruitment, communications and outreach, sponsorships, event planning and facilitating feedback and measuring success.
Supporting effective and robust cooperative-level programs by providing training and assistance to staff serving as points of contact for beginning dairy farmers is a core objective of NMPF’s National YC Program, first established in 1950.
Application Deadline Approaching for National Dairy Leadership ScholarshipApril 04, 2023
The National Dairy Leadership Scholarship Program’s April 14 application deadline for academic year 2023-2024 is quickly approaching.
Each year, NMPF awards scholarships to outstanding students enrolled in master’s or doctoral programs actively pursuing dairy-related fields of research of immediate interest to NMPF member cooperatives and the U.S. dairy industry.
Graduate students pursuing research of direct benefit to milk marketing cooperatives and dairy producers are encouraged to submit an application. Applicants do not need to be NMPF members to qualify). Scholarship recipients will be invited to present their research via webinar this summer. Top applicants are eligible to be awarded the Hintz Memorial Scholarship, created in 2005 in honor of the late Cass-Clay Creamery Board Chairman Murray Hintz, who was instrumental in establishing NMPF’s scholarship program.
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.
For an application or more information, please visit the NMPF websiteNMPF website or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
The scholarship program is funded through the National Dairy Leadership Scholarship Fund. If you would like to support the scholarship fund, please consider a donation here.