Farmer and Rancher Group to Host Another Food DialoguesAugust 06, 2012
The U.S. Farmers and Ranchers Alliance (USFRA), of which NMPF is a member, will host another two-day Food Dialogues session this fall to discuss how food is produced, with a special focus on the use of antibiotics and biotechnology, and how these methods are portrayed in the media. Additional details, including event moderators and other speakers, will be announced in the next several weeks. In the interim, USFRA has created a section of its website where individuals can sign up for more information and receive updates as they become available.
The meeting will be held November 15 in New York City and will be modeled after the Food Dialogues session held earlier this summer in Los Angeles. That meeting, held in late June 2012, brought together entertainment movers and shakers, chefs, academics, large restaurant operators, journalists, local leaders, and farmers and ranchers for an in-depth conversation about food.
In addition, this summer USFRA is looking for a handful of farmers and ranchers who are proud of what they do and eager to share their stories of continuous improvement with others. The winners of this nationwide search for the “Faces of Farming and Ranching” will be announced in January 2013, and will put a real face on today’s agriculture. Dairy farmers can nominate others – or themselves – by going to www.fooddialogues.com.
House Passes Bills to Protect Children’s’ Right to Work on FarmsAugust 06, 2012
NMPF was heartened by the vote in the House of Representatives late last month to pass the Preserving America’s Family Farms Act. This legislation, sponsored by Rep. Tom Latham (R-IA), and cosponsored by more than 90 other members, prohibits the Secretary of Labor from finalizing or enforcing regulations in the future that would change the definition of the ‘parental exemption,’ change the student learner exemption, and significantly redefine what practices would be acceptable for youth under the age of 16 in which to participate.
Even though the Department of Labor earlier this year withdrew its contentious proposed rule restricting the work that children could do on farms, NMPF still remains concerned that the issue could surface again at some point in the future.
“Although the Obama Administration has said it won’t go down this path again, NMPF wants to be certain that subsequent administrations don’t attempt something similar, which is why this bill was needed,” said Jerry Kozak, President and CEO of NMPF. “We will continue to encourage the Labor Department to work with rural stakeholders to develop education programs to reduce accidents to young workers and promote safer agricultural working practices.”
CWT-Assisted Export Sales Top 120 Million Pounds in 2012August 06, 2012
Through the end of July, Cooperatives Working Together (CWT) has assisted member cooperatives in making 436 sales of cheese and butter to 33 countries on five continents.
Sales of Cheddar, Monterey Jack, and Gouda cheeses accounted for 302 sales totaling 71.5 million pounds, while the 134 sales of butter totaled 55.3 million pounds. This compares to 2011, when CWT assisted with 184 sales for the first seven months of the year, totaling 56.6 million pounds.
The milk equivalent on a milk fat basis of CWT’s 2012-assisted sales is 1.87 billion pounds, or the same as the annual production of 88,800 dairy cows. This accounts for half of the increase in milk production through the first six months in 2012.
Farm Bill in Limbo during August Congressional RecessAugust 06, 2012
The battle over the Farm Bill shifts this month from Washington, DC, to the hundreds of congressional districts across America, to which members of Congress have returned for their August recess. NMPF has issued a call to action to its members, urging dairy farmers and their cooperatives to voice strong support for the passage of a new farm bill while their elected representatives are back home.
Last week, the House tried and failed to pass a one-year extension of the current farm bill that would have offered no value to dairy farmers. Because NMPF and most other farm groups opposed this approach, the House leadership pulled the bill, and instead passed a $300 million drought assistance bill that also offers little real support to dairy farmers. NMPF sent a letter to Congress expressing its disappointment that the House failed to act on a new Farm Bill.
The current farm bill expires at the end of September, and once the House and Senate return to Capitol Hill on Sept. 10th, there are fewer than 10 legislative days for them to act on farm policy before that deadline. The most likely current scenario is that farm policy will have to wait until an anticipated lame duck session of Congress is held after the November elections. In order to bring the Dairy Security Act to completion, members of both the House and Senate need to hear that getting a new bill is a priority to dairy farmers.
Dairy Groups Prepare for Joint Annual MeetingAugust 06, 2012
With less than three months to go, staff members have been working on plans for the 2012 annual meeting that NMPF jointly hosts with the National Dairy Promotion and Research Board and the United Dairy Industry Association. This year’s meeting will be held October 29 – 31 at the Walt Disney World Dolphin Hotel in Lake Buena Vista, FL.
Centering on the theme “Securing Dairy’s Future,” attendees will arrive for a few days of speeches, reports, banquets, general sessions, town hall meetings, and award ceremonies. Dairy producers, cooperatives, Young Cooperators (YCs), industry representatives, staff, and others from within the dairy sector are all invited to attend. Guest speakers will include AgriTalk host Mike Adams, sports commentator Dick Vitale, political pundit Stu Rothenberg, and entertainer Laura Bell Bundy.
Information will be posted online at www.nmpf.org/nmpf-joint-annual-meeting as it becomes available.
Government Relations Staff Member PromotedAugust 06, 2012
After serving at NMPF for three months, staff member John Hollay has been promoted to the position of Senior Director, Government Relations. Hollay has done an outstanding job in the time he has been with NMPF, and the organization has benefited from his legislative experience and political acumen. He has been instrumental in successfully positioning the Dairy Security Act in both the Senate and the House.