Dairy Industry Assembles for Joint Annual Meeting

December 02, 2011

Nearly 1,000 people from multiple sectors of the U.S. dairy industry gathered at the Town and Country Resort & Convention Center in San Diego, CA, from November 14 – 16, for thejoint annual meeting of NMPF, the National Dairy Promotion and Research Board, and the United Dairy Industry Association. It was the 95th annual meeting for NMPF. The sunny southern California weather appealed to many dairy producers, as registration was up from the previous year.

Presentations and topics of conversation centered on the meeting’s theme of “Navigating a New Course.” In a joint address to the membership, NMPF Chairman Randy Mooney (pictured above left) and President & CEO Jerry Kozak provided updates on the efforts made over the previous year to reform dairy policy through the organization’s Foundation for the Future initiative (now known as the Dairy Security Act of 2011). They also cited other successes that NMPF achieved on other legislative, regulatory, and economic issues.

All members of NMPF’s 2011 Board of Directors will serve again in 2012, although there were several changes in the 2012 slate of officers. Ken Nobis, Michigan Milk Producers Association, was elected the new First Vice Chairman with the retirement of Clyde Rutherford, Dairylea Cooperative Inc. Mike McCloskey, Select Milk Producers, was elected Third Vice Chairman; Doug Nuttelman, Dairy Farmers of America, was elected Assistant Secretary; Pete Kappelman, Land O’Lakes, was elected Treasurer; and Adrian Boer, Northwest Dairy Association, was elected Assistant Treasurer. Randy Mooney, Dairy Farmers of America, will continue to serve as Chairman. Cornell Kasbergen, Land O’Lakes, will continue to serve as Second Vice Chairman.

At the Awards Luncheon, NMPF presented Certificate of Appreciation awards to the following retiring directors: Paul Johnston, Agri-Mark; Paul Toft, Associated Milk Producers Inc.; and John Underwood, Northwest Dairy Association. As recognition of superlative and unparalleled leadership abilities, Rutherford was presented with the NMPF Leadership Hall of Fame award. Rutherford, who has been involved with NMPF’s board since 1980, worked to bring about the betterment of NMPF as an organization and the dairy producer community it serves.

Foremost Farms USA received the 2011 Grand Champion Cheese for its Extra Sharp Cheddar produced in Marshfield, WI. The Outstanding Achievement in Communications Award was presented to Frances Lechner, United Dairymen of Arizona.

Lonny and Michelle Schilter from Northwest Dairy Association were elected the new 2012 Young Cooperator Chaircouple. Next year’s Vice Chaircouple will be David and Addi Foster from Dairy Farmers of America, and Kelly Dugan from United Dairymen of Arizona will be the Secretary.

Other 2012 YC Advisory Council members include: Brian and Jennifer Lynch, Agri-Mark; Walt and Jessica Gamblin, Dairy Farmers of America; Todd and Heather Hyman, Dairylea Cooperative Inc.; Rachael Crane, Foremost Farms USA; Michael and Jackie Oosten, Land O’Lakes; James and LaVaun Janney, Maryland & Virginia Milk Producers Cooperative; Jeremy and Jody Sharrard, Michigan Milk Producers Association; Doug Lindauer and Jessica Beck, Prairie Farms Dairy; Rebecca and Patrick Howrigan, St. Albans Cooperative Creamery; Matt and Kristi Strief, Swiss Valley Farms; Derrick Josi, Tillamook County Creamery Association; and Bradley Almeter, Upstate Niagara Cooperative.

Speeches and presentations from the 2011 annual meeting are available on the NMPF website. All of NMPF’s photos from the meeting are available on Flickr. Visitors to NMPF’s Flickr page may save photos to their own computers by right-clicking on an image and selecting a preferred size. If anyone would like to have a photo emailed to them or would like an original, high-resolution file, they may contact Sarah Olson.


Farm Dust Legislation Passes Key Committee

December 02, 2011

Last month, EPA Administrator Lisa Jackson said the agency will not seek to revise the standards for coarse particulate matter (PM10), or dust, alleviating major concerns for farmers and ranchers throughout the country, especially in the West. Nevertheless, there is still anxiety by some that this announcement is just a slight victory, while the days of farm dust being regulated further by EPA is not too far down the road.

There have been ongoing efforts in Congress to halt or delay EPA from revising the standards. Legislation introduced by Rep. Kristi Noem (R-SD), the Farm Dust Regulation Prevention Act of 2011 (HR 1633), would exempt farm dust from falling under the purview of the Clean Air Act. The bill passed the House Energy and Commerce Committee by a vote of 33-16, and is now expected to move to the House floor. A large coalition of agriculture stakeholders, including NMPF, has signed a letter pledging support for Rep. Noem’s legislation.


CAFO Reporting Rule Proposed by EPA

December 02, 2011

In light of a settlement agreement with several environmental organizations, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has proposed a reporting rule seeking to have Concentrated Animal Feeding Operations (CAFOs) submit certain operational information regarding their farm. According to EPA, this information is necessary so it “can more effectively carry out its CAFO permitting programs on a national level and ensure that CAFOs are implementing practices to protect water quality and human health.”

As proposed, EPA would ask for basic operational data, such as contact information, location of production area, number and type of animals confined, number of acres available for land application of manure, and permit status. In this rule, EPA is considering two reporting options: 1) require every CAFO to report information to EPA unless states with authorized Clean Water Act permitting programs choose to provide it on behalf of the CAFOs in their state; or 2) require CAFOs in “focus” watersheds that have water quality concerns associated with CAFOs to report information to EPA. NMPF, along with other livestock organizations, is developing comments on this critical proposed rule. The deadline to submit comments is December 20, 2011.


Department of Labor Issues Child Farm Labor Proposed Rules

December 02, 2011

Last September, the Department of Labor submitted its first rewrite of child farm labor laws in 30 years. NMPF joined a coalition, headed by the American Farm Bureau, which sent comments to the Department of Labor addressing many of the concerns farm groups, including National FFA, have with the proposed rules.

Under the rewrite, the new child labor rules would prevent children under 16 from operating power-driven machinery, herding livestock on horseback, or working around breeding cattle. The deadline for comments ended on December 1st. NMPF’s comments to the Department of Labor are available online.


FY 2012 Agricultural Appropriations Bill Signed into Law

December 02, 2011

The Fiscal Year 2012 Agricultural Appropriations bill was passed as a part of a larger “minibus” package, by both the House and the Senate on November 17, 2011 and signed into law by the President the next day. The agriculture appropriations bill was funded at $136.6 billion, a reduction of $350 million from FY 2011 levels.

One of the major provisions affecting the dairy industry is the reduction in funding for the Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC). The Conference Report appropriated $205 million to the CFTC, a reduction of $103 million, aimed at influencing the CFTC as it writes rules directly related to how agricultural cooperatives are defined in commodity transactions.

Another provision sets funding for the Rural Energy for America Program (REAP) at $22 million, with discretionary funding authorized at $2.4 million. While these levels are a significant reduction from the $75 million the program received in FY2011, NMPF is pleased to see the program still funded. REAP has proven to be a successful farm bill energy title program that may be utilized by nearly every farmer in America. For dairy farmers, REAP can be used on everything from energy efficiency audits to anaerobic digester systems.


EU Somatic Cell Requirements Take Effect Next Month

December 02, 2011

In August 2011, the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s, Agricultural Marketing Service (USDA-AMS) released a draft of the “European Health Certification Program” to dairy industry trade associations (NMPF, the U.S. Dairy Export Council, the International Dairy Foods Association, and the American Dairy Products Institute) for review and comment. After gathering member feedback, NMPF submitted comments and questions last month to AMS, expressing general support for the program, and requesting additional clarification on specific points.

On November 21, 2011, USDA-AMS met with industry stakeholders, including NMPF, to discuss the logistical details of the project and to review the stakeholders’ remaining questions. As a result of that meeting, USDA-AMS finalized the requirements of the “European Health Certification Program”.

The effective date for beginning the transition to the new program requirements is January 1, 2012. After March 31, 2012, all shipments of dairy products requiring an EU health certificate must comply with the updated certification program and must be accompanied by an updated Certificate of Conformance.

The major differences between U.S. and EU milk requirements are: 1) the EU somatic cell count (SCC) and bacterial standard plate count (SPC) requirements apply at the farm level, and 2) the EU maximum SCC in raw cow’s milk is 400,000 cells/mL. Additional highlights of the program include:

  • Milk suppliers, dairy processors, and applicants for EU Health Certificates are responsible for maintaining records to trace their product back one step in the supply chain (toward the raw milk production) for all dairy products/ingredients intended for export to the EU.
  • Processors of dairy products/ingredients that require an EU Health Certificate will be responsible for maintaining Certificates of Conformance (COCs) demonstrating the dairy products/ingredients meet EU SCC and SPC requirements.
  • Testing of the farm-level milk supply will be necessary to document compliance with the requirements for export of dairy products to the EU (both Grade A and Grade B milk for SCC, and Grade B milk for SPC). Grade A plants that supply ingredients or raw milk are generally exempt from requirements to keep additional records on SPC to confirm compliance with EU regulations.
  • Milk suppliers will be responsible for providing COCs to processors, as well as maintaining records of individual farms, to confirm that raw milk meeting SCC and SPC requirements of the EU is received at facilities manufacturing dairy products for shipment to the EU.
  • With respect to timing and implementation, all farms will be given three months to establish initial rolling three-month means – that is, SCC data collected in January, February, and March will be used to determine the rolling three-month mean for April. Non-Grade A farms will be given two months (January and February) to establish initial rolling two-month means for SPC. This data will serve as the initial basis for updated COCs under the new program requirements. According to the new program instructions, if a rolling mean exceeds EU requirements, the milk supplier must then notify AMS.
  • The program instructions include a level of flexibility for farms that exceed EU SCC or SPC requirements, but work toward compliance. (For detail on these provisions, see Section F “Milk Supplier’s Responsibility” (pages 6-7), sections b and c.)

Information on the certification program may be found online. Please contact Beth Briczinski if you have questions or trouble accessing the link.

NMPF’s 2012 Antibiotic Residue Prevention Manual Now Available

December 02, 2011

NMPF announced last month that it is releasing an updated version of the Milk and Dairy Beef Drug Residue Prevention Manual for 2012. One of the areas of focus for the National Dairy FARM ProgramTM, the residue prevention document can be found online at www.nationaldairyfarm.com.

The Milk and Dairy Beef Drug Residue Prevention Manual is a concise review of appropriate antibiotic use in dairy animals. The manual is a quick resource to review those antibiotics approved for dairy animals, and also can be used as an educational tool for farm managers as they develop their on-farm best management practices necessary to avoid milk and meat residues. Additions to the 2012 version include a section on meat drug residue testing, an expanded list of products and risk factors for residues, as well as an updated drug and test kit list. The 2012 manual includes a certificate of participation that can be signed by a producer and their veterinarian to demonstrate their commitment to proper use of antibiotics on the dairy.

“The use of antibiotics in livestock is undergoing increased scrutiny, and this manual will help ensure that veterinary treatments are used appropriately,” said Jerry Kozak, President and CEO of NMPF.

The Residue Prevention manual was sponsored by Charm Sciences, IDEXX, and Pfizer Animal Health. No check-off finds were used in the development and distribution of this manual.

For more information on the residue prevention manual or the National Dairy FARM Program, contact Betsy Flores at (703) 243-6111.

USDA Forecasts Record Net Farm Income

December 02, 2011

The USDA’s Economic Research Service (ERS) is forecasting U.S. net farm income to total $100.9 billion in 2011, 29% higher than in 2010. NMPF estimates from ERS data that, among dairy farms, net farm income is projected to rise 58%, to $11.5 billion, up about $4.2 billion. Because cost, including feed, rose substantially in 2011, this rise in net income is only half of the projected $8 billion increase in milk and milk product sales, which are projected at a record $39.4 billion.

More information can be found online.


CWT Export Assistance Program Extended

December 02, 2011

Dairy cooperatives and individual farmers representing 70.1% of the nation’s milk have committed two cents per hundred pounds of milk to Cooperatives Working Together (CWT) for 2012 and 2013. As a result of reaching the minimum participation level that the CWT Committee established, the Export Assistance program will carry on with assisting member cooperatives in selling U.S. cheese to key markets around the world. The two-cent investment will begin with milk marketed in January 2012, and continue on member milk marketings through December 2013.

Meanwhile, CWT members continued to aggressively sell American cheeses to key markets in November. A total of 9.5 million pounds of cheddar and Monterey Jack cheese, scheduled for shipment through April 2012, will receive assistance from CWT. This brings the total export sales assisted so far in 2011 to 88.3 million pounds going to 25 countries on four continents.

CWT requires extensive documentation from cooperative members showing that the product was delivered in order for assistance payments to be made.

Farm Bill Agreement Contains Dairy Reform Proposal

December 02, 2011

Capitol_Hill_1.JPGEven though the congressional supercommittee process failed to reach an agreement on how to make $1.2 trillion in spending cuts, the leaders of the House and Senate Agriculture committees did agree last month to a 2012 Farm Bill framework that includes the NMPF-backed Dairy Security Act.

The top Democrats and Republicans on the House and Senate panels had been negotiating throughout the autumn on the outlines of a new farm bill, in an effort to reduce overall agriculture spending by $23 billion. That effort paralleled the larger supercommittee process that targeted farm programs as part of its package of trillion-dollar cuts. Because the Dairy Security Act provides a budget savings compared to current policies – and because it offers farmers a better safety net – the Ag committee negotiators included the DSA as part of the overall package.

Specifically, both the Dairy Margin Protection Program and the Dairy Market Stabilization Program were featured in the Farm Bill draft, while the Dairy Product Price Support Program, the Milk Income Loss Contract Program and the Dairy Export Incentive Program were eliminated.

Although the demise of the supercommittee process has now pushed consideration of the next Farm Bill into 2012, NMPF is confident that the Dairy Security Act remains the foundation of dairy policy reform as the next Farm Bill is refined. NMPF will continue working with its members to urge House and Senate members to build on the agreement achieved last month, so that dairy policy reform can be finalized next year.