New Intern Welcomed onto NMPF StaffJune 10, 2011
Last week, Ben Williamson joined the NMPF staff as an intern. Williamson was selected in a national search by the American Society of Animal Scientists for this competitive award. He will be with NMPF for the month of June and then will spend a month interning in a congressional office.
Williamson is currently pursuing his Master’s degree in Beef Cattle Reproductive Physiology at the University of Arkansas.
Dairy Scientist Meeting Brings Together New Research from Around the WorldJune 10, 2011
The 2011 Joint Annual Meeting (JAM) of the American Dairy Science Association (ADSA®) and the American Society of Animal Science (ASAS) will be held July 10 to 14 in New Orleans, LA. The JAM brings together top dairy scientists from around the world to share results from their current work. In addition to oral and poster presentations of current research findings, a wide range of symposia and special events will be held. Some of these include:
- The Johne’s Disease Integrated Program Annual Conference – With 23 poster and oral presentations included in the JAM Animal Health sections
- The Triennial Lactation Symposium – Biology of Lactation of Farm Animals: Lactation Biology Training for the Next Generation – A tribute to Dr. H. Allen Tucker
- Bioethics: The ethical food movement: What does it mean for animal agriculture?
- Animal Behavior and Well-Being: Novel techniques for euthanasia
- Contemporary and Emerging Issues: Emerging animal welfare issues
- Current and future determinants of dairy product pricing
- Production, Management and the Environment, Forages and Pastures & Innovation Center for U.S. Dairy Joint Symposium: Environmental impact of beef and dairy systems
- Enhancing educational approaches for future changes in biosecurity and antibiotic use in animal agriculture
The JAM serves as an international forum to share results of current research and gather vital information for the future of animal agriculture. Over 2,000 scientists, researchers and industry leaders with diverse yet common interests from around the globe will be in attendance. Sessions will cover research in food science, dairy production, animal and human nutrition, livestock transport, food safety, animal care, animal health, genetic improvement, production and management, web-based information programs, and other cutting edge work. More than 2,100 scientific presentations, 100 or more exhibitors in the trade show, 47 symposia, and six other workshops or special meetings will intrigue the world’s leading animal, dairy, and food scientists and provide a glimpse of the industry’s future.
For more information, visit www.jtmtg.org/2011.
NDPC Draws Strong Attendance for National Producers MeetingJune 10, 2011
Dairy producers from all corners of the country converged in Omaha, Nebraska, last month for the biennial National Dairy Producers Conference (NDPC). Held May 15 – 17, it featured speakers from all realms of the industry who covered topics such as preparations for the next Farm Bill, balancing trade, managing high input costs, environmental concerns, and animal care issues.
Information about the NDPC, including presentations from the speakers and photos from the meeting, is available online at www.nmpf.org/NDPC. NMPF again thanked the meeting’s sponsors for their support.
NMPF Comments on Dodd-Frank RulesJune 10, 2011
NMPF submitted comments last week to the Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC) on several of the proposed rules and proposed rulemaking originating from the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act, which bans all agricultural futures, options, and swaps that aren’t specifically allowed by the CFTC.
In each of these comments, NMPF urged the Commission to minimize the unnecessary regulation of innovative risk management tools for farmers and cooperatives – particularly agricultural swaps – and to avoid counterproductive interference in cooperative marketing. Agricultural swaps and agricultural producers, processors, and distributors (defined together as ‘end users’ in CFTC rulemaking) did not cause the recent financial crisis, and their hedging does not pose a risk to the financial system.
Comments from farm groups, including NMPF, have already made substantial progress in raising CFTC’s awareness of the needs that agricultural end users have for hedging, and in moving the Commission to broaden exemptions for end users, to state their intention not to regulate transactions within a cooperative association, and to explore greater regulatory exemptions for physical market participants (meaning those engaged in trading physical products directly).
NMPF’s comments can be found at the CFTC’s Dodd-Frank comment site.
NMPF has addressed the following rules, identified by Federal Register reference: 75 FR 59666; 75 FR 65586; 75 FR 67277; 75 FR 80174; 75 FR 80747; and 76 FR 6095.
If you have any questions, please contact Roger Cryan in the NMPF offices.
USDA’s New MyPlate Symbol Emphasizes Dairy’s Contribution to Healthy EatingJune 10, 2011
The shape may have shifted from pyramid to plate, but the message remains the same: dairy is an important part of the daily diet, for adults and children alike.
For that reason, NMPF and other dairy organizations praised the USDA’s new MyPlate education tool, which provides a clear and visual message that a healthy diet is comprised of a variety of nutrient-rich foods, including low-fat and fat-free milk, cheese, and yogurt.
America’s dairy farmers and processors commended the USDA for including a light blue circle depicting a serving of “Dairy” – milk, cheese, or yogurt – next to the dinner plate to illustrate how to build a healthy eating plan, including a serving of dairy at every meal.
“Dairy foods are rightfully being recognized — from the school house to the White House — as an important part of everyone’s diet,” noted NMPF President and CEO Jerry Kozak. “USDA’s new MyPlate, the simple visual metaphor of a serving of dairy products alongside a plate, says it’s vital to consume three servings of low-fat and fat-free dairy foods every day.”
Dairy contributes beyond the glass, as well. A serving of nutrient-rich, low-fat or fat-free milk, cheese, or yogurt has, on average, at least as much protein as an egg. In fact, dairy foods contribute 18 percent of the protein to the American diet. Simple steps, like adding lower fat cheese to a veggie sandwich or topping a baked potato with fat-free plain yogurt can give any meal a nutrient boost.
Americans currently average about 2 daily servings of dairy foods, while USDA’s dietary guidelines encourage 3 daily servings of low-fat or fat-free milk and milk products for adults and children nine years and older. This underscores the importance of a direct, visual metaphor like the MyPlate tool in relaying this guidance to a population being urged to get more nutrients per calorie at every meal.
CWT Members Support Two-Year Commitment at 70% of Production, Starting in 2012, to Assist Dairy ProducersJune 10, 2011
The members of Cooperatives Working Together (CWT) reiterated their support this week for a multi-year program to help boost U.S. dairy exports, and thus help improve the economics of dairy farmers, with the stipulation that the program must be supported by 70% of the nation’s milk supply.
At a meeting Tuesday in Alexandria, Virginia, the farmer-run committee overseeing CWT voted to renew the program for two years, starting in January 2012 and running through December 2013 – once a 70% level participation level can be reached. Current membership pledges amount to 68% of the milk supply.
“Cooperatives Working Together remains an incredibly important self-help tool for the nation’s dairy producers. The members of CWT want to keep it going into the future because it helps farmers access the fastest-growing markets for their milk, which are overseas,” said Jerry Kozak, President and CEO of NMPF, which manages CWT. “We fully expect the producer and cooperative community see the value in supporting a program that benefits every dairy farmer and that we will achieve our goal.”
Since the start of 2011, the program has used funds carried over from the previous year to help export 39 million pounds of cheese, to 20 countries. The renewal effort will ensure that the program will have new revenue coming in from its members starting next year to further bolster the export activities funded by CWT.
The CWT program no longer funds herd retirements or cow removals, and will focus exclusively on assisting member organizations with dairy exports. Kozak noted that the export market “has been incredibly helpful to farmers in finding new homes for their milk output, but the loss of export markets in 2008 and 2009 illustrated what can happen when we aren’t able to compete internationally. That’s why CWT is so critical – it gives us a privately-run and funded enterprise that makes U.S. dairy exports competitive in global markets.”
Kozak said that an export-focused CWT program is an important complement to the proposed economic restructuring of dairy policy embodied by the reforms proposed in NMPF’s Foundation for the Future program (the details of which can be found at www.futurefordairy.com). With approximately 15% of the nation’s milk production headed for exports markets in 2011, “CWT will work in tandem with policy changes we want Congress to adopt to ensure that America’s dairy farmers continue to have the ability to access and benefit from growing world demand for U.S. dairy products.”
Kozak said that at the next meeting of the CWT operating committee, in mid-November, the membership participation level will be assessed to verify that the 70% participation level has been reached. The two cent membership dues will subsequently start being collected in January 2012.
NMPF to Host Summer Foundation for the Future Meetings as Congressional Draft of Bill is FinalizedJune 10, 2011
To help educate dairy producers about the benefits of Foundation for the Future (FFTF), NMPF has announced its Summer Grassroots Tour: 12 meetings in July and August that will bring together dairy producers and other key industry representatives to discuss the dairy policy reform programs proposed in Foundation for the Future.
Meanwhile, a legislative draft of those policies is about to be introduced for further congressional consideration. And, importantly, the initial review of that legislation by the Congressional Budget Office indicates that FFTF will save the government money in the future, compared to current dairy program spending.
“The U.S. dairy industry has called for dramatic changes in dairy policy, and Foundation for the Future answers that call,” says Jerry Kozak, NMPF President and CEO. “With Congress about to really begin sinking its teeth into dairy policy reform, it’s crucial that dairy producers also become more familiar with the many advantages of Foundation for the Future over the status quo. That’s why we have an aggressive outreach schedule this summer.”
The meetings are slated to take place throughout the United States between July 12 and August 22. Each three-hour meeting will feature an in-depth presentation, and question and answer session led by NMPF’s Kozak, along with other staff. Meeting locations include:
- Olympia, Wash., Red Lion Hotel – July 12
- Visalia, Calif., Holiday Inn – July 13
- Lubbock, Texas, Overton Hotel & Conference Center – July 18
- Alexandria, Minn., Holiday Inn – July 20
- Dubuque, Iowa, Grand River Center – July 21
- Lansing, Mich., Ramada Lansing Hotel & Conference Center – July 26
- Green Bay, Wis., Comfort Suites – July 27
- Stevens Point, Wis., Ramada Hotel – July 28
- Harrisburg, Pa., Holiday Inn Harrisburg – East – August 8
- Syracuse, N.Y., Holiday Inn Syracuse/Liverpool Airport Hotel – August 10
- Ocala, Fla., Hilton – August 12
- Nashville, Tenn., Embassy Suites Nashville Airport – August 22
Dairy producers, milk processors, and other key industry stakeholders are encouraged to attend. Visit www.futurefordairy.com for details on the meetings, email firstname.lastname@example.org, or call NMPF at (703) 243-6111 for additional meeting and registration information. There are no fees to attend; however, space is limited, so register early. The direct link for registration is: www.registration123.com/NMPF/2011FFTF/.
NMPF also recently updated the Foundation for the Future website to accommodate details about the Summer Grassroots Tour, and enhance visitors’ exploration of FFTF dairy policy reform programs. Updates at www.futurefordairy.com include improved accessibility of individual Foundation for the Future reform program details, the addition of producer testimonials, and the option to sign up as an official Foundation for the Future supporter.
The website also offers dairy producers and industry stakeholders interactive tools and resources, including a margin protection calculator that helps producers determine an appropriate coverage level for supplemental margin insurance under Foundation for the Future’s Dairy Producer Margin Protection Program. Producers can input their annual milk production and select the percentage of base milk production the program will cover – along with any optional additional coverage – to generate scenarios of how the Dairy Producer Margin Protection Program will benefit their individual operations.