NMPF Secures Dairy Wins in House Farm Bill

June 02, 2024

The House Agriculture Committee-approved 2024 Farm Bill approved May 24 contains numerous NMPF-urged policy wins for dairy farmers, including an updated Dairy Margin Coverage Program and important support for its Federal Milk Marketing Order modernization proposal.

NMPF worked closely with House Agriculture Committee Chairman Glenn ‘GT’ Thompson, R-PA, and committee members on the bill approved on a bipartisan vote of 33-21. It now moves to the House floor for further consideration.

“We commend Chairman Thompson and committee members from both parties for approving a 2024 House Farm Bill that includes critical dairy priorities that will help support and grow this industry,” said Gregg Doud, president and CEO of NMPF in a statement. “We will do whatever we can to work with lawmakers in both chambers on a bipartisan basis to pass a new law as soon as possible, knowing that dairy is well-served by what the House Agriculture Committee approved today.”

Provisions benefiting dairy urged by NMPF are found across the bill’s titles, including ones that:

  • Extend the Dairy Margin Coverage (DMC) Program through 2029; update production history for participating dairies to be based on the highest production year of 2021, 2022, or 2023; and extend the ability for producers to receive a 25% premium discount for locking in five years of coverage;
  • Restore the “higher of” Class I mover to reinstate orderly milk marketing and require plant cost studies every two years to provide better data to inform future make allowance conversations, two key components of NMPF’s Federal Milk Marketing Order modernization proposal;
  • Support the bipartisan, House-passed Whole Milk for Healthy Kids Act to reverse the underconsumption of nutritious milk in schools;
  • Boost funding for critical dairy trade promotion programs and protect the use of common food names worldwide;
  • Support voluntary, producer-led conservation programs, such as the Environmental Quality Incentives Program, with dedicated funds for livestock operations and language encouraging states to prioritize methane-reducing practices;
  • Improve the certification of Third-Party Service Providers with technical expertise related to conservation planning to better assist producers participating in National Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) programs;
  • Continue the Farm and Ranch Stress Assistance Network; and
  • Increase funding for animal health initiatives and programs.

During the committee markup, two NMPF-backed amendments were offered for discussion.

  • Dusty Johnson, R-SD, with support from Representative Nick Langworthy, R-NY, offered an amendment to allow farmer-owned cooperatives with 2,500 or fewer employees to access the Rural Energy for America Program for energy efficiency projects.
  • Representative Derrick Van Orden, R-WI, offered an amendment to increase the authorization for the Dairy Business Innovation Initiatives from $20 million to $36 million. Chairman Thompson committed to collaborating with the sponsors of both amendments as the farm bill advances through the legislative process.

As House legislation advanced, Senate Agriculture Committee Chairwoman Debbie Stabenow, D-MI, released a comprehensive farm bill framework on May 1 including key dairy provisions, such as:

  • Extending the DMC program through 2029, including the option for producers to lock in their coverage and receive a 25% premium discount, while also updating production history for participating dairies to be based on the highest production year of 2021, 2022, or 2023;
  • Requiring plant cost studies every two years to provide better data to inform future make allowance conversations;
  • Supporting voluntary, producer-led conservation programs, such as the Environmental Quality Incentives Program, with dedicated funds for livestock operations and provisions supporting sustainable feed management; and
  • Protecting the use of common food names worldwide
  • Maintaining or boosting funding for key farm stress and animal health programs.

Senate Agriculture Committee Ranking Member John Boozman, R-AR, has announced plans to unveil his own farm bill framework in the coming weeks.

Steady Consumer Confidence, Strong Federal Backing Highlight H5N1 Response

June 02, 2024

U.S. dairy farmers and their cooperatives continued adjusting to new federal rules for interstate dairy cattle movement in the second full month of response to H5N1, as FDA reaffirmed milk’s safety and consumer sales saw little effect of the outbreak on buyer behavior.

USDA on May 30 announced an $824 million investment to ensure the Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) can continue its work with state and local partners to identify and address cases of H5N1 in livestock and poultry. The funds will support diagnostics, field response activities, pre-movement testing requirements, surveillance and control activities, vaccine development and food safety studies.

The most recent round of assistance followed earlier federal moves to address the challenge posed by H5N1. USDA on May 10 announced new support to bolster farm biosecurity, boost worker safety and ease costs associated with testing for farms affected by H5N1. Farms affected by the virus also became eligible for indemnity payments through USDA’s Emergency Assistance for Livestock, Honey Bees and Farm-raised Fish Program. That financial assistance was expanded on May 23, helping farmers make investments to keep their herds and workers healthy and reduce the risk of virus spread.

NMPF applauded the moves, thanking USDA for effectively using its existing authority to offer necessary assistance for dairy farmers as they meet the challenges of H5N1 in dairy cattle. “We look forward to continued collaboration and consultation with USDA and other federal agencies as we monitor, understand, and contain this outbreak, and we will do what we can to help dairy farmers understand and benefit from these initiatives as swift implementation is put into motion,” Gregg Doud, NMPF president and CEO said in a May 10 statement.

USDA’s announcements came as investigators identified the second and third human cases of H5N1 linked to the outbreak in dairy cattle. With more cases in cattle, and potentially more human cases, expected, NMPF is continuing communication with the entire dairy supply chain while informing its members of the latest developments and needs via member alerts, webinars and other media.

Visit www.nmpf.org/hpai for more information and a full listing of H5N1 and biosecurity-related resources.

Bovaer Feed Additive to Enter Market After Years of NMPF Advocacy

June 02, 2024

Years of NMPF efforts for dairy farmers paid off May 28 when the U.S. Food & Drug Administration announced that it’s granting Elanco the right to market its Bovaer (3-NOP) feed additive in the United States for use in lactating dairy cows after completing a multi-year review. Bovaer has a proven history of reducing enteric methane emissions in dairy cows and provides a key tool toward dairy meeting its industry Net Zero commitment.

The news came after persistent and patient – but at times aggressive — NMPF advocacy that included direct engagement with FDA, USDA, and the White House; multiple letters and comments; and numerous congressional letters, hearing questions, and staff-level outreach.

“FDA approval of Elanco’s Bovaer is another important step on U.S. dairy’s journey toward a net-zero future, one in which dairy farmers have already made great progress,” said NMPF President and CEO Gregg Doud in a statement. “Bovaer and other new technologies that reduce enteric emissions will help U.S. farmers be rewarded for participating in voluntary, producer-led sustainability initiatives, which is critical for the success of such efforts.

“Consumers around the world are demanding lower-carbon foods. Innovations such as Bovaer will help U.S. dairy farmers remain globally competitive and maintain their role as leaders in more sustainable dairy production. We thank FDA for its recognition of and support for these efforts.”

FDA’s approval of Bovaer paves the way for USDA to move forward with the fiscal year 2023 funds awarded to several NMPF member cooperatives for feed management under the Regional Conservation Partnership Program. It also highlights the importance of the FY 2024 application process, which is open until July 2. USDA’s announcement for that program is available here.

April DMC Margin Little Changed from March

June 02, 2024

The April Dairy Margin Coverage Program margin was $9.60/cwt, down by $0.05/cwt from March, just above the maximum $9.50/cwt maximum Tier 1 coverage level for the second month in a row.

The April All-Milk price dropped from March by $0.10/cwt to $20.50/cwt, and the April DMC feed cost calculation dropped by $0.15/cwt, on a $11/ton lower premium alfalfa hay price. Small changes in the corn and soybean meal prices offset each other on a per hundredweight of milk basis in the formula.

Available forecasts at the end of May indicate an increasingly high likelihood that the DMC margin will remain considerably above $9.50/cwt for the rest of the year.

NMPF Awarded USDA Grants to Advance Dairy Industry Disease Preparedness

June 02, 2024

USDA APHIS’ National Animal Disease Preparedness and Response Program (NADPRP) awarded NMPF funding May 16 to support two projects advancing dairy cattle disease preparedness, timely support as the dairy industry evolves in response to H5N1 in dairy cattle.

The first award will expand on USDA funding NMPF received in 2021 to build the National Dairy Farmers Assuring Responsible Management (FARM) Biosecurity Program. FARM Biosecurity provides dairy farmers with the tools to protect the health of their herds and employees from everyday and foreign animal diseases.

Biosecurity resources developed from the initial 2021 USDA funding are currently being used to respond to the H5N1 dairy cattle outbreak. This new funding will expand educational resources and training opportunities for producers, cooperatives, state animal health officials and FARM Program evaluators; update the Secure Milk Supply Plan guidance and further develop the capabilities of the FARM Biosecurity database.

The second award will bring together stakeholders including dairy cooperatives, milk haulers, milk testing labs, state and federal animal health officials and National Animal Health Laboratory Network (NAHLN) lab directors to conduct a gap analysis and create a report outlining current capabilities and guidance for industry and policymakers to implement a foot-and-mouth disease diagnostic assay using bulk tank milk samples to provide herd-level disease surveillance in the event of an outbreak.

“USDA funding for continued enhancement of biosecurity on dairy farms for emerging and foreign animal diseases arrives at a time when the dairy industry is already using USDA-funded resources to address the challenges of H5N1,” Gregg Doud, president and CEO of NMPF, said. “This ongoing collaboration between USDA and NMPF is building resiliency for the U.S. dairy industry now and for the future.”

The grants are funded by the 2018 Farm Bill as part of an overall strategy to help prevent animal pests and diseases from entering the United States and reduce the spread and impact of potential disease incursions through advance planning and preparedness.

NMPF will apply the grant funding to advance biosecurity and diagnostic testing capabilities to support animal health on dairy farms by partnering with stakeholders and experts, including dairy farmers, veterinarians, dairy cooperatives and processors, NAHLN laboratories, Preventalytics LLC, and state and federal animal health officials.

CWT Renewal Effort Establishes Three Expert Working Groups

June 02, 2024

The task force of farmers and cooperative leaders working on a new vision for Cooperatives Working Together established three working groups in May to develop specific recommendations on revamping the self-help program.

The three groups, composed of cooperative staff experts, include Product Mix; Bid Process Adjustments; and Market Development. The first two groups are examining the types of products CWT allows members to submit bids for, as well as how the bidding process is conducted between member coops and CWT staff. The third is engaging in a bigger-picture assessment of business opportunities that CWT may wish to pursue that will achieve the program’s overall goals. Each team will assess ways to make the overall program more effective in 2025 and beyond.

The CWT Task Force also agreed to be guided by three tenets that reflect its overall mission to:

  • Promote exports of critical dairy products to support domestic market balance and producer prices;
  • Promote U.S. dairy’s reliability in international markets by helping mitigate price gaps between the U.S. and alternative suppliers for critical dairy products; and
  • Promote long-term U.S. export success through building international demand for U.S. dairy.

The task force was formed earlier this year to consider how the CWT program should evolve in the future to better meet the needs of its members. It’s generating ideas to present a series of potential extensions of CWT’s current operations to the NMPF Board of Directors for approval.

May CWT-Assisted Export Sales Nearly 13.5 Million Pounds

CWT member cooperatives secured over 41 contracts in May, adding 13.5 million pounds of product to CWT-assisted sales in 2024. In milk equivalent, this is equal to 105.8 million pounds of milk on a milkfat basis. These products will go to customers in Asia, Central America, the Caribbean, Middle East-North Africa, Oceania and South America and will be shipped from May through December 2024.

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.

U.S. Dairy Earns Investment from New Market Development Program

June 02, 2024

USDEC received a $10 million award from USDA for its work on international dairy market development under its first allocation of funding under the Regional Agricultural Promotion Program (RAPP) announced May 20 following a strong push from NMPF and USDEC for increased investment in market promotion. USDA established RAPP last October to expand U.S. agriculture exports to new markets where demand for high-quality agricultural products is growing, including Southeast Asia, Latin America, the Middle East, and Africa.

RAPP’s launch was prompted by requests from Senate Agriculture Committee Chair Debbie Stabenow, D-MI, and Ranking Member John Boozman, R-AR to USDA regarding the need for greater international market expansion program funding.

In advance of that request, NMPF and USDEC advocated extensively with Congress regarding the importance of that additional investment, particularly at a time of dormant administrative trade policy initiatives.

NMPF Renews Partnership with Mexican Dairy Industry

June 02, 2024

NMPF and the U.S. Dairy Export Council (USDEC) co-led the U.S. delegation at the May 7-8 U.S.-Mexico binational meeting in Chihuahua, Mexico. As both countries head toward presidential elections this year and policy-related threats to dairy consumption in Mexico – the U.S.’s largest dairy export market – are growing, the convening focused on how to best collaborate to address future challenges.

NMPF and USDEC reaffirmed their commitment to a strong partnership with the largest U.S. dairy export destination during the event, which focused on the importance of shared advocacy for pro-trade and science-based public policies, as well as the opportunity for greater work together on dairy promotion efforts.

The U.S. contingent included 14 U.S. dairy farmers, cooperative staff and processor representatives, while the Mexican dairy industry was led by five producer and dairy processor groups with a total of approximately 20 representatives from Mexico. The two parties discussed the most pressing issues facing their respective industries, and capped the meeting with an agreed-upon list of 12 new and updated priorities, including:

  • Enhanced trade between the two nations,
  • The continued defense of common names, and
  • Improved information sharing on sustainability and market trends.

Designed to strengthen the relationship between the U.S. and Mexican dairy sectors, the two industries first formalized their partnership through a Memorandum of Understanding in 2005 and have since met regularly to build on that collaboration. The binational meeting is a vital component in maintaining robust and smooth engagement with the U.S.’s most important international partner.

FARM Program Releases New Resources, Prepares for Summer Events

June 02, 2024

Animal Care Version 5 training for evaluators is underway in June, anticipating updated standards focusing on locomotion, disbudding, euthanasia practices, and colostrum management.

The Animal Care Version 5 Prep Guide distributed in April and May contains information to prepare farmers and evaluators for the July 1 release of new standards, led by farmers in consultation with the broader industry and developed over the past two years. In addition to the Prep Guide, veterinarians now have a dedicated page with information and resources related to FARM and from the American Association of Bovine Practitioners surrounding animal care best practices. The FARM Program also released May 1 the 2024-2025 Milk & Dairy Beef Drug Residue Prevention Manual, as the foundational antibiotic stewardship resource.

FARM is also gearing up for its annual Evaluator Conference, July 22-23 in Lexington, KY. Every year the program also recognizes farmers and evaluators who excel in their commitment to demonstrating on-farm social responsibility through the FARM Excellence Awards. FARM is seeking nominations for four award categories, including: Animal Care & Antibiotic Stewardship, Environmental Stewardship, Workforce Development, and Evaluator of the Year.

Winners will be recognized at NMPF’s Joint Annual Meeting held in Phoenix during a special luncheon Oct. 23.

NMPF Provides Economics Breakdowns at Dairy Farmer Meetings

June 02, 2024

Dairy farmers received the latest economics analysis from members of the NMPF-USDEC Joint Economics Team in May, with staff providing expertise on changing market conditions.

Stephen Cain, senior director of research and economic analysis for NMPF, presented at the DairyWest Board meeting May 8 in Twin Falls, ID, in conjunction with USDEC. His presentation focused on global supply and demand, U.S. production and U.S. export opportunities moving forward.

Dr. Peter Vitaliano, vice president for economic policy and market research for NMPF, appeared at the Southeast Milk Inc., Leadership Experience (SMILE) meeting May 15 in Tampa, FL, presenting on current economic conditions and offering an outlook for dairy prices. SMILE is a hub for developing farmer leadership talent in the southeastern United States.

Trade team staff were also active in outreach in May, with Trade Policy Director Tony Rice participating in the Agricultural Transportation Coalition conference in Tacoma, WA, May 20-23 to discuss supply chain issues, including cargo pilferage, and meet with ocean carrier and port officials.

Executive Vice President for Trade Policy & Global Affairs Shawna Morris participated May 20-21 in the International Trademark Association meeting in Atlanta as part of the association’s Geographical Indications (GIs) Committee meeting. The committee develops recommendations on GIs and common names that inform governments’ policies on the issues.

Economics and trade staff collaborated at the Eucolait conference in Bordeaux, France, May 22 and 24. Executive Vice President for Policy Development & Strategy Jaime Castaneda presented at the conference, as did economics team economist Monica Ganley of USDEC. Ganley presented on Latin American exporters.