NMPF Accepting Applications for 2012 Scholarship Program

March 02, 2012

NMPF is now accepting applications for its National Dairy Leadership Scholarship Program for academic year 2012-2013.

Each year, NMPF awards four to five scholarships to outstanding graduate students (enrolled in Master’s or Ph.D. programs) who are actively pursuing dairy-related fields of research that are of immediate interest to NMPF member cooperatives and the US dairy industry at large.

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 members of NMPF to qualify). The top scholarship applicant will be awarded the Hintz Memorial Scholarship, which was 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. Applications must be received no later than Friday, May 4, 2012. For an application or more information, pleasevisit the NMPF website or call the NMPF office at 703-243-6111.


Nominations Open for Farm, Ranch, and Rural Communities Federal Advisory Committee

March 02, 2012

EPA announced an invitation for nominations for the Farm, Ranch, and Rural Communities Federal Advisory Committee (FRRCC). The FRRCC, a federal advisory committee chartered under the Federal Advisory Committee Act, provides independent advice to the EPA Administrator on a variety of environmental issues facing agriculture and rural community. The committee consists of representatives from academia, farm groups, food industry, non-governmental organizations, and state, local and tribal governments.

EPA specifically encourages nominations from people actively engaged in farming or ranching. In addition, EPA requests the candidates possess the following:

  • Extensive professional knowledge of agricultural issues and environmental policy;
  • A demonstrated ability to examine and analyze complicated environmental issues with objectivity and integrity;
  • Excellent interpersonal as well as oral and written communication skills;
  • An ability and willingness to participate in a deliberative and collaborative process;
  • Must be prepared to process a substantial amount of complex and technical information; and,
  • Have the ability to volunteer approximately 10 to 15 hours per month to the Committee’s activities, including participation in teleconference meetings and preparation of text for Committee reports.

Applicants are encouraged to submit all nominations materials by March 15, 2012. For more details on the FRRCC and information on how to submit nominations, please visit the Federal Register notice from February 13 or contact Alicia Kaiser, Designated Federal Officer, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency; telephone: (202) 564-7273.


Congressional Representatives Insist on Resolving India Trade Blockade

March 02, 2012

This week, a coalition of 41 representatives sent a letter to the Administration that expressed concern with the prohibition against U.S. dairy exports into India. NMPF worked with the Congressional Dairy Farmer Caucus Co-Chairs to help send this important message to the U.S. Trade Representative, USDA, and the Commerce Department regarding access of unjustified barriers to U.S. dairy products being sold in one of the world’s fastest growing markets.

NMPF has collaborated with the U.S. Dairy Export Council for many years to try to resolve this problem, but India has persisted in its insistence on holding imported products to unscientifically-based requirements. The letter urges the Administration to prioritize resolution of the issue, including during the upcoming meetings that Commerce Secretary John Bryson is holding in India later this month.


Agriculture Coalition Leads Dialogue About Food Production

March 02, 2012

The U.S. Farmers & Ranchers Alliance (USFRA) is a coalition of more than 70 farmer- and rancher-led organizations and agricultural partners who have come together to open a conversation about how our food is grown and raised. NMPF is one of the active members of this coalition, whose participants are collaborating to lead the dialogue and answer Americans’ questions about how we raise our food.

The stories and experiences of real farmers and ranchers are often left out of the conversations happening around American food production, so USFRA is committed to helping consumers connect with farmers and ranchers to enrich the information available. One method of doing so is by contributing electronically to the conversation through the USFRA’s website, www.fooddialogues.com. The Food Dialogues program involves public forums, local and national events, and an ongoing discussion on the website – all with the goal of creating an open conversation.

USFRA has also organized a forum next Wednesday, the National Agriculture Day Dialogue, as part of the commemoration of Ag Day. Innovation is critical to the future of farming and ranching, but many people fear technology in agriculture. The fact that many people think farming should “go back” to the way it was done in the past is an issue that will be tackled at this Food Dialogues forum, which will be held March 7th on Capitol Hill. USFRA has invited many organizations from outside the agriculture community to attend and participate in the dialogue — groups like Consumers Union, American Humane Association, American Veterinary Medical Association, and even Meals on Wheels. There will be dialogue and conversation among everyone interested in food and how our food is produced.


NMPF Board of Directors Prepare to Convene for Spring Meeting

March 02, 2012

Members of NMPF's Board of Directors will assemble March 12 – 13 at the Ritz-Carlton Pentagon City hotel in Arlington, Virginia for their spring meeting. Please note that the date is a week later than it has been for the past several years.

Committee meetings will begin at 1:00 pm on the 12th, including the Political Action Committee meeting, the Dues & Budget Committee Meeting, and the Officers Meeting. The day will conclude with a membership reception. The full Board of Directors meeting will start at 8:00 am on the 13th.

Anyone with questions about the Board of Directors meeting should contact Anuja Miner.


USDA Issues Mandatory Electronic Dairy Product Price Reporting Rule

March 02, 2012

USDA issued on February 15th the final rule for the mandatory electronic dairy product price reporting, whichappeared in the Federal Register.

The rule was mostly unchanged from the proposed rule issued last July, and did several things that NMPF had supported:

  • It completed the move of dairy product price reporting from the National Agricultural Statistics Service (NASS) to the Agricultural Marketing Service (AMS).  AMS staff are more familiar with the reporting plants and their operations, and so are better equipped to integrate data collection and audit.
  • It makes reporting completely web-based, which would speed the data collection process.
  • It moves up the plant reporting deadline each week from noon (local time) on Wednesday to noon (local time) on Tuesday, with some adjustments for when Monday or Tuesday fell on a holiday.
  • It moves up USDA’s normal publication deadline each week from 8:30 a.m. ET on Friday to 3:00 p.m. ET on Wednesday, again with possible adjustment for holidays.
  • Beginning April 18, Federal order price announcements will also move from Friday to 3:00 p.m. ET on Wednesday, allowing about 40% of Class price announcements to be based on more current data than they were before.

The last Dairy Product Prices report will be issued by NASS for the last time on Friday, March 30. The following week, on Wednesday, April 4, it will be issued by AMS for the first time.

New product price reporting and announcement schedules and information about the new data collection system were posted on the AMS website.


Congress Urged to Address Farm Bill Legislation

March 02, 2012

NMPF joined with more than 80 different farm, conservation and rural organizations insending a letter to the Senate and House Agriculture Committees, urging their leaders to pass a farm bill this year. NMPF stated that it is imperative that Congress act soon as possible on the next farm bill, given that many important programs expire after September 2012, and up to 37 such programs in the current farm bill do not have funding to continue without reauthorization.

The MILC program is set to expire on September 30, 2012, along with the rest of the farm bill, but prior to expiration, the payment rate will be reduced for the month of September from 45% to 34%. NMPF asked congressional leaders to include in the new farm bill the Dairy Security Act (HR 3062), sponsored by Rep. Collin Peterson (D-MN), Ranking Member of the House Agriculture Committee and nine other cosponsors.

Senate Agriculture Committee members have already been busy with 2012 Farm Bill hearings that began in the middle of February. The hearings have ranged in topics from energy and rural economic growth to conservation and nutrition. See the committee’s website for more information.

Meanwhile, House Agriculture Committee Chairman Frank Lucas (R-OK) announced March 1st that his committee will conduct a series of field hearings on the 2012 Farm Bill. The hearings are set to take place throughout March and April in locations including New York, Illinois, Arkansas and Kansas. Chairman Lucas hopes the hearings will give the committee an opportunity to interact with farmers and ranchers and hear their thoughts on current U.S. farm policy.

The following details on the field hearings were provided by the House Ag Committee:

Friday, March 9 – 9:00 a.m. EST
North Country Community College, Sparks Athletic Complex
23 Santanoni Ave
Saranac Lake, NY 12983

Friday, March 23 – 9:00 a.m. CDT
Carl Sandburg College, Student Center Building B
2400 Tom L. Wilson Blvd.
Galesburg, IL 61401

Friday, March 30 – 9:00 a.m. CDT
Riceland Hall, Fowler Center
Arkansas State University
201 Olympic Drive
State University, AR 72467

Friday, April 20 – 9:00 a.m. CDT
Magouirk Conference Center
4100 W. Comanche
Dodge City, KS 67801

A live webcast will be available for anyone unable to attend the hearings in person. Visit the committee’s websitefor more information.