Dairy Industry to Gather in Phoenix Next Week

November 07, 2013

Dairy producers, member cooperatives, Young Cooperators (YCs), industry representatives, staff, and others from all over the country will arrive in Phoenix, Arizona next week for three days of speeches, reports, banquets, general sessions, town hall meetings, and award ceremonies. NMPF hosts the meeting jointly with the National Dairy Promotion and Research Board (NDB) and the United Dairy Industry Association (UDIA).

Meeting information is available on the main NMPF website, including the final program. NMPF will also debut its new mobile meeting app, which is now accessible from the Google Play Store for Android devices or the iTunes Store for Apple devices. Search for “National Milk meetings.” The app is free to download. For those who do not have smartphones, the app information is also available on a mobile website. NMPF will use this app for various meetings held throughout the year, so attendees are encouraged to check back again.

For those on Twitter, NMPF will be tweeting live from the annual meeting using the hashtags #JAM13 (short for “joint annual meeting”) and #DairyChat. We will also post updates on our Facebook page whenever they become available.

NMPF Promotes John Hollay to Vice President of Government Relations

November 07, 2013

NMPF announced last month that John Hollay (left) has been promoted to the position of Vice President of Government Relations, effective immediately. Hollay joined the organization in May 2012 as Director of Government Relations, and was promoted to Senior Director in the summer of 2012.

“John has made a tremendous, positive impact on the organization in the short time he’s been with NMPF, building on our relationships on Capitol Hill and across Washington, DC,” said Jim Mulhern, Chief Operating Officer of NMPF. “His strategic insight and hard work on behalf of dairy farmers have helped make our entire organization more effective.” Hollay’s main focus has been on farm bill, immigration, and labor issues during his time with NMPF.

Before joining NMPF last year, Hollay served as senior legislative assistant with Connecticut Congressman Joe Courtney, with responsibility for issues pertaining to agriculture, energy, environment, and labor. He was also the lead congressional staffer on the re-establishment of the Dairy Farmer Caucus on Capitol Hill.

NMPF also announced the departure of Senior Vice President of Government Relations, Dana Brooks, who left NMPF in October. Brooks accepted a position with Elanco, the animal health division of Eli Lilly and Company, directing the firm’s federal government affairs office in Washington, DC.

If You’re Involved in the Dairy Industry, You Need this New Book

November 07, 2013

Need to know the nation’s top 10 milk-producing states? How about Class III milk prices by month going back eight years? Or perhaps you need the top 10 export markets for U.S. dairy products in 2012.

All that and more is available in the latest edition of Dairy Data Highlights from NMPF. The handy, pocket-size booklet includes 53 tables and 19 graphs filled with national and state milk and dairy production data from the mid-1970s through 2012.

Dairy Data Highlights has been published annually by NMPF for more than 60 years. A must for anyone involved in milk production, it is available to NMPF member cooperatives and associate members for $7.50 a copy, or $5 for orders of more than 10 copies. For nonmembers, the cost is $10 for single copies or $7.50 for bulk orders.

All aspects of milk and dairy products production are covered, as well as producer, wholesale and retail milk and dairy product prices; federal milk marketing orders; sales and consumption data for milk and dairy products, and comparative information for U.S. dairy imports and exports. Specific tables include:

  • National milk production data going back to 1925;
  • Cow numbers, farms and herd size data going back to 1950;
  • Milk production and prices, production-per-cow, cow numbers and dairy farms by state, with comparative data from the 1980s and 1990s;
  • Class III, manufacturing grade and all-milk wholesale prices by year from 1965;
  • Annual wholesale prices for butter, cheddar cheese, and nonfat dry milk;
  • The ratio of feed prices to milk prices by month;
  • The share of commercial sales by product—including milk, butter, cheese, frozen products and nonfat dry milk;
  • Annual production and per-capital consumption of key cheese, butter and frozen products from 1975;
  • Annual exports of milk, butter, cheese, ice cream, yogurt, and nonfat dry milk by region and country;
  • A short glossary of dairy industry terms and useful conversions factors for milk and dairy products.

Visit the NMPF website for ordering information.

NMPF Urges USDA to Enhance Dairy Consumption Opportunities in Schools

November 07, 2013

In comments submitted last week to the USDA, NMPF urged the agency to make adjustments in a proposed rule affecting how dairy products are made available to school students beyond the lunch line. The NMPF comments single out as a point of concern the “favorable treatment afforded to competing beverages – which, in contrast to milk and juice, do not supply significant amounts of nutrients essential to students’ diets,” and points out that the proposed regulation confers an unfair and inappropriate advantage to these products.

The comments are in response to USDA’s interim final rule establishing nutrition standards for foods sold outside of school meal programs. Because dairy products in those settings are competing against other foods and beverages, NMPF urged USDA to limit the time and place that non-dairy, non-juice lower-calorie and calorie-free beverages are available.

In addition, NMPF also asked USDA to include low-fat flavored milk as an allowable beverage, extend the saturated fat exemption for reduced-fat cheese to combination foods, and clarify the final rule’s saturated fat standard.

Those changes – particularly allowing the reintroduction of low-fat flavored milk, which was removed from federal school nutrition regulations three years ago – will “further enhance dairy consumption in order to close the gap between current dietary recommendations, and consumption of milk and dairy products.” NMPF pointed out that actual average consumption of milk is “barely barely half the USDA’s recommended amount and, after early childhood, all age groups continue to fall further short of recommended amounts.”

NMPF Concerned by Negative Market Impacts of Canadian Concessions to EU on GIs

November 07, 2013

News reports about the just-completed European Union (EU)-Canada Free Trade Agreement indicated that Canada has agreed to protect a list of 145 Geographical Indications (GIs) of importance to the EU. This development is particularly concerning with respect to the treatment of five cheese names that have long been generic in the Canadian market: asiago, feta, fontina, gorgonzola, and muenster.

This is deeply troubling given the fact that these terms have been used generically in the Canadian market for many years, so any new restrictions on these terms’ usage would appear to impose a very disturbing new barrier to competition and trade. The details have yet to be confirmed, but indications at this stage suggest that Canada has agreed to the following:

  • Those already selling these five cheeses in Canada will be able to continue to do so, but they will need to clearly display the country of origin on the label. They will also be prohibited from including on the label the relevant flag corresponding to the EU country that owns the GI or other symbols that may evoke that country.
  • All other non-established producers would need to call the product “feta-like” or “asiago-style,” and also comply with the previously mentioned new labeling requirements.
  • “Parmiggiano Reggiano” will become a protected term, but “parmesan” can still be used as a generic name, according to one press report.

Visit the Consortium for Common Food Names for additional information on GIs.

CWT Assists with 23.9 Million Pounds of Export Sales

November 07, 2013

In October, Cooperatives Working Together (CWT) accepted 77 bids from 11 member cooperatives. Sales totaled 12.6 million pounds of cheese and 11.3 million pounds of butter, equivalent to 80.1 million pounds of milk on a milkfat basis. That is equal to more than 50% of the year-over-year increase in September’s milk production.

These sales brings CWT-assisted total export sales in 2013 to 106 million pounds of cheese and 81 million pounds of butter, the equivalent of 2.93 billion pounds of milk on a milkfat basis, or nearly five times the year-over-year increase in year to date U.S. milk production through September 2013.

Farm Bill Conference Begins on Capitol Hill

November 07, 2013

The Farm Bill conference formally began last week on Capitol Hill, as the 41 House and Senate members of the joint conference committee outlined their priorities and pledged to finalize a compromise bill this fall. NMPF issued a statement urging the lawmakers to include the Senate’s Dairy Security Act in the measure, and reject the House dairy language because it lacks the market stabilization component supported by NMPF.

The principal leaders of the House and Senate Agriculture committees are now working informally to resolve the key points of contention between the two chambers’ respective versions. In addition to dairy policy, the lawmakers must reconcile differences including country of origin labeling for meat, the national implications of California’s egg production requirements, whether to require conservation compliance as part of crop insurance, and most prominently, the level of funding reduction for food stamps.

These issues will have to be addressed relatively quickly, given that holiday schedules will limit the amount of time for the House and Senate to pass a final bill prior to the end of the year.

NMPF is continuing its efforts to educate lawmakers about the importance of having a voluntary margin insurance program coupled with the market stabilization program, in order to make the overall dairy safety net as effective and affordable as possible. Dairy farmers can contact their members of Congress to urge that the Dairy Security Act be included in the Farm Bill by using NMPF’s Dairy GREAT system.