NMPF Powers World Dairy Summit Success; Vilsack Honors Mulhern

November 07, 2023

NMPF turned out in full force as a dairy industry leader at the International Dairy Federation’s (IDF) World Dairy Summit in Chicago, with numerous speakers and a special recognition for President and CEO Jim Mulhern at the event Oct. 15-19.

Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack honored NMPF President and CEO Jim Mulhern for his “exemplary leadership and decades of service to the U.S. dairy community” during the summit’s first day, commending Mulhern for his four decades of professional service for agriculture and dairy.

This year’s summit, the first hosted in the United States in 30 years, was brought to Chicago in large part in large part due to NMPF, U.S. Dairy Export Council (USDEC) and Dairy Management Inc. leadership. Shawna Morris, NMPF and USDEC Executive Vice President for Trade Policy and Global Affairs and Nick Gardner, USDEC Senior Vice President for Sustainability and Multilateral Affairs, co-chaired the event. Together they oversaw the development of a conference that highlighted the U.S. dairy industry’s leadership on a variety of issues, including quality, sustainability, innovation, and more.

Jamie Jonker, Chief Science Officer and Vice President for Sustainability & Scientific Affairs, serves as IDF’s Chair of the Science and Program Coordination Committee and was prominently involved in multiple areas of the summit. DMI provided a Diamond level sponsorship to the summit to ensure it had sufficient funding to be successful. Numerous NMPF, USDEC and DMI staff contributed to the summit’s planning and execution.

NMPF and its members had a significant presence throughout the conference, including presentations delivered by Jonker as well as:

  • Jaime Castaneda, Executive Vice President for Policy Development and Strategy
  • Clay Detlefsen, Senior Vice President for Regulatory and Environmental Affairs
  • Karen Jordan, NMPF Animal Health and Wellbeing Committee Chairwoman and Dairy Farmers of America (DFA) Board member
  • Will Loux, Vice President of Global Economic Affairs
  • Lorilee Schultz, NMPF Young Cooperator Chairwoman and Prairie Farms member
  • Simon Vander Woude, NMPF First Vice Chairman and Chairman of California Dairies Inc. (CDI)
  • Jay Waldvogel and Brian Izdepski, Dairy Farmers of America staff

In addition, NMPF Senior Director of Communications and Outreach Theresa Sweeney-Murphy, organized the World Dairy Summit’s first-ever Young Farmer Roundtable, gathering two dozen next generation dairy farmer leaders from around the world, with producers representing the United States, Canada, Ecuador, Netherlands, United Kingdom and New Zealand. The National YC Program also hosted the first-of-its-kind young farmer session at the IDF World Dairy Summit in Chicago, IL on Oct. 18. Moderated by the U.S. Dairy Export Council’s Krysta Harden, 24 participants discussed the challenges—both shared and unique—that beginning farmers face around the world.

NMPF also sponsored the Oct. 15 U.S. reception at the summit, in collaboration with U.S.-IDF, USDEC, the American Dairy Products Institute and International Dairy Food Association.

The following NMPF members contributed dairy products to the summit’s dairy bar or evening receptions to ensure visitors from around the world tasted some of the United States’ award-winning dairy offerings: Agri-Mark, Dairy Farmers of America, Ellsworth Cooperative Creamery, Land O’Lakes, Michigan Milk Producers Association, Prairie Farms Dairy and Tillamook.

Additionally, farmers belonging to NMPF members Dairy Farmers of America (DFA), Michigan Milk Producers Association (MMPA) and Foremost Farms graciously welcomed visitors onto their farms as part of the official summit tours to offer a glimpse into how U.S. dairy farms operate. DFA also hosted Michigan tour participants at two processing facilities to showcase the high-quality production and innovative processing the U.S. has to offer. NMPF’s FARM team was deeply involved in organizing and executing summit tours.

NMPF members Associated Milk Producers Inc., DFA, California Dairies Inc., MMPA, and United Dairymen of Arizona helped make the summit possible through their sponsorship or exhibitor support.

To mark the summit’s close, IDF released a statement approved earlier in the week by the IDF General Assembly that delivered a unified message on how the global dairy sector is working to sustainably nourishing people while supporting planet health and communities.

“The IDF 2023 Summit statement lays out a robust roadmap for policymakers and organizations on how to meet and support the dairy sector’s level of critical contribution and ambition to an ever brighter tomorrow,” said Morris during remarks at the summit.

Joint Annual Meeting to Detail Policy, Industry Highlights

November 07, 2023

The joint annual meeting of NMPF and its checkoff group partners Nov. 12-15 in Orlando is set to update more than 750 participants on the breadth and depth of activities that National Milk and Dairy Management Inc. are conducting on behalf of their members, ranging from marketing and promotion to policy and analysis.

Guest speakers at the four-day conference include Terry Jones, the founder of Travelocity.com and chairman of Kayak.com, who will speak on leveraging disruption and innovation as technology and consumer tastes continually evolve. Other guest speakers include Eric Clavetter from the Mayo Clinic, who will speak about advancing dairy’s health benefits; and Kerry Delaney with General Mills, who will assess how dairy plays an essential role in providing health and wellness solutions through new product marketing channels. The schedule at a glance is available here. Late registrations are still being accepted, with an additional $150 per person late fee.

This year, all attendees will participate in a series of four rotating breakout sessions designed to provide a deeper dive into key areas of work for NMPF and DMI.  These include:

Collaborating for Dairy’s Future: Environmental Stewardship & Sustainability – A review of U.S. dairy’s commitment to environmental stewardship, a core component of socially responsible dairy production.

Innovating for Dairy’s Future: Leveraging Science for Sustained Growth – A discussion with industry experts how U.S. dairy is using science, technology, innovation, and strategic partnerships to identify new consumer opportunities and drive current and future dairy sales.

Fueling Dairy Love: A Day in the Life of Key Consumers – An educational exchange on industry-wide efforts that bring dairy nutrition, dairy purpose and dairy-liciousness front and center to capture the attention of Gen Z and Early Parents.

Remodeling Federal Dairy Policy: Updating Federal Orders and the Farm Bill – An assessment of how and why NMPF has developed two blueprints this year to improve the future direction of dairy policy, focusing on the 2023 Farm Bill and the Federal Milk Marketing Order system.

The meeting also will offer receptions on both Monday and Tuesday nights.  NMPF’s Young Cooperators will have its own meeting track that features professional development and leadership training along with networking opportunities.

DMC Margin Gains Almost $2 in September

November 07, 2023

The Dairy Margin Coverage (DMC) margin in September rose rapidly from August, as markets have been anticipating for months. The margin was $8.44/cwt for the month, rising $1.98/cwt over August, which itself was up almost $3 from July’s record low of $3.52/cwt.

As with the August increase, September’s DMC margin rise was driven primarily by a higher all-milk price, which rose by $1.30/cwt over August to hit $21.00/cwt. The September DMC feed cost formula shed $0.68/cwt, due mostly to a lower corn price, with a smaller drop in the September soybean meal price partially offset by a small rebound in the price of premium alfalfa hay.

The September margin will generate $1.06/cwt payments to $9.50/cwt DMC Tier 1 coverage. The futures markets are currently expecting the DMC margin to hover around that maximum coverage level each month during the fourth quarter of the year.

NMPF Critical to Disaster Assistance Extension

November 07, 2023

NMPF advocacy and assistance paid off for farmers in October, as organization efforts encouraged the U.S. Department of Agriculture first to offer, then to extend the application deadline for critical, long-awaited financial assistance for dairy farmers affected by natural disasters.

The Milk Loss Assistance Program administered by the Farm Service Agency is compensating eligible dairy farms and processors for milk dumped due to qualifying disaster events in 2020, 2021 and 2022, including droughts, wildfires, hurricanes, floods, derechos, excessive heat, winter storms and smoke exposure. It’s designed to help farmers and, in certain cases, cooperatives, recover losses previously overlooked by disaster assistance.

After announcing the program, which was created in a coronavirus assistance bill but delayed by rule-writing, in early October, NMPF urged USDA to extend its signup deadline to Oct. 30, giving farmers more time to participate. NMPF, which helped individual farmers and member cooperatives navigate the program, said in a news release and on social media that it appreciated USDA’s action, offering additional details to help members in a Member Alert.

“We are grateful to USDA for giving dairy farmers extra time to enroll in the Milk Loss Program,” said Jim Mulhern, president and CEO of NMPF, in a news release. “This essential program will compensate producers for milk dumped due to disasters over several years. This extension will allow farmers more time to prepare their applications and fully benefit.”

Farm Bill Expiration Spotlights Urgency to Enact Law

November 07, 2023

The 2018 Farm Bill’s lapse Sept. 30 is the first step in a cascade of expirations that includes key dairy programs ending Dec. 31, making year-end passage of a new farm bill a critical priority for dairy farmers and the cooperatives they own.

NMPF is seeking timely passage of a farm bill that:

  • Includes provisions to complement the organization’s ongoing Federal Milk Marketing Order modernization efforts;
  • Continues and updates the Dairy Margin Coverage program;
  • Maintain conservation programs with emphasis on feed and manure management;
  • Enhances trade promotion programs and enacts key protections for common food names; and
  • Continues robust spending for vital nutrition programs like the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program.

While disputes regarding government funding and House leadership have held off farm-bill movement, the committees are working diligently and in a bipartisan manner to be ready to move bills across the floor at the earliest possible opportunity. Discussions continue regarding ways to meet a variety of funding requests, including on commodity and trade programs.

Passing a farm bill this year is a top priority for NMPF; still, an extension must be enacted at a minimum if a new bill is not finished. The Dairy Margin Coverage safety net lapses Dec. 31 if it is not either reauthorized or extended. Further, no action by New Year’s Day would trigger the “dairy cliff”, whereby 1940s-era permanent law would kick in and trigger very high price support levels for numerous commodities, including dairy. While the dairy cliff has always been more of a prod to congressional action than an imminent threat, due to the new rules that would need to be written and the timeline for implementation, the result would be much higher milk prices in the short term. However, NMPF remains confident that Congress will prevent these lapses, as has happened during each farm bill process previously.

NMPF Advocacy Helps Boost Market Development Funding

November 07, 2023

The U.S. Department of Agriculture announced Oct. 23 it will direct $1.3 billion from the Commodity Credit Corporation (CCC) to establish a Regional Trade Promotion Program, and another $1 billion to commodity-based international food aid, after significant lobbying from NMPF and encouragement from the U.S. Dairy Export Council.

The funding announcement was prompted by a Sept. 6 letter from Senate Agriculture Committee Chair Debbie Stabenow, D-MI, and Ranking Member John Boozman, R-AR, calling on the agency to expand CCC authority to fund export promotion and food aid initiatives. NMPF has long advocated for Congress to double funding for the Market Access Program and Foreign Market Development program, which significantly advance U.S. dairy’s reach overseas but have not received a funding boost in more 16 years. This U.S. investment will help bridge the gap in export promotion funding that U.S. agriculture receives in comparison to foreign competitors.

NMPF, USDEC Outline Trade Barriers for USTR to Address

November 07, 2023

NMPF and USDEC urged the U.S. Trade Representative to take action to resolve pressing trade barriers including tariff discrepancies and disputes with Canada and other countries in Oct. 23 comments submitted for the agency’s annual National Trade Estimate Report.

The report is designed to catalogue key barriers impacting U.S. exports and prioritize USTR efforts to address them. NMPF emphasized the importance of exports to the health of the U.S. dairy industry and reiterated its concern that the administration has chosen to put less energy into pursuing free trade agreements that open new markets for U.S. dairy products.


NMPF listed the specific major trade barriers confronting the U.S. dairy industry on a country-by-country basis in key markets, including:

  • Tariff discrepancies faced by U.S. dairy exporters vs. competitors that have trade agreements with key markets.
  • Indonesia’s protracted process for registering U.S. dairy plants. NMPF urged USTR and USDA to establish a streamlined and more predictable facility registration process.
  • Canada’s Tariff-Rate Quote allocation system, which represents an ongoing U.S.-Mexico-Canada Agreement (USMCA) violation. NMPF has worked closely with USTR on the second dispute settlement panel and remains focused on ensuring that Canada’s TRQ administration procedures are fully USMCA compliant.
  • Egypt’s refusal to allow widely used halal certifying bodies to provide the required halal certification for all dairy imports. This opaque procedure is not WTO-compliant and should be replaced with Halal certification procedures that permit multiple certification bodies used by U.S. exporters, just as other markets already permit.

Doud, Kappelman Speak; FARM Reaches Out; and YCs Promote Diverse Farmers at World Dairy Expo

November 07, 2023

NMPF’s incoming CEO and a member of its executive committee shared their insights on agricultural policy, while the FARM Program connected with producers and the National Young Cooperators (YC) Program promoted young and diverse dairy farmer voices at the World Dairy Expo.

Current NMPF Chief Operating Officer Gregg Doud and Pete Kappelman of Land O’Lakes discussed the prospects for farm bill passage and the ins and outs of federal risk management programs on a panel at Expo on Oct. 5. Meanwhile, the National Dairy FARM Program connected with farmers and industry leaders through its booth at the trade show all week and hosted an informational session the same day.

The FARM Program’s presence at World Dairy Expo each year offers an opportunity for FARM Program staff to share program updates face-to-face, and to receive feedback from producers and FARM Program evaluators. This year, FARM staff shared important updates about the upcoming Animal Care Version 5 launch next July, upcoming changes to Environmental Stewardship in Version 3, details about the recent FARM Biosecurity — Enhanced Program, the impact of the Workforce Development Program, and participation data across all program areas.

The YC Program hosted a panel discussion facilitated by Uplevel Dairy Podcast’s Peggy Coffeen, “The Eight Questions that Will Move Your Dairy Farm Forward,” on Oct. 5 at the World Dairy Expo in Madison, WI. Three young dairy farmer leaders participated in the panel including Wisconsin dairy farmers Paul Lippert, a Foremost Farms member owner, Laura Raatz, a Land O’Lakes, Inc. member owner, and Nathan Wiese, a member owner of Farm First Dairy Cooperative.

Panelists discussed how they are positioning themselves for long-term success by answering eight key questions related to culture, sustainability and profitability. More than three dozen YCs from seven member cooperatives participated in the session and reception later that day.

The National YC Program co-hosted a Tanbark Talk the next day with the Dairy Girl Network exploring the leadership challenges women encounter as they navigate careers in the dairy industry and prepare for future success. The conversation was facilitated by the Dairy Girl Network’s Laura Daniels and panelists included Lorilee Schultz, a Prairie Farms member owner and chairperson of the National YC Program, Julie Mauer, a Land O’Lakes Inc. member owner, Dairy Farmers of America’s Mary Knigge and Rita Vander Kooi, an Associated Milk Producers Inc. member owner.

ABI Approves of USDA’s Proposed Butter Testing Changes at Fall Meeting

November 07, 2023

The American Butter Institute’s (ABI) Board of Directors reviewed and approved a USDA proposal to allow for greater industry participation in butter testing at its fall conference in Phoenix, Oct. 5-6.

ABI, an industry group managed by NMPF, worked with NMPF regulatory staff to respond to an August proposal from USDA’s Agricultural Marketing Service (AMS) that would allow butterfat tests to be performed at an in-house or approved third party laboratory, and add a requirement for plants to maintain and make such records available for examination by a USDA inspector. ABI’s response supported the amendment as a means of increasing butter processing efficiency that conforms to current industry practice. ABI’s members also sought further clarification from USDA about which tests will be reviewed, suggesting that only finished product tests should be considered.

ABI’s letter to USDA, signed by NMPF Chief Counsel Clay Detlefsen, who also works for ABI under the management arrangement, also proposed that butter manufacturers take the lead in performing grading services in their own facilities, following the procedures set forth by USDA. Under this new approach — also discussed at the fall conference by ABI’s board — USDA could then audit those records to ensure manufacturer compliance with USDA grading procedures and allow the finished goods to use the USDA grade shield.

ABI will continue to speak with USDA about how to shift more grading practices to member companies’ facilities.

NMPF Submits Dietary Guidance Statement Comments Pushing for Clarity

November 07, 2023

NMPF strongly objected to FDA’s discussion of plant-based milk and yogurt alternatives in the agency’s draft guidance ,“Questions and Answers About Dietary Guidance Statements in Food Labeling: Draft Guidance for Industry” published by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) in comments submitted Sept. 25.

Dietary guidance statements can be used on food labels to provide consumers with information about foods or food groups that can contribute to a nutritious dietary pattern to help consumers make healthier choices. NMPF’s comments supported the use of consensus statements from authoritative bodies as the basis for dietary guidance statements but requested clarification on food group equivalents. NMPF also questioned FDA’s approach to plant-based milk and yogurt alternatives, saying it will encourage false and misleading advertising — which FDA has already acknowledged as an issue in their draft guidance for the labeling of plant-based milk alternatives.

“Despite the agency’s instructions to use consensus statements from authoritative bodies in developing guidance statements, FDA appears to violate its own principle by describing a means by which plant-based alternatives other than fortified soy could make dietary guidance statements based on consensus statements about the dairy group,” NMPF wrote in its comments.

NMPF’s comments on the proposed guidance for dietary statements is one small part of the organization’s broader campaign against the mainstreaming of plant-based beverages as legitimate dairy alternatives, an issue FDA itself has acknowledged is a public health threat. Other efforts include our campaign for a stricter version of FDA’s draft guidance on plant-based beverage labeling, multiple letters to the agency, and a Freedom of Information Act request on agency communications regarding plant-based beverages.

October CWT-Assisted Dairy Export Sales Totaled 6.6 Million Pounds

November 07, 2023

CWT member cooperatives secured 63 contracts in October, adding 5.4 million pounds of American-type cheeses, 844,000 pounds of cream cheese and 388,000 pounds of whole milk powder to CWT-assisted sales in 2023. In milk equivalent, this is equal to almost 59 million pounds of milk on a milkfat basis. These products will go to customers in Asia, Central America, the Caribbean, Middle East-North Africa, South America and Oceania, and will be shipped from October 2023 through April 2024.

CWT-assisted 2023 dairy product sales contracts year-to-date total 41.7 million pounds of American-type cheese, 908,000 pounds of butter, 26,000 pounds of anhydrous milkfat, 7.8 million pounds of cream cheese and 39 million pounds of whole milk powder. This brings the total milk equivalent for the year to 751.6 million pounds on a milkfat basis.

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.