Last Chance to Register for NMPF Annual Meeting

October 04, 2011

Participants wishing to attend NMPF’s joint annual meeting with the National Dairy Promotion and Research Board (NDB) and the United Dairy Industry Association (UDIA) have until Monday, October 24 to register and make hotel reservations. Both may be done online by visiting

The meeting will be held November 14 – 16 at the Town and Country Resort & Convention Center in San Diego, CA and center around the theme “Navigating a New Course.” Dairy producers, cooperative staff, Young Cooperators (YCs), industry suppliers, trade press, and others from within the dairy sector are all invited to attend.

For complete information about the meeting, visit

Past NMPF YC Chairman Honored at World Dairy Expo

October 04, 2011

NMPF’s 2010 Young Cooperator (YC) Chairman Marty Burken, a dairy producer with Swiss Valley Farms cooperative, has been named the National Progressive Dairy Producer for 2011 in the large herd division. The award was announced by the National Dairy Shrine, an organization of over 18,000 members that brings together dairy producers, scientists, students, educators, marketers, and others who share a desire to preserve dairy’s heritage and keep the dairy industry strong.

Burken’s award includes a $2,000 travel stipend to attend a conference or seminar to learn new techniques to improve his dairy business. He and his wife Lisa, along with their family, operate Blue Hyll Dairy LLC, a 774-cow dairy in Clinton, IA. Burken will be recognized for his achievement at the Dairy Shrine banquet at the World Dairy Expo in Madison, WI on Thursday, October 6.

Upcoming Forum to Address Antibiotic Use in Food Animals

October 04, 2011

At the end of October, the National Institute for Animal Agriculture (NIAA) will host a national forum regarding the use of antibiotic usage in food animals. The forum will be held October 26 – 27 at the Hotel Intercontinental Chicago O’Hare in Rosemont, IL.

The use of antibiotics in the production of food animals elicits polarizing opinions across the media today as consumers become more aware and interested in the way their food is produced. While livestock producers have realized that significant animal illness can be avoided by the use of antibiotics, consumers are being told that any use of antibiotics leads to a lower effectiveness of antibiotics in humans.

Although there have been several debates and discussions on this issue, NIAA’s national forum will feature experts in animal agriculture, researchers in the area of livestock health, and experts in human health who will develop a dialogue with the common purpose of sharing fact-based information about the use of antibiotics in the sustainable production of food.

Forum registration is available online. For questions, contact Katie Ambrose at 719-538-8843, ext. 14.

Food Dialogues Help in Effort to Address Concerns about Food Production

October 04, 2011

Last month, America’s farmers and ranchers – in an effort to lead a conversation and answer those questions – kicked off The Food Dialogues, the launch of a new effort to bring together different viewpoints on farming and ranching and the future of food. The effort was sponsored by the U.S. Farmers and Ranchers Alliance, of which NMPF is a member.

Four panels across the country, including Washington, D.C.; New York City; Fair Oaks, Indiana; and Davis, California, featured leaders and voices across the food spectrum, addressing American’s stated concerns about how their food is grown and raised.

While the discussion started on Sept. 22, it’s just the beginning a long-term effort and will continue at the website Those who want to see the entire discussion or share comments can go there to join the conversation.

E-Verify Legislation Approved by House Judiciary Committee

October 04, 2011

Last month, the House Judiciary committee approved the controversial E-Verify bill. Adopted along a party line vote, 22-13, Committee Chairman Lamar Smith’s bill would require all U.S. employers to use E-Verify, an online worker verification system that matches job applications with data from the Social Security Administration and the Department of Homeland Security.

Under the bill, agriculture employers would be given 36 months from the date of enactment to comply with its provisions. During the mark up of the bill, Representative Dan Lungren unsuccessfully offered an agriculture-specific amendment that would have issued 10 month visas for agriculture workers. As it stands, Smith still is considering an agriculture-specific workforce act, H.R. 2847, but has yet to move it out of Committee. While the full House of Representatives may soon vote on the E-Verify legislation, the bill is not expected to be considered by the Senate.

NMPF continues to reinforce that it will not support enforcement-only legislation. Without a viable answer for the future workforce of the agriculture industry, NMPF cannot endorse any legislation that will increase the burden of America’s farmers.

Toward that end, in written testimony provided today to the Senate Judiciary Committee, NMPF said that current labor and immigration policies put the U.S. dairy farm sector at a disadvantage, and that a change in laws is necessary in order to address the realities of dairy production in America.

In testimony presented to the Senate Judiciary Subcommittee on Immigration, which held a hearing on the agricultural labor crisis, NMPF wrote that there remains a persistent shortage of native-born workers interested in employment on dairy farms, which is why farmers cannot find enough American workers to milk cows and perform other critical job functions on dairies.

The full news release on the Senate hearing is available on the NMPF website.

Dairy Security Act Introduced in House of Representatives

October 04, 2011

Kozak-Rooney-House-Subcommittee-Hearing-090811.JPGThe National Milk Producers Federation (NMPF) is working to build support for H.R. 3062, the Dairy Security Act of 2011, which was formally introduced in the House of Representatives last month. The bill closely follows the concepts of NMPF’s Foundation for the Future proposal to reform and improve federal dairy policy, but contains several improvements compared to the original concept, changes that were endorsed last month by NMPF.

These changes include making voluntary the Dairy Market Stabilization Program (DMSP), which will help reduce milk output during times of low margins. While farmers will not be required to participate in efforts to stabilize markets, if they wish to enroll in the subsidized margin insurance program through the U.S. Department of Agriculture, they will automatically be enrolled in the DMSP so that they are promptly alerted when additional production may affect their overall margins.

The new legislation is also an improvement over the earlier version because it extends the Basic level of margin insurance coverage to 80 percent of a producer’s production history, up from 75 percent as initially proposed. The Supplemental margin coverage option is also improved, as it will now allow producers to purchase insurance for growth in their milk production history.

Other changes to the final version of the legislation include a refined provision in the Dairy Market Stabilization Program to ensure that it does not activate during times when signals for farmers to reduce production may impinge on the ability of the U.S. to export dairy products. Also, all of the money collected by USDA through the DMSP will go to dairy product purchases.

Lastly, the Dairy Security Act of 2011 simplifies the Federal Milk Marketing Order pricing system through a formal hearing process conducted by USDA. The proposal directs changes in the way milk used to manufacture cheese (Class III) is priced, from a complicated end-product formula, to a more market-oriented competitive pricing system.

The Congressional Budget Office has scored the legislative draft to assess its budget impact, and finds that the DSA will reduce federal spending by $167 million during the next five years, and $131 million during the next ten. That level of savings “represents one of the major benefits of this approach, since it will not only provide farmers better security, but also save the government money when the main topic of conversation in Washington is on reducing the deficit,” said Jerry Kozak, President and CEO of NMPF.

In the photo: Members of the House Agriculture Subcommittee on Livestock and Dairy expressed their misgivings with current dairy policies during a hearing in September. The Subcommittee is chaired by Rep. Tom Rooney (R-FL), seen at right, discussing policy options with NMPF President Jerry Kozak.