NMPF Elevates Dairy at White House Conference on Hunger, Nutrition, and Health

October 06, 2022

NMPF culminated months of efforts to shape successful outcomes at the White House Conference on Hunger, Nutrition, and Health held Sept. 28 with President and CEO Jim Mulhern’s attendance at the event, the first of its kind in more than 50 years.

Ensuring people have access to the nutrition they need to live, develop, and be healthy is key priority for dairy farmers across the U.S.,” Mulhern said in a statement released in tandem with the conference. “Together we can realize the policies and programs required to achieve these important goals, including increasing access to affordable food and strengthening Americans’ ability to make informed, meaningful choices across all populations.”

The White House announced prior to the conference that it would release a national strategy to end nutrition insecurity and reduce diet-related disease by 2030 in conjunction with the event and requested that individuals and organizations share their experiences and insights to help shape the strategy.

NMPF brought together other agricultural, anti-hunger, nutrition and medical groups in June to urge the White House to place a high priority on access to affordable, diverse and healthful foods, which includes protecting Americans’ ability to make informed, meaningful choices about what they eat. The White House strategy released on the eve of its conference echoes NMPF priorities to commitment to increased access for affordable food for all as well as culturally appropriate food options and recommendations.

NMPF Commends USDA for Dairy Support in Climate-Smart Partnerships Program

October 06, 2022

Four NMPF member cooperatives are poised to receive significant support under USDA’s Partnerships for Climate-Smart Commodities program, which supports voluntary, producer-led initiatives to increase on-farm adoption of climate smart agricultural technologies and practices.

NMPF members are leading or partnering on projects that will receive roughly $245 million under the new program, announced September 14, include:

California Dairies, Inc. – CDI is a partner on a project led by the California Dairy Research Foundation and supported by numerous California dairy sector stakeholders that will build climate-smart dairy markets and provide financial incentives for dairy farmers to adopt climate-smart manure management practices to reduce methane emissions and nitrogen surplus. The project, which leverages matching funds from non-federal sources, will emphasize advanced manure management practices on dairies of varying sizes. It will establish on-farm full-scale pilot projects for the development of these practices, and measure and quantify their associated GHG and nitrogen benefits.

Dairy Farmers of America – DFA is the project lead on a climate-smart pilot initiative that will directly connect on-farm greenhouse gas emissions reductions with low-carbon dairy market opportunities. The project will focus on reducing on-farm greenhouse gas emissions and increasing carbon sequestration on U.S. dairy farms, as well as developing and marketing climate-smart, low-carbon dairy products. Through these two areas of focus, the pilot project will create a self-funding circular rural economic model in which DFA members will receive incentives to keep reducing on-farm GHG emissions; in turn, those reduced emissions will lead to low-carbon dairy products. The project will deploy a robust carbon accounting system and market low-carbon dairy products at a sustainability premium that benefits DFA and its member-owners.

Land O’Lakes –Truterra, the Land O’Lakes sustainability business, is leading an initiative with American Farmland Trust and other partners to catalyze a self-sustaining, market-based network to broaden farmer access, scale adoption of climate-smart practices, and sustainably produce dairy and grain commodities with verified and quantified climate benefits. The project will use initial funding from USDA and matching funds from project partners to help incentivize practice changes. The project intends to become self-funding by selling climate-smart commodities and ecosystem credits to downstream buyers at scale, which will be in turn reinvested in delivering technical assistance to farmers to support additional practice changes. The project will seek to engage up to 20,000 farmers and dairy producers and affect more than 7 million acres, with a focus on reaching historically underserved farmers.

Maryland & Virginia Milk Producers Cooperative Association – MDVA is a partner on a project led by the Conservation Innovation Fund. This project, focused on the Mid-Atlantic region, will help expand climate-smart markets and address climate-smart plans and practices for hundreds of dairy producers and will provide an on-ramp and serve as a catalyst for additional state and private capital to bolster whole-farm plans. It builds on an existing partnership between MDVA, the Conservation Innovation Fund, and the Ecosystem Services Market Consortium to expand climate-smart commodity initiatives across targeted watersheds in the Mid-Atlantic.

Projects funded under Partnerships for Climate-Smart Commodities will help U.S. dairy farmers fulfill their environmental stewardship goals to become greenhouse gas neutral or better by 2050 and improve water quality while optimizing water use.

“America’s dairy community applauds USDA’s support for the robust efforts dairy farmers are leading to develop and implement climate-smart solutions that will benefit the entire food chain, from producer to consumer,” said NMPF president and CEO Jim Mulhern. “As an agricultural leader in sustainability, dairy farmers appreciate this funding that will help us meet our ambitious industry-wide goals for net-zero emissions and optimized water use.”

U.S. to Host 2023 IDF World Dairy Summit in Chicago

October 06, 2022

The International Dairy Federation (IDF) and the U.S. National Committee of the IDF (US-IDF) announced Sept. 14 that the 2023 IDF World Dairy Summit will take place in October at Chicago’s famed McCormick Place conference center. NMPF staff are active in planning the summit, including through co-chairing it together with the U.S. Dairy Export Council (USDEC).

The annual meeting brings together more than 1,000 participants from dozens of countries throughout the global dairy sector to discuss issues of common cause in safely and sustainably feeding the planet with nutritious and delicious dairy products.

Reflecting the theme of the 2023 meeting, “BE Dairy – Boundless Potential, Endless Possibilities,” the meeting in Chicago will showcase a diverse program that features global industry leaders, experts, scientists, farmers and more addressing the most significant issues facing the dairy sector today – from environmental challenges to dairy’s role in consumers’ diets to emerging technologies’ impacts on the sector.

The summit will be the first held in the United States since 1993 and will offer NMPF, its members, and its partners across the U.S. dairy industry a prime opportunity to showcase the nation’s excellent dairy farming and manufacturing practices and allow guests to sample high-quality American dairy products.

For more information about the 2023 IDF World Dairy Summit, visit www.idfwds2023.com. For more information about IDF, visit www.fil-idf.org.

DMC Returns to Payments in August

October 06, 2022

Falling milk prices and rising feed costs pushed margins in August under the federal Dairy Margin Coverage Program to levels that are triggering payments for the first time this year.

The August Dairy Margin Coverage margin was $8.08/cwt, down $1.84/cwt from July’s margin and generating a payment of $1.42/cwt for Tier 1 coverage at $9.50/cwt under DMC, the main federal payment program for dairy producers. The August U.S. average all-milk prices of $24.30/cwt was $1.40/cwt lower than the previous month; meanwhile, the DMC feed cost rose $0.44/cwt from the previous month to $16.22/cwt.

August’s milk-price drop was the third consecutive monthly after a streak of record high U.S. average milk prices that ended in May. Feed costs, meanwhile, reached a second straight monthly record in August. The three cost components of the feed formula have all generally contributed to its steady rise during the past ten months, but the price of corn was the main driver this spring, while soybean meal and premium alfalfa hay prices have taken over this lead role during the past two months.

Available forecasts currently indicate that small margin coverage payments may be generated for $9.50/cwt coverage during the remaining months of 2022. 17,776 dairy operations are currently enrolled in the Dairy Margin Coverage program. The decline in margins to payment-trigger levels, unexpected earlier in the year, underscores the affordability and value of DMC. The August payment alone would cover about three-quarters of the single-year annual premium for $9.50 Tier I coverage for an enrolled operation.

EPA Proposes to Add PFAS Chemicals to Superfund

October 06, 2022

EPA’s proposal Sept. 6 to add two PFAS chemicals, PFOA and PFOS to Superfund as hazardous chemicals, comes over the repeated objections of NMPF and other agricultural organizations that have repeatedly argued against this approach. With a comment deadline for the rule due in November, NMPF is exploring what issues to raise and who  we may want to collaborate with to keep poorly thought-out regulations from harming dairy operations.

While PFAS is primarily a drinking water problem globally, thousands of U.S. agriculture operations are potentially contaminated with PFAS chemicals from military operations, biosolid land application or industrial activity, which could turn those agriculture operations into Superfund sites under this proposal.

One of the tenets of Superfund law is to make responsible parties pay to clean up the sites, which can be astronomically expensive. Superfund also automatically assumes that past and present owners are potentially responsible parties who will be liable for the cleanup costs. The legal process to navigate out of Superfund liability also can be time-consuming and costly. EPA has asserted that it will use enforcement discretion to keep farmers from being held liable, but NMPF believes that notion is highly flawed, as there are many ways to be brought into Superfund litigation, with EPA as one avenue.

EPA will take comments on the rule until Nov. 7; NMPF anticipates that the deadline will be extended.  NMPF will file comments that urge EPA to use other laws to address PFAS contamination and that EPA approach PFAS issues taking scientific research into consideration.

NMPF Annual Meeting to Focus on Keys to Dairy’s Future

October 06, 2022

The 2022 NMPF Annual Meeting will be held Oct. 23-26 at the Gaylord Rockies resort outside of Denver, addressing trends that will determine the dairy industry’s future direction. This year’s program focuses on areas where NMPF works with checkoff organizations to advance dairy farmer interests, including environmental sustainability, creating new markets for exports, and expanding markets domestically for dairy foods. The schedule at a glance is here.

For the first time since 2019, the meeting will again feature a dairy bar with the latest and greatest offerings of food industry dairy partners. Attendees will hear about the crucial 2022 elections from political analyst David Wasserman. In addition, the meeting will formally begin with a “Welcome to Colorado” reception for all attendees on Monday, Oct. 24, from 6-7:30 pm. The NMPF Young Cooperator program will feature a full day of programming for the next generation of dairy leaders who attend the meeting.

Questions about registration should be directed to Louise Kamali.

FARM Program Seeks Comments for Animal Care Version 5 Revisions

October 06, 2022

The National Dairy Farmers Assuring Responsible Management (FARM) Program launched its open comment survey Sept. 12 for the FARM Animal Care Program’s drafted Version 5 standards updates. All dairy industry stakeholders (farmers, allied industry, customers, etc.) are invited to provide comments, feedback and concerns related to the proposed revised standards until Oct. 28.

Click here to view the proposed standard updates and provide comments.

The FARM Animal Care Program standards are revised every three years to reflect the most current science and best management practices within the dairy industry. Standards, rationale, and accountability measures are reviewed and revised by the FARM Animal Care Task Force and NMPF Animal Health and Well-Being Committee, with input from industry stakeholder groups including farmers, animal scientists, veterinarians and allied industry. The NMPF Board of Directors provides final approval on version standards.

FARM Animal Care Version 5 is currently under development and, once approved, will take effect July 1, 2024, for a three-year cycle.

Certification Affirms Dairy’s Commitment to Highest Standards of Animal Welfare, Again

October 06, 2022

The Professional Animal Auditor Certification Organization (PAACO) recertified the FARM Animal Care Program as an approved animal welfare evaluation on Sept. 1. PAACO provides training and certification credentials for animal welfare auditors and audits for all sectors of food animal production.

“Over 99 percent of the U.S. milk supply comes from dairy farms that participate in the FARM Animal Care program,” said Emily Yeiser Stepp, vice president of the FARM Program. “PAACO’s certification affirms that American dairy farmers remain committed to the highest standards of animal welfare and provides assurances of this commitment to the entire dairy supply chain.”

To receive PACCO certification, the FARM Program went through a thorough review process of its Animal Care Version 4 standards, resources and evaluator training materials as compared to standards set by the PAACO Board of Directors. The review ensured that the FARM Program evaluation includes all the key components required for evaluation of livestock animal welfare and is committed to continuous improvement.  “The FARM Program has been awarded recertification of its audit instrument by PAACO and we commend them for their commitment to continuous improvement,” said PAACO Executive Director Collette Kaster.

PAACO was developed in 2004 in response to the growing use of animal welfare audits by the retail and food service sectors. This created the need for training, certification, and continuing education. Since its creation, PAACO’s vision is to be the trusted authority on animal welfare auditing, providing consistency and science-based training of auditors as well as rigorous, science-based audit standards. This is the second year in a row that FARM Animal Care has received PAACO certification.

NMPF Active in Resolving Supply Chain Disruptions

October 06, 2022

NMPF and USDEC ramped up outreach efforts to Congress and the administration last month on the need to improve freight transportation services to prevent significant economic difficulties and ensure that American farmers can continue to feed the world.

In detailed comments to the Federal Maritime Commission (FMC) submitted on Sept. 14, NMPF and USDEC asked the agency to declare the current cargo congestion and inadequate oceans freight transportation service an emergency situation.

The comments emphasized results from a survey of NMPF and USDEC members which noted ongoing problems in export shipping despite the implementation of key provisions of the Ocean Shipping Reform Act this summer. For instance, 65 percent of survey respondents indicated that unreasonable detention and demurrage fees continue to be a challenge; more than half have had recent experiences with cancelled sailings; and a massive 92 percent responded that they continue to experience cancelled or rolled vessel bookings.

Based on those survey results and additional reports of logistical issues elsewhere, NMPF and USDEC urged the FMC to require ocean carriers and terminal operators to provide to shippers, rail carriers and other parties advanced scheduling, storage and other information that would greatly improve on-time shipping. The Federation encouraged the FMC to update its metrics for determining emergency situations in the future.

Additionally, ahead of a rail labor agreement reported Sept. 15, NMPF met with the administration and signed onto a Sept. 8 letter to Congressional leadership urging federal action if negotiations failed to prevent a lockout or strike. Ensuring that rail access remains available to deliver input supplies to dairy farms and finished products from plant to port has been a critical NMPF priority over the past few months.

NMPF will continue to press Congress and the administration, as well as private sector actors, to help address the lingering challenges in the dairy export supply chain.

NMPF Presses for a U.S. Chief Ag Negotiator

October 06, 2022

NMPF joined with USDEC and the Corn Refiners Association to spearhead a Sept. 20 letter from 105 agricultural organizations and companies urging immediate Senate action to install Doug McKalip as the Chief U.S. Agricultural Negotiator.

As the Administration forges ahead with new, albeit limited, trade discussions on the Indo-Pacific Economic Framework and with Taiwan, the United States has been left without a confirmed Agricultural Ambassador at the Office of the U.S. Trade Representative. The letter to Senate Leaders Schumer (D-NY) and McConnell (R-KY) highlights McKalip’s long track record as an advocate for free trade, noting that he “would bring to the position decades of experience representing the interest of U.S. agriculture, having served in numerous leadership positions at USDA and the White House.”

Following a bipartisan 27-0 vote to move McKalip’s nomination forward during a Senate Finance Committee executive session Sept. 7, the process stalled due to a hold placed on McKalip’s nomination that prevented an immediate vote by the full Senate. NMPF continues to advocate to Congress that agriculture cannot afford further delays and must have a full seat at the table during the myriad of ongoing and planned trade conversations.

September CWT-Assisted Dairy Export Sales Totaled 12.2 Million Pounds

October 06, 2022

CWT member cooperatives secured 62 contracts in September, adding 11 million pounds of American-type cheeses, 198,000 pounds of butter and 403,000 pounds of cream cheese to CWT-assisted sales in 2022. In milk equivalent, this is equal to 113 million pounds of milk on a milkfat basis. These products will go to customers in Asia, Central America, Middle East-North Africa, South America and Oceania and will be shipped from September 2022 through March 2023.

CWT-assisted 2022 dairy product sales contracts year-to-date total 81.1 million pounds of American-type cheese, 657,000 pounds of butter, 7.5 million pounds of cream cheese and 30.3 million pounds of whole milk powder. This brings the total milk equivalent for the year to 1.044 billion 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.