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NMPF Eager for Next Steps in Milk Marketing Modernization with USDA “Action Plan”

June 8, 2023

NMPF’s two-year effort toward Federal Milk Marketing Order (FMMO) modernization achieved a significant milestone June 1, when USDA released its proposed “Action Plan” to move toward a national hearing based on the organization’s proposal to update to FMMO system to benefit farmers, the cooperatives they own and the broader industry.

The next phase of creating a federal order system that better reflects today’s market conditions and dairy producer needs begins with an informational hearing June 16 that should serve as a prelude to a full formal hearing in late August, according to the plan. Should the entire process go smoothly, an updated FMMO system could be actively benefiting farmers in late 2024.

“We’re gratified that USDA recognizes the comprehensive nature of our proposal and are looking forward to it being considered in full, because the whole of our plan adds up to more than the sum of its individual parts,” said NMPF President and CEO Jim Mulhern. “We will bring the same level of dedication and preparation to this part of the process that we did in drafting our own plan, which included more than 150 meetings and wide consultation across dairy producers and the entire industry.”

NMPF’s Federal Milk Marketing Order proposal, detailed here, offers comprehensive solutions that recognize the needs of today’s dynamic industry. While the complexity of the process will require detailed discussions, the unity seen among dairy producers supporting NMPF’s proposal, which the organization’s Board of Directors approved unanimously, puts adoption on a positive path moving forward, since producers vote for Federal Orders, Mulhern said.

Randy Mooney, NMPF chairman and a dairy farmer near Rogersville, MO, called the proposal’s strong momentum a testament to the power of dairy farmers, through their cooperatives, to undertake bold initiatives that advance their industry. Farmers will continue to lead as modernization moves forward, Mooney said.

“Dairy producers have proven throughout this process that, with unity and careful attention to each other’s needs, we can achieve impressive things,” he said.  “Dairy’s strength comes from its farms, and producers ready to face challenges and seize opportunities. We’re excited to begin the formal hearing process.”