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NMPF’s Mooney Highlights Dairy’s Persistent Strength at Annual Meeting

November 14, 2023

National Milk Producers Federation (NMPF) Chairman Randy Mooney commended U.S. dairy farmers for their persistence in supporting positive change for their industry at the organization’s annual meeting in Orlando, noting that challenges are nothing new to producers and that their unity has brought progress in encouraging better federal farm policy.

“We’re nourishing families around the world through milk’s unbeatable nutritional value,” said Mooney in remarks at the meeting, which is held jointly by NMPF, the National Dairy Promotion and Research Board and the United Dairy Industry Association. “I’ve dairied for a long time, through good times and bad times, but there’s never been a time that I haven’t laid my head down on my pillow at night and been proud of what I accomplished on my farm,” said Mooney, a Dairy Farmers of America member-owner who farms near Rogersville, MO.

Dairy producers in the past year have faced operating margins at their lowest since the federal dairy safety net was adopted in its current structure in 2014 as prices plummeted from record highs. Meanwhile, the U.S. farm bill has expired, and dairy farmers are seeking a fairer milk pricing system through a USDA-led Federal Milk Marketing Order (FMMO) hearing, which began in August and will resume Nov. 27 after a temporary pause.

Following Mooney onstage was NMPF President and CEO Jim Mulhern, who is retiring at the end of this year after leading the organization for a decade. In his remarks, Mulhern reflected on the challenges dairy farmers have met and how they will meet the challenges to come.

“I’ve tried to remain true to what I see as the hallmark of the dairy community: people who work hard, approach things with common sense, care passionately about the product they produce,” Mulhern said. “You all strive to do the right thing. And I can tell you, looking over the course of my career, those are qualities that can take you a very long way.”

Also at the meeting, NMPF’s Board of Directors approved the organization’s policy positions and elected new members. New directors elected to the Board of Directors and approved by NMPF delegates include Brad Bateman of Dairy Farmers of America and Rick Burkhamer of Foremost Farms. Burkhamer, who farms near Richland Center, WI, was also named to NMPF’s Executive Committee.

Along with adopting official federal policy positions, NMPF’s membership also raised funds for the organization’s college research scholarships and held its annual cheese and dairy product contest in conjunction with the meeting.

The Chairman’s Award for the NMPF Cheese and Yogurt Contest went to Prairie Farms Dairy for its Cave Aged Rinded Swiss, produced in Faribault, MN. Ellsworth Cooperative Creamery won the Chairman’s Reserve Award for its Pepperoni with Marinara Rub produced in Menomonie, WI. This year’s contest included 252 entries from 14 participating NMPF co-ops, a total of 3,350 pounds (1.52 metric tons) of cheese and yogurt.

NMPF’s official portion of the meeting concludes tomorrow. Highlights include a dairy economics forecast by NMPF staff; awards in the organization’s annual dairy contest; and an address by incoming President and CEO Gregg Doud, who takes over from Mulhern Jan. 1.