NMPF’s Doud Discusses Dairy’s Future

Incoming NMPF President & CEO Gregg Doud explains NMPF’s role in Washington policy formulation and dairy farmer priorities, including a new farm bill, Federal Milk Marketing Order modernization, integrity in plant-based labeling and dietary guidelines that maximize the benefits of dairy, in an interview with RFD-TV. He also emphasized the importance of international trade and global issues to U.S. dairy’s future. “We need to look five, 10 years ahead and see what this industry needs,” he said.

NMPF’s Bjerga on Global Food Security and Dairy’s Role


Author of the book “Endless Appetites” and NMPF Executive Vice President for Communications and Industry Relations Alan Bjerga speaks on trends in global food security from the World Food Prize in Des Moines, IA, with RFD-TV. Bjerga also discusses how dairy and animal agriculture are an important part of food security solutions both through nutrition and job creating, pointing out how livestock farming can be done sustainably and noting dairy’s role in furthering that goal.

CDI’s Vanderham, NMPF’s Bjerga discuss California flooding


NMPF Board of Directors member Cory Vanderham of California Dairies, Inc., and NMPF Senior Vice President of Communications Alan Bjerga talk about the challenges of California dairy producers and the need for long-term policy solutions on RFD-TV. While record snowpack is replenishing water supplies battered by multi-year drought, it also is bringing chaos to producers who are facing extreme weather conditions that require immediate reaction. For more details on how Vanderham has handled this year’s deluge, check out NMPF’s recent Dairy Defined podcast.

NMPF Lauds Bipartisan Ag Climate Measures in Appropriations Package

The National Milk Producers Federation (NMPF) today commended Congress for including the Growing Climate Solutions Act and the SUSTAINS Act in its final fiscal year 2023 budget package. These measures will help dairy farmers seek additional sustainability opportunities as they work to fulfill the dairy sector’s voluntary, producer-led goal of becoming greenhouse gas neutral or better by 2050.

“Environmental markets and conservation programs have the potential to meaningfully assist dairy producers as they work to meet their 2050 environmental stewardship goals,” said NMPF president and CEO Jim Mulhern. “The Growing Climate Solutions Act and the SUSTAINS Act will strengthen these important tools.”

The Growing Climate Solutions Act, authored by Senate Agriculture Committee Chairwoman Debbie Stabenow, D-MI, and Senator Mike Braun, R-IN, passed the Senate last June on a bipartisan vote of 92-8. The legislation would enable USDA to register technical service providers that help farmers implement stewardship practices that can generate credits on environmental markets. In turn, producers will be better positioned to participate in these important markets. Reps. Abigail Spanberger, D-VA, and Don Bacon, R-NE, have introduced companion legislation in the House.

The SUSTAINS Act, authored by House Agriculture Committee Chairman-elect Glenn ‘GT’ Thompson, R-PA, passed the House Agriculture Committee in May on a bipartisan voice vote. The measure would allow private sector funds to supplement existing funding for farm bill conservation programs, which are continuously oversubscribed. The bill is an innovative approach to boosting funding for USDA conservation programs, which provide important technical assistance to dairy farmers for a variety of stewardship practices.

In addition to the sponsors of both bills, committee leaders Rep. David Scott, D-GA, and Sen. John Boozman, R-AR, also played important roles in finalizing the bipartisan package.

“We commend the leaders of the Agriculture Committees – Senators Debbie Stabenow and John Boozman and Reps. David Scott and GT Thompson – for working together to fashion this bipartisan agreement on agricultural climate legislation,” Mulhern said. “We look forward to working with them and their colleagues to build on this progress in the new year.”

NMPF Urges Sped-Up FDA Approval of Climate Friendly Feed Additives

ARLINGTON, VA — NMPF called on the U.S. Food and Drug Administration to use existing legal authority to modernize its regulations allowing for faster approval of animal-feed additives that reduce greenhouse gas emissions, submitting comments to the agency today that highlighted the need for urgent action to enhance dairy’s role as a climate solution.

“Innovative and voluntary solutions are needed to reduce greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions, including methane,” said Dr. Jamie Jonker, NMPF’s chief science officer, in the comments submitted today. “Enteric emissions directly from cows currently account for roughly one third of all GHG emissions from dairy farms and present an important area of opportunity for methane reductions. Feed composition changes can directly or indirectly reduce enteric emissions resulting from livestock.”

While animal-feed additives are a promising path toward a net-zero future for dairy as outlined in industry goals, the pace of their approval lags that of competitors such as the European Union due to current FDA processes. By streamlining bureaucracy and allowing feed-additives to be treated as foods rather than as drugs, the United States can maintain and advance its global leadership in sustainability, Jonker wrote.

Through the U.S. Dairy Net Zero Initiative, a collaboration across dairy organizations, dairy-farm research is advancing new technology and new market development opportunities to make sustainability practices more accessible and affordable to farms of all sizes, including enteric methane reduction.

“One of the greatest opportunities that exists for U.S. dairy farmers is their ability to provide real solutions to many of today’s biggest environmental challenges like GHG emissions,” Jonker wrote. “Embracing new practices and technologies is key to making America’s dairy farmers an environmental solution while providing wholesome and nutritious dairy products to the U.S. and the world.”

For more on how dairy is advancing its stewardship and best practices, visit the National Dairy FARM (Farmers Assuring Responsible Management) Program’s Environmental Stewardship page.

NMPF’s Bjerga on the Congressional Elections and Dairy’s Challenges


NMPF Senior Vice President of Communications Alan Bjerga details some of the policy and marketplace challenges U.S. dairy is striving to meet, regardless of the cloudy outcomes of Tuesday’s congressional elections, in an interview with RFD-TV. Opportunities to grow markets via sustainability, an adequate safety net in the upcoming farm bill, and sensible industry regulation all loom in 2023, with dairy well-positioned to make progress.

NMPF’s Bjerga on Annual Meeting, Dairy’s Challenges


NMPF Senior Vice President of Communications Alan Bjerga talks about some of the challenges dairy farmers face, and how they’re facing it together, in an interview with the National Association of Farm Broadcasters. As NMPF members gather in Denver this week for the organization’s annual meeting, milk-pricing modernization, sustainability and stewardship, and international trade are all taking the spotlight.

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

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.”

NMPF’s Bjerga on Dairy’s Commitment to Conservation


NMPF Senior Vice President of Communications Alan Bjerga discusses on RFD-TV how a meeting with key lawmakers in Pennsylvania highlighted dairy’s conservation stewardship as Farm Bill discussions begin. Clint Burkholder, owner of Burk-Lea Farms in Chambersburg, PA, and a member of the Maryland & Virginia Milk Producers Cooperative Association, last Friday hosted several members of Congress, including Rep. Glenn “GT” Thompson, R-PA and top Republican on the House Agriculture Committee, as well as other area dairy farmers for a farm tour and roundtable discussion on the importance of agricultural conservation.

What’s Important to Know About Dairy on Earth Day

Spring has arrived, the weather is warming (though not too much, we hope), and Earth Day is April 22. Dairy always has reasons to celebrate Earth Day (or Week, or Month — we have enough reasons to carry the season), an opportunity to refocus on its environmental and climate leadership within agriculture in the U.S. and worldwide. Here are a few of them, courtesy of our colleagues at Undeniably Dairy.

  • Due to innovative farming and feed practices, a gallon of milk in 2017 required 30% less water, 21% less land and 19% smaller carbon footprint than in 2007.
  • According to the UN Food and Agriculture Organization, since 2005 North America was the only region in the world that reduced its greenhouse gas emissions, even as it increased milk production, making its greenhouse gas intensity for dairy products the lowest in the world.
  • Dairy farms are a powerful tools against food waste by diverting byproducts (such as almond hulls, citrus pulp, and brewer’s grains) from other food industries and using them as feed, converting potentially unused resources into high-nutrient foods and beverages. Dairy farmers can also convert food waste and manure into valuable products such as renewable energy and fertilizer.
  • U.S. dairy has set a goal to achieve greenhouse gas neutrality by 2050, creating a cross-industry Net Zero Initiative that advances research, on-farm pilots and new market development to make sustainability practices more accessible and affordable to farms of all sizes and regions.

All these facts are important to know. But maybe you want to dig deeper. Maybe you need some uplifting reading … or some social media content to share … to help you become an influencer. If that’s the case, could we suggest these helpful links, sharing stories about dairy’s stewardship of the planet and the farmers who care for them? These are just a start.

The list could go on and on – and we intend to keep adding! So grab a glass of milk and be glad you’re consuming the perfect nutritional complement to an important date on the calendar this week. Sustainability solutions are worth celebrating — and not just on Earth Day. It’s what dairy seeks every day.

NMPF’s Jonker Discusses Net Zero Goals

This week is Earth Week, and the U.S. dairy industry is celebrating by highlighting the sustainability efforts of dairy farmers. Jamie Jonker, National Milk Producers Federation Chief Science Officer and Vice President of Sustainability and Scientific Affairs, says the biggest goal for dairy farmers was developed a few years ago to be greenhouse gas neutral, or better, by 2050. Jonker spoke with the National Association of Farm Broadcasters.