Young Dairy Leaders Champion Key Issues on Capitol Hill

NMPF hosted young dairy farmer leaders from across the United States June 3-4 for the National Young Cooperators (YC) Program’s annual Dairy Policy and Legislative Forum in Washington, D.C.

Forty-nine young dairy farmers and cooperative coordinators from 17 states representing ten member cooperatives participated in discussions about political engagement and dairy policy issues along with training on how to be an effective advocate and spokesperson for dairy. YCs then headed to Capitol Hill to speak with members of Congress and their staff about NMPF priorities including the 2024 Farm Bill, dairy labeling and foreign market access.

“There are so many things that affect us, but they don’t affect us in a way that we see every day,” Matthew Lansing, an Iowa dairy farmer who co-chairs the National YC Program, said in a Dairy Defined Podcast released before the fly-in. “Keeping involved and up to date as much as we can and pushing for things that we need on a farm on a day-to-day basis is really key for us to propel forward into the future and be what we need to be for consumers going forward.”

Speakers for this year’s event included NMPF Executive Committee members Jay Bryant, president and CEO of Maryland & Virginia Milk Producers Cooperative Association, and Doug Chapin, chairman of Michigan Milk Producers Association. Both shared about their backgrounds and leadership experiences while emphasizing the importance of political engagement. YCs also toured the U.S. Capitol with Rep. Marc Molinaro, R-NY and heard remarks from Rep. Kim Schrier, D-WA, at this year’s congressional breakfast.

Since 1950, the National YC Program has provided emerging dairy leaders with a better understanding of issues facing farmers and their cooperatives. The program is open to younger and beginning dairy farmers who own or are employed on a dairy farm that is a member of one of NMPF’s member cooperatives. Click here and check the National YC Program box to stay up to date on program activities.