NMPF Thanks House Agriculture Committee for Farm Bill Progress and Key Dairy Wins

The National Milk Producers Federation thanked members of the House Agriculture Committee for their work to advance a 2024 Farm Bill through Congress this year, with bipartisan approval for a plan introduced by Chairman Glenn “GT” Thompson that includes numerous provisions important to dairy farmers and the cooperatives they own.

“We commend Chairman Thompson and committee members from both parties for approving a 2024 House Farm Bill that includes critical dairy priorities that will help support and grow this industry,” said Gregg Doud, president and CEO of NMPF. “We will do whatever we can to work with lawmakers in both chambers on a bipartisan basis to pass a new law as soon as possible, knowing that dairy is well-served by what the House Agriculture Committee approved today.”

Provisions benefiting dairy urged by NMPF are found across the bill’s titles, including ones that:

  • Extend the Dairy Margin Coverage (DMC) program through 2029; update production history for participating dairies to be based on the highest production year of 2021, 2022, or 2023; and extend the ability for producers to receive a 25% premium discount for locking five years of coverage;
  • Restore the “higher of” Class I mover to reinstate orderly milk marketing and require plant cost studies every two years to provide better data to inform future make allowance conversations, two key components of NMPF’s Federal Milk Marketing Order modernization proposal;
  • Support the bipartisan, House-passed Whole Milk for Healthy Kids Act to reverse the underconsumption of nutritious milk in our schools;
  • Boost funding for critical dairy trade promotion programs and protect the use of common food names worldwide;
  • Support voluntary, producer-led conservation programs, such as the Environmental Quality Incentives Program, with dedicated funds for livestock operations and language encouraging states to prioritize methane-reducing practices;
  • Improve the certification of Third-Party Service Providers with technical expertise related to conservation planning to better assist producers participating in National Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) programs;
  • Continue the Farm and Ranch Stress Assistance Network; and
  • Increase funding for animal health initiatives and programs.

Other provisions relevant to dairy include:

  • Increasing the DMC Program Tier 1 volume threshold from five million pounds to six million pounds;
  • Extending the Dairy Forward Pricing Program, the Dairy Indemnity Program, and the Dairy Promotion and Research Program;
  • Directing USDA to collect and publish cost-of-production data for organic milk;
  • Raising EQIP conservation funding from $2.4 billion in fiscal year 2025 to $3.25 billion in fiscal year 2029;
  • Requiring USDA to create a public process for updating conservation practice standards every five years; and
  • Requiring USDA to report to Congress on the department’s preparedness to support livestock and poultry growers facing economic losses in the event of an outbreak of a foreign animal disease.

NMPF’s Doud, Land O’Lakes’ Kappelman on Dairy Expo Farm Bill Panel

NMPF’s incoming President and CEO and a top Land O’Lakes Inc. executive are participating in an informative discussion on “What the 2023 Farm Bill Has in Store for Dairy” on Thursday at noon CDT at the World Dairy Expo. Attendees will gain valuable insights into the policy changes that will shape the future of U.S. dairy.

The event is open to the public in the Mendota 1 meeting room of the Exhibition Hall on the World Dairy Expo grounds. The discussion will also be livestreamed and available on demand via the World Dairy Expo YouTube channel.

Panelists include:

Gregg Doud – Chief Operating Officer, NMPF

Gregg Doud is NMPF’s Chief Operating Officer. He will become President and CEO of the organization in January after having been named to the position last June. Before arriving at NMPF he served as the Chief Agricultural Negotiator in the Office of the United States Trade Representative from 2018 until 2021; he previously served as the president of the Commodity Markets Council, representing commodities exchanges before Congress and federal agencies. He also has served as a staff member for the United States Senate Committee on Agriculture, Nutrition and Forestry, where he helped draft the 2012 Farm Bill, and as chief economist for the National Cattlemen’s Beef Association. Most recently, he worked at Aimpoint Research as its Vice President of Global Situational Awareness and Chief Economist.

Pete Kappelman – Senior Vice President of Member and Government Relations, Land O’Lakes

Pete Kappelman brings a lifetime of experience to the role of Senior Vice President of Member and Government Relations at Land O’Lakes, as a successful crop and dairy farmer along with his advocacy experience and board involvement with many agricultural organizations. Pete has been a leader in working with legislators on important ag policy issues including the Farm Bill, climate, trade and immigration. He also served as an Ag Policy Advisor to the Administration for the United States Department of Agriculture and the Office of the United States Trade Representative; in addition he was named Director of the Year in 2018 by the National Council of Farmer Cooperatives.  Pete is a fourth-generation farmer, having led Meadow Brook Dairy Farms, LLC, with his wife Shellie and their three adult children.

We invite members of the press to join us for this important discussion about the anticipated updates affecting dairy farmers in the upcoming Farm Bill.

Dairy Farmer Reinforces Value of Safety Net, Calls for FMMO Update During Farm Bill Hearing

Seventh-generation Pennsylvania dairy farmer Lolly Lesher emphasized the importance of the farm bill safety net program and called for milk pricing improvements today during a House Agriculture Committee hearing. Lesher, a member-owner of Dairy Farmers of America, testified on behalf of the cooperative and the National Milk Producers Federation (NMPF) during a congressional review of dairy provisions in the Farm Bill.

The Farm Bill, a twice-a-decade reauthorization of USDA programs, encompasses a variety of provisions important to dairy farmers including risk management, pricing policy and support, conservation, trade promotion, nutrition and rural development programs.

Lesher thanked Ranking Member G.T. Thompson (R-PA) for his years of advocacy on behalf of dairy farmers in Pennsylvania and beyond, and for his key role in overhauling the dairy safety net during the last farm bill. She also expressed her gratitude to Chairman David Scott (D-GA) for his work and for convening today’s hearing.

Revised at the urging of NMPF in the 2018 Farm Bill, USDA’s Dairy Margin Coverage program offers effective margin protection for small and mid-sized farms and affordable catastrophic coverage for large farms. Lesher, whose family milks 240 cows in southeastern Pennsylvania, said in her written testimony that the program “has provided important security to [her] family’s farm.” She urged the committee to make additional updates to reflect current production, so the program remains a viable safety net.

Lesher also highlighted the need for improvements to the Federal Milk Marketing Order (FMMO) system, as evidenced by the heavy revenue losses incurred by dairy farmers nationwide from a milk pricing change made in the previous farm bill.  “The change made to the Class I mover combined with the government’s heavy cheese purchases cost dairy farmers over $750 million in revenue in the last six months of 2020 alone,” she said.

The dairy industry, under NMPF’s leadership, is seeking consensus on a range of FMMO improvements, including the Class I mover, that can be taken to USDA for consideration in a federal order hearing. “We recognize that for our efforts to succeed, we must all work together, giving a bit to get a bit. It’s just too important for our future,” Lesher added.

“We appreciate the opportunity to share what has worked well—and what needs to be modernized—to meet the needs of dairy farmers in the 2023 Farm Bill,” said Jim Mulhern, president and CEO of NMPF.  “As outlined by Lolly Lesher during today’s hearing, dairy producers need continued access to an effective safety net, flexible risk management tools that protect all farmers, and an update to the FMMO system that addresses the unequal risk dairy farmers bear compared to processors during unusual market volatility. We look forward to our continued work with the House Agriculture Committee and USDA on these and other farm bill priorities in the coming months.”