Tag Archives: Dairy

A coalition of U.S. dairy groups is urging the Trump administration to reach a trade agreement with Japan quickly. More than 70 dairy groups and companies sent a letter to Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer and Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue this week asking the administration to finalize a strong trade deal with Japan quickly.

The coalition, including the National Milk Producers Federation and U.S. Dairy Export Council, say Japan is an established market with a growing demand for dairy products. The letter states that a robust trade agreement with Japan “will bring a much-needed boost to the economic health of the U.S. dairy industry.”

The letter says the Japan-EU agreement and the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership have allowed the European Union, New Zealand and Australia to position themselves to take sales from the U.S. dairy industry. The U.S. exported $270 million in dairy products to Japan in 2018. Once the trade deals are fully implemented, the U.S. risks losing $5.4 billion in total export sales.

WASHINGTON — The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA)  announced that producers of nearly 17,000 dairy operations have signed up for the Dairy Margin Coverage (DMC) program since signup opened June 17. Producers interested in 2019 coverage must sign up before Sept. 20, 2019.

DMC offers protection to dairy producers when the difference between the all-milk price and the average feed cost (the margin) falls below a certain dollar amount selected by the producer.

“We’re encouraged by the number of dairy producers who have signed up for this new program, but we are hopeful that we will get more folks in the door,” said Bill Northey, USDA’s Under Secretary for Farm Production and Conservation.“At this point in the signup process, we are well ahead of the number of producers covered at this time last year under the previous safety net program, with more producers enrolling every day. As we move into the homestretch, we expect more producers across the country to get coverage through DMC and our team at FSA is really going above and beyond to make sure we get the word out there, the returns this year to-date should speak for themselves.”

In June, when the DMC signup was announced, Secretary Perdue said, “For many smaller dairies, the choice is probably a no-brainer as the retroactive coverage through January has already assured them that the 2019 payments will exceed the required premiums.”

To date, more than 60 percent of dairies with established production histories have enrolled in the program. Wisconsin has seen the most participants with more than 4,832 dairy operations, followed by Minnesota (1,865), New York (1,779), Pennsylvania (1,511) and Michigan (702).

USDA’s Farm Service Agency (FSA) began issuing program payments to producers on July 11. DMC provides coverage retroactive to Jan. 1, 2019. The producers who have signed up to date will receive more than $219.7 million in payments for January through June, when the income over feed cost margin was $8.63 per hundredweight (cwt.), triggering the sixth payment for eligible dairy producers who purchased the $9 and $9.50 levels of coverage under DMC.

National Farmers Organization says the country needs a new policy to protect small dairy farms, struggling with income nearly one-half of what it was five years ago. The organization recommends a special program targeted to smaller-sized dairies, while all dairymen would operate under one federal order marketing system.


“American milk drinkers and dairy product fans may not realize there has been a shocking decline in the number of smaller dairy farms the past five years, while very large dairies are growing,” said National Farmers Milk Sales Director Dick Bylsma. During that five-year period, the industry lost 35 percent of dairies milking fewer than 200 cows. “This loss goes beyond individual farms, though; studies indicate dairy farms deliver much-needed dollars to rural economies, enhance food security and better protect the environment than larger farms do.”


National Farmers recommends a program that establishes a national Federal Milk Marketing Order with a $4.00 per hundredweight price adjustor for up to one million pounds of monthly production for every dairy farm in the country. “My previous experience as an auditor for the Federal Milk Market Order system tells me that the same operations that lead to orderly marketing among dairy product classes can also be used to stabilize opportunities for dairy farmers,” Bylsma said.


USDA data show operating costs are higher for smaller farms than for very large dairies. Recognizing those cost differences is key to any policy that provides opportunities for dairy farms of all sizes.


The National Farmers approach delivers advantages to all farmers. “There are no quotas,” says Bylsma. Every farm, large and small, is free to operate as they see fit in response to price signals sent by the program. As an added bonus, the program does not increase costs for consumers or taxpayers.


For the program to work properly, one national milk marketing order in which all dairy farmers would be required to participate, would be established. Currently, the Federal Milk Marketing Order system does not cover all areas of the United States. The federal milk marketing orders have been in place since the 1930s and provide orderly milk marketing, equity in price bargaining and ensure an adequate supply of high-quality milk.


De-pooling would no longer be allowed. “These changes to the FMMO system will bring fairness and more orderly marketing in many ways,” says Bylsma. “The most important, by far, is the way leveling the production-cost playing field will preserve opportunities for one of our greatest national treasures—the smaller dairy farm.”


In the last five decades, America has lost 94 percent of its smaller dairy farms, falling from 670,000 dairy farms in 1970 to fewer than 40,000 in 2019.

ARLINGTON, Va. – The National Milk Producers Federation today marked the one-year anniversary of then-FDA Commissioner Scott Gottlieb’s famous observation that “almonds don’t lactate” by reminding the agency it still has not resolved the issue and that citizens who heeded its call for comments with thoughtful responses deserve answers.

“An almond doesn’t lactate, I must confess,” Gottlieb said last July 17, admitting that FDA has been lax in enforcing its own rules on the use of dairy terms on products containing no dairy ingredients. “Have we been enforcing our standard of identity? The answer is, probably not,” he said, while pledging agency action in “something close to a year.”

“FDA’s longstanding inaction on enforcing its own standards of identity is perpetuating the marketing of products using milk and dairy terms when those products don’t match the nutritional content of the dairy products they are imitating,” said Jim Mulhern, president and CEO of NMPF. “Dairy farmers have never called for bans on fake-food competitors, nor have they called for market censorship. They do want the FDA to enforce its own rules defining what a product is and what it isn’t, in keeping with similar standards enforced in other countries around the globe. The clock is still ticking. We are not going away.”

The FDA in January concluded a comment period exploring the issue of consumer confusion regarding the nutritional content of dairy products versus plant-based imitators, with organizations including the American Academy of Pediatrics offering evidence of nutritional deficiencies caused by confusion over the contents of plant-based versus dairy beverages while dairy’s detractors submitted thousands of off-topic creeds. After carefully considering comments and noting consumer survey data that clearly demonstrates confusion over nutrition, NMPF in Februaryreleased its own road map offering solutions to how public health, product integrity and free speech could be protected through updated regulations. That Citizen Petition is currently open for comment.

NMPF also supports the DAIRY PRIDE Act, a potential legislative prod for FDA action.