A total of 50 members of Congress sent a bipartisan letter to U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer this week, urging him to work swiftly on a Phase Two Agreement with Japan.
The letter was also sent to Ag Secretary Sonny Perdue. They say the recent Phase One agreement with Japan made progress on several important issues, but American farmers and processors remain at a disadvantage against competitors, thanks to the Japan-European Union and the Comprehensive Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership agreements.
That’s why Wisconsin Representative Ron Kind and his colleagues are asking Lighthizer and Perdue to maximize opportunities for dairy farmers by addressing these remaining gaps and inequalities in market access during the next round of negotiations. Due to depressed milk prices and a suffering rural economy, dairy farmers are facing tough conditions and struggling to stay afloat.
The USDA says 6,000 dairy farms have gone out of business over the last several years, underscoring the need for trade agreements that can expand overseas markets for the U.S. dairy industry. The letter also points out that Japan is one of the top five overseas markets for U.S. dairy products and the demand will only continue to grow.
The Department of Agriculture’s Farm Service Agency announced the May 2020 income over feed cost margin triggered the third payment in 2020 of the Dairy Margin Coverage program.
In May, the income over feed cost margin was $5.37 per hundredweight. To date, FSA has issued more than $176 million in benefits to dairy producers who purchased DMC coverage for 2020. Authorized by the 2018 farm bill, DMC is a voluntary risk management program that offers protection to dairy producers when the difference between the all-milk price and the average feed price, the margin, falls below a certain dollar amount selected by the producer.
Over 13,000 operations enrolled in the program for the 2020 calendar year. Although DMC enrollment for 2020 coverage has closed, signup for 2021 coverage will begin October 13 and will run through December 11, 2020. For more information, visit the farmers.gov DMC webpage or contact your local USDA Service Center.
Saint Paul, Minn. – Midwest Dairy announced registration is now open for the third annual Dairy Experience Forum to be held virtually on Wednesday, July 15. This one-day, online event will take place in three, 90-minute segments, featuring industry experts who will share actionable consumer insights, future forecasting and thought leadership – all to help the dairy supply chain drive demand during today’s rapidly changing food and beverage climate. Discussions will address questions such as “How has the COVID-19 pandemic impacted food and beverage trends?” and “What’s next for dairy?”
“Building on the foundation of the past two Dairy Experience Forum events, we’re proud to bring representatives from the entire dairy supply chain together once again, especially given current circumstances and the rapidly changing shopping habits of consumers,” said Molly Pelzer, CEO, Midwest Dairy. “During these challenging times, it’s crucial we remain at the forefront of inspiring thought provoking conversations that will drive dairy innovation and fuel dairy demand. We’re excited to bring this virtual format that will offer people across our 10-state region the opportunity to join these dynamic discussions from the comfort of their own home.”
The 2020 Dairy Experience Forum will begin with a live consumer focus group where attendees will hear first-hand from consumers about how they make their purchasing decisions, how their shopping behaviors may have changed due to COVID-19 and their thoughts around dairy products and farming. Following the focus group, there will be virtual small group breakout sessions to discuss the information that was shared and brainstorm how the supply chain can learn from and use these key learnings to continue to connect with consumers and increase demand.
Other presentations will include:
- “The New Normal: Post-COVID-19 and the Dairy Category,” presentation from Larry Levin, Executive Vice President of Market and Shopper Intelligence at IRI. With milk currently one of the top 10 fastest growing e-commerce categories – it’s up 279 percent from one year ago – and dairy outpacing total store dollar growth since the beginning of the pandemic, Levin will explore areas of opportunity for maintaining the category growth seen in-store and online during the pandemic.
- The Environmental Solutions Panel, comprised of a dairy farmer, cooperative processor and consumer branded product manufacturer will discuss how dairy is the environmental solution when it comes to producing food that is good for consumers and good for the planet, digging into the industry’s 2050 Environmental Stewardship Goals.
- Food trend expert Mike Lee will take a deep dive into how the 21st century eater is shaping the future of food and dairy, as consumers disrupt the marketplace and demand that food fulfills their needs at the intersection of health, sustainability and experience.
- “The Secret to Navigating Change,” will come from Harris Ill, who will share about how important it is to tell your own story to create clarity and navigate change.
“This annual event provides important insights that spark continued conversations with dairy farmers and the dairy supply chain for months to come. It also provides an opportunity for us to come together and discuss how we can collaborate to build a strong future,” said Allen Merrill, Corporate Board Chairman, Midwest Dairy. “I look forward to this year’s lineup of experts that are sure to push us outside of our comfort zones and move the dairy community forward together.”
Dairy farmers and industry members alike can register by visiting www.dairyexperienceforum.com.
ARLINGTON, VA – The National Milk Producers Federation, the largest U.S. dairy group, today applauded the bipartisan Growing Climate Solutions Act introduced in the U.S. Senate, calling it an important step toward reducing agricultural carbon emissions that aligns well with dairy’s goal to achieve carbon neutrality or better by 2050 through the industry’s Net Zero Initiative.
The legislation, introduced by Senator Mike Braun (R-IN) and Senate Agriculture Committee Ranking Member Debbie Stabenow (D-MI), along with Senators Lindsey Graham (R-SC) and Sheldon Whitehouse (D-RI), encourages sustainable farming practices by making it easier for farmers to participate in carbon markets. The Growing Climate Solutions Act creates a certification program at USDA to help solve technical entry barriers that make it difficult for farmers and forest landowners to participate in carbon credit markets.
“We commend Senators Braun and Stabenow , as well as Senators Graham and Whitehouse, for their bipartisan work to facilitate greater farmer participation in environmental markets,” said Jim Mulhern, president and CEO of the National Milk Producers Federation. “Dairy farmers are environmental stewards who value proactive approaches to sustainability, and this legislation will provide a welcome boost to their efforts. We look forward to working with Senators Braun, Stabenow, Graham, and Whitehouse to advance this bill in Congress.”
Mulhern noted that carbon markets will play an important role in the dairy sector’s goal of net-zero emissions by 2050, an industry wide effort that will require public-policy support. “Net zero is good for dairy farmers, good for consumers and good for the planet,” Mulhern said. “The Growing Climate Solutions Act is part of how Congress can be leaders in this effort, and we are excited to see lawmakers sharing our goal of a climate-friendly future.”