The 2016 joint annual meeting of the United Dairy Industry Association (UDIA), National Dairy Promotion and Research Board (NDB), and National Milk Producers Federation (NMPF) was held Oct. 31 – Nov. 2 in Nashville, Tennessee.
More than 800 dairy farmers and industry representatives attended the event, getting updates on dairy policy and promotion programs.
MPP-Dairy needs to be fixed
In the NMPF portion of the event, Randy Mooney, Missouri dairy farmer and NMPF chairman, and Jaime Casteneda, senior vice president of strategic initiatives and trade policy, pledged to work to fix the Margin Protection Program for Dairy (MPP-Dairy) in the next federal farm bill.
The NMPF leaders blamed Congress for adjusting the program’s feed cost index in monthly MPP-Dairy margin calculations, a change that effectively cut feed costs in determining margins by about $1 per hundredweight.
Mooney said a special economic policy committee had been established to look into all issues related to MPP-Dairy, with a goal of formulating proposed revisions by March of 2017.
NMPF president and chief executive officer Jim Mulhern said the organization would take a more aggressive role in advocating on behalf of its members’ economic interests.
He spoke in depth about NMPF’s recent decision to join other farm groups in publicly challenging Dannon USA’s pledge to source milk for some of its yogurt products from cows not fed genetically modified organism feedstuffs, an effort he called a “fear-based marketing tactic.”
“We will speak out, we will push back, when those who don’t necessarily have your interests at heart push their agenda at our expense,” Mulhern said.
- John Hollay, vice president of government relations, said NMPF would seek to advance bills to provide federal tax credits for manure nutrient recovery and biogas production investment.
- Shawna Morris, vice president of trade policy, said NMPF held out slim hopes for passage of the Trans-Pacific Partnership trade agreement in a lame duck session of Congress before a new administration begins next January.
- Jim Tillison, chief operating officer, and Peter Vitaliano, NMPF vice president of economic policy and market development, provided updates on the Cooperatives Working Together (CWT) export assistance program.
With U.S. and global milk powder and dry whey prices more closely aligned, CWT was suspending whole milk powder export assistance, enabling more investment in cheese exports, which have a bigger impact on U.S. dairy farmer milk prices.
- Tom Balmer, executive vice president, discussed the decision to reach a $52 million class-action lawsuit settlement agreement related to CWT’s herd retirement program. NMPF officials said CWT cash reserves were adequate to cover the settlement, and the organization would not require a supplemental assessment to cover the costs.
In defense of dairy fats
A keynote address was delivered by investigative journalist Nina Teicholz, who authored The Big Fat Surprise: Why Butter, Meat & Cheese Belong in a Healthy Diet.
The book, an international best seller named the Wall Street Journal’s “Best Book” of 2014, documents how decades of advice recommending low-fat diets is based on the intentional misinformation about saturated fats, leading to disastrous consequences for human health. She described how full-fat dairy products and meat are keys to reversing the epidemics of obesity, diabetes and heart disease.
Yum! International partnership launched
Dairy Management Inc. (DMI) staff, including chief executive officer Tom Gallagher and Paul Rovey, Arizona dairy farmer and DMI chairman, unveiled a new partnership with Yum! Brands, the parent company of Kentucky Fried Chicken (KFC), Pizza Hut and Taco Bell with nearly 43,000 restaurants in 135 countries and territories.
The partnership seeks to build U.S. dairy sales internationally, specifically with KFC in Latin America and the Caribbean, and through Pizza Hut in the Asia Pacific.
Gallagher said another top mission of the checkoff is to grow consumer trust in dairy. The Innovation Center for U.S. Dairy will kick off an industry-wide social responsibility plan in 2017. The full supply chain program will help tell dairy farmers’ stories to consumers hungry for truthful information about their food.
PHOTO 1: Nina Teicholz, who authored The Big Fat Surprise: Why Butter, Meat & Cheese Belong in a Healthy Diet, described how decades of advice recommending low-fat diets was based on intentional misinformation about saturated fats, leading to disastrous consequences for human health.
PHOTO 2: The joint annual meeting provided a forum to honor America, discuss dairy policy issues and enjoy dairy products.
PHOTO 3: Dairy Management Inc. chief executive officer Tom Gallagher updated dairy farmers on consumer trust and dairy product sales topics.
PHOTO 4: National Milk Producers Federation president and chief executive office Jim Mulhern reviewed legislative and regulatory policies.
PHOTO 5: Dairy farmers Steve Frischknecht of Manti, Utah, and Donald Gurtner of Fremont, Indiana, received 2016 Richard E. Lyng Awards for their contributions and distinguished service to dairy promotion.
PHOTO 6: The cheesemakers of Associated Milk Producers Inc. made history, winning both cheddar and Italian divisions of NMPF’s Championship Cheese Contest. The cheddar was also named the overall best cheese.
PHOTO 7: National Milk Producers Federation chairman Rick Mooney pledged to work to fix the Margin Protection Program for Dairy. Photo by Dave Natzke.
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