There’s a new Canadian-U.S. "protein highway." A House committee included key dairy provisions in the “Improving Child Nutrition and Education Act.” OSHA has new reporting requirements for large farms. The International Trade Commission says U.S. dairy will fair well under TPP. This and other U.S. dairy policy news can be found here.

Natzke dave
Editor / Progressive Dairy

Get on the new "protein highway"

A “Protein Highway” initiative is looking to capitalize on the unique agricultural strengths in the northcentral U.S. and central Canada.

Developed by the Consulate General of Canada in Minneapolis, Minnesota, the “Protein Highway” initiative encompasses three Canadian provinces (Alberta, Manitoba and Saskatchewan) and six U.S. states (Iowa, Minnesota, Montana, Nebraska, North Dakota and South Dakota). Farmers and processors in the region are among the most prolific producers of edible protein in the world, according to Carolyn Orr, the Council of State Governments (CSG) Midwest staff liaison for the Midwestern Legislative Conference Agriculture & Natural Resources Committee.

The partnership is seeking to make the most of this regional economic advantage by connecting university research, private industry and agricultural producers. The virtual highway connects leaders of major livestock and meat producing regions with those in regions producing high-protein plants for food and animal feedstuffs.

Goals include not only improved research capabilities and cooperation, but also to create a regionwide brand built around protein production. The initiative also hopes to spur economic growth in agricultural communities along its route.


CSG is a nonpartisan association of state officials serving all three branches of government in all 50 states and the U.S. territories. Its primary focus is to keep government leaders informed about issues, trends and best practices.

Dairy industry applauds school milk support in Child Nutrition and Education Act

Dairy leaders applauded the House Education and Workforce Committee for including key dairy provisions in the “Improving Child Nutrition and Education Act of 2016,” approved by the committee on May 18.

A bipartisan amendment by U.S. Reps. G.T. Thompson (R-Pennsylvania) and Joe Courtney (D-Connecticut), specifically targeting declining school milk consumption, was unanimously approved.

That amendment bolsters recommendations made in the Dietary Guidelines for Americans (DGA), calling for continuation of milk as an integral part of all the child nutrition programs. It also requires adjustments, as necessary, to promote better consumption of milk by the nation’s students and to permit schools to offer all milk varieties consistent with the DGA. The bill also provides innovative approaches to meet the needs of lactose-intolerant children.

Heads of the International Dairy Foods Association (IDFA) and National Milk Producers Federation (NMPF) expressed their support in a joint letter to House Education Committee chair Rep. John Kline and vice-chair Rep. Robert Scott.

“Fluid milk consumption in schools has declined in recent years and in fact, most Americans are drinking less milk than recommended by the 2015 DGA,” said J. David Carlin, IDFA senior vice president of legislative affairs and economic policy.

“This bill takes an important step toward reversing the decline in school milk consumption by asking USDA to examine how to ensure that kids are getting enough milk,” said Jim Mulhern, NMPF president and CEO. “By better aligning the school lunch program with the dietary guidelines, options including 1 percent-flavored milk will be back on the lunch tray in school cafeterias as a result of this legislation.”

The bill will now move to consideration by the full U.S. House of Representatives.

OSHA issues final rule on workplace injury, illness reporting requirements

The U.S. Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) issued a new final rule requiring employers in high-hazard industries to send injury and illness data for posting on the agency's website.

The rule applies to farms with 20 or more employees and is effective July 1, 2017, according to Jim Carrabba, New York Center for Agricultural Medicine and Health.

Farms (or select businesses) with 20 to 249 employees must submit their “300A Summary of Work Related Injury and Illnesses” report to OSHA by July 1 annually.

Find additional information on OSHA's webpage.

International Trade Commission issues trade agreement’s dairy economic analysis

The International Trade Commission released an economic impact analysis of the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP), including its effects on the U.S. dairy industry.

The 792-page report (PDF, 14MB) contains multiple sections on dairy; evaluating proposed trade concessions, tariff-rate quotas (TQRs), imports and exports.

In the aggregate, the ITC’s results show the TPP Agreement would have a positive effect on U.S. dairy exports and a positive but more limited impact on U.S. dairy imports.

Opportunities for added U.S. exports are likely in Canada for milk and milk powders, whey, butter and butter oil, yogurt and other soft dairy products, infant formula and cheese for ingredient use.

Opportunities for added U.S. exports are likely in Japan for cheese, whey, skim milk powder, and lactose; and in Vietnam, primarily for milk powders.

Overall, additional market access granted to TPP members in the U.S. market, largely through expanded TRQs, is unlikely to result in large volumes of additional dairy imports, except for butter and butter oil.

Tom Suber, president of the U.S. Dairy Export Council, and Jim Mulhern, president and CEO of the National Milk Producers Federation, issued a joint statement following the ITC analysis report, emphasizing enforcement will be the critical factor. They said that “although the market access portion of the agreement fell short of the export opportunities our industry sought to secure, our economic analysis concluded that overall the TPP dairy market access provisions will be neutral to slightly positive.”

“Included in the deal are groundbreaking new commitments on sanitary and phytosanitary issues and significant improvements in how geographical indications (GIs) are handled,” they said. ”The geographical indications improvements have become especially important as the European Union continues to wield GIs as nontariff trade barriers and limit market access for U.S. dairy exporters.

Senate committee approves ag appropriations bill

The Senate Appropriations Committee approved fiscal year 2017 funding for USDA and the U.S. Food and Drug Administration on May 19, according to U.S. Sen. Jerry Moran (R-Kansas), chair of the Senate Agriculture Appropriations Subcommittee.

Moran said the Senate appropriations bill increases funding for the USDA’s Agriculture and Food Research Initiative (AFRI); supports the Watershed and Flood Prevention Operations program; includes funding for the Food and Agriculture Resilience Program for Military Veterans (FARM-Vets) program and directs USDA to engage in additional outreach and training for veterans transitioning from military service to careers in agriculture; and supports implementation of the Food Safety Modernization Act.

The bill now moves to the full Senate. PD

Dave Natzke