Margin Protection Program for Dairy participants can update their production history when an eligible family member joins the operation. Dairy producer, exporter and processor organizations support the Trans-Pacific Partnership agreement, but ask the federal government to watch implementation and enforcement. This and other U.S. dairy policy news can be found here.
Intergenerational transfer can be added to MPP-Dairy production history
Dairy farms participating in the Margin Protection Program for Dairy (MPP-Dairy) can now update their production history when an eligible family member joins the operation. Each participating dairy operation is authorized one intergenerational transfer at any time of its choosing until 2018.
“When children, grandchildren or their spouses become part of a dairy operation that is enrolled in MPP, the production from the dairy cows they bring with them into the business can now be protected,” said U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack.
Under the new USDA Farm Service Agency (FSA) rule, effective April 13, any dairy operation already enrolled in MPP-Dairy with an intergenerational transfer can increase the dairy operation’s production history during the 2017 registration and annual coverage election period. The next election period is July 1 through Sept. 30, 2016.
For intergenerational transfers occurring on or after July 1, 2016, notification must be made to the FSA within 60 days of purchasing the additional cows.
Dairy to Congress: Support TPP, but verify
National organizations representing dairy producers, exporters and processors urged members of Congress to support the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) agreement, but asked the federal government to monitor implementation and enforcement of key provisions impacting the industry.
After months of analysis and deliberation, heads of the National Milk Producers Federation (NMPF), U.S. Dairy Export Council (USDEC) and the International Dairy Foods Association (IDFA) endorsed the pact. In a letter to Congress, they asked lawmakers to support the 12-country TPP agreement, saying it presents, on balance, a step forward for U.S. dairy farmers and companies that process and market their milk.
In the letter, they outlined the benefits the agreement could bring to the industry, such as improving the rules governing trade throughout the TPP region. The letter addresses TPP’s commitments on sanitary and phytosanitary (SPS) issues, as well as geographical indications (GIs) and common food names.
However, the three organizations identified several issues they said must be addressed during the TPP’s implementation process. The letter asks Congress to insist that both Canada and Japan be held to their own commitments – both existing ones and new ones under the agreement. It also highlighted the importance of the United States carefully ensuring active enforcement of its own market access provisions.
IDFA calls for adding reduced-fat milk to WIC program
Increasing dairy options will ensure more families participating in a major federal food program will get the nutrients they need, according to the International Dairy Foods Association (IDFA).
Cary Frye, IDFA vice president of regulatory and scientific affairs, was one of several panelists who participated in a National Academy of Medicine committee workshop and public comments session in Irvine, California. Frye told committee members that increasing dairy options under the Women, Infants and Children (WIC) program would help participants meet key recommendations in the Dietary Guidelines and improve their nutrient intake.
Current food packages include milk for women and children, with yogurt and cheese as optional substitutes for milk. However, in 2014, USDA issued a final rule limiting the milk choices for women and children two years and older to low-fat or fat-free milk. IDFA requested the addition of reduced fat (2 percent) milk to product offerings.
The government’s current recommendations run counter to consumer preferences. Frye provided electronic benefit transfer data from Texas, showing a strong correlation between eliminating reduced-fat milk from federal food packages and the sharp drop in milk consumption among WIC participants in the state.
Along with requesting the availability of reduced-fat milk, Frye also asked the program to continue to allow milk to be swapped for a variety of cheeses; allow participants to buy yogurt in smaller container sizes and more varieties; and to swap one quart of milk for up to 32 ounces of yogurt, rather than limiting the purchase to a single 32-ounce size package.
USTR highlights U.S. dairy export obstacles
The Office of the U.S. Trade Representative (USTR) recently published its 2016 National Trade Estimate Report, outlining remaining barriers to trade. The 460-page report covers 58 countries, as well as the European Union (EU), Taiwan, Hong Kong and the Arab League, and included issues of specific importance to the U.S. dairy industry.
Hindrances to dairy imports continue in key markets, such as geographical indications (GIs) in the EU, supply management systems in Canada, Japan’s high tariffs on cheese, India’s continued ban on dairy products that derive from animals without a certification of solely non-vegetarian feeds, and Russia’s effective elimination of milk and milk product imports from the United States and much of Europe.
USTR also highlighted many positive steps taken by the United States, including a nearly 400 percent increase in fresh cheese exports to South Korea since implementation of the United States-Korea Free Trade Agreement. The pact enabled duty-free access for U.S. skim and whole milk powder, whey for food use and cheese.
New coalition calls dietary guidelines too restrictive on fat
A group of nutrition and chronic-disease professionals launched an organization to advocate for changes to the Dietary Guidelines for Americans. The Nutrition Coalition expressed concern the federal recommendations have not been able to stem the growing tide of obesity and diabetes in America.
Speakers at an event introducing the coalition included Nina Teicholz, a journalist and author of “The Big Fat Surprise,” a book challenging current nutrition policy and touting the benefits of fat in the diet.
Speakers mentioned declines in whole-fat milk consumption as an example of how U.S. dietary patterns have changed in response to the dietary guidelines, while failing to reduce obesity rates.
Find a list of the Nutrition Coalition’s Scientific Advisory Council members and goals. PD
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