Digest highlights

USDA reopens comment period on NDB reapportionment proposal

The USDA has reopened the comment period on proposed revisions to regional representation on the National Dairy Promotion and Research Board (NDB).

Natzke dave
Editor / Progressive Dairy

The NDB is required to review the geographic distribution of milk production volume throughout the U.S. every three to five years and, if warranted, recommend a regional reapportionment to reflect any changes. The latest proposal, first offered last fall, would modify the number of board members in two of the NDB’s 12 geographic regions:

  • Increase Region 8 (Idaho) representation from two members to three members
  • Decrease Region 10 (Alabama, District of Columbia, Florida, Georgia, Kentucky, Louisiana, Mississippi, North Carolina, Puerto Rico, South Carolina, Tennessee and Virginia) representation from two members to one member

The last NDB reapportionment was completed in 2016, based on 2014 milk production volumes. The current proposal sets regional representation on 2019 milk production volumes.

Based on 2019 milk production data, Region 8 (Idaho) milk volume was estimated at 15.6 billion pounds, about 7.2% of the U.S. total and up 2 billion pounds from 2014. Region 10 production was estimated at 8.5 billion pounds in 2019, about 3.9% of the U.S. total and down about 1.5 billion pounds from 2014.

The total number of domestic NDB members would remain the same at 36, and the number of regions would remain the same at 12. The board also has one importer member.

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The new deadline to submit comments is July 25, 2022. Comments may be submitted through the federal e-rulemaking portal or emailed to Whitney Rick, director of the USDA AMS Dairy Program’s Promotion, Research and Planning Division. Comments should reference the document number (AMS-DA-20-0060).

Established in 1983, the NDB develops and administers promotion, research and nutrition education program. The program is financed by a mandatory 15-cent-per-hundredweight (cwt) assessment on all milk marketed commercially and a 7.5-cent-per-cwt assessment on milk, or equivalent thereof, on dairy products imported into the U.S.

Congressional letter cites concerns over proposed SEC GHG reporting rule

More than 115 members of Congress sent a letter to the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) expressing their concerns with a proposed rule that would require publicly traded companies to disclose their greenhouse gas emissions (GHG), including that from their supply chain.

The American Farm Bureau Federation (AFBF) has expressed concerns over the 510-page “The Enhancement and Standardization of Climate Related Disclosures for Investors” rule. For farmers to stay compliant with the companies that purchase their products downstream, the rule could mean producers will need to track and disclose on-farm data regarding individual operations and day-to-day activities, according to AFBF. The National Cattlemen’s Beef Association has expressed similar concerns.

The letter pointed out the proposed rule would be a “significant and unworkable regulatory burden” and a considerable departure from the SEC’s purpose, which is to protect investors; maintain fair, orderly and efficient markets; and facilitate capital formation.

“It is not within the purview of the SEC to regulate farmers and ranchers, which is what this rule would do,” the letter stated.

The letter also highlighted that, as the proposed rule is written, it is unclear how producers would be protected from privacy concerns due to the information that would be required to be provided. The members of Congress urged the SEC to “scrap this rule entirely to ensure their private property information would not end up on any public disclosures.”

In May, the SEC extended the comment period on the rule until June 17.

Ocean Shipping Reform Act approved in House

The U.S. House of Representatives overwhelmingly approved the Ocean Shipping Reform Act, a bill designed to reduce bottlenecks at U.S. ports that have impeded agricultural and other exports. The bill was approved earlier this spring in the Senate. (Editor's update: President Joe Biden signed the bill into law on June 16.)

Among other aspects, the legislation addresses exorbitant fees and cracks down on ocean carriers who refuse to ship agricultural goods.

“Trade is critical to the long-term strength of our dairy community,” said Brody Stapel, president of Edge Dairy Farmer Cooperative. “Providing more safeguards against unreasonable and unfair practices by shipping companies will help ensure our products get to market in a timely and affordable way.”

Despite a record-setting year for U.S. dairy exports (Read: Harden reflects on year of record-setting U.S. dairy exports), the Agriculture Transportation Coalition said that on average 22% of US agriculture foreign sales could not be completed in 2021 due to ocean carrier practices including: exorbitant freight rates, declined booking requests, unreasonable freight and demurrage/detention charges, and failure to communicate schedules in a timely manner.

Danone North America seeks ‘zero waste to landfill’ by 2025

Danone North America announced a goal to achieve “zero waste to landfill” across all North American company facilities by 2025.

According to Danone, zero waste to landfill is achieved when at least 99% of waste generated throughout the manufacturing process is diverted from landfills. As a result, waste produced throughout food and beverage production, including handling, storage, processing, packaging and distribution, is reused, upcycled, recycled, composted or sent for energy recovery.

In 2020, only 4.8% of Danone North America’s waste was sent to landfills across its company facilities. By working with third-party partners, including Veolia ESS, and with local organizations including ShurGreen Farms, Langdon and Sons, Wasatch Resource Recovery and EBI Montreal, Danone’s goal has already been achieved by 15% of its manufacturing facilities.

Midwest dairy industry grants available

Dairy product manufacturers in five Midwestern states can prepare to apply for a new $1 million round of grants to be administered by the Dairy Business Innovation Alliance (DBIA), a partnership between the Center for Dairy Research (CDR) and the Wisconsin Cheese Makers Association (WCMA).

Th grant program is targeted to help dairy businesses develop an idea or tackle a challenge with the potential to advance the dairy industry as a whole. Reimbursable grants of up to $250,000 each will be awarded through a competitive review process. Grant recipients will be required to share results of their project.

The Dairy Industry Impact grant competition opens July 11, when applications will be available on the DBIA website. Applicants must be located in Illinois, Iowa, Minnesota, South Dakota or Wisconsin. Initial abstracts will be due Aug. 31, 2022. Successful applicants will be invited to submit full proposals by Nov. 3, 2022. Companies interested in applying in July should email Vic Grassman or Tom Guerin.

California pilot project delivers 190,000 pounds of cheese to feeding programs

Partnerships between farmers and food banks are becoming an essential tool in fighting hunger. In commemoration of World Milk Day and June Dairy Month, the California Milk Advisory Board (CMAB) announced a partnership with Feeding America and the California Association of Food Banks (CAFB) to provide access to nutritious dairy foods at sites serving families in need throughout the state.

A pilot program, announced June 1, will provide five truckloads of cheese shreds in 1-pound packages for distribution at 11 Feeding America and California Association of Food Bank sites. Part of the CMAB’s #CADAIRY4GOOD, the pilot is phase I of an ongoing partnership with Feeding America that will deliver over $1 million in resources to food banks and feeding programs to source California dairy foods including cheese and fluid milk, one of the most requested and least donated items at food banks.

The #CADAIRY4GOOD platform focuses on increasing access to nourishing dairy foods for families throughout California. In 2020, the CMAB provided more than 1 million servings of milk through grants to food banks in the state and in 2021 delivered 14 refrigeration units to school milk pantries in the Central Valley. Phase II of the 2022 program will focus on fluid milk with community milk drives and grants for food banks during September Hunger Action Month.

Northeast FMMO authorizes milk disposal

With school out and Class I milk sales stable to lower, the Northeast Federal Milk Marketing Order (FMMO) administrator has temporarily authorized disposing of surplus milk at the farm or other non-plant locations through July 8, 2022.

Pool handler Lowville Dairy requested a temporary authorization allowing pool handlers to dispose of surplus milk while retaining the status of pooled producer milk. In the request, Lowville noted a rise in COVID-19 cases, labor shortages, capacity losses at processing plants, milk processing equipment issues and shortages of drivers resulting in an inability to get milk processed.

Pool handlers Agri-Mark, Dairy Farmers of America, Land O’Lakes, Upstate Niagara Cooperative and Cayuga Marketing LLC submitted remarks either in support of, or did not oppose, Lowville’s request.

The Northeast marketing area’s monthly statistical report lists a “milk assigned to minimum price” class (often referred to as dumped milk).

House sets farm bill listening session

The U.S. House Agriculture Committee will kick off a series of listening sessions as it prepares for the 2023 Farm Bill, according to U.S. Rep. David Scott (D-Georgia), committee chair. The first session in the series will be held June 25, 11 a.m. (Mountain time), at Central Arizona College in Coolidge, Arizona. Additional dates and locations will be announced in the coming weeks.

The June 25 session is titled “A 2022 Review of the Farm Bill: Perspectives from the Field.” It will be hosted by Rep. Tom O’Halleran (D-Arizona), a member of the House Ag Committee’s subcommittees on Conservation and Forestry and General Farm Commodities and Risk Management. The session will be chaired by Rep. Cheri Bustos (D-Illinois), a member of the Commodity Exchanges, Energy and Credit subcommittee.

This event is open to the public. The hearing will be streamed live online via YouTube.

Scott also announced the addition of U.S. Rep. Sharice Davids (D-Kansas) to the House Ag Committee.

Dairy absent from Senate ag committee hearing witness list

The Senate Committee on Agriculture, Nutrition and Forestry released a witness list of participants in its field hearing on the 2023 Farm Bill, June 17. With Arkansas not among the nation’s major milk-producing states, dairy representation isn’t on the list.

Topics covered by witnesses include cotton, soybeans, peaches, rice, agricultural credit, natural resources, communications, electric cooperatives and food banks.

The hearing will be held at Arkansas State University in Jonesboro, Arkansas, 9-11 a.m. (Eastern time), hosted by U.S. Sen. John Boozman (D-Arkansas), ranking member of the Senate ag committee. The hearing will be streamed live online here.  end mark

Dave Natzke