Digest highlights

NMPF seeks ‘deliberate’ approach to FMMO reform

Meeting March 8-9, the National Milk Producers Federation (NMPF) board of directors has approved a deliberate approach toward federal dairy policy reform, attempting to build consensus among all dairy herd sizes and regions.

Natzke dave
Editor / Progressive Dairy

“We may take the rest of this year to get this all done and get it right,” said Jim Mulhern, NMPF president and CEO. “If we can keep a spirit of collaboration going throughout the process, we're going to end up in a very good place. I'm confident that we'll have a national federal order hearing proposal that reflects the consensus of our membership and reflects the needs of dairy producers across the country.”

NMPF’s Economic Policy Committee has been conducting analysis and engaging with farmers regarding the Federal Milk Marketing Order (FMMO) system since last fall.

NMPF’s board also discussed the response of agriculture and dairy to the humanitarian crisis in Ukraine and potential resulting volatility in agricultural markets. Board members pledged to seek ways to assist Ukrainian families and farmers as the fast-developing situation evolves. The board unanimously adopted a resolution calling on policymakers “to immediately take the steps necessary to facilitate increased domestic energy production of all forms” to avoid agricultural supply disruptions at a time of already high and rising input costs.

Coinciding with the meeting, NMPF released its 2021 annual report.

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‘Dairy Together’ sets Wisconsin rallies to push for policy reform

Wisconsin chapters of the Farmers Union and Farm Bureau are collaborating on a series of “Dairy Together” events around Wisconsin in late March. The events aim to educate and rally farmers around potential dairy policy reforms through the 2023 Farm Bill.

The events will include a panel of local farmers and a presentation on the Dairy Revitalization Plan by dairy economists Chuck Nicholson and Mark Stephenson. The study explored steps implemented to manage milk production, finding reduced variation in milk prices, some price enhancement, increased net farm operating incomes, a reduction in the rate of farm exits across farms of all sizes, and a reduction in government expenditures on dairy programs.

Attendees will have the chance to use an app created by the University of Wisconsin (UW) Center for Integrated Agricultural Systems to learn how growth management would affect their income.

The Wisconsin events are set for: March 23 in Abbotsford, March 24 in Cashton and March 25 in Chippewa Falls. All sessions will be held 11 a.m.-2 p.m. (Central time) and include lunch. To register, click here.

Global dairy product price increases continue to rise

The average global cost of dairy products rose for a sixth consecutive month in January, according to the latest United Nations’ Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) Food Price Index.

The FAO Dairy Price Index includes global average prices for butter, cheese, skim milk (SMP) and whole milk powders (WMP). The February 2022 index increased about 6.4% from January 2022 and was up 24.8% from February 2021. The higher prices were underpinned by lower-than-expected milk supplies in western Europe and Oceania.

Besides tight global supplies, persistent import demand, especially from North Asia and the Middle East, led to steep increases in whole milk powder and cheese price quotations. International skim milk powder prices rose significantly as well, reflecting a lower volume of milk deliveries for drying plants in western Europe, while butter prices received a boost from high demand for spot supplies.

The FAO Food Price Index is a measure of the monthly change in international prices of a basket of five food commodities – cereal, vegetable oil, dairy, meat and sugar. Among those major food categories, only vegetable oil increased more than dairy.

Organic Valley offers Northeast milk market

Organic Valley has offered letters of intent to provide 80 small Northeast organic family farms with a market for their milk, the organic dairy cooperative announced.

While those 80 families decide, 10 Northeast organic family farms have already been offered membership in Organic Valley.

Last fall, Danone North America, owner of Horizon Organic, had notified 89 organic dairies in four states that milk supply contracts would be terminated in February 2023. Maple Hill Creamery announced the cancellation of contracts for an additional 46 farms.

In addition to Organic Valley’s efforts to maintain organic milk markets, a Northeast Organic Family Farm Partnership was launched to provide markets for organic dairy producers in the Northeast. Read: Northeast organic partnership launched.

According to the Danone/Horizon Task Force website, Stonyfield has reached out to a number of farms in Vermont to determine which will fit into existing routes and Stonyfield program requirements. Stonyfield is making upgrades to the processing facility in Londonderry, New Hampshire, to allow for greater processing capacity.

Agri-Mark Inc. and Dairy Farmers of America have offered conventional milk markets to some farms that have maintained a relationship with the cooperatives.  end mark

Dave Natzke