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Editor / Progressive Dairy

DAIRY PRIDE Act would nullify FDA ‘milk’ labeling draft guidance

Following the U.S. Food and Drug Administration’s (FDA) proposed guidance allowing plant-based beverages to use "milk” in labels and marketing, multiple dairy state lawmakers have introduced the "Defending Against Imitations and Replacements of Yogurt, Milk and Cheese to Promote Regular Intake of Dairy Everyday Act" (DAIRY PRIDE Act).

U.S. Sens. Tammy Baldwin (D-Wisconsin), Jim Risch (R-Idaho), Susan Collins (R-Maine) and Peter Welch (D-Vermont) introduced the legislation that would, among other things, nullify any guidance that is not consistent with dairy standards of identity, including the one released by the FDA last week.

Read: FDA provides recommendation for voluntary labeling plant-based ‘milk’ 

Current FDA regulations define dairy products as being from dairy animals. However, the proposed FDA draft guidance allows plant-based products to continue to use dairy terms despite not containing dairy, nor having the nutritional value of dairy products.


The DAIRY PRIDE Act would require non-dairy products made from nuts, seeds, plants and algae to no longer be labeled with dairy terms such as milk, yogurt or cheese.

The proposal would require the FDA to issue guidance for nationwide enforcement of mislabeled imitation dairy products within 90 days and require the FDA to report to Congress two years after enactment to hold the agency accountable for enforcement obligations. 

The legislation is also co-sponsored by Sens. Mike Crapo (R-Idaho), Angus King (I-Maine), Ben Ray Lujan (D-New Mexico), Roger Marshall (R-Kansas), Tina Smith (D-Minnesota) and Debbie Stabenow (D-Michigan).

The full text of this legislation can be found here

The FDA's draft guidance does not apply to other plant-based dairy alternatives, such as plant-based cheese or yogurt alternatives. The FDA is in the process of developing a draft guidance to address the labeling and naming of other plant-based alternative products and will communicate updates when available.

Public comments on the proposal will be accepted until April 24. The draft guidance document and link to the Federal Register notice are available here.

U.S. dairy export outlook still solid

The value of 2023 U.S. dairy exports isn’t likely to keep pace with the record-setting year of 2022, but it could still be a close second.

The latest USDA quarterly Outlook for U.S. Agricultural Trade report, released Feb. 23, forecast the value of U.S. dairy exports at about $8.8 billion in fiscal year (FY) 2023 (FY 2023: Oct. 1, 2022-Sept. 30, 2023). That’s down from the $8.9 billion projected last November but not far behind the $9.1 billion in the value of dairy product exports in FY 2022.

The $100 million decline from last November’s outlook is attributed to lower prices for nonfat dry milk powder, cheese and butter in the second through fourth quarters of FY 2023, offsetting strong sales during the first quarter.

FY 2023 U.S. dairy imports are forecast at $4.6 billion, unchanged from FY 2022 but up $300 million from last November’s forecast, based on higher unit values and volumes of butter, milk proteins and other products. FY 2023 cheese imports are expected to hit $1.6 billion, unchanged from the previous forecast and up slightly from FY 2022’s total.

While dairy is forecast to maintain a positive trade balance in FY 2023, the outlook for all agricultural products is cloudier.

The USDA forecast estimated FY 2023 exports at $184.5 billion and imports at $199 billion, yielding a deficit of $14.5 billion. The U.S. last had a negative agricultural trade balance in 2019 (-$1.3 billion) and 2020 (-$3.7 billion).

Looking ahead, the currency exchange rate between the U.S. and many countries has tightened, with the U.S. dollar’s strength against other currencies declining from highs seen last October and November. That may provide a more favorable impact on U.S. export-import trade patterns.

Senate Ag Committee creates farm bill comment portal

With congressional ag committees holding hearings to gather input on the 2023 Farm Bill, the Senate Ag Committee has created a website portal to take comments from agricultural stakeholders.

Those interested in providing feedback on the 2018 Farm Bill and submitting comments for the 2023 Farm Bill, click here.

A link on the website also lists the Senate Ag Committee’s farm bill hearing schedule.

2023 NCIMS scheduled for April 3-7

The 2023 National Conference on Interstate Milk Shipments (NCIMS) will be held April 3-7, in Indianapolis, Indiana.

The NCIMS is a nonprofit organization made up of persons involved in the dairy industry, including producers, processors, dairy farm and plant inspectors, food safety lawmakers and enforcement personnel, academic researchers and advisers. They consider recommendations and regulatory proposals designed to ensuring the safety of dairy products reaching consumers through the Grade A Pasteurized Milk Ordinance.

In advance of the 2023 NCIMS Conference, three pre-conference virtual sessions (all times Eastern time) are being held:

  • March 9, 1-3 p.m., to provide an update on the current topics impacting the Grade “A” milk program
  • March 14, 11 a.m.-12:30 p.m., to provide an overview of the conference structure and process including how proposals are considered and amended
  • March 15, 11 a.m.-12 p.m., to review Robert’s Rules of Order utilized during the conference

For more information and online registration, click here.

Dairy promotion board leaders elected

Leaders of Dairy Management Inc. (DMI), the National Dairy Promotion and Research Board (NDB) and the United Dairy Industry Association (UDIA) recently announced election results to lead national dairy checkoff strategies and programs.


  • Chair – Marilyn Hershey, Cochranville, Pennsylvania
  • Vice chair – Becky Levzow, Rio, Wisconsin
  • Secretary – Skip Hardie, Groton, New York
  • Treasurer – Orville Miller, Hutchinson, Kansas


  • Chair – Joanna Shipp, Boones Mill, Virginia
  • Vice chair – Doug Carroll, Ryan, Iowa
  • Secretary – Jim Reid, Grant Township, Michigan
  • Treasurer – Suzanne Vold, Glenwood, Minnesota


  • Chair – Neil Hoff, Windthorst, Texas
  • First vice chair – Alex Peterson, Trenton, Missouri
  • Second vice chair, American Dairy Association – Tom Woods, Gage, Oklahoma (retired)
  • Second vice chair, National Dairy Council – Audrey Donahoe, Clayville, New York
  • Secretary – Charles Krause, Buffalo, Minnesota
  • Treasurer – John Brubaker, Buhl, Idaho

American Dairy Association

  • Chair – Tom Woods (retired)
  • Vice chair – Glen Easter, Laurens, South Carolina
  • Secretary – Jenni Tilton-Flood, Clinton, Maine
  • Treasurer – Corby Werth, Alpena, Michigan

National Dairy Council

  • Chair – Audrey Donahoe, Clayville, New York
  • Vice chair – Jeff Hardy, Brigham City, Utah
  • Secretary – Harold Howrigan, Sheldon, Vermont
  • Treasurer – Michael Ferguson, Senatobia, Mississippi