Digest highlights

Natzke dave
Editor / Progressive Dairy

Mulhern to retire as NMPF president and CEO

Jim Mulhern, National Milk Producers Federation (NMPF) president and chief executive officer for a decade, announced he will retire at the end of this year. Gregg Doud was selected as the new top executive at NMPF during the organization’s board meeting June 7 in Arlington, Virginia.

Mulhern’s retirement will cap a 45-year career in U.S. agricultural and dairy policy. A native of Portage, Wisconsin, he began his career working for a Midwest dairy cooperative in 1979. After coming to Washington to work on Capitol Hill in 1982, his first stint with NMPF began in 1985, directing the organization’s government affairs activities.

He served as chief of staff to Sen. Herb Kohl (D-Wisconsin) beginning in 1990. Following that, he was a partner at Fleishman-Hillard, an international communications firm, and managing partner of Watson/Mulhern LLC, a life sciences communications and public affairs firm that focused on food and agriculture policy challenges.

Mulhern became NMPF president and CEO in 2013, succeeding Jerry Kozak.


Doud will begin official work at NMPF in September as its chief operating officer before assuming the role of president and CEO upon Mulhern’s retirement.

He has served in numerous leadership roles in trade association and government work in his more than 30-year career in agricultural policy and economics, most recently at Aimpoint Research, a global intelligence firm specializing in agriculture and food. From 2018 to 2021, he served as chief agricultural negotiator for the U.S. Office of the Trade Representative.

Before that role, Doud served as president of the Commodity Markets Council, a trade association for commodities exchanges and industry counterparts; as senior professional staff on the Senate Agriculture Committee; and as chief economist for the National Cattlemen’s Beef Association, among other roles.

FMMO proposals due June 14

The next step in a potential formal process to modernize the Federal Milk Marketing Order (FMMO) system is next week:

  • A deadline to submit milk pricing-related proposals to USDA’s Ag Marketing Service is June 14, 5 p.m. (Eastern Time Zone). The preferred method of proposal submission is via email. Proposals can also be mailed to: Deputy Administrator, USDA/AMS/Dairy Programs, STOP-0225Room 2530, 1400 Independence Ave., SW, Washington, DC 20250-0225.
  • Each pricing-related proposal should be accompanied by a comprehensive explanation on the need for and potential impacts of the proposed change, how the proposed change facilitates more orderly marketing and any other relevant information.
  • That will be followed by a pre-hearing information session, June 16, 10 a.m. (Eastern Time Zone), to allow submitters to explain their proposals. Each submission may have one representative participate per proposal, with the individual’s name and contact information provided to the USDA at the above email address by June 14. Representatives will be contacted on June 15, with participation instructions. Additional information will be posted here.
  • A link for interested parties to virtually observe the information session will be available on June 16, 9 a.m. (Eastern Time Zone).
  • Following the information session, modified proposals will then be accepted through June 20. An evaluation of the submitted information will assist in determining whether the proposal will be accepted if a hearing is held.
  • If the USDA moves forward with a formal hearing process, it will be published in the Federal Register by late July, with a tentative hearing date set for Aug. 23.

Read: USDA releases FMMO modernization ‘action plan’

‘Whole Milk for Healthy Kids Act’ advances out of House committee

The House Education and the Workforce Committee approved the Whole Milk for Healthy Kids Act, a bill allowing whole milk as an option for schools participating in the school lunch program.

The bill was introduced last February by Rep. Glenn Thompson (R-Pennsylvania), chair of the House Ag Committee. With 106 co-sponsors, the bill allows schools to offer students flavored and unflavored whole, reduced-fat, low-fat and fat-free fluid milk and lactose-free fluid milk.

NMPF opposes infant formula proposal

A proposal designed to increase U.S. infant formula supplies through relaxed import barriers is drawing criticism from the NMPF. The Formula 3.0 Act would permanently waive tariffs and ease trade barriers on infant formula. It was introduced by U.S. Sens. Mike Lee (R-Utah) and Bob Menendez (D-New Jersey) and U.S. Reps. Adrian Smith (R-Nebraska) and Don Beyer (D-Virginia).

NMPF’s Mulhern called the bill a misguided response to the dire shortages of infant formula that occurred last year after a temporary production crisis at a large U.S. formula manufacturing plant.

In response, NMPF supported the 2022 Formula Act and did not oppose passage of the subsequent 2022 Bulk Infant Formula to Retail Shelves Act, which increased import access at a time of acute need. Both laws expired at the end of 2022. NMPF has asked Congress to reinforce and expand domestic infant formula production capacity.

GDT index declines but cheddar price higher

The latest Global Dairy Trade (GDT) price index dipped another 0.9% in an auction held June 6. Prices in individual product categories were again mixed:

  • Skim milk powder (SMP) was unchanged at $2,755 per metric ton (MT, or about 2,205 pounds).
  • Whole milk powder was down 3%, to $3,173 per MT.
  • Anhydrous milkfat was up 1.8% to $4,728 per MT.
  • Butter was up 0.5%, to $5,088 per MT.
  • Cheddar cheese was up 7.4%, to $4,668 per MT.

The GDT platform offers dairy products from several global companies: Fonterra (New Zealand), Darigold, Valley Milk and Dairy America (U.S.), Amul (India), Arla (Denmark), Arla Foods Ingredients (Denmark) and Polish Dairy (Poland).

The next GDT auction is June 20.

Lawmakers propose ‘small-acreage farm’ office within USDA

A proposal to create a new office within the USDA that focuses on small-acreage farms has been introduced in the House and Senate. Sponsors for the Office of Small Farms Establishment Act include U.S. Sen. Cory Booker (D-New Jersey), and U.S. Reps. Marilyn Strickland (D-Washington), Alma Adams (D-North Carolina) and Jim McGovern (D-Massachusetts). They propose an annual budget of $25 million. It would provide for coordinating technical assistance and/or grants of up to $25,000 to small-acreage operations for equipment, uninsured losses, business planning, conservation practice adoption, down payments for land and more.   

ICYMI (In case you missed it)

• To kick off June Dairy Month, Prairie Farms partnered with 30 Feeding America food banks to donate 85 pallets (346,000 servings) of milk.

• An I-29 Moo University 2023 Dairy Webinar Series presentation will focus on milk pricing reform and policy updates June 22, noon to 1 p.m. (Central Time Zone). Presenters include Lucas Sjostrom, managing director of Edge Dairy Farmer Cooperative and Minnesota Milk Producers Association; and Karen Gefvert, director of public affairs for Edge. There is no fee to participate but preregistration is required.